Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Will you FLIP over our new videos from Oregon Ag Fest 2008?

Last week, Capital Press received a new tool to use in their jobs. Some call it a tool. Others might call it a new toy. But the bottom line is the new Flip Video Ultra Series cameras are small camcorders that allow our staff to get another angle to our coverage.

We are now a company that is doing more than just writing for a weekly agricultural newspaper that gets into the mailboxes of farmers in the West once a week. We have a website that publishes stories daily from staff and Associated Press; we send out a daily newsletter; and we also send out breaking news alerts to those who sign up to receive them.

We have been expanding out multimedia offerings: We now have photo slideshows, audio of interviews, and — with our new tool/toy — video to add to the website.

Oregon State University Extension and Experiment Station Communications staff were kind enough to provide us some training last week, since they are familiar with the Flip Video camcorders and have used the devices for some of their work.

This past weekend, I took my Flip Video to Ag Fest in Salem to record some video, then posted it to YouTube. There are some pros and cons to the camcorder, but some of the benefits is its size, ease of use and (when all software is cooperating between Apple and Quicktime — and that’s another story!), its ease to posting to YouTube.

Here are a couple examples of what I have taped so far. Stay tuned to see a lot more of this on Capital Press’ multimedia site and/or on YouTube.

First, here's a compilation of some of the events that helped entertain as well as educate Oregon children — and adults — about agriculture. The event was held in Salem, Oregon on April 26-27.

In the second video, Michele Ruby, Executive Director of Oregon Ag Fest 2008, met with Elaine Shein of Capital Press at the end of the event on April 27 to share what a success it had been, what is its role, and how important it is to have volunteers.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Students publish newspaper, plan magazine

Wheeler High senior Jessica Miller, right, waits for a response to a phone call to a source as her reporting team members sophomore Kevin Miller, left, and freshman Levi Sharp, accompany her in the main office. Photo by Brook Griffith/Condon High School

Special to the Capital Press

FOSSIL, Ore. -- Students at two Eastern Oregon high schools are getting in the publishing business.

Earlier this spring, students at Condon High School produced the first student newspaper at the school in about 20 years. Currently, students at Wheeler High School in Fossil are in the process of producing a photo magazine.

Both publications were part of the outcome of a writer-in-residence program under the direction of visiting photojournalist Cheryl Hatch.

Volume 1 of Devil High Times was printed in March 2008 and filled with articles and photos produced by the students at Condon High School. Devil High Times focused on the pros and cons of the life of students in Condon and the events that happen around the town.

Tyler Pike, a sophomore at Condon High, was an editor for the newspaper. Pike enjoyed having the opportunity to be a part of the experience.

"It was a fun thing to do and was a break from the ordinary," Pike said. He said he developed an interest in journalism and wants to attend the University of Oregon to study photojournalism.

He likes the idea of having a steady newspaper at his school.

"Yes, I would like there to be a newspaper for the school, it would help the kids with their writing skills and give them something to read."

Brook Griffith, who served as photo editor for the student paper, is a junior at Condon High School and took the classes taught by the writer in residence, Cheryl Hatch.

"I liked having Cheryl for a writer in residence because I got to use her cool camera," Griffith said.

Griffith said she enjoys photography and plans on improving her skills by taking some college courses. She used her skills to get an article printed in The Times Journal, a local paper based in Condon, about Ryan Standiford’s success in the javelin as the 1A State Champion for 2007 and his aspirations to defend his title this year. A photo she took of Standiford accompanied the article in the Times Journal.

"I’m not real interested in the writing aspect, but definitely the photography," Griffith said. She would like to try sports photography.

The finished student-produced newspaper boasted 12 pages with 13 articles and 23 color photographs

The "Soul of Fossil" magazine, by Wheeler High Students, is still in progress and publication is expected in early May. The magazine will be a photo journal.

"There is still work to be turned in and it is still in the developmental stage," Hatch said.

Senior associate editor Lisa Wade is working to make sure everything is turned in on time. For ideas on the photo journal she thinks the area's landscape, events in the community and the daily life of the students would make good pictures to include in the magazine.

Sophomore photo editor Sammone Palazo said the magazine is starting to come together. Her job is to pick and edit photos.

Junior photo editor Anna Longstreet said the group got a slow start but hopes that "the final product represents what high school students can do."

Kylie Hankins, Michael Boehlke, Karera Carrell, Justin Phillips, Macaulay Hankins and Meagan Moore contributed to this report.

Click here to read Gary West's column about the workshop from the May 2, 2008, edition of Capital Press.

Students generate newspaper, photo projects as part of writer-in-resident program

Chyanne Stanley, freshman, interviews Megan Greenfield (left) on Monday, April 21, in Wheeler High School's general room during an all-day high school journalism workshop. Photo by Dillon Nelson.

Editor’s note: Twenty-two students from Wheeler High School in Fossil, Ore., and four from Condon High School in Condon, Ore., participated in a journalism workshop Monday, April 21, in Fossil. The workshop was conducted as part of a writer-in-residence program sponsored by Fishtrap Inc., an Eastern Oregon organization promoting "clear thinking and good writing in and about the West." The students participating in the workshop -- under the direction of Cheryl Hatch, the writer in residence, and Gary L. West, associate editor for the Capital Press -- were assigned to write stories about the writer-in-residence program in their communities.

Special to the Capital Press

FOSSIL, Ore. — This year the students of Condon and Wheeler high schools in Eastern Oregon had the opportunity to work with writer in residence Cheryl Hatch, a photojournalist based in Corvallis, Ore.

Hatch collaborated with Condon High School language arts teacher Mike Keown in Condon and with English teacher Angi Humphreys in Fossil, Ore.

Keown believes that the opportunity that the writer-in-residence program provides for students is worthwhile.

"It allows the students to have exposure to experience and topics that they wouldn’t receive in the regular curriculum," Humphreys said.

In 2007, poet Peter Sears joined the students of Condon and Wheeler high schools.
Humphreys is on the Knight Writers board that brought Sears and Hatch to the schools. Humphreys has been teaching at Wheeler for 12 years.

"I would be extremely disappointed if it were not a continued tradition," said Jon McMurray, who teaches history and Spanish at Wheeler High School and coaches the Knights baseball team, which is comprised of student athletes from the two schools and schools in Spray and Arlington.

One student who was interested in photography was Kylie Hankins of Wheeler High School. Hankins wished the program would have included more on how to develop film.

Student Tyler Pike was interested in learning more about writing through the program.

"It’s something new to do, and introduces kids to new forms of writing," said Pike of Condon High School.

For some students the program doesn’t last long enough

Megan Greenfield states, "It would be nice to have more time to work on projects and not so many classes a week," said Megan Greenfield.

Overall most of the students said the program has been educational and they have learned a lot.

"It was magical," said Kirk Fatland of Condon High School.

The writer-in-residence program was created a few years ago when Fishtrap Inc., a writers’ community in Wallowa County, asked if the cities of Condon and Fossil would be interested in bringing a rural writer-in-residence program to the two communities.

Chris Lewallen, 55, of Condon, has been the local co-coordinator for the writer-in-residence program for the past two years. The first year she worked with Adele Barnett, the founder of LB Arts, and this year she worked with Dorothy Schott, who housed Hatch on her ranch in Condon during that city's part of the program.

It is Lewallen’s job to help arrange housing for the writer, monitor the program and help to keep it running as smoothly as possible.

Kelli Kayser, Cole MacInnes, Murphy Palazo, Samonne Palazo, Chyanne Stanley, Kevin Miller, Jessica Miller and Levi Sharp contributed to this story.

The following students participated in the workshop:
Wheeler High School — Megan Greenfield, Brody D’Elia, Harold Stevens, Lisa Wade, Mitch Griffith, Anna Longstreet, Kylie Hankins, Michael Boehlke, Karera Carrell, Samonne Palazo, Dillon Nelson, Chyanne Stanley, Justin Phillips, Macaulay Hankins, Meagan Moore, Kevin Miller, Jessica Miller, Levi Sharp, Cole MacInnes, Murphy Palazo, Annie Wade and Emmalee Keys.
Condon High School — Kelli Kayser, Brook Griffith, Tyler Pike and Kirk Fatland.

Photojournalist teaches students to write with light

Sophomore Justin Phillips, right, interviews photojournalist Cheryl Hatch on Monday, April 21, during an all-day journalism workshop at Wheeler High School in Fossil, Ore. The workshop was conducted under the direction of Hatch and Gary L. West, associate editor of the Capital Press. Other student participants in the workshop can be seen in the background. Photo by Macaulay Hankins

Story by Megan Greenfield, Harold Stevens, and Brody D’Elia
Special to the Capital Press

FOSSIL, Ore. -- Cheryl Hatch, is a photojournalist from Corvallis, Ore.

Hatch is currently the writer in residence in Fossil, Ore., and is working with high school students to teach them about photojournalism. She recently finished a similar writer-in-residence stint in Condon, Ore., where she worked with the students to produce a newspaper.

The writer-in-residence program is funded by an organization called Fishtrap, located in Wallowa, Ore. The purpose of the program is to bring writers from different backgrounds into small communities and give students an opportunity to expand themselves and their knowledge of writing and photography.

The Wheeler High School librarian, Pam Hankins, noted that the program provides an opportunity for people with special talent, such as Hatch, to share that talent with others.

"I think that this is an out-of-the-ordinary experience and I hope people can appreciate it," Hankins said.

Kylie Hankins, a senior at Wheeler High School and Hankins' granddaughter, said Hatch helped her become more interested in photography.

Hatch was brought into Fossil on short notice. The original writer scheduled to participate in the program backed out at the last minute, but Hatch was found to fill in.

She was born in Germany; her father was a career Army officer, which led her to a life of constant moving. After high school she ended up in Saudi Arabia for a while. When asked where she grew up, she answered, "everywhere, there is no good answer to that question."

Hatch started taking photographs after buying her first camera a Post Exchange on an U.S. Army base.

Hatch is a photojournalist, meaning someone who tells news stories through photographs. She said she enjoys what she does, but found it difficult to switch from being a war photographer to being a more of an everyday news photographer. She said she has never worked on a project like writers in residence, but she has enjoyed working with the students and seeing new parts of Oregon that she had never been to before.

She said she has loved being a part of a small community and meeting new people. She has never been a part of a small community, nor has she ever really even been a part of any community due to moving around a lot as a child, so it was special to her to be made welcome in Fossil by the students.

While in Condon and Fossil, she has done things she had never dreamed of doing or would have ever had the chance to do if it weren’t for being brought into the communities.
She was invited to a couple different cattle brandings and helped build corrals.

The writer-in-residence program has been a success in her eyes, but if she could do it again she would like to do a few things differently.

She wishes there was more one-on-one time and "more time to build skills." She would have also liked it if she could have been in the schools for a longer period of time so she didn’t feel so rushed in producing a product. She said it was hard to come into Fossil and produce a photo project without knowing if the students had any skills in photography and produce a product in four weeks.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Amid strong farm economy, some dire signs.

At a time of record agricultural profits, concerns are mounting that American farmers could be edging toward a financial crisis not seen since the 1980s farm-economy collapse.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tulip Fest extended: video with co-owner

Late in the afternoon, Barb Iverson, co-owner of Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm at Woodburn, Ore., wandered through the fields with her camera, capturing a few more images to post on her family's website.

Weather has affected the 23rd Annual Tulip Fest that the Iverson family has held, with unseasonable temperatures — and everything from hail and snow, to hot sun and rains — impacting them.

Last Saturday the temperature soared to 80F and Iverson said she has never seen such a busy day. People flocked heavily to the farm, since the month-long festival had experienced mostly cool, damp days during this month-long festival.

Some of the tulips have been delayed by the cool weather and have yet to open, so the family has decided to extend the tulip fest until April 27.

For more information, go to www.woodenshoe.com.

To see an interview Iverson did with Capital Press, click on the video below.

To see some the people that attended the tulip fest on April 17, and some of the images they saw and experiences they had, click on this video below:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Farm bill delays hurt farmers

Farmers will be torn this morning on whether to be relieved or anxious that there has been yet another extension given to hammer out a new farm bill.

The House announced it will extend current farm law until the House and Senate politicians can work out an agreement that satisfies most of them, but most of all will be able to get approval from the president.

Unfortunately, President George W. Bush has not been flexible in his demands for a cheaper farm bill and certain areas changed or cut. He has threatened a veto, and has shown in the last year that he is not afraid to use his powers to get what he wants.

The politicians had already received a 33-day extension.

In March, when that was announced, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer discussed how Bush had agreed to that extension.

“The President made it clear upon signing it, if the final bill that Congress delivers includes a tax increase or fails to provide reform for our farm policies, it will be met with a veto. America’s farmers deserve better than a series of short-term extensions here of our current law. They need to know what farm policy is going to be so that they can make sound business decisions about what to plant this year and how they are going to finance it, Schafer said.

“If Congress fails to reach an agreement on a new Farm Bill that meets the standards that the President set out, he will ask Congress to extend the current law for at least one year. And we need to be clear, this is not the outcome we want to see, nor is it one we believe to best address the nation’s long-term needs. The government has a responsibility to provide resolution for our farmers and ranchers and landowners and everyone who depends on the Farm Bill,” Schafer said.

On March 18, Schafer already was admitting it was frustrating for farmers and ranchers to not know what farm program they will be operating under this spring. “They’ve got to make planting and financial decisions. It’s time. It’s too late now in some places,” he said.

The timing is now worse. Farmers are already in the fields in some areas, and if not, they already have made their plans and are in the process of buying the inputs they need to plant their crops. They are already battling banks and other lenders that are uneasy about providing loans when uncertainty remains about what programs will be available for the next few years.

So why is it taking so long to pass a farm bill?

Going back to March 18, during a press conference, Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner said there was a couple of things that complicated and delayed passing this farm bill, especially compared to past ones.

First, there were tax increases tied to supporting farm bill programs. That triggered a lot more questions, reactions and made it tougher to pass, especially as more committees become involved in the mess.

“You know, you bring in a whole other set of committees, of jurisdiction, people that don’t necessarily have strong agricultural backgrounds. They have a totally different set of interests they are bringing to the table than perhaps the House and the Senate Agriculture Committees. And that’s a huge complicating factor,” Conner told journalists.

“And I think that has been one of the key reasons that we’ve seen a slow-down, perhaps almost a stalemate in this process at this point, has been these jurisdictional fights that have been occurring in Congress between the various committees of jurisdiction that now have a stake in the Farm Bill,” Conner said.

The ones with the largest stake — farmers themselves — are being ignored, and left holding their seed bags as they have already begun their next crop season.

The farm bill should have been settled in 2007, not this late in the political season, and the President as well as Congress share blame for this fiasco.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Frosty weather predicted? Our neighborhood jinxed this valley...

As we post the warnings of frost for southern Oregon this week, and more frost and snow for the Pacific Northwest for early next week, I believe I know what triggered this bad weather. My neighbors and I jinxed everyone.

It started a couple weeks ago when we had water problems in our neighborhood — enough to be local front page news — and the city offered some of the homes free water for a few days as the contractor tries to figure out how to fix a mysterious quality issue in our new water lines. How bad was the water? As our neighbor across the street described it, the water was oily to touch, had the odor of turpentine, and when she got water test results it appeared she and others had several petroleum-type substances in the water that no one can figure out their source.

But getting back to the weather…

The two dozen or so homes that were affected were reconnected to old water lines until the problem can be resolved with the new lines. The residents were told they wouldn’t be charged for water use for a few days, even with the better quality water that is coming out of our old rusty pipes.

So — on Saturday, as the temperature soared to 80 F, every neighbor on the block was outside washing as many of their cars as they could, power washing their houses and driveways, and doing anything else that involved large amounts of water.

Might as well call it an urban rain dance.

As if that wasn’t enough to tempt fate, I decided to do a chore long overdue. I spent hours pruning roses and other plants, shrubs and anything else for the shear delight of it all. The roses had reached 10 or 12 feet high, so I thought they could use a trim. But maybe I was too hasty… I think I’ll let the ones in the back of the house reach 15 feet.

Within 24 hours of our hard work on Saturday, dark clouds began to roll in, temperatures began to dip, the wind began to whirl, and what was left of our plum tree petals has been deposited all over our vehicles. Geese began to migrate south again.

So am I surprised that we’re being warned winter might not be done with us yet?

No, not really.

Because even though I realize these temperatures are a serious concern to our crops and plants out here, we in the West — especially on this side of the Cascade mountains — know a cool spring day here is still a heck of a lot warmer than the Plains and MidWest at this point.

As we tiptoe through tulip fields here, we sympathize with people who are putting down snow shovels only long enough to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And to prove that we DO see occasional snowflakes here, I include a picture from March 29 ... the last time we had snow on that day was 70 years before, I think I heard. Definitely worthy of taking a photo... And remind me that perhaps I have a few more days to finish that pruning.

Friday, April 11, 2008

People, places, and ... pigs of the West?

Want to see this week's pictures from Capital Press?

We have recently started a new video feature called Western Reflections to give people a chance to see some of the great shots our staff and freelancers contribute to our newspaper, as well as some photos from other sources.

This really helps give a glimpse of agriculture in the West, and a deep appreciation for the people, places and ... this week, pigs!


OSU Art about Agriculture 2008: The Nick of Time video

This week Oregon State University unveiled in Corvallis the winners of its art competition, the Art about Agriculture 2008: The Nick of Time.

I'll write more later, but here's the video so people can see some of the great works of art now on exhibit in Corvallis.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April 12 a Big Day at Terra Gardens Nursery in Salem, Oregon

This Saturday April 12th Terra Gardens Nursery will be offering an interesting array of classes, treasure hunts, soil testing and live music from Waterfall.

All Day Treasure Hunt
This will be a great day of fun and discounts. Search the Terra Gardens nursery area for coupons good for % off the purchase of specific items, % off total sales and even a few coupons for free items. Coupons good for this day only, limit one per customer.

Soil Testing

Terra Gardens will have the folks from Pacific Calcium on hand to do soil testing. Bring in a sample of your soil and they can tell you what you need to add to the soil to give you the best lawn, harvest, or an outstandingly beautiful flower garden.
*10:00am - 4pm *Free *Located in Covered Area

Hanging Baskets

Create your own hanging basket. Class price includes a basket, soil, fertilizer and 3 plants. *10:00am - noon *There is a fee is $15; pre-registration recommended *located in Greenhouse

For more information on classes and April 12th events call (503) 581-0441 in Salem, Oregon.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sternwheeler at Salem

School students, as well as mothers with their babies in strollers, watched a sternwheeler as it passed by Riverfront Park in Salem, Ore. today.

The sternwheeler offers various cruises, including a luncheon one, and the captain of the boat happily obliged the kids who waved from shore and encouraged him to toot his whistle.

Many people in the park enjoyed the warm spring day (cooler temperatures and rain are forecast to return for tomorrow), and even some of the kids even played an impromptu baseball game on the grass.

A few of the trees are in full bloom yet, the bald eagles have returned to soar over the river, and it definitely felt like spring.

More Capital Press photo videos online

This week, Capital Press launched a new slide show video feature to share some of the photo images that appear each week in our four zoned editions of the newspaper.

You can get a glimpse of the diversity of agriculture we have in the West, but also the hard work of the people behind these agricultural products.

Here are the photos from the week of our March 21 issue:

And also for the week of our April 4 issue:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New video features Western pictures from Capital Press

Each week, Capital Press staff and freelancers capture western reflections with their cameras: images of agriculture in the West, including the people, places, and what farmers and ranchers raise and what they do on their land.

Even CP newspaper subscribers don't get a chance to see all these great images because of the four zoned editions that cover Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

Welcome to a new multimedia feature that shares some of the images that have appeared, or even ones that haven't. We invite you to encourage others to also see these slide shows and enjoy some of the images of the West.

Many of these images are also available for sale in CP's photo gallery at www.capitalpress.com.

Click on the video below to see our photos from the March 21 issue:

Ag in the West social media watch

Capital Press videos on YouTube

Our most popular videos