Sunday, May 13, 2012

Astorian spins the Wheel of Fortune

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 1:23 pm, Thu Apr 12, 2012.

By now many have heard the rumor mill rumbling about Astorian CARRIE THORESON (pictured) appearing on the game show WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Yes, it’s true.

Carrie first auditioned when the Wheelmobile was at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, then aced her second audition, and was finally selected to be a contestant when the show was going to be taped in Portland.

In late March/early April, four weeks of shows were taped in four days at the Oregon Convention Center. Co-hosts PAT SAJAK and VANNA WHITE were on hand to keep things rolling, and the entire Los Angeles-area based crew was there, too – a long way from the show’s home at a Sony Pictures Entertainment studio in Culver City.

Do you have any idea what it takes to tape a show away from its original location? LESLIE JACOBE of Wheel of Fortune Publicity and Promotions filled the Ear in with the details of what they had to bring to Portland.

Just a few of the items they lugged were: 14 tractor trailer rigs for set, lighting and rigging; approximately 1 million pounds of equipment; a 65-foot mobile production truck; 12 miles of power cables; 20 miles of other types of cabling; and 140 color monitors.

By the way, did you know that more than 10,000 people try out each year for Wheel of Fortune, and fewer than 600 are selected? And you can only be on the show once.

So get ready: Carrie’s once-in-a-lifetime appearance will air on ABC at 7 p.m. THURSDAY, MAY 10.

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon

Dream shows the way

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 10:00 am

This one’s right out of the Twilight Zone, but in a good way. “I’d never heard of CANNON BEACH until today,” photographer CAROLYN KAMUDA (http://carolyn emailed the Ear April 26. She’s pictured, inset.

“I’m a New Englander currently living in Massachusetts,” she explained. “If you want to believe, I had a dream last night about a beach with big rocks, so I googled it and found Cannon Beach. The more I looked at images of the place, the more I wanted to go there.”

“So, I went to AAA today,” she continued, “picked up some maps and brochures, and will probably make it there in September. All the way from the other side of the country.”

“Tourism. Yes, you should embrace it,” she added, “... at least for me.”

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon

Green stripes lead the way to where?

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 10:00 am

SCOTT McCLAINE of Clatsop Coin asked the Ear why there were GREEN STRIPES on the street on 15TH STREET at Exchange and Duane streets. The Ear, who was buffaloed, and clearly unobservant, had never noticed them.

The Ear emailed SHERRI WILLIAMS at the city of Astoria, who saved the day: They are the outlines of the old original fort in Astoria. More than one member of the Astoria Public Works Department suggested the Ear contact local historian JOHN GOODENBERGER for the history of the stripes.

“The green stripes were repainted on the street during Astoria’s Bicentennial,” John said. He guesses they were originally put there around the time of Astoria’s 150th birthday.

“In 1958, the Clatsop County Historical Society turned to architect JOHN WICKS to provide construction drawings to build a memorial to Astor’s trading post,” he explained. “Wolmanized logs, left over from the reconstruction of the Fort Clatsop memorial, were used to construct the bastion seen today.”

“Local sign maker ARVID WUONOLA provided context by painting a mural on the wall behind the monument,” he continued. “The mural was repainted several times, most recently by ROGER McKAY and SALLY LACKAFF in 2002.

“A site map of the old trading post is carved on the back side of the large wood sign adjacent to the bastion ... It is either based on a diary entry or, more likely, a military survey of the property.”

“But we will soon have the answers to these and more questions,” John added. “Clatsop Community College students will have the opportunity to work with Portland State University and Washington State University students on a` National Park Service guided archeological dig of the site this summer.” Stay tuned.

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon

Post office stamps a mystery

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 10:00 am

Here’s a history mystery for you. Not knowing what else to do with it, a Newport post office clerk gave STEVE WYATT, executive director of the LINCOLN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, a single WORLD WAR II ERA PHOTO ALBUM PAGE someone left in the post office lobby several months before.

Steve’s research led him to believe the photos were likely taken at the liberation of one of the largest concentration camps, MAUTHAUSEN-GUSEN, in Passau, Lower Bavaria, Germany. It was also one of the last to be liberated.

Pictured, two of the photos: left, a mass funeral with rows of wooden coffins; and right, a soldier next to a street sign for “Passau” and “DEGGENDORF.” Deggendorf was a camp for displaced Jewish refugees.

Anyone with information about the photos is asked to call Steve Wyatt at   (541) 265-7509. 

“This page should either go back to its rightful owner,” he said, “or to a museum that is focused on World War II, concentration camps or the history of this region of Germany.”

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon

Saturday, May 12, 2012

History buff reveals the truth

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:00 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Thu Apr 19, 2012.

“One hundred years ago the TITANIC was on its first and last voyage,” lecturer and historian REX ZIAK (pictured, inset) of Naselle, Wash., told the Ear. “On board was a famous American who did not survive the tragedy. His name was JOHN JACOB ASTOR IV.” He was the great-grandson of Astoria founder John Jacob Astor.

“There is more to this story than what has ever been revealed,” Rex disclosed. “By researching newspapers from 1909, 1910 and 1911, I stumbled upon a back-story that has not been told. It appears that John Jacob Astor IV died from what is commonly known today as the ‘mid-life crisis.’”

“It is such a compelling story, I created a ... two part YOUTUBE DOCUMENTARY, totaling around 27 minutes,” he continued. “It is jam-packed with historic photographs, maps and great stories about his life, from start to finish.”

It is, indeed all of that, and let’s not forget Rex’s dynamic and entertaining speaking style is added to the mix, which really brings the characters and situation to life. You can see the videos here: and

“Because of the sensitive nature of the subject (a mid-life crisis is never pretty), viewer discretion is advised,” he added. “This is a great history and should serve as a lesson to all men as they approach middle life.” Take a lesson, gentlemen.

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon

Gillnetting movie is like old times

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:00 am

When the Ear was but an earlet, sitting on a stoop and listening to the old timers talk about the glory days of lobstering and oystering was a real treat. The movie, “WORK IS OUR JOY: The Story Of The Columbia River Gillnetter,” has the same feel to it.

A project of the Oregon State University Extension Sea Grant and the Columbia River Maritime Museum, the film is an oral history with reminiscences by ROSS LINDSTROM, CECIL MOBERG, JOHN VLASTALICIA, HANK RAMVICK, ELMER HURULA, GUNNAR HERMANSON, ARNOLD “TOOTS” PETERSON, JACK MARINCOVICH, and many others.

You can watch the movie here:

A little history tidbit: “The first non-Native gillnet on the Columbia belonged to THOMAS HODGKINS, an immigrant fisherman from the Kennebec River in Maine,” says Irene Martin in The Oregon Encyclopedia. “He operated the net in 1853 near Oak Point, four miles northwest of present-day Clatskanie.”

Some local families have been gillenetting for almost four generations. As one gillnetter noted, “I think the fellas that were born into it, that grew up in the game, make the best fishermen. They have a sense for it ... They have a feel for it.”

One fisherman summed up the overall tone of the film perfectly: “I think it’s probably a matter of receiving joy in what you’re doing. There are some people who just fish, and others who love to fish.”

Watch and enjoy  – the film is a real treasure.

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon

Boating history is in the name

Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 10:00 am

“My father and I caught two CHINOOKS this weekend near Puget Island,” RICHARD MARSHALL LEATHERS IV (aka Marshall ), told the Ear. “We took a nice photo of my new son, Richard Marshall Leathers V (aka QUINT, pictured).”

History buffs will recognize that it’s an old Astoria name. “My great-grandfather (Richard Marshall Leathers) owned a boat building business in the late 1800s,” Marshall explained. “Both my grandfather (Richard Marshall Leathers II) and father (Richard Marshall Leathers III) were raised in Astoria; however I was raised in Portland.”

According to the long-winded-titled tome “Portrait and biographical record of Western Oregon, containing original sketches of many well known citizens of the past and present” (, Chapman Publishing Co., 1904, LEATHERS BROTHERS’ ASTORIA SHIPYARD, “the largest shop for the building of small boats in the west,” built boats in the 11- to 90-foot range.

Quint’s great-great-grandfather was said to be a “veteran craftsman (who) is known all along the ocean front from the northernmost habitable wilds of Alaska to the sunny mesas of Mexico, for no western builder has turned out so many pleasure launches, fishing-boats, or so many row and duck-boats.”

A forward-thinking gentleman, “he constructed his new shop in the fall of 1902, and has fitted it with electric power and the most modern innovations known to boat-building.” He “evolves from his fertile brain some of the most artistic and delightful models which now plow the waters of the Pacific and Arctic oceans.”

— Elleda Wilson

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon