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Teen remains in critical condition, man in fair after Dixonville crash

One teen remains in critical condition and another man is in fair condition after Tuesday night’s fatal car accident in Dixonville that claimed one girl’s life.

Five people were in a 2008 Toyota Yaris on Tuesday night when the car left the road, hit a tree and slid down a hill in the 200 block of South Deer Creek Road.

Christopher Smith, 16, was transported to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland and remains in critical condition, according to a hospital spokesman.

Kevin Lounsbury, 21, was transported to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield and is in fair condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Elizabeth Williams, 18, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, 22-year-old Shannon Carrie Ann Mello, and front seat passenger, 21-year-old Antonio Donte Denino, were uninjured.

Douglas County Fire District No. 2 firefighters arrived on scene at 11:48 p.m. and had to extricate three of the five passengers from the backseat.

Gofundme accounts have been set up for Williams and Lounsbury, according to family members.

No ordinary 98-year-old

Pauline Phillips leads a busy life. She still drives, does water aerobics every morning at the YMCA, leads Rosary at the Catholic Church and serves dinner at the Elks lodge, defying the fact that she is 98 years old. She was born on April 21, 1920 and has outlived two husbands.

On May 14, Phillips had a pacemaker implanted after experiencing blackouts and ending up in the hospital. The doctors found a problem with her heart, but since she’s 98 her first doctor wouldn’t perform pacemaker surgery. Pauline’s grandson, Rhyun Rinnert, said it’s very rare for doctors to do a pacemaker operation on someone Phillips’ age.

“It is just amazing, her first doctor said they weren’t going to do it, until her other doctor came in and said they would because she’s so healthy,” said Rinnert.

“I came home from church and when I went to communion, I felt like fainting,” Phillips said.

“She was blacking out and her heart was stopping,” said her grandson.

Phillips was taken to the hospital, and on May 14, she had the operation. But it didn’t take her long to get right back to work. She hasn’t cut back on the volunteering and other activities. She still does her own cooking and baking, and she sews a lot of clothes. And still drives herself to where she needs to go.

Her family has had some challenges through the years. Phillips and her family lived through the depression in North Dakota, with swarms of grasshoppers one year, then dust storms the next year, and droves of armyworms the following year.

“We never had crops for three years, those were very tough times. When we went to school, we had lard sandwiches for lunch,” she said. “Sounds disgusting, but we were satisfied.”

And school in the wintertime in North Dakota, was not fun.

“It was so cold that we put our backs to the stove to get the backside warm, and then turn around until we get our frontside warm, and then the backside again, and we didn’t get sick, we never went to a doctor,” Pauline said.

One of their biggest challenges was when it was discovered that her daughter, Pam Pamperin, was born with a heart defect. At the age of five, she was the first child to have open heart surgery at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She is now 71, and Pauline says her daughter still has a “good heart.”

In 1939, at age 19,, Pauline came to Oregon after hitchhiking all the way to the Northwest from North Dakota.

“My second cousin came out from Tualatin, using her thumb to get to North Dakota, and she said, ‘Why don’t you go with me to Oregon?’ and I said, ‘OK.’ She said just put your hand out, and I did, and the first car that came by picked us up,” said Pauline.

They hitched rides to Tacoma, Washington, and then took a car to Tualatin near Portland. Not long after that, her friend Agnes came to her house and said she had a blind date for Pauline.

“I was supposed to be with this one guy, but I didn’t get to sit with him. She wanted him, so I sat with a guy named Kermit,” she said.

It turned out she liked Kermit, and married him in Lake Oswego in 1942. Pauline and Kermit had her two daughters. Kermit died in 1975. In 1976, she married Phil Phillips, who died in 1998.

Pauline attributes her longevity to eating right and keeping busy.

“After my (second) husband passed away I’d walk four or five miles every morning, and then I fell and bruised my arm and my doctor said I should go to the YMCA and get some good exercises, so I started going to the Y,” she said.

She was there almost every morning at 5 a.m. until the need for the pacemaker arose in mid May.

Pauline has worked many jobs over the years. She was a caregiver in North Dakota, and when she came to the West Coast she worked in the shipyards, at a cannery, a suitcase factory and a mattress factory. The last full-time job she had was working for the Eugene Country Club, first in the restaurant kitchen, then as a hostess and finally hiring new employees.

One of her favorite things to do was going fishing in the ocean out of Charleston near Coos Bay.

“I like to fish a lot, and I have caught a lot of fish too,” she said proudly.

There’s not much she’d change in her 98-year life, but there is one thing wished she had done.

“I wish I could have gone through school,” she said. “I went through the eighth grade, but we were seven miles from where I could have gone to high school, and in the wintertime in North Dakota, there was no way I could get there, so I started working.”

But as long as her health holds up, she just wants to continue being active, being involved in the Catholic church, and doing her volunteer work. And there is no sign of her letting up.

editor's pick
Douglas County Jail chooses new food service provider

The Douglas County Jail is planning to switch its food service provider.

In July, Trinity Services Group will take over inmates’ meals after the company was chosen over the jail’s current food service provider, Summit Food Service, during a bidding process.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brad O’ Dell said Trinity scored higher in a grading criteria than Summit after both submitted proposals.

Trinity will provide meals to an average population of 219 inmates per day at a proposed cost of $420,732 per year, according to the sheriff’s office.

Over the previous fiscal year, the sheriff’s office spent $420,732 on jail food, according to the county budget. The year prior it spent $372,447.

The cost also includes a full-time food service manager and assistant manager.

According to its website, Trinity serves meals in 43 states and manages more than 10,000 inmates.

When asked by The News-Review which Oregon jails Trinity services, an employee said there were too many to count and declined to provide a list. The employee also did not provide details on the type of food Trinity serves, saying that Trinity isn’t responsible for creating menus and instead contracts out that service. The employee declined to say which company Trinity used.

Last year, Trinity was penalized $2 million in Michigan for inadequate staffing levels and unauthorized meal substitutions, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Owner of Waldron's Outdoor Sports throws hat in ring for commissioner

The owner of Waldron’s Outdoor Sports, Tom Kress, said he believes his background in accounting and business management experience would make him a good county commissioner.

Kress filed Wednesday for the position recently vacated by Gary Leif. Two others, veterans Dan Loomis and Alek Skarlatos, have also filed for the position. Skarlatos, who announced his candidacy May 15, officially filed for election on Thursday. Jeremy Salter, a Marine veteran who lost to Commissioner Chris Boice in the May election, has also indicated he plans to run again in November.

Kress said he was born and raised in Douglas County and raised his own family here.

“I think it’s one of the most wonderful places on Earth, and I want it to be successful,” he said.

Kress said the county needs more revenue and needs to be run as a business, and that’s something he knows how to do.

“I’m aware of the challenges that face most western counties, and I want to be part of the solution,” he said.

Kress graduated from Roseburg High School in 1981 and graduated with honors from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He owned and managed Kress-Backen Auto Supply from 1985 to 2000 and was finance director for General Parts Inc. between 2000 and 2002, when he became owner and manager of Waldron’s. He also spent 10 years as a president and member of the board of directors for the Oregon Automotive Parts Association, he said.

He said he’s grounded in the community, has been married for 37 years to his wife, Sasha Kress, and has two sons who are foresters and a daughter who is a nurse at Mercy Medical Center.

Kress said he thinks the current commissioners are doing a good job, and that he’s qualified to perform well in the job, too. He said the commissioners’ critics often have unrealistic ideas about how the job could be done differently. He also said he disagrees with people who say the commissioners aren’t transparent.

He said he does have some new ideas of his own to offer, but he’s keeping them close to the vest for now.

Leif was recently appointed state representative for House District 2, as part of the fallout following former senator Jeff Kruse’s resignation. Dallas Heard, who previously held the House District 2 seat, was appointed to fill Kruse’s former seat. Subsequently, Leif was appointed to fill Heard’s former seat.

The two remaining commissioners plan to appoint an interim commissioner by September. That person will serve until the winner of the November election takes office in January.