News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Articles written by Bill Bartlett

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  • Sisters celebrates arts and music

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jul 2, 2024

    The music extravaganza, Big Ponderoo, was made more delicious by partnering with the Sisters Arts Association who hold an art walk on the fourth Friday of most months. The art stroll is a fixture in the Sisters culture scene, growing in popularity while showcasing local, national, and international artists. The gallery walks are becoming a regular destination event for visitors from around Oregon. Many came Friday not knowing that they would have the additional treat of live... Full story

  • Threat of wildfire can shut down power

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jul 2, 2024

    Imagine waking up in Sisters to no power. Not from a local failure in your home or business, or a transformer in the neighborhood failing, but from a decision made miles away to shut the power to an entire community. It could well happen, depending on the severity of weather conditions, especially in wildfire season. It was just last August when a loaded gasoline tanker truck struck a main pole on Highway 126 in Cloverdale, causing a widespread power outage in Sisters. Power... Full story

  • Sisters: Small town - big music

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jul 2, 2024

    Ask anybody who attended the second Big Ponderoo Music and Art Festival, or who just wandered by, and they will tell you it had success written all over it. "I've got a slogan for your Chamber of Commerce," Doyle McMaster of Hood River told The Nugget. "Small town. Big music." "No," interrupted his partner, Liz Driscoll. "Small town. Huge music." Like dozens of others The Nugget interviewed, searching particularly for those who had travelled long distances for the event, the... Full story

  • Hanging out with the cool kids

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 25, 2024

    It often comes as a surprise to readers when they first learn that all writers for The Nugget, with the exception of our editor, are freelancers, not staff. We are paid in the customary industry way - by the story. As you might imagine, working for a weekly community newspaper isn't going to change anybody's lifestyle. I don't know all of my colleagues personally but I'd bet they have a similar attitude as mine: We'd do this work for free. It's that satisfying. And interesting... Full story

  • Spotted owls meet new challenge in Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 25, 2024

    Already burdened by diminished habitat, the few remaining spotted owls around Sisters are faced with a new threat: their family relative, the barred owl. The barred owl (Strix varia) is the eastern cousin to our western spotted owl (Strix occidentalis). Like the spotted owl, the barred owl lives in forests, hunts at night, and feeds largely on small mammals. They differ in that the barred owl is more of a generalist, opportunistic predator (feeding also on crayfish, snakes,... Full story

  • Flat beer sales impact Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 18, 2024

    Drinking trends, especially among younger consumers, have flattened more than 30 Oregon craft brewers in the last two years. The latest in the toll is Sisters' Three Creeks Brewing. The owners have sold the namesake restaurant located on the FivePine Campus and have closed the doors on the brewing operation on East Barclay Drive. In a portion of an announcement on its Facebook page, founder Wade Underwood told fans: "It is with great joy that after 16 years, Three Creeks... Full story

  • Roundabout work meets challenges

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 18, 2024

    At the same time ODOT is facing a budget crisis, drivers wonder how it is possible that so many major projects are taking place, like our new roundabout. The monies come from earlier budgets and/or other funding sources, in some cases federal dollars. Most readers seem happy and appreciative of the new roundabout, some marveling at the speed of progress and minor disruptions. The opening date for phase one was but a few days late, yet completed before the crucial start of rode... Full story

  • City quashes gas tax rumors

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 18, 2024

    Chatter on local social media and reader contact with The Nugget recently raised the specter of the City raising the existing 3 cents per gallon municipal tax as a means to fund the installation of EV charging stations on city property. That is not the case. City Manager Jordan Wheeler was clear in his response to The Nugget’s inquiry: “The City has no plans to propose an increase to the gas tax. This is the first I’ve heard of that idea. The only informal conversations about... Full story

  • Pumping up the summer fun

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    Sisters folks are pumping up good times this summer with inflatable toys, games, and watercraft. Now that summer appears to have arrived on the scene the lakes and rivers are blooming with all sorts of fun seekers inflating a vast array of brightly colored kayaks, loungers, floaters, tubes, and SUPs (stand up paddle boards). The SUP market has exploded with the entry of inflatable boards. The benefits of an inflatable are obvious - weight and size. You can carry an inflatable...

  • Rodeo delivers on Western action

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    Like the many before it, the 2024 Sisters Rodeo left spectators thrilled and delighted. Despite an alarming situation Saturday night when a bull jumped out of the arena and ran through the Rodeo grounds (Click here to see related story. ), the crowds lucky enough to get a ticket for the sold out performances were treated to world class entertainment. "I don't think most people see rodeo as being in the entertainment business," said legendary announcer Wayne Brooks. Until 2000... Full story

  • Rodeo parade energizes Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    Some 3,000 spectators lined Cascade Avenue Saturday morning, treated to the annual Sisters Rodeo Parade. The event started promptly at 9:30 a.m. with a one hour window to get 80 entrants a half dozen blocks before the city had to reopen the avenue, a section of the longest federal highway in the U.S. Eighty may seem like a small number until you realize that most entries comprised multiple vehicles, horses, or marchers. At least 500 persons or animals were on parade. As... Full story

  • Bull goes rogue - and viral - at rodeo

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 11, 2024

    In two terrifying minutes, a bull in the range of 1,900 pounds eluded wranglers on the Sisters Rodeo arena floor and like a deer, running at full speed, jumped the fence in the red section at the arena’s southern end. The bull catapulted its bulk over the six-foot metal fence before exiting the red section entry way and into the food court. This was the conclusion to Saturday night’s sellout event, the fourth of the five scheduled presentations of the 84th Sisters Rodeo. Fan... Full story

  • Co-working space available in Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 4, 2024

    Canoe Club is a community-oriented co-working space for Sisters freelancers, entrepreneurs, remote workers, and businesses of all sizes. They offer a range of workspaces to suit most every need, including open-plan areas, dedicated desks, private offices, state-of-the-art meeting rooms, quiet zones for focused work, and communal spaces for relaxation and networking. Co-working happens when people assemble in a neutral space to work independently on different projects, or in... Full story

  • Sisters Stampede 'nothing but fun'

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Jun 3, 2024

    After weeks of below-normal temperatures and incessant winds, Sunday was a picture perfect spring day. And it was the backdrop for the 15th running of the Sisters Stampede, an annual Memorial Day weekend mountain bike race for 579 riders, nine to 70-plus. "I don't know why they call it a race," said MJ Miller of Vancouver, Washington, making her fourth appearance, this time with her brood of three - ages 12, 10 and 7. "This is nothing but fun. I know there are some who are her... Full story

  • Cheatgrass invades Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 28, 2024

    While it is not a major threat to grazing or livestock production in Sisters Country it is nonetheless a pesky irritant to gardeners and a danger to pets. Moreover it is a major accelerant to wildfire. Bromus tectorum, commonly known as cheatgrass, is an invasive annual grass that has rapidly spread across 100 million acres of U.S. grassland and sagebrush areas primarily in western states. Cheatgrass reduces wildlife habitat, recedes crop production, and depletes cattle... Full story

  • Sisters employment holds steady

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 7, 2024

    EDCO (Economic Development of Central Oregon) has released their 2024 employer survey showing the 12 largest employers in Sisters Country. Black Butte Ranch remained at the top of the list with 390 employees, a mix of full and part-time, down from 400 the prior year. Sisters School District was again number two with 170 employees, down from 175 in 2023. The Forest Service had the largest gain adding 34 employees in 2024 over 2023, recording 114 in its headcount and ranking... Full story

  • Labyrinths abound in Central Oregon

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 2, 2024

    There are at least a dozen labyrinths in Central Oregon from Prineville to Bend to Sisters to Black Butte Ranch. They range from a portable canvas version to a 140-foot-diameter medieval 11th-circuit installation, and everything in between. A few are in private gardens, but most are publicly accessible. Even some of those in private ownership are available by appointment and a requisite meditative practice, not just curiosity seekers. In all of Oregon there are 145 listed on...

  • Ode to joy

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 2, 2024

    Central Oregon has a deep and rich music tradition centered mostly around folk, blues, and country genres. Big name headliners from a range of musical tastes fill local amphitheaters, festivals, and stages throughout the year, primarily in the warmer months. Often overlooked in Central Oregon - but certainly appreciated - is classical music, as exemplified by Michael Gesme, professor of music at Central Oregon Community College (COCC). Now in his 28th year in his expansive...

  • Hoodoo ski instructor marks 45 years of teaching

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 2, 2024

    Donna Sanders is a neighborly sort with a big smile and bigger heart. She has taught thousands of new skiers of all ages how to get into a sport that typically lasts a lifetime. This includes kids who have gone on to competition. Even two knee replacements can't keep her from suiting up. She has piled up a slew of recognitions including the coveted Skiing Legends Award from Professional Ski Instructors of America. This award led Ski Hoodoo to create its slogan: "Hoodoo – Where...

  • What in the world is forest bathing?

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 2, 2024

    Ask the average passerby to define "forest bathing," and if the first reaction isn't a blank stare, the offered definition is apt to miss the mark by a fair distance. Missie Wikler, owner of r'oming yoga in Bend, is a certified forest therapy guide and RYT Yoga Instructor. She explains forest bathing as, "A practice where participants bathe themselves in the forest atmosphere. There is no water involved in this practice and the bathing refers to immersing oneself in the phyton...

  • Seeing beyond the limits

    Bill Bartlett|Updated May 2, 2024

    We take our senses for granted. It's hard for most of us to contemplate being deaf or blind. We just don't want to imagine it. We're amazed when we see somebody who has lost their sight do amazing things. Making music, for example - like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Ronnie Milsap. Or we admire James Thurber, the blind cartoonist for The New Yorker; Claude Monet, French painter; James Joyce, Irish writer. How about a blind photographer? How's that possible? Well, it is. Meet Gar...

  • Sisters adds event for Fourth of July

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    Following the decision by Sisters Eagle Airport to discontinue the July 4th Rumble on the Runway, an event that had grown to over 4,000 in attendance, community leaders scrambled to find an alternative event, one which would have broad family appeal. After negotiations with the City, Rotary Club of Sisters has teamed with Citizens4 Community (C4C) and has filed a formal permit application for a multi-function event to be held at Village Green Park. The organizers had wanted to... Full story

  • City crews work 365 days a year

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    Drive or walk around Sisters early any morning of the year — including holidays — and you just might see a safety-vested worker in a City truck making the rounds. They are doing seemingly quotidian tasks, and you may ask why they’re out on a Sunday or holiday. Sisters Public Works Director Paul Bertagna, in typical fashion, downplays the work. It’s just routine in his world of streets, water, and sewers. He provided The Nugget a list of what’s checked every morning: four water... Full story

  • Popular seasonal businesses to reopen

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    Richard’s Produce, more popularly known as Sisters Farmstand, and C&C Nursery are reopening after reaching an agreement with the current owners of Space Age Fuel on West Cascade Avenue and the prospective purchaser. Space Age was engaged in a lengthy and contentious planning application as it sought to modernize the aging store and increase the number of fuel pumps. The application was denied by the City after citizens strongly objected to the expansion. Following denial of t... Full story

  • Rodeo season kicks off in Sisters

    Bill Bartlett|Updated Apr 23, 2024

    The mood Saturday night was festive when a few hundred party-goers joined in the annual Sisters Rodeo Kickoff Party held under a tent on the patio of Sisters Saloon. Many were huddled near the portable heaters as temperatures dipped quickly with the setting sun. Dry Canyon Stampede band played in the background while cowboys and cowgirls of all stripes donned Western wear, enjoyed libations, and caught up on plans for the 84th rodeo scheduled for June 5-9 at the rodeo grounds... Full story

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