Angus Deaton of Princeton University won the Nobel prize in economics Monday for improving understanding of poverty and how people in poor countries respond to changes in economic policy.

Deaton, 69, won the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $975,000) prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for work that the award committee said has had "immense importance for human welfare, not least in poor countries."

The secretary of the award committee, Torsten Persson, said Deaton's research has "shown other researchers and international organizations like the World Bank how to go about understanding poverty at the very basic level."

The sign on the door at Astoria's Danish Maid Bakery reads "Closed Til Further notice".  It was a bit of a shock when I walked over to order a cake and found the doors locked and that sign hanging.  I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience some astonishment. For decades as I would make that early morning drive to the radio station I would see some lights on in the back of the bakery and know that John Lindstrom had been working for hours already.  John is the owner and the sole baker.  The Danish Maid has been one of those little community gathering spots forever.  Day after day I'd drive by hoping to see the door open and the sign gone but day after day the doors remain locked.

So what's going on?  I found out this afternoon with an email from Rosemary Johnson who writes that Lindstrom has been hospitalized. John had his leg amputated. As a result, the entire family is out of work with no income, medical bills are rising, and there will need to be upgrades to the home and business to make them wheelchair accessible.

Rosemary writes that there are some community fundraising efforts coming up to help the family.  I'll tell you about those in a moment.

A quick story about John first.   Over the years the Astoria Lion's Club would raise some money for our charity fund by catering barbecues.  We would serve some large groups, often in the hundreds. John wasn't a Lion but each time we needed help he never once said no to us.  He would use his big ovens to bake hundreds of potatoes  at a time and never charged a dime to do it because he was well aware of how the money we rasied was being used in the community.  There are probably other things he did without fanfare because he's just that kind of guy.

Now he needs some help and so does his family.

A community-wide fund raiser will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2015 with a Walk-a-Thon on the Astoria River Trail from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The walk will begin at the Maritime Memorial at Bay and West Marine Drive and will end at the Columbia River Maritime Museum Barbey Center (the old train station) at 20th and Marine Drive. There will be a Silent Auction at the Barbey Center from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. Dozens of items for the auction have been donated by many local businesses and individuals.

Walkers are asked to make a donation or get friends to sponsor them for the walk but even if you can’t make a donation, come and show your support for the Lindstrom family.

On Friday, October 9, Rusty Cup at 1213 Commercial Street will donate $1 for each drink sold. On Saturday, October 17, Astoria Coffee House at 243 11th Street will donate 25% of the day’s proceeds. So eat, drink, and help Raise the Dough for Danish Maid.

Donations may also be made to the Wells Fargo account “Raising the Dough for Danish Maid Bakery”.

To help with the event or for questions, call Muriel Jensen at 503-325-5683.


Yesterday, shortly after posting my previous writing regarding the excellent workmanship of Astoria’s City Manager, I took a phone call from one of the city councilors who surprised me with her request.

City Councilor Cindy Price asked me if I really wanted to keep that piece posted on line because she said that the City Manager would read it and he might be unhappy with it.

 I pointed out that it isn’t my job to make him happy, or unhappy.

 She pointed out that the council was in discussion regarding his first year performance review and he might think my writing reflected what the council was talking about.

 Those discussions are behind closed doors in executive session where reporters may attend but are prohibited by law from reporting what they see or hear. The only reason I can even mention this now is that if a principal in that closed door discussion talks about it with a reporter outside that meeting the rules say that discussion is fair game to report.

With that provision in the law I could have let her continue our conversation, asked her questions that would have allowed me to report that closed door discussion in full, and then published it.

I stopped her.

I said that my writing is based on my personal observations of this city council in open session and years of reporting on these matters and have nothing whatever to do with closed council discussions.

And that’s true. Those observations made in yesterday’s post would be plainly evident to anyone who follows Astoria government. The opinions are purely mine alone.

Read it here and you see in it nothing of councilor opinion, or quotes of any kind.

 One of the key questions my conscience would not let me pursue would be: Why would anything in that piece offend Brett Estes?  By answering she could have easily violated that closed door discussion and I could be accused of reporting it.

One can certainly see where Price and Herzig might object to what I said about their behavior. She did not. Herzig has not, if he saw it at all.

 This naïve attempt to censor the press is troubling when it comes from someone who often talks “openness” and, the other popular catch word, “transparency” at any opportunity.

Northwest Lending Group