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Articles written by Paul Ocker


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  • Identify Birds by their Calls - Yes you can

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Jun 13, 2024

    One of the things I truly enjoy about Waitsburg is that because of our oasis of trees and water in a normally dry environment, we are provided with a litany of bird songs at any time of day. For example, when I sit on my front porch on a weekend morning drinking my coffee, I can hear up to 20 different types of birds calling to each other. Sitting on my back porch at dusk, I hear the evening songs as the birds go to bed. And when I let the dog out one last time for the evening, I regularly hear...

  • Dowsett Seghesio 2021/2022 Sonoma Zinfandel

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Feb 22, 2024

    Now under the guidance of the fifth generation, this founding California winery makes a wide range of pricey single vineyard Zins, along with this more affordable yet high quality bottling. Often a featured wine at Costco, its listed price is $26 but you should be able to find this almost anywhere for around $22. This is serious Zinfandel, neither light nor sweet. Its blackberry, plum and cherry fruit is accented with woody herbs and baking spices. A light touch of pepper adds texture and bite....

  • Cardinals Swarm Bulldogs on the gridiron

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Sep 21, 2023

    WAITSBURG-The Waitsburg Cardinals defense shut down a young Dayton Bulldogs team last Friday night at Cardinal Field by a score of 48-0. Nearly all the scoring was assisted by turnovers by the Bulldogs, but overall, the Cardinals dominated both sides of the ball for the entire night. Dayton started the first quarter with a pooch kickoff that landed in the hands of the Cardinal receiver, allowing him to reach the Dayton 40-yard line. Four running plays later, the Cardinals scored the first...

  • Nw Teams Have a Stellar Hockey Season, with more to come

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Jul 13, 2023

    July may seem an odd time to talk about the hardest-hitting and most fun-to-watch sport, which requires great skill to speed around (both forward and backward) to make stunning plays—all on ice. Now that the NHL and AHL playoffs have wrapped up and the NHL draft was just concluded, why not talk about hockey? Reflecting on the great things that happened in our area’s hockey programs this year, I have high hopes for next year, starting in September. What was so great? Ohhh, let me count the ways. National Hockey League In the Seattle Kra...

  • A note to parents with kids off to college

    Paul Ocker, The Times|May 25, 2023

    For those parents who have the thought of their children going to college, I would like to share 10 of my immediate recollections over the last four years of my son attending Boise State. While this is our family's experience, students, parents, and schools are all different. Scholarships - Our son earned a Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) scholarship due to his GPA in high school. This scholarship, about $16k/year for four years ($64k), basically made his out-of-state tuition less than the...

  • Tri-City hockey makes the playoffs for the first time in 4 years

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Apr 6, 2023

    KENNEWICK— After a disappointing injury-riddled February with only four wins to nine losses, the Tri-City Americans (TC) finished the regular season strong. In March, the team won six of their last seven games, only losing to Seattle and Kelowna. The solid play has shown that the TCs are peaking at the right time and are playoff ready. After the Americans finished dead last and next to last in the conference the previous two seasons, brokenhearted fans are reenergized at seeing great hockey and a playoff berth this year. The flurry of March w...

  • The Western Hockey League – Teams Resuming Play

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Jan 5, 2023

    As discussed in my last Western Hockey League article, the young men playing in the WHL are 16-20 years old. Therefore, unlike other major league sports, the players are given a ten-day break to go home and spend the Christmas holiday with their families. Now they are coming back refreshed and ready to play. So far this year, the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick are at 15 wins, 15 losses, one overtime loss, and one shootout loss. This puts them in fifth place in the Western Conference. While...

  • Wolfpack Falls to TC Prep in a Tight Contest

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Oct 6, 2022

    In a highly anticipated conference game, DW Wolfpack football dropped its first game of the year to the Tri-Cities Prep (TCP) Jaguars last Friday. The defense was exceedingly tough, and if it weren't for two long pass plays by the Jaguars, the game could easily have gone in favor of the Wolfpack. DW scored first with 9:23 left in the first quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Monte Pettichord to Preston Hansen and a successful 2-point conversion. TCP answered 2 minutes later with a...

  • New Major League Baseball Playoff Format - Seattle Mariners Playoff Bound?

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Sep 29, 2022

    The new expanded playoff format for Major League Baseball means 12 teams will go to the playoffs this year instead of 10. This includes the champions from each division of the American and National Leagues for a total of six teams. There are three wildcard spots for each league, adding another six teams. The new format for the wildcard teams is a three-game series, differing from the single wildcard game in previous years. The Seattle Mariners are having a strong year. After 152 games, they are close to locking up one of those wildcard spots...

  • Waitsburg Fall Festival back after two-year hiatus

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Sep 22, 2022

    WAITSBURG-Hundreds of people visited the Waitsburg Pioneer Fall Festival on Sunday, 18 September, following a two-year hiatus due to COVID protocols. Early morning rain showers caused some concerns, stopped just before noon and the afternoon was ideal for the event. Local artisans sold hand-forged bottle openers and coatracks, handspun woolen products, hand-dipped candles, quilting products, and handmade jewelry. Food vendors served the favorite fare of bison burgers, brats, baked goods, ice...

  • The Western Hockey League: Ten things to know

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Sep 22, 2022

    I sometimes enjoy going to big-league ballparks and arenas for sporting events. I do this not only because of my love of sports but also because, in today’s tumultuous world, I find it comforting to know that I can sit in a stadium with 50,000 other people, all with different backgrounds, politics, and religions, and all of us have the singular common goal of hoping that “our” team performs well. As I get older, I am starting to find a similar comfort but greater satisfaction in attending what I call “pre-professional” sports. Watching...

  • DW Wolfpack defeat Cle Elum-Roslyn Warriors 22-7

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Sep 15, 2022

    DW COMBINE-The Wolfpack (2-0) and Warriors (0-2) played an impressive defensive contest, with turnovers playing a key component in the outcome. Although the Warriors were a larger team, with the lineman averaging well over 200 pounds and DW averaging about 180, they were well-matched defensively. Offensively, the Warriors had the advantage on the ground as benefitted from the large front line and were led by a talented #24 Mason Hilberg. At the same time, the Wolfpack dominated the air as led...

  • Despite strong defense, Wolfpack outscored by Jags

    Paul Ocker5, The Times|Jan 20, 2022

    On Saturday, the Dayton Waitsburg Boys basketball team played a solid game, showing their toughness and resolve against the larger and taller Tri-City Prep Jaguars. They frustrated TCP in the first half with solid defense, holding them to only 16 points and outscoring them in the second period. However, TCP came out hot in the second half with 18 points, and the Wolfpack had a hard time matching it. After a well-fought game, Dylan Bledsoe had 16 points in the second half, and Monte Pettichord...

  • Tri-City Prep Defense too much for Lady Wolfpack

    Paul Ocker, The Times|Jan 20, 2022

    DAYTON - The Dayton Waitsburg Lady Wolfpack basketball team met the Tri-City Prep Jaguars in a conference game on Saturday night. TCP played a full-court press for almost the entire first half of the game and successfully wore down the DW players with a swarming defense. They followed up in the second half with both a 1-on-1 and a 1-3-1 zone defense and were able to shut the Wolfpack out entirely in the second half. While the Jaguars came away with the win, the Wolfpack had some bright spots,...

  • An Early Success This Muzzle Loading Season

    Paul Ocker|Oct 3, 2019

    Muzzle loading season for Deer opened in our area on 28 September and runs through October 6th. Muzzle loading (black powder) hunting is primarily done in the surrounding wheat fields rather than in the Blue Mountains and hunters are only allowed to take mule deer and whitetail bucks with 3 points or better, or white tailed does. Muzzle loading requires a great deal of patience and skill as it requires hunters to get very close to their quarry, as black powder weapons are typically most...

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