The 212-lot Millpond Crossing development currently features 61 homes. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Millpond Crossing development in Philomath has certainly seen its share of challenges over the past four years — the list includes methane mitigation, lot line issues, a stop order from the city and several other delays for a variety of reasons.

For the residents who live there, communication has been an area of concern with a good number of folks reporting a lack of responsiveness from MPC Builders, the residential community’s developer. It’s an issue often brought up at community meetings, the city manager’s office and among neighbors chatting on the street.

As such, City Manager Chris Workman led off his management report at last week’s City Council meeting with a report on Millpond Crossing developer Levi Miller’s launch of a new website that’s intended to improve communication.

“There was a lot of concern about the lack of communication with residents, with contractors, with the city,” Workman said, “and the city and county were taking the brunt of all of the phone calls because there wasn’t good contact information or information about status. One of the big things we pushed on them that they heard was you need to get something up there for the public to be able to get information about the methane issue, what’s been going on.”

Workman said he’s impressed with the website, which includes a lot of information about the plan going forward, access to environmental documents and even an interactive map that illustrates the methane testing sites.

“For the property owner who lives on the site, this is a lot of information that they don’t currently have access to very easily,” Workman said.

The “Contact Us” page is limited to only an email address and no phone number. Workman said he believes the developer wants to use email to better handle communication.

Blodgett School (Photo by Philomath School District)

2. Blodgett scholarships

The Blodgett-Summit Community Club hosted its Taco Bar and Auction last weekend with the primary recipient of the fundraising being the organization’s scholarship program and there has been some interesting developments.

Club member Cheri Damitio said the organization recently decided to change the name of the Steven Bruce Moos Memorial Scholarship to include his father, Bruce, in the name.

“It will now be the Bruce and Steven Moos Memorial Scholarship,” Damitio said. “We wanted to recognize the decades of service that Bruce gave to the community and especially as our auctioneer for the club’s fundraiser each year.”

On May 4, Damitio said the club finalized a scholarship agreement with the Benton Community Foundation to award one scholarship annually in perpetuity. Called the Blodgett-Summit Community Club Bill Ayers Memorial Scholarship, it will be awarded to any student who attended Blodgett Elementary or lived in the Blodgett or Summit community for at least one year.

“It is for students who are graduating high school or earning a GED,” Damitio said. “We are changing our previous criteria to include home-school graduates along with high school  graduates.”

For years, the Dime-a-Dip put any extra money it raised into certificates of deposit that could only be used for scholarship purposes, Damitio said.

“We wanted to build up a fund that would still award scholarships each year to students who had attended BES, even if our scholarship fundraiser had to end or the school was closed,” she said.

The school’s closure appeared to be a real possibility in past years with the district confronted with low attendance at the rural campus.

Said Damitio, “Thankfully, we haven’t heard that talk for a long time.”

In 2012, the club awarded its first Continuing Education scholarship for students already in college. To date, 21 of $1,000 each have been distributed with hopes to increase the amount next year to $1,200.

From 1996-2019, the Dime-a-Dip dinner and dessert auction led to the awarding of $54,150 in scholarships.

Maureen Nikaido of Moku Chocolate
“I love being a chocolate maker in Philomath,” says Maureen Nikaido of Moku Chocolate, seen here in the commercial kitchen where she and a helper handcraft about 400 chocolate bars each week. (Photo by Mike McInally for Philomath News)

3. Quality chocolate

Philomath-based Moku Chocolate recently earned two awards in the chocolate category from the Good Food Foundation. The organization hosted its 2023 Good Food Awards last month in Portland — the first time in its 13 years that the awards had been held in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s an impressive honor for chocolate maker Maureen Nikaido. Each year, judges evaluate over 2,000 entries in 18 categories via blind tasting. In each category, just three food crafters from four regions in the U.S. receive the honor.

The Philomath News published a feature about Nikaido a little more than a year ago, but to remind you, she launched the new business in 2021. Shortly thereafter, Moku Chocolate earned two international chocolate awards for its goat milk chocolate bar and a Good Food Award for their dark milk bar — an unusual feat for a chocolate maker in the first year.

Since then, Moku Chocolate has earned five more international chocolate awards and two more Good Food awards.

Congratulations to Nikaido for the success she’s experiencing with her business.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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