Eastern Oregon News & Sports

BAKER CITY, OR: How to recognize a real law enforcement officer

Timothy Keefe still at large in Baker City

Posted November 26, 2014

With the recent incident in Baker City involving Timothy P. Keefe, the man suspected of impersonating a police officer, it’s important to know what to look for in the event that you are approached by someone claiming to be law enforcement.  Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner says that state law requires officers to carry proper identification including a state issued identification card and badge.  The ID card shows a photo of the officer, the agency that the officer is affiliated with and the rank of the officer.   If you are concerned that you are being pulled over or approached by an imposter you should ask for the proper identification.  If they refuse, call 9-1-1.

LA GRANDE, OR: Courthouse design about safety, functionality

A two story courthouse was just too expensive

Posted November 26, 2014

While several designs were considered for the new Union County Courthouse, the final design came down to cost, space, functionality and safety.  Circuit Court Judge Russ West has been involved in the project from the start and says the idea of a two story building just wouldn’t work for many reasons: "We only have the budget for one court security officer, and he can only effectively provide security for a one story courthouse.  He needs to watch both courtrooms, he needs to watch the service counter, and he needs to keep an eye on the entrance."

The idea of a two story courthouse was based on using the existing law enforcement facility, but it would need nearly $6 million in renovations just to get it ready for a second story- and that’s money the county doesn’t have. The funding from the state stipulated the new facility be on the county campus, and functionally it serves other purposes: "It needs to be right next to the jail so the inmates can come right from the jail into the new building.  The particular footprint only fits in that one location."

Judge West also points out its being built where the old courthouse once stood.  The project is on schedule to start construction in February with a completion date late next year.

LA GRANDE, OR: La Grande volleyball player named All-State

Only one Eastern Oregon player makes the cut

Posted November 26, 2014

The 2014 All-State volleyball teams for the top three classifications have been announced.  La Grande’s Cassandra Brownell was a 2nd team selection at the 4A level.

BAKER CITY, OR: Suspect at large could face three Class C Felony charges

These types of crimes are taken very seriously

Posted on November 25, 2014

Timothy P Keefe remains at large after impersonating a police officer and attempting to elude and officer yesterday in Baker City, and this is not Keefe’s first time impersonating an officer in the Baker City area.  Another report of such an incident was taken a couple weeks ago.  Keefe has been reported as having blue police lights on a white pickup truck.  Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner says that these types of crime are taken very seriously.  Impersonating an office is a Class C Felony and Keefe could potentially be facing three charges of impersonating an office along with a misdemeanor or attempting to elude. 

UNION COUNTY, OR: Scott Kassell found guilty of July stabbing

He has been order no contact in any way with the victims

Posted on November 25, 2014

Scott Allan Kassell was found guilty except for insanity of the crimes of Assault I & Assault II yesterday in a Union County Circuit Court.  Kassell has been charged with brutally stabbing  his grandparents with a knife in July of this year.  It has been ordered that Kassell be placed under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board for care, custody and treatment for a maximum period of time not to exceed 20 years.  He has also been ordered to have no contact in any way with the victims Bud and Sue Frazier.

BROOKS, OR: Eastern Oregon woman killed in I-5 accident

Wrong way driver charged with manslaughter, DUII

Posted November 25, 2014

A 49-year-old Nyssa woman was killed on I-5 near Brooks last night when the Volkswagen she was a passenger in was struck head-on by a driver on the wrong side of the interstate.  Deana Deleon was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  The driver of the Volkswagen, 37-year-old Juan Ledesma of Renton, Washington and a juvenile female passenger were injured and taken to a Salem hospital.  49-year-old Audrey Bliven of Salem was arrested and charged with manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, Driving under the Influence, assault, reckless endangering and reckless driving.

NORTH POWDER, OR: Joe Miller sentenced to 15 years

Joe Miller will be 84-years old before his earliest release date

Posted on November 25, 2014

Joe Cordell Miller, 69, appeared in Union County Circuit Court on November 24, 2014 and was sentenced to 15 years prison in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections in case number F20622. Miller plead guilty to three counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (a Class B Felony). Mr. Miller plead guilty to charges associated with sexual assaults between 2011-13. Mr. Miller will be 84 years old upon his earliest release date. Circuit Court Judge Brian Dretke accepted Miller’s pleas of guilt and subsequently sentenced him today as follows: 

Count 5 – Sexual Abuse in the First Degree – 75 months in the custody of Department of Corrections, 3 years post-prison supervision with the following recommendations for supervision: no contact with the victim, sex offender package including sex offender registration, and evaluation and treatment, mental health evaluation and treatment. This being a Measure 11 sentence, the defendant is not eligible for good time or early release.

Count 6 – Sexual Abuse in the First Degree – 75 months in the custody of Department of Corrections, consecutive to count 5, 3 years post-prison supervision with the following recommendations for supervision: no contact with the victim, sex offender package including sex offender registration, and evaluation and treatment, mental health evaluation and treatment. This being a Measure 11 sentence, the defendant is not eligible for good time or early release.

Count 22 – Sexual Abuse in the First Degree – 75 months in the custody of Department of Corrections, (30 months consecutive, 45 months concurrent) 3 years post-prison supervision with the following recommendations for supervision: no contact with the victim, sex offender package including sex offender registration, and evaluation and treatment, mental health evaluation and treatment. This being a Measure 11 sentence, the defendant is not eligible for good time or early release.

This sentence was pursuant to a settlement conference with Judge Dretke. The victim in this case participated in the settlement conference and the negotiations. Following sentencing, the remaining charges were dismissed. Negotiations continue with Mr. Miller’s co-defendant Faith Miller, though the trial date in February remains.

The case was investigated by the Union County Sheriff’s Office.


BAKER CITY, OR: Baker student caught with a weapon at school

No students injured in the incident

Posted November 25, 2014

A Baker City juvenile was caught with a weapon on school property yesterday according to Baker 5J Superintendent Walt Wegener.  The age of the juvenile in question has not and may not be released, and the weapon in question is not being identified due to the ongoing investigation: "Students and staff discovered that we had an incident regarding a weapon on school controlled premises.  And of course we are professionally and appropriately dealing with it via investigating and management of the issue."

Due to the age of the juvenile, the response to the student’s actions are not public information and Wegener says each student and family individually and legally cannot release further information.  He did mention that all students are safe and no pne was harmed.

IMBLER, OR: Workers injured in construction accident identified

Both men listed in stable condition

Posted November 25, 2014

The two men injured in a construction accident on Hull Lane outside of Imbler yesterday have been identified.  According to the Union County Sheriff's Office Steve McKay was transported to Grande Ronde Hospital and then taken by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus in Boise.  He is listed in stable condition.  Cody Barrymore was flown to Walla Walla and then on to OHSU in Portland where he is also listed in stable condition.  According to the Sheriff's Office, the two men were part of a larger crew working on a 60x80 shop with 18 foot walls.  The men were putting the trusses on when the building suddenly collapsed.  The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Union County Sheriff's Office and OSHA.

Photo courtesy of the La Grande Observer

LA GRANDE, OR: Courthouse project running right on schedule

Construction should begin on schedule in February

Posted November 25, 2014

The Union County Courthouse project is running on schedule despite a few hiccups according to Circuit Court Judge Russ West, one of the men who helped secure the $2 million to build the facility.  But there are still rumors circulating about the status of the project according to Judge West: "A lot of people I talk to think there’s a decision we’re preparing to make, but that’s not true.  A decision has been made."

He says some community members opposed to the location of the new courthouse favor walking away from the $2 million the state has given Union County for the project and finding funds that will allow them to build the facility in a different location.  But the history of trying to get funds for the courthouse isn’t good: "We thought we had $5 million from Senator Wyden back in 2009.  $11 million was handed out to other courthouses in 2010- we were passed over there and we were passed over in 2012."

 The location and design of the new courthouse are set and the bid for construction work has been awarded.  Judge West says the project is set to start in February.

BAKER CITY, OR: Hiring a new fire chief an exhausting process

City Manager praises interim fire chief

Posted November 25, 2014

A new Baker City Fire Chief has been hired and will take over the position in January according to City Manager Mike Kee.  The process of hiring a new chief was time consuming with fifteen applicants eager for the position: "One thing that we really want to make sure that we do after going through this process, be sure that he has a succession plan together for when he leaves the Baker Fire Department."

Having this plan in place in the event that Mark John does at some time leave the department will ensure that the next person to take the position is properly trained and mentored.  Kee says he is looking forward John’s arrival and hopes that he will bring with him some new progressive and professional ideas to better improve the department. Kee says he’s grateful to one member of the department that stood up and took over the position of interim fire chief until a replacement could be found: "We have Cliff Hall who has worked for the fire department for twenty-some years that was able to step in and he is a wonderful interim chief."

Kee says that Hall was not interested in the full time chief position but he is very pleased with Hall and says that he has done a great job in the interim position.  Hall will continue as interim until Mark John arrives around the first of January.

LA GRANDE, OR: Three EOU runners named NAIA scholar athletes

Runners met the 3.5 GPA minimum to qualify

Posted November 25, 2014

Three Eastern Oregon University cross country runners were named NAIA scholar Athletes yesterday afternoon.  To qualify as a scholar athlete you must be at least a Junior with a 3.5 GPA.  Named to the list were Hans Roelle, Calvin Edwards and Kailey Wilson.

Photo by EOU SID Travis Rae

IMBLER, OR: Building collapses, injuring two workers

OSHA has been notified and will conduct an investigation

Posted on November 24, 2014

A construction accident near Imbler about 12:20 pm this afternoon injured two Union County residents. According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office the workers were putting up roof trusses at a residence, on Hull Lane, when for an unknown reason the building collapsed. Officials would not release the names of the victims, but said one was in his 40’s and the other in his late 20’s.  One victim was taken by Lifeflight to Walla Walla and then transferred to OHSU. The other was taken by ground ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital. Their conditions are unknown. OSHA has been notified by the Union County Sheriff’s Office and will conduct the investigation.

PENDLETON, OR: Prisoners involved in shooting incident transferred

Inmate involved in the assault will face more charges

Posted November 24, 2014

Following the August shooting of an inmate at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Facility in Pendleton, two of the inmates involved in the incident have been sent to separate prisons according to the Department of Corrections.  Two inmates started beating a third and were ordered to stop.  When they didn’t, an officer shot and killed one of the inmates Jayson Withers.  Cameron Hayes and the victim, Eric Sexton, have been shipped to separate facilities.  Hayes is facing additional charges related to the assault.

BAKER CITY, OR: Suspect still at large

Anyone who knows about Timothy P. Keefe's whereabouts is asked to contact law enforcement

Posted on November 24, 2014

At around 1:00 am this morning Baker City Police were notified of a white pick-up truck attempting to pull over drivers pretending to be a police officer.  Officer Mike Lary attempted to pull over the vehicle when the truck took off in an attempt to elude police.  Due to slick road conditions Officer Lary lost track of the suspect.  At around 1:20 am the vehicle in question was located in the 2000 block of Eighth Street at a residence believed to be associated with the suspect who has been identified as Timothy P. Keefe.  Police believed the Keefe was barricaded inside a small building; Police remained vigilant on the area until a search warrant could be issued.  Once the warrant was issued it was determined that the person inside the building was a female by the name of Wendy Bonneville.  It is unknown as to what involvement Bonneville may or may not have with this incident.  Timothy Keefe is still at large; he has a long criminal history including violent crimes.  Anyone who may know where Keefe is currently or if you see him you are asked to contact law enforcement immediately.  You are also reminded that due to a violent criminal past you should exercise caution if you spot Keefe. 

BAKER CITY, OR: New Fire Chief brings an outside perspective

Chief Mark John comes from Anaheim, California

Posted November 24, 2014

Baker City has a new fire chief.  City Manager Mike Key announced that Mark John has been chosen for the position from among fifteen applicants.  John will be coming to Baker City from Anaheim, California and has an extensive background according to Key:  "He has been in the fire service for twenty-eight years; he has been a licensed paramedic for thirty-two years.  His beat down in Anaheim includes Disneyland, the major league baseball park, the major league hockey arena and their convention center."

Key says that one of the things that he is looking forward too is having an outside look at the fire department in Baker City, someone with new progressive ideas.  It is expected that chief john will start his position around the first of January.

LA GRANDE, OR: Homeless students need extra community help

Angel Fund and other programs help

Posted November 24, 2014

Last week we told you about the rising problem of Youth in Transition both on the local and statewide level.  According to a recent report more than 19,000 Oregon students meet the definition of Youth in Transition, or homeless students.  La Grande Superintendent Larry Glaze says these students often need a little more attention: "These often are kids who are struggling, and in many cases may have high stress home environments."

Those students are eligible for special benefits from districts, and Glaze says that wouldn’t be possible without the help of individuals and businesses that step up to help local youth: "I think that they’re kids that need that extra support, and anything we can do to encourage them in our community is a good thing."

Districts have a variety of ways they can help these students and their families.  According to the state, rural communities tend to have a bigger problem with youth in transition.  Rural Lane County, Ontario and the Southern Coast have the highest numbers of Youth in Transition.

**UPDATE** OSP asking for the public's help in serious I-84 crash

Driver may not realize his trailer had been hit

Posted November 24, 2014

Oregon State Police Troopers are continuing the investigation into a serious injury accident on I-84 near Pendleton and are asking for your help finding an involved vehicle.  The accident happened about 6:22 pm Saturday night.  OSP Southern Command Center was notified of a motor vehicle fire at milepost 206. Upon arrival Troopers discovered a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero SUV with heavy front-end damage that had caught fire and burned.

The car's driver, identified as 29-year-old Shelley Whittaker of Portland, was pulled from the vehicle by her passenger then collapsed beside it with serious injuries. Passers-by who stopped to help performed CPR on the driver until she was transported to St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton by ambulance.  The front passenger, 35-year-old Tuesday Hailey of Hillsboro, was able to get herself out of the vehicle and received non-life threatening injuries.

Troopers believe the Montero may have rear-ended an oil or gasoline tanker type semi-truck . Heavy winds in the area may have prevented the semi driver from knowing the vehicle had been hit.

OSP is asking for your help in identifying the semi-truck involved in this incident. Anyone travelling in the Pendleton area on the steep grade immediately west of Pendleton who may have witnessed the rear-end crash but been unable to stop is asked contact Trooper John Juzuler 541-276-2121 or 503-375-3555.

HERMISTON, OR: OSAA small school football finals an Eastern Oregon affair

Five-of-six finalists come from East of the Cascade's

Posted November 24, 2014

This year's OSAA small school classification football championships will have a decidedly Eastern Oregon feel.  Five of the six teams in the finals come from east of the Cascades.  In the 3A title game it will be Vale and Harrisbug, the 2A will be Heppner and Burns and the 1A will feature Adrian and Sherman.  All three games will be played in Hermiston on Saturday.

The semi-final scores: 3A: Vale 51, Blanchett Catholic 0 and Harrisburg 21, Santiam Christian 19.  2A: Burns 33, Regis 0 and Heppner 25, Knappa 16.  1A: Adrian 58, Dufur 52 and Sherman 24, Camas Valley 18.

LA GRANDE, OR: Volleyball advances to the national tournament

Lady Mountaineers open play December 2nd

Posted November 24, 2014

After dropping the first set to Menlo College Saturday night, the Eastern Oregon University volleyball team dominated the rest of the match winning three straight sets to advance to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in school history.  The Lady Mountaineers will open the tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on December 2nd against Grand View of Iowa.  They will play Park College from Missouri on December 3rd and then finish pool play on the 4th against Evangel of Missouri.  Single elimination bracket play starts on December 5th.

ELGIN, OR: Horn pleads not guilty to sex abuse charges

Trial dates have been set for mid-December

Posted on November 22, 2014

Not guilty.  That was the plea by 61-year old Roy Horn of Elgin earlier this week.  Horn is accused of First Degree Rape and First Degree Sexual Abuse of a minor child.  Horn was arrested by the Union County Sheriff’s Office in October after information was found on a seized computer by investigators.  The trial date for Horn has been set for mid-December. 


BAKER CITY, OR: New acting Deputy Forest Supervisor named

Joe Reinarz will take over beginning December 14, 2014

Posted on November 14, 2014

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is pleased to welcome Joe Reinarz as the Acting Deputy Forest Supervisor beginning December 14, 2014. Joe comes to the Wallowa-Whitman from the Fremont-Winema National Forest, where he is currently the Fire Staff Officer for both the Fremont-Winema National Forest and BLM Lakeview District.  Joe began his career with the Forest Service in 1981 as a Brush Disposal Crewmember on the Fremont National Forest. From there, he went to Redmond, Oregon, where he was a Smokejumper for five years. Subsequently, Joe has been an Engine Captain, Support Services Supervisor, and District Fire Management Officer.  “We are pleased to have someone with Joe’s leadership, background, and depth of natural resources knowledge, join us on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Montoya. “We look forward to working with Joe and having him as part of the community,” added Montoya.  Joe and his wife have two sons. Their oldest is currently serving in the US Marine Corps at Quantico, VA and will soon be stationed in La Paz, Bolivia as a Marine Security Guard. Their youngest son will enter the US Navy, leaving for Boot Camp December 11, 2014.

UNION COUNTY, OR: Daniel Breshears sentenced to 70 months in prison

Breshears pled guilty in Union County Circuit Court 

Posted on November 21, 2014

Daniel Lowell Breshears, 54, appeared in Union County Circuit Court on November 21, 2014 and was sentenced to 70 months prison in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections in case number F19439. Breshears plead guilty to Using a Child in Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct (a Class A Felony), and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor (a Class A Misdemeanor). The charges stem from a photograph discovered on Breshears’ cell phone in 2012 depicting a child in a sexual display as well as exposing a different minor female to sexual conduct.  Circuit Court Judge Brian Dretke accepted Breshears’ pleas of guilt on October 24, 2014 and subsequently sentenced him today as follows:

Count 1 – Using a Child in Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct – 70 months in the custody of Department of Corrections, 3 years post-prison supervision with the following recommendations for supervision: no contact with minors, no contact with the victim and her family, sex offender package including sex offender registration, and evaluation and treatment, mental health evaluation and treatment. This being a Measure 11 sentence, the defendant is not eligible for good time or early release.

Count 9 –Endangering the Welfare of a Minor –30 days in the custody of the Union County Correctional Facility, no contact with minors, no contact with the victim and her family, a letter of apology to the victim’s family, sex offender package, mental health evaluation and recommended treatment, fines and fees, to run concurrent with other counts with credit for time served

This sentence was pursuant to a settlement conference. Following sentencing, the remaining charges were dismissed. The case was investigated by the Oregon State Police.

ONTARIO, OR: Driver who stabbed truckers pleads not guilty

Truck driver received non-life threatening injuries

Posted November 21, 2014

The California man accused of stealing a car in Pasco, Washington and then using it to ram a semi near Ontario before stabbing the truck driver has pled not guilty.  28-year-old Dustin Rotter faces charges of attempted murder, assault in the first degree, reckless driving, reckless endangering and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in the August 24th incident.  Rotter was eastbound on I-84 when he suddenly started ramming the semi.  When the truck pulled over, Rotter entered the truck and started stabbing the driver inflicting wounds to his chest and stomach.  He then fled the truck before coming back and attempting to stab the driver again.  He was subdued by passers-by until law enforcement could arrest him. No date for his trial has been set.

BAKER CITY, OR: Christmas tree permits are now available

Permits can be purchased for $5.00 each and are limited to one per household

Posted on November 21, 2014

Christmas tree permits for the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests are now available at forest offices and businesses. Permits are valid on National Forest System lands only and do not authorize tree cutting on private, State, or other federally managed lands.  Permits can be purchased for $5.00 each and are limited to one per household. Christmas tree permits and forest maps are available during regular office hours, Monday through Friday at the four Umatilla Ranger District offices in Ukiah and Heppner, Oregon; and Walla Walla and Pomeroy, Washington; and four Wallowa-Whitman Ranger District Offices in Baker City, La Grande, Joseph, Clarkston, and the Supervisor's Office in Pendleton. Christmas tree permits are not available at the Halfway office, however they are available at local businesses

ONTARIO, OR: St. Alphonsus shooter sentenced to fifteen years

Lopez was high on drugs, alcohol

Posted November 21, 2014

An Ontario man who killed his best friend and took a shot at his girlfriend before stealing her car, backing over his friend’s body and fleeing to Nyssa will spend fifteen years behind bars.  Juan Carlos "Charlie" Lopez was sentenced by Judge Patricia Sullivan this morning in Vale to 120 months for manslaughter and 60 months for using a gun in the commission of a crime.  Lopez and his girlfriend shared an apartment where he fired a handgun into the ceiling.  Concerned he might be suicidal his girlfriend asked his 42-year-old Dale Wright to take him to St. Alphonsus Ontario.  She followed in her car, but as Wright and Lopez arrived in the parking garage Lopez shot Wright who collapsed behind the vehicle.  After fleeing to Nyssa, Lopez barricaded himself in a family member's home until law enforcement talked him out later in the day.

PENDLETON, OR: Prison shooting at EOCI ruled justified

Ruling was determined by a Sixth Circuit Court grand jury

Posted on November 21, 2014

The August shooting of an Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute prisoner by a Corrections Officer has been ruled justified by a Umatilla County grand jury.  The incident began when two prisoners began assaulting a third.  Officers ordered the pair to stop- neither complied, the unnamed officer then fired one shot killing Withers.  The grand jury also recommended that the other inmate involved in the assault, Cameron Hayes, be charged with assault in the third degree.

BAKER CITY, OR: Number of Youth in Transition on the rise

More than 19,000 Oregon kids considered homeless

Posted November 21, 2014

3.3% of students in Oregon schools- or just over 19,000 kids- met the qualifications as Youth in Transition last year.  That’s an increase of more than 700 students from the year before. La Grande Superintendent Larry Glaze explains the designation: "They’re either doubled up and sharing housing- one family’s living with another for economic reasons.  Then they can be considered youth in transition, or what we used to call homeless."

The designation also covers students whose family is living in tents, cars or camp trailers.  Glaze says there are 136 students in the La Grande School District that currently meet those guidelines.  Baker 5J officials report 142 students.  Those students are eligible for special benefits from the district. Glaze says local businesses have helped those students with a variety of donations: "There’s a classroom at the high school that has supplies and materials, and they can get things like food, they can get snacks, they can get toothpaste or basic hygiene products."

The districts Angel Fund also helps families meet their basic needs.  If you would like to donate money or items to the Youth in Transition, contact the school district.

LA GRANDE, OR: Write in names announced for local votes

So far no write in candidate has accepted a position

Posted November 21, 2014

The names of write candidates for office in Elgin, Cove and Summerville have been released by Union County Clerk Robin Church.  Those names have been sent to city officials but so far none of the write in candidates have indicated if they will fill the positions.  There were two city council positions open in Summerville and Sheri Rogers got fifteen votes for position #1.  For position #3 there was a tie between Jim Walker and Kenneth Smith.  In Elgin only one person filed for four open council seats.  Rocky Burgess received the most write in votes followed by James Halgarth and Brent Linville.  In Cove Vicki Hagey and Bob Myers both received five votes for one council position.

LA GRANDE, OR: Shelter from the Storm appeals conditional use permit

Appeal says the county can't meet the parking requirements

Posted November 21, 2014

As expected, Shelter from the Storm Director Teresa Crouser filed an appeal of the La Grande Planning Commission decision to issue a conditional use permit for the Union County Courthouse project.  Crouser, who testified against the permit, says the county site plan application cannot meet the parking conditions the city has placed on the permit.  The city council will hear the appeal January 14th where they will only consider the merits of what has been submitted.

ISLAND CITY, OR: Couple files another appeal of home based business

Steven's appealing how space is used

Posted November 21, 2014

An Island City couple that has been fighting a home based trucking business across the street from their home for four years has filed another appeal with the Land Use Board of Appeals.  Scott and Debra Stevens lost a hearing last month before the Island City City Council that John Fregulia’s trucking business exceeded the square footage allowed by law.  The Steven’s want the space used calculated differently than the city council viewed it.  There’s no word yet on when LUBA will hear the appeal.

BAKER CITY, OR: Oversize load in Baker County delayed

Trip will now take place December 1st

Posted November 21, 2014

An oversize load that was supposed to travel from Baker City through Baker County and to the Idaho border starting today has been delayed.  The trip has been rescheduled for December 1st- weather permitting.  When it leaves it will travel along Highway 86 taking up both lanes of the highway.  Motorists that encounter the load can expect delays of up to twenty minutes as it passes.  It will travel mainly at night to avoid disrupting traffic.

ONTARIO, OR: Halloween shooting suspects not charged with homicide

Wintersteen charged with burglary and theft

Posted on November 20, 2014

Charged with burglary and theft, but not homicide, that was the decision handed down to 34-year old Jayme Wintersteen after he shot and killed 25-year old Douglas West on Halloween night. The shooting took place just before 7:00 pm on Frontier Street in Ontario.  According to officials, West was at Wintersteen home asking him to help hid stolen items; Wintersteen refused to help and told West to leave his property.  West refused to leave and threatened to kill Wintersteen, Wintersteen subsequently shot West who was taken to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

BAKER CITY, OR: Help local food banks provide Thanksgiving dinner

Donations will help local families this holiday season

Posted November 20, 2014

With winter here in Northeast Oregon, food banks are looking for donations to help keep people warm and their bellies full according to Carmen Gentry with Community Connections: "T0he food banks can always use soups, canned meat, canned meals like stew and chili, pasta, things like that help keep people warm."

Gentry says Community Connections will also be helping provide Thanksgiving meals to local residents: "People can get a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and everything, even the pie for 32 bucks and it’s a dinner for four and it is pre-cooked."

People can order these meals for themselves or you can call and pay for one for a family in need and the meal will be delivered to that family or senior.  Help a family in need this holiday season by contacting Community Connections.

LA GRANDE, OR: New law protects rural satellite programming

Local programming was due to end January 1st

Posted November 20, 2014

Rural satellite users can breath easy- their service has been protected for at least the next five years.  The U.S. House and Senate passed a bill sponsored by Congressman Greg Walden that will ensure access to local programming- and it couldn’t have come at a better time: "There’ll be a million-and-a-half subscribers to satellite television, including many in my home state of Oregon, that just won’t have access to broadcast network programming come New Year’s Day."

The House had passed another version of the bill last month and the Senate passed it with some minor changes.  The bill will also allow a little more flexibility when it comes to programming: "Our bill also opens up the possibility for satellite operators and broadcasters to modify local markets so that consumers can receive local programming that’s relevant to their communities."

The bill that passed yesterday was a bipartisan compromise between the two chambers.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU women's basketball crushes Walla Walla

EOU shoots 52% from the floor, 41% behind the arc

Posted November 20, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University women’s basketball team dominated Walla Walla University last night winning 110-36.  The Lady Mountaineers shot a blistering 52% from the floor and 41% from behind the three point arc in the game.  They were led by Kassy Larson who had 27 points.  Eastern is 5-1 this season.

JUNTURA, OR: Washington murder suspect arrested near Juntura

Suspect found living under a bridge

Posted November 19, 2014

The suspect in the death of a Washington woman back in September has been arrested in rural Malheur County.  Ari Lee King is accused of killing 65-year-old Diane Cunningham in her Joyce, Washington home before stealing her car and fleeing.  Her car was located on October 7th in Malheur County bu some hunters.  King was located yesterday living under a bridge near Juntura about twenty miles from where the ca was located.  He is currently in the Malheur County jail as he awaits extradition to Washington.

**UPDATE** All votes are in...school bond passes- reaction

First projects to be complete next summer

Posted November 19, 2014

By a margin of just thirty-six votes, the La Grande school bond passed on its third attempt.  Union County Clerk Robin Church delivered the news to Superintendent Larry Glaze and a group of supporters just after 5:30 pm last night.  Glaze says the districts first task will be to put together an oversight committee: "One of the very significant projects is going to be the oversight committee which will be a group of citizens that will be put together to oversee the process as it unfolds."

The committee will work with the project manager and the district to make sure they stay on budget.  Board member Joe Justice was the board chair when they voted to go out for the $31.8 million bond: "This is fantastic for the community, this is fantastic for the kids- I am just elated by the results of this tonight."

Glaze says the first projects should be completed next summer.



Posted on November 18, 2014

The challenged votes have been counted and the La Grande School District Bond has passed. After the final tally the bond passed by 36 votes. School District officials say that they hope to have most of the work, that the bond will pay for, completed within three years.

NORTHEAST, OR: Be on the alert for phone scams

When in doubt call law enforcement

Posted on November 19, 2014

Don’t be a victim of a phone scam!  Jim Horan with OTEC says that another round of phone scams is circulating.  Victims will receive a call stating that they owe money on a utility bill or even back taxes and that they need to go purchase a pre-paid debit card to avoid future problems or even jail time.  Horan says “They are looking for you to call back with that pre-paid debit card.  They are not letting you pay by debit card over the phone.  They want you to pay with something they can’t track or that nobody else can track.”  These types of calls often fuel a person’s fear and the amounts requested are generally low enough that people don’t question the caller.  If you receive one of these calls you are asked to call your local law enforcement.

SALEM, OR: Legislature to decide if communities can tax pot sales

House and Senate to hold a joint session on rules

Posted November 19, 2014

More than seventy communities across the state have passed local ordinances to tax recreational marijuana sales- including La Grande and Island City- now the legislature has been asked to decide if they will ever be allowed to collect those taxes.  Sponsors of measure 91 say they will fight the taxes which they say will drive the price up to the point black market marijuana sales will be more attractive.  The legislature is also being asked to decide how communities can ban marijuana sales altogether and whether to tighten restrictions on marijuana edibles.  Legislative leaders have said they will call a joint session to deal with the issues next spring.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU women's basketball team at home tonight

4-1 Lady Mountaineers host Walla Walla University

Posted November 19, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University women's basketball team will host Walla Walla University tonight at 6:30 pm in Quinn Coliseum.  The Lady Mountaineers are 4-1, the Lady Wolves are 0-7.

BAKER CITY, OR: Wallowa-Whitman firewood season set to end

Season will end November 30, 2014

Posted on November 18, 2014

Personal-use firewood cutting on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will end Sunday, November 30, 2014.  Firewood permits will not be available again until May 1, 2015.  The public is asked to take additional precautions when cutting firewood late in the fallwhen road and soil conditions become slick, soggy and saturated. Firewood cutters should be prepared for winter weather conditions. Mountain travel will require extreme care to avoid getting stuck in the snow or mud,and causing resource damage to the land and vegetation.  Another concern for late season firewood cutting is the misidentification of live or dead western larch, also known as Tamarack. Larch is the only cone-bearing tree in the western United States that sheds its needles in the fall and can appear to be dead. Tips on identifying live larch are located in the firewood guide that accompanies each firewood permit.

For more information on the firewood program please contact any Wallowa-Whitman National Forest office or call the Supervisor's Office in Baker City, Oregon at 541-523-6391. Additional information is available on our website at www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman/under the passes and permits link.

LA GRANDE, OR: The investigation into a local burglary spree continues

Police asking for the publics help

Posted November 18, 2014

The La Grande Police Department continues the investigation into a rash of burglaries that took place in La Grande roughly one month ago.  In all fourteen businesses were broken into, most reported only cash was taken.   Detectives are working hard to determine who the suspects are according to Lieutenant Derrick Reddington: "We are fairly certain that it is the same person or persons associated with those 14, the MO, the way that they broke in, we have some video."

As the police continue to work on this case citizens are reminded that if they have any information about these break-ins you are asked to call the La Grande Police Department.

BAKER CITY, OR: Teach kids how to avoid head lice

Kids tend to share items of clothing at school

Posted November 18, 2014

With the colder weather we’ve been having, kids will be wearing hats and coats to stay warm.  Kids often times try to be nice to other kids and share their warm winter gear; however, doing this can create a little bit of a problem if one of those kids has head lice.  Kristi Cook, a nurse for public health and school based health centers says it is important that your kids know the following: "Encourage your kids not to share hats and scarves, coats, ribbons, hair pieces, things like that."

It is also important to remember that even if you or your child or gets head lice, it is treatable with a variety of over the counter remedies. For factual information on lice and how to get rid of it you can log on to www.cdc.gov

LA GRANDE, OR: Two EOU football players honored for SOU game

Duo help lead EOU to upset win over SOU

Posted November 18, 2014

Eastern Oregon University football players Jace Billingsly and Ryan Watson were both honored as the offensive and defensive Players-of-the-Week for their performance Saturday against Southern Oregon.  Billingsly rushed for 245 yards while Watson had eight solo tackles, two assists and an interception in the game.

***UPDATE*** Stolen credit cards discovered in vehicle search

31-year old Bobby Sickler is being held in the Baker County Jail

***Updated on November 20, 2014

Earlier this week we told you about a welfare check in Baker City that ended up turning into 31-year old Bobby Sickler being arrested for possession of a short barreled shotgun as well as  possession of Methamphetamine.  A call came in to the Baker City Police Department around 8:20 pm on Sunday night after a man was seen slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle in the Dollar Store parking lot.  Sickler was arrested on possession charges and was housed in the Baker County Jail.  A search warrant has since been executed on the vehicle that Sickler had been found in.  It has since been discovered that Sickler was in possession of stolen credit cards.  No further details about this case are available at this time.


***previously posted on November 17, 2014***

A welfare check in Baker City last night has lead to the arrest of 31-year old Bobby Sickler.  At about 8:20pm last night Baker City Police received a call regarding a welfare check on a man slumped over the wheel of a vehicle in the Dollar Store parking lot.  Upon arrival responders were able to wake the man up.  Further investigation led to the arrest of Sickler for possession of a short barreled shotgun and possession of Methamphetamine. Sickler is currently being held on the Baker County Jail.