Eastern Oregon News & Sports

PENDLETON, OR: Officer at EOCI fatally shoots an inmate

Officer was reacting to the stabbing of another inmate

Posted August 29, 2014

Today at approximately 9:00 a.m., an Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Correctional Officer fired a shot to prevent imminent serious bodily injury to an inmate being assaulted at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI). Detectives from the Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division, in cooperation with the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office and DOC, are conducting an investigation. The institution is currently on lockdown status and visiting is canceled until further notice.

The Correctional Officer fired the shot from a yard tower after two inmates who were assaulting a third inmate failed to disengage. Inmate Jayson Matthew Withers was hit, transported to a local hospital, and was pronounced deceased at approximately 9:21 a.m. Next of kin has been notified. The inmate who was being attacked was transported to a local hospital for treatment of injuries. The third inmate is currently in disciplinary segregation at EOCI. No other details or names are being released until authorized by the Umatilla County District Attorney.

Withers entered DOC custody on May 13, 2010, on three counts of robbery in the second degree, three counts of identity theft, and one count of negligent homicide out of Marion County. His earliest release date was Nov. 25, 2018.

EOCI is a medium-security prison located in Pendleton that houses approximately 1,600 men in custody. It provides a range of correctional services and programs, including education, treatment, mental health, and work opportunities. The buildings that make up EOCI were constructed in 1912 and 1913 and were originally used as a state mental hospital. After two years of renovation, EOCI received its first inmates in June 1985.

BAKER CITY, OR: Three area residents test positive for West Nile

The elderly and those with health problems at high risk

Posted August 29, 2014

Oregon Health Officials yesterday announced that three people in Northern Baker County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.  Dr. Emilio DeBess says all three live near the border with Idaho where they have had several positive tests for the disease.  While most people infected with the disease never show symptoms, the people infected in Baker County are in a high risk group: "I think a lot of these people that have tested positive are people in their fifties and sixties and beyond, and it becomes a little bit more of a problem in terms of their health."

Dr. DeBess says those with certain health conditions also fall into that high risk category: "Diabetes or high blood pressure or a on cortical steroids or things like that- they can develop a more severe illness."

For most who do show symptoms they’re generally mild and much like having the flu.  Dr. DeBess says a small percentage of those infected will require hospitalization usually for a severe headache or meningitis.  The best way to avoid catching the virus is to not get bitten in the first place. If you will be outside, wear long sleeved clothing, wear a repellant containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus and avoid being outside at dawn or dusk.

LA GRANDE, OR: Buck numbers up in NE Oregon, bull numbers mixed

Archery season opens tomorrow

Posted August 29, 2014

Tomorrow is he opening of archery season, and all indications are that it will be a good season.  ODF&W Biologist Brian Ratliff, who works out of the Baker City office, says there’s a surprising amount of green grass at the higher elevations along with plenty of water that’s keeping animals scattered.  He says overall, however, the number of animals are up in most areas around Baker County: "The only unit that I would expect where we would be missing some of the larger bucks is in the Sumpter Unit- we had a little decrease in our buck ratio."

Buck numbers are up slightly in Union County while bull numbers are down in most of the units.  The exception is the Catherine Creek unit where bull numbers are well above management objectives.

BAKER CITY, OR: Fire danger still high on the Wallowa Whitman

Public Use Restrictions return to Phase A

Posted August 29, 2014

With the opening of archery season tomorrow, Oregon’s forests will be seeing a huge increase in activity.  Darcy Weseman with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest says hunters need to be aware of the fire danger: "The fire danger at this time is still staying at a high.  We did get some relief with recent moisture, and as we’re getting towards the end of summer we’re having shorter days and cooler mornings."

Visitors to the national forests should check the latest conditions frequently as fire restrictions can change quickly.  The Wallowa Whitman returned to Phase A restrictions yesterday- that means campfires are allowed only in fire rings in designated areas, chainsaw use and smoking are restricted and off road vehicle use is allowed only on cleared roads.

BAKER CITY, OR: Grants pay for extra police patrols this weekend

Officers looking for impaired drivers and speeders

Posted August 29, 2014

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office and Baker Police Department will both have extra officers on the streets this weekend to help keep motorists safe over the long holiday weekend.  Officials expect that 34.7 million people will be traveling this weekend- and most of them will go by car.  Officers received grants to run the extra patrols looking not only for people driving impaired but for those speeding or not wearing safety belts.  Those extra patrols will last through Monday night.

LA GRANDE, OR: Jamboree to kick off high school football season

Jamboree features four local teams

Posted August 29, 2014

The high school football season will unofficially get underway tonight with a jamboree at Eastern Oregon University.  Four teams will be involved- the La Grande varsity and JV, Imbler and Enterprise.  The jamboree starts at 6:00 and is open to the public.

BAKER CITY, OR: Volunteers save the city thousands of money each year

Volunteering does more than just help on a daily basis

Posted on August 28, 2014

The help of reserve volunteers to local law enforcement is more important that just having extra people available for events and in times of need.  It also is beneficial monetarily to the city.  Jerry Boyd Reserve Commander with the Baker City Police Department explains just how much money volunteers can save the money over the course of a year

“Last year the dollar savings just to the City of Baker City from the volunteer time of our reserves was in excess of $35,000"

If becoming a volunteer reserve officer sounds like something you may be interested in, you are invited to visit your local law enforcement office for details

NORTH POWDER, OR: A horse near has tested positive for West Nile virus

Oregonians should remain vigilant in protecting themselves

Posted on August 28, 2014

A horse near North Powder has tested positive for West Nile virus

Union County Vector Control has announced that a positive test for West Nile virus has been confirmed this week on a horse near North Powder.  As the Labor Day weekend approaches, Oregonians should remain vigilant in protecting themselves and their animals from mosquitoes and the diseases, such as West Nile virus (WNv), that they can carry. Four presumptive human cases of WNv have been reported in Malheur and Baker counties. This is in addition to the WNv mosquito activity that has been identified in Jackson, Morrow, Union, Klamath, and Baker counties.    Local vector staff continues to work hard to reduce mosquito numbers through larval and adult mosquito control, but they would like to remind Union County citizens to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Some steps to reduce mosquitoes include:

Eliminate sources of standing water that are a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This includes watering troughs, bird baths, clogged gutters and old tires.  Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. When engaged in outdoor activities, protect yourself by using mosquito repellants containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picardin, and follow the directions on the container.  Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in mosquito-infested areas.  Make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly.

Residents are also encouraged to report high numbers of mosquitoes to Union County Vector control.  Mosquito control is paid for through property taxes and there is no additional charge for any of the services they provide.

**UPDATE** Shelter ruling to come by Tuesday

Shelter seeks an injunction to stop their eviction

Posted August 27, 2014

Shelter from the Storm had their day in court and are awaiting a judge's decision on their fate.  Shelter Attorney George Galloway argued before Hermiston Judge Eva Temple that since the grant to construct the building came from the federal government, only the federal government can change the intended use of the building- in this case as a women’s advocacy center.  He also argued the shelter qualified as a displaced person under the federal relocation act and is entitled to damages of $600,000 from the county if they’re forced to move.  The final piece of his argument centered on plans to build a courthouse on the shelter site.  He claims the county didn’t explore other options or ways to minimize the impact on the shelter.  Galloway declined to comment on the case after the hearing.  Union County Attorney Brent Smith told Judge Temple that the county did everything they could to try and mitigate the impact of building a new county courthouse where the shelter is currently located: "They clearly made numerous offers to provide financial assistance- they’re not required to do that, but because they support the mission of the shelter."

But the only response they received from shelter staff was that they can’t move.  Circuit Court Judge Russ West testified that the current courtrooms are unsafe and inefficient, and the committee working on getting a new courthouse looked at seven different options, all but the current proposal were rejected because they were either too expensive or didn’t meet the requirements of the facility.  Judge Temple expressed concern that the shelter’s attorney was making a completely new argument than the one he submitted to the court in the original filing documents.  The county showed that not only has the shelter occupied the building for fifteen years rent free, but their lease, which expired a year ago, also spelled out that they were tenants, not owners of the building.  Galloway says the eviction of the shelter will cause irreparable harm to their mission and to its staff as well as creating an unsafe situation for shelter clients.  The Judge has said she will rule by Tuesday, the deadline for the shelter to vacate the building.



A court hearing over Union County’s attempt to evict Shelter from the Storm from the Advocacy Center on the county campus is underway.  The shelter filed a motion to block the September 1st eviction.  Executive Director Teresa Crowser testified this morning that she believes the county doesn’t have the right to move the shelter because a federal grant paid for its construction and they are given the right to be there as long as they are serving as a women’s shelter.  The county has established the shelter is operating without a current lease and are there rent free.  Testimony continues through the afternoon.

BAKER CITY, OR: Baker Police looking for reserve officers

Volunteer reserves essential to operations

Posted August 28, 2014

In smaller towns in Eastern Oregon, local law enforcement agencies often rely on recruitment efforts to not only increase their police force over time, but to also help with day to day functions that are often understaffed.  Baker city Police Reserve Commander Jerry Boyd talks about some of the areas in which recruits are beneficial to our communities: "We are looking for special event assistance, riding in patrols and assisting on specialized incidence of various kinds."

The Baker City Police Department is currently looking for people interested in these volunteer positions to fill some key roles: "A lot of times we can call in reserves and reserves can take some positions during that event that free up the full time officers for something that requires their level of expertise."

If you’re at least 18 years of age with a high school education and can pass a background check and would be interested in being a part of the reserve program, contact the Baker City Police Department.

BAKER CITY, OR: Only three file to run for four city council seats

One write in candidate will be seated in November

Posted August 28, 2014

If you’ve ever wanted to sit on the Baker City City Council, there’s still an opportunity this year.  One write in candidate will be seated after only three people filed to run for four city council openings in the November general election.  City staff said Mack Augenfeld, Benjamin Merrill and James Thomas all turned in their paperwork by Tuesday's deadline and they will be on the November 4th ballot.

PENDLETON, OR: Elementary students to get hearing tests

Parents can opt out of the tests

Posted August 28, 2014

The Intermountain ESD will be conducting hearing tests in elementary schools through the region starting Tuesday- and several Union County schools are involved.  On September 15th students at Stella Mayfield in Elgin, Greenwood and Willow schools in La Grande as well as elementary students in Union and North Powder will be checked.  Cove, Imbler and Island City students will be checked on October 6th.  If you have questions about the screening or if you don’t want your child checked, contact your school principle.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU men's cross country ranked 12th

Five Cascade Conference teams in the top 25

Posted August 28, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University Men's Cross Country team starts the season out as the No. 12 in the NAIA Preseason Men's Cross Country Coaches' Preseason Poll, the national office announced today.
The Mountaineers finished 11th at the NAIA National Championships in Lawrence, Kan. EOU looks to replace All-American Isaac Updike. Updike led the Mountaineers and finished 24th at the National Championships.
EOU finished 11th in the NAIA Men's Cross Country Postseason Coaches' Top 25.
Fourteen conferences/independents/

unaffiliated groups are represented in the Preseason Top 25, led by five schools from the Cascade Collegiate Conference: Southern Oregon, No. 8 Concordia (Ore.), No. 12 Eastern Oregon, No. 18 College of Idaho and No. 25 Oregon Tech.


LA GRANDE, OR: Proposed school bond would address security issues

Every school will see security upgrades

Posted August 27, 2014

While much of the attention on the proposed $31.8 million La Grande School District bond is on the replacement of Central Elementary, it’s not the only big project on the list according to Superintendent Larry Glaze.  One of the big ones that impact every school in the district is safety: "Several of our schools are kind of the open concept from the 70’s, and they don’t have classroom enclosures, so you don’t have safety from an intruder."

That includes upgrades to the entrances of several schools, installing interior doors at Island City and the top floor of La Grande Middle School, replacing the modular classrooms at Island City and adding camera’s to the middle school and high school. Glaze also says the bond would help make district buildings more environmentally sound: "Envelope issues- many of our windows date back to the 50’s and 60’s so we have very inefficient window systems, and they need to be replaced."

The bond would also help replace heating and cooling systems and replace some school roofs that need upgrades.  It would upgrade the technology in use in the classrooms of every school in the district.  Anyone with questions about the bond is invited to call the district office for more information or there’s a video available on the district website: http://www.lagrandesd.org/bond

LA GRANDE, OR: Union County gets grant for airport master plan

Revision will help attract more funding

Posted August 27, 2014

The rewrite of the Union County Airport master plan will soon be underway thanks to a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and ODOT.  County officials have been working on getting a grant for more than a year.  Union County Public Works Director Doug Wright says the plan will help guide future projects at the airport: "Basically what it will do is identify the new capital improvement plan and financial plan that will allow the county to make strategic investments in needed airfield projects."

The old plan was written in 1997 and needed to be updated to include new rules that impact the airfields operation.  The plan will also look at the future needs of the airport, including those of the Forest Service fire tankers that use the facility every summer.  When completed, Wright says the plan will allow the county to chase even more money: "The next step will then be to work with Federal Aviation and also Oregon Aviation to identify projects and try and leverage more funding for the airport."

The rewrite of the master plan will take between fourteen and eighteen months.  A large part of the work will be done by La Grande based Anderson-Perry.  The total cost of the plan is just over $283,000.

BAKER CITY, OR: Man behind the Great Salt Lick Auction honored

Auction has raised more than $50,000

Posted August 27, 2014

Whit Deschner, the man behind Baker City’s World Famous Great Salt Lick Auction, has been given the community hero award by the Willamette Valley Development Officers group.  Legend has it Deschner was sitting on his porch and saw a salt lick in his yard that his cattle had been working on and thought it looked like art. Deschner started the auction as a fundraiser for Parkinson's research.  To date the auction has raised more than $50,000 for the disease.

BAKER CITY, OR: Construction work continues on Wallowa Loop Road

Work to continue through mid-October

Posted August 27, 2014

Construction work continues on several Forest Service roads as crews push to get projects finished by the end of the summer season.  One of the biggest projects is a thirteen mile stretch of the Wallowa Loop Road that makes up part of the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.  The North Pine section of the 39 Road is open for passage only travel- that means no stopping is allowed along that stretch of road.  Work is expected to continue through mid-October.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU soccer team suffers first loss of the season

Lady Mountaineers now 0-1-1 this season

Posted August 27, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University women's soccer (0-1-1) team suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday afternoon as the Mountaineers were defeated by San Diego Christian (1-0), 4-0.
The Hawks broke onto the scoreboard early in the first half. In the 12th minute of the game, Brittany Beam was taking a throw in and found Ashley Jarosin for a header, which beat Jessica Parker for the first goal of the game putting EOU down 1-0.
San Diego Christian tried to extend its lead 13 minutes later, as Danielle Kashou took on shot on EOU's goal. However, Parker came up with the save to keep the Mountaineers down, 1-0.
After the scoring chance for the Hawks, EOU tried to answer. Sydney Nelson fired a shot on goal but Katherine Koury recorded the save.
Eight minutes before halftime, San Diego Christian added its second goal of the game. Katherine Day beat Parker after getting a pass by Vienna Rousset. The Hawks took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
San Diego Christian's offensive attack continued in the early part of the second half. Elya Jasper fired a shot on goal but Parker recorded the save. However, just over a minute later, Allie Leon fired a shot from 30 yards to beat Parker to put the Hawks up 3-0.
Sixteen minutes later, the Hawks added its fourth goal of the season. Zoar Gonzales crossed the ball to Ashley Jarosin, for her second goal of the game, to extend the Hawks lead to 4-0.
The Mountaineers continued to put pressure on the Hawks, as Alora Brown fired a shot on goal. However, Koury recorded the save and kept the Mountaineers off the scoreboard. EOU kept the pressure on as Eastern Oregon kept taking shots but could not find the back of the net. EOU fell to the Hawks, 4-0.  
The Mountaineers return to action on Friday, Aug. 29th when they travel to Aliso Viejo, Cailf to face Soka University. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. 

ENTERPRISE, OR: Victim of this morning's fatal accident identified

Accident happened between midnight and 3:30 AM

Posted August 26, 2014

Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into the cause of Tuesday morning's single vehicle fatal traffic crash on Highway 82 south of Enterprise that resulted in the death of an adult female from Enterprise.

According to Sergeant Kyle Hove, on August 26, 2014, between the hours of 12 midnight and 3:27 a.m., a 1997 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by KAREN MARIE ROOT, age 50, from Enterprise, was northbound on Highway 82 near milepost 68 when, for unknown reasons, it traveled off the roadway in a section where it is curved with narrow shoulders and rolled before coming to rest. ROOT was ejected and found near where the vehicle came to rest.

OSP troopers from Enterprise and La Grande offices are continuing the investigation. ROOT was not wearing safety restraints.

OSP was assisted by Wallowa County Sheriff Office's, ODOT, Enterprise Fire Department, and Wallowa County Ambulance. Traffic was detoured around the scene onto a nearby secondary road during the duration of the investigation.

**UPDATE** Suspect in I-84 stabbing identified

Truck driver expected to live

Posted August 26, 2014


The Malheur County Correctional Facility has identified the man who Oregon State Police arrested on Monday in connection with a stabbing. 28-year-old Dustin Rotter faces several charges including attempted murder, first degree assault, reckless endangering, reckless driving, and criminal mischief. Police say he was driving a Buick LaCrosse that was stolen out of Pasco, when he got out and attacked a truck driver on Interstate 84 west of Ontario.


Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of the Malheur County District Attorney's Office, are continuing the investigation into the stabbing of a commercial truck driver Monday afternoon along Interstate 84 about fifteen miles west of Ontario. The suspect is in custody and the truck driver, who was stabbed multiple times, is being treated at a Boise-area hospital.

Updated information indicates on August 25, 2014 at approximately 12:09 p.m. (PST), OSP received a report of a stabbing along Interstate 84 eastbound near milepost 358. A commercial truck pulling two tanker trailers containing milk driven by CHARLES D. VANZANTE, age 63, from Jerome, Idaho, was traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 when, unprovoked, a Buick Lacrosse displaying Washington license plates driven by an adult male began ramming the truck's diesel tanks.

VANZANTE pulled the truck and trailers to the side of the road and stopped. The Buick's driver stopped the car against the side of the truck, got out and entered the truck where he stabbed VANZANTE multiple times.

The suspect, who has not been positively identified, fled up a hill south of the scene and then returned back to the truck where he briefly engaged in a second struggle with VANZANTE. He then was surrounded by several citizens outside the truck and convinced to stay as OSP troopers began arriving at the scene and took the suspect into custody at gunpoint.

An OSP lieutenant and trooper initiated emergency medical care on VANZANTE until relieved by medical responders. VANZANTE was transported by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. His injuries were determined to be non-life threatening.

The suspect has been lodged in the Malheur County Jail for Attempted Murder and Assault in the First Degree. Additional charges are pending. The vehicle was confirmed stolen out of Pasco, Washington.

OSP Criminal Investigations Division detectives are continuing the investigation and working to positively identify the suspect.

OSP was assisted by Malheur County Sheriff's Office, Baker County Sheriff's Office, ODOT, Treasure Valley paramedics and Huntington ambulance.

ISLAND CITY, OR: Four year long neighborhood dispute continues

Arguments center on definition of "utilize"

Posted August 26, 2014

The Island City City Council held a special session last night to hear arguments in the ongoing case of a home occupancy permit issued to John Fregulia who runs a trucking business from his home.  His neighbors have been fighting the home based business since 2010, and appealed land use decisions all the way to the Court of Appeals who remanded three small issues back to Island City for clarification.  Last night the city council dealt with one small part of city code according to Mayor Dale DeLong: "Tonight we dealt with use of 600 square feet within the structure of the shed on his property which is actually 2,400 square feet."

At issue- how to define the term “utilize” in city code.  The attorney for the Fregulia’s, who own the business, say it should be only that space physically being used for the business, but the attorney for the Steven’s say it should include all of the space being used for the business whether or not someone is actually occupying it.  The city council ruled it’s only what’s being used at the moment.  The Mayor hopes the four year saga is nearing an end: "Hopefully we can get closer to the end- it all depends.  It can be appealed so it can go back up to the Land Use Board of Appeals, but we hope it doesn’t go that far."

Two more questions remain to be answered.  The city council allowed a continuance until October 13th.

ELGIN, OR: November races for public office set

Two vying for position of Mayor

Posted August 26, 2014

The deadline to apply to run for public office in Elgin was last week, and the races for the November election have been set.  Two candidates filed to run for Mayor by the deadline.  Councilor Allen Duffy is challenging incumbent Brent Linville.  Teresa Schaffer was the only person to file for the city council race.  There were three open seats.  For City Recorder, Brock Eckstein will face Sue Moore.  The filing deadline in other communities was last night, and we will have details on those races when they’re available.

BAKER CITY, OR: Deadline to file for city council races tonight

Four positions up for grabs this November

Posted August 26, 2014

Four city council seats are up for election this November in Baker City, and the deadline to return applications to run is tonight at 5:00.  The terms of Roger Coles, Dennis Dorrah, Barbara Johnson and Mayor Clair Button all expire at the end of the year.  Both Button and Dorrah are ineligible to run again because they have served the maximum number of terms.

LA GRANDE, OR: Marijuana education tour will continue

Tour will come to La Grande October 6th

Posted August 26, 2014

Organizers of a marijuana education tour around the state say the event will continue despite the withdrawal of a major backer last week that forced the cancellation of their kickoff event in Madras.  While groups backing efforts to legalize marijuana in Oregon say the tour will try and sway voters, the purpose of the tour is to educate the public, not to take sides.  The tour will make a stop in La Grande on October 6th at the Blue Mountain Conference Center and is open to the public.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU's Loper volleyball Player-of-the-Week

Senior had 88 kills in five match tournament

Posted August 26, 2014

Senior, Casey Loper has been named Cascade Collegiate Conference Red Lion Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week, the CCC office announced Monday.
Loper led the Mountaineer's to a 5-0 record in the Sport Travel Northwest Challenge with 88 total kills.
Against Lewis-Clark State and Montana Western, Loper had 44 kills including 22 kills and 8 block assists against Montana Western.
Loper and the Mountaineers return to action on Friday, Aug. 29 when they play Biola (Calif.) at 12 p.m. in the Concordia (Calif.) Labor Day Tournament. 

PENDLETON, OR: 5 arrested for unlawfully killing a mule deer

The shooter is from Cayon City and the others reside in Pendleton

Five people are facing wildlife-related charges following an investigation that led to the discovery of the head of a freshly killed mule deer in a vehicle about 9 miles southwest of Pendleton near the Umatilla River. On August 24, 2014 at approximately 6:07 p.m., an OSP Fish & Wildlife trooper came across Jeep Cherokee with the driver's door ajar parked at the intersection of Speare Canyon Road and Mud Springs Road. The trooper noted an empty gun case and ammunition inside the vehicle. About 2.5 hours later, another Jeep Cherokee arrived at the intersection with five occupants inside. The trooper observed the occupants were in possession of the head of a freshly killed mature buck mule deer.
Subsequent investigation led the trooper to seize the deer head and a rifle, and cite the following 5 individuals:

VANCE TYLER WRIGHT, age 23, from Canyon City (identified as shooter)
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Game Mammal Closed Season
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer
* Waste of Game Mammal

KENNAN CARL ADEN WRIGHT, age 21, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

BRANDON MICHAEL McCONNELL, age 20, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

FOREST HUNTER JOHNSON, age 19, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

WHITNEY ANN ANDERSON, age 19, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

Photo by Oregon State Police

ONTARIO, OR: Truck driver stabbed near Ontario

Driver flown by LifeFlight to the hospital

Posted August 26, 2014

Oregon State Police (OSP) is starting an investigation into the stabbing of a commercial truck driver along Interstate 84 about fifteen miles west of Ontario. The suspect is in custody and one lane is closed while numerous law enforcement personnel are on scene.

On August 25, 2014 at approximately 12:09 p.m., OSP received a report of a stabbing along Interstate 84 eastbound near milepost 358. A truck driver was seriously injured and transported by air ambulance to an area hospital. The male suspect, who was not traveling with the male victim, was at the scene when OSP troopers arrived and took him into custody.

OSP is assisted by Malheur County Sheriff's Office, Baker County Sheriff's Office, ODOT, Treasure Valley paradmedics and Huntington ambulance.

Additional information authorized for release will be provided later today.

LA GRANDE, OR: Back-to-school safety tips for drivers, kids

Drivers need to slow down, watch for kids

Posted August 25, 2014

Motorists beware- it’s back to school time, and that means a change in the way you drive.  Both the La Grande and Imbler students return to the classroom today with Cove and Union starting later in the week.  La Grande Resource Officer Cody Bowen says there are some things to be aware of: "Use caution in those school zones in the crosswalks.  These kids have been away from school for a few months now, and getting them back to school is raising their awareness also."

Deputy Bowen says to remember the speed limit is 20 mph in school zones- but you may need to do less depending on conditions.  Also, watch for kids running into the road between parked cars anywhere near schools.  And there are also some things parents need to be telling their kids: "If the kids are walking to school by themselves, if they can if they can go with a buddy that’s always advised.  Stress the importance of using the crosswalks, looking both ways- making eye contact with those drivers."

Deputy Bowen says drivers also be extra aware of distracted driving which slows reaction times- that includes things such as using the cell phone and playing with the radio.  Students in North Powder, Elgin, Halfway and Baker go back to school next Tuesday.

LA GRANDE, OR: Grocery store accomplishes goal of revitalization

Area traditionally has had a grocery store

Posted August 25, 2014

The number one goal of the La Grande Urban Renewal Agency is the revitalization of the downtown area, something which will be accomplished by the addition of a grocery store on the west end of Adams Avenue according to Economic Development Director Charlie Mitchell: "It’s a very visible key intersection, it gets a lot of visibility, a lot of traffic, it’s a building that’s been vacant for a number of years."

And Mitchell says a grocery store is the perfect anchor business because there’s traditionally been one in that area of town to serve downtown residents.  City official's hope having that store will help spur more investment in the area: "Investment leads to investment, and it’s my hope and belief that this signature project leads to more investment in our downtown."

Mitchell points to the development going on at the corner of 2nd and Adams where Tropical Swirl opened a year ago and now a new dentist's office is being built.  The new grocery store fills a gap in the area and creates up to twenty family wage jobs in the community.

BAKER CITY, OR: Watershed to remain closed to hunting

Fire danger still at the extreme level

Posted August 25, 2014

With hunting season opening the end of the week, Baker City officials are reminding archery hunters that there is no access right now to the Baker City Watershed area due to the extreme fire danger.  No permits for entry will be issued until the fire danger drops to the low or moderate levels.

BAKER CITY, OR: Expect a warmer, wetter winter

Snowpack will be below average, however

Posted August 25, 2014

Get ready for a warmer-than-normal winter with below average snowpack.  That’s what the 2015 Farmer's Almanac is saying for the Intermountain Northwest Region that includes Baker City and La Grande.  The Farmer's Almanac says we can expect above average rainfall during the winter months, however.  If you believe all that mumbo jumbo…

LA GRANDE, OR: La Grande Police to conduct training drill in school

Drill to include simulated gunfire

Posted August 22, 2014

The La Grande Police Department will be holding a training exercise at the Grande Ronde Academy on Palmer Avenue Tuesday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. This training will include simulated gunfire and potentially several law enforcement and public safety vehicles will be in the area. We want to insure community members know of this event and ask that no unauthorized persons enter the Grande Ronde Academy during this drill.          

LA GRANDE, OR: It was a great weekend for EOU sports

Volleyball sweeps, football wins, soccer draws

Posted August 25, 2014

It was a great weekend for Eastern Oregon University sports.  The volleyball team is 6-0 after sweeping the field at the Sport Travel Northwest Challenge in Spokane.  The Lady Mountaineers beat Lewis and Clark and Montana Western on the final day of competition. The Eastern football team beat Menlo College 45-27 Saturday behind a big 4th quarter (see article below).  The Mountaineers came from behind with 22 unanswered points to start their season 1-0.

And the Eastern soccer team played 15th ranked San Marco’s to a 0-0 draw- their first ever draw of a ranked opponent.

OREGON: Northeast Oregons OR-7 to be recollared in Southwest Oregon

"Recollaring OR-7 will help track this group of wolves."

Posted on August 24, 2014

Biologists plan to recapture and re-collar OR-7, Oregon's famous wandering wolf that is now a settled father of pups.

The plan calls for recapturing the male wolf along with his mate and three pups to keep tracking Western Oregon's only known wolf family as it works its way toward pack status.

OR-7 set off in search of a mate in September 2011, covering thousands of meandering miles from his birthplace in northeastern Oregon to Northern California before settling in southwest Oregon. The wolf gained worldwide fame as his GPS tracking collar showed his wanderings across mountains, deserts and highways.

A federal biologist plans to set foot-hold snares in the area of eastern Jackson County in hopes of capturing at least one of the animals so it can be fitted with a GPS-transmitting collar similar to the one used to track OR-7's 3,000-mile journey that led him here.

"It's kind of the luck of the draw in who you can get," says John Stephenson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist tracking OR-7 from his Bend office. "It will probably end up one of the pups because they're the most curious."

State and federal biologists have active GPS collars on 12 wolves, and 28 have been collared in Oregon since 2009, one year after the first known wolf migrated from Idaho into Oregon, according to Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Wolf Program.

Oregon updates its wolf population data at the end of December, and last year's end-of-the-year count showed 64 known wolves, Dennehy said.

Oregon has eight known packs, as well as individual wolves and a new group of wolves discovered last month 30 miles north of Enterprise, Dennehy added. Collared animals are in all but two packs and the newly discovered group, she said.

"Having at least one per pack really helps with monitoring," Dennehy says. "Recollaring OR-7 will help track this group of wolves."

Not only are the devices used for locating and tracking the packs, they can also help biologists determine breeding success. OR-7's GPS coordinates helped lead to photographs of his mate and pups earlier this year. Knowing their locations also allows the agency to warn farmers and ranchers when a pack is close to them, and the coordinates can be used to verify predation loss, Dennehy said.

Since he was collared, OR-7 has never been associated with livestock depredation, though his former pack was involved in livestock predation before and after he was collared, Dennehy said.

Right now, OR-7 and his family are considered a group of wolves. The definition for a pack is four or more wolves traveling together in winter, she added.

They will not be considered an official breeding pair until at least one of the new pups survives through December.

"Often we don't make those distinctions until winter," she said.

ATHERTON, CA: Big 4th quarter propels EOU football team

Mountaineers 1-0 this season

Posted August 23, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University football team won their season opener on the road in Atherton, California against Menlo College.  Eastern took a 13-0 lead earlier in the game, but the Oaks cut the lead to 16-14 at halftime.  Menlo then scored  two touchdowns in the 3rd quarter to take a 27-24 lead, but the Mountaineers erased the deficit quickly scoring 22 points in the 4th quarter to win 45-27.  The Mountaineers used a two-pronged attack to keep the Menlo defense guessing all day, rushing for 170 yards and throwing for 391.  Eastern outgained Menlo 551 yard to 374 yards.  Individually the Mountaineers were led by Zack Bartlow who was23-of-33 for 391 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Justin Hernandez caught six passes for 118 yards and two scores while led the running attack with 57 yards on 12 carries.  He also caught 2 passes for 53 yards and a score.

Eastern will take two weeks off before they return to action on September 13th at home against Southern Oregon.  You can follow the Mountaineers all season long on NewsTalk 103 and online at www.myeasternoregon.com

LA GRANDE, OR: EMG staff participate in Ice Bucket Challenge

Those who got called out...are you up to the challenge?

Posted on August 22, 2014

For those of you who are a part of the social media world, recently you have seen a lot of video’s and call outs for people to participate in what is being called the Ice Bucket Challenge.  And this is all in an effort to raise awareness and fund for ALS research.

Of course some of us here at Elkhorn Media Group got called out and we rose to the occasion.  Our very own Shannon McKone and Ken Kennedy took the challenge and called out some local business people to follow suit with the challenge.  Randy Willson with La Grande Grocery Outlet, Carmen Gentry with the Union County Senior Center, Shaun Daggett at Northwest Furniture and Mattress, Al MacLeod from Joe Beans Coffee and The La Grande Parks and Recreation Department.  You have 24 hours to complete this challenge.  Are you up to the task?  If you would like to see the Elkhorn Media Group Ice Bucket Challenge you are invited to check out the video on our Facebook page.


PENDLETON, OR: Dateline NBC to air a two hour special

No word yet on when the episode will air

Posted on August 21, 2014

The odd case of Lukah Chang will soon be coming to NBC Television.  The show Dateline NBC sent a crew to Pendleton to tell the story of the death of 21-year-old Amyjane Brandhagen and the beating of Karen Lange a year later.  Chang pled guilty to both crimes but has never given a reason.  After weeks of searching for him, Chang was found living in the ceiling of the Convention Center in Pendleton.  Police Chief Stuart Roberts says NBC officials have told him they are going to make a rare two-hour episode out of the case, and Roberts says there will be things revealed that the public hasn’t heard yet.  There’s no word yet on when the episode will air.

NORTHEAST OREGON: Check label from food bank for tainted items

Items with the "best by" date of before July 21, 2015 could be bad

Posted on August 21, 2014

Officials with the Oregon Food Bank in Salem are asking people who received either peanut or almond butter from any of Oregon’s Food Banks to check the label on the product.  The company who manufactures the product is recalling it because it may be tainted with salmonella.  Northeast Oregon Food Bank Director Carmen Gentry says it is a product they distribute in Union, Baker, Wallowa and Grant Counties:

Carmen Gentry:  “we’re asking anyone who has been to a food bank- if you’ve received any of the almond butter or peanut butter to either take it back to the food pantry that you received it at or please discard it as soon as you possibly can”

To tell if you have some of the possibly tainted product, Gentry says to look at the label.  If the best by date is before July 21, 2015 it could be bad.