Eastern Oregon News & Sports

PENDLETON, OR: Pendleton conducts first drone flights

Oregon is one of three states to be approved by the Federal Government

Posted on October 1, 2014

Developers of a test range in Eastern Oregon for the drones have conducted their first flights, but high winds ended them early.  The tests were conducted Tuesday above a field north of Pendleton. The developers expects commercial drone users to use both a test range near the local airport as well as off-site locations.  The four-propeller drone was to scan a small barbecue grill for heat signatures to test  its ability to pinpoint hot spots in wildfires.  It launched and landed twice before the testers determined the winds measured at about 21 mph were too high.  The site is among those in Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii approved by the federal government last year.

Courtesy of KNDU

ELGIN, OR: County moving forward with Palmer Junction Road rebuild

Federal government contributing $6 million

Posted October 1, 2014

An important Union County road project that has been pushed back for years is finally going forward.  Union County Public Works Director Doug Wright said yesterday the county is preparing for major work on Palmer Junction Road, work that’s been needed for years: "The access to the national forest land and, of course, the other recreational portions to Palmer Junction Road, but also the  most important piece is the Elgin Mill."

Three culverts on the road will be replaced and the road will be repaved.  The federal government will contribute $6 million for the project.  Union County has to contribute 10%.  Work is expected to begin in 2016.

UNION COUNTY, OR: Ban on open burning lifted outside ODF protection

Citizens are urged to continue to use extreme caution

Posted on October 1, 2014

The annual county wide burn ban expired as of September 30. While temperatures have cooled, fuel conditions remain extremely dry. Citizens are urged to use extreme caution when burning. Prior to burning, contact the Smoke Management Center at (541) 963-4040, for current burn conditions and burn permit information. Individuals within Oregon Department of Forestry protection remain under regulated closure. Information regarding the regulated closure can be found at www.bmidc.org or contact
the Oregon Department of Forestry at 541-963-3168.

PENDLETON, OR: Judge denies mistrial request in Craigen murder trial

As many of as six jurors could have disclosed elements of case

Posted on October 1, 2014


The murder trial of George West Craigen is moving forward. Circuit court Judge Russell West denied a defense motion Thursday for a mistrial.

Defense attorney Dean Gushwa asked for the mistrial after learning jurors talked about Craigen wearing a stun belt. One juror asked a bailiff if Craigen wore a stun belt, and the bailiff said if he was, that was a good thing. Then a second juror told the other he knew Craigen was wearing the security device.



One key element when it comes to sitting on a jury is to comply completely with the rules that the judge has set forth.  The murder trial of George West Craigen in Pendleton could be on the verge of a mistrial after as many as six jurors may have disobeyed the instruction of Circuit Court Judge Russell Wes that they were not to discuss any elements of the case.


UNION COUNTY, OR: Restoration focuses building resilient forests

The La Grande Ranger District has been working hard towards these restoration efforts

Posted on October 1, 2014

As plumes of smoke from wildfires filled the skies over eastern Oregon this summer, the need for forest restoration work was on everyone’s minds. The Eastside Restoration Initiative in eastern Oregon focuses on restoration activities to restore resiliency to fire-dependent forests, watersheds and aquatic ecosystems, and wildlife habitat. The La Grande Ranger District has been working hard to contribute to these restoration efforts.

The Sandbox Vegetation Management Project is located adjacent to several roadless areas and the Eagle Cap Wilderness in the South Fork Catherine Creek area southeast of La Grande. Years of fire suppression in the Sandbox area has allowed not only fuel loadings to buildup to hazardous levels but also has seen the ingrowth of trees and shrubs, which act as ladder fuels allowing active wildfires to move from the ground up into the crowns of trees. Crown fires account for high levels of tree mortality and a high rate of fire spread, especially when driven by wind.

The Sandbox project will produce two timber sales to be sold in 2014 and 2015, totaling an estimated 6 million board feet of timber and a variety of service contract work to complete thousands of acres of small tree thinning and fuel reduction treatments. It will not only improve forests by thinning crowded stands of trees, but also will reduce fuel loadings along strategic roads and ridge tops within the project area, providing safer and more effective options for firefighters during fire suppression activities. While the project was not designed to stop a wildfire, once it is complete these areas will provide safe places from which firefighters can work to keep wildfires from coming out of or going on to private lands, wilderness, and roadless areas. “Having these key areas treated will provide opportunties to more safely manage future fires and help reduce unwanted impacts in the event of a wildfire in the area,” reported Bill Gamble, La Grande District Ranger.

Also within the heart of the Sandbox area is the Corral Creek Road Relocation project focusing on the restoration of aquatic ecosystems in Corral Creek and South Fork Catherine Creek. These creeks provide important habitat for Snake River Basin summer steelhead and Snake River Basin spring chinook salmon, which are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This project will construct 0.35 miles of new road out of the Corral Creek draw bottom and reconstruct portions of Forest System Roads (FSR) 7700600 and 7700620 to improve drainage, reduce sediment into Corral Creek and the South Fork Catherine Creek, and improve fish passage in these creeks. More than a half mile of the draw bottom road pictured above will be removed once the new road up slope of Corral Creek is completed. Large wood will also be placed in the creek, and riparian shrubs and trees planted, to improve fish habitat and riparian conditions. Construction began on this project this summer and the roads mentioned above are currently closed to traffic. Once complete this fall, the roads will provide improved public access through this area, and improved habitat for fish and other aquatic species.

Along the northern edge of the Sandbox project area two bridges were recently constructed near where Buck Creek (constructed in 2010) and the Middle Fork Catherine Creek (constructed in 2013) flow into North Fork Catherine Creek. The North Fork Catherine Creek provides important habitat for Chinook salmon, summer steelhead, and bull trout, which is also listed as a threatened species under the ESA. The old bridge near Buck Creek was condemned years ago and eventually closed and removed because it was no longer safe for use. “Construction of the new bridge in 2010 allowed us to re-establish this popular access route from the North Fork Catherine Creek road (7785) to the Buck Creek trailhead,” said District Ranger Gamble.

The new bridge over North Fork Catherine Creek on FSR 7785100 near the Middle Fork Catherine Creek replaced the ford that previously existed in this area. The ford was impassable to vehicles during high flows and the culverts under it were undersized, easily plugged, and acted as a barrier to fish passage during low flows. The installation of the new bridge pictured above has improved fish habitat and access to the high quality habitat upstream, while also providing safe access for the public to the trails and areas accessed by FSR 7785100.

“We are proud to contribute to the Eastside Restoration efforts by reducing fuel loadings, improving aquatic habitat, and providing for safe public access on the La Grande Ranger District. These efforts will not only lead to improved resource conditions and resiliency of watersheds, but also provide a variety of employment and economic benefits to communities surrounding the Forest. We are committed to doing the right thing for the resources we manage on behalf of the American public,” shared District Ranger Gamble. -USDA-

LA GRANDE, OR: La Grande Mayoral candidate passes away

Brasure was a strong advocate for senior issues

Posted October 1, 2014

La Grande Mayoral candidate Michael Brasure passed away suddenly yesterday morning.  Brasure was heavily involved in the Union County Senior Center and was a strong advocate for senior issues.  He gave the La Grande City Council a monthly update on what was going on at the center.  When it comes to November’s Mayoral race, unless another candidate mounts a write-in campaign, the seat will go to Brasure’s challenger Steve Clements according to City Manager Robert Strope.

BAKER CITY, OR: Watch for the signs that someone is being abused

There are many different types of abuse

Posted October 1, 2014

As we continue our look at domestic violence it’s important to remember that not all abuse is physical.  May Day inc’s Fonda Siex explains some of the signs of abuse that are not so easily seen: "Abusers are extremely jealous, they may be constantly accusing you of cheating on them, and sometimes they will even say that I love you so much and this is why I am checking on you all the time."

Controlling behaviors like this are called social abuse and can be just as damaging as physical abuse.  In the State of Oregon alone nearly 50% of males and females that are the victims of abuse are socially abused. Feeling like they have no where to turn can be a hopeless feeling, which is just what the abuser wants:  "See a lot of isolation from friends and family which is really unfortunate because when they finally what to leave a situation the abuser has isolated them from all their resources."

For information on all forms of domestic abuse contact your local abuse center.

LA GRANDE, OR: Being prepared for emergencies means practice

People should also get certified in first aid, CPR

Posted October 1, 2014

We spent the month of September talking about emergency preparedness- getting you and your family ready to survive any emergency situation we might face.  After your family has worked out an emergency plan and put together an emergency kit, Andi Walsh with the Center for Human Development says all that’s left to do is practice: "With your family, practice whether it’s around the table saying where are we going to meet if there’s an emergency here at home, who are we going to call- let’s check our numbers making sure we’ve got that all figured out, where do we go for information."

Walsh says it may seem silly to kids in the family, but in case of emergency that information will be invaluable.  And, in case of a wide spread emergency, first responders may not be able to get to everyone right away.  That’s why walsh recommends one more step everyone should take: "We should all think about getting our first aid and CPR training as well in terms of community response and resilience."

Classes are normally offered by the American Red Cross and aren’t expensive, but they give you the knowledge to help in an emergency situation.

LA GRANDE, OR: Foot pursuit ends in arrest of repeat offender

Denning has several previous arrests in Union County

Posted on September 30, 2014

A short foot pursuit this afternoon in La Grande ended in the arrest of a wanted man according to Sergeant John Shaul with the La Grande Police Department.  Senior Office Jared Rogers spotted Union County resident Jake Denning who he noticed from previous arrests and knew that he had outstanding Union County warrants.  As Officer Rogers approached  Denning, he took to off running in an attempt to elude Officer Rogers.  Rogers was able to catch up and arrest Denning in a ditch between 16th and 18th street in La Grande.  Warrant’s out on Denning included:  Robbery III, Assault IV, Attempt to Elude and Criminal Trespassing in the First Degree. After today’s events new charges on Denning include Escape III.  Denning is currently being held in the Union County Jail.

BAKER CITY, OR: Work to close the Loop Road for the winter

Work will prepare the road for paving next year

Posted October 1, 2014

The 13-mile stretch of the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road, also known as the North Pine section of Forest Service Road (FSR) 39, is still under construction and will be closing on October 15th for the winter, to allow the contractor to complete major repairs in preparation for paving next summer and fall. This North Pine section of FSR 39 begins at the junction of Highway 86 (10 miles east of Halfway, Oregon), heads north for 13 miles on FSR 39, and ends at the junction with FSR 66 (Duck Creek/Fish Lake Road). 

Forest Service Road 66 remains the detour route, was in good condition this summer, and will continue to be open until snow fall.  This 30-mile detour route is a single-lane gravel road with turnouts.  It is suitable for vehicles with trailers; however is is not recommended for motor homes or motorcycles.

“We realize that this construction is an inconvenience, especially for hunters this time of the year.  We are hopeful the public understands the need to close the North Pine section of the 39 Road because there are sections of the road that will be totally rebuilt, with no room for travelling around the construction.  The result of this inconvenience will pay off in the long run, with this newly paved section of FSR 39 after next fall,” expressed Kris Stein, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Ranger.

Currently and until October 15th, visitors travelling the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road can expect to encounter more construction activity in this 13-mile stretch of the road, with up to one hour delays until October 15th.  The contractor has until November 30, 2015 to complete this project.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball drops one spot in the polls

EOU still ranked ahead of Southern Oregon

Posted October 1, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University volleyball team dropped one spot to No. 12 in the fourth regular season edition of the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday.
Last week, the Mountaineers went 1-1 and the week started off with a heartbreaking loss to Southern Oregon University, 3-2 (25-20, 26-28, 25-16, 20-25, 18-20), on Friday evening. Casey Loper led the Mountaineers with 19 kills. Amanda Miller followed with 15 kills and Kasundra Tuma had 10 kills for EOU. Rachelle Chamberlain dished out 54 assists on the night. Jessalyn Smith led the team with 20 digs. 
The Mountaineers rebounded the next night as Eastern Oregon swept Oregon Tech, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19, Saturday evening on Danny Miles Court.  Loper nd Katina Ferguson led the Mountaineers with a game-high, 12 kills, apiece. Chamberlain recorded 39 assists on the game, while Smith collected 16 digs against the Owls. 
The Mountaineers return to action on Friday, Oct. 3 when they host Concordia (Ore.) at Quinn Coliseum at 7 p.m. Come cheer on EOU and wear blue and get loud!

2014 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Rating No. 4 (Sep. 30)

1 1 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (22) 17-2 622
2 2 Texas-Brownsville 16-1 602
3 3 Concordia (Calif.) 16-1 616
4 4 Park (Mo.) 20-0 561
5 5 Biola (Calif.) 14-4 535
6 6 Northwestern (Iowa) 18-2 516
7 7 Columbia (Mo.) 19-2 493
8 8 Viterbo (Wisc.) 19-3 481
9 9 Madonna (Mich.) 20-2 463
10 10 Midland (Neb.) 15-3 455
11 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 17-2 401
12 11 Eastern Oregon 16-2 399
13 14 Southern Oregon 12-3 386
14 16 Georgetown (Ky.) 12-4 343
15 15 Oklahoma Baptist 14-6 342
16 13 Dordt (Iowa) 10-7 339
17 20 Evangel (Mo.) 15-5 282
18 19 Missouri Baptist 16-1 250
18 21 Vanguard (Calif.) 15-6 250
20 23 Coastal Georgia 17-0 223
21 17 Grand View (Iowa) 11-10 213
22 24 Jamestown (N.D.) 12-4 170
23 24 Ashford (Iowa) 18-4 159
24 22 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 9-8 140
25 RV Davenport (Mich.) 12-4 132

Others receiving votes: Concordia (Neb.) 87; Trinity Christian (Ill.) 83; Cal State San Marcos 72; Bryan (Tenn.) 55; Westmont (Calif.) 52; St. Catharine (Ky.) 44; Concordia (Ore.) 43; Hastings (Neb.) 43; St Thomas (Fla.) 22; Carroll (Mont.) 17; Indiana Wesleyan (12); Baker (Kan.) 11; Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 9; College of Idaho 8; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 3.

BAKER CITY, OR: Man accused of sexual abuse could have local victims

Incident could have happened as recently as April

Posted on September 30, 2014

A Nampa man recently charged with sexually abusing two young girls.  Lester Eugene Palmer, 54, was arrested after the girls' grandmother discovered the alleged abuse and called police.  According to court documents, Palmer told a deputy he planned to flee the country, or alternately, to escape to the wilderness and let the elements kill him but one week after the allegations surfaced Palmer turned himself in. Police say Palmer has lived in multiple states and they fear he may have additional victims.  Incidents would have likely happened in Arizona, Oregon, Missouri, Illinois or South Carolina between 1994 and 2014. Palmer was also in Kellogg, Idaho and Baker City, Oregon as recently as April.  The suspect is currently charged with two counts of lewd conduct, sexual abuse of a child, and forcible sexual penetration with a foreign object. He is currently held in the Canyon County Jail on a $500,000 bond, and is due in court Wednesday.

Anyone with information about Palmer or other possible victims is urged to call Detective Kari Seibel at 208-475-5715 or seibelk@cityofnampa.us.

CANYON CITY, OR: Whistle-blower files suit against Grant County

Employee says he was fired for reporting illegal chat

Posted on September 30, 2014

A Grant County employee reviewing job applications as part of a county team applied a vulgar term for lesbian to one applicant, who subsequently wasn’t considered for the job.  County Judge Scott Myers, responding to a complaint about the incident, later denied the applicant had been called a “dyke,” a derogatory term for lesbians.  Instead, Myers clarified, the employee used a different, more vulgar phrase. “She has since apologized,” Myers said.  The crude reference became public as the county defends itself against allegations by another employee that he was fired for blowing the whistle on discriminatory talk in the Dec. 9 application review meeting. Under state law, it is illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of sexual orientation.  Myers admitted the slur in an April 28 letter to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Civil Rights Division, which was investigating a complaint filed last spring by James N. Gravley, then a parole and probation officer the County Corrections Department. Gravley, who had worked for Grant County since October 2012, was fired June 18.  Myers, in his letter, confirms that Gravley, two other Community Corrections employees and their supervisor Dean Hoodenpyl discussed the applicant. He said that although Hoodenpyl heard an employee use the vulgar term, “he did not process at the time what it meant.”  Myers said Hoodenpyl later gave the two other workers verbal warnings as a result of the incident. 

BOLI has not issued a final order in the complaint, but records obtained by the Eagle show the agency notified the parties July 23 that it found “substantial evidence” supporting allegations the county discriminated against Gravley after the meeting.  “A reasonable person could conclude that complainant presented substantial evidence that respondent subjected him to scrutiny and disciplined him based on reporting a legal violation,” according to the BOLI notice.  BOLI spokesman Charlie Burr said last week an initial complaint about work conditions was unfounded, but Gravley’s amended complaint regarding the fallout from the Dec. 9 meeting is still open.  Under state law, the agency’s next step is to seek a settlement through informal conciliation between the parties.  Meanwhile, Gravley has filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was fired for blowing the whistle on illegal conduct. His attorney, Michael C. Ellis, filed the suit Sept. 9 in U.S. District Court in Pendleton.  Named as defendants are Grant County, Myers, Hoodenpyl, and County Clerk Brenda Percy, who is the county’s personnel officer.  The filing outlines six claims that he has suffered loss of wages and benefits, emotional distress, and injury to his reputation. He seeks at least $800,000.  Like the BOLI complaint, his lawsuit contends he was singled out for discipline and increased scrutiny after he blew the whistle on discriminatory conduct, complaining to Hoodenpyl about comments made by others during the job applicant discussion. Myers and Percy were not at the 2013 applicant review meeting, but participated in the later discipline, according to the timeline from the lawsuit.  “Defendants began micromanaging and second guessing plaintiff’s field work, his use of firearms, and his interactions with Oregon State Police,” the complaint says. It contends that such concerns before Dec. 9 were “minimal or non-existent.”  On May 2, Myers and Percy issued a “last chance agreement” to Gravley that the lawsuit contends “mostly covered areas that plaintiff had never been disciplined or counseled on previously.”  Gravley contends scrutiny of his past work intensified after he complained to BOLI, and that this entailed treatment different from that accorded to other workers.  “Employees who did not oppose sex or sexual orientation discrimination, who did not file claims with BOLI or the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and who did not complain of unsafe work practices were not subject to the same or similar scrutiny as plaintiff,” the lawsuit says.

The county was served with the lawsuit about Sept. 22 and has 21 days to file a response.  Myers declined to comment in detail, but said the county has acted on advice of its insurer, Citycounty Insurance Services.  His letter in the BOLI case outlined the county’s position at that time, contending that Gravley was disciplined for foul language, exceeding his role as a probation officer, and ignoring “multiple directives from his supervisor” to stop getting involved in law enforcement activities.  In response, BOLI said the county wasn’t able to produce evidence that officials were as concerned with or critical of those issues before the Dec. 9 meeting.  The agency said the record didn’t support all of Gravley’s claims, but concluded there was substantial evidence of an unlawful employment practice in applying different terms, conditions and discipline.  Myers said he didn’t think the complaint was investigated well.  “We are not going to roll over,” he said.

Courtesy of Blue Mountain Eagle

LA GRANDE, OR: 2,350 laps complete, $9,000 raised

LHS cross country team finishes the most laps

Posted September 30, 2014

The annual Drug Free Relay sponsored by the Union County Safe Communities Coalition was held on Saturday and was a great success according to DeAnn Mansveld who helped organize the event.  The winning team this year was the La Grande High School cross country team who completed 396 laps.  The La Grande High School band finished second more than one hundred laps back.  Mansveld says the almost $9,000 raised will go to good use: "That money will go back into the community in alcohol or tobacco use prevention partnership opportunities."

Twelve local organizations walked a total of 2,350 laps and Mansveld says the annual event attracts a wide ranging crowd: "What’s always awesome is that we have a huge cross section of the community from little babies to great grandma’s that came out."

Organizations who would like to partner with the Union County Safe Communities Coalition on prevention efforts can start applying for funds in January.

BAKER CITY, OR: Domestic violence against men on the rise

Violence against men usually verbal

Posted September 30, 2014

While 85% of the people who reported being victims of domestic violence last year were women, the number of men that report being victimized is also in the increase according to Fonda Siex with May Day inc:  "We have had more cases of male clients just here in our center in the last 5 to 6 months we have noticed an increase in males."

Domestic violence against males tends to be more verbal rather than physical according to Siex.  Children who are exposed to domestic violence are 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually assaulted and one in four women are the victims of domestic violence?  Often times these acts of violence leads to dire consequences according to Siex: "Number of women that are murdered by the husbands or boyfriends in this country everyday on average is more than 3 women are murdered by the husbands or boyfriends."

If you are the victim of domestic violence, help is available.  Don’t be a statistic- contact your local abuse center.

BAKER CITY, OR: Restrictions lifted on many area trails

Restrictions in the Freezeout Ridge area remain

Posted September 30, 2014

With the cooler, wetter weather, fire officials with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest are reopening several trails and lifting other restrictions.  The Ice Lake Trail and closures around the Somers Fire have now been lifted along with temporary flight restrictions over the West Fork Fire.  Closures remain in place around the Freezeout Ridge Fire burning on the Idaho side of the Snake River.

LA GRANDE, OR. Street repaving to cause closures

Work to begin tomorrow morning

Posted September 30, 2014

Motorists who pass through the Island Avenue/Washington Avenue/’N’ Avenue five way intersection will be forced to take a different route for a few days as work crews prepare to repave the street.  The work will start tomorrow morning at 7:00 am and continue Thursday and Monday as long as the weather cooperates.  The streets that will be impacted will be 10th Street from ‘N’ Avenue to ‘L’ Avenue.

LA GRANDE, OR: City of La Grande looking for volunteers

Commissions support the city council

Posted September 30, 2014

If you’ve ever wanted to get involved in local policy making, the City of La Grande has some opportunities.  There are several current openings on commissions that help advise the city council on a wide range of issues.  There are six vacancies on the air quality commission, one on the arts commission, one on the landscape and forestry commission, one on the parking and traffic safety commission and two on the planning commission.  If you’re interested in applying for any of the open seats, applications are available at City Hall or on the city website.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU kicker Marc David gets national honors

Kicker hit the winning field goal against Rocky Mountain

Posted September 30, 2014

Junior, Marc David has been named the Frontier Conference and NAIA Football Special Teams Player of the Week the National Office announced Monday.
With three seconds on the clock and the game tied at 24-24, David lined up for a 30 yard field goal. David's kick went through the upright and Eastern Oregon defeated Rocky Mountain.
David went 2-for-3 on field goals on the afternoon and was 1-for-1 on PAT's. He averaged 42.0 yards per punt.
David and the Mountaineers return to action on Saturday, Oct. 4th at 6 p.m. when they host College of Idaho Yotes. Wear blue and get loud this Saturday night.

WALLOWA COUNTY, OR: Accident near Minam closes road temporarily

Accident happened at milepost 36

Posted on Septebmer 29, 2014

OR 82 just east of Minam at milepost 36 in Wallowa County was the scene of an accident involving a log truck and an RV this morning.  No serious injuries were reported even though persons involved were taken to a local area hospital to be treated for minor injuries.  The load on the log truck caused the road to be closed for a period of time until a company from La Grande was able to clear the area.  


LA GRANDE, OR: Goss Motors win prestigious award

Mark Goss accepted the award of "Stars of Broadcast Advertising"

Posted on September 26, 2014

Randy McKone President and Owner of Elkhorn Media Media Group and current Board Chair for the Oregon Association of Broadcasters presents Mark Goss of the MJ Goss Motor Company in La Grande with the Oregon Association of Broadcasters prestigious "Stars of Broadcast Advertising" award at their annual Fall Conference this evening at Sunriver, Oregon.  This award is presented to a business in Oregon to recognize their commitment to local broadcast advertising. This is the first time a business from Eastern Oregon has been selected. The Elkhorn Media Group congratulates the MJ Goss Motor Company and thanks them for 25 years of continued business.


LA GRANDE, OR: Plan calls for $1.8 million in work on Greenwood

The 1956 built school still has original windows

Posted September 29, 2014

While most of the attention with the proposed $31.8 million La Grande School District bond focused on replacing Central School, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of work on other district facilities.  One of those that will see a lot of work is Greenwood Elementary according to Superintendent Larry Glaze who says the plan is to put about $1.8 million into the building starting with the windows:

 "Tthose windows were put in the building in 1956, so what that should tell people is that they’re energy inefficient and they need to be replaced."

The other big part of the proposed work at Greenwood is the addition of classroom space to handle all-day Kindergarten and the lowering of the brick chimney at the back of the school for safety reasons.  Glaze says there are also several projects designed to make Greenwood safer: "We will change the front office around and add another doorway entry- a vestibule- to increase security so that the office can better control the entry of people into the building."

Glaze says they will also replace the classroom doors which currently lock from the outside of the classroom instead of the inside which makes it impossible for teachers to keep intruders out of the classroom.  Ballots in the vote by mail election go in the mail in mid-October.

BAKER CITY, OR: Domestic violence cases on the rise

1,700 calls for help in Union, Baker and Wallowa Counties

Posted September 29, 2014

Domestic violence is a growing problem in our country.  In Union, Baker and Wallowa Counties last year alone there was over 1,700 calls for help for domestic violence related issues.  But just what is domestic violence?  According to victims advocate Fonda Siex domestic violence is: "When one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tried to dominate or control the other person.  Violence that includes physical violence is called domestic violence."

In the State of Oregon in 2013 there was a total of 140,637 calls made regarding domestic violence.  And it’s important to remember that when it comes to domestic violence anyone can become a victim: "It happens among heterosexual couples, and in same sex partnerships, it occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds and economic levels."

If you are a victim of domestic violence help is available.  Contact your local victims shelter or law enforcement.

BAKER CITY, OR: Public works crews clean up watershed area

3,400 feet of the Auburn pipeline cleared of roots

Posted September 29, 2014

Members of the Baker City Public Works Department spent last week working on the Auburn pipeline where it comes out of the watershed.  They cleared brush and roots from the pipeline and cleaned 3,400 feet of the Hawk Springs section.  Crews also installed a chain link fence at the water treatment facility.

PENDLETON, OR: Investigation into modified wheat concludes

The modified wheat was an isolated incident

Posted September 29, 2014

The investigation into genetically modified wheat found in a field near Pendleton last year has been completed.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that the modified wheat was an isolated incident and was developed by Monsato to be resistant to the herbiside Roundup.  Investigators found no evidence that the wheat was ever sold and say that the wheat was never a threat to consumers.

BAKER CITY, OR: Rifle hunters can now get permits to hunt the watershed

Area once again open to hunters

Posted September 29, 2014

It may be too late for archery season, but rifle hunters will be able to get permits to access the Baker City watershed after cooler weather moved into the region late last week lowering the fire danger.  There has been no access to the watershed since July.  Entry into the area is by permit only and hunters can get a permit by going to the Public Works Department in City Hall.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball sweeps Oregon Tech

Lady Mountaineers bounce back from tough loss

Posted September 29, 2014

The No. 11 Eastern Oregon University volleyball team rebounded from its second loss of the season to sweep, Oregon Tech, 25-23, 25-22, 25-19, Saturday evening on Danny Miles Court.
Casey Loper and Katina Ferguson led the Mountaineers with a game-high, 12 kills, apiece. Rachelle Chamberlain recorded 39 assists on the game, while Jessalyn Smith collected 16 digs against the Owls. 
The first set of the night remained tight as there were five ties and three lead changes. Eastern Oregon trailed early in set one, and after an attack error by Chamberlain, EOU trailed, 9-6. Oregon Tech continued to slowly extend its lead over EOU and led 22-16, late in set one.  The Mountaineers only allowed the Owls to score one point the rest of the set, while EOU rallied off nine points to take set one, 25-23. 
The Mountaineers found themselves down early in set two before mounting a five-zero run to take the lead, 7-4, over Oregon Tech. Once Eastern Oregon took the lead, they never gave it back and started to extend its ladvantage to five points, 18-13, after an Emily Nay kill.  Oregon Tech tried to battle back but could not get closer than two points, 23-21 and 24-22, for the remainder of the set. EOU took set two, 25-22, after a Ferguson kill. 
Oregon Tech kept the third set close with the Mountaineers. With the score tied at, 5-5, EOU extended its lead as they went on a 12-3 run to take a nine point advantage over the Owls. Oregon Tech would not go away quietly and continued to battle. After a service error by Linsey Jones, the Mountaineers held match point. Nay gave the Mountaineers the set and match. 
Eastern Oregon returns to action on Friday, Oct. 3rd when they host Concordia (Ore.) at 7 p.m. at Quinn Coliseum. 

Photo and story by EOU SID Travis Rae

COVE, OR: Volleyball teams participate in Cove tournament

Host team opens with a big win

Posted September 27, 2014

The Cove volleyball team opened their tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Enterprise.  Union swept Elgin, Burns beat Enterprise 3-0 and then swept Cove 3-0.  Imbler beat Union in straight sets.

The Cove volleyball team has now beaten Imbler in consecutive tournaments.

BAKER CITY, OR: Bulldog, Tiger soccer teams lose

Rough Saturday for area soccer teams

Posted September 27, 2014

The Baker boys soccer team lost to Emmett, Idaho 1-0 while the Baker girls lost to Emmett 2-1.

In Greater Oregon League action the Mac Hi boys beat La Grande 3-0 while the Mac Hi girls edged La Grande 3-2.

BILLINGS, MT: #21 EOU edges #10 Rocky Mountain

Marc David kicks a 30 yard field goal for the win

Posted September 27, 2014

After taking a 13-0 lead into the halftime locker room, Eastern Oregon University needed a big play to survive #10 Rocky Mountain in Billings, Montana.  Senior Bryce Baker led the Battlin' Bears back to take an early 4th quarter lead, but Eastern quickly answer with just under 10:00 minutes left in the game to take a 24-17 lead.  Baker led a 63 yard drive to tie the score againwith just over 3:00 left.  Eastern then marched down the field, but a fumble by AJ Prom gave the Bears the ball back at their own 13 yard line.  But two plays later the Mountaineers took the ball back on an interception that gave them the ball at the Bears 26 yard line with 1:02 left.  A few plays later Marc David hit the winning field goal with no time left on the clock.  The Mountaineers return home next Saturday to take on the College of Idaho for homecoming.  It will be a special game time this year with kickoff at 6:00.

LA GRANDE, OR: La Grande upends 6A Madison, other area scores

Elgin survives Pine Eagle for homecoming win

Posted September 26, 2014

The La Grande football team scored 22 second quarter points and had just enough in the second half to beat James Madison High School 41-25.  La Grande is now 2-2 this season.  Ray Jimenez scored his first touchdown of the season unofficially ending the game with 230 yards on 19 carries.  Chase Huffman added two scores and Andrew Peasley caught a long touchdown from Brandon Dall.  The Tigers will be on the road again next Friday night as they travel to Walla Walla to take on DeSales.


Other Greater Oregon League scores from tonight: Vale beat Baker 58-28 and Weston-McEwen beat Mac Hi 33-21.  Ontario will host Pleasant Hill tomorrow.  In area scores Elgin survived Pine Eagles comeback bid 50-46 to win their homecoming game, Imbler led 41-0 at halftime and beat Stanfield 47-14, Union/Cove rolled over Irrigon 56-18.


In high school volleyball Imbler swept Stanfield 3-0 and Griswold beat Pine Eagle 3-0.

In college volleyball #14 Southern Oregon University beat #11 Eastern Oregon University 20-25, 28-26, 16-25, 25-20 and 20-18.

VALE, OR: Vale wins homecoming game against Baker

Bulldogs run back two kickoffs for touchdowns

Posted on September 26, 2014

The Baker Bulldogs lost one on the road in Vale friday night 58 to 28. The Vikings jumped out to an early lead to take a 36 to 8 lead into the locker room at halftime. The bright spot for the Bulldogs was that they ran two kickoffs back for touchdowns in the second half, both were more than 90 yards. The Bulldogs are on the road next friday night to the Round-up city to battle the Pendleton Buckaroos. Game time is 7:00.

BAKER CITY, OR: Watershed open to hunters

Permits are available at the Public Works Department

Posted on September 26, 2014

With fire restrictions being lifted Baker City officials are now allowing the sale of permits for entry into the Baker City watershed area.  This particular area is popular with archery hunters but had to be closed for a period of time due to dry weather and fire hazards.  The watershed will open to hunters tomorrow.  Permits can be obtained at the Baker City Public Works Department in City Hall

BAKER CITY, OR: Public use restrictions to end on Wallowa Whitman

Restrictions will be lifted at midnight

Posted September 26, 2014

Effective 12:01 am on September 27, 2014, public use restrictions pertaining to chainsaw use, smoking, and off-road travel will be lifted on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. This allows firewood cutting to resume all day.

Seasonal campfire restrictions will remain in place until October 31, 2014; however these campfire restrictions do not apply to designated Wilderness areas and specified exempted developed recreation sites (see Forest websites for exempted sites or areas).  “The intent is to allow campfire use, while promoting safe campfire building techniques that, in the long run, will protect lives, property, and our natural landscapes,” said Brian Goff, Umatilla Fire Management Officer.  Seasonalcampfire restrictions include:

1.    Campfires allowed only in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread, at a minimum clear of flammable material within a radius of 5 feet from the edge of the pit and free of overhanging material. Use existing pits wherever possible.

a.    Campfires must be attended at all times, and completely extinguished prior to leaving.

b.    Persons with campfires are required to have an axe, shovel, and one gallon of water in their possession (except in specified developed recreation sites listed in the Forest Order).

c.    Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottled gas and wood burning stoves equipped with a chimney that is at least five (5) feet in length with a spark-arresting screen consisting of ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth are allowed.

d.    Use of charcoal briquettes is permitted within the clearing requirements outlined under #1 above.

As a reminder, there are also site-specific year-round public use regulations still in effect (see the Forest websites for further information).

Forest visitors are urged to use caution when building and tending campfires, cooking fires, and fires in wood stoves.  “The potential for wildfire still exists despite recent rains and cooler temperatures so please never leave a fire unattended and always make sure the campfire is dead-out before leaving the site,” reports Bret Ruby Wallowa-Whitman Fire Management Officer.

Regulated closures remain in effect on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon.  Specific information on ODF’s restrictions is available on the web at: http://egov.oregon.gov/ODF/.    Similar restrictions are in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).  More information can be found on the WA-DNR website at: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx

The public is responsible for knowing if restrictions are in place and can obtain information through many avenues: 

·         Visit the Forest’s websites at:

·         www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman

·         www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla

·         Call the Forest’s offices or District offices at:

·         Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: 541-523-1246 or 541-523-1302

o   Whitman Ranger District: 541-523-6391 or 541074207511

o   La Grande Ranger District:  541-963-7186

o   Wallowa Mountains Office:  541-426-5546

·         Umatilla National Forest:  541-278-3716

o   Heppner Ranger District: 541-676-9187

o   North Fork John Day Ranger District: 541-427-3231

o   Pomeroy Ranger District: 509-843-1891

o   Walla Walla Ranger District: 509-522-6290

·         Call the Forest’s 24-Hour Information Hotlines:

·         Wallowa-Whitman National Forest:

o   Baker City:  541-523-1234

o   La Grande:  541-962-8679

o   Joseph:  541-426-5552

·         Umatilla National Forest: 877-958-9663

SUNRIVER, OR: Candidates have differing views on minimum wage

Both agree that Oregon needs to bring in more jobs

Posted September 26, 2014

One of the big areas of difference between Governor John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson during this morning’s debate sponsored by the Oregon Association of Broadcasters was on whether Oregon’s minimum wage should be higher.  Richardson points out Oregon is the only state where wages are tied to inflation: "We need to focus on the fact that minimum wage is supposed to be an entry wage.  What we need are more jobs- family wage paying jobs- in our state."

Richardson says he wants to expand the state’s gross domestic product which will create better jobs.  The Governor, however, disagreed: "I do believe the minimum wage should be higher- I’m not sure what- I don’t think it should be $15 but I could see it at $11 or so."

The Governor said just raising the minimum wage by itself isn’t the answer because at some point support services for minimum wage workers begins to drop off giving them less money in their pockets.

SUN RIVER, OR: Governor's candidates talk timber harvest

Both candidates want to increase harvest

Posted September 26, 2014

The second debate between Governor John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson was held this morning as part of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters conference, and part of the discussion centered on the timber industry and where both candidates feel harvest levels need to be.  Governor Kitzhaber says he is currently working with Oregon’s Senate delegation on a bill that would increase logging: "There are creative things we can do to find that middle ground that improves the economy, improves the health of the forest and keeps people back to work in the woods.  We’ve done it in Eastern Oregon."

The Governor used the Boise Cascade mill in La Grande and the mill in John Day as examples of how that creative approach can work.  But Richardson says more needs to be done: "I think the bill is flawed because, once again, it does not give the certainty that the timber industry needs.  What we need is to be able to count on certain timber that can be utilized by our mills."

Richardson says the rural communities in our state are languishing in a depression because they’re not allowed to use the natural resources around them.  Both candidates did agree that an increase in logging will not be popular with some groups.


LA GRANDE, OR: College tuition increases sharply as state support drops

EOU still the best value in the state

Posted September 26, 2014

Oregon colleges and universities have seen a steady drop in the amount of state support for public higher education for decades as the state struggles to balance budgets, but a report released yesterday showed just what that has meant for college students. In the fall of 2000, the state contributed $4,582 per student while tuition and fees accounted for $8,197 per year.  Currently the state pays $1,927 per student while fees and tuition averages $15,200 per student.  That’s a drop in state support of $2,655 while the increase to students has been $7,003.  Eastern Oregon University continues to be the best value in the state.

MEACHAM, OR: Wolves injure calf near Meacham Creek

GPS collared wolf visited the pasture forty times

Posted September 26, 2014

A calf injured near Meacham Creek has become the first confirmed act of predation by the Meacham pack of wolves.  ODF&W biologists examined the calf mid-week and found its wounds consistent with a wolf attack.  A wolf wearing a GPS collar was also present in the same pasture as the attack at least forty times in a seven day period leading up to the attack.

LA GRANDE, OR: As winter approaches, be prepared for emergencies

Having an emergency kit may save your life

Posted September 26, 2014

We’ve been talking this month about getting prepared for emergencies.  While we’ve focused on disasters that happen while we’re at home, we still more likely to encounter an emergency while we’re on the road.  Things like accidents, bad roads, slide offs- they can all distrupt our travels and strand us in the middle of nowhere.  Andi Walsh with the Center for Human Development says every car should have an emergency kit in it: "In it are poncho’s, heat blankets, there’s a three day water supply, a three day food supply."

And Walsh says there are a few items that few people think to pack: "other supplies to think of in terms of personal comfort is your clothing- you know, having some good winter clothing in there.  Thinking about restroom needs- have a plastic bag, have toilet paper."

And, if possible, make sure the items are placed where you can get to them without having to exit your vehicle.

BAKER CITY, OR: Baker volleyball wins, soccer loses

Soccer teams lose to Ontario

Posted September 26, 2014

The Baker volleyball is 2-0 in Greater Oregon League play after sweeping Mac Hi 3-0 last night.  Cove beat Elgin and Union upended Enterprise.  In 1A volleyball action Powder Valley beat Pine Eagle 3-1.  The Ontario boys soccer team beat Baker 12-0 while the Ontario girls shut out Baker 4-0.

LA GRANDE, OR: Baker and La Grande on the road, full HS schedules

La Grande soccer teams travel tomorrow

Posted September 26, 2014

The Baker football team will travel to Vale tonight.  Listen to the game starting with the St. Alphonsus Pregame show at 5:45 on KCMB.  La Grande football team will take on Madison High School in Portland.  Catch the action starting with the Les Schwab Tire pregame show at 6:50 on NewsTalk 103. 

In other area games today Imbler will host Stanfield at 2:00, at 7:00 Elgin hosts Pine Eagle for homecoming, Union/Cove hosts Irrigon and Powder Valley plays in Joseph. 

The Imbler volleyball team will host Stanfield at 4:00, Pine Eagle hosts Helix and Powder Valley is a Joseph.  Tomorrow La Grande will host their annual tournament which will feature Baker and Ontario.

In soccer action this weekend the La Grande boys and girls travel to Milton-Freewater while Baker hosts Emmett, Idaho.

***UPDATE*** Name released in fatal I-84 accident

Accident discovered by motorists early this morning

Posted September 25, 2014

Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into the cause of Thursday morning's single vehicle fatal traffic crash that occurred along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 about tw elve miles east of Pendleton. The victim's name is released in this update.

According to Sergeant Seth Cooney, on September 25, 2014 at approximately 5:06 a.m., a Umatilla Tribal police officer drove upon an unreported single vehicle crash spotted in the darkness about 20 feet off the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near milepost 223. The police officer confirmed there was an unresponsive adult male inside the extensively damaged 1990 Ford F250 pickup that was on its side at the base of a rock embankment.

Medical personnel responded to the scene and confirmed the driver, GREG ALLEN WHITE, age 29, from Pendleton, was deceased. He was not using safety restraints.

OSP troopers from the Pendleton Area Command office responded to the scene to investigate. The actual time of the crash has not been determined. The westbound and eastbound lanes at this section of Interstate 84 are about a half mile apart. Senior Trooper Jeremy Gunter is the lead investigator.

The left eastbound lane was closed at the scene during the investigation.

OSP was assisted at the scene by Umatilla Tribal Police Department and ODOT.

LA GRANDE, OR: Police track down "men" who harrassed homeless woman

Victim proves to be kinder than her attackers

Posted September 25, 2014

Earlier this week we brought you the story of a homeless woman in La Grande tht had been harrassed by a car load of young men who threw water on her and verbally abused her.  A passer-by took a picture of the suspects car and turned it over to the La Grande Police Department.  Police Chief Brian Harvey says there were able to track the men down- all of them were teenagers.  The victim, Terri Sebastian, refused to press charges.

LA GRANDE, OR: 2nd Governor's debate to be aired live Friday

Debate to take place during the OAB fall conference

Posted September 24, 2014

The second debate between Governor Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson will be held in Central Oregon during the fall conference of the Oregon Association of Broadcasters.  We will carry that debate live on NewsTalk 103 starting at 11:00 am.  The debate features questions from radio and television broadcasters from around the state.  Again, tune in live this Friday at 11:00 on NewsTalk 103.

LA GRANDE, OR: Shelter from the Storm makes counter offer

Shelter wants the deed to the Joseph annex

Posted September 25, 2014

Union County officials two weeks ago made some specific offers of help to the staff of Shelter from the Storm as they prepared to vacate the building.  Tuesday shelter staff made a counter proposal to the county- they want the county to deed the Joseph annex to the shelter, give them $30,000 to help purchase a temporary modular facility to house them until a permenant building can be constructed, that the county pay half of the demolition costs of the annex and give them 100 days after signing the agreement to vacate their current facility.  County officials yesterday said they hadn’t had time to discuss the shelter’s proposal.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU's Badgley Hall evacuated

The source of the smell was never located

Posted September 25, 2014

Eastern Oregon University officials yesterday were forced to evacuate Badgley Hall after several people noticed a sulfer-like smell in the building.  Badgley Hall serves as the science building for the University.  Officials went through the building room-by-room but the smell quickly dissipated and the source of the smell was never located.  Maintenance officials inspected the HVAC system and found it was working normally.  The building has been reopened.

BAKER CITY, OR: Oregon led the nation in acres burned this year

Buzzard Complex was the states largest fire

Posted September 25, 2014

When it came to wildfires this year, Oregon was tops in the nation.  According to numbers released yesterday afternoon by Northwest Fire officials, Oregon lost more acres to wildfire this summer than any other state.  Oregon had 1,934 wildfires that burned nearly 957,000 acres of state, federal and private lands.  Regionally it cost $446 million to fight the fires in Oregon and Washington compared to just $235 million last year.  Oregon’s largest fire was the Buzzard Complex which burned nearly 400,000 acres north of Burns.

LA GRANDE, OR: Shelter supporters still hoping to save the building

Courthouse design was judges choice

Posted September 25, 2014

It turns out it was the judges decision to go with a one story design for the new Union County courthouse, not county commissioners.  That was part of the message yesterday as commissioners took testimony from members of the public on the shelter issue.  Judge Brian Dretke said there was nothing in the state’s offer of $2 million tying the courthouse to a two story facility, and a one story building fit what they needed for several reasons.  Sharon Evoy who backs the shelter says commissioners still have time to change their minds: "I’m not optimistic that the commissioners are going to change their plans, but I hope that there’s still consideration of options."

Last friday Judge Jack Billings ruled that shelter staff had no right to stay in their current location.  In his ruling, which was released yesterday, the judge said shelter staff consistently stuck their head in the sand and did nothing to find new quarters.  Evoy shared her thoughts: "Personally I think the best solution would be to follow the judges design for a courthouse but to locate it in another spot."

Judges Russ West and Brian Dretke both pointed out that a group has been working on a new courthouse design and location for six years and shelter staff were invited to participate but never did.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU men's cross country drops one spot

Men finished 2nd in last weeks meet

Posted September 25, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University Men's Cross Country team dropped one position, from No. 11 to No. 12, in the second regular season edition of the NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced on Wednesday.
The men's cross country team scored 66 points in the meet, to earn second place behind Southern Oregon, who is ranked No. 2 in the NAIA. Leading the charge for the Mountaineers was senior Damion Flores. Flores ran a time of 25:15, to finish in third place, one second second behind Jared Hixon of Southern Oregon.
Nic Maszk and Lucas Updike finished second and third for Eastern Oregon. Maszk finished 12th overall in the team scoring and Updike 13th. Maszk ran the 8K course in a time of 26:16 and Updike finished two seconds later for EOU.
Kody Shriver finished fourth for EOU, he compiled a time of 26:51, and Hans Roelle rounded out the scoring for EOU with a 20th place finish, in a time of 27:03.
The Mountaineers return to action on Oct. 4 when they run at the Willamette Invite.
2014 NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll (Sept. 24)

1 1 Oklahoma City (20) 621
2 2 Southern Oregon (1) 594
3 3 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) (1) 584
4 4 St. Francis (Ill.) 559
5 6 British Columbia 541
6 5 Aquinas (Mich.) 528
7 7 Shawnee State (Ohio) 480
8 8 Tennessee Wesleyan 474
9 9 Cal State San Marcos 462
10 13 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 443
11 10 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 421
12 11 Eastern Oregon 407
13 12 The Master's (Calif.) 397
14 14 Morningside (Iowa) 355
15 15 Indiana Wesleyan 347
16 16 Northwest Christian (Ore.) 315
17 17 Saint Mary (Kan.) 312
18 18 College of Idaho 279
19 22 Carroll (Mont.) 243
20 20 Concordia (Neb.) 218
21 19 Missouri Valley 194
21 23 Indiana Tech 194
23 21 Taylor (Ind.) 188
24 25 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 150
25 24 Vanguard (Calif.) 127

Others Receiving Votes: Concordia (Ore.) 114; Milligan (Tenn.) 106; Oklahoma Baptist 80; Northwestern (Iowa) 59; Baker (Kan.) 47; Arizona Christian 30; Columbia (Mo.) 30; Dordt (Iowa) 16; Oregon Tech 16; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 11.
^ 2014 NAIA Men's Cross Country Coaches' Top 25 Poll (Sept. 17)

BAKER CITY, OR: As one road project ends, another begins

The project is funded through house bill 2001, the jobs and transportation act

Posted on September 24, 2014

Pocahontas Road in Baker City is looking great as the paving part of the project was completed last night.  Left now on the agenda is the paint the railroad crossing, raise the water valves and finish the shoulder rock. These tasks are expected to be complete next week.  Striping of the new asphalt is scheduled for October 30th.  And while there are no more closures expected or delays in travel, you are reminded that there will still be workers on the roads and to use caution while traveling.  The next project in the works is the Best Frontage Road Project in Baker County is gearing up to begin.  The road from HWY 86 at the north end to Campbell Street at the south end is tentatively scheduled for paving starting Monday the 29th.  Similar to the Pocahontas Road Project this is another project partnership involving both city and county right of way.  The project is funded through house bill 2001, the jobs and transportation act.  This is the same funding source that provided funds to improve Resort Street, Chandler Lane and Chico Road all in Baker County.

LA GRANDE, OR: La Grande marijuana dispensary burglarized

Suspect gone when officers arrived

Posted September 24, 2014

Officials with the La Grande Police Department say the investigation into an early morning burglary at the Green Apothecary on Adams Avenue, La Grande’s only licensed medicial marijuana dispensary, is continuing.  The businesses burglar alarm went off at 3:19 this morning and officers were on scene in moments but found the suspect had fled the scene.  Officers and staff of the apothecary are still trying to determine if anything was taken.

LA GRANDE, OR: Union County signs contract for courthouse

Shelter supporters protest contract

Posted September 24, 2014

To the dismay of a large contingent of supporters for Shelter from the Storm, Union County Commissioners this morning voted unanimously to sign the contract with Mike Becker Construction to build the new county courthouse.  Supporters of the shelter stood together in protest as commissioners discussed the contract.  Even though the contract is signed, however, Commissioner Bill Rosholt says work won’t begin immediately: "I think the proposal was they’ll start the latter part of winter of 2015, so we’re looking at the end of February or the first of March."

It’s anticipated the courthouse will be finished in the fall of 2015.

BAKER CITY, OR: False alarm at Baker City school taken seriously

Debriefing set for staff and law enforcement

Posted on September 24, 2014

Brooklyn Elementary School in Baker City got a scare this morning when the security system was triggered code red which caused the school to go into full lockdown mode.  Trigger Code Red means that all lights in the school go off, doors are immediately locked and kids are under the protection of staff.  After a sweep of the school it was determined that the alarm was in fact a false alarm and the security system was unintentionally set off.  The cause of the system triggering is under investigation.  Superintendent Walt Wegener wants to reassure parents that even in the event of a false alarm the school district and all law enforcement take this very seriously and will do all proper protocol procedures to ensure that you children are safe.  A debriefing with staff and law enforcement is scheduled for this afternoon.  Any new information that is released as soon as possible

BAKER CITY, OR: Remains found near Marble Creek tentatively identified


Remains have been sent to Oregon State medical examiner for positive identification

Posted on September 24, 2014

Human skeletal remains found in the Marble Creek area Friday, September 19, 2014 have tentatively been identified as Brandon Cody Marshall, age 39.  The remains have been sent to the Oregon State medical examiner for positive identification.  This was a non violent death and there is no concern for public safety.  Marshall was known to have been camping and living in the woods and had no known address.

LA GRANDE, OR: Statistics show recreational pot can be dangerous

Officers rely on experiences from other states

Posted September 24, 2014

Marijuana legalization will have an impact on the health of Oregonians if recreational use is allowed.  Addressing the La Grande City Council at a work session Monday night, Police Chief Brian Harvey said in the absence of hard statistics from Oregon on the affects of marijuana they have looked to those states that have already legalized pot.  He says it’s had a big impact in Colorado: "In Colorado we see a 114% increase in fatal accidents where one of the people involved in the accident tests positive for marijuana."

In Oregon there is currently no easy way to test drivers for the drug.  Chief Harvey says it takes a drug reaction expert to verify and there’s only one in all of Union County.  And numbers from Washington show recreational pot has been just as dangerous there: "In Washington State we run an increase from 100 emergency room visits a month for canibus poisoning to 600 emergency room visits per month."

Chief Harvey says his agency is also concerned about how they will deal with marijuana dispensary laws when they don’t have the ability to enforce the Oregon statutes which govern them.

BAKER CITY, OR: Know the warning signs of elder abuse

More than 5 million abuse cases reported annually

Posted September 24, 2014


As we continue our look into elder abuse it is important to know some of the signs that someone is being abused.  Victims advocate Fonda Siex: "If he is she appears hungry, unclean, frightened or bruised, ill, neglected or often confused this may be indications."

Siex says recognizing the warning signs of abuse is important and she encourages anyone who suspects someone is being abused to seek help immediately.  The signs are not always subtle and hidden away in private. When it comes to areas of emotional abuse sometimes the warning signs are very easy to spot according to Siex: "If you see a care giver attempting to dominate the older person, if there is any verbal abuse with that particular person you are noticing…that may be a sign of abuse."

Being the victim of abuse of any kind can be detrimental emotionally and physiologically.  The number of elder abuse victims is on the rise with over 5 millions cases being reported each year.

BAKER CITY, OR: City council again denies kennel permit

Neighbors concerned about barking dogs

Posted September 24, 2014

The issue of a kennel permit that had been denied was a big topic at last night Baker City City Council meeting.  The permit was requested at a residence on 11th Street.  According to City Manager Mike Kee, city ordinance requires the Baker City Police Department to do an investigation and send letters to residences surrounding the property to hear responses for or against the kennel request.  Eight letters of response were sent back from neighbors expressing concern about the kennel being permitted in the area.  Reasons included past problems with barking dogs, animal neglect and the property being a nuisance. The city council voted last night to uphold the denial based on neighbors concerns and past violations regarding animals at this location.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball stays at #11 this week

Lady Mountaineers face #14 SOU in Ashland Friday

Posted September 24, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University Volleyball team held steady at No. 11 in the third regular season edition of the Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25, the national office announced on Tuesday.
Last weekend, EOU went 2-0, with victories over Corban University and Northwest Christian University. On Friday, EOU swept the Warriors 25-17, 25-17, and 25-22. Casey Loper and Emily Nay recorded a game-high,12 kills, apiece. Nay collected a game-high, 12 blocks. Loper finished the match with 15 digs and Jessalyn Smith followed with 13 digs.
The Mountaineers continued its success on Saturday with its fourth straight sweep over a conference opponent. EOU swept Northwest Christian, 25-11, 25-20, 25-19, improving to 5-0 in conference play.  Loper led the way as she recorded a game-high, 14 kills. 
Kasaundra Tuma followed Loper with 11 kills for EOU. Rachelle Chamberlain dished out a game-high, 35 assists. EOU recorded a hitting percentage of .344, while holding the Beacons to a hitting percentage of .091, in the three games.
EOU returns to action on Friday, Sept. 26th when they travel to Ashland, Ore. to face No. 14 Southern Oregon University. Match is scheduled to start 7 p.m.

2014 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Poll – Rating No. 3 (Sep. 23)

1 1 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (22) 15-2 653
2 2 Texas-Brownsville (1) 14-1 632
3 3 Concordia-Irvine (Calif.) 16-1 611
4 4 Park (Mo.) 16-0 589
5 6 Biola (Calif.) 12-4 553
6 7 Northwestern (Iowa) 16-2 533
7 5 Columbia (Mo.) 17-2 519
8 8 Viterbo (Wisc.) 18-3 515
9 9 Madonna (Mich.) 17-2 489
10 10 Midland (Neb.) 12-3 481
11 11 Eastern Oregon 15-1 452
12 22 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 14-2 380
13 21 Dordt (Iowa) 9-5 371
14 16 Southern Oregon 10-3 367
15 18 Oklahoma Baptist 13-6 345
16 12 Georgetown (Ky.) 11-4 333
17 14 Grand View (Iowa) 9-7 285
18 16 Hastings (Neb.) 10-5 271
19 20 Missouri Baptist 12-1 249
20 19 Evangel (Mo.) 11-4 243
21 17 Vanguard (Calif.) 14-5 241
22 13 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 8-7 220
23 25 Coastal Georgia 15-0 195
T24 RV Ashford (Iowa) 15-4 134
T24 RV Jamestown (N.D.) 10-4 134

Others receiving votes: Davenport (Mich.) 110, Montana Tech 95, Cal State San Marcos 77, Trinity Christian (Ill.) 66, Cornerstone (Mich.) 51, Westmont (Calif.) 43, College of Idaho 39, St. Catherine (Ky.) 32, Bryan (Tenn.) 22, Grace (Ind.) 19, Concordia (Ore.) 17, St. Thomas (Fla.) 11, Baker (Kan.) 9, Kansas Wesleyan 6, Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 5, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 4, Menlo (Calif.) 3, Mobile (Ala.) 3.

PENDLETON, OR: Range for drone testing gets final approval

The first test would happen in the near future

BAKER CITY, OR: Abuse victims are often reliant on their abusers

The number of elder abuse victims continue to rise

Posted on September 24, 2014

Elder abuse is a rising problem in this country and a problem that often goes unreported as the abused are often reliant on the abuser for their care so they feel they have no options for help according to Victims Advocate for May Day Inc, Fonda Siex “so the older person is dependent on the abuser for care or she may feel she or he has no option but to live in fear and pain”

But there is help available.  If you are an abuse victim or no someone who is contact your local abuse center.

LA GRANDE, OR: Stopping teen drinking is no magic act

Illusionist/prevention specialist tours NE Oregon

Posted September 23, 2014

Students around Northeast Oregon this week are hearing a message about drug and alcohol use from a world class athlete and magician who specializes in substance abuse prevention.  Brad Barton is a runner who holds high school, college and masters records.  He’s visiting every local school this week to share his message about the dangers of alcohol use in youth: "When you start drinking at age 21 you have a one-in-fourteen chance of becoming alcohol dependent.  When you start drinking at 17, you have a one-in-four chance of becoming alcohol dependent."

And for those who start even younger, Barton says you have a 50/50 chance of becoming alcohol dependent in your life.  Barton’s tour of local schools runs through the end of the week.

LA GRANDE, OR: Marijuana dispensaries likely to increase crime, DUII

Sheriff warns of increased cartel activity in Union County

Posted September 23, 2014

Marijuana dispensaries will likely increase property crime, various types of abuse and the number of impaired drivers on Union County roads according to testimony by law enforcement officials at a La Grande City Council work session last night.  Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen says the current laws are unenforceable: "I don’t think there’s measures in place to adequately address and monitor this.  We in law enforcement can’t monitor their business and see some of those things we need to to see if there’s drug dealing involved."

The anti marijuana crowd dominated the standing room only meeting last night with many expressing concern about the impact on our youth.  Having a marijuana dispensary in La Grande could also lead to an increase in local activity by Mexican drug cartels and other types of crime according to Sheriff Rasmussen.  Part of the problem is a lack of state oversight by the Oregon Health Authority, the organization charged with inspecting dispensaries: "As we heard, the Oregon Health Authority isn’t manned to handle this, either.  They have four people now- they need three more they said, and they’re going to need many more than that."

The Health Authority goal is to inspect every dispensary once per year to ensure they’re in compliance with what laws are governing the dispensaries.  Already they’ve had problems controlling the dispensaries already in operation.

LA GRANDE, OR: City council to look at marijuana sales tax

Council tables discussion until October

Posted September 23, 2014

Part of last night's La Grande City Council work session on marijuana involved the possibility of a local sales tax on recreational or medical marijuana sales.  Two city councilors say they object to a sales tax on any product, but the remaining councilors want to discuss the option further.  In light of that, City Manager Robert Strope said he would put a proposal for a tax on the agenda for October.  Several communities around the state are looking at taxing marijuana to help fund law enforcement and education programs.

UNION, OR: City council back to full strength with appointment

Race for Mayor of Union also set

Posted September 23, 2014

The Union City Council is back to full strength.  Following the resignation of Councilor Scott Yeager, the council appointed Bryan Russell to fill the remaining two year if his term earlier this month.  And, the race for Mayor in Union has been set.  Three people registered to run before the deadline.  Current Mayor William Lindsley will face Roger Clark and Coy Wilde in the November election.

BAKER CITY, OR: Firefighter Injured on the Freezeout Ridge Fire

Firefighter is currently in UCI listed in stable condition

Posted on September 22, 2014

Sunday evening, September 21st veteran firefighter Richard (Wally) Ochoa Jr, 51, was struck by a snag while brushing fire line on the Freezeout Ridge Fire in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (HCNRA).   Ochoa, a member of the Winema Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) suffered a fractured skull, two broken arms, a broken jaw, and a broken thumb, as well as numerous lacerations.  No significant spine injury occurred.   Winema IHC crewmembers and other adjacent fire personnel began immediate first aid treatment while others worked to clear an area for helicopter transport to a hospital in Boise.  Ochoa is currently in ICU and listed in stable condition.  Family and several crew members are with him.  John Kidd, Incident Commander for the Freezeout Ridge Fire, credited those on scene for their swift actions and reliance on emergency response training and medical evacuation protocols.  “I, along with the members of my staff, am grateful for those who assisted Mr. Ochoa by providing timely and appropriate care.  The coordination and professional actions of our firefighters, both on the ground and flying overhead, very likely reduced the potential magnitude of his injuries,” said Kidd.

BAKER CITY, OR: Most elder's who are abused don't report it

Victims often feel they have no options

Posted September 23, 2014

Elder abuse is often not something that is on the top of a person's mind but it is a problem that effect millions according to victims advocate Fonda Siex with May Day inc in Baker City: "According to the National Center of Elder Abuse the number of older adults who are mistreated each year is close to about 5 million and is rising."

Victims of abuse, specifically elder abuse, are not always abused by strangers which can be a humiliating experience for them: Those who consider reporting abuse often choose not too because in the majority of cases they are abused by family members or loved ones or trusted care givers."

Siex says victims often feel ashamed that they are being mistreated or abused by a loved one so it goes unreported.

BAKER CITY, OR: Baker volleyball team opens GOL play

Baker on the road for the first game

Posted September 23, 2014

The Baker volleyball team will open Greater Oregon League play on the road tonight in Ontario.  The Lady Bulldogs are looking for their first league title in nearly a decade.

BAKER CITY, OR: Baker soccer teams fall in Weiser

Losses don't count for league standings

Posted September 23, 2014

The Baker boys soccer team lost to Weiser 5-0 last night while the Baker girls lost 6-0.

BAKER CITY, OR: Vulnerability of elder's makes them targets for abuse

Watch for signs of abuse, neglect in the elderly

Posted September 22, 2014

Why does abuse of elders happen? Fonda Siex with May Day Inc explains…” as adults become older they become more physically frail and may not see and hear as well as they used too and they develop problems such as dementia and as a result of that they become even more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.”

Whether the abuse is physical, mental, sexual or financial the effects on the victim are devastating.



TROY, OR: Body of missing Wallowa man found

Vehicle went over steep embankment

Posted on Sepember 22, 2014

A 28 year old Wallowa man was killed in a single vehicle accident last week according to the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Department. Colter Bronson, who attended Enterprise High School, was hunting around the Troy area when for an unknown reason his vehicle left the road and went down a steep embankment on Bartlett Bench Road about one mile from Troy. Sheriff Steve Rogers says that Bronson was reported missing on Saturday, September 13th, and with the help of an aircraft, the wreckage and body were found on Monday morning.

LA GRANDE, OR: Homeless woman assaulted outside library

Three males involved in the assault according to a witness

Posted on September 22, 2014

A homeless woman by the name of Terry Sebastian was assaulted on Sunday night on the front steps of the library in La Grande.  According to a witness three males in their late teens to early 20’s, one wearing a cowboy hat and tank top, driving a newer silver VW Jetta with dark tinted windows and a sun roof were seen assaulting a women on the front steps of Cook Memorial Library. The witness was able to snap a photo of the vehicle in question. The witness also said the cell phone of one of the men rang and the ring tone was the Old Spice whistle.  If you know who this vehicle belongs to or who may have been involved in this attack please contact the La Grande Police Department.

BAKER CITY, OR: Human remains found by bow hunter

Clothing and back pack also found

Posted September 22, 2014

On September 19, 2014 the Baker County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a Bow hunter who reported finding Human Bones in the Marble Creek Area.  The Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene with the Oregon State Police and confirmed that they were human bones and also located clothing and a back pack in the area.  The Oregon State Police Crime Lab also responded and processed the scene. 

There is a tentative identification on the remains but the next of kin has not been notified.  We are also awaiting more positive identification from the Oregon State Medical Examiners Office once they receive the remains.

It appears this may have been a non violent death.  The bones also appear to have been there for 18 to 24 months.

BAKER CITY, OR: Work begins today on Pocahantas Road

Work expected to be completed tomorrow

Posted September 22, 2014

Work begins this morning on Pocahantas Road in Baker City as public works crews will begin resurfacing the road between 10th Street and the railroad tracks.  The road will be closed for the duration of the work which is expected to last until tomorrow night. 

LA GRANDE, OR: Replacement of Central Elementary needed

Bringing it up to code would cost $4 million

Posted September 22, 2014

When it comes to the proposed $31.8 million La Grande School District bond, the most visible part of the work the district proposes to do with the money is replace Central Elementary School.  Superintendent Larry Glaze says Central, which was built in 1954, has some serious issues: "Most schools that were built in that era were built for fifty to seventy-five years.  The building was assessed and determined to need about $4 million worth of repairs."

And that’s just to bring up to current standards.  Glaze says the schools problems include plumbing, heating, classroom space, security and a rotting roof that needs replacing.  Glaze says the cost to repair the building is almost more than it would cost to replace: "I think that was the decision of the committee was let’s add a little money in the pot and come up with a new building that will serve our kids, our parents and our community for the next seventy-five years."

  The school is about twenty years past its life expectancy.

BAKER CITY, OR: Crews continue to inspect Elk Creek fence

Work on UV treatment facility nearing the end

Posted September 22, 2014

Baker City officials continue to monitor the watershed to make sure the fence around Elk Creek remains in good condition.  Crews used a helicopter to fly over the area last week and found no cows or elk inside the watershed area, and they found only minor damage to the fence caused by elk jumping it.  Crews will continue to check the area weekly.  Meanwhile work on the permanent water treatment facility is drawing closer to completion.  The roof work was completed last week and crews are almost finished with the HVAC system and piping into the building.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball sweeps Corban, Northwest Christian

EOU remains unbeaten in Cascade Conference play

Posted September 22, 2014

The Mountaineers defeated Corban in their Friday night match up at Quinn Coliseum, as EOU swept the Warriors 25-17, 25-17, and 25-22.

The first set took off with Corban scoring the first point, but that did not last long. With EOU and Corban tied at 7-7, the Mountaineers scored the next five points, taking EOU to a 12-7 advantage. Corban fought their way back towards the end but EOU knocked out the first match with a 25-17 win.

Eastern Oregon started off strong in the second set over Corban, and with the set tied at 10-10, EOU went on an eight point run making the score 18-10. The Warriors continued to battle but could not come all the way back and EOU took set two, 25-17, to take a 2-0 lead.

Corban came out swinging in the third as they stayed close for the entire set, which saw nine ties and four lead changes. With the Warriors ahead, 20-19, Casey Loper recorded a kill to tie the set at 20-20. Eastern Oregon continued to battle and took a 24-22 lead over Corban. With match point, Isabelle Statkus and Emily Nay recorded the Mountaineers'14th block of the game to give EOU the set, 25-22. 

EOU had a total of 42 kills on the match. Loper and Nay recorded a game-high,12 kills. Nay collected a game-high,12 blocks. Loper finished the match with 15 digs and Jessalyn Smith followed with 13 digs.

The Mountaineers take the court again tomorrow night, Sept. 20, when they host Northwest Christian at 5 p.m.

Courtesy of EOU SID Travis Rae

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU football team runs past Montana Tech

EOU now 2-1 this season

Posted September 22, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University Football team rebounded from its first loss of the season last week to defeat Montana Tech, 39-13, on Saturday afternoon. EOU rushed for a season-high 259 yards.
Zach Bartlow led the Mountaineers, as he was 17-of-31 for 219 yards and three touchdowns. TJ Esekielu rushed for a game-high 79 yards and AJ Prom followed with 72 rushing yards. Jace Billingsley recorded 104 receiving yards on four receptions.
The Orediggers started off fast against EOU, as Montana Tech took the opening kickoff for a 62 yard return to put them in good field position. On a third and three, Andrew Loudenback found Mitchell Keeton for a touchdown to put Montana Tech on top, 7-0.
Eastern Oregon looked to respond on its first drive of the game. EOU slowly moved the ball down the field and were on EOU's 45 with a third and nine, however, the drive stalled and EOU had to punt. Marc David's punt pinned the Orediggers at the seven yard line to take over. Montana Tech could not get anything going and EOU forced the Orediggers into a safety, trimming the lead down to five points, 7-2.
The Mountaineers trailed, 7-2, after the first quarter of play.
Eastern Oregon took the lead early in the second quarter. After a Montana Tech punt, EOU went down the field in six plays to score their first touchdown of the game. On a third and six from the Orediggers 11 yard line, Bartlow found Calvin Conners for an 11 yard touchdown to put EOU on top, 9-7.
EOU extended its lead to 12-7 later on in the second quarter, after a David 23 yard field goal. On the drive, the Mountaineers had a fourth and nine they converted to keep the drive alive. Eastern Oregon took the, 12-7, lead into halftime.
After a three and out by EOU, the Orediggers took over. Montana Tech's drive did not last long as Gary Posten recorded an interception to give EOU the ball. Eastern Oregon took advantage after the turnover. The Mountaineers marched down the field and Prom scored from two yards out to extend EOU's lead to 18-7.
The Mountaineers forced Montana Tech into a three and out and took over at Orediggers 43 yard line. EOU slowly moved the ball down to Montana Tech's 15 yard line. On a first and ten, Bartlow recorded his second touchdown pass of the game as he found Andrew Woody for a 15 yard score. This put EOU ahead, 25-7.
The Orediggers answered back in the third quarter as Clay Cavender scored on a quarterback keeper to trim EOU's lead to 25-13, ending the third quarter.
The Mountaineers extend its lead to 32-13, after Prom scored his second touchdown of the game. On a second and three, Prom took the handoff and scampered 21 yards to the end zone.
Eastern Oregon's offense kept rolling in the fourth quarter. Bartlow connected with Billingsley for a 70 yard touchdown, to put EOU on top, 39-13. This was Bartlow's third touchdown pass of the game.
EOU claimed the victory by a score of 39-13.
Eastern Oregon returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 27, when they travel to Billings, Mont. to face Rocky Mountain College. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. PT.

Courtesy of EOU SID Travis Rae

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.