Eastern Oregon News & Sports

BAKER CITY, OR: New acting Deputy Forest Supervisor named

Joe Reinarz will take over beginning December 14, 2014

Posted on November 14, 2014

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

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

Breshears pled guilty in Union County Circuit Court 

Posted on November 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

ONTARIO, OR: Driver who stabbed truckers pleads not guilty

Truck driver received non-life threatening injuries

Posted November 21, 2014

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

BAKER CITY, OR: Christmas tree permits are now available

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

Posted on November 21, 2014

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

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

Lopez was high on drugs, alcohol

Posted November 21, 2014

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

PENDLETON, OR: Prison shooting at EOCI ruled justified

Rulng was determined by a Sixth Circuit Court grand jury

Posted on November 21, 2014

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

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

More than 19,000 Oregon kids considered homeless

Posted November 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

So far no write in candidate has accepted a position

Posted November 21, 2014

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

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

Appeal says the county can't meet the parking requirements

Posted November 21, 2014

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

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

Steven's appealing how space is used

Posted November 21, 2014

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

BAKER CITY, OR: Oversize load in Baker County delayed

Trip will now take place December 1st

Posted November 21, 2014

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

ONTARIO, OR: Halloween shooting suspects not charged with homicide

Wintersteen charged with burglary and theft

Posted on November 20, 2014

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

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

Donations will help local families this holiday season

Posted November 20, 2014

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

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

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

LA GRANDE, OR: New law protects rural satellite programming

Local programming was due to end January 1st

Posted November 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Posted November 20, 2014

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

JUNTURA, OR: Washington murder suspect arrested near Juntura

Suspect found living under a bridge

Posted November 19, 2014

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

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

First projects to be complete next summer

Posted November 19, 2014

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

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

Glaze says the first projects should be completed next summer.



Posted on November 18, 2014

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

NORTHEAST, OR: Be on the alert for phone scams

When in doubt call law enforcement

Posted on November 19, 2014

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

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

House and Senate to hold a joint session on rules

Posted November 19, 2014

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

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

4-1 Lady Mountaineers host Walla Walla University

Posted November 19, 2014

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

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

Season will end November 30, 2014

Posted on November 18, 2014

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

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

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

Police asking for the publics help

Posted November 18, 2014

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

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

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

Kids tend to share items of clothing at school

Posted November 18, 2014

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

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

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

Duo help lead EOU to upset win over SOU

Posted November 18, 2014

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

LA GRANDE, OR: 112 lost power for 1 hour due to broken pole

Power was restored around 4:30pm

Posted on November 17, 2014

A broken transmission pole caused about 112 members to be without power for just over an hour yesterday.  At around 3:30pm, yesterday afternoon, OTEC crews had to de-energize a line that affected members around the Gekeler Lane, Airport Lane and McAlister areas.  Crews were able to re-energize the line at 4:30pm. 

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball players named All-Cascade Conference

Casey Loper named Player-of-the-Year

Posted November 17, 2014

Three Eastern Oregon University volleyball players were named to the Cascade Collegiate Conference All-Conference team.  Named to the first team were Casey Loper, Jessalynn Smith and Rachelle Chamberlain.  Loper was named the conference Player-of-the-Year and Smith was the Libero-of-the-Year.  Head coach Kaki Moorehead was named Coach-of-the-Year.


Jessalyn Smith HS    Rachelle Chamberlain HS 

        Jessalynn Smith                       Rachelle Chamberlain         Head coach Kaki Moorehead


PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Casey Loper, Sr., MH, Eastern Oregon
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Lindsey Dorsey, OH, Concordia
COACH OF THE YEAR: Kaki Morehead, Eastern Oregon


Name Institution Pos. Cl. Hometown
Chelsea McGowan Northwest Christian MB Sr. Harrisburg, Ore.
Casey Loper Eastern Oregon MH  Sr.  Powell Butte, Ore.
Janessa White Warner Pacific OH So. Salem, Ore.
Lindsey Dorsey Concordia OH Fr. Salem, Ore.
Motade Atanda Southern Oregon OH Sr. San Jose, Calif.
Kylie Porter College of Idaho M Jr. Boise, Idaho
Paulla Pinheiro Southern Oregon OH Sr. Fortaleza, Brazil
Rachelle Chamberlain Eastern Oregon S So. Challis, Idaho
Sierra Porter College of Idaho S Jr. Eagle, Idaho
Brianna Hogan Concordia MB Jr. Portland, Ore.
Kelsey Sampson Oregon Tech OH So. Folsom, Calif.
Jessalyn Smith Eastern Oregon Sr. Boise, Idaho
Leia Roy Northwest L So. Puyallup, Wash.
Brookelynn Cole Southern Oregon L Sr. Portland, Ore.

HONORABLE MENTION: Emily Ottinger, Sr., College of Idaho, Lauren McGowne, So., Southern Oregon, Dakota Adams, So., Northwest, Madisen Garlie, So., Oregon Tech, Chandler Gabrio, Jr., Northwest Christian, Shantelle Hall, Fr., Corban

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

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

***Updated on November 20, 2014

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


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

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

UMATILLA COUNTY, OR: Man dies from auto accident

37 year old Pendleton man dies after Jeep leaves road

Posted on November 17, 2014

37-year-old Steven Cain from Pendleton died from injuries he received in an accident Sunday morning on East Bingham Road near the Bar M Ranch. Officials say that Cain was driving a Jeep Wrangler when for an unknown reason he left the road and rolled down an embankement abot 50 feet into a tree. Two other vehicles were traveling with Cain, but by the time his friends reached him he was unconscious. Cain suffered severe head injuries and never regained consciousness. Officials say that the road was covered in snow and ice.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball team to start playoffs at home

Lady Mountaineers will host Menlo College

Posted November 17, 2014

The road to a national championship will start at home for the Eastern Oregon University volleyball team.  After being selected to their first ever post season appearance yesterday, the team learned this morning they will host Menlo College Saturday in the opening round of the NAIA national playoffs.  The match time will be announced later.  Menlo College comes in with a record of 17-10 while #14 Eastern Oregon was 26-4 on the season.  The winner advances to the final tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.

LA GRANDE, OR: Local counties in need of search and rescue volunteers

There's as job for everyone who wants to volunteer

Posted November 17, 2014

Whether it’s finding a lost hunter in the woods, helping law enforcement at a crime scene or undertaking a technical rescue being a member of a search and rescue team is never a dull moment.  Teams in Union, Baker and Wallowa Counties are in need of new members.  Union County Emergency Services Director JB Brock explains how to begin the process of joining if you’re interested:  "Because we work so closely with law enforcement it does require a criminal background check, so to begin the process you go into the Sheriff’s Office up there and just ask for an application."       

Brock says they can use anyone who wants to get involved: "There’s really a job for everybody.  We’ve got people that staff up our emergency operation center, and they basically sit on a computer and a radio.  We’ve got people who set up a base camp for us when we need them."

New member training typically takes place in February though new members are accepted throughout the year.

ENTERPRISE, OR: Comment period open for Lower Joseph Creek project

Comment period will last ninety days

Posted November 17, 2014

Officials with the Wallowa Whitman National Forest are preparing for a major reconstruction project on Lower Joseph Creek, and the draft environmental impact statement has been released and is ready for public comment.  Forest officials have spent most of 2014 working with a variety of other entities on the plan, and forest head Tom Montoya says this a true collaborative effort.  The comment period will stay open for the next ninety days, and there will be an open house to discuss the project December 2nd in Enterprise.

BAKER CITY, OR: UV treatment plant started, undergoing testing

Plant expected to be operational soon

Posted November 17, 2014

The UV treatment plant under construction in Baker City is a step closer to coming on line.  JW Fowler, the contractor building the plant, turned the system on late last week for the first time and is continuing tests on the treatment system.  That testing will continue at least through the end of this week to ensure all of the systems are functioning properly.  The temporary UV treatment plant will continue operating until the permanant plant comes on line for good.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball in, football left out of national playoffs

Football team jumps only one spot after upsetting SOU

Posted November 16, 2014

It was supposed to be a gimme- win and you're in.  That's what officials had told the coaching staff of the Eastern Oregon University football team.  The Mountaineers took care of business on the field beating #4 Southern Oregon 31-27, but when it came time to find out where they would play in the playoffs they learned they had been left out of the field of sixteen.  Both Carroll College and Southern Oregon were awarded home playoff games by the NAIA.  Eastern ends their season 8-3 overall.

The Eastern Oregon University volleyball team was included in the NAIA national playoffs despite losing in the Cascade Conference tournament Friday night to the College of Idaho.  The Lady Mountaineers will find out tomorrow morning who they will play in next Saturday's first round and where the game will be played.

UNION, OR: Union/Cove football loses to Burns in 2A quarterfinals

Highlander's hand the Cat's their only two losses

Posted November 15, 2014

The Union/Cove football teams season came to an end in the quarterfinal round of the OSAA 2A Football playoffs with a 47-6 loss to top ranked Burns.  The Cat's end their season 8-2- their only two losses came at the hands of the Highlander's.  Union/Cove was ranked 8th in the state.  Burns will take on Regis in the 2A semi-final round.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU football upsets SOU, should make NAIA playoffs

Mountaineers overcome a 13 point early deficit

Posted November 15, 2014

#4 Southern Oregon University looked as if they would run away with their game against #16 Eastern Oregon scoring on their first two drives, but the Mountaineer's Jace Billingsly took over to lead Eastern to a 31-27 win over the Raiders.  Billingsly picked up 247 yards on 45 carries scoring two touchdowns in the game.  Quarterback Zach Bartlow was 10 of 13 for 129 yards and a touchdown.  He also ran for 83 yards.  The win should give Eastern their first ever berth in the NAIA national playoffs which start next weekend.  The Mountaineers will learn their fate when the matchups are announced.  We will have full details when the announcement is made.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball loses in semi-final game

Lady Mountaineers must wait to learn their fate

Posted November 15, 2014

The #11 Eastern Oregon University volleyball team fell to the College of Idaho in the Cascade Conference semi-final game at Quinn Coliseum.  The scores: 19-25, 25-14, 25-22, 23-25, 3-15.  Casey Loper, Katina Ferguson and Amanda Miller led the Lady Mountaineers with 14 kills each.  Loper also became the school leader in kills in a season during the match passing Becky Aldred who set the previous mark in 1992.  Eastern will likely make the NAIA playoffs as an at-large selection.  The playoff teams and matchups will be announced on Monday.  The playoffs start next Saturday.

LA GRANDE, OR: Union County gets courthouse permit- with conditions

Parking still a big issue with the City of La Grande

Posted November 14, 2014

Union County officials are working to meet the timeline established for construction of a new county courthouse, but there is a lot of work left to be done before they begin moving dirt.  The county received a conditional use permit from the city with five conditions attached.  Commissioner Steve McClure says the biggest of those continues to be parking: "There’s some issues over parking that we’re going to have to get resolved with the city so that we can go ahead and get that done, and it’s getting now where time is of the essence."

The other issues deal with drainage, sidewalk design and signage in the area.  McClure says county officials will be working hard with city officials to get those things completed soon: "Time’s getting short, so we will be concentrating on that and trying to get all the differences that we have with the city sorted out so that we can all move forward together."

Construction on the new courthouse is supposed to begin in February with completion in October.  Three people testified against the project and they have until Wednesday afternoon to appeal the decision. 

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU unveils new 'Eastern Advantage' program

EOU will lock in tuition for four years

Posted November 14, 2014

Students starting at Eastern Oregon University next fall will have a new program that will save them money and get them out of school faster.  Interim President Dr. Jay Kenton unveiled the Eastern Advantage program this morning: "It guarantee’s tuition- that the tuition rate will not change over the four years that a student is in school.  It guarantee’s a student will be able to get classes to graduate in four years."

The university will then help the student find a job or get into graduate school when they get their degree.  In return the student makes some promises to the university according to Dr. Kenton: "At the end of the experience when they get a job, we are asking that they give back to the university in the form of donations to a scholarship fund or in the form of volunteering hours to the Alumni Association."

The Eastern Advantage program starts next fall.

BAKER CITY, OR: Two wolves form a new pack

Pair spending most of their time in the Eagle Caps

Posted November 14, 2014

A pair of two-year-old radio collared wolves from the Snake River and Minam packs have found love and started a new pack according to officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  OR-24 and OR-27 became a couple in July and currently roam the forested area in the Keating and Catherine Creek Wildlife Management Units spending a lot of their time inside the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

BAKER CITY, OR: Be prepared for winter power outages

Keep flashlights and candles handy

Posted November 14, 2014

As we talked about yesterday, it‘s important to take the necessary steps during the winter to ensure you stay warm and your home stays protected from the cold.  But it’s also important to be prepared in case of a winter power outage.  One of the first things to do if the power goes out is to call and report the outage according to OTEC Spokesman Jim Horan: "Keep the outage number close particularly when it’s cold weather, call that number in.  You can go on to our web page and there is an outage map, we update that as much as possible so you can at least see the size of the outage."

Horan says you should have flashlights or candles available in case of an outage.  Keep them in an accessible location so all members of your family can find them. You can find magnets with OTEC emergency numbers at any OTEC office or like the Oregon Trail Electric Consumer Cooperative Facebook page to keep current on outage information.  You can also like the Elkhorn Media Group Facebook page; we keep in close contact with OTEC to help spread the word about outages that are affecting our region.

UNION, OR: Union/Cove football set for rematch with Burns

Burns handed the Wildcats their only loss

Posted November 14, 2014

The Union/Cove football team travels to Burns tomorrow in the quarterfinal round of the OSAA 2A Football playoffs.  This is the second time the two Wapiti League teams will play this year- the Highlanders beat the Wildcats 53-7 for their only loss of season.  Game time 1:00 pm.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU sports teams look for playoff berths

16th ranked football team on the road

Posted November 14, 2014

The Eastern Oregon University volleyball team will host the Cascade Conference tournament today and tomorrow.  2nd seed Southern Oregon takes on 3rd seed Concordia at 4:00 pm today and top seed EOU hosts 4th seed College of Idaho at 7:00 pm.  The winners play tomorrow at 3:00 pm for the conference title.

The 16th ranked Eastern Oregon University football team will be in Ashland tomorrow to take on 4th ranked Southern Oregon University.  The Mountaineers need to win to get into the national playoffs.  You can listen to the game starting with the Les Schwab Tire pregame show at 11:40 am on NewsTalk 103

LA GRANDE, OR: Union County delays marijuana moratorium discussion

Commissioners to wait until state rules are set

Posted November 13, 2014

While the La Grande City Council passed a 120 day moratorium on any new marijuana dispensaries inside the city limits, Union County Commissioners yesterday refused to consider a moratorium until the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has finished the rules governing recreational marijuana use.  Commissioner Steve McClure: "It’s not an emergency, the timeline’s are out there quite a ways.  We just felt it was more prudent that we take time and try and do this thing right rather than do it two or three times."

McClure says commissioners realize they will have to deal with the issue at some point, until the state has their rules in place it does no good to enact local rules that may have to be changed.

ELGIN, OR: Elementary school cleared after suspected gas leak

Students were evacuated to the High School for about an hour

Posted on November 13, 2014

Stella Mayfield Elementary students in Elgin were evacuated out of the school this morning after school officials smelled what they believed to be natural gas around the cafeteria area.  The Elgin Fire Department and Avista Utilities were called in and it was determined that there was no gas leak in the school.  While Avista and the Elgin Fire Department were evaluating the school, students were taken to Elgin High School.  Students were out of class for about an hour in total and were returned to the Elementary School around 10:00 am.

NORTHEAST OREGON: Winter weather conditions coming

Drive carefully around the state

Posted on November 13, 2014

If you are traveling on Thursday or Friday in the region, be prepared for winter driving conditions as the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for much of the area. The Baker City area could see about 4 to 6 inches of snow. Wallowa County is expecting 8 to 14 inches of snow with up to 20 inches in the mountains. In La Grande, forecasters are predicting 5 to 9 inches of snow through Friday. Areas in the Gorge are expecting 5 to 10 inches of snow and up to a half inch of freezing rain tomorrow. Winds could gust up around 70 mph in the Gorge. The Portland area could also see some of the white stuff with 2 to 6 inches possible in the Metro area.

BAKER CITY, OR: OTEC tips for keeping your home warm

There are low cost ways to keep your home warm

Posted November 13, 2014

It seems like winter is upon us, and it’s important to remember that keeping your home warm is vital to keeping yourself warm through out the winter.  OTEC Spokesman Jim Horan: "The first thing we really want people to think about is, in the winter months you are trying to keep heat in the house."

Horan says a couple of ways to do that is to keep windows and doors closed and blinds drawn.  Hanging curtains and insulating the windows is also a great way to keep warm are inside and cool winter air outside.  Other ways to keep your home warm during the long winter months is by cooking with a stove rather than a microwave and even running the dryer.  Who knew a little house cleaning could actually be beneficial to keeping you warm.

LA GRANDE, OR: Prepare your home to handle the cold

Frozen pipes the biggest threat in this arctic cold

Posted November 13, 2014

With this Arctic cold snap expected to be at its peak tonight and tomorrow, many people may find themselves unprepared for the cold weather which could cause a myriad of problems- everything from frozen pipes to cars that won’t start.  La Grande Public Works Director Norm Paulus says there are some simple things you can do to fight that: "You want to protect your water system and, of course, your drain system.  You can do that by putting caps over your outside faucet outlets.  You can also plug your foundation vents with a Styrofoam plug."

Also make sure to run your interior faucets at a trickle and leave your cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate. 

With miles of water and sewer lines running under city streets, some might think it takes a lot to keep the water flowing during severe cold spells like the one we’re enduring now.  But Paulus says that isn’t the case: "All of our water comes out of the ground water, and that water is running about 50 to 60 degrees- we have some wells that run up in the 70’s."

The temperature of the water combined with it constantly moving through the lines prevents it from freezing despite the cold.  Paulus says homeowners do need to take steps to protect their homes- things like disconnecting hoses from outside faucets and running the water in your inside sinks at night.  Finally, if you have outdoor pets, consider bringing them inside until warmer weather returns.

LA GRANDE, OR: It will be November 19th before bond vote count is known

Eighteen 'yes' votes needed for the bond to pass

Posted November 13, 2014

It will November 19th before the final vote count on the La Grande School District Bond Levy will be released.  Superintendent Larry Glaze said yesterday that the clerks office has said they won’t release the information any earlier.  Forty-four ballots had signatures that didn’t match the signature of the voter on their registration card, and those voters had until the 18th to verify it was their vote.  There were also ten ballots received by clerks offices outside the county that have votes for the bond.  In all, the district needs eighteen yes votes on those ballots for the bond to pass.  It led by just thirty-two votes after election night.

LA GRANDE, OR: Search and rescue teams help each other

Each team has a different skill

Posted November 13, 2014

Last summer a Walla Walla man in a canoe went missing in Jubilee Lake.  The initial search for the man turned up nothing leading search and rescue officials to conclude the man was still in the lake.  Union County officials turned to a search and rescue team trained in underwater recoveries- something they weren’t able to do.  Union County Emergency Services Director JB Brock says teams often have different skills- and they help each other out: "Baker County's got a dive team, and we’ve had a few incidents where we’ve needed that resource and, graciously, they’ve always responded and done all they could to help."

Likewise the Union County team, which is skilled in rope rescues, has assisted other counties when asked. Brock says there’s another great example right here in Northeast Oregon: "Wallowa County has a whitewater team which is a very challenging group to keep together.  A lot of equipment, a lot of resources are required there."

Brock says Union County often works with not only Baker and Wallowa Counties, but Umatilla and Grant Counties as well.

LA GRANDE, OR: EOU volleyball to face the College of Idaho

Mountaineers host the Cascade Conference finals

Posted November 13, 2014

Eastern Oregon University will be the host site for the Cascade Conference volleyball tournament tomorrow and Saturday.  At 4:00 pm tomorrow #2 Southern Oregon will take on #3 Concordia University, and at 7:00 pm it will be #1 EOU against #4 College of Idaho.  The winning teams from tomorrow will play for the tournament title Saturday at 3:00 pm in Quinn Coliseum.

ONTARIO, OR: Threat of possible bomb quickly defused

Item was cleared by the Nampa Bomb Squad

Posted on November 12, 2014

The Ontario Police Department blocked off a portion of Southwest Eight Ave. yesterday afternoon and the Nampa Bomb Squad was called in to investigate a suspicious device at a home.  Just before 12:30 pm a call came in to dispatchers from someone reporting what they believed to be an explosive device.  The area was quickly blocked off while the bomb squad assessed the device.  The bomb squad was able to determine that the device was not a threat and was nothing more than just junk.

Photo from Argus Observer

BAKER CITY, OR: Fire crews make quick work or back yard fire

Only minimal damage was reported

Posted on November 12, 2014

The Baker City Fire Department made quick work of a backyard fire that was reported just after 12:00pm today.  Crews received a call from a resident around 5th Street, stating that a neighbor’s fence was on fire.  Crew responded and found the fire to be located at 3095 College in Baker City.  Fire responders were able to quickly extinguish the fire.  A small section of fence and some shrubs were the only damages reported.

BAKER CITY, OR: Search and rescue team members a dedicated bunch

Team members are often "gear geeks"

Posted November 12, 2014

Several years ago an elderly woman and her husband went out for a drive in Baker County and got stuck.  The woman went for help- and disappeared.  Union County Emergency Services Director JB Brock says though search and rescue teams fill many roles, they still have one main focus: "The primary mission of search and rescue is obviously to go out in the woods and even in cities to look for the lost and injured, and that’s still the focus."

The equipment a team uses varies greatly- it’s largely owned by the individual members of the team.  Team members are all volunteers, but they put a lot of their own money into it according to Brock: "Not only their time but their equipment, fuel…there’s a lot of other things- it’s all their own gear.  Everything from backpacks to GPS’s to you name it."

Brock admits that many of them are gear geeks and they enjoy being able to test themselves and that gear while helping others.  In the case of the missing Baker County woman- the search went on more than a week before an off duty Sheriff’s deputy found her alive in a ravine.  Many people are alive today because of the dedication of search and rescue team members.

ONTARIO, OR: Road work to slow motorists on I-84 Saturday

Work to happen starting at midnight

Posted November 12, 2014

Motorists traveling on I-84 near Ontario can expect some detours and delays starting this Saturday.   Westbound traffic will be removed from the Freeway at Idaho’s exit 3 in Fruitland and rerouted through town to exit 376 in Ontario.  Eastbound traffic will see a rolling slowdown starting at milepost 360.  Motorists can expect delays of up to twenty minutes between midnight and 2:00 am.

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

EOU hosts semi-final game on Friday

Posted November 12, 2014

After claiming a share of the Cascade Conference regular season title last weekend for the first time in school history, the Eastern Oregon University volleyball team stayed at number 11 in the latest NAIA national poll this week:

1 1 Rocky Mountain (Mont.) (22) 26-2 622
2 2 Park (Mo.) 31-0 602
3 3 Concordia (Calif.) 29-2 577
4 4 Biola (Calif.) 27-4 567
5 5 Texas at Brownsville 27-4 542
6 7 Missouri Baptist 32-2 518
7 6 Northwestern (Iowa) 29-3 495
8 8 Columbia (Mo.) 32-4 487
9 9 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 30-2 455
10 10 Viterbo (Wis.) 33-7 440
11 11 Eastern Oregon 26-3 421
12 12 Midland (Neb.) 23-7 393
13 13 Southern Oregon 22-4 369
14 T14 Grand View (Iowa) 25-12 366
15 T14 Davenport (Mich.) 31-7 355
16 16 Madonna (Mich.) 34-6 323
17 17 Georgetown (Ky.) 25-10 314
18 18 Jamestown (N.D.) 22-6 270
19 19 Indiana Wesleyan 29-7 259
20 20 Wayland Baptist (Texas) 21-9 247
21 21 Vanguard (Calif.) 21-11 204
22 23 Cal State San Marcos 23-10 191
23 24 Coastal Georgia 29-1 177
24 RV Concordia (Ore.) 17-8 139
25 22 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 19-13 131

Others receiving votes: Embry-Riddle (Fla.) 112; Oklahoma Baptist 107; Dordt (Iowa) 106; Evangel (Mo.) 36; Bryan (Tenn.) 30; St. Thomas (Fla.) 22; Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 15; St. Catharine (Ky.) 8; Concordia (Neb.) 8; Northwestern Ohio 5; Graceland (Iowa) 5; College of Idaho 3; Kansas Wesleyan 3; Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) 3.

LA GRANDE, OR: #16 EOU Football team prepares for big game

EOU looking for their first trip to the playoffs in decades

Posted November 12, 2014

Call it a playoff game in the regular season.  That's what the #16 Eastern Oregon University football team is calling it.  On Saturday the Mountaineers travel to #4 Southern Oregon for the final game of the regular season. A win would likely mean a trip to the NAIA playoffs for the Mountaineers- it would be their first trip to the playoffs since the early 1980's.  The two teams met earlier this year in La Grande.  Southern came from behind to win the game with just over two minutes left 34-31.  But the Mountaineers have history in Ashland- they beat Southern there last year to end the season.  You can listen to Saturday's game on NewsTalk 103 starting with the Les Schwab Tire pregame show at 11:40.