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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Business & Ag Life

NEOEDD awarded $400,000 grant to revitalize contaminated properties

The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District is among state and local entities in Oregon sharing more than $2.1 million in EPA Brownfields funding to help breathe new life into contaminated properties and revitalize former industrial sites. 

EPA Brownfields grants fund site assessments and site cleanups, supporting local efforts to clean up contamination or otherwise make land useable for housing, community space or commercial development.


Correcting blight

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Environmental clean-up of the IOOF/State Theater building at 1106 Adams Ave. is slated to begin in June. The project, mounted by the City of La Grande’s Urban Renewal Agency, will abate asbestos and lead-based paint, and repair roofs. The work will be funded with the help of an Oregon Coalition Brownfields Cleanup Fund grant. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH /The Observer

Clean-up effort aims to make neglected building marketable  

A bit of blight blemishing downtown La Grande will start going away in June, as work crews converge on the historic IOOF/State Theater Building on Adams Avenue to do a massive clean-up.

The building, also known as the Renegade building for a big sign left on its facade by a long departed business, has fallen into disrepair over the years and is chock-full of environmental hazards such as lead-based paint and asbestos.  


Airlink to change ownership

New AirLink has reciprocity agreement with different network of providers; local citizens with memberships could be impacted

A change in ownership at Bend-based AirLink Critical Care Transport could have consequences for local people who bought into the service’s air transport membership program.

AirLink formerly operated a fixed-wing base in La Grande and sold memberships that insured people against the costs of medical air transport.  


Have you seen this plant?

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whitetop: Area landowners are encouraged to report infestations of whitetop to the Tri-County Cooperative Weed Management Area office so that new weed-infested locations can be surveyed, treated and recorded for future follow-up treatments.

Tri-County Cooperative Weed Management Area  awarded $17,490 to help Union County residents and landowners combat whitetop 

That prolific white-flowered plant that appears in areas throughout Union County during the spring each year is not a desirable ground cover. 


Garden club decorates Elgin streets

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DIRT DIGGERS’ PLANT SALE: Two hundred plants were sold at the plant sale by noon Friday. From left, are Phyllis Thompson, Mary Davidson, Barbara Hawes, customers Gail Pope and her mother, Dorothy Pope, (rear) Renee Rose and Eva Way. TRISH YERGES photo

The Elgin Chamber of Commerce spearheaded the planting of about 100 flower barrels last Friday with the help of 25 green-thumbed volunteers from the community.

Maureen Smolkowski and Jessica Anderson from the chamber led the beautification project in association with members of the Dirt Diggers garden club, community volunteers, employees from U.S. Bank and Community Bank, students from Elgin High School’s Future Business Leaders of America organization and the National Honor Society.  


Farmers’ market season starts Saturday

Union County’s chance to shop local, mingle with neighbors, have a good time and eat fresh comes around again this weekend, as the La Grande Farmers’ Market launches another season at Max Square downtown.

Medical center up and running

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The La Grande Medical Center, including offices for Interpath Laboratory, opened for business April 2. An open house is slated 4 to 7 p.m. June 1.

Construction of La Grande’s newest medical clinic is complete at the corner of Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue downtown, and the doctors practicing there say they love the results.

The La Grande Medical Center, built by a group of family practitioners collectively called Independent Medical Providers, opened April 2, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for June 1. The facility houses four medical practices, employs about a dozen people, and was built at cost of $1.1 million.


Check brings Shelter closer to fundraising goal

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Terry Hughes, owner of Farmers Insurance and the president of the Blue Mountain chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, talks about NAIFA and its mission Tuesday to MaryEllen LaBerge and Teresa Crouser of Shelter from the Storm. Hughes presented a check for $1,000 in support of Shelter’s 3 Rivers Race. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

A key Shelter from the Storm fundraiser got a big boost this week from the Blue Mountain chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

With the 3 Rivers Race coming up June 2, Terry Hughes, NAIFA chapter president and owner of Farmer’s insurance in La Grande, handed over a $1,000 check to Shelter from the Storm in support of the event.


Market Place taking shape

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Andrew Stubblefield (foreground) and his father Gary Stubblefield of Stubblefield Construction share a laugh as they take some measurements during work at La Grande’s Market Place in the New Town Square building last Thursday. Local contractors are being used exclusively on the massive interior remodel. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

Remodeled building to serve as indoor retail community, business incubator, educational facility 

When Al Adelsberger gets to talking about La Grande’s Market Place, his enthusiasm quickly builds to a fever pitch. Big dreams about giving small business owners a hand up, and even bigger dreams about giving the city something to be proud of, come through loud and clear. He’s got a motto, one he repeats often: “Keep it local, think global.”


World Book Night celebrates reading

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Looking Glass Books owner Greg Bogard opens a box of World Book Night books for Ashley Cogburn, a student teacher at Stella Mayfield Elementary School in Elgin. Cogburn said she planned to distribute the free books, including copies of “The Hunger Games,” to students in her current class and in one she taught earlier at La Grande High School. World Book Night gave away 1 million books on April 23, the possible anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth and death. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

There’s a little confusion over William Shakespeare’s date of birth. Historians like to say it was April 23, 1564, but they don’t know for sure. 

It is known the bard was baptized April 26 of that year, and it’s tidy to believe — whether it’s true or not — that he was born a few days earlier, say, on April 23.

That adds a little poetry to the poet’s life, since he died April 23, 1619.  


Heart of Gold

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Jim McClure of Legacy Ford (left) has been donating his own time to help stranded motorists Robert and Marion Killans resume their journey to California. The elderly couple have been staying in their motor home at the Walmart parking lot the past week. McClure has been assisting with repairs. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

Parts and service worker at local Ford dealer comes to aid of pair after their Chevrolet RV breaks down and leaves them stranded at Island City Walmart 

Sojourners Robert and Marion Killans found out recently that Union County isn’t the worst place in the world to end up in times of trouble.

The elderly couple set out from Sweet Home on March 26, bound for Yucca Valley in California by way of Burley, Idaho. They were traveling in an older Chevrolet motor home and hauling a Grand Torino automobile, a gift for the daughter of a friend in Burley.


Elgin honors top citizens

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GARY BOTTGER, who plays Captain Hook in the Elgin Opera House production of “Peter Pan,” poses for a picture along with his wife, Kate.

ELGIN — The red carpet was rolled out March 14 for the annual Elgin Chamber of Commerce Awards banquet.

A full sell-out crowd descended on the Elgin Community Center to honor the men and women who contribute to the community, but also to honor the upcoming 100th birthday of the Elgin Opera House.   


Water Pal

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RUSSEL HUNT, OWNER of RAH manufacturing, runs some tests during a Water Pal training session in West Virginia with Dr. Lynell Braught. In La Grande, Hunt is manufacturing the Water Pal water softening device that Braught designed.
 

Summerville couple turns out device that makes water softer, better tasting


Bridal bliss

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TAYDIE McANDIE takes her turn on the runway during the fashion show portion of Saturday’s N.E. Oregon Bridal Show Saturday at the Blue Mountain Conference Center in La Grande. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer photos

Brides-to-be connect with local businesses at Northeast Oregon Bridal Show 


Rent-a-tree operation blossoms for Cove organic cherry growers

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RAINBOW ORCHARD owners Jim McIver and Donna Rainboth get a lot of help from their daughter Sadie, center, and comic relief from Jasper, foreground, in helping people rent organic cherry trees. MIKE SHEARER photo

Instead of using Malathion on their 150-tree orchard, Jim McIver and Donna Rainboth apply a bacterium that only targets cherry fruit fly 

COVE — The bare branches of the cherry trees at Rainbow Orchard betray no hint of the delightful blossoms that spring will eventually bring. And the delicious Lambert and Queen Anne cherries themselves are a good five months away.

But Donna Rainboth and Jim McIver are already lining up 2012 customers for their unique and popular rent-a-tree program, whereby those without an orchard in their own backyards can pay $50 and benefit from whatever harvest their assigned cherry tree at Rainbow Orchard has to offer late this summer. 


Rent-a-tree operation blossoms for Cove organic cherry growers

Read more...
RAINBOW ORCHARD owners Jim McIver and Donna Rainboth get a lot of help from their daughter Sadie, center, and comic relief from Jasper, foreground, in helping people rent organic cherry trees. MIKE SHEARER photo

Instead of using Malathion on their 150-tree orchard, Jim McIver and Donna Rainboth apply a bacterium that only targets cherry fruit fly 

COVE — The bare branches of the cherry trees at Rainbow Orchard betray no hint of the delightful blossoms that spring will eventually bring. And the delicious Lambert and Queen Anne cherries themselves are a good five months away.

But Donna Rainboth and Jim McIver are already lining up 2012 customers for their unique and popular rent-a-tree program, whereby those without an orchard in their own backyards can pay $50 and benefit from whatever harvest their assigned cherry tree at Rainbow Orchard has to offer late this summer. 


Hardware store adds sporting goods section

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Diana and Scott Thatcher, owners of the Ace hardware store in the La Grande Town Center, employ five people in their new sporting goods section and 20 people throughout the store. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

Ace Hardware in the La Grande Town Center on Island Avenue is growing, and in a way that should please people who love the great outdoors.

On March 1, owners Scott and Diana Thatcher opened their new sporting goods department, a store-within-a-store that looks and feels like the outdoor emporiums shoppers find in much larger towns.  


‘Cash mob’ descends on store, encourages residents to shop locally

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Jeni Kayoa, left, and Jeff Clark were two of about 30 people who joined a “Cash Mob” last Friday, marching on Bella Mercantile on Adams Avenue and spending $1,100 in an hour of shopping. Cash Mobs are cropping up all over the United States and Canada, encouraging people to shop local. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

About 30 people who feel passionately about shopping local let their wallets do the talking last week, marching on Bella Mercantile in downtown La Grande and doing over $1,000 worth of business there in about an hour. 

Together, the participants were a “cash mob,” taking part in a “Shop Local” movement that seems to be sweeping the nation. 


Hospital expands specialty services

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AT GRANDE RONDE HOSPITAL’S open house for its newly-opened Regional ENT (ears, nose and throat) Clinic and Regional Orthopedic Clinic, Rob and Chris McNeil receive a guided tour of the clinic from nurse and moonlighting tour guide, Pam Canavan. In this procedure room, Canavan provides information about some of the latest cutting-edge equipment available for patients visiting the clinic’s recently-hired MD, otolaryngologist Dr. Brian Affleck. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer

The Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation hosted an open house at the hospital’s Regional Medical Plaza Friday, unveiling the new ear, nose and throat clinic and orthopedic clinic for the public, and introducing the clinics’ physicians. 


Newest New Day residential home up and running

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GRANDE MANOR RIBBON-CUTTING: From left, Beth Leake, Union County Ambassadors; Randy King, Union County Chamber of Commerce president; Alan Keffer, New Day board president; Joe Brogdon, New Day board member; and Zee Koza, New Day executive director, participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 21 at Grande Manor — New Day’s recently completed residential facility. CHRIS BAXTER / The Observer

New Day Enterprises, the local non-profit agency serving the needs of the area’s developmentally disabled adults, celebrated another milestone last week as it opened its Grand Manor residential home at 701 16th St. 


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