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Business & Ag Life

AT&T brings mobile Internet network to Eastern Oregon

AT&T Tuesday announced the launch of its mobile Internet network in seven Eastern Oregon counties, including, Union, Baker and Wallowa.

In a press release, the communications company said the new network will allow customers to surf the Web, download files faster and enjoy the latest in mobile applications. Previously, AT&T only offered roaming service in the region.

Stable funding La Grande Main Street priority

La Grande Main Street held a series of informational meetings at the end of August and mid-November regarding stable funding for the organization.  

Stable funding is being sought to help downtown La Grande continue to become a more vibrant center for commerce and activities.  

Business adds log cabin repair to its repertoire

Jim Zacharias and crew are adding log cabin repair to their suite of custom milling options. KATY NESBITT - The Observer

Jayzee Lumber of Joseph continues to add to its suite of products and services; its latest, log home repair including custom chinking and log replacement.

Three years ago, Jim Zacharias built his first log cabin prototype and has been experimenting ever since. Through word of mouth the company has grown to not only building the kits, but constructing many of them on-site, keeping two full-time employees busy and two more are needed during the summer season.

Celebration time for Big H project

Streetscape work included installation of new street lighting, benches, bike racks and trash receptacles. CHRIS BAXTER - The Observer

Ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. Thursday at Elm and Adams marks completion of downtown streetscape work 

The City of La Grande’s “Big H” streetscape project gets its official unveiling Thursday, as the City, La Grande Main Street and Mike Becker General Contractor throw a celebration marking the project’s completion. 

Miller joins board of trustees

Grande Ronde Hospital’s Board of Trustees confirmed its newest member during the October 2012 board meeting, welcoming Stephanie Miller, who will fill an unexpired term vacancy through 2014. 

“We are extremely pleased to have Stephanie step in and join the Board,” said current Board Chair Burr Betts. “Stephanie brings a fresh perspective and great enthusiasm for community service to the board.” 

Imbler woman opening store for Anything Local

Jenny Bartell plans a Dec. 1 opening for Community Merchants, a store in downtown La Grande providing retail opportunities for local artists, craft workers, produce growers and others. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH - The Observer

Another venue for the sale of locally produced goods has popped up in La Grande, with Jenny Bartell set to open a store downtown called Community Merchants.

Last week, Bartell signed the lease on the ground floor space in the building at 1019 Adams Ave., space occupied during the recent election season by the Union County Republicans.  

New editor joins Observer

Andrew Cutler

The Observer has a new editor in Andrew Cutler, an Idaho native with experience at papers in Oregon, Idaho and South Dakota.

Cutler started work for The Observer Monday, after making a move from Rapid City, S.D. Before taking the La Grande position, he worked as a weekend news editor at the Rapid City Journal.

“I’m extremely excited about coming back to the Northwest and, specifically, working at a paper like the La Grande Observer,” Cutler said. “This paper has a great staff of hardworking, talented people who truly love what they do and the product they put out. I’m excited to be part of that.” 

Small-business Happenings for November 21, 2012

Donation jars set out for bank’s Change for Charity Drive

Community Bank’s Change for Charity Drive is back for another holiday season, taking place now in all areas the Community Bank serves.

The program, which began this year Nov. 5 and continues through Dec. 14, is an effort to collect funds from the community, to be used in that same community. Community Bank matches 50 cents on every dollar (up to $5,000). In the previous two years of the program, more than $27,400 has been given to area charities. Each branch manager has selected a charity to raise funds for that will directly benefit the citizens in the area.

Anchor Core

Boise Cascade employee Jan Roulet bands panels during a recent shift at the Island City particleboard plant. Production of Anchor Core panels has helped reduce work curtailments at the plant. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH - The Observer

New slatwall panel boosts production at particleboard plant 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that if a man can build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to his door. 

With a little modification, that long-enduring favorite saying in the world of business could aptly describe what’s going on at the Boise Cascade particleboard plant in Island City. 

La Grande downtown streetscape project drawing to a close

Cody Grimsley of Tomco Electric out of Bend prepares wires and tubes for the installation of another of the 26 new light poles in downtown La Grande last week. Part of La Grande’s ongoing Big H project, the poles will emit LED lighting and each come with its own irrigation system for seasonal hanging flower baskets. CHRIS BAXTER - The Observer

The Big H streetscape project downtown is coming to an end, according to an announcement this week from the City of La Grande.

City officials said the construction project, a major improvement effort for the central business district, will be complete Nov. 30. It continues to wind down this week with only minimal impacts for pedestrians.

Oregon Rural Action, school district grant recipients

Funds distributed by Oregon Department of Agriculture will help promote speciality crop production, nutritious eating program at North Powder Charter School District  

Oregon Rural Action and North Powder Charter School District will boost their efforts to support local agriculture and nutritious eating thanks to grants awarded this fall through the threatened-with-extinction federal farm bill.

According to recent announcements, Oregon Rural Action will receive $68,200  and North Powder School $23,600 in federal speciality crop block grant funds, money distributed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.   

Small-business Happenings for November 14, 2012

All electric Think City cars roll into Northeast Oregon

These six Think City car owners in Union County are impressed with the electric-powered technology and performance of their vehicles. From left, are Steven Bartell, Tempe Bartell, Theresa and Howard Butts, and Stacey and Forrest Warren.

There are currently 110 all electric Think City vehicles cruising Oregon’s city streets, including four that made their clean and quiet debut in Union County.

Eco-technology conscious buyers like Howard and Theresa Butts and Forrest and Stacey Warren of Summerville, and Steven and Tempe Bartell of Imbler all did their home work and could not pass up the opportunity to go electric. After all, it’s good for the environment and even better on the wallet.

Skin care company sets up shop

Jody Berry of Wild Carrot Herbals brought her family and her business to Wallowa County from the Willamette Valley this summer. The transplanted skin care company has hired two people to help mix, bottle and ship more than 100 products. KATY NESBITT - The Observer

Wild Carrot Herbals moves its operation from  Western Oregon to Enterprise 

Booming cannons sent Wild Carrot Herbals running for the hills from a farm in the lush, green Willamette Valley. 

Far from the thunder of propane cannons used by grass seed farmers to scare off geese, Jody, Michael and Ginger Berry are happily mixing natural skin care concoctions in the basement of the Wallowa Resources Stewardship Center in Enterprise.

Small-business Happenings for November 7, 2012

PubTalk, Succession Planning, Special Care for New Concrete

Industrial land buy OK’d purchase

Jeanette Thompson, and her grandson, Bryce Thompson, pose with fuel bricks and bags of pellets. Mark Bogart photo


Board gives nod to county purchase of ‘shovel-ready’ lot in Baum Industrial Park 

The Union County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to go ahead with a plan to acquire a 60-acre parcel of large-lot industrial land in the Baum Heavy Industrial Park in Island City. 


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