As summer wound down in Union County and greater Eastern Oregon,
news from the Oregon Employment Department was less than upbeat.
Regional Economist Jason Yohannan reported that the jobless rate in
Union County climbed in August after two months of slight improvement.
The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 11.5 percent for
“After a couple of months of improvement, August’s unemployment rate
changed direction and moved back to its highest level since May,”
Local efforts related to the Oregon Main Street Program will get a boost with the addition of an intern to the City of La Grande’s Community and Economic Development Department.
NEW MAN ON BOARD: Jason McNeil, of Resource Assistance for Rural Environments, recently joined the La Grande Community and Economic Development Department for an 11-month internship. He will concentrate mainly on implementation of the Oregon Main Street Program. - The Observer/BILL RAUTENTRAUCH
Jason McNeil, an intern from the University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Environments project, came on board Sept. 21, joining a staff that includes Community and Economic Development Director Charlie Mitchell, Planner Mike Boquist and Planning Secretary Barbara Trick.
Oregon Trail Electric Co-Op was recently honored with a first-place
award for its YouTube video productions and a second-place award for
its radio program “Your Voice,” which is aired locally on KLBM/KBKR.
The awards, from the Northwest Public Power Association, were both in the Wild Card category.
“It truly is an honor to be recognized,” said OTEC Communications
Specialist Michael Howe. “There were a number of worthy entries and for
OTEC to receive these honors is quite humbling.”
Sun Storage, a Joseph-based solar energy company, was among a select
group of businesses featured in the second annual Sustainable Energy
pavilion at the 2009 Oregon State Fair, held recently in Salem.
LOCAL BUSINESS ON DISPLAY: Oregon State fairgoers visit the display set up by Sun Storage of Joseph. The business, owned by Jonathan Monschke and Louis Perry, builds solar array packages and markets them nationwide. Submitted photo
Sun Storage joined its photovoltaic panel supplier, SolarWorld, in representing solar energy at the popular exhibit.
Prominent among the broad variety of technology booths, the solar
energy exhibit was a go-to site for those interested in solar power for
on- or off-grid application.
Just about anybody can benefit from instruction in money management,
most anytime. In a tough recession, people need it even more.
That’s why the Region 13 Worksource Oregon Board is getting set to
unveil “Financial Fitness” workshops in Union, Baker and Wallowa
In La Grande, the classes will be held 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 at the Oregon Employment Department building, 1901 Adams Ave.
In Baker City, sessions are planned 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 20 and Oct 22 at the Baker County Senior Center, 2810 1/2 Cedar St.
In Enterprise, the workshops will take place 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 27 and Oct. 29 at the employment office, 104 Litch St.
The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required.
Those wanting to attend the La Grande sessions should call 541-963-7111. The Baker City number is 541-523-6331. In Enterprise, call 541-426-4972.
To help promote small businesses, the Oregon Department of
Transportation’s Procurement Office has created the Small Contracting
Program for Construction.
The goal of the program is to increase economic opportunities for
Oregon workers and businesses, diversify the size of companies that are
awarded ODOT construction contracts and boost participation in
To do this, a selection of ODOT construction projects valued at
$100,000 or less have been set aside for this program. Only contractors
who have pre-qualified under the Small Contracting Program for
Construction will be eligible for these contracts.
Two little polyester balls, connected by a short piece of
monofilament. Inventions — especially those with the potential to
change the world — just don’t get any simpler than that.
Flu Fighter: The Undetectable Nasal Insert invented by local resident David Foggia could be used as a vaccine delivery system. The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK
David Foggia, a La Grande resident with a penchant for innovation,
believes his Undetectable Nasal Insert, invented initially to help
people cope with bad odors, has bigger, far more important
applications. It could even play a role in fighting flu pandemics.
He’s so convinced, he’s asking the Food and Drug Administration to
evaluate the device for use as a vaccine delivery system and a pathogen
destroyer. And he’s hoping to see the day when health-conscious people
everywhere are using it.
Recycling simplified in Elgin, Imbler, Cove and N. Powder
COVE BINS: Darin Larvik, owner of City Garbage, shows off one of the newly painted recycle bins at the Cove Transfer Station. Observer photos/BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH
City Garbage Service, looking after customers in La Grande and most
of Union County’s outlying communities, made some improvements in its
recycling program recently with help from Union County.
Recycle bins were refurbished, making it easier than ever for City
Garbage customers to know where to put what, and helping City Garbage
to cut down on handling costs.
In the past, Oregonians participating in local recycling programs
were required to separate items into a bewildering array of bins. It
was a time-consuming process.
UNION — Now that south Union County voters have approved
formation of a health district, the hard business of running a clinic
and keeping it on solid financial footing is under way.
making improvements: Construction worker Anthony Smith gets ready to hang drywall in the Union Family Health Center’s new dental clinic. North Powder dentist Joel Bender will begin practice at the center this month, after completion of the remodel. The Observer/BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH
The South County Health District, formed in May after a vote within
the Cove, Union and North Powder school districts, now has
responsibility for the Union Family Health Center at Dearborn and Main
streets in Union.
The district’s board of directors hopes to make the clinic an even
better facility than it was when Oregon Health & Science University
ran it. Some improvements have shown up already, but others will have
to wait for funding.
‘Yesterday it was 105 degrees here. Find a bottle buddy and each of
you make sure the other stays hydrated. That’s the way the army does
it, and that’s the way you’re going to do it. Hooah!”
BOSS LIFT PARTICIPANT: Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies laughs at a remark made by a fellow Boss Lift employer at the Orchard National Guard Training Area near Boise. The annual Boss Lift program, an activity of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, brings employers to training sites to see how National Guard and Reserve troops train when they have to be away from work. Behind him is a portable control center for unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles. Photo/RODGER NICHOLS
“Hooah!” we reply, in approved Army fashion. It’s not yet 100
degrees in the desert near Boise, but it feels as if that’s just a
matter of time. It’s July 23, and 44 of us are standing in our civvies,
paying close attention to an Army National Guard captain.
That morning we had arrived at Gowen Air National Guard base, next to the Boise airport, as part of a program called Boss Lift.