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The Observer paper 02/12/16

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420 Ville opens new location in Baker County

HUNTINGTON — Marijuana was sold legally in Baker County for the first time Friday.

Rep. Greg Walden to visit La Grande Tuesday

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, will visit La Grande on Tuesday for a roundtable meeting hosted by the Union County Chamber of Commerce at Cook Memorial Library, 2006 Fourth St., La Grande.

Sense of Relief finally comes to Harney County

Tom Wagner, of Christmas Valley, holds a flag in front of a roadblock set up after the militants surrendered and were taken out from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Thursday morning. Wagner said he spent some time at the refuge during the occupation and came to show support for the remaining four occupiers, to let them know they werenít abandoned. (Joe Kline/WesCom News Service)
BURNS — Emotion. Exhaustion. Relief.

All were on display Thursday afternoon from Harney County Sheriff David Ward during a news conference marking the end of the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. The siege ended late Thursday morning with the peaceful surrender of the last four holdouts.

Local kindergarten students are positioned for success

Daniel Braun works on a project Tuesday at Willow Elementary School. Monica Boucherís kindergarten classroom took the Oregon Department of Educationís annual assessment at the beginning of the school year. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
It is an illuminating snapshot, a photo composed of numbers not images.

School district approves bus contract

The La Grande School District is set to continue to receive bus service from Mid Columbia Bus Company for at least the next five years.

BRIEFLY: Harmonicas entertain Historical Society

The Union County Historical Society will have a meeting and potluck in the log cabin at the fairgrounds at noon Saturday.

The guest speaker will be Bob Wildes, who will bring some of his harmonicas and share his fabulous music.

Bus contract approved

Minimum wage talks add fuel to secession debate


new Idaho is not the brainchild of Union County resident Ken Parsons. Quite the contrary. The secession of Oregon has been brought up in year’s past to then Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Hansell, who is now a state senator, as well as Rep. Greg Barreto, R-Cove. 

Warm weather here to stay

A strong ridge of high pressure ó commonly seen during summer months ó has built up over the western side of the region and is gradually moving inland. Where Portland, Seattle and Long Beach, California, are seeing their warmest temperatures now, the eastern half of Washington and Oregon should see the mercury peak on Thursday and Friday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Don’t worry, your calendars are still correct. It’s just that the weather in the Grande Ronde Valley is making it feel like it’s April, and not the beginning of February.

Howells to stand trial in May

ENTERPRISE — Potentially damaging evidence of prior crimes will be admissible when Jon David Howells goes on trial in May for the alleged assault of his girlfriend, Brenda Johnson, and torching of her rented house in rural Joseph last August.

BRIEFLY: GRH offers free blood screenings

UNION, LA GRANDE — As part of “Healthy, Happy Heart Month,” Grande Ronde Hospital is offering free blood draws around the valley. Technicians will come to the community and administer the following tests:

• Hemoglobin & Hematocrit—Red Blood Cell screening for Anemia/Polycythemia 

• Cardiac Lipid Panel—Cholesterol, HDL, LDL and Triglycerides 

• Glucose—Blood Sugar Count

The first draw took place Saturday at the Elgin Community Center. On Feb. 20 the tests will be offered from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Union’s S.E. Miller School, 166 W. Dearborn. The final offering will take place Feb. 27 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Union County Senior Center, 1504 N. Albany St., in La Grande.

Although time allows only 100 draws per community, organizers hope to reach 300 people who may not otherwise be able to afford these potentially life-saving screenings — or perhaps there are people out there who have been putting off such tests and will take advantage of the convenience.

For optimum test results, a 9-12 hour fast prior to the draw is needed. A physician’s order is not required. GRH recommends you share your results with your doctor. For event information, contact GRH Community Relations at  541-963-1480.

Wyden Holding Town Halls in Umatilla and Morrow counties

Marijuana issue takes a twist in Union

Moda to continue servicing 2016 policies

Reflecting on the midway point of the school year

Shylo Fowler, far left, looks through pages of a storybook as teacherís assistant Mindee Hayden helps Payton Rock with reading in the newly built kindergarten wing of Greenwood Elementary, while kindergartner Kiera Hadden reads from her book in a chair. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze finds himself in a paradox at the midway point of the 2015-16 school year. 

There is much to celebrate, but potential reasons for concern. On the plus side, the past six months have been among the most fruitful in the La Grande School District since it was founded in the late 1800s. 

Stateís snowpack above normal

A pile of plowed snow sits near the Interstate 84 overpass for Summit Road near Mount Emily Friday afternoon. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
It may be too soon to tell, but the snowpack in the area is looking promising for the reservoirs.

Four council spots up for grabs

Four La Grande City Council positions — a majority of the elected board — will expire Dec. 31, and that means there could either be an infusion of new voices or voters will show their satisfaction by voting incumbents back into office.

BRIEFLY: Century 21 rental owners meet Thursday at noon

A rental owners meeting for Century 21 Eagle Cap Realty will be held noon on Thursday at the Community Connections building on Cove Ave. A no-host lunch is provided. For more information, contact Anna Goodman at 541-963-0511.

Minimum wage hike gains momentum in Legislature

SALEM — The minimum wage debate gained momentum at the Legislature on Friday when a handful of senators narrowly favored a newly proposed bill to raise wages in a three-tiered approached aimed at pleasing Oregon’s wide spectrum of urban and rural areas.

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