ANSWER MAN: Has the area been represented on 'Wheel of Fortune'?
We know of at least two people who once lived in La Grande who have been contestants on the popular game show.
The most recent was Chris Warren, who appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” in a segment broadcast in May 2012. Warren, a 1999 La Grande High School graduate, was a Lake Oswego resident at the time he competed on the game show. He moved there from La Grande in 2008. Warren, who served in Iraq in 2004-05 and in Afghanistan in 2006-07 with the Oregon National Guard, appeared on “Wheel of Fortune” in his military uniform.
Tara (Bevell) Spencer, a 1988 LHS graduate, competed on “Wheel of Fortune” on a program broadcast in December 1999. Spencer lived in Lacey, Wash., at the time.
Spencer entered her name for consideration as a contestant in the summer of 1999 at Wheelmobile in Western Washington, she said in a December 1999 Observer article.
Spencer’s name was one of 180 drawn for auditions.
During tryouts, applicants were photographed and given word puzzle tests. Everyone had to complete word puzzles with 70 percent accuracy. Those who survived the tryouts received auditions.
Did a future Olympian compete in high school track and field meets in Union County in the 1980s?
Paula Berry, a standout javelin thrower at Dayville High School in Grant County, competed in track and field meets in La Grande in the mid- 1980s. The competitions Berry threw in included high school district championship meets at Eastern Oregon University.
Berry went on to the University of Oregon, where she won the 1991 NCAA title in the women’s javelin, according to the website goducks.com. She qualified the next year for the 1992 Summer Olympics Games in Barcelona, Spain. Berry placed 23rd in the women’s javelin at the Olympics.
Were any soldiers from Union County killed while fighting in the Spanish- American War?
We do not know.
What is known is that approximately 55 troops from Union County were sent to the Philippines in 1898 to participate in the Spanish-American War. At least one of the soldiers died of dysentery while in the Philippines, according to articles in 1899 editions of the Observer.
The soldiers sent to the Spanish-American War from Union County were members of the 2nd Oregon Regiment. The troops were members of Company D, a unit made up of troops from La Grande and Pendleton, according to the book “Best of the Old Northwest” by Marge Davenport.
A total of 1,630 troops from Oregon were sent to the Philippines to fight in the Spanish-American War, according to the book “Dictionary of Oregon History” edited by Howard McKinley Corning. Thirteen of those Oregon soldiers were killed in action, and two were killed in accidents. A total of 43 died of disease, and 84 were wounded in action.