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La Grande Observer 05/25/15

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Mitchell set to head west

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Dale Mammen, left, chair of the Liberty Theatre Foundation, and La Grande Community and Economic Development Director Charlie Mitchell look around inside the old theater. Mitchell is set to take a new job next month but hopes to be back for the first show at the Liberty. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Charlie Mitchell arrived in 
La Grande in October 2008 after the city council decided to hire someone to work on economic development.

BRIEFLY: Elgin chip seal assessment bills paid

ELGIN — The outstanding chip seal accounts in Elgin have all been collected and the property owners have paid their dues. 

Approximately 30 past due accounts on a chip seal assessment from as far back as 1997 were brought to the Elgin City Council’s attention in July. 

The council voted to send out letters warning of the past due accounts and at one point discussed putting liens on the homes of those who had not paid. 

An estimated $35,000 was due from these past due accounts. The council gave homeowners 30 days to respond. 

At last week’s city council meeting, Brock Eckstein said the homeowners have paid their bills.



MY VOICE: Ensuring SFS continues to exist

Union County needed a new courthouse, but the community failed to support funding. Approximately $2 million from an inmate retribution fund are granted to Union County to build a new courthouse. Commissioners did a feasibility study and came up with a plan that entailed demolishing the community’s DV/SA center. 

State of the Union 2015


Interstate 84 pileup

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Black ice, steep terrain and poor visibility are likely to blame for the series of crashes early Saturday 33 miles east Baker City. Twelve people were transported to the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City for injuries, according to hospital officials. (Oregon Department of Transportation photo)
A dozen people were injured, some of them seriously, in a massive 26-vehicle pileup that closed Interstate 84 for the day Saturday.

Walden talks timber, health

 U.S. Rep. Greg Walden is confident about the direction of the 114th Congress.


Project ready to move forward

ENTERPRISE — After months of deliberation and years of study, PacifiCorp is working on its final license application for the Wallowa Falls hydroelectric project.

BRIEFLY: Square dancing lessons start Thursday

Free square dancing lessons will begin Thursday at the Fort Union Grange Hall on McAlister Lane. The class begins at 7 p.m. Call 541-963-5740 for more information.



Black ice blamed for I-84 pileup

BAKER CITY — Black ice is believed to be the cause of a freeway pileup involving more than a dozen tractor-trailers that left 12 people injured Saturday in eastern Oregon, police said.


Travelers advised to bypass I84 completely in Eastern Oregon

ODOT advises travlers to stay away from I-84 completely in Eastern Oregon due to two major accidents that occurred earlier this morning.

District moves closer to starting bond work

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Doors will be added to classrooms at La Grande High School this summer with money from the $31.85 million bond voters approved. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The stage is being set for a whirlwind summer of construction, maintenance and security work in the 
La Grande School District.

Council is official

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City Councilors Wayne Brown, left, Gary Lillard, Troy Pointer and Justin Rock were sworn in at Wednesday night’s meeting. Brown and Rock are first-time councilors, while Lillard and Pointer were voted in for another term. New Mayor Steve Clements was also sworn in during Wednesday’s meeting. (Mike Boquist photo)
The newly sworn-in La Grande city councilors were thrown into the deep end of the pool Wednesday at their first meeting with a public hearing on a conditional use permit for La Grande’s second medical marijuana facility.

Council tables appeal of clinic site plan

The La Grande City Council heard more than two hours of testimony on an appeal for a site plan project at the Regional Medical Clinic that several neighbors feel was not handled properly.

BRIEFLY: New group gives caregivers support

ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County Caregivers, a free support group for anyone caring for a loved one, will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Wallowa Memorial Hospital’s conference room. The confidential meetings take place the first and third Tuesdays of the month. The group organizers say, “Come as you are. Stay as long as you can.”

New dispensary coming to town, moratorium approved

The La Grande City Council made two big decisions at Wednesday night's meeting: to enact a 120-day moratorium against any future marijuana dispensary, and to approve a conditional use permit for La Grande's second medical marijuana dispensary.

Fake currency found at downtown bank

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Money is run through a machine at U.S. Bank in La Grande that detects counterfeit bills. The La Grande branch of U.S. Bank received a $100 counterfeit bill on Monday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
It takes mere seconds, costs just a few dollars and could save a business money and some headaches to avoid having a counterfeit bill cross the counter threshold. 

Guard, Legion Aim for stronger bonds

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Sgt. Matt Henneke, La Grande, a communications specialist assigned to Eastern Oregon’s Oregon Army Guard unit, the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, tests a radio in a Humvee last year at the Orchard Combat Training Center south of Boise, Idaho. (Observer file photo)
Two renowned regional organizations want to build a stronger bond for the future to assist those who served the nation in the armed forces.

Barreto takes new title — representative

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Greg Barreto is sworn in as the new District 58 representative Monday. (Greg Barreto/For The Observer)
La Grande businessman Greg Barreto is getting a crash course in state government ahead of this year’s legislative session.

BRIEFLY: Walden is coming to La Grande, Enterprise

U.S. Rep, Greg Walden will hold town hall meetings in Wallowa and Union counties Sunday. The representative will take questions from the public and provide an update on his efforts to reduce regulation on small business and to create jobs in Eastern Oregon.

Walden will be at the Wallowa County Senior Center, 702 NW First St., Enterprise, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Union County meeting runs from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cook Memorial Library, 2006 Fourth St., La Grande. Participants are advised to arrive early.



Another wandering wolf arrives in Southwest Oregon

GRANTS PASS — Another wandering wolf has found its way to the Cascades of Southwestern Oregon, where OR-7 has established his pack after trekking thousands of miles in search of a mate.


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