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La Grande Observer Daily paper 09/15/14

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BRIEFLY: Common Core presentation set

Common Core presentation set

A presentation on Common Core state standards for schools, “What Parents Need to Know about Common Core,’’ will be given Wednesday. The presentation will be given by Bob Perry, director of the Redmond School Board and chair of the Redmond Patriots. 

The presentation will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Country Gathering Church, 60588 McAlister Road.




Woman killed in I-84 crash Thursday

A Pendleton woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near Meacham Thursday afternoon.


Upcoming school year budget increased

A chapter was added to the story of the La Grande School District’s comeback from the 2008-09 recession Wednesday night. 

The La Grande School Board voted to adopt a 2014-15 general fund budget that is more than $1.7 million greater than the present year’s budget. The adopted $19.2 million spending plan will provide the funding needed to add back many positions the district was forced to cut in recent years.


First medical pot dispensary changing sites

Permit for Green Apothecary OK’d for new location

The saga of La Grande’s future medical marijuana dispensary, Green Apothecary, has taken a new twist.

Before even opening its doors or seeing its first customer, the medical marijuana dispensary is now set to eventually operate at a different location than originally announced. The owner of Green Apothecary, Rona Lindsey, was granted a business permit to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 1709 Adams Ave. on Thursday by City of La Grande Planner Michael Boquist. 


Young workers struggle to get in the door

Unemployment, participation show teens are ‘endangered species,’ according to new state report

Though the state has added back jobs during its Great Recession recovery, young workers face high unemployment rates in Oregon. 


BRIEFLY: Farmer’s market celebrates hat day

Farmer’s market celebrates hat day 

JOSEPH — Joseph Farmer’s Market is celebrating crazy hat day Saturday. People who wear their craziest hat can earn an entry into the market drawing for a basketful of market products. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Joseph and Main streets. For more information visit www.wallowacountyfarmersmarket.org.


Shelter: Grants could go away

Law enforcement’s VAWA grants could come under scrutiny if Shelter From the Storm goes away

Det. Scott Whittington has a specific job.

He is charged with investigating domestic violence crimes for the La Grande Police Department, a job outlined by a Department of Justice Violence Against Women Act grant award.


Books help students soar

Two North Powder Elementary students flew in this Robinson R-44 helicopter Tuesday. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Plenty of fun in the sun almost certainly awaits North Powder Elementary School students Eric Newman and Jodi Bingham during their upcoming summer break.

The odds are, though, that nothing they do will top what they did Tuesday morning. 


Coffee drinkers take note: prices unlikely to rise

Al MacLeod combines beans to create his Triumph blend, a mix of Colombian, Brazilian and Indian beans used for espresso. MacLeod does not anticipate having to increase prices due to the coffee rust damaging crops in Central and South America. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Central, South American coffee plant disease unlikely to affect the cost of your cup of Joe 

Coffee lovers need not fear.

A fungus called coffee rust that has caused more than $1 billion in damage to the coffee crop in Central and South America is unlikely to cause prices to rise at your local coffee house.


BRIEFLY: Walla Walla man arrested in robbery

Walla Walla man arrested in robbery

La Grande Police arrested a Walla Walla, Wash., man after he allegedly robbed someone who was using an ATM at Umpqua Bank, 1215 Adams Ave.


Tuition at EOU may be frozen

State Board of Higher Education will make final decision next month

Eastern Oregon University is facing rising operating expenses but it likely will not pass those increases on to its students in 2014-15.

The State Board of Higher Education is close to adopting 2014-15 tuition rates that would freeze tuition at EOU. 


Passing the torch

Ellen Blackman, who served as the coordinator of the La Grande Middle School Eighth Grade Philly Trip for 20 years, looks at a Philly Trip photo album. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Ellen Blackman is a patriotic woman. Her dream was to see the Statue of Liberty before she died.

Now, she has seen the statue on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor numerous times, thanks to being the longtime coordinator of the La Grande Middle School Eighth Grade Philly Trip. 

After 20 years of leading trips, however, brain surgery last October at Oregon Health Sciences University has forced her to hand over the trip coordinator mantle to Angie Malone and Annmarie Fritz. 


BRIEFLY: Sign up for City Wide Yard Sale in Union

UNION — Union Grassroots Festival will have a City Wide Yard Sale Aug. 9 as part of the Union Grassroots Festival. To be included on the map, call Nadyne at 541-910-5425 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Donations are being accepted for a yard sale to raise funds to help promote the Union Grassroots Festival. Donations can be dropped off at Union Bagel Shop/Sights & Sounds Video at 153 Electric St. (across from the high school). For more information or to sign up as a vendor, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 541-786-1492.


60 Union County ballots being challenged

Signature verification needed before ballots can be counted

Times change and so do signatures.

Union County Clerk Robin Church understands this as well as anyone in Northeast Oregon. 


Wildfire season could be trouble

State experts say summer fire season has potential to be well above average

A fall and early winter drought, reduced snowpacks and drought conditions expanding into western and central Oregon are all expected to create above normal wildfire potential in Oregon this summer, officials said. 


Construction taking its toll on business

Rick Quillin pumps gas Thursday at Oak Street Shell in La Grande. The closure of the westbound Interstate 84 on-ramp has businesses in the area bracing for a slow summer. “It’s just slower,” said Cheryl Gunter, manager of the Oak Street Shell Station. “It’s sad because we’re only just starting it.” (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Merchants on northwest end of Adams Avenue say businesses already feeling the hit 

For about a month, La Grande’s westernmost on-ramp to Interstate 84 has been closed to traffic and businesses near the freeway entrance say they’re feeling the loss of traffic.

“It’s just slower,” said Cheryl Gunter, manager of the Oak Street Shell Station. “It’s sad because we’re only just starting it.” 




BRIEFLY: Friends of Union FFA meet Monday

Friends of Union FFA meet Monday

UNION — Friends of Union FFA will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the Ag Room at Union High School. Summer fundraising and the election of officers are on the agenda. 


Walking with a purpose: Don Henry inspires others with a 14-mile walk to Union

Don Henry walked 14 miles Monday - from his home in Island City to downtown Union. Henry, who has battle prostate cancer recently, is 82 years old. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Three years ago, prostate cancer sidelined Island City’s Don Henry.

Today, Henry, 82, is cancer free but believes he is still recovering from the side effects of the successful radiation treatment he received.

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