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The Observer paper 04/29/16

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Names released in fatal train crash

Oregon State Police have released the names of the victims of Tuesday’s fatal crash.

BRIEFLY: Nile Club meets Monday morning

The Union County Nile Club will meet Monday. The meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Golden Harvest Restaurant in La Grande.

Police: 3 dead in SUV, train crash

Oregon State Police is continuing its investigation into Tuesday afternoon's fatal crash involving a train and SUV south of Union in Union County. The names of the three occupants will be released following confirmation of family notifications, police said.

light ‘er up: Liberty sign set for official lighting Thursday

Read more...Some remember watching Elizabeth Taylor star in her breakout film “National Velvet,” or the epic “Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston.

Others remember the balcony. Specifically, they remember knowing not to sit just underneath the edge, where popcorn and other falling objects were bound to land.

‘Dory’s Diary’ fulfills lifelong dream

Dorothy Swart Fleshman signs a copy of her new book, “Dory’s Diary,” at her home. The 262-page, illustrated hardcover book is a collection of her columns printed in The Observer from 2009 to 2011. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Dorothy Swart Fleshman began writing for The Observer in 1944, the year Bing Crosby released his chart-topping record “Swinging on a Star.”

Student groups recycle area Christmas trees

Members of the La Grande High School Swim Team place the trees on the back of a truck, which will then go to Ladd Marsh. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)

As in years past, the La Grande High School Swim Team and Boy Scout Troop 511 are collecting Christmas trees to recycle and to raise money for their respective groups.

Happy Valley man arrested after pursuit

BAKER CITY — A Happy Valley man was arrested Wednesday following a pursuit that ended with a crash in Baker City.

BRIEFLY: Union City Council talks about deer, pot

UNION — The Union City Council will meet for a work session on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at city hall. Deer and marijuana will be two of the topics discussed at the work session. 

Man arrested after pursuit near Baker

Putting new plans in place

French Hall, a building located on the campus of the Cove ascension school, has been used for student summer programs ever since being built in the 1930s. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Plans are being finalized for the possible construction of a new activity building for the Ascension Camp and Conference Center, one that would feature a large meeting space with a stage, a small kitchen and more. The proposed building would have about 3,800 square feet and cost an estimated $500,000.

Valley unlikely to have white Christmas

Going over the Blue Mountains will be an icy experience during Christmas weekend for travelers. While the area isn’t expecting much snow, the temperatures will be below freezing and ice will be likely in most parts of the Grande Ronde Valley. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
As long as Santa doesn’t plan to drive his sleigh through Ladd Canyon or down Cabbage Hill, he shouldn’t have any problem getting to the Grande Ronde Valley.

Pot will not be sold in Cove

COVE — It’s official — no marijuana will be sold legally in Cove for recreational purposes.

BRIEFLY: I-84 closed early Monday evening

A 71-mile stretch of Interstate 84 was closed by the Oregon Department of Transportation for 45 minutes early Monday evening because of poor driving conditions caused by bad weather. Interstate 84 was closed from the Hermiston area to La Grande. 

“It was done as a precaution,” said Peter Murphy, a public information officer for ODOT.

Murphy said the closure was necessary because of strong winds and icy conditions.

The closure was in effect from 6:45 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Murphy said that ODOT wanted to prevent any accidents from occurring.

“We wanted to take control of adverse conditions,” he said.

Christmas star added at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church


A 30-foot high Christmas star light decoration has been added to the front of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in La Grande by its parishioners.The parishioners who put it up were Joe Schlieski, Tony Faro and Bill Acevedo.

EOU program hopes to stop cancer before it gets started

La Grande Middle School coach Melinda Becker-Besenius coaches her seventh and eighth grade physical education class during a tournament of speedball, a game which encompasses rules from basketball, soccer, and football combined. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
One Eastern Oregon University program has received funding to address cancer rates in Union County due to physical inactivity.

Multiple accidents last week leave two dead

A multiple-vehicle accident left only one man with minor injuries Thursday, adding to a long list of accident on Interstate 84. (Oregon State Police photo)
Last week’s bout of snow had the local emergency services working overtime with multiple accidents on Interstate 84, including two fatalities.

BRIEFLY: Library hosts LEGO Play every Saturday

Cook Memorial Library in La Grande hosts a LEGO Play every Saturday. Kids are invited to stop by between 10 a.m. and noon. Bring your own LEGOs or use those supplied by the library. This activity runs year-round.

I-84 east of Baker City now open

UPDATE: Interstate 84 Westbound east 15 miles east of Baker City is now opened. 


 UPDATE: Westbound Interstate 84 east of Baker City is estimated to be reopened at about 8 p.m. according to ODOT. 


Road update: Westbound Interstate 84 at milepost 320, 15 miles east of Baker City, is closed due to "jack-knifed semis," according to ODOT. Drivers are advised to delay travel or find an alternate route.

Though budget ideas bring hope much remains to be done to address city's budget downfall

Cuts previously discussed that could impact Cook Memorial Library and Veterans Memorial Pool have, for now, been tabled as La Grande’s Fiscal Committee looks at a package of alternatives. Those ideas include requesting additional library funding from the county, reducing the city’s building maintenance fund and replacing a position where someone is set to soon retire with an entry-level employee. (Observer file photo)
A package of proposals to address the City of La Grande’s projected budget shortfall left many optimistic Monday. The ideas, though, have a long way to go before they can become a reality.

Presented by City Councilor John Bozarth in a meeting of the city’s ad hoc fiscal committee, the three proposals, combined with Urban Renewal under levies, could prevent the council from having to make service cuts as have been discussed previously.

Kids ‘Shop with a Cop’ Thursday

Kilyx Snyder ponders a jewelry gift for a family member while Deputy Dane Jensen of the Union County Sheriff’s Office gives shopping advice at Wal-Mart Thursday afternoon during the annual Shop with a Cop event. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Fifteen area kids were treated to a Christmas shopping spree Thursday as part of the La Grande Police Department’s seventh annual Shop with a Cop event.

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