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One vehicle rollover sends one to Washington hospital

The Oregon State Police is investigating an early Sunday morning single vehicle injury traffic crash that occurred along Interstate 84 east of La Grande in Union County. The operator and only occupant of the vehicle received serious injuries as a result of the crash. Driver fatigue is being investigated as a main factor in the crash. 

Fire restrictions ease on private lands in NE Oregon

Rain and cooler temperatures have prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to ease fire restrictions on private forestlands in the Northeast Oregon District, starting Friday. 



BRIEFLY: Potluck honors runners’ trek

Potluck honors runners’ trek

OSU Extension Family & Community Health is welcoming Isaiah and Jeremiah Godby to Union County at a picnic and potluck at 6 p.m. Monday at Birnie Park, C Avenue and Sixth Street. The Godby brothers are students at the OSU School of Public Health and Human Sciences. They are running 1,675 miles through 30 counties in Oregon to encourage a healthy lifestyle and to support and celebrate Oregon’s first nationally accredited college of public health and human sciences. 

They will run from Baker City to La Grande Monday.  OSU Alumni, Beaver fans and any other community members are welcome to join the party or run with them. For more information, call the Extension Office at 541-963-1010 or visit http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/healthrun/.

County project extension possible

Union County may be able to get an extension for its courthouse project, according to a state representative from the Oregon Judicial Department.

Phil Lemman, legislative communication manager for the OJD, said Thursday that the OJD has the authority to disburse funds allocated by the Legislature until the end of the biennium, June 30, 2015, but an extension would be contingent on the county’s ability to come up with a viable plan for a completed project.

Ready to get its kicks

Jay Kenton, left, Eastern Oregon University interim president, Anji Weissenfluh, athletics director, and Xavier Romano, EOU vice president for student success, are excited about having a men’s soccer team and hope to recruit new students and athletes to the school because of it. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Eastern Oregon University announced Thursday that the school will have a men’s soccer team beginning next fall.

Jay Kenton, EOU interim president, said during a press conference that he believes the program will bring returns at a limited cost to the university.

PGG makes deal to sell retail stores

Pendleton Grain Growers says it plans to sell its AG Supply retail stores in Hermiston, Island City, left, and Joseph.
Pendleton Grain Growers has entered into negotiations to sell the AG Supply retail stores in Joseph, Island City and Hermiston. 

The three stores will not be closing. It will continue to be business as usual, Maddee Moore, a spokesperson for PGG, said. 

Oregon to clarify insurance rules on autism treatment

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Insurance Division announced Thursday it will begin drafting a bulletin to clarify insurers' responsibility to cover Applied Behavior Analysis therapy as a treatment for autism. 

EOU to play men's soccer next fall

Eastern Oregon University announced in a Thursday press conference that it will launch it's mens soccer program to play in fall 2014.

"I'm very happy about this," said Jay Kenton, interim EOU president. "We're here for the long run."

A mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus

Union County Vector Control announced Thursday that a positive test for West Nile virus has been confirmed this week on mosquitoes collected in North Powder.

PGG exits retail, automotive businesses

PENDLETON — Pendleton Grain Growers, Inc. announced Thursday it has entered into negotiations to sell the AG Supply retail stores located in Joseph, Hermiston and Island City. The cooperative did not receive offers on the remaining three stores or the Pendleton Automotive Service Center. 

La Grande Planning Commission approves marijuana dispensary regulations

La Grande Planning Commissioners approved the medical marijuana dispensary regulations at Wednesday night's hearing.

Cool weather helps firefighters manage blazes across the Wallowa-Whitman

ENTERPRISE — Cool weather over the next few days should help firefighters get a handle on the numerous fires across Northeast Oregon.

Today “heavy rain” is predicted for Enterprise and Joseph with a high of only 82 degrees. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures in the 70s for Thursday and Friday with a chance of thunderstorms.

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest brought in a long-term assessment team to evaluate probabilities of fire movements in the wilderness areas, given predicted weather. A press release said this will help forest managers anticipate and be prepared for possible fire growth over the next few weeks.

Smoke conditions bring negative health effects

Skies around La Grande were hazy from wildfires Monday. (Kelly Ducote/The Observer)
Skies around La Grande are clearer today than they have been, but people are still encouraged to monitor the air quality and take caution if conditions worsen.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on Monday urged residents in Union and Wallowa counties to take measures to protect themselves against unhealthy smoke in the air.

Time for some quiet? Resident thinks bond may work to establish a quiet zone for noisy trains

City Manager Robert Strope said in 2008 a city committee found that implementing a quiet zone would cost the city as much as $750,000 per intersection. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
It was an issue discussed at length by the City of La Grande five years ago.

But the trains have kept rolling, and their whistles keep blowing, much to the dismay of La Grande resident Barney Kuensting.

Island City mayor receives noteworthy honor

Sharon Crampton, administrative assistant, and Island City Mayor Dale De Long discuss business at city hall on Tuesday. De Long received the Mayor’s Leadership Award last weekend. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Dale De Long is concluding his 24-year tenure as mayor of Island City on top.

De Long was saluted as one of Oregon’s best mayors on Saturday in Pendleton, receiving the prestigious Mayor’s Leadership Award. The award was presented at the Oregon Mayors Association Summer Conference. 

BRIEFLY: DHS adds new town hall meeting

DHS adds new town hall meeting 

PENDLETON — The Oregon Department of Human Services has added a new town hall meeting with DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday at the Vert Club Room, 345 S.W. Fourth St., Pendleton. 

People are invited to provide input and feedback to the DHS on its priorities and strategic direction for 2015-17 and beyond in the following areas: child welfare, aging and people with disabilities, intellectual/developmental disability services, self-sufficiency, vocational rehabilitation, DHS agency operations and other human services issues.

Lightning sparks 51 new wildfires in Oregon

GRANTS PASS — Lightning has ignited 51 new wildfires in Oregon, and storms are forecast to continue through Wednesday.

Sheriff's office contract OK'd during public hearing

No one objected to renewing the Sheriff's contract at Monday night's public hearing in Elgin.

While some councilors and participators said they wished Elgin had their own police department again, the fact remained that the money wasn't in the budget and the liabilities would not be worth taking on a police department of their own.

The Elgin City Council and many of those in attendance commended the deputies responsible for patrolling Elgin and said the town is safer because of them.

The Sheriff's contract is for three years. The city council will decide whether to renew the contract in a future meeting.

Wildfire smoke brings unhealthy air to Enterprise and other communities in Wallawa, Union counties

Air quality in and around Enterprise is unhealthy due to smoke impacts from nearby wildfires, including fires burning in Oregon and western Idaho. The DEQ urges people with asthma and other respiratory conditions to take precautions to protect themselves as long as air quality remains unhealthy.

Air quality is expected to remain poor throughout north and eastern Oregon for the next few days, not only in Enterprise but also in La Grande, Baker City and Pendleton. 

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