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Four unhurt skiers rescued after avalanche

Two cross-country skiers from the Seattle area were killed about noon Tuesday in an avalanche near Little Eagle Meadows, in the southern Wallowa Mountains near Cornucopia.

Two other skiers, also from the Seattle area, suffered broken legs in the slide.


10 Things to Know for Wednesday, Feb. 12

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Two killed in avalanche

Two cross-country skiers were killed about noon today in an avalanche near Little Eagle Meadows, in the southern Wallowa Mountains near Cornucopia, Mark Bennett, Baker County Commissioner, confirmed this afternoon.

The area is about 10 miles northwest of Halfway. 


Flurry of crashes reported in eastern Oregon

ONTARIO — Oregon State Police have responded to 13 incidents of vehicle slideoffs and crashes in eastern Oregon since Feb. 5.

While these were the only incidents resulting in damages to property or injury, there were dozens more which did not go reported as drivers were able to get back on the road themselves. 


Court action filed to stop megaload crawl

VALE — With the last of three Omega Morgan megaloads poised at the Port of Umatilla, waiting out winter weather before beginning its crawl across the state, several agencies have filed a court action seeking to halt it.

Peo Peo Mox Mox Chief — Headman of the Walla Walla Tribe Carl Sampson and ActOnClimate’s Peter Goodman filed a “petition for review of agency decision” Tuesday, alleging that the Oregon Department of Transportation failed to meet what they say is a legal obligation to determine whether the permit it issued last week for the megaload’s travel “serves the public interest.”


10 Things to Know for Tuesday, Feb. 11

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Fire destroys historic buildings in Lostine

LOSTINE — A Saturday morning fire in Lostine destroyed the historic Norton’s Welding and the Southfork Grange Hall buildings, both estimated to be more than 100 years old, fire officials said.

Jamie Calhoun of the Lostine Fire Department told Enterprise Fire Chief Paul Karvoski that he received a page and responded to Norton’s Welding. He and others who arrived after 10 a.m. broke a window and knocked in a door. 


Testing facility gets permit

Despite permit, city officials say medical marijuana issues hard to find in La Grande 

As Baker City explores the possibility of banning marijuana dispensaries, discussion of such measures is hard to find in La Grande.



Funds available to help landowners reduce risk

Almost $1.7 million is available to help private landowners reduce the risk of wildfire on their forest properties along the east side of the Elkhorn Mountains in Baker and Union counties.



ANSWER MAN: Where was the community of Etna situated?

Etna was located in what is today the north portion of Meacham. Today, storage shops for the Oregon Department of Transportation are located in what once was Etna, according to Walt Sullivan of Summerville, who grew up in the Meacham area.


Horse therapy

Emily Sharratt of Bodywork for Horses works to stretch tight shoulder muscles on a 20-year-old Morgan Arabian mare named Sierra. Stiffness in the shoulders can prevent proper movement and function in a horse. (Kelly Black photo)
Emily Sharratt uses a combination of techniques to help horses feel better again 

It looks a bit like tug-a-war — horse versus human, only the tail is the rope.



Orion overturns plow on Highway 237

Winter Storm Orion may have disrupted the Interstate 5 corridor but caused relatively few problems for Eastern Oregon this weekend.

Interstate 84 had a number of weather-related crashes and slideoffs, but there were no significant injuries reported.


PUBLIC SAFETY REPORT: February 10, 2014



New substance abuse trends strong in Oregon

Kitchen-cooked synthetic stimulants, overstocked heroin now on sale, binge drinking, chewing and smoking by underage youths and “dabs” of concentrated cannabis all have a vigorous foothold in Oregon, where the perception of substance abuse risk to children age 12 and older is among the lowest in the United States. 

Union County Safe Communities Coalition hosted speaker Matt Vogel, a health promotion specialist with Southern Oregon University, who spoke about these trends before a mixed audience of health care, school, law enforcement and substance prevention professionals from Northeast Oregon. 


BRIEFLY: Gardener class set Tuesday

Master Gardener class set Tuesday 

The next Master Gardener class will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Union County 4-H & Extension Education Center, 10507 N. McAlister Road. This week’s topic will be plant identification, with guest instructor Cathy Nowak, certified wildlife biologist for Ladd Marsh. The public is welcome to attend at a drop-in rate of $10 per person (cash/check only). Refreshments will be served.


VA director working toward holistic approach

Brian Westfield, director of the Walla Walla VA clinic, creates trading cards for interested vets. They include photos and information about their service.
Trading cards one aspect of patient-based care

Area veterans have been sharing and trading their own cards for a few years now.



10 Things to Know for Monday, Feb. 10

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Fire destroys historic grange in Lostine

(photos by KATY NESBITT/The Observer)

Update 3:50 p.m.: Lostine Fire was first on the scene Saturday morning when Norton's Welding and the Southfork Grange were reported on fire at 10:22 a.m. Lotsine firefighter Jamie Calhoun said he got a page and responded to the scene. He said he broke an office window and the front door to Norton's Welding and saw spots of fire throughout the interior. With smoke already coming from the ceiling overhead he said it was too dangerous to enter so the firefighters sprayed into the building. Wallowa, Enterprise and Joseph fire departments responded to the blaze. Incident Commander Paul Karvoski said the city's power was shut off while the fire was being fought and should be restored later this afternoon.




BRIEFLY: Salmon program unfolds in Joseph

JOSEPH — Ian Wilson of Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries will give a presentation on salmon restoration efforts by the tribe, with a focus on the Lostine River from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday. 

The program will be aimed at “pre-ski” middle schoolers — people are welcome to come in ski gear on the way to Ferguson Ridge Ski Area — but it will be interesting to anyone who follows the fish in Wallowa County. 

The program is free and open to the public. 

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