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La Grande Observer Daily paper 09/19/14

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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.

County seeks to dismiss lawsuit

Legal counsel for Union County on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the Shelter From the Storm lawsuit.

It's Barreto: La Grande businessman sweeps to victory in House District 58 Republican primary

Greg Barreto receives a congratulatory hug and handshake from supporters Jennifer and Jack Boyd of La Grande at his residence in Cove Tuesday night after learning about his victory over John Turner in the Oregon House District 58 race. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Union County residents can rest assured that their next state representative will come from the east side of the mountain.

La Grande business owner Greg Barreto handily defeated John Turner Tuesday night in the Republican primary, garnering 83 percent of the Union County vote, 80 percent in Wallowa County and 51 percent in Umatilla County.

2014 PRIMARY: Union County measure to make county commissioner positions nonpartisan wins in landsl

All registered voters in Union County will soon be able to participate in every election for Union County Commissioner positions.


2014 PRIMARY: Barreto cruises to primary win

Union County's Greg Barreto likely will be heading to Salem next year to represent Oregon's 58th District.

2014 PRIMARY: Castilleja wins commissioner race

ENTERPRISE — In a rematch of the 2010 county commissioner race, incumbent Paul Castilleja was chosen by Wallowa County Republicans to retain his position, defeating Marc Stauffer by nearly 200 votes Tuesday in the Republican primary. 

2014 PRIMARY: Measure to change Elgin city administrator selection process narrowly fails

The City of Elgin will not be changing how it selects its city administrator.


North Powder couple pleads not guilty

Joe and Faith Miller, the North Powder couple accused of sex crimes, both pleaded not guilty to all charges against them this afternoon in Union County Circuit Court.

Joe Miller, 69, and his wife Faith Miller, 55, pleaded not guilty to all total of 32 counts of alleged sex charges.

John Turner confident as voting deadline nears

After six months of campaigning, John Turner enters Tuesday’s primary confident he’s done everything he’s needed to do to win.

“I’m still very confident we’re going to win,” Turner said. “We have seen such strong support in our telephone and our door-to-door efforts that it’s been very encouraging.”

Greg Barreto takes criticisms in stride, prepares for Tuesday election

When Greg Barreto accepted the challenge to run for House District 58 he knew there would be attacks and things said about him by the opposition. What he didn’t expect was the effect those attacks would have on his family.

“I can handle this stuff. It’s harder for the spouse to handle these things when they come at you,” said Barreto, who is running against John Turner of Pendleton in Tuesday’s Republican primary. “I think that’s natural. That’s one thing I’ve learned in campaigning, your wife takes up your offense in a greater amount than you do.”

BRIEFLY: Award ceremony set for Tuesday evening

Awards ceremony set for Tuesday evening

La Grande High School will have an Awards Ceremony for graduating seniors at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the LHS auditorium. Awards presented will include scholarships, outstanding senior awards and National Honor Society tassels and cords. All families and friends of graduating seniors are invited.

Judge strikes down Oregon gay marriage ban

PORTLAND — A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.

Insko: We could add jobs if logs were accessible

One of the biggest engines in the regional economic machine is operating mills at less than full capacity even though demand for the products it generates continues to remain steady.

Boise Cascade — a publicly-traded firm with facilities in the U.S., Canada, Britain and Taiwan — operates four mills in Eastern Oregon but those plants are operating with fewer personnel because of a low overall timber harvest rate, not because the wood products market is soft.

State has not forgotten about Eastern Oregon

Students and faculty at Eastern Oregon University have heard the refrain before — “Hopefully, this may be the final time in many years EOU may have to make major budget reductions.”

The message has been shared by officials dating back almost six and a half years. Nevertheless, Eastern has had to make budget reductions ranging from $1.8 million to $4.1 million four times since 2008. The latest cuts were announced two weeks ago by outgoing EOU President Bob Davies, who released the draft of a sustainability plan calling for $4 million in budget cuts that would take effect over the next two years. About 25 faculty and seven administrative staff positions would be cut under the draft plan.

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