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La Grande Observer Paper 08/29/14

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On-campus, online students both valuable

Freshman hurdler Ty Warn of Jordan Valley gets some work in during a track practice at Eastern Oregon University. Athletic programs at EOU benefit financially when on-campus student enrollment is up. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

More on-campus students would boost student activity programs 

Online students make up just over half of Eastern Oregon University’s student body of about 4,100 and play a huge role in helping strengthen the school’s financial bottom line. 

Still, the question is sometimes asked — would Eastern improve its fragile budget picture if a higher percentage of its enrollment consisted of on-campus as opposed to online students? 


Perfect Storm

Eastern Oregon University students study at Pierce Library. A policy change last summer, coupled with flat enrollment, dropped the school’s year-end funding balance below the state’s required 5 percent. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Rising costs, stagnant enrollment and other issues translate into challenges for EOU

An unexpected policy change last summer regarding how Eastern Oregon University assesses bad debt collection jolted the institution and thrust its year-end funding balance far below the minimum required by the State Board of Higher Education and the Oregon University System.


BRIEFLY: ‘Pirates of Island City’ Carnival set

‘Pirates of Island City’ Carnival set

ISLAND CITY — The Island City Elementary “Pirates of Island City” Carnival will take place from 6 p.m. to 
8:30 p.m. Friday with fun for the whole family, including food, a cakewalk, bingo, Wii dancing, games and raffle prizes with a grand prize Silverwood package.


State hopes to have interim president named soon

Melody Rose, interim chancellor of the Oregon University System, speaks at Eastern Oregon University on Tuesday. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Lists financial sustainability plan as a top priority

Melody Rose, the interim chancellor for the Oregon University System, had words of reassurance and urgency for Eastern Oregon University’s students and staff on Tuesday.

Rose said she is confident that an interim president for Eastern will soon be named to temporarily succeed outgoing president Bob Davies. 


A unique ride for freedom

Sam Hopkins-Hubbard speaks to members of Union Elementary School’s third-grade class on Tuesday. Hopkins-Hubbard is in the early stages of a horseback ride across the United States, where he is sharing a message about patriotism and love of country. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

A 3,000-mile itinerary, two horses and one message. Sam Hopkins-Hubbard of Milton-Freewater entered Union with all three Tuesday to the delight of many Union School District students.  

Hopkins-Hubbard is in the early stages of a horseback ride across the United States, a ride where he is sharing a message about patriotism and love of country. He stopped in Union to speak with Union elementary and high school students about his trip and his message. His talks, made outdoors with his horses, ran long because of the many questions students asked him.  


City council may consider pool utility fee

Lifeguard/Instructor Kole Stein, right, keeps watch during swim lessons for local students at Veterans Memorial Pool. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

The La Grande City Council may soon consider implementing a utility fee dedicated to the operation of the Veterans' Memorial Pool. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission during the 2013-14 budget process was charged with developing potential solutions for funding the pool and has recommended a monthly $2 utility fee.


City mulls idea of Morgan Lake camp host

Morgan Lake (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

The La Grande City Council is exploring the prospect of having a 24/7 camp host at Morgan Lake. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission made the recommendation to the city council in a Monday night work session.


New parks director to start April 28

The City of La Grande has hired a new parks and recreation director. Stu Spence will begin his work as the department director April 28.

Half million Oregonians still need to file tax returns

The Oregon Department of Revenue is reminding nearly 500,000 Oregonians that they still need to file personal income tax returns by the April 15 filing deadline. That's only one week away. 


State OK’s TRU model

Eastern Oregon University is a major step closer to being governed by its own institutional board in about 15 months.

The State Board of Higher Education voted Friday to endorse a new governance structure for EOU, Western Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon University. The structure, known as the Technical and Regional University model, will allow the foursome to be governed by their own institutional boards starting on July 1, 2015.


Road to new facility has been full of twists, turns

Before deciding to site the new Union County Circuit Courthouse on Shelter From the Storm’s footprint, county officials looked extensively into an alternative option — adding vertically to the county’s law enforcement building.

Court and county officials say they knew the Union County Circuit Courthouse was the worst in the state.


County will look at marijuana moratorium

Add Union County to the list of municipalities exploring a medical marijuana moratorium.

During a regular session of the Union County Board of Commissioners last week, the commissioners decided to look into the idea of placing a one-year moratorium on dispensaries.


BRIEFLY: Bikeway committee meets Thursday

Bikeway committee meets Thursday

A NEOC Bikeway Committee meeting will be held at the Smokehouse Restaurant, 2206 Adams Ave., at noon Thursday, said spokesperson Anita Metlen.


BLM: Avoid Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road

Baker City — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is notifying the public that the Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek road in Wallowa County suffered severe damage received during a high water event in March 2014. 
The Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road (located in Township 4 North, Range 42 East, Sections 12, 13 and 14, and Township 4 North, Range 43 East, Sections 6 and 31) has suffered significant flood damage in several locations and is currently impassable. The BLM is advising the public to avoid the Wallupa Creek/Wildcat Creek Road until such time as repair needs can be assessed and implemented.

State board approves EOU’s independent governing proposal

The State Board of Higher Education endorsed with conditions Eastern Oregon University’s request for an independent governing board today during its meeting in Portland.

“This provides a clear pathway forward, guided by people who will be focused solely on the success of this university,” said EOU President Bob Davies. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

EOU graduate nominated for top acting honor

Emily Nash, left, appears with actor Sean Cook in a production of “Almost Maine’’ in Bellingham, Wash., last summer.

Emily Nash is a finalist for the Irene Ryan Award

Emily Nash, an actress with deep 

La Grande roots, is six minutes from an acting pinnacle. 


Details remain to be sorted

Final vote on $500,000 request for downtown grocery store not expected this month

Though a presentation for a proposed downtown La Grande grocery store seemed well-received, there is much to be done before the project is approved for funding.


Construction to close La Grande on-ramp

Construction to close La Grande on-ramp. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Bicyclists prohibited from riding on interstate during construction 

The westernmost on-ramp for Interstate 84 in La Grande will soon close for the construction season.

Oregon Department of Transportation officials say the westbound on-ramp at exit 259 is expected to close April 21 through the fall.


BRIEFLY: Union County Nile Club meets Monday

Union County Nile Club meets Monday 

Union County Nile Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Golden Harvest Restaurant. Officers will be installed.


McGee set to call it quits

City councilor will attend final council meeting on April 16

La Grande City Councilor Kelly McGee will soon attend her last meeting as a local elected official. She submitted a letter of resignation to the city Monday.

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