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State issues $2M to county

Union County officials can rest assured they are one step closer to having a new courthouse.

Community blood drive helps save lives

Fred Moore of La Grande was among those giving blood at the most recent blood drive. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
How does one turn an obligation into an opportunity?

BRIEFLY: November was colder, wetter

Temperatures at La Grande averaged colder than normal during November.

According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature was 35.9 degrees, 2.2 degrees below normal. High temperatures averaged 45.4 degrees, 0.8 degrees below normal. The highest was 66 degrees on Nov. 3. 

Low temperatures averaged 26.3 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. The lowest was -6 degrees on Nov. 16. There were 16 days with the low temperature below 32 degrees. There were five days when the high temperature stayed below 32 degrees.

Precipitation totaled 3.64 inches during November, 1.61 inches above normal. Measurable precipitation, at least .01 inch, was received on 12 days with the heaviest, 0.95 inches, reported on Nov. 25.

Snowfall totaled 7.1 inches with at least 1 inch of snow reported on one day. The heaviest snowfall was 7 inches, reported on Nov. 14. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was 7 inches on Nov. 14.

The outlook for December calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for La Grande fall from 40 degrees at the start of December to 37 degrees at the end of the month. Normal lows fall from 26 degrees to 23 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 1.66 inches.

This was the third wettest November on record. The wettest was 5.64 inches in 1995.

New courthouse funds disbursed

Union County's judges announced Monday that the state had approved the county's plan for a new courthouse and initiated the transfer of $2 million to the county for the project.

The Observer: "Night Lights"

Remembering Meacham’s moment in History

Karen Edmonds of Meacham looks at the sign that tells the history of Meacham. The sign was recently returned to the Umatilla County community after being refurbished. (Dick Mason/The Observer
This large wooden sign sports a fresh new appearance, but look closely and you can see etchings from a bygone era.

Student plans food drive

Treynae Shaffer, a junior at Imbler High School, is planning a community food drive to help the Department of Human Services restock their shelves for those who need its services. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
A 16-year-old high school junior is helping the Department of Human Services restock its emergency food supply.

Lower Joseph Creek gets another look

Roy Garten, left, retired Boise Cascade forester, Joseph Goebel of Oregon Department of Forestry and Rod Childers, rancher on Joseph Creek, look over a timber stand marked for thinning in the Lower Joseph Creek Environmental Impact Statement released Nov. 14. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
ENTERPRISE — Restoring more than 20,000 acres of northern Wallowa County forest is closer to reality with the publication of the Lower Joseph Creek Restoration Project. The nearly 500-page draft released Nov. 14 will be available for public comment for 90 days.

BRIEFLY: Library’s Baby Tot Bop moves

Baby Tot Bop storytime at the Cook Memorial Library in La Grande is moving from Tuesdays to Fridays beginning Dec. 5. 

The free storytime will begin at 10:30 a.m. every Friday. For more information, call the library at 

A long time coming

Union County Circuit Court Judge Brian Dretke points out the tentative floor plan some aspects of the new Union County courthouse. The county is slated to break ground in February on the new courthouse. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The county sought two bond levies in the 1990s after the original county courthouse was condemned and the courts moved into the old St. Joseph Hospital building. Both bonds failed, but it was the start of a story of perseverance.

Work goes on during holiday

La Grande Police Officer Ralph Graffunder conducts a traffic stop Thursday. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer )
While family and friends gathered around the table, enjoying their favorite fixings on Thanksgiving, La Grande Police Officer Ralph Graffunder was out patrolling the streets and keeping an eye on the community.

Base faces shaky future

ENTERPRISE — Closure of a fire base in the remote fire-prone reaches of northern Wallowa County has local residents on edge.

BRIEFLY: EOU participates in day of generosity

Eastern Oregon University’s administration has partnered with the EOU Foundation’s Board of Trustees to create a fund of more than $10,000 to match gifts received through Dec. 31 as part of #GivingTuesday. This is an opportunity for charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world to join together for the common purpose of giving back.

Donations to the EOU Foundation are accepted online at www.eou.edu/foundation/giving or call 541-962-3740. Learn more about #GivingTuesday at www.givingtuesday.org.

Student body president faces heat

Eastern Oregon University senior Matt Chatham, standing, speaks before Eastern’s student senate on Monday. Chatham is circulating a petition calling for the resignation or impeachment of Eastern student body president Philip Sebastiani. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Controversy is swirling around Eastern Oregon University student body president Philip Sebastiani as he approaches the midway point of his one-year term.

Two hurt in accident

A construction site, located on Hull Lane near Imbler, collapsed Monday and injured two workers. Piles of wooden debris were laid out like match sticks in the center of the structure. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
IMBLER — Two construction workers were seriously injured early Monday afternoon when roof trusses collapsed on them while they were working on a project on the south edge of Imbler.

Basket program gets reprieve

ENTERPRISE — Temperatures in the single digits and snowstorms set the tone for this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. As the days grow shorter, Northeast Oregonians prepare to feast and fest toward the new year.

Council: Finished project not good

ELGIN — The Elgin City Council is not pleased with the finished project as it stands for the Stella Mayfield School Safe Routes to School project.

BRIEFLY: Don’t miss Jingle Through Joseph

JOSEPH —The Jingle Through Joseph Holiday Bazaar is coming to the Joseph Community Center Friday and Saturday and Dec. 5-6. 

The bazaar will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. 

For sale will be a variety of gifts, decorations and greenery, including fresh Christmas wreaths and swags. Santa Paws will be at the bazaar on the second weekend; attendees may bring their pets and/or kids to have their picture taken with Santa.

Joe Miller sentenced to 15 years

A North Powder man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday.

Two men injured when trusses collapse

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