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La Grande Observer 12/22/14

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Pittsburgh Fire continues burning in Hells Canyon

BAKER CITY — The Pittsburgh Fire located in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was caused by lightning and is located on the Idaho side of the Snake River in Hells Canyon north of Pittsburg Landing between Jones Creek and Big Canyon Creek, and is currently burning on federal land within the HCNRA.

Fire closes Hurricane Creek Trailhead

A lightning-caused fire has closed the Hurricane Creek Trailhead on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. (Forest Service photo)
BAKER CITY — The Hurricane Creek Fire located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness 
on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was reported at 4:30 a.m. Monday and is currently estimated at 100 acres. The fire was caused by lightning and is located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness on the backside of Chief Joseph Mountain in the Dunn Creek drainage about 1⁄2 mile from the Hurricane Creek Trailhead. 

BRIEFLY: Trust awards grant for library roof

Trust awards grant for library roof

At the June program meeting, Meyer Memorial Trust’s board of trustees awarded seven grants worth $276,853 to organizations in Eastern Oregon.

Application withdrawn on Hayes Farm

An application to develop two homesites on the Hayes Farm in Joseph was withdrawn due to a dispute with a neighbor. (KATY NESBITT/The Observer)

Developers need time to refine their plan

JOSEPH — A plan to develop two partitioned lots on the Hayes Farm in Joseph was withdrawn last week when a negotiation could not be reached with a neighbor appealing the permit.

Rate increase on city’s agenda

City council to consider $6 per month increase in water rates

The La Grande City Council will consider raising water rates by $6 a month Wednesday night.

The rate increase stems from a Water Master Plan developed last spring.

Quinn Coliseum’s $13.1 million overhaul entering final stages after more than a year of work

David Lageson, Eastern Oregon University’s director of facilities and planning, discusses the almost completed renovations of Quinn Coliseum while standing outside its dramatically upgraded main entrance. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Quinn Coliseum, once a dimly lit building, is now lighting the path to success at Eastern Oregon University.

Quinn Coliseum has greater candlepower now that a $13.1 million renovation, one which has dramatically transformed the building, is almost complete. The centerpiece of the project is on the building’s central entrance. The old, low doorway it once had has been replaced by a two-story glass enclosure, creating a spacious atrium-type setting, one that is easy to see from many points on campus. 

Missing woman's body found 30 miles downriver from where she disappeared on the Snake River

ENTERPRISE — The body of a Dayton, Wash., woman was found on the Idaho side of the Snake River Saturday 30 miles downriver from where she disappeared from her campsite.

Rain, retardant slow SE Oregon wildfire

PORTLAND — The federal Bureau of Land Management says rain showers and retardant drops have virtually brought a Southeastern Oregon wildfire to a stop — and it's smaller than previously estimated.

Sarman will focus on accessibility as student president

Union High School grad also on OSU trustee board

The words of Taylor Sarman carry a lot more weight now than they did six weeks ago. 

Sarman, a 2012 Union High School graduate, is now representing more than 22,000 students as Oregon State University’s newly elected student body president.  

County drops dump rates

Wallowa County agrees to discount fees for Rahn Sanitary Service

ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County Commissioners voted unanimously to reduce Rahn Sanitary Service’s rates at the county landfill. 

Standing watch

Goats owned by Larry Davis and Nicole Bellows graze for noxious weed control in Wallowa County. This summer the goats are battling leafy spurge along Parsnip Creek and Leap Road north of Lostine. Their guard dogs protect them at night when they are bedded down from predators — primarily cougars and coyotes. Guard dogs are effective against bears as well. Time will tell if they are a good deterrent against wolves.

The relationship between humans and dogs dates back centuries. One of the first uses of dogs in civilization was for the protection of livestock. Guard dogs remain an integral part of raising goats and sheep in Wallowa County.

Skye Krebs and his son, Cale, graze their sheep in Ione in the Columbia River Valley in the late winter and early spring and move them to Wallowa County in June for approximately six months. The Krebs have raised sheep for several generations and rely on guard dogs to protect their bands from predators. 

BRIEFLY: Lodge serves Elgin Stampede breakfast

Lodge serves Elgin Stampede breakfast 

ELGIN — Hiram Lodge No. 67 is serving an Elgin Stampede sausage, egg and pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday. 

Remains found near Eastern Oregon recreation area

MILTON-FREEWATER — Loggers have found human remains scattered near a Blue Mountains recreation area where an Eastern Oregon teenager went missing nine years ago.

BRIEFLY: Festival celebrates pioneer heritage

Festival celebrates pioneer heritage 

Heritage Days will take place Thursday through Sunday in the community building at Emigrant Springs State Park, off Interstate 84 near Meacham. 

Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings the Blue Mountain Fiddlers and other regional entertainers will play from 6 p.m. until they’re too tired to go on. 

Loan was a long time in the works

Gov. John Kitzhaber, second from left, tours the Boise Cascade particleboard plant June 28. There he presented a check for a $166,000 forgivable loan. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Boise Cascade forgivable loan part of Business Oregon program

Over the past 12 months, Boise Cascade has ramped up production in La Grande, hiring 70 new employees between Mount Emily Lumber and its particleboard plant.

The expansion was aided in part by a Business Oregon forgivable loan that helped pay for on-the-job training for 58 employees.

Support strong for housing project

Groundbreaking for $8.2M Blue Springs Crossing looming 

ISLAND CITY — A vacant two-acre field less than 400 yards southeast of Walmart will soon be a beehive of activity.

Groundbreaking for the $8.2 million Blue Springs Crossing apartment complex for low-income residents is set to begin next month at Walton Road and Mulholland Drive.  

Decades of practice pay off

Martin Birnbaum wraps copper foil around a piece of glass in preparation for soldering at his home workshop in La Grande. (KELLY BLACK photo)

Local men have spent years working on perfecting the craft of building stained glass

Back in the 1970s, Monday nights found a group of men in the basement workshop of a local funeral home watching “Monday Night Football” with announcers Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford and working on stained glass.

Wildland fire started by illegal fireworks

Crews from Oregon Department of Forestry, La Grande Rural Fire Protection District and City of La Grande responded to a wildfire near Fox Hill Road Saturday night. The cause of the fire was illegal fireworks being set off in the area.

Woman missing on Snake River

A 60-year-old woman is missing and is presumed to have drowned on the Snake River.

BRIEFLY: Brennan biographer appears in Joseph

JOSEPH — The Josephy Center will host Carl Rollyson, who is working on a biography of long-time Wallowa County rancher and Hollywood actor Walter Brennan, at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Rollyson has biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Norman Mailer, and Dana Andrews to his credit, and teaches the craft at a New York university. 

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