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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 08/28/15

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Committee info added to county website

The Union County website was recently updated with information the community might find helpful, but it is still not enough for others.

Runner preparing for Boston Marathon

John Combe, of La Grande, gets ready for a training run Thursday. Combe is running the Boston Marathon next month to raise money for the Massage Therapy Foundation. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
John Combe almost cannot believe his good fortune.

LHS class of 1947 meets for lunch

The La Grande High School class of 1947 will meet for lunch at noon Monday at the Flying J Travel Plaza south of La Grande.

House approves SRS extension

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With a strong bipartisan vote, the U.S. House Thursday passed a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program secured by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River. The extension, which was included in a bipartisan bill that reforms how doctors are paid under Medicare, provides needed funding for schools, roads, and law enforcement in rural forested communities. The measure passed by a vote of 392-37.

Speaking another language: Union Hotel owners plan to open Chinese immersion school

Charlie Morden and Ruth Rush, owners of the Union Hotel, plan to open a Chinese language immersion school as early as September of 2016. The school will be based in the third floor of the Union Hotel. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
UNION — The Union Hotel, which opened in 1921, is a local icon, owning the distinction of being one of the oldest hotels in Eastern Oregon.

Training will be intense for Guard unit

Two members of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry, Oregon Army National Guard sniper section practice a live fire exercise at the Orchard Combat Training Center in Idaho in this 2013 photo. (Pat Caldwell/For The Observer)
There isn’t much subtlety to the sprawling National Training Center.

Timber money on the way?

Retaining federal funding for Oregon’s rural communities took a couple steps forward Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

BRIEFLY: Barreto, Hansell town halls scheduled

State delegates Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Greg Barreto will be in town this weekend for a series of town halls.

Hansell and Barreto announced today they will be in Pendleton and La Grande Friday. Barreto will also make a stop in Enterprise on Saturday.

On Friday, the duo will hold a noon town hall at the Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate. They will be in La Grande at 6 p.m. at the Flying J Travel Plaza, 63276 Highway 203.

Barreto will be in Enterprise at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Northeast Oregon Community Connection Building, 702 N.W. First St.

Hansell and Barreto will provide their thoughts on the 2015 legislative session.

Hansell, Barreto announce town halls this weekend

Local state delegates Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Greg Barreto will be in town this weekend for a series of town halls.

Taylor Mathson: Keeping hope alive

Devi Mathson holds her son, Taylor, as he plays with her iPhone at the family’s home in La Grande on Friday afternoon. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Taylor’s big blue eyes are striking as he plays with his father, Jeromy Mathson, or sits on his mother’s lap. He’s just like many other children his age who like to play outside and eat hamburgers. However, he was dealt a huge blow Feb. 13, which began a very rough month for the Mathson family.

Regional forester puts TMP on hold

PORTLAND — After three years simmering on the back burner, the heat has been turned off of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s travel management plan.

Jim Peña, the Pacific Northwest’s regional forester, sent a letter to the forest supervisors explaining his decision. 

Dealing with a variety of issues

Certified hypnotist Mita Alqahtani outfits clients with a pair of glasses, which provide light therapy to help them enter the theta state, one of deep relaxation. Alqahtani has been in the holistic health care field for more than 25 years. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
There are no dangling pocket watches or medallions involved. You are not getting very sleepy. 

But you may be in a state of hypnosis.

BRIEFLY: Rocky Mountain elk is focus of presentation

JOSEPH — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is teaming up with The Nature Conservancy to provide a multi-media presentation on the history of Rocky Mountain elk on the Zumwalt Prairie. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Wallowology Center, 508 N. Main St. The evening will culminate with the raffle drawing for a Zumwalt bull elk tag (raffle tickets are sold out). Refreshments will be provided. This free event is co-sponsored by Wallowa Land Trust and Wallowology. 

For more information, contact Kathleen Ackley at 541-426-2042 or go to www.wallowalandtrust.org.

ORCA students learn about the Oregon Trail

Taylor Hunt, right, an Oregon Connections Academy senior, prepares a group of ORCA students and others connected with the online school to do clean up work at Birnie Park on Thursday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Oregon Connections Academy students were searching for clues and debris at Birnie Park Thursday afternoon.

There’s no ‘I’ in team

Dani Thorne, left, of the Union County Special Olympics team, competes against another team at the 100-meter dash during the winter season Special Olympics. (Courtesy photo)
Remy Spangler was quiet and reserved before joining the Special Olympics. His mom, Ellie Spangler, said it took Remy some time to warm up to his group. However, 10 years later, he feels accepted, is having the time of his life and is making friendships that will last a lifetime.

4 school board races contested

The Union County Clerk’s Office was a busy place on the school board election front Thursday.

BRIEFLY: Xbox raffle benefits tuition assistance

As part of the school’s semi-annual tuition assistance fund drive, Marian Academy is holding a raffle for an Xbox 360. Tickets are $5 each and the drawing will take place the week after Easter. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jennifer Collins at 541-963-0861, ext. 7. Marian Academy is a private Christian school in La Grande educating children in preschool through eighth grade.

One dead in rollover accident near Ladd Canyon

One person is dead after a rollover accident on I-84 near milepost 277 tonight. 

Commissioner OK church parking agreement

Union County Commissioners on Wednesday approved an agreement with Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church for 15-parking spaces adjacent to the church pending the vacation of K Avenue and Fifth Street near the church.

School testing begins

Fifth-graders, from right, Anna Kreutz, Rilyn Kirkland and Braden Henry, use computers to practice for the Smarter Balanced assessment test Monday morning at Island City Elementary. The school is the first in the county to administer the new assessment. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Eighty-three Island City Elementary School students made history Tuesday, and alleviated a little anxiety among local educators in the process.

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