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The Observer paper 11/27/15

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Energy-efficient home built in 7 days

More than 30 people traveled to Island City last week for a workshop led by Andrew Morrison to teach them how to build energy-efficient straw homes. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Despite the hottest temperatures the Grande Ronde Valley has experienced so far this summer, a group of 30 people from across the country — and even one from South Africa — converged to build a home for a stranger.

Marriage ruling evokes mixed reactions

As Gay Pride Weekend was getting ready to kick off in New York City, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage on Friday. This decision removes the same-sex marriage ban from the 14 states that still maintain them. 

No easy answers

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in the state of Oregon on Wednesday. La Grande Police Sgt. Dusty Perry said the way the La Grande Police Department processes a driving under the influence case will not change, but the number of them will likely increase. (Comstock)
Local law enforcement officials are preparing for Wednesday, the day recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, just as much as residents in the state are — though for an entirely different reason.

Scorching temperatures in the forecast

Eloise Wright, left, and Lewis Wright take a seat outside Rosewood Cottage’s shaved ice stand on Adams Avenue as George Gilchrist enjoys his shaved ice on a hot Monday afternoon. High temperatures for the weekend are expected to rise into the triple-digit range. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
It’s about to get warm in the Grande Ronde Valley, with temperatures expected to break 100 degrees by Saturday. 

Ranchers lose livestock, dog to wolves

WALLOWA — A Wallowa County calf and sheep and a guard dog found dead last weekend in Umatilla County, were confirmed to have been killed by wolves.

BRIEFLY: LHS class of 1964 holds Saturday luncheonCove Library Garden Tour set Saturday

COVE — The second annual Cove Library Garden Tour will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available at the library for $10. 

On the day of the tour, people can pick up the map at the Cove Library, 606 Main St. All proceeds help fund the Cove Library.

Supreme Court extends gay marriage nationwide

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, a historic culmination of decades of litigation over gay marriage and gay rights generally.

Firefighters train for summer blazes

Leticia Neal, of the U.S. Forest Service, swings a McLeod tool during a practice fire near Mt. Emily Road on the Umatilla National Forest. Neal was one of about 100 firefighters who spent four days in a classroom learning about fire behavior, weather, suppression, tools and other topics before going into the woods to practice techniques. (Kathy Aney/East Oregonian)
PENDLETON — A cloud of white smoke rose from the woods in the Blue Mountains between Pendleton and La Grande. In response, seasonal firefighters quickly moved to a nearby hillside along Summit Road.

Boise Cascade shows off

Boise Cascade welcomed members of the Union County Economic Development Corporation to the Elgin plywood plant on Tuesday afternoon. Members got to tour the facility and learn about how the logs are treated and prepared from start to finish. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Members of the Union County Economic Development Corp. put on their hard hats, protective eye wear and earplugs to tour Elgin Boise Cascade’s plywood plant Tuesday.

Joseph Clinic expands operation

ENTERPRISE — Expanding health care options is an ongoing concern at Wallowa Memorial Hospital. On July 1, the hospital will bring Mt. View Medical, formerly Wallowa Mountain Medical, under its wing.

BRIEFLY: LHS class of 1964 holds Saturday luncheon

The La Grande High School class of 1964 will have a noon luncheon Saturday at the Flying J truck stop.

UCSO deputies arrest La Grande man on multiple counts

An early morning call Tuesday to police ended with one arrested on multiple charges, including possession of a weapon by a felon.

Police arrest 1 after early morning chase

Alert deputies early Tuesday morning spotted an individual police knew was driving with a suspended license.

Driving Defensively

Frequent bicyclist and recent La Grande High School graduate Cabe Baum rides his bike through downtown La Grande recently. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Eastern Oregon University student Courtney Millsap has been riding bicycles in La Grande since she got here five years ago.

It’s not always fun. “It’s terrifying to be on a bike in this town,” she said.

Neighbors get garden ready for growing

Men from Camp Riverbend Youth Transitional Facility helped spruce up the Community Garden recently. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
The temperatures are warming up, the bees are buzzing and the Community Garden is ready for those restricted by an apartment or small space to plant some fruits and vegetables.

Summer projects will keep Forest Service staff busy

BAKER CITY — The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest staff is making good use of summer weather to catch up on construction and maintenance projects. 

BRIEFLY: Wildflower ID hike offered Saturday

Blue Mountains Conservancy’s 2015 Heart of the Blues Outing and Lecture Series continues Saturday when botanist Susan Geer will lead a wildflower identification hike to Van Patten Lake in the Elkhorn Mountains. 

The trail is short but steep, with a total hiking distance of four miles.

Participants should bring food and water and wear hiking boots and clothing suitable for unpredictable mountain weather. Meet in front of the Conservancy office at 103 Depot St., La Grande (corner of Depot and Washington), at 9 a.m. to carpool or gather at the Van Patten trailhead at 10:30 a.m.

The Heart of the Blues Outing and Lecture Series will continue through the summer. For more information, call Sue Miller at 541-786-2665 or go to www.bluemountainsconservancy.org.

Plane crash sends 1 to hospital

A single engine airplane wrecks at the end of the runway Saturday morning at La Grande/Union County Airport. (Andrew Cutler/The Observer)
A single engine airplane crashed Saturday morning at the La Grande/Union County Airport outside of La Grande.

Merkley fits increased fire funding into Senate bill

A budget committee gave an early go-ahead to fund firefighting based on the 10-year average costs, allowing the U.S. Forest Service to treat major wildfires like natural disasters and to fight fires without borrowing money from other parts of the budget. (BLM Photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Increased wildfires put land-use managers in a tough spot when budgets run dry, but a Senate bill aimed at changing how fighting fires are funded just passed its first hurdle in Congress.

Job Program putting veterans back to work

John Asanuma is one of 18 military veterans on a fire and thinning crew working for the Umatilla National Forest this summer. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
TROY — High up on a ridge near Lookout Mountain on the Walla Walla Ranger District there is sign of timber harvest in various stages. Neat piles of logs and slash piles are evidence of active forest management along Forest Road 62.

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