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The Observer paper 04/29/16

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DA expands inquiry into OSP lab

The investigation into the alleged tampering of drug evidence by an Oregon State Police forensic analyst at the agency’s Bend lab has been expanded to cases that were not assigned to her, according to Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel.


Banquet honors leaders in ag

Local leaders in agriculture were honored Tuesday night at the 2015 Farmer Merchant Banquet, held at the Blue Mountain Conference Center.

Focusing on access: VA transitioning to more local clinics to reduce travel burdens on vets

Linda Wondra/Walla Walla VA Medical Center
WALLA WALLA, Washington — The latest trend in veteran health care may leave the Veterans’ Administration cutting the check.

Volunteers sought for tree project

Blue Mountains Conservancy is seeking volunteers to help with a fencing project Saturday on the Mount Emily Recreation Area. The organization is looking to build fences around a pair of aspen groves — one of saplings and another of spouts — to protect them from wildlife and livestock. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Blue Mountains Conservancy is looking for volunteers to aid the group in a day project as it builds fences around a pair of aspen groves Saturday on the Mount Emily Recreation Area.

Term limits group gets OK

The group trying to regulate commissioner term limits can begin collecting signatures county-wide beginning today.

BRIEFLY: Phillips Creek Fire area closure lifted

Fire officials on the Walla Walla Ranger District recently announced that the Phillips Creek Fire, burning northwest of Elgin, is in a controlled state and they lifted the associated closure effective Tuesday.

Forest users are now allowed to enter the portion of the recently burned area that had remained within the fire closure area; however, they are urged to remain attentive to safety.

Hazards to be aware of in a burned area include unstable but still standing dead or dying trees, burned-out stump holes that can make the ground weak, unpredictable loose rocks and logs, slippery conditions due to ash and fallen needles, and flash floods and mud flows especially in areas without vegetation. 

People intending to hike into, or near, the fire area should remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. Know the forecasted weather and be prepared for changing conditions. As always, let someone know your planned route, destination and expected return time.

Union County Commissioners move opt out ordinance to second reading

The Union County Commissioners voted 2-1, with Commissioner Jack Howard in opposition, to pass the marijuana opt out ordinance to its second reading.

OLCC drafts Interim rules

SALEM — Marijuana growers producing for the recreational market would be required to pay $3,750 or $5,750 a year to maintain a state license under draft rules issued Friday.

OLCC drafts Interim rules

SALEM — Marijuana growers producing for the recreational market would be required to pay $3,750 or $5,750 a year to maintain a state license under draft rules issued Friday.

Three vying for county commissioner

It’s still more than a year away, but the November 2016 election season is already heating up.

Too many eligible students miss out on free meals

Justice Scull, left, waits in line for Barb Leathers to serve a hot lunch in the cafeteria in the La Grande Middle School on Thursday.
 PORTLAND — Roughly two-thirds of Oregon’s eligible low-income students don’t eat free or reduced-price breakfast at school, a new report shows.

OR3 makes appearance in Cascade Mountains, northern Klamath County

OR-3, a radio-collared wolf last located September 2011 near Prineville, has been relocated in the Cascade Mountains of northern Klamath County.  OR-3 is originally from the Imnaha Wolf Pack and was collared with a VHF radio collar in February 2010. He dispersed from the pack in May 2011.

La Grande Football LIVE Friday night

Watch La Grande High School football vs. Cascade LIVE Friday night at 7 p.m. at La Grande Alive TV.

Broadcast a production of La Grande Alive TV and Brent Clapp Media Services .


Seniors helping seniors

Complaint goes before ethics commission

La Grande resident Eddie Garcia believes that when it comes to elected officials, transparency is critical.

BRIEFLY: EOU professor will speak at museum

UNION —Eastern Oregon University Professor Linda Reed-Jerofke will speak at the Union County Museum Society’s annual meeting this evening. The event begins at 7 p.m. and takes place in the Little White Church, beside City Hall and across Main Street from the museum in Union.

Professor Reed-Jerofke will talk about the historic Camp Carson mining camp. The camp is located near Tanner Gulch, about 21 miles south of La Grande. Both gold rush speculators and Chinese miners mined the area.

The annual meeting also includes a brief recap of the season, election of the board of directors and approval of the 2016 budget.

Refreshments will follow the presentation and discussion. Admission for the event is free and everyone is invited, although membership is required to vote.

After a rewarding season, the museum closed Oct. 9 and will open again Mother’s Day 2016.

State halts investigation into wolf deaths in Wallowa County

PORTLAND — The Oregon State Police has suspended its investigation into the deaths of two wolves in Wallowa County.

Walden to hold medical research roundtable, promote local ag economy in Eastern Oregon

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, will be in Eastern Oregon Saturday to meet with disease and patient advocates about the 21st Century Cures Act, a major medical research bill passed by the U.S. House to accelerate the pace of cures for deadly diseases.

Courthouse construction nears completion

Anthony Simmons, right, helps install a section of drywall Tuesday morning inside the new courthouse. Gaven House, left, secures the other side while La Grande Drywall business owner John Crouch inspects the work. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The Union County Courthouse staff will be ringing in the new year in a brand-new building.

Offering a helping hand

Al “Alfie’’ Peterson has served as the manager and caretaker of the La Grande Mavericks Riding Club grounds since 1990. (Dick Mason/The Observer)
Many items were sold during a silent and live auction last weekend at the La Grande Mavericks Riding Club grounds to benefit a man with one of the most generous hearts in the Grande Ronde Valley.

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