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The Observer Daily Paper 07/03/15

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BRIEFLY: New Year’s Eve Block Party planned

La Grande Main Street Downtown is hosting the first annual New Year’s Eve Block Party and Ball Drop to say farewell to 2014 and usher in 2015.

This family-friendly event will be held at the corner of Depot Street and Adams Avenue, beginning at 9:30 p.m. and continuing until around 12:30 a.m. A six-foot lit-up ball will be dropped from the Phoenix Building at midnight to celebrate the New Year.

John J. Howard and Associates are sponsoring a warming tent where hot chocolate and 2015 party favors will be available for attendees, and LGMSD will oversee burn barrels and outdoor heaters for participants to stay warm while celebrating. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

The Union County Chamber of Commerce is organizing a town-wide scavenger hunt activity, and Loveland Funeral Chapel will provide a safe ride program for anyone in need throughout the night. For more information, go to www.lagrandemainstreet.org.

Winter weather on its way for the holiday

Trucks fill the fuel stalls at Flying J Travel Plaza outside La Grande on Tuesday. (Cherise Kaechele)
There’s no need to dream here in the Grande Ronde Valley. It’s looking like much of the area will have a white Christmas.

Firefighters spread a little holiday cheer

Nick Vora, left, of the La Grande Rural Fire Department and Jim Voelz, a photographer and investigator for the fire department finishes wrapping a gift for a family in need on Sunday night. The department, made up almost entirely of volunteers, recently purchased well over 100 Christmas gifts worth a total of $2,500 for 13 Union County families in need. (Tim Mustoe/ The Observer)
ISLAND CITY — What is it like to go on a $2,500 Christmas shopping spree?

Neighbor challenges clinic parking plan

Grande Ronde Hospital intends to put a parking lot next door to its Fourth Street clinic. One neighbor is appealing the city’s site plan approval. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
A project intended to minimize on-street parking near Grande Ronde Hospital’s Regional Medical Clinic has created concerns for some neighbors.

Council set to review permit

La Grande may soon have a second medical marijuana facility pending a conditional-use permit.

BRIEFLY: County offices close early Wednesday

The offices of Union County Assessor, Clerk and County Planning will close at 1 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Judge sides with Oregon in 2nd dispute with Oracle

PORTLAND — A federal judge said Friday that the state of Oregon may be immune from a copyright lawsuit filed by Oracle Inc., over the state's failed health insurance website, but she's giving Oracle a chance to improve its argument.

Police make arrest in Wednesday shooting

An Oregon State Police investigator takes measurements Thursday outside the scene of a Wednesday night shooting in the 700 block of C Avenue. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Police have arrested a La Grande man in a case where a 31-year-old man was shot Wednesday night in 
La Grande.

Looking for a new home

Union High School students from left, Ethan Patterson, Kordale Nowak, Jacob Tishmack and Jordan Alexander, each a member of the school’s FFA and Future Business Leaders of America chapters, bring in food on Thursday to the Union Food Bank. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Change is on the horizon for the Union Food Bank. 

Shelter finds new home

Big changes are in store for Shelter From the Storm.

BRIEFLY: Check out Christmas village on display

The community is invited to view a Christmas village display at the La Grande Forest Service Ranger District building. The village is set up in the conference room.

Police: 1 injured in Wednesday shooting

UPDATE (7:50 p.m. 12/18): La Grande Police have arrested Matthew Woodford, 33, in connection to Wednesday night's shooting. He is charged with assault in the second degree and is lodged in the Union County Jail, Police Chief Brian Harvey said.

"Both he and his family members are cooperating with the investigation," Harvey said. 

Santa Train rolls again

(Observer file photo)
A cherished La Grande Christmas season tradition, one derailed a year ago, will be renewed late this afternoon.

Barreto appointed to ag, business, ed committees

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek selected Greg Barreto, right, to serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Business and Labor Committee and Education Committee during the 78th Legislative Assembly.
Union County businessman Greg Barreto is ready to get to work on key issues in the region, including agriculture, business and education.

Timeline set for school projects

Greenwood Elementary School, Island City Elementary School, La Grande Middle School and La Grande High School may be hubs of extensive construction activity next summer.

BRIEFLY: Bonfire for teens kicks off winter break

The City of La Grande’s Parks & Recreation Department and its Youth Advisory Board are hosting a Winter Break Kick-off Bonfire at Pioneer Park. The event will take place behind Optimist Field in the gravel parking lot from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Friday. This is a supervised free event for high school students and refreshments will be provided.

Will revised ordinance help curb barking Dogs?

Kendall McGinnis of La Grande walks her dog, Norah, in downtown La Grande. McGinnis says that Nora generally barks at other dogs and skateboarders walking by but hasn’t had any problems with neighbors. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Union County officials are excited about a revised animal control ordinance and its potential to quiet barking dogs.

Will city dip into budget to fix issues?

New sidewalks in Elgin built to help get children to school safely have drainage issues, amongst other problems. The city council said with the cold weather, the water can turn to ice and the students are still going into the street to avoid falling. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The City of Elgin will likely have to use the $10,500 set aside from its budget for the Stella Mayfield Safe Routes to School project, despite continuous efforts not to use the funds.

Former teacher, coach leads fast-paced life

Max Lane and Virginia McLaughlin dance Thursday during the noon hour at the Union County Senior Center. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Max Lane of Cove knows four or five dance steps.

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