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The Observer paper 11/25/15

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Never too late to learn

Jess Roberts, left, and Ronn Witcraft visit after the Eastern Oregon University Student Awards Assembly Friday afternoon. Both were named students of the year in their respective departments and graduated Saturday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Twenty-somethings weren’t the only people celebrating their graduation from Eastern Oregon University this weekend.

Veteran visits D.C. for very first time

Royce Irby, 91, of Summerville, shows a photo of him and his wife, Geneva. The couple met while growing up in Payette, Idaho, and were married while Irby was on a 72-hour leave during World War II. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
On Friday and Saturday mornings, Royce Irby has one thing on his mind: yard sales.

Fire season starts Tuesday

Warm dry weather prompted the Oregon Department of Forestry to declare the official start of fire season Tuesday.

BRIEFLY: Health board talks dental plans Tuesday

UNION — There will be a South County Health District regular board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Dental plans will be discussed.

Search for missing man continues

Mel Ackley
The La Grande community is searching for an 85-year-old Island City man.

Troopers stop van falsely suspected of carrying fugitives

Oregon State Troopers in Eastern Oregon were pulled briefly into the national search for two escapees from an upstate New York prison, but it quickly became clear the men they stopped on Interstate 84 had nothing to do with the fugitives.

All cracked up

The La Grande High School tennis court has deteriorated over the years. The school is encouraging the community to work with the school district to raise funds to repair the court and track. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The four tennis courts at La Grande High School are losing their matches against Father Time.

Area fire agencies prepare for above normal season

Two single-engine air tankers, like the one pictured above, well-suited for canyon country, will be based in La Grande for the summer fire season. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
Northeast Oregon fire agencies are gearing up for what’s been called an above normal fire season with higher temperatures and lightning expected as well as drier conditions on the ground.

OLCC looks to east side for rep

When the Oregon Liquor Control Commission released the names of Oregon residents who will serve on the committee to discuss what should be regulated with the legalization of marijuana, Oregon Sen. Bill Hansell saw a glaring hole — Eastern Oregon representation was missing.

BRIEFLY OSP seek poacher who killed deer

The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is asking for help in locating the person(s) responsible for unlawfully wounding a buck deer outside of La Grande in the Starkey Unit. 

According to Sgt. Chris Hawkins, a citizen reported the mortally wounded buck only a couple miles off Interstate 84, a short distance up Ladd Creek Road. OSP Fish and Wildlife troopers responded and determined the buck had been shot with a .17 caliber rifle twice in the head, on or before June 3. There are no legal deer hunting seasons occurring during this time of year. 

Oregon Hunters Association has offered a reward through the Turn-in-Poachers program for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. Callers can remain anonymous. The TIP program number is 1-800-452-7888. 

Anyone with information can contact Senior Trooper Kris Davis at the Oregon State Police office in 
La Grande at 541-805-4757.

City hires economic development director

A new economic development director is set to begin work for the City of La Grande next month. The city announced today that it has hired Christine Jarski as the city's new economic development director. She is set to start the job July 6.

Heat hits early

Children cool off in the outdoor splash pool at Pioneer Park on Tuesday afternoon. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Residents of Eastern Oregon may breathe a little easier today as Mother Nature lets up on a heat wave.

Legal weed has its limits

Union County District Attorney Kelsie McDaniel said there’s been a misconception about the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

Variance request for complex denied

Residents of the new Blue Springs Crossing apartments will have to wait until the entire complex is completed to move in after the Island City City Council denied a variance request Monday. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
ISLAND CITY — The $7.6 million Blue Springs Crossing apartment complex on Walton Road will not be opening earlier than expected.  

BRIEFLY: Safe Ride program helps EOLS, EOU

The Safe Ride Home program will be rolling again starting Thursday.

The free program, started by Kevin Loveland 15 years ago to prevent people from driving home while intoxicated, will offer free rides home to those attending the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show.

On Saturday evening, rides home will be offered to help those attending Eastern Oregon University graduation parties.

The Safe Ride Home program is run by Loveland Funeral Chapel. 

Rides will be available to everyone.

Rides will be provided from the EOLS from Thursday through Sunday. Rides will be available each day beginning with the start of rodeo competition. 

Following are the start times for rodeo competition: 
7 p.m. Thursday; 4 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Rides, in all cases, will be provided through 2:30 a.m. the next day.

EOLS  rides will be provided from Union to anywhere in Union County. The Safe Ride Home program provided between 800 and 1,000 rides to individuals from the EOLS in 2014, Loveland said.

 EOU graduation rides will be provided from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Rides home will provided 
in La Grande and Island City.

All Safe Ride Home trips will be provided in vehicles provided free of charge for the program by M.J. Goss Motor Co., Legacy Ford Lincoln and Legacy Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

Anyone who needs a ride should call Loveland Funeral Chapel at 541-963-5022.

Water rates going up in Island City

Island City residents will soon be paying more for water service.

Island City's city council voted Monday to boost water service rates by $5 a month. The increase means that most  residents will see their monthly rates jump by $5 to $45 starting in July. The base rates for commercial users will also jump by $5 a month.

Money from the rate increase will be used to help the city pay off a government loan for a water service improvement project.

After 25 years, Wallowa Lake Lodge on the market

The Wallowa Lake Lodge’s rustic charm and elegance has welcomed guests for nearly a century. The Lodge sits on nine acres — the Eagle Cap Mountains, the Wallowa River and Wallowa Lake can all be taken in while sitting on the back deck or the expansive lawn. (Katy Nesbitt/ The Observer)
WALLOWA LAKE — The place looks like a movie set — along the street, a 1950s-style neon sign says “Wallowa Lake Lodge and Cabins” in front of a classic turn-of-the-20th century lodge; from the back, the lodge is framed by the Eagle Caps with Wallowa Lake 100 yards away.

For the last 25 years, the lodge was owned and run by Marc and Nancy Zwerling and Steve Larsen. Marc Zwerling said they bought it as an investment, not knowing how attached they would become to the historic lodge and its surroundings.

Seamstress switches from adult clothes to dolls’ clothes

Sherry Moore has sewn many outfits since retiring from Beehive Clothing. She sells her doll outfits at farmers’ markets and during the Christmas season at local stores. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
After spending 13 years on an assembly line sewing adult clothes, Sherry Moore has switched gears and has a much smaller focus.

Enterprise, county sued in federal court

ENTERPRISE — Wallowa County and the City of Enterprise are being sued for wrongfully issuing a stop-work order and denying building permits on property outside of Enterprise.

BRIEFLY: New Imbler district head named Friday

IMBLER — Angie Lakey-Campbell, an Idaho educator, was named the Imbler School District’s next superintendent on Friday.

Lakey-Campbell has been the principal of Cambridge High School in Cambridge, Idaho, since 2000. She has also taught math at Cambridge High School during this time. 

Lakey-Campbell will succeed Beth Burton, who will step down as superintendent at the end of June to take a position as a principal of Umatilla High School. Lakey-Campbell will take her new position on July 1.

The Imbler School Board will officially appoint Lakey-Campbell as superintendent when it meets on Tuesday. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. in room 1 of Imbler High School. The board will also discuss the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. 

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