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The La Grande Observer Daily Paper 06/29/15

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BRIEFLY: CUCUs play for Retired Educators

The Union County Retired Educators will meet Wednesday at the Dusty Spur Cafe. Orders will be taken at 11:30 a.m. Members are asked to bring food to donate to Neighbor to Neighbor for the Christmas holiday. Items also needed include soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, etc. The CUCUs (Coalition of Union County Ukuleles) will play for the group.

Brought up to speed

The La Grande City Council got a glimpse into the past — and the future — on a tour of the Liberty Theatre Wednesday night.

Shelter supporters hopeful for coexistence

Supporters of Shelter From the Storm will gather Sunday afternoon for a “Coexist Rally” to show their support for finding a way to have a new courthouse and the nonprofit on the county campus. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The money for a new courthouse is in the bank. Contracts are signed.

Program breaks down barriers

La Grande High School students share high fives with adult volunteers at the start of a Challenge Day program at the Gilbert Activity Center Thursday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Eighty La Grande High School freshmen and sophomores learned how to break down interpersonal barriers while taking a break from the classroom Thursday.

BRIEFLY: Icy conditions plague area highways

More freezing rain this morning caused closures on Interstate 84. The Oregon Department of Transportation advises motorists to check road and weather conditions on TripCheck.com and National Weather Service websites before departing on trips. 

Idaho men arrested after man found dead in Ontario

NAMPA, Idaho — Two southwest Idaho men police say kidnapped and killed another Southwest Idaho man have been taken into custody.

Forest Service: 100,000 acres of Oregon forest must be thinned

ENTERPRISE — A team of experts charged with accelerating the pace of forest restoration and heading off big fires in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon is proposing a 10-year effort to thin the underbrush in a 100,000-acre area.

Union County GMO recount completed

Union County Clerk Robin Church, second from left, talks with Lois Rieke, chair of the Union County Recount Committee, on Tuesday. They are accompanied by Union County Recount Committee members Donna Williams, far left, and Marcia Rynearson. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Foes of Measure 92, the ballot measure that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods in Oregon, received positive news Tuesday.

State issues $2M to county

Union County officials can rest assured they are one step closer to having a new courthouse.

Community blood drive helps save lives

Fred Moore of La Grande was among those giving blood at the most recent blood drive. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
How does one turn an obligation into an opportunity?

BRIEFLY: November was colder, wetter

Temperatures at La Grande averaged colder than normal during November.

According to the National Weather Service, the average temperature was 35.9 degrees, 2.2 degrees below normal. High temperatures averaged 45.4 degrees, 0.8 degrees below normal. The highest was 66 degrees on Nov. 3. 

Low temperatures averaged 26.3 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. The lowest was -6 degrees on Nov. 16. There were 16 days with the low temperature below 32 degrees. There were five days when the high temperature stayed below 32 degrees.

Precipitation totaled 3.64 inches during November, 1.61 inches above normal. Measurable precipitation, at least .01 inch, was received on 12 days with the heaviest, 0.95 inches, reported on Nov. 25.

Snowfall totaled 7.1 inches with at least 1 inch of snow reported on one day. The heaviest snowfall was 7 inches, reported on Nov. 14. The greatest depth of snow on the ground was 7 inches on Nov. 14.

The outlook for December calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for La Grande fall from 40 degrees at the start of December to 37 degrees at the end of the month. Normal lows fall from 26 degrees to 23 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 1.66 inches.

This was the third wettest November on record. The wettest was 5.64 inches in 1995.

New courthouse funds disbursed

Union County's judges announced Monday that the state had approved the county's plan for a new courthouse and initiated the transfer of $2 million to the county for the project.

The Observer: "Night Lights"

Remembering Meacham’s moment in History

Karen Edmonds of Meacham looks at the sign that tells the history of Meacham. The sign was recently returned to the Umatilla County community after being refurbished. (Dick Mason/The Observer
This large wooden sign sports a fresh new appearance, but look closely and you can see etchings from a bygone era.

Student plans food drive

Treynae Shaffer, a junior at Imbler High School, is planning a community food drive to help the Department of Human Services restock their shelves for those who need its services. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
A 16-year-old high school junior is helping the Department of Human Services restock its emergency food supply.

Lower Joseph Creek gets another look

Roy Garten, left, retired Boise Cascade forester, Joseph Goebel of Oregon Department of Forestry and Rod Childers, rancher on Joseph Creek, look over a timber stand marked for thinning in the Lower Joseph Creek Environmental Impact Statement released Nov. 14. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
ENTERPRISE — Restoring more than 20,000 acres of northern Wallowa County forest is closer to reality with the publication of the Lower Joseph Creek Restoration Project. The nearly 500-page draft released Nov. 14 will be available for public comment for 90 days.

BRIEFLY: Library’s Baby Tot Bop moves

Baby Tot Bop storytime at the Cook Memorial Library in La Grande is moving from Tuesdays to Fridays beginning Dec. 5. 

The free storytime will begin at 10:30 a.m. every Friday. For more information, call the library at 

A long time coming

Union County Circuit Court Judge Brian Dretke points out the tentative floor plan some aspects of the new Union County courthouse. The county is slated to break ground in February on the new courthouse. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
The county sought two bond levies in the 1990s after the original county courthouse was condemned and the courts moved into the old St. Joseph Hospital building. Both bonds failed, but it was the start of a story of perseverance.

Work goes on during holiday

La Grande Police Officer Ralph Graffunder conducts a traffic stop Thursday. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer )
While family and friends gathered around the table, enjoying their favorite fixings on Thanksgiving, La Grande Police Officer Ralph Graffunder was out patrolling the streets and keeping an eye on the community.

Base faces shaky future

ENTERPRISE — Closure of a fire base in the remote fire-prone reaches of northern Wallowa County has local residents on edge.

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