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Housing project moves forward

A drawing shows a conceptual site plan at Blue Springs Crossing in Island City. The 38 units at the development would add to the approximately 210 units the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority owns and manages in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties. (Myhre Group Architects illustration)

ISLAND CITY — Construction of the $8.2 million Blue Springs Crossing apartment complex may begin later this year, according to a representative of the company in charge of building the proposed low income housing project. 


Passing the torch

La Grande High Principal Andrea Waldrop talks about her plan to retire. She started her long stint in the La Grande School District in 1979 when she was hired as a home economics teacher. Waldrop later served as assistant LHS principal for about seven years before becoming principal in July of 2011. (Phil Bullock/The Observer)
La Grande High School Principal Andrea Waldrop carefully pondered the question as she looked toward the framed photos of her grandchildren on the west wall of her office Thursday morning. 


10 Things to Know for Monday, Jan. 13

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Brother describes finding sibling's plane wreckage

BOISE, Idaho — When Dellon Smith spotted the wreckage of his older brother's airplane on the side of a central Idaho mountain, he started running.


VA under fire for proposed disability filing rule

WASHINGTON — For veterans seeking disability compensation, the application process is supposed to be so easy that a handwritten note on a napkin will initiate a claim or an appeal. A proposed rule from the Obama administration would change that, and veterans groups are sounding the alarm.


Oregon senator wants more gun background checks

EUGENE — A state senator says he's bringing back a proposal to require background checks on all private gun sales and transfers, except those between extended family members.


Legislator proposes shutting down Cover Oregon

SALEM — A Republican state lawmaker who's running for governor said Friday that he plans to introduce legislation to shut down Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange.


Missing plane located in Idaho mountains

Flight originated out of Baker City, headed for Montana

BOISE, Idaho — The wreckage of a small plane that crashed in Idaho more than a month ago, killing a Silicon Valley executive and the four others aboard, has been located following a persistent online and ground search that included the pilot's brother, officials and family members said.


Odd driving behavior leads to fugitive arrest

Odd driving behavior near La Grande led an OSP trooper to the arrest of Jon Wesley Jensen, a fugitive out of California. (Union County Sheriff's Office)

An Oregon State Police troopers' suspicions Thursday afternoon while on patrol in Northeast Oregon led to the arrest of a wanted California fugitive operating a car stolen out of Walla Walla, Wash.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, an OSP trooper completing a traffic stop eastbound on Interstate 84 near La Grande was pulling back onto the freeway when he noticed a white Toyota Camry approaching from the rear noticeably slow down as its operator suddenly braked. The suspicious driving behavior continued to draw the troopers attention, so the trooper slowed down.





Cove does not have contract with UCSO

COVE — The city of Cove does not have a contract with the Union County Sheriff’s Office. 


UCSO, Cities enjoy solid working relationships

Deputy Dustin Heath says his favorite part of serving Elgin is interacting with business owners and other community members. When they are comfortable with him, he says it makes solving crimes easier. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Contracts with Union County Sheriff’s Office offer financial savings, constant coverage 

Elgin officials and community members had some uneasiness when the city moved to contract with the Union County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 after its own police department was disbanded. 


Cattle killer to face charges

Joel Rice, right, listens as his attorney Wes Williams makes a point during a hearing Thursday regarding Augustís Glass Hill Road cattle shootings. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

Criminal mischief charges dropped, animal abuse charges to move forward 

Visiting Judge Lung S. Hung approved dismissing first-degree criminal mischief charges against Dr. Joel Rice pursuant to a civil compromise Thursday afternoon.

After hearing about five hours of testimony and arguments, Hung, a circuit court judge out of Malheur County, found that animal abuse charges are not subject to a civil compromise, but agreed to sign an order dismissing the criminal mischief charges. 


BRIEFLY: Oregon Green Free meets Saturday

The local chapter of Oregon GreenFree meets at noon Saturday at the Integrated Services Building, 1607 Gekeler. Lunch this week will be soups and desserts. 

Oregon GreenFree is an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program’s resource center committed to providing information, education and a sense of unity for those who choose to use medicinal cannabis.


Small bird carries potential to make big impact on economy

BAKER CITY — They brought in the extra chairs even before the meeting began.

Even after the session kicked off Thursday night regarding a proposed management plan for sage grouse on BLM land in Eastern Oregon, people continued to filter into the Baker County Events Center, sending a clear signal that for many the small bird carries the potential to make a big impact on the local economy.


County district attorney retiring

Feb. 28 is DA’s last day, state to appoint replacement

Union County District Attorney Tim Thompson announced his retirement this week.

His last day as district attorney will be Feb. 28.


Lower Joseph Creek restoration slated for 2015

Restoration of national forest land in northern Wallowa County is slated to start in 2015.

Wallowa County community-based forest project published on Federal Register

ENTERPRISE — A grassroots effort to restore national forest in northern Wallowa County is in line to have boots on the ground by 2015. 

The Lower Joseph Creek Restoration Project was published in the Federal Register Jan. 9 by the Forest Service — a community-based project five years in the making. 


Marine deserter sentenced for attack


PENDLETON — A Marine Corps deserter and son of Christian missionaries was sentenced Wednesday to at least 35 years in prison for fatally stabbing a motel maid in Pendleton and trying to beat a woman to death on a jogging path.

Lukah Chang, 23, pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder in Umatilla County Circuit Court.


10 Things to Know for Friday, Jan. 10

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Criminal mischief charges dropped, other counts remain in cattle shooting case

Joel Rice, right, listens as his attorney Wes Williams makes a point during a hearing regarding August's Glass Hill Road cattle shootings. (PHIL BULLOCK/The Observer)

UPDATE: Visiting Judge Lung S. Hung granted a motion to dismiss criminal mischief charges in the case involving cattle shootings on Glass Hill Road that occurred in August 2013.

Joel Rice, a La Grande psychiatrist, is charged with seven counts of criminal mischief in the first degree, five counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree and two counts of animal abuse in the first degree in connection with Glass Hill Road cattle shootings.

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