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The Observer paper 01/30/15

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Helicopter flight path concerns raised

Ken Bruce, a retired La Grande School District electrician, is urging the school district to use caution if a November bond passes. If the bond passes, the school district plans to build a new Central Elementary School south of the current one. That plan concerns Bruce, who believes moving the school could place students and teachers in harms way because of the flight path of Life Flight. (AMANDA JOHNSON for The Observer)

Former school district employee urges precautions be taken if Central Elementary School relocated 

Ken Bruce, a retired La Grande School District electrician, believes there is a lot to like about the $31.85 million bond levy the school district will ask voters to approve in November.

“I like all the things that will help the district’s buildings last longer,” Bruce said. “I also support all of the attempts to improve safety and security.” 

BRIEFLY: One treated after Boise Cascade fire

One treated after Boise Cascade fire

ISLAND CITY —  One person was treated for smoke inhalation late Saturday night as result of a fire that caused moderate damage at the Boise Cascade particleboard plant. 

Observer wins 9 awards at ONPA

The La Grande Observer received nine awards, including four first-place awards, in the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s annual competition, held Thursday and Friday in Salem.

Water rates raised by $6

La Grande residents will soon be paying $6 more a month for their water.

The La Grande City Council, on a 6-1 vote, approved raising water user fees from $16.04 to $22.04 a month.

Ready for a cool down

Taysha Hodge, foreground, works to pull weeds in the shade at Eastern Oregon University where she studies and works on the grounds. Her boss, David Yoder, background, advises his staff to work the hotter parts of campus during the morning when it’s not as hot and then to move to the shade during the afternoon. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Above-average temperatures forecasted to subside as below-normal temps move in

La Grande may still be reeling from the nearly triple-digit temperatures over the last two weeks, but there’s a cooldown in sight.

Temperatures for July and August are, on average, in the mid-80s. The average for this month so far is 92 degrees, said Ann Adams, assistant forecaster for the National Weather Service out of Pendleton.

Fires light up NE Oregon

Pittsburg Fire continues to grow in Hells Canyon, another fire starts near Wallowa

ENTERPRISE — A new wildfire, dubbed the Cougar Fire, flared up Thursday around 4 p.m. south of Wallowa. The fire was held at 20 acres last night.

“They hit it really hard with single engine air tankers,” said Jodi Kramer, public information officer for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

BRIEFLY: LHS Class of 1955 meets for lunch

LHS Class of 1955 meets for lunch

The La Grande High School Class of 1955 will meet for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Bear Mountain Pizza.

Live-stream of gubernatorial debate here today at 10:15


Incumbent Governor John Kitzhaber and Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, will participate in their first debate at 10:15 a.m. today in Salem.

The 90-minute debate, which will take place during the Oregon Newspspaper Publishers Association convention, will feature a panel of five Oregon newspaper reporters, editors and publishers quizzing each candidate.

BRIEFLY: Steele launches Fair Wear Project

Steele launches Fair Wear Project 

Sarah Steele is launching a program in town that helps get free, fitting clothes to families in need without any stigma attached. This is how it works: people who bring in their used clothes to Bugs And Butterflies are given store credit. 

Deputy DA steps down

Union County Chief Deputy District Attorney John Schilling has resigned from the position and plans to withdraw from the district attorney race.

Schilling, who worked in the Union County DA’s office as chief deputy since 2007, resigned July 7 for personal reasons.


County works to improve coordination with feds

ENTERPRISE — A decades-long effort to refine relations between Wallowa County and the federal government continues through work on the Lower Joseph Creek environmental impact statement.

Last week, the county’s Natural Resource Advisory Committee presented the board of commissioners with the 461-page “Lower Joseph Creek Watershed Assessment” on which the environmental impact statement is based. The commissioners scheduled two hearings, July 21 and Aug. 4, to allow the public to review and comment on the document before adopting it as part of the county’s land use plan.

Council sets date for hearing

Island City City Council to tackle trucking company dispute, gather more info

ISLAND CITY — The long-running dispute involving a trucking company situated in a residential neighborhood is back in the hands of the Island City City Council. 

Gunnery offers old tankers a chance to connect

A M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle tank assigned to Eastern Oregon’s 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, Oregon Army National Guard, rumbles down a gunnery range at the Orchard Combat Training Center south of Boise, Idaho, Saturday. Members of a nationwide organization dubbed “The Brotherhood of Tankers” was on hand during the weekend to watch tanks like the one above navigate through gunnery exercises. (PAT CALDWELL photo)

Eastern Oregon National Guard unit gives former tankers chance to witness training

It all started with a phone call.

One day, seemingly out of the blue, Master Sgt. Dan Ishaug, a member of Eastern Oregon’s Army National Guard unit, the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, picked up the phone and began a conversation with Ken Osborne. 

City council sets date for evidentiary hearing

The long-running legal fight involving a trucking company owned by Jon Fregulia is back in the hands of the Island City City Council.

Pittsburgh Fire continues burning in Hells Canyon

BAKER CITY — The Pittsburgh Fire located in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was caused by lightning and is located on the Idaho side of the Snake River in Hells Canyon north of Pittsburg Landing between Jones Creek and Big Canyon Creek, and is currently burning on federal land within the HCNRA.

Fire closes Hurricane Creek Trailhead

A lightning-caused fire has closed the Hurricane Creek Trailhead on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. (Forest Service photo)
BAKER CITY — The Hurricane Creek Fire located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness 
on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was reported at 4:30 a.m. Monday and is currently estimated at 100 acres. The fire was caused by lightning and is located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness on the backside of Chief Joseph Mountain in the Dunn Creek drainage about 1⁄2 mile from the Hurricane Creek Trailhead. 

BRIEFLY: Trust awards grant for library roof

Trust awards grant for library roof

At the June program meeting, Meyer Memorial Trust’s board of trustees awarded seven grants worth $276,853 to organizations in Eastern Oregon.

Application withdrawn on Hayes Farm

An application to develop two homesites on the Hayes Farm in Joseph was withdrawn due to a dispute with a neighbor. (KATY NESBITT/The Observer)

Developers need time to refine their plan

JOSEPH — A plan to develop two partitioned lots on the Hayes Farm in Joseph was withdrawn last week when a negotiation could not be reached with a neighbor appealing the permit.

Rate increase on city’s agenda

City council to consider $6 per month increase in water rates

The La Grande City Council will consider raising water rates by $6 a month Wednesday night.

The rate increase stems from a Water Master Plan developed last spring.

Quinn Coliseum’s $13.1 million overhaul entering final stages after more than a year of work

David Lageson, Eastern Oregon University’s director of facilities and planning, discusses the almost completed renovations of Quinn Coliseum while standing outside its dramatically upgraded main entrance. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Quinn Coliseum, once a dimly lit building, is now lighting the path to success at Eastern Oregon University.

Quinn Coliseum has greater candlepower now that a $13.1 million renovation, one which has dramatically transformed the building, is almost complete. The centerpiece of the project is on the building’s central entrance. The old, low doorway it once had has been replaced by a two-story glass enclosure, creating a spacious atrium-type setting, one that is easy to see from many points on campus. 

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