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The Observer paper 02/27/15

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Wildfire smoke brings unhealthy air to Enterprise and other communities in Wallawa, Union counties

Air quality in and around Enterprise is unhealthy due to smoke impacts from nearby wildfires, including fires burning in Oregon and western Idaho. The DEQ urges people with asthma and other respiratory conditions to take precautions to protect themselves as long as air quality remains unhealthy.

Air quality is expected to remain poor throughout north and eastern Oregon for the next few days, not only in Enterprise but also in La Grande, Baker City and Pendleton. 

Walden hopeful for fire bill’s passage

As fires continue burning thousands of acres across Oregon, Rep. Greg Walden is optimistic that Congress can pass a bipartisan bill to help save money and restructure the way the U.S. funds firefighting efforts.

Protecting Wallowa Lake’s East Moraine

Several years ago, a conversation began among private landowners, Wallowa County and local organizations about how best to protect the east moraine of Wallowa Lake, above, from further development. (Leon Wurdinger photo)
ENTERPRISE — More than 15,000 years ago, a glacier created a bowl-shaped geographic feature unlike any other in Oregon. Wallowa Lake and its moraines are so precious the county details their protection in its land use plan.

BRIEFLY: LMS, LHS offer back-to-school information

Middle school students who are new to La Grande School District and have not pre-registered may register from 9 a.m. to noon or 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday.  No appointment is necessary.

The first day of school for sixth grade middle school students begins at 9:20 a.m. Aug. 25. All students attend school from 8:20 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Aug. 26.

High school students who are new to La Grande School District and have not pre-registered may register and meet with a school counselor from 8 a.m. to noon, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. No appointment is necessary.

High school students who have pre-registered, including incoming freshmen, need to come on the following days to pick up class schedules, have school pictures taken, get their student identification and pay fees.

Pre-registered students should have received a student information form by mail. The form needs to be returned with a parent/guardian signature to receive the class schedule.

Seniors: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Thursday

Juniors: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday

Sophomores: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday

Freshmen: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday

The first day of school for high school freshmen and new students begins at 9:20 a.m. Aug. 25. All students attend school from 8:20 a.m. to
3:10 p.m. beginning Aug. 26.

For more information, call the La Grande Middle School Counseling Office at 541-663-3428 or the La Grande High School Counseling Office at 541-663-3310.

Regional office names new special assistant for accelerated restoration

PORTLAND — The Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service announced today Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor John Laurence will leave his position this fall to take on new responsibilities at the Regional Office in Portland.

Counties take stand against Forest Plan

County commissioners in Northeast Oregon will make their final plea to the U.S. Forest Service, asking them to abandon proposed alternatives for the Forest Plan Revision and start over.

Union County commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to amend its draft comments to send to the Forest Service ahead of its Aug. 15 public comment deadline.

Fair attendance dips from last year’s total

Scorching heat at the start of the fair and thunderstorms later last week may have deterred would-be fair-goers this year.

Union County Fair Manager Nan Bigej said attendance for the 2014 fair came in at 15,250, shy of last year’s 18,100 visitors.

BRIEFLY: Union schools set K-12 registration

Union schools set K-12 registration 

UNION — Union schools’ K-12 registration will be 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.  Registration will also take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

New student registration will be from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 18. New students must provide an official birth certificate and current immunization records to register. Students in grade 9-12 must also have a current transcript.

For more information, call Deb at 541-562-5278, ext. 7.

Hands-on practice: local health care providers enjoy simulation training

It’s not every day that local emergency medical technicians can practice their skills without fear of repercussions.

That’s exactly what they got to do Thursday, though, at Life Flight Network’s Simulation Tour held at the La Grande Fire Department.

Public Use Restrictions Increase on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

BAKER CITY — As of midnight tonight, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will enforce increased public use restrictions of campfires, chainsaws, smoking, internal combustion engines and generators.

The additional restrictions are to reduce the potential of human-caused fires and concern for public safety with hot, dry weather conditions and continued thunderstorms.

Beginning Friday August 8 the following are in effect - campfires, charcoal briquettes, and wood stoves will only be allowed in designated campgrounds and recreation sites.

Five Mile Fire grows to 4,700 acres

IMNAHA — The Five Mile Fire burning upriver from Imnaha grew 200 acres Wednesday and is 20 percent contained. Fire officials said the blaze now totals 4,700 acres.

Many agencies open to idea of a family justice center

A proposal for a family justice center in Union County has a long way to go before any ground is broken.

Paying tribute: Road signs honor the 57,000 Oregon Vietnam veterans

Oregon Department of Transportation workers Rod Graves and Ed Kennicott move one of the signs designating Interstate 84 as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway Tuesday. Originally, 15 signs were designated for I-84, but communities along the interstate now have the opportunity to raise money for additional signs. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Interstate road signs renaming Interstate 84 are ready to be installed. Now all that’s needed is the funding, and local veterans groups are working to secure those funds.

Fire crews strive to protect Imnaha

A single-engine air tanker lays down retardant Tuesday afternoon near Imnaha. As of Wednesday morning, the 4,500-acre Five Mile Fire was 20 percent contained, fire officials said. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
IMNAHA — The T-shirts in the Imnaha Store indicate the small unincorporated community may be the end of the world, unless you are on your way to Hells Canyon. 

BRIEFLY: NARVRE cancels August meeting

NARVRE cancels August meeting 

There will be no National Association of Retired Veterans Railway Employees meeting on the second Wednesday of August. The next meeting will be Sept. 10.

Oregon’s first couple will officially marry

SALEM — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and his longtime partner, Cylvia Hayes, are engaged.

Wallowa County officials: Be ready to evacuate

JOSEPH — The county has ordered residents of the Imnaha River corridor to be ready to evacuate from River Woods to Fence Creek. Resources, including air attack, are utterly tapped out in the Pacific Northwest Region and it is only early August.

EOCA objects to forest plan

ENTERPRISE — Representatives from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association voted Friday in John Day to object to the forest plan out for public comment until Aug. 15.

The draft document, known as The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision, is a guide to managing the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and part of the Ochoco national forests.

Commission regulates east moraine homes

ENTERPRISE — Three homesites proposed for Wallowa Lake’s east moraine will have some constraints placed on them by the county. 

County Planning Director Harold Black reminded the planning commissioners that they are allowed to regulate the three proposed dwellings, but, in compliance with state law, cannot prohibit them from being built.

Gardens flourish in the hot temperatures

Folly Farm co-owner Cindy Edwards tends to the garden during her breaks from work. With the warmer weather, she said, her garden has flourished sooner than usual. Some of the fruits are tasting sweeter than normal. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Gardeners are rejoicing at the abnormally warm weather Eastern Oregon has experienced this past month. Many vegetables and fruits are flourishing and the ramifications are more leafy greens.

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