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Taylor Mathson: Keeping hope alive

Devi Mathson holds her son, Taylor, as he plays with her iPhone at the family’s home in La Grande on Friday afternoon. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Taylor’s big blue eyes are striking as he plays with his father, Jeromy Mathson, or sits on his mother’s lap. He’s just like many other children his age who like to play outside and eat hamburgers. However, he was dealt a huge blow Feb. 13, which began a very rough month for the Mathson family.

Regional forester puts TMP on hold

PORTLAND — After three years simmering on the back burner, the heat has been turned off of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s travel management plan.

Jim Peña, the Pacific Northwest’s regional forester, sent a letter to the forest supervisors explaining his decision. 

Dealing with a variety of issues

Certified hypnotist Mita Alqahtani outfits clients with a pair of glasses, which provide light therapy to help them enter the theta state, one of deep relaxation. Alqahtani has been in the holistic health care field for more than 25 years. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
There are no dangling pocket watches or medallions involved. You are not getting very sleepy. 

But you may be in a state of hypnosis.

BRIEFLY: Rocky Mountain elk is focus of presentation

JOSEPH — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is teaming up with The Nature Conservancy to provide a multi-media presentation on the history of Rocky Mountain elk on the Zumwalt Prairie. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the Wallowology Center, 508 N. Main St. The evening will culminate with the raffle drawing for a Zumwalt bull elk tag (raffle tickets are sold out). Refreshments will be provided. This free event is co-sponsored by Wallowa Land Trust and Wallowology. 

For more information, contact Kathleen Ackley at 541-426-2042 or go to www.wallowalandtrust.org.

ORCA students learn about the Oregon Trail

Taylor Hunt, right, an Oregon Connections Academy senior, prepares a group of ORCA students and others connected with the online school to do clean up work at Birnie Park on Thursday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Oregon Connections Academy students were searching for clues and debris at Birnie Park Thursday afternoon.

There’s no ‘I’ in team

Dani Thorne, left, of the Union County Special Olympics team, competes against another team at the 100-meter dash during the winter season Special Olympics. (Courtesy photo)
Remy Spangler was quiet and reserved before joining the Special Olympics. His mom, Ellie Spangler, said it took Remy some time to warm up to his group. However, 10 years later, he feels accepted, is having the time of his life and is making friendships that will last a lifetime.

4 school board races contested

The Union County Clerk’s Office was a busy place on the school board election front Thursday.

BRIEFLY: Xbox raffle benefits tuition assistance

As part of the school’s semi-annual tuition assistance fund drive, Marian Academy is holding a raffle for an Xbox 360. Tickets are $5 each and the drawing will take place the week after Easter. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jennifer Collins at 541-963-0861, ext. 7. Marian Academy is a private Christian school in La Grande educating children in preschool through eighth grade.

One dead in rollover accident near Ladd Canyon

One person is dead after a rollover accident on I-84 near milepost 277 tonight. 

Commissioner OK church parking agreement

Union County Commissioners on Wednesday approved an agreement with Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church for 15-parking spaces adjacent to the church pending the vacation of K Avenue and Fifth Street near the church.

School testing begins

Fifth-graders, from right, Anna Kreutz, Rilyn Kirkland and Braden Henry, use computers to practice for the Smarter Balanced assessment test Monday morning at Island City Elementary. The school is the first in the county to administer the new assessment. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Eighty-three Island City Elementary School students made history Tuesday, and alleviated a little anxiety among local educators in the process.

City seeks ABC Prize

Fill in the blank: If only La Grande had a _____, it would be the perfect place to live.

A commercial airport. A mall. A brewpub. High-speed rail. More sustainable jobs.

Those were some of the suggestions tossed out by the La Grande Rotary Club Tuesday.

Enterprise police chief steps down

ENTERPRISE — Enterprise Chief of Police Wes Kilgore tendered his resignation to the city council Monday.

BRIEFLY: Get tickets for FBLA donkey basketball

ELGIN — Elgin FBLA will host donkey basketball at 7 p.m. March 31. Advanced tickets are being sold. Contact any Elgin FBLA member for tickets.

Blue springs crossing set to open in may

Ground leveling work is done near the main entrance of the construction site of the Blue Springs Crossing housing complex last week. The 38-unit, $7.6 million project will be finished by the end of May after breaking ground in September. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
ISLAND CITY — Old Man Winter is sparing the Grande Ronde Valley his icy grip this year and many are thankful, none more so than John Moody, superintendent of LMC Construction of Tualatin.

Wyden focuses on ‘Fast Track’ during visit

Sen. Ron Wyden addresses a full room at the Union County Senior Center Friday. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
Sen. Ron Wyden talked veterans, education and “Fast Track” at a town hall meeting Friday at the Union County Senior Center.

Some cities lose funding

Several small communities in Oregon, including North Powder and Wallowa, are no longer eligible for large grants that would help them pay for water and sewer systems, community centers and food banks.

BRIEFLY: Free dental exams offered for kids

“Give Kids a Smile” is a program in which dentists from Northeast Oregon come together at the hygiene school in La Grande and donate their time to children under age 18 who may not otherwise receive dental 
care. To arrange an appointment for the required preliminary exam, call the hygiene school at 541-663-2721.  This exam will be used to determine what dental needs the child has, and then, if needed, an appointment will be scheduled for the May 8 Give Kids a Smile.

Ready to get started: Enterprise water project set to go to bid next month

Enterprise’s water improvement project will begin in late May in order to get work done on Highway 82 between Robert and Arthur streets. ODOT will be chip sealing the highway through town the third week of June. (Katy Nesbitt/The Observer)
ENTERPRISE — The City of Enterprise’s water improvement project is going out to bid next month with construction scheduled for May.

Agency signs off on change

One-fifth of funding from the La Grande Urban Renewal Agency for a proposed grocery store will be allocated to U.S. Bank to use for liquidity purposes.

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