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La Grande Observer Daily paper 10/24/14

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County, SOS won’t meet

Lawsuit precludes commissioners from discussing matter

Save Our Shelter members will not be meeting with the Union County commissioners any time soon. At least not until a lawsuit between Shelter From the Storm and the county is resolved.

Union County Administrator Shelley Burgess said she responded to a letter from the group Thursday morning informing them that they would not be able to meet per the county’s legal counsel advice. 

Oregon’s first lady champions prosperity

Oregon's First Lady, Cylvia Hayes delivers her keynote address at this weekend's SolWest Fair at the Union County Fairgrounds. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Cylvia Hayes speaks out against state poverty

Cylvia Hayes, Oregon’s first lady, has an agenda and it is anything but hidden.

Hayes made this point in illuminating and articulate fashion during her keynote address Saturday afternoon at the SolWest Fair at the Union County Fairgrounds. 

Community collaboration

Gov. John Kitzhaber, center, listens as Boise Cascade employees explain how the particleboard plant takes in material at one of its dump sites. Kitzhaber was in La Grande over the weekend to meet with civic leaders and tour the facility. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

Kitzhaber hears from civic leaders, tours Boise Cascade particleboard plant in Saturday visit

Gov. John Kitzhaber believes collaborative work on national forests — and on other fronts — will soon start reaping benefits.

In a Saturday visit to Union County, Kitzhaber told Union County Commissioner Mark Davidson to “Just hang in there a little bit longer.” 

US diplomat to visit Eastern Wednesday

Maureen Murray will be at EOU Wednesday sharing her international experiences as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State.


The informal presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Room in Ackerman Hall, Room 208. It is free and open to the public. Students interested in careers with the Department of State are encouraged to attend.


Local over-the-air television in peril

FCC auction threatens Blue Mountain Translator District

Many Union and Baker county television viewers may find themselves in the dark a couple years from now.

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to sell to smartphone companies the channels now used by many over-the-air television stations. The sale could send the Blue Mountain Translator District, which provides over-the-air television, into a death spiral. 

Voters will decide bond

Resolution passed by La Grande School Board 

La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze needed no time to reflect on the question.

Glaze was asked at a meeting of the La Grande School Board on Wednesday if the $31.85 million bond the school district is set to ask voters to approve in November would boost the security level of La Grande’s public schools. 

A closer look

The Lower Joseph Creek restoration project encompasses 90,000 acres, more than half forest and the remainder grass lands. Roughly 20,000 acres of timber are targeted for logging, thinning and prescribed burning to restore the forest’s health. (KATY NESBITT/The Observer)

Stakeholders get chance to see progress of Lower Joseph Creek restoration

Taking a discussion from the board room to the landscape is the only way to get proper perspective of a working forest, something the Wallowa-Whitman Collaborative put into practice Wednesday with a tour of Lower Joseph Creek in northern Wallowa-County. 

BRIEFLY: Neighborhood set to discuss ditch

Neighborhood set to discuss ditch 

A neighborhood meeting to discuss the sale of surplus property known as the Grande Ronde Ditch will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the Johnson Conference Room, Cook Memorial Library, 2006 Fourth St. This meeting is to discuss submitting an offer for property known as the Grande Ronde Ditch.

Fire breaks out in Hells Canyon

JOSEPH — A fire started Wednesday by a lawn mower reached 157 acres before crews and Mother Nature were able to get it under control.

La Grande School District to seek a bond

It is official, the La Grande School District will ask voters to approve a $31.85 million bond levy in November.


The school board unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday to seek a $31.85 million bond levy for major maintenance and capital construction. The school district has been looking into the possibility of seeking a bond for about a year.


The bond levy's big ticket item is the replacement of Central Elementary School, which was built in 1954. The bond levy calls for $14.6 million to be spent on the replacement of Central.

The proposed  levy which would cost taxpayers $1.99 a year per $1,000 of assessment property value. This means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $199 a year in additional property taxes.

Lt. Steve Smartt named La Grande Area commander

Beginning July 1, the La Grande office of the Oregon State Police will have a new commander.

Lt. Steve Smartt, 52, takes over as La Grande's area commander following the retirement of Lt. Gordon Larson.

U.S. 30 on-ramp to westbound I-84 remains closed west of La Grande

The Oregon Department of Transportation is reminding travelers that the Interstate 84 Exit 259 westbound freeway on-ramp at the west end of La Grande remains closed due to construction work and is not expected to open until the fall.

Corvallis man found dead at Farewell Bend

Oregon State Police, with the assistance of Malheur County Sheriff's Office, located and recovered a deceased 81-year old Corvallis man who died Tuesday while fishing along the Snake River east of Farewell Bend State Recreation Area. 

BRIEFLY: Fair sponsors solar hot water class

Fair sponsors solar hot water class

SolWest Fair & Oregon Rural Action will sponsor a professional-level solar hot water class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Union County Fairgrounds. This workshop is open to anyone interested in all aspects of solar hot water. 

Vista Specialty Care to close

Read more... 

Nursing care center has operated in La Grande at least a decade

Spurred by legislation passed in 2013, one of the largest skilled nursing care centers in La Grande is set to close 

Vista Speciality Care, 103 Adams Ave., will shut its doors later this summer. 

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