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The Observer paper 04/17/15

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Downtown business owner gets surprise

Candace Osterloh opened her store Tuesday morning to find Donald Bryant, 47, sitting on the floor surrounded by merchandise. His bike sat outside the window police said he broke to get into the store. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
Candace Osterloh had a surprise waiting for her when she opened the doors to her store in the form of a 47-year-old man surrounded by bins of her merchandise and talking about elves and hobbits.

BRIEFLY: Administrator pay dropped to $36K

ELGIN — Elgin City Council decided to lower the starting pay for the city administrator position from $58,000 to $36,000.

The city administrator position is up for re-election this November as City Administrator Laird Allen will not run for election.

“Why start them at the top of the pile?” City Councilwoman Kathy Warren questioned. “They may not have any previous experience. The last elected official did not know what she was doing.”

One argument brought up that someone may not want to run for election if the position paid only $36,000.

That seemed a favorable outcome because, most of the council argued, if there is no one running for that position then it’s up to the council to hire someone to fill the vacancy.

Warren said someone with 12 years of city administrator experience can run against someone with no experience and it’s up to voters who to choose. 

“You can’t fire someone who’s in an elected position,” Warren said.

New fire closes trails in Eagle Cap Wilderness

A new wildfire has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to close two popular trails in the Eagle Cap Wilderness south of Wallowa Lake.

BRIEFLY: Free Family Law Workshop scheduled

A free Family Law Workshop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 30 in the Misener Conference Room of the Daniel Chaplin Building, 1001 Fourth St., La Grande.

The workshop is presented as a public service by attorney Bruce Anderson and the Family Law Advisory Committee. People who are representing themselves in a family law case can get answers to commonly asked questions, information and forms. For more information call 541-962-9500, ext. 2228.

Construction gets under way

Riad Sahli, the senior development project manager for Guardian Real Estate Services in Portland, speaks at a ground breaking ceremony for Blue Springs Crossing on Friday. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
ISLAND CITY — The race is on to beat Old Man Winter.

Ranchers struggle with wolves

JOSEPH — Wolf populations are on the rise in Eastern Oregon — growing at a rate of 30 percent a year and doubling every two years.

Still follows the path of Spain’s soul

David Still, right, of Cove poses for a photograph during his pilgrimage along the St. James Trail in Spain. Legend is after the resurrection of Christ when the disciples were spreading the word across the world, St. James made this pilgrimage. The Catholic church built a big cathedral in Santiago and set about supporting people making the trek. (courtesy photo)
The first day of the pilgrimage, David Still was the last person to arrive at the hostel, his home for the night.

Resource officer making a positive first impression

Cody Bowen, the La Grande School District’s new school resource officer, talks with students, from left, Hakan Strommer, Talia Whitmore and Kristen Lewis. The students are La Grande High School sophomores. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
La Grande and Island City remains brisk midway through the second week of the new school year.

The pace is a little too quick in the eyes of Cody Bowen, the La Grande School District’s new resource officer. Bowen is finding that a number of drivers are exceeding the 20 mph speed limit that is in effect in school zones when students are present.

County project remains on track

The Union County Commissioners are expected to approve a contract with Mike Becker General Contractor at its next meeting in advance of the Oregon Judicial Department’s Oct. 1 deadline to submit a plan for the new county courthouse.

Commissioners on Aug. 20 awarded the bid for the project to Mike Becker General Contractor. Two other businesses submitted proposals.

Searching for answers: Former Boise Cascade employee files suit

Belinda Butcher worked for the Elgin Plywood facility for eight years but was terminated due to alleged job abandonment. Butcher filed a lawsuit against the company claiming it harassed and humiliated her. (Cherise Kaechele/The Observer)
A former Boise Cascade employee who was fired in 2012 has filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of harassment. Belinda Butcher, 57, is seeking $750,000 in her lawsuit that claims Boise Cascade fired her after Butcher says she used her Oregon Family Leave Act allotment and vacation days to care for her dying father.

BRIEFLY: Cove City Council meets Tuesday

COVE — Parking on Hibbler Street is among the agenda items when Cove holds its regular council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cove City Hall, 504 Alder St.

State seeks essays for 2015-16 Oregon Blue Book

SALEM — Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is asking Oregon teachers to encourage their students to submit essays to be included in the 2015-16 Oregon Blue Book.

Northeast Oregon Fire season has been ‘Fairly average’

A large plume of smoke rises over the town of Oakridge as the Deception Complex Fire continues to burn last week. Compared to the rest of the West, the fire season in Northeast Oregon has been about average, according to fire officials. (The Associated Press )
For much of the West, the 2014 wildfire season has been a particularly destructive one.

Judge tosses shelter lawsuit

An order for Shelter From the Storm to evict its community advocacy center has been upheld in court.

Watching a funeral half a World Away

A family member who lost a loved one half a world away may have the opportunity to still go to the funeral from the comfort of their own home.

BRIEFLY: La Grande survives toasty August

Temperatures at La Grande averaged warmer than normal during August.

According to preliminary data received by the National Weather Service, the average temperature was 71.8 degrees, which was 2.8 degrees above normal. High temperatures averaged 87.7 degrees, which was 2 degrees above normal. The highest was 100 degrees on Aug. 12. Low temperatures averaged 56 degrees, which was 3.7 degrees above normal. The lowest was 46 degrees, on Aug. 25.

On 13 days, the temperature exceeded 90 degrees. It was at least 100 degrees on one day.

Precipitation totaled 0.40 inches during August, which was 0.45 inches below normal. Measurable precipitation — at least .01 inch — was received on seven days, with the heaviest, 0.20 inches, reported on Aug. 15.

The outlook for September from the Climate Prediction Center calls for near to above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Normal highs for La Grande fall from 82 degrees at the start of September to 70 degrees at the end of September. Normal lows fall from 49 degrees to 39 degrees. The 30-year normal precipitation is 0.67 inches.

North Powder Man Missing

Tom Horrell (Facebook Photo)
Tom Horrell left his home on Friday, August 29th, 2014 and never returned. 

Halfway woman missing in Wallowa Mountains near Cornucopia

Search crews will be gathering in the southern Wallowa Mountains above Halfway this morning to look for a Halfway woman who went missing Monday.

Theatre’s restoration continues

The ceiling of the Liberty Theatre’s lobby and its lower east wall will be exposed during a restoration work session on Saturday. (Tim Mustoe/The Observer)
A portion of La Grande’s theater history, hidden for 55 years, will be revealed on Saturday. 

Father, son duo arrested on child pornography

Read more...A father and son, both formerly of La Grande, were arrested last week on charges of child-related pornography, while a Washington woman, the son’s girlfriend, is also being charged with production of child pornography. 

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