Mother Nature’s best efforts are not getting the best of Grande Ronde Valley Habitat for Humanity volunteers this week.
This weekâ€™s snowy, frigid weather, hasnâ€™t stopped several stalwart volunteers from making progress on the framing phase of the Habitat for Humanity home going up in east La Grande. From eight to 10 workers have been on the job every day this week, including Thursdayâ€™s laborers, in foreground from left, Ryan Hildebrandt and Dave Dahlstrom and, background from left, Nic DeHart, Buddy Chris and Andy Kendall. The future homeowners, Matt and Kasey Hall, are expected to be moving in by June. The Observer/CHRIS BAXTER
The crew began constructing a home in east La Grande Monday and is
making considerable progress despite rain, cold weather and extensive
snowfall this week.
“The weather has not stopped us. We have tough volunteers,’’ said
Ryan Hildebrandt, construction manager for Grande Ronde Valley Habitat
ELGIN — The city council held a special hearing Tuesday to discuss a
proposed downtown overlay zone that would permit future commercial
development in support of the excursion train and rail station project.
“We have the train there, the passengers there, but no way to
facilitate a commercial corridor without an overlay zone,” said Joe
Garlitz, who presented the proposal.
The existing industrial zone doesn’t provide for the kind of
commercial development that would support the Elgin rail station
development plan project. Right now, people who are riding the
excursion train are standing out in the weather waiting to board,
Change is on the horizon for a leading local child advocacy organization, Union County Court Appointed Special Advocates.
The change is not in how Union County CASA comes to the aid of children, but in how it conducts its annual fundraiser.
Union County CASA, for the first time in its 14-year history, is taking a theatrical approach to fundraising.
|COVE — The days are numbered for the Cove Community School Collaboration.
Participants in a Cove Community School class, â€śGeology of the Grande Ronde Valley,â€™â€™ explore Catherine Creek with instructor Bruce Nolf, a retired geology professor from Central Oregon.
Lack of funding is forcing the popular program to shut down at the conclusion of its spring classes.
The program requested funds at the February Cove City Council
meeting in the amount of $10,000. The request was denied after being
tabled for about the sixth time.
“The topic has been discussed a number of times and it didn’t seem
there was enough funds to keep the program going,’’ Mayor Jim Lundy
Angie Wilson's kindergarten class of 18 children splinter off into four levels of reading groups for 180 minutes of reading each day. This group is reading â€śThe Man, the Pan and the Egg,â€™â€™ an at-grade level book. Seated in the foreground to rear are Kyla Hook, Wyatt Hallgarth, Savannah Gregory, Mariah Ewing and Austin Miller. Photo/TRISH YERGES
ELGIN — The Early Reading Intervention Program and full-day
kindergarten classes are credited for placing Stella Mayfield’s two
kindergarten classes up and over national reading averages.
Kindergarten teacher Angie Wilson teaches 18 students in her class
and has four reading level groups among them. As she prepares for
parent-teacher conferences at the end of this third quarter, she has
good news to report.
“Ninety percent of our kids are reading at this time,” said Wilson.
“About 70 percent of the kindergarteners are reading at the first-grade
|FFA chapters are only as strong as the support they receive from their communities and school districts.
Santana Braniff sings â€śThe Star-Spangled Bannerâ€™â€™ at the start of Mondayâ€™s closing ceremony at the State FFA Convention in La Grande. The Observer/DICK MASON
People like Union County leaders Larry Glaze, Eddie Miguez and Mike
Wood thus represent the local lifeblood of FFA. All three have been
tireless FFA supporters for years.
On Monday their efforts were saluted in a major way.
The Oregon FFA organization bestowed its highest honor on all three.
Each was awarded an honorary FFA state degree during the closing
ceremony of the state convention in La Grande.
This week The Observer introduces a new gardening column.
Garden Guide, by Jennie Hagen of Island City, will run twice a month
from April through September and monthly from October through March.
Hagen has more than 30 years of experience gardening on the east side of the Oregon Cascades.
Imbler High School senior Nick West has a meeting set with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.
Imbler High School senior Nick West, second from right, was inducted as the 2009-10 Oregon FFA vice president Monday. The induction was conducted at the closing ceremony of the State FFA Convention. West is shown here with the other 2009-10 state FFA officers. They are, right to left, President Sam Palacio of Bend, Secretary Tyson Snider of Henley High School (Klamath Falls), Treasurer Derek Burbank of Dallas, Reporter Jana Scheily of Scio and Jordyn Coon of Santiam Christian High School near Corvallis. The Observer/DICK MASON
West learned this Monday after receiving perhaps the most exciting
news of his life — he had been elected FFA State Vice President for
“I am very excited and elated. I am overwhelmed,’’ West said Monday night.
Grande Ronde Hospital has been named Outstanding Rural Health Organization of 2009 by the National Rural Health Association.
The award committee chose GRH because of the hospital’s “exceptional
contribution to rural health services,” according to the notification
letter from the association.
Meaghan McCamman, policy and program services manager for the NRHA,
said GRH’s nomination was “judged upon the scope of your
accomplishments in rural outreach, preventative health and education,
quality and efficiency of care, and strong community support and
ENTERPRISE — One position remains open on the Enterprise School
Board after the March 19 filing deadline, but all other Wallowa County
special districts have a full slate for the upcoming May 19 election.
Both the Joseph and the Wallowa school boards have one position each for which two people are competing.
Following is a breakdown of the positions up for election and who has filed.
WALLOWA — The Wallowa City Council voted March 17 to approve a
request from the city maintenance department to pursue a drinking water
infrastructure improvement funding opportunity through federal stimulus
The proposed improvements are already in the city’s water master
plan. They include acquiring property in the Greenhill area and adding
a second water storage tank to alleviate the water shortage problems
that plague the city of Wallowa from June through September every year.
JOSEPH — Two weekends ago while skiing at Ferguson Ridge, Nancy Huff
and I happened, by chance, to meet a pint-size charmer. Her name is
Maggie Miller, and she’s only 4 years old.
The chance meeting came about when Maggie and her skiing buddy
disembarked the T-bar lift ahead of us, although at the time we didn’t
know her name. It was near the end of the day and the crowd had thinned
to where it seemed the four of us were the only skiers on the hill.
While deciding which run to try we observed one of the two tykes skiing
off toward Hayes Maze — a favorite run for tots — leaving Maggie by
ENTERPRISE — What would a 4-year-old say to President Obama if given the opportunity?
Preschool students in the Head Start program in Enterprise got the
chance to tell Obama why they are thankful he is supporting their
preschool. They talked about how their letter would get to the
president, where it had to go, who would take it and how they should
prepare it to be sent. Teachers escorted a parade of curious, eager 3-
to 5-year-olds to the Enterprise Post Office amid comments such as,
“President Obama is my president,” and, “He’s everybody’s president,
even my sister’s president!”
Logan Ortmann knows that, as a young man soon stepping into today’s
economy, his generation will be paying for the current federal bailouts.
More than 30 employers, colleges and other organizations met with students at a career fair, part of the FFA state convention, held at La Grande Middle School. The Observer/ANTHONY WILLIAMS
Despite that and the rest of the news surrounding the American
workforce, Ortmann feels optimistic about his future. He visited the
career fair over the weekend at La Grande Middle School that was part
of the State FFA Convention and said he has several opportunities
available in several fields when he graduates from high school.
“I’m interested in the culinary arts, protective services and
nursing,” said the Union High School senior. “I’m currently going to
enroll at (Blue Mountain Community College) after the job corps.”
Some consider it a lost art. But Sunday afternoon it was
re-discovered by dozens of high school students attending the State FFA
Bronc Johnson, left, of Lost River and Allen Esqueda of Chiloquin cut through a log Sunday during the double-buck saw competition at the State FFA Convention in La Grande. Looking on are judges David Neese, left, and Will Coltrin. Neese is the advisor for the Chiloquin FFA chapter and Coltrin advises the Creswell FFA chapter. The Observer/DICK MASON
It is the art of two-person (double buck) cross-cut sawing.
While many FFA students were taking part in public speaking and job
interview exams Sunday, several dozen tested their team sawing skills,
some for the first time.
Virgil Lewis fought in World War II. Ted Hooey is a Korean War vet.
Their wars are long over, but they’ve never gotten out of the habit of
serving their country.
serving those who served: American Legion Post 43 members Dean Norton, Virgil Lewis, Jon Marsh and Ted Hooey are among a half-dozen volunteers who provide transportation for veterans to the VA medical center in Walla Walla. The Legion hopes to recruit more people to drive the Disabled American Veterans van. The Observer/BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH
These days, Lewis, 78, and Hooey, 75, are two of just a handful of
volunteers working to make sure veterans are able to keep appointments
at the VA medical center in Walla Walla.
Members of American Legion Post 43, they drive the Disabled Americans Veterans van whenever they get the call.
Jack Zimmerman, a Union citizen long noted for activism on behalf of
veterans and service to his community, died suddenly Thursday
afternoon. He was 74.
His wife, Bonnie, said Friday that Jack became ill Thursday morning and was flown to Boise. He died at St. Luke’s Hospital.
“I think a lot of people will miss him,” Bonnie said.
The first page of a new chapter in Eastern Oregon University’s history was written Friday afternoon.
Bob Davies, vice president for university relations at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania, was chosen Eastern’s next president by the
State Board of Higher Education.
“I am very, very honored. When the phone call came it hit me what it means. I am very humbled,’’ Davies said.
The Fourth of July came 3 1/2 months early Friday evening at La Grande High School.
FFA members from around the state gather at the La Grande High School gym Friday night for the opening ceremonies of the 81st annual State FFA Convention. The Observer/CHRIS BAXTER
A lively fireworks show on the school’s south fields capped opening ceremonies at the 81st annual State FFA Convention.
Ceremonies, almost all based in the LHS gym, will not soon be
forgotten by many of the 1,500 FFA members who attended. A high-tech,
concert-like atmosphere prevailed in the gym. All eyes were focused on
a stage flanked by two large video display boards, illuminated by
sophisticated lighting and complemented by a professional-grade sound
ELGIN — The former Derv’s Drug Store space at 1 N. Eighth Ave. is the new home of the Elgin Food Bank.
MONTHLY FOOD BOXES are put together by food bank volunteers (left) Harlan Scott, Pat McMullen and Peggy Hayes at the food bank's new location at 1 N. Eighth Ave. in Elgin. Photo/Trish Yerges
Property manager Bob Crouser was going to sell the property, said
Peggy Hayes, board member and vice president of the food bank.
“It was Bob’s idea that we move in,” she said. “If we could rent it
for $200, he wouldn’t sell it. We’ve never paid rent before. It’s
always been free, so we welcome cash donations to cover that and the
gasoline expenses involved with picking up food from Community
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