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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 07/25/14

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Fourth fundraiser

Members of the La Grande High School band return to the Walmart parking lot for their annual fireworks sale, a fundraising event for the coming school year’s band activities. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)

La Grande High School band uses funds to pay for annual tour

The fireworks tent outside Walmart is empty except for a few students and their parents when another parent in a minivan pulls up with ice cream.

“Who had a cone?” one dad asks. 


Funding available for wolf deterrents

Union County has been awarded $5,000 for a wolf depredation compensation grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The funding will be utilized for the implementation of livestock management activities, including nonlethal wolf deterrence techniques, to prevent interactions between wolves and livestock or working dogs.

BRIEFLY: Senior center offers entertainment

Senior center offers entertainment 

The Union County Senior Center in La Grande hosts live music at 11 a.m. weekdays. Musicians include Terry LaMont, the Blue Mountaineers and Fine Tunes. All are welcome to come enjoy the free music. 


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.

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