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La Grande Observer Daily Paper 07/27/15

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Home arrow Opinion arrow MY VOICE

Commencement a day to reflect on accomplishments, look to the future

Tomorrow, I have the extreme pleasure of conferring 783 degrees and certificates at Eastern Oregon University’s 84th commencement exercises. 


Savage teaches young reporter about humility

Some say adversity builds character. Others argue that it exposes character.

Survey says US wants GMO labels

July 26 Capital Press editorial titled, “Anti-GMO Crusaders Miss Rest of Story,” missed the rest of the story. That part of the story is what the biotech industry doesn’t want the public to know.

When was Cove school constructed?

The brick structure, now Cove Elementary School, was completed in the summer of 1934. The building, at the time, served as the Cove School District’s high school and elementary classroom building.

Coal’s impact too big to ignore

On July 9, it was my privilege to attend the Department of Environmental Quality hearings held in Hermiston regarding proposed construction of a facility at Boardman to transfer coal from trains on to barges for transport to coastal coal terminals. From the terminals, the coal would be shipped to China and other Asian markets. 

First impressions from a southerner, y’all

“Where’s your accent?”

That’s the first thing I hear after meeting people in La Grande. I’m inclined to tell people I threw it out the window when I crossed the Rockies, but I know it’s still lying dormant in my vocal chords, waiting for another drawl to bring it out.

How fast did La Grande grow after railroad arrived?

The growth was explosive.

La Grande had about 400 residents when the railroad began operating here in July of 1884. Six years later it had a population of about 2,600. The growth spurt created a housing boom. A total of 35 new homes were built in 1889, while 152 were constructed in 1890 and 183 were built in 1891.

Where was the first store in La Grande?

The first store was located along what is today A Avenue in south La Grande. It was opened in the fall of 1862 by Edwin Patterson, according to a story in the Dec. 10, 1946, edition of The Observer. The store was located in a small dugout on the side of a hill. 

Was tennis champion born in area?


Margaret Osborne duPont, who spent her early childhood in Wallowa County, won the Wimbledon women’s singles title. She died Oct. 24, 2012, in El Paso, Texas, at age 94.

When did Pioneer Park get its first tree?

The original tree at Pioneer Park was planted on April 8, 1940. The tree was a 4-year-old black walnut. We do not know if the tree is still standing, but it might be since black walnuts can live to be at least 200 years old. 

Was Elgin once named Fort Baker?

No, but there once was a building in Elgin known as Fort Baker.

There is no better time to go solar

By Dave Felley

These days it seems every time you open the paper there are stories about energy problems — nationally, it’s our reliance on foreign supplies, oil spills or climate change. Closer to home there is Idaho Power’s proposed Boardman-Hemingway transmission line, coal plant mercury and acid emissions and, of course, Antelope Ridge. Finally, the increasing costs of energy directly affect us in our homes and businesses.

Budget hearings begin May 13

Each spring the City of La Grande conducts public hearings on the proposed budgets for the new fiscal year that begins each July.

Will ‘ObamaCare’ save Oregon?

Oregon has the chance to provide cost-effective health care for everyone in the state, but it is not the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). House Bill 2922 would create a publicly funded, single-payer health care program to provide care to everyone in Oregon for less money than Oregonians pay now. 

The old Nesbitt place: Finding a home at the end of the road

I spent a lot of time this month on Wallowa County ranches in the mud and the muck, under threatening skies with a few sun-filled breaks providing good photo ops.

Twenty-five miles in the wrong shoes

By Katy Nesbitt 

For someone who truly believes proper footwear is the key to success I seem to find myself with the wrong shoes at the wrong times.

I carry my hiking boots in my car year-round just in case I get stuck in a snowstorm and I have to hike somewhere. Caught on the Zumwalt Prairie and Forest Service field trips with street shoes I was happy to have them.

However. It was another decade when I last wore those boots on an extended hike. I now bear thescars of having the wrong footwear.

I was unused to, but not unfamiliar with, having blisters that had blisters when I ran long distances. At the time, I was always in the process of losing about four toe nails. I never wore sandals.

As for running shoes, I tinkered around to find ones that didn’t blister the bottoms of my feet; I canhandle the smaller ones on my toes.

And heel blisters have been from heavy boots.

You see, there is a Katy Mountain and a Nesbit Butte in Wallowa County, but there is also a roadnamed for my Indian name; Tenderfoot Valley.

I can walk across a parking lot in sandals and tear up my feet. Even the friction between flip flops and sand leaves scars.

I hiked 25 miles in four days wearing boots that refused yield. During the agony of getting used toinjured feet AND a backpack, a million stray thoughts fluttered through my mind like - didn’t Oedipus have a foot injury? And Achilles had that tricky heel…

I also heard songs in my head, thought up recipes I want to make, and stories I want to write. Ithought about the boots I want to buy when these become geranium planters; I want something really light. The lighter, the better.

Every so often my scout would stop for a view and I would take a picture. For a while I forgot aboutmy bleeding feet.

Like other trips with their mosquito infestations or bitter chill, photos are the treasures we get to keep from our travels.

A king’s ransom will pay for the bandages and Neosporin.

Great year in La Grande

The Christmas season in La Grande is a special time.The new downtown decorations, combined with the many businesses that have festive windows, make for a wonderful local shopping experience.

Our local businesses are our strength and, by “keeping it local,” we are all helping our community.

I would like to highlight some of the fantastic efforts by citizens and organizations during 2011.

A love letter to La Grande

Impatience to leave mixes with fierce pride for ‘the Paris of Oregon’

Leaving Elgin with pleasant memories of Stampede

After the long weekend at St. Paul, it was great to have a week to recover. Brinda, our chaperone, had talked to us beforehand about the possibility of going to Elgin two nights: the Mark Nichols Memorial Bull Riding Night and the Sunday Performance.

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