BRIEFLY: Voters Forum takes place tonight

By Observer staff April 28, 2014 10:20 am

Voters Forum takes place tonight

ELGIN — The public is invited to Elgin for a Voters Forum at 6:30 p.m. tonight to hear from proponents on two local ballot measures — the proposal to make the Elgin city administrator an appointed position, and the proposal to make Union County Commission positions nonpartisan. 

The event will be held in the Stella Mayfield auditorium at Elgin Elementary School. The format will include time for questions from the audience, and is sponsored by the Elgin Chamber of Commerce and The Observer, with assistance by the League of Women Voters.


Transportation commissions to meet 

The North East Area Commission on Transportation and the South East Area Commission on Transportation will hold a joint meeting at 
9 a.m. Thursday at the Oregon Department of Transportation Region 5 Headquarters, 3012 Island Ave. During the meeting, NEACT and SEACT will approve their priority listing of Connect Oregon V applications. 

The Connect Oregon program funds transportation projects typically not eligible for state or federal gas tax money. The public is invited to attend.

City sets spring tree planting day

The City of La Grande spring tree planting day is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and gloves and bring a shovel if possible. Water and safety vests will be provided. Meet at the Parks Department building, 2402 Cedar Street, at 9 a.m. 

For more information, contact the Urban Forestry Division by calling 541-962-1352, ext. 204, or by emailing   This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Interested in being a 4-H Jr. Ambassador? 

A meeting for all 4-H members in the eighth through 12th grades interested in joining the Union County 4-H Ambassador team will be at 
6:30 p.m. May 5 in the conference room of the Extension Office on McAlister Lane. Members will learn about the Junior  Ambassador program, ask questions and meet other 4-H members from around the county. Call the 4-H office to RSVP at 541-963-1010.

Union County PFLAG meets Thursday

The next meeting of Union County PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbian and Gays) will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Shelter From the Storm, 1111 Fifth St. Agenda items include voting for a vice president and bylaw edits, a community outreach update and discussion of Eastern Oregon University Pride Week.

Women’s Connection sets reunion lunch

The La Grande Women’s Connection No-Host Reunion Lunch will take place at noon May 8 at the Denny’s banquet room. Those attending should make reservations by calling Gayleen at 541-786-0305 as soon as possible.

Restoration projects reviewed May 9

Members of the Northeast Oregon Forests Resource Advisory Committee will meet May 9 in La Grande to discuss selection of Title II projects under Public Law 110-343, H.R. 1424, the Reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, also called the “Payments to States” Act.

According to Jeff Tomac, Whitman District ranger on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and designated federal official for the Northeast Oregon Forests RAC, this will be the fifth meeting of the committee since reauthorization of Public Law 106-393. The meeting will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Blue Mountain Conference Center, 404 12th St.

The public meeting will focus on reviewing and recommending 2014 project proposals that meet the intent of the Payments to States Act.

Objectives of the proposed projects are to protect, restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve the maintenance of existing Forest Service infrastructure; protect and enhance ecosystems on the national forests; and restore and improve land health and water quality.  A public input opportunity will be provided for individuals who wish to address the committee during the meeting at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, call Tomac at the Forest Service office in Baker City at 541-523-1301 or Arlene Blumton at 541-962-8522 at the 
La Grande Ranger District.

Vendors sought for Hermiston Funfest 

HERMISTON — Hermiston’s ninth annual downtown Funfest event takes place July 12. Vendors are invited to promote their business, art work, crafts, commercial products or fundraisers with spaces available on Main Street.   

For more information, call the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce at 541-567-6151 or visit its website for Funfest vendor applications at

TEC offering computer classes 

Training & Employment Consortium is offering computer classes in Word, Excel and QuickBooks during May and June. All classes are free and open to the public. Classes are held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information and to enroll, call Glenna at 541-963-7942, ext. 11.

Class of 1959 sets reunion meeting 

The La Grande High School Class of 1959 will have a reunion planning meeting at 1 p.m. Friday with a no-host lunch at the Flying J Travel Plaza.

Clarification made in diploma standards 

Students across Oregon who will graduate or already have graduated with a modified or extended Oregon diploma can now apply for federal student aid to assist with college tuition or be eligible to apply to some branches of the military. 

Conferment of a modified diploma or an extended diploma does not guarantee admittance to a post-secondary institution, but does allow a student to be eligible for federal financial aid and may allow for registration with some branches of military service. This is a reversal of Oregon’s previous standing that those with modified or extended diplomas would not be eligible to apply for federal student aid.

The free application for federal student aid is available online at

To apply online for federal student aid, go to the website For more information about the modified or extended diplomas, contact a local school district.

Nile Club sets Spring Salad Luncheon

ISLAND CITY — The Union County Nile Club will have a Spring Salad Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. May 5 at the Island City City Hall.

Trail consortium meets May 6 in Elgin 

ELGIN — The Wallowa Union Historic Trail Consortium will meet at 5:30 p.m. May 6 in Elgin at the US Bank Conference Room, 800 Alder St. (People are asked to use the Eighth Street entry.) All persons with an interest in the possibility of constructing a rail-with-trail from Elgin to Joseph are encouraged to attend.  

The meeting goals include providing an update to board members and the public on the trail feasibility study scope of work developed by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department  and Eastern Oregon University with input from consortium members. 

The scope of work will be presented to the WURA board for approval on May 7 at their meeting, which will begin at 
5 p.m. at the Elgin depot.

The meeting will also encourage citizen engagement with the effort to develop a recreation trail through WUHTC membership and volunteering.

For more information, call Terry Edvalson at 541-377-6355 or email him at 
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Reception set for Ars Poetica archives

Four volumes of original hand- and typewritten poems, signed cards, photographs, press clippings, posters and other items comprise a significant new addition to EOU’s Pierce Library.

The materials span 27 years of literary history at the university, beginning in 1961 with the first reel-to-reel recording of the ongoing Ars Poetica reading series.

George Venn, director of the series from 1970 to 1989, is the curator of this distinct collection and has donated it to Pierce Library through the EOU Foundation. 

A reception with refreshments is planned from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the library to unveil the Ars Poetica Archive.

Karen Clay, library director, will introduce Venn, an emeritus professor of English and writer-in-residence. He will comment on the origin and contents of the archive, answer questions and make acknowledgments.

“These materials could have so easily ended up lost and forgotten,” Clay said. “I’m very grateful to George for keeping them and putting in the time and effort to archive them. The library is getting a truly unique collection as a result.”

Alumni, faculty and students are invited to examine the archive and share memories of EOU’s literary heritage during the 
reception. In particular, attendees will be encouraged to contribute memorabilia they may have saved from Ars Poetica’s early years. 

Commemorative posters will also be available to take home.

Kindergarten informational set 

The parents of kindergarten students are invited to a free informational breakfast at Grande Ronde Academy from 8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Wednesday. This is an opportunity to hear about and consider Grande Ronde Academy as a choice for a child’s kindergarten through eighth grade education. RSVP to 541-975-1147 by Tuesday.

Grande Ronde Academy is at 507 B Palmer Ave.

Grassroots Festival meeting slated

UNION — Union Grassroots Festival will be held Aug. 9. A meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Union City Hall. The event will feature vendors, live music, Dutch- oven cooking, pie baking and eating contests, a car show and a free kiddy fair, lawn mower races and a family street dance to top off the day.

To participate or for more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call Donna at 541-786-1492