Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Sat, 30 Jul 2016 03:56:13 -0400 en Blue Mountain Eagle | Pot petition pulled Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:53:07 -0400 Grant County voters will not see an initiative regarding marijuana on the November ballot but may see one in May.

Chief petitioner Cindy Kidd officially withdrew her initiative petition July 26.

The reasons she gave for the withdrawal: “1. Time frame won’t work. 2. Loss of a family member. 3. Going to do this in May of 2017.”

The title of the petition was “Regulation of marijuana for economic development and youth protection.”

Kitzhaber talk won’t veer from health care Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:38:48 -0400 NICK BUDNICKCapital Bureau PORTLAND — Former Gov. John Kitzhaber will speak in Portland Monday, continuing his effort to reenter public life since resigning his elected office more than a year ago amid a federal influence-peddling probe.

But if you go hear him speak at First Congregational Church in downtown Portland, don’t count on hearing a lot about Kitzhaber’s departure from Mahonia Hall. The public’s questions at the City Club forum called “Healthcare in the U.S. — Are we ready for more reform?” will be limited to the topic at hand, says Mike Marshall, the City Club’s executive director.

“It’s out of deference to all of the panelists and all of the people coming who want to talk about health care,” Marshall said.

Other speakers at the 3 p.m. event include Don Berwick, former administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Alisha Moreland-Capuia, executive director of the Avel Gordly Center for Healing at OHSU; and Dr. Paul Gorman, an OHSU professor and single-payer advocate who will serve as moderator.

Kitzhaber and his partner Cylvia Hayes continue to be the subject of a joint FBI-IRS investigation, though no charges have been filed. At issue: whether federal laws were broken in Kitzhaber making Hayes an influential energy adviser even as she accepted outside payments from advocacy groups seeking to influence state policy.

Kitzhaber, who was largely invisible during the year following his resignation, has become more public of late. In March he released a video on Facebook and, in an interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting, expressed confidence the probe would clear him. He told OPB reentering public life is part of his plan to become a consultant, saying, “If you’re going to do some consulting, people need to know you’re alive and well.”

Given Kitzhaber’s reputation in health care circles, his appearance is “a real coup” for City Club, Marshall said. The former governor is known for his role fostering the creation and evolution of the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan, which provides services to low-income Oregonians and relies on rationing, privatization and the pursuit of alternative payment models to reduce waste.

Kitzhaber is “very excited” to speak about an issue he is passionate about, according to Marshall, who managed Kitzhaber’s reelection campaign.

In limiting speakers’ questions, the Monday event will differ from the City Club’s regularly scheduled Friday Forums, where attendees have a great deal of freedom to ask questions of speakers.

Marshall says the limitation on questions at the forum is not a matter of giving his former boss special treatment. Rather, he says, it is standard practice for the issue forums the City Club holds, which are organized by volunteers and draw a more specialized audience.

Organizers of the event have already had to change locations twice to accommodate the expected crowd.

Typically, the City Club’s Friday forums draw no more than 450 attendees, Marshall said. The more specialized issue forums tend to be muchsmaller. For Monday’s event, he added “we have over 500 RSVPs.”

ODOT review deal nixed over contractor’s agency ties Thu, 28 Jul 2016 19:31:35 -0400 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM — The state plans to nix a contract for a long-awaited review to assess the readiness of the Oregon Department of Transportation for a massive influx of funds next year.

The decision came after stakeholders and the Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, expressed concerns over the contractor’s extensive relationship with agency employees.

Consultant John L. Craig, who won the $350,000 contract to do the review, oversaw the agency’s $1.3 billion outsourced bridge repair and replacement program for six years. He stepped down as program manager of Oregon Bridge Development Partners just 13 months ago. He was chosen over another contractor that had similar experience but offered to do the job for more than $100,000 less

In an email to a review oversight committee, Tammy Baney, chairwoman of the Oregon Transportation Commission, wrote that delays in the contracting process had created “an aggressive timeline that will not allow for a thorough review.”

“In addition, the vending process has not formulated a contractor that is viewed as neutral,” Baney said. “To have a cloud over this work before it even begins is unfortunate. At this time I believe it would not be prudent to proceed as I do not see the current process as conducive to a successful outcome.”

The review oversight committee, made up of transportation commissioners and former lawmakers, has asked the Department of Administrative Services to explore options for hiring a different contractor to conduct the review. George Naughton, acting state chief operating officer and DAS director, said he would take steps to end the existing contract with Craig, which was signed around July 13. The contract allows either party to cancel the contract within 30 days, Naughton said.

The oversight committee, made up of transportation commissioners and former lawmakers, also plans to seek guidance from Gov. Kate Brown. The governor ordered the review in November to assuage lawmakers’ reservations over some of ODOT’s past management decisions.

Lawmakers said they wanted an independent, third-party review to ensure that ODOT was operating efficiently before they consider passing a transportation package in 2017. That legislation — one of Brown’s priorities as governor — could hike gas taxes and fees on drivers and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding to the agency.

One of the challenges in finding contractors to conduct the review is that some might be more interested in pursuing high dollar contracts that come out of the transportation package, Naughton said. Only two contractors - Craig and Pennsylvania-based Public Works - made proposals to conduct the review.

It’s unclear whether the review could still be finished before the end of the six-month legislative session in 2017.

Lawmakers responsible for crafting a transportation package said Thursday that they plan to move forward with the transportation package, with or without the management review.

“It would be helpful as we move through the session coming in 2017 that we have information regarding this work product, but at end of the day, I don’t think it’s critical,” said Rep. Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay, co-chairperson of the committee.

Wildfire softball team slides to second in state Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:53:36 -0400 Angel Carpenter The Grant County Wildfire 13-14-15-year-old all stars took a tough 6-5 loss to Parkside/Beaumont on Monday in the finals at the Oregon Juniors Little League State Championships.

The weeklong double-elimination tournament was hosted by the Or-Cal District in Tulelake, California.

Grant County manager Zach Williams said his team showed their resiliency in the game after a 21-9 loss to Parkside/Beaumont the previous day in the semifinal games.

“They played really well,” he said. “They fought hard, kept it together and they played like a team.”

Wildfire’s Shaine Madden pitched the game for Grant County.

The Grant County team had the first run of the game in the top of the third, and Parkside/Beaumont tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

Wildfire added a run in the top of the fourth, and three more in the seventh.

The score was 5-2 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Parkside/Beaumont loaded the bases and scored two on a single.

“We walked a girl and got a double play from home to first,” Williams said.

The score was 5-4 with two outs, with the Wildfire in the lead.

“We had a ground ball to third that was thrown to first, and the umpire made the determination that the first baseman’s foot came off the bag, allowing the tying run to score,” Williams said.

Parkside/Beaumont, which had no losses in the tournament, hit a sacrifice pop fly to give them the win.

If Grant County had won the game, they would have faced Parkside/Beaumont again that day for a final game.

“They were heartbroken,” Williams said. “It was a really hard loss. They’re very resilient.”

Grant County’s centerfielder Kaylee Wright, who went 3-4 in the game, was awarded the district administrator’s game ball as Most Valuable Player of the championship game.

Williams said he appreciated the supporters who followed their livestream videos and those who traveled to the games.

“I would also like to thank Mike Strong and Tammy Clark,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for better assistant coaches.”


Championship game

Monday, July 11

Wildfire, 5

Parkside/Beaumont, 6

(seven innings)


Sunday, July 10

Game 2

Wildfire, 13

Warm Springs, 3

(five innings)

Game 1

Wildfire, 9

Parkside/Beaumont, 21

(seven innings)


Saturday, July 9

Wildfire, 11

Tillamook, 0

(six innings)

Game 1

Thursday, July 8

Wildfire, 21

South Salem, 0

(five innings)

Grant County Court minutes: July 20, 2016 Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:33:23 -0400 Minutes from the July 20, 2016, Grant County Court meeting:

Pursuant to notice made to the newspaper of general circulation throughout Grant County, the radio station, county website, and e-mail distribution list, a regular meeting of the County Court was held at the County Courthouse in Canyon City, OR.

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Jim Sproul, Dan Becker, Jim Spell, Beth Spell, Logan Bagett, Judy Kerr, Sally Bartlett, Steve Beverlin and Pastor Al Altnow. Judge Myers advised Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright had an appointment this morning but should return prior to the end of court today. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants # 176-180.

AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the agenda as presented.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton attended a Stock Grower’s meeting where the beer booth for fair was discussed and Nick Stiner from the Forest Service gave a presentation on the Blue Mountain Ranger District range program. Today at 3 pm Britton will be doing a video interview with Marcus Kaufman from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Commissioner Labhart had lunch last Wednesday with Rex Burkholder of Oregon Solutions and last Thursday he attended the RAC meeting in Baker City and thanked Steve Beverlin and Mark Webb for their comments. He reported the RAC meeting went very smoothly and all the proposals were approved as presented. Labhart said he will be attending the Grant County CWPP meeting on Friday at the John Day Fire Hall, Monday he will be going to a meeting regarding John Day/Canyon City flood insurance and on Tuesday the 26th he will be traveling to a Restore Oregon meeting at Depot Park in Prairie City. Labhart will be going to Senator Wyden’s town hall this afternoon. Britton encouraged Labhart to advise Wyden that Grant County is opposed to the proposed Malheur National Monument. Labhart met with the Treasurer and Deputy Clerk yesterday to discuss the current county travel policy.

Judge Myers went to a meeting on Monday with GREAT at the Outpost where they discussed loans and the college downtown. Tuesday Myers attended an all-day meeting at the airport regarding Bates Pond. He said it was a good meeting and was congenial. Jim Sproul suggested the county pass a resolution declaring the pond a historical site. Myers thinks this may be the wrong time for a resolution to be passed and believes this could wait for some time in the future. He advised the meeting was largely about statistics although the history of the pond was discussed during the morning session. Myers believes the pond may change in appearance or shape, but that the water impoundment will remain. Further discussion followed about the pond and fish ladder. Myers is taking vacation to go fly fishing this afternoon at Strawberry Lake. Tomorrow morning Myers will attend a meeting for the McRae Scholarship Committee and then in the afternoon will attend a department head meeting.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the July 13th minutes as amended.

CANYON CITY HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett has been assisting the Town of Canyon City with a Technical Assistance Grant with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to develop a Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan and Comprehensive Plan Integration for Canyon City. Grant County Economic Development (GCED) is requesting $30,000 in grant funds to produce the plan and GCED will provide $5,000 in kind as matching funds. Myers stated a few years ago the county worked with John Day on a hazard mitigation plan, but Canyon City was not involved at that time. Canyon City would not be eligible for FEMA assistance in the event of a flood without a hazard mitigation plan. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve Technical Assistance Agreement # TA-17-179 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS. Assessor Karen Officer presented two tax refunds and orders to the court for review and approval. The refunds are due to fires that occurred on the affected properties, but not related to the Canyon Creek Complex Fire. The first refund is in the amount of $67.97 and the second refund is in the amount of $167.81. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the tax refund and order to Randall Keen in the amount of $67.97 and circulate for signatures and to approve the tax refund and order to Robert & Marva Nolan in the amount of $167.81 and circulate for signatures.

COUNTY PER DIEM & TRAVEL RATES. Commissioner Labhart wanted to discuss the current county lodging, mileage and meal per diem rates. Labhart presented rates and policies from the State, CCS and various counties for comparison. Labhart explained he began working on this because of times employees have had to come to court to ask for approval for small overages in lodging. He told those in attendance the average ranges he discovered for costs for mileage, lodging and meals. Labhart also discovered several statutes the county must follow regarding travel such as the fact an employee cannot accept travel reward miles for travel paid for by the county. Labhart is recommending the county adopt a mileage rate of .50 cents per mile, $125 plus tax for lodging, $50 meal reimbursement per day unless your destination is one of 8 listed cities that are more expensive and for these cities the rate would be $60 per day. Lodging provided as part of a conference is not subject to the $125 rate. Discussion followed about current policy and exceptions that come up to the rules. Labhart intends to discuss this proposal with department heads at the meeting Thursday afternoon to get additional input.

BLUE MTN. FOREST PLAN REVISION MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. The court reviewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sent by the Forest Service. The MOU would be between Grant County and the USDA, Forest Service Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla National Forests. The purpose of the MOU is to document the cooperation between the parties in the development of the Revised Blue Mountain Forest Plans. Britton asked the court members if either of them thought he would have a conflict in signing this agreement. Labhart asked if Britton would gain financially from signing the MOU and Britton stated he would not. Labhart has no problem with Britton signing the MOU and Myers agreed. Malheur National Forest Supervisor Steve Beverlin reported a benefit of signing the MOU is it allows the county to participate in briefings and discussions prior to proposals being released. Beverlin said the MOU doesn’t prohibit objections or abdicate any county authority; it just gives the county a seat at the table during discussions. Myers suggested signing the MOU and sending to Yockim for review prior to submission. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to approve the Memorandum of Understanding and circulate for signatures.

BMCC OUT OF DISTRICT AGREEMENT. Celeste Insko of Blue Mountain Community College had submitted a Contracted Out of District Agreement to the court for 2016-2017. This is an annual contract for BMCC to provide community college-type educational services in Grant County. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve the agreement and circulate for signatures.

10:30 am Laurie Wright, Administrative Assistant entered.

ACCESS ROAD EASEMENT. The court reviewed an Access Road Easement from Dan Kehr as Grantor to Grant County for an access easement to access the Monument Repeater Site. Judge Myers explained how this easement came about and the maintenance the county would provide to it. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the Access Road Easement and circulate for signatures.

SHERIFF’S OFFICE COPIER AGREEMENT. The court reviewed the Maintenance Agreement for Tier Color Multi-Function Products from TEC Copier Systems, LLC, for the machines in the Sheriff’s Department. The agreement is for the time period of 06/29/2016 to 06/28/2020 in the amount of $762.50 per year. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the Maintenance Agreement and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

SHERIFF BUDGET TRANSFER REQUEST. Sheriff Palmer had sent a written request to the court to approve a transfer from contingency in the amount of $297.93 to cover the cost of chairs that were approved for purchase in the 2015/16 budget cycle. The chairs were ordered using the Sheriff’s Office credit card in June, but the bill did not arrive until July (2016/17 Fiscal Year). Treasurer Kathy Smith submitted an interoffice memo to the court regarding this request for capital outlay transfer. Smith wrote that she sends out reminders the first of May to all departments who have not completed their capital outlay purchasing for the year so that they don’t wait until June to place orders. The departments that have waited until the last minute in the past have worked with the Clerk and Treasurer to ensure the expenditures are paid in the correct budget year. Labhart believes this should be paid from this year’s Sheriff’s budget-capital outlay. Britton suggested paying for this from the county contingency line since it is early in the year. Labhart pointed out the Treasurer contacted all department heads to ensure this didn’t happen and each department head is responsible for his/her own budget. MSF: Britton/Myers – to approve payment of the chairs from the county contingency budget line. Britton voted yes, Myers and Labhart voted no and believe this money should come from the Sheriff’s budget.

MSP: Labhart/Myers – to approve payment of the chairs from this year’s Sheriff’s Department capital outlay budget line. Labhart and Myers voted yes, Britton voted no because he is concerned this will put the Sheriff in violation of state budget law.

Myers doesn’t believe there will be a violation and the Treasurer suggested this way to handle the issue.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul invited Britton to a town hall meeting to address the recall issues. The meeting could possibly be held next week at the Community Hall with a neutral moderator. Sproul stated he knows this may not be the proper venue to address this. Myers and Labhart both stated they don’t think this is the correct venue and is a private matter. Jim Spell asked if documents mentioned in court are retained for public viewing. Wright told him she files documents mentioned in court in department files, but they are not attached to the minutes. Spell asked for clarification on budget spending practices. Myers explained the county policies regarding department expenditures.

10:46 am – Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

Magone Lake is a Grant County favorite Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:52:32 -0400 Angel Carpenter Magone Lake is an oasis on a hot summer day and one of Grant County’s favorite swimming and fishing spots.

It also features a 1-mile hiking trail, circling the lake, which is easy enough for everyone in the family.

Located about 26 miles north of John Day in the Malheur National Forest, Magone Lake (pronounced “muh-goon”) covers about 50 acres and is surrounded by Ponderosa pine, fir and other native trees.

Visitors enjoy the water with inner tubes, pontoons, kayaks, canoes and boats. The lake has a boat ramp that was rebuilt five years ago.

The sandy beach in the day use area is great for building sandcastles.

Swimmers can stay near the shore and the gradually sloping shallow water, or venture out to the tree stump in the middle of the lake, which makes a good diving spot.

Picnic areas near the beach are a good place for barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers — or making s’mores.

The facilities include three tent-only sites, 20 tent/trailer sites and a large picnic area with group picnicking. All the facilities, including a changing room and vault toilets, are handicap-accessible. It also has a reservation-only covered picnic shelter for large gatherings.

Geologists believe the lake was created by a land slide in the early 1800s.

It is said the first fish placed in Magone Lake arrived in the 1880s when Major Joseph Magone, a former Civil War officer, carried buckets of brook trout from the John Day Valley to the lake.

Known for traveling most everywhere by foot, he hiked up to the lake with a wooden yoke across his shoulders, with a bucketful of fish at each end.

Today, the lake is stocked by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with 8- to 15-inch eastern brook and rainbow trout.

From John Day, follow Highway 26 about 13 miles to County Road 18/Keeney Forks Road. Travel about 12 miles on County Road 18, then turn left onto Forest Service Road 3620 (there will be a sign pointing left to Magone Lake). Travel 2 miles on Forest Road 3620 to the junction with Forest Road 3618. Follow 3618 for approximately 1 mile to the day-use area.

Poll: Brown, Pierce in dead heat in governor’s race Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:42:11 -0400 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau” Democrat Gov. Kate Brown and Republican Bud Pierce are nearly tied in the race for the state’s chief executive, according to poll results released Wednesday.

The poll by Clout Research, a right-leaning firm based in Columbus, Ohio, found Brown holds a lead of 43.4 percent over Pierce’s 42 percent. The margin of error is 3.71 percentage points.

“What we are seeing in the race for governor is the same as the race for president,” said Fritz Wenzel, pollster and owner of Clout Research. “Voters across the country are dissatisfied with the status quo.”

Pierce’s surge in support comes mostly from independent voters. About 41 percent of independent respondents favor Pierce, while 29 percent support Brown, according to the poll.

“The tsunami in Oregon right now is where independents are heavily supporting Trump and Pierce,” Wenzel said.

Pierce, a Salem oncologist, said the results don’t surprise him.

“I think voters like my message of being open and transparent with them,” Pierce said. “Since the primary election I’ve been out in many Oregon communities spreading the word about what I would do to improve Oregon, if elected governor. Kate Brown has basically been an invisible candidate, not attending debates or answering tough questions. The governor has only been accessible to insiders and lobbyists. I’ve tried to make myself accessible to the people and the media.”

Brown’s campaign was not immediately available to comment on the poll Wednesday. Brown and her campaign director are attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week.

About 700 voters responded to the telephone poll, which was conducted July 9-13.

The national polling company serves mostly Republican clients, but no one commissioned this poll, Wenzel said. The pollster said he conducted the poll to satisfy his own interest in Oregon politics. Wenzel is originally from southeast Portland.

The poll also found that support for a corporate sales tax measure, known as Initiative Petition 28 or Measure 97, is eroding. About 39 percent of respondents favor the measure, compared with 44 percent in early May, Wenzel said.

The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office has said the 2.5 percent tax on certain corporate sales exceeding $25 million would act as a consumption tax. The tax would cost the average family in excess of $600 per year in higher prices.

“There has always been more people supportive of the measure than opposed to it, but as people learn more about the measure and who would pay the new taxes, the support appears to be dwindling,” Wenzel said. “Anytime a measures falls below 40 percent support, it is in dangerous waters.”

Our Oregon, the nonprofit behind the corporate sales tax campaign, dismissed the poll as biased.

“This is a poll conducted by a consistently wrong, right leaning group,” said Katherine Driessen, Our Oregon spokeswoman. “That’s clear based on their inaccurate results throughout the poll. Every single finding in this poll is without credibility.”

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, which rates pollsters on their accuracy, gave Clout a “C minus.” The publication stated that Clout calls races correctly about 33 percent of the time.

Our View: ‘Silent mass disaster’ demands nation’s attention Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:38:02 -0400 Viewers of television crime shows get the impression that discovery of human remains sets off an intense response, complete with FBI facial reconstruction experts, swift and accurate DNA tests and vast electronic databases that match subtle clues with lists of possible victims.

Reality is more like the situation the EO Media Group reported in Wahkiakum County, Washington. The piece, titled “Riverbank skeleton an unsolved mystery” is on Page A8.

A body is discovered, and local officials do what they can — with few resources — to determine whether a crime has been committed and who the person is. Ultimately, in a large nation, each new set of unidentified remains joins a large number of others and is gradually forgotten.

“The facts are sobering,” Nancy Ritter of the National Institute of Justice said in the NIJ Journal. “On any given day, there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases in the United States. Every year, tens of thousands of people vanish under suspicious circumstances. Viewed over a 20-year period, the number of missing persons can be estimated in the hundreds of thousands.”

Some of these missing, which Ritter describes as “the nation’s silent mass disaster,” are missing because they are dead. More than 40,000 sets of human remains await identification in evidence rooms. Only 6,000 of these are entered in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. Many remains are buried without even a DNA sample being obtained.

The NIJ makes a variety of good suggestions. All require federal or state funding. They include providing free tests of unidentified remains and collecting reference samples from the families of the missing.

It’s shocking to learn the scale of this problem. An advanced nation should make the methodical science available to us a reality, not a TV gimmick. We can be certain murders are occurring that are never discovered, much less solved.

Editorial cartoons Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:38:24 -0400

The Eagle wins 10 state awards Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:49:12 -0400 The Blue Mountain Eagle won 10 awards at the annual Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2016 Better Newspaper Contest.

The Eagle took home first place for Best Special Section for their 2015-16 Explore Grant County Visitor Guide.

Eagle publisher Marissa Williams said the honor was earned as a team effort by the staff.

“We are thrilled to bring home first place for the 2015 Explore Grant County visitor guide,” she said. “This guide represents our beautiful county and people who live here and wouldn’t be possible without the support of local businesses and community members.”

She added, “To be recognized in 10 categories by others in our industry is an honor, and I am proud of our staff at the Eagle. A notable amount of awards were received for our coverage of the Canyon Creek Complex fire. This was a difficult event that affects everyone in the county, and to be able to share their stories with others and be recognized for our work is a great honor.”

In addition to the Best Special Section honor, the Eagle garnered two additional first-place awards, three second place awards and four third place awards.

The first-place awards were in:

• Best Graphics, to editorial graphic designer Alan Kenaga, for “An Apocalypse” Canyon Creek Complex fire map.

• Best Page One Design, to graphic designer Randy Wrighthouse, for “An Apocalypse” front page.

The Eagle also received second-place for Best Writing, with the honor going to Cheryl Hoefler for “Program Assists Folks in The Golden Years,” “Sociable Toddler Progressing Well a Year After Brain Injury” and “Grateful For my Dance With Cancer.”

Two additional second-place awards went to Angel Carpenter for Best Feature Photo “Together Forward” and Best Spot News Reporting for the article “An Apocalypse.”

Four third-place awards included: Best Writing, Angel Carpenter, “Team Spirit,” “Lampton Gets 30 Years in Prison” and “HAY FEVER Rolls Into Town”; Best News Photo, Angel Carpenter, “Together. Forward.”; Best Enterprise Reporting, Scotta Callister and Angel Carpenter, “DEQ fumes” series; and Best Graphics, Alan Kenaga, “The State of New Idaho.”

Lost boy found Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:00:40 -0400 Sean Hart Seven-year-old Dylan Beede spent Saturday night alone in the Malheur National Forest after becoming separated from family and friends camped at the Elk Creek Campground near the Grant-Baker county line.

After a search and rescue effort, Dylan was found Sunday morning unharmed except for minor scrapes and bruises to the relief of his family, who live in Bend.

“God is so good!” Dylan’s mother, Juana Beeded, said. “Jeremy and I were so, so blessed by the amazing community. We felt your prayers and love, and we can’t even put into words what it meant to us. All of the officers, volunteers, everyone, thank you again for everything.”

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of the missing boy at 3 p.m. after a family member drove to Seneca to call 911, according to a press release from Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer.

As search and rescue personnel were responding, law enforcement officers on scene determined several vehicles had been seen in the area and attempted to locate them in case Dylan had been abducted. Searchers from the sheriff’s office, the Oregon State Police and volunteers from the public began to search for Dylan but could not find him Saturday.

Additional resources from Baker, Deschutes and Crook counties were called for the second day of the search, but as they were arriving on scene, Dylan was located about 1.5 miles northwest from where he was last seen.

“At about 7:30 a.m. on July 24th, Dylan was located by Oregon State Police Trooper Pat McKosker and brought back to the Elk Creek Campground where Dylan was reunited with his family,” Palmer said in the release. “Dylan underwent a medical exam on scene by paramedics from the Blue Mountain Hospital and (was) released to his family.”

As a parting gift, Dylan was given a hat emblazoned with the Grant County Sheriff emblem. His mother said he loves the hat and wears it all the time.

Sen. Wyden’s Owyhee bill would prevent mining but not a monument Tue, 26 Jul 2016 19:00:15 -0400 Sean Hart When asked whether the U.S. Senate would support a proposal passed in the House of Representatives to prevent funding to create a national monument in Malheur County, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, instead touted a bill he introduced that would not prevent a monument.

Speaking July 20 in Grant County at his 778th town hall meeting since taking office, the senator said his bill, co-sponsored by fellow Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, responded to concerns raised by residents in more than 50 meetings with Wyden’s staff.

Wyden said residents were opposed to a proposed 2.5 million-acre national monument that would cover 40 percent of Malheur County. He said they were also concerned about foreign mining in the area and wanted to strengthen the ranching economy and preserve the ranching way of life.

“I have pointed out to the (President Barack Obama) administration very clearly that there is very strong opposition in Eastern Oregon to a monument on the Owyhee,” he said. “And so I’ve actually introduced a piece of legislation that I think responds to what I’ve heard in Eastern Oregon.”

Wyden introduced the Southeastern Oregon Mineral Withdrawal and Economic Preservation and Development Act June 10, and it was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, addressed these concerns.

“The bulk of the bill is about strengthening the ranching economy and the ranching way of life,” he said. “This, of course, No. 2, is not a monument; this would be a piece of legislation, so it would have to be considered by the Senate, it would have to be considered by the House. Third, because there’s been big concern about foreign mining interest, tapping the minerals, we have a mineral withdrawal.”

Instead of creating a national monument through a presidential proclamation, he said his bill would have to be approved by Congress, though it would not prevent the president from proclaiming a monument.

The bill would prevent any new mining activities in the 2,065,000-acre withdrawal area it would cover. The bill also contains provisions creating grant programs for water improvements, infrastructure and firefighting, an Agriculture Center of Excellence in Malheur County and a study for rural air services at the airport in Ontario.

Responding to other questions at the town hall:

• Wyden said he supports “common sense steps” to reduce gun violence that do not violate the Second Amendment. He said terrorists and people with domestic violence convictions should be prevented from owning guns but that the government should be liable for penalties if it prevents someone from purchasing a gun who should not have been. He also said limits on research into gun violence should be lifted.

• He said a conference committee between the House and Senate would be meeting in September to work on legislation that could end “fire borrowing,” where agencies are forced to use funds intended for fire prevention to cover the cost of fighting fires.

• Wyden said infrastructure would be his first priority in January, and he hopes to find funding through tax reform.

• He said he would not support term limits for Congress.

• He said he believed pharmacists should play a larger role in rural health care.

• When asked if he support Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Wyden said he does not make endorsements at town halls.

Most Grant County hotels already booked for 2017 solar eclipse Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:59:53 -0400 Angel Carpenter Manager Jenny Shaw’s phone has been ringing off the hook at the Historic Hotel Prairie in Prairie City.

It’s a little over a year away, but an August 21, 2017, solar eclipse is creating quite a buzz, and city and county officials, business owners and others are making preparations.

Shaw said they received their first reservation for the event in 2011 and were booked for that weekend in 2014.

When she received the first reservation in 2011, Shaw said she thought the person was crazy.

“I wish I had a dollar for every person I turned away,” she said. “I’d have at least $1,500, and that’s not exaggerating.”

She has 25 people on a waiting list at the hotel on Front Street.

Last Wednesday, she received another request for a room reservation during the eclipse.

“He thought he was ahead of the game,” she said.

A couple of John Day hotels that don’t hold reservations more than a year out are expected to book up next month.

So why is an astronomical event more than a year away generating so much attention?

Shaw said one astronomer who plans to stay at the hotel said the Grant County area is a prime spot for eclipse viewing due to the elevation, clear skies and the remoteness, with fewer city lights.

Tammy Bremner, Grant County Chamber of Commerce manager, said the heavenly event is expected to be the most widely viewed total eclipse.

The full eclipse will start, locally, at 10:22 a.m., lasting for two minutes, six seconds — the partial phase begins at 9:08 a.m.

Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun.

“Totality” occurs when the moon completely covers the sun, temporarily casting a portion of the Earth’s surface in a shadow of daytime darkness.

Bremner said most hotels in the county are filled except for those that had planned to start booking a year out.

She added the county’s population could double that weekend, which she said is a modest estimate.

The chamber is holding monthly meetings about the eclipse.

Their last meeting on July 6 drew a crowd of about 75.

Scientist Darlene Yan will speak at a town hall hosted by the chamber from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at the Canyon City Community Hall.

A program coordinator for Multiverse at the University of California Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, Yan will share knowledge about next year’s eclipse.

The eclipse will be seen by people across a horizontal swath of land across the U.S.; however, experts say the most valuable viewing spots will be in less populated places with no city lights.

Bremner said Newport will be the first city in the state to experience the eclipse, but she said that area is often foggy in the morning. Portland will not be in the path of totality.

“For me, it’s exciting to think that so many people want to travel here to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Bremner said.

She added Travel Oregon estimates 50 percent of those visiting the state for the eclipse will be from out of the country.

John Day city officials are also planning for the influx of visitors.

City manager Nick Green said forms are available for temporary use permits for lodging and concessions at city hall.

“If people want to have guests that come and pay rent from out of town, they’ll need a temporary use permit,” he said.

Those selling concessions, such as bottled water, ice, sno-cones, etc., are also required to have a temporary use permit.

He added the city doesn’t plan to provide concessions.

Green said the city intends to host at least 104 RV campsites at the city-owned industrial park.

“We’re going to try to use this as an economic development opportunity in partnership with the chamber and Grant County Economic Development as well as Travel Oregon,” he said. “We’re encouraging public feedback.”

Shaw said one “eclipse chaser” she spoke with has traveled the world, including Greece, to view solar eclipses.

The man was too late for a room at Hotel Prairie but was able to secure a nearby cabin rental.

Shaw said he told her, “This is ‘the spot’ to see the eclipse.”

Derby drivers deliver thrills Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:58:53 -0400 Angel Carpenter It came down to Jason Ward of Burns and Tyler Nodine of John Day, clashing to the bitter end at Saturday’s 27th Annual Whiskey Gulch Gang Demolition Derby.

Nodine’s ’74 Chrysler went down in flames, literally, after Ward, in his ’76 Cadillac, delivered a final blow.

A crew jumped quickly into action to extinguish the fire, and Ward was declared derby winner.

A total of 10 vehicles took part in the first and second heats, with eight returning for the Main Event, including an ’88 Mercury Topaz, driven by Sam Glerup of Baker City, which took second place in the first heat.

Announcer Mark Bagett dubbed the relatively smaller car “the little Topaz with a great big heart.”

The event was organized by Whiskey Gulch Gang members Hugh Farrell and Dave Traylor, with a lot of behind-the-scenes help.

Several people said the derby had the largest crowd they’ve seen in quite awhile, with the grandstands overflowing.

New this year, was a pickup truck heat, held during intermission before the Main Event.

Five pickup drivers entered that event, and Steve Patterson of Prairie City picked up the win.

The Main Event payout increased from $1,500 last year to $2,000.

Ward came away with not only the top prize for winning the derby, but also $250 for Most Aggressive Driver and $250 for winning the second heat. He also won $250 in cash from True Value in a random drawing at the start of the event.

Ward said he’s competed in demolition derbies for most of his life. This is his fifth straight year of bringing home an award from the John Day derby, he said, including second place last year.

When asked what his key to winning was, Ward said it’s simple.

“Have fun,” he said. “That’s the main deal, and if luck’s on your side.”

He added, “My front wheel was busted up, and I lost my starter wire — you can’t tell me that’s not luck.”

Demolition derby results:

Main Event

Jason Ward of Burns, first ($2,000 and trophy)

Tyler Nodine of John Day, second ($1,000, trophy)

Kurt Hills of Baker City, third ($500, trophy)

First Heat

Wayne Saul of Mt. Vernon, first ($250, trophy)

Steve Patterson of Prairie City, second

Anthony Ellis of Burns, third

Second Heat

Jason Ward of Burns, first ($250, trophy)

Craig Yekel of Burns, second

Sam Glerup of Baker City, third

Pickup Truck Heat

Steve Patterson of Prairie City, first ($250, trophy)

Tim Nodine of Canyon City, second

Mike Patterson of Meridian, Idaho, third

Most Aggressive Driver: Jason Ward of Burns ($250, trophy)

Hard Luck: Dustin Ramge (free entry for 2017 derby)

Beauty Contest: Tim Nodine

Door prize winners

Wayne Saul, $100 Ace Hardware gift certificate

Craig Yekel, Ace Hardware air compressor

Mike Patterson, Ace Hardware ATV winch

Jason Ward, $250 cash True Value

John Day team claims swimming VICTORY Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:51:14 -0400 Angel Carpenter Sabrina Howard, head coach of the John Day Swim Team, said her athletes brought their “A game” to last weekend’s home invitational — and came out victorious.

The John Day Swim Meet, held at Gleason Pool in John Day, drew 190 competitors from several teams, including Pendleton, Lakeview, Prineville, La Grande and Hi-Desert (Burns).

“It was a huge success,” Howard said. “Our team took home first place and the Sportsmanship Award. It was a huge accomplishment for our team.”

John Day won with 478 points, and Pendleton was a close second with 472 points. Pendleton was followed by Lakeview with 433, Prineville 390, La Grande 202 and Hi-Desert 182.

Howard said one highlight for the John Day team came when Torie Coalwell won the 200 individual medley.

Quinn Larson and Sivanna Hodge not only competed for John Day, but also sang the national anthem at the beginning of each day’s events. Larson sang on Friday, and Hodge sang on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday evening, parents and coaches had their own relay competition, and Howard said the John Day team placed third.

The local team will now prepare for the district meet scheduled for Friday through Sunday, July 29-31, in Lakeview.

The John Day team had Monday off but are now back to a rigorous conditioning schedule.

“Having to prove themselves before districts gives them that extra push,” Howard said of her team. “They are continuing to show huge improvement each week.”

Pickleball starts at Seventh Street Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:51:55 -0400 Angel Carpenter A group of new and seasoned pickleball players gathered for an orientation meeting on Monday at the Seventh Street Complex tennis courts in John Day.

Five players showed up Monday, and John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation officials invite more to come and see what pickleball is all about.

Doubles league plays at 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, with singles league at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Registration is $40 per team.

Players at the Monday evening sporting event said the sport is easy to learn and that using half of a regular tennis court makes it easier to move around to reach the ball.

A ball with holes in it, like a wiffleball, and paddles similar to those used in ping pong are used in the game.

Shanna Wright of Canyon City played pickleball with her husband, Kelsy, Monday night. She said the game is easy to learn.

She noted that when husbands and wives play on the same team, it’s called “marriage counseling.”

Brandi Girvin of John Day, also at the Monday sporting event, said the rules and scoring take some time to learn, but it’s easy to get started.

Her husband, John, was playing the game, too, along with Lorin Coleman of Canyon City.

The paddle sport was created for all ages and skills levels, and can develop into a fast-paced game for competitive play for more seasoned players.

For more information on the game, visit the USA Pickleball Association at

For information on joining the local league, call the Parks and Rec office at 541-575-0110.

Out of the Past Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:49:19 -0400 A look back on news from Grant County over the past 100 years, pulled from past issues.

Insects reach a new high

The insect world is thriving. Every dog has his day and bugs have their season. Soft winters, damp springs and warm summers, and with nothing to interfere, the bug world has gone into the trillions and there are bugs everywhere and what a lovely season for earwigs and they are getting bigger and thicker than ever. Ants, beetles, slugs and snails and aphids and there seems to be a new bug for every flower and they even fee upon weeds. A law ought to be passed against them, or something done. At least we can talk about them.

John Day, Prairie Haircut Prices Up

Haircut prices in John Day and Prairie City have been increased by 25 cents. The new prices are effective August 1.

Prices for haircuts for children under 12 years-old and under will be $1.75. Adults haircuts increased from $1.75 to $2.

Those who are raising the price are West’s Barber Shop, Gene Roberts and Oliver Campbell, all of John Day, and Larry McCallister of Prairie City.

Surprise invasion startles group by the fire.

1619 ROAD – Part of the reason we live in Grant County is to enjoy the outdoors. Camping is a personal favorite of my family. It is a time to cut loose, a time when everyday rules no longer apply. For instance, eating with dirty hands, not showering, spending every waking minute outside and dealing with the elements are just a few of the things that await us on our camping trips. However on our latest excursion, we were in for a surprise. Mother nature was about to give us a new experience.

My family and I were camping with friends on July 15. We were sitting around a campfire enjoying the camaraderie that can only be shared under the stars around an open fire. About two hours earlier, my husband, Kirt, had fallen a dead lodgepole pine and pulled it to camp with his truck. The snag was about 30-feet long. He cut it into rounds that were about 18 inches across. They also made nice little stools for around our campfire.

The attack started slow.

“Hey, you have a bug on you,” someone would say, quickly smacking the invader.

One or two would be found on one of the campers, but that was no big deal; one expects a certain amount of insects during a camping trip.

Within about 10 minutes, everyone in camp was finding several of the large, black bugs on them. That was a large number of bugs considering there were 16 of us. They seemed to be coming from everywhere.

They flew low and before long utter chaos ensued.

The sight may have been comical. We were jumping around frantically smacking the bugs off each other and ourselves.

“What are they?” we shouted. No one knew for sure what kind of bugs they were or whether they would bite.

It soon occurred to us that they were coming from the firewood Kirt had cut up. Those foolish enough to be sitting on the makeshift stools were the first to notice where the invaders were coming from.

We quickly began trying to rid ourselves of the unknown pests the only way we knew how.

“My first reaction was to throw all the wood in the fire and burn them all up,” Kirt said.

And that is exactly what we did. Everyone began pitching the logs and their insect occupants into the fire. Before long, every log was gone, which seemed like a good idea, until we realized that the little critters were still flying around looking for a new residence.

The children in the group were OK at first, but when the bugs came out in earnest, well, they were no longer calm. Andrea Combs took the four littlest ones to tone of the tents for a soothing story.

With the youngsters out of the way, we had a bug slaughter. It didn’t take long for the remaining insects to realize that they weren’t wanted, and, with their previous home on fire, they flew into the forest to find another, more friendly domain. The excitement was over and we went back to our campfire, adding a new story to our list: “Attack of the Bugs.”

I wanted to find out what kind of bugs they were and if they were any threat to humans. The next morning I picked up a bug carcass for my investigation and put it in a small Styrofoam cup.

Sonna Smith, my neighbor and a biology teacher at Grant Union, was my first source of information. Sonna said it looked like a bore beetle, but she wasn’t sure.

My next source of information came from the Forest Service. According to Ed Uebler, forester and silvicultural analyst, they are wood borers. They are a type of beetle that bores into trees, makes a home and lays its larvae there.

“They are a secondary invader. They mostly attack dead or dying trees, trees that are already being stressed from some other source,” Uebler said.

They are not a threat to people and probably only landed on us because we had destroyed their home.

Palmer tentatively agrees not to delete emails Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:49:13 -0400 Sean Hart The Grant County Sheriff’s Office and Oregonian Publishing Company reached a tentative agreement before a hearing on a motion for a temporary restraining order Tuesday, July 26.

Oregonian Publishing Company and reporter Les Zaitz filed the motion in Grant County Circuit Court July 22 seeking to prevent the destruction of emails from Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer’s account. They filed a complaint in May asking the court to force the sheriff’s office to release certain records.

Their attorney, Brad Daniels, said he and the defendants’ attorney had reached a tentative agreement that would preclude the necessity for the restraining order.

On behalf of Palmer, the sheriff’s office and records employee Sally DeFord, who was also named as a defendant, attorney Zachary Hostetter said the tentative agreement included the stipulation that all emails would be maintained in electronic form from July 25 forward.

Hostetter said, even before the agreement, Palmer and the sheriff’s office complied with email retention rules by retaining printed copies of emails when needed.

Oregon law says every person has a right to inspect any public record of a public body in the state, except for certain exempt records. It is a Class A misdemeanor for a person, without lawful authority, to knowingly destroy any public record.

If the parties are unable to reach a final agreement, a new hearing on the motion for the temporary restraining order was scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Aug. 3.

Santa makes Senior Center stop Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:49:10 -0400 Angel Carpenter Visitors at Thursday’s John Day Senior Center luncheon were treated to a visit from a “jolly old elf” for a Christmas in July celebration.

Francis Kocis of Canyon City donned the red suit and snowy beard for the event.

Santa handed out the day’s door prizes and awarded Linda Stoltz of John Day with an appreciation award.

Senior program manager Veanne Weddle said the award was well deserved.

“She does an amazing job,” Weddle said, noting Stoltz helps decorate the Senior Center, helps in the kitchen and library and seats the guests.

“People don’t realize how big the hostessing role is,” Weddle added, and explained the hostess tries to fill the tables while also letting people sit where they’d like.

John Day senior meals are served at noon on Mondays and Thursdays. Cost is $5 a meal — $4 for seniors and children 12 and under.

A special meal will be served at the Senior Center during the Grant County Fair on Thursday, Aug. 11, with barbecue ribs, potato salad and birthday cake dessert.

“The center will be decorated with a western theme, with lots of door prizes that day,” Weddle said.

The Senior Center is located at 142 Dayton St. For more information, call 541-575-1825.

Shopping local, eating fresh Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:49:02 -0400

Eagle on Vacation Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:38:38 -0400

New insurance requirements given for sports physicals Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:38:27 -0400 Angel Carpenter The Grant County Health Department and Strawberry Wilderness Community Clinic in John Day have announced new insurance requirements for student-athlete sports physicals.

A pre-participation sports physical is required every two years at the public schools for those students who are involved in sports.

In the past, the Health Department and clinic provided physicals for a nominal fee; however, officials say due to changes in requirements by health insurance providers that has changed.

They now require a full adolescent well-child exam at the time of the sports physical, which are fully covered annually by all insurance plans.

Strawberry Clinic has openings available with visiting nurse practitioner Patricia Widenoja, and the Health Department has appointments available with nurse practitioner Jess Furka.

The health department has new hours: 7 a.m. to noon and 1-6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to noon Fridays, with a nurse available.

Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 17 and 18, have been designated for adolescent well-child exams at the Health Department.

The Strawberry Clinic hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

The School-Based Health Center at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School will be open Tuesday, Aug. 30, and nurse practitioner Karen Triplett will be available for adolescent well-child exams there as well.

For more information, contact Strawberry Clinic at 541-575-0404 or the Health Department at 541-575-0429.

Academic Report Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:37:42 -0400 Jake Waldner, a 2011 Graduate of Grant Union High School, earned his master’s of business administration degree from Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management in May, graduating with a 3.7 GPA. Waldner is employed with Banfield Corporate Offices as a program manager.

BEO collecting supplies for elementary students Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:37:28 -0400 Bank of Eastern Oregon is once again offering its 13 branch lobbies as drop-off sites to collect school supplies for local elementary students during July and August.

Each year, BEO employees join in the bank’s efforts to collect these supplies for their community schools, according to a BEO press release.

Each Bank of Eastern Oregon branch will also offer a drawing for backpacks filled with supplies for lucky students, in addition to collecting supplies for their local grade schools or ESD offices to distribute.

Parents of grade school students can fill out a drawing ticket to enter for a chance to win a school backpack for their students. You do not have to be a customer, and no purchase is necessary.

Cops & Courts Tue, 26 Jul 2016 18:37:25 -0400 Arrests and citations in the Blue Mountain Eagle are taken from the logs of law enforcement agencies. Every effort is made to report the court disposition of arrest cases.

CANYON CITY — The Grant County Circuit Court reported the following fines and judgments:

• Fritz Michael Voigt pleaded guilty July 21 to one count of possession of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 18 months supervised probation and 80 hours of community service. He was fined $600. The offense date was Dec. 24, 2015.

CANYON CITY — The Grant County Sheriff’s Office reported the following for the week of July 15-21:

Concealed handgun licenses, 3; average inmates, 10; bookings, 8; releases, 11; fingerprints, 5; civil papers, 9; warrants processed, 3; Asst./welfare check, 5.

CANYON CITY — The Grant County Justice Court reported the following fines and judgments:

• Open container of alcohol: David Harig, 28, Prairie City, July 8, fined $220.

• Minor in possession: Camden Rhinehart, 18, John Day, June 18, fined $260, one year Oregon driver’s license suspension (minimum 90 days).

• Dog as a public nuisance: Abigail Teel, 26, Prairie City, June 28, fined $260, will be dismissed with six-month diversion, if no further convictions.

• Exceeding speed limit: Dakota Andrew Clark, 20, Portland, June 20, fined $260.

• Violation of basic rule: Bonell May Barber, 44, La Pine, 75/55, June 8, fined $160.

• No operator’s license: Joshua Wayne Haskins, 32, Prairie City, June 13, fined $260.