Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Blue Mountain Eagle Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:11:15 -0500 en http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Grant County Court minutes: http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/County_Minutes/20171122/grant-county-court-minutes http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/County_Minutes/20171122/grant-county-court-minutes#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:33:27 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129962 Grant County Court minutes from Nov. 8, 2017:

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 Jim Hamsher and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Katy Nelson, Jim Spell, Judy Kerr, Sally Bartlett, John Morris, Billie Jo George, Frances Preston, Reporter Rick Hanners, Vicki Thompson, Gordon Larson, Judy Schuette, Sherry Nehl, Josh Walker, Brandon Smith, Scott Fairley, Jim Sproul, Dee Dee Kluser, Louis Provencher, Julie Ellison and Pastor Flora Cheadle. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Cheadle.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #56-65.

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

9:04 am Nick Green and Ron Lundbom entered.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton advised he did not attend a grazing meeting last week, but two commissioners from other counties did and the discussions were reported as being productive.

9:05 am Reporter Logan Bagett entered.

Tonight Britton will attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting for installation of new officers.

9:06 am Dan Becker entered.

On Friday he will go to a Farm Bureau/AOC meeting at the Airport where some changes in the land conservation code will be discussed.

Judge Myers attended a road advisory meeting on November 2nd and may attend the Chamber meeting tonight as well. On Friday Myers will attend the Farm Bureau/AOC meeting at the Airport. Myers will perform a wedding on November 11th and next Tuesday will travel to Eugene for the annual AOC Conference. Myers will perform another wedding on the 17th in Dayville.

Commissioner Hamsher said he has continued to discuss the 911 funding issue with citizens and has encouraged them to contact their State representatives to encourage an increase in funding. Hamsher will also attend the AOC Conference and plans on talking to other commissioners to ask them to also write letters in support of increased 911 funding.

9:11 am Curt Shelley entered. 9:12 am Haley Walker & Robert Waltenburg entered.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the October 25th minutes as presented.

SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET. Treasurer Julie Ellison presented Resolution #17-29 to the court and explained a notice of supplemental budget meeting was advertised in the Blue Mountain Eagle on November 1, 2017 pursuant to Oregon Budget Law. A supplemental budget needs to be adopted because of funds received from HB 3400 Local Option Tax Distribution (State Marijuana Tax). The county received $14,597.20 in tax revenue from the State. Ellison said because this money was received in the form of a tax a supplemental budget must be adopted. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to adopt the supplemental budget and approve Resolution 17-29 and circulate for signatures.

9:18 am Christie Timko entered.

RESOLUTION #17-30. The court reviewed budget Resolution #17-30 to accept $4000 in grant revenue for the planning department. Myers read the resolution to those in attendance. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve Resolution #17-30 and circulate for signatures.

AIRPORT USDA LEASE AMENDMENT. Airport Manager Haley Walker sent a written request to the court for approval of a lease amendment with the Forest Service. This amendment is for lease of additional apron space at the airport and will generate additional income of $1330.72 per year until the next review term in 2022. The total annual lease amount to the USFS will be $5,530.72 per year. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the lease expansion agreement and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

TITLE III OBLIGATION OF INITIATED FUNDS. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett sent a written request to the court to obligate the initiated Title III funds from March 2016. Bartlett explained the 45 day comment period has passed and no comments were received. The projects to be initiated: (1) Firewise Communities program in the amount of $40,531.91; (2) Search & Rescue and other emergency services in the amount of $10,000; and (3) Community Wild Fire Protection Plan in the amount of $35,000. Bartlett explained the funds received can only be used for these three programs. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to obligate the initiated Title III funds to Firewise Communities program ($40,531.91), Search & Rescue and other emergency services ($10,000), and Community Wild Fire Protection Plan ($35,000).

9:25 am Mike Springer entered.

GRANITE AREA SNOW REMOVAL CONTRACT. The court reviewed the snow removal contract for the Granite Area with Columbia Basin Helicopters. This contract was previously awarded to Columbia Basin Helicopters. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the contract with Columbia Basin Helicopters and circulate for signatures.

9:28 am Elaine Smith entered.

1st AMENDMENT TO IGA #153123. The court reviewed the 1st Amendment to Intergovernmental Agreement #153123 with the Oregon Health Authority for the financing of community mental health, substance abuse disorders and problem gambling services. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the 1st Amendment to IGA #153123 and authorize Judge Myers to sign.

BROADBAND FUNDING. John Day City Manager Nick Green presented information to the court regarding potential broadband services and funding. Green showed three videos to the court and those in attendance. The videos showed the success Ammon, ID and Sandy, OR have had with their own broadband networks.

10:00 am Ken Olson, Steve Fischer and Chantal DesJardin entered.

Green explained he is here today to find out if the County intends to enter into the agreement to create a public ORS 190 intergovernmental agency to oversee installation of the fiber optic line. The Oregon Legislature has committed 1.8 million to the proposed project. Green answered questions from the audience and court members. Dee Dee Kluser of Oregon Telephone Corporation explained some of the services they currently offer and said the company pays for its own expenses and can’t afford to install fiber to areas such as Seneca at this time. Green said there are some federal programs he believes can be applied for to assist with the cost of the proposed network. Gordon Larson expressed frustration with the current level of internet service (or lack thereof) and asked the court to enter into the intergovernmental agreement. Judy Kerr expressed her opinion that this level of internet service is not necessary here and the court should support the wishes of the majority of citizens. Josh Walker stated Kerr doesn’t represent the majority of the population of Grant County and Seneca currently has no options for internet other than CenturyLink who is no longer adding new subscribers. Brandon Smith expressed his support for this project as well. John Morris is concerned about what would happen if another fire happened and burned the fiber line. Discussion about different service options followed. Hamsher said he was concerned with how the current agreement is written as far as the percentage of cost to each entity involved. Green pointed out the other municipalities (Ammon and Sandy) who have provided internet service weren’t as fortunate as we are to have 1.8 million in funding to start with. Christy Timko urged people to look toward the future and the benefit to future generations. Green said the agreement can be terminated if in the future it is determined the funding is not viable. He explained how ownership of this system might look and the estimated costs for mainline extensions and installation to homes or businesses. Regional Development Officer for Business Oregon Scott Fairley spoke in support of the fiber optic project and said internet problems here will only get worse as time goes on. Grant School District Superintendant Curt Shelley advised education has become highly competitive and the school district has lost students due to lack of technological opportunities. Shelley supports the project and would argue that we have an obligation to our students to provide the best opportunities possible. Frances Preston doesn’t believe many people would be able to afford to have the service installed. Dan Becker advised he works on computers in many citizens’ homes and said most of them would want better internet including some in Prairie City. Becker urged people to look at the long term benefits of better internet service. Green concluded his presentation and stated this project is a need for our area. He would like a consensus of the court on whether or not they wish to move forward with the project. Britton and Myers both advised they want to move forward on the project. Hamsher said he would need to see the final agreement before deciding. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett expressed her belief that the County must move forward and get into this century and said Grant County is on the cusp of greatness, but must move forward. Chantal DesJardin also spoke in support of the project and urged the court to move forward. MSP: Myers/Britton – to move forward with the development of the coalition. Myers and Britton voted yes – Hamsher voted no because he wants to see the final agreement before making a decision.

11:00 am Ryan Nehl, Steve Beverlin, Zach Williams, Kathleen Cathey, Melissa Ward, Lori Bailey and Christy Cheyne entered.

EMIGRANT CREEK RANGER DISTRICT. District Ranger Christy Cheyne presented the Danger Tree Removal Project to the court. Cheyne advised the need for this project was brought to them by Harney County citizens. A PowerPoint presentation was shown to those in attendance. Lori Bailey explained the need for action due to widespread mortality from insect damage and drought. Bailey defined danger tree and explained proposed actions to be taken. Different aspects of the project approach were discussed. There will be some timber sales in the project to harvest trees that have economic value. Trees in special management areas (dedicated old growth, inventoried roadless areas, heritage sites, etc.) would be cut down and left on site unless the downed tree with inhibit road maintenance activities. Bailey showed a map of the project area. The project is in the scoping period now until November 24th. Bailey answered questions from audience members.

11:32 am Nick Lulay entered.

APHIS. Commissioner Britton introduced Nick Lulay of APHIS. Lulay is the new animal damage control agent. Britton said this is the first time in many years that we have had a damage control agent here. Britton thanked numerous citizens and the court members for their work in getting this position funded. Lulay explained his experience with animal damage control. Lulay said so far the biggest concerns he has been hearing from ranchers are problems with mountain lions, ravens and coyotes.

COMMUNITY COUNSELING SOLUTIONS. CCS Director Kimberly Lindsay requested permission to be appointed as a Grant County volunteer so that she can talk directly with the State of Oregon about agreements and/or issues. Currently Lindsay cannot speak with the State or receive emails directly from the State because she works as a private contractor. This has been an issue recently due to a report being late because it was shuffled around between Laurie Wright and Lindsay. Lindsay said it would save time and confusion if she were appointed as a volunteer and was able to communicate with the State and also to sign the amendments to agreements. She said she signs documents for the other counties CCS works for and the court administrative assistant is copied on the emails. Lindsay advised she would mail the original documents to the court each month for recording with the Clerk. Lindsay stated the court can agree to this or to nothing at all, she is just trying to simplify and speed the process up. MSP: Britton/Myers – to appoint Kimberly Lindsay as a volunteer for Grant County. Hamsher offered his concern that the county might lose oversight if the court didn’t review the agreements. Lindsay said this process could be handled in whatever manner the county wanted. Lindsay suggested she would copy Wright and Myers on email contracts she received for input prior to signing anything. Britton and Myers voted yes, Hamsher voted no because wants the court to review documents prior to them being signed. Myers said the documents should be sent to each court member and then either he or Wright would contact Lindsay with either the approval or denial of the agreement.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul asked for an update on the request for proposals for a Natural Resource Advisor. Myers advised this process is still in the works and the court members have not yet had a work session to discuss it. Preston asked if Myers contacted a USDA representative about the public comment period she asked about at the last meeting and Myers said he sent an email to Region 6 Forest Supervisor Jim Pena and is waiting for a response. Preston asked if the public would have a chance to review the proposed broadband agreement prior to court signature. Myers said documents brought forward in court were available for review unless they were discussed in executive session. Billie Jo George feels access users of the forest are not being represented by the court as much as grazing permit holders.

12:11 pm – Adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

**** Please note the court minutes are a summary of the court proceedings. An audio recording of each court session is available, after approval of the minutes, by contacting Laurie Wright at 541-575-0059 or wrightl@grantcounty-or.gov ****

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OSP: Surge of wolf killings isn’t organized effort http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/osp-surge-of-wolf-killings-isnt-organized-effort http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/osp-surge-of-wolf-killings-isnt-organized-effort#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:21:44 -0500 Eric MortensonCapital Press http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129963 It’s been a bloody year for Oregon wolves, with at least 10 killed under circumstances ranging from authorized “lethal control” due to livestock attacks and a shooting ruled self-defense, to an unintended poisoning and unsolved poachings.

At this point, Oregon State Police have no reason to think there is a concerted action by an individual or group to illegally kill the state’s wolves.

However, the investigation into the most recent killing, a collared wolf designated OR-23, is still active, OSP spokesman Sgt. Kaipo Raiser said.

Steve Pedery, conservation director for the Portland-based group Oregon Wild, warned that a “shoot, shovel and shut up” attitude toward wolves has taken hold in rural Oregon and become part of the political fault line separating factions of Americans.

In Wallowa County, he said, it’s not unusual to see “Smoke a pack a day” bumper stickers.

Doug Cottam, ODFW’s Wildlife Division administrator, said the department is “upset and frustrated by the unlawful wolf killings in Oregon.” Rewards are offered for information leading to arrests.

“Poaching of any wildlife is wrong and harmful to their conservation,” he said in a prepared statement.

Police and ODFW believe the latest wolf was shot Nov. 12 or 13. It was found Nov. 14 in the Chesnimnus hunting area known as Cold Springs, in Northeast Oregon’s Wallowa County. Tracking collars on wolves are designed to emit a mortality signal if the animal does not move for a certain period of time, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehey said. She assumed that’s what led to finding the wolf’s carcass in this case.

State police found evidence OR-23 was killed by a gunshot, but released no other information.

The wolf was part of the Shamrock Pack. In February 2017, a male from the pack, OR-48, died after it bit or tugged on a M-44 trap set by the USDA’s Wildlife Services to kill coyotes.

In April 2017, the remains of a male wolf designated OR-33 were found about 20 miles northwest of Klamath Falls in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. A necropsy showed it had been shot.

In late October, another collared male, OR-25, was found dead near Fort Klamath in the Sun Pass State Forest. The cause of death was not disclosed.

On Oct. 27, in a case that caused an uproar on social media, an elk hunter told ODFW and OSP he’d shot an uncollared wolf in Northeast Oregon that ran at him while at least two other wolves appeared to be flanking him. The Union County district attorney reviewed the case and decided not to prosecute the hunter; state police said the hunter acted in self-defense.

Conservation groups and others say the 30.06 bullet’s trajectory — through one side and out the other — is at odds with the man’s account. Some accused the hunter of panicking, or of deliberately killing the animal and making up a story to justify it. In an interview with the Capital Press, the hunter said he believed he was in danger. When the wolf ran at him, he said he screamed, raised his rifle, saw fur in the scope and fired. A shell casing was found 27 yards from the wolf’s carcass.

In August, ODFW killed four wolves from the Harl Butte Pack after a series of attacks on cattle. In September, a livestock producer acting with authorization from ODFW shot a Meacham Pack wolf to protect his herd.

Yet another wolf, OR-42, the breeding female of the Chesnimnus Pack, was found dead in May. The cause of death was undetermined, but foul play was not suspected. Meanwhile, several wolf deaths from 2015 and 2016 remain unsolved.

Pedery, of Oregon Wild, said the conservation group is not aware of an organized effort to kill wolves. But he said the ODFW-sanctioned killing of wolves for livestock attacks helps establish an atmosphere in which poachers feel they can get away with it or are justified.

In rural Northeast Oregon, where the majority of Oregon’s wolf packs live, the situation is layered with a decade of livestock losses, the cost and worry of non-lethal deterrence and resentment over urban residents weighing in on what are considered local matters. Divisive national politics find expression in anti-wolf reactions as well, Pedery said.

Other observers point out that Oregon’s steadily increasing wolf population, and their dispersal from Northeast Oregon, means armed hunters are more likely to encounter them in the wild.

Carter Niemeyer, a retired federal wildlife biologist with extensive experience tracking, trapping and occasionally shooting wolves, said wolves are potentially dangerous but unlikely to attack humans. A shout or warning shot should scare them off, he said, and he suggested hikers carry bear repellent spray if they are worried about bears, cougars, coyotes or wolves.

Anyone with information about the most recent wolf killing is encouraged to contact Sgt. Chris Hawkins at OSP’s La Grande Patrol Office, 541-963-7175, extension 4670. People also can provide information anonymously by calling the Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888.

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Holiday Showcase dancers kick off Christmas season http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20171122/holiday-showcase-dancers-kick-off-christmas-season http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20171122/holiday-showcase-dancers-kick-off-christmas-season#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:21:26 -0500 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129964 The 21st annual Dance Holiday Showcase is a tradition as fun as presents under the Christmas tree.

This year’s dancers, ages 4-18, will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, and Friday, Dec. 1, at the Grant Union Junior-Senior High School old gym. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Admission is $7 and a can of food, and children under 6 are admitted free.

Showcase coordinator Kattie Piazza said she expects this year’s dance performances to be just as special as years past.

Featuring dance styles ranging from lyrical to jazz to hip-hop, the showcase is presented by the Grant Union Gold varsity dance team along with dancers from the Body Fitness and Dance studio.

The event is the high school team’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Piazza said the funds help the team purchase costumes and pay for hotel stays when they travel to competitions.

The nonperishable food collected will go to food banks in Grant County.

“Because we’re asking for something, we like to give something back, especially during the holidays,” she said.

Dancers will perform in groups as well as solo and duet performances.

There were 400 attending over the two days of performances last year. Piazza said the showcase is a fun holiday staple.

“The event itself is so special — to incorporate so many age groups, listen to holiday music, see the dancers in their sparkly costumes and the kids out there giving it their all,” she said. “It’s a great kickoff to the holiday season.”

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Youth wrestlers, families show dedication http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20171122/youth-wrestlers-families-show-dedication http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20171122/youth-wrestlers-families-show-dedication#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:21:24 -0500 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129965 A group of dedicated parents, and grandparents, are leading this year’s Grant County Youth Wrestling Club.

Steve Parsons, who has two grandsons in the club, is assisted by his son Tye Parsons, as well as Drew Knowles and Justin Clarry.

With 32 youth out for wrestling, Steve said they have assistance from other parents as well.

“You can’t do it without them,” he said. “We have parents and coaches, and we try to break them up into a group of four.”

He said a couple of the moms have also been helping.

“We’re trying to keep it hands-on with all the kids that come out.” he said.

Children as young as 4 and as old as 11 have joined the program this year, including three girls. Youth from Monument and Long Creek also join in the practices held in John Day.

Steve said he and the assistant coaches are all about teaching the fundamentals of the sport.

“We’re not trying to make superstars out of any of them,” he said, adding they focus on making the sport fun for the kids.

Still, the youth in the program are competitive. Several came home with medals from their first ORWAY (Oregon Wrestling Association for Youth ) competitions of the season.

Their first meet of the season was Nov. 4 at the Baker Brawl Wrestling Tournament. They traveled to the Hermiston Invitational on Nov. 11, where 32 teams competed. The wrestlers and their parents travel nearly every weekend through December.

“That’s three to four days a week of practice and tournaments on Saturdays,” Steve said. “For the parents, it’s a huge commitment for time and dollars — lots of travel.”

Five or six of the youth will likely continue on to state USA wrestling tournaments after the regular season.

Steve said what the youth learn in their wrestling program carries on through junior high and varsity.

“That’s the reason we try to teach them the basics, so as they move forward they’re more experienced,” he said. “You can win 90 percent of your matches with the basics. They need to know the basics and do it .”

Baker Brawl

First place: Mason Benge, Taylor Parsons, Jerett Waddel and Owen Parson

Second place: Rowdy Wilson, Zeke Rookstool, Jeritt Gast, Maveryk Bartlett and Beau VanCleave

Third place: Halle Parsons, Jase Whatley, Huntur Wright and Kaden Wright

Also participating: Charley Knowles, Jack Knowles, Tristan Clarry, Colter Handley, Natalee Clarry, Cody Knowles, Brogan Lundbom, Cooper Ross, Blake Sandor, Samuel Stout and Trevor Sasser

Hermiston Invitational

First: Mason Benge, Owen Parsons, Beau VanCleave and Jase Whatley

Second: Taylor Parsons

Also participating: Zeke Rookstool, Natalee Clarry, Tristan Clarry, Brogan Lundbom, Halle Parsons, Kaden Wright, Colter Handley, Trevor Sasser, Mitchell McKrola and Arionna Young

This year, the local youth wrestling club will host its first home tournament in about 15 years. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.

Long-time wrestling supporter and tournament director Cindy Dougharity-Spencer said she’s glad for the chance the club has to host a tournament. She expects as many as 400 youth wrestlers, plus coaches and spectators, at the event.

“We have had a big increase of youth wrestlers over the past few years,” she said. “Unfortunately for those families, that means travel for every opportunity for their kids to compete.”

She added, “Being able to host a tournament will allow our youth wrestlers to compete at home and provide an opportunity for their friends and families to come out to support them without traveling.”

Dougharity-Spencer said they are seeking volunteers to help with the tournament. For more information, contact her at Grant Union at 541-575-1799 ext. 32.

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CoverWorks owner upbeat about John Day http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/coverworks-owner-upbeat-about-john-day http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/coverworks-owner-upbeat-about-john-day#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:20:32 -0500 Richard Hanners http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129966 Stacy DeLong has an upbeat view of the John Day area — and her investment in a new business here shows it.

DeLong, who spent 14 years as a hospital administrator, and her husband, Mark, a building contractor, bought the Coverworks Plus store in Baker City in January 2016. Bob and Fern Taylor had operated the business for more than 40 years, she said.

Soon after acquiring the Baker City store, the DeLongs met Mike Douglass, and their plans to expand the flooring business into John Day moved up.

“When we bought the Baker City store, we never thought about branching out until we met Mike,” DeLong said. “We had talked about starting a satellite store, but we had figured in 2019. Then we saw signs of growth in the John Day area and went ahead and started up a store in John Day.”

DeLong follows news about the John Day area and said she is enthused by the numerous projects spearheaded by City Manager Nick Green.

Douglass started managing the John Day store at 160 Dayton St. in September and is keeping busy with installations. He’s been in the flooring business for 25 years, including 13 years in the John Day area.

Douglass said the new store will grow more after the first of the year, with his wife, Tawnia, staffing the store while Douglass is out on installations.

Coverworks John Day offers a full range of flooring products, from linoleum and porcelain or ceramic tile to carpeting, hardwood and rugs.

“The newest product that’s going crazy is called luxury vinyl planking that looks like wood or tile,” DeLong said. “It’s waterproof, scratch-proof and dent-proof. It’s a nice-looking product that comes in a wide range of prices.”

A popular style of wall-to-wall carpeting in central and Eastern Oregon is frieze (pronounced free-zay), DeLong said — a low shag carpeting with colored speckles. Area rugs that are popular in this part of Oregon feature Western designs, including cabins, bear paws and cowboys. Coverworks also carries traditional European designs, she said.

In addition to helping with interior design, Coverworks will install linoleum, carpeting and tile. They also install and restore hardwood flooring.

For more information, call the store in John Day at 541-620-4831.

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Armstrong to serve as GENEX Beef representative http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/armstrong-to-serve-as-genex-beef-representative http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/armstrong-to-serve-as-genex-beef-representative#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:19:39 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129967 Brad Armstrong of John Day now serves as an independent contractor for GENEX, providing personalized beef genetic and reproductive services. As an independent contractor, Armstrong works with purebred and commercial beef producers to develop customized reproductive programs to meet immediate and long-term genetic goals. He also provides complete chute-side service including heat detection, synchronization program assistance, artificial insemination and sire recommendations. Armstrong has raised registered Angus cattle for over seven years. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University. For more information about GENEX Beef programs, sires and services, visit genex.crinet.com or contact Armstrong at 541-620-2007 or barmstrong@crinet.com.

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Healthy, Happy Smiles provides students free dental care http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/healthy-happy-smiles-provides-students-free-dental-care http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/healthy-happy-smiles-provides-students-free-dental-care#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:12:14 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129968 Eastern Oregon Healthy Living Alliance is entering the second year of Healthy, Happy Smiles, a school-based oral health program.

In partnership with Advantage Dental, Healthy, Happy Smiles will once again provide free dental screenings, fluoride varnish, dental sealants, follow-up care for children identified with urgent dental care needs, toothbrush kits and oral health education to students. Grades K-12 are covered in participating schools. Approximately 4,525 K-12 students in Grant, Baker, Harney and Malheur counties will be eligible to receive services.

Schools served in Grant County include Grant Union Jr./Sr. High School, Humbolt Elementary School, Prairie City School and Seneca Elementary School.

For more information regarding upcoming service dates, contact Program Coordinator Alanna Chamulak at 541-219-2397, achamulak@gobhi.net, or Advantage Dental Regional Manager and Community Liaison Mary Ann Wren at 541-504-3941, maryw@advantagedental.com.

The alliance is also seeking donations to aide in the purchase of toothbrush kit supplies. Kits include a toothbrush, tooth paste and floss and are distributed to all students at participating schools regardless of student participation in the program. Businesses or individuals interested in donating are encouraged to contact Chamulak.

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OTEC scholarship, youth tour applications available http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/otec-scholarship-youth-tour-applications-available http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/otec-scholarship-youth-tour-applications-available#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:11:59 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129969 Applications are available for Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative scholarships and its annual youth tour.

OTEC will award a total of 32 scholarships this year: two for students pursuing a career in electrical line school, 26 for high school seniors or returning college students and four for students entering a trade school. Additional information and applications are at otecc.com/community/scholarships. The deadline to submit a scholarship application is 5 p.m. Jan. 25.

High school students in their junior year can apply for a one-week, all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to take part in the 2018 Rural Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. The tour is scheduled for June 8-14. Additional information and applications are available at otecc.com/community/youth-tour The deadline to submit an application for the youth tour is 5 p.m. Jan. 12.

Funding for OTEC scholarships and the youth tour come from unclaimed capital credits and their earnings. They do not affect electric rates.

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BEO Bancorp announces 80 cent per share dividend http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/beo-bancorp-third-quarter-net-income-up-11-percent http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171122/beo-bancorp-third-quarter-net-income-up-11-percent#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:11:19 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129970 BEO Bancorp and its subsidiary, Bank of Eastern Oregon, announced an 80 cent per share dividend for 2017.

“The dividend will be paid to shareholders of record as of Dec. 1, 2017, payable on or before Dec. 15, 2017,” said President and CEO Jeff Bailey in a press release.

According to Board Chairman George Koffler, “BEO Bancorp has paid a dividend 31 of the past 32 years. Dividends reflect the financial stability and profitability of the bank. We are very happy to be able to provide this dividend to our shareholders.”

The company also announced third-quarter 2017 consolidated net income of $816,000 or $0.69 per share, compared to $735,000 or $0.60 per share for third quarter 2016. Year-to-date earnings were $2,359,000, up 1.2 percent year over year. Total assets were $403.8 million, up 7.3 percent year over year. Net loans of $327.0 million were up 12.3 percent from the same period in 2016, while deposits were at $359.5 million, up 7.6 percent year over year.

President and CEO Jeff Bailey said third-quarter net income is up 11 percent from last year, with year-to-date profits in line with last year.

“We are an agricultural-based bank,” Bailey said. “Improved yields in dryland crops along with steady to increasing commodity prices across the board make us cautiously optimistic about a better renewal season for our agricultural producers. On a national and even global level, it will be interesting to see what the rest of the year brings in terms of the economy with potential tax and regulatory reform.”

For more information, visit beobank.com.

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Give back through The Giving Tree http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171122/give-back-through-the-giving-tree http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171122/give-back-through-the-giving-tree#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:08:06 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129971 The Giving Tree toy drive provides a way for people to donate toys and items to qualified children in Grant County. The Giving Tree tags are located at Chester’s Thriftway and the Outpost Restaurant, and people can purchase gifts corresponding to the tags and drop off the new, unwrapped toys at the OSU Extension Service, 116 NW Bridge St., John Day, or Les Schwab Tire Center, 551 W. Main St., John Day, through Dec. 14. The drive is sponsored by Les Schwab, the Grant County 4-H Association, Families First and the Department of Human Services. For more information, contact the OSU Extension Service, 541-575-1911.

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Auxiliary drawing winners announced http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171122/auxiliary-drawing-winners-announced http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171122/auxiliary-drawing-winners-announced#Comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:07:48 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129972 The American Legion Auxiliary Post 106 Christmas bazaar drawing winners have been announced. Joe O’Conner won a wine basket. Cindy Combs won a muffin basket. Melvin Crum won a kitchen basket. Cathy Elder won a tea basket. Joe Phippens won a hunting basket. Pam Gangler and Nancy McDaniel won $125 gift certificates. Marlene Woodley won a cord of wood.

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Second senator formally complains against Kruse http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171121/second-senator-formally-complains-against-kruse http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171121/second-senator-formally-complains-against-kruse#Comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:40:09 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129973 SALEM — A second senator has filed a public complaint against Sen. Jeff Kruse detailing accusations of unwanted touching over a period of years.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Beaverton, filed the formal complaint against the Roseburg Republican Nov. 14, according to the document released by Oregon Legislative Counsel Tuesday

“My goal is simply to get him to stop touching me inappropriately, which he has persisted in doing despite my ongoing statements to him that I do not want him to touch me in any way other than a professional handshake,” Steiner Hayward wrote.

The Beaverton senator said Kruse’s inappropriate behavior escalated in 2015. Kruse began giving Steiner Hayward close hugs, touching her thigh and sitting so close to her that their legs made contact.

“I told him on several occasions that I was uncomfortable with this level of physical contact, that it was unprofessional, and that as a survivor of domestic violence those behaviors were particularly problematic for me,” she wrote. “Additionally, I told him that I have asthma, and that the significant residual tobacco smoke on his clothing irritated my breathing when he sat too close to me.”

Details from Steiner Hayward, first reported earlier Nov. 21 by OPB, follow news earlier this month of a public complaint filed by Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis.

Steiner Hayward, through her chief of staff, referred all questions to Legislative Counsel.

In her grievance, Gelser accused Kruse of touching her breasts and thigh, giving her full body hugs, wrapping his arms around her tightly, kissing her cheek and whispering in her ear. She called for Kruse to be expelled from the Senate.

Previous informal complaints by the two female senators prompted a legislative lawyer and human resource administrator to warn Kruse to stop the unwanted touching. Requests to stop the behavior went unheeded, according to the formal complaints by Gelser and Steiner Hayward.

By early 2016, several women at the Capitol had complained about Kruse’s unwanted touches and lodged informal complaints (which are not public) to Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem.

Kruse behaved in a more “circumspect” manner for nearly a year, Steiner Hayward wrote.

In March, the unwanted touching resumed, she reported.

“I would remind him that I did not want him to touch me in those ways, and he would back off for a week or two, and then the cycle would begin again,” she stated.

She and her chief of staff, Lizzy Atwood Wills, devised a plan to prevent the unwanted behavior by making sure a staff member accompanied the senator during any meetings with Kruse and always left the door to the room ajar.

“I have never felt the need to take such precautions with any other man, either in my medical career or in the Legislature,” Steiner Hayward wrote.

Kruse did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. Despite mounting calls for him to resign, Kruse told the Pamplin/EO Capital Bureau Nov. 17, that he had no plans to leave his seat in the Senate.

A formal investigation into the allegations is underway. Senate President Peter Courtney has stripped Kruse of his legislative committee assignments and ordered that his senate office door be removed as discipline for smoking in the Capitol and the repeated allegations of unwanted touching.

On Monday, Nov. 20, Kruse was looking ahead to the next legislative session in early 2018 during a presentation for the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, according to KQEN News Radio 1240.

The senator acknowledged the accusations against him and referenced an Andy Warhol quote about everyone having 15 minutes of fame, the radio station reported.

“I have exceeded mine,” Kruse was quoted as saying.

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Gov. Brown directs OHA to preserve kids’ insurance program http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171121/gov-brown-directs-oha-to-preserve-kids-insurance-program http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171121/gov-brown-directs-oha-to-preserve-kids-insurance-program#Comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:21:33 -0500 Claire Withycombe http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129974 Capital Bureau

SALEM — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday directed the state’s health agency to guarantee coverage for children and pregnant women covered by a federal program that’s in limbo.

Oregon is one of three states that will run out of federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, in December, according to OHA. Up to half of the states will be out of federal money by February.

Brown directed OHA to maintain coverage of groups covered by CHIP for the first four months of 2018. That would cost the state about $35 million.

About 121,000 kids and 1,700 pregnant women are covered by the program in Oregon.

CHIP generally enjoys broad political support, but Congress is now well past its Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize funding for the program.

But Oregon officials expect Congress to reauthorize the funding and to pay the state back.

“While this additional cost was not in the Oregon Health Authority’s legislatively approved budget, we can manage this on a short-term basis because it is early in the biennium,” OHA Director Pat Allen wrote in a Nov. 17 letter to Brown. “We will spend more of our appropriated state funds earlier to make up for lost federal funds.”

Allen added that if Congress does not reauthorize CHIP funding or doesn’t fund it retroactively, the lost funding would “cause a hole in the OHA budget” that would have to be reconciled in 2018.

The CHIP program pays 97 percent of the total costs of health care for the 121,000 Oregon kids covered under the program.

Those children can be covered by Medicaid, but will be covered at a reduced match rate of 64 percent, which would cost the state more money, according to Allen’s memo.

If CHIP expires, federal funds can still pay for emergency services for pregnant women, such as labor and delivery, according to Oregon’s interim Medicaid director, David Simnitt. But the state would have to pay for other services for pregnant women covered by the program, such as prenatal check-ups.

The 121,000 kids covered by CHIP in Oregon live in homes where incomes are between 100 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Oregon must cover about a third of those kids — those earning between 100 and 138 percent of the poverty level — under the Affordable Care Act, according to OHA.

CHIP covers children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid but still may struggle to afford coverage. Kids in households making less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for Medicaid.

Brown’s directive comes as OHA struggles to get its books in order, shore up its eligibility and payment systems and bounce back from a pummeling of negative publicity.

The state overpaid Medicaid providers by up to $74 million between 2014 and 2016, about $10 million of which it has already recouped. Allen, who took the reins Sept. 1 in the wake of a publicity scandal, identified a host of other issues with payment and allocation of funds — to the tune of about $112.4 million.

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Chinese logging ban to boost demand for foreign timber http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171121/chinese-logging-ban-to-boost-demand-for-foreign-timber http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171121/chinese-logging-ban-to-boost-demand-for-foreign-timber#Comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:42:55 -0500 Mateusz PerkowskiEO Media Group http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129975 A logging ban in China’s natural forests will likely increase its demand for foreign logs, but the impact on the Northwest’s timber market is uncertain.

Though the country will need to import more logs, it’s unclear how motivated Chinese buyers will be to compete with domestic sawmills, which are currently offering high prices, experts say.

“To expand the market, they’re going to have to go head-to-head with the mills,” said Gordon Culbertson, international business director at the Forest2Market consulting firm.

According to USDA, a prohibition against commercial timber harvests in natural forests — as opposed to plantations — was enacted by China’s government to counter decades of over-cutting, contributing to a 5 percent drop in its log production in 2017.

Since 2013, China’s log production has fallen from more than 80 million cubic meters to less than 60 million cubic meters, and the logging ban in natural forests is expected to cause shortages for another three to five years, according to the agency’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

“There’s definitely increased demand from China. Whether U.S. suppliers want to fill that demand depends on their alternatives,” said Kent Wheiler, director of the Center for International Trade in Forest Products at the University of Washington.

Ever since excessive logging in the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers was blamed for massive flooding during the 1990s, China’s government has moderated its harvest levels, Wheiler said.

The natural forest logging ban is the latest example of China’s growing concern about the environment, which the government has been working to improve to avoid upsetting the country’s populace, he said.

“They need to do what they’re doing,” Wheiler said. “They had significantly overharvested.”

New Zealand controls the largest share of China’s market for imported logs at 36 percent, followed by Russia with 24 percent and the U.S. with 13 percent, he said.

Culbertson of Forest2Market said the strong U.S. dollar and healthy domestic timber market may prompt Chinese buyers to seek logs from Australia and New Zealand.

In the U.S., the log market has greatly improved as demand for lumber has strengthened.

The price per thousand board feet of framing lumber now averages about $440, up from less than $200 during the depths of the financial crisis in 2009, according to the Random Lengths timber industry information service.

“There’s a lot of domestic competition for logs,” Culbertson said.

Even so, China’s demand for logs helps establish a price floor for U.S. timber producers, since the country provides an export outlet even if the domestic market softens, said Paul Owen, president of Vanport International, which specializes in log exports.

“It will keep prices, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, strong,” he said.

The Northwest has an advantage in the species it provides to China: Hemlock and Douglas fir that are often used for concrete formwork in the construction trade, Owen said.

New Zealand, by contrast, ships radiata pine and New Zealand pine, which are often milled for furniture, he said. “It’s a different market.”

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Defense asserts Fix can’t stand trial for Pilot Rock arson, manslaughter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171121/defense-asserts-fix-cant-stand-trial-for-pilot-rock-arson-manslaughter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171121/defense-asserts-fix-cant-stand-trial-for-pilot-rock-arson-manslaughter#Comments Tue, 21 Nov 2017 12:06:21 -0500 EO Media Group http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129976 Angela Marie Fix of Pilot Rock needs more time and help before she can stand trial for arson and second-degree manslaughter.

Fix, 41, appeared Monday morning via video from the Umatilla County Jail in the Pendleton courtroom of Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer for an update on her case. The state accused Fix of setting the fire that killed Larry Castro, 77, in July at his Pilot Rock home.

Attorney Jill Weygandt handled the defense duties. She told Brauer that clinical psychologist Terry Templeman found Fix was not competent to stand trial. Reading from Templeman’s report, Weygandt said Fix could not make relevant decisions or sort through relevant information on her own.

District Attorney Dan Primus said he would review the report and anticipated sending Fix to the state’s mental hospital in Salem for an evaluation.

Brauer set the status check on the case for the morning of Dec. 13.

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Black Friday is a paid holiday for most state workers http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171120/black-friday-is-a-paid-holiday-for-most-state-workers http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171120/black-friday-is-a-paid-holiday-for-most-state-workers#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:25:42 -0500 Claire Withycombe http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129977 Capital Bureau

SALEM — Want to get an errand done at the DMV or check out the Capitol Christmas tree this Friday?

You’re out of luck.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is considered a holiday for state workers. The Capitol and executive branch agencies will be closed, and many state employees get a paid vacation day.

The day after Thanksgiving was an unpaid furlough day in the 2009-2011 budget biennium, when the state had a budget shortfall, according to Amy Williams, a spokeswoman for the Department of Administrative Services.

Prior to that, it was a regular working day.

It’s been a paid holiday for state employees since 2015, when it was negotiated as part of the state’s collective bargaining agreement.

Pay for employees who have to work the day after Thanksgiving depends on the agency, Williams said in an email to the EO / Pamplin Capital Bureau on Monday.

Employees exempt from double-time pay on holidays include Oregon State Police, certain corrections employees and the Portland Air National Guard, among others.

“For 24/7 operations like the State Police, they don’t have normal holidays like the rest of us but are given additional vacation time to make up for it so being double-paid doesn’t apply,” Williams said. “If a non-24/7 agency had an employee who needed to work on the holiday, that person could do so after receiving his/her manager’s permission and then would be paid double-time for any work done on that day.”

In a survey of 2017 holiday closures by the Society for Human Resource Management, 75 percent of organizations — including public sector employers — surveyed said their offices were closed the day after Thanksgiving.

Oregon’s not the only state to give its employees the day off, either: California and Washington are among other states who designate a statewide holiday this Friday.

Federal employees don’t get a paid holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving, though, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management.

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Portland tolling committee begins work http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171120/portland-tolling-committee-begins-work http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20171120/portland-tolling-committee-begins-work#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:10:00 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129978 PORTLAND — The first meeting of a policy committee charged with recommending tolls for Portland-area interstates may have been most notable for defining what a regional tolling system will not be.

The tolls that the Portland Area Value Pricing Policy Advisory Committee are considering will not involve stopping at booths to pay a cashier, or slowing down to toss coins into a kiosk.

They may be optional for commuters who want to save time to reach a destination, or priced dynamically to encourage travel during slower times of the day.

“When we are talking about (value) pricing we are not talking about putting toll booths,” said Trey Baker, a consultant with New York-based transportation engineering and management firm WSP USA. “That is just not the way it is done anymore.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation hired WSP USA to serve as a resource for the tolling committee.

The committee’s meeting Monday, Nov. 20, at ODOT’s Portland office was the first of six meetings aimed at developing proposals to establish a regional tolling system on Interstates 5 and 205 in the Portland metropolitan area.

The committee is charged with voting on a proposal to recommend to the Oregon Transportation Commission by the end of June. The commission, the policy-setting body for ODOT, will ultimately decide on whether to pursue tolls and any specific tolling structure.

The transportation commission also needs authorization from the Federal Highway Administration to enforce the tolls. The commission would need to submit its application for that authority by Dec. 31, 2018.

“As we look at this, we are looking at the feasibility or viability,” said Oregon Transportation Commissioner Sean O’Hollaren, a member of the tolling committee. “We may come up and say this doesn’t work here, but we have to look at it.

“The one thing we do know is when we invest in infrastructure to expand and to address these issues, it’s not free, and we have to figure out how to pay for it.”

The commission is under increasing pressure to act on ways to reduce congestion in the Portland area.

Transportation-funding legislation, passed earlier this year, required the commission to come up with the congestion-based pricing plan.

Traffic in the Portland area burgeoned by 13 percent between 2013 and 2015, while delays increased by 22 percent, according to an ODOT analysis.

“As a result many parts of the system are gridlocked for hours per day,” said Mandy Putney, ODOT major projects manager.

Three examples of states that have developed congestion-based tolling are Washington, Texas, and Maryland, Baker said.

The concept of “value pricing” or “congestion pricing” is to use toll charges and incentives to change commuters’ choices about when and where to drive.

Used along with other traffic-mitigating methods, the congestion-priced tolls can help relieve congestion and save billions of dollars in time and other costs associated with congestion, Baker said.

Washington, for example, used tolls to pay for an eight-mile replacement of the SR-520 floating bridge. The tolls for the bridge are priced based on supply and demand. The fewer drivers on the route, the lower the tolls. The prices range from $1.25 to $4.30, Baker said.

Washington also has boosted transit use by allowing buses to use HOV lanes, which increases the reliability of transit travel times.

The state also converted an HOV lane to a congestion-priced express lane on I-405 along 17 miles in the Seattle area. Taking the express lane can save 11 to 15 minutes of travel time, he said.

Public comments are accepted at each of the committee’s meetings and by email at ValuePricingPAC@odot.state.or.us.

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BLM approves 300-mile transmission line http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/blm-approves-300-mile-transmission-line http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/blm-approves-300-mile-transmission-line#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:51:13 -0500 George PlavenEO Media Group http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129979 The Bureau of Land Management signed off on a controversial 300-mile, 500-kilovolt overhead transmission line that would run from Boardman to near Boise, boosting electrical capacity between the two regions for future growth.

It is a major step forward for the Boardman to Hemingway project, or B2H, which was first proposed by Idaho Power in 2006. More than a decade later, the BLM released its record of decision for the power line on Friday, which would cross five Eastern Oregon counties en route to southwest Idaho.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement that building B2H is a Trump administration priority, focusing on infrastructure that supports America’s energy independence.

“Today’s decision is the result of extensive public involvement and will support the environmentally responsible development of resources to meet the needs of communities in Idaho, Oregon and the surrounding region,” Zinke said.

Yet despite the announcement, B2H is still years away from becoming a reality. The BLM record of decision only addresses the power line as it crosses over federal lands, so Idaho Power must now shift its efforts to obtaining state permits through the Oregon Department of Energy, and specifically the Energy Facility Siting Council.

Mitch Colburn, who manages transmission and distribution strategic projects for the utility, said the line will not be completed until 2024 at the earliest. Idaho Power has already invested $90 million in B2H, and the total cost is expected to be $1 billion and $1.2 billion when all is said and done.

Do the math, and that is up to $4 million per mile of transmission. Still, Colburn said B2H remains the most cost-effective way of filling the company’s projected demand.

“The need is still strong,” he said.

According to project documents, B2H is intended to share roughly 1,000 megawatts of electricity between the two regions, which traditionally experience peak demand at different times of the year — summertime for the Intermountain West, and wintertime for the Pacific Northwest.

Routing the line, however, has been a source of controversy in Umatilla and Morrow counties, especially among farmers worried about losing high-value cropland. The BLM decision, meanwhile, takes into account things like sensitive vegetation, wildlife and cultural resources as directed under the National Environmental Policy Act.

While Colburn said there is no such thing as a transmission line without impacts, he feels the chosen route takes steps to minimize environmental impacts.

“This is the culmination of much analysis, and many stakeholders coming together,” Colburn said. “It’s a long process, and we’re certainly supportive of getting it right.”

As expected, the transmission line would plug in to Oregon at the Bonneville Power Administration’s proposed Longhorn Substation east of Boardman. From there, it would run approximately 12 miles south along Bombing Range Road in Morrow County before heading east through Umatilla County, south of Pilot Rock and the Umatilla Indian Reservation then southeast through Union, Baker and Malheur counties on its way to Idaho.

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Christmas on the Prairie in photos http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171120/christmas-on-the-prairie-in-photos http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Life/20171120/christmas-on-the-prairie-in-photos#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:51:08 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129980

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Grant County paleontologist wins international honor http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/grant-county-paleontologist-wins-international-honor http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/grant-county-paleontologist-wins-international-honor#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:49:26 -0500 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129981 When paleontologist Ted Fremd of Mt. Vernon moved to Grant County in 1984, he’d planned to stay a short time, find a few fossils, write a few papers, then move on.

Fremd went from working with a collection of 120 fossils in a 10 square-foot laboratory to becoming the first chief of paleontology at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument to establishing the world-renowned Thomas Condon Paleontology Center where he was project manager.

His achievements since then have been remarkable, but his latest accomplishment possibly tops them all.

Fremd received the prestigious Morris F. Skinner Award from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in recognition of his many scientific contributions, including creating important collections of fossil vertebrates.

“This is something like the Nobel Prize for paleontologists, and it’s kind of cool that a Grant County person was chosen from an international pool,” Fremd said.

He said award committee members were from as far away as Beijing, China, and Paris, France.

Fremd also credits the two previous superintendents of the national monument, both of whom still reside in Grant County, for the award.

“Ben Ladd, first superintendent of the park, was a huge supporter of paleontology, and Jim Hammett insured that the visitor center would be built and tolerated many of my insubordinations,” he said.

Fremd said his wife of 45 years, Skylar Rickabaugh, was instrumental for his success.

He quipped, she’s the reason I’m “not one of the entombed biota we paleontologists study.”

Fremd spends half his time in Eugene, where he is a researcher at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Department of Earth Sciences.

He also lives on Laycock Creek Road in Mt. Vernon, where he enjoys the solitude, and he still occasionally volunteers at the monument.

Fremd is the only paleontologist to serve as a regional science advisor to the National Park Service.

He has five fossil species named in his honor, including Plesiosminthus fremdi (Korth and Samuels, 2015), an important rodent to biostratigraphers. Biostratigraphy focuses on correlating and assigning relative ages of rock strata by using the fossil assemblages contained within them.

Fremd has published and coauthored numerous papers and reports in his field, and is now looking forward to completing a book, with two other authors, about the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

“I don’t think most people have a good idea of just how significant the monument is,” he said. “Everyone in Australia and China knows it. The main reason I won the award was the resources themselves are so significant.”

He added, “The national monument is almost not enough — it’s incredibly important.”

The fossils preserved at the monument span more than 40 million years, and Fremd said they are always finding something new and interesting.

“We thought we had a really good handle on what was there,” he said. “We’re now realizing we’ve just scratched the surface of discoveries.”

He said the upcoming book, coauthored by Joshua Samuels (his successor at the monument) and Regan Dunn, will go to print in about one year, published by Indiana University Press.

“We’re excited about that, to put it together once and for all,” he said.

As a boy, Fremd collected cereal box dinosaurs, and as early as he can remember was interested in a variety of scientific disciplines, including astronomy, paleontology and cactus plants.

He said it was fortunate he had a high school physics teacher, who was also a Ph.D. researcher, spurring his interest in astronomy.

Fremd said life as a paleontologist never becomes dull, and he’s getting paid to do what he wanted to do when he was a child.

“It’s uplifting to encounter, discover, exhume, objects that no human being has ever seen — ever,” he said. “It’s entirely unexpected, undiscovered.”

To the untrained eye, the fossils may look like “dusty, dried rocks with bone-shaped things,” he said, but a paleontologist sees more.

“In this field, you can imagine them as living, breathing things and analyze what they did while living,” he said.

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Grant Union senior says Girls State is good preparation http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20171120/grant-union-senior-says-girls-state-is-good-preparation http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20171120/grant-union-senior-says-girls-state-is-good-preparation#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:49:15 -0500 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129982 Grant Union senior Reagan Shelley, who attended Girls State earlier this year, said she and the other girls kept busy and had little sleep, but “it was very much worth it.”

Shelley was recognized at the Nov. 13 meeting of the Ellis Tracy Unit and Post No. 77 of the American Legion and Auxiliary Unit.

She was ill and unable to attend the meeting, so the Eagle caught up with her at the American Red Cross blood drive Nov. 15 at Grant Union where she was signing in students.

While taking on the role of lobbyist at the June 11-17 session of Girls State held at Willamette University in Salem, Shelley said she had the opportunity to observe the House in session for a few minutes.

During the week of Flag Day, the young women also met with veterans who showed them how to properly dispose of an old flag.

She said the event was worthwhile and she made many friends.

“It prepared me for taking government this year,” Shelley said. “It gave me a background on the topics we talk about.”

Female empowerment was another focus at the event.

“The camp was not only to teach you about government but that females can have as much importance in their role in government,” she said.

Shelley was the only Grant Union girl signed up for Girls State this year, and no boys signed up for Boys State, which runs during the same week.

Girls State advisor Tammy Bremner and Boys State advisor Art Pereira both said they’d like to see more sign up next year.

“It is an amazing program and a wonderful opportunity,” Bremner said. “It makes you stand out. They learn a lot about leadership and a greater respect for people who served this country.”

Sponsors for Girls State this year were Carl Lino and Bonnie Gause.

Lino’s late wife, Sondra, was involved in Girls State for many years.

Carl said when he was young, only one boy and one girl were chosen to go to the event, and now more are able to attend.

“It was a huge honor to be the Boys State and Girls State representatives,” he said. “I encourage all the girls to go to Girls State and the boys to go to Boys State.”

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Orthopedic services return to area http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/orthopedic-services-return-to-area http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/orthopedic-services-return-to-area#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:48:56 -0500 Richard Hanners http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129983 Regular orthopedic services will be returning to Blue Mountain Hospital after several years’ absence.

Dr. Scott Jacobson, who is trained in orthopedic sports medicine and specializes in shoulder and knee injuries, traveled from The Center Orthopedic & Neurosurgical & Research facility in Bend to John Day for his first clinic day on Nov. 9.

“He’ll start out with a one-day clinic every other month,” Jenny King, the marketing and communications director at The Center, said. “You can do a lot in one day. If there’s more demand, then he could come to John Day every month.”

Jacobson said he stopped coming to John Day several years ago when he lost his charter plane. He said the type of orthopedic needs found in John Day would be typical, if not for the distance to care centers.

“It’s a long way to drive to Bend, so people sometimes wait too long to see a doctor,” he said. “Part of that is the independent nature of people in John Day, but a doctor will often see more advanced problems.”

Lynne Combs, the clinic manager at the Strawberry Wilderness Community Clinic in John Day, said she was “very much looking forward to seeing this service restored.”

“We’re a very active community, so there is a higher risk for strain, fractures and bruised bones,” she said.

In addition to the area’s hunters, outdoor recreationists, timber workers and ranchers, there’s a growing elderly population in Grant County.

“These types of injuries can occur at any age, even children, but definitely our community has an older segment with approaching needs for knees and hips,” she said.

Combs noted that avoiding the lengthy drive times to medical services in Bend can be helpful, but it would also be easier on people with mobility issues.

King said Jacobson would provide pre-op and post-op evaluation and diagnosis, but procedures would need to be performed in Bend or other locations. She said Jacobson planned to fly to Grant County Regional Airport each time with Korena Larsen-Farris, a physician’s assistant who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and has been seeing patients at Blue Mountain Hospital since 2010.

Jacobson has more than two decades of experience in orthopedic medicine. He earned his medical degree at UCLA and completed his residency at Duke University and his sports medicine fellowship at Southern California Center for Sports Medicine. He started working at The Center in Bend in 1995 and treats patients of all ages and diverse backgrounds.

Outside of medical work, Jacobson has placed in the top three as a national physique competitor in open and master’s men’s divisions, is a multi-engine, instrument-rated private pilot and enjoys playing the piano, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.

“I’m looking forward to returning to John Day,” Jacobson said. “I enjoyed my time in John Day, and I’m sure the patients will enjoy seeing me here, too.”

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Christmas tree permits available http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/christmas-tree-permits-available http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/christmas-tree-permits-available#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:31:11 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129984 Christmas tree permits for the Malheur National Forest are now available to purchase at local Forest Service offices.

Permits are valid on National Forest System lands only and do not authorize tree cutting on private, state or other federally managed lands.

Permits cost $5 each and are limited to five per household. Tree permits and forest maps are available during regular office hours, Mondays through Fridays, at any Malheur National Forest office.

Again this year, all fourth graders are eligible for a free tree permit through the national Every Kid in a Park initiative. In order for students to receive a free tree permit, they must present a valid paper voucher printed from the Every Kid in a Park website. Visit everykidinapark.gov and follow instructions to obtain and print the paper voucher. Then, bring the paper voucher to the forest office to claim the free permit. Students must be present to pick up the free permit. These free permits can only be issued through the forest office and will not be available through local vendors who sell permits.

Regulations for cutting Christmas Trees on the Malheur National Forest:

• Validate the permit by completely removing month, date and year, securely attaching it to the tree trunk between the limbs.

• Make sure the permit is visible during transportation.

• Clean up any trimmings or limbs and leave stumps no higher than 10 inches. It is illegal to “top” a tree.

• Cut off any green limbs left on the stump (can be used for greens).

• Maximum height of tree to be cut is 12 feet tall on the Malheur National Forest.

• Do not cut on private land, in wilderness areas, designated campgrounds, active timber sales or existing tree plantations.

• Only trees that have another tree within 20 feet may be cut to maintain disbursement of trees and optimum growth for the future.

• Do not cut trees in posted Old Growth Areas or within ¼ mile of wild and scenic corridors.

• Christmas tree cutting within sight of state highways is prohibited.

For more information or to obtain permits, contact or visit the Malheur National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 431 Patterson Bridge Road, John Day, 541-575-3000; the Emigrant Creek Ranger District, 265 Highway 20 South, Hines, 541-573-4300; or the Prairie City Ranger District, 327 SW Front St., Prairie City, 541-820-3800; or online at fs.usda.gov/malheur.

• Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be home.

• Carry your trees carefully out of the woods. Dragging the tree will rub off needles and bark.

• If the tree is too big to transport in the trunk of your vehicle, wrap it in canvas to prevent wind damage.

• Once home, cut the bottom of the trunk off and place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket of water. Replenish water frequently.

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Grant County Meetings http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/meetings/20171120/grant-county-meetings http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/meetings/20171120/grant-county-meetings#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:31:10 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129985 (Meetings subject to change. Call for confirmation.)

ONGOING

Grant County Library is open 1-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday; 10 a.m.-noon and 1-7 p.m. Tuesday; and 1-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Thursday. 507 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, 541-575-1992.

Canyon Mountain Center offers meditation sittings from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. on Mondays. 767 East Main St., John Day. Call ahead for schedule changes or further information and events. Jim and Sandy, 541-932-2725.

Burns-Hines VA Clinic – Services for Grant County veterans. Immunizations, minor surgical procedures, blood pressure and diabetes monitoring, group therapy for combat PTSD, sobriety and other issues. Lab draws on Wednesdays. Nursing staff and therapy Monday through Friday. 541-573-3339.

Grant County Genealogical Society Research Center – Open 1-4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Parsonage building behind Historic Advent Church, West Main Street in John Day. 541-932-4718 or 541-575-2757.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 22

12 p.m. – Seniors Meal Program at the Prairie City Senior Center, 204 N. McHaley, Prairie City.

12 p.m. – Women’s Support, by Heart of Grant County, for domestic violence survivors. Free lunch. 541-575-4335.

12-1:30 p.m. – Community Advisory Council, Grant County Regional Airport, John Day. Open to the public, call 541-620-0444.

6 p.m. – Long Creek Volunteer Fire Department, City Hall.

6:30-8:30 p.m. – Family History Center open, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, John Day. Also open by appointment. 541-656-8069.

7 p.m. – Prairie City School Site Council, school library.

7 p.m. – John Day Volunteer Fire Department, fire station. 541-620-4037.

7:30 p.m. – Let Go Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, St. Elizabeth Catholic Parish Hall, John Day. 541-575-0114.

THURSDAY, NOV. 23

THANKSGIVING

FRIDAY, NOV. 24

4 p.m. – Long Creek Historical Society, Long Creek City Hall, 541-421-3621.

7 p.m. – Whiskey Gulch Gang, Sels Brewery, Canyon City. 541-575-0329.

7 p.m. – Overcomers Outreach, Christ-centered, 12-step support group. Living Word Christian Center, House on the Lawn, 59357 Highway 26, Mt. Vernon. 541-932-4910.

SATURDAY, NOV. 25

7 p.m. - Narcotics Anonymous, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, 139 NE Dayton in John Day. Use the side door. 541-620-8074.

7 p.m. – Bingo, Monument Senior Center. Potluck dinner at halftime. 541-934-2700.

MONDAY, NOV. 27

Noon – Seniors Meal Program, John Day Senior Center, 142 N.E. Dayton St. 541-575-1825.

6 p.m. – Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Department, 541-932-4688.

7 p.m. – John Day Valley Bass Club, Outpost Restaurant. All are welcome. William Gibbs, 541-575-2050.

7:30 p.m. – Outlaw Group of Alcoholics Anonymous, Presbyterian Church in Mt. Vernon. 541-932-4844.

TUESDAY, NOV. 28

10-11 a.m. – Story Hour and craft project, Grant County Library, for preschoolers 0-6 years old. 541-575-1992.

12 p.m. – Transient Room Tax Committee, Grant County Chamber of Commerce, 301 W. Main St., John Day.

12 p.m. – Seniors Meal Program at the Monument Senior Center. 541-934-2700.

5:15 p.m. – Grant Education District ESD Board, 835 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day. 541-575-1349.

7 p.m. – John Day City Council, John Day Fire Station. 541-575-0028.

7:15 p.m. – Boy Scout Troop 898, John Day Elks Lodge, John Day. 541-575-2531.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 29

9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – Veterans/families services, John Day Elks Lodge. Topics include PTSD services and individual needs.

11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), weigh-in, meeting. United Methodist Church library, 126 N.W. Canton St., John Day. 541-575-3812, 541-932-4592.

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Cops and Courts http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/cops-and-courts http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20171120/cops-and-courts#Comments Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:31:08 -0500 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017171129986 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.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office reported the following for the week of Nov. 9-15:

• Concealed handgun licenses: 3

• Average inmates: 16

• Bookings: 15

• Releases: 10

• Arrests: 2

• Citations: 1

• Fingerprints: 1

• Civil papers: 8

• Warrants processed: 4

• Asst./welfare check: 5

• Search and Rescue: 0

Andria Kelley, 23, Canyon City, was cited Nov. 15 for operating a motor vehicle without proper lighting.

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

Carrying a loaded firearm or bow on an ATV: Walter Eaton, 48, Burns, Sept. 17, fined $260.

Unlawful operation of a motor vehicle in a wildlife area: Haskell J. Matheson Jr., 45, Redmond, Sept. 15, fined $435.

Operating an ATV without a permit: Haskell J. Matheson Jr., 45, Redmond, Sept. 15, fined $160.

Violating the basic rule: Keith E. Sweeney, 63, Bend, Oct. 29, 71/55 zone, fined $160; Jake H. Weitzner, 25, Weston, Florida, Oct. 23, 82/55 zone, fined $260; Richard E. Gerber, 73, Eugene, Oct. 29, 71/55 zone, fined $160; Michael J. Heald, 30, Grants Pass, Aug. 21, 49/35 zone, fined $160; Kaylene A. Chamberlain, 30, Redmond, Sept. 23, 73/55 zone, fined $160; Michael J. Miller, 47, Springfield, Sept. 4, 74/65 zone, fined $110.

Violation of speed limit: Logan S. Keck, 28, Overland Park, Kansas, Aug. 23, 81/65 zone, fined $160; Kevin L. Hamilton, 54, San Francisco, California, Aug. 21, 50/35 zone, fined $160; Errol M. Lang, 25, Lawrence, Kansas, Aug. 21, 40/25 zone, fined $160; Alexander B. Richmond, 29, Los Angeles, California, Aug. 21, 53/35 zone, fined $160.

Exceeding speed limit: Tracy J. Mund, 33, Prairie City, Oct. 23, 74/65 zone, fined $160.

Driving uninsured: Damon M. Dougan, 19, Pendleton, Aug. 16, fined $260; Poppy R. Grover, 38, Canyon City, Aug. 20, fined $260; Benjamin L. Keith, 37, Canyon City, Sept. 23, fined $260; Kaylene A. Chamberlain, 30, Redmond, Sept. 23, fined $260.

Driving while suspended: Benjamin L. Keith, 37, Canyon City, fined $435; Kaylene A. Chamberlain, 30, Redmond, Sept. 23, fined $435.

Register sticker expired: Poppy R. Grover, 38, Canyon City, fined $260; Damon M. Dougan, 19, Pendleton, fined $110.

Ashley R. Wanker, 30, Culver, was convicted of disorderly conduct and ordered to pay a $435 fine.

Nov. 15: Responded to a dispute in progress at the John Day Police Department parking lot. Stephen R. Johnson, 28, Prineville, was arrested and charged with reckless endangering a person. Thomas B. Forsythe, 77, Prineville, was arrested and charged on a warrant in Crook County.

Nov. 16: Advised of a cow on Highway 26 near Pine Creek.

Nov. 16: Advised of cows on Highway 19 near Cant Ranch Park.

Nov. 17: Stopped a vehicle going 56/35 zone on Highway 26. The passenger, Adrian L. Couey, 32, John Day, was arrested and charged with contempt of court for violating a protection order.

Nov. 17: Responded to South Canyon Boulevard in John Day. Joshua M. Semler, 40, John Day, was arrested and charged on a warrant from Grant County Justice Court.

Nov. 18: Stopped a vehicle on Highway 26 near Dixie Summit. Justin L. Shaw, 24, Eagle Point, was arrested and charged with DUII, open container, driving uninsured and speeding.

John Day dispatch worked 144 calls during the week of Nov. 13-19. Along with the various traffic warnings, trespassing, injured animals, noise complaints and juvenile complaints, these calls included:

• John Day Police Department

Nov. 13: Responded to Meadowbrook apartments in John Day for a suspicious person.

Nov. 13: Dispatched a deer hit by a motor vehicle on Highway 26 near the Meadowbrook apartments.

Nov. 13: Responded to Northwest Second Street in John Day for a domestic dispute.

Nov. 13: Dispatched to South Canyon Boulevard in John Day for a juvenile problem.

Nov. 14: Responded to Northwest McHaley Street in Prairie City for a report of a prowler.

Nov. 14: Dispatched to Highway 26 east of John Day for an injured buck that needed to be put down.

Nov. 15: Responded to Main Street in John Day for a report of a suicidal subject.

Nov. 16: Dispatched to a report of a cow on Highway 26 west of John Day.

Nov. 16: Responded to an antique store in Canyon City for a report of criminal mischief.

Nov. 16: Dispatched to Main Street in John Day for a report of a trespasser.

Nov. 16: Responded to Northwest McHaley Street in Prairie City for a report of a prowler.

Nov. 18: Advised of a hit-and-run on Main Street in John Day.

Nov. 18: Responded to a grocery store in John Day for a report of disorderly conduct.

• Grant County Sheriff’s Office

Nov. 13: Responded to Humbolt Street in Canyon City for a report of fraud.

Nov. 13: Responded to Highway 26 east of John Day for a report of fraud.

Nov. 13: Dispatched to Rebel Hill in Canyon City for a report of shots fired.

Nov. 14: Responded to a report of child abuse in Dayville.

Nov. 15: Dispatched to Main Street in John Day for a report of a dispute with an intoxicated subject.

Nov. 18: Responded to Dayville for a report of shots fired.

Nov. 19: Received a report of a stolen horse in the Ritter area.

• John Day ambulance

Nov. 13: Responded to Elm Street in John Day for a 58-year-old man.

Nov. 14: Dispatched to Izee Lane for a 75-year-old man.

Nov. 14: Responded to Canyon City for a woman who had fallen.

Nov. 14: Dispatched to East Franklin in Dayville for a man suffering from medication withdrawals.

Nov. 17: Responded to Seneca for an 88-year-old man.

Nov. 17: Dispatched to Main Street in John Day for an 84-year-old woman with flu-like symptoms.

Nov. 17: Responded to Seventh Avenue in John Day for an 84-year-old woman with post-surgical pain.

Nov. 18: Dispatched to Strawberry Village in Prairie City for a 17-year-old boy with a knee problem.

Nov. 18: Responded to a senior center for a 92-year-old man.

Nov. 18: Dispatched to Mt. Vernon for a 67-year-old man.

• Dayville fire

Nov. 17: Advised of a brush fire along Highway 26.

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