Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Sun, 1 May 2016 20:24:09 -0400 en Blue Mountain Eagle | State GOP to consolidate convention Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:08:22 -0400 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau The Oregon Republican Convention this year will for the first time in at least 30 years meet in one location to select the delegates responsible for casting votes for a GOP presidential nominee this summer in Cleveland.

Oregon was the only state during the 2012 presidential election without a centralized caucus to select delegates to the national convention. Instead, state party members met in five different places — each in one of the state’s congressional districts.

“We got our fingers rapped by the RNC (Republican National Committee) last time saying you can’t have five locations. You have to do it in one,” said GOP gubernatorial candidate Allen Alley, who served as Oregon Republican Party chairman in 2012. “They said Texas can do it in one, so you can do it in one.”

The RNC didn’t exactly issue an edict to Oregon to consolidate its convention. But Oregon’s decentralized system caused a series of problems for state Republican Party leaders that year, which propelled them to make changes to the state convention, effective this year, said Solomon Yue Jr., Oregon national committeeman and member of the RNC’s rules committee.

The state party started holding five different conventions because of the way it picks delegates. Out of a total of 28 delegates, three are chosen from each of Oregon’s five congressional districts. Another 10 are elected to fill at-large positions, and three so-called “automatic delegates” serve by virtue of their position as state chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman.

The idea behind different locations was that party members could vote simultaneously for their congressional delegates, at-large delegates and local party officers. The problem came when voting in the congressional districts fell out of sync. During the state convention in June 2012, some districts were lagging behind others and ran out of time to elect delegate alternates, before Alley adjourned the convention, Yue said. State party rules allowed party leaders to appoint the alternative positions, but that drew some challenges at the national level to the alternate appointees, he said. Ultimately, the RNC found that the state party had followed its own rules in selecting alternates, but the hassle and time demanded by the challenges gave state party leaders misgivings about their decentralized system.

“I think the ORP learned its lesson: We don’t want to run out time in 2016,” Yue said.

The 2016 Oregon Republican convention is scheduled for June 4 at the Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center.

The centralized location also allows nominees to speak to the entire party, “whereas before we would have had to be in five places at one time,” said Oregon Republican Chairman Bill Currier. “Instead of a few hundred people in each of five locations, there will be 1,200 to 1,500 people in one location.”

Oregon’s 28 Republican delegates are divided up proportionally among candidates according to the popular vote they receive during the May 17 primary. Unlike past elections, the three top ORP officials are no longer super delegates who are allowed to support any candidate for the nomination.

Oregon delegates are unlikely to play a role in a contested convention between New York billionaire Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. A contested convention is only possible if the frontrunner, Trump, fails to net the 1,237 majority required to secure the nomination.

During the Republican National Convention July 18 in Cleveland, Oregon’s delegates are required to represent the popular vote for at least two ballots. The exception is for delegates whose candidate has received less than 35 percent of support on the first ballot, at which point the delegate is free to pick any of the nominees.

“We are not free agents,” Currier said. “It seemed fairer to have them automatically bound rather than them getting to choose.”

County Court minutes 04-20-16 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:21:39 -0400 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT

Access the County Court Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at

April 20, 2016

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 the County Courtroom in Canyon City, OR.

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart and Boyd Britton, Secretary Laurie Wright, Judy Kerr, Jim Sproul, Logan Bagett, Mike Cosgrove, Linda Gingrich, Jim Spell, , Judy Schuette, Karen Jacobs, Dan Becker, Sally Bartlett, Susan Christiansen, Bill LaVigne and Pastor Wes Aasness. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Aasness.

CLAIMS. The court approved claims and extension district warrants 128-132. Commissioner Britton declared conflicts on two claims payable to Boyd Britton Welding in the amount of $22.50 and $23.10.

AGENDA. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to accept the agenda as amended with the removal of approval of a hand check in the amount of $5,000. Fair Manager Mary Weaver discovered an agent didn’t need to be used to book a headline act for the fair and requested a stop payment be placed on the check by the Treasurer.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton advised the audience the Geographic Names Board approved 8 of Grant County’s proposals for name changes and rejected 5 others. The names rejected were the ones in Prairie City such as Squaw Creek and Squaw Meadow. Britton said this isn’t over yet and there could be future litigation regarding this issue. Judge Myers and Britton explained some of the issues the name changes might cause, such as confusion and difficulty with pronunciation, and the process regarding how the name changes came about. Britton attended the Stock Grower’s meeting and also a very well attended Farm Bureau meeting where a composting site proposed by ODOT was discussed. On Monday, April 18th, he went to Vale for a subcommittee Connect Oregon meeting.

9:08 am Sharon Livingston, Elaine Eisenbraun and Sean Hart entered.

Judge Myers attended an airport meeting on Monday to select people to interview for the airport manager’s position. Nine applications were submitted and the people selected will be interviewed the evening of May 3rd. On Tuesday, April 19th, he went to La Grande for a North East Oregon Housing Authority (NEOHA) meeting and tomorrow will attend a department head meeting.

Commissioner Labhart went to an EMS fundraiser in Long Creek last Saturday the 16th where 151 people attended and over $6000 was raised for the EMS services. Monday he drove the VA van to Boise and Tuesday went to the Monument Senior Citizen’s Center for lunch. Labhart will be going to an LCAC meeting today at noon and will meet tomorrow with representatives from the USDA at the fairgrounds where awards for the reader board and public address system projects will be presented to the fairgrounds. On Friday he will be conducting senior project interviews at the high school. Labhart will attend the candidate’s forum on Saturday.

MINUTES. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the April 13th minutes as amended.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Economic Development Coordinator Sally Bartlett introduced Susan Christiansen (formerly of DEQ). Christiansen is the current interim executive director until a new director is hired for the Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation (GEODC). Bartlett explained GEODC is a community development program and the different districts in Eastern Oregon. GEODC provides gap lending for small businesses and assists with small business administration. Bartlett introduced Bill LaVigne who is the new loan officer for GEODC and formerly lived in Richland, Washington. Bartlett is very excited about having both of them here. Christiansen thanked the community for welcoming them to Grant County and said the community will be seeing more of her and Grant County is one of her favorite counties to work in. Judge Myers advised the audience that Christiansen was instrumental in getting DEQ permits waived after the fire for fire waste disposal and septic tank inspections. Bill LaVigne stated his background is in large business, but he is happy to be able to make a difference for small businesses in smaller communities. LaVigne’s office is in Pendleton but said his door is always open.

9:21 am Susan Church entered.

Labhart encouraged the court to remain members of the GEODC. Bartlett clarified there is no longer a membership board; they are now a 501C3 corporation with a nine member board. Bartlett explained the benefits this change has made to the GEODC. LaVigne stated in larger communities businesses are looking at much larger loans and bankers won’t usually touch the smaller loans because it isn’t worth it to them. LaVigne added his job is to investigate and write loans up to the best of his ability and let the nine member board make the loan decision. LaVigne further explained his role in the loan process and how GEODC works with local banks to alleviate risks and assist people to start businesses. Bartlett explained how GEODC works with banks to hold part of the loan so they share the risk with the banks. GEODC is usually in the secondary position on the loans and so normally takes the most risk. Bartlett stated GEODC’s track record is very good; they have lost a few but are still making money. Myers advised this discussion will need to be continued until after the scheduled budget hearing.

SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET HEARING. Treasurer Kathy Smith said this hearing was advertised and is for the emergency management hearing for the $35,000 federal grant match. The county must match the grant in order to receive it. Smith said she received the first of the federal money last week. The county matches the federal grant 50/50 ($35,000 county and $35,000 federal). The money must be taken from the general fund and because it wasn’t in the current budget a supplemental budget hearing had to be held. MSP: Labhart/Myers – to close the public hearing.

9:37 am Pat Holliday entered.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, cont’d. Bartlett explained the $30,000 grant she wants to apply for to assist Canyon City to develop a Hazard Mitigation Flood Plan. This plan will be an addendum to the regional plan in our area. Myers advised this is a FEMA requirement for funding assistance. Myers said the proposal requires a letter of support or a resolution from the court and asked Bartlett which one she preferred. Bartlett said either would work, but a resolution might be better. Britton asked when this was due and Bartlett advised May 1st. Bartlett will work with Myers on the resolution. MSP: Myers/Britton – to authorize Bartlett to continue with the grant application for the Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Town of Canyon City.

RESOLUTION 16-12. Treasurer Kathy Smith presented Resolution 16-12 to the court which transfers funds in the amount of $35,000 to the emergency management position based on the supplemental budget hearing. Judge Myers read the resolution to the audience. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve Resolution 16-12 and circulate for signatures.

RESOLUTION 16-13. Treasurer Kathy Smith presented Resolution 16-13 to the court which transfers funds from the general fund to the bookmobile reserve ($5,000), emergency management ($35,000) and senior citizens ($44,283). All of these transfers were budgeted in the current year’s budget. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve Resolution 16-13 and circulate for signatures.

9:46 am Valeen Madden entered.

YOCKIM CAROLLO LLP LAW FIRM CONTRACT. Legal Counsel Ron Yockim sent a revised contract to the court for review and approval. Labhart would like to postpone this until next week based on the proposal submitted by DA Jim Carpenter so he can contact some other counties about how their legal services are handled. Britton disagreed and stated he thinks given all the issues Yockim is working on, and the good job he has done for the county over the years, it would be a bad time to change legal counsel. Myers agreed with Britton. Myers advised the new contract will increase the retainer to Yockim from $2,200 a month to $2,700 a month. The increase in the retainer is because Yockim has been providing general counsel to the county in addition to his road department work for some time now without compensation. Myers feels it is appropriate to postpone the discussion about utilizing the District Attorney for some legal services in the future. Britton suggested the court members sign the Yockim contract today and visit with Carpenter at a future date about his proposal. Myers is concerned with conflicts Carpenter may have. Labhart added Yockim is very well respected in the state regarding his public lands and natural resource experience. Labhart is not against Yockim being the county’s legal counsel, but he would like the court to discuss the DA’s proposal. MSP: Britton/Myers – to continue with Yockim Carollo LLP as county legal counsel and circulate the contract for signatures.

DA LEGAL SERVICES PROPOSAL. District Attorney Jim Carpenter wrote a letter to the court proposing he provide legal services to the county. Carpenter is unavailable today as he is attending training out of town. Carpenter’s proposal is to provide legal services for $2,000 per month. Myers said there have been some issues in the past couple of months where Carpenter had a conflict and couldn’t have worked on the issues. Labhart advised he has received a letter in opposition to the DA providing legal services to the county. MSP: Britton/Myers – to postpone the discussion on this proposal until DA Carpenter can attend court.

9:55 am Kathy Stinnett entered.

6TH AMENDMENT TO OHA AGREEMENT #147789. The court reviewed the 6th Amendment to the Oregon Health Authority Agreement number 147789 which provides an additional $7,732 for mental health services. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the 6th Amendment to OHA Agreement #147789 and to authorize Judge Myers to sign the agreement.

6TH AMENDMENT TO OHA AGREEMENT #148010. The court reviewed the 6th Amendment to the Oregon Health Authority Agreement number 148010 to receive an additional $1,618 for family health services. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve the 6th Amendment to OHA Agreement #148010 and to authorize Judge Myers to sign the agreement.

VOLUNTEER RESIGNATION. The court reviewed Maxine Day’s resignation as an ex-officio volunteer from the College Advisory Board. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept Day’s resignation and sign a letter acknowledging her service.

9:59 am Shaun Robertson entered.

NORTH FORK JOHN DAY WATERSHED. Elaine Eisenbraun, Director of the North Fork John Day Watershed Council presented an informational update to the court for the North Fork John Day Watershed (NFJDW) projects. Eisenbraun brought along some of her staff and a board member. Eisenbraun said watersheds were created by the state and there are approximately 61 watersheds throughout the state. The NFJDW’s three program areas are education (reaching out to the community), restoration and collaboration. Eisenbraun stated the NFJDW board has voted to extend its boundaries and provided a map to the court. Eisenbraun said she contacted all of the watershed councils around the NFJDW. The court must approve the boundary extension before OWEB will acknowledge the boundary change. Eisenbraun stated the NFJDW can offer things other agencies cannot because of their non-profit status and they have access to funding other agencies don’t as well. She went on to explain how the watershed works as a non-profit and the benefits. Eisenbraun reported the NFJDW has had a lot of success and they want to work with other agencies and not cause any problems. Eisenbraun approached the South Fork Watershed Council about taking over this territory and their board was not interested at this time. She said if things change in the future the boundaries can be adjusted. Eisenbraun also contacted Grant Soil and Water Conservation District (GSWCD) and talked to the board of directors about the boundary extension. She stated the NFJDW and GSWCD perform different functions, offer different services and have different focuses. Eisenbraun asked the court for formal approval to move forward with the boundary extension, because the extension is going to happen anyway. Myers asked if she had received opposition from landowners and she advised she has not. Eisenbraun said some were in support of the proposal and some were curious, but she didn’t really receive opposition. Shaun Robertson stated the watersheds are very limited in statutory authority are mainly allowed to just handle money. Robertson supports this very limited type of government entity. Robertson is in support of local watersheds and keeping jobs and ecological services here. Robertson added we can utilize our local watersheds for things we would normally send outside of the county. Pat Holliday works for Grant Soil & Water Conservation District, but is not here as an employee of GSWCS, she is here as a private landowner and rancher and is opposed to the watershed boundary extension. Approximately 80% of Holliday’s land would end up being within the NFJDW boundary extension. Holliday listed all the different agencies that currently have regulatory authority over her land. She stated if she needs assistance with something on her land there are numerous entities she can go to for assistance and she then listed them. Holliday doesn’t feel the watershed council will bring anything to assist her that isn’t already in place. Holliday added she has nothing against the current NFJDW council, but she would be concerned with possible future council members. Eisenbraun clarified the watershed is a non-profit with no regulatory power, and is not a government entity. The watershed is a private non-profit corporation and receives grant funding. Holliday said this concerns her even more. Sharon Livingston stated she is in favor of the watershed council and has worked with the NFJDW and has been completely satisfied with the services they have provided to her personally and she is also very supportive of the youth program. Mike Cosgrove reported when he worked at the school the watershed councils were excellent at offering youth employment programs and he is in support of the watersheds. Holliday added she is still opposed to the extension of the boundaries. Valeen Madden feels there are some landowners that may not know how to manage their resources and the watershed can assist these landowners without being required to document anything. Myers is concerned extending the boundaries may upset landowners. Jim Sproul feels the landowners should have been made aware of the boundary extension so they know what is happening. Eisenbraun said she has talked to random landowners during this process and received favorable responses. Labhart asked if the Tribes were involved in this. Eisenbraun said they work on projects with the Tribes and doesn’t think this would impact the Tribes; it just brings more services to the area. Judy Kerr asked if the NFJDW could be looked at as a buffer between the people and government agencies. Eisenbraun said that is a good analogy. Holliday has no issues with the NFJDW currently, but she still wanted to go on record as opposing the boundary extension. Myers said he wasn’t aware the watershed was going to ask for a letter of support from the court today, he thought it was just an information update. Eisenbraun reported the expansion has already been happening and participating with the watershed is completely voluntary. Britton said he wasn’t ready to hear this matter today or make a decision on expansion and feels there should be better communication. Eisenbraun wanted to clarify the NFJDW is a private, non-profit corporation and has no regulatory authority; however, they must follow regulations and work cooperatively with other agencies. Britton feels Eisenbraun should contact affected landowners and then report back to the court. Eisenbraun would like to talk to landowners along with other residents (such as those with children hired for the OYCC program) because the boundary extension affects more than just landowners. Britton would like just the landowners contacted. Discussion followed on the definition of “landowner”. Eisenbraun will return to the court with more information in about three weeks.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul brought some paperwork to the court at the request of Sheriff Palmer. Sproul said the paperwork is the regional dispatch information the Sheriff told the court he would provide last week.

11:18 am – Adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

County Court Secretarys

Help is available for victims of sexual assault Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:37:02 -0400 Angel Carpenter Sexual assaults occur even in rural areas, but people can help the victims and reduce the prevalence.

Grant County Deputy District Attorney Matt Ipson said these cases do occur here.

“Grant County is not immune from this sort of behavior and crime,” he said.

Ipson and about 70 others participated in a candlelight vigil April 8 in John Day to raise awareness during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Andrea Officer, director of the district attorney’s office’s victim assistance program, said awareness is important.

“I think the more we can have a dialogue about sexual assault the better, so people are more comfortable addressing it and helping people who are in a dangerous situation — giving that support is so important,” she said.

Officer said they have resources at their office for victims of sexual assault and can answer questions, whether a victim chooses to report a crime or not. They have victim information packets (also available from police officers at their offices) and a library of books available for checkout.

She said victims who’ve experienced a sexual assault can go to the hospital for a rape kit and to receive medical attention — and it is kept confidential. She added a friend or family member can accompany the victim for moral support if the victim would rather not speak to an advocate at that time.

Officer said families can help by being positive role models and showing “respect and kindness, not violence.”

She said it’s important as a community to reverse the “rape culture” that exists, such as blaming the victim instead of the attacker, trivializing sexual assault and tolerating sexual harassment.

Officer said 99 percent of people who report sexual assault are telling the truth, and it is often difficult for them to bring it forward.

“Very seldom is it a stranger,” she said. “It is usually a familiar person, someone who is known to the victim.

“It’s important to know that regardless of what happens in a sexual assault, they can heal from it. They may feel ruined, but they can heal from this and there are supports to assist in that, and they can become stronger.”

For more information, call Officer at 541-575-4026.

Heart of Grant County is another resource available.

Executive director Shelly Whale said she and the other staff at Heart are there to offer support, and, if needed, help their clients make a safety plan.

Safety plans can include emergency safe housing, transportation to a nearby shelter, and, under certain circumstances, they can provide personal emergency items.

“Sexual assault is one of the highest unreported crimes that exists, and of the cases that do get reported and actually go to court, only approximately 5 percent get convicted,” Whale said.

She said, if someone does report a sexual assault, it is important to listen and believe them.

“At Heart of Grant County, we absolutely love to be there and offer inspiration, support and encouragement,” she said. “We want to encourage them that we’ll be there. To navigate through the system is daunting — it’s a very exhausting thing after already having dealt with a crime. We listen and believe and offer encouragement the whole way.”

For more information, call Heart of Grant County at 541-575-4335. Their hotline number is 541-620-1342.

What is Rape Culture?

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

Examples of Rape Culture

• Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)

• Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)

• Sexually explicit jokes

• Tolerance of sexual harassment

• Inflating false rape report statistics

• Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history

• Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television

• Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive

• Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive

• Pressure on men to “score”

• Pressure on women to not appear “cold”

• Assuming only promiscuous women get raped

• Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped

• Refusing to take rape accusations seriously

• Teaching women to avoid getting raped

Victim Blaming

One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, “Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me.” We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.

Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.

Sexual Assault Facts

FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.

FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.

FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80%-90% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.

FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.

FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.

FACT: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly under-reported.

FACT: Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.

FACT: Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.

FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.

FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back or said “no”. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.

FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.

UPDATE: One shooting victim remains in critical condition Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:03:39 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY — Two men were shot Thursday evening in John Day, and one remains in critical condition.

Christopher Woodell, 32, and Eric Towers, 35, both of John Day, were shot at the John Day Trailer Park, according to a press release from Grant County District Attorney Jim Carpenter.

Woodell was transported via air ambulance to St. Charles in Bend and is in critical condition, according to the release. Towers was transported to Blue Mountain Hospital and was treated and released.

A suspect has been identified and interviewed, and the investigation is ongoing, according to the release.

John Day Dispatch received the 911 call at 10:49 p.m. Thursday night, and John Day Police responded. Grant County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police assisted, and John Day Ambulance responded for the two victims.

The OSP Major Crimes Unit is handling the investigation.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Prairie City receives grant, loan for sewer upgrade Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:55:31 -0400 Robby Bullock PRAIRIE CITY — Prairie City is about to get a sewer upgrade, and officials say residents won’t see a rate increase.

The city will receive a $1.28 million loan and a $624,760 grant to improve its wastewater system from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, State Director Vicki Walker said while visiting Thursday.

“Rural communities across the country are faced with the challenges of maintaining and upgrading their infrastructure,” she said. “This project will ensure adequate utilities for Prairie City, protect the environment and help support the town’s sustained economic vitality.”

Rural Development Community Program Specialist LaDonn McElligott said the city would be able to refinance its current sewer system debt with the Department of Environmental Quality at a low interest rate and a longer term, 40 years, to minimize the cost to residents.

Public Works Director Chris Camarena said the overhaul encompasses a wide variety of problems with the wastewater system, but will primarily consist of repairing and replacing outdated and unreliable water pumps, pipes, force mains and manholes.

He said the current pumps use a large amount of power and are unreliable. When they need fixed, he said, finding parts and someone who can service them is difficult because they are made by an obscure, foreign manufacturer.

Camarena said another area of focus is repairing and replacing the old sewer pipes and manholes. He said the city spends a lot of time and resources fighting the issues that arise with defective pipe. Some of the pipes allow groundwater into the system, which increases the costs to pump the sewage — and additional water — to the lagoons, he said.

With the new equipment, the wastewater system will be more efficient, while also saving the city resources spent on frequent repairs.

Prairie City Mayor Jim Hamsher said the project would benefit residents without increasing their monthly sewer bill.

“We should see no rate increase right now,” he said. “And it should have much lower operating costs, so it should eventually save the city money.”

The city hopes to get the project started this winter when the groundwater level recedes.

Grant Union baseball gaining momentum Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:39:30 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY — The Grant Union Prospectors hope to keep their momentum swinging in the right direction after a shaky start to the season.

With two league games down — both wins — the Prospectors stand with a 7-8 overall record.

In most of their losses this season, Grant Union was down by two to three runs.

“The season didn’t start the way we wanted, and part of that was finding our identity and combinations that work,” said head coach Brian Delaney. “I feel that we’ve taken a turn for the better and no better time than first week of league.”

Delaney said his team is full of talent but sometimes struggles with confidence.

“When these boys are focused, it seems like all three aspects of the game go well,” he said. “On offense, we swing the bat well, we play good defense and we pitch well.”

Delaney has been the team’s head coach for seven years, with his assistant coach Kyle Myers there for those seven years, and David Blood for two years.

Three of Delaney’s former players, Riley Averett, Dominic DeHaven and Garrett Gardner, are volunteer coaches this year.

“All of them have been great,” Delaney said.

Blood is the junior varsity coach with help from the three former players.

There are 10 returning players on the varsity team, and three are new.

Seniors are Hayden Young, Garrett McConnell, Wyatt Weaver, Brady Burch, Ricky Weickum and Clayton Vaughan.

They said they’re looking forward to the second half of the season.

“We struggled early on this season, and now we’re starting to put things together as a team — just in time for getting into league,” said Young.

McConnell agreed and said the team’s upswing couldn’t have come at a better time.

Weaver said the difference has been in how the team is “starting to play for each other” and “showing up in the games.”

“I’d like to thank the community for their support and the coaches for getting us to this point,” Vaughan said. “Now we just need to follow through and make the most of the games we have left.”

Burch said, despite the rough start, he is excited for the league play ahead now that the team is “clicking.”

“We’ll look forward to finishing the season strong,” Weickum said.

Grant Union faces Burns, Weston-McEwen, Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii and Union/Cove in the 2A/1A Special District 7.

Their toughest contenders will be Burns (No. 4), Weston-McEwen (No. 5) and Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii (No. 12).

Although Grant Union (No. 31) is down several notches from these competitors, Delaney says his team is headed in the right direction.

“As long as these boys can stay confident and focused, I have a good feeling about the season,” he said. “That’s the thing about baseball, you don’t have to have the biggest, fastest and strongest; you just have to believe in yourself and work hard.”

Grocers drop liquor privatization to fight gross receipts tax Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:06:56 -0400 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau A grocers coalition says it plans to withdraw an initiative to privatize liquor sales in Oregon so the group can focus resources on defeating a corporate sales tax proposed for the November ballot.

Oregonians for Competition, led by the Northwest Grocery Association and Distilled Spirits Council, suspended Wednesday, April 27, collection of signatures in support of Initiative Petition 71. The measure would end state sale and distribution of distilled spirits and allow grocery stores to sell the products alongside beer and wine.

“We know Oregonians want to buy liquor in grocery stores alongside beer and wine, like consumers in most other states,” said coalition spokesman Pat McCormick in an April 27 statement. “Right now, we are shifting our focus to defeating IP 28, the unprecedented $5 billion tax on Oregon sales that would increase costs for working families and consumers.”

Initiative Petition 28 would tax certain corporations 2.5 percent on their annual Oregon sales above $25 million.

The Distilled Spirits Council does not plan to participate in the campaign against the corporate sales tax measure but will look for a way to move forward its effort to allow the sale of distilled spirits in grocery stores, said Eric Reller of the Distilled Spirits Council.

McCormick said the grocers coalition also would continue to advocate for allowing the sale of distilled spirits in grocery stores in the next 12 months.

The grocers coalition hopes lawmakers will pass legislation in 2016 to privatize the sale of distilled spirits or that there will be more movement incrementally by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission toward allowing sale of distilled spirits in grocery stores.

Oregonians Against the Takeover, which campaigned against liquor privatization, celebrated the news.

“We are pleased the national grocers have decided to withdraw their unpopular ballot initiative to take over Oregon’s thriving liquor marketplace,” said Ryan Frank, the group’s spokesman. “Keeping liquor local will protect revenues that support critical government services, will ensure consumers are not subjected to unreasonable price increases and will allow Oregon beer, wine and spirits businesses to continue to succeed and grow.”

McCormick declined to discuss what kind of of resources the grocers coalition will dedicate to defeating the corporate sales tax measure.

“Suffice it say the members of our coalition are very concerned about the $5 billion tax on sales and its implications for consumers and increasing costs, with no exemptions for food, medicine and other kinds of essentials,” McCormick said. “It is certainly is going to have an effect on prices and costs so we want to make sure we are doing our part to make sure it is defeated.”

Laura Illig, a chief sponsor of the corporate sales tax initiative, said she doesn’t anticipate any major changes in the campaign in the wake of the grocers’ decision.

“Our plan is to continue to focus on what we always have focused on, which is is explaining the need for and importance of what IP 28 is going to do and why it is the right way for the state.”

The grocers’ decision to end their liquor privatization campaign came after members concluded there was insufficient movement toward a special session on coming up with an alternative to the corporate sales tax, McCormick said.

State Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, who has been pushing for the governor and lawmakers to negotiate an alternative, lower corporate sales tax bill, has said the ballot measure could result in a bitter fight between unions and businesses with tens of millions of dollars spent on political campaigns.

Hass and some other lawmakers have been trying to get the Legislature to hold a special session before the November election, in order to pass an alternative measure to increase corporate taxes. The moment of truth for that effort will likely come in late May, when lawmakers hold interim committee hearings in Salem. Legislative economists are working on an analysis of the economic impact of Our Oregon’s tax measure, and lawmakers expect the economists to release the findings during the May hearings.

Our Oregon, the political action committee that raises money for the union-backed coalition — A Better Oregon, which is campaigning for the tax — also paid consultants to analyze the potential economic impact of the initiative, but so far the group has refused to release those results.

Defend Oregon recently reported its first major contribution in the campaign for the corporate tax measure.

Oregon AFSCME Council 75 gave $100,000 to Defend Oregon on April 19, according to the secretary of state’s campaign finance database.

Ana Burgess Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:51:10 -0400 Ana Burgess of John Day died April 23 at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. A celebration of life will be at noon Saturday, May 14, at Driskill Memorial Chapel in John Day.

Arrangements are under the care of Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.

Jacob ‘Jake’ Streeter Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:51:07 -0400 Jacob “Jake” Streeter, 62, of Dayville, died April 25 at Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day. A celebration of life was held April 30 at Dayville Community Hall.

Streeter was born Dec. 15, 1953, in Ewen Mich., to Clair and Marcella (Vivant) Streeter. He attended Dayville High School.

He worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for 18 years and the Dayville School District for five years. He also had a contracting business with his brother-in-law and Ed Winkelman.

In 1975, he married Cindy Gregg in Dayville.

His hobbies included winemaking, classic cars and running a saw mill. He like helping friends, family and neighbors with home improvement projects, and often had more than one project going at a time.

He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. His favorite time was the annual family trip to the beach.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Cindy Streeter of Dayville; daughters, Jessie (Nick) Swagger of Redmond and Janna (Dennis) Streeter of Sunriver; mother, Sal Streeter of Ontonagon, Mich.; sisters, Mary Snyder of John Day and Viola Wolfe of Ewen; brother, Bud Streeter of Bruce Crossing, Mich.; and grandchildren, Tanner, Zach, Nathan, Kiah and Piper.

He was preceded in death by his father, Clair Streeter; mother-in-law, Glee Gregg; uncle, Bud Streeter; and niece, Melanie Johnston.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Autsim Society of America or the Multiple Sclerosis Society through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.

For condolences, visit

Brown abruptly fires Republican lottery director Tue, 26 Apr 2016 20:36:04 -0400 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown abruptly fired Oregon Lottery Director Jack Roberts on Tuesday and replaced him with an administrator from the Department of Administrative Services.

“I am grateful for Jack’s years of service to the Oregon Lottery, but it is time for a leadership change,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown’s office gave no further explanation except that the agency has recently had some “management problems.” Kristen Grainger, Brown’s spokeswoman, did not reply to an email asking for more details.

Barry Pack, chief administrative officer at the Department of Administrative Services, will serve as the lottery’s interim director.

Pack had previously served as a top aide to Brown during her first term as secretary of state.

The termination came as a surprise to Roberts.

The lottery director had placed his deputy director, Roland Imparraguirre, on paid administrative leave April 18 after the human resources director, who is Imparraguirre’s subordinate, reported that they had engaged in a verbal altercation during which she felt intimidated, Roberts said. He said he asked former Supreme Court Justice Paul de Muniz to conduct an outside evaluation of the incident.

The Governor’s Office let Roberts know they wanted Imparraguirre to be restored to his position.

“I can always be second guessed, but I thought I was handling it the right way,” Roberts said.

Then, on Tuesday morning, Brown’s office summoned him for a meeting.

“I thought we were meeting today to talk about that and how we were going to resolve that,” Roberts said. “Instead I met with chief of staff Kristen Leonard who said the governor wanted to go in new direction.”

Roberts said he asked whether he would be fired if he didn’t resign his position, and Leonard said, yes.

“I told her that frankly, I would be more comfortable with that because I don’t know what explanation I would give for resigning,” Roberts said.

“I enjoyed doing that job and was hoping to do it for longer but understand that’s how this works. I knew I was serving at the pleasure of the governor,” he said.

Former Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed Roberts, a Eugene lawyer, as lottery director in December 2013. He drew a $180,000 salary at the time of his termination.

Roberts served as labor commissioner between 1995 and 2003 and made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination as governor in 2002.

Meet the 2016 primary candidates Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:55:20 -0400 On April 1, the Blue Mountain Eagle sent each candidate in the May primary a certified letter with identical instructions and questions to answer for free publication in this edition.

The candidates were informed in the letter of the deadline, and each responded in time. The candidates were also informed they could include a photo, if they desired, but not all candidates submitted photos.

In alphabetical order for each position, the following are the unedited, verbatim responses received to these questions:

1. Please describe the office for which you are running and its importance. (50 words or less)

2. Why are you running for this office? (50 words or less)

3. What is your background, and what qualifications and experience would you bring to this office? (200 words or less)

4. What issues would you like to address, and how would you do so? (200 words or less)

County Commissioner No. 2

1. The commissioner position is an opportunity to pull everyone together for the greater good. Mayoral experience proved maintaining good relationships and conflict resolution is achievable. Overall management of Grant County and delivery of services to citizens is work I am prepared to do.

2. Our residents cannot afford the status quo. Our way of life is in jeopardy. Wise and frugal government is a must. We need to keep regulations, taxation, and litigation to a minimum. I will work to improve the economy for all the towns in our County.

3. Currently Mayor of Prairie City

Former Prairie City Councilman

Former Prairie City Mayor

Prairie City Budget Committee, 5 years

GREAT Board member

Former Chairperson League of Oregon Cities: Small Cities Council.

Former President of the Grant County

NPRA Rodeo Committee

Current Grant County Rodeo

Committee Chairperson

For the last eight months, weekly deliveries of hay to animals dispossessed of their feed by the fire. Over 1000 tons of hay has been donated through this project.

4. Public lands need to be managed for multiple uses including grazing, logging and recreation. Access, for senior citizens, disabled people, all users, needs to be maintained. I feel forest policy needs to be updated using information gleaned over the last 25 years. This policy is being dictated by those who are out of touch with what is happening in our county. Better forest management requires a much stronger local voice. I think we all can agree that nobody wants the kind of devastating forest fires we have seen in the past. I love our county and I want to see it prosper.

1. My name is Chris Labhart and I am running for re-election to the position of Grant County Commissioner, position #2. Along with the County Judge, we are responsible for all executive and legislative matters within Grant County.

2. I believe I bring experience, knowledge and leadership to the County Court. This Court is able to discuss new ideas and differing opinions, and this ensures that decisions made by a body that works together, benefits all people of Grant County. Making tough decisions is not easy.

3. I have lived in Grant County most of my life and know the customs and culture that are unique to our way of life. I have worked in both the public and private sectors of our economy. I have served on the City Council of both Canyon City and John Day as a councilor and mayor. I was elected to the ESD and Blue Mountain Hospital District boards. I presently serve on the Local Community Advisory Council and the 12 County Regional Community Advisory Council, of which I chaired twice. I presently serve on the Association of Oregon Counties Steering Committees for Veterans, Public Lands and Natural Resources and Legislative issues. I was appointed to the Health Evidence Revision Commission by the Governor. I am the only representative from Eastern Oregon. I worked to bring Air Life of Oregon and New Hope for Eastern Oregon to Grant County and worked to build the Grant County Regional Airport Industrial Park. I am a County College graduate, class of 2013. I volunteer as an Oregon Hunter Safety instructor, Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team member and Department of Veterans Affairs driver to Burns and Boise.

4. The issues that I believe affect our county are many. Job retention and creation, Veterans, Health Care and senior programs are tops on my list. We must ensure Grant County retains the jobs we already have. Infrastructure improvements; from schools, streets and bridges, recreation opportunities, stewardship contracts and health care facilities are but a few of the things that will help keep the jobs we already have. We must work with our federal, state and local agencies to provide a positive and safe working environment for their employees. Ensuring our veterans have the information and access to the benefits they have earned and deserve should be everyone’s goal. A county funded Veterans Service Officer is an important step to ensure our veterans are served. Quality and affordable health care is critical to our county. When someone wants to move to an area, they always look into access to health care. A county supported hospital district, health department and a school based health clinic have helped. Over 25% of Grant Counties population is citizens age 65 and over. We must provide a wide variety of services to our seniors.


1. The duties of the Grant County Treasurer’s office are to receive and safely keep, budget, and record the revenues and other public monies of the County, to distribute the monies collected to the proper recipients, and to pay the County’s bills as directed by the Grant County Commissioners.

2. My motivation for seeking the office of Grant County Treasurer is to serve the people of Grant County to the highest standards of my ability. I believe my leadership skills, knowledge of fiscal management, my dedication to the job and responsibilities, qualify me to serve as Treasurer of Grant County.

3. I have more than 10 years experience in accounting and finance. Eight years with Intuit Inc., assisting large and small companies with budgets, financial reports, bank reconciliations, and more. I have also worked for H&R Block, and I’m currently with Malheur Lumber Company, doing Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable.

I am knowledgeable and experienced with computers, DOS, Microsoft Office Suite, WordPerfect Office Suite, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and several different accounting programs.

I have good communication, and organizational skills, use good judgment, am able to think on my feet and adapt to changing situations. I am self-motivated and work well as a team member.

My family moved to Grant County in 1973. I went to school and worked in the mills here. I left for college, employment, and to assist with the care for my invalid mother-in-law. My wife Darla and I moved back here, after her mother passed away in 2013. Most of my family is here, including my two kids and grandkids.

I love Grant County and am proud to call it home.

4. I would like to continue the exceptional job Kathy Smith has done during her tenure as treasurer.

Transparency, integrity, stewardship, and financial stability, are the attributes I’d like to bring to the job when I’m elected County Treasurer.

1. The county treasurer is responsible for receiving, dispersing, and investing all monies belonging to the county according to Oregon statutes. The three most important investment priorities of the treasurer should be to:

(A.) Protect the principal.

(B.) Keep monies available for dispersing (i.e. liquidity).

(C.) Manage the interest rate.

2. As a trust-worthy citizen of Grant County, I’m running for this position for two reasons. First, I offer unique capabilities and insight due to my hands-on-experience with our current treasurer. Second, I’m dedicated to committing the remainder of my career (16 years) to maintaining and enhancing a solid financial foundation.

3. I currently work as the Deputy Clerk in the Grant County Clerk’s Office. Raised in Grant County, I began my career working as a bookkeeper for Jackson Oil (26 years) and Ed Staub & Sons (4 years). During this time I gained years of direct experience dealing with all aspects of accounting and finance.

Working as the Deputy Clerk, alongside our current treasurer, Kathy Smith, to pay the county’s bills, I receive, review, and provide budgeting oversight all while ensuring expenses are processed as budget law requires. I also maintain capital outlay purchases in our county’s AS-400 computer system for annual audit review. Working with Kathy has provided me with unique insight and hands-on experience with the county’s accounts payable process.

I also serve as Treasurer to Lutheran’s Women’s Missionary League and as a Director on the Mid-County Cemetery Board. I’m also dedicated to our county’s annual community fundraiser for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

I believe that working as your treasurer would be the perfect culmination to my career. Please allow me to offer my proven work experience, talent, and drive to help our county adequately plan for and take on the challenges of future growth within the county.

4. As your Treasurer, I’ll immediately place a strong focus on deciphering how the recent decrease in federal and state funds directly impacts our county’s financial state. I’ll then determine what steps can and should be taken to counteract this impending loss.

While doing so, I’ll work alongside our county commissioners and judge to ensure that priorities are being properly set to protect the services most desired while maintaining an optimal financial balance. The importance of strong and honest communication between the various departments cannot be understated.

I also believe that it has never been more important to embrace improvements in technology. Whether you love or despise computers, one cannot deny that as a county we’re slightly behind in the Digital Age. Working with other departments I’ll identify various changes that I believe our county can benefit from. Doing so should improve the financial process by eliminating unnecessary manual tasks and will also free up manpower allowing us to better serve the citizens of Grant County.

Please allow me, Julie Ellison, to leverage my 30+ years of accounting experience and loyal dedication to the community, to continue in Kathy’s footsteps to maintain and improve the financial well-being of our great county.

1. The position I am running for is Grant County Treasurer. It is a very important role to the county, all the county’s finances pass through this office and need to be accurately accounted for. The budget must balance and each payable and receivable documented for the county to see.

2. I am running for Treasurer to serve the people of Grant County. I am experienced not only in accounting, but also working with government agencies. It is my goal to upgrade the systems that are in place and to improve the transparency of the county’s finances to the public.

3. My background is over 20 years in accounting. I attended college taking accounting, budgeting and math courses. I am experienced in accounts payable, receivable, payroll, budgeting, cost accounting and bank reconcilliation. I work for the Grant County Road Department, which has one of the largest budgets in the county. Some of my current responsibilities are tracking our costs, preparing accounts payables, recording receivables and balancing budget expenditures. I previously worked for two other government agencies, the City of John Day as senior accounts clerk and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument as maintenance clerk/cost accounting. I enjoy the challenge of the checks and balances of a budget. I also serve on the Dayville School Board. My other job is doing all the accounting for our cattle ranch and my husband’s excavation business. I understand balancing budgets and making your money work for you. My goal is to show the County’s budget honestly, holding each department, along with the County Judge and Commissioners responsible in their decisions on how the County’s funds are spent.

4. The issues I would like to address are the Court’s decisions on the County’s expenditures. We, the County officials, are elected by the people. It is our responsibility to be accountable to each citizen. Our priorities should reflect the people of Grant County. We live in a county where people work hard and don’t want their money wasted. If I can show the public exactly, down to the penny, where the money is being spent, then I am doing my job. I want to be honest, my integrity is on the line. Another issue or goal I have is to update the County’s programs, to make documents available online. To update the accounting systems to pay bills online, automatic payroll online, look up the budget, pay taxes online...these are some of my goals. We live in a very large county where a trip to town is not always possible, so if you could sit in the comfort of your own home while checking on something at the technology! Most important though is to work together to make this County successful. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, lets take care of it!

1. On a daily basis the treasurer receives monies and pays the County bills. On a monthly basis the duties include bank reconciliation for all accounts, assisting with the payroll process, and working with all department heads to get the correct information to the County Court in the budget statement.

2. I am a bookkeeper and it would be an honor to use those skills to serve the citizens of Grant County. I would provide transparency by answering all questions that the public has on where the tax dollars go so they can feel confident in their government.

3. I have more than 30 years of experience as a bookkeeper and office manager and I am currently the County Fair Manager. I have worked with many different accounting systems and am an owner of a local business managing all of the receipting of monies and paying of bills. As YOUR Fair Manager I have worked with the County Budget for the last 5.5 years so I am familiar with the existing systems in place. I have created and maintained detailed spreadsheets throughout my career to provide and track a clear explanation of expenses and I want to do the same as YOUR Grant County Treasurer. You deserve to know the details of how your tax dollars are used by the County and I will make that information accessible to you in a clear and timely way. This is an important job and I believe my skills and experience combined with a commitment to transparency and accountability make me the most qualified candidate for the job.

4. The issues that I would like to address is how do we all work together in the Court House to make sure that we are a cohesive unit for the tax payers of Grant County. We have been elected to these position by the people with faith that we will do good for them. I am a firm believer in giving 110% at all times by going above and beyond when it comes to making a difference. As I am learning the job I will always be looking for ways to make processes easier and all actions as efficient as possible. I will take advantage of any trainings that are available to be wise in the investments for the County tax dollars. I am the type of person that likes to learn new things that will help to make the job more proficient. I would work with all County departments to help create systems to make the County work efficiently with the Treasurers Office. There is always another project that you can be working on or reaching a hand out to help someone else that is behind.

Public Forest Commission No. 5

1. I am running for Grant Co. Public Forest Comm. Position #5.

2. I believe the Forest Comm. needs to play a vital role in bringing balance between county residents, their values and our public lands management by the USFS, BLM, and the environmentalists.

3. I am a life- long resident of Grant County. I am passionate about our environment in our county, which in my opinion has spiraled out of control at the hands of environmentalist mandates! The culmination of which has been the Canyon Creek Complex. That being said, I believe my greatest qualifying point may be my personal experience in this county. I have been a contractor, professional trapper, saw mill employee and a carpenter for ODFW placing fish screens. I also plan on retiring at the end of this year and my bucket list is pretty short so I can donate some real time to our forest health.

4. The issues at hand are both simple and complex. Jobs first and forest health are issues that need to be keenly addressed. Then add to this mix, recreational opportunities. With environmentalists, their lawyers, judges, and politicians controlling our public lands the last 25 years all of us should be able to see where this has brought us. Sound management is sorely lacking and far from where it needs to be. The huge business of fire needs to take a back seat to said sound management. Thanks!

1. I believe that the Public Forest Commission should be working for the people that elected them to the position. The PFC has been charged with the duty of keeping the public and the court advised of the actions of public land managers on access and management of our public lands.

2. I will be able to help move to Commission forward. It appears that some of the people running for a position, seek to destroy the Commission. I will to listen to the people of Grant County and address the issues that they feel important regarding our forest.

3. I have lived in Grant County for 50 years, transferring here by the company I worked for, spending 33 years working as a claims investigator, working fraud and arson cases. I retired in 2000, but continued to work with a large Eastern Oregon law firm. During my years in Grant County, I have spent a great deal of time involved in numouris issues that involved our forest. Working with the Forest Service, in the mid-seventies and early eighties, writing the recreation policy for snowmobiles on the forest. I have continued to try and work with the Forest Service on many other issues. I have worked hard on forest access. As part of my family was involved in the logging industry, I learned early on, the importance of proper forest management and access to our forest.

4. If elected, I will work hard to move the Forest Commission forward, stressing to the commission, the importance of better communication with the people, the court and the Forest Service. I will continue to work with the new or old County Court. I will continue try and work with the Forest Service, on forest management and forest access. I will listen to the people of the county. I plan, if elected, to give the people of Grant County a VOICE on forest issues that we are faced with today and in the future. I will continue to push the investigation of the Canyon Creek Complex fire forward.

1. I am running for the Grant County Public Forest Commission acting with fellow commissioners on behalf of the citizens of Grant County for the creation of policies based on the principle of multiple use for management of timber, grazing, mining, recreation and maintenance of aesthetic beauty of the landscape.

2. To provide input, with the other Public Forest Commissioners, on natural resource management on our public lands within Grant County in order to protect the economic well-being of the citizens of Grant County and improve the health of our forests on all public lands within Grant County.

3. I am a lifelong, 4th generation resident of Grant County with over 40 years of experience in natural resource management.

I have owned and for 19 years was the managing partner in our family ranch in Grant County.

7 years, with my partner, as General Manager in a sawmill which purchased timber from public lands within Grant County.

28 years as a natural resource consultant and resource economist for land owners and land management entities within Grant County, Eastern Oregon, Washington and Western Idaho providing advice and management service in areas including:

Public Land Use Restriction analysis Wilderness designations analysis

Timber Management and Policies Livestock Management

Water Resources and Management Wildlife Management and Policies

County Comprehensive Planning Zoning Issues

I have served on the Grant County Public Forest Commission for the past 8 years.

I have worked for over 45 years to improve the economy of Grant County and the ecological health of the forests within Grant County through personal projects on my own lands; input, comments and testimony on many projects, plans and proposals affecting natural resources within Grant County; and through service on numerous boards and committees within Grant County.

4. As a member of the Grant County Public Forest Commission I would work on all issues affecting the management and utilization of the forests within Grant County including:

(A.) Development, revision, implementation of the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision currently in process of being released;

(B.) Analysis, comments to and input on all land and resource projects (timber sales, habitat restoration projects, travel management proposals, road closures, road decommissioning, grazing issues, and mining restrictions) affecting the Malheur National Forest, BLM managed lands within Grant County, lands managed by the various State of Oregon entities which manage lands within Grant County and other federally managed lands; and

(C.) Analysis, comments on and input on legislation proposed by the US Congress the Oregon State Legislature which may have impacts to the ecological health of the forests within Grant County and/or to the economic well-being of the citizens of Grant County.

In addition to the direct input provided by the Grant County Public Forest Commission I would encourage my fellow commissioners to provide similar advice, input and recommendations to the members of the Grant County Court on the relevant projects, plans and legislative actions considered by the Grant County Public Forest Commission.

Public Forest Commission No. 7

1. My name is Larry Blasing and I am running for Grant County Public Forest Commission Position #7. I am the incumbent and have been on the Commission for eight years. Commission members are elected by the citizens of Grant County to serve as their representatives to insure that our public lands are managed for both the economic and social benefits that we enjoy.

2. In the past, the U.S. Forest Service (our largest public land ownership) has failed in it’s responsibilities to provide commercial timber for our industries, the backbone of Grant Counties economy. They have also systematically ignored requests by Grant County citizens to maintain access for recreational opportunities that we enjoy.

3. I attended school in Unity, Bates and Prairie City, graduating from High School in 1956. I graduated from Oregon State University in Forest Management in 1964. My professional career has been in the forest products industry with experience throughout the Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska. Basic experience has ranged from “dirt” forestry to logging and sawmill manager. A large portion of my career was representing the forest products industry in Montana, Idaho, northeast Washington and Alaska. This required involvement in all manner of forest policy, contract interpretation, forest land use, research, forest pest management, appeals, litigation and virtually any issue that involved public forest land management. I organized local, state and national forest products industry efforts that dealt with specific issues of concern. I frequently testified on legislation at state and Congressional levels and served as industry spokesman with print and TV media. More recently I believe I made the first phone calls to other members of the commission that resulted in the organization of an Eastern Oregon response to the disastrous Draft US Forest Service Management Plan for the Eastern Oregon Forests. Members of the Commission presented legal and technical deficiencies in the Plan that caused the Forest Service to reconsider their position. Our comments were used widely by the public in their response to the Plan.

4. The Grant County Public Forest Commission while being elected, is none the less a volunteer group. Our ability to be effective is restricted due to lack of budget and conflicts with other personal responsibilities of the members.

We could have a better presence at hearings, appeals and in extreme cases litigation where it is important to Grant County. The Commission needs to continue to be a voice for Grant County on Forest Management issues and to work with the County Court to insure that our voice is heard. We need to continue to work with the agencies and various publics including Blue Mountain Forest Partners to keep the management of our public lands moving forward. The economic and social interests of Grant County are still our primary responsibilities.

1. I am running for position # 7 of the Grant County Forest Commission as an4th generation Grant County resident. After the devastating fires of the past several years it has become evident that a more aggressive management of our natural resources must be taken. This was the mandate during formulation of the Forest Commission.

2. I have chosen to run because I believe that the current position holder is not representative of the best interests of the citizens of Grant County. Grant County is at a crossroads in forest health and management and I intend to meet these issues head on.

3. I have a lifetime experience in natural resources as a fourth generation rancher and wish to pass on a better Grant County to my children and Grandchildren.

4. I believe that Grant County residents deserve an immediate investigation into the Mason Springs and Berry Creek fires as to early suppression efforts and effects of such actions therein. We need to address the fine fuel component of these restoration projects which is a major cause of these large fires and is not being currently managed properly. With increased restoration come increased grasses and fine fuels which without increases in overall grazing capacity causing catastrophes wild fires to occur.

Public Forest Commission Alternate No. 1

1. I am running for the Public Forest Commission position 1A. I think the commission can be important counsel to the County Court in reviewing forestry plans and weighing in on matters about roads and the economic impacts of proposed Forest Service projects and other forestry related plans being considered.

2. I believe in engaging the most current science and blending that with the needs of the County, engaging multiple points of view to come up with the best possible recommendations. I think some of the current commissioners are coming at it from an extremist point of view witch is non-productive.

3. I started in forestry in 1980, prescribed fire and wildfire in1986, I have worked to advance in my field and stay current with science; I have traveled and worked forest from California to Northern Montana and across the Great Basin having been based on the Malheur since 1994. I served 7 years on the Dayville Schoolboard, ten years as a board member for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, Co-founder of the Grant County Off-Road Association and currently Director-at-Large for the Oregon State Snowmobile Association I believe in lifelong learning and over the last 10 years have accelerated that with my participation in forestry collaboratives and attending forestry seminars, there is much new information to be had today and I consider today’s forestry to be the most exciting and well-informed of my career. I bring 17 years of boardroom experience, a good working understanding of meeting process, human dynamics and a cooperative inclusive and positive attitude. A healthy forest and community takes much more than cutting down trees and sending them to the mill, I can bring understanding of the service contract side which is underrepresented and I am very concerned with motorized recreation on the forest and advocate for access.

4. First address the Charter passed by Grant County voters in a time when the timber industry was brought to a standstill and times were bad, two approaches were launched at that time; the Public Forest Commission and Collaboration, the latter is currently responsible for bring 4 million per year into the Malheur and an average timber harvest around 70 M board feet per year. I see no reason the PFC is working against this effort, both can be useful in the effort to better the County. The PFC charter mandated Grant County to take full control of all the public lands within its boundaries, create new ranger districts and take 100% of the Forest Service firefighting budget for ten years. That obviously did not and will not happen so it is time to re-invent what the commission does. This would be either an effort of the commission and County Court or a legal and constitutional solution created. The County Court does and should weigh-in to the Forest Service on planned projects, as the members of the Court (or the Sheriff) are not forestry professionals, a need exists to draw on the experience of this commission to make recommendations.

My background has been in ranching and logging. I have served on the Grant County Public Forest Commission for many years and will continue to advocate common-sense solutions to problems within the forests in Grant County. It is imperative to keep the commission as a grass roots entity for the people and not for special interest groups.

Public Forest Commission Alternate No. 2

From my years of experience in the woods I strongly believe we are at a turning point in our forests. If we do not become responsible in the stewardship necessary to make the forest fire resistant, we will continue to see fires create destruction that will take generations to renew. I would like to be a part of the Grant County Forest Commission that fulfills the mission the citizens of Grant County wanted when the commission was formed. I will listen to the people and not special interest groups in working with the members to achieve a healthy forest that creates employment and resources.

1. I am running for Grant County Public Forest Commission. I feel that a public forest commission that was chartered by the citizens of Grant County to give policy recommendations and attempt to influence project design on the public lands in Grant County is of the utmost importance.

2. I am a life-long resident of Grant County, have lived and built a business here in the logging, timber and ranching industry. The economic and social health of Grant County is very important to me. The success of natural resource management on the public lands is the key to that success.

3. My father, Jack Young, bought what became Iron Triangle Logging from Edward Hines Lumber Company in 1983. In 1997 I bought the company from my dad and have grown the company to currently employ over 100 employees including an oil company, logging side, road side, and ranch.

Through our logging operations over the past 25 years we have managed tens of thousands of acres of both public and private timberland and know what it takes to successfully manage forests for economic benefit and forest health.

Our ranch has grazing permits and leases with both the BLM and the USFS and I understand the importance of this relationship for local ranchers, the community and industry as a whole.

My family and I recreate on public lands in Grant County and believe in continued access to these lands for generations to come.

I believe that the array of Iron Triangle’s businesses including our diverse employment base gives me a unique perspective on what is important when it comes to how our public lands should be managed. I have always been willing to listen to others and will work together with the other commissioners to help Grant County be successful into the future.

4. The public lands in Grant County cover over 65% of the land base. Every management action that occurs on public land is important. I would like to work with the other public forest commissioners to make sure that the policy decisions that are being recommended to the government are good for the citizens of Grant County and for the forest. This can come in the form of specific policy recommendations to the BLM, US Forest Service or Congress but can also be affected by a more project by project involvement. I would like to work with all interested parties to help move forest management in a direction that is more advantageous to everyone.

We need to be treating more acres and treating these acres to a level that allows for more economic benefit to the local community as well as putting the condition of the forest back on a trajectory to withstand disease, drought and forest fire. We also need to keep a level of access across our forests that allow for the types of recreation that our citizens love. These policies will be based on proven science and by working with interested citizens for the best outcomes.

Public Forest Commission No. 1

I am unapposed in the #1 position with the Grant County Public Forest Commission and will be embarrassed if not re-elected. With that said the commission is at crossroads where its effectiveness as a voice of Grant County will be compromised if people that have a special interest to promote are elected. Carefully consider candidates that represent a company or special interest group and ask this question. Will that individual best represent Grant County or themselves? Thank you for your confidence and I will continue to serve as best I can.

Public Forest Commission No. 3

I have a lifetime in Forest Resource management from the ground up. I will continue to serve the people of Grant County as a voice that does not have a personal motive or governed by special interest. We must have aggressive stewardship that will be effective to promote forest health and be fire resistant. Everyone can benefit from that or we stand by and watch our forests destroyed by fire and everyone and everything loses.


1. The Assessor is responsible for locating, identifying, inventorying, and valuing all properties in the county. They must also have the ability to explain and defend each real market and assessed value. This position is important to ensure fairness and equity for all taxpayers in Grant County.

2. I believe that with the experience I’ve gained as Chief Appraiser over the past 11 years in the Assessor’s office I can offer Grant County a qualified choice. I am committed to accuracy and love this county in which I’ve lived my entire life.

3. I was born and raised in John Day and graduated from Grant Union High School. For several years I worked with my father doing commercial and residential construction throughout the county. The past 11 years I have worked under Lane Burton and Karen Officer in the Assessor’s office as Chief Appraiser. During this time some of my responsibilities included: physically inspecting all properties in the county, answering taxpayer questions, doing appraisal set-ups, establishing real market values for properties in the county, etc. I have worked very hard to build a level of trust between myself and the taxpayers of Grant County and will continue to do so.

4. As the Assessor’s office is going through the transition of losing two Assessors within one year with a combined experience of over 75 years the challenge is a large one. I am fortunate to be training at this time under the current Assessor to be ready for the position and its demands. The issues in the forefront will be a rotation of positions due to the retirement of two consecutive Assessors. We will all be working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible while learning new responsibilities. I look forward to becoming the next Assessor of Grant County and the challenges it will present.


1. The County Surveyor provides several important services to the public, including: reviewing and recording maps and plats, making maps and other documents available to the public, maintaining Section and 1/4 Section Corners and conducting court ordered surveys. I also work closely with other county departments to provide information when necessary.

2. Most Surveys have a direct or indirect impact on private landowners. It is essential that the public has access to a complete and orderly set of these records. I would like to continue in my position as County Surveyor in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

3. In 1998 I received my bachelor of science in Land Surveying from Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. That same year my wife and I moved to John Day where I began work for Bagett, Griffith and Blackman Surveying. At that time Bob Bagett was the County Surveyor as well as a partner in his surveying firm. After four years of being an intern and continuing my education under the guidance of Mr. Bagett, I received my Professional Land Surveyor’s license. From about 2002 to 2008 I was the deputy County Surveyor. In 2008 I won the primary election for the position of Grant County Surveyor and began my term in 2009 when Bob retired. That same year Jason Hatfield and I started Benchmark Land Surveying. I was re-elected as County Surveyor in 2012 and in 2013 was selected by my peers to be the Oregon County Surveyor of the Year.

I think my experience as a private surveyor and also serving two terms as County Surveyor makes me uniquely qualified for this position. I always strive to provide the public and our clients with the highest quality service I possibly can.

4. Along with my other responsibilities, there are two primary areas where I’d like to focus my attention in my next term. First I would like to add more information to the County Surveyor’s web site. Currently users can view or copy maps, land partition plats and corner restoration records from the site. I would like to complete the addition of all our subdivision plats and possibly a few other types of documents. Secondly I will continue the restoration and maintenance of section corners and 1/4 corners throughout the county with a particular I emphasis on corners that were destroyed or damaged in the Canyon Creek fire. In many cases this involves evaluating bearing trees and setting additional accessories.

‘Squaw’ names replaced Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:43:59 -0400 Thirteen natural features in Grant County have been re-named, replacing “squaw” titles for new monikers proposed by the Grant County Court and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the new names April 14. The list includes eight creeks, one spring, three meadows and one rock.

Here are the new names, along with their locations, name origins and variant names, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Geographic Names Information System:

Location: 2.5 miles long, heads 15 miles north of Hamilton, flows southeast to the John Day River.

Origin: Umatilla origin, reportedly means “spirit.”

Location: 1.3 miles long, flows east then north into Škáypiya Creek, 13 miles north of Hamilton.

Origin: Umatilla origin, reportedly means “spirit.”

Location: Umatilla National Forest, 13 miles southwest of Granite and 14 miles northwest of Bates.

Origin: George W. Donaldson (1901-1992), a lifetime Grant County resident and avid outdoorsman. Donaldson logged with horses and loaded logs via narrow-gauge railroad. During the Depression, he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps and later worked for the Forest Service with mining and surveying crews. He and his brother established the Donaldson Mine and built a cabin on the claim.

Variant name: Ha’áyatom Píswe Rock, from the language of the Umatilla Tribes, reportedly means “woman’s rock.”

Location: Umatilla National Forest, 2.7 miles long, heads 3.7 miles northwest of Granite, flows generally south-southwest to enter Granite Creek.

Origin: Umatilla origin, reportedly means “little.”

Location: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 4.8 miles northeast of Bates.

Origin: Myrtle boxwood plant found in the area.

Variant name: From the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “to make stone tools out of a hard rock.”

Location: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 9.7 miles long, heads 16 miles northeast of Prairie City, 15 miles south of Granite.

Origin: Umatilla origin, reportedly means “scattered,” a reference to the streams flowing into that place.

Location: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 95 acres, 7 miles southeast of Bates, 19 miles southwest of Sumpter.

Origin: Umatilla origin, reported means “scattered,” a reference to the streams flowing into that place.

Location: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, 35 acres, 6.9 miles southeast of Bates and 21 miles southwest of Sumpter.

Origin: Refers to the meadow’s location at the head of Frosty Gulch.

Variant name: Little Wíwaanaytt Meadow, from the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “scattered.”

Location: Malheur National Forest, 5.7 miles long, heads just east of Squaw Butte, 15 miles south-southwest of Unity, flows south to the Little Malheur River.

Origin: Mona Cammann Browning (1903-1990), who, with her husband, both members of pioneer Oregon families, homesteaded on 600 acres on the stream in the 1930s.

Variant name: Waqíima Creek, from the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “spirit.”

Location: Malheur National Forest, 9.7 acres, 23 miles south of Prairie City, 15 miles northeast of Silvies.

Origin: Dodecatheon meadia, a perennial wildflower with the common name “shooting star.”

Variant name: Sáykiptatpa Meadow, from the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “at the medicine.”

Location: Malheur National Forest/Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, 10 miles long, flows north-northeast then north-northwest in Prairie City to the John Day River.

Origin: Phillip T. Sharp, who in 1872, homesteaded on 160 acres near the mouth of the stream.

Variant name: Nikéemex̣š Creek, from the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “rough interiors.”

Location: 6.3 miles long, flows west-northwest then north-northeast along the west side of Sheep Ridge to enter Donaldson Creek, 25 miles northwest of John Day.

Origin: Honors Northern Paiute Chief We-You-We-Wa (“Wewa”).

Location: Bureau of Land Management land, heads at the confluence of Buckhorn and Indian creeks, flows east then east-southeast to the John Day River.

Origin: Associated with nearby Goose Rock.

Variant name: Ákakpa Creek, from the Umatilla Tribes language, reportedly means “at the goose.”

Grant County athletes tear up tracks Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:40:48 -0400 Angel Carpenter CRANE — The Prairie City and Long Creek track and field teams competed at last Friday’s Ranchers Invitational against five other small schools.

Prairie City and Monument schools also traveled to Saturday’s 10th Annual Pepsi Invitational in Union where they faced 18 other competitors, including 4A schools.

Prairie City track and field head coach Joe Weymouth said his team’s best performance was at Crane’s Ranchers Invitational last Friday.

“We had five of six (athletes) with personal records,” he said.

The Prairie City girls team placed third out of seven teams.

Beating their personal best scores were Haley Pfefferkorn in the 100-meter dash and javelin, Megan Camarena in shot put and Amaya Zweygardt in the triple jump.

For the boys, Wyatt Williams made a personal record in the 100, and Garrett Hitz also increased his time in the 300 high hurdle and his mark in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6 feet.

The Long Creek boys and girls each finished fifth in Crane.

Head coach Linda Studtmann said she is happy with her team’s efforts.

“For many of our athletes, it is their first year doing track and field,” she said. “They are all working hard to learn and improve in their events. It means a lot to me as a coach to watch them put in the effort and to see their excitement each time they PR. I’m proud of them all.”

For the girls, Lilly Stemmann placed second in long jump and had a personal record in javelin where she placed fifth.

Andrea Moreno earned third in the triple jump.

Mew Wiriyasumon achieved personal records in all three of her events, the 100, discus and long jump.

Raquel Silva also surpassed her personal record in discus, placing ninth.

On the boys side, Fernando Rodriguez placed third in the high jump, earning a personal record.

The 4x100 relay team of Philipp Dessau, Aaron Yeung, Adam Rajabeliev and Kirill Borisov placed third in their event.

Rajabeliev was also third in the 800, followed by teammate Cody Baker who placed fourth with a personal record.

Borisov earned a personal record in the 200, placing fourth, and also beat his record in the 100.

Near Bunnag also surpassed his previous high mark in discus.

There were 26 teams in all competing in Union, including 4A schools.

Highlights from Prairie City include Garrett Hitz earning first in pole vault, second in high jump, third in the 110 high hurdles and fourth in javelin.

Amaya Zweygardt had a third-place finish in pole vault, and Megan Camarena was 11th out of 52 in shot put.

Weymouth said he was happy his team would have a full week of practice before Prairie City’s first home meet on their new track at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Prairie City Athletic Director Billy Colson said no one knows when the school last hosted an invitational. They’ll also hold a High Desert League Meet, a twilight meet, at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 5.

For Monument, the girls team finished mid-pack, ninth out of 20 teams.

Sophie Pettit won the 100 in 13.19 and earned second in the 200 with 27.47. She also had a personal record in the triple jump with a mark of 31-02.50.

Several athletes scratched in the long jump, and Long Creek coach Darrin Dailey said Union’s runway and pit need renovation.

“All my jumpers felt it was unsafe,” he said.

Dailey said several of his athletes earned personal records at the meet.

“Dinorha (Vidrio Landin) had perhaps the biggest PR of the meet,” he said. “She beat her previous 800-meter time by nearly 10 seconds, running a 3:12.77.”

Others surpassing their previous records, included Kyla Emerson who finished eighth in the 100 hurdles. She also tied for fifth in the long jump and was eighth in the 300 hurdles.

Faythe Schafer had records in three events, including the 100, 400 and discus.

Tamara Homan was nearly three seconds faster in the 400, and Maya Thomas had season records in the 800 and 3,000.

Aubrey Werner increased her shot put mark by 1.5 feet and her discus throw by nearly 3 feet.

On the boys side, Hayden Schafer earned a season record in javelin with 140-01, finishing seventh out of 59 competitors.

Jess Hoodenpyl ran the 800 and 1,500 with his usual marks.

Grant County teams competing at the Grant Union Small Schools Meet on Tuesday, April 19, included Grant Union, Monument, Prairie City and Long Creek.

The Grant Union girls won first place with 203.5, followed by Burns with 136.5 and Monument with 71.

For the boys, Burns won the meet with 164.5. Crane followed with 119.5, and Condon/Wheeler placed third with 89.

Grant Union head coach Sonna Smith said the event turned out well.

“We had marks that helped them improve their standings in district,” she said.

Coming up this week, Prairie City holds their invitational at 11 a.m. Saturday which will be attended by Prairie City, Grant Union and Monument schools, as well as two others.

Grant Union canceled their Wednesday, May 4, home meet due to several teams withdrawing.

Grant Union and Monument will attend the May 6 Baker Invitational, and Grant Union will gear up for 2A-6 Wapiti League Districts set for 11 a.m. Friday, May 13, in Union.

Editorial cartoons Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:41:33 -0400

Our View: True journalism Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:41:20 -0400 In the social media era where information can be instantaneously shared around the world by almost anyone with no more effort than a few keystrokes and the click of a button, some may question the value of traditional journalism.

Why wait for the newspaper to report on an incident when you can simply tune in to the unfiltered gossip online?

The logic makes sense to a certain extent, and the strategy may work most of the time. Reading a Facebook post from someone whose house just burned down will often provide most of the pertinent information, and something like that is usually easy to confirm, if not completely accurate.

But, believe it or not, many of the “facts” floating around on the internet are not true. What then?

Do you believe the comments that get the most “likes” or the ones that get repeated the most or maybe just those that tell you what you want to hear? When everyone with a keyboard can spew information with no accountability for inaccuracy, discerning the truth can be difficult.

And this is why journalism is even more important in the age of Twitter and Facebook.

Contrary to what you may have read on the web, neither this newspaper nor any of its employees are part of a conspiracy to defraud the public. Nor will this paper stoop to the level of publishing unverified rhetoric to push a particular agenda.

Journalism requires digging for facts — public documents, official records, firsthand accounts — and representing both sides of an argument or issue. At the Eagle, we work diligently to provide the best verifiable information available to inform our readers.

As an example, we recently chose not to publish a letter to the editor that contained accusations against three local people without any corresponding evidence. The writer blamed these people for “coercing (him) to file a discrimination suit” against an elected county official and said he had formally withdrawn his complaint.

Rather than immediately publish the juicy gossip, which may or may not be true, we did what we would do with any information like this: We requested the relevant documents from the appropriate agency to provide a factual foundation before we broadcast it to the world.

We determined a complaint had been filed, but the case was still open, so most of the documents could not be released. The agency representative said, even if the complaint was withdrawn, it may take some time before the case was officially closed and the documents would be available to the public. We were encouraged to check back soon, and like any diligent news agency, we intend to do so.

In the meantime, the letter was published on a website of an organization claiming to be a news outlet. Publishing the letter was certainly their prerogative, but accompanying the letter was an explanation with patently false claims about this newspaper. And the organization did not even try to contact the Eagle before publishing the false information.

The explanation claims the Eagle’s publisher contacted the letter writer, which never happened. It claims the Eagle said the letter would not be printed because the use of the word “coercing” was a crime, which is not accurate. Worst of all, it claims the letter writer was told the Eagle would publish the letter after the upcoming elections, which is ridiculous.

The Eagle’s editor did leave a phone message for the letter writer and informed him the letter could not be printed because it contained accusations of possible illegal conduct. Using the word “coercing” is not a crime, but accusing people of the crime of coercion without allowing them to explain their actions — or to deny the allegations — could be considered libel, which is printed slander or defamation. And a news organization can be found liable for damages for such claims, even for publishing a letter written by someone else.

And the letter writer was not told it would be published after the elections. That letter will never be printed on the Eagle’s opinion page, and the writer was told as much.

The letter contained no opinion. It was a list of allegations presented as fact. People are entitled to their own opinions, such as their favorite color, and we enjoy providing a forum for that on our opinion page.

When it comes to reporting facts, however, we hold ourselves to a higher standard and dig for verifiable truth. And this is much different than opinion. While people may argue about what, in their opinion, is the best color, the color of the agency’s date-received stamp on the complaint filed by the letter writer is most certainly blue. That’s a fact.

Finding the truth requires work. We contact the relevant parties. We solicit and publish their comments to provide the most complete story possible.

Then we publish the results of that work, of that journalism, as a news article — not on the opinion page. And if we get something wrong, we publish a correction to clear up the facts.

This is what separates real journalism from the rest of the information one might encounter.

It is thorough. It is vetted. It is not one-sided. It is accurate, and if ever it is proven to be inaccurate, it is quickly corrected to comply with the facts.

Be wary of any organization claiming to be a news outlet that does not follow this process, that does not attempt to contact the people it writes about, that does not dig for verifiable facts beneath the rumors and gossip. Be wary, even if they’re telling you what you want to hear.

Opinions are one thing. Facts are another.

In the modern era of information technology, a journalist that can tell the difference is more important than ever.

County commissioner candidates speak at forum Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:34:06 -0400 Sean Hart Editor’s note: This article covers the county commissioner position on the May primary ballot. The remaining positions will be covered in next week’s Eagle.

Candidates vying for positions in the May primary explained their platforms at a forum sponsored by the Mt. Vernon Grange Saturday.

Positions up for election in May include county commissioner No. 2, treasurer, assessor, surveyor and six Public Forest Commission seats.

Assessor candidate David Thunell is running unopposed, as is surveyor candidate Mike Springer.

Both candidates for commissioner No. 2, incumbent Chris Labhart and Prairie City Mayor Jim Hamsher, spoke at the forum, along with all four treasurer candidates, Doug Carpenter, Julie Ellison, Tandi Merkord and Mary Weaver. Most of the forest commission candidates spoke as well.

Labhart said he graduated from Grant Union in 1968, where he returned for a 28-year teaching career after his 10-year reunion.

He said job retention, veterans, seniors and health care are his priorities.

Seniors comprise more than 25 percent of the county’s population, he said, adding he has visited every senior center. He said there are more than 700 veterans in the county, and he has been working to increase the hours of the veterans service officer position.

“Grant County is a great place to call home,” Labhart said, adding people should work together to improve it.

Hamsher said his family moved to the area in the 1800s and he has lived here his whole life.

He said, if elected, he would hold town halls, listen to the people and act according to the majority’s wishes.

Hamsher said he wants to see the county survive and thrive. He said he would try to remove hurdles faced by small businesses to spur the economy, provide jobs for younger people and combat the shrinking population.

“The status quo isn’t working,” he said.

He said the Association of Oregon Counties does not represent the rural counties of Eastern Oregon and that he would try to start an association that incorporated rural counties in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Oregon.

In the next round, Labhart said there is actually an Association of Eastern Oregon Counties and he is a member. He said he plays an active role on steering committees and at a variety of meetings.

Labhart said he was the only member of the Grant County Court who stated he believed an investigation of the Canyon Creek Complex fire was warranted, though he said it should not be funded with county resources.

Hamsher said he believed the Association of Eastern Oregon Counties was too small to have leverage to influence policy. He said it was important for local and state officials to push hard for change in Salem and Washington, D.C.

He said he wanted to heal the wounds in the community. He said he was a man of action, who would get things done for the people. He touted the Hay for John Day program he spearheaded to provide food for livestock after the fire.

Asked about his greatest accomplishments, Hamsher said the Prairie City City Council was once fractured, but he helped usher in an era of cohesiveness.

Labhart said his greatest accomplishments included the establishment of the industrial park in John Day. He reiterated his goals of creating jobs, providing services for seniors and maintaining quality health care facilities. He said, when he was on the hospital board, they implemented a recruitment program targeting medical students that has attracted doctors to Grant County.

Hamsher said he too would focus on jobs, health care, seniors and veterans. He said he would also focus on public lands management. He said he would treat people with respect to try to come together for something mutually advantageous for the entire county.

He said federal policies often make life difficult for everyone here, but he suggested a different path.

“The infighting we’ve been doing hasn’t been working,” Hamsher said.

Labhart said, in the past, county residents have put divisive feelings aside to come together as a community. He said recent events have led to threats, harassment and vulgar messages on his answering machine.

“We don’t need outside people telling us what to do,” he said. “We can solve our own problems.”

New salon opens in John Day Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:33:32 -0400 Cheryl Hoefler JOHN DAY — It’s a longtime dream come true for Tasha Marciel.

Marciel, who is a stylist, nail tech and esthetician, is the owner of Cutting Edge Salon, at 150 S.E. Dayton St., which opened April 6 in John Day. Joining her in the business is stylist Matraca Rose, who graduated in early April from Eastern Oregon College of Industries and Arts, College of Cosmetology, in John Day.

The salon offers all hair, nails and waxing services.

A grand opening will be held from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. The free event will give families the opportunity to check out the salon and talk to the stylists about services that are offered. Vendors will be on hand from Younique, Tuvous and doTERRA, and there will be free consultations, snacks and giveaways.

Marciel has been licensed since 2010 and is a graduate of the College of Cosmetology in Klamath Falls. She worked as an administrator there before moving back to John Day, where she was born and raised.

She said she always knew John Day was home and wanted to raise her children here.

Rose, also born and raised in John Day, said she always wanted to be a stylist. She said she was the first student to enroll at EOCIA when it opened.

Marciel said, “I am so glad to have Matraca in the salon with me. Together we will continue to make each client welcome and happy.”

She added they’ve been impressed with the response and number of clients since they opened just a few weeks ago.

Marciel said owning her own salon has been a dream of hers since she was young.

The shop also is home to another business Marciel runs, EOHV — Eastern Oregon Hydrographics and Vinyl — which offers personalized vinyl decals, T-shirts, banners and magnets.

Marciel said a friend introduced her to the business back in Klamath Falls, and she fell in love with it. Not wanting to compete with her friend, she said she held back on starting her own business, but never forgot about it.

Finally, upon moving back to John Day, she decided it was time, and EOHV was launched in December 2014.

“It started as a hobby that quickly grew,” Marciel said. “I’m surprised at how well we have done.”

Cutting Edge Salon is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and Saturdays by appointment. Call 541-575-0440 for more information.

EOHV is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Call 541-932-4838.

Both businesses are on Facebook.

BMCC rodeo team to host regional finals Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:18:21 -0400 HERMISTON — The Blue Mountain Community College rodeo team will host their home rodeo as well as the Northwest Intercollegiate Regional Finals Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, at the Farm City Pro Rodeo Arena at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds in Hermiston.

Ten Northwest Region rodeo teams will kick off the competition at 10 a.m. Friday and the Regional Finals will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Finals will continue on Saturday with slack at 10 a.m. and a final go at 6:30 p.m.

All proceeds will go back to scholarships for the BMCC rodeo team.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the gate. Admission is free for children under 12.

Students of the Month: Long Creek School Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:17:38 -0400

Pub expands hours, offerings Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:18:14 -0400 MT. VERNON — The suds are flowing in Mt. Vernon every day of the week now.

Suds Pub at 130 Mountain Blvd. is now open seven days a week, and the owners Jesse and Joe Madden have expanded their food menu, too.

Joe is manning the grill on Fridays with what the brothers are calling “Smoking Joe’s Barbecue.” They also have started offering burgers and a “Taco Tuesday” special.

Suds Pub has video lottery now, too.

Hours open are 2-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 2-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 12-7 p.m. on Sundays.

Check out Suds Pub on Facebook or call 541-932-4333 for more information.

Grant Union Students of the Month — March Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:18:12 -0400

Miller named 2A AD of the Year Tue, 26 Apr 2016 18:17:04 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY — Grant Union Junior-Senior High School athletic director Jason Miller was awarded 2A Athletic Director of the Year for 2016.

He received the award at the annual Oregon Athletic Directors Association conference on April 18 in Sunriver.

Grant Union Principle Ryan Gerry said, “It’s well deserved to be acknowledged by his peers for his accomplishments working with our students athletes and athletic programs.”

Miller said he doesn’t know who nominated him for the award.

He said the job of athletic director involves connecting with other athletic directors across the state, balancing academics with athletics, providing as many games and contests as possible for the students, making sure they have the right people in charge of the athletes and making sure the facilities are safe and maintained.

Miller is also dean of students and a teacher at the school.

GU track champs bring home 12 medals Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:57:24 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY — Nine Grant Union track and field athletes brought home 12 medals from Salem’s Meet of Champions held last Saturday at Willamette University.

There were 39 teams from schools large and small competing in the event.

Grant Union head coach Sonna Smith said the competition gives her an idea of how the athletes will do at state and gives them an opportunity to compete against west-side athletes.

“I’m very proud of them,” she said.


Jozie Rude, eighth place, shot put; fifth, javelin; ninth, pole vault

Andrew Copenhaver, third, pole vault

Chelsie Kodesh, sixth, discus; seventh, javelin

Kaylee Wright, third, javelin; eighth, high jump

Sydney Brockway, third, long jump

Kenzie Wilson, eighth, triple jump

Samantha Brock, fourth, long jump; fourth, triple jump

Nick Springer, seventh, high jump

Danielle Girvin also qualified for the meet, competing in javelin.

GU golfers take on Buffalo Peaks competition Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:56:41 -0400 Angel Carpenter UNION — Last Friday, the Grant Union golfers competed in the Buffalo Peaks Invitational in Union.

Twelve teams with over 100 boys and girls took on the windy par 72 championship course.

The Vale boys team won with a score of 359, followed by Heppner with 373, Nixyaawii with 380 and Burns with 388.

Low medalist was Riley Lankford of Nixyaawii with 82.

Grant Union’s Duane Stokes was tied for seventh with 87.

On the girls side, Heppner was the low team with a 431, followed by Baker with 447, Enterprise with 502 and Burns with 529.

The ladies low medalist was Trinity McCarthy of La Grande with 86.

Grant Union’s Tiana Allen tied for eighth place with 113, and Grant Union’s Rose Vandehey had 130.

“I was happy with the way the team played,” said head coach Ron Lundbom. “Although we were unable to field a boys team this week, Duane shot his season best by 10 strokes and out of first by only five strokes.”

He added, “Tiana was only nine strokes out of placing, and Rose shot her personal best this season also. The girls had never played there, and it was only Duane’s second time. So, all in all, we were right in there, and it was a cool, windy day which made scoring a challenge.”

Sports schedule Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:56:37 -0400 Friday, April 29

Grant Union softball vs. Umatilla in John Day (2), 1 p.m.

Grant Union baseball @ Burns in Burns (2), 1 p.m.

Grant Union golf @ Alpine Meadows in Enterprise, 11 a.m.

Saturday, April 30

Prairie City, Grant Union, Monument @ Prairie City Invitational in Prairie City, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3

Grant Union softball vs. Weston-McEwen/Griswold in John Day (2), 3 p.m.

Grant Union baseball vs. Weston-McEwen in John Day (1), 4 p.m.