Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Blue Mountain Eagle Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:10:39 -0400 en http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Blue Mountain Eagle | http://www.bluemountaineagle.com Audit shows state IT project management effort still understaffed http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/audit-shows-state-it-project-management-effort-still-understaffed http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/audit-shows-state-it-project-management-effort-still-understaffed#Comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:41:06 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150339997 SALEM — Oregon has taken steps over the last year to prevent major information technology project failures such as Cover Oregon, but the effort remains understaffed and incomplete, according to an audit released Monday.

Auditors also concluded the new project management strategy would not prevent many of the common problems that arose with state IT projects over the last 10 years.

Auditors at the Secretary of State’s Office reviewed a new project management model developed by Oregon’s chief information officer in the wake of the Cover Oregon fiasco. Although the strategy is a positive step, auditors found the CIO’s office has taken more than a year to develop the model and still has not finished it. One reason is the agency where the CIO works, the Department of Administrative Services, does not have enough employees assigned to the project.

Michael Jordan, who was chief operating officer for the state and director of DAS until March 5, agreed with most of the findings. Jordan agreed the chief information officer’s office was understaffed, and pointed out in a Feb. 24 written response that the agency had asked for 12 more employees in the next two-year budget starting in July. Without additional employees, Jordan estimated his agency would finish developing the new project management strategy by summer 2017.

However, Jordan took issue with the auditors’ recommendation for clear consequences when IT projects fail to meet goals during the development process; Jordan wrote that it was also important to be “supportive and collaborative.”

The Governor’s Office initially asked for more time so that George Naughton could write “an enhanced response” to the audit after Jordan resigned March 5, said Secretary of State’s office spokesman Tony Green. Kristen Grainger, a spokeswoman for Gov. Kate Brown, wrote in an email that it was simply an “opportunity to consider that DAS has a new interim director, and whether or not the agency response letter needed to reflect that. Upon further consideration, it did not.” Naughton made only a few minor word changes before signing off on the response Jordan had written.

An independent IT services review that Brown called for last week will cover management issues in addition to security issues, Grainger wrote. Brown announced her plan for the review in a press release last week acknowledging a data breach at the DAS-managed state data center.

Despite the audit’s focus on IT project management, it did not examine what auditors described as “arguably the worst computer development failure in state history,” Cover Oregon. Oregon spent $300 million in federal money primarily to set up an online exchange for people to purchase health insurance, plus at least $26 million in state money for related projects, The Associated Press reported. The exchange website failed to launch as planned in October 2013. Meanwhile, the state and technology company Oracle American, Inc. have filed dueling lawsuits over the project.

Green wrote in an email that this audit largely followed up on problems identified in previous audits, and “We have not audited Cover Oregon because it is currently being looked at by Federal agencies and a host of other consultants for the state, including those hired by the Governor’s office.”

Jordan alluded to Cover Oregon in his response to the audit findings, writing that the new IT project management strategy was introduced in February 2014 “as a direct response to a major IT project that was ill-prepared to move to its execution phase ...”

There are plenty of other high-stakes state IT projects currently underway and planned for the future. The state is working on several that are each worth at least $20 million, and the total value of current and planned state computer system projects is nearly $1 billion, according to auditors. The projects include replacing many of the core applications at the Department of Revenue, and developing a new child support computer system for the Oregon Department of Justice.

The Department of Administrative Services directly manages some of these IT projects and assists different agencies on others. Auditors found DAS’ project management was “a significant step in the right direction,” but weaknesses remained across all state IT projects. For example, DAS did not assign enough staff to handle project management, and the consequences for failing to meet project management goals were unclear.

The problems have long been known. Auditors from the Secretary of State’s office found in 2001 that DAS had not written adequate guidelines for other agencies to develop computer systems, and in fact the agency had mishandled one of its own major IT projects.

State CIO Alex Pettit started to develop a new IT project management strategy in 2014, but it is still not complete. For example, auditors found DAS has not yet identified which state employees are responsible for oversight of various aspects of IT projects under this process. Auditors attributed the problem to a staffing shortage at DAS: the agency has three to four analysts available at any time to “evaluate multiple projects and provide needed guidance to agencies,” and they have little or no time to work on the project management strategy. In 2014, these analysts were responsible for oversight of 30 ongoing state IT projects and gave conditional approval to an additional 41 new state agency projects.

“Given this workload, this level of staffing is insufficient to effectively develop and fully implement the concepts associated with the (project management) model,” auditors wrote.

Matt Shelby, a spokesman for DAS, said the agency was aware it needed more employees to manage these projects and that is why it asked lawmakers for more money to hire additional staff. Shelby said Pettit also worked with lawmakers to draft House Bill 3099 to assign more authority to the chief information officer. The bill is currently scheduled for an April 2 hearing at the House Committee On Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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Sen. Johnson mourns loss of ‘moderate center’ http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/sen-johnson-mourns-loss-of-moderate-center http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/sen-johnson-mourns-loss-of-moderate-center#Comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 08:00:43 -0400 Peter WongCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150339998 SALEM — As she paid tribute at a memorial service for Dave Frohnmayer — a former Republican state representative from Eugene and three-term state attorney general — state Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, linked his memory with her observation about the state of Oregon politics today.

His defeat for governor in 1990 resulted partly from an independent anti-abortion candidate, Al Mobley, who drew a modern-day record 13 percent of the vote. Democrat Barbara Roberts was the winner with 46 percent.

“Of course, Dave survived that loss quite nicely and went on to serve Oregon in other ways,” Johnson said, first as dean of the University of Oregon law school, and then in 1994, as the president of the university for 15 years. “But the whole state of Oregon lost something in the process.”

Johnson decried the decline of the “moderate center” in Oregon politics.

There are family ties. Frohnmayer’s three terms in the Oregon House in the 1970s overlapped with the 14-year tenure of Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Redmond, Betsy Johnson’s father, who left the House in 1978 to be elected mayor of Redmond. Also, when Frohnmayer was attorney general in the 1980s, the Johnson family allowed the use of their home near the headwaters of the Metolius River in Central Oregon for annual retreats by his executive staff.

Johnson says those divides between the parties have gotten only sharper during her own tenure in the Legislature, which started in a Republican-controlled House in 2001 and continues today in the Senate, where Democrats have been the majority since she was appointed to a vacancy in 2005.

“While I’ve watched Republicans ram through their my-way-or-the-highway agenda when they were the majority, I have watched my fellow Democrats ram through their my-way-or-the-highway agenda when they controlled the gavel — never more so than at the start of this current session,” she said.

Johnson was the sole Democrat to join Republicans against three bills — on class-action settlements, automatic voter registration and low-carbon fuel standards — that failed in 2013 and 2014, but that passed this year because of larger Democratic majorities in the Senate.

This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Insider newsletter. To subscribe, go to oregoncapitalinsider.com

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Environmental lobby capitalizing on majorities http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/environmental-lobby-capitalizing-on-majorities http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150330/environmental-lobby-capitalizing-on-majorities#Comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:48:42 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150339999 SALEM — Environmental lobbyists are on a roll this year in Oregon.

They notched a big win early in the session when lawmakers passed legislation to make the state’s low-carbon fuel standard permanent. Now, lobbyists for a coalition of groups have turned their focus to bills that would require utilities to stop using power from coal plants by 2025.

That work isn’t cheap.

In 2014, a broad spectrum of environmental groups spent nearly $470,000 on lobbying in Salem, according to EO Media Group/Pamplin Media Group Capital Bureau’s analysis of state lobbying records.

The organizations range from small groups that promote water quality and wildlife issues, to industry organizations that seek incentives for renewable energy and efficiency projects.

Still, spending by the environmental lobby is low compared with other industries. A single energy interest group — the Western States Petroleum Association, which opposed the low-carbon fuel standard — spent just under $360,000 on lobbying in Oregon last year. All interest groups reported spending a total of nearly $27 million on lobbying in the state last year.

“We definitely don’t spend nearly as much money on lobbying,” said Christy Splitt, a registered lobbyist and coordinator for a coalition of environmental groups called the Oregon Conservation Network. “I’m not going out to dinner with legislators, or whatever other people are able to do, spending money on lobbying. I think most of what we spend on lobbying is going to pay people’s salaries.”

The environmental lobby does have several advantages, including strength in numbers and strong support from Democratic lawmakers this session. At least 55 registered lobbyists represent environmental interests in Oregon, and most are employees of the groups they represent and do other work in addition to lobbying. In addition, Splitt said there are pro-environment majorities in both chambers.

Environmentalists did not always enjoy such a strong position in Oregon. The Oregon Conservation Network formed 20 years ago at a time when environmentalists spent a lot of time fighting bills aimed at undermining “good” legislation passed in the 1970s, Splitt said. Republicans had control of the House from 1990 to 2006, and the Senate from 1994 to 2002.

“I think folks were feeling pretty frustrated with bad bills passing,” and decided to create a coalition to focus on shared priorities, Splitt said. “The group organized at the time pretty much played defense.”

A decade ago, the coalition decided to stop playing defense and begin proposing more new legislation. Rhett Lawrence, conservation director for the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club and a registered lobbyist for the group, said coalition members started to come up with annual lists of bills they could agree upon called “priorities for a healthy Oregon.”

The environmental lobby’s top priorities today are two bills they describe as “coal to clean”: Senate Bill 477 and House Bill 2729.

Both would require utilities to stop generating or purchasing electricity from coal power plants by 2025. The Senate version would also require companies to replace coal power with electricity from sources “at least 90 percent cleaner than coal-derived generating resources,” according to a legislative summary.

Splitt said other priorities this year include a bill to require private forestland owners to provide notice to the state and keep other records of their use of pesticides, a bill to appropriate money for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to spend on conservation and legislation that would allow the state to end a mandate to generate revenue from timber harvests on some public forests.

Environmental groups are also pushing for the passage of legislation that would preserve or create incentives for a range of solar projects, from residential to utility scale facilities. Lawrence said solar energy “still needs a little bit of a hand in the next step in putting it on a level playing field with fossil fuel.”

Splitt said environmental groups also want money for public transit to be included in any funding package for street maintenance and other transportation projects. The outlook for that package is unclear, since Republicans stopped participating in talks after Democrats passed the low-carbon fuel bill.

Some groups lobbying on the coal power bills and other environmental issues are not strictly environmental groups.

Bob Jenks, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Oregon, said the group supports the coal legislation because governments will eventually regulate carbon emissions and ratepayers could save money if utilities begin to more aggressively reduce carbon now.

“We’ve got to work hard because we don’t have the money,” said Jenks, who is not the utility board’s registered lobbyist but was in Salem to testify in favor of the coal bills on Wednesday. “But we’ve got people. We can organize people.”

The following is a list of registered lobbyists who work on environmental issues in Salem.

•Angela Crowley-Koch, Casey Daline, Angela Dilkes Perry, Andrea Durbin, Jonathan Eames, Jana Gastellum, Christine Hagerbaumer, Allison Hensey and Teresa Huntsinger, Oregon Environmental Council (Daline, Dilkes Perry and Eames also lobby for the Wild Salmon Center)

•Jonathan Manton, WaterWatch of Oregon, Global Partners, LP, Central Oregon LandWatch, Friends of the Metolius, Bicycle Transportation Alliance

  • •Meredith Shield, works for Strategies360 and represents 1000 Friends of Oregon, renewable energy company Ameresco, Inc., Northwest Energy Efficiency Council, Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association, Pacific Ethanol, Inc., Sierra Club of Oregon, The Conservation Campaign,

  • •Mary Solecki, Natural Resources Defense Council

  • •Rhett Lawrence, Sierra Club Oregon Chapter

  • •Hillary Barbour, Daniel Bates, Nicholas Hund, Nels Johnson and Elizabeth Remley, Renewable Northwest Project (all except Barbour also lobby for Clean Energy Works Oregon)

  • •Quinn Read, Sean Stevens, Steve Pedery, Chandra LeGue, Robert Klavins and Erik Fernandez, Oregon Wild

  • •Steve McCoy, Jason Miner, Mary Kyle McCurdy, Mia Nelson, Andrea Salinas (also lobbies for Northwest Energy Efficiency Council and The Conservation Campaign), 1000 Friends of Oregon

  • •Kimberley Priestley and John DeVoe, WaterWatch of Oregon

  • •Jim Myron, the Native Fish Society

  • •Chris Parta, Climate Solutions and The Ocean Foundation (The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership)

  • •Camila Thorndike, Oregon Climate

  • •Rikki Seguin, David Rosenfeld, Charles Fisher and Charlotte Bromley, Environment Oregon

  • •Jeff Bissonette, Citizens Utility Board

  • •Adam Meyer, Douglas Moore and Christy Splitt, Oregon League of Conservation voters (Splitt is also registered to lobby for the Oregon Conservation Network)

  • •Courtney Sipel, Scott Robertson, Amanda Rich, Gary Oxley and Evyan Jarvis Andries, Nature Conservancy of Oregon

  • •Shawn Miller, Coastal Conservation Association

  • •Justin Martin, Defenders of Wildlife

  • •Stephen Kafoury, Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society

  • •Sue Marshall and Michael Selvaggio, Audobon Society of Portland (Marshall also lobbies for Tualatin Riverkeepers)

  • •Tom Wolf, Oregon Council Trout Unlimited

  • •Mark Pengilly, Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress

  • •Joseph Furia, Freshwater Trust

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Let’s talk turkey http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Outdoors/20150327/lets-talk-turkey http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Outdoors/20150327/lets-talk-turkey#Comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:20:31 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329946

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Cool operators http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150327/cool-operators http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150327/cool-operators#Comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:17:18 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329947

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Brown orders review after state is hacked again http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/wcc/capital-bureau/20150326/brown-orders-review-after-state-is-hacked-again http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/wcc/capital-bureau/20150326/brown-orders-review-after-state-is-hacked-again#Comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:31:26 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329948 SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday she will hire an independent expert to review management practices and vulnerabilities at the state data center, after hackers gained access to information at the center last week.

Brown also directed state Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit to take charge of daily operations at the center “for the foreseeable future.”

The data breach occurred at a time when two top managers at the data center — Michael Rodgers, the acting director of the data center, and Technical Engineering Manager Marshall Wells — are on paid administrative leave pending a human resources investigation. The two men have been on leave since February and remained on leave Thursday, according to a DAS spokeswoman.

Auditors from the Secretary of State’s office were already conducting a routine review of security at the data center when the breach occurred. They had identified vulnerabilities at the data center in a 2010 audit, but a March 2012 follow-up audit mostly gave the data center good marks for security.

Brown revealed the data breach in a press release Thursday, and said she plans to ask leaders in the Legislature for money to pay for the review.

The governor said an “unknown external entity” had accessed limited information at the data center. Chris Pair, a spokesman for Brown, described it as information about the location of data on state computer servers, but not the actual data. State employees notified the governor of the breach on March 20, and Pair said it occurred a few days before that.

It was the third high-profile data breach to occur at a state agency in the last 13 months. Hackers accessed the Secretary of State’s business registry and campaign finance databases in February, and the Oregon Employment Department revealed a similar breach in October.

The state data center, which is housed at the Department of Administrative Services, also came under scrutiny in February when a staffer for then-Gov. John Kitzhaber asked employees at the center to delete emails from Kitzhaber’s personal account that were stored on state computer servers. Employees ultimately refused to delete the emails, and the U.S. Department of Justice has since subpoenaed the emails and other state records for an investigation into Kitzhaber and his fiancee, former first lady Cylvia Hayes.

The Willamette Week newspaper reported on the deletion request, and emails from Kitzhaber’s personal account were apparently leaked to the newspaper. Michael Jordan, who was director of the Department of Administrative Services, asked the Oregon State Police to investigate the leak.

Kitzhaber resigned Feb. 18 amid two criminal investigations into allegations he and Hayes used their public positions to benefit Hayes’ consulting business. Jordan submitted his resignation to Brown March 5 without explanation.

Before Jordan resigned, he told The Oregonian that Rodgers and Wells were placed on leave during an internal investigation into a dispute over how to handle computers and phones used by the Kitzhaber administration.

“Oregonians should not have to worry that their personal information such as social security numbers, home addresses or health records held by state agencies could be accessed illegally,” Brown said in a press release Thursday. “Although I have been assured that no personally identifying information was compromised, this incident causes me to have serious concerns about the integrity of state data.”

Brown said the state will use an “expedited competitive process” to hire the independent expert to review management and vulnerabilities at the data center.

Ironically, the governor’s office revealed the data breach the same day Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum appeared before a legislative committee to testify in favor of a bill that would expand protections for consumers’ personal data. The bill would also allow the state Department of Justice to pursue civil penalties against individuals and organizations that fail to comply.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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Expert: Oregon neonic ban would be disruptive http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150326/expert-oregon-neonic-ban-would-be-disruptive http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150326/expert-oregon-neonic-ban-would-be-disruptive#Comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:21:38 -0400 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329949 SALEM — A pesticide expert has warned Oregon lawmakers that legislation proposing to ban neonicotinoids could prompt a return to more toxic chemicals among farmers.

Neonicotinoid pesticides were blamed for pollinator die-offs in Oregon and critics say the chemicals also have sublethal effects that are responsible for poor bee health.

House Bill 2589 would prohibit the application of “nitro-group” neonicotinoids, including clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, but the Oregon Department of Agriculture could make exemptions to the ban in “unusual circumstances.”

Paul Jepson, director of Oregon State University’s Integrated Plant Protection Center, said a “blanket ban” could disrupt farmers’ transition to more environmentally gentle methods of controlling pests.

Growers have relied on neonicotinoids as they’ve used fewer broad-spectrum organophosphate pesticides in recent years, but may take up the older chemicals if the ban is approved, Jepson said during a March 26 hearing on multiple pesticide bills being considered by the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

While neonicotinoids can pose a problem for pollinators, such risks can be managed effectively, he said.

Farmers in Oregon have a history of responding to such hazards and state and federal regulators are being diligent in regulating neonicotinoids, he said.

Over time, farmers can transition from broad-spectrum pesticides to more pest-specific techniques, such as encouraging predatory insects, Jepson said. “It sounds slightly airy-fairy, but believe me, it isn’t.”

Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, said he introduced HB 2589 due to concerns that neonicotinoids are affecting not only pollinators but other insects and birds.

Though there are studies to support arguments for and against banning neonicotinoids, research generally indicates the pesticides are harmful, he said.

Holvey noted that in 2013, the European Commission — a governing body of the European Union — voted to restrict three neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

“We need to take precautionary measures to ensure the sustainability of our environment,” he said.

Aside from the neonicotinoid ban, Holvey has sponsored other pesticide legislation that’s being reviewed by the committee: House Bill 3123, which would ban aerial applications except during emergencies declared by state regulators, and House Bill 3482, which would require pesticide applications to be reported to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

During the hearing, Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, spoke about several bills he has introduced:

• House Bill 3428 would create new certification requirements for aerial pesticide applicators.

• House Bill 3434 would appropriate money — likely about $2 million — for three new pesticide investigators and a claims processor at ODA.

• House Bill 3429 would establish standard operating procedures for state agencies to handle pesticide complaints.

• House Bill 3430 would create a telephone hotline for people concerned about pesticide misuse.

The committee ran out of time during the March 25 hearing, so further discussion of the proposed legislation was carried over until a future date.

Committee Chair Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, said he plans to hold a work group to distill the proposals into a concise piece of legislation to be introduced in April.

Witt urged testimony to focus on peer-reviewed science and “best practices” that would promote environmental and economic health.

“We are on a problem solving mission rather than a description of the problem,” he said.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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House OKs county payments http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/free/20150326/house-oks-county-payments http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/free/20150326/house-oks-county-payments#Comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:39:37 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329950 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House has passed a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program that provides payments to rural timber counties.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden announced the extension, included in a bill to reform doctor pay under Medicare, passed today by a vote of 392-37.

Walden, R-Hood River, lauded the approval, but also stressed the need continues for a “permanent fix for our forested counties.”

“But this is an emergency, and what we’re doing today is providing a lifeline to our school children in classrooms in rural counties that are forested under federal land, and making sure law enforcement have the resources they need,” he said.

The two-year extension goes next to the Senate. Walden urged quick action there, and noted the president said just yesterday he would sign it.

Walden also said further action is needed in Congress toward a permanent solution that reforms federal forest policy.

“I remain fully committed to working on forestry legislation that puts people back to work in the woods, reduces the threat of wildfire, and produces the revenue to allow for self-sustaining counties and the people in them,” he said. “I just hope this time, with a new majority in the Senate, we’ll be able to move forward.”

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Barbershop moves http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150326/barbershop-moves http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Business/20150326/barbershop-moves#Comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:48:26 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329951 JOHN DAY – Nick’s Barber Shop has moved to a new location, 630 S. Canyon Blvd., in John Day.

Owner Nick Ballou, who started the business in early January, continues to offer all the same services, including beard and mustache trims, hair cuts, straight-razor shaves and scalp treatments – and plenty of good conversation.

Ballou also offers mobile services to shut-ins and hospice patients. He adds that the new location is handicapped-accessible and there’s plenty of parking.

Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

Call Nick’s Barber Shop at 541-620-2672.

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Virginia Anna Sowa http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Obituaries/20150325/virginia-anna-sowa http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Obituaries/20150325/virginia-anna-sowa#Comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:43:49 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329952 ALBANY – Virginia Sowa, 71, formerly of John Day, died March 24 in Albany. A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28, in Canyon City Cemetery, with Al Altnow officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to Knight’s Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845.

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County Court minutes 03-18-15 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/County_Minutes/20150325/county-court-minutes-03-18-15 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/County_Minutes/20150325/county-court-minutes-03-18-15#Comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:40:23 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329953 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT

Access the court’s weekly Agenda and approved Minutes on the Commissioner’s page at www.gcoregonlive2.com

MARCH 18, 2015

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

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Chris B. Labhart, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Jim Sproul, Brooks Smith and Flora Cheadle. Commissioner Britton was absent to attend a Sage Con meeting in Juntura. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the US flag. The invocation was given by Flora Cheadle.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and Extension District Warrant Nos. 289-291

AGENDA. MSP Myers/Labhart-- to accept the agenda without Item C., Jason Kehrberg and Commissioner Britton discussing the Cramer Fish Sciences Grazing Analysis at 9:30 am. Earlier this morning we were told they would be absent to attend an out-of-county meeting today.

ANNOUNCEMENTS.

County Budget Committee meetings were held last week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. This week the Budget Committee meets Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

Labhart attended a Health Evidence Review Commission meeting in Wilsonville last Thursday. Monday he met with several private business owners about TEC’s workforce board appointees. At noon today he has an EOCCO meeting at the airport. Tomorrow Labhart has a TEC workforce board meeting in La Grande followed by a hospital board meeting in John Day. Saturday Labhart will attend a Lake Creek Youth Camp fundraiser at the fairgrounds.

Myers met last Thursday with Ian Reid of the Umatilla NF about a possible 1 ½ mile County Road 24 realignment proposal, Monday evening he attended an Airport Commission meeting, and Friday he will host an Emergency Food & Shelter local board meeting at the Courthouse.

9:10 am – John Eley entered

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Labhart- to approve the March 11 minutes with a reservation for Britton’s changes.

C-2 UTILITY CONTRACTORS. The court reviewed the Third Amendment to the county’s Commercial Property Lease with C-2 Utility Contractors for use of space at 323 S. Humbolt Street in Canyon City. The Amendment extends the term to June 30, 2015 to allow more time for Canyon City to complete the their process for the county’s Zone Change Application. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to circulate for signature the Third Amendment to Commercial Property Lease with C-2 Utility Contractors for space at 323 S. Humbolt Street in Canyon City.

EOCCO LOCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL. The court considered an application by Mindy Voigt Stinnett to serve on the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization Local Community Advisory Council. Labhart, who is Council Chair, recommended this appointment. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to appoint Mindy Voigt Stinnett to the EOCCO Local Community Advisory Council.

9:25 am – Larry Blasing and Hank Lissman entered

CRAMER FISH SCIENCES. Road Advisory Board Chair John Eley attended today to learn about the grazing analysis study. This discussion was cancelled when we were told early this morning presenters Commissioner Britton and Grant Soil and Water Conservation District Director Jason Kehrberg would be attending a Sage Con meeting in Juntura. Myers and Labhart answered some general questions of attendees about the county’s involvement in this study over the past several years. Discussion followed about private and public project proposals that came before the court in the past and were financed by county dollars.

The court took a break until the next agenda item at 10:00 am when Kathy Stinnett, Tammy Wheeler, News Reporter Scotta Callister and Kathy Smith entered

JUSTICE COURT. The court reviewed an updated agreement with the City of Mt. Vernon to have individuals cited for violations of city ordinances appear in Justice Court. Our current 1997 agreement with Mt. Vernon is out of date and contains language which is no longer statutorily correct. The city has been updating its ordinances and is trying to clean up properties that are a nuisance. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett pointed out that all of the county’s similar agreements with cities need to be reviewed for statutory language and legal sufficiency. It was suggested that legal counsel review this city-county agreement to assure the correct statutory language is being used. Stinnett talked about the understanding that both city law enforcement and the Sheriff (as appropriate) can cite city ordinances. Other discussion followed about associated diversions and fines ordered against offenders. Myers and Stinnett planned to follow up on this discussion with legal counsel Ron Yockim.

10:15 am -- Nate Hughes entered

FLOOR TILE REPLACEMENT. Circuit Court Administrator Tammy Wheeler requested signature on Oregon Justice Department Courthouse Improvement Contract No. 150540 to fund and replace flooring in the Circuit Courtroom and Circuit Court operation areas. OJD has agreed to provide up to $35,000 for the project. The contract outlines the process to fund, purchase and install new flooring over approximately 4,915 sq. ft. on the 2nd floor. Wheeler talked about her concern with the need to shut down court operations for about two weeks, as well as to move and relocate furniture, computer equipment and court records. Some discussion followed about coordinating the contractors’ work between elevator installation and flooring abatement / replacement. MSP: Labhart/Myers-- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the OJD Courthouse Improvement Contract No. 150540 to fund and replace flooring in the Circuit Courtroom and Circuit Court operation areas.

Wheeler and Property Maintenance Specialist Nate Hughes presented two bids to remove carpet, asbestos floor tiles and mastic on the upper floor of the Courthouse -- Alpine Abatement Associates, Inc. bid $8,459 / Courtroom; $11,184 / Operations Area; and $5,668 / Hallway & Restrooms and Cascade Insulation, Inc. bid $10,000 / Courtroom; $14,000 / Operations Area; and $8,000 / Lobby. Both contractors are located in Bend. Wheeler said other bids will be needed for replacement flooring products. She recommended accepting the bid submitted by Alpine Abatement, Inc. Hughes indicated he has worked with Alpine Abatement in the past and recently spoke with them about this project. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to accept the bid from Alpine Abatement, Inc. for the flooring replacement project upstairs as recommended.

The need to relocate one bookcase and overhead lights before the elevator installation project begins on March 30 was also discussed. Wheeler said she would take care of relocating those items.

10:35 am – Loren Stout and Ashley McClay entered

VICTIM ASSISTANCE. Victim Assistance Program Director Ashley McClay requested approval to send the Multidiscipline Team to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit in Portland April 21-24 with a waiver of per diem for lodging. The Oxford Suites is not the conference site, but has a better rate with complimentary meals and is in the same parking lot as the conference. Training was approved by the grantors and the expense is budgeted within the VAWA Rural, CAMI and Criminal Fine/Unitary Assessment grants. The total cost for 7 attendees was estimated at $9,330.51 which includes $395 registration, $252.45 mileage, $485.48 lodging, and $200 meals. McClay said she just got the team members together and had put the claim in last week to receive the early-bird discount. Members attending will be Mike McManus, Andrea Officer, McClay, and DHS & Heart of Grant County reps. The DA has received a scholarship for his registration. She believed it was the best in-state training the team receives each year. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve the Multidiscipline Team’s attendance at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Child Abuse and Family Violence Summit in Portland April 21-24 as requested.

10:50 am – Al Cummings, Steve Periera, Melissa Brooks, Butch Phillips , Mark Pengelly, Greg Jackson, Kathy Gillam, Terry Brandsma, King Wiliams, and Alan Hickerson entered

McClay requested approval of a non-competitive 2015-2017 CAMI MDT Grant in the amount of $45,290.71 to fund the program’s multidisciplinary approach to child abuse intervention. Funding would support a 0.31 FTE MDT Coordinator (McClay), allow for child abuse victims to be medically assessed and interviewed at Mt. Emily Safe Center in La Grande, and provide training opportunities for MDT members. MSP: Myers/Labhart -- to approve a 2015-2017 CAMI MDT grant application for $45,290.71 as requested.

USFS ROADS. Local rancher Loren Stout was present to propose the county take over maintenance of USFS roads and road side timber to aid in fire prevention. Road Foreman Terry Brandsma and Road Advisory Board Chair John Eley submitted a statement acknowledging this matter was discussed at the March 12 Budget Committee meeting where Eley said they first want a full understanding of what is being requested (in writing) and have a new Road Master on board before the request is considered or addressed. Those present for this discussion were Al Cummings, Mark Pengelly, Hank Lissman, Greg Jackson, Jim Sproul, King Williams, Fritz Phillips, Steve Periera, Melissa Brooks, Public Forest Commissioners Larry Blasing and Brooks Smith, and Road Department representatives Kathy Gillam, Terry Brandsma, Alan Hickerson and John Eley.

Stout talked about how mills historically paid for road maintenance associated with logging projects. He also reported on last year’s fire on the Malheur, the conditions for road access, firefighting efforts, and how he got his cattle out of the forest. He felt the ongoing buildup of fuels on our forest was a serious concern which he feels the federal government is not addressing. Stout believed county maintenance of forest roads, including 200 to 300 feet on either side, could improve forest health and our environment, create local jobs, and bring money to the county for schools. He has already been in conversations with representatives of the timber industry and our elected officials. Stout felt this program could be accomplished through federal leases and state agreements to uphold forest practice regulations. He believed the value from timber on either side of the roadway could pay the cost of road maintenance.

Discussion followed about the level of road maintenance that would be expected, the increasing negative effect of roads that are poorly maintained, and the fact that serious liabilities that could arise.

Public Forest Commissioner Brooks Smith provided information about the federal highway downsizing program for some roads which have a high cost to maintain. He understood some of those are available for transfer to the state or county. Smith pointed out that timber products on federal lands would always belong to the federal government. Therefore, any timber salvaged would be delivered to and put up for sale by the Forest Service.

Myers had some concern about how the county would approach and move forward with this concept. He also felt this type of activity was ripe for highly expensive litigation. Eley believed the potential liability associated with this concept must be addressed, to identify the level of financial resources that must be available to meet the need.

Melissa Brooks suggested that it might be a good start to look at applying this concept on County Roads that are already being maintained within the county’s 60-foot-from-center right of way. Some discussion followed about the opportunity to look at a jurisdictional exchange on some road portions, as a pilot project.

The court requested any further public comment, but none was offered.

11:45 am – Adjourned. Labhart had a noon meeting at the airport and Myers had an immediate need to address a personnel issue. The County Budget Committee meets at 1:00 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

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Cycling tourism meeting on tap http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150324/cycling-tourism-meeting-on-tap http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150324/cycling-tourism-meeting-on-tap#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:30:26 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329990 JOHN DAY – A meeting on cycling tourism will be held from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, at the Squeeze-In Restaurant in John Day.

Representatives from Oregon State Parks and Recreation will talk about the success of bicycle tourism since the program began, and plans to expand bicycle tourism.

All are welcome to attend. Lunch can be ordered before or during the meeting.

Oregon State Parks and Recreation and cycling proponents collaborate by promoting, improving and sustaining the Scenic Bikeways Program to enhance the public’s ability to enjoy the bikeway communities and recreational cycling.

For more information, call 541-620-1819.

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Pros fly by Rockets http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/pros-fly-by-rockets http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/pros-fly-by-rockets#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:15:07 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329964 JOHN DAY – The Prospector baseball team showed backbone as they snagged two wins from Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii in a doubleheader at Malone Field last Saturday.

Grant Union head coach Brian Delaney said he’s proud of his team.

“All 12 have been crucial to the team – not just one guy,” he said.

The scores went back and forth in both games, with Grant Union rallying and winning each by 1.

The Prospectors prevailed 11-10 in Game One, and 8-7 in Game Two, taking that contest to eight innings.

Highlights from the first game included Hayden Young’s five RBIs off four hits.

“Hayden Young was on fire today,” Delaney said.

Jerry Carter also made three hits in the game.

Dillon Winters had 10 first pitch strikes from the mound and Billy Copenhaver had nine – they each struck out three batters.

Game Two saw Pilot Rock take a 5-3 lead in the first inning; then both teams went scoreless for two innings.

Grant Union chipped away at Pilot Rock’s lead, and the score was tied at 7 in the seventh inning after Hayden Young scored as Wade Reimers was up to bat.

The tie sent the game into extra innings.

Taking the mound in the eighth, Zack Deiter, Winters and Copenhaver kept the Rockets at bay.

The Prospectors sealed the win in the bottom of the inning when Young singled to second base, scoring Deiter.

Brady Burch and Young had two RBIs each, and Grant Union overall had 12 hits to the Rockets’ six.

Dieter took the mound for a little over five innings and had 13 first pitch strikes and four strikeouts.

“They’re just a bunch of gritty guys who like to play for each other – not for themselves,” Delaney said. “They don’t know how to quit. We have a lot to work on still, but if they can grind these games out and wear down pitchers, they’ll do well.”

He added, the Rockets are “a talented, quality team.”

The Pros had a 6-7 loss in Culver last Friday, the coach attributing the result mainly to first-game nerves.

Grant Union hosts the Les Schwab Icebreaker Tournament this Thursday-Saturday and will play the winner of Country Christian vs. Oakland at 11 a.m. Friday. The Prospectors also will hold heir annual fundraiser dinner and auction at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Grant Union.

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Three budding scientists win at Expo http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150324/three-budding-scientists-win-at-expo http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150324/three-budding-scientists-win-at-expo#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:23:30 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329961 BEND – Three Grant Union science students won awards at the regional Intel Northwest Science Expo science fair in Bend.

Receiving honors at the March 7 event were juniors Dawson Quinton, Jocelyn Smith and Taylor McCluskey – all students in Randy Hennen’s advanced biology class.

“All three students investigated relevant questions and had good experimental design and analysis,” Hennen said.

The event was held at Central Oregon Community College with projects grouped into four categories: Human Science, Engineering, Life Science and Physical Science.

Smith received first place in Physical Science for her project dealing with the effect of water temperature on rainbow trout growth.

She also received five additional awards: Outstanding Project in Atmospheric Science, Outstanding Geoscience Project, the U.S. Regional Stockholm Junior Water Prize, U.S. Air Force Outstanding Project, and a $2,000 scholarship from Oregon State University.

Quinton placed third in Life Science for research on the effects to soil pH on native and naturalized plant growth and germination.

McCluskey received an award for the project that best illustrated the Surgeon General’s health recommendations. She studied bacterial contamination of food left on the floor for various lengths of time.

Both Smith and Quinton qualify to advance to the NWSE state science fair in Portland set for April 3 at Portland State University.

“There is great value in participating in the process of science, because science is so much more than a body of knowledge,” Hennen said. “Becoming involved in the scientific process teaches students to think critically and logically.”

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Oregon bill would regulate use of antibiotics in livestock http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/oregon-bill-would-regulate-use-of-antibiotics-in-livestock http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/oregon-bill-would-regulate-use-of-antibiotics-in-livestock#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:14:11 -0400 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329954 SALEM — Federal oversight of antibiotic use in livestock production recently sparked debate as Oregon lawmakers considered enacting state restrictions on such treatments.

Proponents of House Bill 2598, which would prohibit treating livestock with “nontherapeutic” doses of antibiotics, claim the legislation is necessary because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t impose adequate limits on the drugs.

Overuse of antibiotics is causing resistance among pathogens, so using the medicine to stimulate growth or to prevent disease in livestock should be stopped, said David Rosenfeld, executive director of the OSPIRG consumer group.

Some antibiotics have already become less effective and aren’t likely to be quickly replaced, he said during a March 24 hearing before the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“They’re not being developed at the same rate we’re losing them,” Rosenfeld said.

The legislation would not be rendered moot by the FDA’s strategy of working with drug manufacturers to phase out some nontherapeutic antibiotic use in livestock by the end of 2016, Rosenfeld said.

The federal program is voluntary and only ceases antibiotic treatments meant to promote growth — most nontherapeutic use is aimed at preventing diseases, so the FDA’s plan is unlikely to significant reduce overuse, he said.

There’s currently no federal statute restricting antibiotics in livestock production, so the FDA’s approach is vulnerable to change under new presidential administrations, said Ivan Maluski, policy director of Friends of Family Farmers, a group that supports stronger antibiotic regulations.

“We’re not necessarily confident the solution is going to come from Washington, D.C.,” he said.

The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association is also concerned about antibiotic resistance but believes HB 2598 falls short of its goals, said Chuck Meyer, the group’s president.

The bill would compromise animal health by banning antibiotic use for disease prevention, he said. Prevention is necessary when dealing with herds of animals rather than individual people, Meyer said.

Proponents of HB 2598 oversimplify the FDA’s strategy by characterizing it as “voluntary,” said Richard Carnevale, vice president of regulatory, scientific and international affairs for the Animal Health Institute, which represents drug manufacturers.

The pharmaceutical industry has agreed to cooperate with FDA rather having the agency go through with the formal process of disallowing certain antibiotic uses, which would drag on for years, he said.

Companies are committing to antibiotic restrictions, by which veterinarians and farmers would have to abide, Carnevale said. “Once this takes place, those labels will be changed forever.”

Of the 18 pathogens identified by the Centers for Disease Control as posing an antibiotic resistance threat, only salmonella and campylobacter are related to animal agriculture, he said.

“In the whole scheme of things, they don’t represent a huge antibiotic resistance problem,” Carnevale said.

Apart from the ban on nontherapeutic use, HB 2598 contains other contentious provisions: confined animal feeding operations would have to report antibiotic use to state regulators and private citizens could file lawsuits to enforce the law.

Proponents of the bill say it’s necessary to track antibiotic usage since the drugs could still be used on healthy animals during emergencies. As for the lawsuits, proponents say the law is meant to be “self-enforcing” and limit the role of government.

Opponents counter that the recordkeeping burden for CAFOs is excessive and that the lawsuit provision will spur attorneys to seek out farmers for litigation.

“That is a very damaging precedent to set here,” said Ian Tolleson, director of government affairs for the Northwest Food Processors Association.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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Fuel producers, truckers sue to block fuel standard http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/fuel-producers-truckers-sue-to-block-fuel-standard http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/fuel-producers-truckers-sue-to-block-fuel-standard#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:33:26 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329955 SALEM — Fuel producers and truckers are suing to stop Oregon from implementing the state’s low-carbon fuel standard.

Industry groups filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday against Gov. Kate Brown, members of the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission and employees of the state Department of Environmental Quality. The plaintiffs asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction to stop the state from implementing the program while the case proceeds.

A similar federal lawsuit in California slowed the roll-out of that state’s low-carbon fuel program but did not stop it.

The Western States Petroleum Association already filed a challenge to the low-carbon fuel program at the Oregon Court of Appeals earlier this month.

The state Environmental Quality Commission voted in January to adopt regulations that will require fuel importers and producers to reduce the carbon content of transportation fuels by 10 percent during the next decade, starting in January 2016. The rules were based on a 2009 bill, which was set to sunset this year before the state could implement the program.

Lawmakers passed the controversial Senate Bill 324 earlier this year to make the program permanent, and Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law March 12. Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon on whether the lawsuit might affect the state’s implementation of the low-carbon fuel standard.

In a court filing Monday, lawyers for the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Trucking Associations, Inc., and Consumer Energy Alliance said the low-carbon fuel standard violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against fuel imported into the state and attempts to regulate fuel production activities outside Oregon.

For example, the plaintiffs stated the Oregon program was designed to close the state’s fuel market to certain types of corn ethanol and other renewable fuels and therefore interferes with “the congressional purpose of ensuring a continued market nationwide for this corn ethanol.”

The groups also stated the Oregon low-carbon fuel program is pre-empted by federal laws including the Clean Air Act and federal renewable fuel standard.

The Western States Petroleum Association filed a petition March 9 asking the Oregon Court of Appeals to review the low-carbon fuel standard regulations the environmental commission adopted in January based on the existing state law. The court has yet to schedule oral arguments in the case, and it’s not unusual for the court to take a year to reach a decision.

The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.

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What’s Happening http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150324/whats-happening http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Happening/20150324/whats-happening#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:31:41 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329956 The deadline for What’s Happening items is 5 p.m. Friday. Call Cheryl at the Eagle, 541-575-0710.

• 11:30 a.m., St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, John Day.

This is the last Lenten lunch in the series. A soup-and-bread lunch will be from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., followed by a brief service. All are welcome.

• 1-6 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, John Day

The church is at 944 E. Main St. To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

10 a.m., Monument Senior Center

All are welcome to the annual dinner and Dutch auction fundraiser. Admission is a $2 registration fee. The main dish, bread and drinks will be provided; those attending are asked to bring a side dish. Tickets for the Dutch auction are 25 cents each. Donations of auction items are needed. Proceeds assist the Monument Service Club in the many community activities they support such as CPR classes, community clean-up day and reunion meals, as well as local emergency needs.

• 6:30 p.m., Grant Union Junior-Senior High School, John Day

The evening, which will be in the old gym, includes a silent auction and raffle, in which GU baseball players will be auctioned off for up to four hours of manual labor. Dinner, catered by Kris and Kjer Kizer, will include a menu of pulled pork, roasted red potatoes, Hawaiian coleslaw and cobbler. Admission is $10 a person; tickets are available from baseball players or Coach Brian Delaney, 541-792-1068.

• 7-9 p.m., Grace Chapel, Prairie City

All are welcome – families, couples and individuals – to “Family Game Night” at Grace Chapel, 154 E. Williams. Bring your favorite board or card games and snacks to share for an evening of fun and friendly competition. Call 541-620-4198 for more information.

• 9 a.m.-noon, John Day Community Garden, 3rd Street Extension

Volunteers and new gardeners are welcome to help spruce up the garden for the 2015 season. Bring work gloves and tools, if you have them. For those interested in a garden space, the cost is $15 for a 5 by 10-foot bed and $25 for a 5 by 20-foot one. The work parties continue until the garden’s April 11 opening. Call 541-620-0719 or email johndaycommunitygarden@gmail.com.

• 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Kimberly Rock Products pit

Events include jackpots, Annie Oakley, mens and womens competitions, and more. The cost is $3 per shoot with proceeds going toward the Dayville School students’ upcoming Washington, D.C., trip. Several prizes will be up for grabs, including top prize, a Pendleton Round-Up package. Concessions will be available, plus a “best bake sale ” auction. The pit is located at the 9-mile marker on Highway 402. Call 541-934-2143.

• 1-4 p.m., John Day Senior Center

Grab the kids and maybe some neighbors too, and get ready to cut a rug or just enjoy the music. UpRiver Country Band will provide the music. Coffee, punch and cookies will be served, and there will be door prizes too. The cost is $5 for couples and $3 for singles.

• 11:30 a.m., Silver Spur Restaurant, Mt. Vernon

Mad Hatters of Grant County will meet for lunch. Anyone interested is welcome to join them. If you’ve got purple and red hats and accessories, be sure to wear them. Call Norma Rynearson, 541-820-3597.

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Oregon may lose its wildfire insurance policy http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/oregon-may-lose-its-wildfire-insurance-policy http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/bme/capital-bureau/20150324/oregon-may-lose-its-wildfire-insurance-policy#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:30:53 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329957 SALEM – Lawmakers working on the next two-year budget say that one of the major challenges they face is how to pay for firefighting costs.

They’re worried a company that has previously sold the state an insurance policy to help cover firefighting costs will either refuse to issue such a policy this year, or the deductible will be so high that it longer makes sense for the state to purchase insurance.

Oregon usually purchases a policy from Lloyd’s, the London insurance company, to help cover firefighting costs; the state uses its tax-supported general fund and landowner contributions to cover the remaining firefighting costs not paid for by the federal government.

“The other wild card that hasn’t really come up in discussion much is fire season costs,” said Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee.

“It is unlikely we will receive the same sort of fire insurance coverage we have received in the past from Lloyd’s of London,” he said. “They will either want lot more money up front for the policy, or they will place it in such a way our deductible is so high that it’s not going to make financial sense for us to continue. So that’s a significant challenge in the tens of millions of dollars we have to be aware of for fire seasons going forward as part of the budget.”

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons, said Lloyd’s initial offer would have provided only $19 million in coverage to the state after Oregon put up more than twice that amount in deductibles and payouts — a deal he says would not be worth it.

Girod, who is on the budget committee, says negotiations are continuing.

This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Insider newsletter. To subscribe, go to oregoncapitalinsider.com

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Lady Pros take to the field http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/lady-pros-take-to-the-field http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/lady-pros-take-to-the-field#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:26:50 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329958 JOHN DAY – The Grant Union softball team experienced ups and downs last weekend.

The team had big wins in Culver Friday, toppling the Bulldogs 14-2 and 20-2 in a doubleheader.

At home on Saturday the team played well, but fell to the strong Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii Rockets 2-9 and 1-5.

Head coach Deanna Nash said the team played well in Culver, hitting the ball well and executing the game.

“Our inexperience show a little today,” she said after the game with the Rockets. “Pilot Rock is a state playoff team, and we hung well with them.”

She added that while the team made some difficult plays, the bats didn’t come through as well.

One highlight for the day came when Cody Jo Madden was at the mound.

The Rockets had the bases loaded and Mariah Meyerholz caught a fly ball in center field then threw to home for another out.

That play was followed by Sydney Stearns catching an out in left field.

Stearns also shared mound duties for the day.

New to the Prospector team are a couple players from other schools, Ravyn Walker from Dayville School and Brianna Zweygardt from Prairie City School.

“Both are great kids, and they’ve been accepted by the team,” Nash said. “It’s been a good mix of kids, and they’ve melded well. I’m super excited about where we’re at, and we’re going to have a lot of girls continue to improve in a short period of time.”

Grant Union takes this week off for spring break, then travels to Heppner for a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, and hosts Elgin at 1 p.m Friday, March 3, for a doubleheader.

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Pros set to break ice this week http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/pros-set-to-break-ice-this-week http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/pros-set-to-break-ice-this-week#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:26:42 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329959 JOHN DAY – Bats will be cracking this week in John Day, as the Grant Union Prospector baseball team breaks the ice with six other teams.

Joining Grant Union for this year’s Les Schwab Tire Icebreaker Tournament are: Culver, Country Christian, Joseph, Oakland, Pilot Rock and Estacada.

The seven-team consolation tournament gets underway at the Seventh Street Complex on Thursday, with three games. Grant Union has a bye that day, but the Prospectors will play the winner of the Country Christian and Oakland game at 11 a.m. Friday.

The winner of that game will continue on to the championship game on Saturday. The loser will play in the consolation game. Further game times are to be announced.

In addition to the fun at the Seventh Street ballfields, Grant Union will host its annual fundraiser dinner and auction at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Grant Union old gym.

Catered by Kris and Kjer Kizer, the menu includes pulled pork, roasted red potatoes, Hawaiian coleslaw and cobbler.

A silent auction, raffle and bid on athletes – Grant Union baseball players will be auctioned off for up to four hours of manual labor – will also be a part of the event.

Tickets for the dinner, available from the players or head coach Brian Delaney, are $10 each.

For more information, contact Delaney at 541-792-1068.

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Young Grant Union teams have bright future http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/young-grant-union-teams-have-bright-future http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/young-grant-union-teams-have-bright-future#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:26:33 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329960 JOHN DAY – Grant Union’s junior varsity and junior high girls and boys basketball teams have wrapped up a successful season.

Doug Sharp’s eighth-grade team capped the season by finishing third at the annual Seaside Tournament, competing against bigger schools, some 6A, from Oregon and Washington.

“They had a good season, overall,” said Sharp, who also coaches the seventh-grade team.

Coaching assistants included Zach Williams for the seventh-grade team, Mike Strong for the eighth-grade team, with help from Dennis Lynch.

In his seventh year coaching the junior high girls, Sharp also coached middle school boys in past years.

He said they build on what the Parks and Recreation program teaches – stressing fundamentals and team commitment, while also teaching them to be competitive and do their best.

“I know people get caught up in wins and losses, but the most important part at this level is teaching the things that will help them in the future,” he said.

“My coaches always taught me to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself, meaning your team comes first, and showing up for practice every single day,” he said. “That’s the kind of work ethic that you try to teach kids.”

Another important part of Sharp’s program is the time team members spend together bonding and developing friendships.

He said the teams’ annual traditions include a visit to the Crane Hot Springs when they play the Mustangs, a trip to see a University of Oregon Ducks game, the Sisters Tournament, and, the finale, the Seaside Tournament.

“The kids are making a huge sacrifice, and when you work hard, you’re rewarded,” he said.

Sharp said he’s only as good as his support staff and parents.

“I would like to thank the people who supported our team, and the girls for their dedication and hard work, and coming to practice – it was a big commitment they made,” he said. “We had a couple fundraisers, and the girls had to work hard – they didn’t get anything handed out to them.”

With no freshman girls team at Grant Union this year, coach Lisa Weigum’s junior varsity group had 10 freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors.

“Overall, based on the win-loss ratio, we had a successful season, but more importantly, I think our success could be defined by development,” she said.

She noted her team sees a higher level of competition, and it’s not uncommon for them to be up against seniors.

“It’s about development for the future and preparing them to play at the varsity level, which I’m very confident in – I’m confident in what the future of Grant Union varsity basketball program holds.”

This season the girls held a 10-5 overall record and were 7-5 in league.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the kids,” Weigum said. “I appreciated their positive attitudes and their work ethic and commitment to the sport – it was a great group of girls this year.”

Weigum, also assistant coach for the varsity girls team with head coach Mark Mosley, said she’s proud of what that team accomplished this year – making it to the first round of state playoffs.

“It was the first time in seven years to get to the state playoffs,” she said.

“Mark did a great job, and Doug does a great job preparing the girls,” she said. “They’re great coaches, and we’re on our way to building a successful program.”

Coaching the junior high seventh-grade and combined seventh- and eighth-grade teams this year was Kelly Stokes who also assisted Casey Hallgarth in coaching the junior varsity boys.

Stokes said the younger teams worked through injuries and faced tough competition but ended with a winning season overall and showed improvement.

“I’m there to help teach them the fundamentals and prepare them for the next level in high school,” he said.

“It was a fun season, and they’re a great group of kids,” he said. “They’re going to do well – they play well together.”

He said the junior varsity boys played hard “and with a bunch of heart.”

They’re well-prepared now for the rest of their high school career,” he said, adding, “I anticipate them doing well, competing at districts and at state the next three years – with this year’s junior high group, maybe even further.”

Stokes expressed appreciation for his wife Lori Stokes whom he said works behind the scenes for the program.

“I would also like to thank coaches Chris Deiter, Casey Halgart, Kelsey Wright and Steve Speth; along with the parents, the players, and to the administration at Grant Union and Humbolt schools – they have all been supportive of my very limited career in coaching and without them, I/we wouldn’t be able to do any of this,” he said.

Stokes added that he hoped the community would consider an update or expansion of the school facilities.

“These boys often have to practice at 5 a.m. in the morning in order to get gym time,” he said. “These kids deserve it.”

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Bowling league results http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/bowling-league-results http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/bowling-league-results#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:22:21 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329962 March 18

Nooners Senior League:

Men High Game: Doug Kruse 180

Men High Series: Doug Kruse 502

Women High Game: Chris Rowe 163

Women High Series: Chris Rowe 467

March 19

Thursday Mixed 2K15:

Men High Game: Grant Benton 237

Men High Series: Grant Benton 630

Women High Game: Jamie Benton & Cheryl Leighton 140

Women High Series: Cheryl Leighton 399

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GU Gold earns 2nd at championships http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/gu-gold-earns-2nd-at-championships http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_Sports/20150324/gu-gold-earns-2nd-at-championships#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:17:45 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329963 PORTLAND – The Grant Union Gold gave an “earth-shattering” performance, earning the dance team second place at last weekend’s OSAA State Dance and Drill Championships, held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

“The girls did an amazing job,” said head coach Shannon Adair. “I am so incredibly proud of this team and the energy and desire to succeed that they brought to practice and competitions every time. It was definitely a team effort”

Adair said the supportive parents were also a big part of their success this year.

“They’re fantastic,” she said.

The 2A team of 11 varsity dancers competed against seven other groups in a 4A-1A small teams division March 20.

From there, the top six teams competed Saturday.

“It was tough competition, and the teams were very experienced,” Adair said.

Grant Union Gold entertained local audiences with their state routine at the Grant Union Junior-Senior High School several times during basketball games and the Spring Showcase earlier this month.

The team received a state-qualifying score on the routine at the beginning of their season; from there, its scores steadily improved.

At state, Grant Union received a score of 71.50 dancing to “Shatter Me” by Lindsey Stirling and Lzzy Hale, finishing second to Astoria, which claimed the championship title with a score of 75.56.

Finishing out the rankings were: Santiam (3rd), Banks (4th), Sweet Home (5th), Bandon (6th), Portland Lutheran (7th) and Seaside (8th).

This year’s Gold included seniors Carli Gardner, Amy Lallatin, Lucrezia Noseda, Auna Waldner, Jenny McCloskey, and manager Charli Bowden.

“Everything came together – our costumes, the music, the choreography all matched,” said Waldner, who has learned dance from Adair since she was a young girl.

She said she was pleased with the way the team bonded.

“We’re all friends on the team,” she said.

She added that this year’s state competition routine was her all-time favorite, and making it even more meaningful, each dancer contributed to the choreography.

Taking a major role in the choreography with coach Adair were Waldner, Reannah Lemons, Mackenzie Woodcock and 2014 graduate Hannah Andrews.

“I really couldn’t have asked for a better season,” Waldner said. “It was a great way to finish off my senior year.”

Lallatin said the team worked hard this year.

“I’m glad that everything paid off well,” she said. “It’s been a fun season, and I love the team very much.”

“This is such an excellent group,” Adair said. “They’re a very diverse group from different backgrounds, yet they worked well together as a team – it was definitely a team effort.”

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GU students pen winning essays http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150324/gu-students-pen-winning-essays http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/Local_News/20150324/gu-students-pen-winning-essays#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:09:23 -0400 Angel Carpenter http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329965 JOHN DAY – The winners of this year’s Americanism Essay contest sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary gathered for a dinner March 16.

This year’s theme was “What Does Freedom Mean to My Family?”

First-place winners will advance to the state contest.

“I compliment the administration and the teachers for encouraging participation in this project for promoting Americanism and pride in our country,” said contest chairman Joan Bowling of Canyon City.

Results:

Class 1 (grades 3-4): Halle Parsons (1st), Bailey McCracken (3rd), Raney Anderson (2nd)

Class 2 (5-6): Abby Lusco (1st), Sophie Brockway (2nd), Audrey Walker (3rd)

Class 3 (7-8): Samantha Floyd (1st), Tanner Elliott (2nd), Alyssa Hoffman (3rd)

Class 4 (9-10): Natalie Stearn (1st), Trejan Speth (2nd), Serena Pace (3rd)

Class 5 (11-12): Marta Faulkner (1st), Adilene Olivera-Sanchez (2nd), Jennifer McCloskey (3rd)

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Playwright has the ‘write’ stuff http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150324/playwright-has-the-write-stuff http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/People/20150324/playwright-has-the-write-stuff#Comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:13:01 -0400 http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015150329966 EVERETT, Wash. – One former Grant County student is now making a career out of storytelling – both in the classroom and on the stage.

Beth Peterson, who graduated from Grant Union High School in 1983, teaches acting and theatre at Everett Community College in Everett, Wash., in addition to writing and producing several original works.

Peterson’s thriller “Evil Twin,” a futuristic version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” ran in six performances Feb. 26-28 and March 5-7 at the college.

Her other recent original works include a reading of her play, “Bully,” by the Northwest Playwrights Alliance at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and a humorous sketch, “Guido in Therapy,” which is being performed by Western Washington University theater students on tour.

Peterson, the daughter of Bev and Ken Peterson of John Day, earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and has been on the Everett Community College faculty since 2000. She is on the staff of SketchFest Seattle, and has been a member of Northwest Playwrights Alliance for several years.

Peterson has associations with several theater groups, and her work has been featured at the Seattle Fringe Festival and other events.

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