Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:44:52 -0500 en Blue Mountain Eagle | DISTRICT CHAMPIONS! Panther boys beat Jordan Valley in District 8 final Sat, 17 Feb 2018 21:56:17 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Prairie City Panther boys advance to the state playoffs as the top seed after winning a 52-46 battle Saturday night against the Jordan Valley Mustangs.

It was the championship final of 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament held Thursday through Saturday at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.

The Panthers beat the Adrian Antelopes the previous day 79-33.

Jordan Valley put a lid on the Panther basket for most of the first quarter, and the Mustangs led 10-8 going into the second.

Prairie City, led by head coach Sam Workman, made quick work of gaining the lead.

Panther Levi Burke started off the second quarter with a 2-point bucket and Dorran Wilson hit a 3-point shot.

Jordan Valley scored again to tie it 13-13, then Panther Jojari Field landed a 3-pointer to give Prairie City the lead, and they never looked back.

When Wilson laid up a basket at the buzzer, the Prairie City fans cheered loudly for the Panthers as they exited the court for the halftime break.

Defensive pressure on both sides heated up progressively in the third quarter, and Burke scored 2 points near the buzzer for a 42-30 lead.

The Mustangs, led by head coach Clint Fillmore, outshot the Panthers 16-10 in the final minutes, unable to overcome the Panthers.

Panther Syd Holman said the night’s big win was a long-time goal.

“It was all in a matter of years,” he said. “First we got third, then we got second, and now we got first — I think it was our time to win.”

Wilson said this game was something they’d long been preparing for.

“We knew they were going to be tough since the beginning of the season,” Wilson said. “We knew this was coming, we prepared for it all season, and we accomplished our goal.”

He added, “Winning the championship with these guys, you couldn’t ask for anything else.”

“We won seed,” exclaimed Burke.

He said it was a bittersweet day. A funeral for his uncle Greg Bremner of Canyon City was held earlier in the day.

“It’s something you dream of,” he said of the win, noting he recalled watching his older brother compete.

“At the beginning of the game, we started off slow, but we know how to collect ourselves and get going,” he said. “It was awesome, and I’m glad we could get it Dorran’s senior year.”

Coach Sam Workman said he feels pretty lucky as a first-year coach of the Prairie City boys varsity team.

“It’s a great bunch of kids,” he said. “It feels pretty good. They earned it — it was a dogfight the whole game.”

“I’m pretty lucky to have Dorran Wilson,” Workman said. “It’s like having another coach on the floor. Levi, Syd and the younger kids stepped up this year, and it ain’t over.”

He added, “It was a great game, and it was fun.”

Workman said they’ll host the first round state playoff game in Prairie City on Saturday, Feb. 24, the time and opponent to be determined.

The OSAA 1A Boys Basketball State Championship will be held Thursday through Saturday, March 1-3, at Baker High School in Baker City.

More details will be added in next week’s edition of the Blue Mountain Eagle.

Lady Panthers advance to state with 5-point win over Adrian Sat, 17 Feb 2018 20:14:37 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Prairie City Panther girls placed third Saturday at the 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament in John Day after defeating the Adrian Antelopes 44-39.

The three-day tournament was played at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School.

Prairie City now advances to the first round of state playoffs, the day, location and opponent to be determined.

Prairie City trailed 10-8 in the first quarter on Saturday.

Panthers Brianna Zweygardt and Cassie Hire sank 2-pointers to start to tie the score, and Panther Hailee Wall added another 2 later in the quarter, but the Lopes led 19-18 going into halftime.

Prairie City grabbed the lead in the third quarter and stayed ahead for the win.

Panther head coach Bo Workman said his team rebounded well, took care of the ball and hit their free throws.

“My girls are at the point now, that the other teams aren’t getting in their head, we’re getting into theirs now,” he said. “They’re fighting to the last minute against better teams.”

He added, “I’m proud of how they played and never gave up — they kept fighting, going through the tough times.”

Prairie City teammates expressed their excitement at the win.

“It was amazing, since we haven’t beat Adrian,” said Megan Camarena. “I feel as if this season we’re really connected and a team and at this point we really stepped up and became the team we should have been all year. I hope we’re ready for North Powder.”

Samantha Workman said the team gave it everything they had.

“I thought we did really well and worked well together as a team,” she said.

“I’m so proud of my team for pushing through the weekend in the last game, coming together and playing hard,” Hire said.

“We’re improved through the weekend with our mental game, more than anything, because we’ve had the skills all along,” Zweygardt said. “It’s exciting to see the girls grow and get the heart to leave it all on the floor.”

Zweygardt, who led Prairie City with 16 points, was named the Dairy Queen Player of the Game.

Prairie City

Brianna Zweygardt: 16 points (8-17 free throws)

Rilee Emmel: 6

Samantha Workman: 6 (two 3-pointers)

Cassie Hire: 6

Hailee Wall: 5 (3-4 free throws)

Emily Ennis: 5 (1-3 free throws)

Prairie City girls fall by 1 point to top-seeded Jordan Valley Fri, 16 Feb 2018 21:40:01 -0500 Angel Carpenter The final fraction of a second was the deciding factor in Friday night’s district playoff game between the No. 4-seed Prairie City Panther girls and the top-seeded Jordan Valley Mustangs, the Mustangs winning the battle 47-46.

“It was a good game,” said Panther head coach Bo Workman. “This is what you do at districts – everybody is ready to play.”

The 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament is being held at the Grant Union gym in John Day.

Jordan Valley led 26-22 at the half, and Prairie City came within one point a couple times in the third.

The Mustangs had a 36-33 lead going into the final quarter.

Prairie City’s Brianna Zweygardt and Cassie Hire led the team with 15 points each for the night, and Hailee Wall earned 6 of her 8 points in the fourth.

About 3 minutes into the fourth, Panther fans cheered when Wall’s jump shot slowly rolled in off the rim, moving Prairie City within two of Jordan Valley, 40-38.

Scoring went back and forth, the Mustangs maintaining a sliver of a lead.

Jordan Valley was ahead 47-44 after Cassie Hire went 1-2 at the free-throw line with a minute and a half left.

In the noisy final seconds, Jordan Valley came up empty twice at the free-throw line.

With about 6 seconds left, Wall scored again for the Panthers.

The ball back in Jordan Valley’s hands, Prairie City overtook the Mustangs for possession and Wall sank another shot, however, referees ruled it did not beat the buzzer.

“We’ve been preparing for them for a week now, so I thought we handled it well,” Workman said.

He added Jordan Valley has some girls who shoot the basketball well.

“We played them tough on defense, and things just didn’t go our way this time,” he said.

Prairie City will face third-seeded Adrian Saturday at 11 a.m., playing for third seed to state.

“We’ve got confidence to do what we need to do to win,” he said. “The girls have been stepping up and playing well.”

Jordan Valley will face Crane in the tournament final at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Prairie City

Cassie Hire: 15 points

Brianna Zweygardt: 15

Hailee Wall: 8

Rilee Emmel: 2

Samantha Workman: 2

Emily Ennis: 2

Katie Hire: 2

Panther boys power on to district final Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:19:29 -0500 Angel Carpenter The top-seeded Prairie City Panther boys ran away with the 79-33 win over the No. 3-seeded Adrian Antelopes in Friday’s game four at the 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament.

The win advances the Panthers to the final game, set for 5:45 p.m. Saturday where they will face the winner of tonight’s game between the No. 2-seed Jordan Valley Mustangs and the No. 4-seed Huntington Locomotives.

Prairie City’s Dorran Wilson led scoring for the Panthers with 23, followed by Levi Burke with 17.

Burke was named the Dairy Queen Player of the Game.

Panther Lucas McKinley scored all of his 15 points from beyond the arc in the first half.

Prairie City was fast from the start, as Panther Syd Holman sent the tipoff to Burke who laid it in.

Prairie City was quick to grab steals and rebounds with a strong press.

Burke and Wilson went on a scoring rampage in the first quarter, Wilson scoring 13 and Burke with 10, and Prairie City led 29-12.

Prairie City outshot Adrian 28-9 in the second, and Panther fans roared as Holman sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Panthers had a 57-21 lead at the half.

“They were excited to play basketball today — the anticipation has been crazy,” said Panther head coach Sam Workman.

In the third, seconds and minutes ticked down as Prairie City passed the ball around the perimeter, and Adrian outscored the Panthers 7-3.

Several Panthers came off the bench in the final minutes of the game, showing off their skills.

Jonathan Lawrence and Brandon Horrell each landed 3-point shots, and Tristan McMahan added 3 in the final seconds.

“They stepped up had some fun, hit some threes and just had a good time,” Workman said.

Prairie City

Dorran Wilson: 23 points (three 3-pointers, 2-4 free throws)

Levi Burke: 17

Lucas McKinley: 15 (five 3-pointers)

Syd Holman: 11

Jojari Field: 3 (one 3-pointer)

Jonathan Lawrence: 3 (one 3-pointer)

Tristan McMahan: 3 (one 3-pointer)

Jayden Winegar: 1

John Day Innovation Gateway project moving forward Fri, 16 Feb 2018 17:46:59 -0500 Richard Hanners A poor return rate for a community income survey of sewer customers in John Day and Canyon City was the only setback cited in City Manager Nick Green’s update on the Innovation Gateway project at the city council’s Feb. 13 meeting.

Survey information will be used to determine if the community is eligible for a federal Community Development Block Grant that will help pay for a new wastewater treatment plant that will serve the two cities located at the former Oregon Pine property the city purchased in 2017.

Only 23 percent of surveys sent to 312 randomly-selected customers had been returned, and the city needed a 90 percent response rate, Green reported. Volunteers will be sent out this month to contact households that have not responded, he said.

The city will need to budget a $27,000 cash match for a $200,000 state Transportation Growth Management grant for planning and design of the project. On Jan. 16, the city invited Grant County to contribute an in-kind, no-cash match to assist in the effort, Green said.

The 2-acre area between the future city shop and the former planer shed was successfully removed from the floodplain map by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The city’s new greenhouse will be built in this area, Green said.

Surveying has begun for a trail system around the project area. Some of the trails could be open to the public by this summer, Green said. Improvements to an existing bridge are undergoing preliminary engineering analysis, and funding for the bridge work would be included in the funding request for trail paving, he said.

City staff were soliciting bids to repair and paint the siding of the former sawmill building to improve its appearance until a future commercial use for the building was decided, Green said. Some vandalism and theft of tools had taken place at the building, and the city plans to install video cameras in the area to increase security, he said.

The city council also unanimously approved a resolution to exempt the contract for the greenhouse project from the traditional competitive bidding process and allow an alternative design-build contracting method. No public comments were made during a hearing on the resolution.

Under the design-build method, one party provides both design and construction services, which is common among greenhouse companies and will deliver “a better overall value to their clients,” Green told the council.

According to findings in support of the resolution, the city has budgeted $400,000 to build and equip a 5,500-square-foot greenhouse, including hydroponic systems, grow lights, mechanical systems, HVAC, “fertigation” and related equipment. Projected operating costs for the greenhouse are $150,000 per year, the findings say.

In other council news:

• Mayor Ron Lundbom recognized in a proclamation the lifetime achievements of Donn Willey, who passed away Jan. 25. Willey served as a city councilor for nine years and “was a friend, mentor, advisor and colleague of city councilors and city staff both past and present,” Lundbom said.

• The council unanimously approved providing the $4,945 in supplemental marijuana tax from 2017 to the Community Health Needs Assessment Substance Abuse Committee to support education on substance abuse issues.

The city received a request for the money from Blue Mountain Hospital District CEO Derek Daly in a Jan. 9 letter. Green has served as the chairman of the committee since January 2017.

Expressing his concerns about the failure of past substance abuse efforts in the area, Councilor Gregg Haberly asked for more information about how the money would be used.

Others on the council also expressed their concerns before agreeing to make a one-time payment for the requested amount from the city’s Community Development Investment Fund in this fiscal year and then replenishing the fund in the next year’s budget.

A similar request for marijuana tax revenue was made to the Grant County Court, but the item was removed from the Feb. 14 agenda.

• The council approved a schedule for the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget process and appointed Green to serve as the city’s budget officer. Final budget proposals will be discussed during a March 5 staff meeting, and the proposed budget packet will go to the budget committee April 13. The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget May 22 and adopt the final budget June 12.

• The city’s Annual Public Safety Report/Briefing will be presented at the council’s Feb. 27 meeting. The State of the City address will be presented at the council’s March 13 meeting.

Ethics commission to pursue Kitzhaber for 10 violations Fri, 16 Feb 2018 13:55:01 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM — The Oregon Ethics Commission has found that former Gov. John Kitzhaber violated state ethics law 10 times.

The commission unanimously voted to pursue 10 out of 11 alleged violations by the former governor who resigned in February 2015 amid an influence-peddling scandal.

“In 26 years of elected office, he had all kinds of experience in facing these issues,” said Commissioner Charles Starr. “It’s just unfortunate that he has come to this. I am convinced he is an honorable man, and he didn’t purpose to do this, but the outcome was quite obvious.”

Before the vote, Kitzhaber addressed the commission and apologized to his family, friends, former employees and the people of Oregon for his missteps, but he vigorously denied that he ever intentionally used his office to profit himself or first lady Cylvia Hayes’s environmental consulting business.

“I have withstood the scrutiny of eight elections and 26 years in public office and this is the first time that my integrity has ever been questioned,” Kitzhaber said. “To arrive at the conclusion that somehow, at the end of my long career in public service I would suddenly stumble on a streak of corruption, is simply untrue and there is no evidence to support it. I have certainly made my share of mistakes, but using my office for the purpose of obtaining financial gain or avoiding financial detriment is not one of them.”

The “preliminary findings” of violation were based on a report by state ethics investigators released earlier this week and prompted a period during which Kitzhaber may appeal the findings to an administrative law judge.

He faces up to $50,000 in fines for the violations. The commission won’t issue fines until an appeals process is completed and they vote on a “final order” of violations. Until that point, negotiations for a settlement agreement can continue.

The commission Friday dismissed one proposed violation of misuse of office related to using a staffer to pet sit for the First Couple when they left for personal trips. Kitzhaber said he had known the staffer for 15 years and that she had volunteered to care for the pets without pay.

Kitzhaber violated law prohibiting use of his office for personal financial gain when he took actions that benefited his fiancée, Hayes’s environmental consulting firm, 3E Strategies, investigators wrote in the 135-page report released Wednesday.

The former governor included Hayes’s income from the firm in his household income in 2011-13 on statements of economic interest, investigators said.

He also failed to publicly disclose his potential conflicts of interest and actual conflicts in several instances, as required by state law, they said.

Kitzhaber was “personally responsible to ensure that he did not engage in any policy decisions, discussions, speeches, meetings, directives to staff or official actions that would further the financial interest of 3E Strategies,” investigators wrote.

However, Kitzhaber attended meetings for which Hayes was either being paid or was seeking contracts with environmental advocacy groups and promoted and advanced her business, they wrote. For instance, he gave a speech in May 2013 at a planning retreat at the governor’s residence, Mahonia Hall, to discuss transitioning Oregon to a different economic measurement formula that factors in environmental health. Hayes was being paid by public policy organization Demos for facilitating the meeting.

Kitzhaber asked that Hayes be included in correspondence, meetings and policymaking on environmental matters for which she was seeking funding and being paid.

For example, he gave her access to the closed-door Pacific Coast Collaborative Leaders Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, in March 2012, while she was being paid a $118,000 fellowship with the Clean Economy Development Center.

“I believe Gov. Kitzhaber was not thinking, ‘Hmm, how can I get money?’ … I don’t think he was thinking, ‘Hmm, how can I get Cylvia Hayes money,’” said Commissioner Richard Burke.

But under state law, it’s irrelevant whether the violations took place on purpose or by accident, Burke said.

Kitzhaber and Hayes also used staff resources to book personal travel and help Hayes with her business activities, according to the report. Finally, Kitzhaber violated a state prohibition on public officials accepting gifts worth $50 or more apiece when he accepted Premier Platinum status from United Airlines, which was valued at more than $4,000, the report showed.

Kitzhaber testified Friday that he was unaware he had received platinum status from the airline.

He resigned under pressure by state lawmakers Feb. 18, 2015, a little more than a month into his fourth term as governor, as federal and state investigations into his conduct intensified.

In November, the commission rejected the proposed agreement with Kitzhaber that would have required him to pay $1,000 to settle the case. At that time, Kitzhaber admitted he violated state ethics laws on four occasions and said he did so unintentionally. He said he did not disclose a conflict of interest related to Hayes’ paid consulting contracts based on the advice of his attorney at the time.

News of the proposed settlement earlier that month spawned criticism that the penalty was too lenient on Kitzhaber’s lack of accountability during his role as the state’s highest elected official.

Friday’s decision will send a message to public officials, and they will take more care, Burke said.

The commission in January found that Hayes violated state ethics laws 22 times while she served as first lady. The commission has yet to issue a final order and assess fines in her case.

Grant County Court minutes: Jan. 24, 2018 Fri, 16 Feb 2018 15:43:01 -0500 Grant County Court minutes from Jan. 24, 2018:

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

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Jim Hamsher and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Haley Walker, Shanna Northway, Reporter Rick Hanners, Jim Spell, Beth Spell, Doug Ferguson, Jim Sproul, Reporter Logan Bagett, Rick Minster, Didgette McCracken, Carol Waggoner, Crystal Culley, Ron Rue, Judy Schuette, Jim Soupir, Billie Jo George, Judy Kerr, Katy Nelson, Steve Beverlin, Susan Church and Pastor Al Altnow. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Altnow.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrant #100 on January 17th.

HAND CHECK. The court approved a hand check on January 18th for payment to USDA-Aphis.

AGENDA. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to accept the agenda as presented with the addition of a request from the Justice of the Peace for training costs for Pro Tem.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton said last Monday there was a SEACT meeting at the Airport that was very well attended.

9:04 am Dan Becker entered.

Tomorrow Britton will travel to Ontario for the meeting to select Representative Bentz’s replacement. Britton advised he is in the process of following up on a water impoundment with the State and will seek assistance from Senator Bentz and Ted Ferrioli.

Judge Myers traveled to Harney County last Thursday to discuss 911 Dispatch and the possible option of partnering with them. Myers said Baker County has also expressed interest in a 911 partnership. On Friday Myers went to the Airport for a meeting with the Forest Service about the joint facility use agreement for the building.

9:10 am Nancy Nickel entered.

On Monday he went to a Planning Meeting at the Airport regarding the 20 year comprehensive plan and also attended an internet meeting at the John Day Fire Hall. Myers conducted an employee performance review yesterday and will also travel to Ontario tomorrow for the selection of Representative Bentz’s replacement. Myers picked up ballots last night for delivery to the Clerk. On Friday morning Myers, Sheriff Palmer, District Attorney Carpenter, Assessor Thunell and County Counsel Ron Yockim will have a telephone conference regarding the process for the upcoming tax foreclosures.

Commissioner Hamsher attended the Senior Center Board meeting last Wednesday. He also participated in a telephonic meeting with the AOC. Hamsher said he went to Malheur Lumber to request donated or discounted lumber for re-siding Keerins Hall and while he was there he was advised of issues Malheur was having getting rid of their pot ash and also problems they ran into when they tried to put a third shift on. Hamsher explained an idea he has to address these issues and proposed his idea to Senator Bentz at a Farm Bureau meeting on Sunday. Senator Bentz expressed interest in assisting with solutions to the issues. Hamsher will be traveling to Ontario tomorrow for the selection of Rep. Bentz’s replacement.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the January 10th minutes as amended.

EXTENSION & 4-H SERVICE DISTRICT. Shanna Northway, 4-H and Extension Faculty Leader, provided an update to the court on the Extension & 4-H Service District activities. Northway presented a PowerPoint to the court. Northway advised their office relocated to the Madden Building in downtown John Day and said it has been a good move. She explained some of the trainings she attended in the last year and the committee’s she’s involved in. Northway said the Grant County Fair Manager, Staff and Board were recognized at the State level for program and partnership as was Carol Waggoner. Northway obtained her pesticide consultants license in 2017 and stated this has been very beneficial. She discussed agricultural programs on the horizon for 2018. Northway explained the STEM after school program through 4-H that is for elementary students. They also provide a Natural Resource Camp to students with other partners from the community. Northway added there is something for everyone in 4-H (shooting, sewing, cooking, etc.) and if a program needs to be added they will work to achieve that. Christal Culley explained her position to those in attendance. Culley works with 4-H including preparing for Fair, 4-H Camp, Clubs and assisting with Community Service involvement. Culley talked about different 4-H classes she is planning for the future.

9:32 am Eva Harris entered.

4-H includes programs such as a summer conference, and urban rural exchange where kids learn about natural resources from an urban and rural perspective by exchanging places for 3 to 6 days. Culley also works on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-ED) where she provides nutrition/physical education activity education in schools along with other services.

9:38 am Mindy Winegar entered and Burke O’Brien entered.

Carol Waggoner explained some of her general office duties as the Office Coordinator for the extension service along with what she does to promote the 4-H/Extension programs.

9:42 am Pat Holliday entered.

Waggoner is also Master Gardener and Master Preserver. Beginning in February she will be conducting a Master Gardener Course. Didgette McCracken introduced herself as the new Open Campus Coordinator. McCracken said the open campus goals are career and college readiness, community/economic development and degree completion for students and adults. McCracken explained her programs and what is offered more fully. McCracken added they are putting a computer lab together to allow students without computer or internet access to complete their education.

10:00 am The court took a short break. 10:01 am Jason Kehrberg, Shane Koppel and Matt Wenick entered. 10:06 am The court returned to session.

GRANT CO. SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT. Jason Kehrberg, District Manager of the Grant County Soil & Water Conservation District updated the court on the activities of the GCS&WCD activities. Kehrberg introduced Pat Holliday, Matt Wenick and Shane Koppel. Kehrberg thanked the court for their consistent support over the years. Kehrberg explained the district was established by referendum in 1956 and summarized what a conservation district is. Kehrberg presented a PowerPoint to the court. The GS&WDC is an extremely large district providing a variety of services and programs to encourage long-term productivity, sustainable use and conservation of the district’s natural resources. One of the primary programs offered by the district is a county wide noxious weed control program. Kehrberg showed numerous pictures of projects they have completed for fencing to protect riparian areas, irrigation system upgrades for fish passage, consolidation of diversions, stream and flood plain function restoration, alternative livestock watering systems and Canyon Creek Complex Restoration seeding. Doug Ferguson commended Kehrberg and his staff for their assistance and work after the fire. Matt Wenick explained the role of the Grant SWCD Weed Control Department, the funding sources and benefits to the county and the different entities they contract with to provide weed control services. Wenick answered questions about weed types and priority of elimination within the county. The different ways weed contamination comes into the area were discussed. Wenick summarized the amount of acreage treated in the county and the different methods utilized. In the last 15 years the total program resources for the conservation district totaled $28,650,357. Kehrberg closed the presentation by giving a summary of funding sources, projects completed and future projects planned for 2018.

10:58 am Kathy Stinnett entered.

Kehrberg stated he has a terrific staff and wanted to acknowledge their expertise and hard work. Steve Beverlin thanked Kehrberg for all of the assistance the district provides to the Forest Service.

LETTER OF APPRECIATION. The court presented a Certificate of Appreciation and letter of commendation to former Morrow County Public Works Director Burke O’Brien for his years of service to Grant & Morrow Counties and his work on the Grant-Morrow OHV Park and 2017 Statewide Transportation Bill. Commissioner Britton advised today is Burke O’Brien’s birthday and wished him a Happy Birthday. Britton read the letter to those in attendance.

CONNECT AMERICANS NOW. Commissioner Hamsher presented information he received from Connect Americans Now (CAN) regarding their goal to bring affordable and reliable broadband internet to rural Americans. CAN’s goal is to utilize unused TV White Spaces (unused spectrum in the UHF television bands) to provide broadband service to rural communities. CAN is requesting support from local organizations in order to advance their mission of lobbying the legislature to set aside a portion of UHF television bands for this purpose. The Association of Oregon Counties and Oregon Cattleman’s Association along with other entities have signed on in support of this endeavor. There is no cost to the county to support this. Myers and Hamsher advised this would compliment other services and not interfere with them. Britton said he believes this is a good idea and there is no down side to supporting this. MSP: Britton/Hamsher -- to sign a letter of support to Connect Americans Now.

11:19 am Rob Raschio entered.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett had requested court approval to send her contracted Pro Tem Riccola Voigt to a Judicial Education Conference on traffic safety in Bend in March. The cost of the conference is $150 for the conference, 2 or 3 nights of lodging and most meals. Stinnett asked the court to make an exception to county policy this one time and to pay for this training for Voigt. Rob Raschio expressed his opinion that paying for this training would be a benefit to the county. Stinnett advised she should have included this in the contract when it was drafted and she will include training in future contracts. Hamsher said he would be willing to donate $50, if the other court members would, towards the cost of this rather than set a precedent for the future. The court members agreed to each pay $50 to pay for Voigt’s attendance at the conference. Stinnett advised she would pay for meals for Voigt that are not included in the conference.

COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS. Planning Commission: The court reviewed a volunteer application for a vacant alternate position on the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission had reviewed and approved of the applicant. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Tanner Elliott to an alternate position on the Planning Commission with a term to expire on December 31, 2019.

TIME KEEPING SYSTEM FOR JAIL. Corrections Manager Josh Wolf sent information to the court regarding a time keeping system for the jail. City County Insurance Services has agreed to assist with paying for the system. This system allows corrections staff to electronically scan a button during their cell checks and logs this information into the computer system assuring that accurate records are kept and reducing potential liability to the jail. The system can also log service of meals, perimeter checks and any other item needed to be logged. Wolf checked with ESD and no additional computer hard drives will be required for the system. The quote for the system is $4,552.81 and would be paid from the jail expansion fund and then reimbursed from CIS. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the purchase of the time keeping system in the amount of $4,552.81 from TimeKeeping Systems to be paid from the jail expansion fund.

KEERINS HALL ROOF. The court members reviewed two quotes received for replacement of the roof on Keerins Hall. The quotes were: Hughes Inc. ($10,150) and Palmer Roofing ($27,700). Judge Myers requested quotes from other contractors, but received no responses. Britton suggested tabling this discussion until Judge Myers can look into if further because of the large disparity in price. MSP: Britton/Hamsher – to table this discussion until further clarification on the disparity in price. Judge Myers will speak with Hughes to make sure the bid included the entire building.

AGGREGATE STORAGE LEASE RENEWAL. Road Master Alan Hickerson sent a renewal lease agreement for Mike Keerins stockpile site. Keerins requested an increase of the yearly payments from $1931.87 to $2511.43 for a 10 year lease. Hickerson advised this is a valuable site and he recommended accepting the small increase in the yearly lease fee and requested the court approve and sign the lease. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to accept the recommendation of the Roadmaster and approve the lease with Mike Keerins and circulate for signatures.

FAIR CONCERT HEADLINER. The court reviewed the artist rider contract with Lonestar to provide the headliner concert entertainment at the 2018 Fair. This is the contract provided by Lonestar’s producer. The cost of the contract with Lonestar is $30,000 and if the concert goes well the potential revenue could be around $50,000. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the contract with Lonestar and authorize Judge Myers to sign. *** In the January 10th minutes the expense line to pay for the headliner act, stage and generator was incorrectly identified as fair expense and should actually have been the entertainment line. ***

PUBLIC COMMENT. Jim Sproul asked for a status update on the Natural Resource Consultant position and said it is important for the court to either decide to move forward with this or not. Myers said he personally hasn’t decided whether this position is necessary. Sproul suggested making a decision on this matter soon.

11:44 am – Adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

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

Mercury pollution may impact Oregon farm erosion rules Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:36:39 -0500 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau To meet a court-ordered deadline, environmental regulators are racing to update mercury pollution limits in Oregon’s Willamette River Basin that may affect agricultural erosion rules.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that’s naturally found in soils but is also emitted by fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes. In Oregon, mercury from coal-burning power plants thousands of miles away in China, deposited through rain and dust, is also a significant source.

Agricultural practices are implicated as a source of mercury pollution due to the erosion of soils containing the element.

Currently, there’s a “minimal” amount of awareness among Oregon farmers about the link between erosion and mercury pollution, said Eric Horning, a farmer near Corvallis.

“It’s not a common topic of conversation,” Horning said. “There’s going to have to be an education process.”

Mercury may soon become a more relevant subject for growers in the Willamette River Basin due to upcoming regulatory decisions.

Last year, a federal judge ordered the region’s water quality standard for mercury — known as a total maximum daily load, or TMDL — to be revised by April 2017 due to an environmental lawsuit that faulted how the limit was calculated.

Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has now pulled together a committee, which includes representatives of the agriculture and timber industries, to advise on the revision process.

The state agency’s TMDL for mercury, which it’s updating with new data, is overseen the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.

The Oregon Farm Bureau is troubled by the lack of input that DEQ is accepting about its estimates for the amount of mercury that’s deposited in the Willamette Valley and released into waterways.

Agriculture and other industries aren’t being given enough opportunity to review and weigh in on the agency’s assumptions about mercury sources, said Mary Anne Cooper, the organization’s public policy counsel and an advisory committee member.

Farmland is a major land use in the region, so it’s likely to be considered a “big player” in controlling mercury pollution, she said.

“I think this is probably going to be one of the most meaningful TMDLs for agriculture, certainly in recent memory or even ever,” Cooper said.

During a Feb. 15 meeting in Portland, DEQ officials told committee members their primary role was advising on how the TMDL will be implemented to reduce mercury levels.

The technical work of calculating the TMDL will mostly be decided by the DEQ and EPA due to time constraints, though the public will be able to comment on their findings, officials said.

However, assumptions about the sources of mercury are closely linked to the implementation of controls, since both involve crop types and farm practices, said Cooper.

Since sedimentation from farmland will likely be considered a significant source of mercury, the “fix” may involve a DEQ directive on managing soil erosion, she said.

Agricultural water quality regulations are overseen by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, but the concern is that DEQ may provide that agency with prescriptive instructions to reduce mercury pollution, Cooper said.

Such a directive could be burdensome for farmers and discourage innovation in erosion control, she said.

However, the ODA cannot realistically become much more drastic about controlling sediment, which is already a major focus of its agricultural water quality program, said Paul Measles, an agency hydrologist and committee member.

“The staff we have and the amount of places we can look at any one time isn’t going to change,” he said.

Erosion control in the region could be improved, but farmers are constrained by regulations in what they can do to reduce streamside sedimentation, said Horning, who is also a committee member.

Work to reduce bank erosion can be quickly performed with a front-end loader but generally requires cumbersome permitting from state and federal agencies, Horning said.

“It’s frowned upon and it shouldn’t be,” he said. “It should be embraced.”

Prairie City firefighters finish academy Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:02:34 -0500 Over the course of three weekends, new firefighters from Burns, Hines and Prairie City fire departments attended the annual Grant-Harney Training Association Firefighter Academy. Through a mixture of classroom instruction and hands-on training, new firefighters learned about personal protective equipment, fire behavior, fire control and many other related subjects. The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training also taught a few classes and made the academy more fun by bringing the Flammable Liquids and Gases (FLAG) hands-on training props. The students were able to apply some of their knowledge in a simulated propane fire emergency.

Legislators wary of optimistic revenue forecast Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:00:51 -0500 Claire Withycombe Capital Bureau

SALEM — Oregon is expected to have about $99 million more in net general and lottery fund resources than state economists projected a few months ago.

The state’s quarterly revenue forecast, presented to lawmakers Friday morning, is a key development of the short February session.

Lawmakers are working to ensure the state’s current two-year budget is on track and to deal with the implications of recent sweeping changes to the federal tax code.

The net increase of about $99 million in available money is due to higher than expected beginning fund balances, personal income tax collections and lottery revenues. However, corporate tax collections are projected to be lower than expected in late November, when the last quarterly forecast was released.

State economists are still trying to pin down the impact of the federal tax reforms passed in late December.

In response to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, some state lawmakers are pressing on with efforts to change to Oregon’s tax code to mitigate the projected negative revenue effects. A bill passed on Tuesday by the Oregon Senate would allow Oregon to tax overseas profits that companies are expected to bring back to the U.S. through a provision in the tax bill called repatriation. It has been referred to the House Revenue Committee for consideration.

Gov. Kate Brown said that the forecast was “good news” for the state, but warned that the state needed to demonstrate fiscal discipline” and was critical of a second tax bill before the Legislature.

The bill would change how certain types of businesses are taxed. It was sent back to the Senate Finance and Revenue committee by Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, on Thursday.

Senate Republican Leader Jackie Winters said the forecast was evidence that it isn’t necessary for lawmakers to pass new revenue measures in the ongoing short session. “This revenue forecast shows that Oregon’s economy continues to prosper, eliminating the need for any new revenue package during this 35-day short session,” Winters said. “Providing tax relief for small business and taxpaying Oregonians, while growing Oregon’s economy, is our priority.”

State Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, the longtime vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means — the bicameral budget-writing committee — told fellow lawmakers he was “nervous” despite the positive economic and revenue outlook.

“While today, we’re up approximately $100 million after the information that’s been shared with us, keep in mind the future is uncertain, as was also just shared with us, and we have many priorities that we’re going to want to continue to fund in the future,” Smith said.

He said legislators have two options: revenue reform or controlling spending. “One of those conversations has to occur,” Smith said. “Because being at $100 million up, it’s going to be very easy for us to be $2 billion down in the near future.”

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, called the new numbers “good news,” but said she didn’t believe it would last.

“I continue to have concerns about how the federal tax changes will affect our state’s revenues over time,” Burdick said in a statement. “We should chart our own course by detaching from the federal tax code in key areas. That will protect the middle class and low-income Oregonians.”

Oregon’s budget leans heavily on income taxes, a source of chagrin for state lawmakers who claim that it makes for unstable budgets and dramatic deficits in recessionary periods.

Some lawmakers have also voiced concerns about the state’s property tax system, altered by a series of ballot measures in the 1990s. State economist Mark McMullen concurred, saying that structural revenue issues weren’t going anywhere. “That budget gap is still there, it’s real,” McMullen said. “This report changes that not at all.”

And although most economic indicators are pointing in the right direction, McMullen said, there’s a higher risk of a recession than there was a year ago.

The state has worked to build its reserves since the last economic recession. But the size of the structural budget deficit in future budget cycles is larger than the state’s reserve funds, said State Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene.

House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, also alluded to longer-term budget concerns in a post-forecast statement.

“The bad news is, Oregon continues to struggle with the long-term, structural imbalance between our existing revenue streams and the rising cost of funding schools, health care, public safety and other critical services for our growing state,” Williamson said.

Joan Yvonne Ingalls Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:27:40 -0500 Joan Yvonne Ingalls, 79, formerly of Prairie City, passed away from cancer Feb. 13 in Ontario, surrounded by loved ones. A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at the Canyon City Cemetery, with a reception to follow at the home of Kris and Jan Curtis on Brent Drive.

She was born May 5, 1938, to Clarence and Alice Curtis in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. When she was 2, the family moved to Oregon, where she grew up in Canyon City and graduated from John Day High School in 1956. She spent most of her life in Grant County. She loved it there and loved talking about her younger years in Canyon City and all of the shenanigans she and friends took part in.

In December 1957, she married Jim Murray, and they had two children, Scott and Jaylene. The couple later divorced.

She was employed by Blue Mountain Hospital District, where she worked until her retirement. She was a hard worker and never used life’s hardships as an excuse.

She loved planting many flowers in the summer and always had such healthy, beautiful pots of flowers. At two different times in her life, she was the leader of an equestrian drill team. She had a knack for this and loved doing it. She also enjoyed cross stitching and various forms of painting, but her true love was her family. She never failed to be there for her children and grandchildren. She felt so fortunate that she was able to spend so much time with her grandsons as they grew up, which was very special to her.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Jaylene and Eddie Udlinek, and four grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her son Scott Murray; nephew Kris Curtis; sister Althea Kimball; brothers Arney Curtis, Dale Curtis and Bob Curtis; and sister Marg McConkey.

To offer condolences to her family, visit

Monument/Dayville boys show no quit in loss to Adrian Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:59:53 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Monument/Dayville Tiger boys showed no signs of letting up, but were overpowered by Adrian 51-28 Thursday night on day one of the 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament.

The three-day tournament is being held at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.

Other boys teams competing at the tournament include Prairie City, Jordan Valley, Huntington and Crane.

Adrian’s Warren DeMark was first to score Thursday, landing a 3-pointer, which was the first of 4 for the quarter and 5 for the night.

Tiger Donovan Schafer scored two 2-point shots, and teammate Drew Wilburn was 2-4 at the free-throw line.

Although Adrian brought some size to the game, including 6-foot-4 Miller DeMark, experience was another factor in the Antelope’s dominance. Adrian has four senior starters and one junior, and the Tigers have three freshmen and two sophomore starters.

In the second, Adrian was consistent in finding the basket and outscored Monument/Dayville 21-11, Rico Sparka, Wilburn, Mark Thomas, JT Hand and Schafer scoring for the Tigers.

Schafer rebounded well in the third and had a steal, and Wilburn made two baskets.

In the fourth, Adrian’s starters rested while others on the bench took over, and the Tigers outshot the Antelopes 6-1.

Tiger head coach Jeff Schafer said his team is making progress.

“They’re starting to learn unity, which will help in the building years,” he said, adding, “They fought, and they never gave up.”

Adrian head coach Craig DeMark said his starters shot well, highlighting his two top-scoring athletes, Warren DeMark with 21 and Miller DeMark with 17.

“Andy (Walker) played well for us inside, rebounding and playing physical,” he said.

He added, “We were saving legs in the fourth.”

Looking forward to the Friday’s game against the Prairie City Panthers set for 2:45 p.m., coach DeMark said, “Prairie City is really good. Hopefully we can get some shots.”

Wilburn, a Monument/Dayville junior, said he’s proud of his team.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said.

The Tigers fell to the Crane Mustangs 65-33 Friday morning in the consolation game.


Donovan Schafer: 10 points

Drew Wilburn: 9

JT Hand: 4

Rico Spark: 3

Mark Thomas: 2


Warren DeMark: 21 points (five 3-pointers, 4-7 free throws)

Miller DeMark: 17 points (one 3-pointer)

Andy Walker: 6

Dakota Martin: 4

Kirk Obendorf: 2

Alex Garcia: 1

Tiger girls fall in tough battle against Antelopes Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:04:48 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Monument/Dayville Tiger girls battled tough from the start against Adrian on day one of the 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament but fell 34-25 to the Antelopes.

Thursday was the first of the three-day tournament held at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.

Adrian scored twice to start, then Tigers Kyla Emerson, Aubrey Bowlus and Faythe Schafer combined for 7 points, ending the first quarter with a 1-point lead. Denali Twehues and Schafer had steals in those first 8 minutes, and Schafer went 2-2 at the free-throw line.

Adrian fired off a 3-point shot to start the second. Then with some back and forth, the Tigers tied the score twice.

At 12-12, the Antelopes leaped ahead and held the Tigers off with an 18-13 lead going into the half.

Adrian’s Sadey Speelmon, who was named the Dairy Queen Player of the Game, went 2-2 at the free-throw line at the beginning of the third.

After the Tigers called a timeout, Schafer and Danielle Rhoda each scored 2-pointers.

Bowlus grabbed a defensive rebound, but Adrian intercepted a pass, and after a scramble between the teams, Adrian’s Grace Morton landed a 3-pointer.

Bowlus added another 2 points for the Tigers, and the Antelopes added 2 of their own.

Adrian outshot the Tigers 7-6 for a 25-19 lead to close the third.

Monument/Dayville, fighting for each point, scored within 3 of Adrian after Rhoda hit 2-2 free throws and Emerson scored 1-2.

Rhoda later added 1 more point at the free-throw line and another 2-pointer, but Adrian pulled off the 9-point win.

Tiger head coach Taylor Schmadeka said Adrian’s defense is always a challenge.

“That’s their bread and butter,” he said. “They force you to make mistakes.”

He said, while his team played with a lot of intensity in the first half, some mistakes that caused turnovers came back to haunt them.

“We just couldn’t capitalize on the big opportunities,” he said.

Schmadeka said his team has shown improvement over the season.

“The girls did have a fun time, and I had fun coaching them,” he said. “Overall, we want to win, but it should be enjoyable.”

Schafer said they played hard but came out timid in the third quarter.

“We fought back, trying to close the lead,” she said.

“We played our hearts out and had a ton of fun,” Rhoda added. “We were hoping for a better outcome, but we played to have fun and we did.”

Emerson said her team played well.

“I thought we pulled it together, but not enough to win the game,” she said. “But I’m really proud of my team and our season.”

The Tiger girls claimed a 34-17 point victory over Harper in the consolation game on Friday morning.

Monument/Dayville vs. Adrian

Faythe Schafer: 7 points

Danielle Rhoda: 7

Aubrey Bowlus: 7

Kyla Emerson: 4

Report: Local economy does not support scheduled air flights Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:49:34 -0500 Richard Hanners The Grant County area does not have the population, employment and income levels needed to support regularly scheduled passenger service at Grant County Regional Airport.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report on rural airport services presented at the Grant County Court’s Feb. 14 meeting. The Grant County area has seen declining population and household income over the past decade. It has also seen a significant drop in manufacturing sector earnings, which is positively correlated with demand for air service, the report said.

“The region has limited demand for passenger air service,” ECONorthwest said in its report. “This is due to the area’s relatively small population and limited economic footprint.”

Airport manager Haley Walker said she contacted the Oregon Department of Aviation in fall 2016 about applying for a Critical Oregon Airport Relief grant to support a passenger air service study and was told a study was already underway.

The department had contracted with ECONorthwest to describe passenger air service distribution across Oregon using the framework of supply and demand. The study was completed in January and includes a case study for Eastern Oregon, with a section on Grant County Regional Airport and John Day.

According to Federal Aviation Administration data provided in the report, Grant County Regional Airport saw 251 enplanements in 2007 and 102 in 2009, but none were reported after that date. Most Grant County air travelers drive to Boise, Idaho, a six-hour round-trip that requires an overnight stay for outbound or return flights, or both, the report said.

A slightly shorter drive would take local travelers to the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton, which has regularly-scheduled flights to Portland that are subsidized by the federal government. But passenger trips to and from Pendleton have declined by 82 percent since 2000 despite the subsidies, paralleling a general trend toward fewer enplanements at smaller airports across Oregon, the report said.

Among the largest employers in the Grant County area are the city of John Day, several federal and state agencies and Malheur Lumber Co., the report said. The lumber company currently operates its own planes in and out of the airport, and access to scheduled service or charter arrangements likely wouldn’t impact this business investment decision, the report said.

“It’s possible that demand exists for business travel on air taxi or charter flights, but it is unlikely that sufficient demand exists to support scheduled air services to GCRA for the foreseeable future,” the report said.

ECONorthwest noted that “for many people who choose to live in Eastern Oregon, driving long distances is routine and does not represent the same perceived cost as it may to someone from a more urban area of the state. Thus, the most stable primary source of demand for small rural airports would be business travelers, with less predictable demand from tourists or travelers on personal business.”

Walker told the Eagle that communities typically draft a business plan for their airports and present it to an air service company to attract their business. She said the county was considering scheduled service with six- to nine-seat aircraft, but the Grant County airport could not meet the “load factor” requirements.

According to ECONorthwest’s study, load factor is the most common tool used to describe a marketplace for scheduled air passenger service. Load factor combines the supply of seats available in a region to the demand by passengers choosing to fly from that location.

“High load factors mean that airlines are able to ‘right size’ the supply of seats with the demand,” the study said. “In other words, passengers are filling every seat on the plane, thereby maximizing revenue for that flight.”

Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton noted that ECONorthwest’s report never mentioned The Retreat and Links at Silvies Valley Ranch, a new major tourism attraction in Grant County.

Walker said she believes the report is an accurate description of current conditions, however. Tourism is not a good indicator of consistent demand, she said. If it costs too much to fly, people in this region are willing to drive, she said. Seats on a plane need to be filled to make it work for private business, she said.

Grant County Judge Scott Myers agreed that based on the study it didn’t make sense to approach an air service company about establishing flights to John Day. Air taxi and charter flights could continue as an alternative, he noted.

Watershed council completes seven projects Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:48:00 -0500 Richard Hanners The Grant County Court learned about the South Fork John Day Watershed Council at its Feb. 14 meeting, as Amy Stiner, executive director, and Elise Delgado, project manager, presented an update on the group’s work.

Established in 1980 by private landowners and government agencies, the group seeks to maintain or improve the health of the uplands, tributaries, riparian areas and fish and wildlife habitat within the 537,708-acre drainage while maintaining or improving economic stability in the area.

The watershed group completed seven projects last year and has 20 more underway and 16 on the waiting list, Stiner said. Projects include noxious weed control, juniper removal, aspen enhancement, riparian revegetation and upland water developments. Feral horses also have an impact in the area.

As the group expanded its interests to the lower drainage in recent years, it made contact with the South Fork John Day Coordinated Resource Management Planning group, which has similar interests and functions and has been in existence since 1974. The goal is for the two groups to coordinate efforts.

Stiner said the group’s education efforts were among her proudest achievements last year. This includes the Farm To School program, the Grant County Natural Resource Camp, watershed tours and the group’s annual newsletter.

The watershed council meets at the Izee Schoolhouse on the second Monday of each month. For more information, visit

In other court news:

• The court agreed to implement an online system for registering and tracking building permits through software provided by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services Building Codes Division.

Hilary McNary, Grant County planning director, and Shannon Springer, assistant planner, explained the pros and cons of the system to the court, while Celina Patterson from the state office spoke on the phone.

• The court approved three requests from Sally Bartlett, the Grant County economic development coordinator. Bartlett wanted to hire a person for copywriting and to set up a nonprofit organization for the local farmers market, which wanted to apply for a grant to pay for a shed and other needs.

Commissioner Boyd Britton asked Bartlett why she needed $20,000 for her third request, to create a new website for the economic development office. Bartlett said websites for the city of John Day and the Grant County Chamber of Commerce cost around $10,000.

The current website was written in code and is difficult to change, Bartlett said. Allison Field, the office’s community and economic development specialist, said the website needs to be user-friendly for both staff and visitors.

• After reviewing two bids for re-roofing Keerins Hall at the Grant County Fairgrounds, Grant County Judge Scott Myers signed a $10,500 agreement with Hughes Inc., a local company that will handle the entire roofing project, including removing several unused chimneys.

• The court unanimously approved a joint-facility-use agreement with the Forest Service for the Grant County Regional Airport. The Forest Service will pay the county a $49,692 management fee for 2018 and about three-quarters of the utility costs for the terminal. Other areas will be metered separately.

The agreement also covered airport and aircraft security. Myers said he wanted to get the agreement signed despite the reluctance of some parties over political disagreements.

• The court approved renewing an aggregate lease in the Ritter area for $600 per year.

• Jessica Winegar was appointed to the Local Community Advisory Council for the county health department.

• The Grant County Court will meet next on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Prairie City girls defeat Harper with hustle at district tourney Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:51:11 -0500 Angel Carpenter Six Prairie City Panther girls scored in the opening quarter of their 53-32 win Thursday over the Harper Hornets at game one of the 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament.

“Things started out hot, and we won a game we had to win,” said Prairie City head coach Bo Workman.

Prairie City’s Cassie Hire, named Dairy Queen Player of the Game, drained two three-point shots in the first 8 minutes and led the Panthers with 15 points in the contest, followed by Brianna Zweygardt with 13.

The Panthers, seeded third in the tournament, amassed a 15-point cushion in the first quarter, outshooting the sixth-seed Hornets 20-5.

Scoring was much closer the rest of the way, and the Panthers rode it out with good defense.

Panther Katie Hire had a steal early in the second quarter.

A short while later, a Harper player fell hard and went out with an injury.

Panther Rilee Emmel intercepted a Harper player’s pass and Zweygardt scored.

Cassie Hire drained 2 points at the free-throw line, and was 4-4 for the game.

Prairie City led 28-11 at the half and outshot Harper 12-9 in the third.

Harper landed two 3-point shots early in the fourth, but Prairie City battled for the 21-point win with 7 points from Cassie Hire, 4 points from Zweygardt and 2 from Hailee Wall.

“I’m really proud of my team,” said Cassie Hire. “Defense was definitely our strong point.”

“It was an awesome game,” said Emily Ennis who had some steals in the game and scored 6 points. “We all hustled and showed great dedication and had respect for the other team.”

Workman said the girls showed strength by remaining “under control.”

“We missed some easy shots,” he said. “We’ve got to get rebounds. The games are won in the paint.”

Prairie City (5-3) will face the Jordan Valley Mustangs (7-0) at 6 p.m. Friday.

Prairie City has only met up with the top-seeded Jordan Valley once, the Panthers losing 54-39 on Jan. 26. After game, Prairie City coach said his team held up strong to the Mustangs in all but one quarter.

Workman said his team is set for the challenges ahead.

“We’re ready, if we’re not, it’s too late,” he said.

Prairie City

Cassie Hire: 15 points (three 3-pointers, 4-4 free throws)

Brianna Zweygardt: 13

Samantha Workman: 6

Hailee Wall: 6

Emily Ennis: 6

Rilee Emmel: 4

House passes bill to keep guns from abusers Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:46:21 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM — The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill 37-to-23 Thursday to keep domestic abusers and stalkers from having firearms.

House Bill 4145 closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” or “intimate partner,” in state law that omitted stalkers and domestic abusers who are not a spouse, former spouse, live-in partner or co-parent from the gun ban.

“I believe from the bottom of my heart this bill will save lives in Oregon,” said Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Floor debate over the bill drew out emotional speeches and revelations about personal experiences from lawmakers. Barker, a former police officer, recounted responding to a gruesome scene in which a young mother had attempted to protect herself from her abuser and had her hand blown off before being killed.

Rep. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, wept as she talked about verbal and physical abuse she experienced from an alcohol father.

Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, said he also had witnessed horrific domestic abuse during his former career as a police officer. Olson voted against the bill, because, he said, it would not prevent abusers from obtaining guns illegally and killing or injuring others. The legislation also fails the address the root cause of gun violence, he said.

“This bill doesn’t fix the systemic problems our state is experiencing that is why I am going to vote no.”

The legislation also would require Oregon State Police to notify other law enforcement when they learn someone has tried to obtain a gun illegally.

Under existing law, only convicted abusers in domestic relationships, such as a spouse, former spouse, co-parent or live-in partner, are prohibited from having guns. The bill expands the ban to current and past intimate partners of all kinds and stalkers.

Barker said as a compromise with reluctant supporters of the bill, he and other sponsors agreed to remove a provision that would automatically dispossess an accused abuser or stalker of their guns if they missed one court hearing.

A study by the Oregon Department of Justice showed that more than 16 Oregonians were killed in nine separate domestic violence incidents between Dec. 25, 2016, and Jan. 16, 2017. Not all of the fatalities involved romantic relationships.

Women are more likely to be killed in domestic disputes when a gun is present in the home, Barker said.

Laws aimed at keeping guns from abusers have reduced homicides of intimate partners, according to recent research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Bremner’s final ride Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:10:12 -0500

Plan looks at aging forest facilities Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:24:55 -0500 Richard Hanners The message in the Malheur National Forest’s recently issued draft Facility Master Plan is bleak but not unique.

Insufficient funding and accumulating deterioration have created a “national junkyard” within the Forest Service’s portfolio of 40,000 administrative, recreation and research buildings nationwide, according to an InBusiness Magazine article cited by Teresa Dixon, a program manager at Malheur National Forest, in her talk to the Grant County Court Feb. 14.

Deteriorating buildings pose safety risks, with rotting floorboards, collapsing foundations — even swaying lookouts. They also pose health risks, including hantavirus and mold. While much damage is environmental, some is human-caused — including vandalism, graffiti and bullet holes, Dixon noted.

Nationwide, the Forest Service has identified 3,374 buildings that it wants to decommission. These buildings need $195 million worth of repairs, while the maintenance bill for all Forest Service buildings is estimated to be $1.1 billion.

Locally, the Malheur National Forest owns 133 fire, administration or other (FAO) buildings and leases two more. Replacement value for these buildings, including guard stations, firefighter housing and lookouts, is estimated to be $36.8 million, while maintenance funding needed to keep them up is $1.1 million.

The forest also has 45 developed recreation sites with 94 associated buildings — mostly toilets. The forest has 31 developed campgrounds, including 21 that charge fees, as well as five recreational rentals, four snow parks and five miscellaneous sites. Replacement value for these sites is estimated at $3.3 million, and funding needed to maintain them is $103,086.

But forest funding available for maintaining FAO and recreation buildings meets only 15 percent and 18 percent of the need, respectively. And this available funding does not address the $3.8 million in deferred maintenance for FAO and $325,148 for recreation buildings on the forest.

These deferred maintenance estimates “appear to be very low and not representative of actual” deferred maintenance, Dixon said. For one thing, the forest’s facilities are surveyed once every five years and must be updated, she noted.

Nationwide, the Forest Service estimates it needs $390 million for annual maintenance but has only $65 million available. The Malheur National Forest has a funding gap of $960,000 for FAO buildings and $303,648 for recreation buildings.

One way to deal with this funding gap could be to raise revenue — such as increasing existing fees or implementing new fees at developed campgrounds. Recreation sites on the Malheur National Forest generated $111,865 in fees, while maintenance costs were $117,470. But occupancy at the forest’s campgrounds ranges from 80 percent in summer and hunting season to zero for other parts of the year. Remoteness is also a factor in driving up maintenance costs.

Some popular sites are subsidizing others, Dixon noted. The forest’s five main sites — Big Creek, Delintment, Idlewild, Magone and Middle Fork — posted a total positive return of $29,264, while 16 other fee campgrounds had a total negative return of $21,031. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining the forest’s 18 non-fee campgrounds was $36,853.

While the forest considers options such as decommissioning or changing fees, Dixon noted that two “premier historic sites” must be maintained: the John Day Compound and the Allison Guard Station.

The Malheur National Forest is the first in the United States to complete a facilities master plan for recreation buildings. The recently completed draft plan for FAO and recreation buildings was required by the Forest Service, but it’s a guidance document, not a regulatory one, Dixon noted.

“We don’t want to spend limited funds unwisely,” she said.

In 2014, the National Engineering Leadership Team completed a two-year study that looked at the Forest Service’s aging, oversized infrastructure amidst flat or declining budgets. The team came up with 50 strategies in five categories, including increasing revenue through appropriations, fees or rent; improving efficiencies; and reducing inventory.

Local forest offices were told to update facility master plans with financial data, step up the pace of decommissioning and continue to look for ways to obtain additional revenues.

“The goal is a sustainable infrastructure,” Deputy Forest Supervisor Ryan Nehl told the county court. “Every year the maintenance gap grows. We need to be proactive. We need to identify buildings we can do without.”

A recent report for the Malheur National Forest by two retired Forest Service engineers raised a number of issues:

• The forest “has more recreation sites than they can operate and maintain with the funds they receive.”

• Insufficient maintenance funding will continue to drive up the deferred maintenance backlog to where “the buildings will suffer.”

• There is no money to eliminate or reduce the $600,000 in deferred maintenance for recreation buildings.

• The gap in available versus needed maintenance funding “continues to expand into the future.”

• “Fully decommissioning or increasing fees on selective sites is far from a complete solution.”

Alternatives considered by the forest include taking down buildings, letting them “melt in place” or selling them. Private parties who buy forest buildings must remove them from the site — acquiring the underlying land would create an inholding, which requires approval from a reluctant Congress, Dixon said.

Some buildings could be converted into recreation rentals, some sites could be used for dispersed camping after decommissioning and some campgrounds could be hosted by concessionaires as a fee site.

“We don’t want to level any buildings without checking our options,” Nehl said.

Buildings over 50 years old with historic significance must be reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office for possible listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

In any case, some sites have special value to locals and there will be strong feelings about the plan, Dixon noted. Forest staff have been collaborating with stakeholders and meeting with specialists, and they want to take public input.

The forest will hold a public meeting on the Facility Master Plan from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Grant County Regional Airport in John Day. A meeting will be held at the Harney County Senior Center two days later. Comments on the plan will be accepted through March 23.

The draft plan and comment form are available at the Malheur National Forest website. For information, Teresa Dixon can be contacted at

Investigators: Kitzhaber violated ethics law 11 times Wed, 14 Feb 2018 17:02:53 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM – Former Gov. John Kitzhaber violated state ethics laws in at least 11 instances, according to an investigation report released Wednesday by the Oregon Ethics Commission.

Kitzhaber violated law prohibiting use of his office for personal financial gain when he took actions that benefitted his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes’ environmental consulting firm, 3E Strategies, investigators wrote in 135-page report. He also failed to publicly disclose his potential conflicts of interest and actual conflicts in several instances, as required by state law.

The former governor included Hayes’s income from the firm in his household income in 2011-2013 on statements of economic interest, investigators said.

“Former Governor Kitzhaber was personally responsible to ensure that he did not engage in any policy decisions, discussions, speeches, meetings, directives to staff or official actions that would further the financial interest of 3E Strategies,” the investigators stated in the report.

The commission is scheduled to consider whether to pursue the violations at a meeting Friday.

“Although former Governor Kitzhaber stipulated in a proposed settlement agreement that he unintentionally violated the potential conflict statute, he unequivocally rejects the suggestion that he used his public office to obtain a financial benefit for himself or Ms. Hayes,” Janet Hoffman, Kitzhaber’s attorney, wrote in a Feb. 6 letter to investigators.

Kitzhaber resigned Feb. 18, 2015, a little more than a month into his fourth term as governor, as federal and state investigations into his conduct began to crank up. Legislative leaders told Kitzhaber the bubbling scandals would distract from tough issues facing the session.

According to the report, Kitzhaber attended meetings for which Hayes was either being paid or was seeking contracts with environmental advocacy groups and promoted and advanced her business.

For instance, he gave a speech in May 2013 at a planning retreat at the governor’s residence, Mahonia Hall, to discuss transitioning Oregon to a different measurement formula that factors in environmental health. Hayes was being paid by public policy organization Demos for facilitating the meeting.

He asked that Hayes be included in correspondence, meetings and policymaking on matters for which she was seeking funding and being paid.

For example, he gave her access to the closed-door Pacific Coast Collaborative Leaders Forum in Vancouver, B.C., in March 2012, while she was being paid a $118,000 fellowship with the Clean Economy Development Center.

He and Hayes also used staff resources to book personal travel and to help Hayes with her business, the report stated.

Finally, Kitzhaber violated a state prohibition on public officials accepting gifts worth $50 apiece when he accepted Premier Platinum status from United Airlines, which was valued at more than $4,000, the report showed.

In November, the commission denied the proposed agreement with Kitzhaber that would have required him to pay $1,000 to settle the case. At that time, Kitzhaber admitted he violated state ethics laws on four occasions and said he did so unintentionally. He said he did not disclose a conflict of interest related to Hayes’ paid consulting contracts based on the advice of his attorney at the time.

News of the proposed settlement earlier that month spawned criticism that the penalty was too lenient on Kitzhaber’s missteps during his role as the state’s highest elected official.

House approves protections for all Oregon seed growers Wed, 14 Feb 2018 16:51:37 -0500 Mateusz PerkowskiCapital Bureau SALEM — Early organization has proved advantageous for supporters of a bill establishing minimum contract protections for all Oregon seed growers, which the House unanimously approved Feb. 13.

Under House Bill 4068, dealers must pay farmers market prices for seed by certain deadlines enforced by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Grass seed crops have received similar protections since 2011 under a statute aimed at preventing “slow pay, no pay” problems, but other types of seed were excluded from the legislation.

Before the idea of expanding the contract protections was brought to the Oregon lawmakers, the specifics were hashed out by farmers, seed dealers and trade groups.

By the time HB 4068 was introduced, all the details had been hammered out and the bill sailed through the House Agriculture Committee without any opposing testimony or even an amendment.

The lack of complication has served the bill well in 2018, when several other proposals have been killed off for being too grandiose or intricate to properly examine in a little more than a month.

Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, briefly explained the bill’s purpose on the House floor and praised it for adhering to the “spirit of the short session” — it’s “narrow in scope” and has been “thoroughly vetted” by the affected parties, he said.

Anna Scharf, whose family farm near Amity, Ore., was instrumental in advocating the bill, Post said.

The concept for expanding contract protections to clover, meadowfoam, radish, turnip, mustard and other seeds was initiated by Scharf in 2017.

Initially, she sought to simply add other seed types to the class of crops protected under the 2011 statute. However, the proposal “unraveled” because the payment terms for grass seed didn’t align with those of other seeds, Scharf said.

For a year, the Oregon Farm Bureau and farmers “worked out the kinks” with seed industry stakeholders and arrived at a proposal that lawmakers could embrace as “bipartisan” and “not political,” she said.

“It shows they’re willing to acknowledge that farmers growing proprietary crops have a necessity and a right to be paid in a timely manner,” Scharf said. “We aired out our differences and figured out a law we could live within.”

Because most specialty seeds are proprietary, they can’t be sold on the open market if the contracting seed dealer fails to pay, she said.

If HB 4068 is similarly successful in the Senate — which is likely — the playing field between growers and dealers will be more level, Scharf said. “It’s a game changer. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it.”

Senate works to reverse budget impact of federal tax bill Tue, 13 Feb 2018 19:38:49 -0500 Claire WithycombeCapital Bureau SALEM — Two business tax proposals aimed at tempering the effects of federal tax reform on Oregon’s budget appear to be moving forward.

Both proposals would change state tax policy in response to the sweeping changes to personal and business taxes in the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law Dec. 22 by President Donald Trump.

Legislative economists project that the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — if Oregon law is static — could mean a $220 million hit to state revenues in the current two-year budget, a scenario that some lawmakers are trying to prevent during the 35-day session, which began last week.

The first of those bills easily passed the Oregon Senate on Tuesday, and the second is expected to go before the Senate for a vote Wednesday.

Part of the federal law was aimed at incentivizing multinational corporations to bring back, or repatriate, income held overseas for tax purposes.

The Senate passed passed a bill Tuesday allowing the Beaver State to collect taxes on those overseas earnings. That means $140 million in additional one-time tax revenue, according to the Senate Democratic caucus. That sum would be put into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Some Senate Republicans unsuccessfully proposed an amendment that would have sent the windfall to a proposed fund to help pay down the unfunded liability of the state’s public pension system. The unamended bill was passed unanimously.

The second bill before Senators this week concerns how certain businesses are taxed. The Senate is scheduled to vote on whether to depart from federal changes on that issue on Wednesday.

Owners of “pass-through” businesses — such as partnerships, S-corporations, LLCs and sole proprietorships — pay taxes on business income on their personal taxes, rather than the business itself paying taxes.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allows owners of pass-through businesses to deduct 20 percent of that income on their federal tax form.

While Oregon pass-through businesses would still be able to claim the 20 percent deduction on their federal taxes, the bill before the Oregon Legislature would eliminate that deduction from state income taxes.

Anthony Smith, a lobbyist for the Oregon chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, says that the bill will mean that the state’s small businesses will pay $212 million more in taxes in 2018 than they would if the Legislature did nothing.

The bill also allows sole proprietorships to qualify for the state’s lower rates — if they also met certain other qualifications — and increases the state personal exemption credit, which is money a taxpayer can deduct for themselves and any dependents.

But Smith maintains that the increase in taxes due to the loss of the deduction is greater than the benefits for small businesses.

“I can’t find a scenario where we have more winners than losers on this,” Smith said Tuesday.

State Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, says the move will keep the state’s coffers in balance and more fairly taxes businesses.

“It feels like a very responsible move for our state in light of these changes,” Hass, the chairman of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee, said in a committee hearing last week.

Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Policy Foundation, said in written testimony to the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee last week that the case for eliminating the 20 percent pass-through deduction was “particularly strong” in Oregon, “where pass-through businesses already receive the advantage of a separate rate schedule.”

In 2013, the Legislature passed a so-called “Grand Bargain” that included lower tax rates for certain pass-through businesses. Some of those changes would be repealed in the bill up for a vote Wednesday — for example, the bill would disqualify certain industries, including health care and professional services.

Last week, Republicans on the Senate Finance and Revenue committee expressed concern about moving on the bill before the quarterly revenue forecast Friday, Feb. 16.

Brotherly love: McGuire sisters marry Stinnett brothers 40 years ago Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:03:45 -0500 Angel Carpenter When the McGuire sisters met the Stinnett brothers, it was a “double match” made in heaven.

On Nov. 13, 1977, Kathy McGuire married Frank Stinnett and Laurie McGuire married Charlie Stinnett in a double wedding ceremony.

Both sets of siblings grew up on Humbolt Street in Canyon City, and Kathy and Laurie were friends with Frank and Charlie’s sisters.

“I met Frank on Valentine’s Day,” Kathy said. “He gave his sister and me a ride to school to Grant Union.”

Through the girls’ friendships, Laurie also met Charlie.

The two couples courted, and Kathy said when they decided to tie the knot, it was a short engagement.

“They (Frank and Charlie) went elk hunting for two weeks, and we made wedding plans,” Kathy said.

Laurie recalls her friend Cindy Kowing Davis made the wedding cake. Kathy’s dress was made by Bobbie Officer, and Laurie had earlier driven with Charlie to Ontario to buy her gown.

“We each had a bouquet of red roses,” Laurie said. “It was simple.”

Kathy added she and her sister stood in as bride’s maids, and the brothers were best men for each other.

Pastor Milo Franke officiated the wedding ceremony at the Assembly of God Church in John Day on what was the last day of the elk hunt.

“We always say that last half day of elk season is the definition of love,” Kathy said.

Both pairs honeymooned at the Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in Warm Springs.

Years have passed.

Kathy is now the Grant County justice of the peace, and Laurie is secretary and educational assistant at Seneca School. Frank is a retired plumber, and Charlie a retired contractor.

The couples’ 40th wedding anniversary was three months ago. No matter what their anniversary date is, the Stinnetts always celebrate on the last day of the elk hunt.

When asked how they made it this far, Laurie said every circumstance is different, but for her, marriage has been “like sailing a ship.”

“You have rough times and good times and in-between times,” she said.

Laurie said, while Charlie was watching TV recently, he said to their son, “Well, we don’t fight that much” — and Laurie added, “It’s not unhealthy to disagree.”

Frank said staying together is a series of compromises.

“You’ve got to listen to what they say,” he said. “You’re going to have moments — you’re two individuals — but you have to think of the other person.”

He added the marriage vow isn’t just to each other.

“That vow is to God,” he said.

They each added that it helped to marry a good person.

Kathy and Frank have one daughter and two sons, and Laurie and Charlie have one daughter and three sons.

“The first two were born a month apart, and after that it was a stair step,” Laurie said, adding her last son was born a few years later.

Kathy said the best result of siblings marrying siblings has been seeing their children grow up together.

“They are as close as brothers and sisters can be,” she said, adding, “We camp together and celebrate holidays together.”

Valentine’s Day traditions in the close-knit family continue.

Although they didn’t have a double wedding, Kathy and Frank’s sons also married sisters.

Clifford Dale Morris Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:15:26 -0500 Clifford Dale Morris, 98, passed away on Jan. 28.

Morris was born on the family homestead on Dry Creek west of Mt. Vernon on Sept. 29, 1919. He was the youngest of nine children. He grew up in Mt. Vernon and John Day. He graduated from Mt. Vernon School in 1937. He went to college in Portland, returning home to work at John Day Hardware.

When World War II broke out, he joined the U.S. Navy and served throughout the war as a sonar operator on the U.S.S. Pelican.

After the war, he returned to Grant County and went back to work at John Day Hardware.

He met and married Erma Farra on June 16, 1946. They lived on ranches in Fox, Warrens Creek, Fields and Tulelake, California.

In 1961, he and his family moved back to John Day, where he worked again at John Day Hardware, which he bought in 1967 and operated until 1979.

After retiring from the hardware store, he ran a ranch and raised alfalfa in Battle Mountain, Nevada, and Tulelake, California.

He served on the school board for Grant Union High School for several years. He was a lifelong member of the Elks, Masons and the American Legion.

He is survived by his daughter Farralee Morris of Forks, Washington; David Morris of Mt. Vernon; two grandsons; and three great-grandchildren.

There will be a celebration of life held at the Presbyterian Church in Mt. Vernon on April 7.

McKrola to attend D.C. youth tour Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:50:07 -0500 Grant Union High School’s Madi McKrola is one of four students selected to join students from across the country traveling to the nation’s capital for the National Rural Electric Co-op Association’s Washington, D.C., Youth Tour.

June 7-14, McKrola will join Baker High School’s Jayme Ramos, Silvies River Charter School’s Chase Wilcox and Imbler High School’s Gracey Smith to represent Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative for a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 2018 youth tour, joining 2,000 students from across the country.

The delegates will visit famous historical sites, meet with congressional leaders and learn leadership skills. The students will also create podcasts and digital photo projects as they learn about electric cooperatives and current issues in energy and climate change legislation that face their communities.

Applications for the 2019 tour will be available beginning November 2018 for juniors in high school.

Oregon Trail Electric is a nonprofit electric cooperative serving 23,000 members in Baker, Grant, Harney and Union counties. Youth Tour funds come from unclaimed capital credits and their earning and do not affect electric rates.