Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Tue, 13 Oct 2015 05:22:04 -0400 en Blue Mountain Eagle | Grant County Meetings Mon, 12 Oct 2015 13:55:08 -0400 ONGOING

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

Canyon Mountain Center offers meditation sittings from 5:30 to 6:10 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 511 Hillcrest, John Day. Call ahead, 541-932-2725.

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

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


12 p.m. – Seniors Meal Program at the Strawberry Grange Hall, Prairie City.

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

1:30 p.m. – Strawberry Grange, at the Strawberry Grange Hall, 204 N. McHaley, Prairie City. 541-820-3530.

5:15 p.m. – Grant Union High School Grad Night Committee, GUHS library.

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

6 p.m. – Prairie City, City Council/Planning Commission. City Hall.

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

7 p.m. – Monument City Council, City Hall.

7 p.m. – Dayville City Council, City Hall.

7 p.m. – Girl Scout Leaders, 60545 W. Highway 26, John Day. 541-575-1106.

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


6:30 a.m. – John Day/Canyon City Park and Rec. Board, Belshaw office.

9 a.m.-5 p.m. – Family History Center open, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, John Day. Also open by appointment. 541-656-8069.

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

1:30 p.m. – Blue Mountain Hospital Caregivers’ Support Group, first-floor classroom at Blue Mountain Hospital, John Day. 541-575-0728, Ext. 248, or 541-820-3341.

4-7 p.m. – Blue Mountain Forest Partners, Juniper Room at the Forest Service’s supervisor’s office, 431 Patterson Bridge Rd., John Day.

5:30 p.m. – Friends of Kam Wah Chung & Company, Kam Wah Chung Interpretive Center, N.W. Canton St., John Day. 541-575-2800.

5:30 p.m. – Blue Mountain Hospital Board, hospital conference room, John Day.

5:30-7:15 p.m. – Youth Connection, Living Word Christian Center, Mt. Vernon. Kid-friendly dinner and Bible activities. Van rides available. 541-932-4910.

6 p.m. – “The Girlfriends” Women’s 12-step Recovery, John Day Church of the Nazarene. 541-620-0065.

7 p.m. – Prairie City Volunteer Fire Department, Fire Hall. 541-820-4360.

7 p.m. – American Legion Unit 77, Alec Gay Hall. Call Art Pereira, 541-575-1841.

FRIDAY, Oct. 16

3-6 p.m. – United Methodist Church, weekly distribution of boxes of food, 126 N.W. Canton Street, John Day.

6:30 p.m. – Mt. Vernon Grange, potluck at the grange hall. 541-575-1007.

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


8:30 a.m.-noon – John Day Farmers Market Harvest Festival, SW Brent St., John Day. Crafts, baked goods, produce, kids activities, entertainment, information booths. 541-932-2725. This is the last market day of the 2015 season.

9 a.m.-noon – Old recycling center in Prairie City, accepts glass for crushing.

12 p.m. – Oregon NORML-Eastside Chapter, Long Creek. Community Hall. 541-620-0768.

4 p.m. – Bingo and potluck, Mt. Vernon Community Hall, corner of Ingle and Cottonwood streets.

SUNDAY, Oct. 18

Fun Jam, musicians and listeners welcome for bluegrass, gospel and traditional country western music, Call for time and location, 541-575-1927.

MONDAY, Oct. 19

10 a.m. – Grant County Senior Site Council, John Day Senior Center, 142 N.E. Dayton St., John Day.

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

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

6 p.m. – Grant County Farm Bureau, Outpost Restaurant.

7 p.m. – Dayville Volunteer Fire Department, fire hall.

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

TUESDAY, Oct. 20

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

12 p.m. – Seniors Meal Program at the Monument Senior Center.

5-7 p.m. – Food Bank and ‘Soup’s On’ Community Meal, Teen Center, Front Street, Prairie City. 541-820-3696.

5:30 p.m. – Canyon City City Council, City Hall.

6 p.m. – Watershed Council, 691 Hwy. 395 N., Long Creek, across from the post office. 541-421-3018.

6 p.m. – Humbolt Elementary School PTA, school cafeteria. 541-932-4998.

6:30 p.m. – Grant County Bird Club, with potluck. 541-575-1598.

6:30 p.m. – Long Creek School Board, school library.

6:30 p.m. – New Beginnings Recovery Group, Living Word Christian Center, Mt. Vernon. 541-932-4910.

7 p.m. – Prairie City Rural Fire Board, City Hall.

7 p.m. – Venturing Club, Boy Scouts of America, Church of the Nazarene, John Day. 541-575-2765.

7 p.m. – Granite City Council, Granite City Hall.

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


9 a.m. – Grant County Court, courthouse, Canyon City.

9 a.m. – Shepherd’s Closet, open, with free clothing for all ages and coffee, at Prairie City Assembly of God. 541-820-3682.

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

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

Legislators haven’t raised new gun initiatives Sun, 11 Oct 2015 20:50:55 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau SALEM — The mass shooting at Umpqua Community College renewed debate over gun control and on Oct. 8, Senate Democrats announced plans to close loopholes in the federal background check system and crack down on straw purchasing.

But in Oregon, lawmakers have yet to propose any new measures aimed at preventing gun violence.

“I think people are just coming out of shock right now, and we did a big push for the background checks in the 2015 session,” said state Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland. “I just need to have some conversations with people ... my caucus members and people on the other side of the aisle, to see if there’s a pathway for something to happen in 2016. It’s a short session. It’s not meant to be a major policy issue session.”

The Legislature has already closed some of the background check loopholes that remain at the federal level. Earlier this year, legislators passed a law that requires background checks for nearly all private firearm transfers. The state also began last year investigating people who failed background checks when they attempted to buy weapons at gun shows and licensed dealers. That policy change came at the request of Senate Minority Leader Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, after Ferrioli learned the Oregon State Police had not been investigating the incidents.

It is illegal in Oregon for someone prohibited from purchasing a firearm to attempt to purchase one.

Some of the state’s efforts to prevent shootings, or improve the response, are still unfolding.

The day before the Umpqua Community College shooting, Oregon State Police Superintendent Richard Evans gave an update to state lawmakers on what Evans said was “my passion, school safety.”

Evans is part of a 14-member state task force on school safety, which lawmakers created in 2014 in response to the December 2012 shootings at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

A couple months after the bill to create the task force became law, there was another shooting in Oregon, at Reynolds High School in Troutdale.

Evans told lawmakers on Sept. 30 the top priority for the task force is to create a tip line where people can report threats of school shootings, plus a broad range of other issues including bullying, potential suicides and abuse.

“What we’ve learned in our research is 81 percent of the time, somebody else knew that that school shooting was going to occur,” Evans said. “And what we’re finding is that there’s no way, really, in Oregon to report that.”

Oregon created a tip line in 1998 after the shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield, but Evans said the tip line — which was housed at the Oregon Department of Justice — was eliminated due to budget cuts.

The new tip line might be similar to a Colorado system that allows people to report concerns online, over the phone and via text. A tip line would provide a single place for people to report concerns.

Evans said a recent email to state police provided an example of the type of concern that could be handled in a more centralized manner at a tip line. State police received an email about a post on an online forum, where someone wrote that he or she had attended a Christian school, was bullied, and wrote that “I’m gonna go get them and I have weapons.” State police were able to track down the author of the post the same day. “That person was a felon, in possession of firearms, and had the ability to carry out the threat,” Evans said.

The Colorado tip line has received approximately 380 warnings of possible attacks on schools since it launched in 2004, Evans said. The school safety task force is also working on initiatives to create a secure database with maps of schools around the state that law enforcement and other first responders can access if there is an active shooter or other incident, and a statewide system to identify and respond to students who threaten to commit violence against others. The threat assessment system could be based on a Marion County program that Evans described as a national model.

One impediment to launch the tip line could be a lack of money, and state Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, said this week that if necessary, he will propose legislation next year to pay for it. Barker, a retired Portland police lieutenant and member of the school safety task force, said a tip line might help law enforcement “head off a lot of things.”

“I’m trying to get this thing resolved before we get another disaster,” Barker said.

OHA has limited data on medical pot grows Sun, 11 Oct 2015 20:42:18 -0400 Hillary BorrudCapital Bureau SALEM — Oregon public health officials are running into difficulty implementing a law that legislators passed earlier this year to gain control over the largely unregulated medical marijuana supply chain and prevent drug traffickers from diverting pot into the black market in other states.

A top official at the Oregon Health Authority told lawmakers last week the agency might not have the data necessary to implement a key provision of the new law aimed at curtailing huge pot grows that have blossomed in the state’s medical program.

Starting in March, the law limits medical marijuana grows to 12 mature plants in city residential zones and 48 plants in other city zones and rural areas. The Legislature included a provision to grandfather in some of the larger grows that existed on Dec. 31, 2014, with total plants in these gardens capped at 24 in urban residential zones and 96 plants in all other urban and rural zones.

Priscilla Lewis, deputy director of the authority’s Public Health Division, told lawmakers during a Sept. 30 hearing that employees at the agency might not be able to figure out how many plants each medical marijuana grow site had on Dec. 31, 2014.

“I believe we have limited ability to do that,” Lewis said. “We would certainly be willing to give it our best shot. But we have discussed this previously, and I can’t remember the limitations on the data, but there are some limitations on the data as we currently collect it.”

Lewis was responding to a question from state Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, co-chair of the Joint Interim Committee On Marijuana Legalization and one of the legislators who worked on the law to regulate the medical marijuana industry. Lewis’ answer appeared to take Burdick by surprise.

“We put it in the legislation people could not have the increased plant counts, unless they had the larger number effective Dec 31, 2014,” Burdick said. “Are you saying that that was a meaningless restriction?”

Lewis demurred, saying “ I don’t have a further answer, but we can get you a further answer.”

Shannon O’Fallon, a senior assistant attorney general who advises the health authority, said health authority employees who manage Oregon’s medical marijuana program know they need to figure out which grow sites qualify to be grandfathered in with higher plant numbers. They simply have not completed that data analysis, O’Fallon said.

“I just don’t know that they have those numbers right now, and would be able to tell which grow sites would be limited and which ones wouldn’t,” O’Fallon said during the legislative meeting.

The health authority tracks data on the numbers of medical marijuana patients connected to grow sites around the state.

In the current medical marijuana program, cardholders can have six mature plants and 18 immature plants at any one time. Cardholders also have the option of hiring a grower to produce the crop under the same limits.

Each grower can serve four patients, which would a single grower could have up to 24 plants. In practice, multiple growers are often registered at a single garden through a practice known as card stacking.

The Oregonian reported earlier this year the largest grow site in the state serves 104 medical pot patients. The newspaper also reported all the Oregon medical marijuana patients supposedly served by the site lived in California, mostly in the southern portion of the state.

The health authority never inspected medical marijuana grow sites and does not have the regulatory authority to do so, agency spokesman Jonathan Modie wrote in an email. The agency will gain the authority to inspect grow sites when that portion of the new law takes effect in March.

As a result, it appears regulators do not know the actual numbers of plants at grow sites around the state on Dec. 31, 2014. A week after Burdick raised the question at the legislative hearing, the health authority is still working on an answer.

“The Oregon Public Health Division is developing a system that would allow it to create a list of medical marijuana grow sites that may qualify to be “grandfathered” under (House Bill) 3400 and permitted to have additional plants,” Modie wrote in an email. “Options being discussed include working with the Oregon Health Authority’s information systems staff to develop a database query on grow site addresses that would qualify, and requiring persons responsible for grow sites to petition the (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program) to be a grandfathered grow site. Discussions on this issue are ongoing.”

The health authority would not reveal who is involved in those discussions.

The agency is responsible for implementing many other regulations in the new law, including a system that will for the first time track the medical marijuana supply from growers to processors and dispensaries. It’s unclear whether the agency has made progress on the tracking system, because Lewis and Modie declined to provide any information on it.

Lawmakers had hoped that once marijuana became legal in July for all Oregonians age 21 and older, people who previously enrolled in the medical marijuana program because it was the only legal option to possess pot would opt for the state’s new recreational pot system.

People have to pay for annual doctor’s visits and application fees to remain in the medical marijuana program, but some clinics that specialize in helping people qualify for the program tout the larger possession limits, both for plants and usable marijuana, as reasons people should choose the medical pot program.

“We have heard that there has been a spike of some degree in the medical cards and you kind of wonder why that’s happening, since we really expected to see a decline as people who were truly recreational users didn’t need to have the expense or time to get a card,” Burdick said. In the end, Burdick asked health authority staff to report back to lawmakers in November with answers about the plant limits and other issues.

Mt. Vernon man charged with domestic violence, kidnapping Fri, 9 Oct 2015 15:32:31 -0400 Kyle Spurr A Mt. Vernon man is being charged with multiple counts of domestic violence, including kidnapping, strangulation and assault.

Matthew Eric Sagaser, 31, appeared in Grant County Circuit Court Friday for a hearing on a grand jury indictment.

He was indicted on 29 counts of domestic violence. The charges are second-degree kidnapping, five counts of coercion, nine counts of fourth-degree assault, strangulation, four counts of menacing and nine counts of recklessly endangering another person.

The alleged abuse occurred since July against the same woman in different locations around Grant County such as Dog Creek, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Sagaser’s home.

In addition, Sagaser was indicted Friday in a separate case for unlawful possession of methamphetamine, criminal forfeiture and felon in possession of a restricted weapon — metal knuckles.

He was arrested last week in Canyon City, after the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and John Day Police Department worked together to investigate the reported incidents.

According to the indictment, Sagaser allegedly kidnapped the woman by secretly confining her in a place where she was not likely to be found. He reportedly committed coercion by threatening the woman to not leave an area, not tell hospital staff about the nature of her injuries and not tell a third-party about the cause of her injuries.

The woman was injured by Sagaser allegedly strangling her, striking her head against concrete, head-butting, kicking and elbowing her and shooting at her with a CO2 airsoft gun from within five feet.

Sagaser is due back in court next month for a plea hearing. He will either plead not guilty and a trial date will be set, enter a guilty plea and settle the case or waive his right to a speedy trial and set another hearing.

He remains in custody on $85,000 bail.

Dove project public meeting scheduled Thu, 8 Oct 2015 14:48:58 -0400 HARNEY COUNTY   The Malheur National Forest is holding a public meeting to discuss the Proposed Action for the Dove Vegetation Project on the Emigrant Creek Ranger District from 6 to 8 p.m., Oct. 19 at the Harney County Community Center, 484 N. Broadway in Burns.

The Dove project is located in the forest on the Upper South Fork John Day River watershed, within Harney and Grant Counties. The project proposes to treat almost 27,000 acres of vegetation and commercial and non-commercial treatments. Landscape scale fuel treatments are also proposed across 38,595 acres. Forest road activities would include closing, season closing, decommissioning and opening roads. The public comment period ends Oct. 23. The scoping document can be accessed on the Forest Service website at: For a hardcopy request, questions about the meeting or project, contact Lori Bailey, NEPA Planner at 541-573-4300 or

ODFW report says Oregon has met criteria to delist wolves Thu, 8 Oct 2015 14:28:58 -0400 Eric MortensonCapital Bureau SALEM — Taking wolves off Oregon’s endangered species list won’t significantly affect their management because the state wolf plan would remain in place, according to a biological status review that will be presented to the state wildlife commission on Friday.

Taking no action on the delisting question, however, might undermine support for the 10-year-old wolf plan and “thereby reducing public tolerance for wolves,” the report concludes.

The report compiled by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists says the state’s wolf population continues to increase in “abundance and distribution” and has met the required criteria for delisting in every instance.

Discussion of the report at Friday’s commission meeting in Florence, Ore., is billed as an informational biological status review, with no action scheduled. But it could provide a preview of the commission’s ultimate decision when it meets again Nov. 9 in Salem.

It also coincides with controversy over ODFW’s refusal to authorize killing Mount Emily Pack wolves that repeatedly attacked a sheep herd this summer, and with the unsolved deaths of two wolves known as the Sled Springs Pair.

To take wolves off the state endangered species, the commission must make five findings. They are: Wolves aren’t in danger of extinction in any portion of their range; their natural reproductive potential is not in danger of failing; there’s no imminent or active deterioration of their range or primary habitat; the species or its habitat won’t be “over-utilized” for scientific, recreational, commercial or educational reasons; and existing state or federal regulations are adequate to protect them.

Each of the criteria is examined in depth in the report. “The probability of population failure is very low,” the biologists concluded.

Wolves in Northeast Oregon have been taken off the federal endangered species list but remain on the state list. The federal listing still applies in the rest of the state, including where the famous traveling wolf, OR-7, resides with his pack in the Southwest Oregon Cascades.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced 66 gray wolves into Idaho and Wyoming in 1995-96. As expected, a few Idaho wolves migrated to Northeast Oregon beginning in 1999. Oregon’s first pack, the Wenaha, was documented in 2008.

Other highlights of the report:

• Oregon’s wolf population as of July is a minimum of 85 individuals in 16 packs or groups, up from 81 wolves at the end of 2014. Biologists believe more wolves live in the state but only 85 are documented. The number does not include pups born this year.

• The population will surpass 100 to 150 wolves in the next one to three years, “regardless of listed status.”

• Wolves now use 12.4 percent of their potential range statewide, 31.6 percent in Eastern Oregon.

• From 2009 through June 2015, confirmed losses to wolves stood at 79 sheep, 37 cattle, two goats and two herd protection dogs. Ranchers believe wolves are responsible for much more damage, saying livestock often disappear in wolf country.

• No wolves have been killed while attacking or chasing livestock. Since 2009, ODFW has killed four for “chronic” livestock attacks, but none since 2011. At least five wolves have been illegally shot since 2000; one died in an ODFW capture attempt in 2011; one was hit and killed by a vehicle in 2000.

County Court minutes 09-30-15 Thu, 8 Oct 2015 11:28:15 -0400 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE STATE OF OREGON IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF GRANT

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

SEPTEMBER 30, 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 and Boyd Britton, Secretary Mary Ferrioli, Jim Sproul, Brooks Smith, Alan Hickerson, Billie Jo George, Judy Kerr, Frances Preston, Josh Walker, Doug Ferguson and Mark Majors. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States flag. The invocation was given by Mark Majors.

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


Labhart attended a Regional Community Advisory Council meeting in Ontario on Monday and met with Eastern Oregon Regional Solutions Coordinator Scott Fairley yesterday. Thursday he’ll attend a Health Policy Board meeting in Wilsonville. Monday Labhart has an Oregon Health Policy meeting in Pendleton and will participate in Court Secretary interviews Tuesday.

Britton attended a BAER Team meeting last Thursday. He reported on a SEACT / Rural Alliance meeting at the Burns-Piaute Indian Reservation that he co-chaired Monday. Last night he attended the Wildfire Aid meeting with state and federal agencies at the high school in John Day organized by Senator Ron Wyden’s office.

Myers attended a BAER Team meeting last Thursday. Monday he had a 7 am meeting at Old West FCU to talk about the process for disbursement of fire relief funds. Yesterday he was at Dixie Mountain with the Road Department to migrate antennas from the broken tower to our new 40 ft. tower. He attended the public Wildfire Aid meeting last night with state and federal agencies at the high school.

MINUTES. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve the September 23 minutes as amended

ROAD PLOWING. Road Master Alan Hickerson discussed a plan he developed with Shane Giffin (ODOT) to deal with vegetation destruction in the Canyon Creek and Vance Creek drainages. It was proposed that 24 miles of Forest Road 16 would be plowed from Seneca to CR 62 (Summit Prairie) as a low priority road. Hickerson said the crew had plowed that road years ago and now we have the crew to do it again. However, if 395 South were to washout or have a landslide then ODOT would plow Forest Road 16 and the county would go back to plowing only county roads. Hickerson added, if 395 South were to close, it would only be for possibly 2 days and the county and ODOT would be ready for it. If approved, Hickerson plane to talk about this with JC Oliver and the Snowballers. Josh Walker (City of Seneca Manager Recorder) was present to encourage approval of this plan. MSP: Labhart/Myers -- to approve the Road Master and his crew to keep the CR 62 open all year as an emergency.

9:15 am – Zach Williams entered

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS. The court made quarterly appointments to fill vacancies on the following boards and committees:

Library Advisory Board. It was the consensus of the court to post pone a decision on the application received from Richie Colbeth until we get a recommendation from the board.

Road Advisory Board. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Judy Kerr to fill a term on the Road Advisory Board expiring June 30, 2018.

Wildlife Advisory Board. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Judy Kerr to fill a term on the Wildlife Advisory Board expiring December 31, 2017.

No applications to serve on the Extension & 4H Service District Advisory Council or the Mental Health Advisory Board were received.

9:25 am – King Williams entered

BID OPENING. A sealed bid from Hoffman’s Yes-We-D0 Cleaning to provide semi-annual window cleaning services at the Courthouse, Library, L-Building and Road Department was opened. The total cost of $2,985.00 remained the same as last year. MSP: Britton/ Myers – to award the semi-annual window cleaning contract to Hoffman’s Yes-We-Do Cleaning. A contract for Goods and Services Less Than $5,000 was signed by all court members.

NEW EMPLOYEE TRAINING. The court considered approval of a 40 hour training period for the County Court Secretary position the week of October 26 estimated to cost $883.00 for wages and social security. Funds would be taken from the General Fund Relief Help budget line. MSP: Britton/Labhart -- to approve the October 26 to 30 training period for the new County Court Secretary.

9:30 am -- Christy Ann Cheyne, Vicki Lundbom, Melissa Ward, Lori Bailey, and Melissa Ward entered

LIBRARY. The court considered the Librarian’s request to transfer $2,042.75 from supplies to capital outlay to purchase 4 new book shelves to replace ones that have broken. MSP: Britton /Myers -- to grant the library’s request to transfer $2,042.75 from supplies to capital outlay as requested

DOVE PROJECT. Malheur NF Emigrant Creek District Ranger Christy Ann Cheyne, accompanied by Lori Bailey, Melissa Ward and Josh Giles, presented information on the Dove Vegetation Management Project. It is located within Grant and Harney counties and was developed in cooperation with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative. Copies of the scoping package and maps were provided. The proposal would treat about 27,000 acres of vegetation with commercial and non-commercial treatments and includes landscape restoration, removal of biomass, landscape scale prescribed burning, and forest road activities. After the scoping period, public comments would be evaluated and proposed action or action alternatives would be developed.

9:50 am – Elaine Smith and School District Superintendent Curt Shelley entered

It was noted that realistic parameters were considered in light of current budget restrictions. An evening public meeting will be scheduled in the near future. During the presentation Jim Sproul provided information about a citizens’ road tour / inspection report and a request for NEPA documents previously submitted for consideration.

10:10 am -- Assessor Lane Burton, Planning Secretary Shannon Springer, Treasurer Kathy Smith, GSWCD Director Jason Kehrberg, and Canyon City Mayor Steve Fischer entered

CANYON CREEK FIRE REHAB. Doug Ferguson (Ferguson Surveying & Engineering) spoke with the court about conversations this past week about an advanced preliminary design which can predict, with reasonable certainty, a plan could be accomplished to address Canyon Creek flooding issues in the John Day / Canyon City area. Ferguson said temporary measures such as dikes, sand bags on hand, and prepared emergency plans need to be put in place as soon as possible. Tuesday he met with Senator Ron Wyden’s field rep Kathleen Cathy, Governor’s Office rep Scott Fairly, DSL Northeast Region Aquatic Resource Coordinator Heidi Hartman, and OEM rep Dennis Sigrist. Consensus at the meeting was that temporary construction measures could be taken in an emergency situation without a permit since there’s no need to have activity below normal high water.

Ferguson had also attended last night’s Wildfire Aid meeting coordinated by Senator Wyden’s office that brought the public together with several state and federal agencies at Grant Union high school.

Ferguson explained his temporary plan which would involve about 50,000 yards of granular rock materials. He recommended moving forward quickly to prevent disastrous events that could develop with water moving at about 2,000 cfps. Ferguson also recommended having sandbags ready and even being prepared to breech bridges. The long term fix to the Canyon Creek flooding problem is a long, detailed process involving many disciplines of expertise. Permits from DSL and the Army Corps of Engineers will be required. He thought the entire project cost could be as much as $3 Million.

School District Superintendent Curt Shelley talked about all the damage to high school property during and after the previous flood. He provided information on the estimated school property replacement costs based on insurance company projections.

10:30 am – Sheriff Glenn Palmer and Bob Phillips entered

Other discussion followed about the need for emergency removal of brush within the stream bank. It was suggested that next steps would be pulling all the stakeholders together at a public meeting. Road Master Alan Hickerson said it would be possible for the Road Department to start dike work. He’s already been working on filling sandbags, has about 25 jersey barriers, rip-rap, and enough storage available now. Planning Secretary Shannon Springer offered to assist by mailing out notices to landowners. Britton pointed out that temporary emergency management assistance has also been offered by DEQ rep Susan Christensen. Myers added that OEM has offered emergency management funding assistance. Sheriff Glenn Palmer suggested that trespass issues be considered. It was felt that a public meeting could be held from 6-8 pm on October 15 at the high school.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Frances Preston sought clarification about postponing an appointment to the Library Advisory Board. Sheriff Glenn Palmer called attention to the serious fires that have occurred on the forest. He felt people should stop getting angry and start taking action to save our forest resources. He gave the court a copy of his Public Lands Natural Resource Plan developed by an eleven member (deputized) Coordination Committee (Todd Smith, Elaine Smith, Mike Smith, Brooks Smith, Judy Kerr, Billie Jo George, Terry George, Dave Traylor, Roger McKinley, Jim Sproul and Frances Preston). Palmer said he has taken these steps because he has been unable to get any cooperation from the Forest Service with his requests for access to address emergency issues. He pointed out that coordination is the law; therefore, he is invoking coordination on behalf of Grant County. Jim Sproul said that state and federal agencies are being notified of the Sheriff’s plan as of today. Elaine Smith urged the court and state / federal agencies to sign on to the plan. The court questioned why the Sheriff chose not to put this issue on the agenda when given the opportunity to do so.

11:20 am – retired / former KJDY Radio owner Phil Gray entered

VAWA GRANT AWARD. As previously recommended by Victim Assistance Program Director Ashley McClay, the court reviewed and approved VAWA Rural Grant award documents to receive $606,879.00 to be used in the project period October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2018. The court thanked Ms. McClay for her past accomplishments with the program and securing these grants. It was noted that DDA Matt Ipson assisted with grant writing MSP: Britton/Myers -- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Assistance Program grant award documents as presented.

BLUE MOUNTAIN BROADCASTING. Court members reviewed and signed the Consent to Assignment and Assumption as provided by legal representative Luvaas Cobb for Blue Mountain Broadcasting. It pertains to the current Lease Agreement with the County Fair Board for tenancy by radio station KJDY, LLC on the fairgrounds at 413 NW Bridge now owned by Randy McKone. Former KJDY Radio owner Phil Gray was present to provide information about the change of FCC license and radio station ownership. A brief discussion followed about structural condition of the building.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS. The court reviewed and approved a Memorandum of Agreement with Community Connections of Northeast Oregon for Delegation of Activities to operate senior programs.

MSP: Britton/Myers-- to authorize Judge Myers to sign the MOA with Community Connections of Northeast Oregon for Delegation of Activities for senior programs.

RESOLUTION. At the request of Bank of Eastern Oregon the court reviewed and signed Resolution 15-20 Designating County Contact Persons (County Judge, County Clerk and County Treasurer) for

Matters Relating to County VISA cards

11:30 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary R. Ferrioli

County Court Secretary

McDonald’s restaurant closes Oct. 31 Thu, 8 Oct 2015 11:26:42 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – The Golden Arches in John Day will be coming down, and 18 people will lose their jobs.

Oct. 31 will be McDonald’s of John Day restaurant’s last day open.

Owner Jorge Ribeiro of Burns said the announcement of the closure to his employees last Tuesday was difficult.

“Here are 18 people I care about – it was the hardest day of my life,” he said.

McDonald’s sits on property leased from the DR Johnson family, and the 20-year lease was up for renewal.

Hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants have been up for closure nationwide, and Ribeiro said the low economics of the John Day restaurant was a part of the corporate decision to close the local McDonald’s.

“It was 100 percent a corporate decision,” Ribeiro said, adding he’s spent the past two months speaking with officials at the corporate office trying to talk them out of the decision to close.

Ribeiro also owned a McDonald’s restaurant in Burns which he sold one year ago.

The John Day restaurant has been open since 1996, and Ribeiro bought it in July 2000.

He said that of the 18 employees he has in John Day, four of them have worked for him for at least 10 years.

“I appreciate all they’ve done and their hard work and great service to the community of John Day the last 15 years,” he said.

Local author pens novel on local mining history Thu, 8 Oct 2015 08:44:38 -0400 Cheryl Hoefler KUNA, Idaho – Routine school days, Friday nights on the football field and outings to restaurants have all become more than just cherished memories for Samuel Cronin.

Cronin has worked those experiences growing up in Grant County, plus his interest in local mining history, into his new novel, “Warm Gold,” a tale centered on Grant County’s rich gold mining history of the 1890s.

The novel, which is his second published work, took him over four years to write, and involved research at several sites, including local museums and mines. Some of what he learned, such as the Canyon City fire of 1898, struck a chord with Cronin, in light of the recent Canyon Creek Complex fire, and compelled him to donate 30 percent of the sales of the book to assist families impacted by the fire.

The Eagle talked with Cronin about his books, writing and growing up in Grant County.

Eagle: How did you get interested in writing? Did you toy around with it when you were younger, or is this a recent pursuit?

Samuel: When I was a senior at Grant Union, I convinced the principal and my English teacher to give me a free period so I could write my novel. They granted my request, and as graduation approached, I would sneak away by the football field to write. I didn’t get very far with that story, however, but it certainly planted a seed.

Later, after I graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelors in English, I went on an adventure, leaving John Day early one Monday morning in my Ford Ranger, and arriving in Camden, Maine, three days later. That summer I worked as a deckhand on a schooner. That experience formed the basis for my first novel, which I would write off-and-on for more than a decade – tinkering with screenplays, drafts of other novels, intermittently.

Eagle: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Samuel: For me, writing is a mode of communication that I find nourishing, because it helps me try to understand people and their worlds, how complicated life is, how rewarding it is to be alive, hopefully lifting and being lifted through the journey of a good story.

Eagle: Have you written any other books, or is this your first?

Samuel: I’ve published “How Well the Sailors Run,” the story of the prodigal son, retold as a sea adventure, based on my experiences aboard Schooner Roseway in Camden. I’ve also written two feature-length screenplays that are waiting to catch the eye of an agent or film company, and drafts of various other projects I hope to finish at a later date. I sat down at my desk to devote my full attention to “Warm Gold” shortly after I married Christie. That was four years ago. I’m thankful how the journey has humbled me. “Warm Gold” is not the first story I’ve written, but it is the story that has been with me from my youth. I have rich memories from growing up as a Prospector in John Day and Canyon City, and so I’ve enjoyed sharing that richness in this novel.

Eagle: Do you have more story ideas in mind for future books?

Samuel: With “How Well the Sailors Run” and “Warm Gold” now published, and while I have time, I’m planning ahead to my next two projects, which I hope to be ready next year for readers. The first is a story about a husband who loses his only chance at making it to the Professional Golfers Association because his wife, who is his caddy, committed a rule breach, which disqualified him; she was having a miscarriage at the time. To recover from her depression, she takes up the game and eventually makes it to the Ladies PGA. He agrees to caddy for her. The latter project is a story about a grandfather who is so disgusted by the materialism of Christmas that he shuns his entire family during their Christmas Eve traditions. When he loses them all to a violent tornado, he copes with his loss by opening their presents.

Eagle: What compelled or inspired you to write “Warm Gold”?

Samuel: This story resonates with me because of the towns I grew up in. My family moved to Canyon City in the early ’80s, and then to John Day. I attended Humbolt Elementary – named after the Humbolt Mine, a placer mine on the hill behind it – and Grant Union High School – home of the Prospectors. The mystique and lore of the hills sang to me as I explored old mines with my friends and viewed the gold nuggets from a true-life prospector, probing him if there was still gold in the hills. He always said there was.

It seemed to me then, as it seems to me now, that there is an uncommon wealth in Canyon City and in the county at large. From the initial gold find in Canyon Creek on June 8, 1862, the town has survived no less than four inferno-like fires – the fourth being the Canyon Creek Complex Fire – depressions, loss of mills, violence, floods and so forth. The resilience of this people holds on, however painful or hopeless, believing they’ll make it through. There is a treasure here. I experienced it in the people I knew from my youth, and in the people who live here now. A deepening treasure – in this beautiful country, and in the people themselves.

Honestly, I don’t truly know how or why I wrote this novel, only that it was planted in me from the very people whom I long to make alive, people we cannot ever forget, the truth in them that resonates with us now. I hope I have been a good steward of that story.

Eagle: What memories or experiences from growing up in Grant County did you draw on for the novel?

Samuel: Eating at places like the Motherlode, where you could order a cinnamon roll so large it covered your entire plate; or the Grizzly Bear, where you sat in a booth named for one of the mining towns, and where you ordered pizza like the Claim Jumper (my brother’s favorite, very spicy); and the Grub Steak, with its giant wood-carved statue of a prospector; The Outpost with its warm fire; the Snaffle Bit with its rich intimacy. One of the imaginary taverns that I created in “Warm Gold” is inspired by all of these restaurants, and especially The Snaffle Bit. The warmth I felt when eating at those restaurants with friends and family helped stir in me a warmth for this community, for its history. That warmth is renewed in me whenever I return to the area.

On Friday nights the main entertainment was to go with my buddies to the Grant Union Prospector football games. The logo of the school, the logo of our history of the miner holding his pick was on helmets and on uniforms and on the school itself. I saw it everywhere I went. I wore the logo when I suited up to play football, basketball or baseball. I am a Prospector. That identity of living as a Prospector has become something more to me –not just ink on a resume, but a connection to a place far bigger than me. I have to explore it. “Warm Gold” is my feeble attempt at trying to understand this story in Grant County, so rich it is overwhelming to me.

Eagle: Why did you decide to donate proceeds from sales of “Warm Gold” to Canyon Creek complex fire victims?

Samuel: I am speechless by the destruction of the Canyon Creek Complex Fire. My parents and family drove up the canyon to Starr Ridge over Labor Day weekend, surveying the damage. It is apocalyptic. This novel is my small attempt at alleviating the harm experienced by those who have lost so much from the fire. I know it is not enough.

Eagle: Do you do any other types of writing?

Samuel: My hopes and dreams are to write many more novels and short stories, more screenplays, poems, even dabble a little in a play or two and some nonfiction. At heart, I’d just like to tell stories – stories that lift, encourage and strengthen.

Eagle: Do you have any other interests or hobbies?

Samuel: I like to golf. What I like about golf is that one can have a very bad round and still enjoy the outing. Especially with friends and family. I love to read. And go on dates with my wife. After a hectic week in the schools, we often like to unwind with dinner and a movie. We also enjoy traveling and hope to one day travel to New York.

Eagle: Where can people buy your books?

Samuel: Both “Warm Gold” and “How Well the Sailors Run” are available in paperback at Amazon, and in ebook format through Amazon, Nook and Smashwords.

Samuel Cronin graduated from Grant Union High School in 1994, and has degrees in English from Oregon State University, and education from Eastern Oregon University.

He and his wife Christie live in Idaho, where he teaches special education at the high-school level. His parents, Dan and Chris Cronin, live in John Day.

Two schools take on mud at XC Scamper course Wed, 7 Oct 2015 16:12:32 -0400 Angel Carpenter CATHERINE CREEK – Cross country teams from Grant Union and Monument schools enjoyed a mudfest at the 39th Annual Catherine Creek Scamper on Sept. 11.

Monument coach Chuck Thomas said one mud bog in particular is known for hanging onto the competitors’ shoes.

This year, Maya Thomas is the sole varsity runner for Monument with Dinorha Vidrio Landin running junior varsity.

Among the coach’s junior high athletes running in the Scamper was seventh-grader Mark Thomas who placed second out of 108 sixth- through eighth-grade runners.

The week before, the junior high runner had a first-place finish at the Runner Soul XC Fest in Hermiston for his age group.

Grant Union head coach Sonna Smith said she has a full boys varsity team this year.

“They ran hard at Catherine Creek, and I expect their times to drop at Enterprise this Friday as the Scamper has many obstacles to slow runners down,” she said.

Grant Union will host a river run in the near future with details in the works.

The two schools will compete at the Enterprise Invitational Friday with varsity beginning at 1:45 p.m.

Prospectors take down Outlaws at GU field Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:43:56 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – The Grant Union Prospectors rolled over the Enterprise Outlaws last Friday in a 56-14 rout at Three Flags Field.

Grant Union had a strong start with Cauy Weaver scoring off quarterback Wade Reimers’ pass on their first possession.

A short time later Reimers connected with Wyatt Weaver for a touchdown, followed by Garrett McConnell’s successful two-point conversion run.

The Prospectors tackled Enterprise for loss of yards, then Garrett Lenz had a sack.

Enterprise was in their red zone when Grant Union took over on downs; however, the Outlaws scored when the Prospectors fumbled the ball at their 20-yard line, also adding conversion points.

The quarter ended with Grant Union in the lead 14-8.

Grant Union capped a 12-play drive with Reimers connecting with Wyatt Weaver in the red zone, then Hayden Young rushing the ball in for the touchdown.

Other highlights from the quarter include Eli Humbird recovering a fumble, and a sack by McConnell.

With just 14 seconds left in the quarter, Cauy Weaver scored, with Reimers adding the two conversion points, bringing the halftime score to 28-8.

The Prospectors added 20 points in the third quarter, and another eight in the fourth, including Zack Deiter’s two-point conversion.

Enterprise fired off one more touchdown, and as the seconds ticked away, Grant Union took a knee.

Commenting on that first quarter, Prospector head coach Jason Miller said, “We had a little let down as soon as they scored but found a way – despite penalties and mistakes – found a way to score.”

Grant Union travels to face Burns at 7 p.m. Friday. Both teams have a 3-2 overall record this season.

Letter: Wood use has increased Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:02:10 -0400 Dear Editor:

The Grant County Public Forest Commission working with the Forest Service has seen an increase from ten cords to sixteen cords of firewood per household and being able to utilize ATV’s in retrieving wood. Equipment to load wood has also been authorized.

A recent addition to citizens’ use of the abundant dead wood on the Malheur Forest is a “personal use wood permit”. Dead trees can now be hauled in longer lengths than eight feet and sawn into lumber for personal use. 

Recognizing the need for people to have building material for structures, fences, bridges, etc., one may apply for a personal use wood permit from the ranger on the district where the wood is located. The cost is the same as firewood and limited to sixteen cords or 8,000 board feet and must have personal use tags affixed to the load.

Forest Service personnel from small sales may be required to inspect the trees prior to the removal. It is imperative anyone that wants to use the personal use wood permit contact a Forest Service Ranger and be thoroughly familiar with the “terms and conditions” of the permit before participating in the program.

Dave Traylor

John Day

Gas in the Gorge Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:02:08 -0400

State waives some rules for debris removal Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:02:05 -0400 Sean Ellis JOHN DAY — The state has waived some rules that will make it easier for counties and property owners to manage ash and other debris from the recent major wildfires.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Dick Pedersen has signed an emergency order that, besides providing flexibility to waste disposal efforts, also waives fees associated with these cleanup efforts.

The emergency order, which was authorized by Gov. Kate Brown, applies to catastrophic wildfires in Grant, Baker, Douglas and Wallowa counties and is effective through Dec. 31, 2016. 

“This action strikes the right balance between public safety and protection of natural resources,” Pedersen stated in a news release. 

One of the rules that was waived allowed the DEQ on Sept. 23 to issue Grant County a special permit to dig a trench specifically for fire-related debris. 

The permit for this so-called “limited purpose trench” is good for six months and can be renewed one time for an additional six months if necessary, said  Susan Christensen, DEQs natural resource specialist. 

The department also waived the $500 fee the county otherwise would have had to pay for the permit.

Clark’s Disposal contracts with the county to operate the transfer station outside John Day and normally hauls refuse on large trailers to Boardman. The property where the transfer station sits used to be a landfill, which closed in 1995.

The trench, which has already been dug, is located on the old landfill site. Transfer station staff will direct people to the trench and there is no cost for disposal of fire debris, Christensen said. 

Pieces of scrap metal included in the fire damage will be recycled through the transfer station.

There is already about four dump truck loads of fire debris stockpiled near the trench and it will quickly be pushed in, said Grant County Court Judge Scott Myers.

The trench is 80 feet long, 24 feet wide and 10 feet deep and will hold about 2,800 cubic yards or 280 dump truck loads, he said. 

While there is an estimated 4,000 cubic yards of fire-related debris throughout the area where the 110,000-acre Canyon Creek Complex fire burned, the county anticipates the trench will be more than large enough to hold the fire debris that actually makes its way there, Myers said. 

The county will be reimbursed up to $75,000 by the state for the cost of creating the trench and disposing of the fire debris, Myers said. 

The DEQ also waived a fee associated with septic systems and the management of asbestos. A site evaluation is required to reconnect a septic system following fires to ensure major components are not damaged and the fee for this service can reach $750.

The department is not charging this fee to landowners affected by the wildfires and is expediting the evaluation process, said DEQ Public Affairs Specialist Greg Svelund. 

“These people have lost so much already, it just didn’t seem right to charge them that fee,” he said.

The department has already conducted about a dozen site inspections for septic system reconnections in Grant County and will continue to respond rapidly as more landowners call for this service, Svelund said. 

Grant County Court worked with state officials on the cleanup issue from the beginning of the Canyon Creek Complex fire and Myers said the results are positive for county residents.

“It’s been a great deal all the way around,” he said. “Everybody’s done yeoman’s work on this one.”

Letter: FS: Take Sierra Club to court Wed, 7 Oct 2015 09:01:32 -0400 To the Editor:

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive, but it’s just too bad to see all those trees become smoke in the sky and not a resource sold in timber sales going to a local mill.

Now, you know, before this salvage log sale can reach a mill, they must pass the roadblock of the Californians from Club Sierra.

My suggestion to the Forest Service is, group your lawyers together, and take Club Sierra to court to pay a part of the forest fire expense.

W. Toop

Canyon City

Program instructs to reduce football concussions Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:37:50 -0400 Angel Carpenter DAYVILLE – Football coaches and players throughout Oregon are getting a “heads up” regarding the prevention of concussions with a new program called Heads Up Football.

Grant County coaches have incorporated the new rules which become an Oregon School Activities Association requirement in 2016 for the 249 football-playing high schools.

The Heads Up Football requirements are in addition to the existing OSAA protocols that benefit the student-athletes.

The program includes teaching tackling and blocking techniques designed to reduce helmet contact, also addressing concussion recognition and response; sudden cardiac arrest protocols; hydration and heat preparedness; and instruction on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

Dayville/Monument head football coach Nathaniel Ashley has taken the class.

“The Heads Up program is all about eliminating head injuries, and it’s a good program,” he said. “The class was a lot about correct fit of pads and helmets, as well as different techniques to minimize injuries with contact.”

OSAA Executive Director Tom Welter said the program is part of an ongoing effort to minimize risks in the sport.

“This program will ensure that all coaches, players and parents will receive consistent technique training and make the game as safe as possible,” he said.

Dr. Michael Koester, chairperson of the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, says the Heads Up Football requirement in Oregon is logical considering in 2008 OSAA became the first state high school activities association to prohibit same day return to play for athletes with a suspected concussion.

“The committee sees this as a natural next step as we continue to look at innovative ways to minimize the risk of all football injuries, but particularly concussions,” Dr. Koester said. “This is an opportunity for high school coaches to set a standard for the youth leagues in their communities across the state. Ideally, we’ll have youth coaches getting certified as well, allowing for continuity of tackling techniques and safety protocols through an athlete’s entire playing experience.

“As a team physician and the parent of a high school football player, I’m excited about Heads Up Football.”

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program includes the following components:

Coaching education

• Coaches successfully complete online training through the NFHS-USA Football High School Heads Up Football course at, covering football fundamentals and all-sport-relevant topics of concussion recognition and response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and hydration and heat preparedness.

Concussion recognition and response

• Coaches gain in-person instruction and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response.

• Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season.

Equipment fitting

• Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

Heads Up Blocking and Tackling

• Series of fundamental drills reinforce tackling and blocking mechanics, teaching players how to perform these basic football skills with a focus on reducing helmet contact.

Sudden cardiac arrest

• Instruction on how to have plans and procedures in place to quickly react in the case of cardiac events, the No. 1 cause of death among young athletes during exercise.

Heat and hydration

• Coaches, parents and players learn heat and hydration safety measures provided by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Player Safety Coach

• Appointed by each high school, this individual ensures that High School Heads Up Football principles and protocols are properly taught and applied within a program.

Homecoming royalty shine Tue, 6 Oct 2015 08:24:00 -0400

Parks and Rec rolls out new additions in JD Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:28:13 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – Visitors to the Seventh Street Complex in John Day will see upgrades at the park rolling out soon.

Director Art Thunell and office manager Kimberly Ward announced the John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation department was awarded $347,000 from Oregon Parks and Recreation, with a $90,000 match.

The match will be paid with donations or in kind over the course of the work which is required to be completed within the year.

The grant covers ADA-approved restrooms and showers which will be installed near McConnell baseball field, between the skate park and the tennis and basketball courts.

A picnic area situated near the restrooms will also be added.

Completion of the Jimmy Allen Memorial Trail is another project covered by the grant.

“The extension of the trail will connect behind McConnell (Field), and will be a paved path all the way around the tennis courts and connect back behind the pond – so it will be a full loop and a full mile,” Ward said.

She added some rough spots on the trail will be repaired.

The tennis and basketball courts will also be made ADA accessible.

Ward said the work could start any day, and they have a year to complete it.

“We hope to have the restrooms done by spring, if not earlier,” she said. “Currently, we only have one restroom, and we’re trying to develop the high-use area by the tennis courts and make it more family friendly. Our board members are always encouraging us to beautify the place.”

Thunell said this is the second time they’ve applied for the grant, which was written by Ward.

The new elements will be a welcome addition “to what we already consider a nice park,” he said.

Bright colors spotlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:41:46 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – It took just a lap or two around the Color Me Free Fun Run course last Saturday for participants to be covered head to toe with a variety of bold hues.

The fun run, held at the Industrial Park in John Day, included plenty of laughter and smiles as nearly 100 participants ran through bursts of colored powder during the event.

Heart of Grant County executive director Shelly Whale said the event is “all in honor of kicking off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”

There were around 100 fun run participants, with 25 volunteers helping with registration and running the six color stations – and there was even more colored paint powder to go around this year.

Each walker/runner also received a bag of paint powder to throw at their friends along the way.

Outreach/advocate Tammy Larkin said the fun run is not a fundraiser, but an outreach event.

“Our main priority is to let the community know who we are and what we do, which is bring awareness to domestic violence and to promote wellness and healthy lifestyles,” she said.

“That’s the most important message – we’re there for anybody who needs help,” Whale said.

For more information about Heart of Grant County, call 541-575-4335, email or visit their Facebook page.

Going from fire to flood Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:38:24 -0400 Sean Ellis CANYON CITY — A specialized U.S. Forest Service team studying the impacts of the Canyon Creek Complex fire has projected that a major storm event could result in catastrophic flooding along Canyon Creek.

The projections show a possible scenario that is difficult to imagine but could have disastrous effects on Canyon City and John Day, said county engineer Doug Ferguson.

The flooding danger will go down as vegetation returns to areas heavily damaged by the fire, “but we’re facing a real dangerous situation right now,” he said.

The projections by the Forest Service’s Burned Area Emergency Response team of experts show that a 10-year storm would cause Canyon Creek flows to peak at levels scarcely imaginable before the 110,000-acre CCC fire.

A 10-year storm would now cause Canyon Creek flows to peak at 1,997 cubic feet per second. Before the fire, such a storm would have caused flows to peak at 661 cfs, BAER team members estimated.

During the 2011 flood that damaged part of the high school, Canyon Creek flows peaked at 856 cfs. That rainstorm was considered a 40-year storm.

In fact, based on estimates by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a 100-year storm would result in Canyon Creek flows of 1,500 cfs.

Because of the loss of vegetation caused by fire, “a 10-year storm would be devastating, according to (BAER) figures,” Ferguson said.

The BAER team included hydrologists and engineers and Ferguson said the methodology they used to arrive at those numbers is sound.

“The reasonableness of their (calculations) is evident,” he said.

Ferguson is now working with BAER team members, Army Corps of Engineers officials and other agencies to produce a map that shows exactly how the creek would react after a 10-year storm and at what spots the damage would likely occur.

He expects to have that done in about two weeks to a month.

Ferguson has been tasked by Grant County Court with helping coordinate all the various restoration efforts by local, state and federal agencies aimed at mitigating the danger of a catastrophic flood.

Grant County Court Commissioner Boyd Britton said the county is trying to be very proactive about preparing for such a flood and he would rather play the role of Chicken Little and be wrong than not prepare properly and have a disaster.

“I’d like to be real proactive about this as much as possible,” he said.

Ferguson said a lot of effort is gong into addressing the issue — “A lot of powerful people are working on this. It hasn’t gelled yet but I feel like it’s going in the right direction.”

But, he added, there’s little that can be done right now to prevent a catastrophic flood from occurring if a major storm hit the area today.

Such a flood would bring a lot of debris with it and if that debris didn’t get cleared out rapidly, it could quickly take down bridges near Canyon City, he said. To prepare for that scenario, the county plans to move excavators into strategic areas so debris can be cleared quickly to prevent bridges from plugging up.

An alarm system to alert people to imminent flooding, which the BAER team recommended, is another thing the local community can do quickly to prepare for flooding, Ferguson said.

Canyon City Mayor Steve Fischer said the BAER estimates are a worst-case scenario “but if it even comes close to the worst-case scenario, the potential for property loss and damage could exceed what the fire did.”

Fischer has discussed the issue with Ferguson and city council members and has been told the county court is waiting for permission to remove 50,000 yards of material out of the creek bottom to mitigate the flooding potential.

Canyon City will assist the court on that effort, he said, including contacting all property owners along the creek and getting their permission for people conducting the creek debris removal to enter their property.

John Day City Manager Peggy Gray said the possibility of a disastrous flood is a major concern and the city is focusing on informing the public about the danger and urging them to get flood insurance.

The city included information in this month’s utility bill directing residents where to find more information about flood insurance.

City officials will also walk up and down Canyon Creek and identify hazards, Gray said.

“Anything we think could be a hazard, we’ll try to eliminate that hazard prior to spring and runoff,” she said. “We want to be prepared for what could come down the creek and the public needs to be aware of what the risks are.”

According to a BAER team report, it will take about five years for vegetation to recover in watersheds affected by the fire.

“Flood potential will decrease as vegetation re-establishes, providing ground cover, increasing surface roughness and stabilizing and improving the infiltration capacity of the soils,” the report states.

Tigers strong in face of challenges Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:38:08 -0400 Angel Carpenter DAYVILLE – The Dayville/Monument football team is working to hone their skills as the season moves along.

The Tigers had a strong start with a 42-6 win over the Alsea Wolverines in their first game of the season last month, but have since faced tougher competition against bigger teams.

The team currently has a 1-4 overall record.

Just four athletes on the 12-man Dayville/Monument roster are returning players this season, but that’s not stopping them.

“We are a young team that is learning and improving,” said Tiger head coach Nathaniel Ashley, who is in his fifth year coaching the team.

He said seniors Dakota Emerson and Garrett Warner are both making valuable contribution to the team this year.

“Both have big roles on the team, and they are both stepping up and filling those roles and helping the younger players improve their game,” Ashley said.

This year’s roster also includes four freshmen, and six juniors, including quarterback Hayden Schafer.

“We’re short of players this year, but we’re working hard,” Emerson said.

Warner agreed, adding, “We’re just trying to take what we have and run with it.”

The team is competing with 10 other teams in Special District 1: Adrian, Wallowa, Powder Valley, Jordan Valley, Crane, Prairie City/Burnt River, Pine Eagle, Joseph, Echo and Harper/Huntington.

“We try to keep improving as the season goes along and keep a positive attitude,” Ashley said.

He added, while the team has a lot of younger players with less experience on the field, “they are catching on quick, and that’s all we can ask them to do is keep working hard and pushing themselves and teammates to get better.”

Grant County sports round-up Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:37:59 -0400 Angel Carpenter GRANT COUNTY – Sports teams kept busy in the county and on the road last week.

The Grant Union Prospector volleyball team hosted Culver sweeping the Bulldogs 3-0 Sept. 29, and they followed up with another sweep at the Cove Leopard’s court.

The scores against Culver were 25-21, 25-20 and 25-22.

“Culver is a top 5 team that plays tremendous defense and brings a lot of intensity to the court,” said Grant Union head coach Shae Speth. “We served tough, getting them out of system often, and then played pretty well at the net getting some key blocks early.”

She said the nonleague match was a good test for the team to check their mid-season skills.

Grant Union’s scores in Cove were 25-7, 25-18 and 25-8.

Taylor McCluskey and Hailie Wright stepped in as setters for starter Rheanna Cartner who was out due to illness.

Speth noted the Leopards are rebuilding after graduating several strong players last year.

Grant Union’s junior varsity was set to face Dayville/Monument varsity and junior varsity players in Dayville Wednesday at 5 p.m., and Saturday travel to Enterprise for a 12 p.m. game and Imbler for a 5 p.m. game. Next Tuesday, they take on Burns at the Hilanders court at 4 p.m.

Dayville/Monument’s Lady Tigers had a tough match last week in Jordan Valley.

Head coach Tiffnie Schmadeka said the team fought hard and had some good moments, but missed some key serves.

“This week we are focusing a lot on serving and passing,” she said. “We have good spirits this week and are ready to fight back and play tough – it will be a long week, but we’re up for the challenge.”

The team will have their homecoming match in Monument at 4 p.m. Thursday, hosting Harper/Huntington.

Prairie City’s Lady Panthers had challenging games last week, and that’s just how head coach Louanne Zweygardt says she prefers it.

While the matches against Grant Union junior varsity and the Crane Mustangs didn’t go their way, Zweygardt said it gave them good competition against teams with “strong fundamental skills,” she said.

“Last week, we had some good moments against GUJV and Crane, but not enough of them,” she said. “The team served fairly well, but passing and hitting errors kept us from scoring many points.”

Scores against GUJV were: 15-25, 14-25 and 12-25.

Each set against Crane was lost 20-25.

On Friday, the Lady Panthers travel to Adrian for yet another challenge – game starts at about 4 p.m.

“Adrian is never a team to underestimate as they have a solid program,” Zweygardt said. “We will be focused on playing our game and working on our attack.”

Burnt River is another team that have been improving and can surprise you, she said.

The Panthers host the Bulls at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Dayville/Monument Tiger football team was defeated on the road 6-74 against Jordan Valley.

“The could have gone better,” said head coach Nathaniel Ashley. “We made mistakes and didn’t play up to our potential. Jordan Valley is a good team.”

The Tigers’ sole touchdown came when Dakota Emerson threw the ball to Hayden Schafer.

The team has a short week to prepare for their homecoming game against Harper/Huntington at 1 p.m. Thursday on the Monument field.

The Prairie City/Burnt River football team had a tough time from the start hosting Crane last Friday, suffering a 0-62 defeat.

Injuries caused the Panther/Bulls to forfeit the game at halftime, ending what head coach Darrel McKrola called “a very physical game.”

He said they hope to have enough players to continue competition this week at Adrian where they are schedule to play at 6 p.m. (PT) on Friday.

Ladies, and gents, swing for the cure Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:36:06 -0400 Angel Carpenter JOHN DAY – Dozens of pink, red and white balloons floated heavenward at last Saturday’s Rally for the Cure golf scramble at the John Day Golf Club.

The release of the balloons is a special moment to honor and support loved ones touched by breast cancer.

Participants attach to each balloon someone’s name or a prayer, said Kim Ward, who has been ambassador of the event for 10 years now.

While that is one of the more reflective moments during the Rally, the event also includes a fun golf scramble where teams are encouraged to dress up and decorate their golf carts.

John Day resident Lynda Farrell’s team named “Mom and the girls” included her daughter-in-law Sarah Parker of La Grande, and granddaughters Ronda Pade of Terrebonne and Natalie Riley of Redmond.

Farrell said the Rally is something she looks forward to each year.

“It’s special to me because I’ve had quite a few cancer issues in our family – not necessarily breast cancer,” she said. “My daughter-in-law is a breast cancer survivor this year. It’s hard to describe how awesome the Rally is.”

Her team dressed up in shorts with matching fuschia leggings with the word “love” written on them, and wore matching T-shirts with the phrase, “Family gives me strength, Faith gives me hope.”

Ward said nine teams competed in the scramble last Saturday, and seven co-ed teams participated Sunday.

She noted the men enjoy competing, too, and some wear pink shirts.

The Sunday scramble was a 50-50 contest, and the winners donated their winnings back to the Rally.

“It was another opportunity to fight against cancer,” she said. “We always have a fabulous, crazy, fun time.”

A dessert auction was also held, and all funds raised are given to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Donna Edmundson Memorial Award and a pink putter donated by the Foundation was given to Farrell for being the ninth person to sign up.

Farrell said Edmundson, a former Prairie City resident, lost her battle to cancer and since then Edmundson’s daughters and other family members honor her memory with the Rally for the Cure prize.

Janie Cole, who won closest to the pin, was awarded a golf bag. Other results were unavailable at press time.

Runners make strides in records Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:30:08 -0400 Angel Carpenter MILTON-FREEWATER – Grant Union cross country coach Sonna Smith said her boys varsity team is right on track.

The group took on competition at McLoughlin High School last Friday in Milton-Freewater.

“The course has a 600-meter hill at 2.5 kilometers that was aptly named ‘Gut Buster hill,’” she said.

Out of 40 boys varsity racers, Tanner Elliott placed 10th with 19:53; Sam Bentz, 18, 21:21; Bo Olson, 26, 22:21.

“For all of the athletes to get their season’s best time on the course shows that our training is right on track and they are making great improvements both physically and mentally in their racing,” Smith said.

The team travels to the Burns-Idlewild Meet on Saturday to compete at Devine Ridge Summit near Burns.

2015 county sports schedule Tue, 6 Oct 2015 16:29:59 -0400 Football

Thursday, Oct. 8

Dayville/Monument vs. Harper/Huntington in Monument, 1 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 9

Prairie City/Burnt River @ Adrian, 6 p.m. (PT)

Grant Union @ Burns in Burns, 7 p.m.


Wednesday, Oct. 7

Dayville/Monument vs. GU JV in Dayville, 5 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 8

Dayville/Monument vs. Harper/Huntington in Monument, 4 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 9

Prairie City @ Adrian in Adrian, 3 p.m. (PT)

Saturday, Oct. 10

Prairie City vs. Burnt River in Prairie City, 4 p.m.

Ukiah/Long Creek vs. Crane (JV game) in Long Creek, 1 p.m.

Ukiah/Long Creek vs. Day/Mon (JV game) in Long Creek, 2:30 p.m.

Grant Union @ Enterprise in Enterprise, 12 p.m.

Grant Union @ Imbler in Imbler, 5 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 13

Grant Union @ Burns in Burns, 4 p.m.

Ukiah/Long Creek vs. Nixyaawii in Ukiah, 5 p.m.

Cross Country

Saturday, Oct. 10

Grant Union @ Burns-Idlewild Meet in Burns (Devine Ridge Summit), 11 a.m.

Monument @ Dry Out Shoot Out in La Grande (Eastern Oregon University), 2 p.m.