Blue Mountain Eagle | Blue Mountain Eagle Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:20:53 -0500 en Blue Mountain Eagle | Tiger teams take on ’Lopes at Dayville court Sat, 21 Jan 2017 23:43:29 -0500 Angel Carpenter Monument/Dayville Tiger teams hosted the Adrian Antelopes at their Dayville court Saturday, the Tigers boys winning 43-39, and the Lady Tigers taking a 66-40 loss.

Tiger boys on a five-game win streak

The Tiger boys notched their fifth consecutive win with the night’s victory.

Monument/Dayville head coach Jeff Schafer said that while he was happy with the win, they didn’t play their best ball.

“It was a rough game, but we pulled through it,” he said. “Tanner hit two big free throws at the end.”

The Tigers trailed 9-8 in the first quarter and were behind 15-14 in the second.

Player Hayden Schafer said they had a good pep talk during halftime.

“We never gave up,” he said. “We had a rough first half, but thanks to our coaches, they pumped us up and gave us confidence.”

The home team came out strong, leading the third 32-28.

In the final minute of play, the Lopes came within two points of the Tigers after Adrian went to the free-throw line three times, hitting 3-6.

With just 37 seconds to go, a jumpball went the Tigers’ way, then Tiger Tanner Walczyk went 2-2 at the free-throw line.

Adrian overshot the ball in a final attempt at three points.

“It was rough, but we managed to pull through,” said Walczyk. “They’re a good team, but we’re better.”

Lady Tigers, fast on floor, can’t catch the ’Lopes

The visiting Lady Antelopes were off to a quick start in Saturday’s game, adding seven points to the board before a shot fell for the Lady Tigers.

Monument/Dayville shot within two points of the visitors in the first two minutes of play with Kyla Emerson making the first basket, and adding two more at the free-throw line.

Tiger Ravyn Walker’s two points made the score 8-6, the ’Lopes leading, and from there, the visitors were hard to catch.

At the half, Adrian led 35-13.

“The girls came out against the trap in the first quarter,” said Tiger head coach Taylor Schmadeka. “In the second quarter we lost some focus, and fouls hurt us as well in the second quarter.”

In the third quarter, Kyla Emerson went down with what appeared to be a knee injury.

“I was pleased with how we came out in the second half with fewer fouls,” Schmadeka said. “I was also happy with our defense and the girls never stopping giving 100 percent, even when Kyla Emerson went down.”

Earlier in the evening the junior varsity girls teams tied 17-17 in a two-quarter game.

The Tigers will travel to Prairie City on Friday, Jan. 27, to meet up with the Panthers.

The girls varsity team is scheduled to play at 6 p.m., followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers at Salem’s women’s march urge unity Sat, 21 Jan 2017 18:07:23 -0500 Claire WithycombeCapital Bureau SALEM — Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Oregon’s Capitol mall Saturday in a show of feminist solidarity one day after the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

In brief remarks to the crowd, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state she leads stands for equality and diversity.

While Oregon has a reputation for progressive policies and boasts one of the country’s highest rates of female participation in state government, it also has a reputation for homogeneity and a well-documented history of institutional discrimination against people of color.

Keynote speaker Shelaswau Bushnell Crier, a former Willamette University law professor and former vice president of the Salem-Keizer NAACP, pointed to these divisions — historic and current — within Oregon and called for unity.

Crier said that, at first, she wasn’t sure, as a black woman, whether she would be welcomed to join the ranks of post-inaugural women’s marches in Oregon, or whether she was merely an “afterthough.”

For many years, Crier said, “women” did not always mean all women. For example, women’s restrooms in the Jim Crow era distinguished between “Ladies” and “Colored Ladies.”

“Division has been a tool to keep all of us subjugated,” Crier said.

And divisions are not just a thing of the past: The mother of a son who attends the University of Oregon, Crier said she wondered whether she should withdraw him from the school after the news emerged this autumn of a white law professor there hosting a Halloween party in blackface.

On second thought, she said, “hell no” to that, and demanded “to be seen” — as a woman, as a person of color and as an American.

Crier implored demonstrators to attend local public meetings, defend civil rights, and demand “answers” and a “seat at the table.”

The event coincided with similar demonstrations in cities across the country and a march in Washington D.C. that organizers say was attended by 500,000 people.

Undeterred by the morning’s persistent rain, protesters of all ages held signs aloft bearing messages rebuking the nation’s new commander in chief and stressed inclusivity of a kind the new president — and many of his supporters — has shunned as “political correctness.”

In the shadow of the marble “empire builders” carved into the Capitol, Gov. Brown repurposed the state song’s refrain of “My Oregon” as anaphora in a call to action:

“In my Oregon, all people are equal, and in my Oregon, love wins,” Brown said, clad in the signature pink cat-eared hat of the day’s march. “And in my Oregon, black lives matter, and in my Oregon, immigrants and refugees are welcomed with open arms. And in my Oregon, people with disabilities are respected. And in my Oregon, under my leadership, women are in charge of their own bodies. And in my Oregon, people and planet are valued over profit. And in my Oregon, my Oregon, diversity is celebrated. Are you with me?”

Brown is the state’s second female governor. The first was Barbara Roberts, a Democrat elected in 1990 to one term. Brown has one other female counterpart in the executive branch of state government — Ellen Rosenblum, the state’s attorney general.

Oregon has one of the highest rates of female membership among state legislatures. It ranks eighth among the 50 states, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The Speaker of the Oregon House is female, as are the majority leaders in the House and Senate.

Mariana Lindsay, interim executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Women’s Leadership at Portland State University, says that Oregon’s level of participation by women — about 30 percent of all legislators — may in part be explained by longstanding training programs for women interested in state and local politics. As early as 1973, female legislators banded together to pass a set of feminist reforms.

But, Lindsay said, that comparatively high rate neither demonstrates total parity nor represents the racial and ethnic diversity of Oregon.

While the new class of legislators is the most diverse yet, it wasn’t until 2012 that a Latina, Jessica Vega Pederson, was elected — not appointed — to the Oregon House.

In the private sector, just one of the state’s 39 publicly traded companies as of late 2016 had a female CEO, according to a report published by the Women’s Foundation of Oregon in September.

“That is a sharp example of the leadership gap across public and private sectors, not just in our state, but nationwide,” Lindsay said.

The Women’s Foundation of Oregon report, titled “Count Her In,” pointed to significant disparities in earnings, health care and other quality of life factors for the state’s women.

Gillnetters get continued access to main Columbia channel Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:10:22 -0500 Eric MortensonCapital Bureau SALEM — By a tight 4-3 vote, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission veered away from an outright ban on gillnetting in the main channel of the lower Columbia River and set the state at odds with neighboring Washington on how to manage protected salmon and steelhead.

The commission heard more than six hours of staff reports and strikingly discordant testimony from commercial gillnetters and recreational anglers, who have argued for years over who gets to catch how much of seasonal salmon runs, and what methods they may use.

On Friday, the commercial fishery won the day, their case made by a parade of gritty Astoria gillnetters who spoke of generational ties, community businesses and family fortunes at risk if they were no longer able to make a living.

The ODFW commission had previously appeared more likely to continue phasing out gillnets in the river’s main channel, a move long favored by the sports fleet, the recreational anglers and guides who hit the river with line and hook. Washington and Oregon agreed to such a plan, set in motion in 2012 by then Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Instead, the commissioners approved an “enhanced” rebalancing plan, one of six options analyzed by ODFW staff. Highlights of the plan include:

• Recreational anglers are allowed to account for 80 percent of the spring and summer Chinook, the wild fish protected under the Endangered Species Act. Commercial anglers will get 20 percent of what is called the “ESA impact” and will be allowed to fish the main stem with tangle nets.

• The harvest of fall Chinook would be split 66 percent recreational, 34 percent commercial, with main stem gillnetting allowed in Zones 4 and 5 and Coho tangle nets in Zones 1,2 and 3.

• Anglers can use barbed hooks in the Willamette River.

• The Youngs Bay control zone will continue to be closed to sports fishing.

Gillnetters had offered their own plan that would have given them a greater share of salmon. Steve Fick, owner of Fishhawk Fisheries in Astoria, said he wasn’t disappointed in the commission’s action.

“When everybody’s a little unhappy, it’s probably a reasonable decision,” he said.

Recreational anglers maintain that gillnetting takes fish indiscriminately, with no way to differentiate between wild fish and hatchery fish, for example. They argue that gillnetting should be relegated to the river’s side channels and say the sports fleet has a much bigger economic impact.

“We fill the hotels to bursting in Astoria,” said Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association.

During Friday’s hearing, recreational anglers the commission shouldn’t vary from the path set by Kitzhaber and the “concurrent management” agreement between Oregon and Washington. “A deal is a deal,” one man testified.

Earlier this month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to remove gillnetting from the main channel in two years and increasing recreational anglers’ share of fall, spring and summer chinook.

The Washington commission also directed the wildlife department to “aggressively pursue” a buyback program for commercial gill net licenses.

Oregon chose a different route. Fick, of Fishhawk Fisheries, shrugged off the split between the states. If necessary, he said, there is technology to “draw and management line down the river” and let each go its own way.

He said commercial fishing is like logging, farming and ranching — a mainstay of economic life in rural areas.

“It’s not a dying industry,” he said. “You can’t start chopping away at people’s opportunities.”

At least a dozen commercial fisherman testified along those lines Friday. Several said they are sole providers of their families, and need the main stem fishery to make a living.

“Is this the time of our lives to take away jobs from people?” asked William Huntsinger, representing the Port of Astoria. “Commercial fishermen and the ocean are what’s going to feed the world.”

“I can’t afford to get kicked off the main stem,” said one man, adding that he is a fifth generation gillnetter with a wife and daughter. “I’m a 40-year-old uneducated man,” he said. “What am I going to do?”

Alex Hendricks, a 17-year-old senior at Clatskanie High School, said he is a fourth-generation gillnetter, following his mother, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“I ask you for the opportunity to embrace the heritage the generations before me have created,” he said.

Wrestlers battle at Grant Union Tournament Sat, 21 Jan 2017 00:04:58 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Prospectors hosted nine teams at Friday’s Grant Union Wrestling Tournament.

Grant Union head coach Andy Lusco said the event went smoothly, and he was pleased his wrestlers’ performance.

“Our conditioning is coming along, and I think we wrestled pretty skilled,” he said. “There are a bunch of kids in there that did well.”

To highlight a few of the Grant Union wrestlers: Clay Johnson wrestled 3-1, Drew Lusco had 3-1, Russell Hodge had 3-0, Elijah Humbird had 2-0.

Full results will be available on Monday.

Coach Lusco said one of the most exciting moments came during one of Humbird’s matches.

“He wrestled a kid with seconds to go who was ahead in points and he came back and pinned him – and he was really tall and aggressive, so he did a good job there,” he said, adding, “There were tough kids in a lot of these pods, and our kids wrestled really well as a group.”

Hodge said his toughest match was his last one, against an Irrigon wrestler.

“He had more knowledge and was stronger and in really good shape,” Hodge said. “I just keep pushing and never give up. Even though I hurt, it was worth it.”

Drew Lusco said he was happy with the event.

“The meet went well,” he said. “ We had a lot of opponents, especially in the heavyweights.”

Since the tournament started at noon, while school was in session, students in PE classes, enjoyed watching the grapplers from the stands.

Locals and people traveling with the visiting teams were also filled the bleachers.

Johnson said he was excited to compete in the tournament.

“It’s always good to have the support of the students and the community,” he said.

Cindy Dougharity-Spencer, who assists the Grant Union wrestling team, announced an award named after her late father at the close of the day.

The Mick Dougharity Outstanding All-Around Wrestler of the Tournament was given to Cord Flynn of Heppner.

Dougharity-Spencer said Flynn won the award not only because he is a great wrestler.

“He also contributes to little kids wrestling which my dad was passionate about,” she said.

Coach Lusco said running the tournament is quite an undertaking, but it’s an opportunity for the wrestlers have a lot of matches.

He noted Chester’s Thriftway provided a hospitality room for the visiting teams.

“Community-wise we have a lot of support,” he said.

Grant Union will next travel to Burns for the Burns-Crane Duals on Tuesday, then they’re on the road to Enterprise next Friday for a tournament.

“Our big goal is to win district and send a bunch of kids to state, and that is well within our reach,” he said.

DHS director says safety, alleviating poverty will be prioritized Fri, 20 Jan 2017 18:04:14 -0500 Claire Withycombe Capital Bureau

SALEM — Oregon Department of Human Services Director Clyde Saiki says legislators face “tough choices” in the next six months as they consider where to cut back on programs for children, seniors and people with disabilities.

The heads of the legislative budget-writing committee, Joint Ways and Means, released a preliminary spending plan Thursday.

The spending plan — what legislators called a “framework” — calls for about $2.99 billion in spending for the next budget cycle for DHS.

That’s an increase from the agency’s most recent biennial budget of $2.78 billion, but Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, said that the $2.99 billion amount is actually nearly 9 percent less than what the department needs to maintain the current level of services.

The plan accounts for a $1.8 billion shortfall in state funds legislators say is needed to maintain current service levels across state government.

Cost increases can be attributed to wage and benefit growth for state employees as well as adjustments for population growth and inflation.

On Friday, Saiki said that from where he stands, that spending plan was not “very surprising, but disappointing.”

The Department of Human Services, which has a range of responsibilities from administering nutritional support to poor families to overseeing the state’s foster care system, makes up a significant chunk of the state general fund every year.

Saiki said that as the agency’s budget goes through the legislative process, the agency would be focused on safety and alleviating poverty, which he said align with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s own preferences. He also noted that the budget framework presented by legislators was merely the beginning of the process.

“The top two priorities are really about safety for children and other vulnerable populations, all the people we serve,” Saiki told a meeting of service providers and recipients in Salem on Friday. “The second priority is lifting people out of poverty.”

In the past year, the department has been under the microscope after reports of abuse and systemic problems in state foster care.

The agency hired a new Child Welfare director, Lena Alhusseini, who started work Nov. 7. DHS is expected to release a unified Child Welfare improvement plan before the legislative session begins Feb. 1.

It was unclear, on the first day of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, what support would be like from the federal government for antipoverty programs the department administers.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for example, is distributed in the form of a block grant from the federal government and is implemented by states.

In addition, for some programs, if the state makes cuts to its own funding for something, that can also mean the loss of matching funds from the federal government.

At Friday’s meeting, service providers and recipients also expressed concerns about the effects of the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

DHS officials have laid out a number of options for areas where anticipated spending could be cut back — 15 percent, or more than $486 million in general fund money, in potential cuts.

Those options include reducing funding for personal services, eliminating a live-in care program, and eliminating quality care incentive payments for providers of childcare to kids who receive government subsidies.

Although those options are on the table as legislators start crafting the state budget, Saiki said he would advocate for increased Child Welfare staff and for rate increases for people working directly with people receiving DHS services; for foster parents; and for groups providing behavioral rehabilitation services for children and teens.

Doctors warn of county influenza outbreak Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:50:00 -0500 Grant County is experiencing an influenza outbreak.

There has been a significant rise in the number of cases recently reported to the Blue Mountain Hospital, Strawberry Wilderness Community Clinic and Grant County Health Department, according to a press release from Blue Mountain Hospital District doctors.

The disease is highly contagious and can be dangerous to many residents. Health authorities urge people to work together to safeguard community health.

Blue Mountain Hospital District is encouraging people to follow these guidelines:

• If you have mild flu symptoms (fever, chills, muscle or body aches, cough, headache, stuffy or runny nose), stay home.

• If you are visiting a patient in the hospital, care center or any other health care facilities, consider delaying your visit to a later time.

• If you need medical attention and are going to a clinic or hospital for services, wear a mask to protect other patients and medical personnel. Masks are available in the entry ways and check in areas.

• Remember to cover your mouth if you cough and to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

Breaking the ice Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:20:50 -0500

Jack Cavender Fri, 20 Jan 2017 13:23:27 -0500 Jack Cavender, 96, passed away Monday, Jan. 16, at his home in Monument, surrounded by his family. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Monument Community Church. A reception will follow at the Monument Senior Center.

Cavender was born July 17, 1920, in Portland, to Clyde Eugene and Geneva Grace Robertson Cavender. He attended grade and high school in Portland, then graduated from Oregon State University in 1943 with degrees in agriculture and dairy management. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943, attended midshipman school at Columbia University in New York and was commissioned into the Submarine Service from 1944-45 as a first lieutenant. He was assigned as gunnery officer aboard the USS Stingray under General MacArthur’s staff to run supplies to Philippine guerrilla troops from Australia to Leyte in the Philippines. His crew was awarded the Submarine Combat Medal with a silver star for three dangerous missions. He was later transferred to the USS Croaker in the South China Sea off Hong Kong and Taiwan. Their mission was to attack shipping and pick up any survivors of bombing raids. He finished his Navy service in Portland decommissioning naval ships.

Cavender married Alda Clyde Harman Dec. 18, 1945, in Yale University Chapel in New Haven, Connecticut. From 1946-49, he managed a ranch on Rhea Creek in Morrow County near Heppner. In 1949, he purchased a ranch near Hamilton and accepted a position in Monument teaching adult vocational agriculture (GI school) for seven years. During this time, he also drove school bus. In 1956, he purchased and moved his family to a ranch near Monument, where he raised sheep, hogs, cattle, alfalfa and mint. In 1957, he began working for Columbia Power Cooperative as an irrigation engineer, a relatively new innovation in this area. He developed an irrigation and farm supply business for the co-op and was in charge of sales as well as engineering many of the irrigation systems in the Monument, Kimberly, Spray, Twickenham and Mitchell areas. He retired from Columbia Power in 1990 and continued ranching full time.

His interests and activities revolved around his family, his community and county. He served as clerk and deputy clerk of the Monument School District for 25 years and was on the Monument School Board for many years, both as a member and chairman. He served on the Monument School Budget Committee for six years and the Grant County Budget Committee for three years with two as chairman, and as Grant County ESD director, Grant County representative on the John Day Basin Council, director of Monument Soil and Water, a member of Monument Grange and a member and elder of Monument Presbyterrian Church and John Day Parish Council. He was instrumental in starting the Monument Senior Citizen Association and North Fork John Day Watershed Council. He received numerous local and state awards for his efforts in water resource management.

Cavender is survived by daughters, Judith (Bob) Cavender of Portland, Janis (Craig) Ensign of Long Creek and Susan (Dan) Cavender of Monument; five grandchildren, Matt (Sunny) Arbogast, Aimee (Ken) Patterson, Jennifer (Jared) Achepohl, Kim (Bryan) Martin and Myka Jewell; 15 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; brother Don; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Clyde, in 2007; grandsons Jamie Gienger and Nate Arbogast; son in-law Paul Jewell; and brother Dick.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Monument Senior Center through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, OR 97845. To leave a condolence, visit

Pillar Rock skeleton identified as missing Seattle man Fri, 20 Jan 2017 12:41:14 -0500 Natalie St. JohnEO Media Group CATHLAMET, Wash. — Richard Donald Arneson’s last known words came in the form of an ominous text message.

“My luck has run out,” Arneson, 62, told a friend on Feb. 5, 2016. After that, his loved ones had no idea what became of him until law enforcement delivered bittersweet news: A Texas forensic lab used DNA to confirm that Arneson was the man discovered on the bank of the Columbia River near Altoona in May.

Wahkiakum County Prosecutor and Coroner Dan Bigelow was still trying to wrap his head around the unexpected news about the mystery man at Pillar Rock. Over the past several months, he’s put considerable thought and effort into trying to find the man’s name.

“All that detective work. All that ‘2 a.m.-ing!’ Dr. (Kathy) Taylor was giddy when she told me,” Bigelow said, referring to the Washington state forensic anthropologist who helped Bigelow prepare the remains for DNA testing, and hired the forensic artist who drew the likeness of the man that was released to the public just last week. “I did a little happy dance.”

It might seem odd for Bigelow to be happy about such a thing, but he doesn’t intend any disrespect. It’s just that a great many missing persons and unidentified remains cases never get solved, and the prospects definitely weren’t great for this one. It was dubious whether the man’s weathered, partial skeletal remains would yield any usable DNA. Even when there is DNA, it often takes months or even years before labs get any results. Leads in the case had all come to nothing. After seven months of searching, Bigelow and Taylor thought that if they got any new leads this month, they would come from the new drawing, not the Texas forensic lab.

“This came out of the blue.” Bigelow said. His last unidentified remains case involved another skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia in February 2013. It took almost exactly two years for the same Texas lab to confirm that the bones belonged to Molly Waddington, a 44-year-old Kelso, Washington, woman who was last seen alive on March 14, 2012. Kelso Police are still investigating her death.

It was also surprising that Arneson, a west Seattle resident, turned up in Wahkiakum County, because he had no known ties to the area, and no known plans to visit.

“Without DNA, nobody would have been looking in this direction, and nobody would have found this guy,” Bigelow said.

Arneson’s family members in the Pacific Northwest had been searching for him, and provided the DNA samples that made it possible to identify him. When told of the news, Bigelow said, “They were grateful for what closure we could offer.”

Bigelow still hasn’t had time to do much research on Arneson, and he can’t share some of what he does know, because Seattle Police are still investigating the disappearance. In hopes of generating new leads, Bigelow did reveal earlier this month that his John Doe’s dental records suggested he had fallen on hard times near the end of his life, and that he carried a woman’s ring and a keychain with a drawing of a little girl, and the name “DEBBIE” in his pocket.

“The best I can tell you without revealing other investigatory stuff is that I had heard he was well-to-do, and recently reduced in circumstances,” Bigelow said. “He did have a Debbie who was known to him, and dear to him, and predeceased him.”

According to an online missing persons database and several Seattle media accounts, Arneson was last seen at a Bank of America ATM in the Westwood shopping center in west Seattle on Feb. 4. Arneson’s friends and family got worried after he failed to show up for his job in Kent on Feb. 5. That day, a friend went to check on him at his west Seattle apartment, and discovered that he was gone, and the door was open. There were no signs of foul play, but police did open a missing persons case. Later that day, the same friend received the troubling text message.

According to court records, his landlord appears to have filed an eviction notice on Arneson at the end of February. But it’s not clear whether that was because Arneson was already behind on rent at the time of his disappearance, or if he hadn’t paid rent because he had vanished.

Arneson did apparently have an interest in hiking, and he was dressed for an outdoor adventure when he died. Bigelow said he probably went out into the woods voluntarily, and there are no signs of foul play at this point.

“It seems to me that if you are going to murder somebody, dressing them up in rain pants and throwing them in a river from west Seattle would be an overly complicated way of going about things,” Bigelow said. “You’d have to be an elaborate thinker to do things that way.”

Now, Bigelow will sign a death certificate, saying the place, time and manner of death are uncertain, and the Seattle detective who recently took over the case will continue trying to determine what caused Arneson to send that eerie message, and then to disappear.

“‘My luck has run out’ is a weird last set of words to say,” Bigelow reflected. “It sounds to me more like despair than fear.”

Lawmakers’ spending framework includes cuts, no new taxes Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:42:10 -0500 Claire WithycombeCapital Bureau SALEM — The co-chairs of the Legislature’s joint budget-writing committee Thursday presented a spending plan that included cuts in services to reflect the state’s expected $1.8 billion shortfall for the next two-year budget cycle.

The $20.265 billion budget outline presented by Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, reflects that shortfall and describes potential cuts to general program areas such as health care, education and public safety.

Devlin and Nathanson said the framework makes large cuts to key state services.

“To be clear, to be clear, we do not believe the resources as allocated in this document are sufficient,” Devlin said in remarks during a press conference at the Oregon State Capitol.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick said in a statement that the framework demonstrated a need for revenue reform.

The state’s Republicans, meanwhile, presented the framework as an opportunity to cut state spending. Both parties stressed maintaining “critical” services; the framework, if implemented, could mean changes ranging from higher college tuition costs to cuts in dental care for low-income people.

Gov. Kate Brown’s $20.8 billion recommended budget released Dec. 1, was put together assuming $897 million in new revenue gathered through new taxes and the closing two tax loopholes.

By contrast, under the framework presented by Devlin and Nathanson does not assume the new revenue Brown proposed.

Under the plan, the Oregon Health Authority spending would be 27.5 percent less than needed to maintain current service levels, while the Department of Human Services would receive 8.7 percent less.

Proposed cuts vary in size between K-12, higher education and other state education programs that don’t fall into those two categories, such as career technical education.

The co-chairs were also quick to note that cuts to some state services mean cuts to matching funds from the federal government.

It’s also unclear whether any direct cuts to federal funding may be coming down the pike under the new administration.

Much of the $1.8 billion shortfall comes from the loss of federal subsidies for health care costs for low-income Oregonians, and the mounting costs of the state’s public pension system, which faces $22 billion in unfunded liability.

This year, the state must now also pick up some of the tab for insuring additional Oregonians under the Oregon Health Plan, as a result of the Legislature’s decision to expand coverage in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act — a decision Devlin and Nathanson said they stood by Thursday. The federal government covered the initial costs of implementation.

Devlin and Nathanson attributed the deficit to a “fundamental imbalance” caused by these and other policies enacted in Oregon’s past.

Measure 5 in 1990, for example, reduced property taxes and required local public schools to be funded by the state’s general fund rather than by local taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, called the framework a “call to action.”

“The fact that we face such a deficit during a booming economic period in our state demonstrates the need for comprehensive revenue reform,” Burdick said.

She said legislators were looking for ways to maximize the state’s dollars but reiterated the need “to reform our revenue system to make sure it is fair to all Oregonians.”

House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, said the state couldn’t “afford to move backward.”

“We can’t afford to move backward in our investments in education, health care and critical services for struggling families,” Williamson said in a statement. “We shouldn’t shortchange our economic future by making it harder for students to get a good education. And I don’t believe that any Oregonian wants us to make these painful cuts.”

Jim Green, the head of the Oregon School Boards Association, called for both revenue and PERS reform in a statement Thursday.

“Our students need leadership on these two issues from the governor and our legislative leaders,” Green said.

Republicans, however, generally praised the framework.

In a statement, Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, also called the budget a “starting point.”

“Now the work begins,” Winters said. “We have our work cut out for us to craft a sound, sustainable budget (that) benefits Oregonians, urban and rural alike.”

Sen. Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said the budget the co-chairs presented was “based in reality.”

“It’s time Oregonians understood the consequences of explosive growth of government and overspending, coupled with anti-business climate and restrictive anti-land use laws,” Ferrioli said. “The only way Oregon will get through the current budget crunch is by setting better spending priorities and demonstrating budget discipline.”

Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, who is also House Republican Caucus Budget Chair, also framed the framework as an opportunity for “spending reform.”

“This Legislature has an opportunity this session to finally address the structural deficits that led us to this position in the first place,” Smith said, “and to put Oregon on the path to a more stable financial future.”

The co-chairs said Thursday that the Joint Ways & Means committee plans to release recommendations for the 2017-19 state budget after the next state revenue forecasts, which is due to come out Feb. 22.

Commission nixes expected release of ODOT review Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:51:39 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau SALEM — The Oregon Transportation Commission on Thursday nixed a scheduled briefing on draft findings of a management audit of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The audit is intended to ensure ODOT is prepared to effectively manage a potential transportation package that legislators could approve later this year.

That legislation — one of Gov. Kate Brown’s priorities as governor — could hike gas taxes and fees on drivers and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding to ODOT.

The state in September awarded a nearly $1 million contract to New York-based McKinsey & Company to conduct the long-awaited review.

The briefing on draft findings had been added to the commission’s Jan. 19 meeting agenda after the EO Media Group/Pamplin Media Group Capital Bureau earlier this month requested a copy of the 60-page document.

Bret West, an administrator with the Department of Administrative Services who oversees the McKinsey’s contract, received the draft findings Dec. 23, said Matt Shelby, a DAS spokesman. However, the document contained McKinsey’s trade secrets, including strategies the firm uses to conduct management reviews. Trade secrets are exempt from disclosure under Oregon public records law and had to be redacted, Shelby said.

West said after receiving the draft findings he asked McKinsey to expand on two areas in the review related to conflicts of interest and the agency’s decision-making authority.

The Capital Bureau was first to report that the management review’s scope of work did not address how much weight ODOT employees give conflicts of interest in the process choosing contractors.

The redactions and the additional information West requested were not yet complete, West said. The preliminary findings are scheduled to be wrapped up by Feb. 1, he said.

Staff members at the Department of Administrative Services then will develop McKinsey’s findings and list of options into a set of recommendations, West said. The final report is set to be complete Feb. 28, he said.

“The most important thing I would like to say is DAS has really taken a hands-off approach to the findings themselves,” said West, who is married to an ODOT employee. “We think McKinsey and their work is high quality, and we don’t want any perception that DAS has influenced the findings.”

Margaret Leonora Shervey Thu, 19 Jan 2017 12:43:40 -0500 Margaret Leonora Shervey (nee Paul), 93, passed away Jan. 10 at Riverpark nursing home in Eugene.

Shervey was born Oct. 29, 1923, in Wheaton, Minnesota, the daughter of World War I veteran Hentry William Paul and his wife, Anna Benjamin Paul, a schoolteacher. She graduated from Oklee High School and the Wheaton Normal School, and attended both the University of Minnesota and the Morehead State Teacher’s College. After receiving her teacher certification, she moved to Columbus, North Dakota, where she taught primary school.

There she met her future husband, Earl Sylvester Shervey, a graduate of Columbus High School and the Oregon welding school. He worked at the Bonsness Coal Mine. They were married Oct. 29, 1947.

In 1955, the couple moved to Portland, where Earl was employed by the city as a heavy equipment operator. In 1990, they retired to John Day, where they built their dream home on Strawberry Mountain. Earl died Dec. 18, 1996, at age 71.

Three years later, Shervey moved to Oakridge, and later Dexter, to be closer to family.

She was an active member of Pleasant Hill Lutheran Church in Oakridge. She loved crafting, reading, writing, telling anecdotes, shopping, playing board games, watching videos and participating in Bible studies. She will be missed.

She is survived by a brother-in-law, Donald Shervey, of Portland; seven children, Errol Shervey (Barbara) of Cascadia, Cindy Curry (Chris) of Dexter, Janelle Ochs (Paul) of Charles Town, West Virginia, Rodger Shervey (Theresa) of Portland, Douglas Shervey (Debi) of Hermiston, Neal Shervey (Karen) of Portland and Jeffrey Shervey (Rebecca) of Eugene; 32 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren.

She will be remembered during the Sunday, Jan. 22, service at Pleasant Hill Lutheran Church.

Grant County Court: County discusses flood prevention Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:56:42 -0500 Rylan Boggs Grant County is preparing to take measures to safeguard investments in Canyon City from flooding.

Strategy discussed during a Jan. 18 Grant County Court meeting included removing or replacing bridges over Canyon Creek and buying a lot to build a flood barrier between the creek and Grant Union High School, as well as where and when to deploy sandbags already owned by the county. The main area of concern discussed by the court was a bend in the river just below the Inland Drive bridge. Commissioners said a spike in temperatures or a dam created by ice or debris could easily overfill the creek bed flooding school district property.

“Theres no doubt and everybody agrees that at some point Canyon Creek is going to cause us grief,” Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton said.

The court discussed hiring engineer Doug Ferguson again for flood prevention efforts, but no action was taken as a contract was not ready to be signed.

The court also:

• approved a request from Mindy Winegar to add 8 hours a week of pay for a fairgrounds employee to work on projects during the winter months.

• approved a request from Emergency Management Coordinator Ted Williams to purchase wood for public information boards. Prior to the approval, Grant County Judge Scott Myers explained any request over $100 dollars and not in the yearly budget would have to be approved by the county court. He expressed interest in raising the dollar amount closer to $300.

• approved country artist Melissa Mickleson as an opening act for Ned LeDoux during the Grant County Fair in August.

Harryette Jean Anderson Wed, 18 Jan 2017 17:44:19 -0500 Harryette Jean Anderson, 81, of Albany passed away with family at her side Sunday, Jan. 8, at Albany General Hospital.

Anderson was born July 17, 1935, in Prairie City to Harry Luke and Mary Myrtle (Bonham) McKern. She was the youngest of four daughters. She was raised in Mt. Vernon and moved to John Day after her father’s passing when she was 3 years old. She graduated from Grant Union High School in 1953.

In 1954, she met and married the love of her life, Erle Anderson, in John Day, and they moved to the Portland area for three years, then to Salem, Eugene, Springfield, back to Salem and then to Albany in 1964, where they stayed. Harryette was a stay at home mom for several years, then went back to work at the Wonder Bread thrift store, then the Broadway Department Store, where she worked until her retirement. She loved her job, selling clothes and visiting with the customers and friends.

Anderson is survived by her children, Connie and husband, Bruce Harpole, and Jeffrey Anderson and wife, Kelley, all of Albany; grandchildren, Zachary and Katie Tjernlund, Tyler and Chanci Tjernlund, Elizabeth and Jason Henkel, Sarah Harpole and Frank Frenzel, Amelia and Sean Sullivan and Allyson Anderson; six great-grandchildren; niece Lana Arnold; and friend George Phillips. She was preceded in death by her husband, Erle; and sisters Cecil Mae, Dollie Lee and Dorothy Myrtle.

Anderson was known for her silly and fun personality along with her fashion style. She loved to spend time with her family in northeastern Oregon. She was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority for more than 50 years.

A viewing will take place from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Fisher Funeral Home in Albany. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at First Christian Church in Albany. In lieu of flowers, donations in Anderson’s honor may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Albany or the East Albany Lions Club, in care of Fisher Funeral Home, 306 SW Washington St., Albany, OR 97321. Online condolences for the family may be posted at

Bill expands insurance mandate to cover abortions, other services Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:23:38 -0500 PARIS ACHENCapital Bureau Oregon is joining several other states that are seeking to protect no-cost birth control in case the federal mandate is rolled back as part of a potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Most legislation in other states has focused on preserving mandatory insurance coverage of hormonal contraceptives without a patient copay, with some other moderate expansions on the federal act. Oregon’s legislation, however, reaches far beyond the federal law, to include abortions, vasectomies and other services.

Oregon’s legislation — the Reproductive Health Equity Act — was in the works well before New York billionaire Donald Trump won the November presidential election.

However, Trump’s vow to repeal and replace President Obama’s landmark health care law, popularly dubbed Obamacare, could intensify pressure to pass the bill. Republicans have made the repeal a first order of business this year.

The bill is intended to reinforce and fill in gaps in reproductive health care coverage under Obamacare and to expand those who are eligible for the benefits, said Laurel Swerdlow, advocacy director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.

“We remain deeply concerned with what is happening on the national level,” Swerdlow said in a phone interview Wednesday. “This legislation is on no way to be a remedy for political attacks on the Affordable Care Act. This is legislation to establish coverage for reproductive health care for all Oregonians.”

For instance, abortion and vasectomies, services excluded from the Affordable Care Act mandate, would be covered under Oregon’s legislation. Men, transgender individuals and undocumented immigrants would be eligible for the coverage.

“All Oregonians need access to full reproductive health coverage for families to thrive, for a healthier state and for a stronger economy,” Swerdlow said. “Working families are under so much strain today, and oftentimes, they have a hard time making ends meet.

“What this legislation does is it recognizes that a right without access is not a right at all,” she add, referring to the right to terminate pregnancies. “What we really want is to make sure that all persons have access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care that they need. We don’t always know a person’s circumstances. We aren’t in their shoes.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon was one of several advocacy groups that worked on the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, and Rep. Phil Barker, D-Aloha. Others were the ACLU of Oregon, Asian-Pacific American Network of Oregon, Family Forward Oregon, NARAL Pro Choice Oregon, Oregon Latino Health Coalition and Western States Center, Swerdlow said.

Sen. Monnes Anderson introduced similar legislation in 2015, though it did not include coverage for men, transgender individuals and undocumented immigrants. Bipartisan opposition in the Senate, however, kept her bill from progressing to a vote, she said.

Some senators felt covering abortions could be too controversial, Monnes Anderson said.

Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, said the anti-abortion organization would oppose the new legislation.

“While Oregon Right to Life takes no position on true contraceptives, we, of course, are opposed to abortion, which always takes the life of an innocent unborn child,” Atteberry said in an email. “Because of the abortion component, ORTL is opposed to (the bill).”

Atteberry’s comment raises the question of whether including abortion could sink the bill and doom other benefits such as coverage of birth control without a copayment.

“I believe that this year there will be much more pressure to pass this important bill,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland. “I believe that events at the national level will add to that pressure.”

The bill’s proponents, including Rep. Barker, said they believe a majority of Oregonians will support coverage of abortion. The Legislature also has a Democratic majority.

“This is a bill sponsored by two Democrats, and Democrats are in charge” noted Rep. Sherrie Stenger, R-Scio, who sponsored an unsuccessful bill last year year to ban sex-selective abortions. “That is probably the most salient point in this conversation.”

Lawmakers will consider the proposal during their session, which kicks off Feb. 1.

Since 2014, California, Illinois, Maryland and Vermont have passed laws adopting the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to cover contraceptives without a patient copayment and expanded on the federal law’s provisions. Democratic lawmakers in Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York have proposed similar measures this year, according to a report earlier this month by Reuters.

State activates Emergency Coordination Center Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:25:44 -0500 As severe weather continues to rage across the state, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management activated the state Emergency Coordination Center (ECC). OEM staff and state emergency support representatives are gathered to assist with resource requests as communities are pummeled with ice, high winds and blowing snow.

Interstate 84 is closed between Troutdale and Hood River due to ice; the highway is also closed between Pendleton to Ontario as blowing snow creates blizzard-like conditions. OEM and the Oregon Department of Transportation urges motorists to stay off the roads.

State ECC Manager Kelly Jo Craigmiles says that the ECC is facilitating resources for affected counties, as well as areas in eastern and central Oregon. Ice, flooding concerns, sandbags and snow removal are the biggest needs at this time, although power outages, landslides and avalanches are also a concern.

Numerous weather advisories and warnings ( are in place in all parts of Oregon, including:

- Ice storm warning for the east Columbia Gorge;

- Winter storm warning in the south central Oregon Cascades, the Siskiyou Mountains and Southern Oregon Cascades;

- Flood advisory in Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill counties;

- Flood watch for central coast range of western Oregon, central Oregon coast; central Willamette Valley, Coast Range of Northwest Oregon, the greater Portland-metro area and the North Oregon Coast.

In addition, wind advisories are in effect in the Grande Ronde Valley and foothills of the Northern Blue Mountains, with gusts reaching 75-85 miles per hour.

OEM encourages residents to stay informed. Watch local news, listen to local radio and use smartphone apps to receive up-to-date weather information. Sign up for local text alerts. Be 2 Weeks Ready (, have a communications plan and be prepared for power outages.

* Check that emergency kits are stocked and readily accessible with flashlight(s), radio, batteries, food, water and blankets/extra clothes.

* If you are using a generator, understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely (

* Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

* Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.

* Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

* Check on family and neighbors to see if they are in need of support

Individuals who are vision impaired, hearing impaired or mobility impaired should take additional steps to prepare for disasters:

* Ensure all assistive technology, communication devices and other power-dependent medical equipment is fully charged so that these devices are useable in the event of a power outage.

* Call personal care attendants, dialysis and oxygen providers to identify support plans and/or make plans to stay with friends or family members in the event of a power outage.

* Write out an emergency information card, including any medications, allergies, sensory or mobility impairments, equipment you need and emergency contact numbers.

* If you live in an assisted living facility, find out what its emergency plans are.

* If you’re mobility impaired, identify two accessible escape routes.

* Write an information card which includes the best way to communicate with you or move you if necessary.

* If you must leave the house, have an emergency kit with essential medications, and extra food and water. If you have a service animal, make the kit has supplies for them as well.

* If you must leave the house, have an emergency kit with essential medications and some extra food and water. If you have a service animal, make the kit has supplies for them as well.

* Protect your service animal’s feet: use boots or clean them off once you get inside.

In an emergency situation, contact 9-1-1.

Grant County Court minutes: Jan. 11, 2017 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 11:57:58 -0500 Grant County Court minutes from Jan. 11, 2017:

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

9:00 am -- Call to Order. Present were Judge Scott W. Myers, Commissioners Jim Hamsher and Boyd Britton, Administrative Assistant Laurie Wright, Jim Spell, Beth Spell, Rick Minster, Jim Sproul, Judy Kerr, Irene Jerome, Judy Schuette, Reporter Rylan Boggs, Ron Ballard, Veteran Services Officer Jeff Wilcox, and Pastor Dave Hoeffner. A Pledge of Allegiance was given to the United States Flag. The invocation was given by Pastor Hoeffner.

CLAIMS. The court had reviewed and approved claims and extension district warrants #253-264.

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS. Commissioner Britton reported he had a productive meeting last week with Ryan Miller and Rob Pentzer from ODF regarding fire suppression and Mullin’s Zone 1 proposal.

9:01 am Gail Beverlin entered.

Britton planned on attending the Bates consensus meeting tomorrow, but the meeting has been rescheduled.

Judge Myers conducted a name change hearing last Thursday and on Monday attended an Airport Commission meeting. Myers said the parking lot is extremely slippery at the airport and advised people to be careful. Yesterday at 3 pm Myers went to a community health assessment meeting at the hospital. Today at 4 pm he will go to an eclipse meeting at the Canyon City Community Hall put on by the Chamber of Commerce. Myers said the Forest Service meeting in Pendleton regarding grazing is still scheduled for Friday, but due to road conditions the Forest Service is encouraging people from out of the area to attend via telephone at their local office.

Commissioner Hamsher attended the Senior Citizen lunch last week. Hamsher said he was briefed by the Road Master regarding the closing of the Middle Fork Road. Hamsher will be going to a swearing in ceremony in Prairie City this evening.

9:07 am Rob Raschio and Reporter Logan Bagett entered.

MINUTES. MSP: Hamsher/Myers -- to approve the January 4th minutes as amended.

FIREWISE. The court members had reviewed the responses received for the Request for Proposals for the Firewise Community Program. Three proposals were submitted. Firewise is a program that encourages and assists landowners with fire protection for their property. Myers said after reviewing the proposals and scoring them he recommends awarding the project to Jerome Natural Resources Consulting. Hamsher also recommends Jerome Natural Resources Consulting and Britton agreed. This is a three year contract. Discussion followed regarding the cost differences between the proposals submitted. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to award the Firewise contract to Jerome Natural Resources Consulting.

9:18 am Dave Traylor entered.

COUNTY ISSUED CELL PHONES. Commissioner Jim Hamsher and Veteran Services Officer Jeff Wilcox had requested county issued cell phones. Neither of them wanted to use their private cell phones for county business. The cell phones are free from Verizon and the monthly cost will be $49.99 each. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to approve a county issued cell phone for Jim Hamsher and Jeff Wilcox.

9:23 am Vicki Waters entered.

JOHNS ROCK QUARRY & LEASE AGREEMENT. The court reviewed a Rock Quarry and Stockpile Lease Agreement prepared by the Road Department between Jackie Johns and Grant County. This lease is for 10 years and the County will pay Johns $1,800 per year plus a royalty of $0.40 per cubic yard of all rock, aggregate, or soil material mined at the property. Judge Myers agreed to look into whether or not language should be attached to the contract regarding Johns being able to use rock from the quarry. MSP: Myers/Hamsher -- to approve the Rock Quarry and Stockpile Lease Agreement and circulate for signatures.

JUSTICE COURT PRO-TEMS. Justice of the Peace Kathy Stinnett had presented a written request to the court for appointment of Hon. Don Williams as Pro-Tem and Hon. Robin Ordway and Hon. Chuck Fadeley as alternate Pro-Tems for the 2017 calendar year. The Pro-Tems would serve at Stinnett’s pleasure, in her absence, or to resolve a conflict of interest. Resolution 17-01, 17-02 and 17-03 were prepared to appoint the Pro-Tems. MSP: Myers/Britton -- to appoint Hon. Don Williams as Pro-Tem, Hon. Robin Ordway and Hon. Chuck Fadeley as alternate Pro-Tems and circulate Resolutions 17-01, 17-02 and 17-03 for signatures.

LIBRARY COPIER. Librarian Vicki Waters presented three quotes to the court for the cost of a new copier. Waters explained the current library copier is about to die and this would be a replacement for that machine. The cost of the copier would be paid from the Book Mobile reserve fund. Waters would like to purchase a Canon imageClass D530 copier in the amount of $109.99 from This copier is for the public’s use. MSP: Hamsher/Myers -- to approve purchase of the Canon copier in the amount of $109.99 to be paid from the Library Book Mobile reserve fund.

REFRIGERATOR REPLACEMENT. Clerk Brenda Percy had notified the court that the refrigerator in her office used by employees is about to stop working. It no longer keeps items cold and the freezer has quit working. The current refrigerator is an old one donated by the Road Department years ago. Percy contacted Mosier’s Home Furnishings and they have a used 18 cf Whirlpool refrigerator available for $250. The cost of the used refrigerator would be paid from the General Fund – Capital Outlay. MSP: Britton/Myers -- to approve purchase of the used Whirlpool refrigerator from Mosier’s in the amount of $250 to be paid from General Fund – Capital Outlay.

PUBLIC COMMENT. Ron Ballard asked the court where the plaque was he and Dave Traylor made for the court for the bicentennial of Grant County. The plaque was to hang on the wall of the courtroom. Myers advised it is at his daughter’s house waiting for the lettering to be darkened and he will get her working on this. Ballard added the reason he doesn’t come to court more often is because he can’t hear what is being said. Myers stated he is working on getting some sort of hearing assistance for the room. Rob Raschio said Librarian Vicki Waters is doing an excellent job and our library is a great asset to the community. Raschio urged the court to work on keeping the library protected. Myers stated a new roof was just put on the library from insurance proceeds last fall and new carpet tiles are going to be installed soon. Jim Sproul stated he requested information last week that Elaine Eisenbraun had presented to the court. It was a list of people she said she contacted regarding the expansion of the North Fork John Day Watershed Council. Myers explained after he contacted legal counsel he was advised that unless he had retained a copy the request needed to be sent to Eisenbraun directly. Dave Traylor said the plaque they made should be returned to them so they can have the lettering repaired. Traylor would then like to present it to the court and possibly have some sort of ceremony. Raschio asked if Riccola Voigt was still a Justice of the Peace Pro-Tem since she was appointed last year. Myers told Raschio he will find out. VSO Jeff Wilcox told those in attendance he has talked with numerous veterans in the area and has found out a lot of them won’t qualify for benefits. Wilcox plans to work on implementing programs to help veterans. He pointed out that around 10% of our local population consists of veterans. Wilcox said it was brought to his attention by some veterans that flags are not being flown properly (such as not being lit at night) and urged those in attendance to make sure proper flag protocol is followed in deference to our veterans.

9:47 am -- Adjourned

Respectfully Submitted,

Laurie Wright

Administrative Assistant

Lady Pros cruise to two wins Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:45:11 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Grant Union Lady Prospectors claimed a 47-18 win over the Union Bobcats Saturday, after a 51-18 win over the Elgin Huskies on the road the previous day.

The games were again played without senior starter Heather Mosley who has been sidelined with an injury, and it was unclear whether she will return to play.

After tying the score a few times in the first quarter against Union, Grant Union pushed ahead when Prospector Kaylee Wright went 2-2 at the free-throw line, followed by her teammate Hailie Wright nabbing a steal twice in a row, scoring each time.

Prospector Jozie Rude’s two-pointer ended the quarter with Grant Union leading 14-6.

Grant Union continued to keep Union’s scoring to a minimum, the Lady Pros finishing the first half 22-10.

Kaylee Wright and Madi McKrola were high-point scorers for the game with 12 each, and several other players got in on the scoring against Union.

Hailie Wright scored nine, and Trinity Hutchison and Mariah Moulton scored four each. Whitney McClellan scored three in the game, and Fallon Weaver and Jozie Rude had two each.

“I was extremely proud of the way we played defensively,” said Grant Union head coach Mark Mosley. “There were two of the Union girls we focused on shutting down, and I believe one had two points and their other had four. Offensively, we executed better tonight and showed a big improvement.”

He said the game against Elgin the previous night was much the same.

“We executed well defensively and shot the ball really well,” he said.

Grant Union will travel to Imbler to face the Panthers at 6 p.m. Friday, and they hit the road again Tuesday, Jan. 24 to face Baker at 5 p.m.

The Lady Prospectors (2-0 league, 9-3 overall) currently have the lead in the Wapiti League, followed by Enterprise (1-0, 11-2), Imbler (1-0, 7-4), Union (0-2, 6-8) and Elgin (0-2, 4-6).

Grant Union vs. Elgin

Mariah Moulton: 17

Mariah Wright: 10

Hailie Wright: 8

Trinity Hutchinson: 7

Jozie Rude: 3

Kaylee Wright: 2

Ferguson represents all of Eastern Oregon on State Aviation Board Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:46:45 -0500 Sean Hart Local pilot Doug Ferguson may fly a small, two-seat plane, but he carries a massive load in terms of the area he represents on the Oregon State Aviation Board.

The engineer from Mt. Vernon was appointed to the board for a four-year term in July, replacing Larry Dalrymple of Pendleton, as the sole voice from Eastern Oregon.

“I represent everything east of the Cascades, and that’s what they want me to do,” he said. “We need some representation out here.”

After attending two meetings, Ferguson said the Oregon Department of Aviation staff are “go-getters” and he enjoys working with the other board members. He said his goal is to promote general aviation and services in rural areas.

A 2-cent aviation fuel tax increase approved in 2015, with the funds earmarked for aviation improvements, may help rural air projects get off the ground. Ferguson said the tax is expected to generate $3.5-4 million each year, with about 25 percent slated for rural air service enhancements, 25 percent for maintaining state airports and 50 percent for critical airport relief grants for improvements, such as helicopter landing pads at the Grant County Regional Airport in John Day.

Ferguson said a feasibility study for establishing commercial flights in rural Oregon has been planned, and he looks forward to seeing the results, though he admitted establishing commercial services in places such as Grant County would be “a big order.” Discussion of rural air service is planned at the next board meeting scheduled Thursday, Jan. 19.

Ferguson said he hopes a plan can be developed to provide more services in Eastern Oregon. He said Grant County has no flight instructor or aviation mechanic, which makes hobby flying more difficult.

Flying his 1959 model Cessna 182 to backcountry airstrips is what Ferguson loves. He and his wife, Charlene, loaded into the 1,000-pound craft that travels about 150 mph in October to meet other backcountry enthusiasts who flew in to the Owyhee Reservoir state landing strip in Malheur County to rehabilitate the deteriorating dirt and grass runway.

Ferguson said he has more than 30 years of backcountry flying experience. After obtaining his pilot’s license in 1972, Ferguson worked as a charter pilot in John Day, flew on game counts for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and was a fire spotter for the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry. After a 15-year hiatus, Ferguson recently decided to return to the air and was soon selected to serve on the aviation board.

“I’m just trying to give back to something I love,” he said.

Chamber newsletter: A busy year completed, a busy year ahead Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:45:37 -0500 Jerry FranklinTo Happy New Year, Grant County!

What an interesting year we just experienced. I am happy to begin a new and exciting 2017. The chamber has had a very busy year and accomplished many of our goals and have a new year ahead of us, which will be very challenging and productive for the future of Grant County.

Much of our success has come from our active executive board and members along with some of the best volunteers anyone could ask for, which I want to acknowledge here: Board members Bruce Ward, Greg Armstrong, Bob Quinton, Scotta Callister, Amber Wright, Caleb Sturgill, Shannon Adair, Taci Philbrook, Elaine Eisenbraun and David Driscoll; volunteers Sherry Feiger, Dorman Gregory, Larry Christianson, Nicki Cohoe, Elaine Husted, Pam Durr, Chuck WIlson, Mary Ellen Brooks, David Driscoll, Russ Comer, John Fiedor and our newest volunteer, Karen Jacobs; and a very special thank you to Tammy Bremner, our chamber manager and solar eclipse chairperson.

On Aug. 21, Grant County will experience the eclipse, and the question of the day from everyone is always, “Are we really going to have thousands of visitors here to experience this event?” The further we get into it and the more folks we speak to from around the world, it appears the answer is yes, and we will definitely have our hands full. If you have any available rooms, an RV location or some bare ground or acreage that would accommodate some, please contact Tammy at the chamber office and get on the list so we can direct folks to you.

One of our more immediate projects is to enclose our front entryway on the interior side, so we can secure our office but still allow 24/ access for guests traveling through to collect vital information about our services and attractions in the county before driving on to the next location. We have also acquired a large flag pole for the front of the office, which not only will be patriotic but will also draw attention to our office and the Tesla charging station and our bike-friendly location. We would appreciate any help from anyone who would be interested in helping us erect the pole

I would like to welcome two new members. The Grant County Snowballers and Dale and Sherrie Rininger, owners of ETC Unique Boutique for gifts and local artisans.

Our next open meetings will be Thursday, Jan. 19. The board meeting will be at 11 a.m. at the chamber office and will adjourn to the Outpost for the lunch meeting with guest speaker Blue Mountain Hospital CEO Derek Daly. See you all at the meetings.

Jerry Franklin is the president of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

Grant Union alum named Grant County veteran service officer Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:45:35 -0500 Rylan Boggs An Army veteran who graduated from Grant Union High School has been hired as Grant County’s new veteran service officer.

Jeff Wilcox enlisted twice in the Army and once in the National Guard, served during Operation Desert Storm and started in his new role representing and helping county veterans Jan. 9.

“I think he’s going to be great,” Grant County Commissioner Boyd Britton said. “I see a lot of enthusiasm there, and I’m glad to have him and his family come to the community.”

After graduating from Grant Union, Wilcox enlisted in the Army as an infantryman. After basic training at Fort Benning, he was deployed to the Middle East.

Following a two-year enlistment, Wilcox worked on a fire crew and then attended Clackamas Community College.

He then reenlisted with the Army and was assigned to the 24th Infantry. During his three-year enlistment, he attended Army Sniper School and competed in the International Army Sniper Competition.

“I loved it,” Wilcox said of his decision to reenlist, “just the curse of the old green machine.”

After his discharge, he worked in the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and as a rappeller for the Malheur National Forest.

He then joined the National Guard as an active-duty soldier and served for 15 years while based in Redmond. He retired in March 2015.

Since then, he has been traveling and working as a catastrophic insurance adjuster for State Farm. While doing this, he met his fiancée, April Petty, who was also working as an insurance adjuster.

Wilcox was selected for the job from five applicants. Grant County Human Resources Manager Laurie Wright, who was on the selection committee, had nothing but praise for Wilcox.

“We were impressed with his enthusiasm and how he wanted to serve the veterans in our community,” Wright said.

Wilcox knew he wanted to return to Grant County, and he said the job opening was the perfect fit for him.

“Being around veterans is something that gets under your skin, and you really enjoy it. I do personally,” he said.

He decided to serve veterans following the suicides of two men he knew from the Oregon National Guard in the summer of 2016.

“We’ve had too many suicides lately, and I know that a lot of guys struggle, especially in rural areas like this,” Wilcox said. “Grant County and other places often get overlooked when it comes to any sort of services available for veterans or anyone else.”

His job will entail helping veterans navigate state and federal benefit systems, a process Wilcox has gone through himself.

“Without help from groups like the VFW and American Legion, I don’t know how I would have been able to file for veterans disability,” he said.

Wilcox described Desert Storm as an “incredibly hard weekend,” but said he can’t fathom what veterans have faced in the Middle East in recent years. He gave the example of a veteran who served seven tours and won a Bronze Medal for Valor and a Purple Heart.

“It’s guys like that I want to help,” Wilcox said.

Sports Schedule Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:43:54 -0500 Friday, Jan. 20

Grant Union Invitational Wrestling Tournament in John Day at 12 p.m.

Monument/Dayville basketball vs. Jordan Valley in Monument, girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m.

Prairie City basketball vs. Adrian, girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. (JV half games start at 4:30 p.m.)

Grant Union basketball @ Imbler, girls at 6 p.m., boys at 7:30 p.m. (JV games start at 3 p.m.)

Saturday, Jan. 21

Monument/Dayville basketball vs. Adrian in Dayille, girls at 2 p.m., boys at 3:30 p.m.

Prairie City basketball vs. Burnt River in Unity, girls at 2 p.m., boys at 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Grant Union wrestling @ Burns/Crane Duals in Burns at 5 p.m.

Grant Union basketball @ Baker, girls at 5 p.m., boys at 6:30 p.m.

Prairie City can’t put brakes on Lady Mustangs Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:43:46 -0500 Angel Carpenter The Prairie City Panthers lost a home game on Saturday to Crane, 47-25.

After a sluggish first quarter, the Panthers fired up in the second, scoring 10 points to Crane’s 12.

But the Mustangs ran away with it, outscoring Prairie City 25-12, in the second half.

Crane’s Claire Hammond, scoring 22 points in the game, was a tough one for the Lady Panthers to stop.

Prairie City’s Brianna Zweygardt scored a team high of 15 for the Panthers.

“We played good defense,” said Panther coach Bo Workman. “We just couldn’t get the shots we wanted. They’re getting better. We just need to get over that hill.”

He said he’s pleased with the younger girls on the team who have seen some playing time and are developing their skills.

Prairie City will host Adrian at 6 p.m. Friday and will travel to face Burnt River in Unity on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Prairie City vs. Crane

Brianna Zweygardt: 15

Cassie Hire: 5 (one 3-pointer)

Sarah Ennis: 4

Emily Ennis: 1

Prairie City Students of the Month - December Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:42:39 -0500 The Prairie City Students of the Month for December were eighth-grader Katie Hire and freshman Shaelynn Bice.

Hire was nominated by teacher Louanne Zweygardt for showing a significant amount of growth in her academic focus as well as in her interactions with her peers.

Bice was nominated by teacher Billy Colson for showing a great aptitude for her classwork as well as going above and beyond in her preparation for her semester finals.

Grant Union Students of the Month — November Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:42:21 -0500