Out of the Past

From 2010: Holiday revelers packed into the newly renovated Mt. Vernon Community Hall for the Firemen’s New Year’s Eve Ball. About 100 were there to dance to Half Fast Production’s music.

10 Years Ago

Having a Ball — Firemen’s Ball Raises Money while having fun

A New Year’s Eve Firemen’s Ball rang in 2009 at the Mt Vernon Community helped last week and helped raise money for emergency equipment the department needs.

The wish list included pumps, saws, radios and wildland fireman clothing — a necessity for fighting wilderness fires the district faces in the summer months. Fire Chief Bill Cearns says the Mt. Vernon Fir Department, established in 1948, currently has a good core of 10-12 volunteers, but more are always needed. “It takes a commitment from someone to go to school,” he said. Currently a Firefighter I class is being held in John Day and in February a training will be held in Long Creek.

In the spring, Grant/Harney Training Association will offer raining for entry level volunteers with weekend classes held in Long Creek and Hines. This training is required for firefighters to enter a house fire.

Cearns says the biggest fire-starter problems for houses he sees are wood stoves and candles. Then in the summer time their biggest “nemesis” is burn barrels and people burning when they shouldn’t be. “Lightning is another one,” he said. “We get quite a few of them — more than other districts in our area.” One of the department’s stations holds five wildland pickups and the ambulance. Another station on Widows Creek has a structure engine, one wildland engine and one tender (a water tank truck).

The new station has three structure engines, one medium rescue, a tender and a portable self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) compressor and fill station within a trailer — this fills the air tanks the firefighters use to breath then they are surrounded by smoke. The Fire Defense Board, which includes all Grant County fire chiefs, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Malheur National Forest (MNF), owns the SCBA station and places it in Mt. Vernon because of its central location, Cearns Says.

He welcomes the future U.S Forest Service fire base, to be built as part of the Grant County Regional Airport terminal project in John Day. His department works closely with ODF and MNF, and they help each other under mutual aid agreements. Two fires on Aldrich Mountain last year required some outside assistance due to to the steep terrain inaccessible to equipment, Cearns said. He enlisted the help of MNF rappellers for those jobs, and smoke jumpers worked on another fire.

On Dec. 31, any worries about fires were put on hold while about 100 people attended the Firemen’s Ball, held at the community hall where renovations were completed last summer. Cearns hopes to see the ball an annual event. “That way there’s something to do in the wintertime,” he said.

75 Years Ago

Prospectors Edge Garibaldi in Hard Fought Hoop Battle

A fighting five of Garibaldi High School lads, from down the coast way, coached by former Prairie City coach Frank Buru, almost upset the dope bucket here Friday night, as they led a favored Grant high Prospectors team more than three quarters only to have the Prospector team catch fire in the last half drive and nip the Garibaldi team 26 to 21. Garibaldi started out very strong in the first quarter and they were out in front 10 to 5 as the period ended. Grant looked very sluggish and just couldn’t get going. The end of the first half found the Garibaldi team leading 18 to 9 and the game seemed to be turning in to a mild rout. The Prospectors seemed to be the only ones to realize that they were licked and the second half found them coming back very strong. With Buddy Trowbridge celebrating his return to the Grant lineup after being out with injuries sustained in football by swishing through three consecutive long shots from mid floor, Grant pulled up to within one point of the Garibaldi team at the third-quarter mark, the score being Garibaldi 20, Grant Union 19. The Prospectors took the lead almost immediately after the fourth quarter began as Bruce hit a two-pointer from the key-hole. From that point onward the prospectors were never headed. They grabbed a 26 to 21 lead, then coasted in. The last half playing showed signs of living up to pre-season expectations. Sheldon of Garibaldi was top point maker of the evening with 15 points. Trowbridge potted seven counters.

Friday and Saturday the Grant Prospectors travel to Burns for a two game series with the Bulldogs. Garibaldi defeated the Prairie City High team, 25-15 at Prairie City Saturday night, Sheldon scoring 10 points for the Garibaldi team

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