Ideas for projects ranging from Made in Grant County gift baskets to steam-heated greenhouses are discussed in the latest installment of ESquared, the Grant County Economic Council's electronic newsletter.

Welcome to the second edition of ESquared, the work of the Grant County Economic Council.

This is the community bulletin board for news, ideas and meeting notices that have some bearing on the future of the county's economy.

Anyone is welcome to submit items for ESquared, which comes out about every other week. Send them to zaitzbcr@starband.nett or call 421-3031.

Now, let's see what's going on around the county....

-Les Zaitz, chair, Grant County Economic Council

Advisory group formed........

An executive committee has been established to help guide the work of the Economic Council. This group will meet once a month for just an hour to:

*Help plan when the economic council should meet, and what should be on the agenda.

*Help decide the timing and agenda of the next Economic Summit.

*Discuss progress or lack of progress on community economic projects.

*Regular evaluate whether anything is getting accomplished through the Economic Council.

Those who agreed to help (with just a touch of arm-twisting) include:

*Art Andrews, Malheur Lumber Co.

*Gary Delaney, OSU Extension Service

*Melanie DeJong, Prairie City Community Association

*Maxine Day, OSU Extension Service

*Melissa Galbreath, Oregon Telephone Corp.

*Bob Houser, Blue Mountain Hospital

*Mytchell Mead, artist

*Robert Waltenburg, Grant County ESD

* Les Zaitz, Boulder Creek Ranch

Feel free to contact any of these folks with your thoughts and ideas about improving Grant County's economy.

New way to communicate...................

An online blog dedicated to discussions about Grant County's economy is now up and running, and open to everyone. This is sort of an electronic bulletin board, a place to share news, questions, ideas.

Accountant Brian Whitman, for instance, is using this blog to update his efforts to create a new retail merchants organization.

This is an easy way for you to throw out an idea without having to trouble with digging out email addresses and other contact information. See you there!

Use and bookmark this: http://gcoregonlive2.blogspot.com

Calendar chatter...................

You may recall Carolyn Stout's interest in producing a more central calendar about events around Grant County. Her thought was this would help people schedule their own events without climbing on top of others, and to let folks know more about what's going on around the community. Maxine Day of the OSU Extension Service says her office intends to develop an online calendar after the first of the year. Sharon Mogg of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce reminds folks that the Chamber produces both an online and printed community calendar, but that the organization can always take more information.

For now, remember to forward to the Chamber of Commerce any of your events so they can be posted, particularly for the online version.

Merchant-to-merchant dealings?

Jeannie Swayne, who now operates Moon Creek Framing, asked the other day how she could find someone in Grant County willing to mill wood frames for artwork. She now has to order out. (She's at jea_pea@hotmail.com)

That triggers a thought. What is Grant County businesses could go to a central website here in the county and post their needs? Business operators might be surprised at what's locally available, or who might be willing to take on tasks that now require outsourcing.

That may be another good use for the new county/chamber website, which now features a new way to post or seek jobs. (See Sharon Mogg's report below).

A Taste of Grant County

Anyone attending any of the many holiday bazaars across Grant County has to be impressed with the variety of goods for sale - all made here in the county. We know the folks at Mountains Department Store try to gather some local goodies into baskets. Is there an opportunity to create a virtual online business, promoting collectively these goods and products? Is there some way that those of us in Grant County could go online to order a gift basket or box that reflects a sampling of the county?

A couple of local businesses produce their own gift packs. See, for example, www.canyonmountainfoods.com or www.thomasorchards.com.

With effective marketing and branding, A Taste of Grant County could become as big as Harry and David!

New Grant County Job Site....

There are many people invisibly unemployed in Grant County. In an effort to assist our businesses and residents our website now has available a feature called JobXchange. This is a free public service for those "looking to hire" and

those looking for work. There is instant access to these postings and once

logged in, the listing are easily controlled by the user.

Check it out: http://www.gcoregonlive2.com/jxlogin.php

-Sharon Mogg, executive director, Grant County Chamber of Commerce

Fresh tomatoes anyone?

One intriguing idea to create a new industry, new jobs and a new source of food for Grant County is to build a commercial greenhouse, heated by the Co-gen plant in Prairie City. Ideally, this enterprise could provide fresh vegetables to grocers, restaurants and home chefs throughout the year. No more tomatoes from Chile!

It's just an idea, but I asked Jennifer Barker of SolWest about this concept. Here's her take:

This would work if you can get permission to somehow use (even pay for) the waste heat from the Co-gen plant to run a greenhouse setup (or heat the City Hall, or help Prairie Wood set up an operation to heat their own offices!!). It would require an investment in infrastructure, but once the heat exchangers were set up, the heat could be used lots of different ways. I know that Klamath Falls uses geothermal heat for their downtown, so the model for getting and distributing the heat is already here in Oregon.

I think it would be a matter of setting up a heat exchanger between the electric turbine cooling apparatus and the cooling tower (where the water is air-cooled so it can be recycled). The advantage to the Co-gen plant would be that they would have some of the heat taken out of the water before it even has to go through the cooling tower, increasing the effectiveness of the cooling tower and possibly decreasing their cost for cooling.

This would take someone who wants to have a business dependent on free or cheap heat. Greenhousing is a prime candidate for this type of business, as heat is expensive and reduced-cost heat can make or break the viability of a business. of course, I love the idea of local vegies, but do we have someone who wants to grow them? I mean, we don't even have someone willing to do it on a commercial basis in the summer!! Growing vegetables is not exactly a way to get rich, as long as oil and imports are cheap. Find someone who wants to do this (the hardest part of the project, in my opinion) and I am willing to work with Sally Bartlett to get the expert help and financial incentives every way we can.

-Jennifer Barker, SolWest

Keeping History Alive in Grant County

The museums of Grant County include the John Day Fossil Beds, Kam Wah Chung, Grant County Historical Museum, DeWitt Museum and the Grant County Ranch and Rodeo Museum. Seasonal attendance to these sites varies from over 40,000 per year to 400 per season. Representatives from these locations recently met to draw up a plan to get visitors to stop at each site! An ambitious idea...maybe! We realize that many are only passing through but our hope is to entice people to stay a bit longer and see more.

The initial idea was to do a brochure which promotes all five locations in one handout. Stemming from that came the idea to have promotional placemats made for the local restaurants to use during the tourist season.

We are also considering some sort of an incentive, somewhat like a scavenger hunt, to entice people to move from one museum to the next, therefore spreading the large number of visitors to more than one or two sites. We are open to any ideas which would be cost effective as each of us is working with extremely limited funds. Ideas can be sent to museum@ortelco.net . The group plans to meet again on January 24.

-Jayne Primrose, Grant County Historical Museum

Free classes - learn to run your business better

The Grant County Small Business Management Program will offer classes to small business owners and other individuals interested in improving their small business management savvy. The classes are provided free of charge and will cover all aspects of small business management from writing a business plan to retaining good employees.

Through a combination of participatory classroom content, one-to-one advising, and networking with other business owners, course participants will learn to better manage their business.

Classes will be held once a month starting in February and running through November 2009. Location and specific dates and times have not been confirmed as of this writing, but to ensure your spot on the class roster register early by calling Sally Bartlett at 541-575-1555.

GENERAL COURSE AREAS:

Basic Business Concepts:

Business planning, mission statement, goal setting and risk management.

Financial Management:

Developing and analyzing financial statements, developing a budget, managing cash flow, and borrowing money.

Marketing and Sales:

Elements of a strong Marketing Plan, the 4 P's of marketing, and core principles of selling your product(s).

Employee Relations:

Hiring, Managing, Evaluating, Retaining, and Terminating Employees.

Management Strategies:

Operations, insurance and legal controls, and problem solving.

Register now. Call Sally Bartlett, Grant County Economic Development Coordinator at 575-1555 or you can email her at gced@centurytel.net. Registration will end January 31, 2009.

-Sally Barlett, Grant County economic development officer

Grazing litigation update

Sharon Livingston of the Grant County Stockgrowers sends along this update on one lawsuit over federal grazing:

In this case ONDA contended that federal grazing permits require Section 401 certification under the Clean Water Act. PLF filed an amicus brief on behalf of NCBA, PLC, and OCA. The interpretive question was whether Section 401, which applies to "discharges" into the waters of the United States, applies to nonpointsource pollution (like cattle droppings). The Ninth Circuit said no to this precise question in Dombeck v. USFS about ten years ago. But ONDA argued that Dombeck had been overruled sub silentio by SD Warren Co., a Supreme Court case from 2006 which held that one could have a regulable discharge even if the discharged material is not a pollutant. The Ninth Circuit, in today's opinion, ruled that Dombeck remains good law after S.D. Warren, and thus that Section 401 certification is not required for federal cattle grazing permits.

Learn to be a leader.....

The Ford Foundation and Rural Development Initiatives, Inc. (RDI) is offering an Effective Organization workshop on two weekends, February 6 & 7 and March 6 & 7 in Mt. Vernon at the Community Hall.

The Effective Organization training is beneficial for directors, board members, and staff and volunteers who work with non-profits and service organizations; it also has proven helpful to local government, service districts and institutions such as schools and clinics. Participants will also have a chance to network with leaders of other organizations in their community. Follow-up coaching is available to better integrate class learnings into their organizations. I would strongly encourage everyone to try and attend if possible.

They would like to have registrations turned in by the first part of January. There is no cost to attend. For more information contact Alicia Flory at The Ford Family Foundation (541) 957-5574 or aflory@tfff.org

(More information is attached to ESquared's Email)

-Stephanie Walters, Grant County Fairgrounds manager

Opportunity knocking?

Gov. Ted Kulongoski's budget includes enhancements to several programs that could directly benefit Grant County. These would dovetail with the incoming Obama administration's promise to create jobs through significant public works.

Among the governor's proposals is special funding to counties such as Grant County that are losing federal revenue.

Perhaps Grant County can figure out how to get in line, just in case.

AND FINALLY.......

To all, enjoy the holiday season.

With the new year should come new vigor to tackle the many challenges facing us in Grant County. But as you can see, there are plenty of ideas and plenty of people willing to get 'er done. As 2009 comes into focus, resolve to become one of those people. Let's act, not complain.

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