Country band Parmalee will perform at the 2019 Grant County Fair Friday, Aug. 16.

Parmalee, a country-western band whose 2013 hit “Feels Like Carolina” reached No. 5 on Billboard’s U.S. Indie chart and No. 10 on Billboard’s U.S. Country chart, will be the headliner act at this year’s Grant County Fair, Fair Manager Mindy Winegar told the county court March 13.

The band includes Matt Thomas on lead vocals and guitar, his brother Scott Thomas on drums, their cousin Barry Knox on bass and Josh McSwain on guitar.

Parmalee’s extended-play release “Daylight” debuted in 2002, and their 2012 hit “Musta Had A Good Time” was recorded in the back of an RV. Parmalee was featured as Billboard’s “Bubbling Under” artist in June 2012.

The court approved the $25,000 contract for Parmalee. Judge Scott Myers was absent. Winegar told the court last year’s headline act, Lone Star, cost $30,000. She said she is still working on other entertainment acts for the fair and noted that a roping event scheduled for July should attract lots of visitors.

The court also approved Winegar’s request to move forward with removing trees on the north side of the fairgrounds where roots are harming the pavilion floor; spending $6,383 for 10 custom picnic tables for use in the RV park; and increasing the fairground manager’s credit card limit.

Winegar said she has been working with Oregon Trail Electrical Cooperative on new parking lot lights and looking at more fencing to keep vehicles off the lawns. A group operating through the Grant County Family Heritage Foundation is planning improvements to the small animal barn through donations and volunteer labor, she said.

The fairgrounds could benefit from having more RV spaces, Winegar said. Commissioner Jim Hamsher said he’d like to see more security cameras and signs put up to deter transients.

Winegar also said she met with John Day city officials to talk about the city’s plans for new riverfront trails and the county’s responsibility for maintaining Prospector Trail, which runs between the John Day River and the fairgrounds.

Commissioner Sam Palmer said, with all the improvements planned for the city, he didn’t want the fairgrounds to be the only eyesore in the neighborhood. Winegar agreed, saying she wanted the fairgrounds to continue attracting visitors to the area.

In other county court news:

• Grant County Undersheriff Zach Mobley presented a request to increase pay for the sheriff office’s civil deputy, who handles clerical duties that include unfunded mandates such as tracking statistics.

The civil deputy also handles fingerprinting and background checks for concealed handgun licensing, which has been a source of revenue for the office, he said.

The civil deputy’s pay was established based on clerical duties, but the civil deputy occasionally fills in at the jail. Mobley said the pay scale should be increased before a union grievance is filed for that kind of work.

Mobley also requested creating a new part-time 30-hour clerical position to relieve workload and fill in for the civil deputy’s vacation and sick time. The court approved moving both requests to the budget committee.

• The court approved sending a letter to the state House Committee on Natural Resources in support of House Bill 2370. The bill would allow county voters to approve a measure permitting the use of dogs for hunting, pursuing or taking cougars within the county.

“Grant County deer populations have dramatically declined an estimated 70 percent over the last 20 years, while the cougar population has exploded,” the letter states. “We have seen recent cougar activities in our communities, including confirmed kills of domestic pets in Prairie City. While we understand there must be balance for a healthy ecosystem, the decrease of our local deer populations shows that the current ecosystem is not a healthy one.”

• Grant County Roadmaster Alan Hickerson’s request to add a fourth person to the road department’s Long Creek area will move on to the budget committee. A grant contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation for new road signs on Middle Fork Road was approved. The county will be reimbursed for most of the cost.

• Grant County Surveyor Mike Springer said he plans to talk with city officials about how their city planning commissions could handle vacating subdivision lot lines when requested. This could save property owners having to complete an expensive replat process through the county court.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.

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