Let’s take a moment to show some appreciation for Grant County’s high school athletes, who just wrapped up fall sports. Both Grant Union and Prairie City sent teams to the postseason, and while Dayville/Monument had less success this year, we applaud all the student-athletes for their hard work and dedication.

The Grant Union volleyball team capped a strong 2021 campaign by bringing home some hardware. After finishing the regular season with a 19-10 overall record, the Lady Prospectors went 2-0 in the Blue Mountain Conference Tournament to move on to the state playoffs, where they collected a trophy for finishing fourth statewide in Division 2A.

Even though they fielded a much smaller roster than some of their opponents, the Grant Union football team made the postseason after going 3-3 in the 2A Special District 5. The Prospectors bowed out in the first round after falling on the road against Lakeview. One of the Pros’ season highlights was scoring a pair of touchdowns against a powerful Heppner squad that hadn’t given up a single point in any of their previous league matchups.

The Prairie City volleyball team finished strong, going 2-1 in the High Desert League’s tournament to qualify for postseason play. In their first-round matchup, the Panthers faced Central Christian of the Mountain Valley League on the road, falling 3-1.

The Prairie City football team just missed the playoffs this year after losing a 51-48 slugfest to Alsea. It was a tough end to a strong season that saw the Panthers go 6-1 in the High Desert League. The team also racked up the league’s Coach of the Year honors for Nick Thompson and Offensive Player of the Year for standout running back Cole Teel.

And while we’re at it, we’d also like to express our gratitude to all the hard-working coaches and volunteers who put so much time and effort into helping these kids be the best they can be, not only in their chosen sports but in life as well. Thanks for all you do.

Here to stayOn today’s Opinion page, you’ll find a letter to the editor from Gary Davidson, a Canyon City resident who wants to know about the future of the Blue Mountain Eagle. He’s concerned that the paper could lose its local editorial control and become a repository for regional news with little relevance to Grant County readers. We suspect other readers share Mr. Davidson’s concerns, so we wanted to take the time to address them here.

The Blue Mountain Eagle is the oldest weekly newspaper in Oregon, tracing its roots all the back to 1868. In 1979, the Eagle was purchased by the East Oregonian Publishing Co. Now known as the East Oregonian Media Group, the company publishes 15 newspapers and two magazines in Oregon and southwest Washington.

EO Media is not some faraway, publicly-traded corporation beholden to stockholders who care about nothing but profits and dividends. It’s a fourth-generation family-owned company with deep roots in Oregon and a demonstrated commitment to local journalism. Here at the Eagle, we don’t subscribe to any national wire services, but we are able to use stories produced by other EO media newspapers, including half a dozen right here in Eastern Oregon. We see that as a strength, not a limitation.

We’re also able to collaborate with other papers in the group to produce regional stories about topics that have local impacts here in Grant County, leveraging what we’re able to accomplish with our small staff. As regular readers will have noticed, we’ve been down to one reporter since June. We happen to think Steven Mitchell has done a terrific job, but he can’t be everywhere at once, and we are actively recruiting to fill our vacant reporter position. Once our newsroom is back at full strength, you’ll see even more local stories and photos in our pages.

So, Mr. Davidson, to answer your question: No, this newspaper is not going to be swallowed up by its parent company and stripped of its local identity. The Blue Mountain Eagle is here to stay, and we’re going to keep on doing what we’ve been doing for the last 153 years: serving the people of Grant County, Oregon.

We are grateful to all the subscribers who support our mission of delivering strong local journalism. If you’d like to become one of them, go to www.bluemountaineagle.com/subscribe-now/ to see our latest offers.

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