KOHU - KQFM LOCAL NEWS

by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
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Weekend holiday events
Dec. 12, 2019
A holiday tradition continues this weekend for its 27th annual Living Nativity at Hermiston’s First United Methodist. Tim Turner says visitors can take their time with the experience:
"It's a walk through kind of an event where we have reader boards, six or seven stations where people can see living actors, animals," he said. "You can take all the time you want, then we recommend you come inside our church for cookies, hot chocolate, fellowship."
The living nativity takes place at the First United Methodist Church on Gladys Avenue in Hermiston from 6 to 8 in the evening on Saturday and 4 to 6 in the evening on Sunday. For more information, call 541-567-3002.
This weekend is also a SAGE Saturday. That means free admission to the SAGE Center facility and free children's crafts and activities.
The SAGE Saturday activities are from 10 to 1 on Saturday and they’ll also have photos with Santa from 12 until 4.
The holiday light show also still going on at the SAGE Center starting at 5 p.m. each evening.
Tonight and tomorrow the youth theater Christmas performances at the Hermiston Community Center.
The Hermiston Community Theater youth productions include local performers in kindergarten through 12the grade. The performances of A Christmas Carol, How Santa Got his Treet and the Holiday Chorus also scheduled for 6 p.m. December 13th at the Hermiston Community Center and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. December 14th at the Hermiston Community Center.

Report looks at problem gambling in Umatilla County
Dec. 10, 2019
In Umatilla County, people recognize problem gambling can be an issue - but they don't think it happens here. Kary Tuers, with Umatilla County Public Health, says that’s the message from a problem gambling community readiness assessment.
"There's an interview quote that sums up the theme of all the interviews. Someone said, 'I think people kind of close their eyes to it and act like it's not happening.' That was one of the most impactful statements that I heard when conducting the interviews," Tuers said.
Tuers says it takes on average seven years before problem gambling is recognized by someone other than the person dealing with it.
All health departments in the state are performing problem gambling community readiness assessments, and Umatilla County's was released last week. Tuers says the focus was to interview people in leadership positions.
Multiple respondents said problem gambling may be a problem, but that other issues, including drugs and alcohol, were more pressing issues.
They'll reassess in two years. Between now and then, they're carrying out a awareness campaign. The county has received a grant to run the Reflect, Resource, Renew campaign within Umatilla County.
Tuers says anyone struggling with problem gambling can find resources at opgr.org.

Funland design released tonight
Dec. 9, 2019
Hermiston City Council will take a look at the designs for the $1.2 million FunLand Playground rebuild.
The city council will have a presentation on the FunLand playground design and fundraising during a worksession at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says after tonight’s presentation and feedback from the council, they’ll release details to the community.
"Plans and designs and elements will start showing up all over town because we want people to see it and get excited about it," Fetter said.
The council does have a vote about the proposal on their regular agenda.
They’ll have the regular meeting at 7. On that agenda, the city’s financial audit report, changed to the city ordinance code relating to curfews and a discussion on a reduced utility rate application form and policy.
Click here for the full link.

Hermiston School board talks bonds, audit
Dec. 9, 2019
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight, and they also have the financial audit report on the agenda.
Other reports include enrollment and district finances, and the board will vote on its general obligation bond resolution.
That meeting at 6:30 tonight in the boardroom at the Hermiston School District Offices.
Find the full agenda here.

Small City Councils meet tonight
Dec. 3, 2019
Housing, streets, and mediation on tap for the Stanfield City Council tonight.
On the council agenda, a resolution supporting the Eastern Oregon Housing Alliance, the foll0w-up report for mediation with the 3D Idapro plant , and a verification of a petition about Lucy Street.
City Manager Benjamin Berg-en-er saying a resident has requested the city vacate all of NE Lucy Street and 30 feet of NE Wayne to make way for future development. The city doesn’t have a road in that area – just the right-of-way.
Tonight the council will be verify the petition and setting a date for the public hearing on the proposal.
During the meeting, the council will also take comments form the audience and have the city manager’s update.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.
Click here for the full agenda.
The Stanfield City Council meeting begins at 6 tonight in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.
Boardman City Council is also meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at Boardman City Hall
That council voting on on tax lots, granting an easement to Umatilla Electric Co-Operative and updating signers on city bank accounts.
A quick note that the Umatilla City Council is not meeting tonight. Their meeting has been rescheduled for the 17th

Fellowship Dinner looking for volunteers, offering rides
Nov. 26, 2019
Forty-eight turkeys are thawing in a cooler today in preparation for this week’s Community Fellowship Dinner. Coordinator Tom Marks says they’re expecting 900 people for the free Thanksgiving meal on Thursday – and they’re looking for people to help make that happen.
"This is an entirely volunteer effort. Everyone from the kitchen staff up and down is volunteer, and we do not have enough volunteers yet for what we need," Marks said.
Marks says they need additional kitchen help – both for prep work on Wednesday and for the meal on Thursday – as well as people to help serve and deliver food during the meal on Thanksgiving. They do ask anyone interested in volunteering either email CFDhermiston@gmail.com for call 371-9772 if possible beforehand to help with scheduling. Those are also the same contact points to schedule a ride to the meal or a to-go order.
This year, The Community Fellowship Dinner is from 11 to 2 this Thursday at Hermiston High School.

Whisky Fest bringing Eric Church, Macklemore
Nov. 26, 2019
The Pendleton Whisky Fest yesterday announcing its 2020 concert lineup. The fifth music festival will feature Eric Church and Macklemore. That’s scheduled for Saturday, July 11, at the Pendleton Round Up Grounds.

Subdivision on council agenda
Nov. 25, 2019
A potential new subdivision on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston City Council.
Council members will vote on annexing 36 acres on the corner of Elm and Diagonal intended for a subdivision with a combination of single family homes and duplexes with a market and other services. The developers are Lloyd and Lois Piercy.
The council also voting tonight on a proposed supplemental budget and airport minimum standards.
The council does have a work session before the meeting. They’ll be talking legislative update with Senator Bill Hansell. The work session begins at 6 p.m. tonight, and the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Follow this link for the full agenda.
The Hermiston School Board is also meeting tonight. They’ll be meeting at Sunset Elementary, and the agenda includes a presentation from the school, multiple reports, and survey discussion.
Find the full agenda at this link.

12 Days of Giving starts Monday
Nov. 22, 2019
The 12 Days of Giving at Good Shepherd Medical Center returns Monday. This is the third year Good Shepherd has hosted the holiday-themed drive.
"It follows the 12 Days of Christmas Carol, and we've re-written the lyrics so that it fits with the specific needs of the charity we're emphasizing on each of the 12 days," said Nazario Rivera, community health worker with Good Shepherd.
The The nonprofits that will benefit from the 12 Days of Giving include Agape House, Domestic Violence Services, the Warming Station, the Christmas Express and others. The items include food, diapers, pet supplies, mittens, and books. Although each day has a “theme,” all items can be dropped off at the hospital any day of the drive.
The 12 Days of Giving runs from Nov. 25 through Dec. 6.

Heppner flood test successful
Nov. 22, 2019
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Morrow County Emergency Management had a live siren test of the Heppner flood evacuation warning system at noon yesterday. The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying the test was successful and the sirens are in working order. This test was to ensure the sirens are functional at the two locations in Heppner. The sirens are a part of a basin-wide flood early warning system, and they say the test will be an annual event.

HEF awards grants
Nov. 20, 2019
The Hermiston Ed Foundation handing out eight grants in its fall session, totaling more than $16,000. Karen Sherman says Armand Larive Middle School teacher Christian Mata was one of the big winners
"Instruments are expensive, and Christian was in need of new timpani," Sherman said. "We were able, through the generous donations of our community, to get him all three timpani."
The $7,000 was the largest awarded this cycle.
Here is the full list:
HEF Fall 2019 Grant Proposals for Funding
1. Beth Anderson HHS “Theater Students Attend
Professional Theatrical Production”
Funds will provide tickets for 50 students to attend a professional theater
production in Yakima in the fall of 2020 and 50 student tickets for the spring
production in 2021.
Amount: $2440.00
2. Megan James RH “Every Student Reads”
Scholastic books will be purchased for each 1st grader to have 1 book a month
to take home to read.
Amount: $865.00
3. Cristian Mata ALMS “A Touch of Timpani”
Funds will be used to purchase 2 timpani for Armand Larive Middle School
band program.
Amount: $7070.00
4. Stacy Cooley HHES “Elementary Choral Festival “
Funding will be used to bring a choral clinician to work with a group of 4th
and 5th graders from each elementary school. There will be an evening
performance .
Amount: $1000.00
5. Sarah Gonzalez SMS “Sandstone Drama Program
(Beauty and the Beast: Spring Musical)
Materials, microphones and costumes will be funded for this project.
Amount: $2,000.00
6. Robert Theriault HHS “Making Computer Science Green”
A filament extruder and a grinder will be purchased so that 3 D printing
material can be recycled.
Amount: $1700.00
7. Ipolito Maloy WP “OMSI Science Festival”
OMSI will host six hours of science learning labs for all West Park students.
Funding will be used to provide the materials for the labs.
Amount: 625.00
8. Next Steps Staff HHS “Bulldog Treats”
Funding will be used to purchase equipment and cooking supplies to support
the making and selling of dog treats.
Amount: $900.00
Total Amount Requested: $16,600.00


ODOT has I-84 open house
Nov. 20, 2019
ODOT has an open house tonight in Pendleton to talk about the future of Interstate 84 and its Pendleton. It’s from 6 to 8 tonight at ODOTS’ district 12 office, 1327 SE 3rd in Pendleton.
Here is the press release:
The Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Pendleton will host a public open house on November 20 to help plan for the future of the Interstate 84 Exit 207 (Airport area) and Exit 210 (OR 11/Nye Avenue) interchanges and surrounding areas. The open house will be held at ODOT’s District 12 office, 1327 SE 3rd St, Pendleton, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The purpose of the open house is to give you an opportunity to tell us what the important transportation issues in and around these areas are, and what could be done to make them better places to walk, bike, and drive. You’ll also learn more about the interchange area management plans (IAMP) for these two exits, plus the project process and schedule.
Can’t make it to the open house? Visit our virtual open house at pendletonIAMPs.com.
For more information on the November 20th open house or the interchange area management plans, please contact ODOT Planning Manager Teresa Penninger at 541-963-1344, or by email at teresa.b.penninger@odot.state.or.us.

Council re-considers storage units
Nov. 12, 2019
The issue of storage units on five acres between Northeast 4th Street and Highway 395 back on the Hermiston City Council agenda tonight. The city’s planning department had recommended not approving the change because they hoped a retail business might locate on the property since part of it is on Highway 395. The city asking city staff for more information at its last meeting.
The Ordinance states: "The city council directed staff to prepare findings of fact in support and prepare an ordinance for adoption at the November 12th city council meeting. These documents have been prepared and are ready for council approval."
The council will also vote on ordinances regarding having addresses and phone numbers on signs for garage sales and relating to complaints about ADA compliance.
The council will also meet in a work session at 6 p.m. tonight. That session will focus on legislative updates from Representative Greg Smith. The work session is at 6 p.m., and the regular meeting begins at 7 p.m..
Find a link to the full agenda here.
Also meeting tonight, the Hermiston School Board of Education.
Along with multiple student recognition and financial reports, the school board will discuss enrollment and federal grant reviews as well as committee positions for the OSBA board of directions and OSBA legislative policy committee. The board also expected to approve the superintendent evaluation. The formal evaluation document says the board has been extremely pleased with Superintendent Tricia Mooney's exceptional leadership and focus on creating a positive school culture. That meeting again begins at 6:30 p.m.   at the Hermiston School District Offices.

HSD bond passes
Nov. 6, 2019
Good news for the Hermiston School district this morning – just barely.
In the unofficial results from last night's election, 52 percent of voters approving with the district’s $82.7 million bond project that will replace Rocky Heights Elementary, build a new elementary school on Theater Lane, adding a multi-classroom annex to Hermiston High School and purchasing property for long-term demands.
The bond came down to the vote last night. 2,446 Hermiston voters cast ballots in favor of the bond; 2,220 voted against it.
A release last night from the Hermiston School District saying they’ll create a website to provide updates on construction. Once the projects are completed, school boundaries will be realigned.
Voter turnout last night just over 25 percent. 11,282 ballots turned in before the election deadline. Of those ballots, 4,666 people voting on the Hermiston School District’s bond.
Voters also approved both updates to the Umatilla County Charter.
Find the official results here.

Umatilla road, council meeting tonight
Nov. 5, 2019
An open house on the Sixth Street Rehabilitation Project in Umatilla tonight, and after the open house, the city council has its regular meeting at 7 p.m.
Tonight, the council focusing on research, if the agenda is any indication.
The city manager will report on research about Lind Road, they’llvote on a feasibility grant application for water resources, and they’ll have a resolution on researching a construction excise tax. The resolution tongith is an agreement with the Umatilla School District to hiring FCS group to complete the analysis and implementation of the plan.
The agenda states: “The City of Umatilla is experiencing tremendous residential growth which directly impacts the Umatilla School District and their plans for future development. The City and District wish to partner on the analysis and possible implementation of a construction excise tax that would be dedicated towards future capital improvements of the District. As the City is already under contract with FCS Group for a comprehensive rate study, amending the scope to include the construction excise tax analysis is cost ef ective for all parties.” Suggested action from city staff is approval of the resolution.
Find the full agenda here.

Girls in Tech is Saturday in Boardman
Nov
Coming up this weekend in Boardman, Girls’ Tech Day, a one-day event designed to inspire and empower girls and young women to pursue interests and careers in technology. It’s a seris of workships focued on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics
The free event, hosted by Amazon Web Services, is this Saturday at the Sage Center. Registration is free, but pre-registration is required. Find more information and registration here.

Hermiston wins development award
Oct. 29, 2019
The City of Hermiston being awarded the Urban Renewal Project of the Year this week from the Oregon Economic Development Association. Hermiston highlighting its recruitment and development of the Holiday Inn Express, development of Festival Street, and support of additional downtown business expansion.
Find the full press release and photos here

Pedestrian vs. Car crash kills Echo man
Oct. 28, 2019
A fatal vehicle vs pedestrian crash over the weekend killing an Echo man in Stanfield.
30-year-old Steven Adam Gallegos, of Echo, struck and killed just before 1 a.m. on Saturday on South Highway 395 in Stanfield. That was near the S Edwards Road intersection. Stanfield Police saying Gallegos was walking south in the lane of travel when he was struck by a vehicle also traveling southbound.
The driver identified as 44-year-old Gregory Ayling, from Granger Washington. He was driving a Chrysler Sebring , stopped at the scene and made the initial 911 call. He provided first aid until paramedics arrived. Gallegos was pronounced deceased at the scene.
No injuries for Ayling and his passengers
SPD saying The driver involved has been cooperative with investigators. Based on the preliminary investigation, drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the driver’s actions.
The southbound lanes of the highway were closed until about 4:30 Saturday Stanfield PD was assisted at the scene by Oregon State Police, Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon Department of Transportation, the Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office

Council tackles storage, hearings tonight
Oct. 28, 2019
Three public hearings, four ordinances and five consent items on the agenda for tonight's Hermiston City Council. meeting.. The council will have public hearings on the continuation of the local improvement district 322, a rezone for Eastern Oregon Development LLC and a right-of-way issue on SE 10th Street.
The rezone would impact five acres of land between Highway 395 and NE Fourth Street. The property developer plans to build a storage unit business there, and the planning commission and city staff has recommended the council deny the request because there other properties available for storage unit development.
During the meeting, the council they'll review ordinances on alarm citizens, trials, and dealing with referendums, as well as one about vacating property on 10th street - that's the right-of-way issue. A report on EOTEC will round out the meeting. That begins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Click here for the full agenda.
Hermiston School Board
A light agenda tonight for the Hermiston School Board. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Desert View Elementary School. They'll have a presentation from school staff, reports, and discussion about the district's continuous improvement plan and mandatory reporting training. Find the full agenda here.

OSP releases images in fatal hit-and-run
Oct. 25, 2019
Photos released of the vehicle suspected in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run crash from August. Find the photos here and here.
Oregon State Police (OSP) continuing the investigation into the death of 41-year-old Antonia M. Cobarubias, who was pushing a shopping cart on the side of Highway 395. She was struck from behind by a red car that left the scene at about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 31. OSP obtaining still video surveillance images of the vehicle when it was in the parking lot of Rocket Mart.
OSP saying the vehicle is likely a 1994-2001 model Acura Integra that will be missing a passenger side mirror.
OSP is requesting anyone that can identify the vehicle from the photographs or was in the area of Rocket Mart on August 31, 2019 at about 2:30 AM, to please call OSP at *OSP. Callers can reference case number SP19-313012.


Community Center could be for sale
Oct. 23, 2019
A private business has made offer on the Hermiston Community Center – and the city could be selling.
"Yes, we've been approached; no a final decision has not been made," said Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith. "When the final details are available, those will be brought to the council."
Smith saying the business approached the city about purchasing the Hermiston Community Center, but until a formal proposal is made, the city is not at liberty to discuss negotiation details.
If a formal purchase offer is made to the city, it would have to be approved in a city council meeting. That’s when they could release additional information about the developer and the plans for the site.
The city purchased the Hermiston Community Center in the early 1990s and renovated it through a combination of private fundraising dollars and city funds. Originally a Safeway, the facility It is the former location of the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and currently the main office of the Hermiston Parks and Recreation Department.

Stanfield, Umatilla councils meet tonight
Oct. 15, 2019
Both the Stanfield and Umatilla city councils meet tonight,and both face full agendas in their special meetings.
Tonight, the Stanfield City Council has a discussion regarding a water rate study, the council chamber design study, and a closed-door session on legal matters relating to the 3D-Idapro Lawsuit.
The meeting also a meeting led by new Stanfield City manager Benjamin Burgener.
He is the former city administrator and clerk of the city of Ada, Minn.
That meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.
Umatilla’s City Council also meting tonight, and it’s another full agenda.
One of the items is a donation from the Hermiston-Umatilla Kiwanis Club for Kiwanis Falls. The $1,500 donation would be used for future design and development of landscaping around Kiwanis Falls.
Also on the agenda, the police quarterly report, a grant from Pacific Power for a mural project and a vote on an agreement for park concessionaire services at the Umatilla Marina. They’ll discuss the emergency operations plan and a potential rate increase for garbage fees at the request of Sanitary Disposal and changing the nightly rates for RV spaces at the Umatilla Marina and RV park up to $40 a night. All changes, if approved at the Nov 5 meeting would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
During the meeting, the council will adjourn to executive session for the city manager evaluation. That evaluation will be presented by the mayor in open session
That meeting begins at 6 tonight at Umatilla City Hall. Find the full agenda here.

Closed-door sessions on agendas tonight
Oct. 14, 2019
A new enterprise zone and a closed door session about negotiation and property transactions on tap for the Hermiston City Council meeting tonight.
The meeting opens tonight at 7 p.m., but the council will have an executive session, closed to the public - at about 7:05.
During the closed-door session, the council to talk preliminary negotiation involving matters of trade or commerce where the city is competing with other government groups – and they’ll talk about negotiation property transactions.
One of the items expected to be on a tax abatement agreement with Amazon, which also appears later on the agenda in the open session of the meeting.
The agreement would allow Amazon to not pay property taxes for a number of years if the company agrees to a $200 million investment. That long-term enterprise zone abatement agreement with Amazon Data Services is scheduled for a vote during the meeting tonight.
The meeting expected to re-enter public session right around 7:35. Other items on the agenda are a housing incentive report and a presentation from the Hermiston school district.
Find the full agenda by clicking here.
Speaking of the school district… they also have a closed-door session scheduled tonight, the school board will discuss property transactions and the employee performance review during their executive session, which is scheduled for the end of the school board meeting. No action is listed for after the meeting. Also on the school board agenda tonight, reports on enrollment and finances and the athletics and activities department. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight in the boardroom.
Click here for the full agenda.

Morrow County bond group meets tomorrow
Oct. 8, 2019
Officials with the Morrow County School District moving forward with planning for a bond to help with aging infrastructure, and superintendent Dirk Dirkson saying they have the first of their community workshops this week.
"We'll begin having the discussions: where are the buildings at, what are people looking for, what will people support," Dirkson said. "We'll go through that process this year."
Dirkson says the district’s current bond expires in 2021, and they’re looking for feedback from morrow county residents and will have additional meetings in Heppner and Irrigon. After gathering feedback this year, the bond advisory committee will make decisions about where the money would go and inform the community next year – that bond is expected to appear on morrow county ballots in May of 2021.

Umatilla River Trails meetings this week
Oct. 7, 2019
Tonight is the first of the Umatilla River Trail community meetings.
The goal is to build a non-motorized trail from Echo to Umatilla connecting Stanfield, Hermiston, Echo, and Umatilla trail systems.
Meetings are scheduled in each of the four cities this week: tonight the meeting is at Umatilla City Hall; tomorrow is at Echo City Hall; Wednesday is at the Stanfield School District; and Thursday at the Hermiston Community Center.
Doors open for all meetings at 5 p.m., and the presentation begins at 5:30 p.m.
Anyone is welcome to attend any of the open houses, regardless of which community you live in.

Morgan receives credentials
Oct. 7, 2019
Hermiston’s assistant city manager recently receiving the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Mark Morgan is one of 24 active city administrators in Oregon credentialed through the program. The ICMA credential reflects Morgan’s experience as a senior management executive in local government, and his commitment to lifelong learning and professional development. Morgan has served as the assistant city manager in Hermiston since 2012.

Umatilla, Boardman councils meet
Oct. 1, 2019
The City of Umatilla is voting on an amendment to a contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation about the sixth street project, increasing the project cost from $5,9 million – to $6.8.
They’ll also accept a resignation and declare a vacancy on the Umatilla Library Board and recognize CRIS INC with service recognition. They’ll then meet in a closed-door executive session over property transactions.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Umatilla City Hall. Click here for the agenda.
The Boardman City Council also meeting tonight.
According to the agenda, council members will discuss city councilor training as well as receiving reports from police and city committees as well as time for public comment
It begins at 7 p.m. at Boardman City Hall
In other Boardman news, today is the deadline for quilters to enter their quilts in the 15th annual Boardman Quilt Show. That’ll be at the Boardman Senior Center Oct. 11-12.

Emergency Drill tomorrow in Hermiston
Oct. 1, 2019
Tomorrow, Oct. 2, local responders have an emergency drill scheduling in the evening.
Good Shepherd Medical Center, local police, fire and ambulance departments will participate. The emergency drill will help local agencies practice their emergency response plans, communications between
agencies, and the ability to handle a mass casualty incident.
The drill will take place near Hermiston and will start around 6 p.m. Local residents may see emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, police vehicles and ambulances.
Please do not call 911 unless you need assistance from emergency services. 911 should only be called for n emergencies requiring immediate attention. In the event of an actual emergency, the public should listen to local radio and television broadcasts for information and instructions.

Woman gets $2,575 speeding ticket in Morrow County
Sept. 27, 2019
A Salem woman clocked at 128 mph in a work zone in Morrow County receiving a more than $2,500 fine in Morrow County.
The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying a deputy traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 in Boardman earlier this month saw a dark-colored sedan traveling at 128 miles per hour in the 70-mile per hour zone.
Deputy Thomas Way stopped the vehicle and issued a ticket to the driver, 20-year-old Skyla Sue Ziglinksi, from Salem. The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in Oregon is a fine of $1,155. Because fines are doubled in work zones – especially when there’s only one travel lane – the fine was doubled to $2,310. And because of the excessive speed she was also cited for careless driving at $265… leaving her with a total fine of $2,575.
The Sheriff's Office saying their goal is safety - not about generating income from citations. The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office averaging three warnings for every citation – and asking people to slow down and pay extra attention in road construction zones.

Mountain passes could see snow this weekend
Sept. 27, 2019
The first snow of the year could fall on cascade mountain passes this weekend. It's not expected to be much...just a couple of inches. O-dot's don Hamilton says drivers need to be prepared.
"Have a full tank of case - you may get stuck some place," he said. "Make sure you have an emergency kit, have a little food, water in the car."
Carry a cell phone and charger, so you have a way to call for help if you run into trouble. Also carry traction devices unless you have certified traction tires. The tripcheck website will give you an idea of what conditions you'll face


School board, council meet tonight
Sept. 23, 2019
Two Hermiston meetings tonight. The Hermiston School Board meeting tonight at Armand Larive Middle School. They’ll have a presentation from the school, reports, and an executive session to review the superintendent evaluation.
Follow this link for the agenda.
The Hermiston City Council will talk cybersecurty tonight with a vote on a new cyber security policy. They’ll also announce committee vacancies and publish election information for the May 2020 election – that is the announcement that Mayor and Municipal Judge will run in the primary election next year.The city council positions are held only at the general election in November
The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., and you can find the agenda here.

City opens picket sales for Funland Playground
Sept. 23, 2019
The City of Hermiston has opened sales of fence pickets for the Funland Playground rebuild project.
The pickets are limited and can include up to 22 letters. The cost is $100 for a family picket or $250 for a business. The pickets will be made with recycled materials, mostly milk jugs and are durable and fire resistant. You can get forms at City Hall or claim your picket online at the city’s website or through this link.
Other sponsorship opportunities including specific sponshrhip of playground areas and activities is expected in the next month.

State releases school assessments
Sept. 20, 2019
Test scores show Oregon public school students need to make more progress.
The results of the Smarter Balanced testing show student proficiency scores at the worst in five years: Only 40 percent of students in grades three through eight mastered math, and 52 percent of students can read and write proficiently.
The Hermiston School District yesterday announcing its results and saying 56 percent of all assessed students met proficiency standards for their grade levels in English – and 44 percent met standards in mathematics – both averages slightly above the state level
Hermiston students in elementary and middle school performed above the state average in mathematics, while high schoolers fell slightly below. In English, Hermiston students outperformed the state in every grade except fourth grade, including at the high school where 75 percent of students met the proficiency standards, well above the state level of 66 percent.
Students and families of current 4-9 and 12th graders will have access to individual student reports later this fall
through PowerSchool.
You can find the full reports on the website for the Oregon Department of Education

UCFD#1 begins work on strategic plan
Sept. 19, 2019
Fire calls over the summer were average for Umatilla County Fire District #1, but medical calls continue to rise. Fire Chief Scott Stanton says the fire district is looking at long-term planning to determine how to handle those increases.
"We're really working toward planning for our future: How do we cope with the growth of the communities we serve and how do we do that responsibly," he said.
The district and fire board are starting work on the five-year strategic plan with internal discussions on everything from equipment maintenance to training schedules. They’ll reach out to external stakeholders in November, and Stanton says it will should about three months to put together the entire packet to have it rolled out in the spring of next year.

Student success act benefits schools; DOR talks to business
Sept. 18, 2018
The school year is in swing for local districts now, and even BMCC is welcoming its new students for orientation today. Looking forward, many school district administrations are tackling what to do with the Student Success Act.
Mark Mulvihill with the InterMountain ESD says it’s exciting – and that the public should be excited too.
"Schools are funded for the first time in 30 years," he said. "Money is coming, and the game has changed. We're all trying to figure this out and do it right to ensure local communities are building the educational programs they want for their kids."
The state set aside $2 billion for the student success act, and each district receives a portion of that money. The Morrow County School District, for example, is estimated to receive about $1.8 million.
Most districts will spend the rest of this year planning for how to spend the funds, evaluating needs and seeking input from the community. The programs must be tied to achievable goals and reports submitted to the state.
Oregon Tax Bill 3427, created the state’s Student Success Fund and a corporate Activity Tax to pay for it.
Although the new funding is a boon for schools, it’s also raising questions for businesses, and that’s sending a team from the Department of Revenue around the state – including to Hermiston.
The state now needs to come up with rules for administration of the corporate activity tax, and Robin Maxey, with the Department of Revenue, says the rules cover the details.
"Who much register, when and how a business registers," Maxey said. "Who must file and who must pay the tax."
A $250 tax will be imposed on the first million dollars of a business' gross receipts, then half a percent on receipts more than $1 million. The first state meeting was yesterday in Newport, and two of the planned meetings are in our area:The group will be at the Hermiston Community Center from 5:30 to 7 in the evening on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and the next morning, Thursday, Oct. 3, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at the SAGE Center in Boardman.

Grief Share begins tonight
Sept. 17, 2019
Tonight, a new session begins of GriefShare, a 13-week program to help people move forward through grief. Scott Zielke says each session involves a video and a support group discussion. Participants have the opportunity to speak but do not have to.
"A lot of times, just talking through your experience is healing in itself," he said. "A lot of people think they're experiencing something that no one else is. You get a lot of people together, and you realize that this is normal, but it is something that, with time, you have to work through."
The program also includes a workbook with individual activities to complete during the week. There is a cost for the workbook, but the program itself is free. Zielke says it is open to anyone 18 and older who has experienced a loss.
The 13-week GriefShare program begins tonight at Stanfield Baptist Church. The sessions are Tuesdays from 5:30-7 p.m.
No pre-registration is required.

Underage cigarillo sales up
Sept. 10, 2019
The Oregon Health Authority concerned about sales of cigarettes and cigarillos to young people.
Yesterday, the Oregon Health Authority released its annual report on illegal sales of tobacco products to minors, and it’s especially concerned about a spike in sales of mini-cigars, or cigarillos, to underage smokers, which doubled from 13 to 28 percent last year.
Umatilla County did better than last year where six stores failed the inspection but still isn’t hitting 100 percent. The sting operations for this study involved 13 attempted sales of cigarettes, three attempts of cigarillo, and four e-cigarette attempts. One cigarette sale of the 13 was successful, as was one of the cigarillo attempts,
The cigarillo sale was at One Stop Fuel, 1050 S Highway 395, in Hermiston. The cigarette sale was at the downtown Pendleton Circle K Store near Umatilla County Courthouse.
With 20 inspections in the county, that’s a 10 percent violation rate.
There were two attempts in Morrow County, one in Boardman and one in Lexington, but both inspections passed.
Tome Jeanne, with the Oregon Health Authority says it is difficult to track who is selling tobacco products because the state of Oregon does not license tobacco sellers.
"Oregon is one of only nine states that does not have tobacco retail licensure," he said. "It would require retailers to buy a license in order to sell tobacco."
That’s a topic that Umatilla County Public Health is well aware of. For for the last few years, they’ve been working on a proposal to have tobacco licensing in Umatilla County, and, last night a vote on supporting that measure went before the Hermiston City Council.
The Umatilla County Public Health proposal would charge tobacco retails a $400 permit fee that would be used to monitor sales and prevent youth tobacco use more aggressively than the state-level.

Umatilla announces grants
Sept. 9, 2019
The city of Umatilla cut the ribbon on its newly renovated Kiwanis Park on Friday afternoon, and city manager David Stockdale had even more good news: Umatilla received two grants from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The first is grant is just under $75,000 to build a new ADA accessible restroom at Kiwanis Park.
The city is going to match the grant with $75,000 of its own – mostly in-kind work – in order to complete the project. They’re planning on starting work on the project mid-spring so it can be completed by the end of summer 2020.
The city also received a $39,000 grant toward development of its parks master plan. That plan to guide park maintenance and development over the next 20 years – and that planning should kick off in January.
In other Umatilla news, the City has its open house about the master trail plan tomorrow. That s a drop in from 5:30 to 7:30 tomorrow at Umatilla City Hall.

Hermiston council talks paving, licensing tonight
Sept. 9, 2019
The Hermiston City Council is talking electricity updates, Theater Lane paving and tobacco licensing during its meeting and work session tonight at city hall. The meeting kicks off at 6 p.m. with the workshop on updates from Umatilla Electric Cooperative and Hermiston Energy Services. The regular meeting’s expected to follow at 7 p.m.
Find the full agenda here.
One of the action items is voting on a $500,000 contract to Anderson Perry to pave Theater Lane between NE 8th and NE 10th. Anderson Perry is the company under contract for construction management at the city water tower project on Theater Lane. That section is currently gravel, and the project would have that gravel replaced to last until pavement could be done in the spring.
The council will also discuss Umatilla County Tobacco Retail Licensing, an effort being made by Umatilla County Public Health. City documents say the health department is soliciting support for the proposed program from cities in the county and Echo, Stanfield, Pendleton, Pilot Rock, and Ukiah have already given support.
The council could approve a motion in support of the program.
The meeting also has time for public comment if anyone would like to address the council on items not on the agenda, including, but not limited to, well, water rates, just as an off-the-top of my head example.
The work session begins at 6 tonight and the regular meeting at 7.

School Board meets tonight
Sept. 9, 2019
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight, although it appears to be light on the discussions. The meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at the district office and includes an enrollment report, financial repots, and many consent items but no new business or discussion items. They do have space for public comment, and the meeting is open to the public.
Click here for the full agenda.
In other school district items, the Blue Mountain Community College board of trustees released a statement on Friday in support of the Hermiston School District’s proposed bond.

Meeting set to prepare for workers
Aug. 29, 2019
A meeting next week with the Heppner Chamber of Commerce for businesses and individuals to see what kind of services can be provided during the construction phase of the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility. The meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 5:30 in the Heppner City Hall Conference Room. They’ll be discussing planning for the construction and the contractors coming into the area, including items like housing – both temporary and long-term – food and catering, groceries, and vehicle repair.
Construction on the wind part of the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility tentatively scheduled to begin in December of this year with about 100 contracted workers. That could peak at 300 workers.

HSD looks for outdoor school volunteers
Aug. 29, 2019
The Hermiston School District saying yesterday they’re in desperate need of male high school age or recent graduates to serve as Outdoor School Counselors this fall! HSD Outdoor School is a 3-day, 2-night experience just north of La Grande, Oregon at Camp Elkanah. https://www.campelkanah.com/outdoorschool/
The fall dates are:
9/23-9/25 - Rocky Heights
9/25-9/27 - Sunset
9/30-10/2 - West Park
10/2-10/4 - Desert View
10/8-10/10 - Highland Hills
This is an opportunity to earn volunteer hours as well as participate in team-building and leadership roles. Contact Mrs. Sandra Rice - sandra.rice@hermistonsd.orgfor more information.

Survey open for county trails project
Aug. 28, 2019
Early planning opening for the Umatilla River Trail Project, an conceptual trails project to connect trails in Echo, Umatilla, Stanfield, and Hermiston with trail systems. Umatilla County Planner Bob Walder says they’re looking for community feedback right now through a survey. The survey has 14 questions about how and why the community might use the trails.
"Maybe it's for health and livability reasons. Maybe it's to ride a bike to work or visit the library," Walder said. "That's what we're really trying to determine with the survey."
You can find take the survey through this link.
Walder says they’ve also scheduled community open houses for more feedback the first week in October.

Medelez appointed to school board
Aug. 27, 2019
A new school board member for the Hermiston School Board: Bryan Medelez. The Hermiston School Board appointed Medelez to the open position after interviewing five applicants last night. Medelez fills the vacancy on Board Position 2 left by Dave Smith’s resignation earlier this month

Umatilla ribbon cutting at Kiwanis Park
Aug. 27, 2019
The City of Umatilla yesterday announcing a ribbon cutting at Kiwanis Park. That’ll be at 1 in the afternoon on Friday, Sept. 6.
The ribbon cutting to celebrate the new park improvements and to recognize the contributions of the Good Shepherd Health Foundation and the Kiwanis Club.
In 2018, Parks and Recreation Committee invited Umatilla High School Youth Advisory Council to help identify which city parks were highest priority. The students sent out a survey and, based on a response rate of about 200, Kiwanis Park was identified as the most used and most in need of improvements.
Good Shepherd Health Foundation awarded the City an $18,000 grant towards new playground equipment. Hermiston Kiwanis donated $7,000 for lights at the basketball court. City added funding to build a second basketball court with lights, fence, and other improvements.
The ribbon cutting will include a short presentation by the Mayor, City Manager, and others. Refreshments will be provided.

School year starts today
Aug. 26, 2019
Many students in Umatilla and Morrow Counties head back to school this morning, including the Hermiston School District. Hermiston Superintendent Tricia Mooney says that could mean extra congestion on roadways and a call for caution for drivers
"We're going to have kiddos walking to school, riding bikes. We're going to have kids waiting for bust stops," she said. "Please slow down, watch the school zones and help us get our kids to and from school safely."
The start of school also means any “school day” or “when students are present” school zones are back in effect.
School starts today for first through twelfth graders in Hermiston. Kindergartners start full time on Wednesday

School board interviews tonight
Aug. 26, 2019
The Hermiston School Board of Education is meeting at 6:30 p.m.. The superintendent will recap the first day of school, and the board will interview applicants for Board Position 2, recently opened when Dave Smith resigned from the school board two weeks ago. Those interested had to have applications in to the school district office on Friday, and tonight the board will interview candidates – and could appoint a new board member tonight.
The School Board tonight will also vote on a change to the district budget – creating a 2019-2020 Youth Transition Program Grant Fund with dollars received from a grant from the Oregon Department of Human Services.
You can view the full agenda here.

City Council meets tonight
Aug. 26, 2019
Still on the topic of schools, tonight the Hermiston City Council will vote on a supporting the Hermiston School District’s proposed $82 million bond. A resolution on the agenda – No. 2134 – would support the passage of the 2019 Hermiston School Bond, known as Measure 30-130 in the November election.
Also on the council agenda, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, an update on goal setting, and a proposal for changing the lease rates at the Hermiston Airport. The recommendation comes from the city’s Airport Board. If approved,t he rates at the city’s T-Hangers would rise from $130 and $180 a month to $155 per month and $200 per month, beginning in January 2020. The funds would go into a reserve to construction additional hangars in the future.
The council also expected to meet in Executive Session to review and evaluate the city manager’s employment contract. If any changes are made, those would go for a vote in open session after the closed-door portion of the meeting.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall.
Find the agenda here.

Commissioners set goals
Aug. 23, 2019
On Wednesday, the Umatilla County Commissioners approving a set of goals for the fiscal year as part of their strategic plan.
The 13 goals including re-joining the  Oregon Association of Counties, moving forward with the jail renovation project and responding to recommendations from the charter review committee about a potential city manager. Commissioner Bill Elfering says one of his personal goals is to see the completion of the transfer of the Umatilla Army Depot.
"As soon as it's ours, we want to be ready to hit the ground to accommodate those businesses and get the property blooming," he said.
Elfering saying he feels “pretty confident” the transfer will be completed by the spring of next year. He has been on the committee for six years.
The goals for the county commissioners also involving economic development, the Umatilla River Trail, and the North Highway 395 development project.

HEF Fun Run tomorrow
Aug. 23, 2019
Tomorrow, it’s the Hermiston Education Foundation’s 5k Fun Run and Walk. It’s earlier than usual this year – for a specific reason:it's a school supply drive.
Hermiston Education Foundation representative and school board member Josh Gollar saying they moved the fun run to before school in order to have those school supplies available at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The Fun Run begins at the parking lot of the Hermiston Nazarene Church and will travel down to Riverfront Park.
The Fun Run will still include the awarding of the Fleet of Feet award to the Hermiston school that has the largest participation of runners and walkers and the most supplies donated.
Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the run begins at 9. It’s the 13th annual Fun Run & Walk for the Hermiston Education Foundation.

HK Complex now 95 percent contained
Aug. 22, 2019
The HK Complex of fires in the Umatilla National Forest now 95 percent contained, and forest officials reducing the area and road closures to provide access to forest lands not impacted by the wildfire or suppression efforts. You can find the full description of the area closure on the Umatilla National Forest website. Officials are asking the public to avoid entering the closure area.
The HK Complex still and active fire burning 15 miles north of Monument. It’s estimated at 27-hundred acres.

Pool closed by flood
Aug. 21, 2019
The Hermiston Family Aquatic Center is closed and could be closed through Saturday – or longer.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter saying the basement mechanical room found flooded yesterday morning. The room pumped out and five electrical motors sent to a local shop to be dried, reworked, and possibly rebuilt. Fetter saying those pumps are not supposed to be submerged in water. They’re hoping to have the pumps back from the shop on Friday to reopen on Saturday, but it could be longer.
They’re still assessing damage and repairs and saying it may have been a stuck float valve in the lower surge tank caused the flood.
Fetter says he’s looking at a flood alarm to prevent future flooding.
This is the first occurrence of this sort for the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center which is now in its 17th season.
During the work, the pool is closed for all activities.

Umatilla Halloween votes due - this week
Aug. 21, 2019
The city of Umatilla approaching a deadline for its annual Trick or Treat on Sixth Street business costume contest theme. Businesses will decorate and craft costumes in line with the theme, then judges will select the best one during the October event on Oct. 25.
Mark Ribich, with the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce says there are four possible themes this year: Comics/Superheroes, games, horror, or free for all.
Surveys must be completed by Aug. 25 - that's this week. You can find the survey by clicking here.

West Nile mosquito cases double
Aug. 20, 2019
The number of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus has doubled.
A joint release from West Umatilla Mosquito Control District and North Morrow Vector Control District yesterday saying at least 25 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus this year. Today – that number at 47 confirmed after an additional 22 samples collected last week tested positive. Those mosquitoes taken from areas in and around Irrigon and now Boardman, and those are in addition to positive mosquito samples in the West Umatilla Control District.
The virus first detected on July 8 th in both districts and has become more widespread since that time. Public health officials urging residents of all ages to take steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito bites.
Because of the increase in West Nile virus activity, the district will conduct aerial mosquito control spraying after sunset on Thursday, weather permitting.
They’re expected to target about 10,000 acres in areas around Umatilla, Irrigon, and Boardman, and east of Hermiston. No areas within city limits

Naloxone training next month
Aug. 20, 2019
In addition to battling west Nile, public health officials also continuing efforts against opioid abuse.
Kary Tuers, Addiction Prevention Coordinator for Umatilla County Public Health, says they’re offering a community naloxone training next month that focuses on helping everyone prevent opioid overdose death by giving out free overdose kits of naloxone - and training on how to use them.
"It saves lives, and that's our goal: to help prevent death due to overdose in our area," Tuers said.
The training does not require health care experience and they're inviting anyone and everyone who would like to come to attend the training, including anyone who interacts with a current user, family and friends, businesses that may see people under the influence of opioids or people who are just concerned community member.
Kits of Naloxone, goes by the brand name Narcan, will be given to training participants - and the whole event is free. It's Sept. 11 at Good Shepherd, beginning at noon, and lunch is also provided. Although
The training is free, but registration is required - you can register on Event Brite through this link.

Funland Committee to choose architect
Aug. 5, 2019
This week, the Funland Restoration Committee will select a design team for the rebuild of Hermiston’s Funland Playground, which was destroyed in a fire in June.
Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says the committee will select the design team after interviewing the teams on Aug. 8 – that’s this Thursday.

Once selected, the design work will take place through the fall. Fetter says the playground will be at least the size it was before the fire – if not bigger.
Demolition of the damaged park began last week, and the city has set a date for a “Picket reclaim event”
Fetter saying they’ve had overwhelming interest in reclaiming Funland fence picket, so the city is sorting them into alphabetical order and setting a reclaim event next month.
That event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day Sept. 20-22 at the Hermiston Community Center.

Boardman Council talks mobile vendors
Aug. 5, 2019
Two Boardman business owners asking the Boardman City Council to regulate mobile vendors. The owners asking the city to consider rules requiring parking spaces, and restroom facilities for the mobile vendors to alleviate some of the problems. Council member David Jones is the owner of the property where many of the mobile vendors are located in Boardman and recused himself from the council to participate in the discussion as a citizen – he said he would be willing to put in portable restrooms and have required parking spaces.
The city council is reviewing other cities’ ordinances and considering drafting an ordinance for Boardman. They’ll have workshop sessions to further discuss the issue but no dates have been set.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Boardman City Council is tomorrow.

Vet Town Hall, Expo this week
July 26, 2019
Tonight in Pendleton, the Veterans’ Town Hall event and tomorrow the Veteran's Benefit Expo at the Pendleton Convention Center.
The town hall tonight is from 6-7 p.m. with Kelly Fitzpatrick, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Fitzpatrick says she’s particularly interested in issues impacting veterans in a rural area.
She’ll provide updates on programs and initiatives, as well as veteran-related information from the 2019 legislative session. She will also answer questions and take feedback on the concerns, issues, and challenges facing veterans in Eastern Oregon.
The event will be recorded and livestreamed on the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Facebook page.
Tomorrrow, the fifth annual Veteran benefit Expo. Kelly Fitzpatrick, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs says they’ve brought together those who provide veterans benefits from healthcare to homeloans.She says people should plan about two hours.
"Once they arrive, I think they'll really be surprised at how many benefits and how many information tables there are that they're actually interested in talking to the representatives and finding out more," she said.
The Expo is free and requires no pre-registration. The event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27 at the Pendleton Convention Center.
Find more at https://expo.oregondva.com/

Tribes buy Hamley's
July 26, 2019
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) has purchased Hamley’s restaurant, coffee shop and store at auction. A press release from the tribes saying they’ve had a long relationship with the Hamley family and are pleased to keep the business in local hands. They say day-to-day operations will be managed by Wildhorse Resort & Casino.
The business was founded in 1905, and the tribes were the high bidder in the auction yesterday, pledging $3 ½ million.

UCSO looking for robbery suspect
July 25, 2019
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office requesting information on the location of Amanda Marie Warren, a 38-year-old woman from Pendleton wanted in connection with a theft that occurred at a residence near Milton-Freewater on Wednesday. Warran is a convicted felon and is possibly still in the possession of stolen firearm(s).
The sheriff’s office saying the theft reported at 6 p.m. Wednesday at a home in Milton-Freewater. The victim, an elderly man, saying he was contacted at his home by a woman offering cleaning services. He agreed, she cleaned the home and then left. After she was gone, the victim discovered items missing including his wallet and 2 firearms (a revolver and a semi auto pistol).
This investigation is on-going. UCSO is cautioning citizens, especially elderly who live alone, to be aware of the method used. In this case, the suspect gained entry by offering to clean the house, and used the
opportunity to steal items. The Sheriff’s Office saying the case of theft from an elderly man in Athena earlier in the week is being investigated as a separate case.
The sheriff’s office saying if anyone locates Amanda Marie Warren, they’re asked not to approach her but to call the 24-hour-dispatch center at 541-966-3651. In an emergency call 911.

SHIP eligible for additional funding
July 24, 2019
Good news for the South Hermiston Industrial Park – the city is eligible for more grant funding than originally expected.
The City of Hermiston is applying for grant funding from the Federal Economic Development Administration to finance about half of the costs of improvements to the industrial park. The other half being made up of contributions from the city, county, and assessments from property owners within the park. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan saying the city received “silver lining” news late last week:
"Based on the layoffs by Hermiston Foods and Union Pacific Railroad, it does qualify us for essentially disaster relief dollars through EDA, so if they do end up approving our grant application this fall, instead of it being a 50 percent federal share, we'd actually receive 80 percent costs covered by that grant," he said.
Morgan saying that change in grant funding would cut the cost to property owners within the Local Improvement District by half. The city plans to submit the grant application around Sept. 1. They’re hoping to entice development into the park area.

Funland committee meets tonight
July 24, 2019
No onto a different kind of park: There’s a meeting of the Funland Park Reconstruction Committee tonight at the Hermiston Community Center. On the agenda, design team selection and time for public comment.
Find the full agenda here.

Radar going down in Pendleton
July 22, 2019
Radar at the Pendleton Weather Station will be down starting today and for the next three weeks starting today as crews replace the pedestal holding up the radome – the giant golf ball on top of the weather station – and upgrade equipment. The National Weather Service saying its part of a maintenance overhaul of radar systems known as the Service Life Extension Program. They’ll replace the full pedestal as well as upgrade and replace other parts while the system is down. It’s expected to take from today through the first week of August. While the radar is down, surrounding radar systems in Spokane, Portland, and Boise will continue to operate.
Find out more here: https://www.weather.gov/pdt/

Hermiston City Council meets tonight
July 22, 2019
The Hermiston city council also talking about the proposed school district bond with a presentation during its council meeting tonight. The council will also hear a report on EOTEC, a presentation from the tribes and will vote on replats of property, including changes to the former Hermiston Foods property.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at Hermiston City hall. Find the full agenda here.

Blood shortage, blood drives
July 18, 2019
Last week, the American Red Cross declared an emergency shortage of blood because they have less than a three-day supply of most blood types. The red cross says it’s because of a summer drop in donations and increase in natural disasters.
"In summertime, people go on vacations, they're out of town, people aren't there to donate," said Eldon Marcum with Umatilla County Fire District No. 1. "This year has been a lot of catastrophe, so although they're always short of blood (in the summer), this year it's extremely low."
Marcum saying there are multiple blood drives in our local area, including one hosted by the fire district on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Stafford Hansell Government Center. There’s also a blood drive at Good Shepherd Medical Center from 10 to 3 this coming Monday and then drives the first two weeks of August at New Hope Community Church, the Oregon Trail Library District in Irrigon, Umatilla City Hall, and Boardman Pool and Recreation Center . You can visit redcrossblood.org to sign up for a time or for more information.

Stanfield talks 395, law suit, city manager
July 16, 2019
The Stanfield City Council is meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on Coe Avenue, and they could be reviewing city manager applications. Those application packets due at Stanfield City Hall by end of business today.
The city council has a closed-door executive session on the agenda tonight to discuss the hiring of a city manager and to discuss matters relating to the 3D-Idapro lawsuit.
The City of Stanfield also has a public meeting scheduled Thursday with ODOT regarding repairs and changes on the Highway 395 overlay project.
That meeting is a 6 in the evening Thursday in the cafeteria at Stanfield Secondary School.
There will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and make comments.
Find both agendas on the Facebook page for the City of Stanfield.

Economic Summit slated July 26
July 12, 2019
An economic summit later this month at Hermiston High School.
It’s the inaugural Eastern Oregon Economic Summit and expected to cover factors impacting rural Oregon’s economy from legislation to technology.
The summit from 8:30 to 5 on Friday, July 26th, at Hermiston High.
It’s hosted by the Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition . The event will have keynote speakers in the morning and discussion panels in the afternoon on topics including recruiting businesses interested in relocation and meeting housing needs.
Registration is required and costs $25. You can register on the event’s eventbrite page.

County Emergency Declaration approved
July 10, 2019
Umatilla County has a disaster declaration from the state after flooding in April . The declaration means federal assistance to help with state and local recover efforts in six counties: Curry, Douglas, Grant, Linn, Umatilla, and Wheeler counties. The state office of emergency management estimating damages to public property in those six counties at $8.2 million
The Oregon Department of Transportation has requested an additional $3.7 in emergency relief for damages to major transportation networks.

Sheriff's Office wins jail funding
July 10, 2019
The UCSO officially announcing yesterday that the Oregon House and Senate approved $1.6 million in funding to renovate the
Umatilla County Jail. The declaration follows two years of planning and funding requests from the state.
Once completed, this renovation will help the jail staff to better accommodate inmates who suffer from mental health,
alcohol and drug, and medical issues. The current setup in the jail isn’t equipped for the continued increase in the
number of persons with these types of problems. With the renovation, the Umatilla County Jail will be better equipped
to provide a secure area where inmates in crisis could be temporarily housed until they’re treated and stabilized.

Hermiston council considers EOTEC, LID
July 8, 2019
A local improvement taxing district and a strategic plan for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston City Council.
The L-I-D would have property owners within the South Hermiston Industrial Park pay a portion of costs for new roads, water, and sewer lines within the district to promote more development. On the agenda is a resolution that would declare the intent to form the district. They’ll also vote on a 10-year EOTEC strategic plan as well as a vote enlarging the EOTEC advisory committee – adding two at-large community members.
The regular meeting begins at 7 at city hall. There is a work session at 6 to discuss parks and recreation software and an update on “family promise” with the faith-based advisory committee and made to thrive.
Find the full agenda here

Hermiston School Board to vote on bond
July 8, 2019
Back to the meeting agendas, tonight the Hermiston School Board meets at 6:30 at the district office – and they could be moving forward on asking voters to approve another bond. The board expected to vote tonight on a Ballot Question Bond Authorizing Resolution which would likely ask voters for the $82 million construction bond that the district’s facilities committee recommended last month.
During the meeting, the board will also vote on a number of items to prepare for the coming school year from the organizational cart to school lunch prices. There is a executive session on the agenda for the superintendent’s performance review.
You can find that full agenda here.

HSD pays off pre-2008 bond
July 5, 2019
The Hermiston School District Celebrating this week as it made the final payment to clear all debt from before the 2008 bond.
Most of that debt comes from a 1999 bond totaling just under $40 million.
The district still paying back bonds voters approved in In November 2008
That was an additional $69.9 million general obligation bond. The district used those funds to build new elementary schools and a middle school. The November 2008 bond payoff dates are scheduled for June 2026 and June 2029.
With the final payment of the pre-2008 bonds, the district expects “school bond” property tax rates to decrease approximately $0.40 per $1,000 of assessed value. The district's general fund property tax will remain at $4.8877 per $1,000.

Boardman seeking new councilor
July 5, 2019
The City of Boardman is looking for a new city council member.
Toni Connell resigning her seat on the Boardman City Council in order to work full time at City Hall as a utility clerk.
The city is currently seeking letters of interest from individuals willing to be considered
for appointment to fill a vacancy on the City Council. The term expires December 31, 2020.
Those interested must have resided in the City of Boardman during the twelve months   immediately preceding the appointment. Letters of interest must be received no later than 5:00pm, Thursday, August 1, 2019 to City Manager, Karen Pettigrew at Boardman City Hall for consideration. The City Council will interview the candidates, and appoint the new Councilor at their August 6, 2019 City Council meeting, scheduled for 7pm.

Using fireworks safely
July 3, 2019
Fireworks went on sale last week in Oregon, and fire marshal Scott Goff says people need to be prepared, responsible, safe, and aware when using fireworks.
Fireworks used in Oregon should be purchased in the state. Purchasing aerial fireworks out of state and bringing them to Oregon could cost you
"If they do happen to start a fire with illegal fireworks, they could be not only responsible both for the cost of the fire - we do bill for fire suppression on issues like that - there could be other legal ramifications as well," he said.
Goff says to make sure to soak spent fireworks in water as those can still start fires after they’ve been used. Goff also reminding the community that all open burning is closed in the state.
Find more on the website for Umatilla County Fire District #1
On the topic of fireworks, three local communities will present fireworks shows and other events for Independence Day: Stars & Stripes in Hermiston, Boardman Thunder in Boardman and the Stanfield Fourth of July in Stanfield.

Driver arrested after chase in stolen car
June 26, 2019
A high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle yesterday morning in Irrigon.
Just before 10 in the morning yesterday, a deputy attempted to pull over a white Ford Focus on Highway 730 – the driver instead failed to yield and fled at speeds of 70 mph. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Hermiston. According to a press release from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, at one point during the pursuit, the suspect turned down a dead end street then turned around and sped toward a patrol truck in an intentional head-on collision course, only swerving at the last minute. The entire pursuit lasted four minutes, and 28-year-old Matthew James Way, of Hermiston, was arrested and charged with attempt to elude – a felony- unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, five courts of reckless endangering and one count of reckless driving. He’s lodged at the Umatilla County jail

Council talks utility district, zoning
June 24, 2019
Tonight, the Hermiston city Council will vote on forming a local improvement district to install street and utility infrastructure in the South Hermiston Industrial Park. The resolution on the agenda will not create the district or cost property owners any money – it’s a feasibility study to analyze the impacts of the district. If you aren’t familiar with the term local improvement district, you’re not alone. A discussion about the difference between a local improvement district and an urban renewal area. That’s the subject of the work session that begins at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. The regular meeting begins at 7. That includes a presentational from tribal cultural affairs and both a public hearing and a vote on a proposed rezoning of a property on NE North Street from commercial to medium density residential. The urban renewal agency meeting to follow. On the agenda, two façade grant applications
Find the full agenda here.

Townhalls set for June 30
June 24, 2019
Two battling Umatilla Town Hall meetings coming up next week.
Representative Greg Walden announcing 13 town halls over the next few weeks. The Umatilla County Town Hall scheduled for Sunday, June 30th, at noon. That’ll be at Athena Elementary School.
Later that same day, Senator Ron Wyden expected to be in the county for his town hall. That’ll be at 4 in the afternoon, again, June 30, in the Bob Clapp Theater and Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.

iCan Bike needs volunteers - for next week
June 20, 2019
The iCan Bike Program needs more volunteers – and the camp begins on Sunday.
The five-day camp runs June 23rd through the 27th and teaches individuals with disabilities how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. They’re still looking for volunteers to help with three of their sessions: from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m., from 11:40 in the morning to 12:55 in the afternoon, and from 2 in the afternoon until 3:15. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old.
To sign up to volunteer please e-mail icanbikehermiston@gmail.com or call Tracy at 541-667-6021.

Summer Lunch programs go mobile
June 19, 2019
Lunch to-go has a new meaning this summer as multiple local school districts are taking the summer meal programs on the road to deliver food to specific sites. All local communities offer some sort of summer meal program, usually at schools, for children to eat free, nutritious meals when school is not in session.
Both Umatilla and Morrow County launching programs with retrofitted busses that can carry warm – and cold – items to meal sites with build-in equipment. Umatilla School Superintendent Heidi Sipe saying the district has provided hot meals in Umatilla’s summer feeding program for years – but they’ve all been cooked at Umatilla High School and dispersed to other sites as a schedule painstakingly drafted to make food still be warm when it arrived.
Umatilla launches its 2019 summer feeding program on Monday with breakfast, lunch, and dinner at some sites. The Morrow County School District launched its program this week with two busses carrying the food to an additional eight sites this year through the mobile initiative. The district had a contest to name the program, and a fourth-grade class at Irrigon Elementary named it “Wheels with meals.”
Morrow County School Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says they’re working with community partners to also provide additional stimulation for kids through a number of activities.
Dirkson says they aren’t done making tweaks to the new program. They’re already considering increasing to three food trucks next year – and they could expand the service to provide food during spring break and, eventually, on Fridays as well.
Dirkson says the best way to know the closest stop for a family is to check websites for the school district or the specific school a child attends. The district has 22 different lunch sites this year.
Summer meal programs across the state are typically funded through the Oregon Department of Education and USDA and provide free meals to children. Some sites, such as Umatilla, offer meals to adults at a low cost.
Hermiston’s summer meals program is also running, as is the Friends, Food, and Fun program at the Stanfield Public Library.

I-82 bridge reopens TODAY
June 19, 2019
The Washington State Department of Transportation saying the Eastbound Interstate 82 bridge should reopen this afternoon. Because of constructions, eastbound traffic has been shifted across a detour onto the westbound Columbia River bridge into Oregon 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The eastbound bridge now expected to reopen; however, it will be one lane for the rest of the week for minor repair work. The bridge has been under construction for more than two years. Originally slated to be reopened in fall 2018, the eastbound lanes remained closed because of a delay in steel work.

Missing boaters identified, bodies recovered
June 18, 2019
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office recovering the bodies last night of two boaters missing since Saturday evening. They’ve been identified as as 44-year-old Janice Arsenault of Umatilla and 20-year-old Trenton Williams, of Idaho. Arsenault was a volunteer EMT and firefighter with Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District, and a procession of emergency vehicles marked her return last night.
Arsenault also worked the front desk at Blue Mountain Community College’s Hermiston campus. BMCC offering a crisis team for staff yesterday.
The two reported missing Saturday evening from a boat on the Columbia River. The driver of the boat, Richard Kirkendall, of Hermiston, reporting the two had been riding on the dive step of the boat while he was driving to shore. Kirkendall realized they were missing when he arrived at shore. A 911 call at 748 p.m. reported the two adults were hanging off the back of the boat. Multiple agencies searching throughout the weekend. The bodies located underwater near Bobby’s Beach by members of the Columbia Basin Dive Rescue using a side-scan, towable sonar at 8 and 8:30 last night.
The most recent update from Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office saying search efforts have been concluded and an investigation is on-going. The Sheriff’s Office thanking those involved in the search and recovery including Columbia Basin Dive Rescue,
Umatilla County Fire District and Umatilla Police Department.

ODOT presents to Stanfield Council
June 18, 2019
Delays coming to Highway 395 soon for a repaving project The Oregon Department of Transportation will present about the project during tonight’s Stanfield City Council meeting.
Also on the meeting agenda, a preliminary presentation on the City’s water rate study, a land use public hearing regarding the minimum rear yard setback in the residential zone, and a supplemental budget public hearing.
That meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight in the Council Chambers on Coe Avenue

Umatilla talks housing, bids
June 18, 2019
Umatilla needs… more housing. Tonight, the city of Umatilla will review the results of the west county housing study, and the study says Umatilla will need more middle-range homes. . The study projects increases of 58% in homeownership rates in Umatilla over the next 20 years, including a shift to marginally higher income households. Umatilla City Manager David Stockdale says they’re seeing growth in Umatilla – and they expect it to continue.
Among the recommendations in the study, a new or updated comprehensive plan for housing and measures the city can consider to help meet future housing needs
Also on the agenda, a resolution authorizing electronic advertising for city contracts and another awarding contractor Jesse Rodriguez a $2.3 million contract for construction of the city’s industrial discharge facility project.
The council also expected to discuss the city code on poultry, council goals, and downtown revitalization grant applications.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall.

Search continues for missing boaters
June 17, 2019
Two boaters still missing after an incident on the Columbia River on Saturday evening. A 911 call coming into Umatilla County dispatch at 7:48 Saturday that two adults were hanging onto the back of a boat while the boat was making its way near “Bobby’s Beach,” which is near Highway 730 milepost 195. When the boat arrived, the two adults were no longer holding on and were missing. Nine agencies working together in a coordinated search for the two, identified only as an adult man and an adult woman. Although the family of the woman has spoken out, law enforcement have not released the identities of the two boaters at this time.
The search continued until 1 a.m. before it was suspended for the night. It resumed at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office saying they will provide updates as more information becomes available.
The most recent update from 5 p.m. yesterday, from the Benton County Fire District #1, saying there has been no word regarding the missing boaters.

County moving forward with river trail
June 13, 2019
Work continuing on the Umatilla River Trail, formerly known as the West County Trail, an effort to connect trails in multiple local cities and build a trail from Echo to the Columbia River, along the Umatilla River. County Commissioner Bill Elfering says they don’t have a set layout for the trail yet – they’re working on determining what property owners along the river would be open to having the trail through their property
"While we can't build it across private property without the owner's position, we will just have to bypass that spot with a different route," Elfering said. "It's going to be a great trail."
The Umatilla River Trail will be nonmotorized. The county has established a group to plan the trail that includes representatives of cities and the U.S. Parks Service, and Oregon State Parks.

Umatilla plans stage-float
June 13, 2019
The City of Umatilla is busy planning for its annual festival, Umatilla Landing Days, and Mark Ribich says the chamber will premier its new performance stage this year – during the Landing Days Parade.
Clayton Homes out of Hermiston is building the stage, and the company will have employees on the float during the parade as well. It will be dedicated at Umatilla Marina Park after the parade and used for the Landing Days entertainment throughout the day.
The Umatilla Landing Days parade begins at 10 in the morning on Saturday, June 22. That moves through sixth street in downtown Umatilla.

Umatilla plans projects
June 11, 2019
Umatilla has approved its budget, and that includes three-quarters of a million dollars to build the Umatilla Business Center. It’s a remodel of the old post office across from City Hall, and the city has budgeted to refurbish the building, move the community development department into it and set up two storefronts as an “incubator” program where businesses have low commercial rent in order to get started.
City manager David Stockdale says the idea is that businesses would remain in the Business Center for a year or so, and then they would move into an independent facility as the business “grew up” and was successful enough to do so. The building will also include a 2,000 sq foot community space.
Stockdale says they’re looking at an opening date for the Umatilla Business Center in about 15 months
The Umatilla budget also includes funding for the Sixth Street Improvement Project. After eight years of planning, that project went out for bids late last week, they’re expecting construction to start in early Fall, and the project will be complete next spring or summer.

Committee to recommend school bond
June 10, 2019
The Hermiston School District will likely go out for another construction bond although at a much smaller scale than the bond that failed two years ago. That’s the recommendation the long range facilities planning committee will present to the Hermiston School Board tonight. Agenda materials saying the committee unanimously supported the district going out for an $82 million bond – the lowest of three options they were presented with. The committee recommended bond would include replacing Rocky Heights Elementary, building a new elementary on theater lane and adding a classroom annex at Hermiston High School as well as site improvements. Budget dependent the committee would also support a standalone multi-purpose facility at Highland Hills.
That bond would cost $3.65 per $1,000 of assessed value, but the district could qualify for a grant of up to $6.6 million from the department of education.
The committee expected to present its report during the Hermiston School board meeting tonight. The meeting begins at 6:30 tonight in the district office boardroom. It also include a budget hearing and a adoption of the budget and a closed-door executive session To conduct a hearing to expel minor students or to examine confidential medical records. Click this link to go to the full agenda.

City Council to vote on budget
June 10, 2019
A long evening planned for the Hermiston City Council tonight as the group votes on the city’s budget and continues to consider the strategic plan for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. EOTEC is the subject of the work session that begins at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. The regular meeting begins at 7. and includes a report from the Hermiston School District, Committee Vacancies and a public hearing on the budget. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan saying the council is expected to vote on that document tonight. The fiscal year begins July 1.
After the council meeting, the urban renewal agency meeting. That group will also be considering its budget.
Find the full agenda here.

INWM open reservations for 20th anniversary
June 7, 2019
It’s been a busy season for the ensembles and volunteers of Inland Northwest Musicians, and they’re quickly approaching the end of their 20th season. Director R. Lee Friese saying the final performance of the season is coming up It’s, an anniversary concert and world premier of “Life of Water,” a commissioned composition by Lawence Nash Groupe, which represents three stages of water: vapor, ice, and flowing water
"It's a unique experience to do a premier," Friese said. "No one has ever performed it before, and, as well, no one has ever heard it before."
Friese saying that getting ready for the concert is a bit different because of the nature of a world premier. The anniversary concert is 4 in the afternoon Sunday, June 16th, at the Hermiston Community Center. As with all Inland Northwest Musicians performances, the concert is free; however, they are asking to reserve seats by calling 541-289-46-96.
Also coming up:
A reminder that the PEO Garden Tour is tomorrow, as is Umatilla’s graduation Ceremony. Today also the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation Scramble for Scholarships event, and this afternoon and tonight, Umatilla Schools celebrating bond projects with community events and tours, and echo has the first graduation in its new bond-funded gym. Looking ahead, there is a job fair scheduled for Monday afternoon at the Hermiston Community Center if you need to work on your resume this weekend, and both Blue Mountain Community College and Eastern Oregon University will have commencement ceremonies next week.

Boardman announces council opening
June 6, 2019
There’s an opening on the Boardman City Council.
The Boardman City Council is seeking letters of interest from individuals willing to be considered for appointment to fill the vacancy left by Toni Connell, who resigned in June due to taking on a new position at the City of \Boardman. Her term expires December 31, 2020.
Those interested must have resided in the City of Boardman during the twelve months immediately preceding the appointment. Letters of interest must be received no later than 5:00pm, Thursday, August 1, 2019 to City Manager, Karen Pettigrew at Boardman City Hall for consideration. The City Council will interview the candidates, and appoint the new Councilor at their August 6, 2019 City Council meeting, scheduled for 7pm

Small councils talk budgets tonight
June 4, 2019
It is budget season, and budgets are on the agenda for small city councils tonight.
In Umatilla, the agenda is packed – the packet is 74 pages – including four public hearings. One of the hearings is an ordinance about state revenue sharing,a nd three are amendments to the city code to address zoning regulations on fences, nonconforming manufactured homes, and mobile food vendors. They’ll also be considering a supplemental budget, one of nine resolutions on the agenda. Following all the action items, the council expected to discuss sanitary disposal services and a remodel of Umatilla City Hall.
The meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall.
The Stanfield City Council adopting its budget tonight as well as declaring the city’s election results and levying property taxes. The council will also have an executive session on the final evaluation for the city manager Blair Larsen.
The City’s total budget is $3,751,230, which represents a 0.42% increase from the $3,735,410 budget in FY 2018-2019. The revenue increase is attributed to property tax increases, the City’s increased electric utility franchise fees, and grant funding for Street projects. On the expense side, the increase is due to annual operating and personnel cost increases, including an additional
Public Works operator position.
That meeting also begins at 7 p.m.
In Boardman, they’ll have have the budget as the first resolution tonight, along with decisions on state shared revenue, water, and sewer rate increases. The meeting also to include a presentation on Pirate Youth Football. At 7 p.m., the city will have an urban renewal agency meeting – that includes the group’s budget – and the city council meeting begins at 7:15 p.m.

Infant killed in a crash
June 3, 2019
A 7-month-old killed yesterday morning in a single vehicle crash on Interstate 84.The driver has been arrested.
From Oregon State Police:
On Sunday, June 2, 2019, at 3:16 A.M., Oregon State Troopers and emergency personnel responding to the report of a single vehicle crash on I-84 eastbound near milepost 175. Preliminary investigation revealed a silver 2003 Cadillac CTS, operated by Veronica Andrade, 39, of Boardman, was traveling eastbound on I-84 when for unknown reasons the Cadillac veered off the road onto the right shoulder and rolled.
The vehicle was occupied by Andrade and two children, ages 3 and 7 months. The 7 month old was ejected from the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.
Andrade and the 3 year old child were transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center. The 3 year old was listed in critical condition and flown to Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland.
Andrade was treated and released from Good Shepherd Medical Center. Following her release from the hospital Andrade was arrested and lodged in the Umatilla County Jail for Manslaughter I, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, and Assault 1.
Interstate 84 was reduced to one lane for approximately three hours to allow for scene investigation.
The Oregon State Police was assisted by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Boardman Police Department, and ODOT

Driver identified in fatal crash
May 30, 2019
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office releasing the identity of the driver killed in a single-car rollover near Pendleton. The 21-year-old identified as Toni Renee Brown. The sheriff’s office saying she was deceased when deputies arrived yesterday morning and saying based on information at the scene the crash likely occurred several hours before it was discovered. They say it appears that the vehicle lost traction and the driver
overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to skid and rollover. We are awaiting the results of toxicology testing to determine if alcohol was a factor.

HSD, GS offering wellness clinic
May 30, 2019
Hermiston School District and Good Shepherd Health Care System teaming up for a wellness clinic and Hermiston High School. The clinics will be staffed by medical providers from Good Shepherd Urgent Care on the mornings of June 3rd and June 10th – those are Mondays – from 8 a.m. until noon and in the afternoons on June 5 and 12th – Wednesdays – from 12 to 4.
For students that are under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must sign a parental
consent form, complete a medical history form; then, return both to the Wellness Clinic staff, before the student may receive care.

Hermiston City Council meets tonight
May 28, 2019
The Hermiston City Council talking annexation, transit, and park restoration during a meeting tonight.
The council typically meets on Mondays but moving the meeting to tonight because of the Memorial Day holiday.
On the agenda, a public hearing and resolution on an annexation of property on Elm Avenue and renewal of the contract with KAYAK Transit for the 2019-21.
The council also expected to discuss ongoing restoration discussions about FunLand playground at Butte Park.
Find the full agenda here.

Bond passes in Stanfield
May 22, 2019
A construction bond for the Stanfield School District passing in the May election that ended last night.
285 ballots cast in favor of the $14 million bond - compared to 153 against. Superintendent Beth Burton saying people in the community understood there was a need and now the district can move forward with the infrastructure project.
"Lots of celebrating and thanking the community for their support," Burton said of the district's post-election plans. "We will start planning."
The district will also receive $4 million from the state to help with the project, which will build a permanent middle school addition to replace the modular classrooms, remodel the school entrances for safety and security, reconfigure the parking lot at Stanfield elementary and remove asbestos and lead pipes, as well as expanding the wood and metal shop.

In other results from the election, Morrow County voters renewing the current five year local option tax supporting general operations of the Morrow County Health District almost 80 percent to 20 percent against it. In contested elections, Emily Spike won Echo School Board position 2 in a landslide over Connie Caplinger, 105 to 18, and in Umatilla incumbent Toby Cranston beating out challenger Jennifer Armstrong 254 to 178 votes. in Stanfield, Cecili Longhorn elected to school board position 2 with 210 votes over the 192 votes cast for Jim Griffin.
Josh Goller, Dave Smith, Brent Pitney, Bonnie Luisi and Ginny Holthus retain their seats ont he Hermiston School Board. Ric Sheran and Spike Piersol , and Eldon Marcum each retaining seats on the Umatilla County Fire District #1 board.
Don Rice, Chris Brown, and Jane Hill retain their seas on the Blue Mountain Community College board, as do Verneda Wagner, Ryan Neal, and Joe McElligott on the InterMountain ESD Board.
Umatilla County had a voter 13 percent turnout. In Morrow County, it was 33 percent.

Up to 195 laid off at Hinkle
May 21, 2019
Large-scale layoffs today at the Hinkle rail yard.
A statement this morning from Union Pacific saying:
"On May 21, Union Pacific filed a WARN notice and notified affected employees that as many as 195 positions would be abolished at its Hinkle rail yard, mechanical locomotive shop and supply warehouse located in Hermiston, Oregon.
The workforce reduction is the result of accelerating its continuous improvement plan and implementing Precision Scheduled Railroading principles.
Some switching operations that took place at Hinkle Yard have been shifted to nearby yards in Portland, Oregon; Nampa and Pocatello, Idaho; Spokane, Washington, and Ogden, Utah.
In October 2018, Union Pacific announced a workforce reduction impacting various locations across our system. We also indicated it was the first of what likely will be additional workforce reduction initiatives through 2020. These steps are part of Unified Plan 2020, which streamlines operations as we ensure Union Pacific remains a strong and competitive company."

The first locomotive shop and servicing facilities at Hinkle were constructed in 1951

Scammer targets Sandstone
May 17, 2019
A phone scam reported yesterday targeting businesses in the Hermiston area. A call claims to selling ads on a calendar and raising money for Sandstone Middle School. The Hermiston School District saying the person claims affiliation with ASF Direct and is not affiliated with Sandstone Middle School or the district in any way. They say any advertising or sponsorships initiated by the district will come directly from Larry Usher, the district’s director of athletics and activities or Lindy Thompson, the athletic secretary. The district advises community members to not engage in a conversation with the scam caller,
and instead, hang up the call and call the police department.

City launches logo, link for Funland
May 17, 2019
What to donate to help rebuild Funland Park? Click here to go straight to the city's donation page.

Law enforcement memorial tomorrow
May 15, 2019
UPDATE: Because of weather the memorial will begin with the procession at Til Taylor Park at 11 a.m., then the ceremony will follow at the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office.

This is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Week as well as Peace Officer’s week, and tomorrow, the annual the Umatilla County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at Til Taylor Park in Pendleton. The public invited to the ceremony to honor those who serve and protect.
"It's a day of celebration to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice," said Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan
Rowan saying the ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Friday. Rowan saying if the weather is poor, the ceremony could be at the catholic church in Pendleton. After the ceremony, law enforcement will participate in a lighted procession from Til Taylor to the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.

Flag ceremony at Funland Playground
May 15, 2019
Everyone also invited to a memorial service at Funland Park on Sunday. Larry Fetter saying they will be retiring and replacing the American flag at the park that burned early Friday morning –
"Really it's a show of this community that, 'This is our park. This is our playground. We're taking it back, and this is important to us,'" Fetter said.
He says the remembrance and rebuilding ceremony will be short – that’s at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Investigation into the fire is continuing.

Assessment: UCo residents are obese but claim good health
May 15, 2019
Yesterday, the debut of the 2018 Umatilla County Community Health Assessment report. The 134-page document outlines how county resident responded to a survey last fall on health aspects from marijuana use - that's up - to tobacco rates which are down. Most county residents saying they are in excellent or very good health mentally, but 70 percent of Umatilla County adults are overweight or obese. Tessa Elliot, with the health group that analyzed the data saying the number of overweight residents decreased - but the obesity rate increased. Elliot saying it is most likely residents "jumped" the category from overweight to obese - and more so in specific categories: especially in those who make less than $25,000 a year.
When considering the most important health concerns for the county, people put substance abuse, opioids, and mental health as the priorities, and the data seems to back up those concerns. The number of adults who have misused prescription medications has almost doubled since 2001, rising from 9 percent to 17 percent in 2018, and two percent of county residents considered attempting suicide in the past year. Twenty-two percent reported they or a family member were diagnosed or treated with anxiety or emotional problems.
As we reported last month, the health priorities for this year, based on the CHA report, are behavioral health, social determinants of health, chronic diseases, access to services, violence, and obesity.

City releases Funland plan, committee
May 15, 2019
Updates on the rebuild of FunLand Playground, which burned on Friday morning.
Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter saying they’ve seen tremendous report from community members and service clubs.
The mayor will be creating a taskforce of community members to help redesign and rebuild Funland Playground. He will be accepting applications – something on the city’s website soon on that announcement and what the process will look like and how you would apply. Fetter saying the new design will retain the same kind of look, feel, and character of FunLand but will meet new playground safety standards, ADA compliance – and fire resistance. They’ll be working with the company Leathers to rebuild. Leathers is the same company that built the FunLand play structure as well as the rebuild of Pendleton’s Pioneer Park – with fire resistant materials that look like wood – after that park burned in 2012.
Fore more on that process and what Parks and Rec is up to, tune in for today’s Odds & Ends program.
Hermiston Police Department treating it as a criminal investigation – they have not used the word arson.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston saying the investigation has been an uphill battle for the department but they have been dealt uphill battles before and had some success.

2 deaths at Umatilla house fire
May 13, 2019
Umatilla Police have confirmed two deaths discovered at a house fire yesterday.
Umatilla County Dispatch received a 911 call at 5:00 p.m. Sunday reporting a house fire at a home on John Day Street. The Umatilla Rural fire District and Umatilla Police Department responding to the scene and located two deceased people inside the residence, identified as homeowners Roger Frances, 67, and Ruth Frances, 68.
A press release stated, "At this time, the investigation is continuing, but it is believed that this is no more than a tragic accident with no danger to the public."
The home sustained minimal fire damage but damage from heat and smoke was significant.
Roger Frances was the Public Works Superintendent for the City of Umatilla. He retired in 2013 after 25 years.
Emergency responders were on scene for more than four hours Sunday.

Council talks Hermiston Foods, EOTEC
May 13, 2019
The play structure and the fire last week at FunLand at Butte Park are not on the agenda during tonight’s Hermiston City Council meeting, but there is a good chance the topics will come up.
The city council is also talking about the future of the Hermiston Foods facility with a proposed redevelopment of the site. They’ll have a proclamation about national police week, award a contract for an overlay on Hermiston Avenue and have a public hearing about annexing property on Elm Avenue into city limits.
The city council will meet in a work session at 6 tonight to consider the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center Strategic Plan. The regular meeting begins at 7 p.m., both at Hermiston City Hall. Follow this link for the full agenda.

School Board to hear reports
May 13, 2019
The Hermiston School Board of Education also meeting tonight. On the agenda, the enrollment report, financial reports, a transportation report and a vote on the union contract for Hermiston Association of Teachers. It’s a two-year contract that includes a 3 percent cost of living increase. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at Hermiston School District offices. Click here for the full agenda.

Stanfield City Manager leaving
May 13, 2019
There’s also a special Stanfield City Council meeting tomorrow
he Stanfield City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 14th to discuss the recruitment of a new City Manager. City Manager Blair Larsen saying he is departing to take a position with another city.  Public Comment is invited regarding these documents and the City Manager Recruitment Process. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.

Fire at FunLand guts playground
May 10, 2019
A fire at funland early this morning – and a criminal investigation
Umatilla County Fire District #1 dispatched at 2:43 this morning to a fire in the Funland play structure at Butte Park. Early estimates are that 90 percent of the “castle” play structure is burned – either destroyed or damaged. The investigator spending most of this morning as part of the investigation to assess damages and origin.
The city of Hermiston is asking the community to stay clear of the area during investigation and cleanup.
Funland was built in 1995. This is the second fire at the Funland playground. It previously burned in 2001.
Officials saying they hope to have the undamaged portions of butte park open this afternoon but cannot give a timeline on the play structures.

Changes coming for U-P at Hinkle
May 7, 2019
Union Pacific Railroad is switching some operations away from the Hinkle Yard, but no word yet on what exactly that means for Hinkle employees. A U-P spokesman confirming yesterday that some yard operations will shift to yards in Portland, Nampa and Pocatello, Idaho, Spokane Washington, and Ogden, Utah.
Rumors circulating about additional layoffs at Hinkle because of the change, but the railroad has not released any information. These wouldn’t be the first layoffs: In October, Union-Pacific announced layoffs as part of its Unified Plan 2020, and some estimates place the workers let go from the Hinkle Yard at just under 100 employees since that date. The Hinkle employees around 400 people.

Pipeline, budget, subdivision on agendas
May 7, 2019
Building a pipeline, honoring police, and bringing awareness of mental health all on the agenda tonight for the Umatilla City Council.
City Manager Dave Stockdale saying the resolutions on the agenda tonight are some of the final steps before that project can move forward. The council will also consider resolutions renewing the Umatilla Community Center lease, permitting with the bureau of reclamation and signing an agreement with the special library district. Multiple proclamations also on the agenda tonight in Umatilla
National corrections week, national police week and peace officers memorial day and mental health awareness. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall.
Find Umatilla's full agenda here.
Stanfield
The Stanfield City Council also meeting tonight, and they’ll be tackling the budget . The meeting begins at 6 in the council chambers on Coe Avenue. It incluse a budget committee meeting for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The proposed budget is just over $3.7 million – an increase of less than half a percent from the 2018-19 budget. The revenue increase attributed to property tax increases, the city’s electric utility franchise fees and grant funding for street project. The budget increases in personnel costs, including an additional public works operator position. City Manager Blair Larson saying the city is in good financial shape and the budget is conservative and strategic.
During tonight’s council meeting the council also recognizing former city councilor Jack Huxoll in appreciation of his 20 years of service to the city.
Boardman
A subdivision presentation and a garbage rate increase on the agenda for the Boardman city council tonight. That meeting includes presentations from Ed Glenn as well as Katie Dawson, with West Glenn Subdivision.
It begins at 7 tonight.

Screen free week is this week
May 1, 2019
Children could be spending more than 32 hours a week in front of an electronic screen – and making sure they have balance is part of the motivation of screen free week, which happens to b this week. It’s an effort to use the time you would be spending on “entertainment screens” – that means you can’t use it as an excuse not to get your work done or do homework – doing other activities.
Angie Treadwell, with the OSU Extension says they’re celebrating screen free week with a special event this Thursday in downtown Hermiston. It’s from 4:30 to 7 It aligns with the first Thursday downtown. Local merchants will have activities, they’ll have Food Hero recipe tastings, spin art, flower arranging, helmet fitting, preschooler activities and fitness programs, from kids dancing through yoga and zumba.
The library will also have an activity, and there will be an event passport. Receive stamps from all the activities, and you can enter the passport for a prize drawing.

Echo, Hermiston FFA set plant sales
May 1, 2019
If you are looking for any plants this spring, this is the week to do it: both the Hermiston and Echo FFA chapters have plant sales scheduled this week.
The Echo FFA has its annual plant sale kicks off this afternoon (WEDNESDAY) from 1 to 5 in the Echo greenhouse and continues from 1-5 tomorrow, 10-2 on Friday and Saturday. In Hermiston, the sale begins tomorrow (THURSDAY)
Junior Kirsten Myers says you’ll want to come early for the best selection. The Hermiston FFA sale lasts tomorrow afternoon and from 10 to 7 on Friday. The sale is in the greenhouse.
If you’re not sure where you’ll be planting those vegetables, flowers, and succulents, the Hermiston community garden – lovin’ spadefuls – does have on-site registration this Friday and Saturday.

Pacific Power changing meters
May 1, 2019
Electric Meters are changing for Pacific Power customers across the area. Pacific Power saying it will replace about 22,000 meters in Eastern Oregon from Arlington to Adams – and most of them will be in Umatilla and Morrow counties including in Hermiston, Echo, and Boardman.
The installations begin the week of May 13 and continue until August. The smart meters expected to track outages and let customers view power usage hour-by-hour.
Hermiston Energy Services installed automated meters in February of 2018.

Teens not aware of nicotine in vaping
April 29, 2019
More evidence that teens may not realize how much nicotine is in the e-cigs they use. A study published last week in finding 40 percent of teens who reported using products only using nicotine-free products showed signs of nicotine use in tests. Kary Tuers, addiction prevention coordinator with Umatilla County Public Health, says you're more likely to become addicted to a substance the younger you try it - all the way up until age 25.
"I think the No. 1 goal that we're working on is preventing new users - and we're looking at new users who are kids, young people under the age of 21," she said. "It's very addictive, and it's very hard to quit."
Tuers says because chemicals go down smoothly when vaping, users may receive more nicotine than they realize, and the addiction can happen very quickly. Research showing about one in five high school students now say they've used an e-cig at least once over the past month, and UCO Public Health is working one education campaigns to let adults - and teens - know of the risks.

County improvement areas set
April 29, 2019
Vaping is on the rise in Umatilla County, as well as nationwide, and addiction is one of the six areas chosen for the focus of this year's community health improvement plans for the county. The focus areas come from the community needs assessment, which was sent out last fall. They'll be showing the results of the assessment during a special event May 14 at Good Shepherd, but the Healthy Communities Coalition last week releasing the six chosen focus areas: Behavior health, including mental health and substance abuse; social determinants, including food insecurity and homelessness; access to services; violence; chronic diseases, and obesity.

Fiesta Foods to close
April 26, 2019
News that the Hermiston Fiesta Foods is closing. The clearance process begins May 1 – that’s Wednesday. A statement from Craig Gaylord, president and owner of Fiesta Foods, saying the decision was made because of long-term performance of the store.
"Evaluating the needs in the markets we are in and the investments needed to sustain this store, our team concluded it made the most sense to close this store and focus on other ways we can best serve the communities we are in and perform the best: Pasco, Sunnyside and Yakima," Gaylord said in a press release.
As the closure begins, the Hermiston Fiesta Foods will have reduced hours – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

County looking for flood damage
April 25, 2019
Work continues to track flood damage in Umatilla County. This week, Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management toured flooded locations in Hermiston, Umatilla, and Pendleton, alongside county staff. Phelps saying the state is providing any assistance they can and trying to reach the minimum threshold values required to request a federal declaration.
The county is asking any residents with damage to their homes or property from the recently flooding who have not yet been contacted to email Umatilla County Emergency Management at floods2019@umatillacounty.net. The deadline for reporting damages is April 30, 2019.

Steps to Success, In Her Shoes this Saturday
April 25, 2019
Part of that flood damage is at Riverfront Park and the Oxbow Trail in Hermiston. That damage prompting some changes and reorganization in the Steps to Success Fun Run / Walk and the In Her Shoes event, both of which are scheduled for this weekend. It’s the third year for Steps 2 Success, organized by the Good Shepherd Health Care System’s Wellness Committee. Darren Preuninger says it is designed to help people become active – at their own level.
They’re offering a one mile, 5k, and 10k. Registration is $15, and that includes snacks and lunch. For another $10, you can add a t-shirt to your registration. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the Oxbow Trail Head across from Good Shepherd.
Going on immediately after Steps to Success, the Walk in Her Shoes event, a benefit and awareness event for Domestic Violence Services. Sharon Neuvirth says The program allows participants to answer one of the most common Domestic violence questions: why don’t they just leave.
"We have stories of victims that you walk through, and you get to decide where you go for help," she said.
Neuvirth says the event is typically an indoor outreach, but they’ve moved it outdoors to add a fitness element. Walk in Her Shoes is from 9 until noon Saturday at Riverfront Park.
Steps to Success begins at 8 a.m. They will be doing on-site registration at 8 a.m. You can also register online at this link. Proceeds benefit Hermiston Special Olympics and Domestic Violence Services.

Crime trends down - thanks to weather
April 24, 2019
The Hermiston Police Department releasing crime trends for the first quarter of 2019 compared to first quarter of 2018 – and the 10-year trend.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston saying total crime is down 8 percent over the 10-year average and 7 percent over last year’s. He says they have an idea why:
"Those are obviously trends we like to see, but the reality is, weather probably played some role in assisting us," he said. "Any time you get a February full of snow, it tends to keep people inside and not out committing crimes."
Edmiston says one significant change was 47 percent drop in violent crime rates for the quarter. The police chief saying the police force has been able to handle crime in Hermiston, even as the city has continued to grow in population over past decade. He says as the population of Hermiston continues to grow, they will consider growing the police force.

Details on city's Teen Adventure Park plans
April 24, 2019
Speaking of growing - More details coming out about the Hermiston Teen Adventure Park planned for property across the street from the police station. The design phase for the ½ acre park will continue until June, but Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says they’ve used community feedback – primarily from teens – to create a preliminary design and seek grant funding. Phase 1 – the 500,000 – is the covered skatepark. Fetter says the skate park is still the primary feature, but expanding the focus allows the city to be more competitive in grant applications.
"In Phase 2, we would include a restroom, a BMX pump track - you can actually ride this pump track without ever pedaling once, if you know what you're doing," he said. "We're excited about having that."
Phase 2 will also include a parkour element, a climbing wall, and a swing set – an element Fetter says never goes out of style. The adventure park is planned for a triangle-shaped proper
You can find a video of the proposed design on the city’s facebook by clicking on this link.

EOTEC report, skatepark on agenda tonight
April 22, 2019
Coming up tonight, the strategic plan for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. That’s the primary item during the work session the Hermiston city Council has tonight. That work session begins at 6 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall, and the regular meeting opens at 7 with the flag salute and the a presentation from Umatilla County Public Health. Multiple annexation hearings and ordinances are on the agenda, as is information about a grant Parks and Rec is applying for on development of a skateboard and teen adventure park. The project expected to cost $1.1 million. Hear more about the teen adventure park on our Odds & Ends program. Find the full meeting agenda here.
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight. They’ll be at Sunset Elementary School starting at 6:30 p.m., but the work session agenda is light – including a presentation from the school, a report from the superintendent and an executive session for union negotiations. Follow this link for the full agenda.

Hermiston breaks ground on water tower
April 18, 2019
Groundbreaking yesterday of the new water tank in North Hermiston.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann says housing has been a top priority in Hermiston for years and this project will allow the infrastructure for companies to build.

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City and county officials break ground on the $4.1 million water storage tank and system improvement project on Wednesday.

The site will soon have a water that tower will rise almost 130 feet into the air – it’ll be elevated on columns off the ground.
The multi-million dollar water tower and water system improvements are being paid for by a partnership with the city and the county through funding available by the expansion of Lamb Weston.
County Commissioner John Shafer saying the partnership is what will make the project successful, and County Commissioner George Murdock saying he believes the water tower and water system improvements will lead to more houses.
"I would love to see a thousand houses up here," he said. "I think we need a thousand more houses."
At the groundbreaking on Wednesday, Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith says it will be about 9 months of construction, and they hope to be able to use the tank by the end of this calendar year.
Smith says the city would like to add an additional water tank to serve South Hermiston eventually, giving the city four water tanks to reduce risk if anything happens to one tank.

Stanfield has dinner, eggs, information
April 18, 2019
Tonight, the sixth annual community dinner and Easter egg hunt in Stanfield. The dinner starts at 6:30, and the Easter egg hunt will follow. Both are at Stanfield Secondary School this year. It’s a joint fundraiser for the 4th of July Committee and the Friends of the Stanfield Schools Bond, and Beth Burton, Stanfield school superintendent, says you can attend just the dinner or both the dinner and the Easter egg hunt – and they’ll have officials on site with information about the proposed bond.
The Stanfield Schools are seeking a $14 million construction bond in the May election.

Report child abuse, officials say
April 17, 2019
The month of April is child abuse prevention month – and local experts are focusing on information about child abuse, how it affects children, the child welfare system, and the community.
"It's very important to focus on that and the fact that it does happen. It's not some other place - it's locally," Marvin Hamilton said. "It happens here, and it happens every day."
Marvin Hamilton and Jessica Southwick, both with local DHS say child abuse is a concern locally, and most child abuse cases begin with someone else in the community reporting it.
"If there's something that just leaves you uncomfortable, report it, and then we'll determine if we need to go out and investigate," Southwick said.
To report, you can contact any DHS office or the state tip line.

Flood updates
April 15, 2019
Flood impacts still impacting Umatilla County, including the collapse of a footbridge in Umatilla.
An incident management team from the State Fire Marshall’s Office onsite at the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center in Pendleton as McKay Creek flooding threatens homes.
One adult living facility in Pendleton was evacuated on Saturday., and the Red Cross is operating an emergency shelter opened at the Pendleton Convention Center.
In Umatilla, the footbridge over the Umatilla River between South Hill and the Athletic Complex near Umatilla High School collapsing. The bridge is closed and blocked off. The Umatilla Police Department saying anyone who breaches the caution tape could be charged with criminal trespassing.

Second person charged in Navarette homicide
April 15, 2019
A second person charged in the death of Erik Navarrete.
29-year-old Vincent Wesley David Shermantine, of Hermiston, charged with felony murder, first-degree robbery, unlawful use of a weapon, and felon in possession of a firearm.
He has been in the Umatilla County Jail since March 29th when he was arrested on an unrelated probation violation warrant. David Summerville, 19, has also been charged in the shooting.
Anybody with information about this case is asked to contact Lieutenant Randy Studebaker at 541-667-5095.
Any additional information will be released by the Umatilla County District Attorney's Office.

BMCC celebrates Arts & Culture this week
April 15, 2019
This week, Blue Mountain Community College hosts its annual arts and culture festival with a number of speakers, presentations, and events highlight different examples of arts and culture. BMCC Hermiston Director Jacelyn Keys says the goal of the event is to broaden perspectives:
"Expose us to different ideas, different are pieces, and different elements of thinking about the world around us, so the theme this year is 'A Sense of Place' and how we define a sense of place," she said.
The sessions begin on the Pendleton campus today, and the first presentation in Hermiston is tomorrow afternoon. Hermiston campus has presentations scheduled tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday, ranging from an African market and discussion of Maasai women in Africa to the experience of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, to a woman recounting a forced childhood exodus in eastern Asia.
All sessions are open to the public. Find the full schedule of events here.

HPD makes arrest in Navarrete homicide
April 12, 2019
Hermiston Police making an arrest in a homicide from last summer.
At 1:20 a.m. on June 4th of 2018, Hermiston Police responded to a report of shots fired in the 500 block of West Hartley Avenue. When officers arrived, they found 26-year-old Erik Navarrete, who had been shot in the head and was unconscious. He was flown to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland and then taken off life support several days later.
On March 26th of this year, 19-year-old David Edgar Sommerville, of Hermiston, arrested on multiple charges, including resisting arrest, possession of methamphetamine, and carrying a concealed weapon. None of those charges had anything to do with the homicide, although Captain Travis Eynon saying Sommerville was a suspect.
On Wednesday, the Navarrete homicide case was presented to the Umatilla County Grand Jury. The Grand Jury returned an indictment accusing Sommerville of Aggravated Murder, Felony Murder, two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and Robbery in the First Degree. In the coming days, it is possible that additional persons will be charged for their suspected role in the Navarrete homicide.

No flood damage numbers until Monday - at least
April 12, 2019
Flooding and running water still reported across Umatilla and Morrow counties. Officials saying 6 inches of running water can move a car and advising local residents not to attempt to drive across moving water. Officials say it will take at least until Monday – if not longer – to determine the scope of flood damage. On Wednesday, Umatilla County Commissioners declaring a state of emergency because of flooding. County Commissioner John Shaffer saying the declaration could help the county receive state or federal aid.
"What that will do is if the threshold of damage reaches a certain level, the government will reimburse us for that," he said. "Unfortunately, we won't know what that is until the crisis is over."
Shaffer saying damages are still occurring. The city of Ukiah has declared an emergency because two levies have failed, and multiple county roads impacted by washouts and erosion because of the flooding, across Umatilla and Morrow counties.

Clean-up events this weekend
April 12, 2019
This weekend, the City of Hermiston wants your recyclable trash. It’s the second of the three clean-sweep events: Hermiston Recycling Event in the Umatilla Electric cooperative parking lot.
Larry Fetter with Hermiston Parks and Recreation says they’ll be taking all broken-down cardboard, mixed paper, clean wood, and electronics. They’ll even be taking paint, tires, scrap metal and appliances. The big thing to remember is that each item needs to be separated. They will not be taking motor oil or hazardous materials or liquids.
Visit Hermiston.or.us for the full list of what will and will not be accepted. That is again the Hermiston Recycling Event, 9 to 3 tomorrow at Umatilla Electric Cooperative.
Also on Saturday, Umatilla’s Slam Dunk the Junk city clean up event. You can contact Umatilla City Hall for more, and this weekend is also a SAGE Saturday – they’ll be building kites from 10 until 1 or when materials run out. Admission to the SAGE Center is free during the event as well.

Chamber names new leader
April 10, 2019
The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce announcing a new leader yesterday. Kimberly Nevil named the new Chief Executive Officer, replacing former executive director Debbie Pedro. Nevil is currenly a business and employment specialist with the Oregon Employment Department in Hermiston. Nevil is a Hermiston High School graduate who holds a degree in business administration from Eastern Oregon Univeristy.
She begins with the chamber on April 22.

Umatilla Robotics qualify for World Championships
April 8, 2019
Umatilla High School’s Robotics team winning the Chairman’s Award at the Pacific Northwest Championship over the weekend. The award qualifies the team to head to the World Finals in Houston – they’ll be leaving on Sunday.
Find more about Umatilla's Robotics team here.

Council heads to airport, school board meets tonight
April 8, 2019
The Hermiston City Council is heading to the airport.
Tonight a work session tour of the Hermiston Airport followed by the council meting – at the Hermiston Airport Terminal Building at 1600 E. Airport Way. That meeting begins at 7 at the location. It will include proclamation of a census countdown,
A report on EOTEC and a vote on a policy for granting water and sewer utility adjustments for customers who have a proven leak, and who have fixed the leak
Click here for the full agenda.
Recognition of the Hermiston High School Stardust Dance team is on tap for the Hermiston School Board meeting tonight. The school board will also have an enrollment report and a presentation on the special education program report card. The meeting begins at 6:30 at the district office. Find the full agenda here.

UNF warns of flooding
April 8, 2019
Finally, a warning from officials at the Umatilla National Forest that the rainfall over the weekend has increased the risk of flooding. Forest officials advising the public to use caution when traveling on the Forest, as roads and trails could be impacted by washouts or obstructions (such as rocks or boulders). That includes the Umatilla, Grande Ronde, and Walla Walla rivers, as well as the North Folk of the John Day River.
Officials saying visitors should contact their local ranger district before starting their tip. Most forest roads are still not accessible due to mud, snow or snow drifts. In addition, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and serious safety concerns, especially if visitors are unprepared. For updates on flooding, you can monitor the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page and website.

State looking for senior care advocates
April 4, 2019
There are 685 long-term care facilities in Oregon – including nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities. Natascha Cronin, Volunteer Recruitment Specialist, Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, says they try to have an ombudsman – basically an advocate – in each facility, but their numbers have between 170 and 200 statewide – and she has none in Umatilla county They’re looking for more volunteers. A volunteer advocate will visit a facility weekly, but Cronin says when there are no volunteers, it is more likely the area will only be visited by staff from the program where there is a complaint. To have a training in Umatilla County, they need three volunteers in Umatilla county, so they’re looking for anyone interested in volunteering. The Minimum age is 21, and the commitment is a few hours a week. Find more on the website.