by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com

Reckless burning, house fire arrest
Feb. 15, 2019
Reckless burning leading to a house fire in Irrigon on Wednesday. A vehicle on fire reported at 7:13 in the evening, and Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying the vehicle parked next to a single-wide trailer, which also caught fire. Irrigon Fire Department, Irrigon Ambulance, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Boardman Fire and Umatilla Fire all responded to the scene. No one was in the home at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. After investigation by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Palmer, 20 from Irrigon and Echo was arrested and charged with Reckless Burning and Criminal Mischief II.

ODOT warning of I-84 travel
Feb. 15, 2019
ODOT warning Travelers on Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge should be ready for a wintry mix of weather over the next week and have supplies with them in case of major delays.
ODOT crews have been treating I-84 with deicer and salt both before and after a series of crashes on the icy, snow-packed road closed the westbound lanes from Tuesday night until Wednesday afternoon. The crashes delayed the arrival of the equipment that could clear the road, leading to a buildup of ice and snow.
The Gorge often sees hazardous weather. With more severe weather expected in the days ahead, ODOT recommending travelers should avoid I-84 in the Gorge if possible.
If you do go:
·    Check TripCheck.com or call 5-1-1 for latest road and weather conditions.
·    Give yourself extra time and slow down and drive for conditions.
·    Carry chains and know how to use them.
·    Carry supplies for you and your passengers – blankets, food, water, and medications

Yard sale, fishing this weekend
Feb. 15, 2019
Coming up this weekend, Agape House has a name-your-price yardsale, Oregon East Symphony has its winter chamber music festival, and
Also this weekend, it’s free to fish, crab, or clam. The free fishing is for Saturday and Sunday of the President’s Day Weekend. During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.

Walden announces Umatilla, Morrow county town halls
Feb. 14, 2019
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden will be in Boardman on Monday for his Morrow County town hall, and today also announcing town halls in Hood River, the Dalles, and Hermiston for early March. The Umatilla County Town Hall Meeting will be at 4 p.m. at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Friday, March 15.

Wheatridge is Renewable Energy facility in new announcement
Feb. 13, 2019
The nation’s first major energy facility combining wind, solar, and battery storage is coming… to Morrow County. Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy officially announcing plans to build the
Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility just north of Lexington.
A press release from PGE says Wheatridge will provide 300 jobs during construction of the wind site and 175 jobs during construction of the solar and battery storage portions. They’re expecting to have 10 full-time employees once the facility is up and running.
Permitting on the Wheatridge wind farm began in 2009. NextEra Energy aquired the project in 2017 and has expanded the project to include solar and battery storage. PGE will own about a third of the wind project. The facility expected to generage 300 megawatts of wind generation, 50 megawatts of solar and 30 megawats of battery storage.
Morrow County Commissioner Don Russell says the announcement is great news for Morrow County and will benefit communities through jobs, property taxes, and community support.
Read the full press release here.

HPD: Violent crime down from 2017, still above 10-year average
Feb. 12, 2019
Preliminary crime trends from 2018 released by the Hermiston Police Department yesterday.
"Overall, preliminary information is a fairly flat year," Police Chief Jason Edmiston said.
HPD reporting 673 total violent and property crimes in 2018 . That includes increases in burglary, arson, rape, and robbery and decreases in aggravated assaults, homicides.The largest crime area was larceny with 471 reported cases, followed by84 burglaries and 42 auto thefts. Compared to the 10-year average, property crimes were down 6 percent while violent crimes were up 22 percent with 44 incidents in 2018 and only 36 in the 10-year average. The violent crime rate was down 4 percent from the violent crimes in 2017.

Snow closures and delays
Feb. 11, 2019
Most area schools on a delay today, either two- or three-hour delays.
That does not include the Hermiston School District, which has announced it will begin the school day on time.
Blue Mountain Community College closed today on both the Hermiston and Pendleton campuses.. The Workforce Training Center in Boardman and the Milton-Freewater Center will delay opening until 9:30 a.m. The Baker County Center will remain on schedule.
The BMCC President candidate we were supposed to have on campus today for interviews/forums is rescheduled for this Wednesday.
In terms of local schools, Umatilla, Stanfield, and Morrow County Schools all on a three-hour delay this morning.
Echo School District also not announcing delays or closures.

City Council considers airport lease
Feb. 11, 2019
Unless the snow cancels or postpones it, there is a Hermiston City Council meeting scheduled for tonight, and on the agenda, the council voting on a five-year lease agreement with Gorge Aviation Services for a city-owned hangar at the airport.
Gorge Aviation Services approached the city in early 2018 about relocating to the Hermiston Airport from the Dalles. . The company has been sub-leasing a hangar at the airport since spring of 2018, and during that time, they took over the contract of management at the airport. The city saying for the first seven months of fiscal year 19, fuel sales at the airport are up 33 percent – and that’s mainly because they of Gorge Aviation locating on the site.
The city considering a proposal to allow Gorge Aviation to renovate the Blue Hangar in exchange for a reduced lease on the property and continued operations – the city saying the net loss in revenue for the first year expected to be $10,000 but hat can be offset by the increase in fuel sale revenue by having GAS on the airfield – that increased $62,000 last year.
Also on the agenda tonight, a franchise agreement for the regional water system with the city of Umatilla – this will provide water for the VaData data centers. A report on EOTEC, and a liquor license application, and a presentation from he Hermiston School District.
Click here for the full agenda.

School District to approve calendar
Feb. 11, 2019
The Hermiston School district meeting at 6:30 Monday at the Hermiston School District offices. The action item is the 2019-2020 school calendar. That calendar begins on Aug. 26 and the last day of school would be June 8.
The board will also have an enrollment report , a financial report and will meet in a closed-door executive session to discuss labor negotiations. Find the full agenda here.

Forest warns of winter driving
Feb. 7, 2019
The following is a press release from the Umatilla National Forest:
Despite an overall mild winter with lower snowfall, many areas on the Umatilla National Forest are still covered in snow or may have obstructions on the road. Forest officials caution the public that Forest roads are not maintained for winter travel. Visitors traveling to the Forest are doing so at their own risk and should plan ahead before starting their trip.
The Umatilla National Forest does not plow roads or clear them for downed trees or boulders in the winter. Many Forest roads close during the winter to protect wildlife during the months when they are most vulnerable (see the Umatilla National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) for specific seasonal road closure information). The conditions of roads that remain open during the winter can change dramatically and without warning. Winter storms often bring wind, snow and rain that can substantially affect road and trail conditions, causing hazards and obstructions in roadways.
Find the full release and recommendations here.

Hermiston teen killed in Washington wreck
Feb. 4, 2019
A 16-year-old from Hermiston killed in a car crash near Olympia, Washington, on Saturday, according to Washington State Patrol. The Olympian reporting two Oregon vehicles were traveling on I-5 when one had a flat tire. Both vehicles pulled over on the shoulder of the freeway , and at about 1:45 p.m., a Ford Focus crashed into the back of the victim’s vehicle, a Nissan Altima.

The 16-year-old girl in the rear left passenger seat was the only person killed, although a 42-year-old woman in the Altima and an eight-year-old girl in the Focus were injured. The other occupants of the Altima were a 48-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy. The driver of the Focus was a 40-year-old man from Washington, and Washington State Patrol saying impaired driving is believed to be a possible cause. The Olympian reporting the driver of the focus is facing possible charges of vehicular homicide and reckless endangering.

HPD arrests 2 for theft, burglary
Feb. 4, 2019
Hermiston Police also making arrests in burglary and theft cases on Friday. A release from HPD saying both suspects, 23-year-old Chalen Ottmar and 25-year-old Meliza Flores, both of Hermiston, had property reported stolen in their possession at the time of arrest. They have each been charged with multiple theft and burglary related offenses as well as possession of methamphetamine.
The items recovered are related to a commercial burglary from December. Hermiston Police saying that burglary may be related to multiple package thefts from December as well.
The investigation is ongoing.

UCSO interrupts theft
Feb. 1, 2019
A theft interrupted and a subject arrested Friday morning by the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office.
A deputy responding at 3:40 in the morning to report of a suspicious person trespassing at Hendon Construction in Umatilla. Arriving on scene, the deputy locating a man hiding under a pickup parked near a perimeter fence. The investigation releaving a large hole had been cut in the fence and possible stolen property within the vhicle. The man, 24-year-old James Cooper, of Cheney, Wash., was arrested. He has been charged with Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Controlled Substance – Meth, Possession of Burglary Tools, Theft II, Criminal Trespass II and Criminal Mischief III.
The Investigation is on-going.

Wizard of Oz premiers this weekend
Jan. 31, 2019
Coming up this weekend, the Hermiston High School is off to see the wizard.
The annual musical premiers this weekend, and this year it’s “The Wizard of Oz” Tickets are available at Hermiston High School. You can call and ask for the bookkeeper. Some tickets will also be available at the door.
Tickets for adults are $10. Those for seniors over age 65 and are 8, and for children 3 to 18 are $5, and children under age 3 are free. Drama Director Beth Anderson says it’s an all-age production with sets, costumes, and special effects.
"I don't think you will be bored," Anderson says. "We have snow coming down on the stage, we have a live Toto, we have fabulous singing and dancing."
The Wizard of Oz premiers this weekend with showtimes at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday as well as a Sunday matinee. Next weekend, shows run Friday and Saturday, also at 7. Contact Hermiston High School for more information.

5K includes cupcakes
Jan. 31, 2019
Looking ahead, there’s a 5K Fun Run and Walk next weekend that features cupcakes. It’s the second annual Sprinkles are for Winners 5K, hosted by Higher Power Fitness and One More and it will raise funds for a spring youth mission trip to Mexico., The entry fee is only $5 or $25 if you want a T-shirt. They will take day-of registrations at Riverfront Park that Saturday, but if you want a t-shirt, you have to register today.
For questions, call 541314-2092 or 541-289-5483

Fire alarm causes evacuation
Jan. 30, 2019
On the topic of the high school,
Students and staff evacuated from Hermiston High School this morning and emergency responders were on site. The Hermiston School District saying a sensor tripped a fire alarm in the gym, and once the building was cleared, students and staff were allowed back inside. The entire incident took less than 45 minutes.

Trails, walking challenge moving forward
Jan. 29, 2019
Work moving ahead on the west end Prescription Trails program. That program will allow for mapping, difficulty designation, directions, and health information about trails in the community. Jamie Crowell, with Good Shepherd, says they recently received a grant from the Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation to add distance signage along the trails in the system.
"We would like to put up distance markers so when people are on the trails, they can see when they've walked a half mile, a mile," she said. "It also helps reduce the barriers for people who may be afraid of going on the trail and then getting lost. It does provide some direction."
They’re also getting ready to design a website and are hoping to launch that program in the spring.
Good Shepherd also moving ahead with the “Hermiston Walks” challenge – part of the American Public Health Associations’ 1 Billion Steps Challenge. The challenge started at the beginning of 2019, and participants an join up until April 7. The Hermiston team hopes to walk 1 million steps during the challenge period. They’ve created a team through movespring. To join:
1. Sign up for a movespring account at this link.
2. Enter the organization code: APHA2019
3. Scroll down and click on join team
4. Search for our team name: Hermiston Walks
5. Join theteam and sync your device or manually enter your steps

Bridge closes, city talks public works
Jan. 28, 2019
A closure of the bridge on South First between Crestline and Desert Sky Drive begins next Monday. Detour signs and traffic control will go out on Friday, and the full closure begins Feb. 4. City of Hermiston saying the contractor has 45 days to complete all work on the replacement The city says the existing canal crossing is being replaced with a much wider box culvert in order to accommodate continued growth.
That project one in the capital improvement plan for the city, and the planning does continue in tonight’s Hermiston City Council meeting. The city expected to adopt the Public Works Capital Improvement Plan during tonight’s meeting. Also on the agenda, a motion to award a construction contract to Sineco Construction to remove and replace an undersized segment of sewer line on SE 7th Street and a agreement with the Umatilla County Special Library District to renew the library services contract. That meeting begins at 7 p.m. at city hall. Find the full agenda here.

School district meets tonight
Jan. 28, 2019
The Hermiston school District also meeting tonight in a work session at Rocky Heights Elementary School. In addition to a presentation from school staff, they’re expected to have a bond and tax report. Click here for the agenda.

Grad rates improve - mostly
Jan. 24, 2019
The Oregon Department of Education today releasing high school graduation rates. The numbers reflect students who graduated last May and June.
The state's overall four-year high school graduation rate increased 2-percent
last year to 78-point-7 percent. Over the last four years, the rate has increased nearly 7-percent.
The Hermiston School District found both good news and, well, not as bad news, in this year's results. Hermiston's graduation rate is only 74.2 percent, still below the state average of 78 but still an 8.2 percent increase over what the district rate showed in 2017.
The district also saw c in the four-year improvement rate with a rate of 87.47, which is higher than the state average of 82.53.
In the Umatilla School District, superintendent Heidi Sipe says Umatilla High School students exceed the state average in 20 of 22 categories – trailing only in girls by 2 percent and English language learners by 1.2 percent. The overall district graduation rate was just over 84 percent.
Stanfield School District fell just below the state average, with a 76.92 percent graduation rate, a drop of almost 10 percent from its four-year rate in 2016-17 school year. Almost the opposite affect for Morrow County, which had an overall graduation rate of 82.86 percent, up more than 5 points from last year’s 77.84.
Echo School graduated 87.5 percent of its students, in a class of 34 students
Read more on the ODE website.

Lawsuit against rural Oregon schools
Jan. 23, 2019
A lawsuit against local school districts over providing resources for students with behavior-related disabilities. The suit filed this week by Disability Rights Oregon claims school districts, especially in rural areas, cut school days short for children and do not provide a full day of education. The suit alleging children with disabilities are removed from general classrooms or sent home because of disruptive behaviors. Among the complaints, parents being required to pick up their children shortly after the school day begins. A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education told the Seattle Times he could not comment on pending litigation, but the department is “committed to equity and excellence for every learner.

Bus system expands
Jan. 23, 2019
The Hermiston HART bus service is expanding hours by almost 50% next month. The new routes designed for people who work 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 jobs and begin Feb. 4. The bus will now run from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

City looks for skatepark feedback
Jan. 23, 2019
There’s a city meeting tomorrow night where officials hope teenagers attend. The Hermiston Parks and Recreation Department is seeking public input for the design of the city’s new skatepark. The meeting begins at 3:45 tomorrow at Hermiston High School, and Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter says the event is at Hermiston High School because most skate park users will be high school students.
Fetter says they are hoping to get strong feedback and finalize designs which can help make the project move forward. The skate park is planned for space across the street from the Bob Shannon Public Safety building.
Fetter says the property will likely include a half basketball court and a dirt bike area in addition to the covered skate park as a sort of an outside "rec room" for teenagers.
Fetter says the property is perfect for the use because there are no immediate neighbors but it has high visibility. He says anyone interested in hearing more is invited to attend the session. Representatives from California Skateparks, the consultants hired by the city for the project, will be available. You can hear more on today's Odds and Ends program. .

PIT count needs volunteers
Jan. 21, 2019
Once a year, a survey and count of all the homeless in an area takes place to set funding and special programs for a community. The annual Point-in-Time Count is in 10 days, and CAPECO’s Glenda McDaniel says they’re still looking for volunteers to help get the most accurate count.
"With accurate numbers, we can get the appropriate funding we need, the services that we need for our community. and we just do a better job overall as a community in fighting that homeless situation," McDaniel said.
McDaniel says the PIT count takes place on Jan. 30. They will also be collecting information from schools and other organizations on the 31st and on Feb. 1.
McDaniel says they are especially looking for volunteers from the West End of Umatilla County although volunteers are needed across all of Eastern Oregon. Volunteers may help doing counts at specific places, such as warming stations or soup kitchens, or talking with homeless in their own area: people who may be couch surfing or living in storage sheds, garages, or fifth-wheel trailers without access to restrooms.
McDaniel says there is a one-hour training volunteers would go through to understand the scope of the survey and safety regulations. If you want more information or are interested in volunteering, call CAPECO at 541-276-1926 and ask for Sean Ruud.
There is also a coat drive going on to hand out coats during the PIT count – that’s being coordinated by the education department at good shepherd

Search and Rescue training open
Jan. 21, 2019
On the topic of volunteers, Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says they’re actively looking for volunteers to join Search and Rescue. Rowan called it a vibrant and team-oriented program that is looking for members with or interested in developing outdoor skills.
Training is provided. Anyone interested in joining search and rescue as a volunteer can call the sheriff’s office at 541-966-3601 and ask for Sgt. Dwight Johnson. There is a background check and interview to make sure people are a good fit for the search and rescue program.

School delays for weather, closed for observance
Jan. 17, 2019
Heppner and Ione Schools are on a 3-HOUR DELAY on Thursday, January 17, due to freezing rain. All other Morrow County School District schools are currently on regular schedule.
A scheduling note for students and parents coming up. A note that there is no school tomorrow or Monday in the Hermiston School district. Friday an in-service day for Hermiston teachers.
Local school districts are then closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday. Classes resume Tuesday the 22nd. . If you have questions, visit your local school website or contact the school’s front office.

BENT sting spreads like wildfire
Jan. 17, 2019
The Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team acting on a seven-month investigation yesterday as part of “Operation Wildfire,” a multi-county attempt to disrupt drug trafficking organizations in Umatilla, Morrow, Union, and Gilliam County. Sixty-three people indicted as part of the operation, which involved 85 members of law enforcement, corrections, parole and probation, and child protective services, including nine officers from Hermiston Police Department, as well as assistance from patrol officers working their normal shifts. Sixteen of the people indicted as part of Operation Wildfire were already in the custody. The effort capturing more than 3 pounds – that’s almost 1500 grams – of meth, 40 grams of heroin, 6 grams of cocaine, two firearms and almost two dozen fentanyl pills.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says Operation Wildfire was well organized and the communication between agencies was impressive. He says several areas in the HPD service area were targeted and it’s always nice to disrupt illegal activity.

Kelso named Administrator of the Year
Jan. 14, 2019
Jeff Kelso is the Hermiston School District administrator of the year. The technology manager is in his third year at the Hermiston School District. Superintendent Tricia Mooney saying Kelso is an asset to the district, both for his experience and the atmosphere he brings.
Mooney making that announcement this week. Before coming to Hermiston, Kelso managed the technology department in Lake Oswego School District, where he worked for 15 years.
Kelso and the district’s educators of the year will be recognized during the Hermiston Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet next month.

Fatal rollover on Feedville
Jan. 14, 2019
A fatal rollover accident on Feedville yesterday morning.
The Hermiston Police Department saying in a press release HPD and Umatilla County Fire District No. 1 were dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover crash at 9:48 a.m.yesterday morning. The driver and lone occupant of the vehicle found unresponsive with head trauma when they arrived. He was identified as 47-year-old Michael Patrick Gallegos, of Pendleton. There are no known witnesses to the crash and the Initial investigation suggests speed may have been a relating factor, however there were no obvious signs of impairment. The investigation is ongoing.

United Way to close, merge
Jan. 15, 2019
United Way of Umatilla and Morrow Counties will merge with United Way of Walla Walla this summer.
Local United Way Executive Director Kricket Nicholson is retiring after 12 years, and a press release from the two nonprofits says the time is right for the merger, which will streamline operations. The new regional nonprofit will be United Way of the Blue Mountains.
Christy Lieuallen, executive director of United Way of Walla Walla and Columbia Counties, will oversee the regional nonprofit, which will maintain offices in both Walla Walla and Pendleton.
We will have more on the merger during the Odds & Ends Program next week.

School bonds move ahead, wrap up
Jan. 14, 2019
Preparations for one school bond underway even as another bond wraps up.
In the Umatilla School District, crews completing major projects, including the gym at McNary Heights Elementary, over the winter break. Superintendent Heidi Sipe says they only have one major project left – refinishing the gym floor at the high school that will take place over the summer – but all the other major construction in their $14 million project is complete.
Umatilla’s bond projects were expected to be done before the 2019-2020 school year began in August. Sipe says finishing six months ahead of schedule helped keep the entire project under budget.
As Umatilla wraps up, the Stanfield School District is preparing to put a bond on the ballot. Superintendent Beth Burton says planning has been going on for a long time, including community, staff, and student surveys, but it is just starting to seem real.
"The board will be adopting a resolution to put a bond measure on the ballot during our January board meeting, and I think at that point, then it will start to feel a lot more real for everyone," Burton said. "I would expect this spring for folks to see more materials around the community as far as information (about the bond). "
The Stanfield School Board is meeting this Wednesday at the district office.

City, School Board meet tonight
Jan. 14, 2019
Speaking of schools and construction, the Hermiston City Council expected to begin the process annex 71 acres of property into the city limits tonight – and that includes a chunk of property owned by the Hermiston School District. The school district plans to eventually construct an elementary school on the property, another property owner requesting annexation with multi-family residential zoning.
The council also expected to approve the final plat a subdivision expansion
The council also talking EOTEC and the proposed RV park on the EOTEC grounds.
During the meeting, the council to also discuss the goal setting report, council committee appointments, and have four council members take the oath of office, including Lori Davis, Roy Barron, Jackie Myers and Doug Smith. That meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall.
Find the full agenda here.
The Hermiston School Board also meeting tonight. On the agenda, recognition of the educators of the year and of the school board members during school board appreciation month. They’ll vote on the Quality Education Model resolution, personnel changes, and the budget calendar. They’ll also have an enrollment report and financial reports.
Find the full agenda here.

Work begins on 2020 Census
Jan. 11, 2019
The year 2019 just began, but earlier this week, on Wednesday, local officials had a Complete Count meeting, with representatives to begin work on the 2020 Census. Umatilla County Commissioner George Murdock says $675 billion is tied to that Census Count nationally – and $10 billion in Oregon.
"For every individual that's counted in Umatilla County, that means $2,500," Murdock said. "That's a lot of money."
The officials working on ways to make sure all residents are counted – and they’re also looking for locals to become Census trackers. Murdock says it could bring 300 new, temporary jobs to Umatilla County.
You can find more information about the Census on the Census.Gov website . They are not currently hiring because of the government shutdown but will begin early this year. The Census Date is April 1 of 2020.

Detours on South First Street next month
Jan. 11, 2019
Detours expected for drivers who use South First Street south of Hermiston. The City will replace a deteriorating bridge over the canal near SE Crestline Drive. That work is expected to take place from early February through the end of March, and it will affect drivers who use South First Street to access areas like Gettman and Feedville.
Bids for the project were received by the City January 10th, and additional detail about exact closure dates will be published as they are finalized with the contractor. Replacement of the South First canal crossing is one of several Capital Improvement Plan priority projects approved by the City Council in 2017.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says because of the canal and railroad crossings in this area, there simply aren’t any easy detours, so as the city continues to grow to the south, they will need to work hard to develop additional street routes through this area

Umatilla County could have a city manager
Jan. 8, 2019
Tomorrow, Umatilla County is hosting a swearing-in ceremony for County Commissioner George Murdock, who was re-elected in November. Incoming County Commissioner John Shafer was sworn in last Wednesday. As the three-member commission looks at 2019, Commissioner Bill Elfering, says there is a chance that there could be a Umatilla County Manager in the future.
"The charter review committee has looked at if there is a need for a county manager, for someone who is permanent," Elfering said. "The commissioners come and go. By nature, we run for election every four years, and every four years, there could b ea new commissioner."
Elfering says the charter review committee has considered a county manager, which would handle the daily duties and operations of the county, including personnel and the budget.
The county commissioner saying the charter committee has interviewed a county that operates with a county manager and three full time commissioners. The report from the charter review committee is due July 1. Elfering says the county commissioners will review the report to make sure any suggestions are “viable,” and then if the recommendation involves a change in county government, it will go to the voters.

Stanfield PD investigating explosion
Jan. 8, 2019
The Stanfield Police Department responded to a RV trailer explosion on Saturday afternoon at 1:05pm. A caller reported seeing flames coming from an RV trailer following the sound of an explosion at the Stanfield RV Park located at 355 S Main St in Stanfield, Oregon.
Two adults were inside the trailer when it caught on fire. They were able to escape by breaking out a trailer window. The two victims were identified as Michael Gregorio Bermejo, age 25, and Elai Borstad, age 25. Both subjects suffered critical burns and injuries. One victim was Life-Flighted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, in Portland and the second victim was flown by plane. At the time of this release, both victims are in serious but stable condition and remain in the hospital.
A search warrant was conducted at the trailer later that evening. Evidence collected from inside the trailer will be forwarded to the Oregon State Crime lab for testing. While conducting the search warrant, officers located two small puppies that appear to be unharmed inside the trailer. (Puppies were returned to their owner)
The investigation into the incident is continuing. The Stanfield Police Department is being assisted by the Hermiston Police Department, Umatilla County Fire District One, and the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office.

Small City Councils swear in officials tomorrow
Jan. 5, 2018
Nine local residents expected to take an oath of office and be sworn in tomorrow night across three city council meetings.
The City Councils in Umatilla, Boardman, and Stanfield typically met the first Tuesday of each month, but after the New Year's Day holiday, each have the first city council meetings of 2019 tomorrow night. The councils are expected to swear-in newly elected city council members, some new, and some re-elected. In Umatilla, that includes a new mayor and two council members.
"Half of our group is new, and we're all looking forward to working with them," said Tamra Mabbot.
Also on the Umatilla agenda tomorrow, an organizational chart update and discussion on creating city goals as well as multiple committee appointments and the appointment of a council president.
In Boardman, agreements with VaData and Crez II, approval of a league of Oregon cities legal grant, and the first reading of a franchise agreement with Umatilla Electric Cooperative.
Those meetings each begin at 7 tomorrow. Meetings are typically on the first Tuesday but were changed for the New Year’s Day holiday.

Earthquake hits Umatilla
Jan. 4, 2018
An earthquake yesterday afternoon three miles from Umatilla. The 1.8 magnitude earthquake recorded at 2:40 yesterday afternoon. The quake first reported at a magnitude of 2.7 before being revised to 1.8 after review by a seismologist, according to the pacific northwest seismic network. The earthquake began at a depth of .31 miles
Yesterday’s earthquake is the first recorded in the region by the The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network since 2008. The largest earthquakes a 3.9 magnitude earthquake recorded in August of 1992 between Boardman and Irrigon.

Pedro moves to CDA
Jan. 3, 2019
Starting today, Debbie Pedro, former chamber of commerce director, begins her new position with the Columbia Development Authority. The Columbia Development Authority, previously known as the Umatilla Army Depot Reuse Authority, is the group designated to oversee planning of the Umatilla Chemical Depot property once the US Army turns over ownership. Representative Greg Smith is the project manager and executive director for the CDA, and Pedro begins today as the economic director of coordination for the CDA. She says she is “excited to begin working with the Columbia Development Authority under Greg Smith’s direction” and “to serve our region in this position is a tremendous opportunity .”
Pedro’s last day with the chamber was Dec. 21. The chamber board is currently looking for her replacement.

City looks for NYE watermelon suggestions
Jan. 3, 2019
Speaking of a replacement, the City of Hermiston is looking for suggestions and ideas for how to make its New Year’s Eve bash even better next year – and how to make sure the watermelon drop actually takes place. Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says the issue was in the cold temperatures, which impacted the balloons and pressurized air inside the watermelon, causing the air to release inside the watermelon early and making it not explode at midnight.
"We'll come up with some good ideas, and we're inviting people in the community to give us their ideas too," Fetter said. "We're going to have a really interesting event next year."
The City is looking for feedback and suggestions for next year’s event. Find more on the facebook page for Hermiston Parks and Recreation.

Name released in rail death
Jan. 3, 2019
A name released in the death of a man hit by a Union Pacific Railroad train in Pendleton Tuesday. Pendleton Police have identified the man as 24-year-old Angel Murillo, of Pendleton.
The death happened at 1:41 a.m. on New Year’s Day. A press release says Murillo was wearing dark colored clothingat the time of the crash and was lying between the rails at an area that is not a railroad crossing. The engineer and conductor placed the 136-car train into emergency stop mode but the train could not be stopped in time.
All crossing arms in the area were operating properly.
The release says in June, Murillo was removed from railroad tracks by police as a train approached sounding its horn. Alcohol was a contributing factor to the incident in June, but the release says it is unknown if alcohol was a contributing factor to the fatal incident.
Any person(s) having information about this case are encouraged to call the Pendleton Police Department at (541) 276-4411 or the Umatilla County Dispatch Center at (541) 966-3651.

BMCC launches food pantry with Keystone donation
Dec. 21, 2018
Keystone RV in Pendleton will deliver more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food to Blue Mountain Community College today to assist with the opening of “The Den,” its new food pantry for food insecure students.
While Keystone typically donates its food drive collections
to multiple organizations, the RV company this year decided to instead donate everything to BMCC’s food pantry.
Last year, BMCC conducted a study to identify the level of food insecurity among its students throughout
the district. The study identified that more than 45% of responding students cut the size of their meals or skipped meals in the past year because they didn’t have enough money for food, and that this occurred almost every month for nearly 20% of them. Forty-three percent said that in the past year, they went hungry because there wasn’t enough money for food.
These results led BMCC to pursue a food pantry for students in Morrow Hall. A $2,000 donation from the BMCC Foundation, $1,000 from Altrusa of Pendleton, $700 from the Vista Program, and $450 from
BMCC’s Innovation Fund helped jumpstart the program. In addition to “The Den” at the Pendleton campus, there will be smaller food pantry options at BMCC’s locations in Hermiston, Boardman, and Milton-Freewater.

Extra patrols this weekend
Dec. 21, 2018
Coming up this weekend, a reminder that law enforcement will have extra patrols out watching for distracted and under the influence drivers. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says you should put all distractions away, that includes everything from your cell phone to paper maps.
"It's unbelievable, as a law enforcement professional, what you see out there, people doing while they're driving," Rowan said.
Pull over if you need to interact with something else while driving and remember to also slow down and watch for distracted drivers and pedestrians – and if indulge in anything that could impair your driving – get a ride home.

Pedro leaving chamber, building update
Dec. 21, 2018
Today is the last day for Hermiston Chamber Director Debbie Pedro, who is leaving her position after almost 18 years.
"Over the years, I've made a lot of friends and had the honor to see a lot of changes come to the community," she said.
She says she has a passion for her job and local businesses and feels blessed that she was able to serve the community through her position at the chamber. No word yet on where Pedro is going next, but she did give some extra insight into the chamber’s planned building: She says the chamber is in the process of purchasing a piece of property.
"It's going to be in a location where the chamber will be very visible as well as an area where as people come through town and see the chamber, it will be a real welcome," she said.
The chamber was granted $1 million from the state in march for a new building for the Greater Hermiston Area Chamber of Commerce and has not yet announced details of its plans or new location. The chamber is currently in the cornerstone plaza.

EOTEC feedback needed
Dec. 20, 2018
Finally, the city of Hermiston is looking for feedback on the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center strategic plan.
The plan includes shared community goals regarding improvements for the facility, operations, marketing, and events. The Committee is currently reviewing the plan and discussing priorities. If you have questions or comments regarding this draft, please email them to bsmith@hermiston.or.us by January 4, 2019.

Vaping on the rise in Umatilla County
Dec. 20, 2018
If you’re doing last-minute shopping and you have a teenager on your list, Umatilla County Public Health wants to make sure you know the risks of e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping products. Although the vape pens with flavored smoke, tricks, and collectable skins are popular – they can also be dangerous as students don’t realize most vaping products do contain nicotine.
"With youth, because it has nicotine in it, whatever their reasons are for starting - lots of flavors or tricks or things like that - once they're addicted to the nicotine, they will search out other nicotine products," said Mariah Hinds, tobacco prevention coordinator for Umatilla County Public Health. Once students start using the products – they become addicted and then they move on to cigarette.. And addiction happens faster than you think
"It takes time to smoke a cigarette - like five minutes to smoke a whole cigarrete," said Jamie Crowell, health educator with good shepherd. "You get the equivalent of one cigarette in a hit that takes two seconds. These kids are getting high level nicotine addictions really quickly."
Umatilla County has the third-highest percentage of tobacco use, including electronic cigarettes, in the state. Hinds says youth use has increased 78 percent in the last year.
The Oregon health authority says it supports the US Surgeon General's advisory on e-cigarettes, declaring the increase in use by youth as an epidemic. The number of youth using e-cigarettes in Oregon increased from 5-percent in 2013 to 13 percent last year. They say e-cigarettes are sweet, cheap and easy to get...and they introduce a new generation of youth to nicotine addiction.

Back to school after gas leak
Dec. 14, 2018
Classes in Umatilla resuming today after a gas leak yesterday at Clara Brownell Middle School prompting the evacuation of both that school and Umatilla High School.
Superintendent Heidi Sipe says students and staff were evacuated and bussed to McNary Heights Elementary while the district enacted its reunification plan. When it was determined the repair would take into the afternoon, secondary classes were dismissed for the day.
"It wasn't a major issue, however, they will check the entire system to confirm that everything else is fine too," Sipe said. "We will always err on the side of caution."
The cause of the leak was a cracked fitting on the regulator due to a pipe being moved during roofing projects. Sipe saying students, parents, staff, and community members reacted according to the reunification plan. She says it was a day of stress but also a day of thankfulness.

Debbie Pedro leaving Chamber
Dec. 12, 2018
Longtime Hermiston Chamber Director Debbie Pedro has resigned.
Pedro has been at the helm of the chamber since 2001, and a press release from the chamber saying she is accepting another position in the area – a release from Pedro to chamber businesses saying there are other opportunities professional and personally that she will be pursuing.
Pedro’s resignation is effective Dec. 21. Chamber Board Chairman Paul Keeler and Communication Manager Kelly Schwirse will oversee operations until a new CEO is appointed.

Students bring in 18,000 items
Dec. 11, 2018
More than 18,000 non perishable food items donated through local schools for Christmas Express this year. Yesterday was collection day across the Hermiston School District. Although Sandstone and Sunset are still finalizing their item totals, it appears Armand Larive Middle School will take the title this year, as students brought in 5,907 food items – Rocky Heights bringing in the second-most items at 5,018. The food items will be added to food baskets distributed next week during Christmas Express. Those are put together by city employees as part of their holiday party.
Although it is technically too late for requests for food boxes, if you know a family or individual in need, you can call Hermiston Police Department Chaplain Terry Cummings to make requests.
Anyone interested in volunteering and helping with distribution can contact Agape House to sign up for a time spot.

UPDATE: With the totals from all schools, the final figure is 21,025 items!

Altrusa organizing Warming Station drive
Dec. 11, 2018
If you missed your chance to donate food for Christmas Express, there’s another drive going on right now through January. Altrusa International of Hermiston coordinating a supply drive for the Hermiston Warming Station.
The requested items are:
Laundry supplies
Toilet paper
Vinyl medical type gloves (staff)
Warm gloves (guests)
Disinfectant cleaning wipes
Lysol spray
Swiffer type wet pads
Cleaning supplies (pinesol, bowl cleaners, paper towels, ect)
13 gallon garbage bags
Hot hands hand warmers
Coffee regular and decaf ( non keurig style, single serve if possible)
Hot chocolate
Chamomile tea
Apple cider
Foot powder
Ear plugs
Mens crew socks
Dishwasher soap
Hand sanitizer
Collection Boxes at Shipping Solutions, Dance Unlimited, Old West Federal Credit Union, Banner Bank downtown and the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce office.
The Warming Station is also open for donations, and you may also call 541.289.2150 to arrange an appointment.

Audits, rate increases on agendas
Dec. 10, 2018
The Hermiston City Council tonight again considering rate increases and policy updates for Hermiston Energy Services. It’s a proposed $2 per month increase to cover increasing costs for wholesale power the city purchases. Tonight, the council expecting to hear more information about financial operations at Hermiston Energy Services. That resolution tabled last month but expected to go for a vote tonight. They'll have the work session about HES at 6 p.m., then the vote during the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
During the regular meeting, the council will also hear the Fiscal Year 2018 Audit, certify the November election results, consider purchasing or leasing a street sweeper and hear a strategic planning update for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Find the agenda here.
The annual audit report and financial updates also on the agenda tonight for the Hermiston School board of Education.
On the agenda, a change to correct a “Deficiency” in the recent audit report. That deficiency that report that a supplemental budget was adopted without proper publishing – a corrective action plan expected to be approved tonight.
That meeting begins at 6;30 tonight at the District Offices. The agenda also includes an enrollment report, recognition of the NSPA Middle School Scholastic Journalism Award winners, and a declaration of surplus property.
Click here for the full agenda.

Absenteeism an issue in schools
Dec. 6, 2018
As we approach the winter break for schools and holiday travel, a warning from local educators to think carefully about taking your children out of school early as that may contributes to chronic absenteeism.
"What's changed over the years is it's not the traditional, 'My kid has the flu' or 'My kid doesn't feel good,'" Mark Mulvihill, superintendent of the InterMountain ESD said. "It's more, 'It's OK to miss school on Friday because we're going on this trip.' 'It's OK because we ski.' 'It's OK because we elk hunt.' It's OK because it's the only time I could get a haircut in Tri-Cities.' It's more and more it's OK to miss school. It's not a big deal. That becomes a habit for kids."
Mulvihill, says that habit makes school not a priority, which follows the student through school and into the work force. Chronic absenteeism means missing 10 percent of school days – and that’s about two days a month, which could be from illness, travel, even doctor appointments.
Mulvihill says Eastern Oregon has a lower chronic absenteeism than the rest of the state, but many local districts still have a chronic absenteeism rate close to 20 percent – and that’s a big deal when chronic absenteeism also directly correlates to graduation rates.
"What we're trying to do is emphasize the importance of the statistics," he said. "We're not going to move the dial on our grad rates until we move the dial on our chronic absenteeism."
Local schools focusing on education of parents and families about the importance of staying in school through programs like Every Day Matters. Educators asking parents to be aware of the impact of missing a day or two of school a month and to try to work around the school schedule.

Wildhorse announces cutbacks to project
Dec. 5, 2018
The price of steel causing cutbacks in the fifth expansion at Wildhorse Resort and Casino.
The $85-million expansion announced in July, and now Wildhorse has announced new details of a smaller project than originally envisioned, citing changes in the economy and trade, especially “drastic” increases in the price of steel.
A press release from the company says a second hotel tower with 214 rooms will open by the end of 2020. The project expands convention space and the family entertainment center while adding a 24-lane bowling alley, a new restaurant, and a new poker room that can seat up to 90 players.
The project will require the demolition of the original hotel on the property, built in 1996. The last day for guests to check out of the courtyard hotel is March 31 of 2019. The Hot Rock Café will close at the same time.
Although Wildhorse announced those plans yesterday, CEO Gary George says the project still needs final approval from the Board of Trustees and the General Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. That is expected to happen in the “next month or two.”

Trails, water pipelines, tree lighting on the agendas
Dec. 4, 2018
No cars and no domestic farm animals are allowed on trails in the City of Stanfield. Those are changes the city council is considering to an ordinance tonight. Breaking those rules is now a class A violation.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight in the city council chambers on Coe avenue.
Also meeting at 7 is the Umatilla City Council – their 97-page agenda packet includes 11 different action items tonight. Many of those focus on the Sixth Street waterline project. They’ll also be accepting $800 donated by the Umatilla High School Key Club toward improvements to Kiwanis Falls and $6,000 from the Hermiston Kwanis Club for lights at the basketball courts at Kiwanis Park in McNary.  That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall. Find the Umatilla agenda here.
The Boardman city council is also meeting tonight. On that agenda, a presentation of a sign project and resolutions about electric franchise agreements and stop signs. That Boardman meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. The time change tonight to allow council and community members to attend the Boardman Tree Lighting. That begins at 6 tonight at the SAGE Center.

Post Office closed tomorrow
Dec. 4, 2018
The U.S. Postal Service closing all locations and stopping regular mail delivery tomorrow to honor former President George H.W. Bush. Package delivery will be limited. Read more here.

Prevent fires this December
Dec. 3, 2018
'Tis the season for holiday celebration and decorating, but it's also the season for home fires. Scott Goff, fire marshal with Umatilla County Fire District #1, says be careful with extension cords - never coil a cord that can overheat and don't use it with large appliances like refrigerators. Only plug space heaters into a wall outlet - never an extension cord or power strip.
If you use a space heater to keep part of your house warm, keep the space around the heater clear.
"Making sure that you keep everything that can burn at least three feet away from the front of the space heater - and actually the back of the space heater as well," says Claire McGrew, with the Oregon Fire Marshal's Office.
As you buy your Christmas trees, Goff says make sure you buy a tree with a lot of moisture - make sure no needles are already falling off - and then be careful where you set it up in the house.
"We want to be cognizant of where we're placing that in the house, away from heat vents, away from wood stoves, fireplaces, anything that like," he said. "Those will make the tree start to dry out rapidly."
He says make sure all lighting is in good shape before you place it on the tree. Any damaged wires should be discarded. If you are using open flame candles, be sure you keep an eye on them.
Goff says overloading electrical systems, heating sources being too close to materials that can burn and unattended cooking are the most common fire sources this year

Space limited for concert, pancakes
Dec. 3, 2018
It is now December, and the holiday season is in full swing. Coming up this week, the Inland Northwest Musicians have their annual holiday concerts. They’ll be in Echo on Saturday and in Connell Washington on Sunday. If you want to go Echo – there’s a large selection of holiday music to get you into t he season – you need to reserve your seats – now.
R. Lee Freise, conductor, says they only have seating for 200 people at the Echo concert, and more than half of them already gone. The concert is free. If you want to reserve seats, call inland northwest musicians.
Tickets also close to selling out for the Hermiston Pancakes with Santa. The event isn’t until Dec. 22, but they only have a handful of tickets left.
"Those tickets are selling really fast," said Kasia Robbins. "If you are at all interested, get those tickets now because we have such a limited amount of space."
That event is at the Hermiston Community Center and includes the meal, pictures with Santa and crafts. The cost is $30 per family of four.

Suspect arrested in homicide
Nov. 28, 2018
A suspect arrested in a homicide yesterday in Umapine.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office identifying 52-year-old Decidero Vargas-Ortiz as the suspect in the shooting that happened yesterday morning at the Umapine Creamery. Vargas-Ortiz arrested yesterday in Kennewick by Kennewick Police. The search for Vargas-Ortiz, who has multiple aliases, involved the FBI and the Tri-City Regional SWAT Team. The Sheriff’s Office saying he will be extradited to Umatilla County to face felony murder charges.

Hermiston increases taxi prices
Nov. 28, 2018
Changes are coming in January for the city of Hermiston’s taxi voucher program. The program allows those who are elderly or disabled to purchase subsidized taxi vouchers. Those vouchers currently cost $2, but January 1, each one will cost an additional 50 cents.
[taxi challenge]
Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says each ride will still be subsidized $4.25 through city funds. Because of increases in costs, the Hermiston City Council on Monday night voting to increase the price of each voucher to the user to $2.50. The prices were last increased in 2009.
In other city news, the motion to increase the base electric rates for Hermiston Energy Services customers

Farm Fair begins today
Nov. 28, 2018
Today, going on at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, it’s the 45th annual Farm Fair Ag Seminar and Trade Show.
Farm Fair is today, tomorrow, and Friday at EOTEC and it brings together dozens of vendors and seminars on everything ag related from from cereal to pollinators. One of those – going on today – is a presentation by Blue Mountain Community College’s new Precision Irrigated Agriculture program instructor Drew Leggett. He’ll present on the Precision Irrigated Agriculture (PIA) program at BMCC starting at 3:30 this afternoon. He’ll also be on-tap as a speaker tomorrow during the Cereal Session on Optimizing Liming Rates for Low pH Soils in Northern Idaho, speaking out his research while working on his master’s degree at the University of Idaho.
Farm Fair is free and open to the public – Debbie Pedro with the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce says their vendor spots are full.
That begins at 8 this morning.

Shooting in Umapine
Nov. 27, 2018
A shooting yesterday morning at the Umapine Creamery northwest of Milton-Freewater. Thirty-five year old Renee Luiz-Antonio, of Milton-Freewater killed yesterday while operating a tractor. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan saying the suspect is another employee who works at the dairy but saying the sheriff’s office is not at liberty to identify the other employee at this time.
Umatilla County detectives, along with Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office,Walla Walla Police Department, Milton-Freewater Police Department, the Oregon State Police Crime Lab, Hermiston Police Department, and the College Place Police Department spent most of the day investigating and searching for evidence that may lead to a suspect and an arrest in the case.
“We have leads on the case, and are following up with our investigation. This appears to be the result of a lengthy dispute between Mr. Luiz and another employee who was working at the dairy”, said Sheriff Terry Rowan.
Luiz-Antonio’s family has been notified. An autopsy has been scheduled with the
Oregon State Medical Examiner for today.

Cyber Monday safety
Nov. 26, 2018
Today is Cyber Monday, and if you’re doing a lot of online shopping, law enforcement agencies want you to keep track of those packages whenever you can. The sooner you can bring that package inside, the less time a potential criminal has to swipe it.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says if you are having something delivered, try and track what time it will be dropped off – including if you get to know the route or the schedule for mail delivery – so you can bring that package inside.
Hermiston police also recommending:
- Require a signature upon delivery.
- Have it delivered someplace where it can be handed to a person, like your office or a trusted neighbor.
- Get a video surveillance system for your home.
If you are shopping in stores instead of or alongside your online shopping, be mindful of your surroundings, keep your vehicle locked and put packages in the trunk.

City Council to consider rate increase
Nov. 26, 2018
Utility rates, especially electricity, in Hermiston the subject of a work session and meeting tonight. The Hermiston City Council has a work session at 6 tonight to discuss the Hermiston Energy Service Cost of Service Analysis, a study to look at services and operating costs. The regular meeting begins at 7, and on the agenda, is a resolution that could increase residential electric bills $2 per month. The primary rational for the increase is the increase in wholesale electricity prices. The council also has a resolution involving changes to the senior/disabled taxi program as well as multiple committee appointments and an executive session to discuss labor negotiations. Find the full agenda here.
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board has a meeting and work session that begins at 6:30 at West Park Elementary School. It’s a light agenda including a presentation from staff at West Park and teaching and learning department updates. The full agenda is available here.

Freezing fog causes slick roads
Nov. 20, 2018
Multiple car accidents reported this week because of ice and slick roadways. Most have been non-injury or minor injury, but emergency responders reminding drivers to slow down and watch for potential hazards. Do not use cruise control, be alert and drive cautiously, adjusting your speed for road conditions. Leave extra space between your vehicle and others, and if your vehicle suddenly feels like it’s floating , gradually slow down – tap your brakes gently; don’t slam on them.
You can follow TripCheck.com for road conditions, and there are ice and freezing fog warnings reported on both Interstate 84 and 82 as well as other area highways.

Council meetings tonight
Nov. 20, 2018
The Stanfield City Council will support the Stanfield School District’s proposed continuance bond. That resolution – in support of the school construction – is on the agenda tonight for the Stanfield City Council meeting that begins at 7.
The council will also consider an ordinance involving trail use in the city and hear reports from city departments.
That meeting will be in the council chambers of Coe Avenue. The meeting again begins at 7 p.m..
A contractor’s employee error is giving the city of Umatilla more than $1,600 in a rebate and a write-off of $10,000 worth of work hours to correct it. It’s for the city’s sixth street project, and the Umatilla City Council will discuss the reimbursement from JUB Engineers tonight during a council workshop. That begins at 6 p.m. at Umatilla City Hall.
There’s a special council meeting tonight in Boardman. That begins at 6 p.m., and it’s a work session about broadband consulting.
Contact the city halls in Stanfield, Umatilla, and Boardman for more information on their respective meetings.

Dinner still needs volunteers
Nov. 19, 2018
Coming up on Thursday, it’s the Community Fellowship Dinner that will be served at Hermiston High School. Prep work begins tomorrow in the kitchens with the meal being served from 11 to 2 on Thursday. The group has a little over 50 percent of their volunteer spots are filled.
Prep work in the kitchen going on tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.. They’re cooking 40 turkeys, as well as side dishes. Volunteers also still needed to help cook, serve, and delivery meals on Thursday. The Community Fellowship Dinner has one phone number - 541-371-9772 – you can call to sign up to volunteer, to schedule a ride to the meal or to request a meal to be delivered for anyone unable to leave their home. You can also email cfdhermiston@gmail.com.

Fall risks and holiday preparation
Nov. 16, 2018
If you have family members coming into town this weekend or next week for the Thanksgiving holiday – or if you’re heading to visit family – health professionals want you to take a look at the floor and remove fall risks.
"A lot of people assume that falling is a natural part of aging," said Registered Nurse Sharon Waldern, the interim manager of Good Shepherd’s Education Program. "We're trying to banish that belief because it really is not true. There are a lot of reasons for falls, but there's a lot you can do to prevent it."
Waldern says, statistically, 30 percent of falls result in moderate to severe injuries and simple prevention methods like removing lose rugs from the floor or keeping hydrated can make a difference. You can call Good Shepherd Education Department for some tips, and they also are registering people for the next fall risk seminar, a two-hour class open to anyone of any age, including family members.
They already have 5 people signed up for the next fall risk seminar – that’s on Dec. 8. They’ll also be starting an eight-week series called “Matter of Balance” in January. It’s a two-hour seminar with education and exercise. You can contact good shepherd health education for 541-667-3409 information on any of the upcoming classes.

Tree permits available
Nov. 16, 2018
Christmas tree permits are now available for the Umatilla National Forest – if you plan on cutting a tree this weekend and decorating it after Thanksgiving, of course – The permits are $5 and are limited to one per household. Fourth-graders are eligible for a free permit – the student needs to print a paper voucher from Every Kid in a Park and take it to the forest office for the free permit.
Tree permits and forest maps are available during regular office hours, Monday through Friday at the four Umatilla Ranger District offices in Ukiah and Heppner, Oregon; and Walla Walla and Pomeroy, Washington; and at the Supervisor's Office in Pendleton, Oregon.
In addition to the forest offices, Christmas tree permits are available at:
Ace Hardware, Hermiston
Bi Mart, Pendleton
Heppner Mobil, Heppner
Southgate Mini-Market, Pendleton
Columbia Grain and Feed, Pasco
Farmer’s Exchange; Sportsman’s Warehouse, Kennewick
For more information, please contact the Forest Service office in Pendleton at (541) 278-3716.

Warming station shortage could delay opening
Nov. 12, 2018
The Hermiston Warming Station might not open this fall unless they can recruit more volunteers. Teesie Hill, chairman of the board , says Ideally, they would have 100 volunteers, but so far, they only have 53 this year.
"If we get the volunteers, we're going to try and open on Nov. 19. If we cannot get the amount of volunteers we need, we will not be able to open until Dec. 3 - and that's if we get the volunteers by then," she said.
The warming station provides a warm place for people in need – whether homeless or in a temporary situation – to sleep overnight during cold weather. At this time, Hill says they don’t have enough volunteers to operate.
They do have trainings coming up – including one tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m. You do not have to register in advance for the trainings, you just show up. They’ll also have training Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday afternoons and a graveyard shift training – Saturday from midnight to 3 a.m.
"It is not a typo - and everyone thinks it is," she said, adding those who work graveyard shifts may not be able to make evening trainings.
In order to volunteer with the warming station, you have to be 18 or older, pass a background check and complete a three-hour training. Volunteers sign up for shifts online – and instead of a minimum, there’s actually a maximum on volunteer hours – they like volunteers to only do two shifts a week so they do not burn out.
Hill says there are 700 homeless people in Umatilla County and nationwide, 700 people a year die from hypothermia.
Call the warming station 541-289-2150 for more information.

Boardman approves Ordnance expansion
Nov. 12, 2018
Last week, the Boardman City Council approving a new liquor license for Ordnance Cider. Owner Craig Coleman currently holds a liquor license in Boardman for Ordnance Brewing and is planning to expand to brewing cider. The Boardman city council approved the license unanimously.
The council also changing the time of their December meeting from 7 to 7:30 to allow council members to attend the community tree lighting at the SAGE Center. The next Boardman City Council meeting will be a workshop at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Boardman City Hall.

Study looks at mental health, addiction in jails
Nov. 9, 2018
A new effort being launched in Oregon to find solutions to keep people with addictions and mental illness out of jails and to get them the help they need.
It’s a problem Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan is well aware of and part of the inspiration for the requested renovation of the Umatilla County Jail to better serve those who are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or mental illness.
"Ideally what you would like to see here in Umatilla County is a center that focuses on all three of those areas but still provides a level of security for those that go there," Rowan said. "Jail is not the place."
Patrick Allen, head of the Oregon Health Authority, says a large group of people from around the state are examining the problem.
"It tries to pull together the judicial system, law enforcement, and healthcare to try how to better meet the needs of those with serious, persistent mental illness."
Allen says people are going to jails where they don't get the help they need, so they end up in jail.
Over the next three months, the group will analyze data from around the state to determine the scope of the problem and potential solutions. Those ideas will be forwarded to the legislature to determine what changes will solve the problems.

Tickets on sale for Festival of Trees
Nov. 9, 2018
Most of us are still looking at Thanksgiving - as we should be - but if you want tickets for the annual Hermiston Festival of Trees, you need to take just a moment of holiday planning to pick those up. The annual event is a fundraiser for the Good Shepherd Community health Foundation and Hermiston Kiwanis. that features numerous decorated trees for live auction, dinner, wine tasting - and more. Bob Green, executive director of the Good Shepherd Foundation says if you want tickets, sooner is better.
"The tickets go very, very quickly," he said. "If you want tickets, get them as soon as possible because it does tend to sell out."
Tickets for the gala are $40, and you can purchase those at the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the gala dinner and auction fundraiser, the Festival of Trees does also include family day. That will be Sunday, Dec. 3???? this year.

Election results
Nov. 7, 2018
A late night and early morning for staff at Umatilla County elections as the final unofficial results not coming in until after 2:30 in the morning in the local midterm elections.
Statewide voter turnout at 63%, according to the secretary of state’s website. Umatilla County has a turnout rate of about 55 %, and in Morrow County, it was a bit higher – 59%.
Umatilla and Morrow County overall went red primarily favoring Republican candidates Knute Buehler, who lost the governor’s race statewide to Kate Brown, and Greg Walden, who will retain his seat in the US House of Representatives.
In the contested race for County Commissioner position 1 George Murdock narrowly defeating Rick Pullen to retain his second and final term as county commissioner. Murdock receiving 10,645 votes and Pullen pulled in 10,153. That’s 51 to 48 percent. In County Commissioner Position 2, 14,000 ballots cast for John Shafer, the only name on the ballot and a total of 773 write-in ballots.
On the Hermiston City Council, Lori Davis will keep her seat against challenger Mark Gomolski: 2,186 votes over Gomolski’s 1,572.
The City of Umatilla had multiple contested races, and it looks like Mary Dedrick will be the new mayor, beating current mayor Daren Dufloth 52 to 46 percent.
For the City of Boardman, the top three council recipients for the at-large spaces were Brandon Hammond, Brenda Profitt, and Roy Drago, Jr. Jim Kindle received 66 percent of the vote for mayor of Heppner, and Rod Taylor receive 100 percent of the 138 vote – there were no write-ins against him – for mayor of Ione. Write-ins only for the mayors of Lexington in Morrow County and Adams in Umatilla County.
Find the full election results here. You can click on Umatilla or Morrow county to see some local results.

Pitney named to school board
Nov. 6, 2018
Brent Pitney is the newest member of the Hermiston School Board – he works for Kner construction and says he is excited about joining the board and is ready to be part of the school system.
"I've been in Hermiston for 41 years, and I've got kids in the school system," he said. "I'm invested in the community through work, and I want to give back."
Pitney saying he sees infrastructure as a big issue facing the school district, including school maintenance and passing a construction bond. Pitney takes over the position left by Jason Middleton, and he was sworn in during a meeting of the Hermiston School Board last night at the district offices.

Three council meetings tonight
Nov. 6, 2018
Three small city councils meeting tonight.
In Umatilla, the city council is considering development – from housing to Old Town. One of the action items is a collaboration between Echo, Stanfield, Umatilla, and the State of Oregon to determine housing needs and how to increase the supply and affordability of housing.
"Those are the things we're continuing to work on to look at our housing needs as we partner with the state and the cities," City Manager Dave Stockdale said. "We'll get a good study together and that will make a nice foundation as we move forward."
That project would be finished by the end of June of 2019.
Another resolution involves a grant and a vegetation management plan at the old town site. It’s expected to cost $36,000 – of which #10,000 is being donated from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and $26,000 already budgeted for the project. The council also voting on an agreement with the city of Hermiston to provide subsidized public transportation for seniors. That would begin immediately and run through June of 2019.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City hall.
The Stanfield City Council also has a meeting at 7 p.m. – and that one at Stanfield City Hall, not at the Stanfield Council Chambers. On that agenda, discussion of local improvement districts and their potential use in Stanfield, as well as training on city charter and mayor, council, and manager roles.
Boardman rounding out the city council meetings tonight. They’ll have reports from city departments and meet in an executive session to talk personnel and to carry on negotiations. That meeting also begins at 7 tonight, and it’s at Boardman city hall.

Meetings tonight
Nov. 5, 2018
Today is the first Monday of the month, but it is a meeting night in Hermiston because of the veteran’s day holiday – both the Hermiston School Board and the Hermiston City Council moving their meetings up a week.
The school board meeting begins at 6:30 at the school district offices and will include election of a board member to fill vacant space 4, left by the departure of Jason Middleton from the board. That meeting will include enrollment and financial reports and a recognition of the from the FFA Veterinary team
The board to also meet in an executive session to discuss union negotiations. Find the full agenda here.  

Dinner, auction benefits Guardian Care
Nov. 5, 2018
A fundraiser coming up this weekend to benefit Guardian Care Center, an organization that supports children and families that have been victims of child abuse, both physical, and sexual. Detective Randy Studebaker, with Hermiston Police Department, says the center also provides recordings of forensic interviews that can be used in court cases, preventing children from having to testify multiple times about traumatic events.
"The whole center is geared toward not re-traumatizing victims while they're to tell their story or have their injuries examined," Studebaker says. "It is child centered and child focused while still giving investigators what they need."
Studebaker says the Pendleton center is the only child abuse facility in Umatilla and Morrow counties. The Guardian Care Center is funded through grants and private donations. They do host a golf tournament in April to help run the center, and they are now hosting a dinner and auction this Saturday at Oregon Grain Growers Distillery in Pendleton. Tickets are $25 – that does include the meal – it’s a pizza buffet and a drink token – as well as access to the auction and raffle. Tickets are available at the Guardian Care Center, the Umatilla School District Office. Tickets can be purchased at the door. You can call Guardian Care Center at 276-6774 for more information.

HHS juniors win app challenge
Nov. 5, 2018
Two Hermiston High School students winning the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Oregon’s District 2. Rogelio Lemus and Ethan Orozco created the app B.A.N.A.N.A (Basic App to Notify Authorities of Non-Authorized Abduction). The app uses facial recognition technology to help
find missing people. The app allows individuals to upload a photo of a missing person for comparison against a national database, to help find loved ones. You can see a video about the application on YouTube

Sheriff warns of winter weather
Nov. 2, 2018
Warnings for chains and traction tires on Eastern Oregon roads this week. Snowfall in some areas of the Cascades this week, and it’s time to think about winter driving – and getting ready. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says Search and Rescue teams typically have a busy season starting in the fall. Rowan says they’ve already seen an increase in call-outs for search and rescue as winter weather and hunting seasons coming to eastern Oregon.
"We may not see anything or just have a light powder (of snow) in the local area, but you get up there, and there may be several feet," he said.
Rowan says some of the most common issues search and rescue deploys is for are hunters who become disoriented or do not make it back to camp at the time they’re expected – even though many do make it back to camp – and people traveling on forest roads in vehicles unequipped for the terrain.
"It's all about being prepared. If you are traveling, prepare your vehicle: Have some safety equipment, snacks, warm blankets," he said. "Just make it a habit of hauling that stuff around this time of year because you never know when you'll need it."
Rowan saying he keeps emergency equipment not only in case he needs it – but in case he needs to help someone else.

Donate costumes for foster children
Nov. 1, 2018
After yesterday’s holiday, there’s a good chance you have a Halloween costume that your kids may never wear again. Umatilla and Morrow County Child Welfare is taking donations of Halloween costumes that will be given to foster children for next Halloween. Through the donations, foster parents in the area will be able to choose costumes next year for children in their care. Costumes can be dropped off at the DHS/Child Welfare offices in Boardman, Hermiston, Pendleton, and Milton-Freewater. For more information, call 564-4496.

Nonprofit seminar, FFA banquet this weekend
Nov. 1, 2018
Operating a nonprofit can be stressful, and finding funding sources can be overwhelming. The Agape House wants to help. This Saturday, they’re presenting a seminar called “How to write a nonprofit grant proposal.” Dave Hughes says it will cover researching grants, gathering material and developing applications.
The seminar is from 8:30 to 1 on Saturday and costs $35, and that does include the workbook, material, and a light breakfast. You can RSVP to Dave at Agape House by calling 567-8774.
Also Coming up this Saturday (Nov. 3), the Stanfield and Echo FFA Dinner and auction. Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith says the funds help students have more opportunities through agriculture programs
Funds go to student programs and travel expenses. The banquet is $10 per person or $20 for a family of four. They aren’t purchased in advance, but only sold at the door. Doors open and the silent auction begins at 5, and the program and dinner starts at 6. The live auction begins at 7 on Saturday in the new gym in Echo. You can find out more on the event page on Facebook .

Treats on Main tomorrow
Oct. 30, 2018
Tomorrow is Halloween, and that means the return of Treats on Main and Beyond. Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says this year it will include Festival Street in the celebrations.
"What's nice is there's no cars to contend with and we can shut down Main Street in seconds and kids can go from business to business and not be worried about traffic," Fetter said. "It's obviously a little inconvenient, but it's super fun."
Times for Treats on Main this year are 3-5 p.m. on Festival Street and Main Street – those streets to be closed off completely during the event – and then the “beyond” section takes place at the Hermiston Community Center from 4 to 7.

Officials work to clear up confusion on tax bills
Oct. 29, 2018
City and county officials working to clear up confusion on tax bills this week. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan saying this is the first time the Hermiston Urban Renewal District has appeared on property tax statements and it’s a change in accounting at the County Assessor’s Office – not a change in how much property owners owe in taxes. “The internal accounting of how revenues are collected and distributed has changed, but the total property tax bill that people owe is unchanged,” said Mark Morgan, Assistant City Manager. “I think the intention is for transparency, but frankly it muddies the waters.”
Before the change, the tax would have shown up divided between the different taxing districts. It does not change the amount of money the urban renewal district receives or the amount of money taxpayers pay.

Update contact info before winter weather
Oct. 29, 2018
Rain this morning, rain over the weekend, and it's a good reminder that eventually, that rain will be snow.
"We are getting to that time of year where we have to start thinking about winter weather," said Dirk Dirkson, the superintendent of Morrow County Schools. "Make sure all your phone numbers are updated with the school - if we do have any school closure or delay, we use those for communication."
Dirkson says Morrow County will be continuing its three-hour delays for winter weather. Both Morrow County and Umatilla school districts testing that three-hour delay instead of a two-year delay last year. Contact your local school or school district to verify contact information and confirm their winter weather policy.

Commissioners approve transit projects
Oct. 26, 2018
Umatilla County Commissioners yesterday moving forward with the first projects with the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund. That money relates to the 1/10th of 1 percent payroll tax recently approved by the state.
Umatilla County receiving about 400,000 in 2019, the first year of funding, and it has to go toward enhancing public transportation.
The plans approved yesterday calling for creation of a transit coordinator position for the county, increasing subsidized taxi rides for employees in the county and adding weekday fixed-route bus lines connecting Hermiston, Umatilla, Irrigon, and Boardman, as well as other projects.
Find more here.

Mega Dairy set for sale, closure
Oct. 26, 2018
Boardman mega-dairy Lost Valley Farm could be put up for sale next year. The Statesman Journal reporting the dairy’s trustee, Randy Sugarman, saying on Wednesday that the dairy will be shut down and put up for sale by the end of March 2019 and that it will need to find a new owner, one capable of obtaining any future permits and funding critical capital improvements. Sugarman asking the court to allow cattle to be sold at public auction and saying the sale of cows and property should allow debts, which include to Morrow County and local businesses, to be paid. The dairy cited for hundreds of environmental violations, and Sugarman saying it could cost $40 million to meet permit requirements. Greg te Velde opened Lost Valley Farm in April of 2017 and declared bankruptcy in April of 2018. Te Velde has also faced multiple criminal and legal issues locally, including an arrest by Hermiston police last month for possession of methamphetamine.

Fundraiser tomorrow
Oct. 26, 2018
Tomorrow, a fundraiser to benefit Jasmine Ellwood, a Hermiston teen battling Ewing sarcoma.
The event includes a convoy of Walmart Heart Drivers from the Walmart DC, a police escort, and a cookout at the Hermiston Walmart. The convoy begins at 9:30 on Saturday, and the fundraiser is from 10 until noon. All funds will go toward the Ellwood family to help with expenses related to Jasmine’s treatment.
Also going on this weekend, the Hermiston Ed Foundations’ Fun Run, Inland Northwest Chorale opens its 2018-19 season – this is the second concert of inland northwest musicians 20th season, drug take-back day.

City searches for food truck Pod operator
Oct. 25, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for someone to operate the planned “Food Pod” pilot program. The program could see a number of food trucks located in one area, and and the city is now taking proposals and applications for someone to run that pilot for 12 to 24 months.
The Pilot Program would operate on two city-owned parking lots at the intersection of W. Orchard Ave. and SW 3rd Street. The city would offer use of the parking lots for free to the food pod operator, who would then recruit and retain five mobile food vendors to operate the post. The operator would keep any profits they made off space rentals.
Proposals are due Dec. 3, and information on the proposals is available on the city’s website or from city hall.

Grant valued at $150,000 for county trails
Oct. 25, 2018
Umatilla County receiving help from the National Parks Service on its West End trail project. The county receiving a grant for technical assistance, valued at about $150,000. The work will help develop the regional trails plan for the West County Trails project. When completed, that is expected to connect about 25 miles of existing and proposed bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian trails. The technical assistance over the cost of the initial concept planning, including identifying possible trail routes and connections to trail systems with the three county region of Morrow-Umatilla-and Walla Walla counties.

UCo warns of whooping cough
Oct. 25, 2018
A reminder that this afternoon is the first senior meal at the new Harkenrider Senior Center in downtown Hermiston. Larry Fetter, with the city of Hermiston, says today’s meal is only the first step in expanded programming.
The Harkenrider Senior Center is on 2nd Street, near the old union high school arch. You can follow programs and updates on its facebook page – Hermiston Senior Center.

UCo warns of whooping cough
Oct. 25, 2018
Umatilla County public health warning of reports of pertussis – that’s whooping cough – on the rise, especially in the Milton-Freewater area. They’re urging vaccination against the disease. Consult a health care provider if you are having fits of coughing, even if you have had the vaccine, and pregnant women and infants under the age of 1 should see a health care provider if they have been exposed to anyone with the disease. UCo Health will be offering pertussis containing vaccines during a clinic at Gib Olinger Elementary School on Thursday November 8th from 2-6 p.m.

Senior meals ready to move
Oct. 23, 2018
Today is the final day of the Hermiston senior meal at the Catholic Parish hall. It’s an Italian meal. The senior meal will move to the Harkenrider Senior activity Center, 255 NE 2nd Street, starting on Thursday.
When the seniors make the move, they’ll have new kitchen equipment thanks to fundraisers the seniors organized.
The Harkenrider Center has been hosting some classes and events, but the meals had to wait to complete inspections. That is up and running now, and they’re expected to serve their first meal out of the center on Thursday.
Today’s lunch is still at the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church Parish Hall, that’s 565 W. Hermiston Avenue.

Good Shepherd hosts community meeting
Oct. 23, 2018
Tomorrow night, Good Shepherd Health Care system has a community meeting and health fair. The event includes raffle prizes, food, and a guest speaker, Joe Piscatella, an author, speaker, and president of the institute for health and fitness.
Piscatella saying he will speak about a number of topics, especially how to become and stay healthy.
"The biggest thing is to create a positive mindset that says you're going to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle - and you're going to do it with small steps," he said. "I'm a big believer in the power of small steps."
Nick Bejarano, with Good Shepherd, says they hope to make the community meeting an annual event, and it’s free and open to all.
Doors open at 5 p.m. at the Hermiston Community Center. For more information and to RSVP, call 667-3509.

Council, school board meet tonight
Oct. 22, 2018
Updates, planning, and presentations on the agendas tonight as the Hermiston City Council and Hermiston School board each meet.
The Hermiston City Council begins the evening with a work session at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. They’ll have a legislative update from Rep. Greg Smith. The regular meeting follows at 7, which includes an agreement allowing property for the city’s planned water tower at the corner of 10th and East Punkin Center. They’ll also consider changing how wide a drive way can be.
On the school board side, the meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at Hermiston High School. That meeting to include a school presentation – from high school staff – board applicant interviews and a support services update.
Find the full agendas here: city council and school board.

Farm to School grows in schools
Oct. 22, 2018
This week is farm-to-school week, a time to focus on connecting communities with fresh, healthy food, and local producers by given students access to local foods and educational opportunities like schools gardens and cooking lessons. Through the Farm to School program, the Hermiston School District received a grant two years ago to bring in more fresh fruits and vegetables from local producers, and Food Services Director David Busch says they’ve been taking advantage of it, bringing in everything from fresh melon to pluots.
In honor of Farm to School Week, Chartwells Food Services is collaborating with OSU Extension Service to introduce blueberries (purchased from a local vendor), to Rocky Heights students this week. Students will taste blueberry recipes and provide feedback.
The grant funds also helped purchase apple slicers for local schools. Even with fresh, local apples, not all elementary children were able to eat them whole. Having the apples pre-sliced makes the apples easier for children with braces and missing – or loose – teeth to eat.
Farm 2 School week is all week, and October is Farm to School month. Find out more about family options at farmtoschool.org

Armand student video finalist
Oct. 19, 2018
ALTV student Ashley Treadwell is a finalist for the Individual Award from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) for her video titled "Cooking Class." Winners will be announced and finalists will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, Nov. 1-4.
You can watch the video here.

Wyden in Hermiston next week
Oct. 19, 2018
Sen. Ron Wyden will be in Umatilla County next week as part of a tour hosting town hall sessions in five counties.
His Umatilla County stop is at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Hermiston High School.
He will also stop in the Dalles and Arlington, both on Monday, at La Grande High School, on Tuesday afternoon, and in Baker City on Wednesday.
Find details on his website, wyden.senate.gov.

Boardman hosts community clean-up
Oct. 19, 2018
The City of Boardman will sponsor a community-wide clean-up the month of November. The City has garbage vouchers available, with a fifty-dollar limit, to residents of the City of Boardman. The vouchers are valid during the month of November at Finley Butte Landfill and the North Morrow Transfer Station. The garbage voucher program encourages citizens to clean up their residences by disposing of yard debris. City residents may pick up their vouchers at Boardman City Hall at 200 City Center Circle beginning October 31st. For more information on this program, call Boardman City Hall at 481-9252.

Sheriff hosts livestock training
Oct. 18, 2018
Tonight, the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center hosting a open house and fall festival, but during the day, it’s the final session of a sheriff Livestock Investigation Class, a partnership with the Umatilla County Sheriff and the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says it’s to give sheriff’s and deputies – from across the state – more information about what to look for.
"It's been eye-opening," Rowan said.
The training covering processes, recovery options, even branding, sales, and networking with feed lots and other locations that may take in stolen animals.
Although cattle is most common, the class applies to all livestock, from alpacas to sheep. Rowan says it relates not only to theft but to the process of “borrowing” livestock as well as disputes over calves.
Sheriffs and deputies traveling to Hermiston from as far as Clatsop and Malheur counties. Rowan says they hope to make the training an annual event.

Echo Oktoberfest is Saturday
Oct. 18, 2018
This Saturday, Echo celebrates its third annual Oktoberfest from 4 to 10 in downtown Echo. Event Chairman Mike Duffy says the event will feature a variety of foods, from traditional beer and brats to daily specials.
The funds this year go to the Kiwanis Scholarships – they give out about $7,000 in scholarships each year – as well as to the Echo Historical Society, which was funded out of a desire to restore St. Peter’s Church.
Tickets are $20 and for sale at the H&P Café in Echo, at the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and from any echo Kiwanis member
Tickets purchased in advance - by noon on Friday - include a bonus token.

Stanfield wins $4 million matching grant
Oct. 16, 2018
The Stanfield School District is $4 million richer – as long as they approve a bond in May. The Stanfield School district is planning a $14 million bond to improve safety and security in school entrances and replace its middle school, and officials applied for funds through the the Oregon School Capital Improvement Grant program.
"We were not high enough on the priority list to be funded, but we were drawn in the lottery," Superintendent Beth Burton said. "If we are successful in our bond, we will receive another $4 million from the state of Oregon."
Burton says if the bond fails in May, the district will forfeit the money, and it is difficult to prioritize projects within the district if the bond is not passed. Find out more about the proposal on the website for the Stanfield School District or by attending the facilities planning meeting – that’s Monday at 6 in the evening at the secondary school.

Election deadline today, pamphlet online
Oct. 16, 2018
You may be sick of hearing about it already, but today is the final day to register to vote if you want a ballot for the Nov. 6 election. The election includes multiple statewide ballot measures - to repeal Oregon's sanctuary status, prohibit taxes on groceries and a tighter limit on the legislature's ability to increase taxes and fees – as well as the race for governor, county commissioner, and multiple local city council races.
If you need to register to vote, you can do that at the Umatilla County Elections office, the DMV, and online at with the Oregon Secretary of State. You can also find the entire voter pamphlet for Umatilla County online – especially if you are one of the county residents who received a misprinted pamphlet that does not include the Umatilla County candidates.
Find a link to register to vote and to find the voter's pamphlet on the county's website.

ShakeOut coming to Eastern Oregon on Thursday
Oct. 15, 2018
Thursday, students, families, and businesses across the state – and worldwide – will practice dropping, covering and holding on until an earthquake stops in the Great Oregon Shake Out. It’s part of the ShakeOut International Day of Action.
Althea Rizzo, in the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, says the goal is to make sure you and your family are prepared before an earthquake happens.
To prepare, you need enough supplies to make it two weeks on your own. The website Shakeout.org has the information you need to prepare - you can also sign up to participate in the event so organizers know how many people are taking part this year.
Registration this year includes almost 9,000 participants in Umatilla County and more than 200 in Morrow County – many of them students. Schools in Hermiston, Irrigon, Milton-Freewater, and Athena. Families, individuals, and medical staff, and state offices also signed up to participate. It is not too late to register – you can find out more at shakeout.org/Oregon.
The drill is scheduled for 10:18 a.m. on Thursday.

Umatilla, Morrow counties talk transit
Oct. 12, 2018
Seven percent of households in Umatilla County don’t have access to a vehicle – and another 10 percent of households are automobile insufficient, meaning the household does not have access to a vehicle for each person working. In Morrow county, five percent of households don’t have access to a vehicle. Add that to the large number of people who commute between counties, and that’s a problem local county commissioners want to tackle. County Commissioners from both Umatilla and Morrow counties having a joint meeting this week, and the main topic was improving transportation, including discussion of the draft Morrow/Umatilla County Transit Development Strategy Plan.
Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens says the study tackles a number of needs and strategies
"We didn't take action on at the meeting, but it was a report on that strategy plan," Givens said. "There are some really great ideas in it."
Portland-based Kittleson and Associates because the transportation study in 2016, and this is the draft document moving forward. The report breaks down demographics, poverty, and the need for transit options, pointing out 63 percent of Morrow County’s workforce lives outside of the county – with the bulk living in Umatilla County. On the Umatilla County side, more than 1/3rd of workers live outside the county in both Oregon and Washington.
The 55 page-report then provides suggestions to tackle transit issues – including new bus or shuttle options, park-n-ride locations, and modifications to current bus and shutting systems.
Find the full draft report at this link.
During the joint meeting, the commissioners also discussing sewer inspections and the Eastern Oregon counties association. Umatilla county has opted to pull out of that lobbying group. Givens says the county will do its own lobbying efforts.

Boardman, Umatilla launch new websites
Oct. 11, 2018
New websites recently for two local cities - Boardman and Umatilla. Both websites feature redesigns with a focus on features important to residents.
In Boardman, city officials encouraging residents to use the
website for information such as water outages, job openings, impounded dogs, public hearing notices, clean up months, and more.
Users may also subscribe to the Boardman Bulletin Newsletter and/or the
Amber Alert Notices.
In Umatilla, mayor Daren Dufloth says the website went live last month and includes meeting agendas, an event calendar, and code information
"Check out our new website - it's awesome," Dufloth said. "There's a lot of great infomration on the website."
You can find the updated websites at Umatilla-city.org and cityofboardman.com

Candidate forum is tonight
Oct. 10, 2018
Tonight, a candidate forum at BMCC Hermiston. That’ll be in room 134 at the Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center, 975 SE Columbia Drive.
The forum, moderated by our own Angela Pursel, will feature County Commissioner Candidates George Murdock and Rick Pullen as well as Hermiston City Council candidates Lori Davis and Mark Gomolski. That event begins at 5:30 tonight, and it is open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
A reminder that there is also a candidate forum scheduled in Umatilla. That one will be Oct. 18 from 6 to 7:30 and will feature candidates for positions on the Umatilla City Council as well as the two candidates for Mayor.

Testing, lunch prices
Oct. 10, 2018
Today, students at Hermiston high School are also engaged in testing – it’s the SAT for seniors, the ASVAB for juniors, and the PSAT for sophomores.
Today is also the day families could begin seeing lunch bills for their students. Families receiving free or reduced lunch must apply every year. There is a grace period that ended… yesterday. Families who qualified for free or reduced lunch last year but did not submit a new application for the 2018-19 school year will begin being charged today.
Applications for free or reduced lunch can be submitted at any time of year. You can contact your local school or school district office for more information.

Rain causes floods, reduces fire danger
Oct. 10, 2018
Rain yesterday causing a flash flood warning in some areas of Umatilla and Morrow counties yesterday, and the American Red Cross responding to one home disaster flood in Heppner. That flood at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon and affected four adults and one child. The Red Cross providing services to address immediate needs.
The good news about that rain, however, is public use restrictions have been lifted in the Umatilla National Forest, effective yesterday. Restrictions related to chainsaw use, smoking, and off-road travel being lifted. Seasonal campfire restrictions remain until Oct. 31, 2018. Seasonal campfire restrictions require visitors to build their campfire in a fire pit surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings, in areas cleared of all flammable material. Campfires must be attended at all times and a shovel and one gallon of water are required to be in your possession while building and tending campfires.

Hermiston to change water, sewer rates
Oct. 8, 2018
Utility rates could be changing for the City of Hermiston. The City Council tonight to vote on major adjustments to water and sewer rates. The vote tonight could change the way rates are calculated from a declining rate schedule, which charges less per unit the more water is used, to an inclining rate schedule, which charges less for an initial, base, water amount and more per additional units. City staff says the change is designed to encourage water users to conserve water while also providing funding for a "backlog" of deferred maintenance.
The proposed rates could generate $2 million per year in additional revenue to cover the long list of deferred maintenance projects. If approved, the new rates will take effect March 1, 2019. The regular city council meeting scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The Hermiston City Council also has a work session scheduled tonight. That begins at 6 p.m., and on the agenda: the library strategic plan and a housing report.
Follow the full agenda here.

Umatilla plans candidate forum
Oct. 8, 2018
Last week, a run down of candidates for many local races, and a reminder today there is a candidate forum in Hermiston on Wednesday.
There is also a public forum scheduled for candidates for Umatilla City Council. That will be 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Umatilla Visitor Center on Cline Avenue.
A release from the Umatilla Chamber says the November 6th General Election could potentially bring sweeping changes to the Council make up. Residents are invited to come and meet the
candidates, and participate in an open discussion about the future of the City Council and City leadership.
Incumbent Mayor Daren Dufloth is running for re-election, and he's been challenge by a former city council member, Mary Dedrick. Both are expected to be on hand for the candidates forum, as are candidates for the council spot.
Candidates for the City Council are:
Mark Keith, incumbent, and Corrine Funderburk, each running for Position 1;
Leslie Smith, running for Position 3; and Josy Chavez, running for Position 5.

School Board to choose new member
Oct. 8, 2018
The Hermiston School Board also considering new faces tonight. The board will interview and review finalist candidates that applied to fill the position board member Jason Middleton is leaving on the board. The selected individual will be appointed on October 22 and sworn into the office November 5.
The board will also review financial and enrollment reports. That meeting begins at 6:30 tonight at the Hermiston School District office. Click here for the full agenda.

Echo looks to replace Diane Berry
Oct. 8, 2018
Diane Berry, the city administrator-recorder for Echo, will soon be retiring after 39 years working for the city. As city administrator and recorder, Berry also serves as library director, chief gardener, bookkeeper, payroll director/clerk and grant writer. The Echo City Council is looking at how to structure the position and set priorities for the city for the next few years. The council is looking for feedback on if services should be contracted out, consolidated, or if multiple individuals should be hired to try and replace Berry when she retires.
Let the council know what you think by calling, sending a note or email: ecpl@centurytel.net.

Umatilla Council looks at health, construction
Oct. 2, 2018
Tonight, Umatilla talks healthcare, construction projects, and hiring a new city manager.
On the agenda for the meeting tonight, a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign an employment department between the city and David Stockdale.
A presentation tonight from Dr.  Derek Earl, of Family Health Associates, who will announce the grand opening of FHA at the Umatilla Clinic, is also on the agenda, as is a presentation from Hermiston Nazarene Church talking about their annual community volunteer event – that’s on Nov. 18 – and potential projects in Umatilla.
Multiple resolutions signing easements and contracts related to the city’s Sixth Street Waterline Improvement Project as well as others related to consulting services also planned for a vote.
The council is also expected to have a closed-door, executive session to consider employment of a public officer, employee, staff member or individual and for labor negotiations.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m.  at Umatilla city Hall. Find the full agenda here.
Also tonight, as discussed yesterday, the Stanfield city council will be meeting at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on Coe Avenue.

Stanfield to talk marijuana ban
Oct. 1, 2018
Stanfield could repeal its marijuana facility band.
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says people have approached the city about repealing the ban, and the city council has discussed the request - and opted to survey Stanfield residents.
The survey will be one page and will include a space for residents to add other comments. Those will go out during the November utility bills - not the ones that come out today - but one month from today. Stanfield residents who do not receive utility bills can pick up the survey at Stanfield City Hall . Those must be received by the end of November, and the Stanfield City Council is expected to discuss the surveys and the ban during the December meeting.
Speaking of meetings, though the Stanfield City Council does have a meeting tomorrow night in the council chambers on Coe Avenue. They'll have a presentation from the Stanfield School District about the proposed bond and will discuss the results of the most recent survey of Stanfield residents.

HSD, Walmart partner for kiosks
Oct. 1, 2018
The Hermiston School District is also working to get more feedback from community members and parents. They're installed two kiosks in Hermiston to give those who do not have access to a computer an opportunity to check student status and provide feedback.
The kiosks are through a partnership with Walmart, and one kiosk will be located in the Customer Service Area at the Hermiston Walmart. The other will be located at the district office.
The kiosks will provide parents with an opportunity to check their student grades, attendance and homework assignments recorded in the student information system, PowerSchool. Parents and community members will be able to browse district job opportunities.

UCSO boat rescue
Sept. 29, 2018
Another boat rescue on the Columbia River. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office reporting a rescue of a stranded boater on a disabled boat about a half mile west of the Umatilla River. Deputies able to safely tow the boat and its occupant back to the Umatilla Marina. As with the previous boating rescues this summer, the sheriff’s office again asking boaters make sure the boat is in good working order, has all required lights, sound producing equipment and life jackets before heading out to the water. Anyone who would like to have their boat inspected prior to going on the water can contact the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office at 966-3650 to schedule an appointment.

Tricia Mooney named superintendent
Sept. 27, 2018
Tricia Mooney is the superintendent of the Hermiston School District.
The Hermiston School Board making that decision at 8:15 a.m. yesterday morning during a special meeting.
"She has spent the last year demonstrating that she has the skill set and aptitude to be our next superintendent," Board member Karen Sherman said. "Without the anchor of interim, Ms. Mooney be able to grow into the position. She has integrity and foresight."
Board member Ginny Holthus saying the decision included feedback from district staff, parents, and community members before they made the decision, which is part of their hiring process and allowed the board to see the amount of support Mooney has in the community.
Mooney has served as interim superintendent for a year and a half. Last month, the district officially separated with now former superintendent Fred Maiocco, who is on extended service with the Army Reserves. The board saying they will work with Mooney on any staff changes, including whether her position as assistant superintendent will be filled. Bryn Browning continues as the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction.

Hermiston man hits school bus
Sept. 27, 2018
A Hermiston man arrested for hit-and-run with a school bus yesterday morning. No injuries reported when the black sport utility vehicle rammed into the back of a school bus at about 7:30 yesterday morning. The SUV fled the area, but officers able to track it to a residence where 34-year-old Ronald Raymond Epperson was arrested on the Hit and Run offense as well as two outstanding warrants. He was also issued a citation for driving while suspended.

School board slates special meeting for superintendent
Sept. 25, 2018
A special meeting of the Hermiston School Board tomorrow – and the action item is the superintendent vacancy. The board will review superintendent feedback results and then make a vote, and the recommendation… is to appoint interim superintendent Tricia Mooney as superintendent of schools. Mooney has served as interim since Fred Maiocco was deployed a year and a half ago. If named superintendent, she would fill the space left when the district separated from Fred Maiocco Aug. 27.

Middleton leaves school board
Sept. 25, 2018
A longtime Hermiston School Board member resigning yesterday during a work session and special meeting of the Hermiston School board.
After more than a decade in the board’s position 4, Jason Middleton’s resignation effective immediately. Middleton citing new commitments that make him unable to dedicate the required time and energy to being on the school board.
Applications are now available at the district office for anyone interested in serving on the Hermiston School Board, Those must be returned by 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5. The applications will be narrowed to a group of finalists who will be interviewed by the school board during the Oct. 8th meeting. The selected individual will be appointed on Oct. 22 and sworn into office on Nov. 5.

Stanfield looking at vacancy on council
Sept. 25, 2018
Yesterday, we told you about a candidate forum that will feature the two candidates for Ward 1 on the Hermiston City Council. Well, Stanfield is likely not going to need a forum for its open slots on the November election:
"We have three open seats, but we only have two people running, so it's guaranteed we will have a vacancy unless there's a write-in campaign," City Manager W. Blair Larsen said.
Larsen saying if no eligible candidate is elected, the council will appoint a council member in January. The requirements to serve on Stanfield City Council are that you have lived in Stanfield for two years are over 18, and are a registered voter.
The city of Stanfield also has an opening for a police officer, and Larsen says they do provide training.

Candidate forum set for Oct. 10
Sept. 24, 2018
A candidate forum for those running for Umatilla County Commissioner Position 1 and Hermiston City Council Ward One coming up in two weeks at the Hermiston campus of Blue Mountain Community College.
It’s sponsored by KOHU and The Q as well as the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
The event begins with a candidate meet-and-greet at 5:30, followed by the forum at 6. First up, incumbent George Murdock and challenger Rick Pullen for the county commissioner spot. After a short break, the forum will resume with City Council incumbent Lori Davis and challenger Mark Gomolski.
For more information call the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce at 541-567-6151

Council talks zoning tonight
Sept. 24, 2018
If you’re looking for more Hermiston City Council in the meantime, they do have a meeting tonight that includes multiple votes on planning and zoning. They’ll be considering the final plat of Desert Sky phase 6 and offering three public hearings on proposed zoning amendments – one to allow florist shops in residential zones, another to change the amount of open space needed at nursery schools – that’s to align with the state – and a notice of appeals for land-use decisions. The council is expected to vote on each of those after the public hearings. The meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall. Follow this link for the full agenda.
Also tonight, the Hermiston School Board has a work session at 6:30 at Desert View Elementary. That one will immediately follow the meet-and-greet with Tricia Mooney. Mooney is the current interim superintendent for the district and could be named the new superintendent, based on ongoing feedback, including that received from the public at tonight’s meet and greet.
The meet-and-green session begins at 6 p.m., and the work session will follow. On the agenda, a presentation from staff at Desert View, personnel appointments and extra-duty contracts. Find that agenda here.

Umatilla chooses Stockdale as City Manager
Sept. 20, 2018
The Umatilla City Council has chosen a new city manager. The council on Tuesday asking management group Prothman to negotiate a contract with David Stockdale,
Stockdale recently serving as the city administrator in Prosser, Washington. He resigned this summer over an issue involving him not changing his driver’s license from Oregon to Washington. He previously worked in Eugene for nine years in the parks department.
During a meet-and-greet last week, Stockdale saying he would like to focus on infrastructure and thinks his experience in Prosser will benefit Umatilla while bring Stockdale and his family closer to home.
"I think no matter what, the growth is here and it's coming," he said. "What can we do to manage that? We need to be strategic."
Stockdale selected from a pool of three finalists based on the recommendation of Steve Worthington, of Prothman, as well as city staff interviews with candidates and community feedback.

Family Health & Fitness Day is Saturday
Sept. 20, 2018
On Saturday, it’s the return of Family Health and Fitness Day. It’s from 9 to 2 this Saturday at Hermiston High School and will feature health activities from cooking classes to Zumba. They’ll also have a dozen different screenings available from body composition to vision – all free.
Participants can follow-up on screenings with their healthcare providers. They’ll also be offering on-site mammograms, on-site dental treatments. Returning this year, SHIBA representatives to help seniors with health insurance, the the teddy bear clinic, and community booths and demonstrations, sponsored by the Healthy Communities Coalition. That’s from 9 to 2 on Saturday – immediately following the Don Horneck Fun Run and Walk.
Saturday there’s also an open house set at the Hermiston Municipal Airport. It’s this Saturday from 10 until 3. they’ll have tours of the facility, airplanes on display, and you can meet the new management team.
Umatilla County hosting a hazardous waste disposal event in Pendleton, and Saturday also the day for the Don Horneck Memorial Ag-Ed Banquet and Auction as well as a fundraising golf tournament for the Umatilla Museum and Umatilla Alumni.

Ione asking for food donations
Sept. 18, 2018
Looking at the new school year, volunteers in Ione also looking for help providing back packs for kids in our school who need extra food at home over the weekend. Each food bag contains 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 snacks, and 1 can of vegetables and 1 can of fruit. All food is nonperishable and provided to children free of charge. Organizers are looking for food donations. Suggestions include:
Granola Bars
Instant Oatmeal
Canned Soup
Instant Mac & Cheese
Cup O’ Soup
Fruit Cups
Canned Vegetables
Trail Mix
Peanut Butter
Canned Sausages
Microwave Popcorn
Ritz Snack Pack Crackers
Items must be nonperishable and simple for children to prepare on their own.
They do ask for no apple sauce, not because they hate it – Jeff – but because they have a large supply already.
Donations can be left at the Ione Market, Ione Community Church and Ione Community Clinic.
For more information, call the school office 541-422-7131.

Stanfield Schools considering bond
Sept. 18, 2018
The Stanfield School District is planning to go out for a $14 million facilities bond on the May 2019 election, and they’re presenting their plan to the community tomorrow night.
Superintendent Beth Burton says they’re focusing on safety, security, and expansion of CTE spaces. If approved , the bond would revise the entrances to both schools and revamp the middle school.
"Our actual middle school portable building is our least secure building of all three buildings," Burton said. "This proposed bond would include building a middle school that is in addition to the secondary school, complete with a gym.
The bond would also add air conditioning to the high school gym, change the parking lot at Stanfield Elementary for student safety and add natural lighting to the secondary school.
"Once you get through the front door, there are no windows in the rest of the building. There are no windows in classrooms, no natural light in that building," Burton said.
To find out more, that community tour and presentation begins at 6 Wednesday in the gym at Stanfield Secondary School.
After the tours, we will meet back in the SSS Cafeteria to discuss, collect feedback and answer questions.
The bond project estimated at $14 million. Burton says they do hope to receive some grants or matching funds before that project goes to the ballot.

School enrollment up across region
Sept. 14, 2018
Enrollment up at almost all school districts in a three county area
"Our enrollment is way up in the region," said InterMountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill. "Districts that have been facing declining enrollment numbers recently are up."
It’s no surprise that enrollment growth includes the largest district in the region: The Hermiston School District reporting 5,850 students K-12 in its first week – that’s an increase of 80 students from where they were last year. The district is even seeing that growth - in kindergarten. Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney saying they have 463 kindergartens.
"That does create opportunities and challenges, but it is exciting" she said.
The Stanfield School District seeing an increase from last year’s numbers. They’re at 465 students – 15 more than they ended with last year, and that does not include the 18 students in the district’s 4-year-old Kindergarten Readiness program.
Umatilla at 1,395 students this week, up 40 students from this week last year, giving that district the highest percentage increase this year.
The Morrow County School District is up to 2319 students. Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says they’re preparing for continued growth as additional housing goes into the county, especially Boardman.
Educators saying much of the growth comes from job growth.

Boardman schools in lockdown Thursday
Sept. 14, 2018
Speaking OF schools, all Boardman schools put into lockout yesterday by the Boardman Police Department following a general threat made on social media. After police officers completed their procedures for securing a building after lockdown, the restrictions were lifted. The lockdowns began at 1:52 and ended at 2:22.

Sheriff to talk sanctuary cities
Sept. 14, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan is asking voters to repeal Oregon’s “Sanctuary Law,” that law prohibits the use of state and local resources to enforce federal immigration law if the person’s only infraction is being in the country illegally.
Rowan is one of 16 sheriff’s in the state who have signed on to support a measure that would repeal the Sanctuary Law, and Hermiston’s Hispanic Advisory Committee has asked the sheriff to come explain his position. Rowan is scheduled to present to that group Monday night at 7 o’clock at Hermiston city hall..

Umatilla community turns out to meet candidates
Sept. 14, 2018
Three finalists for Umatilla City Manager faced questions on schools, zoning, and interacting with the Latino population during a meet-and-greet session at the Umatilla visitor's center last night. A crowd attending the event to meet Blair Larsen, David Stockdale, and Scott Meszaros. The three gave opinions on where they would like to be in 5 years, what major barriers they have overcome and what drew them to apply for the Umatilla position. The questions all came from the audience - of about 50 people Chamber President Mark Ribich says he was impressed with the involvement
"I'm extremely happy with how it went tonight," he said.
The evening hosted by Ribich, Umatilla Mayor Daren Dufloth and Steve Worthington, with Prothman, the company the city is using to help with the city manager search. Dufloth saying the event was part of an ongoing effort by city officials to let residents have a say in decisions.
"We want people to be involved in this. It's about building trust," Dufloth said. "We want you to see what we see. We want you to ask questions - and if they're tough questions, ask them."
Attendees at the event candidate evaluation forms that has what they liked about the candidate, any concerns they had and any additional comments. Dufloth says now the committee will gather all the information, both from interviews with city staff and city council and the community feedback, and they'll make a recommendation to the city council. The council could vote on a new city manager next month.

Children's Rodeo today in Pendleton
Sept. 13, 2018
Today, a group of cowboys and cowgirls will take the field at the Pendleton Round-Up grounds – and they’re all students from regional schools. Today is the InterMountain ESD’s children’s rodeo, which gives special needs children a chance to take the field to ride a wagon, use a lasso and more. ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says it’s a great experience.
"I really encourage people if they're going to the rodeo, if they're going to Pendleton to really pop in and see it," he said. "When you see the kids and the joy on their faces, it really tugs at your heart strings."
About 50 children expected to participate today. The event begins at 10:30, and the public is welcome to come watch the children’s rodeo.
Mulvihill says the ESD provides services to many special needs children, and this gives them an opportunity to interact directly with the students they serve.

UCSO begins more DUI patrols
Sept. 13, 2018
Another round of DUII patrols began yesterday for the Pendleton Round-Up. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office having enhanced patrols through the 15th watching for distracted and under-the-influence drivers. Sergeant Josh Roberts says deputies are committed to seeing the Round Up is a safe environment by removing impaired drivers from the road.
These events are funded through a grant from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association. This is the final grant event for the 2017-18 grant year.

Tugboat rescues couple from river
Sept. 13, 2018
Another water rescue this week in Morrow County that pulled two people from Umatilla from the water. An emergency call Tuesday evening advising the Tidewater Tugboat “Ryan Point” had spotted two people in the water clinging to their small, overturned boat. The man and woman were hypothermic from being in the water for three hours before the Ryan Point came to the rescue. They were treated on board the Tug Boat as it traveled to the Boardman Tidewater facility. Boardman Ambulance and Boardman fire met the tugboat at the docks. The two identified as Derek Ness, 38, and Laurie Merrell, both of Umatilla. Morrow County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol issuing a reminder to all boaters to be vigilant about keeping craft seaworthy, be aware of conditions on the water and make sure to carry the required safety equipment.

Sheriff Offices rescue women
Sept. 12, 2018
A deputy from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, Mike Cahill, diving into the Columbia River on Monday to save a suicidal woman. At 3:19 in the afternoon on Monday, the sheriff’s office receiving a report of a possibly suicidal woman heading to the river. Deputies dispatched and were able to locate the woman in the river, in water up to her neck and heading deeper. The deputy deciding he did not have a time to deploy a boat and immediately went into he river, according to a press release. Cahill was able to pull the woman from the river, despite her attempts to break away. Boardman police helping bring her in when Cahill and the woman reached closer to the store. The Morrow County sheriff’s office saying it was a team effort to make a successful rescue and save the woman’s life.
Recent rescues for the Umatilla county sheriff’s office as well. On Saturday, a search and rescue team rescuing a woman who fell and injured her ankle at the Bar M Ranch in the blue mountain. The Search and Rescue team hiked ¾ of a mile to the woman’s location with a portable stretcher. They were able to carry her out despite the narrow and step trail. The descent lasted more than two hours. The woman was loaded onto an all-terrain vehicle then driven to a hospital for treatment.

Cyclist droves riding through area
Sept. 11, 2018
Motorists can expect to see 1,500 bicyclists on eastern Oregon routes this week as Cycle Oregon continues its week-long event that started Saturday in Baker City. Hundreds of bicyclists traveling along OR86 between Baker City and Halfway on Sunday. The group will ride the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway and other routes as they visit Wallow Lake, Elgin, Pendleton and La Grande, before returning to Baker City next weekend.
Motorists are advised to drive with extra caution, watch for bike riders and share the road.
The group travels from Wallowa Lake to Elgin today, then tomorrow from Elgin to Pendleton on Highway 204, and Thursday from Pendleton to Echo and back to Pendleton through Highway 37, Despain Gulch Road, Highway 395, Thielsen and Rieth Roads.
Expect heavy bicycle traffic along those routes.
On Friday, Sept. 14, the group goes from Pendleton to La Grande via Court Ave, Mission Road, Old Hwy 30, I-84 between Mileposts 248 and 259, with a lunch stop at Hilgard Junction State Park off Hwy 244.
More information about the ride is available at http://cycleoregon.com.

Life expectancy highest in Pendleton
Sept. 11, 2018
Where you live in Oregon could help determine how long you live. new data on death rates show a wide variety across the state. Doctor Katrina Hedburg, with the Oregon Health Authority, says there are a variety of reasons that might happen.
“It’s both the physical environment but clearly people living in certain areas don’t necessarily have the same opportunity to be healthy as those living in other census tracks,” she said.
The lowest life span...66 years...was for people in central Medford near I-5...the longest was 89 years for people living near Forest Park in Northwest Portland. Hedburg says the information will help them focus health care resources on people who need it the most. In Umatilla County, the life expectancy ranging from 72.5 in Cayuse to 81.7 in Pendleton. In Hermiston, the life expectancy is 78.6, Umatilla, Stanfield and Echo each about 79 years. In Morrow County, the average just over 80 years.

Harkenrider Center opens
Sept. 10, 2018
With two ribbon cuttings, a handful of speakers and a crowd of hundreds, the Harkenrider Senior Center opened its doors on Saturday.

harkie center.jpg (280542 bytes)
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaks during the dedication of the Harkenrider Senior Center on Saturday.

"It's our dream that ever senior will want to be a part of what's going on here," said Irene Miller, senior center president. "We need bodies - lots of bodies."
After the dedication of the building and ribbon cuttings of both the front doors and the kitchen - fundraised by the seniors - guests were allowed to tour the building and enjoy refreshments - and Larry Fetter says there were a few guests.
"I think we had 250-300 people," Fetter said. "I was shocked - we kept bringing chairs out. People have been waiting for this for a long time. It was a very wonderful day.
Fetter says programming is expected to begin in early October. and he would encourage the community to take advantage of it

School board begins superintendent discussion
Sept. 10, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board begins its discussion of the superintendent vacancy.
That's the only description listed under the study item. The district recently accepting the resignation of superintendent Fred Maiocco and beginning the decision on how to proceed. The item appears on tonight's agenda sandwiched between a report on English-language learners and the consent agenda, which includes personnel appointments and resignations. One of the resignations on the agenda for tonight's meeting is Operations Director Brad Wayland. The meeting begins at 6:30 tonight in the district offices.
Follow this link to the full agenda.

Council has work session, talks rates
Sept. 10, 2018
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. They'll open with a work session to discuss water rates - that begins at 6 tonight - before the regular meeting opens at 7. The agenda also includes a public hearing on the EOTEC building and RV rates, as well as resolutions relating to the city's financial and investment policies.
Find the full agenda here.

Pool pilot program for second-grade swimmers
Sept. 7, 2018
It’s September, and the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center would normally be shut down this year. Instead, they’re open – for a specific audience – in an agreement with the Hermiston School District. The pool extension focuses on the competitive pool use for the high school girls swim team, which is now in its season. Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says they have purchasing a pool cover to help keep the water warm and are keeping the pool open into October as part of the partnership. Because the pool will keep water in it this fall, they're also offering a pilot program - for second graders. Fetter says second-grade is a key time for water safety.
"If a child gets beyond second-grade and they're a nonswimmer, the chances of them becoming a swimmer are super low," Fetter said. "We want to know who they are, and we want to be able to put them on a track that gets them to be swimmers."
The pilot will offer second-graders at each Hermiston elementary the chance to get in the water and learn basic water safety.
Fetter says the department runs into a challenge where the aquatic center cannot fit in all the requested swimming lessons within the three months the aquatic center operates.

Umatilla City Manager Candidates forum scheduled
Sept. 7, 2018
A Public Forum scheduled to meet the finalists for Umatilla City Manager - one who has a familiar name in local politics.
The three candidates include Stanfield City Manager W. Blair Larsen. Larsen has been the City Manager for the City of Stanfield since 2013; Scott Meszaros, the Town Administrator for the Town of Meeker, Colorado; and David Stockdale, who was most recently City Administrator for the City of Prosser, Washington, where he served for over two years.
The public is invited to come down and meet the candidates. That forum from 6 to 7:30 on Sept. 13 – that’s Thursday – at Umatilla Visitor Center.
Tamra Mabbot currently serving as interim city manager after Russ Pelleburg left the city last month for a position in Washington State.
The forum a joint project The Umatilla Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is excited to join the City of Umatilla and City Council. The event will include an opening, a brief statement from each candidate and an open question and answer period. Light refreshments will be provided.

UmCo Health names Leadership Team
Sept. 6, 2018
New leadership named for Umatilla County Public Health. Director Jim Setzer resigning last month, and the Umatilla County Commissioners have promoted county staff as an “administrative team” to fill the vacancy. Joe Fiumara, environmental health supervisor, taking over as director of public health, and community wellness supervisor Alisha Southwick being promoted to deputy director. The county will backfill the two positions, costing the city an additional $1800 from the general fund.

First round of EOTEC Survey results
Sept. 6, 2018
More events at EOTEC. That’s the preliminary take away from a community survey on the future of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. As of this week, almost 300 people have completed the survey – and they’re asking for more year-round events. According to a an early report, 85 percent of responses would like to see more concerts and 75% would like more food events.
If you’d like to participate, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says that survey is open until the end of this month.
"This survey is ultimately going to be used to chart the future for how we develop the EOTEC site longterm," he said. "This is the time, now, to really get your voice heard."
The City of Hermiston recently taking over full ownership of Find out more and take the survey at www.eotecsurvey.com.

Stanfield votes to demolish dangerous home
Sept. 6, 2018
A Stanfield home will be demolished. The Stanfield City Council this week declaring the house at 230 South Lucy Street a Dangerous Building and ordering its demolition. The action following a professional inspection and public hearing determined the dangerous condition of the home could only be remedied by its complete demolition. If the property owners do no have the home demolished by Sept. 18, then the city will conduct the demolition at the property owner’s expense. The property owners, Richard and Martina Ruiz, have been charged with multiple counts of animal abuse for the 36 animals removed from the home last month. Their next court appearance is the 11th.

BMCC president to leave in Oct.
Sept. 5, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College President Cam Preus will exit her position in October.
The president making the announcement to BMCC staff yesterday morning, then the college issuing a press release yesterday afternoon that she is leaving the college to take a position as executive director of the Oregon Community College Association in Salem. She has served as president of BMCC since 2013. BMCC will now move forward with the search for an interim president. Preus saying she expects the college to have a new full-time president hired in June of next year.

Harkie Center dedication this weekend
Sept. 5, 2018
This weekend is the dedication of the Harkenrider Senior Center. The dedication ceremony and tours of the senior center expected to kick off at 1 p.m..
The 11-thousand-square-foot building cost $2.3 million, the bulk of which came from a $2 million Community Development Block Grant.
The downtown association is also hosting a barbecue from 11 to 3 on Saturday. Tickets for the lunch are $8.50 per plate. The dedication itself is free. During that day is also when they will be sealing the time capsule.

Food session live stream scheduled at HAREC
Sept. 4, 2018
Agriculture is key to the economy of Eastern Oregon – and thinking about food systems is also important to a thriving community. Oregon State University is having that conversation across the state through a presentation on Communities, Food, Resilience.
Angie Treadwell, with OSU in Hermiston, says the event is in Portland, but it’s going to be live streamed at the Hermiston Ag Research and Extension Center.
The presentation is Wednesday, Sept. 5, and the sessions begin at 2:30 and continue until 5. Treadwell says it is a casual event where people can come and go and do not have to stay for the full event. To RSVP, you can call 564-8321 or email lora.sharkey@oregonstate.edu.

Opioid numbers down, overdose up
Aug. 30, 2018
The figures of opioid abuse in the Umatilla County are in – and it’s a mixed bag of good and bad news. Mike Stensrud, the drug prevention coordinator for Umatilla County, says from April 1 to June 30th, 62-hundred individuals received a prescription for opioids in Umatilla County. The number of opioids being prescribed in Umatilla County are down – by 8 percent over last year, but overdoses are up.
Overdose events occur when emergency medical providers administer naloxone or similar drugs to stop the overdose - in the last year, the county has had 198 overdose events reported. Stensrud says the number is abnormally high for the population of Umatilla County.

Maiocco resigns
Aug. 28, 2018
The Hermiston School Board accepting the resignation of Superintendent Fred Maiocco last night. Maiocco, a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Reserves, has been on active military service for the past year and was scheduled to return in January. This year, the board learning that deployment will now continue until January of 2020. Rather than continue with an interim superintendent, Maiocco and the school board agreeing on a separation agreement – with the school district paying Maiocco a flat amount to finish his contract.
A statement from district staff saying the are very proud of Dr. Maiocco’service to our country and grateful for his ten years of strong leadership and vision for the District.
The Board now begins considering its options moving forward, including the option of appointing interim superintendent Tricia Mooney as a permanent superintendent or beginning a superintendent search process.
The Board will begin deliberating on the options at its Sept. 10 meeting.

School starts
Aug. 27, 2018
It’s the first day of school for school districts in Hermiston, Morrow County, and Echo. That means busses are running, kids are walking, and school zones are in effect.
Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith says the district is excited about this school year. Enrollment is strong, and they have wait lists in some grades. In Morrow County, housing increases predicting increases in enrollment.
Housing Developments continue to go in and be planned in Boardman. Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says he's planning on an average of one student per new apartment, which means Boardman could see continued growth - and 120 or 150 new students could post some challenges and opportunities.
The Hermiston School District is again expecting substantial enrollment growth.
The incoming 9th grade class in Hermiston High School is about 100 students more than the senior class that graduated in June. Students in first through 12th grade start classes in Hermiston today. Kindergartners will come in on the 29th.

Board talks legal, council mobile food
Aug. 27, 2018
Hermiston School Board
There’s a special Hermiston School Board meeting tonight.
The meeting opens with a closed-door session to consult with legal counsel. They’ll also be voting on school lunch prices. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the district office. Find the full agenda here.
Hermiston City Council
The Hermiston City Council will be voting on adopting its changes to mobile food vendors tonight – the ordinance calls for increasing he number of mobile food vendors from 3 to 6. They’ll also consider requests to add stop signs in Hermiston – on NW 4th and 5th at the intersections with West Ridgeway as well as westbound on Crestview at NW Overlook Drive. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. tonight at Hermiston City hall. Here's the full agenda
Morrow County Town Hall
Tonight, the second of the Morrow County Town Hall meetings to discuss the North morrow County building. Tonight’s Meeting is from 5:30 to 6:30 in Heppner City Hall, 111 N. Main Street. Additional meetings scheduled this week at the Ione American Legion Hall on Wednesday and Irrigon City Hall on Thursday. The meetings will focus on the building project in Irrigon to put up a new administrative building. They’re encouraging community discussion and comments.

Drive, Health, and Ag tomorrow
Aug. 24, 2018
A Drive 4 UR School event tomorrow to benefit the Hermiston High School track program. Tom Denchel Ford Country will donate $20 for every person who test drives a Ford vehicle at Hermiston High School on tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coaches and volunteers will be on hand to assist with the test drives, and the drive could raise up to $6,000 for the program.
Hermiston High School will provide free drinks and hot dogs for everyone who test drives a vehicle. To test drive a Ford vehicle, a driver must be 18 years of age, or older, and have a valid driver’s license. Test drives are limited to one test drive per household.
Also tomorrow, the third annual Health Fair at Mirasol Family Health. That’s from 10 to 2 at the facility on 11th street. It includes free tacos, games, and information as well as wellness exams, immunizations, and #10 sports physicals. The event is free and open to the public, although children getting immunizations or exams must be accompanied by an adult.
EOCCO Insurance has also donated backpacks for children who get wellness exams.
Finally, tomorrow is the second ay of the Celebrate Oregon Agriculture Event at the SAGE Center in Boardman. That event bringing OMSI exhibits to the SAGE Center. Admission is free from 10 to 5 today and tomorrow.

Mosquito advisory issued
Aug. 23, 2018
More mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile, and the West Umatilla Mosquito Control District issuing a public health advisory yesterday asking area residents of all ages to take steps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. Twenty-five mosquito samples have tested possible this year, including 11 that tested positive last week collected from across the district in Cold Springs Reservoir, Stanfield, Umatilla, and Spearman Road.
Because West Nile may cause encephalitis, people encouraged to get rid of old tires and other containers where water can accumulate and breed mosquitoes, flush water in horse troughs weekly and flush or add mosquito fish to ornamental ponds. To prevent bites, where long-sleeved shirts and pants in mosquito invested areas and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
The district will have targeted aerial spraying this Sunday – they’re targeting a total of 10,240 acres east of Hermiston. That will be after sunset on Sunday.

Suspect escapes into corn field
Aug. 23, 2018
A high-speed chase on Interstate 84 yesterday.
An Oregon State Trooper from Hermiston attempting to stop a Toyota pickup vehicle traveling 93 miles per hour on I-84, but to sped up to 105 and exited from I-84 onto I-82. The vehicle attempted to take exit 10 off I-82 but slammed into the guardrail – the driver and sole occupant fled on foot into an adjacent corn field.
Law Enforcement officers from Hermiston PD, Umatilla PD, Boardman PD, Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, Morrow County Sheriff's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to the scene and helped to establish a perimeter for 5 hours – the suspect spotted multiple times during the search of the 150 acre corn field, but he was able to avoid capture. Investigation showing the pickup had been stolen from Pendleton earlier yesterday morning.
Troopers continuing to work to identify and locate the suspect.
The suspect is a Hispanic male adult last seen wearing a blue t-shirt, white Raiders baseball cap, shorts and has a mustache or goatee. The suspect may have suffered injuries during the crash and OSP is asking the public to call law enforcement should a person matching the suspects description be seen in the area of the Interstate 84, Interstate 82 and Westland Road.
Hermiston PD, Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, Morrow County Sheriff's Office, Boardman PD, Umatilla PD, FBI, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Update on dogs taken from Stanfield home
Aug. 22, 2018
This weekend, 36 dogs were taken from a single home in Stanfield, their owners charged with animal neglect. Most of those dogs - 27 of them - went to Pioneer Human Society. Amy Word says they found out about the warrant the day before it happened and put out a call for help.
"We're not really set up for huge influxes like that," she said. "We had great community support, and several people were willing to open up their homes to foster."

PAWS dog.jpg (76105 bytes)

PAWS completing booster shots, flea treatment, and worming medication. Some of the pets are still on watch status because of their condition, and animal shelters around the county that took in some of the dogs are looking for donations. They're asking for financial help to feed and treat the animals, but they're also asking for volunteers' time.
"Several of the animals need socialization, and that can be as simple as sitting in a cage with them and letting them come up to you and build a rapport with them," she said.
The animals will stay in foster until there's a court a release officially removing them from their owners' custody.

Fires reported in Umatilla National Forest
Aug. 21, 2018
Smoke and  fires in the Umatilla National Forest Sunday and Monday. Staff at the forest saying fire crews are responding to smoke reports but the limited visibility making fire detection a challenge. They’ve been using thermal detection to identify new fires but have had trouble with air suppression because of the fire. The largest is the Gilman Fire – that’s 15-hundred acres near Gilman Flats in the Heppner Ranger District. The Low Ridge Fire is 17 miles southeast of Walla Walla, and the Cupper Canyon Fire burning near Monument. Fire officials reminding everyone the current fire danger rating remains at extreme with public use restrictions still in effect, including on campfires and chainsaws.

Child, animal abuse arrests
Aug. 21, 2018
Four people arrested, three dozen dogs rescued and two children removed from a single house in Stanfield in a case of alleged child and animal neglect.
Police charging 47-year-old Richard Ruiz and 48-year-old Martina Ruiz on 35 counts of animal neglect, two counts each of child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor. The couple’s son, Michael Ruiz, age 26, and his partner, Timi Murray, age 24, were also arrested and are facing charges of child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor. The two children removed from the home.

Umatilla reunions could end
Aug. 21, 2018
Umatilla’s all-school reunions could be a thing of the past if they don’t get more volunteers
Janet Nagy says the base group of volunteers is aging and they need some new blood in order to continue. In addition to hosting the all-school reunion, the Umatilla High School Alumni Association presents scholarships to Umatilla students every year. If you’d like to get involved, you have a chance this week. The alumni annual meeting is at 2 p.m. Aug. 23  at Rayz Days in Umatilla.

Echo ready for ribbon cutting
Aug. 21, 2018
In happier news, tomorrow the doors finally open to the remodel and addition on the Echo Schools Campus.
The project includes at 30,000-square-foot addition to the campus, a new gym, and a new entryway and office space. The project paid for with a $4 million grant from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program and a $4 million bond.
The ribbon cutting is at 5:30, that will be followed by tours of the new facility and refreshments. It’s open to the public and will be followed by the Echo Schools open house for all students and families ready for the 2018-19 school year.

Bartz, others arrested
Aug. 20, 2018
Zachary Bartz is in again custody. One of the Hermiston Police Department’s most publicized search coming to an end Friday evening as they arrested the 25-year-old Hermiston man accused of multiple vehicular thefts from around the area.
A release from HPD saying they received a report of a stolen trailer on Friday night – they tracked it to a location just outside of the city limits and were able to sneak up on Bartz and 45-year-old Charles Barker
HPD saying while making the arrest, they receive a report of a burglary. That crime including property officers were in the process of collecting at the scene – before the owner even knew it was missing.
Bartz lodged at the Umatilla County Jail on 26 counts, including unauthorized use of a vehicle, aggravated theft, burglary and first-degree kidnapping. He’s also facing charges of hit and run, reckless driving, and unlawful possession of meth. Barker facing charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and parole violation.
On Friday, Stanfield Police also arresting 32-year-old James Dean Johnson for assault – Stanfield says when the victim tried to leave, Johnson sat on her and took her phone. He was also lodged at the jail and is charged with assault, strangulation and interfering with making a police report.
In other law enforcement news, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office arrested 3 people for DUII during the Umatilla County Fair. It happened during a set of high-visibility patrols watching for distracted and under the influence drivers. The next high visibility patrols are for the labor day weekend.

Improving north Highway 395
Aug. 20, 2018
Umatilla county wants to improve the area between Hermiston and Umatilla on Highway 395, and now they’re ready for your input. The Highway 395 North Economic Development Project has a community tomorrow at the Stafford Hansell Building. It’s from 5:30-7 p.m.
The Highway 395 North Economic Development Project started in 2015 to improve the esthetic and development of that corridor. If you aren’t able to make it to tomorrow’s community presentation, They’re also scheduling an online public workshop – you can access that now through the county’s website.

Air Quality Alert in place
Aug. 15, 2018
An Air Quality alert in place today through… noon Friday in much of north Oregon, including all of Umatilla and Morrow Counties. The National Weather Service saying smoke from wildfires burning causing air quality to reach unhealthy levels and can aggravate heart and lung diseases. They’re saying limit outdoor activities and keep children indoors if it is smoky.

Morrow County Fair opens
Aug. 15, 2018
Today is the opening of the Morrow County Fair in Heppner. From the animal barns to the kids fun zone, an ice cream social to the greased pig contest and the RDO Tractor Pull to the chuckwagon dinner and live music, the fair is a full list of activities every day today through Saturday.
The Morrow County Fair open 8 to 10 every today through Saturday this week, then Sunday from 6 until the Morrow County rodeo ends in the afternoon. You can find the full fair schedule on the morrow County website.
And by the way, If you missed the Umatilla County Livestock Auction last Saturday, the Morrow County Auction is this Saturday. That will begin at 2 in the afternoon, and the sale order is swine, beef, sheep, then goat.

Umatilla Museum seeking oral history
Aug. 15, 2018
Umatilla continuing its living history interviews this week. So far, the museum has recorded interviews with 19 longtime or former Umatilla citizens about the history of that town.
Joan Ribich, with the Umatilla Museum, says they have a few spots open for the next session – this Thursday. The nonprofit hopes to put the interviews on a DVD and have those playing in a loop during museum operations. Find out more at the Umatilla Museum – it’s open 10 to 4, Tuesday through Saturday.

Morrow County meetings slated
Aug. 15, 2018
The Morrow County Commissioners also setting dates for Town Hall Meetings this month, primarily seeking input on the north Morrow County building to be built in Irrigon. Officials saying the current Irrigon facility has reached its capacity and because of needed repairs, a decision made to tear down the building and put a new structure in its place.
Morrow County Commissioners scheduling those town halls, all from 5:30 to 6:30. Those meetings are Aug. 21 in Boardman, Aug. 27 in Heppner and Aug. 30 in Irrigon.
The County is still working to schedule a time and location in Ione and is hopeful the citizens of the Lexington area will attend the other meeting locations. Contact Morrow County for more information.

Auction donations raise $17,000 for student fighting cancer
Aug. 14, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair Youth Livestock Auction brought in big bucks on Saturday – and the donations are still coming in, especially for one local student who might have sold the most expensive lamb in Umatilla County history. Auction director Marie Linell says it started with a few people pooling money to bid for the lamb shown by 11-year-old Maddy Thomas, an Echo student fighting cancer.
"They spread the word, and they all started pooling their money before she sold," Linell said. "By the time she went to the ring, they had enough money pulled together to bid $50 a pound."
During the sale, 4H takes add-ons, so other donations can be made to sale animals. After the auction, the add-ons for Maddy kept coming in – and they still are. Many of the donations are coming from the youth exhibitors who are donating $10, $50, $100 from their own sales – to Maddy. As of Monday evening, Maddy’s lamb was worth more than $17,000 – and Linell says they’ll take donations through Friday.
The sale, overall, did well. Linell says without the donations for Maddy, they’re on track to be the second highest year. They’re sitting at 471,000 on 250 lots – per animal the highest they’ve seen.
"we just continue to be amazed by our community throughout the county and neighboring counties that support the kids, and obviously these kids are turning around and supporting a kid that has an even greater need than them, and that's really exciting," she said.
If you’re interested in adding on a donation to Maddy or any other exhibitor, contact the Umatilla County Fair office. For more information, you can also call or text Linell at 561-6563.

City approves noise change, tables sports fields
Aug. 14, 2018
The city of Hermiston is now looking at judging noise based on an idea of what a reasonable person would consider too loud for the conditions. That change approved unanimously last night during the Hermiston City Council meeting, as was the new ordinance limited accessory dwelling units. Less agreement on the resolution of necessity for the water tower property acquisition that could allow the city to take the property off Punkin Center by eminent domain. It did pass, but only on a 6-2 vote, and the motion on the lacrosse fields at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center was tabled – unanimously.
On the Hermiston School Board side, despite two executive sessions, the board not taking action on any discussion from the closed-door meetings – one to consider information or records that are exempt by law from public inspection and the other evaluating the performance of an executive officer.

Fields, noise, water tower land all on tap tonight
Aug. 13, 2018
Lacrosse fields, noise ordinances and the new water tower project all on the agenda tonight at the Hermiston City Council meeting. In addition to ordinances about accessory dwelling units – allowing only one per lot with an existing dwelling – and noise violations – that’s the one changing to what a reasonable person would consider acceptable instead of a flat rate – the council expected to discuss a proposal to develop lacrosse fields t the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. The Hermiston Youth Lacrosse organization would use about $95,000 in donated and in-kind resources to establish irrigation and lighting on the 20 acre parcel near the entrance to EOTEC. The property would still be used as overflow parking during the Umatilla County Fair. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the council will not a final plan tonight – only if they want to move forward with creating an agreement.
If the council and city staff move forward, they’ll draft an agreement about usage of the fields. The property would give priority to lacrosse but could also host other sports, including soccer. Morgan saying the fields would have to be oriented in a way that would maintain the exit lane on the edge of the field – that is scheduled to be paved with a hard surface.
On the water tower project, the city could consider options for purchasing about an acre and a half of property near 10th and Punkin Center to place its planned 1-million gallon storage tank on. The city attempting to negotiate with the owner of the property but saying that engineering studies have determined the property is the only location that fits all the city’s needs for the water tower. The council is considering a “resolution of necessity” tonight for the property – that could pave the way for eminent domain.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full agenda here.

City looking for EOTEC feedback
Aug. 13, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for feedback about its long range strategic plan for the facility. The city recently took over full ownership of the EOTEC site, which opened in 2017 as a joint project of the city and Umatilla County. You can give your feedback and be entered for a chance to win a giftcard by taking the survey at www.eotecsurvey.com.

3rd Degree takes 1st place
Aug. 9, 2018
Yesterday was the Backyard Barbecue Grilling Challenge at the Umatilla County Fair, and the top prize for the show went to 3rd Degree BBQ, the Weston-based team that took home top honors in lamb, onion and beef
"It's trial-and-error," said Tyrell Burns."Find something that works and go with it."
Five teams competed this year, down from 10 originally registered - multiple teams dropped out because of the heat. Gay Newman, who oversees the competition on the fair board, says in order to have the competition continue, they will need more teams next year.

City considering noise ordinance

Aug. 9, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair can be a loud event, and noise is at the forefront of the city of Hermiston's minds - and their ears. The Hermiston City Council is considering an ordinance that will change the code from a specific decibel level to that of a "reasonable standard."
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the current requires officers to measure the noise level with equipment - and if that equipment is faulty or there's an amount of wind, it can affect how accurate the measurement is, and the city is looking at changing that to instead a measure of “reasonable standard.”
City staff researching noise ordinances from other cities before making the decision - and found few had a decibel level set for noise violations. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says city administration is asking the council to change the ordinance to a reasonable standard.
The Hermiston City Council could consider that ordinance this month.

Ryan Neal named Port of Morrow manager
Aug. 9, 2018
The Port of Morrow commission selecting Ryan Neal to take over as port manager this week. Neal currently the general manager of warehousing for the Port of Morrow. The decision made by the board after a meet-and-greet session with four finalists on Monday.

Setzer resigns from Public Health
Aug. 8, 2018
After almost two years, Umatilla County Public Health is again searching for a public health director. Jim Setzer tendering his resignation effective the end of this month.
"This has been a great opportunity, and I really hope I've been able to make a positive contribution to Umatilla County in the time I've been here," he said.
Setzer says over the past year a half, the department has shifted its focus from being only clinical services to community focused actions, and he is proud of that change as well as the Year of Wellness.
Setzer says he hopes to stay in Pendleton but is pursuing other health opportunities.

Safety at the Umatilla County Fair
Aug. 8, 2018
Today is day two of the Umatilla County Fair - and day one of the Farm-City Pro Rodeo. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says make sure everyone is ready to have a good time, stay hydrated and stay out of any disagreements or fights on the grounds.
"Our main goal is to make sure that this fun, family event stays a fun, family event," Rowan said. "We don't tolerate misbehaviors."
Those who cause disturbances may be removed from the grounds or possibly taken into custody and lodged at the Umatilla County Jail. In addition to drinking water and watching for signs of head exhaustion, Rowan says families should take precautions to reunite if they're separated at the fair, including taking photos on a cell phone before leaving so law enforcement will know exactly what someone is wearing on the day they are separated. Rowan says families should also have a rally point for everyone to gather at in case of separation. If that fails, contact a law enforcement or security guard. Rowan says it happens about to around 15 times a day.
The Sheriff’s Office also asking livestock owners to check water tanks after reports, primarily near Weston, of valves being shut off and livestock found dead or in bad shape because of lack of water. The Sheriff’s Office asking all livestock owners throughout the county to check water sources immediately and regularly – and report suspicious activity to the 24 hour dispatch center.

Watermelon giveaway a success
Aug. 6, 2018
On Friday, eight bins of watermelon disappeared in less than 20 minutes in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.

melon.jpg (90925 bytes)
Hermiston city staff and officials hand out watermelons Friday in Portland.

Hermiston City staff handed out watermelon from the back of a truck assembly line style, keeping a line moving around the entire square. 10-year-old Briar Germos saying she was ready to see what was different about a Hermiston melon.
"I think it's very exciting because I haven't tasted a Hermiston watermelon before," she said. "It sounds like they're very different from other watermelons, so I'm very excited."
The event also including an annual seed spitting contest between elected officials. Although Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s seed did travel farther than the Hermiston city officials, the title stayed with Hermiston as Hermiston chamber president Paul Keeler won the competition, sending his seed 22 feet.

seed.jpg (262500 bytes)
Paul Keeler launches a watermelon seed 22 feet during the Friday competition.

Hermiston mayor Dave Drotzmann saying the event brings people from across the state together
"People really love Hermiston watermelons, so they turn out in droves," Drotzmann said. "We're happy to do it, and we really appreciate the city of Portland hosting us."
The watermelon giveaway is an annual event. The watermelons provided by Walchli and Bellinger Farms.

UCSO searching for suspect
Aug. 3, 2018
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office sending out a bulletin yesterday and asking for help. Multiple law enforcement agencies continuing to search for 25-year-old Zachary Lorance Bartz. He’s wanted on an parole warrant from the state, and the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office is investigating Bartz in connection with several vehicle thefts and other crimes in Umatilla County. Bartz is a white male, 5'10 and 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. The sheriff’s office saying he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information regarding BARTZ is asked to contact the Umatilla
County Sheriff’s Office, Det. Westmoreland, (541) 969-2600; Detective Ward
(541) 966-3638, or UCSO Dispatch at (541) 966-3651.

Parade tomorrow
Aug. 3, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair parade is tomorrow. It winds through much of downtown Hermiston. Police Chief Jason Edmiston says watch for traffic – both vehicular and pedestrian – around the parade times. The parade begins at 6:30 and is expected to end around 10 p.m.

Circuit Court restructured
Aug. 3, 2018
Circuit Court Judge Eva Temple will no longer handle criminal cases in Umatilla County. The move follows Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus’ objections to Temple presiding over his criminal cases. Through a restructuring, Temple will now be the administrative judge for all cases other than criminal, including small claims and domestic relations. Criminal cases Temple currently has will to be handed to judge Dan Hill, and all new cases in Umatilla County, regardless of where the crime takes place will be sent to Pendleton until at least the end of 2018. The case load will include judge-elect Rob Collins when he takes over for Lynn Hampton in January.

Port interviews candidates
Aug. 3, 2018
The Port of Morrow will be hosting a community Meet & Greet at the Port of Morrow with the four finalists for the Port's executive director position on Monday, August 6, 2018. The event will be held at the Riverfront Room at the Port offices from 5-7 p.m.
The four finalists will be introduced and asked to give a short introduction speech beginning at 5:30 p.m. Appetizers and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages will be served. The finalists for the executive director position include Dean Gardner, of Selah, Wash,
·    Dean Gardner of Selah Washington; currently with NextLevel: Building Enterprise Value, former CEO of Larson Fruit Company, former CEO of United Pipe & Supply, BBA & MBA in Marketing, Finance, Accounting from University of Texas.
·    Ryan D. Neal of Boardman Oregon; currently General Manager of Warehousing for Port of Morrow, former Director of Operations Haney Truck Line, former Regional Sales Manager Knight Transportation, BS in Business from Oregon State University.
·    Stephanie Seamans, CPA of Kennewick Washington; currently the Community and Economic Development Manager for Benton-Franklin Council of Governments, former Business Development Manager and CPA for Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, BS in Business Accounting from University of Idaho.
·    Peter M. Wilhelm of Kennewick Washington; currently with QBM Management INC. serving as Project Manager Boise/PCA Paper Mill Wallula, Washington, former Plant Manager of Zeachem INC., BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Idaho, MBA from University of Oregon.

Milton-Freewater fire causes evacuations
Aug. 2, 2018
Evacuations on the north end of Umatilla County yesterday after a fast moving fire threatened homes near Milton-Freewater toward Walla Walla River Road. The fire reportedly sparked by a combine yesterday morning off Lincton Mountain Road. Residents notified door to door of the evacuation, which also impacted Harris Park. By 6 yesterday afternoon, firefighters had the fire contained and no longer threatening homes. All roads reopened by 9 p.m., and mop up continued through the night.

Boardman man pleads not guilty in shooting
Aug. 2, 2018
A Boardman man pleading not guilty yesterday to a shooting in May, but also facing charges of erratic behavior.
33-year-old Alex Luis Ahumada, of Boardman, faces charges relating to the May 19 shooting that injured Carlos Ramirez, of Hermiston. Ahumada was taken into custody May 23 after barricading himself inside a Boardman home, then re-booked on July 31 on additional charges, allegedly after biting a Pendleton police officer. He is housed at the Umatilla county Jail on charges ranging from first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and felon in possession of a weapon – stemming from the shooting – as well as aggravated assault of a public safety officer, resisting arrest, menacing and attempted escape. His bail at $538,500.

Fire updates for Lake Wallula, Wilson Prairie, Milepost 90
Aug. 1, 2018
A new fire burning in the area – by MaryHill Winery in Washington - and already at 12,000 acres. The Milepost 90 fire burning across the Columbia River near Maryhill. It’s burning along Washington’s Highway 14. The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuations. The Forest Service says that fire began yesterday afternoon and grew to 12-hundred acres in 90 minutes. It’s burning private lands and bureau of Indian affairs property. Officials have closed SR-14 between U.S. 97 and U.S. 197.
Closer to home, The Lake Wallula Fire is now 96% contained. Firefighters today continued to mop up the perimeter to ensure no heat sources remain that could kindle up and reignite. Aerial reconnaissance utilizing GPS technology mapped the final area of the fire at 12,462 acres. A fire investigator on scene yesterday in an effort to determine the cause.
The Lake Wallula Fire started in the late afternoon on July 29 along U.S. Highway 730 near Juniper Canyon and quickly spread up steep slopes through light fuels. To date no structures have been lost or injuries incurred.

This morning's update on the Wilson Prairie Fire:
Umatilla National Forest officials have re-opened Bull Prairie Lake Campground and reduced the closure area associated with the Wilson Prairie Fire to provide access to National Forest lands not impacted by the wildfire or wildfire suppression efforts. A description of the updated closure area is at the bottom of the news release.
“We know Bull Prairie Lake Campground is an important area for our communities and visitors,” said Brandon Houck, Heppner District Ranger. “Suppression efforts have held the fire within its current footprint and we feel we can thoughtfully make some adjustments to the closures while keeping firefighters and the public safe.”
The Wilson Prairie Fire is currently 405 acres and 75% contained. A local Type 4 organization took command of the fire today at 6 a.m. Firefighters are continuing mop up within the fire perimeter and completing suppression repair activities, including water barring (an angled trench, to direct water off the fireline to prevent erosion), removal of hose, and removal of trash from the fire line. Firefighters also continue to make repairs to OHV trails impacted by fire line.
The Morrow County Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park, restaurant, and campground remains open, however some OHV trails may be impacted by the fire activity. Please observe all trail and area closures.

Umatilla man arrested in Richland shooting
Aug. 1, 2018
A Umatilla man in custody in Richland, Washington, after allegedly shooting a woman in the WinCo Foods grocery store on Monday evening. 45-year-old Matthew David McQuin allegedly telling officers he believed the 33-year-old Richland resident he shot was following him and planned to do him harm. He shot the woman, a stranger, in the head inside the grocery store, before walking to the front of the store, setting down the gun and waiting for police. He was taken into custody.

City plans time capsule
July 31, 2018
The City of Hermiston is looking for items to include in a time capsule that will be will closed up for 50 years. The capsule to be sealed during the dedication of the Harkenrider Center on Sept. 8, 2018, and scheduled to be re-opened on Sept. 8 of 2068. Donated items can be dropped off at the Hermiston Public Library now through Sept. 5. Library staff will curate the donations to eliminate duplicates and items that may harm others if placed in the capsule. Items that do not get included will be returned to the donor.

Highway re-opened, fire burns
July 31, 2018
Highway 730 now reopened near Juniper Canyon, but fire still burning. Firefighters continuing to work on the Lake Wallula Fire in Juniper Canyon, now estimated to be 10,490 acres. The fire began five miles east of Umatilla on BLM land. It’s burning in brush, and grasses in the area east of Umatilla and west of Helix. Multiple fire agencies as well as U.S. forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and local ranchers battling that fire – aircraft has also dropped water and retardant to slow the fire progress.
Highway 730 has been reopened to traffic. Motorists are advised there is still active fire near the highway and they should be alert to fire traffic, smoke and rolling material on the roadway.
The Wilson Prairie Fire in Morrow County is now 75% contained.

UCSO searches for armed robbery suspect
July 31, 2018
The Umatilla Sheriff’s Office is searching for a suspect in an attempted armed robbery. That robbery at 4:15 in the morning on Sunday. A man armed with a rifle, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a dark green
bandanna over his face attempted to rob the Short Stop Gas Station located at 32553 East Punkin Center Road in Hermiston.
Two employees reported that they were working outside the store when they saw the man approach on foot from E. Punkin Center Road. According to the employees, the suspect ordered one of them to go inside the store. Instead, both
employees ran across Hwy 207 and called 911. The employees also reported that the suspect tried to open the cash register, but it was locked. When the suspect could not open the cash register, he ran from the store without taking
anything. The suspect ran west on E. Punkin Center Road and then got into a white four door sedan, unknown make or model. The car then drove west on E. Punkin Center Road, according to the employees.
The employees further described the suspect as about 6’ - 6'2" tall, weighing approximately 120-140 pounds. He was also wearing a black baseball cap, dark colored gloves and white plaid shorts with lime green and navy stripes, and
white socks pulled up over the calves. He was holding a black rifle.
UCSO asking anyone with information to call 541-966-3651.

Sheriff's Office releases DUII/HVE event results
July 31, 2018
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office conducted three enhanced patrol events during the month of July: Fourth of July, Pendleton Whisky Music Fest, and Pendleton Bike Week.
Over the three events, deputies made 42 contacts with motorists, gave 23 verbal
warnings and issued 19 citations. Seven of the citations were for distracted driving offenses, such as driving while using a cell
phone. Two DUII arrests were also made during the enhanced patrols.
The next grant event will be during the
Umatilla County Fair, August 6th through the 11th.
Please continue to report suspected drunk drivers by calling 541-966-3650, or 911 if it appears to be an emergency.

Wilson Prairie Fire update
July 27, 2018
Thanks to a helicopter flight, they’ve updated the size of the fire to 437 acres instead of the 700 previously reported. That’s good news – it’s also now 30 percent contained, and 367 people are assigned to it with more on the way. The fire burning in timber and grass on private and forest lands.
Closures remain in place in the Umatilla National Forest near Bull Prairie Lake and the Wilson Prairie area. Bull Prairie Reservoir and Campground have been evacuated and are currently closed.
A Community Meeting is planned tonight in Heppner at 5:00 pm at the Heppner City Hall at 111 North Main Street. Fire managers will provide a fire update with maps and an opportunity for
questions and answers at the end of the presentations.
The cause of the fire still under investigation.

Elder Abuse program planned
July 27, 2018
One in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, and some estimates are as high as 5 million abused a year,
Good Shepherd, and GOBHI bringing a presentation about elder abuse, self-neglect , and other geriatric issues to Hermiston. On Monday, Aug. 6 – expert and clinical social worker Nirmala Dhar will lead that training at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
Health education director Juli Gregory says the sessions are open to anyone that works with the elderly population. That will run from 2 to 4:30 on Aug. 6. You can register by contacting Good Shepherd Health Education.

Fire burning in Morrow County, restrictions increase
July 26, 2018
Multiple wildfires burning across the state, including the Wilson prairie fire in Morrow County – that’s holding at 700 acres. Current resources on the fire includes three helicopters, six crews, twelve engines, four dozers, and two tenders fighting that fire, and the area near Bull Prairie Lake east of Highway 207 has been closed – including multiple forest roads – as crews fight the fire. The Substation Fire near the Dalles still holding at just under 79,000.
As we get closer to August, fire restrictions increasing again in Eastern Oregon's national forests. Noel Livingston, the fire management officer for Wallowa-Whitman National Forest says they know August is a high-risk month.
"We have a hot,dry summer, and August is, of course, the peak of that," he said. "We're seeing a high potential for large fire in Eastern Oregon."
Starting one minute after midnight, the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests moving to Phase B restrictions - that impacts campfires, smoking, and generators. Operating an internal combustion engine of any type including chainsaws, now prohibited until restrictions are lowered. Campfires are also only allowed in designated campsites, and motor vehicles traveling off designated forest roads and trails still prohibited. The Washington Department of Natural Resources also placing similar restrictions.

City to change food truck rules
July 25, 2018
The results of the food truck survey are in, and Hermiston City Staff are changing the rules – allowing more food trucks and considering a pilot of a food truck pod where multiple food trucks would set up in one location.
Hermiston City Council on Monday authorizing city staff to draft a new ordinance for food trucks that will likely increase the number of licenses from 3 to 6. They could vote on that at their next meeting. Over the summer, the city is also creating a plan for what a pilot of a food pod would look like.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says it would likely begin in 2019, and although the pilot would be hosted on city property - possibly in the lot across from the Hermiston Post Office - the pod would be controlled by a private property. Morgan says the city will request proposals from a developer to put on the food pod. The manager would pay the rent to the city, and they would then maintain rules and management of the food trucks. One thing, Morgan says, is non-negotiable: the food trucks must be able to move at least once a week.

Festival Street temporary closure
July 24, 2018
Festival Street is going to be closing this week – this time temporarily. The city announcing today that festival street on 2nd will be closed tomorrow for sealant, and the intersection of Main and 2nd will be closed on Thursday while the sealant cures. Both areas will reopen for traffic on Friday morning.

Council talks resignation, noise tonight
July 23, 2018
The Hermiston City Council accepting the resignation of City Councilor Clara Beas-Fitzgerald during its meeting tonight. Beas-Fitzgerald saying she has other priorities in her life she needs to focus on. Beas-Fitzgerald has served on the council since August of 2014, and she did not seek re-election in the May primary. Roy Barron has been elected to take over the Ward 2 seat in January. Tonight, the council will decide if it will appoint someone to fill the vacancy between now and January, if it will suspend council rules and appoint councilor-elect Roy Barron to the position early or simply leave the spot unfilled. City staff is recommending appointing Roy Barron early.
Also during the meeting, the council will have a public hearing about the zoning amendment for accessory dwelling units and will adopt ordinances about those residences as well as a new noise ordinance.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. A meeting of the Urban Renewal agency will follow the council meeting.

Prescription Trails considered for Umatilla County
July 23, 2018
Your doctor could soon give you a prescription for walking. The Healthy Communities Coalition working at bringing Prescription Trails to Umatilla County.Coalition Chairwoman Juli Gregory says it answers questions people have when their doctor says to be more active.
"Some people don't know where to start," she said. "If someone is starting out, having a doctor say, 'This is what we want you to do, and then we'll see you in six weeks or two months and we'll grow it from there.;"
Prescription Trails is a program out of New Mexico that involves mapping trails, preparing those trails for travel by those who need an even surface or who need to use a walker or a wheelchair, and then providing prescriptions for providers to give to patients along with recommended trails.
The group is hoping to partner with local organizations to offer walking groups as well. Gregory says the coalition is looking at beginning with the Greater Hermiston area, including Umatilla and Echo and mapping both indoor and outdoor walking opportunities. The group is currently applying for grants for the program.

UCSO, HPD ask public to report suspicious behaviors, thefts
July 20, 2018
Thefts in the news, from the Hermiston Police Department's ongoing attempts to return property stolen from storage sheds to vehicles the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office recovered last week from outside of Hermiston. Sheriff Terry Rowan says the site on Echols Road had items stolen from as far as Morrow County to Pendleton - and sometimes they can't return everything because it wasn't reported stolen.
"We see particular items that we know darn well were stolen, b ut we can't associate it to a case or anything like that," Rowan said. "Sometimes people have something take from them, and they say, 'Oh, what good is it going to do to report it.' What I would ask folks to do is anytime they have suspicious activity or theft to report it."
In that situation, if law enforcement cannot prove an item was stolen or link it back to an existing case, the alleged criminal may get to keep it - even if they are found guilty of stealing other items.
Rowan says be as descriptive as possible with your items so if law enforcement finds it, they can return it to you - and not let a thief keep it.
Speaking of crimes, the Hermiston Police Department saying officers have received reports of a person going door-to-door claiming he’s doing crime prevention work on behalf of the police department. HPD saying they aren’t connected with the individual and haven’t authorized anyone to do crime prevention work on their behalf. Solicitors in Hermiston must be licensed in order to sell goods – or services – from door to door in the city of Hermiston. Those are licensed through the city of Hermiston, and a list of those who have valid licenses is on the city’s website. HPD saying If you have information on that individual or want to verify the identity of someone at your door, call 567-5519 and speak to dispatch.

Work begins soon on Highland Extension
July 18, 2018
Earlier this week, the Stanfield City Council opening bids on its Stage Gulch Trail project. After a long wait, the city of Hermiston is getting ready to break ground on a trail project of its own: The West Highland Trail Extension. The city has received a grant from ODOT to extend a trail from where the sidewalk ends on Highland – near Gotta Stop – all the way to Riverfront Park, traveling under the overpass bridge for pedestrian safety.
City Planner Clint Spencer says the project should take about 80 days to complete once work begins in August. Right now, they’re not predicting any lane closures.

Updates on Wildland Hinton Creek Fire
July 19, 2018
The Wildland Hinton Creek Fire near Heppner out. Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying the fire burned between 15,000 and 20,000 acres mostly between hinton Creek and Willow Creek. It burned grassland, fences, and corrals, and no structures were lost. There were 11 residences threatened, as well 66 outbuildings. The fire pulled together assistance from a dozen fire agencies as well as local farmers and ranchers and other companies. The cause of that fire still under investigation, although early investigation suggesting it may have been started by farm equipment.

Fire devastates Hermiston home
July 18, 2018
A fire this morning north of Hermiston on Birtrand Street. The fire beginning around 5:40 this morning, and Umatilla County Fire District 1 dispatched before 6 a.m. That fire consuming a manufactured home, but crews keeping the fire from spreading to other structures.

erick fire.jpg (197919 bytes)
UMCF#1 firefighters respond to a home fire north of Hermiston on Wednesday.

A grass fire also happening yesterday in Heppner burning as many as 50,000 acres in some counts, and multiple wildfires also burning in the state, including The Silver Creek Fire near Silverton and The Powerstation Fire southeast of the Dalles. That has grown to more than 29-thousand acres since it started Tuesday Afternoon. One home destroyed as well as several outbuildings.

UCSO searching for two suspects
July 17, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office recovering stolen property – and looking for a suspect.
Last week, detectives received a tip about several stolen vehicles on a property on Echols Road near Hermiston. Through a search warrant, deputies found and recovered two stolen Chevrolet pickups, a dump trailer, a cargo trailer, a John Deere front loader, a large amount of stolen copper wire and span cable, power tools, and many other items.
They are looking for a suspect in the case: 25-year-old Zachary Bartz. He was not at the location when the search warrant was served, and two other individuals were questioned and released at the scene. This case remains under investigation.
The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office is also asking assistance to identify a female suspect in a case involving multiple fraudulent transactions on a Visa Card in the Hermiston Area.
The woman captured on security footage.

ucso suspect.jpg (523682 bytes)

Anyone having information on either suspect is asked to contact the 24 hour dispatch center at 541-966-3651.

Stanfield talks odor, trail
July 17, 2018
Odor concern updates and bids opening for the stage gulch trail project tonight at the Stanfield City Council meeting.
Complaints again escalating this month about the 3D Idapro Plant on Hoosier Lane, and the council is expected to discuss those. They’ll also open bids for the stage gulch trail, a plan that will link multiple Stanfield parks.
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says the trail will be made of tightly packed gravel – capable of having a wheelchair on it – because the flood plain prevents putting down asphalt or concrete. That meeting at 7 tonight in the council chambers at 150 W. Coe Avenue.

Agape House Scramble for Food is tomorrow
July 13, 2018
Tomorrow, the final day to register – and participate – in the Agape House Scramble for Food golf tournament. Dave Hughes says it’s not too late to join – you can still register during check in tomorrow morning.
"We are happy to accommodate people who say, 'gee, I'm going to get up and go play in that tournament today,'" Hughes said. "The tournament supports our food program, so it's golfing for a worthy cause."
Check-in begins at 8, and the tournament begins at 9 at Big River Golf Course in Umatilla. Lunch, prizes, and awards will be presented.
A reminder the tomorrow is also FunFest, including the Eastern Oregon Art Show and the dedication of Festival Street as well as Caledonia Days in Athena and the Pendleton Whisky Festival in Pendleton. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office will have enhanced patrols this weekend watching for distracted and impaired drivers.

Food vendor survey deadline approaching
July 13, 2018
Finally, this weekend – Sunday – is the last day to participate in the City of Hermiston’s survey on food trucks. Hermiston City Planner Clint Spencer says they’ve had high turnout.
"We've got almost 800 responses on the food vendors survey, and running actually in the 80 to 90 percent in favor of more licenses and other expanded options," Spencer said.
After the survey closes, they will compile the data and present the information to the Hermiston City Council, then they’ll look at changing the ordinance within the city.
The food truck survey closes on Sunday – you can find links on the city’s website or in the local news section of gohermiston.com – and the city’s other public survey going on right now, about storage containers, will close on the 22nd. Spencer says they have about 300 responses so far on the shipping container survey.

HHS Class of 2019 will graduate at Toyota Center
July 11, 2018
The Hermiston High School class of 2019 will likely graduate at the Toyota Center in Tri-Cities. The Hermiston School Board of Education making that decision Monday night after a report about audience - and graduate - reactions to the the class of 2018's graduation at the Toyota Center last month.
The school board also approving hiring contract and recognizing the Hermiston High School Trap Shooting Team on Monday.

Trap Team heading to Michigan, with help from UCSO
July 11, 2018
Speaking of that team...They are headed to Mason, Michigan for the USA National Trap Shooting Championships. Hermiston School Board member Karen Sherman says the Six of the 38 students who participated in the trap shooting team are competing at nationals.
"We are excited that we have the team that is going to compete at the national level," she said. "We are now looking at being ranked third in the nation - and if they do well, they would bring home a national title."
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office partnering with the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association (OSSA) to
Help pay for transportation. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan saying the six students have worked extremely hard and rely on volunteers na donations so the sheriff’s office is proud to support their program.

Stanfield Police make multiple arrests
July 11, 2018
The Stanfield Police Department making multiple arrests this week, including a pursuit ended when the suspect ran out of gas and a traffic stop that netted three arrests.
On Monday, officers attempted to stop 42-year-old Travis Hackett, of Walla Walla. Hackett had allegedly been driving erratically on his motorcycle, including weaving in traffic and driving with his hands up. He attempted to elude officers for about 25 miles until he ran out of gas. Hackett arrested and charged with attempt to elude and a warrant out of Washington.
On Tuesday, a traffic stop on Coe Avenue in Stanfield ended with the arrests of driver 33-year-old Lawrence Montez, charged with processions of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a weapon, and passengers 26-year-old Rebecca Ramirez and 24-year-old Marissa Gonzalez each arrested on felony warrants.

City launches survey on shipping container
July 9, 2018
The second survey from the City of Hermiston is now live - this one the shipping container ordinance the city is considering. The survey is available in English and Spanish and focuses on finding, "a balance between protecting neighborhood quality and providing affordable solutions for storage needs." That survey will be open until July 22.
The city also has a survey open on mobile food vendors, and that survey closes July 15.
To participate in the shipping container survey click here for English and here for Spanish.

City Council talks food vendors, School Board preps for school year
July 9, 2018
City Council
Speaking of that first survey, the Hermiston City Council expected to have a report on the status of mobile vendors during its meeting tonight. The City Council also talking priorities and future decisions during its meeting tonight. That begins with a work session to discuss priorities for the League of Oregon Cities. The work session begins at 6, and the regular meeting begins at 7, both at Hermiston City Hall. During the regular meeting, the council will also meet in a closed-door, executive session. Find the full agenda here.
School Board
More than 26 items on the agenda for the Hermiston School Board tonight, many of them preparing for the next school year, including hiring, grant authorizations and pay rates for substitute teachers. The board will also talk about last month’s graduation ceremony and will recognize the high school trap shooting team. That meeting begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the district offices. The full agenda is available here.

Hart sees 75% increase in one year
July 9, 2018
Ridership on Hermiston’s recently created “HART” fixed-route bus service is up 75% in 2018; a steep climb from its first full year of operation in 2017. Ridership data from KAYAK Public Transit shows nearly twice as many people used the service in the 2nd Quarter of 2018 compared to the year prior.
The HART’s had 168 riders in its first month of operation, in January, 2017, In June, that number was up to 459. City staff saying they expect more than 4,500 rides by the end of the year.

Street project update in Hermiston
July 6, 2018
Street projects begin Wednesday in Hermiston. The city doing street maintenance July 11-13 – that’s next Wednesday through Friday. It's part of the city's Street Preservation Program, and repairs scheduled throughout the city. Find the map and more details here.
Speaking of street projects, the parking lot behind the Hermiston Public Library now open.
That parking lot re-organized and now one level. It will serve as the parking lot for the Harkenrider Senior Center as well. That building mostly completed, and Fetter say s Irrigation and landscape preparation work going on now. Fetter says the Harkenrider Center will have a dedication in the middle of September.

Fireworks spark fires
July 5, 2018
Fires from fireworks on the 4th of July as well as wildfires around the Pacific Northwest. Umatilla County Fire District 1 responded to seven separate fires yesterday – the majority caused by fireworks. A grass fire started near Boardman endangered homes, and small fires were reported in Pendleton as well.
Some fires are started by the firework lighting – others in trash and garbage cans after. Over the past five years, from 2013 through 2017, there were 1,355 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 34 injuries, and more than $3 million in property damage
Speaking of injuries, in addition to responding to 7 fires yesterday, Umatilla County Fire District 1 also had 13 medical calls – 20 for the whole shift – and two motor vehicle accidents

Umatilla names Mabbott interim manager
July 5, 2018
On Tuesday night, the City of Umatilla named Tamra Mabbott as its interim city manager. Current City Manager Russ Pelleberg has accepted an administrator position out of state and will be leaving Umatilla later this month. Mabbott is the city’s community development director. She has been with the city for just under a year.

Morrow County warns about RVs
July 5, 2018
Morrow County reminding residents that while recreational vehicles are great for camping and use in RV parks, the use of a recreational vehicle as a permanent dwelling outside of an RV Park is not allowed within Morrow County. RVs are only allowed on temporary basis to accommodate visitor in a residential or farm zone – for 30 days or fewer – or for seasonal recreational use by a land owner who has received a permit. If you have other questions, contact the Morrow County Planning Department.

Umatilla STEAM Academy wins grant
July 3, 2018
Two million dollars coming to the Umatilla School District over the next five years. The Oregon Department of Education has awarded the Umatilla School District’s STEAM Academy a five-year grant that gives $467,000 a year for the first three years and 75% of that amount for years four and five.
The district received a 21st CCLC grant in 2004 and in 2013, and has offered some level of after-school programming consistently since 2003.  The grant will fund the district’s after-school programs, summer school, evening education and mental health services. Nearly half the student population attends after-school programming at some point during the school year.

Stanfield, Boardman prep for 4th
July 3, 2018
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and in Stanfield, the celebration begins tonight with the annual Steak Feed. Stanfield City Manager Blair Larson says all funds support making the fourth of July happen next year.
That begins at 6 tonight in Bard Park. Tomorrow, Stanfield’ s activities begin with the Fireman’s Breakfast at 7. Also at 7, registration for the Fun Run and the 3 on 3 tournament. The parade begins at 8, followed by a celebration in Bard Park from 11 until 3. That does include the return of the duck race and a pie baking contest. Stanfield will have fireworks at dusk as well.
For more on Stanfield’s celebration and registering for any of those events, contact Stanfield City Hall, Main Street Market, or the Stanfield Public Library.
In Boardman, also a huge celebration.
The color run opens the day – a 5K and 10K – with red, white, and blue color packets. They also have a basketball tournament, a parade at 11, and events go all the way until dark with the fireworks show.
For more information on Boardman’s activities, contact the Boardman chamber of Commerce.
A reminder of tomorrow’s Stars and Stripes Celebration in Hermiston. Events at Butte Park during the day and the fireworks at 10 p.m.

Law enforcement hit roads for Fourth
July 3, 2018
Tonight and tomorrow, both the Hermiston Police Department and The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office will have more deputies on the roads and waterways as part of a DUII/High Visibility Enforcement grant. They’ll be looking primarily for distracted and impaired drivers, including those under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, including prescriptions.
The sheriff’s office also has high visibility patrols scheduled this month during the Pendleton Whisky Music Fest – that’s July 13 through 14 – and Pendleton Bike Week – July 17 through July 22.
These events are funded through a grant from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.
If you see a suspected impaired driver – or boater – report it by calling 541-966-3651, or 911 if it appears to be an emergency.
The fourth of July is the deadliest holiday on Oregon roads: 39 people were killed in crashes between 2013 and 2017, and 63 percent of those involved drivers who had been drinking alcohol.

Fire Chief warns of illegal fireworks
July 2, 2018
The fourth of July is in two days, and Umatilla county Fire District 1 Chief Scott Stanton says they’ve already burned the area under where professional fireworks will be shot in Stanfield and at the Hermiston Butte to help prevent fires. They’ve scheduled additional volunteer help if anything does ignite, and now they’re focusing on reducing fires from amateur fireworks.
"We obviously see a lot of folks shooting off illegal fireworks in the air on the 4th, but you also have to understand that the use of illegal fireworks may result in some law enforcement action," Stanton said. "If a fire is started from illegal fireworks, the responsible party or property owner could be billed for services provided."
Those services including law enforcement and the fire district putting out the fire. If you are using amateur fireworks, make sure to only purchase those at inspected vendors within the state – not in other states or reservations – keep a supply of water nearby as a precaution, and never shoot fireworks under structures or near dry grasses. It’s also recommended to keep pets indoors during fireworks shows – both amateur and professional.

City survey on food trucks opens
July 2, 2018
Your opinion on food trucks wanted by the city of Hermiston. The City releasing an online survey on Friday asking for input before amending the mobile vending ordinance. City Planner Clint Spencer says it’s something the city has been reviewing the ordinance because of a need.
"At least every two weeks I get a phone call from somebody asking, 'How can I get a (food vendor) license?' I always have to tell them I don't have any available," Spencer said. "There's definitely a market and a demand, but right now, I can't accommodate them."
The city currently only offers three licenses a year, and they are looking for input before changing that. Spencer says the city will also soon be launching a survey on storage containers as well.
The food truck survey will close on Sunday, July 15.
To complete the survey, click here for English and here for Spanish.

Merkley schedules town halls
June 29, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley scheduling two local town hall meetings on July 8. He'll be at the Pendleton Early Learning Center at 1 p.m., then the Riverfront Room at the Port of Morrow at 4 p.m..
Senator Merkley will update constituents on his work in Washington, D.C., answer their questions and invite their suggestions about how to tackle the challenges facing Oregon and America.
Visit this link for directions and more information.

Umatilla City Manager resigns
June 28, 2018
Umatilla City Manager Russ Pelleberg tendering his resignation yesterday morning to the mayor and city council. Pelleberg says he's accepted a city administrator position at a city in Washington. The city manager says it's bittersweet leaving the city as projects and construction is picking up.
"It's exciting times, and I feel kind of sad to be leaving in the middle of all of it," Pelleberg said. "On the flip side, I am super excited about new adventures in Washington state."
Pelleberg says they're working on easing the transition to the next city manager. There is a special city council meeting scheduled for tonight - the only item on the agenda is an executive session to discuss personnel. Pelleberg won't say which city yet - it hasn't been announced by that city - he did say his last day in Umatilla is July 27.

PILT payments on the way
June 28, 2018
About $37 million awarded to counties in the state of Oregon for payments in lieu of taxes or PILT payments. Those are federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property tax because of non-taxable federal lands, including forest and BLM lands. PILT payments totaling $552.8 million were made to over 1,900 local governments this year. Umatilla County receiving just over $1 million from Payments in Lieu of Taxes. Morrow county receiving about $370,000. Deschutes receiving the most of any Oregon county at $3 million.

Blue Mountain Forest Plan released tomorrow
June 28, 2018
Tomorrow, the final revision of the Blue Mountain Forest Plan being released. It’s a document that County Commissioner Larry Givens says has been 17 years in the making. The plan sets out guidelines and rules for Blue Mountain Forests – including the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Malheur National Forests – in a variety of areas, including grazing and thinning of forests to prevent large wildfires.
Givens saying the plan is a compromise for all groups involved, and the U.S. Forest Service says the plan supports  the Forest Service mission "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." Once the revised Forest Plans are fully implemented, they have the potential to annually support up to 2,820 jobs and $113.6 million in labor income. There will be a 60-day public comment period that opens tomorrow when the plan is released. Find more information by clicking here.

Fire season begins in Northeast Oregon
June 27, 2018
Fire season will begin tomorrow in Northeast Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry setting that season to begin one minute after midnight tonight. Joe Hessell, with ODF, says most of the state is already in fire season.
"What I tell people is things will be hot and dry in Northeast Oregon and Central Oregon most of the summer," he said. "For this year, a lot of Oregon is already experiencing above average burning conditions.
Fire season puts fire prevention restrictions and regulations in place. The restrictions cover about 2 million acres in Eastern Oregon.

UCSO to have extra patrols for 4th
June 27, 2018
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says the Sheriff’s Office will have extra patrols on the roads – and the waterways - for the holiday next week. The extra staff make up enhanced patrols, which are designed to make law enforcement more visible, to increase public awareness of law enforcement and support following all laws – including avoiding distracted driving, driving under the influence and boating under the influence.

Hermiston Council votes of $4.5M for streets
June 25, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council voting on an agreement that would make street upgrades on North First Place through a $4.5 million award from the Oregon Legislature. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the biggest question is whether the money will be enough for the project by the time the city receives it.The city council will vote on an intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation tonight, and they’ll start talking priorities in the project that includes widening the street, installing sidewalks and expanding the traffic signal at the intersection of First and Elm.
Because of the legislation in the monetary award, only projects on north First place are eligible. The money expected to come in in the 2022-23 fiscal year, but Morgan saying they hope if their plan is ready, they may be able to receive funding a bit earlier. That meeting begins at 6 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Find the full agenda here.

OHA meeting time change
June 19, 2018
The Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen expected to host a community forum today on the future of the Oregon Health Plan, including one today in Hermiston. The time of that meeting has changed. Instead of from noon to 2, that is now from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.:
Tuesday, June 19
Hermiston, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.*
Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center
1750 E Airport Road
Find out more by clicking here.

Schools take on absenteeism
June 15, 2018
School’s out for summer in Umatilla and Morrow counties, but schools ramping up multiple projects – including a look at why students miss school. Chronic absenteeism applies to students who miss 10 percent of school days. Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says missing school in primary grades can be an indicator students will not graduate high school.
The state is funding a chronic absenteeism initiative: 26 districts have been identified as most at risk for chronic absenteeism, and the state is taking over work with those. ESDs – including InterMountain – are focusing on the next tier of high-risk districts, and that includes six districts in our area, four of them in Umatilla County: Hermiston, Pendleton, Umatilla, and Milton-Freewater.
The ESD has hired Landon Braden chronic absenteeism coordinator to help tackle the issue locally. ESD assistant superintendent Jon Peterson will oversee the initiative.
That initiative will work with students in K-12 as well as preschool.

Summer Fun Day Camp opens
June 15, 2018
This afternoon, a big group of kids will be hanging out at the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center. They’re part of the Summer Fun Day Camp with Hermiston Parks and Rec.
The camp began this week, and if you’re interested in signing your kids up – it’s not too late. Children ages 6 to 12 can be signed up for a week at a time, and the camp runs through Aug. 3, Monday through Friday 8 to 5. You can contact Hermiston Parks and Rec for more information.

UCFD1 battles two fires
June 14, 2018
Two fires yesterday near Hermiston. One causing evacuations of multiple buildings on Columbia Drive. That fire beginning around 2:30 next to the parking lot for the Department of Human Services and burned about 3 acres. DHS, Worksource Oregon and Blue Mountain Community College’s Columbia Hall all evacuated for about an hour. Around noon yesterday, fire crews also responding to a grass fire along Highway 730 near the Washington State line. Both fires serving as a reminder to avoid the area of a fire if possible and to slow down if you must travel past emergency responders.

BMCC Commencement tonight
June 14, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College has its commencement ceremonies tonight at the Pendleton Convention Center. More than 160 of the 308 students who have completed degree and certificates from all BMCC campuses this year are expected to walk tonight, including the facilities in Hermiston and Boardman.
The students come from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Arizona and range in age from 17 to 62. The commencement ceremony is open to the public. Guests are asked to arrive at the convention center before 6:45 p.m., which is when the processional begins. The ceremony itself begins at 7 and is expected to last about an hour.

3 fires in 48 hours, millions in damages
June 11, 2018
Major fires hitting Hermiston yesterday and this morning, including $3 million in damages to the Hermiston 7th Day Adventist Church. That fire beginning around 4:30 yesterday morning. Umatilla County Fire District 1 reporting the file likely began because a heat source was too close to a source of ignition. Hermiston police assisting in the investigation. Also Sunday morning a structure fire on Northeast 10th Street caused by a faulty hot water tank that caused $75,000 to the home, making it a total loss. The fires continue. An RV and a shed on fire in Hermiston this morning just after midnight. That fire had spread to an area full of scrap metal, wood and car parts as well as a 100 gallon propane tank that was actively venting fire. That fire put out by 3:30 this morning, and the cause is still under investigation.

Budgets, trails, shipping containers on agendas
June 11, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston School Board votes on its budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. They will have a budget hearing that opens at 6:31, and the board will vote on the budget during its regular meeting. That’s at the Hermiston School District Offices, and you can find the agenda packet at this link.
The Hermiston City Council also has a budget on its agenda tonight – and a hearing. The budget hearing will follow a public hearing on the Harkenrider Senior Project. The purpose of that hearing to discuss the project and answer questions from the public. Also on tonight’s agenda, discussion and possible action about regulating shipping containers used for storage or shops in the city as well as consideration of bids on the West Highland Trail. The bids range from $343,000 to $412,000 – the city budgeted $450,000 but was hoping bids would come in closer to $308,000. Find a link the full agenda here.

Shooting victim dies
June 11, 2018
Erik Campos Navarrete, died over the weekend.
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the Hermiston 26-year-old removed from life support late Friday night, and his organs were donated.
Navarrete suffered a gunshot wound to the head last Monday, June 4. Cause of death was the gunshot, and Hermiston Police are now investigating the shooting as a homicide.

UEC sells EOT
June 1, 2018
Umatilla Electric Cooperative has sold Eastern Oregon Telecom – to the telecom’s executive team. EOT was created in 1999. The telecom now has 17 employees and more than 3,500 internet and telephone customers. Joe Franell, EOT general manager and CEO saying the founders were visionary in creating a locally owned and controlled internet and telephone company, adding that while EOT is initially owned by the senior executives, the intention is to to offer all employees a stake in the business.
"The employees of EOT are committed to providing world-class telecom services to Eastern Oregon and believe that employee ownership is the best way for that to happen long term,” Franell said. “We will be looking at ways to wisely grow the business."
The form of employee ownership yet to be determined, and the terms of the sale were not released. The next step for the new owners is strategic planning.

Umatilla prepares for graduation
June 1, 2018
Tomorrow, Umatilla will celebrate the class of 2018. Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe says they’re excited, and the students are ready to become graduates: The class has an 86 percent 4-year graduation rate and 75 percent of students have committed to trade or apprentice programs, college, or military service. Five students have completed their associate degrees with their high school diplomas.

Benefit for student with cancer
June 1, 2018
Tomorrow evening, a benefit dinner and auction for Hermiston high school sophomore Jasmine Ellwood. Jasmine, the daughter of Hermiston Police officer Mike Ellwood, has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. The benefit is a tri tip dinner, live and silent auction. That’s from 5 to 9 in the Hermiston High School commons. The cost is $15 per person or $40 per family of 4All money raised will go directly to the family to help offset costs of travel and treatment to and from OHSU.

HHS hosting NHS induction
May 31, 2018
Hermiston High School will induct twenty-seven new members into the National Honor Society tonight. That, in the high school’s auditorium, at 7 p.m. The students have to demonstrate high standards of scholarship, service, leadership, and character: The Hermiston High School Chapter has been active since 1949.

Hermiston Aquatic Center ready for kickoff
May 31, 2018
This weekend – starting tomorrow – a kickoff celebration for the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center. They’ll be open 1:10 to 6:45 Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Recreation Supervisor Brandon Artz says once school is out for the summer that allows them to open the pool for the regular season. After this weekend’s kickoff, the aquatic center will reopen June 8.

HPD makes theft arrest
May 30, 2018
An arrest connected to several recent car prowls in Hermiston.
On Monday evening, officers arresting 22-year-old Jesse Martinez for his alleged connection to the vehicle break ins. A release from HPD says Martinez had tools for breaking into cars when he was stopped, and he did have stolen property on his person as well. HPD saying Martinez said he had been given the pants and did not know stolen items were in the pockets. Martinez arrested and charged with theft and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says car prowls tend to happen in a pattern based on weather. He has said it’s often a crime of opportunity and if a potential theft can see valuables, they’re more likely to attempt to enter your vehicle.
"We continue to encourage the public to take your valuables out of your car, continue to make sure your cars are locked," Edmiston said.
If you see anyone suspicious – including someone looking into windows of unattended vehicles, contact local law enforcement.

City Council talks zoning changes
May 30, 2018
During the Hermiston City Council meeting last night, a hearing on rezoning property off Diagonal from industrial to residential. This is the 400-acre plot near O So Kleen – which will remain in a strip of light commercial zoning. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the changes make the property more accessible for developers.
"Houses don't pop out of the ground instantly tomorrow as soon as you start working on them, but I think these are the kinds of things that will really pay dividends long-term," he said.
The City of Hermiston taking multiple steps to make property more attractive to developers, including the new water tower in northwest Hermiston.

Drive 4 UR School set for Saturday
May 30, 2018
This Saturday, Hermiston High School hosting a Drive 4 UR School Event from 9 until 3. During the event, Ford vehicles will be at the school, and for every test drive, Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to the school, up to $6,000. The proceeds will benefit the high school volleyball program.
Hermiston High School will provide free drinks and hot dogs for everyone who test-drives a vehicle, and a bounce house available for the kids, PAWS animal shelter will have pets available for adoption on site.

City Council talks zones, ordinances
May 29, 2018
Tonight, the Hermiston City Council meeting at 7. On the agenda, a hearing and rezoning of property on Diagonal from light industrial to primarily residential. The city will also have a presentation from the Hermiston School District and will discuss changing ordinance codes, primarily dealing with yard and garage sales. Find the full agenda here.

Wolfe honored by NPPA
May 25, 2018
May Hermiston resident Bryan Wolfe has receiving the Northwest Public Power Association’s top honor for community service this week. Wolfe, a longtime member of the Umatilla Electric Board of Directors, received the Paul J. Raver Community Service award on Tuesday during the NWPPA’s annual conference in Boise. The award honors an individual or company who has demonstrated superior leadership in the betterment of cities, states, or regions, according to a release from UEC.

Ahumada arrested after standoff
May 24, 2018
More details coming in about last night’s standoff outside of Boardman that ended with the arrest of 33-year-old Alex Ahumada, a person of interest in the shooting Saturday in Hermiston. A release from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office saying an anonymous tip came into the Boardman Police Department at 2:48 yesterday that a subject law enforcement was looking for was at a home outside of Boardman. Boardman Police, Morrow County Sheriff’s Office responded, along with Hermiston Police and Oregon State Police. Ahumada had barricaded himself inside the residence, and OSP’s SWAT team arrive. After a four-hour standoff, Ahumada was taken into custody. He was taken to the Umatilla County Jail on a no-bail parole violation warrant. Further charges are pending with the ongoing investigation.

Students cause evacuation
May 24, 2018
Two students were taken into custody at Hermiston High School yesterday, causing an evacuation and panic from students and parents after pulling a fire alarm. As part of the safety protocol between the district and Hermiston Police, the school was evacuated and eight officers from HPD responded –I including supervisors – in full tactical gear. The policy of treating fire alarms as emergencies necessitating tactical gear went into effect earlier this year as a response to some active shooting incidents involving a shooter pulling a fire alarm to make students leave classrooms. In March, Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said the tactical gear was not intended to cause fear but helps protect the officers.
Umatilla County Fire District 1 also responded and confirmed no fire in the building. The two high school students are both under 18, so their identities will not be released. Edmiston saying had the students been 18, they would have been charged with disorderly conduct. They were released into the custody of their parents, and classes resumed on their regular schedule

Fire claims Hermiston home
May 23, 2018
Total loss reported in a home fire this morning in Hermiston.
The fire at 1335 W. Joseph Avenue reported at 4:45 this morning, and crews from Umatilla County Fire District #1 are still on the scene. Early investigation suggesting that fire started in the attic of the double-wide manufactured home. No injuries reported. Mop up still taking place, and the cause still under investigation.

Alleged burglar in custody
May 22, 2018
A suspect in the storage unit thefts around Hermiston is in custody. Kennewick Police arresting Russell Scott Greene at a hotel within their jurisdiction where officers found suspected stolen property.
As of this morning, Greene listed as an inmate in the Benton County Jail on charges of “fugitive from justice” with no bail or release. Hermiston Police have been searching for Greene in connection to a large amount of stolen property housed at the Hermiston Police Department. Officers issuing regular reminders to local residents to check storage facilities for signs of burglary and to claim taken items from the police station. HPD saying they will work with Kennewick police in their ongoing investigations.

Dyslexia presentation Thursday
May 22, 2018
Coming up this Thursday, "Facts about dyslexia, not myths." It's a special, free presentation from 5:30-7 Thursday night at Good Shepherd. The InterMountain ESD's Scott Smith is leading the presentation. He says dyslexia is says it’s one of the leading causes for students struggling in reading and dyslexia affects about 20 percent of students. For questions: email Dr. Scott Smith, Intermountain, ESD, Scott.Smith@imesd.k12.or.us

HPD looking for person of interest in shooting
May 21, 2018
A shooting Saturday night in Hermiston that left one man with non life-threatening injuries. The Hermiston Police Department responding just before 10 p.m. Saturday night to a 911 call at 220 E. Beebe Ave. The victim taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in a private vehicle, and good shepherd confirming he was the victim of a gunshot. He was transferred to another medical facility. Hermiston Police looking for 33-year-old Alex Aumada, from Boardman, as a person-of-interest in the case. HPD saying the shooting does not appear to be a random act and that the two men know each other well. Both the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police assisting. It's an active investigation.
HPD also issuing a reminder on social media on Friday that they are continuing to see reports of telephone scams. Those can be reported to local law enforcement

Umatilla honors Torres-Medrano
May 21, 2018
Selene Torres-Medrano is the Umatilla Distinguished Citizen of the Year for 2018.
"I'm kind of freaking out because I wasn't expecting it, but I'm really happy," Torres-Medrano said. "Giving back to the community is something I love to do."
Torres-Medrano honored for her work giving back to the community. In addition to serving on the Umatilla City Council, she is an active volunteer and organized a mental health campaign for Umatilla schools.
During the DCA banquet on Friday, Umatilla also honoring Banner Bank as Business of the Year and each Nanci Sandoval and Salud Campos as co-winners of the George Alan Curtis Spirit Award.

HEF announces grants
May 18, 2018
More than $40,000 awarded in grants to Hermiston educators this year, according to an announcement from the Hermiston School district and Hermiston Education Foundation this week.
The foundation recently awarding its spring grants, totaling more than $29,000. The bulk of the money this season supporting the music programs at Hermiston High School
The grants include $15,000 for new choir robes and stoles for the Hermiston high School vocal music program and $10,000 to replace percussion and brass instruments for the band and music programs.
The spring grants also supporting a classroom set of ball chairs for the Rocky Heights Resource room, a lending library of speech and language therapy materials for the district and equipment to do self portraits in portrait and drawing classes at the high school. Rounding out the spring awards, a grant to purchase 40 tickets for theater students to ravel to Capital Theater in Yakima to attend a professional theater production.
The spring grants in addition to the $10,225 awarded in the fall. Those grants funding robotics computers at Armand Laive Middle School, materials for the spring musical at Sandstone Middle School and for “Seusical the Musical” at the high school.
Grants from the Hermiston Ed Foundation are designed to support educational opportunities for students in the Hermiston School District. Much of the money comes from fundraisers, and the grants are awarded by the HEF board based on applications.

Givens out, extension district a no
May 16, 2018.
One County Commissioner out and another facing a run-off in the November election after Tuesday's primary election.
In one of the closest races of the night, Athena Mayor John Shafer taking the county commissioner spot away from incumbent Larry Givens. Shafer had 6,071 votes – that’s 52 percent, just above the limit for a run-off election. Givens had 47 percent of the vote with 5,484. The remaining half a percent were right-in votes. George Murdock, the other standing County Commissioner in the primary, will appear on the November ballot in a runoff election after failing to get more than 50 percent of the vote. Murdock will face Rick Pullen in November. Murdock had 45 percent of the vote, Pullen had 30, and Tom Bailor had 24 percent.
On the Hermiston City Council, Mark Gomolski narrowly toppling Lori Davis and Jackie Linton for Ward 1 in the city. That one will go on to November. Gomolski had 653 votes – that’s 36% of the ballots while Davis had 33 and Linton had 31. Roy Barron, Jackie Myers, and Doug Smith taking their wards each with more than 55 percent of the vote.
In Umatilla County, 63 percent of voters said no to the Umatilla County Exension District. In Morrow County, 54 percent of voters also said no.
For Circuit Court Judge, Rob Collins beating Mike Breiling 60 percent to 40 percent.
Morrow County voters selecting Don Russell for County Commissioner with about 70 percent of the votes over Raymond Akers.

Election turn out low - and last minute
May 16, 2018
The election a bit of a strange one for Oregon’s vote-by-mail system. Voters turning in ballots all the way up until the deadline last night and keeping elections staff busy.
The overall county turnout coming in just over 30 percent. Umatilla County has more than 42,000 voters, and only 13,000 ballots arrived at the elections office. Umatilla County Elections director Kim lindell saying that's not what they expected.
"It's pretty typical for a primary election which doesn't have a lot of contested races in it. This one did, so we were expecting at least 43 percent," she said.
Lindell saying everything went smoothly. In Morrow County, the turnout about 34 percent.
The results all unofficial for now. Ballots will be certified in two weeks

City steps out of farmer's market
May 15, 2018
Another change for a farmer’s market, this time it’s the city of Hermiston stepping aside. On Friday, Mitco Investments announcing they will be going forward with a farmer’s market. City staff last night saying they do not want competing farmers markets.
"Mitco has apparently reversed course and has announced plans to actually go forward with their planned Farmer’s Market, but they seem to be characterizing the city’s market as some kind of competitor. I want to be very clear. I don’t see an adversarial relationship between a city-operated market and a market operated by Mitco. Our only interest is in ensuring that there will at least be a market this summer, regardless of who operates it. If that means that it’s Mitco, and that market appears to be viable, then that’s excellent, and we can again step aside," reads a city statement.
Assistant City Manager mark Morgan saying the city stepped in to make sure a market took place but as long as Mitco’s market is viable, the city will not need to offer its own.
"There will be a Farmer’s Market one way or the other, and Mitco still has until the end of 2018 to complete their facility, which as far as we’re concerned, is being treated just like any other applicant for a building permit," Morgan said. "I guess if nothing else, I think this outpouring of community support for the Maxwell Marketplace Pavilion has justified the City’s financial contribution toward the project."
That financial contribution $220,000 the city awarded to Mitco Investments, the bulk of which went toward the construction of the Maxwell Pavilion. That’s the project that was slated to house the farmer’s market before Mitco announced it would not be completed for the farmer’s market opening next week. City staff saying Mitco is being treated the way any other business would with its permit.

MAXWELL Marketplace Pavilion Floor Plan 9-25-17 (2)-min.JPG (143031 bytes)

An architectural drawing submitted by Mitco when asking for the city match of $220,000 on its pavilion clearly shows walls and windows in the pavilion structure.

The city also pointing out the initial documents provided by Mitco, which lead to the $220,000 payment, showed both doors and bathrooms, the two items Mitco has said are not required and the city is targeting him about in his permit complaint.

Feuding Farmers - markets - possible
May 14, 2018
A possibility of feuding farmer’s markets this summer.
The past week has been a hectic one for the future of Hermiston’s Farmer’s Market. On Wednesday, Mitch Myers and Mitco Investments saying they would not host the farmer’s market because of a disagreement with the city of Hermiston on permits. On Thursday, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department agreed to take it on.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter saying plans are beginning to take place. The city will host a farmer’s market in festival street from 4 to 7 on Thursdays.
"We're excited about using the Festival Street for the Farmer's Market - it's going to be a good location," Fetter said. "We'll have large tents there for shade and lots of food vendors, then we're going to focus on home-grown farmer's markets."
Fetter saying they will also host activities and entertainment and partnering with the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce and first Thursday events in downtown. Fetter says they’re looking for suggestions as they move forward with a plan that’s evolving by the day. They’re also actively looking for vendors and partners who may want to be involved.
On Friday, however, Myers saying he doesn’t want the city stealing his hard work and will be hosting a farmer’s market… at the Maxwell Siding Event Center, which he also owns.
That could result in feuding markets next month.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Week this week
May 14, 2018
This week is law enforcement appreciation week and blue ribbon week. Ribbons to show support for law enforcement officers are available in Hermiston at the Hermiston Police Department as well as Ace Hardware, Banner Bank, Bi Mart, City Hall, Eastern Oregon Physical Therapy, Hermiston Drug, Hermiston High School, , G & S Tire, Les Schwab Tires, and Umpqua bank
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office again hosting a law enforcement memorial ceremony at Til Taylor park in Pendleton. Undersheriff Jim Littlefield says it is an important is tribute.
"We want to honor law enforcement, especially fallen law enforcement, correctional officers," he said. "Those things are very important to us, and we invite all members of the public to come."
That ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Friday. A motorcade will follow the ceremony from Til Taylor Park to the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office.

Airport lease, EOTEC board tonight
May 14, 2018
Meetings tonight for the Hermiston School Board of Education and the Hermiston City Council.
On the council agenda, another lease for land at the Hermiston Municipal Airport – this one to Ross Brandt Electric. They’ll also
They’ll also vote on the five men nominated for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center advistory board. Those individuals are: Lucas Wagner, Mike Kay, Vijay Patel, Steve Williams and Steve Eldridge. That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full agenda here. The Hermiston School Board meeting begins at 6:30.

Car crashes into power pole
May 10, 2018
A vehicle crash last night on Elm Street where a car hit a power pole, knocking down multiple bower lines. Umatilla County fire District One closing Elm between Diagonal and 4th Street. The resulting power outage affecting more than 1000 homes and businesses in addiction to closing the road for more than 3 hours. Power was restored just before midnight.

Morrow County presents 10 Meritorious Conduct Awards
May 10, 2018
Yesterday, the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office presenting the Meritorious Conduct Award to 10 people who went above and beyond the duties of a citizen in response to an incident on Dec. 17, 2017 that involved a burglary, chase in stolen vehicles, shots fired, and a vehicle fire. Four of the citizens are Morrow County residents, and six are from Yakima and were in Morrow County on a bird hunt. The awards related to an incident on Dec. 17, 2017. The local residents include Roger Britt, who discovered the burglary that has just occurred and pursued the suspect. The other local residents are Scott Smythe, Pablo Cisneros-Garcia and Phil Carson. All three involved in pursuing the suspects, putting out a vehicle fire, and assisting in controlling a high stress situation. The bird hunters from Yakima are Myrl Brown, Max Brown, Cord Brown, Dru Brown, Robert Rogers, and Lanny Gill.
A release from the sheriff’s office saying this is the first time in at least 30 years the award has been presented to a citizen

Mitco cancels Farmer's Market
May 9, 2018
No Hermiston Farmer’s Market this summer? That could be the case after Mitch Myers, of Mitco Investments, pulled out of the event yesterday. Myers had been slated to operate the farmer’s market at the Maxwell Pavilion, across from Bi-Mart. That was scheduled to have a season kick off on Saturday, June 2, and run from June 7 through October 4. A press release from Mitco saying they are “unable to complete improvements necessary to host the Farmer’s Market due to unreasonable building permit requirements placed on the Maxwell Marketplace Pavilion Project by City of Hermiston Building Official Chuck Woolsey.”
The building inspector issued a stop work order on the site last week, requiring the project include exit signage and restrooms. Myers says those are not required because the pavilion is a “shade structure” and not an enclosed building.
The city has not yet issued a statement after Myers’ announcement last night at a vendor’s meeting for the farmer’s market.

Drug take back day sets record
May 8, 2018
Last week, the 15th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Totals now in, and the Drug Enforcement Administration saying Oregon set a record. Nearly 7 and a half tons of drugs were collected in Oregon.That’s 14,000 pounds, and Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says about 150 pounds of those medications were collected from the Hermiston drop box. That prescription drug box is located in the lobby at the police department. It’s open year round during HPD business hours. Across the country, the DEA collected and destroyed close to one million pounds – almost 475 tons – of unused prescription drugs. The DEA says the drug take back is one of the best ways to keep unused medications from being stolen and sold. The next drug collection day will be in October.

Stamp Out Hunger this weekend
May 8, 2018
Speaking of collecting, this weekend is the 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive when letter carriers across the country accept food donations during their mail deliveries.
Ernie Swanson, the postal service’s Corporate communication specialist for Oregon and Washington, says the drive was initialed by the letter carriers union out of a need to help those struggling financially. It’s the largest food collection day in the entire country, and all the food collected goes to local agencies. For the west end of Umatilla County, that’s Agape House. Dave Hughes says it’s the perfect time for food drives.
"It's always neat to have them do that this time of year because is the time our cupboards run a little bare," Hughes said. "We really appreciate it."
Plastic collection bags will be going out this weekend. You can put non-perishable, commercially sealed foods into the back, and the mail carriers will collect those on Saturday. They recommend having the food bag placed in or near the mailbox by 8 in the morning to guarantee it is collected.

Leadership presentation tonight
May 8, 2018
Tonight, a free leadership presentation, “Reaching New Heights” at Hermiston High School. It’s sponsored by Good Shepherd and features leadership speaker James Robbins. A former pastor, Robbins says he would be asked more and more to speak about leadership, how to motivate people and create a workplace that’s more intrinsically motivated. He says that morphed into a career.
Robbins will be bringing his expertise to Hermiston tonight for “Reaching New Heights,” which says its about helping people develop their own passions and reach their true potential, in turn helping a community reach its full potential. Reaching New Heights is free. That’s at 7 p.m. tonight in the auditorium at Hermiston High School. You can call 667-3509 to RSVP

Umatilla taking DCA nominations
May 7, 2018
Coming up next week, Umatilla has its Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet, and they are still taking nominations for Business of the Year, Distinguished Citizen of the Year, and the George Alan Curtis Award. Chamber representative Jeff Wheeler says they're looking for people and business who make a difference in Umatilla.
The nomination forms, criteria and selection process, available on the chamber's website, and paper copies are available at the Umatilla Chamber office and Visitor's Center. Wheeler says those are due 'as soon as possible' so the selection committee can have final picks done before the May 18th banquet. You can also pick up nomination forms and tickets from around Umatilla at Columbia Harvest Foods, Java Junkies, Rae's Dayz and Banner Bank. That will be at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on May 18. with a no host bar and dinner will be catered by GG’s Smokehouse
You can contact the Umatilla Chamber at 922-4825 for more information.

Ballot post deadline is tomorrow
May 7, 2018
If you’re planning to mail your ballot for the May 15th election, officials saying those ballots should be in the mail today or, at the latest, tomorrow.

Hermiston schools budget meeting
May 7, 2018
Tonight, a special budget committee meeting for the Hermiston School District. That begins at 6 at the district offices. Since this is the first budget committee meeting for the year, they will be elected committee chair and vice chair.
The group to also review current year planning assumptions and the board's 2018-19 planning parameters.
A public comment period will be available. Find the agenda here.

Packed weekend of events
May 4, 2018
The OSU Extension is celebrating 100 years in Morrow County with a Centennial Celebration and SAGE Center Gallery Opening this Saturday from 11 to 1. Morrow County 4-H and Extension agent Erin Heideman says they’ll have appetizers, guest speakers, and presentations about 4-H and other extension activities.
Guest speakers include Representative Greg Smith and Commissioner Don Russell.
Find out more by contacting Morrow County OSU Extension or the SAGE Center.
This weekend is also Cinco de Mayo, and in Hermiston, that translates to two-days of music, food, and celebration. Clara Beas Fitzgerald says it's open to everyone.
Everything takes place at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center on Airport Road this year. The event opens with the carnival tomorrow night. The opening "buddy night" offer two-for-one wristbands - those are $20 each if purchased in advance - from 4 to 9. The carnival also running through the main festival on Saturday and Sunday. Speaking of the main festival, opening ceremonies around noon on Saturday with events scheduled all the way to 11 p.m. Beas Fitzgerald says the first half of the event is family activities while the evening will cater more to adults with live music, a beer garden, and dancing. Food vendors and eating competitions will be held throughout the day. On Sunday, Cinco de Mayo runs from noon until 10 p.m.
You can find out more on the Facebook page for Hermiston Cinco de Mayo 2018.
Finally, also this Saturday and also at EOTEC, the Coastal Farm & Ranch Challenge of Champions bull-riding event. That's the one we've been giving tickets away to this week. If you aren't lucky enough to snag one of our remaining sets, tickets are $14 in advance or $17 at the door. That will also be taking place at EOTEC on Saturday. Gates open to the rodeo arena at 6, and the action begins at 7:30. You can contact Bonney's Ag and Auto Repair for advance tickets.

FFA Hosting plant sale
May 4, 2018
This afternoon, Hermiston FFA will have a plant sale on Friday, May 4, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and on Saturday, May 5, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
The students will be selling hanging baskets, a few vegetables, geraniums, succulents, and woodshop projects.
Stop by the high school’s greenhouse to participate.

Gas leak, semis near construction
May 2, 2018
A gas leak in Hermiston yesterday afternoon after construction workers hit a two-inch gas line around 2 in the afternoon. Residents in the area of West Orchard Avenue evacuated for about an hour as a precaution. The area around 11th Street facing multiple construction projects right now, including the work continuing on the traffic light installations on 11th Street – at Elm and Orchard.
Passenger cars can avoid the area to avoid the construction, but that doesn’t apply to commercial vehicles.
"We do get a lot of truck complaints, but that's where they're going to have to stay is on those state roads," Police Chief Jason Edmiston said.
Officials advising commercial vehicles should not attempt to travel down other streets, and Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan adding that was a question ODOT asked while planning the traffic light projects – if commercial trucks could use Highland as an alternate to 11th.
"The short answer was 'no,'" Morgan said. "The trucks are just going to have to deal with the construction for now."
Passenger vehicles, of course, able to avoid 11th during the construction but reminded to follow all rules if driving in that area. The city also has construction projects in various stages impacting downtown with the festival street and Harkenrider Center – as well as projects at Newport.

Victims emergency support approved in Morrow County
May 2, 2018
More victims support coming to Morrow County. District Attorney Justin Nelson says in cases like domestic violence, families may have to stay in shelters in Hermiston or Pendleton, and the additional county funding will help keep victims closer to home.
"We asked and received some additional funding to provide emergency assistance for victims in Morrow County," Nelson said. "We want to take some of the stress off the victims."
Nelson says the funds could be used for items like rent assistance and hotel stays as well as transportation. Nelson says, for example, victims of child abuse may need to travel to La Grande, and the funds could be used to help transportation.
That funding approved as part of the 2018-19 budget for Morrow County.

Resolutions, budgets, and changing councilors
May 1, 2018
Rates, resolutions, and a resignation tonight during the Umatilla City Council meeting.
The council facing five resolutions tonight, from raising rates at the RV Park to approving the bargaining agreement between the city and the police union. The council meeting will also include a public hearing for a sewer line extension from the city of Umatilla to the U.S. Army Depot – that’s required for the city to be able to provide sanitary service to the depot and any future development on the site. If that wasn’t enough, they’re also consider awarding a contract for IT services to the Intermountain ESD and make two proclamations: one for mental health awareness and a second for Police Week and Peace Officer’s Memorial Day. Finally, the council will accept the resignation of councilman Mark Ribich.
Ribich saying he plans to continue his work with the Umatilla Chamber board but is stepping away from the council to focus on re-establishing local control and use of ACOE lands in the Umatilla Urban Growth Boundary.
That meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Umatilla City Hall.
Budget season underway for local cities, and it’ll be one of the major discussions during tonight’s Stanfield City Council meeting. During the meeting, newly appointed city councilor Ralph Parrish expected to be sworn in, and the council will take comments from the audience. That meeting begins at 7 in the city council chambers on West Coe Avenue in Stanfield.
The Boardman City Council also meeting at 7. Among regular business and public comment time, the council will consider changing the date for the July meeting – right now on July 4 – as well as meeting in a closed-door, executive session to discuss personnel. That begins at 7 at Boardman City Hall.

Screen-free week begins
May 1, 2018
This is screen-free week, a national initiative to focus on connecting in real life - not through electronics.
Angie Treadwell, with OSU extension, is one of the coordinators of local events through her work on the Healthy Communities Coalition. This year her committee is partnering with the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, Umatilla County Health, Umatilla-Morrow County Head Start and other groups to offer an event in downtown Hermiston to align with the chamber's first Thursday.
That event running from 4:30 to 7 on Thursday night and including business sales and events, children's games, healthy foods, Zumba, floral bouquets, prizes, and an appearance by the Tooth Fairy. Find out more about Screen Free Week at Hermiston Downtown on the event Facebook page.
All events are free. Screen Free week continues on Friday and Saturday with the on-site registration for the Lovin' Spadefuls Community Garden.
You can contact the OSU extension, or Good Shepherd's Education Department for more information on screenfree activities. Screenfree week runs through May 6 this year.

Mega Dairy files for bankruptcy
April 30, 2018
The owner of mega dairy near Boardman filing for bankruptcy. The Lost Valley Farm scheduled to auction thousands of heads of cattle after defaulting on bank loans, but owner Greg te Velde filing for bankruptcy freezing all actions by creditors, including that auction. The statesman journal reporting Lost Valley Farm and te Velde lists liabilities between 100 million and 500 million dollars to more than 200 creditors. He owes about $360,000 in back taxes owed to Morrow County.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture sued te Velde earlier this year alleging waste from the dairy was endangering nearby drinking water. Last month, the state reached a settlement with te Velde to run the farm in a limited capacity until it can prove the waste treatment system is working correctly.

Echo gym will not be done by graduation
April 30, 2018
Speaking of construction, some bad news for the Echo School District. The district is in the midst of a bond-funded construction project and had planned on having this year’s graduation in their new gym.
[echo not for lack of try]
Echo superintendent Raymon Smith says with the construction push, they would have to cut corners in quality and safety that the district and its contractors were not comfortable with. Instead, this year’s graduation ceremonies will be outside.
Smith says they’re already asking Mother Nature for good weather on that day.

Fisherman who drowned saving son identified
April 27, 2018
The father who drowned saving his son on Wednesday has been identified.
35-year-old Juan Carlos Armenta Madrigal, of Umatilla, identified as the man who saved his son after the boy slipped into the Columbia River. The family had been fishing near the Umatilla Marina on Wednesday evening when the boy slipped into the river and the father jumped in to save him. The 7-year-old was treated for hypothermia. Neither the boy or his father knew how to swim, and neither was wearing a life vest.
The Umatilla School District providing counselors and support staff for students this week.

Drug Take Back Day tomorrow
April 27, 2018
Tomorrow is the National Drug Take Back Day, and the Hermiston Police Department is one of the sites participating in the nationwide event. Eastern Oregon Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Coordinator Mike Stensrud says prescription drug misuse is a major issue in Umatilla County - and all of Eastern Oregon.
"Eastern Oregon has - actually two of the four counties  have the highest prescribing rates (of opioids) in the state," Stensrud said. "It's really a wide spread problem."
Stensrud has said many of the abused drugs - especially opioids - come from unused prescriptions. That's where the drug take back day comes in. It's an opportunity to get your unused prescription medications out of your house. Cam Strohm, with the Drug Enforcement Administration, says prior to the take back days there wasn't a method to dispose of medications.
"DEA saw an opportunity to provide a service, working with out partners, to take those unwanted and unused drugs out of circulation," he said.
There will be 60 locations in Oregon where you can drop off medications, including at the Hermiston Police Department. HPD saying the prescription drug box in the lobby is accessible during normal business hours, and anyone can drop off unused prescriptions. The drug take back day is a good reminder to do so.
For more information on the drug take back day in Hermiston or the HPD drug box, call 567-5519.

Walk in Her Shoes, Umatilla museum auction tomorrow
April 27, 2018
Saturday, the fifth annual Walk in Her Shoes fundraiser and awareness event for domestic violence services. The event at Riverfront Park in Hermiston runs from 9 in the morning until noon. Participants will move through a domestic violence scenario, choosing from limited options. Kathryn Chaney says the event is eye opening for many people.
"It's a good exercise and a good opportunity to develop empathy for those in the situation," she said.
Officials says despite its serious nature, sexual assault is still one of the most underreported and misunderstood crimes in the United States.
The walk is $15 if you'd like to receive a t-shirt, and they are also hosting a raffle during the event. All proceeds go to Domestic Violence Services.
Also this weekend, the Umatilla Museum and Historical Society is having an auction at the museum at 1 p.m. on Sunday. To raise money, they're auctioning antiques and historic memorabilia that they have duplicates of.

Heppner burning beginning
April 26, 2018
Burning south of Heppner could begin today. The Heppner Ranger District preparing for a 250-acre burn near Sunflower Flat, that’s about 20 miles south of Heppner. The burn designed to reduce the amount of dead and down fuel sources to reduce the risk of wildfire. The burning will cause smoke impacts for two to three days after ignition is complete. The district saying under the right conditions they could begin burning today and continue into next week.
For more on the Umatilla National Forest and prescribed burning, you can visit the facebook page Umatilla NF or contact he Heppner Ranger District.

Community, legislators talk student success
April 26, 2018
The Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Student Success in Hermiston yesterday.

st success.jpg (217012 bytes)
The Joint Committee for Student Success talks with Hermiston High School students during listening sessions on Wednesday.

The committee touring multiple sites in Umatilla and morrow counties, meeting with students and business leaders, and hearing from the community, and Rep. Greg Smith, who serves on the committee, says this trip is an opportunity to introduce other state legislators to the offerings on the east side of the state
"I think the message throughout today is the collaboration between the education community and our industry," Smith said. "It's a great opportunity for legislators to see how great our youth are and to share with them how great it is living here."
13 of the 14 members met with students from Hermiston, Umatilla, Stanfield, Irrigon, Boardman, and Echo in listening sessions yesterday morning. Hermiston High School student Derek McBride says the students were able to share their perspectives.
"We're hoping they pick up just the aspect of schools, how things are run, and a community that our students and teachers actually help students," he said.

st success 2.jpg (196488 bytes)
The Joint Committee for Student Success talks with Hermiston High School students during listening sessions on Wednesday.

Electives, robotics, overcoming challenges, high school graduation, school lunch, and even the block schedule. Officials saying part of the program was to learn about school districts across the state but also to find out what pieces keep students engaged. During a public hearing last night, comments also added in tax issues, STEM and vocational training. Written comments can still be submitted. Those who wish to submit written testimony can also do so through jcss.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov.
For more information on the committee, click here.

Stanfield celebrates trucks, tractors - and trees
April 26, 2018
Tonight, Trucks, Tractors and Trees in Stanfield. Trucks and Tractors is an annual event, but Cecili Longhorn says because Stanfield is a tree city, they're incorporating in an arbor day celebration.
"Not only will we have trucks, tractors, school busses for kids to see, we'll also be giving away two large trees, and the first 50 kids will be able to plant trees," she said.
One hundred children will also be able to paint stepping stones, and, of course, children will be able to get up close and personal with the vehicles, many of which will be on scene thanks to volunteer time and effort by local farmers and emergency responders, as well as local businesses like Umatilla Electric.
Longhorn saying it's an example of the community coming together to make an event happen, including farmers and ag producers who take a night out of a busy time of year to show off their equipment .
Trucks, Tractors, and Trees from 5 to 7 tonight in Bard Park.

Joint Committee on Student Success coming to Hermiston
April 24, 2018
The Oregon Legislature’s joint committee on student success will be in Umatilla and Morrow counties tomorrow on its statewide tour, including a public hearing when anyone can comment or ask questions. That forum will be from 7 to 9 p.m. April 25 at the Hermiston High School auditorium. Participant comments will be limited to two minutes, and the group is particularly interested in where the public would like to see the state’s education investments go, and how to pay for education through tax or spending reforms.
Signups for public testimony begin at 6:30. Those who do not want to give testimony do not need to sign up and may still attend the hearing to listen. Those who wish to submit written testimony can also do so through jcss.exhibits@oregonlegislature.gov
For more information on the committee, click here.

BMCC announces vet tech partnership
April 24, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College to offer a veterinary tech program through an agreement with Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas, the college announced today. BMCC currently offers a one-year Veterinary Assistant Certificate program and planned to launch a two-year associate veterinary tech program as part of the new FARM (Facility for Agricultural Resource Management) facility on the Pendleton campus; however, faced with a cost of a quarter million dollars to launch that program, BMCC now saying they’ve approved an agreement through distance learning veterinary tech program at Colby Community College offers, where students will do prerequisite work at BMCC then transition into the distance program. Find out more at

Umatilla bond updates - and extra money
April 23, 2018
Part of the Wellness Program in Umatilla is the district’s summer feeding program, which will be a little different this year because of construction at McNary Heights Elementary. Child Nutrition Director Ricki Lynn Larson says they will still offer a summer feeding program, focusing on park locations, while construction begins on the new gymnasium and expanded kitchen at McNary. District Superintendent Heidi Sipe saying the district received good news this month about its bond: they’ll receive more than $600,000 in energy rebates and funding.
"It's things like when we went into this, we weren't anticipating buying any new furniture for the facilities and we'll just continue repairing what we have," Sipe said. "What this means is if a desk breaks, we can replace it, which is so exciting."
Summer projects in Umatilla going out for bids this time, and work beginning to replace the roof at Clara Brownell Middle school. Sipe saying that will cause some parking issues at the middle school and high school because of staging.
"That's all very doable. We're very excited to get that new roof on the middle school - every wind storm we lose a few shingles," she said.
Construction to continue this summer at Clara Brownell and McNary Heights Elementary School. You can find project updates and design images on the district’s website.

Stanfield to consider bond
April 23, 2018
Speaking of bonds, the Stanfield School District may be considering one in the future. Superintendent Beth Burton says the district is working with Design West on longterm facility planning, and that will help set priorities.
"We are still in just the really gone out to the talk to the community much yet, which really needs to happen, but we didn't want to do that until we finished the longterm facility plan."
Burton says the planning will be done at the end of this month, then they’ll begin making a list of priorities and talking with the community about needs for the district.

Council to consider UMCHS leases at airport
April 22, 2018
Classroom space and the bus barn for Umatilla-Morrow County Head Start could be moving to the Hermiston Airport. The Hermiston City Council considering two ground leases, each about an acre, during its meeting tonight Each lease claims about a one-acre part of the city’s 28 acres of undeveloped land land north of Airport Way. The bus barn lease would be $2,200 per year; the classroom space about 2,100. A presentation from Lifeways during tonight’s meeting of the Hermiston City Council and Urban Renewal Agency. The urban renewal agency meeting will follow directly after the council meeting. The council meetings typically begin at 7; however, tonight’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6, that’s at Hermiston City Hall. Find the full agenda here.
The Hermiston School District considering a contract with Chartwells for food service management and hearing a presentation from Armand Larivie Middle School during its work session tonight. That will be at Armand, and it begins at 6:30 p.m.

McNary Heights wins wellness award
April 22, 2018
Officials presenting a big award and a big check to McNary Heights Elementary today. The school receiving a School Wellness Award from the Oregon Department of Education, and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council sponsored a $2,500 grant to accompany it. Angie Treadwell, with OSU Extension, nominated McNary Heights for the award in recognition of the wellness efforts at the school, including Breakfast After the Bell, the McNary Marathon, and the summer feeding programs. Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador Anthony Newman, a former NFL Player, spoke to the students as part of the award ceremony and recognition. Looking at a long list of accomplishments, Newman says he's impressed
"I've been to a lot of schools and talked to a lot of schools," Newman said. "This one? It's impressive. You do a lot for the kids."
Treadwell says the Hermiston School District and Morrow County School District have also received grants from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, but this school wellness award for McNary is something new.
ODE recognized three schools in the state with Wellness Awards for outstanding school wellness programs. The other two schools this year are Madison Elementary in the Coos Bay School District and Vern Patrick Elementary in Redmond. You can hear more about the award by listening to Friday's Odds & Ends program.

McNary Heights celebrates Earth Day
April 20, 2018
Hundreds of McNary Heights Elementary students made an annual trek to McNary Lock and Dam yesterday to celebrate Earth Day, learning about water and environment, pollution and identifying invertebrates in pond water.

earth day.jpg (372521 bytes)
McNary Elementary students walk through a trail at McNary Lock and Dam on Thursday.

For many of the presentations, students in Umatilla High School’s advanced biology class lead the younger students through activities. Courtney Daniel was part of a team that into ponds to pull samples of water and show invertebrates to the younger students.
"I was nervous about coming and having it not be very good weather and be really difficult, but we've had so much fun," Daniel said. "We've been doing macro invertebrates, and the kids have been having a lot of fun, finding cool stuff, and I think a lot of that is because of the weather."
Nearby, a team of Roberto, Rueben, and Ivan walked students through the process of creating a water filtration system. Students selected materials then tested their hypothesis. Roberto says it’s harder than it looks and not everyone completes the filtration.
"We've had about five in each class that get it right," he said.
In addition to the presentations at the annual Earth Day, students were able to have a picnic lunch. Avery Gutierrez says she’s glad her school offers this event every year.
"I like it - the walking and just looking at everything," she said. "And it teaches us about the environment and how we can make it better."
In continuation of Earth Day celebration, Umatilla leadership students working on a clean-up day today.

CBMS names Guentert new principal
April 18, 2018
Umatilla School District ahs named Dawn Guentert as its next Clara Brownell Middle School principal, replacing Liz Durant. Guentert ahs been with Umatilla for 10 years, including as a science teacher and instructional coach. She says that experience lead her toward the new position, and she plans to continue the momentum.
Guentert will work with the current staff and principal through the spring to help with the transition to administration.

Financial aid night at HHS
April 18, 2018
For questions on paying for college next year and what your financial aid package means, counseling staff at Hermiston High School are hosting an understanding financial aid package night in the school’s library. It starts at 6 and will last about an hour. Counselor Melody Bustillos says they’re looking to offer individualized support.
Bustillos says bring your financial aid packages and college log-ins for that individualized support, and College Bound Coordinator Liz Marvin says its geared at students attending a four-year college next year – regardless of where. Both Bustillos and Marvin saying you don’t have to be a Hermiston High School student – or any high school student at all – to attend.
Contact Hermiston High School counseling for more information. That again begins at 6 tonight at the Hermiston High School library.

Paving work resumes Monday on 730
April 18, 2018
On April 23, work expected to resume in a paving project along US 730 in Umatilla, between Old River Road and Willamette Street. The work, between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m., will cause some temporary closures of the Interstate 82 on and off ramps in Umatilla. Travelers can also expect flaggers, rough pavement and delays up to 20 minutes at a time during that work. It’s expected to be completed by the end of May.

BMCC launches 20th Arts & Culture
April 17, 2018
This week, Blue Mountain Community College is talking arts and culture. The 20th annual festival began yesterday in Pendleton, and the first presentation in Hermiston is today. At 1 this afternoon, visiting artist Natasha Ria el-Scari (will be in Hermiston, on the BMCC Campus. Ria el-Scari is a poet who is a performance poet and this year's Artist in Residence for Arts & Culture Festival.
The theme is global perspectives. In Hermiston, the main days for Arts & Culture are Wednesday and Thursday. Presentations scheduled for each hour 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday with presentations ranging from "In Science We Trust," an Oregon Humanities Conversation Project, to interactive African Drumming. On Thursday, the presentations will cover the story of a Holocaust survivor, immigration rights, and Wayne Yamamoto, a World War II Japanese-American internee who will host a "fireside chat" format presentation and discussion.
On Thursday, they'll also have games and an Alpaca display at the Hermiston campus. All of those events are open to the public. Find the full schedule of presentations here, and you can contact BMCC Hermiston for more information.

Judge Hill visits HHS
April 18, 2018
On Friday, students at Hermiston High School met with this year's distinguished alumnus, Judge Dan Hill, to ask questions and take a first step toward a mentorship. In a full day on the campus, Circuit Court Judge Hill met leadership students, students at the ILC building, as well as civics and econ students, and the judge said he was impressed with students engagement - and their questions.

judge hill.jpg (219788 bytes)
Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hill speaks to students at Hermiston High School on Friday.

Students were able to ask questions on everything from what a judge does, how hill approaches leadership and even, how to avoid jury duty.
"It's been going really well," Hill said Friday. "I've been impressed with the classes, the students asking articulate questions and responding in articulate ways."
HHS Assistant Principal Scott DePew says the distinguished alumnus program highlights one HHS graduate to help inspire students for what they can achieve after graduation. This is the first year the school district has involved an alumnus in a mentorship program during the school year.
"I'm just looking forward to this time frame and this mentoring, which I really enjoy," Hill said. "Try to get some questions, answer some questions, and maybe resolve some misconceptions about the judiciary."
Hill will also serve as a featured speaker during the Hermiston High School commencement ceremonies in June.

Umatilla Robotics hits the road
April 18, 2018
In other school news, the Umatilla FIRST Robotics Competition team boarded a yellow bus over the weekend to head to the World Finals in Houston. Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe says the team only had a week notice after winning the Chairman’s Award at the Pacific Northwest Finals last week, so they depleted their start-up funds for next season to make the trip. The team expects to kick off funding raising when they return from the trip next week. You can follow the progress on the Facebook page, website, and other social media pages for Umatilla Robotics. Competitions at the World Finals will be streamed online. Umatilla’s team is team 4125, confidential.

Boardman, Stanfield meeting this week
April 18, 2018
A special meeting of the Boardman City Council tomorrow night. That begins at 6 at Boardman City Hall. The action again focused on an ordinance for port vacation and rededication – this one is the second reading and decision on that. There will also be time for public comment.
The Stanfield City Council appointing a new city councilor and discussing outdoor burning during its second meeting on the month. Also on the agenda, changes to master water metering. The city has been accepting letters of interest for its vacant council seat and is expected to review those letters and select a new council member. Anyone who has submitted an application is encouraged to attend that meeting tomorrow to answer questions the council may have. The council will also meet in an executive session for the city manager’s evaluation. That meeting begins at 7 in the council chambers of west Coe Avenue.

McNary wraps up annual marathon
April 13, 2018
For the past two weeks, students at McNary Heights Elementary have been competing against themselves in an annual tradition more than three decades long: the McNary Marathon.

marathon 2.JPG (178345 bytes)
Students run in the McNary Marathon outside McNary Heights Elementary on Thursday.

The students themselves, many take it as a challenge, and as they filed out on Thursday for the final day of the marathon, many took to the field running - literally.
"It's fun. I like to run," said third-grader Rueben, who had 57 laps - more than anyone else in his class - halfway through Thursday's recess. While he set out to beat a personal goal - and do as many laps as he could - fourth-grader Zoe says she prefers walking.
"It's kind of fun because you get to walk along with your friends, and sometimes your teachers go out there," she said.

marathon 1.jpg (310223 bytes)
Vice principal Nicole Coyle punches a card for a student, indicating another lap.

Multiple students say the marathon is about doing their best. Staff say its about health, keeping kids active and preparing for other outdoor events , such as the annual hike to McNary Lock and Dam for Earth Day. Principal Rick Cotterell says It's also about carrying on a tradition.
"It's a time-honored tradition, and we plan to continue it year after year," Cotterell said.
The school is calculating total punches and laps, and they'll reward the boy and the girl with the most laps from each class during an assembly next week.

Candidates talk economics, mental health at forum
April 12, 2018
Economic development. Financial stability and mental health taking center stage last night during a candidate forum at Armand Larive Middle School.
About 75 people came out to hear from Five county commissioner and 8 Hermiston city council candidates
On the county commissioner side, the forum featured incumbents George Murdock and Larry Givens as well as the candidates running against Murdock for position one, Rick Pullen and Tom Bailor, and and john Shafer, who is running against Givens.
When asked what the most pressing issue was for the county, Pullen and Givens said economic development, Murdock answered housing, and Shafer and Bailor both targeted mental health. Bailor said while discussion on opioids is important, it’s not the only drug problem that has an impact on mental health.
"A lot of people are worried about opioids, but Umatilla County is the poster child for methamphetamine, and we need to address that," he said.
Candidate Bailor proposing putting together a county behavior health committee to study that issue at the county level. Shafer talked about mental health through bringing in more crisis workers.
"What I'd like to propose for mental health is, No. 1, we need to get more providers into Umatilla County," he said.
The candidates also spoke about increased funding for the Umatilla County Jail and their take on economic development. Pullen says not all economic development is created equal.
"Big industries are great. They bring in a lot of tax revenue ... but we need the jobs that are going to bring in lots of employment, not just five or six employees and a good tax base - jobs," he said.
After the county commissioner forum, eight of the nine candidates for Hermiston City Council also speaking about city issues, including the role of a city council, fiscal responsibility in the city and the Eastern Oregon Trade and event center.
The forum was broadcast and recorded by Armand Larive middle school students and staff, and you can view that on demand here.

Boardman School Emergency Drill is tomorrow
April 12, 2018
Tomorrow, April 13, the emergency drill in Boardman schools. It’s a partnership with the Morrow County School District, Boardman Police, and Morrow County sheriff.
Tomorrow is not a school day for Morrow County, so most students will be away from campuses during the event. Some students – those from Boardman High School who have been cleared to participate – will participate, as well as staff and other volunteers who will role-play as students and parents.  Staff from other school districts will observe, and Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says this is the first major drill since many safety procedures were put in place.
The drill will include emergency responder, and they’re asking the community to be aware the drill will take place and to avoid the area during drill activity.

Text-to-911 services go live
April 11, 2018
Text-to-911 services now available. Umatilla County 911 Communication Center, Milton-Freewater Police Department Dispatch and John Day Emergency Communications Center making a joint announcement yesterday that the service is now live.
Dispatch saying they still prefer the those in an emergency to call, but texting is an option for those who cannot because of the type of emergency – such as a home invasion or domestic violence – or those who are hard of hearing The press releasing saying the main thing to remember is “call if you can, text if you can’t.”
Officials also saying when texting to 911 for an emergency, the first message should be the location of the emergency (including city) and the type of emergency help needed (police, fire, or medical). Keep text messages brief and concise; using full words. Stay with your phone, and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.
As of right now, you cannot include 911 in a group text, and photos, videos and emoji can’t be sent.
Text to 911 service is not yet available statewide in Oregon If you send a text to 911 from a city/county without Text to 911 service, you should receive a message saying that there is no text service to 911
available at this time. For more information, go to www.nwtext911.info

Crashes close I-84
April 10, 2018
The Eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 closed this morning because of an incident that occurred before 5:30 a.m. at MP 188  While the incident was initially reported as a wreck, some reports now saying a pedestrian was involved.
The closer today on Interstate 84 following a wreck yesterday morning where two soldiers received minor injuries. An SUV crashed into the back of their Humvee on I-84, and the impact flipped the military vehicle off the shoulder of the interstate and onto its top, and two soldiers were transported to St. Anthony’s hospital in Pendleton. The Humvee was part of a convoy from Joint Base Lewis Mcchord headed toward Idaho. The driver of the SUV reportedly cited for following too close. Update, April 11:
The Eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 closed yesterday morning, and Oregon State Police releasing more information on the incident that killed a pedestrian. OSP saying 49-year-old Rosialy Tiffany of Kennewick was crossing the travel lanes of the Interstate when she was struck by a station wagon, driving by 41-year-old James Creel of Portland. Tiffany had left her vehicle, and for unknown reasons, attempted to cross the freeway when she was struck. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The freeway was closed down and traffic had to be routed through the town of Echo for about four and a half hours during the investigation.
Creel was not injured in the incident. Alcohol, by Tiffany, is being considered a contributing factor in the crash. No photos will be available of this crash.

Candidate forum
April 10, 2018
Tomorrow, a candidate forum at Armand Larive Middle school. The forum to feature those running for Umatilla County Commissioner as well as the nine candidates for Hermiston City Council.
Debbie Pedro, with the Hermiston Chamber, says almost a dozen candidates have so far agreed to participate. The event begins with a meet and greet at 5:30, followed by the county commissioner forum at 6. A brief intermission will take place after the commissioner forum, and the city council candidates will follow. Contact the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce for more information.
The Boardman Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a candidate forum. That one will be April 18th and will feature candidates for Circuit Court Judge and Morrow County Commissioner.

Stanfield has city council opening
April 10, 2018
If you’re interested in being involved with city politics and you live in Stanfield, they are now accepting letters of interest for a city council position. The position open after the death of councilwoman Pam McSpaddon
City Manager Blair Larsen says the city council hopes to interview and appoint someone at the April 17 meeting.
To be a city council member in Stanfield, you must be a legal voter and have been a resident for at least two years.

Umatilla Robotics heading to Worlds
April 9, 2018
Umatilla Robotics is again heading to the FIRST Robotics Competition world championships, this time in Houston. The team receiving a regional chairman’s award over the weekend, which qualifies them for the worlds competition in Houston. That’ll be in a couple weeks – the robot already crated and ready to go… the team cannot work on the robot between competitions.

Council talks NE Hermiston water project
April 9, 2018
Anderson Perry will likely design and provide oversight for the Northeast Hermiston Water System Expansion project. The Hermiston City Council voting on that during tonight’s council meeting. The preliminary authorization by the city council including just under $800,000 for design engineering, construction engineer, cultural resources reporting and construction monitoring. The fee estimate from Anderson Perry coming in at $640,000.
The council also has a supplemental budget hearing for the Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency and a closed-door, executive session for discussion of property transactions.
That meeting begins at 7 tonight. Find the full agenda here.

School Board meeting at 6:30
April 9, 2018
Also tonight, the Hermiston School Board of Education expected to officially hire Dan Greenough as the new principal at Desert View Elementary. They’ll also have reports on graduation rates and enrollment as well as accepting resignations and meeting in an executive session on labor negotiations. Follow this link for more on tonight's Hermiston School Board meeting.

Judge Hill named distinguished alumnus
April 9, 2018
In other school district news, Judge Daniel Hill named the Distinguished Alumnus for 2017-18. Judge Hill graduated from Hermiston High School in 1979. In January 2005, Judge Daniel Hill began serving as the Circuit Court Judge, 6th Judicial District for Umatilla and Morrow Counties in the Oregon Judicial Branch. Judge Hill is a Brigadier General, US Army,
For the last three years, nominations for this recognition were open in November and the alumnus announced in May. The process changed this school year to provide the alumnus an opportunity to serve as a mentor to students since the start of the school year.
On Thursday, June 7, Judge Hill will be a featured speaker at the HHS commencement ceremony: 7 p.m., at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington.

Stuff the Bus raises $22,000 worth of items
April 9, 2018
Over the weekend, Leadership Hermiston hosting a ‘Stuff the Bus’ donation drive. Between busses set up at Walmart, Fiesta Foods, and Safeway, the group collecting almost $22,000 worth of goods as well as $718 in monetary donations. The items donated to Agape House, Hermiston’s Domestic Violence Shelter, the Hermiston Warming Station, and Desert Rose Ministries. The cash will be distributed to those same groups through the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.

Umatilla County Fair announces Main Stage Entertainment
April 6, 2018
The Umatilla County Fair announcing its 2018 entertainment:

Sawyer Brown

Ned Ledoux

Skid Row

Latino Night

Blues Traveler

Tickets are now on sale. Any concert seating tickets do require fair passes or tickets as well.

Clean-ups continue tomorrow despite weather
April 6, 2018
Despite the wind and possible rain tomorrow, clean up events not being cancelled because of the weather. Umatilla City Manager Russ Pelleburg says they’re hoping volunteers will still come out tomorrow for their annual “Slam Dunk the Junk”
"Last year was our biggest year of cleanup in town - it was a great success - and we're hoping the weather doesn't throw too much of a damper on things tomorrow," Pelleburg said.
You can contact Umatilla City Hall for more information.
Tomorrow is also the final day of the Umatilla County Clean Up - week 1 at Sanitary Disposal as well as the hazardous waste day at the North Morrow Transfer Station, and the "Stuff the Bus" donations drive in Hermiston.
Tomorrow is also the citywide yard sale in Stanfield, and many of them will be set up at the little league fields in Stanfield, beginning at 10 in the morning. City Manager Blair Larsen said yard sales will happen across the city.
"We'll have a map available showing you everyone in Stanfield and Echo, where the yard sales will be," he said.
To be included in the map, sellers paid a small fee. That money is going toward Stanfield's Movies in the Park.

Steps taken to bring back drug court
April 5, 2018
Drug Court will be returning to Umatilla County.
The Umatilla County Commissioners yesterday approving a new plan to partner with Community Counseling Solutions to reboot the drug court, which was dissolved almost exactly a year ago due to funding issues. The program provides support for those struggling with addiction. The new, smaller drug court program is expected to start in July.

Clean-up week

April 4, 2018
It is clean-up week across Umatilla and Morrow counties.
In Umatilla county, sanitary disposal taking loads of garbage and lawn debris up to 454 pounds – excluding tires – for free this week.
Hermiston Parks and Recreation director Larry Fetter says the Clean-up week is the first stage of the Clean-Sweep Events for Umatilla county. The offer continues through Saturday.
Saturday is also the Slam Dunk the Junk clean up event in Umatilla, and on the Morrow County side, it’s the Hazardous Waste Event for Morrow County residents. They’ll be taking paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, filters… all those hard-to dispose of items. In Morrow County, that hazardous waste event is this Saturday at the Morrow County North Transfer Station. In Umatilla County, it’s next Saturday – April 14 - at Umatilla Electric Cooperative.
The Umatilla County recycling event From 9-3 on April 14, and again, that Boardman Event is this Saturday from 9 until noon. This month, the City of Boardman is also offering garbage vouchers to residents. You can contact the city of Boardman for more information.
For the Umatilla County events, contact Hermiston City Hall or Umatilla Electric Cooperative.

Stuff the bus this weekend
April 4, 2018
Also this Saturday, the “Stuff the Bus” event to bring collect items for Agape House, the Hermiston Warming Stations, Desert Rose Ministries, and the Hermiston Domestic Violence Shelter.
It’s a project from the current Leadership Hermiston class, and they’re collecting items from trash bags through chicken noodle soup, light bulbs to socks, as well as baby diapers, other nonperishable foods and hygiene products.
The items will be collected on Saturday then delivered to the four nonprofit organizations. Aimee Cook, the project chairwoman say the goal is to fill the busses.
Stuff the bus running from 8 to 5 on Saturday at Fiesta Foods, Safeway and Wal-mart. You can watch for the yellow school busses with banners or talk to the Leadership Hermiston members – they’ll be wearing lime green shirts.

Wyden talks guns, DACA, robotics
April 4, 2018
US Senator Ron Wyden holding his Umatilla County Town Hall meeting this morning at Umatilla High School to a crowd of county residents and Umatilla students. More than half of the question-and-answer session focused on gun violence with comments from both community members and students. Wyden saying shootings have become common place.
"This is not normal - we are better than this," Wyden told the audience.
Wyden approached what he called common sense gun policy, which had three main points:
"What I want to do is really three things: One, I want a background check every time a gun is sold in America," he said. "Every single time."
The second point is banning bump stocks and the third, lifting restrictions so the CDC can research gun violence. Questions also covered support for agricultural supporters and veterans, against privatizing VA care and in favor of the secure rural schools bill and DACA students. Wyden presented the Umatilla Robotics team with a flag that had flown over the capitol, and the team presented him with a T-shirt, making him an honorary member of FRC Team Confidential.
Wyden continues his Eastern Oregon circuit today with his Morrow County Town Hall. That begins at 9:15 at Riverside Jr/Sr High School.

Parking lot demolition begins
April 4, 2018
Construction beginning in the parking lot behind the Hermiston Public Library this week, and if you're hoping for a spot to park behind the library, it's not going to be there.
Crews beginning the demolition process on the upper parking lot behind the library in preparation of grading work for a parking lot overall. That's good news for the long term, and bad news for anyone planning on attending library programs, like morning story times. Librarian Mark Rose says they'll have signage pointing parents to the front doors instead of the customary back entrance.
"We still want to continue doing everything we can to engage the community," he said.
Rose says they have no plans to cut programs during the construction, which should be completed in early summer - and, with any luck, before the summer reading programs begins.
The parking lot changes will make a gradual incline in the parking lot that was formerly in multiple levels. The changes will add about 40 parking spaces and serve the library, the city's building department, the Harkenrider Center.

Hermiston and GEODC announce loans
April 4, 2018
The city of Hermiston also announcing a housing rehabilitation program yesterday. No-interest loans available up to $20,000 for repairs including structural repairs, electrical, plumbing and heating system repair or replacements. It’s a program funded by a Community Development Block Grant and now being issued through the Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation. You can visit the website for the corporation at www.geodc.net for more information.

Lavender Festival cancelled for 2018
April 3, 2018
No lavender festival this year. The annual June festival typically a benefit for Agape House, but executive director Dave Hughes says they’ve cancelled this year because a late frost damaged the lavender plants.
"We have taken the attitude that it's such a wonderful event, and it's so wonderful when the lavender is in blossom, that we will just cancel it this year so we can provide a quality event when the flowers are beautiful," Hughes said.
That event typically the last Saturday in June, and Hughes says they do hope to bring that back in 2019.

Wyden hosts town halls this week
April 3, 2018
This morning, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden hosting his Umatilla County Town Hall for the year. That begins at 9:30 at Umatilla High School. It is open to the public, and no reservations are required. The Morrow County meeting at 9:15 tomorrow morning at Riverside Jr/Sr High School.

City councils talk bills, budgets, and property tonight
April 3, 2018
Tonight, the question of whether water and sewer bills should be in the name of the property owner. That’s one discussion the Stanfield City Council will have tonight. They’ll also discuss potential burn ordinance amendments, projects to include in the next budget, and the city’s need for improved meeting and office space. During that same meeting, the Stanfield Police Department will also give its 2017 year-end report.
That meeting is at 7 tonight in the Stanfield City Council Chambers on Coe Avenue.
The Umatilla City Council updating and renewing franchise agreements tonight. On the agenda, franchise agreements to Lightspeed Networks, CenturyLink, Zayo group and Eastern Oregon Telecom. They'll also have a proclamation and announcements about Arbor Week in the city. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Umatilla City Hall.
And the Boardman City Council will be working on a budget contingency transfer, and rededication of property in the Port of Morrow. That meeting begins at 7 at Boardman City Hall. You can contact any of those city governments for more information on their meetings.

Way of the Cross today
March 30, 2018
This afternoon, a re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross through Hermiston for Good Friday, a recognition of the crucifixion of Jesus. The annual “Way of the Cross” begins at noon tomorrow in the parking lot at Our lady of Angels Catholic Church. Father Maxwell said the church continues the tradition every year.
"Everybody is welcome, and I recommend anyone attend who would like to attend," he said. "By acting out these various points that Jesus suffered on his way to Calgary, it helps us know the depth of the love he has for us."
Youth from the church will take on many of the roles in the re-enactment, including Jesus, Roman guards, and other Roman citizens. Father Maxwell says the young people choose to participate.
"They have a little fun while they're doing it, but at the same time, these young men and women, they pray before they go, and they really try to make this not just a play but an act of love," he said.
The Way of the Cross will follow multiple stations on a path from the church to the Hermiston Butte. If you do participate, dress for the weather, for the walk, and for climbing a portion of the butte.

Umatilla Museum grand opening
March 30, 2018
This weekend is Easter, and next weekend is the grand re-opening of the Umatilla Museum. On April 7, it’ll be the new season opening for the museum and also the debut of many changes. To prepare, they’re looking for volunteers and members.
Museum board members say they’re asking volunteers to work 2-hour shifts. Those who volunteer a four-hour shift will also receive vouchers for gas and lunch. For now, the museum will be open from 10-2 on Fridays and 10-6 on Saturdays.
The Umatilla Museum in the former Umatilla City Hall, police department, and jail, on Sixth Street. They also have a benefit auction scheduled for Sunday, April 29. We will have more details on that next month.
You can call 541-626-2099 for more information or to volunteer with the museum.

BMCC receives national award
March 30, 2018
Blue Mountain Community College honored for excellence in advertising this week, taking home a Gold Paragon Award during the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) annual conference in Las Vegas. BMCC receiving the award for its “In A World” radio ad.This is the first NCMPR Paragon Award BMCC has received.

HPD investigating shooting
March 29, 2018
Shots fired near Newport Park last night. Hermiston Police saying the report of gunshots came in just before 8:30 last night. Officers responding found a dark colored Honda sedan with several bullet holes in it. Preliminary investigation finding three occupants of the Honda were in an argument with a male in a light-colored SUV. When one of the Honda’s occupants broke out the back window of the SUV with a bat, the male in the SUV pulled a firearm. The three fled the scene, and the male in the SUV allegedly pulled up to the unoccupied Honda and shot at it multiple times. Police have not reported any injuries in the incident, and it is an ongoing investigation.

Newport streets project gets green light
March 29, 2018
The Hermiston City Council this week approving a contract to redo several streets around Newport Park, including a rebuild on Newport Avenue between 5th and 7th. Work will begin in the next month, and it should be complete late summer.
The project is mainly funded through the occupancy tax on electric bills the council approved last year in the capital improvement plan. That tax is dedicated to funding street projects.
"This is essentially the first project funded with those new funds coming in," said Mark Morgan, assistant city manager. "They'll be going in and rebuilding those roads to make a better connection."
For some areas of Newport Avenue, it will be the first time a street has been properly constructed in the area. As part of the project, the city also piloting a grant-program to provide matching funds for city residents installing sidewalks.

Crystal Apple deadline this weekend
March 29, 2018
It is spring break, but one reminder related to area schools this week – the deadline for nominations for the InterMountain ESD’s Crystal Apple awards is this Sunday. You can find the nomination form on the ESD’s website. Nominees can be any full-time or part-time employee in any of the ESD’s 18 component school districts in Morrow, Umatilla, and Union counties.

Traffic light work begins
March 28, 2018
Work picking up this week and next to install new traffic lights on 11th. The lights going in at the intersections of Elm and 11th and Orchard and 11th. Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says they expect the projects to be completed in the fall, although many of the heaviest traffic impacts will be this week with light poles and arms installed months before the "They'll non active until mid to late fall while they're doing a lot of work underground, so it's going to look like it's done long before they're active," Morgan said.
Work will take place paving at both intersections as wells as flaggers and lane restrictions on Elm, which will also have an expanded turning lane installed as part of the construction project. City officials recommending slowing down or avoiding the areas during construction, if possible Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the police department has received grant funding to help with visibility patrols during the construction to make sure drivers follow the law and keep the roads - and the construction sites - safe.
"This is not about us writing tickets," Edmiston said. "This is about us making sure that everyone traveling through the area is operating safely and that the workers doing the work are as a safe as possible."
Morgan saying drivers can expect those primary traffic concerns to take place over the next few weeks. The city also moving forward with projects around Newport Park and the Festival Street. Both of those expected to be complete this summer.

Commissioners consider modulars for fair office
March 27, 2018
The City of Hermiston last night voting on changing governing boards at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, but it isn’t the only change going on as part of the transition. Umatilla County negotiating an agreement to turn over its part of ownership of the facility to the city. Now, the Umatilla County Commissioners are considering putting a modular building on the property to house staff for the Umatilla County Fair.
"We have a particular need right now, along with the change in our status in EOTEC, for the county fair to have an office on the EOTEC property. That was part of our settlement with the city of Hermiston," said County Commissioner Bill Elfering.
Elfering said they’re looking at using modular buildings from the Milton-Freewater School District. With school construction replacing modular classrooms, that district releasing unneeded modular buildings
"We could, with the permission of the city of Hermiston, put one of those up as an office building at least temporarily until they're in a better position to building something permanent that would be more suitable to the site," he said.
The county authorizing purchase of two of those buildings if they are able to – the district selling them in a first-come, first-served basis.

Echo Schools amp construction in spring break
March 26, 2018
It is spring break in area schools, and in the Echo School District that means amping up on construction on its building expansion and renovation.
"Really focused this week on doing a big push and bring in extra crews to do a lot of connection pieces where the old building and the new building are going to connect," Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith said.
Smith says they’ll also be working on site grading and sidewalks while they don’t have the traffic that happens during a school day. Smith said they're working to make the next week a busy but productive week.
You can follow construction projects at Echo Schools on their website construction page.

EOTEC board changes
March 26, 2018
Formation of a new EOTEC advisory committee on the agenda at the Hermiston City Council meeting tonight. They’ll also be repealing the EOTEC Authority board. The change in management groups following the city’s takeover of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. The City Council also considering a contract to repave streets surrounding Newport Park. That meeting beginning at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Follow this link for the full agenda.

Erickson receives fire honor
March 23, 2018
Yesterday, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker presenting the Office of State Fire Marshal's highest awards for outstanding achievement in fire prevention and safety education during the Oregon Fire Marshals Association's annual conference today.
The Golden Sparky is awarded to a fire service agency or individual for outstanding achievements in fire prevention and safety and the Silver Sparky is awarded to a civilian, company, or non-profit organization for outstanding achievements in fire prevention and safety.
The Golden Sparky award was presented to Umatilla County Fire District #1 Public Educator Gretchen Erickson and the Silver Sparky was presented to the Pendleton Lions Club.

Livestock district to go to Hat Rock voters
March 23, 2018
Residents of the Hat Rock will have two ballots this spring as they consider not only the May election but also the creation of the Salmon Point Livestock District. The area currently open range, where cattle can graze freely and do not have to be fenced in.
County Commissioner Bill Elfering saying the livestock district proposal comes from residents who have suffered property damage from cattle. Supporters of the open range say the cattle have been there since the 1960s, before most of the area’s homes were built. The petition going before the Umatilla County Commissioners on Wednesday. The Board voting to allow area residents to vote on whether or not to create the district. That vote will be April 17.

One DUI arrest in St. Patrick's Patrols
March 23, 2018
The results are in from the St. Patrick’s Day enhanced patrols.
On March 17, the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office making just one DUI arrest on the holiday – 20-year-old Joel Dominguez Jr., of Umatilla, charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. A release from the sheriff’s office saying this is the second time Dominguez has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana – he was last arrested in March of 2017. That case is still pending in court.
Enhanced and high visibility patrols are funded through grant money from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association. They take place on days with a higher than usual risk of driving under the influence injuries and deaths. The next patrol scheduled for Cinco de Mayo weekend – May 4-6.

Sheriff warns of warrant scam
March 22, 2018
More scams going around, this time a warning from Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan. He says it’s called the warrant scam. A scammer calls claiming to be with local law enforcement and that a local judge has issued a warrant for their arrest, often for an issue like failing to appear for jury duty.
"A lot of times, they'll even name our local judges, 'Judge Brower has issued a warrant for your arrest for your failure to appear at jury duty and to avoid being taken to jail, you can avoid that by posting bail,'" Rowan said.
Rowan saying the scammers demand the victims purchase pre-paid gift cards to pay the fine or bail amount. Rowan saying a local victim recently lost $3,000 in a similar scam, adding there are two major issues with this scam: the gift cards and the phone call itself.
"We do not call people and let them know there's a warrant for their arrest," he said. "We usually show up and take them into custody."
Rowan also saying there is no legitimate reason to have to go purchase gift cards for an immediate payment and that’s a good sign the call is a scam. He says hang up and call the organization directly, whether its law enforcement or the IRS. If you have been a victim of a scam, report it to local law enforcement.

She Also Served is this weekend
March 22, 2018
This weekend, a reminder she also served. The Boardman-based event is a two-day Eastern Oregon celebration of women veterans.
"When people think of veterans or those who served, they too often do not think of women veterans," Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator Elizabeth Estabrooks said. "One of my tasks is to really help people shift that thinking so when they think veteran, they don't just think men, but they add women on there as well."
part of the goal of She Also Served is to remind people about women veterans as well as to celebrate their service. The event begins at noon tomorrow at the SAGE with the opening of the “I Am Not Invisible” gallery, a display of photos and the back story of 22 Oregon women veterans.
"It's a beautiful, touching, powerful exhibit," she said.
“I Am not Invisible” will be on display through 5 in the afternoon on Saturday. Also during the event, a reception featuring a guest speaker and buffet dinner begins at 4:30 tomorrow evening. That is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. On Saturday, She Also Served continues with a screening of the documentary, “Lioness” at 11. For more information, call Morrow County Veterans Services at 922-6420 or visit the website visitsage.com.

Candidate forum scheduled
March 22, 2018
A candidate forum scheduled in Hermiston. The Hermiston Chamber inviting all who have filed for positions on the Hermiston City Council and Umatilla County Commissioners to participate in the forum on Wednesday, April 11. The first half – those running for Hermiston City Council – beginning at 6 in the evening , followed by the county commissioner position at 7:30. For more information call the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce at 541-567-6151.

Wyden announces town halls
March 22, 2018
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden announcing town hall visits in Umatilla and Boardman in early April. Wyden’s annual Umatilla County Town Hall will be at Umatilla High School on April 3. That starts at 9:30. Wyden will appear in La Grande for his Union County Town Hall that afternoon and will be back on this side of the blues at 9:15 on April 4, when he’ll host a town hall at Riverside Junior/Senior High School for the Morrow County Town Hall. Wyden has held town halls in all 36 counties in Oregon every year since he was elected senator in 1996.
Find more information on the town halls and their locations by clicking here.

Stanfield man dies in motorcycle-semi crash
March 21, 2018
A Stanfield man dying yesterday in a crash on the Stanfield/Echo interchange at Interstate 84. Oregon State Police saying 40-year-old Jason Blankenship, of Stanfield, was riding a motorcycle southbound over the overpass and collided with a commercial truck just after 2 in the afternoon yesterday. Blankenship was declared deceased at the scene. The driver of the commercial vehicle, Roberto Rodriguez Dias, was not injured. The overpass and eastbound on/off ramps closed for more than three hours yesterday. OSP is continuing the investigation.

Morrow County schools looks to add behavioral classroom
March 21, 2018
The Morrow County School District working on piloting a program to focus on behavior issues in elementary classrooms. Morrow County Superintendent Dirk Dirkson says they’re Focusing on ways to help students in K-5 and focusing as early as possible.
"We're looking at kids, specifically in K-1, that really act out," he said. "We are trying to really get a behavior classroom established so we can give them the skills with t he mental health support they need, and their education. A safer environment for them and for others."
With the focus on school safety and mental health, Dirkson says they’re working to give young students support and strategies for dealing with difficult times before the issues escalate when students become teenagers.
Dirkson says it seems like there is an increase in the number of young students having behavioral issues in class, but there’s also more attention to the issue.

HPD still receiving scam reports
March 20, 2018
The Hermiston Police Department warning again about scam, particularly IRS related scams at this time of year. HPD continuing to receive reports of scammers calling local residents, pretending to the be from the IRS and saying if the victim does not immediately pay money to the fake IRS agent, they could be arrested or fact other charges. The IRS will not make first contact over the phone – they prefer first contact by mail – and will never demand immediate payment.
HPD recommends to learn more about how to protect yourself and people you care about from scams, review these resources:
AARP Fraud Watch Network:
Oregon DOJ Scam Alert Network

Clean-ups scheduled in April
March 20, 2018
The City of Boardman sponsoring a community-wide clean-up during the month of April. It’s designed to have boardman residents clean up and dispose of yard debris and hazardous materials. The City has garbage vouchers available, with a fifty dollar limit, to residents of the City of Boardman. The vouchers
are valid during the month of April at Finley Butte Landfill and the North Morrow Transfer Station.
In conjunction with the month-long clean up, Morrow County North Transfer Station will be hosting a free Household Hazardous Waste Event on Saturday April 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. for all Morrow County residents. They will be collecting all paints, batteries, oils and filters, household cleaners, glues and much more. Garbage vouchers are not required for disposal of these items.
City residents may pick up their vouchers at Boardman City Hall at For more information on this program, call Boardman City Hall at 481-9252.
Hermiston offering three clean sweep events. The first, a clean up week with Sanitary Disposal from April 1-7, a recycling event on April 14 – free disposal of hazardous materials – then a community clean up in partnership with I Love My City on April 21. You can find out more on any of those activities by contacting Hermiston Parks and Recreation.

Sheriff's Office plans patrols for St. Patty's Day
March 16, 2018
A DUII and high visibility event bringing enhanced patrols this weekend for law enforcement with the St. Patrick's Day Holiday and related celebrations. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says there's been a decline in the number of fatality accidents- both in Umatilla County and statewide.
"I think that can be contributed to enhanced patrols out there some of those efforts in getting out there and taking care of those that choose to overindulge with alcohol and/or with drugs and get behind the wheel," Rowan said.
The grant-funded high visibility events put additional patrol vehicles on the roadways to watch for distracted and under-the-influence drivers. The most recent patrol, over the Super Bowl weekend netted two DUII arrests, five citations and seven warnings for traffic violations.

Students walk out against gun violence
March 15, 2018
More than 300 students at Hermiston High School participating in a walk out this morning, part of a nationwide effort to both recognize those who died in the Stoneman Douglas school shooting last month and to support policy changes to protect against gun violence.

walk 1.jpg (251169 bytes)

Students chanting, "Save our children, not our guns," "Policy and Change," and other statements against gun violence, focusing on change and prevention.
"Children are the future. This should be a change. There shouldn't be gun violence," Senior Damaris Madero Carrillo said, her voice strained after chanting. "A small community is a much bigger voice when we're all together to make a stand, to make a difference."

walk 2.jpg (257387 bytes)

Sophomore Paul said prevention measures can include more strict background checks, limiting violence in media, and increase mental health.
"There isn't enough treatment for mental health issues," he said. "It's spiraling out of control and there are ways to fix it."
In addition to the walk-out, students also having the opportunity to fill out post cards today to send to local, state, or national elected officials, and they’re continuing to support the school’s “We Care” program, as well as encouraging students to “walk up” and help prevent student isolation.

walk 3.jpg (243903 bytes)

Principal Tom Spoo said students behaved well.
"I felt the kids did extremely well," Spoo said. "They were organized, they were peaceful. They left class at 10, and at 10:17, they went back to class."
Students also participating in the national walk out in other local school districts. In Umatilla, students had class discussions on school safety plans, reporting options and opportunities to reach out to others to keep schools safe, and the Stanfield Secondary School student government hosted an assembly, inviting representatives from Lifeways to speak about mental health and school resource officer to speak about reporting options.

HPD detains student
March 14, 2018
Hermiston police detaining an Armand Larive Middle School student for making a threat he was going to “shoot somebody in the head.” That threat made on school grounds during school hours. HPD saying the investigation revealing the statement made for attention rather than as an active threat, but the student was lodged by the Umatilla County Juvenile Department and charged with first-degree disorderly conduct. HPD saying they take these kinds of statements seriously and are holding students accountable.

Stanfield names principal
March 14, 2018
Stanfield School District has hired Steve Sheller as new principal for Stanfield Secondary School. He’s a science teacher, coach, and yearbook advisor and would take over the role with on July 1 with the 2018-9 school year.
The Stanfield School Board meeting tonight at 6 in the district conference room. Also on the agenda, the licensed staff list for the next school year, an enrollment report, and appointments to the budget committee.

Heppner ready to go green
March 14, 2018
Tomorrow night, the 36th annual Wee Bit O’Ireland festival kicks off in Heppner with the play, “Searching for Meaning” at the Parish Hall, launching a full weekend of events. On Friday, they’ll open vendor square, the arts & crafts show, and the friends of the library book sale. The Morrow County Heritage and Agricultural museums will be open, and they’ll have both an Irish Dinner and a new event, Murray’s Irish Beer and Wine Fest.
They’re also bringing back a couple new events on Saturday: Bed Races and the O'Planky race. Heppner Chamber Director Sheryll Bates says the 5K run will return, the welly toss, and children’s activities, and a 1, the Great Green Parade, followed by the bouncin’ leprechauns fun zone at the elementary school and other Irish entertainment in downtown. The sheepdog trials run on Saturday and Sunday.
You can find the full schedule of events on the website for the Heppner Chamber of Commerce.

HPD to respond to fire alarms
March 12, 2018
A policy change for the Hermiston Police Department. Effective today, officers will respond to all fire alarm activations at public and private schools within Hermiston. Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the policy change comes from discussions with area schools and an awareness that fire alarm activations have been used in some school shootings as a way to draw people out of rooms and into open areas.
"Our intent is 100 percent about the safety of our students and staff," Edmiston said. "Piece by piece we're making changes, again, to focus on the safety of the student."
Edmiston says this is in conjunction with the civilian response to active shooter training the department has offered over the past two years. Officers training more than 2,000 people over that time. The police chief saying when officers arrive at a school, they will equip safety equipment, including ballistic helmets and body plating.
"This is not about scaring anybody or an inappropriate show of force," he said. "This is about making sure our officers are equipped with tools to keep them as safe as possible."
Edmiston saying the department is releasing this information in advance so the public knows it may appear there is an active situation at a school when it could be a simple fire alarm pull. The chief saying any students caught pulling alarms without cause could be charged with disorderly conduct and held accountable

Council talks water, School Board recognizes classified
March 12, 2018
H2O on the agenda for the Hermiston City Council tonight. The council considering financing a water tower, water storage and distribution financing. The water storage tank and distribution system would be in the northeastern area of town. The preliminary estimates for the project coming in about $4.5 million, and a report suggesting the city and Umatilla county planning to pay portions of that with the enterprise zone tax abatement agreement from the Lamb Weston expansion.
During the meeting, they’ll also create an EOTEC advisory committee and discuss the council goal setting report. Before the council meeting, the group having a special work session to tour the Harkenrider senior center an Carnegie building department. Find the full agenda here.
For the Hermiston School Board, they’ll recognize the classified employees of the year, talk enrollment and discuss financial planning parameters. Those board decisions help drive the district’s budget. The board will also have a closed-door, executive session tonight. Follow this link to view the full agenda.

'Meet and Greet' for principal finalists
March 12, 2018
Hermiston School District will host a “meet and greet” event with finalists for the Desert View Elementary principal position tomorrow. That runs from 4:45 to 5:30 tomorrow in the library at Desert View. Two of the four finalists – Bruce Neil and Daniel Greenough – will be present. The other two, Mona Berry and
Paul Grimaud , will be unable to make it. The meet and greet session is scheduled for Tuesday,
Berry is a director of curriculum and instruction with Global Education Excellence in Michigan; Greenough is the current principal of Pendleton High School and Hawthorn Alternative School in Pendleton; Grimaud is the vice principal for American Creativity Academy in Kuwait, and Bruce Neil has severed as head of Ferndale Elementary School for five years, prior to that, he was the superintendent an elementary principal in the Cove School District for five years.
The meet and green open to staff and community.

Umatilla Robotics Team wins Chairman's Award in local contest
March 9, 2018
Did you miss today's Odds & Ends program talking about Team Confidential's Chairman's Award Team and singer/songwriter Jackie Lynn? Listen to the full interview here, and see the Umatilla Chairman's Video below:

Suspect still at large after manhunt
March 8, 2018
36-year-old Naythan Olney again avoiding arrest yesterday after a manhunt across the west end of the county. Olney wanted for a hit-and-run that injured a Hermiston Police Officer in February. After a reported sighting of Olney in Hermiston, a Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office deputy responding and saw a 2017 Chevy Pickup leave the home a high speeds – the pickup had been reported stolen out of morrow County. The deputy followed the pickup until it drove off the road and across an open field then onto Bridge Road heading west. Umatilla Police picked up the pursuit, tracking the pickup as it drove on and off road heading toward the interstate. The suspect then abandoned the vehicle near I-82 milepost 2 and headed toward the river. A grid search on foot commenced with law enforcement from multiple agencies, but they were unable to locate Olney.
The stolen vehicle was recovered and is being processed. A release from Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office saying Olney has been known to carry a handgun, and if anyone has information or sights him, they are asked to call 911 immediately and not approach.

Schools look at prevention
March 8, 2018
The manhunt searching for Naythan Olney causing a lock out at Umatilla High School and Clara Brownell Middle School. The district saying the schools were put on lockout – where school continues as normal but no one is allowed in or out of the buildings – while police conducted a search in the area. The school lifting the lock out once the area near the school had been fully searched.
The Umatilla incident following an incident on Friday where a Pendleton student was taking into custody after making threats about shooting schools. A mental evaluation determining that the teen was a threat to himself or others and putting a mental health hold on him. Last week there was also a rumor of a potential threat to Hermiston High School where Hermiston police investigated and determined the threat unsubstantiated. Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says the way schools and law enforcement are responding are an example of the preventative measures school districts have adopted over the years.
"We often talk a lot about after the fact and our response, but every single day we have kids in crisis, families in crisis," Mulvihill says. "Between local law enforcement and schools, we've really improved our ability to prevent these kinds of things."
Mulvihill saying the Umatilla School District, for example, handling the situation quickly and efficiently, both with action at the school and notification to the public. He says these kinds of events are emotion, but the public should trust that schools and law enforcement do have policies in place.
Multiple local school districts - including Umatilla and Echo - beginning construction projects to redesign schools for safety. and in order to lock down perimeters of schools, as in the situation in Umatilla. As part of its statement yesterday, the Umatilla School District saying they will always take the most cautious option when children are involved.

Contested election races
March 7, 2018
The filing deadline closing yesterday for the May 15 election.
On the Hermiston City Council, incumbents Lori Davis, Doug Smith, and Jackie Myers filing for re-election.
Mark Gomolski and Jackie Linton filing to run against Davis. Myers will face off against Kyran Miller. Michael Engelbrecht running against Doug Smith, and Shean Fitzgerald is running against Roy Barron. Both are neewcomers.
At the county level, both commissioner positions will be contested races. Tom Bailor and Rick Pullen filing to run against George Murdock for county commissioner. Murdock is running for re-election as is fellow commissioner Larry Givens. Athena mayor John Shafer is running against Givens.

Chamber receives $1 million for new building
March 6, 2018
Good news for the Greater Hermiston Chamber of Commerce: $1 million in funding from the state to build a new chamber facility. Chamber director Debbie Pedro says the chamber board will meet this week to determine the priorities and goals in regards to the funding.
"We're very thankful," Pedro said. "Just very, very thankful."
The chamber formerly housed at the Hermiston Community Center but moving in January into the Cornerstone Plaza after the city took over operations of the community center. Pedro says the chamber does not own property and just found out about the grant on Friday.

Boardman FFA receiving $2,500
March 6, 2018
Good news also coming from Riverside Jr/Sr High School. The school’s FFA receiving a $2,500 grant through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Riverside FFA will use the funds to attend the Oregon State FFA Convention as well as upcoming FFA competitions. The Grow Communities program provides farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. The group thanking Morrow County farmer Joe Taylor for directing the funds to the FFA program.
In other Boardman news, the Boardman city council meeting tonight. On the agenda,
the city manager review and a resolution for SDC Waivers.

Umatilla to take over Lind Road
March 6, 2018
The City of Umatilla also meeting tonight, and they’ll be taking over a portion of Lind Road. It’s a county road right now, but city manager Russ Pelleberg says he expects the city to take over the bulk of that road tonight, making it a city street.
That one is ordinance number 8-22 for the city. They’ll also vote on resolutions signing agreements with Kuhn Law offices, for general city attorney services, with CIS for actuarial services and with the Department of the Army for an easement for pipeline right-of-way.
Both those meetings begin at 7 and both will be at their respective city hall

20 vehicle crash closes 84
March 5, 2018
Twenty vehicles involved in a collision that closed Interstate 84 for 12 hours from Saturday to Sunday. Oregon State Police troopers responding to a report of a multi-vehicle collision between Pendleton and La Grande at about 6:20 Saturday. The crash involved seven commercial motor vehicles and 13 passenger vehicles involved. Investigators estimate that nine occupants of the collisions were transported to area hospitals for treatment and five of those were in serious condition. Because of the complexity of the investigation, no names will be released at this time.

84 wreck.jpg (423311 bytes)
OSP releasing this image from the scene of a 20-vehicle wreck on I-84.

The preliminary investigation revealed speed and black ice were contributing factors creating a domino effect resulting in the multiple vehicle collisions. Injured persons were transported by Life Flight and ambulance to St. Anthony's Hospital in Pendleton and Kadlec Regional Medical Center, in Richland, WA.
ODOT closed Interstate 84 westbound lanes until it was reopened at 8:00 a.m., on March 4, 2018. This is an on-going and extensive investigation. More information will be released when available.

Umatilla Robotics wins award
March 5, 2018
Also over the weekend, the Umatilla Robotics taking the Chairman’s Award – again – in the FIRST Robotics Competition. This time at the Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences. The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. It’s the fifth time Umatilla has received the award – in every year since 2014.
It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become scientists, engineers, and technologists.

HPD, HSD say shooting threat not credible
March 2, 2018
Hermiston Police clarifying last night no credible threat made to attack local schools today.
A rumor circulating through high school students and parents yesterday that a threat had been made to Hermiston High School today, but HPD saying they investigated and found no credible threat. The release from HPD saying there were rumors of a threat based on a misinterpreted joke between students. The student and family cooperating fully with the investigation and allowing law enforcement to search their property.

Bi-Mart changes gun rules
March 2, 2018
On the subject of threat to schools, with school shooting and gun sales debate nationwide, Bi-Mart announcing yesterday a change in policy: They’re upping the age limit to purchase a firearm to 21. A release from the company saying their goal is to support responsible firearm use and make a positive contribution to the local, regional and national discussion of this issue. Bi-Mart carries products supporting shooting sports and hunting community, but does not sell assault type weapons. The release stressing Bi-Mart has never stocked or sold AK or AR platform rifles or bump-stocks and we do not stock high
capacity magazines for these firearms. Bi-Mart officials saying they will continue to make choices based on what is best for members and the communities they serve.

Made to Thrive opens garage sale this weekend

March 2, 2018
Shifting focus now, today is the fifth annual Made to Thrive Garage Sale. Nonprofit founder Kriss Dammeyer says all funds raised in the sale will go to Made to Thrive, to help pay for participation fees for kids to join sports, music, dance, swim passes, summer activities.
The Garage Sale a primary fundraiser to bring in that money. It’s at the Hermiston Community Center, and the sale running from 3 to 7 this afternoon and from 8 to 2 tomorrow.
If you have free time this morning, they are also looking for volunteers to help organize the donated items this morning during the donation period. Donations being accepted at the Hermiston Community Center from 8 to 3.

Police Chief reflects on crime rates
March 1, 2018
Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says while crime is up 9 percent over 2016, it’ still down 20 percent over the 10 year window, despite seeing 12 to 15 percent growth in population over that time. As we mentioned yesterday, the one area he is taking a close look at is aggravated assault, which he says is on an upward trend.
"We're only talking 36 incidents, but one incident is one incident too many," he said.
In 2017, Edmiston says the suspects in aggravated assault cases ranged from 17 to 48 years old, the victims ranged from 6 years old to 64. 90 percent of the suspects were male. He says there is a small silver lining, however.
"According to the latest FBI statistics, aggravated assaults across the nation are cleared with an arrest on average 54 percent of the time," Edmiston said. "Last year, we cleared 86 percent, so I'd like to think we're doing a good job, but there's still more to be done."
The annual report from HPD analyzes crime trends in the Part 1 crimes that are reported to the FBI each year. Those include four personal crimes, included aggravated assault and murder, as well as four property crimes, including burglary. Cases of rape saw a decrease while the city had increases in larceny and auto theft.

UCFD#1 responds to fire at Stanfield IdaPro plant
Feb. 27, 2018
Another fire at the IdaPro 3D Dehydration Plant in Stanfield yesterday. Umatilla County Fire District 1 saying the call came in around 11:30 yesterday with a fire in the bagging house – the same location as previous fires. Firefighters arriving found fire and smoke from the bagging house, deploying hose lines and attacking the fire. Firefighters on scene for just under three hours.
The plan dehydrates vegetable matter, primarily potatoes, for use in dog food. It was after another fire in the bagging house – last February – that Stanfield residents began complaining about odors from the plant. The company installed new scrubbers, but complaints about the smell have continued.
Umatilla County Fire District one saying they responded to multiple EMS calls while the fire was going on, and that it’s an example of the extra staffing making a difference.

HPD officer injured at traffic stop
Feb. 27, 2018
A Hermiston Police officer injured Saturday during an attempted arrest. One of the two suspects has been arrested 0 the other is still at large.
A release from HPD saying an officer attempted stopped a Toyota Camry for a traffic violation near third and Gladys at about 3 a.m. on Saturday. The officer, believing the vehicle had been stolen, called for backup. The officers were attempting to detain 36-year-old Nathan Olney, of Hermiston, and 30-year-old Lucia Madrigal, of Boardman, when the vehicle sped away. One of the officers being dragged 30 yards before being thrown free. He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center, treated and released after receiving more than 15 stitches and having glass removed from his skin.
Officers found the vehicle abandoned a short while later. Inside the vehicle, tools and electronics from a burglary outside of Hermiston. Saturday afternoon, the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office took Lucia Madrigal into custody. She’s been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree criminal mischief. Officers continue to search for Nathan Olney, and HPD says they believe he is armed. Anyone with information asked to call 911 or 567-5519.

County, Sheriff talk funding
Feb. 27, 2018
A new budget for Umatilla County, and County Commissioner Bill Elfering says this year is drastically different from last year.
"This time a year ago, we had about $3 million of gap and we had to find a way to close that gap," Elfering said. "At this point, the budget is together, and it's looking good."
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office is one of the departments completing its budget early for the county. Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says in addition to his county budget, he’s also asking the state for $1 million for modifications to the county jail to help address inmates who need to detox from drugs or alcohol – or who need to meet with mental health professionals.
"We're trying to create a safe environment to allow the mental health professionals come in and do their pieces," Rowan said. "Creating additional space in the jail isn't really an appropriate answer to that, but our hand has been forced because some of the other mental health components haven't worked correctly."
Rowan says the number of beds for people in crisis, whether drug or mental health related, have been diminishing across the state for the past two decades, from 50,000 bed down to 5,000.
He says the county is continuing stakeholder discussions with groups in Umatilla County including law enforcement, health professionals, and mental health providers.
Rowan says the project early estimate is about $800,000, but he has requested $1 million to help with any unexpected expenses as well as the need to potentially update the camera system and control panel.

County names review group
Feb. 23, 2018
Umatilla County has a charter review board. The charter is supposed to be reviewed every 5 years, although this review is 10 years since the previous. The committee has nine people – five of which come from the west end of the county. County Commissioner Bill Elfering says the members applied and were appointed this week to the board.
The County Commissioners this week appointing 9 county residents to the board. They are Sally Anderson Hansell of Hermiston, Jerry Baker of Athena, Genna Banica of Pendleton, Daniel Dorran of Hermiston, Mark Gomolski of Hermiston, Michele Grable of Pendleton, Jennifer McClure Spurgeon of Weston, Donald Miller of Milton-Freewater, and Kim Puzey of Hermiston
Elfering says the group will review operations at the county, including the role of the county commissioners. Any recommendations that require changes to the way the county is governed will go to voters.

Hermiston DMV office moving
Feb. 23, 2018
The Hermiston DMV office will be closed Wednesday, March 7, through Friday, March 9 , so it can move to a larger location
The new office, which will be located at 810 South Highway 395, the former umpqua bank location near Safeway. The new facility to offer more lobby space and additional parking.
Office hours will remain the same: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except Wednesdays, when the office opens at 9 a.m. The office will close at 5 p.m.Tuesday, March 6, and reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, March 12.
The Hermiston DMV opened in its current location in 1981 with four counters to serve customers and added a fifth counter in 1999. Over the following two decades, the area’s customer needs outgrew the office’s lobby and parking lot capacity.
Any time you need to visit a DMV office, first check www.OregonDMV.com to find office hours and locations, and to make sure you have everything you need before your visit. You also can do some DMV business from home at OregonDMV.com. You can renew your vehicle registration, file a change of address or file notice of the sale of your vehicle online without getting in line at an office.

Bounds, Finley named man, woman of the year
Feb. 22, 2018
Hermiston’s Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet last night.
At the end of the evening, Roger Bounds named the newest Hermiston Man of the Year.
DCA Bounds.JPG (213643 bytes)
Roger Bounds named the 2018 Hermiston Man of the Year.

Bounds saying someone must have made a mistake in giving him the award before adding he was shocked and honored.
The woman of the year was Chris Finley, longtime resident and volunteer.
"I'm not normally speechless, but I really am," she said with a laugh.
DCA Findley 2.JPG (234934 bytes)
Dorothy Smith presents Chris Finley with the Woman of the Year award during the Hermiston DCA Banquet on Wednesday.

The Bob Severson Rotary Business of the year went to Mike and Jonette Atkinson of Atkinson Staffing, and a new award this year – the nobel laureate saw its inaugural presentation go to Greg Smith.
Two ‘Awards of Merit’ also given out last night – one to the staff of the Walmart Distribution Center and one to Alice Newman
"My family did lie very well to get me here," a shocked Newman said. "My husband was like, 'I have to go for the fair, so will you come up on stage with me?' I said, 'No. I stay in the background.' I do the things I do because I like to be in the background and help people. I don't like to talk."
Two Hermiston High School students honored with the Altrusa Outstanding Young Citizens Awards – Gabriella Aceves-Galindo and Kyle Ketchersid. The Fire Service Award presented to Eldon Marcum.
During the event, the educators of the year for the Hermiston School District also honored. The distinguished citizen awards presented by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce. Officials saying they’re already taking nominations for next year’s event.

Walden joins Opioid roundtable

Feb. 22, 2018
Congressman Greg Walden presenting one of the awards at last night’s DCA. While in Hermiston, he also participated in a roundtable discussion on opioids at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
"Part of what I learned is we probably need more incentives to get more physicians trained up to provide the drug addiction treatment suboxone," Walden said.
Walden says the roundtable also highlighted the need to make grants competitive for rural areas and small communities.
Walden saying at the federal level they are also cracking down on distributors of opioids and working on developing some sort of take back program to get unused opioids out of homes.
Get hunter education certified now – Classes coming up in Umatilla County

Hunter education classes offered in Umatilla County

Feb. 22, 2018

The class is required for anyone under age 17 and under to hunt in Oregon, and encouraged for adults, too.
The following classes are coming up in Umatilla County:
Traditional classes:
? Umatilla Tribal Police Dept, Pendleton, March 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 from 6-8 p.m. and March 10 9 a.m.-noon
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel and VFW Hall), March 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 7- 9 p.m. and March 17 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.,
? Moro, March 29 and 30 from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and March 31 8 a.m.-noon
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel and VFW Hall), April 3, 4, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 from 7-9 p.m. and April 14 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Field days (for independent study students who have completed workbook or online course):
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel), May 19, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
? Hermiston (Fox Harvesting Gravel), June 9, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
ODFW offers two types of hunter education classes: a traditional classroom experience held over several days with most material covered in the classroom by certified volunteer instructors, or an independent study option, which can be done from home via a workbook or by taking one of the four online courses available. Adults can complete the entire course online but independent study students age 17 and under also need to attend a field day to receive their hunter education certificate.
To register, provide the youth’s Hunter/Angler ID# (which is printed on all ODFW documents and stays the same from year to year) or select “New Customer.” You can also sign up at any license sales agent. Registration for an independent study field day or traditional class costs $10 and some of the online courses also charge an additional fee (ranging from $13-29 but a free online course is available).
Hunter education classes cover important issues including firearms safety and handling; hunter ethics and respect for private landowners; wildlife management and identification; hunt preparation and techniques; survival; and introductory bowhunting.

Hazmat cleans up spill on 395
Jan. 20, 2018
Hazmat cleanup redirecting traffic on Highway 395 yesterday afternoon after a crash between a chevy pickup and a semi truck spilled diesel onto the highway.

hazmat.JPG (180048 bytes)
Law enforcement redirect traffic during clean up of a diesel spill Monday afternoon.

Hermiston Police saying the crash happened at about 2 in the afternoon when a Chevy pickup traveling northbound on Highway 395 near the water tower drifted into the southbound lanes and struck a Peterbilt tractor trailer, rupturing the driver’s side fuel tank of the semi and spilling a large amount of diesel. Umatilla County Fire District 1 Hazardous materials personnel arrived on scene for containment. The driver of the semi was uninjured, and the driver of the pickup – 68-year-old James Zimmerman, of Hermiston – was taken by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center with minor injuries. HPD saying there were no signs of impairment from any of the parties involved. The cleanup taking about two hours yesterday afternoon.

Stanfield Council meets tonight
Jan. 20, 2018
Stanfield Council meets tonight at 7 in the council chambers at 10 W. Coe Avenue. On the agenda, adoption of the water system master plan, a resolution bringing a student representative to the city council and a decision changing how often the council meets. Currently, the city council meets the first Tuesday of every month with an optional third Tuesday meeting if needed. If approved, the new schedule would make the third Tuesday meeting a regular meeting, so the council would meet twice a month, every month.

Power outage hits Hermiston
Jan. 19, 2018
More than 12-thousand homes and businesses lost power on Saturday after a wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour blew a tree into a transmission line northeast of Hermiston just after 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. Umatilla Electric Cooperative saying the outage affecting eight substations in the Hermiston, Stanfield, and Umatilla areas. The first substation – at Juniper Canyon - was back on line at 5:38 p.m., followed by the Feedville Substation 10 minutes later. Most of the power was restored by 6:30 p.m.

HHS launches "We Care" campaign
Jan. 19, 2018
We Care. You are loved. You are not alone. Those are three of the signs up at Hermiston High School this month as the school moves forward with its "We Care Project," a movement that began with students and is now reaching out to the community.
Student government advisor Dave Rohrman says the program began with the 37 students in ASB leadership. Facing student losses over the past year, students started a discussion of what they could do. to make a difference, especially for people feeling isolated, like they have no where to turn or no options.
Posters have been put up in the high school, and they’re now turning a focus to a community campaign as well. Rohrman says the next step is to bring yard signs into the community and in other schools. They'll continue the random acts of kindness throughout the spring and see where the program goes.
District officials saying the We Care program began before the school shooting last week in Florida. but that has underscored the need to provide statements of support for fellow students and the greater community because a simple step can change someone's day, make a connection, and make a difference. You can contact Hermiston high school for more information.

Food for Fines at local libraries
Jan. 19, 2018
A program starts today at libraries in Eastern Oregon. It’s food for fines where you trade in food donations for those library late fees. Hermiston Librarian Mark Rose says the food will go to Agape House. Every library in Umatilla County is participating, so if you owe fines to the Stanfield library or Umatilla or even Pendleton or Milton-Freewater, you can take in nonperishable foods and have those fines forgiven.

County still looking for charter committee members
Feb. 16, 2018
Umatilla County looking for volunteers to help revise the county’s charter. Although some volunteers have stepped up and applied for the committee, commissioner Larry Givens says they’re still looking for a few more members.
"We'd like to have 7 to 9 people on that committee, but we're having kind of a slow time getting folks to do that," he said.
The county charter establishes the three-member board of commissioners and grants powers to the board to make decisions for the county.
[This is a process of putting together information and data and comparing what this county - Umatilla County - does compared to other counties," said Givens.
The committee will also make recommendations based on that information. Anyone interested can contact county counsel Doug Olson for more information and an application. Commissioners had hoped to select committee members before March 1m, but Givens says that may be pushed back to March 15. Find the application here.

HSD speaking about school shootings
Feb. 16, 2018
Hermiston School District releasing advise for how to talk with students about gun violence after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida this week.
The district releasing saying students may want to know what adults are doing to keep them safe at school, in their community, and at home. District officials encourage families to have conversations, creating a safe place for children to share
their concerns.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends the following strategies:
• Reassure children that they are safe.
• Make time to talk.
• Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.
• Review safety procedures.
• Observe children’s emotional state.
• Limit television viewing of these events.
• Maintain a normal routine.
Parents, staff, students and community members are also encouraged to report any safety threats by
using SafeOregon, an anonymous tip line operated in cooperation with Oregon State Police.
Information can be shared by calling or texting 844-472-3367, e-mailing tip@safeoregon.com, or via the website safeoregon.com.

Outdoor School planning, changes
Feb. 12, 2018
While the county looks at its state, schools across Umatilla and Morrow counties turning attention toward outdoor school, an experience where fifth or sixth graders – depending on the district – take the classroom outside for an overnight experience. Intermountain ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill says they’re amping up the program this year. The ESD leases Buck Creek site in the blue mountains and offers free use to the districts. Mulvihill says nine districts plan to use the site this year, and with funding from measure 99, they’ve now they’ve hired a part-time coordinator – Bob McMillian – to help coordinate.
Mulvihill says outdoor school sessions will primarily run from April through June with some even in September. Some districts are now in their third generation offering the program while others will mark the first year for the program this year thanks to the state funding from measure 99.

Spokane man dies in rollover
Feb. 12, 2018
On Friday, a crash killing a Spokane man in a commercial motor vehicle rollover crash on the I 82 onramp from I 84 westbound at milepost 180.
According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, a 2004 Freightliner, towing an unloaded flatbed trailer, failed to negotiate the curve on the onramp to I 82, left the roadway on the west shoulder and rolled several times in the median. The operator, a 50 year old male from Spokane Washington was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene by medical personnel.
Troopers from the Pendleton Area Command are conducting the investigation into the cause of the crash with the assistance of a collision reconstructionist.
The roadway was partially closed for approximately 5 hours to allow for scene investigation and vehicle recovery.
The Oregon State Police was assisted at the scene by the Oregon Department of Transportation and Umatilla County Fire District 1.

Good Shepherd wins service awards
Feb. 12, 2018
Good Shepherd Health Care System last week announcing employees receiving awards at the Health Care Service Excellence Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
For the awards, Employees nominate their coworkers. Those recommendations are pooled with other nominees, then a selection committee pick four winners in each category.   Hospital spokesman Nick Bejarano says four Good Shepherd employees received awards.
Amber Davis recognized as an exceptional nurse, Lucas Bradshaw as an empowering manager, Devin Goldman as Customer Experience and Quality Coordinator Program Director and Good Shepherd CEO Dennis Burke honored as an inspiring administrator.
Bejarano says in addition, the hospital received 39 awards for improvements in customer experience and customer satisfaction. That information is tracked through through a survey patients receive after being discharged from the hospital.
"We were blown away by the improvement from 2016 to 2017," Bejarano said.
The hospital's improvement awards are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey that hospitals participate in to evaluate their quality of care and customer satisfaction against their peers.

Givens reflects on state of the county
Feb. 9, 2018
It may feel like spring outside, but it’s still the month of February. This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown spoke about the state of the state, and now, Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens talking about the state of the county.
[givens good start]
Givens saying the county is in good fiscal shape, so they will not need to make program or staffing cuts. They will also start management training for county employees and continue working with the transfer of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center to the city of Hermiston as well as dealing with more delays in the transfer of the Umatilla Ordnance-slash-Chemical-slash-Army-Depot.
[givens county good]
Givens says the budget process will last until the end of the fiscal year. They’re also still waiting for funding from the state – that’s been allocated – for road projects around EOTEC.

Rhoades sentenced to 34 months
Feb. 9, 2018
A Hermiston man sentenced to 34 months after pleading guilty to first-degree theft, fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer, unlawful commercial manufacturing of marijuana extract, unlawful commercial delivery of marijuana and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.
27-year-old William Richard Rhoades arrested in December after a police chase ended with a car crashed into a house after hitting an electrical supply box. The driver had already fled the scene, but identification in the vehicle led police to Rhoades, who had more than 75 pounds of marijuana in his apartment as well as handguns that had been reported stolen.

Boardman preps for pipe work
Feb. 9, 2018
Digging will soon begin on upgrades to Boardman’s water and sewer systems. New pipe has been stacked along roadways in preparation for the project. Water and sewer upgrades have been in the planning stages since 2014 and will include new water and sewer lines in several areas throughout
Boardman. The upgrades to improve fire flow and reliability in the water systems. In December the city awarded the contract to do the upgrades to Premier Excavation of
Pasco, Washington, who presented the apparent lowest bid of $2,266,119.10. The city’s engineers, Anderson Perry and Associates, has
worked with Premier in the past and is pleased to be working with them on this project. The water and
sewer upgrades are expected to be completed in October of 2018.

Firefighters ready for stairclimb
Feb. 8, 2018
Seven firefighters from Umatilla County Fire District one are taking extra time getting in shape, praciticng stamina and endurance and fundraising for an annual event next month. It's the Scotts Seattle Firefighter Stairclimb, and it's a grueling challenge to raise funding for the leukemia and lymphoma research. The firefighters will put on full turn-out gear, including air tanks and breathing apparatus and then climb 1,356 steps - 69 stories - up a high rise building.
"It's a great experience," Team Member Destry Stewart says. "We're putting on gear between 50 and 75 pounds, and when we're doing the climb, we're thinking of the people we're doing the climb for."
Stewart says one of the best parts of the event is seeing the survivors and those battling against cancer cheering them on. It's a sentiment echoed by fellow competitiotr Mike Bozeman. For Bozeman, the first climb was a challenge and something he undertook because it sounded fun.
"As firefighters, we like to be challenged," Bozeman said. "Once I did the first climb and got to see what it's all about, I became more passionate about fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society."
The team from Umatilla County Fire District 1 is now fundraising for the event. Their goal is $25,000. You can find the link to their fundraising page on the facebook page for Umatilla County Fire District 1. You can also head straight to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - click here for Umatilla County Fire District 1's team page  - and search for the time or any of the local firefighters to make a donation or find out more about the event.

Hermiston council sets goal-setting meeting
Feb. 8, 2018
A special goal-setting meeting for the Hermiston City Council scheduled for Saturday. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Hermiston Community Center, and the agenda shows discussion, action plans, wrap up and next steps lasting all the way into the afternoon. Find the agenda on the website for the city of Hermiston.

Intermountain ESD seeking nomination
Feb. 8, 2018
The InterMountain ESD looking for nominations for the annual Crystal Apple “Excellence in Education” awards. Those are now open through April 1. The Crystal apple awards recognize employees in ESD component school districts in Morrow, Umatilla, and Union counties, including teachers, principals, office staff. The awards will take place in La Grande on May 7 and in Pendleton on May 14. You can find the nomination form on the esd website or contact Michele Madril with any questions michele.madril@imesd.k12.or.us or call 541-966-3115.

Festival Street groundbreaking
Feb. 6, 2018
On Monday afternoon, city officials gathered for the most recent ground breaking for downtown Hermiston - this time in the middle of a street. Second street at the location of the Festival Street in downtown.
Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann speaking during the ceremony and highlighting the vision to create a festival street as a downtown gathering place and the planning so there will be no taxpayer bonded debit in the project, and it's instead funded through reinvestments of urban renewal funding. He also recognized city planner Clint Spencer, who said the project was first proposed 10 years ago.
"This is really exciting for us, and we hope to have everyone adjust to the traffic flow soon," Spencer said.
That traffic flow around the construction area proving a bit of a headache for travelers through downtown as lines of cones separate traffic near the construction zone.
"We understand that sometimes progress is messy and it's inconvenient," Droztmann said. "We ask for the community's patience as we go through this project. We believe the end result will be a beautiful new enhancement to downtown."
Visit the city's website for more on the design and timeline for the downtown festival street.

Boardman teacher arrested
Feb. 6, 2018
A Boardman teacher arrested and charged with sexual abuse.
Robert Weems, a sixth-grade teacher at Windy River Elementary, placed on paid administrative leave on Feb. 1. The 42-year-old arrested by The Dalles Police Department on Feb. 2 - that was Friday. He is incarcerated at NorCor on two counts of second-degree sexual abuse, one count of third-degree sex abuse and a charge of first-degree official misconduct. His bail set at $3,000.
A press release from The Morrow County School District saying he school district was made aware of a potential situation regarding Weems on the morning of
Thursday, February 1, and immediately placed him on leave. Weems was hired in June of last year. The district is unable to provide any other information on personnel issues.

Truck strikes bridge, delays expected
Feb. 6, 2018
Delays on Interstate 84 in Boardman after an over-height load struck the underside of the overpass, potentially causing structural damage. Work expected to last 1 to 2 weeks, and does impact both the overpass at exist 164 and the eastbound lane of the freeway.
One of the eastbound freeway lanes closed to accommodate bridge inspection and repair work, and the bridge restricted to one lane as well. The bridge to be controlled by flaggers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during repair work. Drivers crossing the freeway should plan for delays and obey traffic control flaggers while it is limited to one lane of travel. Travelers needing to cross the freeway near Boardman will need to use the Exit 165 overpass or other alternate routes.