KOHU - KQFM LOCAL NEWS

by News Director Jennifer Colton
541.567.6500 or 541.289.NEWS or KOHUnews@gmail.com
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Engineering begins on Airport Road
Oct. 20, 2017
Slow but steady work moving ahead to improve Airport and Ott roads. The traffic congestion the top complaint about this year’s Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo. County Commissioner Larry Givens says engineering now beginning on that project and it will likely include widening Airport Road, adding turn lanes, and paving work on both streets.
The county has a little over 1 million in state funding earmarked for the project, and Givens says they hope to have it completed late summer of 2018.
In other county news, Umatilla county public works director Tom Fellows selected to serve on the national association of counties, surveyors and engineers.

Echo Oktoberfest Oct. 21
Oct. 20, 2017
From tonight to this weekend. There’s a now annual charity fundraiser happening in Echo. It’s the Echo Kiwanis Oktoberfest, and
Co-founder Phyllis Shovelski says it’ll happen rain, shine or wind.
"We've got tents and heaters and fire pits and 16 varieties of beer," she said. "It's going to be a great time in Echo."
As a charity event, all the money goes back to the community. This year, the funds raised will go toward repair efforts at historic St. Peter's Church and to scholarships. Oktoberfest begins at 4, and live music begins at 6:30.
The Echo Open Air Market and Corn Maze will take place that same afternoon, they'll have polka musicians to set the atmosphere, and Kiwanis president Michael Duffy says a mule-drawn covered wagon from Equine Excellence will provide transportation between For children, an inflatable obstacle course and kids activities. Tickets are $15 and include three tokens for use at the event and local restaurants. If you purchase tickets before Saturday, you get an extra token for use at the event. You can also purchase tokens at the day. Tickets are available at businesses in Echo, Stanfield, Hermiston and Pendleton. You can visit the facebook page for Echo Kiwanis Oktoberfest

School Board work session
Oct. 20, 2017
Monday, the Hermiston School Board has a work session. They’ll be talking facilities planning for their study items. The meeting also includes a school presentation and a look at the coming events calendars. That meeting and work session begins at 6:30 Monday at Highland Hills Elementary.

Linkage Fair tonight
Oct. 19, 2017
A reminder that today is the Great Oregon Shakout – and shakeouts taking place across the country, so be prepared for earthquake and emergency drills today. Also happening at a local school today…it’s the third annual Linkage Fair for the Hermiston School District. The fair helps provide a bridge between agencies with families, from counseling services to basic needs like food and shelter.
Maria Duron with the Hermiston School District says The Linkage Fair will take place from 5 to 7 tonight in the commons at Sunset Elementary School. This is the third annual event, and it’s the first time it’s being held in the fall.
Booths will be set up for families to drop in and pick and choose what organizations to talk with. Childcare will be provided, and food will be available. They’ll also have translation services. The whole event is at no cost to families thanks to donations. It’s open to community members and families from surrounding areas as well.
You can contact the Hermiston School District for more information.

Schools, businesses mark Great Oregon Shake Out
Oct. 18, 2017
Tomorrow is the Great Oregon Shake Out, and local schools are participating. In the Hermiston School district, schools will hold drills and practice the “drop, cover, and hold on” procedure in the case of an earthquake. They’ll also start conversations students can continue at home.
"We would like to encourage families to sit down and talk about what is it they would do in the event of an emergency - not just an earthquake but any kind of event," said Maria Duron, communications officer for the district.
School officials and educators are encouraging families to talk about different scenarios, from how would you react to an earthquake if you were in a vehicle, what do you do at home.
Across the district, they’ll be doing the drills on Thursday, and across the state, about 600,000 people expected to join the Oregon Shake Out.
Althea Rizzo, with Oregon Emergency Management, says just like people dealing with hurricanes, you need to have enough supplies to make it on your own for two weeks if a major earthquake occurs.
"It's simply going to take time to get any kind of response effort up and running," she said.
Rizzo says after a major earthquake, driving will be difficult due to damaged roads and bridges, and communications may be out. Families should have response plans for how to travel, reunite, and communicate.
It’s not too late to register your organization and participate in the Great Oregon Shakeout: visit shakeout.org/Oregon for more information, including recommended earthquake safety and an earthquake guide for people with disabilities.

Fire strike team heads to Santa Cruz
Oct. 18, 2017
The fire strike team from Union and Umatilla counties moving location but still helping fight wildfires. The local team, along with teams from Washington County and Linn/Benton counties, being reassigned to assist with the Bear Fire in Santa Cruz. The team includes firefighters and equipment from Umatilla County Fire District 1 and Pendleton Fire and headed out on Friday with three other strike teams from across the state.
Two of the Oregon strike teams – Mario County and Jackson/Josephine counties – already being demobilized to head back to their home stations. Oregon strike teams in southern California will remain as long as that area is under a red flag warning – officials expect at least through the coming weekend.

Umatilla County fire crews head to California
Oct. 16, 2017
Fire crews from Eastern Oregon headed to California. The strike crew made up of firefighters from Umatilla and Union counties. fight fires burning near Chino in Southern California. The teams leaving around 11 Friday night and including brush fire engines from Hermiston, Pendleton, and Union County. The crews responding to California’s request for five strike teams from Oregon. They join 10 other teams in California, working on 24-hour work cycles to protect home sand other structures.

CDC campaign still seeking participants
Oct. 16, 2017
If you’ve had the CDC come by your house in the past few weeks but haven’t participated in The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – they’re probably be back.
Study Manager Janis Eklund says they’re still looking for another 100 participants from Umatilla County – only, they can’t take volunteers. A research and data collection service for the CDC, NHANES selected Umatilla County as one o its 15 counties this year. A random, scientific sampling picked out about 460 people in the county as potential participants, and Eklund says their goal is to have 320 participate in the survey because each one of those represents thousands of others of a similar age across the country.
The NHANES survey Mobile Examination Unit is currently at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds here in Hermiston, where it will be for about another month. For more information, you can visit the website cdc.gov/nhanes or contact the Umatilla County Health Department.

Fairgrounds parking lot work
Oct. 16, 2017
Speaking of the former fairgrounds, work continuing on the demolition and parking lot construction for the Hermiston School District.
"We are actually running a little ahead of schedule there," Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says. "The timeline has that completed at the end of April, but we're actually running ahead of that."
The project being funded through a “spring correction” in funding from the state. Hoeft Hall and Thompson Hall will remain – one building for storage warehouse and one for the transition program. The combination paved and gravel parking lot will serve Hermiston High School.

School District report cards released
Oct. 13, 2017
Final school district report cards sent home to schools and districts and released to the public yesterday.
Jon Wiens, with the Oregon Department of Education, says the report cards give you a lot of information about local schools, from attendance ratings to score performance. They are not, however, doing a specific score for each school this year - because they're in the process of changing to a new system that will be in place next year.
In Hermiston, good news in English Language Arts, and not quite as good news in mathematics. Overall, 52 percent of students in the Hermiston district met proficiency for their grade level in English, and 42 percent for math. At the high school level – 73 percent of HHS juniors met standards in English, a 10 percent increase from last year, but in math…. Only 28 percent of students scored proficient – and that’s an 11 percent increase since last year. In Umatilla, superintendent Heidi Sipe says We have seen tremendous student growth at the elementary and high schools and are reviewing data to replicate that same success in student growth at the middle school. The Morrow County School District coming in above the state average across the board.
To find report cards for any specific school, follow this link, select the school district from the drop down menu, then download the report card for the specific school.

Heating fires on the rise
Oct. 13, 2017
This is fire prevention week, and with both a chimney fire and a brush fire reported this week, Fire Marshal Tom Bohm says it’s a good time for a reminder.
"This time of year, it seems to pick up," Bohm said. "Structure fires seem to pick up, and it's mainly due to heating."
The fire last night reported in the flue of a chimney that hadn’t been cleaned before use as we get into the colder months. Scott Goff, Eastern Oregon’s deputy fire marshal, says that fire is an important reminder of the risks and prevention efforts.
"It emphasizes the point that folks needs to get out there, inspect their heating sources and get those cleaned out," he said.
Bohm recommends following a home safety checklist to make sure your home is ready for winter heating before turning on the furnace – including making sure your filter is clean and you have at least six inches of space between the baseboard and any furniture – including beds and couches.
The main focus for this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” Goff says that means taking a look around the house and have a plan in case an exit is blocked, such as having a door and an operable window.
And, during fire prevention week, Bohm announcing he will retire in February. Goff will take over Bohm’s position. Bohm began his career in the fire service in 1977. He’s served as Hermiston’s fire marshal since 2004.
For now, however, Bohm is continuing as fire marshal and cautioning all local residents to get a burn permit before burning and run through the home safety checklist to prevent fires this season.

HHS hosts FAFSA workshop
Oct. 13, 2017
On Saturday, Hermiston High School is hosting a FAFSA Day on Saturday, October 14, 8:30-2:00. Experienced individuals will be on hand to assist students and their parents with this application. Students from surrounding schools are welcome to come as well.
HHS seniors have received a post card with their appointment on it, items listed on the post card must be in hand to fill out the FAFSA, if HHS students have completed their FAFSA, they may disregard the appointment.

Pedestrian struck by vehicle on 395
Oct. 12, 2017
A man struck by a vehicle yesterday afternoon. Police have not released the name of the man struck just before 2 yesterday afternoon on highway 395 north of Hermiston. The man had been crossing at or near Bensel Road, and the highway was closed during the emergency response, which included Life Flight. The man suffering serious injuries in the low-speed crash, and the driver of the vehicle has been cooperating with police. Oregon State Police is in charge of the investigation.
The accident coming less than a week after Hermiston Police Department announced it was beginning a zero tolerance policy for pedestrians jaywalking across Highway 395.

Flu season begins
Oct. 12, 2017
Umatilla County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority both speaking out today about the start of flu season – and that this year might be worse than it has been the last few years.
Jim Setzer, Umatilla County Public Health Director, says this year they’re looking at a virulent strain of the influenza virus with severe symptoms, so they’re encouraging people to get the flu vaccine.
At the peak of the flu season, 3 percent of patients in emergency rooms have flu symptoms, and right now that number is at 1 percent.Doctor Ann Thomas, with the Oregon Health Authority, says that means flue season is arriving and you should look at getting a flu shot. It takes two weeks after you get the shot for the vaccine to take effect.
The Oregon Health Authority saying they have already had 22 positive flu tests from hospitals across the state – they begin tracking the flu the first week of October each year.
To help prevent influenza, you can stay home and limit contact with others if you are sick, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and wash hands with soap and water.

CDC, School testing on Odds & Ends
Oct. 11, 2017
Have you been visited by the CDC in the past few weeks? Do you want to know more about the trailers on the old fairgrounds or what NHANES is all about? Want to know more about the most recent standardized tests – Smarter Balanced – in our schools in the region? Jennifer talks with InterMountain ESD Superintedent Mark Mulvihill, Umatilla County Health Director Jim Setzer and NHANES Study Manager Janis Eklund in today’s Odds and Ends program. Listen here.


Warming station needs volunteers
Oct. 11, 2017
It feels like fall outside, the weather is getting colder, and the Hermiston warming station only has six more volunteer training sessions before the emergency shelter opens.
Coordinator Trish Rossell says they’re looking for any adults willing to give time to help those in need.
"If you're an adult and thinking about maybe giving back to the community, donate your time," Rossell says. "That is what we most need: More than socks, more than a check, I need willing, capable, compassionate people."
The warming station provides emergency, overnight shelter for people to sleep during the winter months, and they need seven volunteers per night. The volunteers work in shifts of either two or three people, and for this season, they’ll run every night from Nov. 20 to February 28
"We find that being open every night during those months, the consistency allows our people to become more stable,and find a permanent arrangement," she said.
Rose-ell says the people who use the warming station come from the community and may not fit the typical “homeless” mold.
"These are not necessarily people who are unwilling to work," she said. "We have sometimes served entire families who have just fallen on hard times, so we're happy to help them for a couple of nights until they can get back on their feet."
The volunteer trainings remaining are this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and then Oct. 22, Monday, Oct. 23, and Thursday, Oct. 26. The training is two hours long and volunteers must complete one training session. Morning, afternoon, and evening trainings are available. You can call 541-289-2150 to register.


Fundraiser for Echo student tonight
Oct. 10, 2017
A fundraiser in Echo to help a fifth-grade student diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family has been traveling back and forth to Seattle for treatment.
"Maddy's really been a trooper through all this - she hasn't wanted to miss a single day of school," says Echo Schools Superintendent Raymon Smith. "We want to try and step up as a community to help."
Smith says they’re hosting a spaghetti feed tonight at the school to raise money for the family. It goes along with a double home volleyball match with Helix and Nixyawaii, and both local schools have agreed to partner with the feed so all the money raised will go to the Thomas family for medical and transportation bills. All materials have been donated, and it’ll start at 5:30.
It is also homecoming week in Echo. You can contact the Echo School District for more information.

Burglary and Pursuit in Irrigon
Oct. 10, 2017
Two people arrested in last week’s police chase and burglary. On Thursday afternoon, Morrow County Sheriff’s Officer responding to a possible burglary in Irrigon that resulted in a police pursuit. The Sheriff’s office terminating the chase due to danger to the public – but the Umatilla Police Department was called out on pursuit of the same vehicle seven minutes later. The two suspects eventually arrested by Washington State Patrol and the vehicle reported on fire. 26-year-old Amber Cravens and 34-year-old Brandon Ulrey, both of Yakima, lodged in Benton County jail in Washington. The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office has filed charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, and felony elude on the duo. The case is pending additional charges from the sheriff’s office, Umatilla Police and Washington State Patrol.

HHS marks testing day
Oct. 10, 2017
This is homecoming week at Hermiston High School. They have spirit weeks, a day off on Friday – it’s a statewide in-service day – and on Wednesday, it’s high school testing day: all sophomores will take the PSAT, juniors will take the ASVAB, and the seniors will take the SAT. Freshmen will have a career opportunity day.
Hermiston’s interim superintendent, Tricia Mooney, says testing day is offered at no cost to the students. The district pays for the SAT, the military pays for the ASVAB and the Oregon Department of Education pays for the PSAT. It’s designed to help students pursuing higher education.
Because this week is homecoming week, the high school also tailoring spirit days to make sure it wasn’t a distraction – Wednesday’s dress-up theme is “flannel day.” The district is asking that all high school students have a nutritious breakfast tomorrow morning.


City Council votes on Police Union contact
Oct. 9, 2017
The Hermiston City Council meeting tonight. On the agenda, the police union contract. That is expected for a vote tonight. Although negotiations on the contract started at the end of 2016, they weren’t completed until Sept. 26th of this year. The current union contact expired on June 30.
Changes to the contract include allowing 12-hour shifts, expanding the definition of sick leave and changes to health insurance premiums. It also includes a 2.75% mandated for this year and next year. The union has already approved the agreement, and the council has their chance tonight.
The regular meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. The council will also tour the Harkenrider Center tonight in lieu of a work session.

HPD starts jaywalking campaign
Oct. 6, 2017
Distracted Driving changes starting this month, but now, an additional warning from the Hermiston Police Department: Police Chief Jason Edmiston says they’re taking an additional step from the distracted driving campaign and also this month starting a zero tolerance for pedestrians jaywalking on Highway 395.
The chief says the department has received several complaints of pedestrians obstructing traffic on highway 395 – which can be a disorderly conduct violation. Edmiston says the department is dedicating resources to assist with the obvious problem people are reporting.

9-1-1 outage
Oct. 6, 2017
A 911 outage affecting US Cellular customers in Umatilla County, as well as other counties in Eastern Oregon, yesterday. Service out much of the day and all of the afternoon before being restored just after 5 yesterday. The cause of the outage is unknown.

Will-planning seminar
Oct. 6, 2017
70 percent of Americans have not written a plan saying what will happen to their belongings after they die, and, of the 30 percent who do – many have out-dated materials that need to be reviewed.
"Whenever they go back and actually read what the plan says, 70 percent of them don't like the contents," financial expert Chuck Knox says. "Circumstances have changed, life has changed, people have changed... and when they really go back and read it, they want to make some changes."
Knox is leading a “Free Will and Estate Planning” workshop this Sunday at Hermiston Assembly of God. The session begins at 6 and will cover why you should think about estate planning and how you get started. Knox says you don’t have to do a lot of homework before the workshop, and they will have worksheets and workbooks available.
"The program's not designed to be a legal program. It's designed to be motivational, educational, help you understand the options you have and the choices you have," he said.
Knox will also be making appointments for one-on-one counseling on Monday and Tuesday.
Knox is the vice president of Salem-based Church Extension Plan. He travels across the country presenting about will and estate planning. For more times and information, you can contact Hermiston Assembly of God.
That event is this Sunday. A reminder of other events coming up, this afternoon is the women veteran’s event at Holiday Inn Express here in Hermiston, tomorrow in Boardman, the Morrow County Harvest Festival at the SAGE Center, in Lexington, the Red Barn Fun Run – all proceeds go to the Heppner/Ione Cross Country Team - and, in Pendleton, Project Community Connect and the Umatilla and Morrow county Veterans Stand Down

Umatilla County talks housing
Oct. 5, 2017  -- The cities of Hermiston and Pendleton aren't the only local entities talking housing this year.Umatilla County – and the state of Oregon - working to bring people together to figure out some solutions.
"We have a housing problem," Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Elfering said. "We need to get the housing puzzle solved."
Elfering says the Hermiston area runs about 98 percent occupancy, which means only 2 percent of homes are open for sale or rent at a time. Elfering says it’s a good problem to have because it’s based in economic development, but it is still an issue.
Next week – actually one week from today – Umatilla County hosting Kim Travis with Oregon Housing and Community Services to talk about the statewide housing plan.
Umatilla County Planner Bob Walder says they’re looking for input from leaders affiliated with housing to review housing data and look for strategies to improve housing in Oregon. That session will be Oct. 12 at Stafford Hansel Governance center in Hermiston. You can Contact Kim Travis for more info
Kim.travis@oregon.gov

Harvest Festival returns Saturday
Oct. 5, 2017
This Saturday, an annual event bringing games, vendors, activities and more to the SAGE Center in Boardman. It’s the Morrow County Harvest Festival, and SAGE Center Director Heather Cannell says there’s a lot going on from pumpkin painting to mule-drawn carriage rides. They’ll also include a photo booth and beer and wine tasting, and admission to the SAGE Center is free.
For more information, you can call the SAGE Center – that’s 481-7243 – or visit the website or facebook pages for the SAGE Center.

Housing changes coming to Hermiston
Oct. 4, 2017
The City of Hermiston is working to entice developers. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says they’re changing zoning to stimulate housing development.
"People are building houses currently, but we hope that these changes will help developers realize more profit when developing in Hermiston, so, hopefully, we'll attract additional housing developers to come to the area," he said.
Morgan says in the mid-2000s, the city consistently had 100 housing permits or more a year. That fell during the recession, and it hasn’t picked up as much as the city would like – and they’re seeing an increase in average housing costs.
To stimulate housing, the city changing zoning to allow for smaller lot sizes – meaning more houses in a subdivision – and changing what percentage of a lot can be developed, as well as easing some development standards.
Morgan says they’re hoping more houses and lower housing costs will attract commuters from Benton and Franklin counties in Washington to purchase homes in Hermiston. You can see the new standards at the city’s website. The changes take effect on Oct. 25.

Student-built home sells
Oct. 4, 2017
Speaking of new homes, the Hermiston School District announcing yesterday the sale of Fieldstone Crossing #3, the third of eleven student-built homes in the Fieldstone Crossing subdivision. The home going to Taylor and Brittany Smith, and Brittany Smith is an elementary teacher for the Hermiston School District. They’ll turn over the key in a brief ceremony this afternoon. That starts at 4 at Fieldstone Crossing #3, 875 Angus Court in Hermiston, adjacent to Armand Larive Middle School.

Veterans Stand Down, Project Community Connect this weekend
Oct. 4, 2017
From new homes to the homeless.
Coming up this weekend Project Community Connect and the Umatilla and Morrow County Veteran Stand Down. The event running from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center and open to anyone from Umatilla and Morrow counties. It’s a combination of two events, both designed to connect community members with services. Glen Scott, Veterans' Service Officer for Umatilla County, says The Veterans Stand Down is a big benefit for connecting veterans with resources and information.
"Sometimes veterans may not be aware of different benefits that are available or may not have time to make it to a veterans services office during the weak," Scott said. "A weekend event like this might be advantageous to them, find out what is available for them."
The veteran Stand Down focusing on health care, benefits applications, employment services, basin needs items, and mental health counseling, including PTSD and MST. It’s being held at the same time as Project Community Connect. That event reaches out specifically to those in the community homeless or at risk of being homeless. They’re providing employment and education services, haircuts, legal help vision care, pet care, and health screenings and insurance application help. Clothing and hygiene supplies and a free meal also available. You can contact CAPECO for more information about project community connect - That number is 1-800-752-1139 – and for the veterans stand down information, call 541-276-1926. They are also looking for more volunteers

There’s also an open house celebrating women veterans. That’s from 3 to 6 this Friday at the Holiday Inn Express in Hermiston. Snacks, beverages, gifts, and networking, as well as an opportunity to have questions answered by the Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator and see the “I Am Not Invisible” photo exhibit. It’s open to all women who have served in the military, sponsored by the morrow and Umatilla county veterans services offices and the Oregon Department of Veterans affairs. You can contact the veterans services office for Umatilla or Morrow counties for more information.

HHS grad moving to Tri-Cities
Oct. 3, 2017
Hermiston High School graduation heading to the Toyota Center in June.
Last night, the Hermiston School Board of Education voting almost unanimously to host graduation on Thursday, June 7, at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Board Chair Karen Sherman saying the voices that carried the most weight were the graduating seniors, their parents, and school staff. In the most recent round of surveys, the district only considered continuing at Hermiston High School and limiting seats or moving to the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Nate Rivera, the interim manager of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, says they’re making plans to have the district re-consider the rodeo arena at EOTEC for 2019.
"The goal is to have Hermiston High School graduation hosted in Hermiston," Rivera said. "We're going to do everything we can to have a realistic operations plan and budget for them to consider for the following year's graduation."
Rivera, who is serving as the interim manager until December, says they would have been able to have the arena ready for graduation this year, but they did not have enough time to put together full cost estimates before the district deadline last month.
The district has said hosting graduation at an outdoor arena would increase costs because they would have to prep the high school gym as a backup - costing thousands in employee work hours.

Umatilla Chamber wins grant
Oct. 3, 2017
Good news for the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce – and development in that city. Chamber director Lori Kimbel says the chamber received at 16-hundred-dollar grant from Travel Oregon.
"We will be able to hire a consultant to create a destination development plan, find out what direction we'd like to go to bring tourists into the Umatilla area," Kimbel said.
Umatilla’s grant is for “creation of a destination development plan” to identity travel markets, map assets and prioritize product development. KImbel says they already have a consultant and could see work happening this month.
Travel Oregon awarded $400-thousand dollars in 29 grants across the state, all for local tourism projects that must be completed before October of 2018. Only two directly impact northeast Oregon: Umatilla’s grant and one to the Eastern Oregon Visitor’s Association.
We’ll have more with Lori Kimbel on Friday’s Odds & Ends program.

In Her Shoes tomorrow
Oct. 2, 2017
October is domestic violence awareness month, and it comes at a time when A woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States. That’s from the FBI, and Kathryn Chaney, with Domestic Violence Services, says it’s an issue in Umatilla and Morrow counties, and they're raising awareness through “In Her Shoes,” and it’s happening all day tomorrow at Good Shepherd Medical Center. It’s a simulation for what it’s like to be in a domestic violence situation – and what the options are.
Good Shepherd health educator Kathy Thomas says the scenarios are all based on real situations. The scenarios are drop-in and you should give yourself at least 30 minutes, if not an hour, to complete it if you will be going by. They’ll also have classes going on throughout the day on what is domestic violence, why does she state, children and teen dating violence, sexual assault 101 and elder abuse 101. Trained advocates will be available to answer questions, and they will have food available for participants in the scenarios or the classes as well. All are free of charge. In Her shoes runs from 7 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon tomorrow.
You can contact Domestic Violence Services or Good Shepherd Health Education for more information.

3 Councils have meetings Tuesday
Oct. 2, 2017
Also, tomorrow, three council meetings in three area communities.
The Umatilla City Council meeting focuses on a resolution in recognition of Boyd Sharp, an active and educated community leader in the city of Umatilla. Council will also vote on declaring surplus city property – they’re selling an older police vehicle – and on a gambling license application for Russ’s Place. That begins at 7 at Umatilla City Hall.
Tomorrow, a meeting of the Stanfield City Council. That begins at 7 in the evening in the City Council Chambers at 150 West Coe Avenue. On the agenda, an ordinance regulating mobile food units and vendors. They’ll also consider changing the time of Stanfield municipal court and have an update on the Odor issues from hoosier lane,.
The Boardman City Council meeting also begins at 7, that one at Boardman City Hall. On the agenda, the Columbia Avenue Pathways Project.

Help needed to ID Morrow County poachers
Sept. 27, 2017
Oregon State Police meanwhile asking for help identifying two people caught on camera trespassing on private property in Morrow County.

heppner poacher

After the photo was taken, at least three elk were illegally killed between Sept. 16 and Sept. 23 – and much of the meat was left to waste. Troopers saying the two people in the photo are believed to be involved, as well as a third person. The suspects were camped in the area of Martin Prairie in the Heppner district. If anyone has any information, they’re asked to contact Oregon State Police Trooper Michael Mayer at 541-561-7581. You can also notify the TIP hotline at 800-452-7888 or TIP@state.or.us,

NHANES gets ready
Sept. 26, 2017
Trailers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived at the former Umatilla County Fairgrounds – and they’re almost open for business. The trailers make up the Mobile Exam Center, and its where health professionals are conducting the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.
Janice Eklund, NHANES Study Manager, says the biggest issue they’ve run into is disbelief.
"In this day and age there are scams and those things happen, but we are legitimate," Eklund said.
Umatilla County one of only a handful selected from across the country to participate in NHANES this year. Eklund says will open to participants on Thursday for a variety of surveys.
Participants selected by random scientific sampling. You should have received a post card and a magnet in the mail if your home has been selected. Although they’ll open to selected participants on Thursday, crews are still out interviewing potential participants in the community.
Find out more at www.cdc.gov/NHANES

HPD charges 2 with theft
Sept. 26, 2017
Two thieves arrested by Hermiston Police Department– thanks to an alert resident.
Forty minutes before midnight on Sunday, a Hermiston resident called 911 and reported he was following a vehicle where a suspect had stolen a $17-hundred chain saw from his porch. Hermiston officers responded to Jack in the Box, where the vehicle was in the drive-thru and discovered the suspects driving a vehicle reported stolen out of Umatilla. 33-year-old Jesus Vidales and 35-year-old Edilberto Ramirez, both of Hermiston, arrested and lodged at the Umatilla County Jail on charges of first-degree theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Police chief Jason Edmiston says the Hermiston resident who called 911 did the right thing by reporting the crime and allowing officers to engage the suspects.

Man identified in officer-involved shooting
Sept. 25, 2017
Oregon State Police and Morrow County District Attorney’s Office continuing the investigation into an officer-involved shooting on Friday just outside of Boardman.
At about 1:50 Friday morning, the deputy stopped for a disabled vehicle on Interstate 84 westbound near exit 164 – that’s the Boardman exit. The deputy encountered a 26-year-old adult male armed with a firearm, later identified as Efren Hurtado, of Boardman. Shots were fired, although the release does not state the exact series of events.
The deputy was uninjured, and the adult male was transported to the hospital suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. At the request of the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office, the Umatilla/Morrow County Major Crime Team was activated. The deputy is not being identified during the investigation. More information will be released as appropriate.

Additional wolf funding for Umatilla County
Sept. 25, 2017
More than $60,000 in additional grant coming to Umatilla County’s wolf committee this fall – that will go toward non-lethal wolf control, to help out local farmers and ranchers affected by thriving wolf packs. This summer, four livestock kills confirmed by wolves in Umatilla County alone. County Commissioner Larry Givens says the grant is earmarked for non-lethal tactics only and will go to specific producers – the farmers and ranchers impacted by the wolf attacks.
"It will go to the producers...their cost for transportation and fuel and salaries for someone to go up and check on the animals," Givens said. "It's a lot of work to keep those animals safe."
The money can be used as reimbursement for some of those costs or for things like additional fencing and increased patrols. Givens says it will go out around December, once they have reports from the producers on the impacts of the wolves this year.
Producers will submit reports on how many hours they’ve had to put in patrolling areas to keep wolves away and how many losses they’ve experienced.

School Board talks grad venue - again
Sept. 25, 2017
The Hermiston School District is talking graduation venue survey results on Monday during its special meeting and work session. That will be at West Park Elementary School. The meeting also expected to include the establishment of a Farm to School grant fund, a presentation from staff at west park, and a motion to change the October meeting from Oct 9 to Oct 2. The work session begins at 6:30 Monday at West Park Elementary.

City Council considers EOTEC
Sept. 25, 2017
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight in a work session and regular meeting. They kick off discussions with a comparison of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and the Hermiston Conference Center. Off The city has opted to take over management of the Hermiston Conference Center at the end of this year, and they’ll be discussing how the two event centers can work together. That work session begins at 6 at Hermiston City Hall . The regular meeting begins at 7 and includes a proclamation for first responders appreciation week, committee vacancy announcements, and multiple ordinances and resolutions regarding zoning changes designed to increase housing construction. Find the agenda here.

Hermiston man arrested after vehicle assault
Sept. 22, 2017
A Hermiston man arrested after attempting to run two men over with a vehicle. 57-year-old Michael Alan Park, from Hermiston, assaulted two men at a marijuana growing operations then allegedly tried to run them over with his vehicle. A release from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office says Parker was asked multiple times to leave but refused. Parker began fighting with the men then tried to run over one of the victims, hit a fence and became stuck. The victims left the property to call police and returned to find several windows broken and marijuana plants damaged. Earlier in the day, police escorted Parker from a marijuana store in Pendleton after he caused a disturbance.
Parker arrested and charged with multiple counts of assault, criminal mischief, and menacing. The case is still under investigation.

Umatilla County promotes planning director
Sept. 22, 2017
Umatilla County has a new planning director – and they’ve opened a new position for a new department.
Umatilla County Commissioner Larry Givens says they’ve promoted Bob Walder as the new Umatilla County Planning Director. He’s the former assistant planning director and now moves into the spot replacing Tamra Mabbott, who left the county to take a new role in the city of Umatilla.
"Bob is well known with the staff, he's well liked with the staff, he's an excellent planner," Givens said. "He's done a great job, and we look forward to having him in that position."
Along with the new planning director, they’re also making some changes: and splitting up planning and economic development. To match the new department, they’re hiring for a new department head: an economic development tourism coordinator.
The county is also hiring for another planner to take Walder’s position. Information on county employment available at the county’s website.

Family Health and Fitness Day: TOMORROW
Sept. 22, 2017
Coming up, tomorrow at Hermiston High School, the annual Family Health & Fitness Day. Sponsored by the Healthy Communities Coalition, Good Shepherd medical center, and numerous community partners, it’s a day of free screenings, free information, and free activities.
"I think we're excited about the variety of things that are going on," said Angie Treadwell, SNAP-Ed coordinator for OSU Extension. "There's something for every age group - if you have young children, teens, if you're in the senior age category - I think we've got something for you."
says they will again have cooking classes and snacks available, alongside free health, dental, and vision screenings, wellness exams and children’s games and activities, including the Teddy Bear clinic. Treadwell and Catie Brennamon, with Good Shepherd Health Education say one of the exhibits – more than 10-foot-tall-and12-foot-wide will be hard to miss: Nolan the Colon.
Family Health and Fitness Day begins at 9 tomorrow morning at Hermiston High School. That runs until 2.

Alvarez takes 8 years settlement
Sept. 21, 2017
A settlement in a Morrow County homicide case.
18-year-old David Alvarez facing homicide charges in the shooting of Evencio Salas Birrueta of Irrigon on Sept. 11, 2016. A settlement conference ending with a charge of second-degree manslaughter and a sentencing of 100 months in department of corrections. Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson says the settlement took into account strengths and weaknesses of the case – especially a primary witness changing his story multiple times - as well as feedback from the victim’s family. The press release says the shooting was related to a debt the victim owed Alvarez. Alvarez did flee the state after the shooting only to turn himself in in Longview, Washington, days later. Nelson says while the crime took place in the City of Boardman, it took the effort of the Morrow/Umatilla County Major Crime team and all staff at the morrow county district attorney’s office to prosecute.

Burn ban lifted in Umatilla County
Sept. 21, 2017
Umatilla County today lifting the non-agricultural burn ban in the unincorporated areas of the county. Burn day protocol is still in effect, and does require a permit. You can find daily burn day determinations on the Facebook page f or Umatilla County Smoke Management, and you can contact the Umatilla County Planning Department for more information and permit applications. In Umatilla County Fire District 1, no burning allowed June 1st to Sept 30. The burn season for Fire District 1 is Oct. 1 to 31.

Cason's Place open house Saturday
Sept. 21, 2017
This weekend, the open house and grand opening of Cason’s Place, a nonprofit grief support center. John Nitz, vice president of Cason’s place, says the program serves all of Eastern Oregon and focuses on children and families suffering loss.
"What we're trying to do is bring a system of support that naturalizes or makes the loss of a parent, a child, into a more normal realm," Nitz says. "We're trying to give the support they need to work through this time in their life."
Nitz says the program has been in planning for a number of years but his work with children in the Hermiston School District helped prompt the final push for Casein’s place over the past year as Hermiston students coped with multiple tragedies.
The center will provide group and individual support as well as coordinated trained volunteers to help families handle grief. Nitz, who works for the Hermiston School District, says schools do a great job with immediate crisis response, but some children may need support after the crisis team leaves.
"The thing about grief is it can last weeks to years," Nitz says. "We want to be there in the second half, for the long-term for these kids."
Casein’s Place focuses on children but does have programs for entire families as well as for adults. The new facility, a former hospice building, has rooms with different themes to help children express grief, whether through anger or art or anything in between. The open House is Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the new facility, 1416 SE Court Avenue, in Pendleton. Visit casonsplace.org for more information.


BMCC prepares for ribbon cutting, Ag-Ed banquet ready to go
Sept. 20, 107
Blue Mountain Community College preparing for a grand opening this month, this one next week for the Facility for Agricultural Resource Management – that’s the FARM building. FARM is the third and final of the bond-funded projects, joining the Precision Irrigated Ag facility here in Hermiston and the Workforce Training Center in Boardman. FARM is set for a grand opening from 4:30 to 6:30 on Thursday, Sept. 28. Along with the grand opening, they’re hosting an Art about Ag exhibit in the Betty Feves Memorial Art Gallery, to coincide. That exhibit will run Monday through Thursday and by appointment from Sept. 25 through October 26. They have scheduled an opening reception at the gallery in Pioneer Hall for 4:30 to 6:30 on Sept. 28, so anyone interested in attending both the FARM and the Art about Agriculture events can attend both. You can contact BMCC for more information about either event.
Speaking of the irrigated ag facility, its one of the beneficiaries of a fundraiser this weekend: The Lions Ag-Ed Banquet and Auction. Preston Winn says the event will help fill in the gaps left in the bond funding.
The event also benefits the Hermiston Lions Club, which supports community programs and organizations. Doors open at 6 this Saturday for the Ag-Ed banquet and auction. That will be at the Hermiston Conference Center, including both live and silent auctions and a catered dinner by Sundance Grill. Tickets are $40You can purchase tickets at Good Shepherd, Kuhn Law Offices, the Hermiston Chamber or Commerce, or the BMCC Foundation office.
That same day, they’re also sponsoring the Don Horneck Memorial Fun Run and Walk. That 5K run/walk begins and ends at Hermiston High School. Registration begins at 7;30, and the run kicks off at 9


Semi strikes bus in Kennewick
Sept. 20, 107
Several people injured in Kennewick yesterday when a potato truck smashed into a Ben Franklin transit bus yesterday afternoon. Washington State Police release showing the driver of the potato truck was from Umatilla – that’s Zurisaday Moya-Jimenez, age 33. Reports saying Moya-Jimenez failed to stop at a red light on Washington State Route 395 and struck the bus. His 1994 Freightliner Potato Truck totaled and impounded. At least six people injured and transported to hospitals in the tri-cities. Reports saying the injuries are serious but non life-threatening. Moya-Jimenez has said the brakes failed on the truck, which is why it would not stop. The highway closed during emergency response – and potato clean up. The case is still under investigation.

Men arrested for burglary, warrants
Sept. 19, 2017
Three men arrested in Irrigon yesterday – two were suspects in a burglary; the third had warrants from other counties.
It started with a call of suspicious activity in Irrigon around 5:40 in the morning yesterday, Morrow County deputies and an officer from the Boardman Police Department responded. They picked up Jesus Concepcion Llamas and Brandon Linn Wilson, both 35 and both from Irrigon, on charges of first-degree theft and second-degree burglary. Wilson also facing charges for providing false information to police and warrants out of Lane and Douglas counties. A third man, 53-year-old Larry Bush, also arrested on warrants from Oregon Parole and Probation Board as well as a warrant from Washington for escape/community custody. All three lodged at the Umatilla County Jail.

Depot negotiations move forward
Sept. 19, 2017
Negotiations continuing to move forward on the transfer of the Umatilla Chemical Depot property to the Columbia Development Authority. In addition to national guard training, the depot property is slated for a combination of nature preserve and economic development, both commercial and industrial. Umatilla County Commissioner Bill Elfering, who sits on the CDA, says they’ve had a few “hiccups” and are now looking at cultural preservation, including sites from the Oregon Trail and a prehistoric fire ring.
Elfering says the cultural survey also turned up some materials from arrowhead carving, and additional cultural surveys will be done.
All negotiations must be completed before that date. Elfering says the big one for the Columbia Development Authority was the water issue, which has been set. Now they’re still working on a final cost for the property: the army says $1 million, and the offer from the CDA is – free because it removes the government from maintenance obligations while allowing for economic development on the depot property.

Elephant's Trunk auction looms
Sept. 19, 2017
Coming up this weekend, one of Stanfield’s most well known buildings heads to the auction block. The Watts Building at 105 S. Main Street – better known by its last tenant, The Elephant’s Truck, has been on the market. Now, this Sunday, its slated to be sold at auction. City Manager Blair Larsen says its an important part of the city’s downtown.
"It's a beautiful building," Larsen said. "It does need work, but but as that building goes, I really think the downtown of Stanfield goes. We need to do whatever we can to make sure it gets restored."
The Elephant’s Trunk ran for 15 years in Stanfield before its owner retired and closed it down almost three years ago. The large building remains one of the most visible in Stanfield, right on the corner of Coe and Main Street’s Highway 395. Before Sunday’s auction, From noon to 2, there is a preview for any interested bidders. Larsen says he’ll ask the city council during tonight’s meeting if - depending on how the auction goes – the bidder list could include the city.
The city council could decide not to authorize a price during the meeting tonight. That meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the city’s council chambers on Coe Avenue.
The Elephant’s Trunk auction on Sunday will take place inside the building. Also on the auction list, a vacant lot adjacent to Elephant’s Trunk and the property at 165 Coe. The auction itself begins at 2 p.m. You can contact Stuart Realty Group, 503-263-7253, for more information.

CDC trailers arrive in Hermiston
Sept. 18, 2017
Trailers from the Centers for Disease Control arriving at the former Umatilla County Fairgrounds over the weekend. It’s part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey – or NHANES – that will be taking place over the next few weeks. Umatilla County one of only a handful counties in the country participating in the health surveys. Results will go into tracking national health trends and dictating health policy.
Many selected participants should already have been contacted.

Pendleton police standoff ends in shooting
Sept. 18, 2017
A police standoff in Pendleton that ended in a gunshot on Sunday. A 42-year-old Pendleton man taken by Life Flight after a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He had been engaged in a police standoff for several hours inside his home on the North Hill in Pendleton. It started with a domestic assault call from the man's wife on Sunday morning. She escaped, and police attempted to communicate with the man through the door. They did eventually obtain a search warrant and SWAT members entered the home, finding him with a gunshot wound to the head.

Hermiston narrows graduation venue search
Sept. 15, 2017
The Hermiston School District has narrowed the decision on the venue for graduation in June of 2018: to keeping it at Hermiston High School or move to the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Original surveys included options to host graduation at Kennison Field or at the rodeo arena at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, but the one opened yesterday only has the two options.
The choice also changes the date for graduation. If the district stays at the high school, graduation will be Saturday, June 9. If they go with the Toyota Center, it will be Thursday June 7.
You can take the four-question survey by clicking here.


Children's rodeo brings cheers
Sept. 15, 2017
Yesterday, almost 50 students from across Eastern Oregon participated in the children’s rodeo, an event designed for special education students and put on by the InterMountain ESD and a whole team of volunteers.
"It's one of the most moving events that we do," ESD Superintendent Mark Mulvihill said. "It's kind of emotional because you see the happiness of these kids, and they're cheered on by everybody."
Mulvihill says participants this year came from all four counties within the ESD’s region. Maria Sanchez, of Boardman, attended with her son for the second year and says more parents and families should participate.
"My son is really proud and happy to come," she said. "It's exciting, and it's different. It's fun."
Three kids from Echo participated in the children’s rodeo, but the stands were full of cheering classmates: Echo took its kindergarten through fifth grade classes.
"It's a really special event that we can rally around all of our students," Second-grade teacher Billie Parker said. "Other schools don't get to do this, so it's fun for us to cheer for everyone."
Parker says its an annual tradition.
The children's rodeo has taken place for three decades.


Schools up across the region
Sept 14, 2017
Area school districts have passed the 10-day mark where enrollment numbers typically stabilize and kids who haven’t showed up – whether from moves or transfers or other issues – are removed from the rosters. After the dust has settled, most local districts – are up.
"There's obviously hot spots where enrollment is booming and there are hot spots where enrollment is static," said Mark Mulvihill, superintendent for the InterMountain ESD. Mulvihill says numbers are good overall for the region. The Morrow County School District is up 22 students from last year, coming in just more than 2,260 students while Umatilla, although a smaller district, also increased 22 students, up to 1,364.
As the largest district in our area, Hermiston has seen the largest increase: 119.
"We're up - that's good to see," said Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney. "It's exciting to be part of a growing district: It gives us a lot of opportunities, definitely, but it also gives us a lot of growing pains."
Mooney says the growth is across the board. The smallest is the sophomore class at Hermiston High School at 386. That’s the only class less than 400 students. The fourth-grade class has 492 students.
Hermiston reporting 5,770 students as of Monday, just before the 10-day drop off. The Stanfield School District did see a decrease of 19 students this year, from 493 students last year to 474 this year, but its more stable than it has been in the past, and Mulvihill says even Pendleton is showing a large kindergarten class after years of declining enrollment.
"It's a sign of economic vitality in communities," Mulvihill said. "It's not great, and I'd like to see more, but it's a good, solid, good."
The growing enrollment trend continues at Blue Mountain Community College as well, and Mulvihill says it’s a good sign for the region.

Forest use restrictions drop
Sept 14, 2017
Public use restrictions on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National forests dropping to phase B today. That allows use of campfires in designated recreation sties. Restrictions on chainsaws, internal combustion engines, generators and smoking remain in effect. Firewood cutting not allowed, and travel restrictions still prohibiting motor vehicles traveling off designated roads and trails. You can visit the website for the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch for more information.

Board next steps in grad venue
Sept. 13, 2017
This morning, members of the Hermiston School Board meeting with district administration to begin the process of discussions – again – on this school year’s Hermiston High School Graduation.
"At this point in time, we're divided in the community as to what would be the best venue," Board member Karen Sherman says, adding she expected the Hermiston School Board to approve the district’s recommendation of hosting this school year’s graduation at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Instead, the board voted 5-2 to again table t he decision after hearing pushback from the community about moving graduation out of Hermiston. Multiple community members spoke during last night’s meeting, and the majority supported working to keep graduation local.
Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says the 7-member board cares greatly about the community and its students.
"This is an emotional decision for our community, and the board members hear that and want to make the best decision for our community, for the district going forward," Mooney said. "No matter what decision is made, we're going to have people that are unhappy, and that's unfortunate."
Sherman says board members will meet with Mooney and other district officials and decide what the next steps will be.
"We need a little bit of think time," Sherman said. "We need to take some deep breaths, and we should be able to move forward with what information we think people need to know."
The board will revisit the issue with the community and are expected to vote again in October.
You can hear the full interview with Sherman and Mooney here.


Two jailed for hospital theft
Sept. 12, 2017
Two area residents are in jail after an attempted theft at Good Shepherd yesterday. 35-year-old Jonathan Price of Hermiston and 34-year-old Maria Martinez of Irrigon arrested and charged with first-degree theft. A release from the Hermiston Police Department says the duo attempted to steal two spools of copper wire – valued at $2,000 – from a storage building at Good Shepherd. A security employee found them, but they fled the scene before officers arrived. They were picked up just before 7 in the evening on Sunday and taken into custody. Price and Martinez are also suspects in a theft from a heating and cooling company north of Hermiston on the same day, and HPD says additional charges may come from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office in that theft.

Riverside goes on lock out
Sept. 12, 2017
Boardman’s Riverside Junior/Senior High School went into lock-out for about 30 minutes yesterday morning because of an incident with police activity in the area.
Some reports saying the lock out was caused by a parent who threatened to “shoot” the school, but the parent telling police he said “sue” the school. During the lock out, all exterior doors were locked. Students and staff were able to go about business as usual. The lock out lifted just before noon.

School Board to vote on grad venue
Sept. 11, 2017
The Hermiston School District could decide the location of the 2018 graduation tonight, and administration is recommending… moving it to Kennewick. Last month, the board discussed results from a community survey and admin’s cost estimates and tabled the discussion. It’s listed as an action item on tonight’s agenda, and the recommendation district administration is presenting calls for changing the location of graduation to the Toyota Center in Kennewick for one year. It asks the district reassess after June of 2018 for potential option in Hermiston for graduation in 2019.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. instead of the usual 6:30. Find the full agenda here.
City Council increases franchise fees
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight. They’ll be considering increasing franchise fees in eight different utility areas –from Cascade Natural Gas to Charter Communications. The increase in franchise fees will help pay for improvements to the street network. That meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall, and you can click here for the full agenda.

Dedication postponed at Sunset
Sept. 7, 2017
The dedication for the new playground at Sunset Park scheduled for today has been postponed because of smoke and the closure of Interstate 84. A new date has not yet been set, but more information expected from Hermiston Parks and Recreation when that is scheduled.

Fire at Tillicum Inn
Sept. 7, 2017
Firefighters still at the top of the news today, but this time closer to home. Firefighters from multiple regional departments responding to the Tillicum Inn in Umatilla just before noon yesterday after a fire threatened the building on Sixth Street. All residents of the hotel evacuated around 11:40 in the morning, and firefighters battled the fire for about three hours through multiple rooms and attic space. Six rooms were damaged in the fire with smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the building, and two firefighters treated for heat exhaustion. No injuries reported in guests or employees of the hotel. Preliminary investigation suggesting the fire may have started because of maintenance work. Damage estimated at about $300,000.

Arrest made in student assault
Sept. 7, 2017
Last week, a student athlete reported a man accosted her while she was running, and yesterday, Hermiston police arresting 35-year-old Joel Cardenas, of Hermiston, in connection to the incident. He’s charged with first-degree sex abuse. Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the incident was unfortunate for the victim, witnesses and members of the entire community, but it was through community information they were able to locate Cardenas and his vehicle. A release from the Hermiston Police Department saying the request for information was shared 540 times with more than 32,000 people viewing the information online. Edmiston says even though social media can be distracting with misinformation, it made a difference in this case.

Stanfield talks smell... again
Sept. 6, 2017
The Stanfield City Council last night talking again about a certain… smell lingering over the city this year. Odor issues from the 3D Idapro Solutions plant on Hoosier Lane the subject of many odor complaints since fires took out the scrubbers at the plant in February
Stanfield City Manager Blair Larsen says the company is on track to fix it, but the city isn’t satisfied with the current reductions. They are still gathering information about where the smell is the biggest problem. They’re encouraging residents to contact city hall with constructive criticism.
"if you call and leave a message and say, 'It smells bad, I'm at this address and this is the time,' then that's far more helpful," Larsen said. "We're doing what we can to collect that information and get it to the company."
The council discussing the odor issues last night, and Larson says they’ve also outlined the steps the city and company are taking to reduce the smell. Those are in this month’s newsletter, which you can find at city hall or at the Stanfield Public Library. Among other steps, the plant will not be running during Stanfield events – including home football games.
The city council still moving forward on modifications to the city’s nuisance ordinance. The council tabled the new ordinance last night for legal review, If approved, among other things, it would add teeth to the city’s case if 3D IdaPro does not resolve the odor issue.

HSD statement on DACA
Sept. 6, 2017
The Hermiston School District responding to the news the Trump Administration will dismantle the DACA program – that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – a program offering protection for children brought into the country illegally.
The district’s statement, from interim superintendent Tricia Mooney, says
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Dreamer students and families that might be affected by today’s federal decision. We will monitor the well-being of our students while they are under our care and will provide support if necessary to make sure that all our students are able to maintain focus on their learning

Umatilla forming mural committee
Sept. 1, 2017
The city of Umatilla could be more colorful in the near future.
Mark Ribich, city councilman and chamber board member, is spearheading a mural initiative for downtown Umatilla. He says the idea came from feedback during Umatilla’s mid-week market.
"Through the summer, our goal was to get people out of their houses and downtown, and one of the things we heard complaints about over and over was that it's drab, there's no color," Ribich said. "People want to see something new, and they've commented on it all year."
Owners of two buildings in Umatilla’s downtown are already onboard with the idea, and Ribich says he’s working with the city to create a “mural society organization” to help the initiative.
The group will then work on finding funding sources, selecting topics and working with artists. You can contact Mark Ribich at 253-204-5979 for more information.


HART changes in the works
Aug. 31, 2017
Changes are coming for the Hermiston Area Transit System – and a payroll tax could impact it. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says they don’t want to make major changes to the bus and its routes on a regular basis, but with nine months under the tires, he says they’re ready to make some decisions.
"We've got some good information, good data about whether a stop is viable," he said. "Over the course of those nine months, we have one stop that was never used once."
Morgan says the transportation committee will look at removing unused stops as well as removing the stop in Riverfront Park. That stop, in particular, adds about 15 minutes onto the drive time for the loop and has only been used a handful of times. Morgan says the committee will look at reducing the route from an hour and 15 minutes down to one hour.
"By far and away the No. 1 complaint we've gotten from people is they feel the system isn't very usable because it takes an hour and a half to get around town," he said.
Morgan says if they can reduce the route to an hour, they could offer three routes in the morning and three in the afternoon. That could also change in the future thanks to the state’s 5-point-3-billion-dollar transportation plan. Included in that plan signed by the governor is a tax of 1/10th of 1 percent of all payroll in the state that’s dedicated to public transport.
"This doesn't typically happen with things coming out of Salem: 90 percent of those funds that were raised have to go back to the county from which they were raised," he said.
In Umatilla County, the money will go to the county – about $1 million a year – and will then be distributed. Morgan says they hope to use funding from that revenue to expand HART’s days and hours by adding a second employee. Those funds will be available to counties in January of 2019. Find the current HART schedule here.

McNary Dam to close tomorrow
Aug. 29, 2017
McNary Dam's navigation lock will be out of service for recreational vessels on Wednesday, Aug. 30. The outage is necessary for critical inspections of the downstream gate that require the lock to remain at its lowest water level, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at the dam.
Read more here

First Day of School for local districts
Aug. 28, 2017
Today is the first day of school in Hermiston, Umatilla, and Morrow County school districts. That does mean school zones are back in effect and more students will be walking and biking in the mornings and afternoons.
"We're fortunate with our weather at the beginning of the school year, and we have a lot of kiddos who walk to bike to neighborhood schools," Hermiston School District interim superintendent Tricia Mooney said. "We ask our community members to keep an eye out as they make the transition to school."
School begins today for all Hermiston district students except for kindergartners who will start classes on Wednesday.

School Board talks grad venue; City council, Smith evaluation
Aug. 28, 2017
The Hermiston School Board meeting tonight in a work session. The primary agenda item is discussion of graduation venues. That meeting begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the Hermiston School District offices, 305 SW 11th Street. Find the agenda here.
The Hermiston City Council also meeting tonight, also with a light agenda. They’ll consider committee reports, an update from the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and they’ll be analyzing the performance of city manager Byron Smith in his annual review. They’ll consider and possibly approve amendments to the City Manager’s employment contract. That meeting begins at 7 at Hermiston City Hall. You can read the agenda here.

Drake charged with assault, kidnapping
Aug. 28, 2017
Over the weekend, an arrest by Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office. Just before 6 in the morning, deputies responding to a report of domestic violence on Echols Road near Hermiston. 40-year-old Tamar Drake, of Hermiston, allegedly assaulting her 70-year-old father, Steven Winn, and threatening him with a firearm. Deputies, believing Winn to be in eminent danger, forced entry into the home. Drake resisted arrest and actively fought the deputies, including biting one. She also punched her father in the face, fired at least one round from a rifle she had stolen and threatened to kill her father. She was arrested and charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, first-degree Kidnapping, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, first-degree theft, Menacing, Assault and Resisting Arrest.

Mosquito spraying tonight
Aug. 28, 2017
Tonight, the West Umatilla Mosquito Control District conducting aerial control sprays at sunset in response to three confirmed positive west Nile samples. They’ll be targeting 10,000 acres along highway 730 between Umatilla and the Umatilla-Morrow County line.


Motorcycle crash claims 1 in Pendleton
Aug. 28, 2017
Over the weekend, a motorcycle crash in Pendleton. A release from Oregon State Police saying 60-year-old Edward Badger, from Washington, was driving a 2007 Harley Davison motorcycle when he lost control and crashed near milepost 206 in Pendleton. That crash around 5 p.m. on Saturday. Both Badger and his passenger were transported to Saint Anthony Hospital in Pendleton with serious injuries. Badger later flown to Kadlec. The passenger, however, dying from injuries. OSP says the identification of the passenger being withheld under the family can be contacted.

NHANES post cards in the mail
Aug. 23, 2017
If you’ve checked your mailbox this week, you might have received a post card from the CDC. Umatilla County Public Health Director Jim Setzer says it’s not a scam and it’s part of the NHANES – National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Umatilla County has been selected to participate in the survey this year, the first time Setzer is aware of in the NHANES 50-year history. Households have been chosen, and, if you’re one of them, you should receive a post card this week or next. The NHANES survey will include an interview and multiple health screenings.
"The test is free, there is some compensation for participation, and you'll come away with some information to add to your personal health records and your personal care provider," Setzer said, referencing proving your personal results from NHANES screenings to your doctor. "There isn't much of a downside."
After he surveys and screenings are completed, participants to receive information, and general information is combined with others across the country and is used in policy decisions on the national level, such as tracking second-hand smoke.
Trailers for the NHANES surveys will be set up in Hermiston in the next couple weeks. If you have any questions, you can contact Umatilla County Public Health.


Eclipse traffic hits Umatilla County
Aug. 22, 2017
Heavy traffic backing up roads in the region yesterday after the solar eclipse. Long delays on Interstate 82 and 84 as traffic headed back into Washington. The I-82 on-ramp in Umatilla closed because of congestion and single lane travel across the Columbia River Bridge. The bridge narrowed to one lane in each direction for Repair Work The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reporting experiencing very heavy traffic also reported on Highway 395 northbound from Long Creek to Pendleton. A detour for car traffic set up to relieve congestion on Southgate in Pendleton, and local traffic was asked to avoid traveling on Highway 395 – as well as that all travelers should avoid travel westbound (north) on Interstate 82 into Washington.
The traffic problems stretching across the state.
"I think what we're seeing is that people might be a little surprised that what we anticipated is actually becoming reality," said Juliane Repman, a spokeswoman for the coordination center in central Oregon. "They're dealing with it really well."
That center coordinated ODOT, Public Health, Law Enforcement and Forestry. They do expect traffic congestion to continue today.


Rivera steps in at EOTEC
Aug. 22, 2017
On Monday, Nate Rivera moving into his new role as the interim manager of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center. He’s holding the center while they search for a new manager to fill the space left when Heather Cannell has taken a new position with the SAGE Center.
"This is a position where I'm coming in specifically for a task. This isn't a position where I'm coming in turning to the long-term," River said.
Rivera is the general manager of Hermiston Energy Services and says city staff have made it possible for him to step into the interim role by removing some duties off his plate so he can focus on some specific goals at EOTEC.
"I'm going to work specifically on a business plan, day-to-day operations, as well as recruitment of either a manager or a general management company that can come in and be successful," he said.
Rivera will be helping out for a maximum of six month.

Author, speaker coming to Hermiston
Aug. 22, 2017
This Wednesday, a free event at the Hermiston Conference Center, sponsored by Good Shepherd. It’s Live Inspired with John O’Leary, a motivational speaker and best-selling author. O’Leary says he never knew his life story was remarkable and took it for granted until his parents wrote a book about his childhood.
"When I was 9 year-old, I was burned on 100 percent of my body and given less 1 percent chance of surviving the first night," O'Leary said. "I've gone on to not only graduate university and find a good life but to realize the beauty and the value of my story and what it can mean to others."
O’Leary will be sharing his story as well as helping others realize the value in their own challenges during the “live inspired” presentation. He says it’s an emotional, motivational presentation.
"It's a really powerful, inspirational story," he said.
That begins at 6 in the evening on Wednesday. Tickets are free, but you do need to sign up in advance because seating is limited. For more information, you can call 541-667-3509 or email healthinfo@gshealth.org.

Mabbott moving to Umatilla
August 18, 2017
Umatilla County’s Planning Director is turning in her county job for a position in the city of Umatilla. Tamra Mabbott has been named the Community Development Director for the river city. It’s a new position and a new department for the city of Umatilla, created to focus on community development and revitalization. Mabbott has been the county’s planning director for 15 years and has spent much of the past year working closely with graduate students from Portland State University who developed a vision and framework plan for Umatilla’s downtown and riverfront development. She will start with Umatilla on Sept. 1.
Also yesterday, the city announcing the promotion of Jason Barron as new Public Works Director. He’s been with the city’s public works department for 16 years

UCSO prepping for eclipse
August 18, 2017
Travelers to central Oregon for the eclipse are already backing up traffic. Here in Umatilla County, Sheriff Terry Rowan says they started their campaign yesterday, focusing on the main thoroughfares like Interstate 84, Highway 395, and Highway 207.
"As people travel through, we just ask that they be prepared," Rowan said. "Have the fuel topped off, have plenty of water, maybe have some snacks in the vehicle, be prepared - and be patient."
Rowan says they’re stationing deputies in different pockets of the county to ensure safe travels. They’re stocking vehicles with provisions, and tonight, search and rescue volunteers will head to the mountains. Search and Rescue team is volunteer and some members will be staying Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Across the county, Rowan says they’re expecting to see an uptick in traffic today and through Monday.

New venue for HHS graduation
Aug. 16, 2017
Surveys will go live this week about a new venue for Hermiston High School’s Graduation. School Board member Josh Goller says the gym at Hermiston High School simply isn’t big enough for the growing senior classes.
"The challenge that we run into is that with so many seniors graduating, we have to limit the number of family and friends that are able to attend graduation," he said. "We need to address or take a look at if there are any alternative options."
Last year, they limited students to five tickets per family, which was a decrease from graduation in 2016. The gym holds about 18-hundred seats, with some overflow available. The primary alternate locations the district is looking at are Kennison Field, the rodeo arena at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center and the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Interim Superintendent Tricia Mooney says a survey will be available this week for community members to provide input.
"Along with the survey, we'll provide some information about each of the venues that was discussed by the board so that as people are answering the survey, they have that information," she said. "If there are any other questions, we invite people to direct those to the district office."
District officials say if they use an outdoor facility, they will still need to prep the HHS gym in case of weather issues. They hope to make a decision in September.

UPDATE: Follow the link here for the survey.

Chamber hosts 'pop up' job fair
Aug. 16, 2017
A "pop up" job fair today at the Hermiston Conference Center. It's this afternoon from 2 to 7.
Hermiston Chamber director Debbie Pedro says if you’re looking for a job, you should dress for a job interview and bring a resume. You can contact the chamber of commerce for more information at 567-6151.

City Council considers franchise fees
Aug. 15, 2017
The Hermiston City Council will consider raising Franchise Fees charged to utility companies to pay for street improvements. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says the biggest issue is compression – where the city butts up against a maximum tax amount. Hermiston has the sixth largest compression rate in the state, in between Salem and Springfield.
Because of compression, the city’s public infrastructure committee recommending the council increase fees on electric, gas, cable, and telecom companies. If approved, The franchise fee expected to raise $413,000 per year and should cost the average residential customer about $4 a month. Because it is based on a percentage of the customer’s bill, large utility customers like Wal-Mart and Good Shepherd Medical Center would pay a higher rate.
Proposed projects include addressing the intersections of First and Highland and First and Orchard as well as re-aligning the three-way intersection at Geer, Harper and First Street as well as paving projects and widening 10th Street.
"Under our current street funding model, it'll take us 60 years to pay for just those highest priority projects," Morgan said. "I don't think those kids dodging traffic on 10th Street want to wait 60 years for a wider street."
The City Council will consider the fees during its next meting, Aug. 28.


OSU Extension tax district updates
Aug. 15, 2017
The Hermiston City Council voting Monday night to allow the Oregon State University Extension service to place a request on voter ballots in the city to form a new special taxing district. The district would fund OSU extension programs, including 4-H and the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Morgan says the council voting to allow the ballot measure was not necessarily voting in support of the district.
"They're absolutely not discussing whether or not they're endorsing this issue," Morgan says. "This council prefers to send issues to the voters."
If you want to know more about the Extension Center’s proposal, you’ll have a chance if you head to Stanfield or Umatilla tonight.
The Stanfield City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Like many area groups, they’ll include a presentation from the local OSU Extension regarding a proposed service district. The council also expected to consider a resolution supporting that new taxing district immediately following the presentation. Also on the agenda, an ODOT special city allotment, financing options for the city’s new public works storage building and discussion on potentially modifying the city’s nuisance ordinance, so it’s a pretty full agenda for the Stanfield City Council tonight. That meeting begins at 7 in the city council chambers at 150 W. Coe Avenue.
The Umatilla City Council also meeting tonight in a workshop, also at 7 p.m. On their agenda – discussion of the OSU Service District, council goals and committee responsibilities.

Council considers annexation, school board talks graduation
Aug. 14, 2017
Hermiston City Council considering annexing 13 acres of land of Gettman Road tonight.
Action at city hall starts with a work session at 6 about street capital improvement projects, followed by the regular meeting at 7. On the agenda, a hearing and possible annexation of 13 acres of land on Gettman Road for a potential duplex subdivision. The city’s urban renewal agency to meet after the council. All those meetings at Hermiston City Hall, and you can find the full agenda here.
At 6:30 tonight, Hermiston School board also meeting. On that agenda, regular business and reports as well as discussion of graduation venue. Earlier this year we told you the district considering moving Hermiston High School’s graduation ceremonies due to constraints of space and increasing class sizes.
They also have a recommendation to approve a contract with Royse Hydroseeding and excavating for completion of the Fairgrounds demolition project.

Rick Perry to tour McNary Dam
Aug. 14, 2017
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visiting McNary Dam today.
It’s one of a series of stops focused on energy in the Pacific Northwest. He’ll be touring the lock and dam as a guest of U.S. Congressman Greg Walden. NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO IMPROVE THE GENERATING EFFICIENCY OF THE DAM SINCE THE PROJECT WAS COMPLETED IN 1957. PLANNING IS UNDERWAY ON UPGRADES. Tomorrow, PERRY WILL TRAVEL TO RICHLAND, WASHINGTON WHERE HE WILL VISIT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY AND THEN THE HAMMER FEDERAL
TRAINING FACILITY. THAT'S WHERE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS LEARN HOW TO WORK IN EMERGENCIES INVOLVING NUCLEAR WASTE. WHEN HE TOURS THE HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION HE'LL VISIT THE PLUTONIUM FINISHING PLANT AND THE PUREX TUNNELS. EARLIER THIS YEAR, WOOD SUPPORTS IN ONE OF THOSE TUNNELS COLLAPSED AND HAD TO BE FILLED IN, BECAUSE IT CONTAINS LOW LEVEL NUCLEAR MATERIAL

Safety a priority at Umatilla County Fair
Aug 10, 2017
We are halfway through the 2017 Umatilla County Fair, and sheriff Terry Rowan says so far things have been going well. He says this year they're taking a flexible approach keeping visual patrols and responding to issues as they arise with the new location at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.
Rowan says having the new emergency response center is also making a difference. The center is linked in with the county's dispatch center while providing an air-conditioned space for security meetings as well as some emergency medical services.
They're also ramping up patrols as we move into the more busy times for the fair and reminding attendees to stay safe.Sheriff's deputies and officers from other county police departments will continue patrolling the grounds.
If you're traveling with children - take a photo of them when you arrive at the fair just in case you're separated and need law enforcement help to find them.

Wildfires cause smoke and haze
Aug. 3, 2017
Smoke and haze in the sky caused by wildfires, prompting an air quality advisory from the Department of Environmental Quality. That’ll be in place until Saturday. Officials say primarily coming from Canada, but local officials saying it’s a reminder of the high fire danger.
Within the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center, five wildfires reported yesterday from Baker City all the way to Richland. While still small at 12 acres, one of the largest was a grass fire a mile north of Pilot Rock. The Knot Grass fire in Washington burned 50 acres yesterday and .
Tuesday, a fire scorching land near Horseshoe Bend on Highway 74. Ione Rural Volunteer Fire responded, requesting mutual aid from Heppner Rural Fire and the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office. A release from the sheriff’s office saying many local farmer and ranchers also responded to assist, keeping the damage from the fast moving grass fire to about three miles of land, when it could have stretched much further. Highway 74 was closed to all but emergency traffic because of low visibility, and a power pole caught fire, knocking out power to Columbia Basin Electric Customers. The fire put out around 9 last night. No injures reported and no damage to homes or structures, but the sheriff’s office saying it’s a reminder for all local residents to clear out dry grasses, weeds, pine needles and sagebrush from around homes to improve the chance of saving your property from a wildland fire.

Hazardous weather warning
Aug 2, 2017
A hazardous weather warning in effect in the lower Columbia basin from noon today through Friday evening. National Weather Service advising night temperatures will provide little relief to the high heat as they’ll drop only to the mid 60-s or low 70s for a few hours before daybreak in some areas.
Tonight, no mid-week market in Umatilla – because of the heat. With temperatures of up to 105, organizers and vendors voting to cancel the market on this week only after fears it could cause health issues. The market will return on the 9th.
The Bonneville Power Administration is preparing for high demand during the heat wave. BPA's David Wilson says they regularly clear areas under the lines because during temperatures above 100 degrees, the lines can sag several feet. BPA expects to set a new record for power usage during this heat wave. The previous record of 7,861 megawatts of electricity was set on July 16, 2014.

Last Supper Dining opens
Aug 2, 2017
Last night, the grand opening of a restaurant in Hermiston. “Last Supper Dining” opens its doors at 4 tonight at 509 E. Main Street – the former Ray and Veneta’s. The restaurant had a soft opening earlier this summer, but opens officially this week.
Pastor and restaurant coordinator Jason Estle says the main purpose is to create jobs for people who might be just completing treatment or just getting out of jail and have difficulty finding work.
"We want to be able to utilize people to get back on their feet, to feel worth, to have that sense of worth," Estle said. "We want people to have that second chance, third chance, fourth chance, whatever it takes to realize the importance of life."
As an extension of Desert Rose Ministries, Estle says “Last Supper Dining” is both a restaurant and a form of ministry.
"We're excited to see everybody, and if somebody needs prayer, stop in and we'll pray for you," he said. "Hopefully they're blessed in their bellies and blessed in their lives."
Moving forward, Last Supper Dining will be open Monday through Saturday evenings, focusing on a dinner menu. Estle says they do plan on eventually offering a Sunday brunch.

National Night Out on Tuesday
July 31, 2017
National Night Out is tomorrow. It’s an annual event across the country promoting relationships between police departments and the community. Events going on in most local communities – you can contact any area police department for more information.
In Stanfield, for example, events start at 6 in the evening at Bard Park. They’ll have a raffle with donated prizes, a bike rodeo focusing on safety, bike registration, and a drone obstacle course. They’ll also have free hot dogs, burgers, chips and drinks. Stanfield Police Chief Brian Zumwalt says everyone is welcome, including kids, families – and adults.
They’re also debuting a good neighbor award, where one resident will be named the good neighbor of the year for making a difference.
"We're requesting that people nominate someone in their neighborhood or in the town," Zumwalt says. "If you contact me or city hall, fill out an application, then they'll be recognized.
The good neighbor award going on both in Stanfield and in Echo. You can find nomination forms online or by stopping by city offices for either city.
You can end your night in Stanfield with its Movies in the Park. At dusk, they’ll be showing Boss Baby, also in Bard Park. Popcorn is free, and it’s open to anyone.

Umatilla fire spreads after illegal burning
July 28, 2017
A fire yesterday in Umatilla because of illegal burning. Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District Chief Steve Potts says says the fire spread within minutes, burning a field and coming up against multiple buildings, putting them at risk.
Potts says a combination of temperatures in the high 90s and a 10-15 mph wind exacerbated the problem. He says it’s the second citation for reckless burning they’ve given this week.
Part of the issue is people don’t understand the rules. He says people call the county’s burn line, find out it’s a burn day and think it’s ok to burn backyard debris. Potts says that is absolutely not the case, that the burn line only applies to ag burning, where operations have specialized equipment and burn barriers to keep the fire from spreading. Potts is now working with the county for clarification on the county’s burn line and website to make that more clear because they’ve had more reports of illegal burning this year than usual.


Fire injures 1 at IdaPro plant
July 27, 2017
Another fire at the 3D IdaPro dehydration plant in Stanfield this week. An explosion felt across Stanfield on Wednesday night, and the resulting fire did injure one employee. It’s the third fire at the plant within the past year. IdaPro Dehydration and processing produces ingredients from potatoes for use in pet food. Officials have said the fires damaged scrubbers, which are part of the air filtration system designed to limit smells coming off the plant. 


Frank Harkenrider dies at 90
July 27, 2017
Former mayor and longtime Hermiston city official Frank Harkenrider has died. He was 90.
Born on Christmas day in 1926, the man known as Harkie died Monday.
He was appointed to the Hermiston City Council in 1959 and served a combined 54 years in city government: 44 years on City Council and 10 as mayor. He survived a recall attempt in 2012 and then stepped down from civic service in 2014. The new senior center under construction in Hermiston is named the Harkenrider Center.
A celebration of life service is pending. Burns Mortuary is in care of arrangements.

Mooney named interim superintendent
July 25, 2017
Tricia Mooney unanimously named the Hermiston School District’s interim superintendent last night.
"I am humbled and honored to have been selected to carry the district forward during Dr. Maiocco's absence," she said.
Mooney will take the helm of the district for the next year while Superintendent Fred Maiocco continues his overseas military deployment. The board interviewed three finalists yesterday, and Board chairwoman Karen Sherman said the school board spent five hours in interviews and deliberation.
"This is not something that we did lightly," Sherman said. "We had many community members here, and we read every single comment. It took us about an hour to deliberate."
The district came out of its closed-door deliberations around 6:45 last evening and made the announcement. Mooney started her education career as a teacher in Hermiston in 1995. She has also served as principal of each Rocky Heights Elementary and Armand Larive Middle School as well as assistant superintendent in the Pendleton School District. She is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Hermiston
School District and will now step into the interim superintendent role.
During the meeting last night, the board also voted to allow district administration to move forward with bids on the demolition of the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.

Family dispute ends in stabbing
July 25, 2017
A family dispute ending in a stabbing on Monday.
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on Cecil Street street at about 4:20 Monday regarding an assault call. Deputies responded and discovered that Brian Bush, age 52, and his sixteen-year-old son were involved in an argument, which became physical. During the altercation, Mr. Bush suffered a knife wound to his side. He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston where he was treated for his injuries and later released. Mr. Bush’s son was taken into police custody and lodged on the charge of Assault in the Second Degree. The case will be referred to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s for prosecution.

School Board to pick interim superintendent
July 24, 2017
The Hermiston School District has announced its finalists for interim superintendent. The chose interim will lead the district while superintendent Fred Maiocco is deployed overseas with the U.S. Army Reserves for the next year. The three finalists are: the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Tricia Mooney, former Hermiston High School principal Buzz Brazeau who retired this year as superintendent of the Central School District and Richard Rundhaug, a consultant from Phoenix, Arizona. Rundhaug has 11 years experience as a superintendent.
The Hermiston School Board will interview candidates from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Monday. The public is invited – and encouraged – to attend. Those will be in the district offices on 11th and Orchard.
After the interviews, the school board expected to appoint one of the three as its interim superintendent during a special board meeting that begins at 6:30. During that meeting, the board also to have a presentation of the fairgrounds demolition. That project originally expected to take place last month; however, it was held because bids came in higher than expected. The district broke the project into two phases, and They’re expected to award a bid for the project – if bids are received within the authorized budget amount. Find the full agenda for tonight's meeting here.


City Council tackles parks, right-of-way
July 24, 2017
While the school district setting up its administration for the next year, the Hermiston City Council talking parks. Two resolutions up for a vote tonight, both regarding parks and trails.
One acquires Steelhead Park from the Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife. The park is just south of Riverfront Park on the other side of Highland Extension. The city isn’t paying for the park, but they will agree to make improvements including enhancing water access for public recreation expected to cost about $118,000. The other, exercising the power of eminent domain for the West Highland Trail project. Meeting documents show the city is authorizing ODOT to conduct negotiations for the right-of-way and easement purchases. Five properties expected to be impacted. The city is paying $45,000 into an account for ODOT to use to purchase those, and any unused portion will come back to the city.
During the meeting, the council also voting on right of way services to continue work on the West Highland Trail project and moving forward on the updates to the downtown light pole project. Click here for the full agenda.


Another fire, more restrictions
July 20, 2017
Another wildfire outside of Hermiston Wednesday afternoon. The fire near Hat Rock at the intersection of Highway 37 and 730. The fire did cause heavy smoke over Highway 730. Crews from multiple agencies responded, and they shifted to clean up operations just before 8 p.m.. The fire coming on the same day Umatilla County Commissioners and officials at local National Forests announced burn bans and fire restrictions because of high fire danger. We’ll have more on those restrictions in our regional news later this hour.
Fire restrictions increasing today in area forests and in Umatilla County.
In the county, a Non-agricultural burning ban going into effect at noon tomorrow. It applies to the unincorporated areas of Umatilla County. The ban blocks all non-ag open burning including burn barrels and burning of yard and garden debris piles. Agricultural burning still allowed, but restrictions in place based on weather conditions. Smoke management permit holders still required to check for burn day status.
This burn ban is in addition to the burn bans in place by Umatilla County Fire District 1 and the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District.
Forest restrictions increasing tomorrow, including prohibiting chainsaws and tightening campfire restrictions.
Malheur, Umatilla and Wallowa Whitman forests moving to Phase B Public use restrictions one minute after midnight because of high fire danger, potential for human-caused fires and concerns for public safety. The increased restrictions pertain to the use of campfires, smoking, chainsaws, internal combustion engines, and generators. The restrictions also mean campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds and recreational sites. For more information and a list of designated recreation areas and campsites where campfires are permitted during Phase B Public Use Restrictions, you can visit the facebook pages for any of the three national forests or contact their information hotlines.


Downtown Courtyard in fundraising challenge
July 20, 2017
The Hermiston Downtown Development district selected for a crowdfunding project to boost donations for a courtyard on Main Street. Emma Porricolo says the crowdfunding challenge could bring a bonus $25-hundred.
"We are one of 10 communities in the country chosen for the Edward Jones Placemaking Challenge, and the project we're using is the Main Street Courtyard project," she said.
The courtyard project seeks to create a parklike space with seating and greenery in the downtown courtyard – that’s the paved space at 245 E. Main Street.The materials would match the style planned for the Festival Street on Second Avenue. Porricolo says it’s to create continuity and sense of place downtown.
"We're going to match it to what will be placed on the festival street, adding some greenery and creating this really inviting place downtown," she said. "We want to promote people to come downtown, walk around, and see downtown."
The group will match all donations up to $1,000 each. That means a $10 donation becomes $20 and a $25 donation becomes $50. The total project is $5,000, and the deadline for matching donations is July 31. You can find more information and donate on the crowdfunding challenge website.

OSU extension seeks tax district
July 19, 2017
The extension and research service is moving forward with a taxing district. Extension and research services cover programs like 4-H and master gardeners, as well as research and operations of the county’s two extension centers, including the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. HAREC director Phil Hamm says its an important part of the community.
"OSU has a lot of impact in the area so many different ways; however, because of issues outside of us, we're having issues with how we maintain these programs," he said. "It's basically because of state budget cuts."
Tomorrow, Oregon State University Extension regional administrator Mary Corp will present to Morrow County Commissioners, asking for support of a service district to generate funding from local property taxes.
"We are looking at 33 cents per thousand, so for an average home of $135,000, it would add $41 to their tax," Corp said.
The special district would be established by voters in the May 2018 election. The proposal would cover each Morrow and Umatilla counties at the same rate, although they would be established in separate votes. Hamm says 25 of the 36 counties in Oregon already have extension service districts to fund the programs. Hamm and Corp are kicking off their public information campaign about the proposal this week. If you’d like more information or to schedule an information session, you can contact either the OSU extension offices in Hermiston or Pendleton.


HSD waits for survey response
July 18, 2017
The Hermiston School District still waiting on results of a community conversation after a $107 million construction bond failed to get voter support in May.
"The firm that we're working with is still collating all of that information and will begin some additional dialogue with the community in the fall," Hermiston Schools superintendent Fred Maiocco said."I anticipate they'll be ready to share some of their results in September."
That initial report will go to the school board, which will decide the next steps. Maiocco says after receiving that information, the board will look at potentially reprioritizing items to find the “right package” to send back to the voters in 2019. Board chair Karen Sherman says the board is already aware of some issues from talking to the community.
"We were disappointed that the bond didn't pass, but we understand some of the issues with it," she said. "That's what's we're trying to address as we look at maybe going out for a bond in two years."
Both Maiocco and Sherman say with current growth trends, the district will continue to see larger class sizes due to space constraints.

Sunset Playground construction begins
July 18, 2017
In other Hermiston construction news, work getting under way for a project residents did vote for – although not in an election. In May, Hermiston received more than 13,000 votes toward the Blazer’s Moda Assist program for a new playground at Sunset park. Hermiston won, and Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter says some of the equipment is coming in now.
The $20,000 from Moda has all gone toward the playground equipment, which is designed to be more accessible for all children.
"The goal is to have an all-abilities playground," Fetter said. "We have some equipment here that we don't have in our other parks that's friendlier to kids of all abilities."
On Sept. 7 at 4, they’ll have representatives from the Blazers and Moda on scene for the dedication. Fetter says the playground will likely be open before that, but the official dedication and ribbon cutting is in September.

Umatilla council to annex land
July 18, 2017
Tonight, a meeting of the Umatilla City Council. It starts at 5:30 with a work session, primarily focused on legal powers and impediments for elected officials. City work sessions are designed to provide information to council members.
The regular meeting follows at 7. The primary action items center on the annexation of 269 acres of county property into the city limits and rezoning the property to light industrial. The ordinances both reference Vadata or VA data, a subsidiary of Amazon, and the requests have been approved by the Umatilla Planning Commission. The company operates multiple data centers in the area and is in the process of purchasing the property up for annexation. The city council expected to vote on both ordinances tonight.

Brush fire hits 30 acres
July 17, 2017
No injuries after large brush fire yesterday in Hermiston.
A release from Umatilla County Fire District 1 saying the 30-acre fire started in a mower that hit something in the dry grass. The mower operator attempted to put the fire out but it was carried by wind and try grass. The fire near highland and Orchard driven by wind with flames reaching up to 15 feet and threatening homes and farm structures. One small barn burned in the fire but no homes were lost. The total loss value unknown at this time.
One vehicle accident occurred due to distracted drivers.

Umatilla schools under construction
July 17, 2017
Construction projects in full swing at Umatilla schools this summer. The roof has been completed at Umatilla High School and crews working on the roof at McNary Heights Elementary this month.
Umatilla Schools Superintendent Heidi Sipe says Boise-based firm Design West will serve as architect for the remaining portions of the bond-funded project. The roof will be replaced at Clara Brownell Middle School after heating and cooling systems are done.
"Over the next year, people should expect to see a lot of design, thinking work happening," Sipe says. "When that is completed, they should see a lot of construction happening this summer."
The $14 million project includes building a new cafeteria at McNary Heights Elementary and restructuring the school entryways for better security.
In other Umatilla news, a reminder they are still accepting applications for an open spot on the Umatilla School Board. Applicants must live within the Umatilla School District boundaries, and applications are due to the district office in the first week of August.

Plane crash reported, unable to locate
July 17, 2017
Reports of a plane crash on Saturday, but law enforcement unable to locate any wreckage.
At about 9 in the morning Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office received a call of a possible plane crash in the Columbia River near Hat Rock State Park. According to the report, the plane appeared to be small yellow aircraft that flying near and around Hat Rock and then along the river. The caller saying the plane dropped out of sight over the water, and they thought they saw a large splash. No other reports of the plane, including from boaters in the area. Airports in Hermiston, Pendleton, the Tri Cities, and Walla-Walla were notified, along with the Oregon State Police the Benton and Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Offices.
Police personnel, including the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol searched the area for several hours, traveling on the river from McNary Dam to the Washington border. We were also assisted by local pilots, who flew the river several times. No indications of a crash or signs of aircraft debris were spotted. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Umatilla Sheriff's Office.

HSD starts superintendent search
July 14, 2017
The Hermiston School District starting its search for an interim superintendent to fill the space left while Dr. Fred Maiocco serves an overseas deployment. They’re taking applications now and encouraging members of the public to come out and attend the process. Staff and public will be able to provide written comments on each candidate. The board will take the comment card into account when making final decisions.
It’s a draft interview schedule based on if two or three candidates are interviewed. With two candidates, interviews begin at 3 in the afternoon on the July 24 - With three candidates, interviews begin at 2.

Fire closes highway
July 13, 2017
A fire yesterday between Hermiston and Stanfield. The fire in cardboard bales at the recycling site at Medelez Trucking around 1 in the afternoon then spreading to field, causing a brush fire. Highway 395 shut for a short time and the northbound reduced to one lane in the afternoon while firefighters responding. More than 30 firefighters responding to put out the fire that damaging about $60,000 in cardboard and $5,000 in equipment, in addition to the field damage. The cause is still under investigation.
Wildfires continuing the burn around the state in Oregon
The Grizzly Fire still in mop-up stages after burning just under 200 acres, Willow Fire near Klamath Falls is just under 350 acres, and Lone Pine at 1,000 acres. The Anna fire, the largest in the state, now at 3,200. All districts in the state now in fire season.
Local firefighters continuing to caution about fire danger. The Umatilla National Forest in a Phase A restriction because of fire danger and dry weather conditions. Specialized fire crews tackling the Buck Fire near Wallowa and Hells Canyon this week – it’s now scorched more than 900 acres, started by lightning.
As of this morning, one fire burning in the Umatilla National Forest and two in the Wallowa Witman, both under an acre. A fire put out yesterday near Mission, southeast of Pendleton, at a half acre – human causes.

Maiocco deploying to Germany
July 11, 2017
Hermiston School District Superintendent Fred Maiocco is leaving the district – for more than a year. Maiocco also serves as a brigadier general in the U.S. Army reserves and says he’s being deployed this month.
Maiocco says the deployment came as a surprise – he expected his trip to Kuwait five years ago to be his final overseas deployment.
"I'm being pulled to an extended period of active duty," Maiocco said. "I got a call 10 days ago that said, 'You're going to Germany.' I said, 'Is this an optional thing?' and they said, 'You're going to Germany.'"
In the previous deployment, Maiocco was given 10 days notice. This time around, it’s about three weeks, and he’ll be leaving at the end of this month. Last night, the district authorizing a leave of absence for Maiocco. They’ll be naming an interim superintendent to cover the 15 to 18 months Maiocco is gone. Board chair Karen Sherman says it’s a strain on the district but is also an opportunity.
"It is very quick for us, but it's such a great opportunity for Dr. Maiocco to serve the country, and it gives an opportunity for people who are in our district to grow too," she said.
When Maiocco deployed in 2011, then assistant superintendent Wade Smith was named the interim superintendent for the district. Smith now serves as superintendent of the Walla Walla School District. Maiocco says the district is advertising the position for both internal and external candidates. The school board is expected to interview candidates as early as July 24.

Fire turns off power
July 11, 2017
A small fire yesterday evening knocking out power – again. For the second time in a week, more than 2,000 customers without power for about an hour. Umatilla County Fire District 1 reporting the small fire caused by arching wires at the intersection of Theater Lane and Geer Road. That went out a little before 7 p.m. Monday. It was restored to most customers after about an hour.

No drones above fires
July 11, 2017
Local fire officials saying no drones at wildfires. The Federal Aviation Administration puts a temporary flight restriction over fires when firefighting aircraft are in use – and that prohibits flying in the area without FAA approval.
Jamie Knight, with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast Oregon region says firefighting equipment may need to be grounded to avoid a collision with the drone. hobbyists and recreational drone flyers can be charged for flying drones in restricted airspace. As recently as July 2, a drone spotted above a fire in Twin Falls, Idaho, and the BLM saying they were contacting the pilot and could be issuing a citation for interfering with firefighting efforts – as well as a $500 fine.

Limit chance of theft on vacation
July 11, 2017
We’re well into July – and into vacation season. Local law enforcement offering some tips and services to reduce your odds of becoming a victim.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan says to call the 24-hour dispatch center and set up a vacation check on your home, providing information about when you will be gone.
Hermiston Police have offered similar services. Both organizations offer home checks dependent on having the resources and officers available. Rowan says they have been able to thwart a few burglaries and take in suspects just by knowing they were in a house that was supposed to be empty.
To limit your chances of being a victim, have your mail held at the post office – or have someone take it inside for you daily – and wait to post about your trip until you return home.
It may seem like common sense, but also make sure to lock all doors before you leave, and if you can set a couple of your lights on a timer, do so.

Council talking NOWA, airport
July 10, 2017
Tonight is again be a meeting night in Hermiston.
Hermiston City Council kicks things off will have a work session to update on NOWA. That begins at 6 p.m.
Hermiston City Council meeting follows the work session at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall. On the agenda, two action items: One, allowing the city manager to accept grant funding and hire consultants o update the airport’s master layout plan and potentially signing an intergovernmental agreement with the county to have the city take over jurisdiction of West Highland Avenue between 11th street and 15th.
The meeting also includes a proclamation for National Night Out. That a community-police awareness event usually the first Tuesday of August. This year, that’s Aug. 1, and Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston says they’re planning some changes. In the past, the police department has helped out with numerous community block parties and neighborhood events, but that will likely be changing because of restructuring of the department.
"We're just in the early stages, but we're kicking around the idea of having a barbecue in front of the police department," Edmiston said. "Have some vehicles on display for children to look at it, pull out some bulletproof vests and allow the kids the opportunity to put those on."
Edmiston says the medallion hunt will continue.

School Board meets tonight
July 10, 2017
The Hermiston School Board of Education meeting at 6:30 in the school district offices.
On the school board agenda, annual business like designating the superintendent as the district’s chief administrative officer, setting board meeting dates and electing a board chair as well as new hirings. On the list of employees is Bradley Wayland as district’s Director of Operations. You can find the full agenda here.

Fire watch, heat advisory
July 6, 2017
A heat advisory and fire weather watch in effect until 8 in the evening on July 7 because of high temperatures and high risks. Local officials are busy prepping for wildfires and a high risk of hot temperatures and dry fuel. Noel Livingston is the fire management officer for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and he says they have two primary fire starters during the summer months:
"80 percent or more of our fires typically start due to lightning, so the trick there is being able to predict when lightning occurs," Livingston said. "Unfortunately, we can't do that long-term, we can only do that from the short-term forecast standpoint."
As short-term as the planning for lightning fires is, fire officials have better odds there than with the second-largest cause of fires: people.
Livingston says about 20 percent of fires in national forests are human caused.
"Human starts are really problematic for us, primarily because they're hard to predict where they're going to occur," he said. "We have tools - once we have the weather forecast - to figure out where we think we may get lightning and we have tools to show us where lightning strikes occurred, but human starts aren't that way."
Nationwide, humans causes closer to 90 percent of fires in national forests. The most common causes are unattended campfires, burning of debris, cigarettes and intentional acts of arson.

Red Cross issues heat warning
July 6, 2017
With the high temperatures today, the American Red Cross reminding residents of its extreme temperatures safety tips. The first steps: Make sure you know the weather forecast with both the temperature and the heat index. They’re also recommending you review symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke: also watch out for you neighbors, especially those who are elderly, young, or sick and might be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, as well as making sure all animals have enough shade and water.
Find more information at the Red Cross website.


Hermiston Foods to close
July 5, 2017
Hermiston Foods to close by the end of 2017. The announcement coming out this weekend when NORPAC announced the sale of its canning business to Seneca Foods Crop. As part of the deal, NORPAC is closing the Hermiston facility as well as a processing plant in Salem. The Statesman Journal reporting canning operations are about 6 percent of NORPAC’s business and Hermiston Foods is the smallest of the group's facilities. Hermiston Foods opened in 1990 and employs around 300 people.

Stanfield gets trail grant
July 5, 2017
In some good news, Stanfield has received a substantial grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to put in a trail along Stage Gulch from Sherman Street to Edwards. It’s along the high banks on the canal, and city manager Blair Larson says it’s a win-win because the city must maintain the canal banks and flood prevention, and this allows people to enjoy the experience as well. When completed, the trail will be just under a mile. Larson says it could be constructed in 2018. They’ll go out to bid this fall.

Kiwanis consolidation
July 5, 2017
For decades, Hermiston has hosted two individual Kiwanis clubs, but now, they’re folding into one with the morning club becoming a sub-group of the Noon Kiwanis.
Member Cathy Walmsley says they morning club will meet with the noon Kiwanis as well as on their own, and that they’ll continue working with their established projects – including the Hermiston Festival of Trees, which has been co-sponsored by the morning Kiwanis and Good Shepherd Foundation.
John Spomer, president of the Morning Kiwanis, continues as chairman of the Festival of Trees.