KOHU - KQFM LOCAL NEWS

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

New water meters set for install in July
June 30, 2017
New meters on the way for Hermiston residents. The city working on projects with both water and electric meters, approved during Monday’s city council meeting.
Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says they just signed the contract and work could begin in July.
"Every single water meter in town will be changed out," Morgan said. "If you have a house or an apartment or whatever, you will see a contractor come by."
During the work, water will be shut off, but Morgan says it should only last an hour in most cases and work will be done during the day. The water meter work does include residential homes as well as businesses. The work being funded primarily though a water rate increase that went into affect earlier this year. Morgan says the move will save the city in the long run as it will be a more efficient system.
"Currently 2/3 of our water meters we read by hand, so we have two full-time employees that we send out to read water meters physically," he said. "We not laying anyone off. This will allow us to re-allocate those employees to handle other things that need to be done."
Morgan says they’ve put in 30 miles of new water lines in the past 15 years and not hired any additional employees. Morgan says they’re putting information on the city’s website about the project and frequently asked questions. If you do have any other questions, you can contact Hermiston City Hall.

West Nile in Umatilla County
June 29, 2017
The West Umatilla Mosquito Control district saying it has confirmed its first positive mosquito detection of west Nile virus of 2017. It’s the first in the state, and it came from just outside of Umatilla, near the mouth of the Umatilla River. Residents can expect to see increased mosquito control operations in the area, including applications of low volume insecticides after sunset. West Nile is primarily a bird disease but can affect humans. People with West Nile may have no symptoms or mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache or rash. In rare cases, West Nile may cause inflammation of the brain. All local residents suggested to get rid of old tires and other containers where water accumulates, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas and use mosquito repellents. You can report mosquito infestations and dead bird sightings to the West Umatilla Mosquito Control District. That number is 567-5201.


Grass fire injures 1
June 29, 2017
A fire yesterday afternoon in Irrigon claimed three sheds and sent one person to Good Shepherd with injuries. The grass fire started by a lawnmower on Snyder Road in Irrigon at around 1:20 yesterday afternoon and quickly carried by high wind. Irrigon Fire requesting mutual aid from Boardman Fire, Umatilla County Fire District 1 and Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District, saving three homes that could have been lost. A press release reminding local residents to clear dry grasses, weeds and sagebrush from around homes to help protect the structure. They say keep the 30 feet around your home clear of dry grass or brush with either nonflammable materials or green grasses.


HPD cuts motorcycle
June 28, 2017
The Hermiston Police Department is retiring its motorcycle patrol - for now - after restructuring the department.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston says the previous motor officer moving into a detective role left a void for the bike officer, and they’ve made the decision to cut the motorcycle – for now – after a combination of issues, including the changing structure of the department, how strenuous the training for motor patrols is, and repairs necessary for the motorcycle.
The traffic officer, Cpl. Doug Gill, will instead use a marked patrol vehicle and will focus on each day shift hours on traffic on Highway 395 and Friday and Saturday focus on DUI enforcement.
"It is a bit of a change. People may not see the motorcycle and think that we're not out there enforcing traffic," Edmiston said. "We absolutely are."
If you want to know more about operations at the Hermiston Police Department, they do have the quarterly public safety committee meeting coming up. That’ll be at the end of July. You can contact HPD for more information on the exact date and time.

Fire claims Hermiston home
June 27, 2017
A fire yesterday afternoon that left two families homeless and scorched more than 7 acres of brushland.
More than 30 firefighters responded after 1 yesterday afternoon, spending more than 3 hours putting out the fire in temperatures above 100 degrees. The fire started near the Oxbow Trail, burning across land owned by the Bureau of Reclamation before hitting the fence and then the duplex home.


The fire started near Oxbow Trail, burning wildland before firefighters responded / Photo contributed by Shanna Evans

"Initially we had a seven-acre, wind-driven grass fire. Pretty hot, dry fuel - flames sometimes eight-feet high," said Chris Wrathall, firefighter/paramedic with Umatilla County Fire District 1. "The wind blew it into a couple structures. It was hectic: It was a mixture of structure fire and also wildland."
Information officer for the fire, Chris Wrathall, a firefighter/paramedic with Umatilla County Fire District 1, says the cause of the fire currently being investigated,but two families displaced by the fire.


Local residents watch firefighting efforts. Residents were evacuated near the fire, and the roads were closed off for emergency response / Staff photo

A gofundme page has been set up for one couple, Diego Lopez and Ashlynn Beenblossom. Ashlynn is 8 months pregnant and is staying with family in the area. The American Red Cross is providing services for five adults impacted by the fire, that does cover both families in the duplex.
On the scene of the fire yesterday, Property owner Heleo Sanchez says the building likely a total loss. Sanchez blamed the fire on the untended grass behind the buildings that had reached up to three feet in some spaces.


Firefighters battle the blaze at the duplex on 13th and Ridgeway on Monday afternoon / Staff photo.

Wrathall agreed the dry grass impacted the spread of the fire. The fire district asking local residents to be aware of the danger.
"We had a really wet winter, and it's allowed a lot of our primary fuel, the grass, to get really tall, and now with the hot weather, it's really, really dry," Wrathall said. "We're asking the public to have a lot of awareness when playing with fireworks this year because it's really tinderbox dry."
The official cause of the fire not yet determined, but firefighters saying it may have been caused by fireworks.
Umatilla County Fire District 1 responding to a three-vehicle accident at the same time as well.


Fire Marshal cautions use of fireworks
June 27, 2017
The Fourth of July is one week away, and fireworks already for sale in the state of Oregon. Umatilla County Fire District 1 Fire Marshal Tom Bohm says a few safety tips can minimize the risk of starting a fire with retail fireworks.
"Have an adult there to set them off, have water or a hose, and do it on concrete if you can," he said.
Bohm says it’s also the best options to buy fireworks in Oregon and not cross into other states, making sure they are legal and safe. It’s also a bad idea to light fireworks at or near park events with professional fireworks. They can affect those around you, be confiscated, and you could pay a fine, and, if you start a fire – whether at home, in public, or on public land, you could face consequences.
"They need to be aware that they're liable for any damage that they may cause if a firework falls over or catches their neighbor's tree on fire to catches grass on fire," he said. "They are liable, and that can get pretty expensive."
The fire marshal also saying adults should supervise all firework play and it’s the adult who will be held liable. Fireworks vendors can sell retail fireworks June 23rd through July 6.
Fourth of July fireworks productions expected this year in Hermiston, Stanfield, and Boardman.


Community paramedic launch
June 26, 2017
Today, the community paramedic program goes online. It's a program through Umatilla County Fire District 1 and good Shepherd Healthcare where a paramedic will visit patients at home to provide follow-up services after a hospital visit. It's a primarily grant-funded program designed
"Our goals are to reduce emergency department visits. It's also about reducing 30-day re-admissions to the hospital," Umatilla County Fire District 1 chief Scott Stanton. "It's about reducing use of our A-list ambulance for folks that don't really need an A-list ambulance, and then it's also about creating education and awareness of chronic illnesses."
Stanton says the program has been about four years in the planning. It started when he, read an article about a similar program in Arizona.
"They were seeing these patients in their homes," Stanton says. "What it did was reduce the demand on the ambulance and fire services down there - and the demand on the hospital."
In addition to the benefits for the patients and for EMS, Good Shepherd Health Education Director Juli Gregory says it fulfills one of the biggest frustrations for primary care providers.
"People don't follow their discharge instructions," Gregory says. "That's one of the things Jess will be talking to them about: Making sure they understand."
She says that could include items like how medications should be taken, what precautions patients should take.
For now, the program only within the district for Good Shepherd Medical Center, but the group says they hope to expand it to all of Umatilla and Morrow counties.
One more benefit to the program: There will be no cost for patients.

SAR rescues 13-year-old
June 26, 2017
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office rescuing a 13-year-old girl near Tollgate over the weekend. The sheriff’s office receiving a report just after 6 on Saturday evening that 13-year-old Kate Mollinedo was missing from the Target Meadows Campground. The family had looked for about three hours before contacting the Sheriff’s Office. She was found at 10:30 Sunday morning, about an eighth-of-a-mile from her camp. The girl reported she fell from a tree and became disoriented and could not find her camp. She wandered along a trail and then fell asleep after dark. In the morning she began to walk around and yell, where she was heard. She did not require any medical attention.

Umatilla adds activities to summer meals
June 26, 2017
Another no-cost program starts today. It’s the summer feeding program where children under 18 eat for free. Umatilla is launching its program today at Umatilla High School, McNary Heights Elementary, Marina Park, and the McNary Kiwanis Park. The Umatilla program is run by the school district, and this year They’re partnering with numerous local partners to provide activities at lunch at al locations. That means children will have something to do every day: OSU extension will do food hero tastings and recipes and good shepherd medical group is covering safety. The district also purchased about $900 worth of activities.
Rikkilyn Larson says they have scheduled the partner events and will fill in with the other activities so kids will find something at each site during each meal time. It’s part of a grant from the Department of Education to enrich children over the summer. They are looking for as many participants as possible, whether you live in Umatilla – or not.
All the money from the reimbursement from the state – as well as charging for adult meals – goes right back into the summer feeding fund for the next year, which means, the more participants they have, the bigger the program can be the next year.

Hermiston Council agenda
June 26, 2017
Hermiston City Council talking electric meters and charter communications tonight. Two action items on the agenda for tonight’s council meeting. One is to consider authorized a contract between Hermiston Energy Services and Landis and Gyr Technology for the purchase and installation of new meters. It’s about a $1 million contract. The second action item renews the franchise agreement with charter communications. That meeting begins at 7 tonight at Hermiston City Hall. Find the full agenda and packet on the city's website.

Fire season could begin this weekend
June 23, 2017
Hot temperatures in Oregon will bring an early fire season that could start this weekend. In Umatilla County, Emergency Management Director Tom Roberts says they’re concerned about the temperatures and weather that draws people to the mountains.
"It's going to probably be a fantastic camping season, and we want everyone to be safe up in the mountains," Roberts said. "Make sure you put your fires out and abide by all rules and regulations so we can minimize the impacts to our forest lands."
Roberts says wherever you stay – or visit – this weekend, pay attention to guidelines, restrictions, and requirements.
It's a similar message coming out from the Oregon Department of Forestry, where Tom Fields says we need to be aware of the high fire danger and plan accordingly.
Fields says you want to have water and a shovel nearby before you even build the campfire, stay on improved roads (because a hot muffler can start a fire in tall grass) and keep campfires inside fire pits.

Fire tower groundbreaking set
June 23, 2017
Umatilla County Fire District #1 and Blue Mountain Community College to break ground on a new fire training tower next week. The ground-breaking at 2 in the afternoon on next Thursday, that’s June 29, at Fire Station #23 on Westland Road.
Approximately 47 percent of the $748,000 training tower is funded by bond dollars approved by voters in May 2015 to enhance BMCC programs. The remaining costs are funded by UCFD.
BMCC started a fire science program three years ago, and the tower will allow students access to hands-on training. BMCC’s fire science program covers areas including fire suppression, investigation and prevention, as well as public safety education and emergency management.

OSP searching for escaped prisoners
June 21, 2017
Oregon State Police (OSP) is asking for the public's help to find two Oregon Youth Authority teens that escaped from Camp Riverbend Youth Transitional Facility in La Grande at around 7:50 p.m., June 20, 2017.
Escapee #1: Brittain MCAULIFFE, age 18, of Central Point, is described as a white male, 5'10", 220 pounds, stocky build, tattoos on both forearms, one described as "Native Pride". His hair is short on the sides and the top is approximately six inches long with ponytail. He wears glasses and was wearing a white tank top, black shorts with a red stripe on the sides, and black and red mid top shoes.
Escapee #2: Micah WEST, age 18, of Salem, is described as a white male 5'11" 155 pounds, multiple tattoos, one is described as a derringer pistol on one arm. One is an eagle tattoo on his chest and a cross tattoo on left forearm. West is bald and was wearing a dark blue hoodie and blue jeans.
Anyone who identifies them is asked to not approach, use caution and immediately contact law enforcement. Anyone with information regarding the location of MCAULIFFE and or WEST is asked to call OSP Southern Command Center dispatch at 541-664-4600 or 9-1-1. Refer to OSP case number SP17211022.
OSP is being assisted by Union County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon Youth Authority.

iCan Bike still needs volunteers
June 20, 2017
Hermiston’s iCan Bike camp is next week – and they’re still in need of volunteers. The camp teaches individuals with disabilities how to ride a conventional, two-wheeled bicycle over the course of a five-day week.
Hermiston coordinator Cindy Middleton says volunteers only need to be able to provide 75 minutes a day for five days, and they do have multiple time slots available. Hermiston’s iCan Bike Camp will be at Armand Larive Middle School from June 25 to June 30.
The camp is hosted by Hermiston Kiwanis and supported by the Hermiston School District, the InterMountain ESD and numerous community donations. There are some limited rider spaces available as well. For more information, email icanbikehermiston@gmail.com or visit http://icanshine.org/Hermiston-or.


Teen killed in rollover
June 20, 2017
A Hermiston teen killed in a car crash yesterday afternoon near Tri-Cities. Washington State Patrol saying 18-year-old Maia Taylor was the only occupant of the Chrysler 200 when it ran off the freeway and rolled down an embankment five miles south of Kennewick just after 12:30 yesterday afternoon. Taylor was pronounced deceased at the scene. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Stanfield raising police pay
June 20, 2017
The city of Stanfield has a meeting tonight, and the smaller city is continuing to plan for the future. Last week, we told you about the boosted budget this year and how the city is using those savings.
"We have things identified in the budget to use those savings, and one of those things is to get our salaries more in line with other communities, make us more competitive, especially when it comes to entry-level police officer salaries," Stanfield City Manager Blair Larson said.
Larson they increased salaries across the city to bring those more in line. While most positions increased 2-5 percent, entry-level police officer salaries are increase from 32-50 a month to 39-hundred: an increase of 20 percent. Larson says it's because of high turnover rates in Stanfield Police Department – and a change in thinking.
"In the past, the thinking has been 'we need to compete with other cities our size' and we should pay a wage similar to other cities our size," Larson said. "The problem is we don't lose police officers to cities our size. We lose police officers to Hermiston and Pendleton and to the county."
The average for police officers in Stanfield has been about 2 years, with some moving on even sooner than that. Larson says it’s been a hardship for Stanfield, which also faced controversy with its police force.

HHS could move graduation
June 15, 2017
Hermiston High School graduation could look very different next year. Hermiston High School has about 1600 students and just graduated 332 students.
"Just a tremendous celebration, but the big challenge with that is we can't fit everyone in the gymnasium and make that work," Superintendent Fred Maiocco said. "We're really wrestling with that now."
Maiocco said to compensate for crowd, they offered overflow seating in the auditorium and commons area and live broadcast the ceremony, and they also reduced the number of graduation tickets allotted to each student. Last year, each graduate received six tickets to give to friends and family to attend the ceremony; this year, it was five. Maiocco said they are considering other locations and he expects the school board to review those options this fall.
"There are not many venues that can handle that crowd. The first of the two options are Bulldog Stadium, which is just a tremendous venue - but there's no air conditioning," he said.
The second option within Hermiston is the rodeo grounds at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.
Maiocco says they’re also looking at the feasibility of hosting graduation outside of Hermiston, such as the Toyota Center in the Tri-Cities.

Good Shepherd taking over Gifford Medical
June 15, 2017
Gifford Medical will be joining the Good Shepherd Medical Group as of July 1. Good Shepherd spokesman Nick Bejarano confirming the move and saying the medical group will work with Dr. Joseph Gifford and his team to increase access for both urgent and primary care. Gifford will continue to see patients on a part-time basis, and the company has said it plans to retain all employees and patients.

HSD taps Brad Wayland to replace Mike Kay
June 15, 2017
The Hermiston School District naming Brad Wayland as the Hermiston School District’s new director of operations. He replaces Mike Kay, who is leaving the district on June 30th. He is retiring but has accepted a position in Walla Walla. Wayland could start July 15th with school board approval. Wayland currently the president of Sentry Security Consultants in Hawthorne, Nevada. He has served as the director of facilities and operations for the Central Valley School District in Washington and is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Houfmuse charged with murder
June 14, 2017
Tyree Houfmuse charged with murder.
The 35-year-old arrested Monday on charges of felon in possession of a weapon. The Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office adding charges of murder and first-degree manslaughter yesterday in relation to the death of James Cragun in May. After a widespread search, Houfmuse arrested in Umatilla on Monday during a traffic stop. He has been charged in two previous shootings, one of which left a man paralyzed.
Houfmuse remains in Umatilla County Jail on a bail of 1.1 million.
He is expected to appear at a preliminary hearing slated for June 20.

Chamber turns down Carnegie offer
June 14, 2017
The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce will not move into the lower level of the Carnegie Building. Chamber Director Debbie Pedro says it comes after feedback from the board and members.
"We listened to our members, to the community, that they thought this was not a great place for the chamber offices," Pedro said. "It's not accessible, and, they want us to have easy access for travelers and people new to the community."
The City of Hermiston earlier this year voted not to renew the contract that designates the chamber as manager of the Hermiston Conference Center, requiring the chamber to find a new location at the end of this year. The city offered the chamber space in the Carnegie Building; however, the Chamber Board of directors has decided it is not an appropriate location for the organization and are actively seeking a temporary site.
The chamber will also continue to function as the Hermiston Visitor’s Welcome Center, offering information about the community and about chamber members.
Pedro says the chamber is potentially open to using the upper floor of the Carnegie Building; however, that space is slated to be renovated and would not be available for about two years.

Odds&Ends shows
Miss any Odds & Ends shows this week? Click here to listen to Monday's interview with the Boardman Chamber of Commerce and Parks and Recreation or here for Tuesday's interview with the Hermiston School District.


Budget meetings tonight
June 12, 2017
The Hermiston School Board meeting on Monday in the boardroom at the district offices. They’ll open a budget hearing at 6:30 and are expected to approve the budget document later during the meeting. The meeting also includes the first reading on approval of multiple policy changes, hires and acceptance of resignations, as it is the end of the school year.
Click here to see the full agenda for tonight's School Board meeting.
Hermiston City Council also has budgets on the brain tonight. The proposed budget for the City of Hermiston on the agenda tonight, along with multiple related resolutions. The budget request is just more than $57.3 million.
The council also considering accepting a bid from national Meter and Automation to remove old water meters and install new ones.Hermiston also announcing vacancies on the Hispanic Advisory Committee and the Library Board.
After the regular council meeting, the Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency meeting to adopt its budget as well. That budget request is $1.6 million.
The full agenda available here.

Schools prep for construction
June 12, 2017
Hermiston High School graduated its class of 2017 over the weekend, and with school out – or close to it – local districts turning attention to construction. Construction projects going on this summer in Umatilla and in Echo, both funded through bonds. In Umatilla, roofing underway right now at Umatilla High School and McNary Heights Elementary. Superintendent Heidi Sipe says they expect to have design work for Clara Brownell Middle School completed by the end of the summer.
In Echo, small projects started in the fall and the larger projects on its school expansion could begin in the next two weeks. Superintendent Raymon Smith says you can watch facebook for the announcement of the groundbreaking ceremony.
In Hermiston, the district expected to begin demolition on the Umatilla County Fairgrounds next week, but Executive Director of Operations Mike Kay says they didn’t receive favorable bids so they’re changing the scope of the work and going back out to bid with the intention of having the parking lot completed sometime in the fall.

Paving put on hold
June 12, 2017
The Oregon Department of Transportation is holding off on its paving work on U.S. Hwy. 730
Nighttime paving taking place between Southshore Drive west of Umatilla and McNary. Now the work has been put on a temporary hold, removing the driving delays and restriction until the fall. Temporary striping will be applied to the areas that received new asphalt, and the roadwork signs will be covered.
The contractor is scheduled to return and finish the paving work in the September or October timeframe. Travelers are reminded to continue to drive with extra caution through all work zones and watch for paving activities gearing back up along U.S. 730 in a few months.

Miss Friday's Odds & Ends Show?
June 9, 2017
Click here to hear the interviews with R. Lee Friese of Inland Northwest Musicians and Maria Duron, communications officer for the Hermiston School District.


HPD launches 'Operation Chill'
June 8, 2017
The Hermiston Police Department bringing back Operation Chill. Starting this week, Hermiston officers to begin “ticketing” young people they observe doing good deeds or exhibiting positive behavior. Through a partnership with 7-Eleven, that ticket, a certificate for a free, small Slurpee at 7-Eleven.
"We're very grateful that 7-Eleven has this program," said Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston. "It may seem very minor in the grand scheme of things, but any kind of positive interaction we can have with the youth in our community in a positive setting is a good thing."
Young people can earn tickets by wearing seatbelts and bicycle helmets, using crosswalks and helping out the community as well as other safe and positive activities. Edmiston says the program gives the officers positive community interactions when much of policework is negative.
"People don't normally call us when something good has happened," he said.
Through programs like Operation Chill, they can interact with youth in a positive way. Officers have received the slurpee tickets and will be handing them out over the course of the summer

Friday events: EOTEC board, student house, BMCC concert
June 8, 2017
Starting off at 7 in the morning, a meeting of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center Authority Board. That meeting at 7 in the morning Friday at the EOTEC Event Center on Airport Road. The agenda including discussion and possible approval of a General Manager Job Announcement – the Hermiston City Council and Umatilla County Commissioners agreeing by consensus last week to moving forward on the the manager position They’ll also have a budget committee meeting immediately following.
You can find the full agenda here.
Across Hermiston, tomorrow afternoon the public open house for Fieldstone #3, that’s the student-build home in the Columbia Basin Student Homebuilders program. The program involves high school students from multiple local high schools in the physical construction and sale of a home. This is the third the program has completed, and you can walk through the home and interact with some of the students. That open house is from 1 to 6 tomorrow at 875 SW Angus Court in Hermiston.
In Pendleton, The BMCC Concert Choir will perform “Sing On!” this Friday. The family-friendly performance is FREE and open to the public. You can Contact Jami Moore, 541-278-5167, with questions or for more information. That’ll be in the Bob Clapp Memorial Theater. It begins at 7.

Delays if you’re heading to Tollgate this week.
The Oregon Department of Transportation currently repaving a section of Highway 204, that’s the Tollgate Highway, near the Weston junction. Work expected to be completed within the next two weeks, but during the repaving, travelers can expect delays up to 20 minutes. Work taking place between 6 in the morning and six in the evening, Monday through Friday.


Morrow County DA opposes grand jury bill
June 7, 2017
Morrow County District Attorney Justin Nelson speaking out against a bill moving through the Oregon Legislature
Nelson says right now grand jury isn’t recorded. Facts are presented before seven community members who decide whether there is enough evidence that a case should move forward.
"It has to be very quickly because the person's in custody no more than five days, and in that time, we have a very concerned, scared victim," Nelson said. "The concern now is of course that everything that victim or our witnesses say is going to be recorded as another way to attack them at trial."
Nelson says he is also concerned about funding for purchasing of recording equipment and staff to run the equipment because poor recording quality could come back on the DA’s office.
Nelson has testified in Salem against the legislative action and could head back again this week.
Click here for the full interview with Morrow County DA Justin Nelson from Tuesday's Odds & Ends show.

School district seeks bond feedback
June 6, 2017
Voters rejected a proposed $104 million bond last month, and the Hermiston School District wants to hear why. The bond was slated to replace two Hermiston elementary schools, build a new school, and expand Hermiston High School, among other smaller projects. Communications officer Maria Duron says the link allows local residents to provide honest communication to the district about why they voted for or against it and what future plans should be.
If you visit the district’s website, you can click on the link provided on the banner or follow the link here. The link will be active until 11 p.m. on June 11th.
We’ll have more with Duron and about the bond on Friday’s Odds & Ends program on AM 1360 KOHU.

Odds & Ends: Monday, June 5
On Monday, Jennifer hosted Dave Hughes, executive director of Agape House and Martha's House, and Hermiston Library Director Mark Rose. Listen here.

Police seeking suspect in shooting
June 5, 2017
Hermiston Police issuing a warrant for Tyree Houfmuse for “alleged involvement in the death of James Craygun.” Craygun shot and killed at his residence in Hermiston on May 27th. Houfmuse is 6-foot-one, 240 pounds with tattoos of flowers, animals, letters and names. His last known address was in Tacoma, Washington. Anyone with any information on the location of Houfmuse asked to contact the Hermiston Police Department at 541-567-5519.
Police Chief Jason Edmiston saying in the statement a large amount of physical evidence has been seized and will be processed by the Oregon State Police crime lab. He says the department working with the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office to try to bring closure to the event.

Umatilla new council members, downtown plan
June 5, 2017
Tomorrow night, the unveiling of “Umatilla Together,” a framework plan for development in the city of Umatilla. For six months, a team of Portland State University students and the City of Umatilla have been working together to create the plan, which is focused on the downtown core area. The students will present Umatilla Together from 5:30 to 7 tomorrow at Umatilla City Hall. Councilman Mark Ribich, who has worked on the committee with downtown revitalization, says they invite everyone from Umatilla and surrounding communities to come out.
"We've partnered with the Portland State University team, and they've come in and they're helping us do
a vision plan of what we can do to revitalize the downtown area," Ribich said.

The event an opportunity to see the final plan, hear the final report and share comments. Light refreshments to be served and Spanish translation services provided.
After the celebration, Umatilla has its regular city council meeting. That begins at 7. The meeting begins with the interviews of potential city council members. The city does have two openings and will be interviewing eight candidates.
Also on the agenda, resolutions adoption the 2017-2018 budget and other required materials, a lease for the city to allow the Umatilla Rural Fire Protection District use of space at 300 Sixth Street, that’s the former city hall and now the Umatilla safety center, and a service contract between the City of Umatilla and the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce. The document requires the chamber to operate the visitor’s center, provide business services and host a certain number of community events in exchange for 50 percent of the annual transient room tax receipts. That meeting begins at 7 tomorrow at Umatilla City Hall.
Hear more in the full Odds&Ends interview with the Chamber's Lori Kimbell and City Councilman Mark Ribich.

EOTEC to have manager
June 2, 2017
The Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center will hire a manager. That decision coming out of last night’s joint meeting between the Hermiston City Council and the Umatilla County Commissioners, both stakeholders in the project. The manager could be paid as much as 85,000.
During the meeting, the council also approving a letter of support for the Legislative Transportation Package. The proposal would generate new revenue for transportation projects through a combination of increases in the fuel tax, vehicle registration fees, vehicle title fees, a tax on bicycles, and a payroll tax. It would raise about $8 billion over 10 years.

Graduations this weekend
June 2, 2017

This is graduation weekend for multiple local schools.
In Morrow County, graduations at three high schools all on Saturday. Riverside kicks off at 10 in the morning, Irrigon at noon, and Heppner’s high school graduation is at 2 in the afternoon.
"It's a very exciting day for them, an exciting day for staff, for families and friends of the graduates," said Morrow County Superintendent Dirk Dirkson. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we're very proud of those students."
Umatilla also celebrating its high school commencement on Saturday. That’ll be at 10 a.m.Umatilla Superintendent Heidi Sipe saying the class of 2017 including Five students will graduate with an associate of arts Oregon transfer degree, or AAOT
"This is the first year that we have five students graduating from Umatilla High School with their full AAOT and high school diploma at the same time, so we are just thrilled with this years seniors," Sipe said. "A lot of really great kids...One of the Most academically successful classes we have ever had."

Odds&Ends: Stanfield Summer Feeding, Summer Reading and Hermiston Parks and Recreation
Find out more about upcoming events and programs in Hermiston and Stanfield in Wednesday's Odds&Ends Program.

UCSO DUI event results
June 1, 2017
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office releasing results from its Memorial Day patrol event. They’re calling it a great success: five drivers arrested for driving under the influence over the four-day event. Twenty-nine other drivers cited or warned for traffic violation. Of the five individuals arrested, all had blood-alcohol content of .13 or .14 percent, above the legal limit of .08. Four of the five were Hermiston residents. Law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon participated in the nationwide event, in an effort to get more impaired drivers off the street, and save lives that would otherwise be lost. The extra patrols funded through a grant from the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.

Hermiston ready for new traffic lights
June 1, 2017
Bids opening in the next two weeks for Two traffic lights going in Hermiston this year, both along 11th Street. One is at the corner of Elm and 11th near Good Shepherd Medical Center. The city and the hospital each kicking in about 400,000 for the project, the Oregon Department of Transportation contributing 800,000 to fund the $1.6 million project.
"That project, we're really excited about it because not only will it clean up the intersection there, which I think everyone in town is familiar with, but also the big piece that the hospital is excited about is we're going to be adding a left-turning lane into the hospital entrance there on 11th," said Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan.
Morgan says to facilitate the turning lane, they’re also widening Elm Avenue to add a center turn lane, which bumps up the cost of the project. The second traffic light going in at 11th and Orchard by the school district offices and Last Chance Tavern. Morgan says the two projects were combined both for financial benefits and for traffic impacts.
The project expected to begin this fall and be completed in the spring of 2018.
Also in this budget year, they hope to finish the West Highland Trail and potentially skate park across from the police station.

HSD announces new board member
June 1, 2017
The Hermiston School District has a new board member. Mark Gomolski elected May 16th as a write-in candidate for position 3. District staff congratulating the Chicago native after election results certified yesterday. Gomolski will replace longtime board member Don Rankin. Rankin opted not to seek re-election after serving 12 years and no one filed for his position to appear on the May ballots. Gomolski expected to be sworn in during the June 12th board meeting.

Train strikes pedestrian; prompts safety message
May 31, 2017
On Sunday evening, a man struck and killed by a Union Pacific Train in Baker County. The 33-year-old Idaho man had been walking west on the train tracks toward Huntington. A release from the Baker County Sheriff’s Office says the man was wearing headphones and may not have heard the horn and bell from the train. The conductor and engineer began emergency braking procedures but the train did not stop in time, striking Kristoffer McCreary.
"Most people don't know that a train traveling roughly 55 miles per hour takes a more than a mile to come to a complete stop," says Justin Jacobs, spokesman for Union Pacific. "Trains are not like cars. There's no swerving."
Jacobs says safety is a priority – both for staff at the company and for the public. He says the “Your life is worth the wait” and other education campaigns to encourage safe practices.
"We like to use the mantra, 'See tracks, think train.' When people see tracks, they should always think first and foremost that there could be a train coming and take the proper precautions.
Jacobs says the only legal place to cross railroad tracks is at a marked and designated crossing.
U-P offering counseling for both the locomotive engineer and conductor.
The Baker County case remains under investigation. Anyone with additional information asked to contact the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.


Highway 730 Roadwork
May 31, 2017
Nighttime roadwork along a section of U.S. 730 (Columbia River Highway) continuing over the next several weeks. This and next week crews will be adding rumble strips and striping to newly laid asphalt between McNary and Diagonal Road.
Starting around June 12 sections of the highway between Southshore Drive and McNary will receive pavement upgrades. The paving work will extend from Southshore Drive to Powerline Road) and from mile posts 183 to 186 (Yerxa Ave to McNary). The paving operation will skip downtown Umatilla and the area around the U.S. 730/I-82 Interchange.
Current activities are expected to be completed around mid-June, with pavement upgrades around the interchange constructed in September. Pavement upgrades in downtown Umatilla are scheduled to be completed under a separate contract in 2018. The current construction work expected mostly at nighttime between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. to reduce impacts to travelers. Motorists can expect lane closures, flaggers, possible pilot cars and delays of up to twenty minutes throughout the evening and early morning hours. Traffic fines are double the amount in all work zones.
It’s a $2.5 million project.

Odds & Ends: Mark Morgan
Want to know more about what's coming up for the City of Hermiston? Listen to the interview with Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan for more.

Shooting kills 1 in Hermiston
May 30, 2017
A man dead after a shooting Friday, May 26, in Hermiston. The shooting reported at 2:30 a.m. in an apartment on 13th place in Hermiston. The first officer to respond found the victim non-responsive. He began CPR, but the work of officers and EMS unsuccessful, and 38-year-old James John Cragun, known as Jimmy, pronounced dead at the scene. A release from Hermiston Police identifying Tyree Houfmuse as a person of interest in the shooting. The 34-year-old previously charged in a shooting in Kennewick in 2014. Anyone with information about the incident asked to call 567-5519.
Officers to consult with the District Attorney today to determine the next steps in the investigation.
A gofundme page has been set up for Cragun’s final expenses.

NHANES picks Umatilla County
May 30, 2017
Umatilla County one of 15 counties nationwide selected for this year’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It’s an annual screening that dictates national trends and policy for groups like the CDC.
Juli Gregory, with Good Shepherd and the Healthy Communities Coalition, says it is a random selection but only 15 counties are picked nationwide each year. She says letters will go out in August to households within the communities chosen for the survey. She says don’t throw away the notification.
"One of the things we want to try and ensure is if you get one of those letters or get contacted in some way, that it is legitimate," Gregory said.
To choose participants, the group will selected households. NHANES interviewers will talk to the family, ask a few questions and select participants. The participants will receive free screenings from dental to blood work, as well as a stipend for the time spent in the screenings. The information will join the NHANES archives, which date back to 1960. Almost 200,000 people have participated.
"It's exciting to be able to be able to have some input into national policy," Gregory said.
The trailers will arrive in late August, and the surveys will start in September .


UCSO amps up Memorial Day patrols
May 26, 2017
The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office kicking up patrols over the Memorial Day weekend, that’s today through Monday. Deputies will focus on intoxicated and distracted driving.
UCSO says there were more than 10,200 alcohol-involved driving fatalities in the United States in 2015, that’s a an average of one death every 51 minutes. 363 of those fatalities happened in Oregon.
During the high-visibility event, they’ll have extra deputies on patrol, both using marked and unmarked patrol vehicles. If you see a driver you expect is intoxicated, contact the Umatilla county sheriff’s office.
Travel over this Memorial Day weekend is expected to reach the second highest level on record.
"We're looking at about 6.5 million people in the West traveling," says AAA's Marie Dodds. "That's up almost 3 1/2 percent compared to last year."
Dodds says the improving economy is allowing more people to travel.


DVES celebrates the Veggie Derby
May 26, 2017
Fourth-graders at Desert View Elementary yesterday participated in a single-elimination derby, watching 106 vehicles roll down a ramp to travel the distance of 10, 16, 20 feet.

Derby 2.JPG (76581 bytes)
Students send their vehicles down a ramp in the Veggie Derby at Desert View Elementary.

The twist? All the vehicles were made of fruits and vegetables. Teacher Heather Mills says it’s a science investigation project where students could use fruits, vegetables, bamboo skewers, toothpicks and rubber bands.
"They (students) were supposed to hypothesis how far they would travel down the ramp, so today is race day to measure the hypothesis," she said.
The vehicles used gourds and carrots, cucumbers, watermelons or an ear of corn for the body. Students Lynnette and Mallory say the design process started with a trip to the grocery store. Lynnette ended with an eggplant body and lime wheels, Mallory with a squash, oranges and grapefruit.

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DVES fourth-graders compared designs while waiting for the next elimination in the Veggie Derby on Thursday.

One student, Jordan, had a vehicle travel 18 feet in its first run. The fourth-grader says he designed his with weight in mind using full, heavy oranges for the wheels
"I tried to pick something that would make it heavy, and I tried to pick a body that would withstand the heaviness," Jordan said.
At the end of the elimination, fourth-grader Lucio beat out Blake for the finals. His vehicle made of a cucumber body with lemon and lime wheels.
After the derby, students have to reflect on their vehicle and provide an explanation for why it performed the way it did. This is the second year they’ve done the Veggie Derby. The derby will return next year, and Mills says it’s likely become an annual tradition.

UEC Power Outage
May 26, 2017
A power outage yesterday in Hermiston. Umatilla Electric saying a the outage caused by an underground fault in the area of 12th and Orchard. About 1600 customers out of power, but all customers restoring by 2:19 in the afternoon.

Mosquito season already worse than usual
May 25, 2017
The worst mosquito season in 20 years has arrived in Umatilla County. West Umatilla Mosquito Control District manager Randy Gerard says the district began spraying in march, but the mosquito numbers have picked up in the past month.
"In my 21 seasons as a mosquito control employee, I've never seen it quite like this," he said.
Gerard says they've received more calls in the past week than they did all last year, and the increased numbers have everything to do with weather and water.
The wind then hampers the control effort. Aerial spraying going on tomorrow evening in Umatilla, Morrow, and Benton Counties to try to knock down the current populations. It’ll be after sunset, around 8:45. That’s weather permitting. 10,000 acres targeted including the areas North and East of the Hermiston city limits, highway 730 between Umatilla and the Morrow County Line and portions of East Loop Road. Ground trucks to be used in city limits.
Gerard says the mosquitoes out now are nuisance mosquitoes, which are aggressive, but they are preparing for the disease-carrying vector mosquitoes to come out later this summer.
If you want to report mosquito populations,. Call the mosquito control hotline, leave a message with your name, phone number, and address. That's 567-5201.
If you'd like to hear Gerard on the Odds&Ends program, click here.


HSD picks Jacobsma to lead Desert View
May 24, 2017
The Hermiston School district has picked a new principal for Desert View Elementary. Laura Jacobsma chosen for that role. She’s currently an instructional coach at Oakridge Elementary in Oakridge. District Superintendent Fred Maiocco will recommend the school board approve Jacobsma on Monday, June 12. If selected, she’ll begin July 1.

Mosquito spray Thursday
May 24, 2017
The West Umatilla Mosquito Control District doing targeted aerial spraying after sunset tomorrow. That’s weather permitting. 10,000 acres targeted including the areas North and East of the Hermiston city limits, highway 730 between Umatilla and the Morrow County Line and portions of East Loop Road. Ground trucks to be used in city limits. The mosquito district saying this spring they’ve already surpassed the number of service requests than it received all of last year.

Dirk Dirkson on Odds & Ends
On Tuesday's Odds & Ends Program, Jennifer talks with Dirk Dirkson, Superintendent of the Morrow County School District. Listen here.

Main Street closure Wednesday
May 24, 2017
Hermiston's Main Street will be closed today for a downtown cleanup event. It could last until 3 p.m. The closure will affect Main Street between Highway 395 and Third Street. Businesses will still be open and parking available in back parking lots and all side streets.

Miss Monday's Odds & Ends Show?
Jennifer talks with Marika Sitz, coordinator of the Oregon Water Coalition, and JR Cook, director of the Northeast Water Association about water issues in the Columbia basin and the upcoming annual meeting in Hermiston. Listen here.


Students present research tonight
May 23, 2017
Tonight, a “Research Night” presented by Hermiston High School students or Oregon Teacher Pathway. It starts at 6 p.m. in the HHS Library, and students will be presenting original research through a gallery walk. Juan Rodriguez says it’s a chance for the students in the teaching class to present the research they’ve been working on all year.
"It's a good opportunity for community members to come out and see what our students' thoughts are on the different issues that are in our school system and how they think they would solve them," Rodriguez said.
The presentations include topics how does music affect academic performance and how GPA requirements affect student athletes. Six students are presenting, and Rodriguez says the students have crafted posters similar to you would see at a college symposium.
The Research Night in the library at Hermiston high school. You can contact HHS for more information.

Fatal fire near Milton-Freewater
May 22, 2017
A fire-related death in Milton-Freewater early Monday morning. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office saying Marcos Jesus Gutierrez-Rodriguez identified as the victim of an early morning outdoor fire under the Eastside Bridge along the banks of the Walla Walla River. He was 29. Law enforcement from Milton-Freewater responding to the area about 1:35 a.m. for a fire; after putting out the fire, they discovered the body among the debris. The Sheriff’s Office saying the location appeared to be a campsite with canned food, cooking and eating utensils and bedding materials. Evidence at the scene suggesting a camp or cooking fire spread through the area while he was sleeping, and there’s no evidence of foul play.


Wind contest sending RHS students to Anaheim
May 19, 2017
Next week, four students from Boardman’s Riverside High School plan to fly to Anaheim and compete in the KidWind Challenge, a wind turbine design challenge for students. The Boardman team – they’re called Team charge – took first at a local competition their school hosted and are now fundraising to make it to Anaheim for the national event May 24 and 25th.
In the competition, students design a wind turbine and put it against other designs to try and produce the most power.
Martin Chavez says Team charge studied existing windmills and spoke with technicians in creating their design, and teammate Andrew Barker says he first realized they had a shot at winning with their design – at the local competition.
"When I realized we were going to be able to do something with this competition was at the competition," Barker says. "We had a fairly highly scoring on how much power we produced."
In addition to Chavez and Barker, the team also includes Melissa Smith and Sterling Bither.
The students have washed cars every weekend and are more than halfway toward their goal of $4000. They say they're excited about the opportunity and none have been to Anaheim before.
For more information contact Riverside High School or visit the team's gofundme page.


2nd annual Fiesta de Salud this Sunday
May 19, 2017
Sunday, the second annual Fiesta de Salud at Mirasol Family Health Center.
"We will have live band, we will have a mariachi, lots of prizes, and fiesta foods is also hosting $1 tacos," says Justine Taylor. "We're really excited about it because last year we had over 800 people come and attend, and this year, we're hoping we'll have more."
Immunizations, sports physicals, and well-child checks available – whether you are or are not a patient at Mirasol. They’ll have zumba classes, yoga classes, kids games, and car seat clinics. Local community partners, from the fire department through to the county health department, will also be there offering information and family activities.
Fiesta de Salud runs from 12 to 4 this Sunday at Mirasol Health Clinic in Hermiston.

Miss today's Odds & Ends Show?
Jennifer talks with Echo Middle School students Elliot Glenn, Ashley Mack, Caiden Harris and Echo Superintendent Raymon Smith about the Little Mermaid Musical as well as BMCC Hermiston Director J Keys. Listen here.

Hermiston schools consider enrollment
May 17, 2017
The Hermiston School District’s proposed bond fell short on this week’s election day, but district staff saying they’ll still need to find solutions for the district’s growing enrollment. Assistant Superintendent Tricia Mooney says enrollment continues to follow the growth trends.
"As of May 1, we were at 5,609 students K-12," she said. "That is down slightly from what we had last month by about six students - but above what we had this month last year by 160 students."
For the enrollment dip at the end of the school year, Mooney says those six students may be those who have completed programs and graduated.
Hermiston Board members and district staff have said they'll work together to seek solutions to how to address enrollment and growth challenges.
Statewide, voters approved 10 school bonds while five failed to pass. The largest, for Portland Public Schools, came in at $790 million. The bonds that did not pass were in Hermiston, Ontario, South Umpqua, Yoncalla and Coos Bay. In Coos Bay, the bond failed by 22 votes.

EOU, BMCC sign partnership
May 17, 2017
In other education news, yesterday afternoon, Eastern Oregon University and Blue Mountain Community College inking a deal with co-enrollment and co-admission at each institution, which means students will complete a new joint application and receive academic advising, tutoring, and library access from each BMCC and EOU. Tuition and fees will be assessed based on courses taken at each school. BMCC President Cam Preus says EOU is BMCC’s highest transfer partner and this eases the process for student while strengthening the relationship between the two eastern Oregon institutions.

Kay moving to Walla Walla
May 17, 2017
A release yesterday from Walla Walla Public Schools. Mike Kay has been hired as director of facilities and operations for the Washington School District. The announcement follows news that Kay will leave the Hermiston School District this summer. He has worked in Hermiston since 2004 and is currently the executive director of operations


Note: Our apologies for the gap in news posted on this page during a technology switch.


UPDATE May 10: Hanford reports tunnel cave-in
May 10, 2017
Work began last night to repair a cave-in at a tunnel in the Hanford Site in Richland.
The U.S. Department of Energy activating emergency operations protocol in Hanford Site yesterday after a cave-in hit a tunnel used to store contaminated materials near a former chemical processing facility.
"Crews are still on scene assessing the situation - too early to know what caused the roof to cave in. We may not know that for some time," Spokesman Destry Henderson says.

In a statement, Henderson say work began about 8 last night to stabilize and fill the opening over the tunnel. They’ll continue filling soil through the day. They’ve also had some work cancellations for employees in the affected area.
Workers near at Hanford were advised to shelter in-place as a precaution yesterday while the facility testing for airborne radiation. Access to the east area of the site restricted. Staff at the Hanford Site saying there are no reports of injuries, no evidence of contamination outside of the tunnel and no action required for residents of Benton and Franklin counties – or anywhere outside that area. The affected tunnel leads to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility and is typically covered by about eight feet of soil. Workers this morning noticed a depression – between two and four feet deep – over the tunnel during routine surveillance, prompting the emergency response. The tunnels hold railcars of highly contaminated materials, backed into the tunnels as a disposal method with reports saying decontaminating the rail cars would cause extreme safety hazards for workers


Emergency drill in Hermiston
May 10, 2017
On May 11, an emergency drill and emergency notification system test. It will start around 6 in the evening and will include emergency vehicles, police vehicles and ambulances. As well, some Hermiston residents may receive a text message or phone call notifying them that the emergency drill is taking place – no response needed. Umatilla County Emergency Management asking residents not to call 911 unless they need assistance from emergency services. If a real emergency were to happen, residents would receive information and emergency instructions.

Umatilla taking council applications
May 10, 2017
In the city of Umatilla, they’re still looking for applicants to fill two open positions on the Umatilla City Council. City Manager Russ Pelleburg says those spots could be open to anyone who has lived in Umatilla for more than an year."We'd encourage anyone who's interested in serving on city council to come by City Hall and pick up the appropriate paperwork," he said. "I think (a good candidate) it's just someone that truly wants to be engaged."
At the meeting in June, the council will interview those who have applied and pick two members to serve. You can get more information and apply at Umatilla City Hall.

Parking lot closure at Good Shepherd
May 8, 2017
Starting today, May 8, parking lot closures expected at Good Shepherd Medical Center. The first half of the main parking lot closing as part of the construction project, making parking in front of the hospital scarce. Red zones are designed for patients, family and visitors. It’s part of the Good Shepherd Medical Plaza North Wing Expansion and Campus Renewal project – that doesn include 4,100 tons of asphalt to create new parking lots and repave the existing, as well as changing the flow of traffic. 

School Board, City Council meet
May 8, 2017
Tonight, meetings for both the Hermiston School District and Hermiston City Council.
The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Hermiston City Hall. The agenda includes amending the contract between the city and the chamber of commerce through the end of the calendar year, approving the council goal setting report and considering re-striping parking places from parallel to diagonal on Second Street between Main Street and Hurlburt Avenue. The council and city manager will also have a work session on the city’s reorganization plan at 6 before the regular meeting.
Find the agenda for the meeting here.
The school district meeting begins at 6:30 in the boardroom at the District Offices on 11th Street. During the meeting, the district to declare  Teacher Appreciation Week, discuss flex and hybrid learning, and approve a contract with the district’s teachers – that’s the licensed employees. They’ll also consider raising the prices of school lunches by a dime across the board and approving the 2017-18 district calendar.
Follow this link for the School Board agenda.

Odds & Ends Program
May 3, 2017
On this Wednesday edition of the Odds & Ends Program, our guests were Cindy Middleton, Rian Middleton, and Sydnay Seavert talking about the iCanBike program and Cecili Longhorn, librarian at the Stanfield Public Library, talking about events going on in the Stanfield community - and with the library. Listen here.

U-P rail work ramps up in Hermiston
May 4, 2017
Crews are out and about on the rail lines through Hermiston today, and Union-Pacific says it’s part of a track maintenance program that’s replacing 10,000 railroad ties in Umatilla County.
"The specific project that folks are likely seeing right now in the Hermiston area is a railroad tie replacement project where we have a crew out there replacing roughly 10,000 railroad ties and upgrading that line," says U-P representative Justin Jacobs.
Jacobs says work in this region began on April 24 and could continue through mid-May, although not all of that work will be within the city of Hermiston.
The total project is running from Oakridge to Portland to re lace more than 102,000 railroad ties. Flaggers stationed at affected intersections, holding traffic during transportation of materials and equipment.
"Please take extra precaution when you're on those locations," Jacobs says. "At the end of the day, this is really to make the railroad more safe and efficient to transport the goods and services folks need there in Oregon."
It’s a $14.3 million dollar project, and one of the main recommendations from Union Pacific: Pay attention and keep safe.

Hermiston man charged with sex with 12-year-old
May 4, 2017
Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office arresting a man for alleged sexual assault.
24-year-old Elias Nava Flores, from Hermiston, arrested on charges of first-degree rape, sodomy, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Flores allegedly had sexual contact with a child younger than 12, according to a press release. He’s lodged at the Umatilla County jail.

GSCHSF looking for members
May 3, 2017
The Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation has a name in the community, but a new group is just getting its feet: The Good Shepherd Community Health Student Foundation.
"Because this is our first year of the foundation, we're just looking to grow and expand with more recruitment," Student foundation member Canden Gutierrez said. "We're in a recruitment process right now to build our foundation with new members."
The student foundation supplements and supports the foundation as well as providing leadership opportunities for high school and college students. That also lends itself to hands-on projects.
They are actively recruiting members right now, looking for about 20 members in its first year. Interested members must be a sophomore in high school through to any full-time college student. The group meets monthly at Good Shepherd Medical Center.
The student foundation does have information up on the website for the adult foundation. You can also email GSCHSF16@gmail.com
For more information, you can contact Liz Marvin, College Bound Coordinator for Hermiston High School, or Jacelyn Keys at BMCC for more information.

Dufloth new Umatilla mayor
May 3, 2017
Daren Dufloth the new mayor of Umatilla. The Umatilla City Council appointing Dufloth last night to fill the rest of the term Dave Trott was elected to. Trott resigned in March.
Dufloth has lived in Umatilla for 19 years. He is a business owner, former city councilman and a volunteer with local schools and Babe Ruth baseball. He had previously run for mayor once before, losing to Karen Steen, who served three months of her term.
We’ll have more with Dufloth later this week.
During the meeting last night, the council also declaring two vacancies: one for David Lougee and one for Mary Dedrick, who stepped down after the meeting.

Alleged shooter arrested
May 2, 2017
Law enforcement filling North First Place yesterday afternoon in a high-risk arrest of 26-year-old Cesar Jimenez. Police from two counties bringing charges against the Pendleton man, who has been arrested.

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Cesar Jimenez

Morrow County Sheriff’s Office receiving a report of a man treated for gunshot wounds later Saturday evening at Good Shepehrd Medical Center. The victim, a 33-year-old man from Boardman, had received two non-life threatening gunshot wounds while at a home on Frontage Road – and the suspect was Cesar Jimenez. According to a press release from the Morrow County Sheriff’s office, the Morrow County incident began Jimenez’ active Saturday, which also included incidents in Umatilla and in Hermiston where shots were fired.
Police saying Jimenez brandishing a rifle at a home in Hermiston on Saturday afternoon and began a fight with a former girlfriend before firing several rounds into the tires of a Honda Accord – with an adult and three children inside. There were no injuries at that time.
Police coordinated to close off Old River Road in Hermisotn yesterday afternoon to detain Jimenez. The firearm used in the shooting incidents was found in his possession.
Jimenez in the Umatilla County Jail on charges of:
1 count of - MENACING (SIMPLE ASSAULT) [Misdemeanor] Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (POSSESS ILLEGALLY) Bail: $10000
1 count of - FELON IN POSSESSION WEAPON Bail: $10000
1 count of - CARRYING OF CONCEALED WEAPONS [Misdemeanor] Bail: $2500
1 count of - ROBBERY I (OTHER) [Felony] Bail: $50000
1 count of - ATTEMPTED MURDER [Felony] Bail: $250000
1 count of - ASSAULT I [Felony] Bail: $250000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL POSSESS FIREARM Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (SHOOT IN PROHIBITED AREA) Bail: $10000
1 count of - MENACING (SIMPLE ASSAULT) Bail: $5000
1 count of - UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON (POSSESS ILLEGALLY) Bail: $10000
1 count of - RECKLESS ENDANGERING Bail: $5000
1 count of - CRIMINAL MISCHIEF II (NOT VANDALISM) Bail: $5000
1 count of - FELON IN POSSESSION WEAPON Bail: $10000
1 count of - POST PRISON SUPV SANCTION [Felony] Bail: $0
1 count of - FAIL TO APPEAR - MISDEMEANOR [Misdemeanor] Bail: $20000

Total Bail: $647500

County, HSD prepare to close fairgrounds
May 1, 2017
Today is May 1, and that means, the event list is growing short for the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.
"We've got our fair board diligently working to get the last remnants of materials and equipment and other items off the old fairgrounds and getting the steps and the process set up to start fair 2017," said Umatilla county commissioner Larry Givens
Sold by the county years ago, the fairgrounds property being prepared for the turnover to the Hermiston School District. Demolition was held off and an extension granted for use of the Hermiston Senior Center and the Farm-City Pro Rodeo arena. That extension covering events, including the college rodeo that took place this weekend.
The rodeo is also one of the last for the old fairgrounds. Hermiston School District staff saying the final event scheduled on the site right now is the Coastal Farm and Ranch Challenge of Champions Tour. That bull riding event is May 13.
Mike Kay, HSD director of operations, says they’re planning demolition for the Monday after graduation, and their goal is to have the new parking lot in place before the start of the next school year.
The 2017 Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo to take place at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.