Court declares drought

Posted on March 25th in News

Update given on progress of biomass heating project

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

At its regular meeting Thursday, March 19, the Harney County Court passed Resolution #2015-03, declaring a drought in the county.

The resolution states that the “agricultural and livestock industries, and related economy are suffering widespread and severe economic damage, potential injuries and loss of property resulting from extreme weather conditions within the county…”

It also cites statistics from the State Water Availability Committee and the State Drought Council, stating:

• As of March 10, there is a “record historic low” of snowpack;

• As of March 11, there is “less than 50 percent of normal” snow water equivalent;

• As of March 1, spring and summer forecasted streamflows are “significantly below normal”;

The resolution declares a local disaster within the county, implements the drought emergency plan, and requests that Governor Kate Brown declare a drought emergency for all of Harney County, and that she direct the Oregon Department of Water Resources to make available in the county: temporary transfers of water rights, emergency water use permits, use of existing right options/agreements, and other federal and state drought assistance and programs as needed.

•••

Harney County School District No. 3 Board Chair Lori Cheek was present to update the court on the biomass heating project. She said the district is awaiting response on its application for a  $400,000 grant from the “Cool Schools” program through the Oregon Department of Energy. The funds would be split between Slater School and Burns High School, and applied toward a biomass boiler system – part of the larger biomass heating project that includes the county.

Cheek also reported that a job description had been created for a project manager to coordinate wood chip allocation and contracts, among other things. It will be a contract position limited by funds received from the school district and the county ($10,000 from each entity.)

Cheek said she has been looking into what is entailed in forming a cooperative to serve as the managing entity for the biomass heating district.

“We need to do that, because that is the vehicle that will be managing several things. The co-op is the county and the school, – that is all it is right now,” said Cheek.

She added that she thinks others will join the co-op in the future as users of the biomass heating, and said a board of five members would probably be needed. After establishing the co-op, Cheek said the next step would be working toward sourcing funding to “buy out” a loan being obtained by Wisewood, Inc. (the project developer and consultant.) She mentioned the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant program (REDL&G) as an opportunity, and said she would bring more information to the next court meeting.

•••

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty reported on a recent meeting of the Harney County Parks Committee. He said Theimer Park’s “Boy Scout Cabin” is in need of improvements. Several windows are broken, and woodpeckers have been destroying the siding, Grasty explained. He said the committee would like to put out for bids on the projects. Commissioners Pete Runnels and Dan Nichols agreed.

•••

Grasty said a letter had been received from the Harney County Fair Board requesting the re-appointment of Jim Kelly and Kevin Pryse to the board. The court voted unanimously to approve them.

Grasty also reported that he had met with fair board members March 18 to discuss various budget-related issues. They also reminded Grasty that the court had promised the construction of a 150-foot by 150-foot gravel pad in the southwest corner of the fairgrounds for equipment storage. Grasty asked them what their time frame was, and they told him it would make the most sense to do it after fair this year. He recommended that they first get written permission from the city of Burns because of the proposed pad’s proximity to the lagoon.

•••

Grasty reported that the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development’s administrative rulemaking committee was meeting March 19 and 20 to draft a document for sage grouse habitat conservation policy. He said the same process will happen soon within the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

•••

The court voted unanimously to make a revenue line budget correction for Fund 252, Harney County Fair, for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The line was changed from a $26,500 debit to a credit line of $26,500.

The court also passed Resolution #2015-02, adopting and appropriating the supplemental budget for Fund 227, Early Learning Council Hub, as presented at the supplemental budget hearing on Nov. 5, 2014 in the total sum of $428,310.00 for fiscal year 2014-15.

•••

The court reviewed correspondence from:

• The Northeast Oregon Forests Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) Coordinator Jeff Tomac, thanking Grasty for his service as a RAC member. Tomac said his contribution helped the committee accomplish 39 Title II projects in 2014;

• Bill Rosholt, requesting potential names for Local Workforce Investment Board members from Harney County;

• Shane Theall of the Burns Interagency Fire Zone and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, announcing a spring meeting for “county-wide fire cooperators” April 13 to discuss current fire outlook, radio communications, and equipment and personnel status checks, among other subjects;

• The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Burns District office, announcing a Determination of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Adequacy (DNA) for the Kiger and Riddle Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMA) wild horse gather. The letter stated that the proposed action of the DNA is a wild horse helicopter drive gather to re-establish the wild horse populations of the Riddle Mountain and Kiger HMAs to the low end of their respective Appropriate Management Levels (AML). Comments may be submitted to the Burns District office, and must be postmarked by April 10;

• Karen Moon, coordinator for the Harney County Watershed Council, recommending Diane Rapaport for appointment to the “Concerned Citizen-General” position on the council. The court voted unanimously to approve the appointment.

In other business, the court:

• reviewed applications by Duane Grant (4-D Farms/Whitehorse Ranch) and Jerry Miller (Bell A Grazing Co-op) to purchase county-owned Tax Lot No. 1000 and Tax Lot No. 7100, respectively. The court voted unanimously to bring both properties to auction;

• received notice of the Southeast Oregon Symposium on The Arts and Economic Development, to be held in Burns May 19 and 20;

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, April 1, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.


Burns-Hines Kiwanis Club members Deborah Smith (left) and Pauline Braymen help out with last year’s Ronald McDonald House Blitz. (Submitted photo)

Burns-Hines Kiwanis Club members Deborah Smith (left) and Pauline Braymen help out with last year’s Ronald McDonald House Blitz. (Submitted photo)

Many Harney County families rely on Bend lodging

The Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines will hold its annual Ronald McDonald House® Blitz on Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Big R and Ericksons Thriftway Market.  Club members will accept donations and provide information about this charitable program which has benefited so many families in Harney County.

Since the Bend Ronald McDonald House opened in 1997, many families have stayed there while their child was receiving medical care in Bend. From Harney and Grant counties, there have been a total of 219 family stays and a total of 1,352 family nights.  One of the families was there for 74 nights.  Last year alone, 13 Harney County families lodged a total of 153 nights at the House That Love Built™.

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Oregon provides a “home away from home” for families who must travel to Bend seeking medical care for their seriously ill or injured child, age 21 or under, as well as women with high-risk pregnancies who must remain close to emergency medical care.  The house is located on the property of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, because “healing happens together.” A $20 per night room donation is suggested, but no family is ever turned away due to inability to pay, even though it costs Ronald McDonald House $113 per night to provide accommodation.

Of the Harney County families that have stayed there, 31 percent of the children had surgery, 21 percent were hospitalized for respiratory illness, 18 percent were premature births and 9 percent were high-risk pregnancies. The rest of the diagnoses were a variety of illnesses, injuries and accidents.

In 2013, 15 percent of the families served by Ronald McDonald House were from Harney County and 15 percent were from Grant County. Only Deschutes County had a higher percentage of usage.  Overall, the greatest percentages of families that lodge at the Bend Ronald McDonald House have a premature baby receiving treatment in the St. Charles Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The drive to establish a Ronald McDonald House in Bend was spearheaded by the Redmond Kiwanis Club with support from the other Kiwanis clubs in Division 78, which includes Burns-Hines. Last year, $1,000 was raised by Burns-Hines Kiwanians to benefit this facility. Every $113 raised provides a night’s lodging for a family of seven.

Donations may be made at the Blitz Stations at Big R and Ericksons Thriftway Market on Saturday, April 4, or contributions may be mailed to the Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines, P.O. Box 793, Burns, OR 97720. Checks should be made payable to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Oregon, in order to be tax deductible.


Junior Kayla Mims finished third in the javelin for the Mustangs, throwing a distance of 96 feet, 1 inch. (Photos by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

Junior Kayla Mims finished third in the javelin for the Mustangs, throwing a distance of 96 feet, 1 inch. (Photo by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Crane track teams traveled to Harper on Friday, March 20, to compete in the Diana Thurmond Invitational.

The 12-team field was made up of Crane, Harper, Vale, Nyssa, Cove, Imbler, Huntington, Jordan Valley, Joseph, Monument, Powder Valley and Rimrock, Idaho.

Placers for the Crane girls team are as follows:

100m — Savannah Maupin, 6th, 14.27; Sadie O’Toole, 7th, 14.42.

200m — Hannah Maupin, 4th, 27.90.

4×100 relay — Crane (Amanda Casey, S. Maupin, O’Toole, H. Maupin), 3rd, 55.78.

Shot put — Kayla Mims, 2nd, 31-08.75.

Discus — Mims, 6th, 71-01.

Javelin — Mims, 3rd, 96-01.

Pole vault — Casey, 1st, 8-00.00.

Triple jump — S. Maupin, 7th, 27-06.50.

Crane’s Sam Williams opens his season in the discus competition at the Diana Thurmond Memorial meet in Harper. (Photo by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

Crane’s Sam Williams opens his season in the discus competition at the Diana Thurmond Memorial meet in Harper. (Photo by John L. Braese/The Malheur Enterprise)

•••

Placers for the Crane boys team are as follows:

100m — John O’Toole, 3rd, 11.77; Travis Landon, 5th, 11.96.

200m — O’Toole, 1st, 24.24; Bryce Otley, 3rd, 25.05; Landon, 5th, 25.30.

800m — Elijah Epling, 1st, 2:18.48.

1500m — Randy Epling, 7th, 5:11.71.

110m hurdles — David Steeves, 1st, 18.17; Austin Roath, 2nd, 18.30.

300m hurdles — Roath, 1st, 45.20.

4×100 relay — Crane (Jack Bentz, Joseph Valentine, O’Toole, Landon), 3rd, 47.17.

4×400 relay — Crane (Roath, Otley, R. Epling, Dustin Ramge), 3rd, 4:03.45.

Shot put — Valentine, 6th, 35-02.25.

Discus — Bentz, 8th, 85-01.

Javelin — Miles Maupin, 2nd, 119-01; Otley, 3rd, 114-07; Sam Williams, 4th, 114-03, Roath, 8th, 109-04.

High jump — Steeves, 2nd, 5-10.00; R. Epling, 7th, 5-02.00; Ramge, 8th (tie), 5-00.00.

Pole vault — Corey Jenkins, 2nd, 10-00.00.

Long jump — JayJay Balowski, 7th, 17-02.00.

Triple jump — JayJay Balowski, 3rd, 35-00.00; Maupin, 6th, 32-07.00.

On Friday, April 3, the Mustangs compete in the Don Walker Invitational at Nyssa. The meet begins at 1 p.m.


Viola Pease Jennings, 99, longtime resident of Burns, passed away March 7 in the nursing home in Ritzville, Wash.

Viola was born Feb. 4, 1916, to Henry and Ida Pease, and married William (Red) Jennings in 1934. She graduated from Burns Union High School in 1934.

Viola was active in the Catholic Church and a longtime member of the Valley Golf Club. She worked at Safeway and the Hines Post Office.

Viola is survived by her daughter, Sally Jardee of Ritzville, Wash.; son, William Jennings Jr. of Burns; nine grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held March 13.


A funeral service for Marjorie Dunten, 95, will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at Drewsey Community Hall.


Wednesday March 25

Posted on March 25th in Community Calendar

High Desert Park and Recreation District board of directors meets the fourth Wednesday of each month in their office at Ponderosa Village, at 7 p.m.

Harney County Health District board of directors meets the fourth Wednesday of each month in the board conference room of the hospital, in the entrance off N. Grand, at 6 p.m.

Burns City Council meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Burns City Hall, 242 S. Broadway, at 6 p.m.

Storytime for preschoolers is scheduled at the Harney County Library, 80 W. D St., each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Contact the Harney County Library for more information, 541-573 6670.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

ALANON, a support group for friends and families of alcoholics, meets each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns. Please use the back door on the south side of the building. All interested are welcome.


Thursday March 26

Posted on March 25th in Community Calendar

The Harney County Extension Office is sponsoring “Xeriscaping in Harney County,” a class presented by Master Gardener Chris Bates, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the basement meeting room of the Harney County Courthouse.

Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District board of directors meets the fourth Thursday of each month at the USDA Service Center in Hines at 4:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines meets for a no-host luncheon at noon each Thursday at Bella Java, 314 N. Broadway in Burns.

A Women’s AA meeting is held every Thursday at noon at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at noon each Thursday at Hines City Hall, 101 E. Barnes. Call 541-573-2896.

Tai Chi for Better Balance with Diane Rapaport is held each Tuesday and Thursday at Harney County Senior and Community Services Center from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — free.


Friday March 27

Posted on March 25th in Community Calendar

Oregon Old Time Fiddlers, District 9, meets the first, third and fourth Friday of each month. Call Micky, 541-573-2515, for time and place.

A recovery group, “Celebrate Recovery,” meets each Friday at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. The main meeting is held at 6 p.m. and small group sessions are at 7 p.m. For more information, call 541-573-7100.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Friday at Symmetry Care at 5 p.m.


Saturday March 28

Posted on March 25th in Community Calendar

All women artists are invited to celebrate SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day, Saturday, March 28, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center. Share your art with the community! Register by March 26 if you would like to display, sell, or demonstrate your art. Forms are available at the Harney County Library. For more information, contact Kate Marsh, 541-573-7204 or e-mail her at copelandmarsh@centurytel.net. This event is open to the public.


Sunday March 29

Posted on March 25th in Community Calendar

Overeaters Anonymous meets each Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Harney District Hospital Annex (downstairs in cafeteria area).Enter through the cafeteria door on North Grand. For more information, call Susie at 541-589-1522.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church for 12×12 study.


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