Monday, February 2

Posted on January 28th in Community Calendar

Medicare Assistance Program, through the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center is held the first Monday of each month from 1-3 p.m. Call 573-6024 to make an appointment.

Harney County Search and Rescue meets the first Monday of each month at the Harney County Courthouse basement meeting room at 7 p.m.

Masonic Lodge meets the first and third Monday of each month at the Burns Masonic Lodge, 1210 West Taylor, at 7 p.m.

The Burns Lions Club meets each Monday at noon at the Burns Elks Lodge, 118 N. Broadway, for lunch. Those interested in serving the community are welcome.

HDH Sports & Physical Therapy will offer a free athletic injury clinic at that facility, 559 West Washington, every Monday from 5-6 p.m. A physical therapist will assess and treat athletic injuries and provide education for athletes and parents on self management of injuries. For more information, call 573-1543.

Narcotics Anonymous holds an open meeting each Monday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church.

Tuesday, February 3

Posted on January 28th in Community Calendar

PRIDE meets the first Tuesday of each month, at 8 a.m. in the conference room at the Chamber office at 484 N. Broadway.

Medicare D and Health Plan assistance is available on the first Tuesday of each month, from 1-3 p.m., at the Harney County Senior Center. For an appointment, call 573-6024.

Harney Basin Writers meets at the Harney County Library the first and third Tuesdays of each month, from 2-4 p.m.

Harney Hospital Foundation meets the first Tuesday of each month in the Hospital Conference Room at 7 p.m.

Sylvia Rebekah Lodge meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at the I.O.O.F. Hall, 348 North Broadway at 6:30 p.m.

The Chamber Orchestra meets the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Burns High School band room, 1100 Oregon Ave., from 7-8:30 p.m. with Ken Peckham directing.

Harney County Democratic Party meets the first Tuesday of each month at the Harney County Courthouse, 450 North Buena Vista, at 7 p.m.

Tai Chi is held every Tuesday at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. All ages are welcome to participate.

Patient Assist, Needy Med Program trained volunteers will be at the Harney County Senior Center each Tuesday, from 1-4 p.m. For appointments call the Senior Center at 573-6024.

Boy Scout Troop 440, sponsored by the Burns Lion’s Club, meets each Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the LDS Church in Hines. Boys ages 11-18 are welcome to join.

Alcoholics Anonymous holds an open meeting each Tuesday at Foursquare Church, at 7 p.m.

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Newly elected Mayor Len Vohs and councilors Darwin Johnson, Bill Renwick and Dan Hoke were sworn in at the Burns City Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 14.During the Jan. 14 meeting at city hall, Burns City Clerk Dauna Wensenk, right, swears in Burns City Councilors, from left, Darwin Johnson, Dan Hoke and Bill Renwick. New Mayor Len Vohs was also sworn in at the meeting. Outgoing Mayor Laura Van Cleave thanked citizens for the opportunity to serve the city. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Before turning the gavel over to Vohs, outgoing Mayor Laura Van Cleave thanked the citizens and council for the opportunity to serve them and the city and was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

After taking the mayor’s seat, Vohs noted the city is facing a number of tough issues at the present time and, “We have our work cut out for us,” he said.

Melanie Epping, who works with the Harney County Save A Stray Rescue program, was present to ask the council to waive the $14 impound fee they have to pay the city for each dog they take custody of from the Harney County Veterinary Clinic. Epping told the council that at the present time, the fees are coming “out-of-pocket” and, “While it doesn’t seem like much, it adds up,” she said. She added that so far, they have found new homes for approximately 30 dogs that were impounded.

Epping said that the city wouldn’t really be losing any money because if the program doesn’t rescue the dog(s), they will be euthanized and the city won’t see the $14 fee anyway.

Councilor Linda Johnson, who attended the meeting by phone, pointed out that the city  has to pay the clinic an impound fee for every dog that’s picked up, and the $14 fee does make a difference in the city’s budget.

Councilor Craig LaFollette said he would support waiving the fee because the volunteers of the rescue program are providing a valuable service to the city by taking care of the animals and finding out-of-town homes for them.

After some discussion, the council agreed to look at the figures a little more closely and hopefully have a decision by their next meeting.
The council then reviewed the lack of funding for the Burns Police Department’s office manager position. Interim City Manager Bill Guindon told the council that if the position is funded at current levels for salary and benefits, there will be a shortfall of more than $7,500 by the end of the fiscal year. Guindon presented several options for the council to examine, which included cutting the position back to either 30 or 20 hours a week.

Police Chief Randy Cook told the council the position is important to the department  in areas of paperwork and evidence, as well as allowing other officers to spend more time on patrol. “I want the 40 hours. The position is critical to our operation,” Cook said. “We have an experienced person in that position, the paperwork stays current, and he is an excellent resource for the other officers. We have a responsibility to the public, and I’d challenge you to find the funds.”

Councilor Johnson said she would like to keep the position at 40 hours, but the big issue is budgetary. “We’re supposed to be financially responsible to our constituents, and we don’t have the money,” she said. “Chief Cook and Bill (Guindon) have crunched the numbers and the money isn’t there in the police budget, and we can’t keep taking money out of the contingency fund.” Johnson suggested cutting the position back to 20 hours until the next budget cycle and then fully fund it at that time because it is important.

Vohs said because it’s a matter of public safety, the city may just have to “bite the bullet” and come up with the funds somehow. “The position was originally to have been funded at $38,000, but  that amount was reduced to $29,000 in the budget,” Vohs said. “People tweak the budget, and the council’s not aware of it.”

Councilor Bill Renwick said he felt it was a management matter and that Guindon should work with Chief Cook to see if they can find the funds to keep it at 40 hours. “It is important, so see what you can do,” Renwick said.

Councilor Dan Hoke reported the search committee for a new city manager had received 15 applications for the position.  Of the 15, five were from the local area, three from around the state and seven from the western half of the country. Seven of the applicants were interviewed by the committee, resulting in a short list of four applicants.

Hoke said two of the four lived out of the area, and he wanted to know about reimbursement for travel for those two so they could attend face-to-face interviews. After some discussion, a motion was made to reimburse the applicants’ travel expenses within reason, and the motion passed unanimously.

Hoke said that once background and reference checks were completed, the committee would begin to schedule interviews.
In other business, the council:

• approved a cardroom at the Pine Room application for Wes R. Bilyeu;

• approved an amendment to the agreement with RCC Atlantic/Verizon for rental space on the water tower behind Slater Elementary School. The amendment provides additional rental space on the water tower at a fee of $300 per month.

• voted to pay invoices to Steve Finlayson in the amount $3,501.24, and to Morrison-Maierle, Inc. in the amount of $6,918.05;

• was invited to attend the Robert Burns Night on Saturday, Jan. 31, at Burns Elks Lodge;

• commended the public works crew for the job they did on removing snow from the city streets.

The next city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Burns City Hall.

Surprise announcement came at end of January meeting

By Lauren Brown
Burns Times-Herald

Harney County School District No. 3 Board Member Bill Cheek abruptly resigned at the end of the January board meeting.

“Due to the way everything’s going here,” said Cheek, apparently frustrated with the board and the district’s recent budget struggles, “I’m resigning tonight. I’m done.” He went on to say that for the past few months, each board meeting has been one wreck after another.

Board Chairman Gordon Mallon asked Cheek whether he wanted more time to think his decision over.

“That’s my final answer,” Cheek said.

Mallon suggested that the district advertise the board vacancy.

Earlier in the meeting, another rather heated exchange took place when issues regarding the recently created Silvies River Web Academy were brought up.

Superintendent David Courtney said that he visited the charter school headquarters in Clackamas and found out that there is a way the district can keep 100 percent of the money from out of district students who sign up to be in the Silvies River Web Academy.

The district receives a certain amount of money from the state for each student enrolled in the charter school. However, for each out of district student a portion of that money must be sent back to the student’s home district.

Courtney said that there is a legal way for the district to get out of having to send money back to other districts, which involves the district contracting with the charter school. In all it could net the district an extra $59,000.

He mentioned that he had run the idea by Phyllis Guile, Director of the Oregon Department of Education, and she cautioned against the idea because it could create animosity between districts.

Audience member Tim Colahan said he couldn’t believe the board was actually considering the idea. “I don’t understand why you would do this,” he said to Board Chairman Mallon. “Why would you consider doing this — trying to circumvent the law?”

Mallon compared the situation to paying taxes. It is common for people to try to find  more deductions to reduce the amount they have to pay. He also suggested that there was nothing wrong in gathering information. “I seriously, honestly do not see a problem with getting all the information before making a decision,” Mallon said.

In other business:

• Superintendent Courtney said that Steens Mountain Academy has been closed but should re-open in February. This is the reason for the drop in student population in the past few months;

• the recent economic stimulus package introduced by President Barack Obama could send about $204,000 to Harney County School District No. 3.  The only stipulation is that it must be used for school facility projects. Courtney suggested that it could be used to put a new pellet fuel boiler in Slater Elementary School;

• Business Manager Petrina White said the district hopes to have the Hines Middle School gym fixed within two months. The district has yet to find out whether its insurance company will cover the cost of the repair. Hines students and staff have been unable to use the gym for the last few months because of a portion of the roof that is in danger of caving in.

White noted that if insurance won’t pay for the fix, the district may use bond money that was supposed to be spent on replacing the windows at Burns High School;

• the newly created finance committee met to discuss the district’s current financial crisis. Chairman Randy Fulton said they are looking at ways to generate revenue and have talked about establishing some foundations. He also said that at the present time, the district is projected to have an ending fund balance of $130,000, which he said is good news;

• Bond Project Manager Bill Renwick updated the board on the new boiler that is scheduled to be installed at the high school. Right now they are waiting for the plans to arrive, and once they do (within the next two weeks), he believes district staff should be able to do a majority of the installation;

• the board discussed the findings from the Chalkboard Project, an independent evaluation of the district. Some suggestions were to institute a new teacher mentoring program, standardize teacher evaluations, develop an administrator salary schedule, update buildings with new paint and document training of teachers and staff;

• the board approved an easement for Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative so that they can run a wire to the tennis courts;
• the board approved the hiring of Miranda Thissell as a volunteer girls basketball coach for Hines Middle School;

• the board discussed policy updates regarding transportation, family medical leave, alternative education programs, academic achievement, graduation requirements and the removal of CIM/CAM references;

• the board discussed the  possibility of sending out a community newsletter. While Board Member Randy Parks said he thought a newsletter would be a waste of resources, Chairman Mallon said it wouldn’t hurt to find out about the cost of doing so;

• the board discussed The Good Search, an Internet search engine that generates money for charities. An account for Harney County School District No. 3 has been created and as already generated more than $50 for the school. Hines Principal Gail Buermann suggested that the district make that its home page for every computer within the district.

The next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Lincoln Administration building.

Zabala racks up  a pair of double-doubles in victories

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Burns girls varsity basketball team opened up Eastern Oregon League (EOL) play with wins over Nyssa and Vale on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16-17.The Hilanders� Brea Ribeiro races down court ahead of Nyssa�s Amanda Bittinger. (Photo by RUTHIE'S IN HIS IMAGE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Mattea Zabala recorded a double-double in Burns’ 38-28 win over Vale on Saturday, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Jamie Higle added nine points for Burns, Courtney Toney seven, Brea Ribeiro six, Ashley Schouviller and Taylor Lee two apiece.

Brook Hawkins led the Vikings with nine points.

After falling behind 8-6 in the first quarter, the Hilanders outscored Vale 30-14 over the next two quarters to build a comfortable lead heading in to the final eight minutes.

The Hilander defense was also on their game, coming up with 19 steals in the win.

1    2    3    4   Final
Val      8    7    7     6     28
Bur     6   15  15    2     38

Burns coach Alice Herauf likes the saying, “Offense puts fans in the stands, but defense wins games.” The Hilander defense was never more evident than in the first half of Burns 54-25 win over Nyssa on Friday, Jan. 16.

After the Bulldogs’ Amanda Bittinger hit her second 3-pointer to put her team up 6-4 midway through the first quarter, the Hilander defense clamped down and didn’t allow another point in the first half as Burns went on a 29-0 run for a 33-6 halftime lead.

The two teams were pretty even throughout the second half, but the damage had already been done as Burns came away with the decisive win.

Zabala finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds to finish with another double-double. Higle dropped in nine points, Lee eight, Toney seven, Ribeiro five, Schouviller four, Chelsea Siegner three and Teri McConnell two.

Victoria Rodriguez came off the bench to score nine points to lead Nyssa in scoring and Bittinger finished with eight.

1    2    3    4   Final
Nys      6    0    5   14     25
Bur     17  16    7   14     54

In the JV game, Burns topped Nyssa 62-35.

Burns will be home for two (EOL) games this weekend, hosting Umatilla on Friday, Jan. 23, and Riverside Saturday, Jan. 24.

Dorothy Sutton — 1918-2009

Posted on January 21st in Obituaries

Dorothy Clarice Bergsbaken Sutton, 90, died on Jan. 14.

She was born on April 24, 1918, to Arthur Oswald and Edna Belle Erb Bergsbaken, in Pulaski, Wisc.obit-sutton.jpg

In 1947, she married Jerol J. Sutton, in Vancouver, Wash. The couple had two sons, born in Portland, before they moved to Bend and then to Burns in 1951.

Sutton was a school teacher in Wisconsin before coming to Oregon; so, after working in the restaurant business with her husband for a few years, she went back to college in La Grande and got her Oregon teaching certificate. She taught third grade at Washington School from 1961-1981.

Sutton was a member of the First Lutheran Church of Burns, faithfully attending all of the years she lived in Burns.

Sutton is survived by her sons, James and Arthur; sisters, Donna of Appleton, Wisc., and Phyllis of Portland.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Jerol.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Contributions in Sutton’s memory may be made to the First Lutheran Church, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

Wilfred Ruecker — 1917-2008

Posted on January 21st in Obituaries

Wilfred Ruecker died on Dec. 4 in Battle Mountain, Nev.

He was born on Oct. 10, 1917, in Salem.

Ruecker went to school in Salem through high school, graduating in 1935. One of his high school friends sold him a saddle for $3. The next day his dad made him take it back, and this is when he decided he wanted to be a cowboy.

In 1935, he moved to Prineville with two wool blankets, two pair of Sears & Roebuck overalls, a pair of work shoes, a 33 single shot and a .22 rifle. Ruecker worked on Charley Houston’s ranch, and at the White Horse Ranch in Harney County until he was drafted into the U.S. Army.

He spent his service time in England. After the war, he went to work on ranches in Nevada and Oregon, including Oregon Canyon Ranch for the Echave family, Dick Jenkins and the Otley Brothers. After leaving the Jenkins’ ranch, he moved to Winnemucca, Nev., to work for Buzz and Jean McDonald in the service station business.

Ruecker retired in 2002. After retirement he made bucking rolls and chinks. He also enjoyed going to the senior center and writing letters to his friends.

He was a lifetime member of the NRA, and was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Winnemucca and Bend.

Ruecker is survived by his brothers, Curtis Ruecker and Kenny Ruecker; his sister-in-laws; and several nieces and nephews.

Wednesday, January 21

Posted on January 21st in Community Calendar

Harney Partners for Kids and Families meets on the third Wednesday of each month at noon, at Glory Days Pizza. Lunch is provided, please RSVP to Michelle Bradach, president, at

Babe Ruth meets the third Wednesday of each month in the courthouse basement meeting room, 450 North Buena Vista, at 7 p.m.

Oregon Hunters Association is for all hunters, whether rifle, bow, shotgun, muzzle loader or other. The local chapter meets at Linda’s Thai Room, the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m and is followed by a board meeting.

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

Burns Fire Dept. meets each Wednesday at the Burns Fire Hall at 7 p.m.

Burns Elks Lodge, 118 North Broadway, meets each Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Wednesday at the Foursquare Church at 7 p.m.

Thursday, January 22

Posted on January 21st in Community Calendar

Disabled Services Advisory Council (DSAC) meets every fourth Thursday at the State Office Building small conference room, 809 West Jackson, at 1:30 p.m.

Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District board of directors meets the fourth Thursday of each month at the Rory and Ryan Best Western in Hines from 5-7:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

The Prescription Assistance program through the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center is held each Thursday, from 1-3 p.m. Call Selena Westlake at 573-6024 to make an appointment.

Chamber Music Bell Choir meets each Thursday at 6:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 393 West A. St. Bell ringers are being recruited. For information, call Carol Sawyer, 573-6886.

Tai Chi is held every Thursday at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. All ages are welcome to participate.

Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines meets for a no-host luncheon each Thursday at Glory Days Pizza, 690 Oregon Avenue, at noon.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets each Thursday at Hines City Hall, 101 East Barnes, at 11 a.m. Call 573-2896.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Thursday at the Foursquare Church, at 7 p.m.

Friday, January 23

Posted on January 21st in Community Calendar

The Boys & Girls Club presents People in Uniform the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, from 1-2:30 p.m. Professionals from around Harney County come give kids a peek into their profession.

Oregon Old Time Fiddlers, District 9, meets the first, third and fourth Friday of each month. Call Julia at 573-2770, for time and place.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Friday at Foursquare Church at 7 p.m.

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Sex Offenders

For a list of sex offenders in your area, call the Oregon State Police sex offenders hotline 503-378-3720