Lions celebrate 70 years

Posted on March 28th in Feature Story

The Burns Lions Club poses for a photo with their collection of canned food after a drive in 1962. The club will have a 70th anniversary celebration on Saturday at the Harney County Community Center. (Submitted photo.)

A special dinner will be held on March 31 at the community center

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Burns Lions Club will mark their 70th anniversary this Saturday, March 31, with a special dinner and celebration at the Harney County Community Center.

George Sahlberg, Burns Lions president and secretary, noted that several dignitaries are expected to attend the event including past International Director Dennis Tichenor, District Governor Jim Stagl and Chairman of the Council of Governors Richard Smith.

Lions Clubs International began in Chicago in 1917 and has grown to include about 1.5 million members worldwide.

According to a history provided by Sahlberg:

The Burns Lions Club got its start in 1942 when a den of 30 charter members, mothered by the Bend Lions, and sired by a desire of local men to assist their community in future improvements and to make lives of Harney County residents more enjoyable and rewarding, helped it become a reality.

The 30 cubs became full-fledged Lions on May 9, 1942, when a Charter was officially presented by District Governor Angus Gibson of Junction City at a meeting in the Arrowhead Hotel.

Wallace Welcome was named the first president, with M.E. Quier first vice president and Arthur Beckwith second vice president. Other charter officers included Raymond Voegtly, secretary/treasurer; Douglas Mullarkey, lion tamer; Orville Corbett, tail twister; and four directors, Cleve Bennett, Perry Elsmore, Dr. John Weare and Robert Carlson.

The first year, the club launched support of a Cub Scout program, sparked a war bond drive, and when tooth care became a community concern, brought an educational puppet show designed to promote better care of teeth to local schools.

By 1943, the Burns Lions Club was sponsoring talent shows and a Fourth of July fireworks show, backing the continuing war bond drives, and staging a drive for funds to combat polio. It was also the Burns Lions who went to the gasoline rationing board during that war year and secured gas to provide transportation for the high school athletic teams to nearby cities. This provided encouragement and moral support to young athletes, and provided much needed entertainment for the public when such entertainment had all but ceased under the restrictions of war.

• In 1949 and 1950, almost half the cost of the high school’s new piano was raised by the club at a cost of $1,450, a 4-H scholarship was given, a swim meet backed and a milk program for high school students was pushed.

• In 1951, the club launched a program to light the athletic field that later bore results.

• Starting in 1953, the Lions brought circuses to town annually for several years to raise funds for benevolent purposes.

• The year 1961 saw two memorable events etched into club records. The popular birthday calendar project was originated locally and the Lions brought to Burns the now nationally famous YMCA circus of youths from Wenatchee, Wash.

• In 1965, Hank Dickerson of the Burns club was elected district governor (DG) of District 36-G.

• From 1968-1970, the Lions led an effort to install a new electric scoreboard at Veterans Memorial Field; sponsored food drives, boxing matches, athletic banquets and team roping; and initiated a scholarship program. Al Starns was also elected DG of Multiple District 36-G, becoming only the second DG from the Burns club.

• In 1972, projects included their annual orange sale, lightbulb sales and ballpoint pen sales. They sponsored a trip to Hawaii for the Hilander Stage Band, the world’s largest team roping event and basketball tournaments.

•In 1979, they sponsored Girl Scout Camp, Miss Harney County to the Miss Oregon pageant and wood cutting for senior citizens; contributed to a new scoreboard at the high school; and awarded two $600 scholarships.

• From 1980 to 1983, the scholarship program continued with $500 to $600 awarded to two students each year.

Current Burns Lions Club President/Secretary George Sahlberg hands out flags as part of a tradition that started in 1986.

The club helped fund the struggling meal program at the senior center, started the Demolition Derby and Tractor Pull, sponsored basketball tournaments and celebrated the club’s 40th anniversary.

• In 1984, enough money was in the scholarship fund to grant three $500 scholarships and a year later, they increased that to five $500 scholarships. They built tree stands on main street, helped the swim team and Little League and sponsored their first eye surgery patient at Devers in Portland. In 1986, flags were distributed to first-graders, and this continues to be an annual program.

• From 1987 to 1992, the club was involved in Little League, Youth Exchange, Girl Scouts, fireworks, the waterfowl festival and many other projects. Scholarships totaling $91,200 were awarded in 1990-1992 and the scholarship fund was up to $527,203.62.

• From 1993 to 1998, the club assisted with tree planting on the Burns Paiute Reservation, helped with an all-weather track at the high school, began the fly-in breakfast at the airport, supported the Canines in Coats project, helped raise funds for the giant community flag, re-established the Lions Invitational track meet and awarded $232,800 in scholarships.

• In 1999, Sahlberg was elected DG of District G, the third DG to be elected from Burns.
As in years past, the local club, now with 55 members, continues with fund raisers and regular projects, including hosting the Mobile Screening Unit.

Since 2000, the Burns Lions have contributed to many community projects and improvements, health screenings at the schools and various projects, and they continue awarding scholarships, including $99,600 given in 2011.

Tribal council member Jody Richards, far right, along with Trustin Snap and Lane Hawley perform the ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new Tu-wa-kii-nobi Burns Paiute Youth Center on March 2. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Celebration kicked off with ribbon cutting on March 2

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Brimming with excitement, the Burns Paiute Tribe officially opened their new youth center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, March 2.

Following a blessing by Ermon Smartt, Tribal Council member Jody Richards, along with youths Trustin Snapp and Lane Hawley, had the honor of snipping the ribbon.

The facility, known as Tu-wa-kii-nobi or “Kid’s House,” is the culmination of several years’ work by tribal and community members.

Tribal Social Services Director Michelle Bradach said they had received a three-year grant in the amount of $297,000 last October and that helped the youth center become a reality. The grant came through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program.

With funding in hand, the Tribal Council then donated the double-wide trailer they had been using as offices, and the re-modeling began.

“We had been dreaming of having a place like this for the kids for several years, along with a gym, and now we have it. The gym is still on the wish list,” Bradach said. “This provides a place for kids to go, gives them something to do and also involves the entire community.”

Tu-wa-kii-nobi is outfitted with a computer lab, video games, craft supplies, ping-pong tables and other toys for kids of all ages.

Bradach added that the center will feature a four-pronged approach involving kids and the community, including a tutoring program, cultural activities, a physical component and language.

Youth Services Coordinator Elise Adams noted that activities at the center would emphasize  Paiute traditions, culture and language. “It’s TLC,” she laughed. “Not only ‘tender, loving care, but also ‘tradition, language and culture.’ ”

Adams said the activities, many in collaboration with the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, are meant to boost the youths’ self-esteem as well as retain the life skills and pride of the Paiute tribe. “And it’s a safe place for the kids, with a positive feeling,” she said.

While Tu-wa-kii-nobi is primarily for the youth, the facility can also be used by the community for activities and events, such as movie nights, language classes and cultural activities. “It can really help unify the community by bringing everyone together in one place,” Bradach said.

Cheyanne First-Raised, 13, said she was looking forward to having a place to hang out with friends as well as a place to play sports.

“We have so much support and everything has just come together really well,” Adams said. “It’s exciting.”

“The Malheur refuge is one community partner and we are looking for more,” Bradach said. “If any programs are interested in collaborating with us, please contact Elise Adams at 541-573-1572.”

Let it snow

Posted on December 28th in Feature Story,News

The Harney County Snowmobile Club expects about 300 enthusiasts to attend the annual Oregon State Snowmobile Association convention, which will be held at the Harney County Fairgrounds. (Photo by SHELBY LYN/RIVERS EDGE PHOTOGRAPHY)

In January, snowmobilers from all over the state will converge in Harney County to celebrate the OSSA’s 40th anniversary

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Over the hills and through the woods…

Thanks to the efforts of the Harney County Snowmobile Club, the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA) will be holding their 40th anniversary celebration in Harney County this coming January.

Local club president Darrell Williams stated that the OSSA holds their convention in a different spot around the state, and this year the Harney County club won the bid.

Williams said they are expecting around 300 snowmobile enthusiasts to attend the week-long event.

Jan. 16-19, there will be organized rides to designated areas (depending on the snow) and nightly get-togethers at local establishments.

The convention itself will begin at 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 20, with registration and exhibits at the Harney County Fairgrounds.

Registration is $33, $12 for kids 12 and under, and that includes a free pizza party Friday night and a buffet dinner Saturday night. Breakfast and lunch will be available on Saturday at an additional cost.

A safety seminar for snowmobile certification for those 18 and under will be held at 1 p.m. Friday.

The event will also include live and silent auctions, drawings, contests, vendors and prizes.

Williams pointed out that a portion of the money raised from the event will go toward legal fees incurred to those fighting to keep trails open for snowmobilers.

Club membership
Williams said that the convention is open to everyone, and the Harney County club is accepting new members at this time. The club encourages everybody to not only attend the convention, but sign up and become a member if you love the sport of snowmobiling.

In order to be a member in the Harney County Snowmobile Club, you also have to be a member of the Oregon State Snowmobilers Association, so new members would sign up for both organizations at the same time.

For those wondering what the OSSA is all about, Williams provided the following information:

The Oregon State Snowmobile Association is an organization of individuals, snowmobile clubs and businesses working together to preserve, protect and enhance the sport of snowmobiling. OSSA was formed in 1972 by a small group of snowmobilers concerned about the sport. The association saw a need for better, safer and more scenic trails, and recognized the public demand for a better trail system.

OSSA has grown to 30 snowmobile clubs, 25 of which are grooming clubs. OSSA manages the grooming program under agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and in cooperation with local snowmobile clubs. Last season dedicated snowmobilers volunteered more than 28,000 hours maintaining a 6,000-mile trail system. The groomer operators logged more than 31,000 miles of groomed trails. All clubs participate in trail clearing and trail maintenance. Oregon’s snowmobile program is recognized throughout North America as a model of volunteer accomplishment.

OSSA snowmobilers participate in many diverse activities. An organization they are proud to be involved with is the Candlelighters. OSSA contributes to a co-op law-enforcement program with eight county sheriff’s departments. Safety Certification classes are scheduled throughout the state to promote safe snowmobiling. Snowmobilers build snow shelters for the enjoyment of all winter recreationists, and provide representation for legislative issues at the state and national level. OSSA promotes safe, responsible snowmobiling and proper recreational land use.

According to OSSA, thousands of acres of prime snowmobiling are lost to “wilderness” designation.  The support and vigilance of all snowmobilers is needed to stop this growing expansion.

Registration forms are available online at, at Burns Garage, or by calling Mike Choate at 541-573-6598, or Williams at 541-589-0187.

Charley and Maryanna Otley, the Grand Marshals for the 2012 Harney County Fair, were introduced during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party on Dec. 11.

Theme will be ‘Cowboys Galore and a Whole Lot More’

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Charley and Maryanna Otley were introduced as the Grand Marshals for the 2012 Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party hosted by the fair board on Sunday, Dec. 11.

Kiely Banton, the 2012 Fair Queen, was also in attendance to address the crowd.

The crowd was asked to vote for their favorite fair theme for next year, and the winning theme, out of the five presented, was “Cowboys Galore and a Whole Lot More!”

In addition, Robert Cargill was presented with a belt buckle for serving on the fair board for more than 30 years.

Fair Manager Don Slone emceed the event and presented the 2011 fair report. Statistics for last year’s fair are as follows:

228 adults entered 1212 Open Class exhibits.
148 youth entered 454 Open Class exhibits.
182 4-H and FFA youth entered 5,337 exhibits.
(All numbers are up from 2010.)

Kiely Banton, the 2012 Fair Queen, also attended the party.

Fairgrounds events
There were 105 youth events with 8,215 people attending. (This is one more youth event, but 2,607 less people than in 2010.)
There were 170 public events with 20,088 attending. (This is seven more events and 368 less people attending.)
There were 64 private events with 4,449 people attending. (This is 10 more events and 187 less people attending.)
There was a total of 340 events with 32,752 people attending. (That’s 19 more events and 3,162 less people attending than in 2010.)

There were 672 volunteers and sponsors working directly for the fair board in 2011, an increase of 78 more volunteers than in 2010.
Estimated hours by the volunteers were 12,752 or the equivalent of 6.35 full time employees.
At minimum wage, the volunteer hours would cost $113,009.

Financial statistics
The expense of the 2011 fair was $175,000.
The income of the 2011 fair was $174,000.
The estimated gross dollars earned by 32 community organizations during the fair is $297,106, or $63,980 more than in 2010.
The 4-H and FFA auction alone grossed $172,486, or $1,500 less than in 2010.
The estimated gross dollars generated by community organizations at the fairgrounds during the off season was $108,978, or $12,675 less than in 2010.
The economic impact of the fair to Harney County is $1.312 million, or 7.5 times the fair revenue. (Economists say on average, money rolls over 7.5 times.)

A dream come true

Posted on December 7th in Feature Story

Pastor Mike Schnitker stands in front of the Crane Fellowship’s new building, which has taken a few miracles and some hard work to become a reality. (Photo by DEBBIE RANEY)

Crane congregation works to make new building a reality

By Debbie Raney
Burns Times-Herald

Seeing a dream or a vision come to life can sometimes take a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And, according to Pastor Mike Schnitker of Crane, it sometimes can take a miracle or two.

Six years ago the congregation of the Crane Fellowship was holding services in the multi-purpose room at the Crane school. Though this set-up was handy and adequate, Schnitker said that the fellowship wanted to have their own space, somewhere that would be their own.

The first step in building their own church was finding land. Schnitker said this became the first challenge the congregation would face. When looking for property to purchase, they learned the lots in Crane are all 25-feet wide by 150-feet long, and very seldom were two neighboring lots owned by the same people.

It took a lot of phone calls and a lot of searching, but after over a year, the fellowship had five connecting lots available for purchase. Well, almost connecting. For some odd reason, there was a 5-foot strip of land between the lots that belonged to another individual — eventually, the congregation bought this strip as well, and the plans to build a church could proceed.

However, the land purchase had taken every cent the fellowship had saved. The next stages would have to be put on hold until more funds were raised. This, said Schnitker, is when miracles began to happen.
“Money just started coming in,” he said. “And people began to offer help.”

The congregation soon found they had enough money to drill a well. And then, there was enough funds to hire an architect. And then, enough to put in a septic system. The dream of having their own church was slowly becoming a reality for the Crane Fellowship.

Generosity continued to flow as the church started the building process. The congregation was offered the expertise of local building contractor Joe Davis, free of charge. A congregation of Mennonites from the Albany area made numerous trips to Crane to help with the construction, the rock work on the porch was donated and $5,000 worth of hand-made cabinets were donated for the kitchen — Schnitker said the generosity shown to the Crane Fellowship was inspirational and miraculous.

Because of this generosity, the fellowship was able to pay for the building as it was completed. “It’s incredible,” said Schnitker. “This is a $250,000 to $275,000 building and we don’t owe a dime. For a congregation of 40 people, that would have been a huge debt load.”

The Crane Fellowship soon found that the giving nature of their community didn’t end with construction. Chairs, a piano, kitchen appliances, pews and many other items were given to the church by individuals, as well as other churches. Schnitker said the church chairs are Mennonite and Pentecostal, the pews are Pentecostal and Nazarene and the tables are Baptist — truly a non-denominational church.

The design
When the members of the Crane Fellowship first met with an architect, Schnitker said they didn’t have an exact design in mind, but they knew exactly what they wanted: a design that focused on family. And a building that felt like “you were going home” when you entered.

The completed building meets this criteria. From the covered porch entrance, to the gathering room that is  planned for just inside the front door, the church is family-friendly. Although the main room is generally full of chairs, pews, pulpit and piano, it can easily be turned into a basketball court or other game area — no piece of furniture is permanently attached. The overhead lights are even covered with ball guards. Rather than lay carpet or install tile, the congregation left the floor as cement — Schnitker said this allows for easy cleanup.

A nursery was built near the back of the congregation area, but again the design stayed with a family-friendly atmosphere. Rather than segregate the children completely away from their parents, a window between the two rooms allows a constant visual connection.

The future
As funding allows, the Crane Fellowship has plans to finish a few more of the inside details of their church, including the possibility of  hanging a juniper wood cross above the pulpit. They also hope to create more parking space and landscape their lot.

But Schnitker said one of the projects he most looks forward to completing is getting a metal “Crane Fellowship” sign put up in the church yard. The letters were made and gifted to Schnitker from his father, who passed away earlier this fall.

The Crane Fellowship has been holding services in their new church for over a month now, and Schnitker said he has witnessed how the past six years have affected the congregation. “Building this church touched a lot of lives,” he said. “I’ve seen people’s faith grow.”

Sunday school classes are held at 4:45 p.m. and service begins at 6 p.m. each Sunday. Like everything else in the Crane Fellowship, the service times were set with family in mind. The majority of the congregation comes from the agriculture community, and Schnitker said the evening service time allows parishioners to feed their cattle, change their irrigation and bring their high school-age kids to the Crane dormitory.

In addition to regular services, the youth group Young Life meets at the church, and a Christmas Eve service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 24.

Fashion forward

Posted on November 30th in Feature Story

Burns High School junior Sheyanne Root made a dream come true when she was

Sheyanne Root poses for a photo outside a limo during her trip to New York City to attend the Teen Vogue Fashion University. (Submitted photo.)

accepted to attend the Teen Vogue Fashion University in the Big Apple.

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times-Herald

Sheyanne Root is a junior at Burns High School, and has been interested in fashion design since she was 13.

She said she loved reading Teen Vogue Fashion design magazines, and each year she read about a contest that offers a chance to attend a seminar at Teen Vogue Fashion University in New York.

Root dreamed that some day she would be able to go to New York and attend this University. This last year she entered three fashions  she had designed, answered the essay questions and sent it in.

She said she had forgotten about entering for awhile, and didn’t check her junk emails very often. One day she checked them and there was an email saying she had been chosen as a winner.

Root said there were between 2,000 and 3,000 people from around the world, ages 16 to 24, who had applied, and only 200 new applicants were chosen.

On Oct. 21, Root got to make one of her dreams come true, when she, her mom, her aunt and her mom’s best friend all flew to New York.

To begin her week, Root said she went to a kick-off party event, which was held at an H&M Store (a high-end fashion store). She said the kick-off party had music, DJs, discounts and a photo event.

The next day, Root went to the Hudson Theater to register for the event and  received a lace sports bag full of gifts from her sponsors, as well as a signed letter from the editor of Teen Vogue. She was very excited to see that the keynote speaker for the kick-off was Michael Kors, one of her favorite designers.

The next day she started  her classes at the Conde Nast. Her first class was with ABC Family, talking with the star of a show which will begin airing in January, called Jane by Design. She also met the actress and her stylist.

She also heard from the  Beauty Editor from Teen Vogue, and participated in a makeup class from Make Up For Ever with Jessie Powers. She said their were about 30 people in each class, and all together 500 people were attending the university.

There were a lot of classes to choose from and Root really wanted to attend a class with her favorite designer, Betsey Johnson, but the class was full and Root said it turned out Johnson had a class next door to one of Root’s classes, so she did get to see her.

Root was in New York for five days and said the majority of the time she was by herself, and she loved it. New York does not scare her and this was her second time in the city.

Root received a Teen Vogue Fashion University diploma at the end of her classes. She plans to apply and go back next year, as students can keep attending this university until they are 24. She said she loved her experience on the trip, and made two new really good friends — one from Polland and one from New Jersey.

After graduating from high school, Root plans to attend Brigham Young University,  for her pre-requisite classes, and then she would love to attend Parsons New School For Design in New York and become a fashion designer or marketing merchandiser.

History project

Posted on November 23rd in Feature Story

Input from citizens welcome on design

Photo courtesty HARNEY COUNTY LIBRARY The Arrowhead Hotel played a significant role in Burns’ history. Plans to create a plaza on the lot where the hotel was located are underway by the HCOT.

Creating a Plaza in downtown Burns is the newest project being undertaken by the Harney County Opportunity Team (HCOT).

In July, the former Arrowhead lot owned by Bill and Ulaberl Allen, was generously donated to the HCOT.  This was the foundation for fulfilling a dream of the HCOT to provide a downtown Plaza for the community. According to Linda Johnson, HCOT’s desire is to create an attractive respite, where local citizens can stop and take a break when downtown shopping, a rest stop for visitors and a venue for community events.

The plaza, which will be known as the Arrowhead Plaza in recognition of the historical significance of the site, will be located across the street from the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. This will provide easy access to maps and information about the area, enticing visitors to stay a little longer or, perhaps, to plan a return visit to Harney County.

The Arrowhead Hotel, originally located on the vacant property at the corner of East A and Broadway, was built in 1914 by Henry (Hank) Levens, a rancher who at one time, served as Harney County Judge. The building, when it was constructed, housed a theatre, the Welcome Drug Store, a Chinese restaurant and a tailor shop on the balcony.

In 1934, Grover Jameson, D. C. Jordan and Daniel P. Jordan bought out Levens.  Daniel P. Jordan built the frame and mounted Grover Jameson’s impressive arrowhead collection for display, and the Levens building became the Arrowhead.  Don Casey purchased the property in 1945.
The building underwent many changes, with additions and remodeling taking place periodically.  A 100-foot x 50-foot annex was constructed to the rear of the original building in late 1938, connected with the second-floor guest rooms. Built of native stone, the Arrowhead was a handsome example of the early 1900s architecture.

However, as the years progressed and habits changed, the hotel’s usefulness as a hostelry decreased until the hotel portion closed. The cost of keeping it going had made it decidedly unprofitable, although the restaurant and lounge were still doing well, increasing in gross revenue each year, according to Van Wilson, who was the manager of the Arrowhead in 1973.

In 1973, a devastating fire destroyed almost the entire structure. Rather than rebuild, the stone walls were torn down and it has remained a vacant lot since that time. (This historical information was provided by Jan Cupernall, the Historical Society and the Harney County Library.)

Several ideas have been discussed for the design of the Arrowhead Plaza, including a small amphitheater at the east end for music events and educational and scientific lectures.

Creating a place for a permanent community Christmas tree has also been a topic of discussion. HCOT is also determining how they can utilize the Arrowhead Plaza to depict the county’s western culture and heritage.

However, the first step in the process is to obtain a conceptual design or architectural drawings. Detailed drawings are necessary for discussions with individual donors and particularly, for foundations.  The design will also provide HCOT with the information necessary in determining the actual cost of the project. HCOT is working with the Architecture Foundation of Oregon and others on a design for the Arrowhead lot.

Anyone who has knowledge of a design from past groups or individuals relating to the Arrowhead lot, is asked to contact HCOT. Once the design phase is complete, the fund raising will commence, with construction starting after all necessary funds have been raised.
The HCOT said, “Your support of the Arrowhead Plaza is essential to the success of the project.”

All donations are tax deductible as a charitable contribution. A donation form is available on the HCOT website, that can be filled out and mailed to HCOT. Go to and click on the HCOT link on the far right-hand side of the page — this will take you to the HCOT web page — the donation link is near the bottom of that page. Donations can also be dropped off at the HCOT office, located in the Chamber of Commerce at 484 N. Broadway.

For more information on this project, contact any of the following HCOT board members: Peggy Asmussen, Fred Flippence, Bill Wilber, Bill Renwick or Joyce Moser.

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After growing and dispersing more than 1,600 pounds of produce, the first year of the Community Garden project would have to be called a success.
Community in Action Program Manager Peggy Yarbor said she and a number of volunteers began setting up the garden in the fall last year, but the early snowfall cut their work short.

Undeterred, the group broke ground this past spring, staking out plots, installing a watering system, weeding and planting vegetables. Volunteers put in more than 750 hours of work on the garden, and the harvest included beets, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, eggplant, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, pattypan squash, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, peas and tomatoes.

Of the food collected, 272 pounds was donated to the Burns/Hines school lunch program, 882 pounds to the Harney County Senior Center meal program, 432 pounds to the Harney County Food Bank and 38 pounds to the HHOPE shelter.
The pumpkins raised were sold at the Farmers Market this fall to help offset costs.

Along with the food raised for the community, five 6×20 plots were rented out by individuals.
Yarbor said the community garden received $2,008 in donations and proceeds from the rentals and sales, and expenses were $1,239.81. “So that wasn’t bad for the first year,” she said.

Dick Day, a volunteer from the start, stated, “I wasn’t displeased with the results. It was late getting planted because of the weather and the fact we had to install the water system, but it went pretty well for gardening in Harney County. It could have been better, but it was what it was.”
Day said that they plan to install a drip-line for better gardening and refine the selection of what to grow. “If we grow crops like lettuce and radishes, we can get a 30-day turnaround,” Day said. “And plant other crops too, like carrots.”

Yarbor said they were grateful for the help they got from volunteers and the Faith Baptist Church group, but she encouraged more involvement from the community. “We could always use more,” she said. “We’re going to try and get more youth involved, like the FFA program.”

They are also going to try and get the Master Gardener program offered through the Oregon State University Extension Service up and running next fall. “We hope to get a number of people interested in taking the course because that will expand the knowledge for everyone,” Day said.

The group is planning to hold one more work-day to spread a load of fertilizer donated by the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center.
If you would like get involved, contact Day at 541-573-7481.

Helping out Russia

Posted on November 2nd in Feature Story

Dignitaries seek expertise from Harney County professionals on raising cattle

Assistant Professor and Beef Cattle Specialist Reinaldo Cooke of Harney County recently traveled to Russia to offer instruction. (Submitted photo.)

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Looking to drastically increase their beef production,  Russian dignitaries have asked for help from Harney County, or more specifically, from Dr. Reinaldo Cooke, assistant professor and beef cattle specialist at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Center.

At the current time, Russia produces 20 percent of its own beef and imports the other 80 percent, and because of an increased demand, they are now trying to reverse those numbers.

Cooke left Burns Oct. 9, to attend a conference in Ufa, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia.

Cooke said that the people putting on the conference had read some of his published works and invited him to speak to a group of veterinarians, nutritionists and beef producers in the area.

The invitation came from Bioenergia, a livestock feed company, and the Republic’s government. “They asked me to come to explain how to feed beef cattle,” Cooke said.

The main points of Cooke’s presentation focused on the importance of nutrition, genetic selection and health management.

Russian herds

The differences in the way the Ufa ranchers raised cattle were evident right away.  The cattle are raised in enclosed feed lots, with about 4,000 head in each lot, and they’re not dehorned, which results in numerous injuries.

The cattle are also not specifically beef cattle breeds. “They don’t differentiate between dairy cattle and beef cattle. If a male is born in the dairy herd, he just becomes a part of the beef herd,” Cooke said. “That’s one of the main problems, trying to get beef cattle of Holsteins.”

Cooke said he explained to them the importance of having dairy and beef as two separate industries and they were receptive to the idea.

When it comes to feeding the animals, the supply is not the problem. “They have a lot of good quality feed available, like grass, alfalfa and grains,” Cooke said. “They just don’t have the quality of animal to match the feed.”

Getting started

The first part of a plan that Cooke helped them work on was to establish a herd of cattle that are a specific beef breed. From there it was concentrating on nutrition, product, genetics and health management.

While the goal of producing 80 percent of their own beef is an attainable goal, Cooke stated that it’s not going to happen overnight. “Right now, the majority of their beef is imported from Brazil because they don’t have a beef industry,” Cooke said. “They have to build one, and it takes a long time, like decades.”

Now that there is a management plan in place, Cooke said he will stay in touch with the producers and give help where he can.

The main reason for Russia to increase beef production seems to be influence of Western civilization. “In Ufa, a city of 1.2 million people, there are steakhouses and fast food places all over,” Cooke said. “People are eating more beef.”


As for his impressions of the country, Cooke said he never thought about going to Russia before, but he was impressed. “Their culture is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life,” Cooke stated. “Every  morning at 6:30 the national anthem is blared across the city on a speaker system. It was very surreal. The city was very clean and it was a very nice experience.”

Cooke said he’d like to return next year because he would be more familiar with what they were looking for and could offer more help.

While he might have been the one who made the trip, Cooke acknowledged a lot went into having it come together. “It’s not just me,” Cooke said. “It says a lot for OSU and the Harney County community to have Russia find somebody in Burns to come over and speak to them about the beef industry.”

By Tammy Downs

Levi Miller stands in front of the Roman Coliseum. (Submitted photo)

Burns Times-Herald

‘Levi Miller, a senior at Crane Union High School, got to have the experience of a lifetime when he took a 20-day trip to Europe last summer.

Miller received an invitation from the People to People Ambassador Program last year to participate in a European trip. He decided that he wanted to attend, and got to work on raising the money he would need to go.

Last June, Miller drove to Wyoming and flew out of Casper, Wyo. There were 43 kids in Miller’s group, separated into four smaller groups with four chaperones. He was the only student from Oregon attending.

The tour departed on June 12 on an overnight flight to Rome, Italy. Miller said he did not like the plane ride — it was 11 and one-half hours long.

The group arrived in Rome on June 13, and they spent the next 17 days traveling through Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France.

Miller had a host family who he stayed with in Austria for three days. The group had an itinerary with everything planned out for  each day.

He said the food was really good, but he commented that that the portions were small. The pizza, he said, is very thin.

Miller said some of his favorite places during his trip were Austria and Switzerland because they weren’t as crowded. In comparison, he  said Rome and France were very crowded.

One place Miller thought was very interesting was Vatican City, because it is its own country.

During his trip Miller had the opportunity to take a gondola ride, and said that it was fun, but he thought they were going to tip over.

The group flew home from Paris on June 30.

Miller said he never thought that he would leave the United States, but is glad he got to go on this trip.

He said it was a “fun, good experience and was cool.”

Whaddya Think?

Which is your favorite Sunday afternoon activity?
  • Watching football (35%)
  • Taking a walk/drive (20%)
  • Napping (18%)
  • Reading (14%)
  • Baking (9%)
  • Playing family games (4%)

85 total vote(s)

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Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012


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