Elizabeth Davis works on her family ranch and likes to play sports at CUHS
Hello, my name is Elizabeth Davis. I am 16 years old and a junior at Crane Union High School. My parents are Paul and Toni Davis.
When I’m not attending school, I’m normally working on the Alvord Ranch — riding, roping and just helping out. I live on the Alvord Ranch, which is located below the tallest peak on the east side of the Steens Mountain.
I have four older siblings — Justin, who is the oldest of all of us, and then the triplets, Cody, Matt and Kailee. The triplets also attend Crane Union High School.
In the past I have participated and played in sports, such as volleyball and wrestling. I also participate in FFA, and am currently the Crane FFA Chapter treasurer. In FFA I am mostly involved in the livestock judging, soil judging, parliamentary procedure, speeches and ag sales, to name just a few.
When participating in FFA, it teaches us many qualities, such as leadership. This is one of the qualities I have to give, along with my people skills and the way I will represent our county with my great respect for it.
Becoming the Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet queen would be an honor to me, because I’d be able to represent the county I grew up in.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you at the Harney County Fair.
Kiely Banton will be the 2011-12 vice president of her FFA chapter at BHS
Hello, my name is Kiely Banton. I am 16 years old, and a junior at Burns High School. I am the proud child of Kris and Christi Banton, and I have a brother and a sister. I am involved in FFA, church activities, cross country and helping out wherever needed.
I have had the opportunity to be the 2010-11 Burns FFA Chapter secretary and the 2011-12 chapter vice president. In this amazing organization I have been privledged to participate in many judging events, write and present many speeches and have been able to work with animals on a daily basis.
This year’s fair will be very positive, hectic and the best week of fair I have been able to participate in, all because of an amazing opportunity called Rodeo Court. I am so excited to be able to take part in this endeavor this year. My horse, Tabby, and I have been together for four years on and off. We have both learned a tremendous amount about each other, and how to improve at riding, thanks to Sallianne Kelly.
I would like to represent Harney County as the 2012 Harney County Rodeo Queen, with the help of my main gal, Tabby. If I have the honor of being crowned queen, I will bring a number of positive attributes to the arena. I have the responsibility, character and positive attitude needed to represent Harney County to the best of my ability. I am also a very organized, happy person, who is able to speak to the public of all ages.
Being crowned the 2012 Harney County Rodeo Queen would mean the world to me, and I would love to have the opportunity to represent Harney County across the state.
Ashes of railroad worker are returned to the community he loved
By Debbie Raney
Ties can bind us to communities, towns and people for a lifetime — and sometimes beyond.
On Aug. 8, Frank Tomoaki Eki’s family brought his ashes back to Harney County, the place where they said, “his heart always was.” In honor of his years here, Eki’s remains will forever be a part of the railroad.
Eki was born in Portland in 1912. At the age of 3, his father died and he was moved to Japan to be raised by his grandmother. In 1926, at the age of 14, he returned to Portland, where he attended school to learn English. He then began working to support himself, his mother and his sister.
In 1937 he married his wife, Betty Nakashima. Eki and his wife owned and operated a grocery store.
Four years later, in 1941, the Eki’s lives would be forever changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
An Executive Order issued by the U.S. government required all persons of Japanese decent in the Portland area to report with only the possessions they could carry to an assembly center at the Portland Stockyards. Eki, his wife and son, Douglas, stayed at the assembly center until they were sent to an internment camp in Tule Lake, Calif.
Though prisoners in the camps were paid a small wage for work they performed, Eki’s family said that he was always concerned about providing a better living. When an opportunity arose to move to Harney County to work for the Oregon and Northwestern Railroad, he volunteered. This was in 1943.
His wife remembers that when the family first moved to the Trout Creek railroad maintenance camp for Edward Hines Lumber Company, they lived in a house with no running water or electricity. These conditions soon changed, thanks to the wife of Harry Dewey, the mill’s sales manager. Betty said, “When Mrs. Dewey got electricity, she said, ‘Betty needs electricity.’ And when she got a new cookstove, she said, ‘Betty needs a new cookstove.’” They were also provided with lumber to build a new home, which Eki did on his own time.
According to his family, in spite of still being considered “prisoners,” Eki was treated as an equal by everyone, except his foreman. A letter penned by Betty to Edward Hines detailing the behavior resulted in the firing of the foreman, which opened another door for Eki. He was promoted to the maintenance foreman position, and eventually became the roadmaster.
When the four Eki children were old enough to attend school, they traveled to Burns. Betty said that during the winter the kids left home each morning in the dark and came home each evening in the dark. She jokes, “I didn’t know whose kids I had until the weekend when I could see them in the daylight.”
Eki and his family spent 25 years at the Trout Creek camp, and another 25 years in Burns. During those 50 years, over 30 were spent working for the railroad. After moving to Gresham in 1993, he returned to Harney County, when he could, to visit with old friends.
When Eki died in October 2010, his family said they weren’t sure at first what to do with his ashes.
Then, this spring it was decided to bring him back to the community that he had loved.
On Aug. 8, his 96-year-old wife, his daughter and his son-in-law spread Eki’s ashes along portions of the old Oregon and Northwestern Railway. Sixty-eight years after first coming to Harney County to improve his family’s life, Eki’s family showed him the same love by bringing him home.
By Randy Parks
If you build it, it will float. (Hopefully).
Fourteen youths from the Burns Paiute Reservation traveled to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) to build tule boats as part of the tribe’s Culture Preservation program.
The group arrived at the refuge about 9 a.m. and spent the next few hours making ropes from cattails and tying the tules together.
Carla Burnside, archaeologist at MNWR, helped coordinate the event and instructed the kids on boat construction.
By early afternoon the boats were ready and the kids took turns testing their sea-worthiness.
Library offers genealogy resources with Western History Room, oral histories
By Tammy Downs
Preserving one’s family history doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task if you have great resources on hand.
For those who have roots in Harney County, or are just interested in researching some of Harney County’s history, a great place to begin is at the Harney County Library.
The library is home to the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room, which is a unique resource available to anyone wanting to learn about local and regional history.
The library has more than 150 individual and family history files, including diaries and genealogical information relating to past and current residents of Harney County. Other genealogical resources include indexes of birth, death and marriage announcements dating from the late 1800s, and the Harney County cemetery records. Also available are census records of Harney County from 1880 to 1930 and burial listings for all of the cemeteries in Harney County.
The library is also home to the Chester and Helen Felt Oral History Recording Room. This is a sound insulated recording room, that is equipped with the latest digital technology for recording interviews.
The recording room is available for public use, free of charge, with the assistance of library staff.
Appointments for recording oral history interviews can be made by contacting the Western History Room.
Currently, there are more than 500 oral histories focusing on Harney County settlements and pioneers available. The oral history project began in the 1970s, and continues to add new interviews with Harney County residents.
The Western History Room also provides three computers and a printer for research use, along with work tables and a comfortable reading area. Access to www.Ancestry.com is provided on one of the dedicated research computers in the room.
The library also provides access to historic photographs of Burns and Hines and the people and communities of Harney County. Early history on a few of the old houses in Burns has also been documented.
A small collection of genealogy information from different counties and states can also be found at the library. Other references available are various magazines on genealogy, including family chronicles.
Karen Nitz is the primary archivist for the collection and is available to help library patrons until 5 p.m. during regular library hours. The Western History Room is open Saturdays and evenings by request. Visitors outside of regular hours are welcome with advance notice.
The library staff encourages people to record oral histories. Once family members have died, the history or stories they could tell will be gone if it hasn’t been documented.
How do you start? According to www.family search.org the following are the beginning steps:
• Identify what you know about your family.
• Decide what you want to learn about your family.
• Select records to search.
• Obtain and search the record.
• Use the information.
For more information about the resources available in the Western History Room contact Karen Nitz at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-573-6670, or go to the library’s website www.
About 150 residents attended barbecue, which featured music and pingpong race
By Randy Parks
After several years of fund raising and grant writing, the Harney County Opportunity Team (HCOT) celebrated paying off the construction of the Harney County Community Center with a community appreciation barbecue on Friday, July 8.
About 150 people attended the event that included live music by the Appirations, free hot dogs and hamburgers, a pingpong ball race and the announcement of HCOT’s next project.
The community center got its start in 2004 when former congressman Bob Smith and his wife, Kay, donated the building to HCOT, a non-profit organization.
Over the next few years, HCOT concentrated on raising funds for the project, which was estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $800,000.
HCOT member Linda Johnson stated that major contributors to the project included the Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Autzen Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Jeld-Wen Foundation, Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust and the Henry Hillman Jr. Foundation.
The county and the John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival also made significant donations, as well as the communities whose names grace the outside of the building.
Even though HCOT didn’t have all the funds needed to complete the project, the contractor agreed to go ahead and get started and let the funding catch up.
Construction on the building began in January 2008, and the center opened in December 2008, housing the Harney County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2009, HCOT still owed more than $100,000 and they then started a “Cap-Off Campaign” to have the funds raised by the end of 2010.
In January 2011, Cycle Oregon put HCOT over the top with a grant of $35,000.
Johnson said the center has been a real help in economic development, as it allows a spot for meetings and special events, including weddings, proms and banquets.
With the community center now paid off, HCOT is now focusing on its next project: turning the vacant lot at the corner of East A Street and North Broadway Avenue into a plaza.
The lot was donated to HCOT by Bill and Ulaberl Allen, and HCOT member Bill Wilber noted that the organization is extremely grateful for their generosity.
Wilber said he is working with the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon to get plans for the plaza. He said they hope to get a student or two from the landscape division of the school to come to town for a few days and get input as to what HCOT wants and then draw up the plan.
Initial ideas for the plaza include a living community Christmas tree, picnic tables, sidewalk, statues and maybe an amphitheater.
Fund-raising plans for the plaza are already under way, and HCOT hopes to have a design ready by late fall, with work to start in the spring.
Bill Andersen says he inherited a great staff and is bringing back shrimp cocktail
By Tammy Downs
Burns Times Herald
For the past 32 years Bill Andersen has lived in Harney County, where he was employed with the Bureau Land Management. He recently started looking for a new career opportunity.
When he realized that the Pine Room, a local restaurant and lounge, was for sale, he purchased it.
The Pine Room has had a reputation of offering fine dining in Harney County for many years. Andersen said he is very excited to be part of “a successful business with a long tradition of good food and good atmosphere.”
Andersen is new to running a restaurant but not new to owning his own business. In the past, he has been the owner of two businesses, and he has years of experience dealing with the public.
He said he knows good food, and he knows what good service is. He also added, “I was lucky and inherited a really good staff.”
This new venture works out well with Andersen’s 12-year-old daughter, Summer. She gets to be part of this business with her dad and help out.
After purchasing the Pine Room, Andersen did a little research and asked local folks what they would like to see added to the menu. One thing people agreed on was they missed the shrimp cocktail that came with the dinners, so that was added back in.
There have been a few changes to the menu — meal salads have been added, fresh homemade bread is baked daily and there is a different homemade soup each day.
Andersen’s goal is to have a seafood special once a week, and there will be a prime rib special every Friday and Saturday night.
They will not be serving breakfast regularly but are looking into having a breakfast brunch once a month.
The majority of the meat used at the Pine Room will be purchased from Buermann’s Ranch Meats, a local business.
Andersen has been looking into adding entertainment such as cowboy poetry.
The lounge is a full service bar, and patrons have the option of ordering food in there as well.
The lounge is always hopping when there is a rodeo or an event in town, beginning with the Harney County Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, July 9. The Pine Room will be featuring a live band after the rodeo.
The Pine Room also offers a banquet room, which Andersen has plans to remodel and upgrade. It can be reserved for receptions, Christmas parties or meetings, and in the future, there may be an option to have parties catered.
Currently, reservations are not required for nightly dining. And you can always call in and place an order to go.
The Pine Room is located at 543 West Monroe and can be reached at 541-573-2673.
The restaurant is open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and the lounge opens at 4 p.m.
Move allows for more square footage, inventory
By Randy Parks
A good businessman knows an opportunity when he sees one.
After operating the Burns-Hines Liquor Store for more than eight years in an adequate, but cramped, space in the Ponderosa Village, owners Bob and Sonja McDannel saw an opportunity when a space just a couple of doors down became vacant.
Being able to envision the possibilities, the McDannels made the move into the larger space and the result has been pretty much a complete transformation.
The inventory has been expanded to include a wide variety of mixers, beer, high-end liquors, cigarettes, cigars, snacks and an exclusive wine selection. “We’ll carry what people in Harney County want,” McDannel said. “If we don’t have it, all they have to do is ask for it and we’ll get it if we can.”
The expansion has meant adding two more employees, including store manager Toni Ford. “She’s in charge,” laughed McDannel. “I’ll just pop in every now and then to see how things are going.”
Ford brings expertise to the store’s wine selection, and her enthusiasm is contagious.
Ford said she grew up in wine country in the Sierra Nevada foothills, worked in a wine tasting room while in college and continued her education serving fine wines in the restaurant industry.
Using the knowledge she has gained, Ford has put together a wine selection she hopes will appeal to everyone, and to everyone’s budget.
Ford said there are plans to hold monthly wine tasting events to introduce new wines and what foods go well with them. “Wine and food go together and this is a chance for people to experience that,” Ford said. “It’s also fun for people who are willing to try new wines.”
In addition, the store will have a bulletin board posting featured wines and recipe ideas to go along with them.
Ford is also working with 90+ Wines in Burns to form a Wine Appreciation Club, which would not be affiliated with the businesses, but rather private gatherings for wine aficionados.
Both McDannel and Ford stressed that the wine selection was made with the attempt to not duplicate what was already available in town. “We have labels that people probably haven’t heard of, including New World wines from South America and high-quality Northwest wines,” Ford said. “We want to enhance the wine selection in the community, and if we don’t have what someone is looking for, we can recommend other businesses, like 90+ Wines, that might have it.”
McDannel stated that with the larger inventory, he hopes people will view the store as a one-stop shopping place.
As another convenience, the store has expanded hours, open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“We moved because we wanted to improve the business,” McDannel said. It would appear the mission was accomplished.
Harney County man reclaims fallen trees to make posts and other creations
Story and photos by TAMMY DOWNS
Gerard Joseph LaBrecque seems to have found his calling in life. He has had a passion for juniper trees for a long time and is finding many ways to reclaim fallen trees.
LaBrecque and his wife, Lori, bought property and moved to Harney County in 1993. With this move began a love of the land, and the wood that grew on it, especially the western juniper found in areas around Burns.
In 1995, LaBrecque began an abstract art business called “ Creations by Joseph,” which primarily uses juniper wood. He uses the western juniper to build a variety of things such as heirloom furniture, flooring, wainscotting, fireplace mantels and even staircases.
As his business expanded, so did LaBrecque’s interest in juniper, and it should be no surprise that he has found another way to reclaim fallen juniper trees.
In 2009, the Harney County County Court was asked by Patrick Shannon of Sustainable Northwest Non Profit Organization if they could pick a representative from Harney County to attend a secondary wood products tour in Silver City, N.M., and LaBrecque was picked to go. Attending that tour was the seed of this operation.
In March, the LaBrecques were approved to use $145,000 of Harney County’s Title III funds to start their own business, Joseph’s Juniper Inc.
LaBrecque thanked the Harney County Court and especially Commissioner Dan Nichols, who was instrumental in helping him get the project started.
He also added that Marty Suter of the Harney Soil and Water Conservation District has been a huge help in all the computer work involved. “Suter has an unbelievably creative mind,” LaBrecque said.
Wineries are a huge part of the industry wanting juniper. Organic or “going green” wineries cannot use any kind of wood that has chemicals on it, like pressure-treated poles, so juniper is a huge benefit to them.
Finding wood that has already been cut down is another plus to “going green,” because it is utilizing something that would otherwise just lay around and go to waste.
LaBrecque has a portable mill that he is using in reclaiming falling juniper. The portable mill basically is a large portable band saw. Other equipment used in this operation include a skidder, bobcat and gravity rollers.
The site that he is currently working on is 159 acres of private land in Harney County. To make the venture profitable LaBrecque said he needs to harvest 60 usable posts to an acre.
About 20 semi loads of the finished product — 6-inch by 6-inch square juniper posts — will be shipped out from this site.
He also has roughly 350 straight-trimmed cured juniper fence posts available for sale.
The crew consists of four employees at this time. LaBrecque can foresee getting a stationary mill in the near future, and then his crew would grow to around eight people.
LaBrecque and his crew are working on areas where the junipers have already been taken down. In the future, they would go to land that has junipers that need to be cut down as well.
LaBrecque is very excited about this new venture and said, “The pillar of my strength is my bride, Lori.”
LaBrecque can be contacted at 503-931-6287 or visit his websites: www.creationsby joseph.com
It took 30 years for Nick Collins of Diamond to find out who his father really was, but now that he knows, it all makes sense
By Debbie Raney
Looking in the mirror, most people can see bits and pieces of their father in their reflection. Many see a resemblance to their father’s eyes, his smile or even the shape of his face.
In addition to the physical traits, there can also be similarities in likes and dislikes, hobbies and job interests.
Imagine for the first 30 years of your life, looking in the mirror and seeing nothing that resembles your father. Even as you get older, when most people find the resemblances growing stronger, you can’t see anything that would remotely connect you to the man who you called “Dad.”
This is the case for Nick Collins of Diamond.
Growing up, Collins lived in Baker City. When he was 10 years old, his “dad” died, leaving his mom to raise him and sisters. Collins said he didn’t really have anything in common with the majority of his family members, so he spent a lot of time with his friends and their families.
Collins went on to get married and become a dad himself, all the while thinking his father had died years before. And then one day (he said he doesn’t know why) his mom decided to tell him the truth — he had never met his dad, he was still alive and he probably lived somewhere on the East Coast.
Last May, Collins got online and “Googled” the name his mom had given him. His search found two people with that name, one was 25 years old, the other was old enough that he could possibly be his father. At that point Collins said he thought, “Well, I might as well find out if it’s him.”
Collins’ father, whose first name is also Nick, lives in South Carolina, and was elated to hear from his son. As it turned out, he had been there the day Collins was born in Waterville, Maine, but due to his work schedule he had to leave the mom and baby for a few days. When he returned, both were gone without a word.
Once they found each other last spring, and talked on the phone every day for a month, Collins flew to South Carolina to meet his dad for the first time last June. Upon their first glances of each other, his dad said, “I know where you get your good looks.”
And Collins said it was obvious they were related. “We’re both short, full of it and we like the same things.” After 30 years he finally found out why he is such an avid hunter, fisherman and sports enthusiast, and why he likes NASCAR.
“Liking NASCAR, that has to be genetic,” he said.
After sharing their individual histories of the past 30 years, Collins and his dad realized that there may have been times when they were in the same room. His dad vacationed in a town where Collins regularly spent time at a friend’s restaurant. His dad knew of the restaurant and had often dined there.
Through the years, Collins’ dad said he searched for his son, and he did know he lived in Oregon. He also knew that Collins had never been told the truth, but he didn’t want to step in and ruin his relationship with the man who had raised him.
With that one phone call made last spring, Collins not only gained a dad, he said he gained a “whole bunch of Italian family.” In the past year, he has been in contact with two step-sisters, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins. All of whom are happy to have a new member of the family.
His dad is retired from his trucking company, and hopes to make a trip to Oregon this summer — he’ll have to work it into his tractor racing, BINGO playing and NASCAR watching schedule. These hobbies, with the exception of NASCAR, Collins said were thankfully not genetically passed down to him. The two men talk on the phone daily, and Collins visits on Facebook with several new family members on a regular basis. After 30 years, there’s a lot of catching up to do.
Now when he looks in the mirror, Collins sees more than just his own reflection. He can see family.
He can see bits and pieces of his father.