The Special District Directors Election was held Tuesday, May 19.
There was only one contested race, and that was won by Mark J. Owens, who defeated Fred Maupin 166 votes to 106 for the Zone 1 position in the Crane Union High School District.
The complete unofficial results are as follows:
Burns-Hines School District No. 3
Position No. 4 — Julie Burri (unopposed), 65 votes.
Position No. 5 — Lori Cheek (unopposed), 521 votes.
Crane Union High School District
Zone 1 — Mark J. Owens, 166 votes; Fred Maupin, 106 votes.
Zone 2 — Dan Otley (unopposed), 248 votes.
Zone 4 — Mike Davis (unopposed), 214 votes.
Zone 5 — Jeff Dorroh (unopposed), 9 votes.
Harney Education Service District
Zone 2 — Bill Burstow (unopposed), 551 votes.
Zone 4 — Richard J. Jenkins (unopposed), 42 votes.
Zone 5 — Daniel F. Brown (unopposed), 32 votes.
Zone 6 — Kirk Davies (received the most write-ins), 4 votes.
High Desert Park and Recreation District
Position 1 — Scott Smyth (received the most write-ins), 8 votes.
Position 4 — Scott Smyth (received the most write-ins), 6 votes.
Position 5 — Eric Nichols (unopposed), 483 votes.
Harney District Hospital
Position 1 — Shana Withee (unopposed), 823 votes.
Position 3 — Amy Starbuck (unopposed), 800 votes.
Position 4 — Ann Vloedman (unopposed), 785 votes.
Position 5 — Susan K. Doverspike (unopposed), 797 votes.
Position 6 — Joy Stevens (unopposed), 696 votes.
Crane Elementary School District
Position 1 — Chris W. Venell (unopposed), 100 votes.
Position 2 — Kelli Rose (unopposed), 115 votes.
Pine Creek Elementary School District
Position 4 — Cyndee Hill (unopposed), 14 votes.
Position 5 — Dee Ann Miller (unopposed), 14 votes.
Diamond Elementary School District
Position 2 — Gretchen Nichols (unopposed), 20 votes.
Position 3 — Linda Taylor (unopposed), 19 votes.
Position 4 — Chase WJ Sherburn (unopposed), 20 votes.
Suntex Elementary School District
Position 1 — Jeremiah Puckett (received the most write-ins), 1 vote.
Position 4 — Jeff Maupin (unopposed), 15 votes.
Position 5 — Greg Hutchinson (unopposed), 12 votes.
Drewsey Elementary School District
Position 4 — Monte Dunten (received the most write-ins), 4 votes.
Position 5 — Jesse Krueger (unopposed), 34 votes.
Frenchglen Elementary School District
Position 1 — Andrew Shields (received the most write-ins), 5 votes.
Position 3 — Steve Hammond (unopposed), 16 votes.
Position 5 — Cynthia K. Lofts (unopposed), 14 votes.
Double O Elementary School District
Position 3 — Georgia Marshall (unopposed), 5 votes.
Position 4 — Lauren Brown (unopposed), 5 votes.
South Harney Elementary School District
Position 1 — No one received the most write-in votes.
Position 2 — Joseph R. Kingen (unopposed), 20 votes.
Position 3 — No one received the most write-in votes.
Position 5 — No one received the most write-in votes.
Position 6 — Charmaign Edwards (unopposed), 20 votes.
Position 7 — Rod Hoagland (unopposed), 20 votes.
by Samantha White
Director Kevin A. Lefohn opened the public conversation portion of the SE Oregon Symposium on the Arts and Economic Development (held Wednesday, May 20, at the Harney County Community Center) by introducing the individuals and organizations involved with the proposed Performing Arts and Education Center (PAEC).
Community leaders provide input
In the symposium program, Harney County Arts in Education Foundation (HCAEF) Executive Chair Jalin Bingham explained that the goal is to build a center that would serve as a hub for all artistic activities, provide a place for young people to learn and develop their talents, attract tourists, and retain the area’s youth.
During the symposium, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said Harney County was once the wealthiest community in the state of Oregon, but now it’s “next to the bottom.” However, he complimented community members’ tenacity and thanked Debby Peckham and Linda Neale for steering the county in a different direction.
Peckham is founding advisor for the HCAEF Board of Directors and co-chair of the PAEC Board of Directors. Neale is chair of the PAEC Advisory Board, and she served as the symposium associate director.
Harney County Economic Development Director Randy Fulton echoed Grasty’s statements, adding that Ken and Debby Peckham “opened [his] eyes.”
During his tenure as economic development director, Fulton said he’s learned that:
• Harney County has a lot to offer businesses that are looking to expand;
• economic development takes a lot of time; and
• “We have to look outside the box.”
He added that the PAEC would provide jobs and become an educational asset to the community’s youth.
Although a significant amount of time has already been dedicated to the project, Fulton said many more hours will be needed to make the PAEC a success.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is not that bright, but it is there,” he said. “Based on the progress that I’ve seen over the last few years, this dream will come true.”
Wagner weighs in
Fulton was followed by symposium facilitator Brian Wagner, who manages the Oregon Arts Commission’s community development programs.
Wagner said he was impressed with the symposium’s turnout, adding that most of the people in attendance were Harney County residents who wanted to participate in the conversation.
He said he was very excited to learn about the PAEC building proposal and stressed the importance of ensuring that the project is successful for the whole community.
Holt highlights the value of public will
During her presentation, Cinda Holt shared what she’s learned about influencing public will and gaining participation in the arts.
Holt is the business development specialist for the Montana Arts Council, a reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts Fast Track grants program, and a mentor/consultant for the Minneapolis-based ArtsLab. She’s also served as the development director for the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT)/MCT Center for the Performing Arts, managing director of Maurice Sendak’s The Night Kitchen (a national touring children’s theatre), and managing director of the Sundance Film Festival.
Holt said the will of the people is a central force in the success of a project, and PAEC advocates must learn to strategically promote the public value of the programs and services that the center would provide. She said the goal should be to reach as many citizens as possible, in as many places as possible, and affect them as positively as possible.
Holt added that PAEC advocates need to be able to answer the question, “What’s in it for me,” for everyone in the community. She said a good strategy for accomplishing this task is to ask community members what they value and then explained how the arts can be used to achieve desired outcomes.
She then provided examples of creative ideas that have been used to draw unlikely audiences to the arts. For example, she shared a story about a museum that attracted bikers who were on their way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally by featuring a mechanical design exhibit.
Holt said arts advocates need to listen to the community, build new relationships, and mobilize public will. She added that the PAEC proposal isn’t about building a building, but creating a place that inspires individual creativity and engages the community.
Johnston offers an example from Texas
Buck Johnston, a website and new media applications designer, discussed the evolution of Marfa, Texas’ art scene.
She began by comparing Marfa to Harney County, explaining that both are isolated, sparsely-populated, high desert communities that lack urban sprawl and are in close proximity to ranches.
However, Marfa gained international fame and tourism when New York artist Donald Judd founded the The Chinati Foundation and started creating permanent, large-scale art installations in the area.
Today, Marfa hosts artists, writers and musicians from all over the world. It’s home to Crowley Theater, Ballroom Marfa, two film festivals, a thriving newspaper, and a popular public radio station. The tiny West Texas town, which has been the subject of National Public Radio and Vanity Fair stories, has become a tourist destination and a major center for Minimalist art.
However, Johnston said Marfa has had trouble responding to change with infrastructure. She said the city lacks an overall economic plan, as well as amenities like drugstores and dry cleaners. Marfa’s population is unable to support major industry. And, with increased tourism, the town is experiencing a housing shortage, as many locals have capitalized on the opportunity to rent their homes to tourists. Short on funding, Marfa’s public school system is also struggling.
Johnston said Design Marfa Symposium 2015, an architecture and design symposium that’s scheduled for this fall, will focus on Marfa’s future.
Dailey discusses Newberg’s Chehalem Cultural Center
Rob Dailey, executive director of the Chehalem Cultural Center, explained the process of establishing and sustaining a community culture and art center in Newberg, Ore.
Acknowledging that change was inevitable, Dailey said community members met in 2000 to discuss and attempt to influence Newberg’s future. Ultimately, they decided that building a cultural center would enable them to preserve the community’s most important assets.
Years later, a historic school — which had been used to educate generations of area residents — was restored and renovated to include a fine arts gallery and exhibition hall, three multipurpose arts studio classrooms, a state-of-the-art clay studio, a recording studio with four music practice studios, meeting space, and a 5,200-square-foot ballroom.
Dailey detailed the amount of effort that went into making the center a success, explaining that project proponents spent the first five or six years just talking about their ideas, holding forums, and touring the facility. He said the project gained support and credibility through a partnership with the Chehalem Park and Recreation District and when prominent Newberg families started contributing to the cause. The center also received federal funding and a grant from The Ford Family Foundation.
But there was still a lot of work to do after the Chehalem Cultural Center opened its doors in 2010. Dailey explained that 10 years of conversations and campaigns had to be synthesized into a feasible and sustainable mission that could be achieved through a specific set of goals. He said a significant amount of time has been spent determining what the center will offer on a daily basis, and new program proposals are only addressed during strategic meetings.
Rapaport references Jerome
Harney County resident and author of Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City, Diane Rapaport discussed how an unlikely alliance of hippies, “old timers,” business people, outlaws, and artists succeeded in reviving the city of Jerome, Ariz., which was on the brink of collapse after being was abandoned by the mining industry.
“Love, hope, and need became very powerful allies in bringing together uncommon people,” Rapaport said, explaining that the city’s long-time residents teamed up with newcomers to transform the city into a mecca for artists.
She said artists are good at business, adding that their work attracts tourists and generates income, benefiting the community as a whole. She explained that an artist might use the money that he/she earns from selling a painting to pay a plumber to fix his/her toilet.
After their presentations, Holt, Johnston, Dailey and Rapaport returned to answer questions from the audience.
Rapaport kicked off the question and answer session by asking the other presenters how existing performing arts centers determined their maximum seating numbers.
Johnston and Dailey both live in communities where performing arts centers were created in existing buildings. So, for them, seating was limited by the size of the building.
Holt warned that losing an audience can be an unintended consequence of building a large, state-of-the-art theater. For example, she said 88 people used to crowd into a ski rental shack to watch Sundance films, but only about 35-40 people attended when the films were shown in an auditorium, and they were all people who are “comfortable in the world of theater.” Her advice for PAEC advocates was to “make [the center] your own.”
An audience member asked the presenters to discuss the difference between receiving support from people within and outside of the community.
Dailey stressed the importance of receiving support from community members, explaining that this gave the Chehalem Cultural Center credibility within the community. He added that, because philanthropists often back each other’s causes, the support of one family or organization can earn future endorsements.
However, he said, “A name can only take you so far,” adding that the center is legitimized by the work that it does.
Johnston said public will was not a factor in Marfa, as “big personalities” moved to town with money from outside of the community. (Judd received funding from the Dia Art Foundation in New York.)
“They don’t give a damn in Texas,” she said with a laugh.
Rapaport said Jerome “grew organically” from artists who moved to the area to produce work, and she can’t remember anyone receiving large grants.
Harney County resident Sue Kovar noted that many of the centers that were discussed during the presentations were built in restored structures, and she asked why PAEC advocates are proposing a new building.
Johnston replied that the expense of restoring an old building could be triple the cost of building a new structure.
Three breakout sessions — Sustainable business models, Building public will, and Involving place and history in the evolution of a big idea — were held in the afternoon to provide audience members an additional opportunity to offer input.
Local talent on display
This portion of the symposium also featured writing presentations by Lorna Cagle, Lisa Wolf, and Peg Wallis (and her assistants). Janet Braymen and Joan Suther provided musical entertainment, and the Burns Paiute Powwow Club danced.
Join the conversation
For more information about the symposium, visit the PAEC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/harneycountyperformingarts. You can join the conversation online by “liking” the page. You can also visit the PAEC website at http://www.harneycountyperformingarts.org.
Sports participation for charter school students discussed
by Samantha White
Harney County School District (HCSD) No. 3 held a work session prior to its regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 12 to discuss educational options for Eastern Oregon Academy (EOA) youth.
EOA is a 24-hour residential youth facility for males ages 13 and older.
During the work session, HCSD No. 3 Superintendent Dr. Marilyn McBride said the Oregon Department of Education had been pushing the district to have a service agreement signed and negotiated with EOA management with a “tight time line.” She added that the department has since pulled back, but a management team is continuing its efforts to determine what can be done.
EOA youth currently attend classes in the district office building (former Lincoln Junior High School), and McBride said some of their behaviors have caused concern for the security and safety of staff and other students who use the building. She said examples include using inappropriate language, making threats, throwing objects (including desks), damaging property, and exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior.
Ron Wassom (principal of EOA Alternative School, Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility’s Monroe Alternative School, and Burns High Alternative School) said these behaviors are much more extreme than those exhibited by Burns High School (BHS) students. He added that law enforcement had to be called four times in two days.
Board vice chair Doug Gunderson said students would be expelled if they acted that way at BHS, but the district “can’t really do that with these kids.”
McBride said EOA youth need to be stabilized before education can begin, adding that behavior plans need to be developed and students’ reading and math levels need to be assessed. She explained that many youth enter EOA without any records concerning their educational history.
Wassom agreed, stating that it can take weeks for the records to come in, and some aren’t up-to-date when they arrive.
Board member Tara McLain asked how long the youth are at EOA before they begin classes, and Wassom replied that they start school the next day.
“These kids need somebody to look at the whole picture,” board chair Lori Cheek said. “They have to be able to sit for a while and be comfortable with where they are sleeping,” she added. “We’ve got to put more focus on what they need.”
McBride said EOA and district staff need to provide consistent rewards and consequences for students, and she suggested using Google Docs to record and share information concerning students’ behavior. She also encouraged the development of short and long-term goals for EOA students, suggested adding a quiet room/ “cool down space,” and encouraged EOA to provide an on-site counselor.
Wassom said funding was made available for an EOA employee to remain in the classroom full time and that the presence of this employee has made a difference in the students’ attitude, language, and work.
“We really appreciate that they’ve stepped up,” Wassom said regarding EOA staff.
McLain asked why students are no longer taught at the EOA facility.
Cheek replied that, “This was the only thing that the school district could come up with, and they did like having the gym.”
McLain also asked whether the district has to provide education for EOA youth.
“They are residents of our district,” McBride replied. “We do have an obligation to provide for them, just like any student that is in our district.”
However, she added that EOA can be thought of as a parent who can choose to enroll its students in online, private, or homeschool programs.
McBride added that the district and EOA have been touring facilities, including Washington School, to determine the advantages and disadvantages of holding classes at those sites. However, she said neither the district nor EOA can fund the overhead cost of operating the Washington School building, and board member Ralph Dickenson expressed concern about the school’s proximity to Washington Park.
McBride asked the board whether funding should be increased to address some of the safety concerns. McLain, Cheek and Gunderson replied that they don’t want to provide any additional funding.
Monica McCanna, who attended on behalf of classified employees, urged the board to do anything it can to protect staff.
Gunderson said he agreed with protecting staff, but he felt the money would be better spent serving other students.
McLain said she felt the funding should remain the same, and these students should be educated at the EOA facility.
Board member Lisa King commented that, “Having to call the cops is not bettering the students’ outlook on anything. It just flames the fire.”
During the public comment portion of the regular meeting, Jen Keady addressed the board concerning charter school students’ ability to play sports at Hines Middle School (HMS).
“I would appreciate a true conversation about how to make it happen,” she said.
Gunderson and Dickenson said they weren’t opposed to the idea. However, it requires a policy change. Gunderson and McLain both expressed that they would not like to change policy for high school students.
Regarding the middle school, Gunderson said he thought it should be up to the principal, and possibly the team, to decide.
HMS Principal Jerry Mayes said he’d like to meet as a group and discuss the ramifications.
“I’m fearful of adults abusing the policy,” he said. “I want our kids to be as successful as possible, but I don’t want to throw in loopholes where students jump ship and go into charter school after their sports season.”
Keady suggested that requirements for students’ grades apply regardless of whether they attended HMS or a charter school.
Mayes suggested that a group meet to write the policy, which can be presented to the board during its next meeting. He added that he’d like to engage Athletic Director Paula Toney in this effort.
Keady thanked the board for its consideration.
In other business:
• Slater Elementary School Principal Chandra Ferguson reported that Tears of Joy Theatre performed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Slater students.
She added that Dr. Kevin Feldman and Dean Richards from Oregon Response to Instruction and Intervention, an organization that provides technical assistance to Oregon school districts, conducted learning walks at the end of April. She said both commented that they were very impressed with teachers’ increased use of engagement and instructional strategies.
Ferguson concluded by informing the board that Preschool Visitation Day is scheduled for May 21.
• Mayes reported that Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) assessment testing and schedules went as anticipated, but Smarter Balanced tests are taking longer than expected.
He thanked the BHS leadership class for hosting the Ronald McDonald fundraiser dance and Austin Feist for putting on a “fantastic career day” for HMS students.
Mayes also informed the board about a school-wide challenge to increase students’ attendance.
BHS Principal Brandon Yant reported that 18 new members were inducted into the Robert Burns Chapter of the National Honor Society, and the Burns FFA Chapter has 57 members.
He said Garrett Blackburn and Baylee Hanner each received Ron Mackenzie scholarships in the amount of $8,500, and Diana Camacho was awarded $3,000.
Yant also reported that Sam Ellibee placed first in the State Solo Competition, and Jon Caponetto placed second.
He said BHS completed its five-year accreditation review in mid-April, and the external review reinforced findings that the school was already aware of. He added that a Site Council Committee was formed to work on a school improvement plan.
• Wassom reported that a new ventilation system was installed in the vocational shops at Monroe Alternative School. He added that the school’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for Friday, June 12 at 10 a.m., and teacher Terry Graham will provide the commencement address.
• During the public comment period, McCanna encouraged board members to spend a day job shadowing a classified employee next year.
• The board accepted a $100 donation from TopLoc Asphalt Maintenance LLC for the senior prom; an $800 donation from Xi Delta Gamma for BHS softball; and a $2,000 donation from Golden Four Inc. for BHS football uniforms.
• The board approved personnel hires for Gordon Black (Monroe, mechanics); Erin Jenks (Slater, teaching); Amber Kohler (Slater, teaching); Taci Weil (Slater, special education); Nancy Moon (Slater, principal); Garr Van Orden (HMS, drama and electives); and Kathy Wassom (BHS, health, physical education, and senior project).
• The board accepted policies “Disposal of District Property,” “Emergency Drills,” and “Emergency Closures” with the changes that King read during the previous meeting. Upon recommendation from Dickenson, the board agreed to table “Staff Complaints” until it has more time for discussion.
• Cheek provided an update on the biomass heating project. She reported that the cooperative has been formed, and a project manager has been hired. Cheek and King volunteered to serve on the cooperative’s board.
The next regularly-scheduled school board meeting will be held Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. in the district office building.
Automated sprinkler system considered
by Randy Parks
Following a months-long hiring process, the Burns City Council voted to remove the “interim” tag from Dauna Wensenk’s title and appointed her city manager.
Mayor Craig LaFollette stated the search committee had received 16 applications for the position that had become vacant last November when the council voted to terminate the contract of Kraig Cutsforth.
The committee reviewed the applications and narrowed the search down to six applicants, two of whom accepted other employment before the interview process.
The final four candidates were then interviewed, using a standard set of questions, and then scored on their responses. The council then met in executive session to confirm the process with legal counsel, and based on the scoring system, the council appointed Wensenk to the position at their regular meeting Wednesday, May 13.
LaFollette explained that even though Wensenk didn’t meet the requirement of a four-year degree asked for in the initial job description, her knowledge and experience gained from having worked for the city for more than 30 years far outweighed that point.
LaFollette also thanked Councilor Terri Presley for having chaired the selection committee.
The council voted unanimously to appoint Wensenk to the city manager position, with Councilor Dennis Davis abstaining from voting because he had also put in for the position.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, former city manager Cutsforth said he was highly disappointed in the council’s decision.
He referred to correspondence he had sent to the council before the interview process, claiming 73 percent of the county’s population and 70 percent of the state’s population were locked out from applying because of the four-year degree requirement. “Then you made an exception to hire Dauna,” he said. “That doesn’t make it very fair.”
LaFollette asked Public Works Director Dave Cullens if he had any more information regarding a proposal to hire a seasonal employee to help with maintenance at the city parks.
Cullens stated it would cost more than what was budgeted for, and suggested, as an alternative, that the council consider installing automated sprinkler systems at the parks, noting that would save the public works crew a lot of time.
The council agreed by consensus to allow Cullens to put the sprinkler systems out for bid, and they would see it was a viable solution.
In a related matter, the council also agreed to begin a search for the public works director position, as Cullens will be retiring in the near future.
A public hearing was held at 6:15 p.m. to receive public input on the proposed text amendments to the Burns Comprehensive Plan/Zoning Ordinance and the updates to the regulations in the flood damage prevention ordinance.
Grant Young of the Department of Land Conservation and Development was in attendance to answer questions from the council. Young said the updates in the flood damage prevention ordinance were necessary to continue to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements to receive benefits in the event of a flood.
Young noted that the flood plain map had already been digitized, and all they needed were the ordinance updates.
Stuart Yekel expressed concern about a ditch that runs behind his business. He said the last time it flooded in town, the ditch backed up with water and flooded in the area of his business because the ditch was filled with debris. He has cleaned out the ditch near his business, but he wanted to know if the city had been cleaning out the ditch in other places.
LaFollette said he would check into it.
Presley reviewed the changes in the comp plan which included higher fences being allowed on the street side of a residence as long as visibility was not impaired by the fence, various fees, off-street parking and parking spaces.
The hearing was closed at 6:28 p.m.
Jackie Clements approached the council about her shared driveway on North Diamond.
She stated her residence shares a driveway with a neighboring residence, and the renters now in the adjacent house are blocking the driveway with their vehicles. The first two times it happened, the Clements asked them to move their vehicle and they complied, but since then, they have parked a vehicle in the driveway and left it.
Clements said city employees have spoken with the renters but nothing has happened, and she was asking the council to amend a city ordinance to keep the driveway open. “There are no laws to keep them from blocking the driveway, so they are. They have ample parking elsewhere. It just boils down to common courtesy,” Clements said.
The council directed Wensenk to do some more research on the situation.
In other business, the council:
• approved a $50 donation to the Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines for the Fourth of July fireworks, and a $50 donation to the Burns High School Class of 2015 for the senior all-night party;
• approved drainage easement agreements with six residents;
• congratulated Fire Chief Scott Williamson on his completion of training that allows him to provide plan review input on water supply and access, and certifies him to perform inspections on Group B and Group M occupancies.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at city hall.
Event sponsored by HCAEF and Chamber
Community leaders, arts leaders, politicians, and artists of all kinds will gather in Burns May 19-20 for the SE Oregon Symposium on the Arts and Economic Development to learn how Harney County can grow a strong economic base through emphasizing the arts and developing the proposed Performing Arts and Education Center.
Other regions of the state and country that have successfully grown their connection between the arts and the economy will be highlighted — including Marfa, Texas; Yamhill County, Oregon; and rural Montana.
Cosponsored by the Harney County Arts in Education Foundation and the Harney County Chamber of Commerce, the symposium is funded by local businesses and ranchers, Oregon foundations, generous individual donors, and local and state government agencies.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said, “This symposium provides an important opportunity for the community to come together to examine and promote a regional development strategy for Harney County and the surrounding area.”
The two-day symposium will feature public performances, interactive panel discussions, and educational presentations. The public is invited and encouraged to attend these free events.
An Evening to Celebrate the Arts
The Harney County Arts in Education Foundation will host An Evening to Celebrate the Arts Tuesday, May 19 at 7 p.m. at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene (311 Roe Davis in Hines).
Showcasing local youth in music, dance and art, this highly-anticipated, annual event brings together the performing and visual arts for an evening of celebration!
Four talented young musicians who excel in their instruments of choice will be featured this year. They are:
• Burns High School (BHS) senior Jon Caponetto (trombone);
• BHS sophomore Sam Ellibee (oboe);
• Rural Harney County home school student Mattie Herringshaw (piano); and
• BHS junior Nobuko Iwasa (trombone).
These youth are all Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) State Soloists and/or winners of the Sunriver Music Festival Young Artists Solo Competition.
They will be accompanied by Jean Shrader, professional accompanist and prominent musician from Bend.
The evening will also feature performances by professional musicians Megan Kartchner and Kyle Ruggles.
Kartchner is a Harney County resident and concert harpist, and Ruggles is a professional flutist who will return home to Burns to perform for the event.
Steens Mountain Ballet will also be featured during the performance part of the evening.
The captivating event will culminate with a reception and an art show by the Burns and Crane art departments. The show will feature wonderful works of art created by local students.
Additionally, local artist and teacher Connie Robbins will unveil a collaborative community art project. Robbins is designing a sculpture to represent all of the areas in music, dance, theatre, visual and written arts that combined to make Harney County and Southeast Oregon such an amazing place to explore. Youth and adults will be able to contribute to this sculpture, which will represent the entire region.
The event is free, but donations are appreciated.
For more information, call Debby Peckham at 541-573-2427.
A compelling conversation
Brian Wagner, community development coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission, will facilitate a discussion concerning building connections between the arts and economic development in rural communities on Wednesday, May 20 from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Harney County Community Center (484 N. Broadway in Burns).
This portion of the symposium will include presenters Buck Johnston from Marfa, Texas; Rob Dailey, executive director of Chehalem Cultural Center; Cinda Holt, business development specialist from the Montana Arts Council; and local author Diane Rapaport.
Johnston started designing websites and new media applications in 1995. She likes to say she was born on the web. She designs sites for Chianti Foundation, the Big Bend Sentinel and many artists’ sites — helping shape how Marfa is perceived from the world at large. In 2008, she developed Marfalist.org. Johnston also formed a nonprofit, Design Marfa, and owns and operates her gallery and store called Wrong.
Dailey is the executive director for the Chehalem Cultural Center, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to building community by celebrating their arts and heritage. He served as deputy and interim director of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum (N.M.) and was director of operations for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, a nationally-recognized professional chamber choir.
Holt is the business development specialist for the Montana Arts Council. She’s also the program director for Building Arts Participation and the Art of Leadership Institute. Additionally, she served as development director for Missoula Children’s Theatre Inc., steering a multimillion dollar campaign that resulted in a state of the art auditorium and administrative headquarters for the company. Holt also served 10 years (1982-1991) as the managing director of the Sundance Film Festival.
Rapaport is the author of Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City, which was published by Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing) in April 2014. This story tells how the town came back to life after mining abandoned it in 1953. Rapaport is also considered a pioneer of music business education, and she has a master’s degree in Renaissance literature from Cornell University.
The event is free, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. However, because seating is limited, registration is required by May 15.
Interested individuals can register online at http://www.harneycountyperformingarts.org/Symposium/ or via phone at 541-573-2427 or 541-413-1974.
Telephone and Internet scams often target seniors
The Harney County Sheriff’s Office would like to inform the residents of Harney County of an increase in phone/email-generated scams that have been taking place in the area in recent weeks.
Some of the most commonly used scam are known as “sweepstakes/lottery” calls, in which the scammer contacts the victim and informs them they are the recipient of a large monetary prize, and the winner must pay a nominal fee via pre-paid credit card in order to collect their winnings. Popular sweepstakes, such as Publisher’s Clearing House, are being referenced in these calls.
One type of scam that is popular among scammers, and tends to target the senior citizen population, is one in which the scammer identifies himself/herself as law enforcement or other person of authority, informing the victim that a loved one has been arrested/detained in another city, state or country, and the victim must deposit bail money onto a pre-paid card to get the loved one out of trouble. With these types of calls, the victim may even be tricked into believing that they are actually talking to their loved one at some point in the call. The scammer will initiate the call and say something along the lines of, “Hi, Grandma. Do you know who this is?” When the unsuspecting grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer sounds most like, the scammer has established a fake identity without having any background research.
Unfortunately, during times of a loss, a victim becomes more vulnerable and an easy target. In one approach, the scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral service of a complete stranger to take advantage of the grieving widow or widower. Claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them, scammers will try to extort money from relatives to settle fake debts.
Health care/Medicare/health insurance fraud is also high among seniors. Every citizen older than 65 qualifies for Medicare, so there is rarely any need for a scam artist to research which private health insurance company older people have in order to scam them out of money. In these types of scams, scammers may pose as a Medicare representative to get seniors to give their personal information, or they will provide fake services at makeshift mobile clinics, then use the personal information provided to bill Medicare and pocket the money.
The Internet is another way that identities and personal information can be stolen. Common forms of Internet scams are pop-up windows that simulate virus-scanning software and will fool the victim into either downloading a fake anti-virus program, at a substantial cost, or an actual virus that will open up to the scammers whatever information is on the user’s computer. Also, a victim may receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate company or institution, asking them to update or verify their personal information.
The Harney County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens, “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is,” and to protect yourself by not giving personal or financial information to these scammers or others like them, nor follow any instructions they might give on how to go about collecting prizes or helping loved ones. In the event that you become a victim/recipient of one or more of these types of fraud/scam calls, you are encouraged to contact the Oregon Financial Fraud Consumer Protection Section by calling 1-877-877-9392 to report the incident.
Police department obtains overtime grant
by Steve Howe
The Hines Common Council met for a public land use hearing at its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 28. The land use hearing on Ordinance 309 (a flood damage prevention ordinance, with included zoning changes) was called to order first to gather public input and provide an opportunity for discussion.
Ordinance 309 had been discussed at previous meetings, but councilors elected to delay a vote in order to have more time for review. City Administrator Joan Davies explained at the regular meeting of the Hines Common Council on April 14 that all cities are now being required to pass flood ordinances in order to qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program, and that the ordinance had been reviewed by a citizen committee and was recommended for approval by the Hines Planning Commission.
At the April 28 public hearing, Davies reiterated that the ordinance establishes processes for flood damage prevention, and changes single-family residential zoning for six privately-owned properties, in cooperation with the property owners.
One person in attendance asked if her property was in the flood zone. Davies explained that the ordinance does not change any flood zoning designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and that a flood zone map could be obtained from the Harney County Planning Commission.
As there were no further comments or discussion, and no written testimony had been received, the public hearing was closed. Councilor Hilda Allison moved to approve the ordinance, and it was seconded by Councilor Ron Williams. The motion carried with five “ayes,” and Councilor Loren Emang not voting.
Ordinance 310, an amendment to the cottage development ordinance for the West Ridge II housing development, was also passed. The amendment clarifies the original intent of the planning commission, which was to require that a minimum of four cottages be built only when the development was first established, not each time a new cottage is proposed. Builders Pat Thompson and Ron Schirm were proposing to build two new cottages, and were in attendance to answer any questions.
Following the passage of the ordinance, Mayor Nikki Morgan advised the council that the clarification of the ordinance had caused a delay for the builders, and that they had requested a waiver of the 30-day waiting period normally required. Emang moved to waive the waiting period, it was seconded by Williams, and the motion carried unanimously.
Hines Police Chief Ryan DeLange told the council that he obtained a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the amount of $3,000 to pay for police overtime in writing traffic citations for speeding. Davies pointed out that the hours can’t be worked until after July 1 (the start of the fiscal year), because there is no revenue or expenditure line specifically for speeding citation overtime, and the grant comes with a $750 matching requirement. DeLange said they will have no problem satisfying the match with in-kind work.
In other news, DeLange reported that his department received a number of theft calls recently, and there continues to be a problem with methamphetamine and heroin sales and usage in both Hines and Burns. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently busted an exchange of one pound of methamphetamine behind a local gas station.
DeLange said he received a lot of information regarding the implementation of Measure 91 (allowing for the personal use and possession of recreational marijuana) at the recent Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, but said there is a great deal of confusion surrounding it, as changes keep being made.
In unfinished business, the topic of utility rates was addressed. Morgan asked if there were any comments about the water base rate, and asked if the water rates committee met. Emang reported that it had, and they would meet again the following day. He said they are looking into flow rates and line sizes to help determine a billing scale. The committee is made up of Councilor Rod Bennett, Councilor Dick Baird, and Hines residents Darrel Smith and Bob Daniel, with Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala participating.
In her regular report, Davies said she attended the last Harney County Air Quality Task Force meeting for the season. It will reconvene in September, and it aims to focus on air quality education at schools.
Davies said she also appeared before the Harney County Budget Committee to request $15,000 for the city’s annual budget, which is $5,000 more than the county usually contributes. The money would go to the city’s street fund. Committee members said they would advise her of a decision when they complete their own budget.
Davies advised the council that the cans and bottles fund for Hines Park was at $4,529.52 for the fiscal year.
Harney County Chamber of Commerce Director Chelsea Harrison was present to report on the free disposal day held at C&B Sanitary April 18. She said it was very successful, with a total of 48 loads dumped. She added that they may schedule it later in the year next year, however, to increase participation.
Harrison also reported on the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival in Honor of John Scharff. She said attendance was slightly down from last year, but participants booked more tours on average, which increased the time they spent in the county. She said the new owl and sage grouse tours were successful, and the youth art auction raised $900 for next year’s youth art program.
She said that six, 12-foot banners promoting the festival that were placed along Highway 20 at the Valley Golf Club disappeared, and they have not been recovered.
In other business, the council:
• approved business licenses for Hannaford Creations and Paul Everett Bradley Landscape Services;
• approved a donation of up to $250 each from the Hines Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) and Hines Police Department to help pay for a chaplain training program for volunteer firefighter Bob Yunker at the Police/Firefighter Chaplaincy Academy in Seattle, Wash., May 16-23;
• approved a donation of $100 to the Burns High School senior class graduation party;
• discussed the utility worker job opening. Morgan said 14 applicants were interviewed, and that they are not ready to hire anyone yet, as background checks are still in progress;
• approved accounts payable for April 28 in the amount of $55,383.09.
The next meeting of the Hines Common Council will be held Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Hines City Hall.
by Randy Parks
On Wednesday, April 29, Harney County Little League broke ground for the two new pressboxes to be built at the fields on West Pierce Street. The pressboxes are part of a number of improvements planned for the complex, including new fencing, warning tracks and additional fields.
On Saturday, April 25, Little League players took part in a 100-inning fundraising event to help pay for the improvements.
Darrell Williams and the Harney County Parole and Probation work crew have made a huge contribution, putting in more than 700 hours working on the projects at the fields.
The goal for Harney County Little League and other community members is to attract the All-Star Tournament to Harney County in 2016, as well as to provide an attractive complex for the community to enjoy for years to come.
Team sponsors, banner sponsors, and donors for this year’s Little League season are Les Schwab Tire Center, Burns Ford, Rise & Run Construction, A Parts Store, Ken Thomas Real Estate, Robbins Equipment, Downright Drilling, The Children’s Barn, Thriftway, The Book Parlor, Burns Electric, Ruthie’s – In His Image Photography, Big R, B&B Sporting Goods, McDonald’s, Joe Davis Construction, Glory Days, Bank of Eastern Oregon, Family Eyecare of Harney County, Burns Dental Group, 7-K Ranches, Rick and Becky Thein, Harney District Hospital EMS, Central Pastime, Eddie’s Fast Break, Burns Fuel Good, Chevron, Jiffy Electric, Umpqua Bank, Keep Kleen Car Wash, RJ’s Restaurant, Subway, Crane Store and Cafe, Adam Kemper Construction, Harney Pump and Irrigation, Balloon Express, Alan’s Repair, LaFollette’s Chapel, Reid’s Country Store, The Truck Shop, C & B Sanitary Service, Harney District Hospital, ACW Rock and Ready-Mix, Joseph’s Juniper Inc., Darrell Williams, and the Harney County Parole and Probation work crew.
The Harney County Little League board of directors, parents and other volunteers appreciate the tremendous support from the community for the county’s youth activities, including those who donated to the success of the 100-inning game. They are looking forward to the continued growth at the Little League complex and its positive impact on youth and the community.
Two board members indicate resignation
by Samantha White
A chief executive officer (CEO) offer letter and CEO employment agreement were approved for Daniel Grigg during the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Health District Board of Directors on April 22.
Grigg is set to replace current Harney District Hospital (HDH) CEO Jim Bishop, who will retire in August.
Board member Preston Jannsen chose to abstain from voting, and board member Tim Smith explained that an abstention is neither an affirmative nor negative vote.
Smith, board chair Dan Brown, and board members Ann Vloedman and Shana Withee offered affirmative votes.
The motion included language that will allow the board to add key person disability insurance (which would protect the hospital financially in the event that the CEO can no longer work due to a disability) if it’s deemed necessary.
The board may also consider obtaining key person disability insurance for other key hospital employees.
Prior to approving the offer letter and employment agreement, the board agreed to move discussion concerning the CEO’s salary into public session.
Smith explained that discussion of salary must be part of public session, but other negotiated items, which are not subject to public meeting law, could remain in executive session.
HDH Chief Financial Officer Catherine White presented the salary negotiations to the board, explaining how the proposed salary compares to what CEOs in similar hospitals receive.
Brown said the proposed salary is slightly under the 50th percentile for hospitals of a similar size, budget, etc.
Bishop said the starting rate should be somewhere between the 25th and 50th percentile, adding that more experienced employees will be paid “more or less” at the 50th percentile.
“That’s kind of where I am,” he said.
The board agreed to approve the salary of $165,000 per year.
Brown stated that two board members indicated their intent to resign, and he asked the board for direction regarding accepting their resignations.
Smith suggested that the board wait until letters of resignation are received.
The board received a report from Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell regarding HDH Family Care.
Rothwell reported that 1,716 patients were served in March, which was a new high for the clinic. She said the increase can be attributed in part to an influx of acute patients (patients with colds, flu, etc) and roughly 50-75 wild land firefighters who needed physicals by the end of May.
Rothwell also reported that Dr. Heidi Vanyo received her Oregon license, and the credentialing process has begun. Vanyo is expected to start July 1.
An additional physician will be coming to visit at the end of April. She will finish her residency training this summer and would be available to begin in early fall, should she decide to accept a position.
Dr. Henry Elder, a Canby-based psychiatrist, began seeing patients at the clinic via telemedicine April 13. Rothwell reported that the clinic hopes to add a behaviorist who would work directly with clinic providers and Dr. Elder to provide patient care. She added that there’s a list of patients who are waiting to see Dr. Elder, and the clinic anticipates that this will be a successful expansion of its services.
Rothwell also reported that, year-to-date, 557 patients have been served locally by specialists who traveled from Bend.
“It’s an amazing number of patients being seen,” Bishop said. “It’s saving people a trip across the desert.”
Vloedman said the community has responded well to the traveling providers, and Brown said he’s very impressed with the level of service.
The board continued its conversation concerning space planning at the clinic.
The lack of available space was a topic of discussion during the Feb. 25 board meeting, and a clinic space planning proposal was approved during the March 25 meeting.
Efforts are underway to form a subcommittee to oversee the project as it moves forward.
In other business, the board:
• learned from HDH Human Resources Manager Sammie Masterson that HDH Chief Operating Officer/ Chief Nursing Officer Barb Chambers will retire at the end of the month.
The board thanked Chambers for her service;
• received an update from Bishop concerning meaningful use.
At 98 percent compliance, Bishop said HDH is “doing extremely well” at meeting the requirements.
Meaningful use sets specific objectives for using certified electronic health record technology. Hospitals and eligible professionals must achieve these objectives to qualify for incentive programs.
White said meaningful use dollars will be received and used to pay down some of the hospital’s debt;
• learned from HDH Health Information Services Coordinator Toni Siegner that between 50 and 60 children attended the Reach Out and Read® Read and Romp, which was held April 18 at HDH to promote childhood literacy;
• reviewed policies 100.085 “Conflicts of Interest” and 100.090 “Board Retreats” and approved them without changes;
• reviewed policy 100.095 “Reimbursements of Board Member Expenses.”
Vloedman recommended that the sentence, “Board members shall also be reimbursed for their actual and reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of official district duties,” be amended to read, “Board members shall also be reimbursed for their actual and reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of official district duties and education and training.”
The board agreed to approve the policy as amended;
• received a report from Kelly Singhose, care manager.
Singhose reported that she works with patients’ primary care providers to develop a plan of care, which involves mental health and home health. She explained that, in order to do this, she spends a lot of time visiting with patients, researching options, and reviewing patients’ medical histories.
“Most of my patients have several chronic diseases and multiple barriers to care including mental health, physical limitations, economic or social needs,” Singhose explained. “They likely need to see a specialist out of our community and support in our community.”
Singhose said she’s managed more than 200 patients in the last three months alone.
In her aforementioned report, Rothwell stated that the clinic would like to shift the number of staff Singhose supervises so she has more time to provide direct patient care.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 in the hospital board conference room.