Legal implications for city discussed by attorney

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The Burns City Council held a meeting Wednesday, Dec. 10 to discuss and receive public comment on time, place and manner restrictions for a medical marijuana dispensary.

Jeremy Green, legal counsel for the city, was on hand to present the draft ordinance, which would place additional regulations on the operation of dispensaries in the city of Burns, above and beyond state law. Green and the council fielded questions and comments from the public on the issue.

At the Oct. 22 meeting, the council approved an ordinance amending  and restating Burns Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 5.05 (concerning business licenses), stating:

“…the Burns City Council finds that it is necessary to amend and restate BMC Chapter 5.05 in its entirety in order to, among other things, accommodate businesses that may have otherwise been inadvertently prevented from operating in the City’s corporate limits.”

A business license for a medical marijuana dispensary was approved by the council Sept. 10 “with modifications or amendments,” with the intention of placing the time, place and manner restrictions on the business in a separate ordinance before issuing the license.

A draft of this ordinance was presented at the Nov. 12 meeting, where the council reviewed the document and received public comment. A second draft was distributed at the most recent meeting.

Green outlined the legal risks involved in the time, place and manner restrictions, saying that they had to be backed up by legitimate, safety-driven concerns in order to avoid a lawsuit. He also explained, in response to questions about the other options the city has, that if the council were to undo the amendment made to the business license ordinance in order to deny the issuance of the license to a dispensary, the city could face legal action.

“If you were to go back and require compliance with federal law, then you could deny the business license to that particular dispensary and any other dispensary that comes in,” said Green.

“That doesn’t end it, though, because you could be subject to legal challenge from that dispensary, not only based on the business license piece, but based upon a retroactive issue as well,” he added.

•••

The majority of public comment was against the dispensary, and against the use of marijuana in general.

Grant Gunderson addressed Green and the council regarding section 5.05.120 of the business license ordinance, which states that “all licensees must comply with all federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances,” asking how it allowed for a medical marijuana dispensary to exist (as marijuana is illegal under federal law).

“This is no longer a regulatory-driven business license ordinance. It is now…an information-gathering type ordinance,” said Green.

He explained that the city would not be ensuring compliance with federal law, and that other cities have similar ordinances.

“We don’t have the resources – financial, staffing, and otherwise – to go about enforcing federal laws,” said Green.

Gunderson also asked if cities could be more restrictive than the state when it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries.

“I would argue that, yes, they can,” said Green.

Gunderson asked about the viability of various restrictions placed on the dispensary, including additional location restrictions. Green reiterated that he believed they were possible, as long as they were tied to a legitimate, safety-driven reason.

Gunderson asked if the approval of the business license for the dispensary implied approval of the location, which is currently planned at the former Bike Burns shop on Highway 20.

“The mere fact that we’ve already issued a business license to a medical marijuana facility, does not mean that they’re not ultimately going to be subject to our time, place and manner restrictions,” explained Green.

“Even if that means they can’t be there?” asked Gunderson.

“They’re going to argue that they get grandfathered in, we all know that…but an argument could be made that that isn’t the case,” said Green.

“Is it unreasonable to make them change the name of the dispensary – right now, they have ‘Enjoy’ on there, that to me is hypocrisy – medical marijuana?” asked Gunderson.

“Honestly, that is the first time I’ve received a question regarding controlling the name of a business…I will look at it,” said Green.

•••

Following further discussion about concerns regarding the amendment made to the business license ordinance (which relieved the city of responsibility for regulating businesses’ compliance with federal law), Councilor Jerry Woodfin suggested that it should be reversed.

“What I’m hearing is, with these time, place and manner restrictions, if we put something in there, somebody’s going to challenge it. And then somebody else is going to find something in there, and they’re going to challenge it,” said Woodfin.

“I think if we’re going to sit around and worry about getting challenged, we should just draw the line and say, ‘Let’s go back and say you have to follow state and federal law,’ and then there’s just one thing to challenge.”

The comment was met with approval from the crowd.

In response, Mayor Craig LaFollette asked the council whether they remembered the executive session in which they had this discussion with Green’s counsel.

“I don’t want the public to think that we didn’t already have this discussion. We had this discussion in detail. And I’ll leave it at that,” he said.

•••

Charity Robey said her biggest issue with the dispensary was the disposal of the marijuana. She said that if it were placed in dumpsters outside the building, it would pose a threat to children and pets.

Green pointed out a provision in the draft time, place and manner ordinance, which states that the dispensary “must provide for secure disposal of marijuana remnants or byproducts; such remains or byproducts shall not be placed within the dispensary’s exterior refuse containers.”

•••

Sgt. Brian Needham, speaking on behalf of himself and the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, said allowing the dispensary would result in increased “black market” marijuana, a higher crime rate, and increased law enforcement costs.

Bev LaFollette told the councilors that she felt it was in their best interest to “go back” and undo the amendment to the business license ordinance.

“I think we need to back up, and we need to slow down and look at this,” she said.

“I think the majority of the people here would like to see ‘federal’ put back in,” she added, referring to the ordinance.

LaFollette said that if the council did decide to keep going forward, she would like to see additional restrictions on the dispensary, including that it be 1,000 feet from childcare facilities and preschools, and that background checks be required for everyone working at the facility.

Andrea Letham asked the council “what the hold up” was with going back and undoing the business license ordinance amendment.

“What are we really scared of, a lawsuit? I’d be more scared about what’s going to happen to our children,” she said.

Kirby Letham added to her comments.

“The biggest risk is going against what the majority of the local people think and feel,” he said.

•••

Kim Rollins addressed the council, and said he was not pro-marijuana, but was pro-marijuana reform.

He asked Green to clarify whether medical marijuana and recreational marijuana (after July 1, 2015) would still be legal in Harney County, even if dispensaries were denied business licenses. Green responded, “Yes.”

Rollins said that the legal marijuana industry was projected to be a $10 billion business by 2018.

He asked, “What are we achieving by restricting a legal business? Why should we put restrictions on our economy in Harney County?”

Members of the crowd responded, with some commenting that it was “dirty money,” and that “we don’t want it.”

Stacey Johnson also responded to Rollins.

“We don’t care about that part of the economy; we don’t want that,” he said.

•••

Doug Gunderson told the council that he coaches wrestling and football, and has seen the effects of marijuana users on kids’ lives.

“Some of them are medical [marijuana users]. I know of one cardholder that brought his kid to football practice, and was also drinking, because he was so high that he didn’t think drinking was a problem…that’s the kind of trash that marijuana users are,” he said.

Rob Paramore commented that he lives in Harney County because of the quality of life.

“I don’t think the general population wants anything to do with this [dispensary],” he said.

“Why don’t we just eliminate it all from Harney County, and see what happens?” asked Paramore.

Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick thanked the council for facilitating the public hearing.

“I just ask each one of you to think about what everyone said. We had an eloquent discussion tonight about how we feel, and I just hope you listen,” he said.

•••

Following public comment, Green asked the council to provide a general consensus on how they would like to proceed. He said that he could help the council move forward with the reconsideration issue or with the time, place and manner restrictions, or go back and analyze all of the options.

Jerry Woodfin responded:

“I’ve made my decision…I think it’s fair to at least have a vote on whether we do go back.”

Councilor Terri Presley said that the council needed to look again at the risk analyses before making the decision to undo the amendment to the business license ordinance.

“We need to look at all our options,” she said.

The rest of the council agreed, and Green said he would look into the pros and cons of undoing the amendment of the business license ordinance, and would put the time, place and manner restrictions on hold until a resolution was passed.

The next regular meeting of the Burns City Council will be held Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. at city hall.


by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Taylor Crafts (left) and Cailyn Wilber (right) were presented with belt buckles by 2014 fair queen Randi Johnson. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Taylor Crafts (left) and Cailyn Wilber (right) were presented with belt buckles by 2014 fair queen Randi Johnson. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

“Boots, Buckles and Broncs” was selected as the theme for the 2015 Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet at the Harney County Fair Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party Sunday, Dec. 14.

Fair Manager Don Slone also announced the selection of Joanna Corson as the Grand Marshal for the 2015 fair. For the rodeo court, queen Cailyn Wilber and princess Taylor Crafts were introduced and presented with belt buckles.

Before revealing the identity of the Grand Marshal, Slone read a short biography to give the audience some clues. Slone said she was born in Burns, the oldest of four children; she attended grade school at Crane and Lawen, and graduated from Crane Union High School as valedictorian; she attended Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls; she has two children; is a dedicated volunteer, having been involved in many community organizations; has been a 4-H leader for 40 years, starting as a crochet leader, but is best known for the Frisky Fleas 4-H Dog Club.

Corson was unable to attend the event, but Slone unveiled the bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in her honor.

The 2014 fair report was also presented to those in attendance, and the statistics are as follows:

Exhibits

• 169 adults entered 1,051 open class exhibits

• 157 youth entered 596 open class exhibits

216 4-H and FFA youth entered 1,008 exhibits

The bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in honor of 2015 Grand Marshal Joanna Corson was unveiled. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

The bench that will be located at the fairgrounds in honor of 2015 Grand Marshal Joanna Corson was unveiled. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Fairgrounds events

• There were 164 youth events, with 7,599 people attending. This is 29 more youth events and 1,282 more people than in 2013.

• There were 202 public events, with 26,671 people attending. This is 27 more events and 2,435 more people attending than in 2013.

• There were 46 private events, with 1,691 people attending. This is 34 less events and 1,950 less people attending than in 2013.

• All of this was a total of 412 events, with 35,978 people attending. That is 22 more events and 1,784 more people than in 2013.

Volunteers

• There were 701 volunteers and sponsors working directly for the fair board in 2014. This is 143 more volunteers than in 2013.

• Estimated hours by those volunteers were 9,413 or equivalent to 4.5 full time employees.

• At minimum wage, those volunteer hours would cost $85,620.

Financial statistics

• The expense of the 2014 fair was $191,618. The income of the 2014 fair was $194,610.

• The estimated gross dollars earned by 24 community organizations during the fair is $486,748 or $36,806 more than in 2013.

• The 4-H and FFA auction alone grossed $275,086 or $35,362 more than in 2013.

• The estimated gross dollars generated by community organizations at the fairgrounds during the off season was $108,316 or $2,116 less than in 2013.

• The economic impact of the 2014 fair to Harney County is $5.1 million. Economists say on average, money rolls over 7.5 times.


Holiday Happenings

Posted on December 10th in News

Your guide to Harney County’s fun festivities

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Make your list and check it twice, because there’s plenty going on this holiday season in Harney County that you won’t want to miss! Check out these festive events, get your Christmas shopping done at local merchants and bazaars, and take the time to make a charitable donation in the spirit of the season.

Events

The Annual Downtown Christmas Jamboree & Parade will take place Saturday, Dec. 13, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Burns. The schedule of activities includes:

8 a.m. to 10 a.m. – Breakfast with Santa at the Burns Elks Lodge.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Games at Martial Arts America

• Crafting at Country Lane Quilts

• Face painting by Burns Christian Church at The Children’s Barn

• Cookie decorating at Sweet & Unique

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. –

• Nativity set displays at Burns Garage by community members

• Specialty vendors at Harney County Community Center

• Gingerbread House judging at the Harney County Community Center

• Coloring contest and cider at Broadway Deli

12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

• Pictures with Santa at Ruthie’s In His Image Photography

• Marshmallow Shooters at Arrowhead Plaza

2 p.m. – Canned food movie at Desert Historic Theatre. Miracle on 34th Street will be shown, and admission is canned food donations.

4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Ugly Sweater Social at The Book Parlor

5 p.m. – Broadway Lighted Christmas Parade, sponsored by Umpqua Bank. (First place wins $75, second place wins $25.)

5:30 p.m. – Bonfire with Santa at the Christmas tree across from Safeway. Hot dogs and hot chocolate will be provided by Burns Foursquare Church.

For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 541-573-2636, or visit the website at www.harneycounty.com.

•••

Burns Butte Sportsmen’s Club Christmas Fun & Games Shoot will be held Saturday, Dec. 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the trap range on Radar Hill. Lunch is available and all levels of shooters are welcome.

Music and Services

The Harney County Church of the Nazarene presents Carols by Candlelight at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Featured soloists this year are Bettina Bowman, Ann Franulovich, Barb Rothgeb and Michelle Yunker. Megan Kartchner will be featured with her grand concert harp. A men’s quartet, made up of Brian Bowman, Evan Franulovich, Don Greenfield and Ken Peckham, will also be performing. Admission is free, and a reception will follow. For more information, call 541-573-7100.

•••

The community is invited to attend two Christmas services at Harney County Church of the Nazarene. The services will be held Sunday, Dec. 21 at 10:45 a.m., and Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. The special guest will be Kyle Ruggles, who will be performing on flute at both services. For more information, please call 541-573-7100.

Shopping

The Round Barn Visitor Center Open House will be held Sunday, Dec. 14, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 51955 Lava Bed Road, in Diamond. There will be a book signing with Debbie Raney and Kate Marsh.

•••

Last Chance Christmas Bazaar will take place Saturday, Dec. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hines City Hall. Local handcrafters, food vendors, and artists will be present. Vendors: there is no charge for a table, and some spaces are still available. For more information, or to sign up as a vendor, contact Hines City Hall at 541-573-2251.

•••

Oard’s Gallery & Museum will host Oard’s Annual Christmas Open House on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 42456 Highway 20 East, Burns. New jewelry is available.

•••

Need a tree? The Crane Union High School (CUHS) senior class is selling Christmas trees as a fundraiser. Please call CUHS at 541-493-2641 ext. 1 to order your tree – $40 for tree farm trees, and $30 for forest trees. There is a $5 delivery charge.

Season for Giving

Toys for Tots is collecting new toys for children in need. Toys can be placed in drop boxes located at Burns High School, Slater Elementary, King’s Variety store, Big R, Rite Aid, Erickson’s Thriftway, or the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. $10 donations are also appreciated, and can be delivered to Burns High School. The deadline is Dec. 11. For more information, contact Kathy Wassom at 541-573-2044.

•••

Harney County Dollars for Scholars has a donor that will match all contributions up to $20,000 until Dec. 15. Any amount is accepted and appreciated. Send contributions to P.O. Box 243, Hines, 97738.

•••

First Lutheran Church will hold a Winter Coat Giveaway, Friday, Dec. 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 14, from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., at 349 S. Egan Ave. in Burns. If you or someone you know needs a warm coat, gloves, or hat, all you have to do is show up. Donations of new or “gently-used” items can also be dropped off at this time. Residents of Harney County are asked to clean out their closets and put those unused items to good use.


Court discusses sage grouse

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

David Ward was appointed the new Harney County sheriff on Friday, Dec. 5. He will serve out the remainder of Sheriff Dave Glerup’s term until the next general election in November 2016.

A special session of the county court was held Tuesday, Dec. 2, with the purpose of discussing the appointment.

Sheriff Dave Glerup requested that a decision be made as soon as possible so he could introduce the new sheriff at the upcoming Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association’s annual conference, scheduled for Dec. 7-10.

Judge Steve Grasty suggested the formation of an appointment committee to review applications, interview applicants, and make a recommendation to the court. It was decided the committee would include two representatives of law enforcement, one county court member, one representative from rural Harney County, one business owner, one representative from tribal law enforcement, and a representative from the Harney County district attorney’s office. Grasty agreed to contact possible committee representatives immediately after the meeting.

At the regular meeting of the court Wednesday, Dec. 3, it was announced that the committee would include Jan Oswald, Commissioner Pete Runnels, Carol Dunten, Deputy District Attorney Joey Lucas, the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Chief of Police Carmen Smith, Hines Chief of Police Ryan DeLange, Oregon State Police Officer Brian Williams, and Shane Otley, with alternates if needed.

The appointment committee met with four applicants Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 a.m. The court then convened at 1:30 p.m. They received the committee’s recommendation, interviewed the applicants, and voted to appoint Ward as the new Harney County sheriff, effective Jan. 2.

•••

The court had a lengthy discussion regarding land use regulation and sage grouse. It was a work session only, and no decisions were made.

Grasty said that conservation groups are concerned with development in the region and its effects on sage grouse and their habitat, and want to place limits on it.

Grasty said he and Harney County Planning Director Brandon McMullen had put together a list of potential types of development and mapped out where in the county they would be most likely to occur, in order to respond to these groups.

Commissioner Dan Nichols expressed concern about “building a wall” around these development options.

Grasty said discussions will continue and no commitments will be made yet.

•••

Mike Simpson with the Training & Employment Consortium (TEC) was present at the meeting to discuss the need for funding assistance for the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps. He said the loss of funding from the Harney County Commission on Children & Families has impacted OYCC’s programs, and that it is in need of additional funds to continue the OYCC Community Stewardship Corps, a program that works with at-risk youth through the alternative school. Simpson requested $12,500 for program funding through the calendar year 2015.

Nichols noted that this was the first request received for money from fund No. 236, and he made a motion to grant TEC the full amount requested. The motion carried unanimously. Nichols added that he would provide the court with procedures on how to address future requests from this fund.

•••

County Clerk Derrin “Dag” Robinson provided an update on the Measure 92 (GMO-labeling) recount, which took place Dec. 2. The result added two “yes” votes. One was an error in duplication during the pre-inspection process, and the other was an indeterminate reading from the tally machine.

•••

In other business, the court:

• Reviewed vouchers and approved them by signatures;

• was asked by Barbara Cannady whether there would be a resolution for the acceptance of the Harney County road map inventory? Grasty explained that the map has been recognized and is on file, and there will be no resolution;

• reviewed and discussed the Harney County Health Department civil rights self-assessment;

• reviewed water use requests.

The next meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.


The Chamber Music Society of Harney County hosted a Christmas concert Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene. The concert featured performances by the bell choir (directed by Carol Sawyer), choir (directed by Marianne Andrews and accompanied by Christy Sanders), and orchestra (directed by Ken Peckham). Additionally, concert harpist Megan Kartchner performed ‘What Child Is This,’ and orchestra director Ken Peckham led the audience in a Christmas sing-a-long. (Photos by SAMANTHA WHITE)


‘Meet and greet’ with past, present owners on Dec. 13

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Ramona Bishop and her daughter, Tracee (McGee) Aarestad, opened the Book Parlor in 1994. (Submitted photo )

Ramona Bishop and her daughter, Tracee (McGee) Aarestad, opened the Book Parlor in 1994. (Submitted photo )

The Book Parlor, located at 433 N. Broadway Ave. in Burns, will celebrate its 20th anniversary Saturday, Dec. 13.

In addition to a storewide sale, the celebration will feature prize drawings and an opportunity to mingle with the parlor’s past and present owners, who will be available for a “meet and greet” from 4 to 6 p.m.

Chapter 1: Inspired by an old building

About 20 years ago, Ramona Bishop and her daughter, Tracee (McGee) Aarestad, were eating Chinese food at the Hilander Restaurant in Burns when they fell in love with the “very interesting, but elderly” building next door.

They decided that the building — which featured brick walls, a skylight, and original wood floors — would be an ideal location for a family business. And being a couple of bookworms, it didn’t take long for them to determine what type of business it should be.

Unfortunately, the building required quite a bit of renovation, so they were forced to expel a healthy helping of elbow grease before they could begin stocking the shelves. Fortunately, however, they had what it took to tackle the task, and the Book Parlor opened for business in 1994.

Bishop said the store became “a great social gathering place.”

The Book Parlor was home to a book club, which met monthly to discuss literature. Others used the store to share stories regarding their recent travel adventures.

“It was really fun,” Bishop said about owning the business. She added that she and Aarestad consider owning the Book Parlor to be one of the best experiences of their lives.

 Although it’s location and ownership have changed over the years, the book store continues to serve as a social hub for bookworms throughout Harney County. (Submitted photo)

Although it’s location and ownership have changed over the years, the book store continues to serve as a social hub for bookworms throughout Harney County. (Submitted photo)

Chapter 2: Changing hands, location

After about 10 years, the mother-daughter-duo decided to transfer ownership to Janice Morefield, who moved the business to its current location.

During her tenure, Morefield cultivated the relaxed, comfortable atmosphere that helped inspire the store’s current owners to purchase the business.

Chapter 3: Robbins’ take the reins

Owners of Robbins Farm Equipment in Burns and Christmas Valley, Kris and Maranda Robbins decided to branch out into the bookstore business by purchasing the Book Parlor on Jan. 25, 2010.

Maranda, who manages the counter, said her favorite thing about owning the Book Parlor is “seeing friendly faces everyday.”

“If I didn’t have the customers that I have, it wouldn’t be as much fun,” she said, adding that owning the store has enabled her to forge new friendships.

The store’s family-friendly environment also provides a place for the Robbins’ children Alivia, 13, Trenton, 10, and Addison, 7, to come after school. (The couple’s fourth child is due in January.)

Alivia shares her mother’s love for reading and is especially excited when a new order of books arrives at the store.

Chapter 4: Engaging young readers

In addition to featuring a children’s section, the Book Parlor works closely with local schools to promote literacy and get books into the hands of children.

Last year, the Book Parlor also collaborated with Harney District Hospital to jump-start Reach Out and Read®, a literacy program in which doctors “prescribe” reading to young children and their parents.

The Book Parlor has also hosted S.A. Bodeen, a young adult and children’s author, who read her books aloud to Slater Elementary School students.

Maranda and daughter, Addison, pose in pointy hats during the Book Parlor’s annual ‘Witches Night Out.’ (Submitted photo )

Maranda and daughter, Addison, pose in pointy hats during the Book Parlor’s annual ‘Witches Night Out.’ (Submitted photo )

Chapter 5: ‘A place to visit, browse, and buy’

In addition to author readings, the Book Parlor has hosted an array of community events, including book signings, musical performances, and holiday parties.

Witches Night Out has become an annual favorite, with “witches” of all ages dressing up in silly socks and pointy hats to celebrate Halloween.

The store also hosts an Ugly Sweater Social, in which participants don their tackiest Christmas attire in an effort to earn a prize. (This year, the Ugly Sweater Social will coincide with the anniversary celebration, taking place Dec. 13 from 4-6 p.m.)

The store is also home to a knitting group, which meets every Tuesday to swap stories, unwind and work on projects.

Other customers flock to the shop to catch up over a cup of coffee, while browsing the store’s collection of books, gifts, home and garden decor, Life is good® clothing, Leanin’ Tree® greeting cards, journals, book lights, and “shabby chic” furniture.

Recently featured as a favorite neighborhood bookstore in AAA’s Via travel magazine, the Book Parlor was described as “a place to visit, browse, and buy.”

As it approaches its second decade in business, the Book Parlor continues to serve as a social hub, while providing access to books for readers of all ages.


by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The staff of Accelerated Transport & Logistics celebrate the season with an ‘ugly sweater’ party. Shana (front right) and George (front center) Monroe are the owners of the freight brokerage firm. (Submitted photo)

The staff of Accelerated Transport & Logistics celebrate the season with an ‘ugly sweater’ party. Shana (front right) and George (front center) Monroe are the owners of the freight brokerage firm. (Submitted photo)

One might be surprised to learn that Burns is home to an independent freight broker agent for one of the largest freight brokerage firms in the United States.

Accelerated Transport & Logistics (AT&L) is an independent agent of Sunteck Transport Inc. AT&L has been owned and operated by locals, George and Shana Monroe, for nine years. The Monroes built the firm from the ground up, transforming it into a company grossing annual sales of more than $11 million. It was recently ranked the fifth largest agent out of 108 Sunteck agents across the country. Sunteck is ranked as the 13th largest transportation company in the United States.

Shana said she and George had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and desire to open a business. They took a risk, quitting full-time jobs with benefits, in order to get into the industry. She said they had one goal in mind when they opened the business: to provide the best quality service the industry had to offer, at the most competitive rates, and to do business with honesty and integrity.

Shana explained that they saw a need in the industry with manufacturers who were experiencing transportation cost overruns and unfavorable shipping practices due to rapid growth, as well as acquisitions and logistics managers who were not experienced and didn’t have the tools or resources they needed to make good decisions.

 

Freight brokerage

So, just what is a freight brokerage firm, anyway, and what services does AT&L (doing business as Sunteck Transport) have to offer?

Shana explained that they are a full-service, multi-mode transportation solutions provider. She said they are a single-source solution to a broad range of shipper customers. In addition to truckload operations, they specialize in a niche market providing chilled and frozen less-than-truckload (LTL) operations nationwide, as well as dry LTL.

Shana added that they strive to exceed their customers’ expectations, while adding strategic value.

AT&L has some big customers, like Sysco Foods. A few customers have been with them since day one, said Shana.

“They stick with us, because we do what we say we’re going to do,” she added.

 

A Harney County success story

The Monroes moved to Harney County in 1997 from California, seeking a small-town environment for their family. George worked for Burns Electric, which, coincidentally, was located in the same building that AT&L now owns and inhabits. Shana worked as a receptionist for Harney County Veterinary.

In the mid-2000s, the couple decided they were ready for a new venture. Shana said she ran into someone who was in the freight brokerage business, and she worked with him for about five weeks before deciding to venture out on her own. AT&L was formed in June of 2005.

“It was kind of scary, jumping into an industry I had no previous experience in,” said Shana.

She started out with one computer and was based out of her home. After three months, it got so busy that George joined Shana to help with the new business. That first year, they grossed $2.5 million in sales. Two years later, they purchased the building where they are currently located, at 111 E. Railroad Ave., in Burns. AT&L just ended its fiscal year for 2014 with $11.2 million in gross sales.

During the economic downturn, thousands of freight brokerage firms went out of business across the country, said Shana. But AT&L survived, and thrived, despite the economy. Shana said she thinks it actually helped them, because it provided an opportunity to prove the strength of their business. She credits their success to a high level of customer service, and treating customers and carriers well.

George added that their niche market, chilled and frozen food freight, weathers economic fluctuations well because, “Everybody has to eat.”

 

Dedicated employees

“We’re only as good as the talent we hire,” Shana said.

She expressed great pride in, and gratitude for, AT&L’s 12 employees.

“Everyone is really dedicated to the company, and everyone works together as a team,” she said.

The Monroes have worked hard to make sure their employees are well-compensated, with full benefits, generous paid time-off and bonuses. Shana said she has worked to create a positive office culture.

“Happy employees equal happy customers,” she said.

Shana said they recently invested in personality and aptitude testing services to ensure they find the right employees for the job. She explained that prior experience in the field is not necessary if they find the right person.

“Sometimes it’s actually easier to train somebody who doesn’t have the experience,” said Shana. It can sometimes be difficult if someone is coming in with preconceptions and habits that don’t fit with AT&L’s work culture, she explained.

Positions at the company include administrative workers, freight coordinators, and pickup and delivery dispatchers.

 

Technology edge

In addition to its employee assets, AT&L has invested in top-of-the-line technology to increase the efficiency of shipping operations.

Each employee monitors four screens at once, and are always multitasking, Shana said. The computer programs in use at AT&L make certain tasks much easier than they were in the past. Costs, including tariffs and fuel surcharges, are automatically calculated. Customers are able to log into portals that allow them to see where their freight is, get rates and quotes, and access invoices. Emails are also automatically generated and sent to clients when their freight has arrived at its destination.

“Technology puts us ahead of our competition,” Shana said.

 

Looking forward

AT&L is continuing to grow steadily. So steadily, in fact, that the company is in search of a new building, as it is currently out of desk space. Shana said they’re finding that they need to hire people every few months.

She said that their goals include expanding to 30 employees and increasing gross annual sales to $50 million.

Although AT&L continues its steady growth, Shana said the core values of the company are always at the forefront.

“We do believe in honesty and integrity, and I think that sets us apart from a lot of our competition,” she said.

For more information, visit www.sunteckinc.net.


Court discusses sheriff position

Posted on December 3rd in News

Due to scheduling conflicts, the Harney County Court held its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25. A summary of the unapproved minutes is as follows:

During the public comment period, Barbara Kull asked about the process to replace the Harney County sheriff, who is retiring as of Jan. 1, 2015.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty and Harney County Clerk Derrin (Dag) Robinson explained that the court will interview candidates and appoint a sheriff to fill the vacancy. Then, a new sheriff will be elected in the 2016 general election.

The court later discussed the applications that it received for the sheriff position, and the county commissioners received copies of them.

Applicants include Stacey Johnson, David Ward, Brian Needham, and Kerry Boggs.

Interviews will be scheduled in the afternoon on Dec. 3, and the court will establish standard interview questions.

•••

Wayne Baron attended the meeting to discuss his request to rent a county building.

After further investigation, the court determined a competitive rental rate of $1,850 per month, plus taxes and utilities for rent.

Baron left the meeting, and no action was taken.

•••

District Attorney Tim Colahan attended to discuss Measure 91.

He provided the court with two informational documents, which included League of Oregon Cities Measure 91: What it Means for Local Governments, November 2014 and the Association of Oregon Counties’ (AOC) draft summary of Measure 91.

A lengthy discussion ensued regarding the impact of the measure on Harney County and the cities of Burns and Hines.

Colahan will continue to keep the court apprised of any new developments.

•••

During the public comment period, Kull also asked about a surveyor who was seen in the area.

Grasty said these are flights performed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to measure elevation in the flood plain areas.

Kull also asked about mineral rights research that’s being done in the county.

Robinson replied that the Bureau of Land Management is compiling a database of Harney County mineral rights records.

Barbara Cannady said people called into 9-1-1 dispatch regarding low-flying planes.

Grasty said planes conducting aerial surveying don’t normally fly low, but he’ll investigate this issue.

•••

In other business, the court:

• reported that sage grouse was discussed at the AOC Conference. Discussion has progressed, but no decisions have been made. However, it appears that there will be limited development allowed in the core areas;

• watched Robinson give a demonstration of the Laserfiche software program, which has search capabilities to track all documents related to the road inventory map. The planning/GIS, accounts payable, county clerk, and county judge offices are currently implementing the program;

• accepted the land donation from GEO Investments Inc. The deed was signed by the court and given to the county clerk for recording;

• discussed the Harney County Policies Public Grievance Procedure, which was previously accepted, but never signed by the court.

The court agreed to accept the procedure and sign it as of Nov. 25, 2014;

• discussed the formation of a regional workforce investment board with eight Oregon counties (including Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa) and the intergovernmental agreement to create the Eastern Oregon Jobs Council (EOJC). The board will consist of about 20 members, with a minimum of two members per county.

After reviewing Ordinance 2014-74 in the matter of creating the EOJC, the court agreed to read the ordinance by title only and adopt it.

The court will need to make board member recommendations at a later date. Grasty will ask Sharon Johnson to publicize the board member vacancies;

• announced that Harney County received the Citycounty Insurance Services Silver Award for the reduction in worker’s compensation claims during fiscal year 2013-2014;

• discussed the AOC Conference; and

• reviewed water use requests.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.


‘West My Friend’ in concert

Posted on December 3rd in News
Canadian folk band 'West My Friend’ performed Tuesday, Nov. 25 at the Harney County Community Center. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Canadian folk band ‘West My Friend’ performed Tuesday, Nov. 25 at the Harney County Community Center. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)


Sheriff to retire after 26 years

Posted on November 26th in News

Glerup elected for first time in 1984

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

After serving almost seven non-consecutive, four-year terms, Glerup announced that he plans to retire from the sheriff position Jan. 1, 2015. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

After serving almost seven non-consecutive, four-year terms, Glerup announced that he plans to retire from the sheriff position Jan. 1, 2015. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

“It’s just time,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup said regarding his upcoming retirement.

After 26 years of service, Glerup announced that he plans to retire from his position as sheriff Jan. 1, 2015.

Glerup was elected sheriff for the first time in 1984, and he took office in 1985. After serving three consecutive four-year terms, he lost the 1996 election.

Thus, he took a four-year hiatus from law enforcement, during which he owned and operated a private business.

But Glerup said he resumed his post after he was “accosted” by the district attorney and juvenile director and persuaded to run for sheriff again.

He was re-elected in the following election and has served three-and-a-half consecutive terms since then.

Background in law enforcement

Glerup said he’s wanted to work in law enforcement since he was 18 years old.

After graduating from Burns Union High School in 1969, Glerup went to Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University) on a wrestling scholarship. While in college, Glerup took law enforcement classes and became familiar with the area.

He joined the Oregon State Police (OSP) force Oct. 1, 1972 and chose to work in Medford.

“At the time, you couldn’t work in your home town unless you lived in Portland because they figured you might not know everyone in Portland,” Glerup explained.

Hired at the age of 21, Glerup was the youngest trooper on the force at the time. He was also one of the first people in his recruit class to be interviewed for the position.

However, after learning that both his father and youngest daughter contracted cancer, Glerup decided to leave his job with OSP and move back to Harney County. He purchased a business from a family friend and operated it for six years, before deciding to sell it and run for Harney County sheriff.

Occupational hazards

After only about five months on the job, Glerup received a report of two individuals shooting at a house in Lake County.

Responding to the call, Glerup drove down Highway 395 toward Lakeview, as the shooting took place in Valley Falls.

Glerup said he was about 16 miles south of Riley when he passed the suspects’ vehicle, which was headed in the opposite direction. Glerup turned around, and an 80 to 85 mph chase ensued.

Glerup said it wasn’t “a real high-speed pursuit” because he and the suspects were both driving Ford pickups.

However, about two miles east of Riley, the passenger of the suspects’ pickup leaned out the window and fired a number of rounds at Glerup’s sheriff’s department pickup with an AR-15 automatic rifle.

According to an article published in the Burns Times-Herald March 20, 1985, “Glerup said five to seven rounds struck the front of his truck. A bullet fragment also struck his leg, leaving only a welt.”

Glerup radioed for backup, and officers from OSP, Burns Police, Hines Police and Tribal Police set up a roadblock near the Bureau of Land Management horse corrals, which is where the pair was arrested for alleged attempted murder, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and robbery in the first degree.

During the course of his career, Glerup also participated in a double homicide investigation in which both of the victims had been married to the same man. After about a five-year investigation and three-month trial, that man is serving two life sentences in Oregon penitentiaries.

One year, Glerup participated in three homicide investigations within a five-month time frame. All three of the incidents occurred within a quarter mile of the sheriff’s office. In fact, one of them took place across the street.

But despite the obvious dangers of dealing with suspects, Glerup said the most challenging aspect of his job has been managing the county’s 23-bed jail.

“We have to care and provide for all the people in the jail, and there are a lot of demands put forth by state and federal government on operation of the jail,” he explained.

In addition to managing the jail and sheriff’s department, Glerup oversees 9-1-1 dispatch and community corrections.

He now supervises 23 employees, which is a dramatic increase from the five employees who were on his staff the first time he was elected.

“When I first got elected, I did not have any certified deputies to work with me,” Glerup said, explaining that there were only four corrections officers and a civil deputy.

Serving the people

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of his position, Glerup said it varies daily. However, he said he’s enjoyed getting to know the people who he represents and being able to pay them back for all the support they’ve given him over the years.

His advice for the next Harney County sheriff is to be very open with the public and remain available.

“I get probably as many phone calls at home as I get at the office,” Glerup said, adding that he’s always listed his cellphone number.

Plans for retirement

When asked what he plans to do when he retires, Glerup beamed with pride and said, “Boy, I’ve got eight grandkids, so that’s pretty exciting.”

Due to the demands of his job, Glerup said he’s missed out on some important family events with his daughters and grandchildren.

“I missed out on a lot of my kids’ ball games and things like that because of work,” Glerup said. “I had to work many a Christmas  Day and holiday because that’s when things happen, unfortunately.”

In addition to spending time with family, Glerup plans to travel with his wife, Becky, who will retire from her position at Harney Electric Cooperative Inc. in a few months.

“Becky is Basque, so she wants to go to Spain,” Glerup said. “We might wander that way.”

He added that he’d also like to see the rest of the contiguous United States.

Glerup said he has a “pretty nice” fishing boat that he’d like to take out on the ocean or larger lakes, so fishing is also in his future.

Parting words

Glerup said he doesn’t know who the next sheriff will be, but he thinks it’s important that the citizens of Harney County hold whoever he/she is to “do the office right.”

He added, “I’ve tried to do that for 26 years. You can’t make everybody happy, but you have to do the right thing for the right reasons.”


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