Team looking for volunteers to have water wells tested

by Kathryn Burns and Rhett Landon
for the Burns Times-Herald

The Crane freshman physical science class, the Harney Rockers, are conducting a project in conjunction with the rural schools within the Harney Basin. This project is a STEM earth science activity that helps the Oregon Water Resources Department to create a geological map. This will help them understand aquifer recharge, discharge, and help improve current water levels in the Harney Basin.

If you think about it, our water resources here in Harney County, and frankly, all over the world, are the most important resources we have… not just for the continuation of life, but economically and in maintaining our way of life. As many of you know, drought already has had a pretty devastating effect on our land with wildland fires and the well permit restrictions. That is why our team feels this project is an important one in helping us to understand exactly what is going on, underground in the Harney Basin. How is/are our aquifer(s) recharged?  How can we improve our water reserves? What can we do to conserve water now?

Our team feels we will benefit from this experience in many ways. We are learning to responsibly conserve water, while learning the earth science components of the Harney Basin. To accomplish this goal, we created a driving question to help us investigate the problem. Our driving question is, “How does drought affect the aquifer(s) in the Harney Basin?”

In this project, we separated into eight different groups: project organizer, Elizabeth Jenkins; website developers, Brian Clark, Jacob Dunn and Zach Davis; ARC/GIS, Kathryn Burns and Rhett Landon; well log organizers, Casi Canady and Casey Otley; PowerPoint developers, Kassi Defenbaugh and Elizabeth Jenkens; photographers, Rhett Landon and Mathew Epling; newspaper, Kathryn Burns and Rhett Landon; project  managers, Connie Robbins and Gwen Haigh.

You can help us in this project by contacting us to volunteer your water well(s) for our team to test. If you have any questions, you may call Connie Robbins at 541-593-2641 ext. 233 or To see more information on this project, you can go to

Vision screening camera used to detect eye problems

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Elks Preschool Vision Screening Program held a free screening at the Early Childhood Center Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. (L-R)  Dick Fasteen (Elks volunteer), Cheryl Thornton (research assistant), Treva Spence, Robert Hornbeck, and Pete Cadena (Elks volunteers). (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

The Elks Preschool Vision Screening Program held a free screening at the Early Childhood Center Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. (L-R) Dick Fasteen (Elks volunteer), Cheryl Thornton (research assistant), Treva Spence, Robert Hornbeck, and Pete Cadena (Elks volunteers). (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Vision problems in children can cause many problems, especially in the educational field. To help detect vision problems early, the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic Preschool Vision Screening Program at the Casey Eye Institute travels around the state screening low-income children  who do not otherwise have access to screening.

On  Tuesday, Sept. 29, and Thursday, Oct. 1, Cheryl Thornton, research assistant with the Elks Vision Screening Program, visited the Early Childhood Center to perform screenings on a number of Head Start registered students.

Thornton was assisted by local volunteers from Burns Elks Lodge No. 1680 in the screening process.

Using a high-tech vision screening camera, Thornton took a picture of each student’s eyes, and had an immediate result on the exam. Thornton said the camera uses an infrared beam that fixates on the eyes’ pupils and bounces off the back of the eyes giving the photographer immediate results. The measurements can be used to detect astigmatism, near- and far-sightedness, amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes) and blocked vision.

If a problem is detected, the child is referred to a licensed eye doctor.

The Elks Youth Eye Service, or EYES, was established in 1964, with the purpose of providing funding for the major project of the Oregon State Elks Association, the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic.

EYES provides the funding for the screenings, while the Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health and Science Institute provides the manpower. Funds donated to the EYES foundation are never spent, but rather invested so the proceeds can be used to fund the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic, their state project.

According to the Casey Eye Institute website: “Nearly 15 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 5 have a vision problem that requires glasses. It’s best to screen children each year while their visual system is developing to avoid amblyopia and developmental delays. In Oregon, the legislature has mandated that all children entering public school for the first time show proof of a vision screening. Currently, this is an unfunded mandate.”

Because the state has not contributed to the mandate, the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic has become a key part in providing vision screening to preschool-aged children in Harney County and around the state.

Hines accepts water rates

Posted on September 30th in News

Council chooses to close city hall on Fridays

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After several months of meetings and proposals, the Hines Common Council voted to accept the water rate increases proposed by City Engineer Doug Ferguson at their meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Before Ferguson presented his proposal, City Administrator Joan Davies gave a brief review of the city’s water rates since 1992. She said that in 1992, the monthly base service charge for a 3/4” line, the most common in the city, was $18, and the current rate is $19. At one point in the 23-year time span the rate did go up to $21, but it was dropped back to back $19 in 2010. Davies added that in 1992, the council was advised that the rate should be $28.95 per month to keep the system solvent.

Ferguson told the council his proposal was what it would take to operate the present water system. He said the proposal doesn’t include any money for capital improvements or major breakdowns, which will need to be addressed in the future.

Based on the number of services and the potential performance of a 5/8-3/4” service, the recommended amount increases from $19 to $24 per month.

The  5/8-3/4” rate for out-of-town residences increases from $24 to $29, and for low-income residences, the rate goes from $12.15 to $17.

The ascending larger meter rates also increase, based on an American Water Works Association formula.

The proposal also recommended an increase on water use from $0.002 per cubic foot to $0.004 per cubic foot, which amounts to $0.534 per 1,000 gallons. Ferguson said the water use rate is reasonable, but it’s also high enough to encourage water conservation, which is needed. He said with the winter months coming up, residents won’t be using as much water as they do in the warmer months, and probably won’t notice the increase right away.

Ferguson’s proposal would bring in an estimated $318,332 for the city.

Ferguson stated the next step is to complete the water master plan, hopefully by the spring of 2016. The plan will identify the water system’s strengths and weaknesses, determine improvement needs, and what the costs will be for the improvements.

Councilor Rod Bennett stated the committee set up to study proposed water rates had submitted a proposal that would bring in more money for the city.

Ferguson replied that the city’s legal counsel didn’t approve the committee’s proposal, and that it wouldn’t work. “I was directed to do a fair rate study, and that’s what I did,” Ferguson said. “Using meter rates is as fair as we’re going to get.”

Bennett said he had a problem with the increase to $0.004 per cubic foot when there is no master plan in place.

“You can do anything you want, this is my recommendation,” Ferguson said.

Councilor Dick Baird said he was concerned about residents on fixed incomes not being able to afford the increases.

“We have to have this money or we’re going to come to a halt,” Ferguson said. “You came up with a plan and the attorney doesn’t like it. I agonized to get a plan that will work, and you guys don’t like it.”

“Doubling (the water use rate) sounds terrible, but it’s not that much on average,” Davies said. “We’re talking pennies or small dollars. And the city does have programs to help residents. We have to have it. He (Ferguson) did it and the attorney approved it.”

Davies added the city has had two water main breaks in recent days and “it’s not getting any better.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution setting the new water rates, with the omission of an automatic 2 percent increase each year.


The council reviewed a proposal to close city hall on Fridays throughout the winter months to save costs.

Baird said he was against the idea because city hall has always been open five days a week and “we owe it to our citizens.”

After some discussion, the council voted 3-2 in favor of having city hall closed on Fridays from Oct. 1 until Feb. 28 at the discretion of the city administrator to make adjustments if necessary. Councilors Bennett, Ron Williams and Hilda Allison voted in favor of the motion, with Baird and John Mims voting against.


In other business:

• the council voted to accept a bid from TopLoc Asphalt in the amount of $34,490 for crack sealing and hole patching work on city streets. Williams abstained from voting as he is the owner of TopLoc;

• the council approved business licenses for Burri Construction, owned by Jon Burri,  and Wright Taxi and Transport, formerly Elite Taxi, now operated by Pat Wright;

• Davies reported the auditors were in town the previous week and everything looked good, and the auditors had mentioned Rachael Robinson’s work at city hall had been “perfect.” Davies said the city had purchased air quality flags, green and yellow, to fly during wood-stove burning season to keep residents aware of air quality standards.

Davies announced the Department of Environmental Quality would be holding a household hazardous waste event from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Burns High School. Residents can take any old paint, antifreeze, fluorescent tubes, pool chemicals, etc. to the high school for free disposal;

• the council voted to pay for mileage costs for Captain Dave Riess to attend fire training in John Day.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at city hall.

The vehicle crashed near milepost 114 (15 miles west of Burns), rolled multiple times, and ejected the occupants who were deceased when emergency crews arrived on the scene. (Submitted photo)

The vehicle crashed near milepost 114 (15 miles west of Burns), rolled multiple times, and ejected the occupants who were deceased when emergency crews arrived on the scene. (Submitted photo)

The Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing its investigation into a double-fatal crash that occurred Thursday, Sept. 24, in Harney County.

Just after 8 p.m. on Sept. 24, OSP received a report of a westbound vehicle driving at a high rate of speed with no headlights on Highway 20. Minutes later, OSP was advised the vehicle had just crashed near milepost 114 (15 miles west of Burns).

OSP troopers and emergency personnel arrived on scene to discover a single vehicle had rolled multiple times, killing both occupants.

Preliminary information indicates the 2001 Chevy Tahoe left the roadway for unknown reasons. The Chevy rolled multiple times and ejected the occupants. Caleb E. Lynn, 22, and Danielle Shea, 42, both of Eagle, Idaho, were deceased when emergency crews arrived on the scene.

It is not clear at the time of this release who the driver of the vehicle was. It is believed there were no safety belts in use at the time of crash, and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor. The investigation is continuing.

OSP was assisted on scene by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, Hines Fire Department, Harney EMS and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

More information will be released when it is available.

Conservation efforts recognized

An unprecedented, landscape-scale conservation effort across the western United States has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat and enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conclude that the charismatic rangeland bird does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This collaborative, science-based greater sage grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 22 on Twitter with a video that explains why the sage grouse decision is historic and sets the groundwork for a 21st-century approach to conservation.

The FWS reached this determination after evaluating the bird’s population status, along with the collective efforts by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), state agencies, private landowners, and other partners to conserve its habitat. Despite long-term population declines, sage grouse remain relatively abundant and well-distributed across the species’ 173-million acre range. After a thorough analysis of the best available scientific information and taking into account ongoing key conservation efforts and their projected benefits, the FWS has determined the bird does not face the risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future and therefore does not need protection under the ESA.

“This is truly a historic effort – one that represents extraordinary collaboration across the American West,” said Jewell. “It demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act is an effective and flexible tool and a critical catalyst for conservation – ensuring that future generations can enjoy the diversity of wildlife that we do today. The epic conservation effort will benefit westerners and hundreds of species that call this iconic landscape home, while giving states, businesses and communities the certainty they need to plan for sustainable economic development.”

Jewell made the announcement at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge alongside Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Bonnie, FWS Director Dan Ashe, BLM Director Neil Kornze, USFS Chief Tom Tidwell, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller, and U.S. Geological Survey Acting Director Suzette Kimball.

“Today’s decision reflects the joint efforts by countless ranchers and partners who have worked so hard to conserve wildlife habitat and preserve the Western way of life,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Together, we have shown that voluntary efforts joining the resources of private landowners, federal and state agencies, and partner organizations can help drive landscape-level conservation that is good for sage grouse, ranching operations, and rural communities. Through the comprehensive initiatives on both public and private lands, the partnership has made and will continue to make monumental strides in supporting the people and wildlife that depend on the sagebrush landscape.”

The FWS’s Sept. 30, 2015 deadline to review the status of the species spurred numerous federal agencies, the 11 states in the range, and dozens of public and private partners to undertake an extraordinary campaign to protect, restore and enhance important sage grouse habitat to preclude the need to list the species. This effort featured: new management direction for BLM and Forest Service land use plans that place greater emphasis on conserving sage grouse habitat; development of state sage grouse management plans; voluntary, multi-partner private lands effort to protect millions of acres of habitat on ranches and rangelands across the West; unprecedented collaboration with federal, state and private sector scientists; and a comprehensive strategy to fight rangeland fires.

“We’ve written an important chapter in sage grouse conservation, but the story is far from over,” said Ashe. “By building on the partnerships we’ve forged and continuing conservation efforts under the federal and state plans, we will reap dividends for sage grouse, big game and other wildlife while protecting a way of life in the West. That commitment will ensure that our children and grandchildren will inherit the many benefits that this rich but imperiled landscape has to offer.”

The BLM and USFS announced Tuesday that they have issued Records of Decisions finalizing the 98 land use plans that will help conserve greater sage grouse habitat and support sustainable economic development on portions of public lands in 10 states across the West. The land use plans were developed during a multi-year process in partnership with the states and local partners, guided by the best available science and technical advice from the FWS. The BLM and USFS also initiated today the public comment process associated with their proposal to withdraw a subset of lands that are sage grouse strongholds from future mining claims.

The future of the sage grouse depends on the successful implementation of the federal and state management plans and the actions of private landowners, as well as a continuing focus on reducing invasive grasses and controlling rangeland fire. The FWS has committed to monitoring all of the continuing efforts and population trends, as well as to reevaluating the status of the species in five years.

The greater sage grouse is an umbrella species, emblematic of the health of sagebrush habitat it shares with more than 350 other kinds of wildlife, including world-class populations of mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and golden eagles. In 2010, the Service determined that the greater sage grouse warranted ESA protection because of population declines caused by loss and fragmentation of its sagebrush habitat, coupled with a lack of regulatory mechanisms to control habitat loss. However, the need to address higher-priority listing actions precluded the Service from taking action to list the bird. Since that time, actions from state, federal and private partners have added needed protections, increasing certainty that this important habitat will be protected.

Roughly half of the sage grouse’s habitat is on federal lands, most of it managed by the BLM and USFS. These tend to be drier uplands where the birds mate, nest and spend fall and winter. While the federal plans differ in specifics to reflect local landscapes, threats and conservation approaches, their overall goal is to prevent further degradation of the best remaining sage grouse habitat, minimize disturbance where possible, and mitigate unavoidable impacts by protecting and improving similar habitat.

About 45 percent of the grouse’s habitat is on state and private lands, which often include the wetter meadows and riparian habitat that are essential for young chicks. Efforts by private landowners in undertaking voluntary sage-grouse conservation have been an important element in the campaign. While private lands programs differ, each works with ranchers, landowners and other partners on long-term agreements to undertake proactive conservation measures that benefit sage grouse.

Through the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative, more than 1,100 ranchers have restored or conserved approximately 4.4 million acres of key habitat. Through the recently-announced SGI 2.0 strategy, USDA expects voluntary, private land conservation efforts to reach 8 million acres by 2018. On private and federal lands, the FWS and BLM have received commitments on 5.5 million acres through Candidate Conservation Agreements. Many of these projects also improve grazing and water supplies for ranchers, benefiting cattle herds and the long-term future of ranching in the West.

States in the sage grouse’s range have been engaged in this collaborative process. For example, Wyoming has been implementing its “core area” strategy for more than five years. Montana has committed to implement a similar plan that would set standards for managing private and state lands to meet sage grouse conservation goals. Similarly, Oregon has adopted an “all lands” strategy for greater sage grouse conservation. Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Idaho have also developed strategies to improve state and private land management to benefit the sage grouse.

Greater sage grouse once occupied more than 290 million acres of sagebrush in the West. Early European settlers reported seeing millions of birds take to the skies. But the bird, known for its flamboyant mating ritual, has lost almost half of its habitat since then.

Despite losses, sage grouse populations are still relatively large and well-distributed across the range. The FWS anticipates that some sage grouse populations may continue to decline in parts of the range, as conservation efforts begin to take effect. Other populations appear to be rebounding as they enter a rising period in their decadal population cycle, which can fluctuate by as much 30 to 40 percent. The FWS has found conservation measures will slow and then stabilize the loss of habitat across the range, securing the species success into the future.

For more information about the greater sage grouse and this decision, including reports, maps, myths and facts and Secretary’s Jewell’s video announcing the FWS decision, please see

Funding sought for Goal 5 process

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

During its regularly-scheduled meeting on Sept. 16, the Harney County Court unanimously approved Resolution 2015-11, opposing the designation of the national conservation area, as proposed in the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation Proposal, as well as the establishment or designation of any additional national monument, national conservation area, scenic river, or wilderness area on public lands within Southeastern Oregon, including Harney County.

The Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation Proposal (also known as the Owyhee Canyonlands  Monument) seeks to protect 2.5 million acres of public land in Malheur County through a combination of national conservation area, wilderness, and wild and scenic river designations. Advocates of the conservation proposal hope to designate these lands under the American Antiquities, Wilderness, and Wild and Scenic Rivers acts.

However, the resolution argues that special interest groups have used these acts “to advance their economic and political agendas to the detriment of the local communities,” resulting in “disparate social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts on the local communities within Harney County.”

Some of examples of the impacts listed in the resolution include increased risk of wildfire, invasive species, adverse impacts to farming and grazing units, loss of tax revenues, and increased cost to operate local and federal government.

The resolution also asserts that the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation Proposal — which would designate 2,579,032 acres as a national conservation area (with 2,012,350 acres as wilderness and more than 50 river miles as wild and scenic rivers) — would not be “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected,” which is a requirement for national monuments under the American Antiquities Act of 1906.

The resolution also points out that, in land area, the proposed 2.5 million acre monument would be greater than the entire states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

“Any of the special use designations on the 2,579,032 acres within the Owyhee Canyonlands Conservation Proposal is not in the best interest of Harney County and will have a detrimental effect on the vitality of our rural communities,” the resolution asserts.


The court agreed to direct Harney County Planning Director Brandon McMullen to seek funding to start the Goal 5 process.

Originally adopted in 1974, Goal 5 and related Oregon Administrative Rules describe how cities and counties are to plan and zone land to conserve resources listed in the goal.

As part of the Goal 5 planning process, the court hopes to list Harney County’s people among its resources.

During the public comment period, Barbara Cannady asked the court to hold off on Goal 5 planning, arguing that Harney County Judge Steve Grasty will not be seeking another term, and there may be additional changes to the court.

Grasty replied that he will continue to do his job as judge as thoroughly and as well as he can until his term ends.

Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols added, “For us to just back off and not do anything is totally irresponsible. We’ve got to start and do the research and go from there.”

Nichols added that it may be an expensive, long, and drawn out effort, but it may have some benefit in the future.

Grasty agreed, stating, “If at the end of this, the federal agencies pay attention to the county comprehensive plan, we may have a nail to hang our hat on.”

Cannady asked that the public be included in the Goal 5 process. Grasty replied that this is required by law.


Oregon Employment Department Director Lisa Nisenfeld and Jim Pfarrer, business and employment services director, attended the meeting to discuss employment, training, and economic development in Harney County.

Nisenfeld said, “We are working on trying to bring in a distance learning portal that will allow us to have some programs here for credit that haven’t been here before.”

She said, “People can stay here and train, rather than having to go to other locations,” adding that, “When people have to go away to train, they are more likely not to come back, and that’s not what we want.”

Grasty said, “Sadly, most of our efforts have been training people to leave.”

He explained that this is not the intent, but many people have had to move out of the area to seek employment opportunities once they completed their training.

However, Grasty said he remains “really optimistic and hopeful” about the possibility of new industry coming into the area.


During the public comment period, Herb Vloedman addressed the court regarding economic development in Harney County. He asked the court to name two things that Harney County can offer employees looking to move to the area.

Grasty said he could name 50, but he emphasized the county’s “great medical facilities,” “proactive schools,” “wide-open spaces,” and “great land.” He added, “I happen to think we have the best people.”

Grasty encouraged Vloedman and Cannady to participate in community efforts such as the Harney County Community Response Team.


In other business, the court:

• agreed to seek funding from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for a consistency review regarding Bureau of Land Management sage grouse habitat plans;

• briefly discussed Oregon Revised Statutes and Administrative Rules for Local Government Liquor License Issuance and Renewal. The county renewal fee will remain $15;

• agreed to sign and send a letter to Dave Leland, program manager for the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Program, regarding the county’s decision to return its drinking water program back to the state;

• discussed the Oregon Department of Transportation Canyon Creek Fire Damage Assessment;

• reviewed an invoice from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association for 2015-2016 dues in the amount of $15,800. The court will pay the budgeted amount of $7,500.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.

Haz-Mat scene at community center

Posted on September 16th in News

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Police, fire and Haz-Mat teams responded to downtown Burns Tuesday. (Photo by JEFF GRAHAM)

Police, fire and Haz-Mat teams responded to downtown Burns Tuesday. (Photo by JEFF GRAHAM)

The Harney County Community Center was shut down Tuesday, Sept. 8, after an unknown substance was found in the building.

Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson said that at about 9 a.m., two sealed packets containing a white substance were found by the cleaning crew on a toilet tank lid in the men’s restroom. The cleaning crew showed the packets, about 1” x 1” in size, to Harney County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chelsea Harrison, an occupant of the building, and she notified dispatch.

Burns Police arrived on the scene, and requested Burns and Hines fire departments to also respond. They determined that people in the building did have contact with the packets, but didn’t open them.

Williamson contacted Oregon Emergency Management Center and requested the Region 14 Haz-Mat team from Ontario to the scene.

Two members of the local operation team suited up, entered the building, and tested the substance for methamphetamine. The test came back negative.

The building was evacuated, and precautions were taken to protect the occupants of the building, including decontamination and sending them to the hospital for an examination. The building was also taped off to the public.

The Haz-Mat team from Ontario arrived around 4 p.m. and tested the substance. It was found to be sodium acetate, a type of non-hazardous preservative similar to those used in flower shops.
The scene was released around 7:40 p.m.

“It was excellent training for the guys,” Williamson said. “It made us realize there are more things we can use on the truck, and how we can do things different if there is a next time. We’ll have after-action reviews, and that will help develop policy.”

Burns bans marijuana businesses

Posted on September 16th in News

City’s urban deer population

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During its regularly-scheduled meeting held Sept. 9, the Burns City Council passed ordinances prohibiting early sales of recreational marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries, and banning six types of marijuana businesses within the limits of the city.

Ordinance No. 15-836 was approved unanimously, banning early sales of recreational marijuana by medical marijuana dispensaries and declaring an emergency (removing the standard period of 30 days between the passage of the ordinance and its effective date). Oregon Senate Bill 460 (SB 460), which was signed into law on July 28, authorized early sales of “limited marijuana retail product” to anyone 21 years of age or older by medical marijuana dispensaries from Oct. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016. Pursuant to Section 2 of SB 460, a city may adopt an ordinance prohibiting these early sales, with no requirement for referral to a general election (in counties where no less than 55 percent of voters opposed Measure 91.) The prohibiting ordinance had to be adopted prior to Oct. 1.

Ordinance No. 15-837 was passed with a 5-2 vote. Councilors Charity Robey, Dan Hoke, Terri Presley, Jerry Woodfin, and Mayor Craig LaFollette voted in favor, while Councilors Dennis Davis and LouAnn Deiter opposed. The ordinance prohibits six types of marijuana establishments within the limits of the city, and declares an emergency. Banned establishments include medical marijuana processors, medical marijuana dispensaries, retail marijuana producers, retail marijuana processors, retail marijuana wholesalers, and retail marijuana retailers.


Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) District Wildlife Biologist Rod Klus was present to speak about the issue of the large population of urban deer in the area that had been brought up at the previous council meeting and at recent Hines Common Council meetings.

Klus said there were possibly 200 deer or perhaps far more in the Burns/Hines area. It was mentioned at the previous meeting that the deer appear to be “diseased.” Klus said they are vulnerable to Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD) of deer, which manifests in a number of symptoms, and causes death within 3-5 days. It is contracted “snout to snout” and thus bowls of food or water can contribute to its spread. They are also afflicted by starvation, he said.

Klus said if the two cities want to address the deer population, some options include:

• Passing an ordinance making it illegal to feed deer;

• Allowing people to “haze” deer, or discourage them in some way or another from congregating in town;

• Possibly issuing “kill permits” to agents of the cities’ choosing. Klus warned that this might be “socially unpopular,” and also noted that the deer could not be wasted, so processing costs would have to be considered;

• Possibly “darting” the deer with tranquilizers and transporting them elsewhere. Klus said this would involve a number of expenses, and there were some issues to be considered, such as where the deer might end up during the five to 10 minutes it takes for the tranquilizers to set in following being hit with the dart.

LaFollette asked Klus to organize a meeting between ODFW and the cities to further discuss the issue.


In other business, the council:

• held a public hearing on the city’s draft findings for an exemption from the competitive bidding requirements of ORS Chapter 279B for the procurement of a 2006 Ford Expedition;

• passed Resolution No. 15-615 approving a special procurement for the acquisition of the 2006 Ford Expedition to be used as a patrol vehicle;

• approved a Federal Aviation Administration grant agreement for up to $538,435 for the Burns Municipal Airport’s taxiway project;

• approved the consent agenda, including the minutes of the Aug. 26 meeting and the August financial report.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Burns City Council is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Burns City Hall.

Taylor Crafts

Taylor Crafts

Hello Harney County!

I’m Taylor Crafts, daughter of Roy and Dawn Crafts. I was born and raised right here in Harney County, and I’m currently a junior at Burns High School where both my parents attended as well. I participate in volleyball, FFA, high school rodeo and Key Club. I plan on attending college after I graduate and study in the medical field for either animals or people.

I was selected as your 2015 Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Racemeet Princess and spent the summer representing Harney County traveling from rodeo to rodeo with Queen Cailyn Wilber. I used my two big paints, Jack and Apache. I train my own horses and because of that, we have a very special bond. I grew up riding horses, working cattle, playing sports and, of course, attending and participating in the annual Harney County Fair raising and showing pigs for 4-H and FFA.

I am very proud of my roots and love Harney County. I would love to represent this wonderful county as your 2016 Harney County Fair Queen.

Thank you.


Hi! My name is Mollie Banton and I’m starting my senior year at Silvies River Charter School. I am the daughter of Kris and Christi Banton. My extra-curricular activities for the past eight years in 4-H and FFA include having

Mollie Banton

Mollie Banton

shown pigs, steers and lambs. I have also been active in the Great Basin Saddle Club and Barrel Club. I enjoy going on trail rides, working cows and spending time with my family and friends. My plans for the future are to further my education at Central Oregon Community College in Bend to become a dental hygienist.

Grant will boost economy, support tribal community

The Burns Paiute Tribe received a grant in the amount of $37,716 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development agency on Thursday, Sept. 3. The funds will be used for entrepreneurial and cultural tourism development and development of the Tribe’s downtown Burns facility. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

The Burns Paiute Tribe received a grant in the amount of $37,716 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development agency on Thursday, Sept. 3. The funds will be used for entrepreneurial and cultural tourism development and development of the Tribe’s downtown Burns facility. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

The Burns Paiute Tribe is taking steps to improve the local economy by providing business training and initiating the development of a small business incubator with the help of a $37,716 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, announced State Director Vicki Walker during a visit to Burns on Sept. 3. This project will support the Burns Paiute Tribe Community and Economic Development Strategic Plan by helping to implement entrepreneurial development, increase cultural tourism, and further downtown development.

“The Burns Paiute Tribe is working to foster an environment of entrepreneurship that will improve the economy in this remote, rural area,” said Walker. “By providing business training and a venue to showcase and sell the goods and services produced by local entrepreneurs, the Tribe is helping to create additional businesses and expand employment opportunities.”

This funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program and is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

With this funding from  USDA, the Burns Paiute Tribe will offer business training to tribal members and other current or emerging entrepreneurs in Harney County utilizing the curriculum provided by the Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN) Indianpreneurship Program. In addition, the Tribe currently owns a historic building in downtown Burns, which they plan to retrofit for use as a small business incubator that will showcase the history and culture of the Tribe while allowing artisans to sell their merchandise in a location with high visibility. Today’s grant will help the Tribe conduct an architectural analysis of the building to assess its current condition and to make recommendations for interior modifications to facilitate its future use as an incubator, as well as to develop marketing materials for a fundraising campaign for the building modifications.

Within the first three months, it is anticipated that a minimum of two business training courses will be offered with enrollment space for up to 36 entrepreneurs, resulting in the creation of a minimum of five new jobs.

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Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012


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Ruthie's In His Image Photography

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