Ordinance will apply to medical marijuana only

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After approving a business license for a medical marijuana dispensary on Sept. 10, 2014, and holding open meetings to receive public input, the Burns City Council established time, place and manner (TPM) restrictions for the business at their meeting on Jan. 14.

Mayor Craig LaFollette said the council reviewed the public’s input, considered all aspects, and was moving forward. He said the council wasn’t changing its previous decision, and would use the TPM restrictions to mitigate safety concerns expressed by the public.

Jeremy Green, legal counsel for the city, was in attendance by phone and reviewed the TPM restrictions that would be implemented with the city ordinance. The restrictions include: an annual permit is required; a dispensary shall not be located within 1,000 feet of a public or private school, or within 1,000 feet of another dispensary. The ordinance will also include language to include a youth club, such as the Kids Club of Harney County, as an additional restriction. However, the current dispensary location will be grandfathered in to allow it to operate within the 1,000-foot boundary of the Kids Club; edibles sold at the dispensary will be packaged so as not to entice minors, and the manner of packaging and labeling will adhere to descriptions set forth in Oregon Administrative Rules; a person convicted of a felony within the past five years will not be allowed to be employed at the dispensary; and the city will be responsible for auditing the business.

Green stated the ordinance is for medical marijuana, not recreational marijuana. He said the state is currently developing regulations for recreational marijuana, not available until Jan. 1, 2016, and the city will look at drafting an ordinance as those regulations come out.

The council voted unanimously to approve the TPM restrictions.

Green added that under Measure 91, passed in November 2014, legalizing the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older, the sole opportunity for a municipality to prohibit a marijuana business is by the petition process. He said the most clear-cut approach is to pursue the petition as outlined in the measure, but noted that the legal challenges are “great and problematic.”

During the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, Grant Gunderson asked when the decision was made to not start the whole process over again? He said he was disappointed in the council, and hoped that they “wouldn’t be taken in by this great ruse that marijuana has medicinal value.”

Bev LaFollette said the decision has “hindered us as a community,” and was unhappy that the dispensary will be located across the highway from her business.

“I’m going to do what I can to make him move. I’ll make him feel uncomfortable. You guys screwed up,” she said.

Kim Rollins said he has been watching the dispensary issue from the start, and he was proud of the council. “Thank you to all,” he said.

•••

Samantha Landon, owner of Beauty on Broadway and Bella Java Bistro, approached the council with concerns that her place of business was being unfairly targeted by Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson.

Landon said the State Fire Marshal had visited her business in September of last year and pointed out some things that needed to be rectified. The following month, she received a letter saying if she had not complied, the business would be shut down. She said Williamson had heard they weren’t in compliance and filed a report, even though he had “never set foot on the property.”

Landon said Williamson visited her business three more times, and turned her in for building code violations, that were quickly corrected, and he was heard discussing her business with another business owner in town.

Landon said she knows there are things that need to be done and she doesn’t have a problem with that, but she felt her business was being targeted with the repeated inspections, and the conduct of the fire chief was unprofessional.

Karine Johnson, Deputy State Fire Marshal, said restaurants are considered a higher danger, and Williamson was obligated to pass information on and start the process.

•••

In other business:

• Becky Cunningham gave a report on Rimrock Recycling, and said she had been contacted by USDA Rural Development about grant funding for expansion of recycling. She asked the council for a letter of support to send to the agency;

• City Clerk and Interim City Manager Dauna Wensenk  said the council is still moving forward with filling the city manager position. At the next meeting, the council will outline the process and discuss any changes in the job description;

• Mayor LaFollette asked for volunteers to serve on a task force to draft a flood damage prevention ordinance;

• Councilor Terri Presley reported the airport committee had discussed the deficit at the airport and decided the best course of action would be to take $120,000 from the Local Improvement District (LID) fund, apply it to the deficit, and then pay back the LID fund over a 10-year period, with interest.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at city hall.


Decades of history show importance of honoring citizens

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The annual awards banquet has been held in the Memorial Building at the fairgrounds since 1991. (Submitted photo)

The annual awards banquet has been held in the Memorial Building at the fairgrounds since 1991. (Submitted photo)

One of the longest and most cherished community events is right around the corner, and this year, it celebrates six-and-a-half decades of honoring the achievements of Harney County residents.

The 65th Annual Harney County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held Saturday, Jan. 31, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Memorial Building at the fairgrounds. The social hour with a no-host bar will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Chamber office for $30.

The purpose of the event is to honor outstanding citizens of Harney County in 2014. Awardees have been nominated by community members and are selected by committees. Once awarded, one can participate in the selection process on a committee, continuing the tradition.

•••

Awards given are described as follows:

• Woman of the Year – A committee consisting of women previously honored in this category solicit nominations from interested organizations and individuals. From the submitted nominations, the committee selects the year’s winner: a woman outstanding in leadership, in church, civic and community activities, who has contributed much of herself toward the betterment of Harney County during the past year.

• Senior Woman of the Year – Selected by the committee who names Woman of the Year, recipients represent those who have devoted their lives to raising a family, working, pioneering, planning, and giving unselfishly of themselves to make our lives richer and fuller. The list of accomplishments of each of these ladies is, indeed, inspirational.

• Man of the Year – A committee comprised of men who have been previous winners in this category solicit nominations from interested organizations and individuals. From those submissions, the committee selects the year’s recipient. They consider his contributions to the county and community over a five-year period, with emphasis on his activities for the immediate past year.

• Senior Man of the Year – Selected by the committee who names the Man of the Year, every man who has received this award has contributed a greater portion of his life to making Harney County a better place to live. Also considered are his accomplishments on boards, in business, and as an individual, and his interest in and service to our community. This award is a small token of our appreciation for his devotion.

• Distinguished Service Award – The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon a man or woman who has, by his or her contributions of time, expertise and goodwill, improved the quality of life in Harney County.

• Outstanding Young Farmer/Rancher – Selected by a committee of past recipients, the Young Farmer or Rancher plays an integral role in the future of Harney County’s agriculture community and economy.

• Grassman of the Year – “Grass is Gold” is the inscription on the master plaque of this award. This holds as true today as in 1951 when this award was first bestowed. Range improvement is still very important in the recognition by the Grassman Committee. Also considered are increasing farming yields, irrigation and improvements, and the intangible, but necessary, deep pride in the land.

• Boss of the Year – Selected by a committee of past recipients, this award honors one of Harney County’s most distinguished employers as its Boss of the Year. The award is presented to an employer who has given meritorious service to his family, community and country.

• Business Person of the Year – This award is selected by past recipients, and is given to a business or professional person who has made outstanding contributions to our community.

• Outstanding Educator – Harney County takes pride in recognizing those who are dedicated beyond mere duty in the field of education – those who have proven by their deeds and unselfish commitment to giving our country’s youth the individual nurturing and quality education they deserve.

• Students of the Year (Crane Union High School and Burns High School) – Selection of Students of the Year is based on the following criteria: Scholarship – opting for a high level and challenging course of study, service – willingness to render service to school and outside organizations, character – honesty, friendliness, neatness, morality and ethics. This student has excelled within his or her school and community.

• Lumber/Industrial Person of the Year Award – This award, previously titled Lumberperson of the Year has been expanded to encompass manufacturing and industry. The person who is selected must be a resident of Harney County, be connected with the lumber or industrial fields and have worked in that field for several years. He or she must demonstrate honesty, dedication, and knowledge of the industry and standards, display leadership, safety awareness, and concern for the environment, be cost-production conscious, and innovative toward industry situations and problems. This person is a valuable asset to the community. It was not awarded in 1981, 1987, or 2009-2013.

Nominations for the 2015 Chamber Awards will be available in October and November this year, so community members are encouraged to start thinking about who deserves to be a recipient of these awards.

•••

History

Looking back through the 65 years of this event makes evident its importance to Harney County citizens, and tells the story of community and economic development.

1970

Burns Times-Herald, Jan. 22, 1970:

All tickets for the annual Chamber of Commerce and Jaycees Banquet honoring outstanding citizens of Harney County, to be held this Saturday night at the Burns Elks Lodge, have been sold, Art Sawyer, chamber manager reported Tuesday. This is in spite of the fact that the number of people to be served has been increased from 300 to 330 by moving the head table up on the stage. So all you people who failed to get your tickets in advance are out of luck and cannot be accommodated. The dinner and program will begin promptly at 6:55 p.m., Sawyer said and there will be dancing following the giving out of awards to outstanding leaders of the county.

1980

Burns Times-Herald, Jan. 31, 1980:

“Mention the wild horses, and you think of this man,” businessman Hale Baird told an audience of about 400 Saturday night. Baird then introduced Chris Vosler, Burns District BLM Manager, who was honored as Man of the Year by the Harney County Chamber of Commerce. 

Harney Countians packed the Burns Elks Lodge banquet room January 26 to pay tribute to 10 county residents recognized by the Chamber and the Harney County Jaycees for their achievements.

Senator Bob Smith emceed the evening, following a dinner prepared by the women of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Members of the Chamber Music Society and an unidentified frog (who sidelines as a county deputy sheriff) provided entertainment.

1990

Burns Times-Herald, Jan. 31, 1990:

All seats were taken at the annual Harney County Chamber of Commerce banquet as families and friends turned out to honor the outstanding citizens of Harney County for 1989.

Congressman Robert F. Smith was master of ceremonies.

At the close of the program Ethel Bossuot, 1989 president of the Chamber of Commerce, presented a plaque that lists all of the former presidents of the group to 1990 Chamber president, Doug Jenkins, and handed him the gavel for the coming year.

2000

Burns Times-Herald, Feb. 2, 2000:

Harney County turned out in record numbers Saturday night to honor those who have given dedicated service to the betterment of the community and the enhancement of its rurally, frontier lifestyle.

Pam Mather, Hines city recorder, administrator, and municipal judge, received the Distinguished Service Award.

Entertainment was by Jazz Light and dinner was catered by McCoy Creek Inn.

Master of ceremonies was Harney County Judge Steve Grasty. Invocation was given by Dr. Don Strohmeyer.

2010

Burns Times-Herald, Feb. 3, 2010:

Joyce Moser and Bill Wilber acted as the banquet emcees, entertaining the 200-plus crowd and keeping the program moving smoothly.

The evening began with a “spoof” of the White House State Dinner party crashing event of November 2009, with Don Munkers and Bobbi Jo Heany harassing Wilber during his opening speech.

•••

Other fun facts

• The annual banquet began in 1950, and was referred to at that time as the “ladies’ night program.” A speaker gave a presentation on community planning and the value of chambers of commerce.

• By the 1960s, the event was well-established. The front of the programs from this era read “A Banquet Honoring Ladies, Ranchers, and Leaders of Harney County.” Four awards were given: Woman of the Year, Senior Citizen, Grass Man of the Year, and a Jaycees award (Junior Chamber.)

• The event was held at the Burns Elks Lodge Banquet Room for many years, with the exception of 1967, when it was held at the “Grade School All-Purpose Room.” It was moved to its current venue, the Memorial Building at the Harney County Fairgrounds, in 1991.

• The scheduled time gradually went from 7:30 p.m. in the 1960s, to 6:30 p.m. today, with a 10-year stint in the 1980s when it was set for “6:55 p.m. SHARP.”

•••

For questions or more information about the event, contact the Harney County Chamber of Commerce office at 541-573-2636.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Jan. 1 Oregon Water Supply Report has been released, and, so far, the news is good for Harney County.

A summary of water supply conditions for the Harney Basin is as follows:

Snowpack

As of Jan. 1, the basin snowpack was the highest in Oregon at 121 percent of normal. This is significantly higher than last year on Jan 1, when the basin snowpack was 44 percent of normal.

Precipitation

December precipitation was 148 percent of average. Precipitation since the beginning of the water year (Oct. 1 – Jan. 1) has been 121 percent of average.

Streamflow forecast

April through September streamflow forecasts in the basin range from 79 percent to 88 percent of average.

The snowpack summary by basin figures are based on 30-year median percentage, and they are as follows:

Alvord Lake Basin — Current year, 133 percent; last year, 37 percent.

Donner und Blitzen River Basin — Current year, 123 percent; last year, 41 percent.

Silvies River Basin — Current year, 120 percent; last year, 38 percent.

Upper Quinn Basin — Current year, 77 percent; last year, 41 percent.

•••

A summary of water supply conditions for the Owyhee and Malheur Basins is as follows:

Snowpack

As of Jan. 1, the basin snowpack was 103 percent of normal. This is significantly higher than last year on Jan 1, when the basin snowpack was 53 percent of normal.

Precipitation

December precipitation was 154 percent of average — the highest in the state. Precipitation since the beginning of the water year (Oct. 1 – Jan. 1) has been 117 percent of average.

Reservoir

Reservoir storage across the basin is currently well below average. As of Jan. 1, storage at published reservoirs was 26 percent of average and 10 percent of capacity.

Streamflow forecast

April through September streamflow forecasts in the basin range from 96 percent to 105 percent of average.

The snowpack summary by basin figures are as follows:

East Little Owyhee Basin — Current year, 89 percent; last year, 44 percent.

South Fork Owyhee Basin — Current year, 122 percent; last year, 64 percent.

Upper Malheur Basin — Current year, 103 percent; last year, 47 percent.

Upper Owyhee Basin — Current year, 118 percent; last year, 58 percent.


Road department working on Lane 9

Posted on January 14th in News

In connection with road work being done along the Crane-Buchanan road, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty released the following:

The Harney County Road Department is working on “Lane 9” at its connection to the Crane-Buchanan road. Lane 9 is actually the eastern most end of Rye Grass Lane right-of-way, which goes completely across the valley east of Burns. The county’s objective is to eventually open this entire road to an all-weather status. The triangle between Crane, Buchanan and Burns is limited by access issues like sheer distance of private land to improved roads, and by those associated with the old “Meadowland development” from the 1960s. The county believes that opening this entire road will allow many acres of ground to be developed for agricultural and other purposes. Today we have few opportunities to improve our local economy, and opening access to private land like this is one opportunity that we can work toward today. As this work progresses, it may also provide access for land owners on the meadowland roads that exist in that area today.

The road department expects to work at this location for the next few weeks. This work will continue off and on over time; understanding that improving it to the county standard for a gravel road will likely take a number of years as funding and resources allow. If you have questions, please call any member of the county court or the road supervisor.


One Stop Shop to hold grand opening Jan. 17

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The operators of the new downtown Burns store, One Stop Shop. From left to right, Judy Presley, Linda Whiting, Michelle Severe, and Andi Harmon. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

The operators of the new downtown Burns store, One Stop Shop. From left to right, Judy Presley, Linda Whiting, Michelle Severe, and Andi Harmon. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Shopping can sometimes be a challenge, whether it involves driving long distances or surfing the web for hours on end. That’s one reason a group of four enterprising and artistic local women decided to team up and combine their time and talents to open a new store, One Stop Shop, in downtown Burns.

The store will be operated by Andi Harmon, Judy Presley, Michelle Severe, and Linda Whiting. The group’s goal is to create an establishment where a variety of distinct, but complementary products and services are offered, and to be able to be accessible to the public on a more regular basis than each of them individually are currently able to do. Each one of the four has their own specialty offering.

Harmon will provide:

• Photography. Outdoor sessions will be offered, as well as workshops for those wanting to learn the skill.

• Custom printing services. This will include standard posters and flyers, as well as archival-quality photo printing, and even special adhesive wallpaper prints, featuring Harmon’s photography or customized orders.

• Computer services. Repairs, one-on-one training, consultation (i.e., for business computer operations), and web design.

Presley will offer custom framing services (including conservation framing), as well as a variety of standard-sized, ready-made frames in the store. A large variety of frame samples and mat colors and styles will be on hand at the shop. Presley has operated her own business, Judy’s Custom Framing, for 15 years, and has 20 years of experience in the craft. She was originally trained by Myrna Tuning, who provided framing service at a longtime business in Burns.

Severe is a self-described western wildlife multimedia artist. Her mediums include oils, pastel, pencil, pen and ink, glass etching, wood burning and scrimshaw. Scrimshaw, in this case, involves carving images directly into the smooth bone finish of an antler. Severe has worked for many years with Great Basin Art in Prairie City, doing scrimshaw on the handles of obsidian knives. In addition, Severe does custom artwork on handmade juniper furniture, with wood-burned and painted scenes, as well as etched mirrors and gun cabinets.

She also does the majority of the scrimshaw work for Silver Stag’s steel hunting knives.

Severe’s prints and other pieces will be available at the new store, and she also takes custom orders. Her work can be viewed at her website, www.michellesevere.com, and on her Facebook page.

Whiting is another local artist contributing to the shop. Like Severe, she paints, focusing strongly on nature themes, including birds and outdoor scenes. She also does bead embroidery and bead weaving with “seed beads,” which are just a couple of millimeters in size. Whiting has her own space, Designs by Linda Gallery, about two miles outside Burns, but hopes this shop will make it easier for customers to find her art, since the gallery is out of town and not always open. Her prints and pieces will be available at the shop, and she also takes custom orders.

The shop will also eventually feature traditional western gear made by local craftspeople, and possibly art supplies.

•••

One Stop Shop will hold its grand opening Saturday, Jan.17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments and homemade goodies will be provided, and drawings will be held every hour for gift certificates and other prizes.

General hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It is located at 29 E. Washington Street in Burns. The phone number is 541-589-4249.


by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Due to scheduling conflicts concerning the holiday season, the November and December meetings of the Harney County Health District Board of Directors were combined, and a single meeting was held Dec. 3.

During the meeting, Harney District Hospital (HDH) Chief Nursing Officer Barb Chambers said the hospital worked with Dr. Kelly Mingus of Smile Burns Oregon to provide a free oral cancer screening Nov. 14.

“We had around 10 local residents take advantage of the screening, and Dr. Mingus found three of the 10 patients with questionable concerns regarding oral cancer and others with a variety of dental problems,” Chambers reported.

She added that the patients who showed signs of oral cancer were chewing tobacco users.

Board member Ann Vloedman suggested that the hospital remind the public about the dangers of chewing tobacco as well as the importance of oral screenings.

Board member Tim Smith suggested placing posters in the local high schools to inform students about these statistics.

Vloedman added that no one under the age of 30 participated in the screening.

Dr. Jeffrey Mathisen, a general surgeon at HDH, said teachers and coaches can make a difference by intervening when they catch students using chewing tobacco.

Dr. Mathisen also stated that the spread of oral cancer to adjacent lymph nodes is almost immediate.

Chambers said Dr. Mingus referred patients showing signs of cancer to oral surgeons.

Board chair Dan Brown  commended Dr. Mingus for his efforts and said he’d like to see the oral health screening be repeated.

•••

Chambers also reported that she attended an Ebola workshop, which was provided by the Deschutes Public Health Office Nov. 7 in Bend.

She said St. Charles Medical Center (SCMC) will take Ebola patients at its Redmond campus for up to 96 hours, before transporting them to one of the six Oregon facilities that accept and provide treatment for them. She said SCMC also contracted with a special ambulance service to transport patients to and from its Redmond campus and has spent close to $250,000 on renovations, equipment and education.

“I’m blown away by what St. Charles has done on Ebola,” Chambers said. “I don’t understand the expense.”

Regarding HDH’s preparation for Ebola, Chambers said, “I think we do a great job with our resources and stewardship of our resources. We are prepared as much as we need to be.”

•••

Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell said HDH Family Care received “tremendously favorable” feedback from auditors from the Oregon Health Authority who visited Nov. 4 to survey the clinic’s Tier 3 Medical Home designation.

“They offered many compliments to the progress that we have made as a Tier 3 and noted that they will be using many of the things we do at HDH Family Care as examples to the other Tier 3 clinics that they survey in the future,” Rothwell reported.

•••

The board received an audit presentation from Eide Bailly LLP for fiscal year 2014.

The presenter said no difficulties were encountered in conducting the audit, and he complimented Chief Financial Officer Catherine White, management, and staff for their “excellent cooperation.”

He said HDH has quite a bit of debt, but explained that it has a newer facility. He added that the salaries of HDH staff are in line with those of other critical access hospitals, but said the hospital could reconsider its prices as long as the community could stand the changes.

Brown suggested that the board’s finance committee review the audit and bring any questions to the next board meeting.

•••

In other business, the board:

• received a report concerning the overall state of the district from Chief Executive Officer Jim Bishop, titled State of the Harney County Health District November 2014. (For the full text of the report, please see page 20 of the Dec. 10, 2014 issue of the Burns Times-Herald; )

• discussed ongoing efforts to reach out to local veterans concerning the medical services available at HDH;

• reviewed policy 100.030 “Code of Conduct,” and approved it without changes;

• reviewed policy 100.031 “Board Member Confidentiality.” The word “yearly” was removed from the sentence, “All board members shall complete a yearly HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] refresher training.”  The board approved the policy as amended;

• reviewed policy 100.035 “Duties of the Chairperson.” The sentence, “No one board member shall serve as chairperson for more than two consecutive years,” was removed. The policy was approved as amended.

• granted medical staff privileges to physician assistant Brad Scott (orthopedic); Dr. Milton Kim (surgery); Dr. Stephen Kornfield, Dr. Robert Boone, Dr. Cora Calomeni, and Dr. William Martin (oncology); and Dr. Patrick Brown (radiology).

The next Harney District Hospital Board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 in the downstairs meeting room at the hospital.


HDP selects new executive director

Posted on January 7th in News

High Desert Partnership (HDP) is a local nonprofit organization that has worked over the past several years to help create the collaborative forums necessary to address the ecological, economic and social challenges in our region in a proactive way.

When Sara Jones was hired as the executive director for the High Desert Partnership at the end of 2013, the organization had a large list of things to accomplish for 2014. In 2013, the partnership received additional funding in order to expand their work, and Jones successfully took on the challenge. In 2014, Jones helped bring greater awareness about High Desert Partnership’s work in the region.

In July, Jones’ family relocated to Southern Oregon, but Jones remained in the position, making regular trips back to Burns to carry on the business of the partnership. Chad Karges, board member of the High Desert Partnership, expressed thanks to Jones on behalf of the entire board “for all things she advanced while at High Desert Partnership and for sticking with the organization even after her family relocated.” Karges said, “When looking back, Sara’s accomplishments have helped prepare the organization for the future.”

In this past year, Jones successfully organized a Science Forum with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative to highlight current practices for restoring dry-pine forest ecosystems surrounding Burns. As a follow-up to this forum, she convened a Small Diameter Wood Products Economic Summit, generating interest for developing alternative products from the wood being harvested as part of restoration efforts. One spin-off from the economic summit, the High Desert Partnership has kicked off a contest open to all students in Harney County. Students are encouraged to work in teams to create products from small diameter wood. Cash scholarships are available to the winning teams. Jones has also worked closely with the Harney Basins Wetland Initiative, a group that is working to address carp control issues and protect/enhance traditional flood irrigation practices in the Harney Basin.

Recently, the High Desert Partnership selected Brenda Smith to succeed Jones in the executive director position. Smith has been in Harney County since 2008, working on rangeland management issues with Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. The High Desert Partnership looks forward to working with Smith to build upon the progress made during Jones’ tenure.


by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Bonnie Angleton holds her newly-adopted granddaughter, Lybbi, who was born in Xiamen, China. (Submitted photo)

Bonnie Angleton holds her newly adopted granddaughter, Lybbi, who was born in Xiamen, China. (Submitted photo)

Bill and Bonnie Angleton are hosting a “Sip & See” Friday, Jan. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Ribbons & Roses (located at 441 N. Broadway in Burns). The event will grant community members an opportunity to meet Lybbi (ShuFang) Cotter, the Angletons’ newly-adopted granddaughter, while sipping some hot cider and enjoying a couple of cookies.

Bonnie’s daughter, Molly (Hatcher) Cotter, and her husband, Mark, adopted Lybbi from Xiamen, China on June 20. She joined siblings Luke, 14, Logan, 13, and Leah, 10, at their home in Salem on July 2.

Luke and Logan are the Cotters’ biological children, and the couple adopted Leah from Louyang, China when she was 4.

According to their blog, the Cotters began considering adoption in 2007, after running into an old friend who had recently adopted a child from China. The couple started checking into the adoption process and selected an agency, All God’s Children International, which connected them with information about children who were in need of families. They discovered Leah, and the rest was history.

The Cotters remained on several adoption email lists, but didn’t actively pursue adopting another child until 2014. According to the blog, the Cotter children frequently encouraged their parents to adopt again, even offering to exchange birthday and Christmas celebrations for the opportunity to have another sibling.

In a video titled Lybbi’s Story, Mark explained that Lybbi’s photo “jumped out” at him in an email. And when he showed the photo to the Cotter children, they were really excited.

“They were all in before we were,” Mark said.

However, Mark and Molly were concerned about the adoption because Lybbi has a severe congenital heart defect.

“She’s what they call single ventricle where the right side of her heart didn’t develop, so she’s functioning with just the left side,” Mark explained in the video.

According to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s website, “Children with a single ventricle defect are born with a heart that has only one ventricle large enough or strong enough to pump effectively. In most cases, children with single ventricle heart defects require intense medical intervention soon after birth.”

The Cotters’ blog states that Lybbi was found abandoned near the Xiamen Zhongshang Hospital in October 2012 when she was 2 months old. She was taken to the Xiamen Children’s Welfare Institute and placed in the special care room. She underwent heart surgery in January 2013, but the surgery was reportedly “touch and go.” Lybbi survived and was taken back to the special care room, only to be hospitalized again with pneumonia.

In order to fully determine her condition, Lybbi needed a heart catheter. However, considering the difficulty that she encountered during her previous surgery, doctors in China were reluctant to perform any additional surgeries on Lybbi.

The blog states that, “If she stayed in China it was pretty certain that she wouldn’t survive long.”

In the video, Molly said she and Mark doubted whether they could handle the adoption financially, emotionally and physically.

“But God has a sense of humor,” she said with a laugh.

The couple decided to consult with a doctor in Atlanta, Ga. to determine how they could transport Lybbi — who required a feeding pump, oxygen and medications — home from China.

They also discussed how their family could be affected if Lybbi were to pass away after they adopted her.

However, Mark said, “It just kind of stuck with me that, if that did happen, that God would help us through it.”

Deciding to move forward with the adoption, the Cotters were faced with the challenging task of getting Lybbi home.

A cardiologist had to clear Lybbi for air travel, as there were concerns regarding how the altitude could affect her condition.

The Cotters were also required to provide medical equipment for Lybbi, which entailed carrying 14 large batteries all over China in backpacks. (Bonnie explained that, after adopting a Chinese child, parents must travel to various locations throughout the country in order to complete all of the necessary paperwork.)

The Cotter children assisted with the effort by helping their parents carry the batteries. Luke and Logan even trained for the trip by packing rocks, books and other heavy items on their backs so they could get used to the weight.

“This is a family affair,” Bonnie said regarding adoption. “The entire family went to get both kids.”

When the Cotters received Lybbi, the 2-year-old weighed 13 pounds and was unable to sit up on her own.

Now age 2-and-a-half, Lybbi weighs more than 20 pounds and is able to sit up and roll over. She is working toward standing and goes to physical therapy twice a week to improve her motor skills. Lybbi is also learning English, and her favorite word is currently “da-da.”

However, she still requires oxygen and medication and continues to struggle with eating. In fact, the Cotters have to chart her daily intake of calories to ensure that she’s keeping enough food down.

After arriving in the United States, Lybbi underwent an additional surgery at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

In the video, Mark explained, “They still don’t really know what her prognosis is. It’s one step at a time. They’ll do one procedure and wait to see if that works, and then if it does, they’ll go on to the next step.”

Bonnie said Lybbi has quite a few more medical procedures in her future, including a major open heart surgery.

But, despite her medical challenges, Bonnie said Lybbi is “very good natured” and “a really funny little girl.”

She said Lybbi’s older brothers taught her how to “fist bump,” and now she goes around fist bumping everyone in the room.

“Her siblings absolutely adore her,” Bonnie said. “They are so good with her.”

She added, “It’s pretty amazing how these little kids flourish, just mainly from having a family. Adoption in any form for anyone is so dear to my heart because of my religious beliefs and the fact that every child needs a family.”

Bonnie acknowledged that the cost of adoption can be astronomical, but said prospective parents may be able to find funding assistance.

People in various phases of the adoption process can also access emotional support.

In the video, Mark said he and Molly sent out an email requesting that people pray for Lybbi to have a safe trip home. The couple was later informed by their social worker that about 20,000 people honored that request.

“It was just an amazing, amazing experience to have people that we didn’t know, that didn’t know us, that didn’t know Lybbi that were just praying for her,” Mark said.

The Cotters continue to receive support from other Salem-area families who have gone through the adoption process, as well as a coordinated team of medical professionals at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Oregon Health & Science University and Shriners Hospital for Children.

They’ve also received support from the Harney County community and hope to show their appreciation during the Sip & See on Jan. 2.

Lybbi’s Story can be viewed online by visiting: http://vimeo.com/115183255. You can also read more about Lybbi on the Cotters’ blog at http://lybbishufang.wordpress.com.


At approximately 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Yellowjacket Lake for an individual who was reported to have fallen into the lake.

When the deputy arrived, he found a male individual who was in the water, about 50 to 100 yards from shore. The deputy attempted to reach the individual, but was unable to do so.

The individual went under the water a short time later. The Burns Fire Department, Harney County Search and Rescue and the Harney District Ambulance arrived a short time later, and were able to retrieve the individual from the water. Harney EMS attempted CPR, and transported the individual to Harney District Hospital. The individual was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The individual was identified as Gene Andrews, 67, from Hillsboro.

The investigation showed Andrews had attempted to ice fish by taking a small pontoon boat on to the ice that was only one to two inches thick. When on the ice, the pontoon boat broke through the ice, causing Andrews to fall into the water. Andrews was unable to get back into the pontoon boat, and was not wearing a life vest.


Concern expressed over results of youth survey

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Charlotte Rodrique, chair of the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Tribal Council, signed a proclamation Thursday, Dec. 18, stating that the council doesn’t support the use, cultivation, sale, or distribution of marijuana within the boundaries of tribal trust lands or other properties owned by the tribe. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Charlotte Rodrique, chair of the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Tribal Council, signed a proclamation Thursday, Dec. 18, stating that the council doesn’t support the use, cultivation, sale, or distribution of marijuana within the boundaries of tribal trust lands or other properties owned by the tribe. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Charlotte Rodrique, chair of the Burns Paiute Tribe’s (BPT) Tribal Council, signed a proclamation Thursday, Dec. 18, stating that the tribe rejects the Oregon legalized marijuana initiative, Measure 91, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) decision to uninvolve themselves in the regulation of marijuana on tribal land.

In an article titled DOJ Says Indian Tribes Can Grow and Sell Marijuana, the Associated Press’ Jeff Barnard and Gosia Wozniacka reported that the DOJ said, “Indian tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug.”

However, the BPT’s Tribal Council declared in its proclamation that it doesn’t support the use, cultivation, sale, or distribution of marijuana within the boundaries of tribal trust lands or other properties owned by the BPT.

Tribal Council Secretary Wanda Johnson said cultivating and selling marijuana could’ve been an economic opportunity for the BPT, which is the smallest and most economically-disadvantaged tribe in the state, but the council was very strong in its resolve not to make money off of the health and wellness of tribal members of future generations.

The proclamation echoes Johnson’s sentiments, stating, “We value the health and wellness, above all else, in protection of future generations…”

Many who were present during the signing of the proclamation expressed concern regarding the results of the 2014 Student Wellness Survey.

Introduced by the Oregon Health Authority in 2010, the anonymous, research-based survey assesses school climate, positive youth development, and the behavioral health of Oregon youth in grades 6, 8 and 11.

Students who took the survey in 2014 had the option of indicating whether they’re affiliated with the BPT, and this information was used to generate data that’s specific to tribe members.

L-R: Tribal Council Secretary Wanda Johnson, Tribal Council Chair Charlotte Rodrique, Tribal Council Sergeant-at-Arms Jarvis Kennedy, and Tribal Council member Donna Sam pose with the proclamation just minutes after it was signed. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

L-R: Tribal Council Secretary Wanda Johnson, Tribal Council Chair Charlotte Rodrique, Tribal Council Sergeant-at-Arms Jarvis Kennedy, and Tribal Council member Donna Sam pose with the proclamation just minutes after it was signed. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Survey results for 8th graders

Results of the 2014 survey of 8th grade students showed that:

• 83.3 percent of students who designated enrollment in the BPT reported that they hadn’t used marijuana in the past 30 days. (The statewide percentage was 90.6);

• 8.3 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana once or twice in the past 30 days (compared to 3.7 percent of students statewide);

• 8.3 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana three to nine times in the past 30 days (compared to 2.4 percent of students statewide);

• 0 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 10 to 19 times in the past 30 days (compared to 1.1 percent of students statewide);

• 0 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 20 to 39 times within the last 30 days (compared to 0.6 percent of students statewide); and

• 0 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 40 or more times in the past 30 days (compared to 1.5 percent of students statewide).

Survey results for 11th graders

Results of the 2014 survey of 11th grade students showed that:

• 44.4 percent of students who designated themselves as BPT members reported that they hadn’t used marijuana in the past 30 days (compared to 78.8 percent of students statewide);

• 0 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana once or twice in the past 30 days (compared to 7 percent of students statewide);

• 11.1 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana three to nine times in the past 30 days (compared to 5.2 percent of students statewide);

• 22.2 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 10 to 19 times in the past 30 days (compared to 2.8 percent of students statewide);

• 11.1 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 20 to 39 times in the past 30 days (compared to 1.9 percent of students statewide); and

• 11.1 percent of student BPT members reported using marijuana 40 or more times in the past 30 days (compared to 4.3 percent of students statewide).

Additionally, 22.2 percent of 11th graders who designated themselves as BPT members reported that they started using marijuana when they were 11 years old, and 55.6 percent reported that it would be “very easy” for them to get marijuana

Zero tolerance

Prior to signing the proclamation, Rodrique discussed the negative impact that drugs and alcohol have had on BPT members.

The council’s proclamation states that marijuana impacts brain development, is linked to school failure, is deemed a gateway drug, and is the most common illegal drug found in drivers who are involved in accidents.

The BPT has a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy, which includes the use of medical marijuana. Additionally, all BPT employees must submit to random drug testing.

Taking responsibility

The proclamation asserts that tribal council, tribal police, tribal programs, and community leaders are responsible for ensuring public safety and the safety and health of the community’s children.

It adds that parents, guardians, and other family members have the responsibility and ability to impact their children with conversations and by modeling behavior.

The proclamation also places responsibility on the youth by stating, “Young people have the responsibility to prepare themselves for a future where they will not have the protection of their parents or tight-knit community, and, therefore, must learn to make positive decisions.”

Leading the way

Rodrique will send a copy of the proclamation, along with an explanatory cover letter and the results of the 2014 Student Wellness Survey, to Sen. Ted Ferrioli.

She’ll also send copies to other tribal councils, hoping they’ll follow the BPT’s lead by adopting similar proclamations.


Whaddya Think?

Which is your best physical feature?

Loading ... Loading ...

Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012

Archives

Litehouse Technology

Litehouse Technology Logo

Ruthie's In His Image Photography

Ruthies In His Image Photography

Map of Burns