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.


Beaty’s Butte Working Group goals reviewed

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

During its regularly-scheduled meeting (held Dec. 17), the Harney County Court engaged in a lengthy conversation concerning the administration of the parole and probation department.

William Cramer Jr., judge of the Circuit Court, 24th District (Harney and Grant counties), wrote a letter to the court stating, “I have been open about my concern of having the county sheriff as the administrative head of the county probation department prior to the sheriff first being appointed. I request that no decision be made that gives the interim sheriff salary or authority to administer the probation department without an opportunity to be heard.”

But Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup, who was present during the meeting, asserted that the sheriff is better suited to supervise parole and probation than the county court. He then encouraged the court to grant David Ward, who was appointed Harney County sheriff effective Jan. 1, the authority to administer the department once he becomes sheriff.

Glerup argued, in part, that since parole and probation has been administered by the sheriff:

• the number of probation officers has increased;

• hours of operation have increased;

• there’s more communication and coordination with local police departments;

• jail inspections are much more in-depth; and

• Harney County citizens are safer.

Sgt. Brian Needham agreed, stating that the department runs more efficiently under the sheriff’s administration. He added that the county court lacks law-enforcement experience and Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) training.

“I don’t want to see community corrections go backward,” Needham said.

“That’s not going to happen,” Harney County Judge Steve Grasty replied, adding that public safety is a major priority.

The court also discussed the letter that the Harney County Board of Commissions received from Jeremiah Stromberg, assistant director of community corrections for the Oregon Department of Corrections. The letter, which outlined areas of noncompliance with intergovernmental agreements, was dated Sept. 15. An update to the letter was dated Nov. 13.

Harney County Community Corrections Supervisor Roger Stampke said some of the comments that were made in the letters are “just down right not true.”

Ward said many of the noted deficiencies have already been corrected, and the department is continuing to work through the other items.

Stampke, Ward and Glerup all expressed frustration with a lack of access to training and direct communication with Stromberg.

Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols said he felt the letter was “just a smack down from the bureaucrats,” adding that he wasn’t “hugely alarmed” by its content. However, he added that now would be a good time to sit down and discuss the parole and probation department.

Grasty said he’d like to meet with Stampke, Ward and District Attorney Tim Colohan to work through the letter and discuss the department further.

Ward said, “Bureaucratic smack down or not, it’s always good to know where we can improve,” adding that he’s “excited to be on board.”

“The bottom line is we have a big decision to make here, and we need to sit down and work through this together,” Ward said. “As a group, we all want to make the decision that best suits the citizens of our county. Whoever is going to provide them with the better sleep at night is the model we want to follow. I am excited to sit down and work with you on this. I firmly believe that we can handle this.”

Grasty will schedule a meeting with Stampke, Ward and Colahan to continue the discussion. Cramer will be invited to attend the next county court meeting to contribute to the conversation, as well.

•••

The court participated in a joint session with Lake County via teleconference to discuss the Beatys Butte Working Group, which is an Oregon Consensus project. Representatives from the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), Beatys Butte Grazing Association, and Harney Electric Cooperative Inc. also participated in the discussion.

According to the Oregon Consensus website, the Beatys Butte Working Group was created to explore “collaborative approaches to public land management and ecological preservation on the 500,000-acre Beatys Butte Common Allotment, located between Hart Mountain and Sheldon national wildlife refuges…”

A lengthy discussion ensued concerning each of the five key issues that the group was formed to address. These issues include:

• the potential listing of the greater sage grouse as an endangered species;

• livestock grazing;

• wild horse habitat;

• energy development; and

• wilderness study areas.

The conversation steered toward wild horse habitat when Stacy Davies, president of the Beatys Butte Grazing Association, said 15,000 new wild horses are being produced in the area annually, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is only able to adopt 1,500 of them out. With production rates ten times higher than adoption rates, the wild horse population continues to grow and compete with cattle for a limited amount of forage.

Davies said 10 ranches are totally dependent upon the Beatys Butte allotment for survival, and he expects five of them to go out of business in the next 18 months.

Grasty asked whether the group could focus on cattle, wild horses, and those ranches before moving onto other conversations. He then asked Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels and Lake County Commissioner Ken Kestner to collaborate on a  letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell expressing the need for an emergency plan for Lake and Harney County ranchers.

Meanwhile, Grasty suggested that the group sit down and identify its areas of agreement so that the collaborative process can continue.

“We’ve got to get done what we can trust each other to do,” he said.

•••

Hines City Administrator Joan Davies, Burns Fire Chief and Planning Director Scott Williamson, and Harney County Planning Director Brandon McMullen attended the meeting to discuss the ongoing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain issue.

Williamson said he located some information in the city of Burns’ archives, which he will scan and put into a database that can be commonly accessed for future use.

Davies said she’s been researching council minutes and other information for the city of Hines, but she hasn’t found anything other than what was in the comprehensive plan.

In an effort to gain a more accurate projection of where flood waters could go, the county and both cities invested in a mapping and modeling project. This information was handed off to the community Dec. 18.

McMullen said FEMA will run the information through its process.

Grasty said this doesn’t resolve all the issues, but it makes a huge difference.

However, he said he thinks the county and two cities should continue to push for the establishment of a base flood elevation. He also suggested that they ensure they’re all in agreement before signing anything from FEMA and that they attempt to meet with Sen. Ted Ferrioli and Rep. Cliff Bentz concerning this issue.

•••

In other business, the court:

• received an update from Grasty concerning the SageCon meeting that he attended in Bend Dec. 12;

• signed an order to appoint Ward to act as Harney County sheriff, effective Jan. 1;

• reviewed an application from Sitz Ranch LLC for an approach on Van Drewsey Road. The court agreed to approve the approach and include Harney County Roads Supervisor Eric Drushella’s recommendations;

• received an update from Runnels concerning the Coordinated Care Organization.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.


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.


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