Council votes to tax marijuana

Posted on October 29th in News

10 percent rate set for recreational product

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Burns has joined a number of other Oregon cities hoping to cash in on a new revenue source should Measure 91, legalizing recreational marijuana, pass in the Nov. 4 election.

At the Oct. 22 city council meeting, the council approved an ordinance “establishing a tax on the sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products.”

The council also approved a resolution that established a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana, but no tax on medical marijuana. It was pointed out that the tax rates can be changed at a later date if the council so desires.

Although more than 20 cities have approved local taxes on legal marijuana, there is no guarantee the taxes will withstand a legal challenge. Section 42 of Measure 91 states: “No county or city of this state shall impose any fee or tax… in connection with the purchase, sale, production, processing, transportation, and delivery of marijuana items.” Section 58 adds: “(the state law) shall be paramount and superior to and shall fully replace and supersede any and all municipal charter enactments or local ordinances inconsistent with it.”

The cities that have passed a local tax believe that by establishing a tax before the measure passes, if it does, the tax will be “grandfathered” in.

From state taxes collected under Measure 91, 40 percent of the proceeds go to schools; 20 percent to programs involving mental health, alcoholism and drug services; 15 percent to state police; 10 percent each to city and county law enforcement; and 5 percent to the Oregon Health Authority.

Harney County resident Denny Brown said the city gets a portion of taxes from the sale of alcohol, and a tax on marijuana should be comparable to what the liquor tax is.

Dave Smerski of Burns had questions about the city’s insurance and liability, and was informed that he should visit with the city manager one-on-one to get the answers to his questions.

John Clemens of rural Harney County expressed concerns about having a medical marijuana dispensary located in Burns and its effect on kids. He said the city should have looked at putting in a moratorium “a little closer.”

“Just because the government says we can do something, doesn’t mean we have to do it,” Clemens said.

The city also approved an ordinance amending and restating Burns Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 5.05 in its entirety, which chapter concerns business licenses; and declaring an emergency.

The ordinance states, in part, “BMC 5.05 was enacted for the purposes of (a) regulating businesses operating in the City of Burns (“City”), (b) providing revenue for municipal purposes, and (c) promoting the health, safety, and welfare of City’s citizens; and

…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 City’s corporate limits.”

Several weeks ago, the council approved a “business license with provisions” for a medical marijuana dispensary, and agreed to hold a meeting for public input on the provisions. The public meeting to determine the “time, place and manner” of the dispensary will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at city hall.

•••

Mark Hetrick of Country Vision Cable in Lane County was present to ask the council about the possibility of a non-exclusive franchise agreement with the city to provide television, internet and phone services.

Hetrick stated Country Vision has been in business for about 25 years and is looking to expand its area. He explained that Charter Communications is looking to sell a number of its systems, including some in Lane County and the Burns/Hines area, and Country Vision would like to provide service to those areas.

The council asked Hetrick to provide more information before making a decision, and Hetrick said he would submit the information to City Manager Kraig Cutsforth.

•••

Public Works Director Dave Cullens asked the council for approval to purchase a 10-yard dump truck, as the one the city is currently using is worn out and needs to be replaced. The council voted to allow Cullens to spend up to $20,000 for a dump truck replacement.

Cullens also asked the council for permission to proceed with an easement and right-of-way along an existing drainage ditch that runs from behind A B Concepts to South Egan. Cullens said he had talked to property owners in the area and none had an objection. The drainage ditch carries most of the water from the downtown area, so it’s important to keep it clean of debris.

Cullens contacted Ferguson Engineering to survey the area at a cost of about $8,000. The council voted to allow Cullens to move ahead with the project.

•••

In other business, the council:

• approved a $150 donation to the meal program at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, and a $100 donation to Harney Partners for Kids and Families for Red Ribbon Week;

• set single meeting dates for November and December because of the holidays. The meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 and Dec. 17;

• scheduled a special meeting for 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, to discuss the city manager position.


The Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies (HHOPE) held its annual candlelight vigil Saturday to remember victims of domestic violence and to raise awareness of the issue, in recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Representatives from HHOPE, the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®, and the ‘Celebrate Recovery’ group presented information to participants gathered outside the Harney County Museum. Each person held a purple balloon while the group acknowledged a moment of silence, and then released them. The group then walked down Broadway Ave. to Washington Street and back, with each person holding a candle along the way. You can visit www.hhope.org, call the office at 541-573-2726, or call the 24/7 crisis hotline, 541-573-7176. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

The Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies (HHOPE) held its annual candlelight vigil Saturday to remember victims of domestic violence and to raise awareness of the issue, in recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Representatives from HHOPE, the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®, and the ‘Celebrate Recovery’ group presented information to participants gathered outside the Harney County Museum. Each person held a purple balloon while the group acknowledged a moment of silence, and then released them. The group then walked down Broadway Ave. to Washington Street and back, with each person holding a candle along the way. You can visit www.hhope.org, call the office at 541-573-2726, or call the 24/7 crisis hotline, 541-573-7176. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)


Court takes stand on NCA proposal

Posted on October 22nd in News

County road map hearing comes to a close

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

During the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court (held Oct. 15), Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels provided an update concerning the Beatys Butte Working Group, which is an Oregon Consensus project.

“We’ve lost our whole focus,” Runnels said regarding the group.

According to the Oregon Consensus website, the 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…”

The website states that the group was formed to address five key issues:

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

• livestock grazing;

• wild horse habitat;

• energy development; and

• wilderness study areas.

However, Runnels said he received an email Friday, Oct. 10, which introduced a proposal to combine the refuges into a National Conservation Area (NCA).

Runnels said the NCA proposal steers away from the group’s purpose, which is to address the wild horses that are taking over the range.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said conservation groups have mentioned the goal of combining Hart Mountain, Sheldon and Malheur national wildlife refuges together.

“This is absolutely where this is trying to go,” Grasty said concerning the proposal.

“This is totally out of line,” Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols said, adding that the suggestion is a “total realignment of the objectives that the process was called for in the first place.”

Nichols added that this consensus project, which is supported by the governor and funded with state dollars, was set up with a specific project in mind.

“This has nothing to do with the initial project,” Nichols said. “This is a runaway freight train here. I would go so far as to say we are not in favor of this, and it will cease and desist or we will push to have the whole thing disbanded.”

Runnels said he had a three-page list of private landowners who would be impacted by the proposal.

Ron Yockim, county counsel, joined the conversation via telephone. Yockim discussed the legal process for forming an NCA and said it’s up to the group to state that this proposal is not part of its agenda.

“I think we really need to take a hard line,” Grasty said. “This [proposal] is not an option.”

“I know we [the Harney County Court] don’t support it, and I will carry that message,” Runnels said, explaining that he planned to attend the Beatys Butte Working Group meeting that was held Oct. 16-17.

Grasty suggested that the court also contact the Oregon Consensus to discuss its concerns.

•••

The court continued its conversation concerning a map of roads within Harney County.

Barbara Cannady presented a letter stating,“I am here today to oppose any resolution to adopt the present map of private and public roads in Harney County on the grounds that it is inherently flawed…”

She then listed 11 ways in which she found the map flawed.

In addition to her written comments, Cannady stated, “I support the idea of the map. I just wish that the flaws that I have discussed and presented, and solutions that I have suggested, would be discussed and possibly implemented.”

Additionally, Cannady advocated for the ability of landowners to control their own property, asserting that landowners added roads to other peoples’ property, but not their own.

“Landowners should be able to say, ‘I do or do not want my property on the map,’ ” Cannady said.

However, Geographical Information Systems Coordinator Bryce Mertz said landowners have added roads to their own property. He also explained that, in addition to information gathered from landowners, the map was generated from U.S. Geological Survey maps and information from the Commissioners Journal.

Barbara Kull said she concurred with Cannady regarding private property rights.

Nichols asked, “What about this changes private property?”

“There is a degree of paranoia here that is totally unfounded,” Nichols said. “[The map] does nothing to change the legality of access.”

Grasty agreed, stating “This in no way, shape or form ensures or shows access to or through private ground.”

He added that the community will use the map to defend access in future litigation.

“Folks are going to come after us to close roads in this county,” Grasty said, explaining that conservation groups want to close what they refer to as “obscure routes.”

He added that, as a public document, the map would be available upon request, but it will not be handed out as the map of Harney County.

Ron Whiting requested that two roads be removed from the map, and he provided information to Mertz regarding them.

However, Whiting said, “I think in the ultimate scheme of things, this [map] should prove to be good.”

Cannady asked whether changes to the map would be progressive or if the there would be a deadline.

Nichols said a deadline needed to be established or the process “could go on forever.”

However, he suggested that any discrepancies made by landowners be noted in the Commissioners Journal.

Mertz will generate a form for members of the public to fill out if they wish to make any changes or additions to the map. The map will not be changed, but the forms will be recorded and associated with the map.

The hearing was closed at 2:25 p.m.

The commissioners will review the map disclaimer and propose changes. All information concerning the map will be assembled into a package, and the court will consider formally accepting it during the next meeting.

•••

Grasty reviewed a memo from Katherine Daniels of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development regarding siting a medical marijuana dispensary on Harney County land (outside the city limits).

Grasty explained that, because of the comprehensive land use plan, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to site one in the county.

He also expressed some concern about a possible crossover from medical marijuana dispensaries to recreational dispensaries if Measure 91 passes.

“I really don’t think you’ll see the medical go to recreational,” Burns City Manager Kraig Cutsforth said, explaining that two separate agencies would regulate them.

Cutsforth added that the city of Burns is currently considering the possibility of marijuana taxation.

Grasty said the rules are “dramatically different” between the city and the county because of the comprehensive land use plan.

“We just don’t have the area,” he explained.

•••

The court resumed its discussion concerning a lot that George Glerup of Geo Investments LLC offered to donate to the county.

A title search has been completed on the property, which is located on Fairview Avenue in Burns, and it is clear.

After viewing the property, Runnels made a motion to accept the donation. Nichols seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

The court will decide what to do with the lot at a later date.

•••

Executive Director Jeni Stevens and board chair Alicia Goodson attended the meeting to discuss the Kids Club of Harney County and present the court with a personalized thank you card.

“Your support has really helped the kids,” Stevens said, explaining that the club now offers six out-of-school, full-time programs.

The club, which employs three full-time and 10 part-time employees, has programs at Slater Elementary, Hines Middle School and Burns High School. It also offers college scholarships.

Grasty asked the Kids Club staff to attend a budget board meeting in the spring to provide information about its programs and payroll costs.

•••

Dick Day and Jim and Elia Shepherd attended the meeting to discuss the need for a new egress/regress point at the cemetery through the tree project, which was recently completed in memory of Joshua Shepherd. They explained that access in and out of the cemetery can be difficult when there is a lot of traffic.

The Cemetery Committee requested rock from Harney County to help build a road, which would be located immediately west of the cemetery’s north/south boundary. Day explained that the road, which would not be paved, would primarily be used in emergency situations.

Harney County Roads Supervisor Eric Drushella said this would be a good time to bring rock.

Cutsforth said the egress/regress is on city property, and he fully supports the road.

The court agreed to direct Drushella to deliver rock to the cemetery to help with the road.

•••

In other business, the court:

• was addressed by Cannady who said she has photographs of the flood that occurred in the 1980s.

Grasty said the county is really hoping to find photographs from the 1952 event, as they might help convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency to shrink its boundaries;

• was addressed by Harney County Extension Agent Shana Withee regarding the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Agency’s participation in The Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill.

Withee also provided copies of the OSU Extension Service Certificate of Appropriation of Funds for the court to sign.

• discussed Section 8 housing vouchers.

Grasty said he was told that someone recommended that a family move to Harney County on the premise that vouchers are available here and this is an easy place to find a location.

“It’s fine to tell people to move here, but I find that inappropriate,” Grasty said.

Runnels said there has been a hold on vouchers up until the last 30 days. He said he will follow up on the issue during the next housing meeting;

• agreed to table discussion concerning Resolution 2014-12 in the matter of establishing coordination between Harney County and federal agencies and state agencies involved with federal agencies;

• learned from Grasty that a representative from the state of Oregon will attend the next county court meeting to discuss workforce district realignment;

• will hold a supplemental budget meeting Nov. 5;

• discussed the fire recovery efforts of the Burns and Vale districts of the Bureau of Land Management;

• upon recommendation from Drushella, accepted a $57,605 bid from Palmer Excavation Inc. for construction of the Emergency Bridge Replacement #25A57. Grasty abstained from voting due to a potential conflict of interest;

• discussed recent protests of water right applications with Yockim via teleconference. Yockim suggested that the court contact the five applicants whose applications are under protest from WaterWatch of Oregon to determine what their plans and thoughts are regarding these protests;

• reviewed a schedule of proposed actions for the Malheur National Forest;

• reviewed a Decision Notice for the Aquatic Restoration Project on the Malheur National Forest;

• was thanked by Whiting for donating funds for personal protective equipment for the Rangeland Fire Protection associations.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.


Nutritional therapy emphasizes holistic approach to wellness

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Jackie Clements, nutritional therapy practitioner, started accepting clients Sept. 8. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Jackie Clements, nutritional therapy practitioner, started accepting clients Sept. 8. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Nutritional therapy may be a relatively new profession, but it is centered on a back-to-the-basics, practical, holistic approach to achieving better health through eating well.

Jackie Clements, a nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP), started accepting clients on Sept. 8 at her office, 229 N. Egan, in Burns.

NTPs work with their clients to help them achieve better nutrition and digestion, and in the process, help to alleviate other health issues. According to its website, the philosophy of the Nutritional Therapy Association is that “…the myriad of health problems that plague modern society result from weaknesses in the body’s physiological foundations as a result of poor nutrition.”

Clements said that a change is needed in how we approach finding solutions to health issues.

“A lot of us are treating symptoms – I’d like to get to the bottom of it,” she explained.

Clements said she grew up in Wyoming, but has lived in Harney County “20-plus” years. She completed her nutritional therapy practitioner training through Central Oregon Community College this year. The program is certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association, which was established in 1997 and  is based in Olympia, Wash. Foundations of the program include digestion, fatty acid balance, blood sugar balance, mineral balance, hydration, and properly prepared nutrient-dense whole foods.

Clements said that her clients start out by completing a confidential nutritional assessment questionnaire online through a program called Nutri-Q. She then takes the results and graphs them, in order to pinpoint where weaknesses are and where she needs to focus. As therapy continues, she continues to update the graph to reflect the client’s progress.

After this initial analysis, Clements meets with the client, and then has them start a food journal, documenting everything they eat. She said that oftentimes people don’t realize how badly they’re eating until they do this.

“It’s a journey,” she said.

The most common issue is poor digestion, said Clements. Symptoms include heartburn and acid reflux, among others. She said that instead of just treating these symptoms with antacids or other medications, it’s important to help people get to the base of the problem.

“If their digestion isn’t working well, they can eat all the healthy foods they want, and take all the supplements they want, but their body is not going to absorb it. So we have to go back to square one, and get that working first,” said Clements.

After analyzing the food journal , there is a functional evaluation in which certain pressure points on the body are palpated in order to assess the state of the autonomic nervous system, which controls digestion, Clements explained.

Once the problems have been identified, it’s time to come up with solutions. Clements said that she likes to start with food-based solutions, before moving on to supplements. She said that most people do end up needing supplements to help with digestion, though.

Clements helps clients take charge of their nutrition by guiding them toward scaling back on processed foods and beverages and replacing them with nutrient-rich whole foods. She works with clients to develop specific menu plans and even make shopping lists.

“Even if they needed me to go shopping with them, I would,” Clements added.

She emphasized that it’s all about lifestyle adjustment and changing habits, and that people need to want to make these changes.

“It’s their journey, I’m just along with them,” she said.

Clements is available by appointment only. You can reach her at 541-413-1905, or jackieclementsntp@gmail.com. She currently does not accept insurance – cash, checks, or credit cards are accepted.


by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Harney County Arts in Education Foundation, Harney County schools and Harney ESD have received a three-year grant to promote arts within the schools and community.

This grant can be used to bring a wide array of arts to the classroom, including volunteer artists to instruct students, materials and equipment, in any medium.

The focus is on middle school students, and projects can range from theatre to painting, music to pottery, audio/visual to oragami. For more information, contact Janet Caldwell at 541-573-4822.


Two vacant Burns council seats filled

Posted on October 15th in News

Local marijuana tax discussed, pending passage of Measure 91

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After formally accepting Boyce LaForest’s resignation earlier in the meeting, the Burns City Council appointed Lou Ann Deiter and Dennis Davis from a pool of four candidates to fill the two vacant seats on the council.

Along with Deiter and Davis, Charity Robey and Holly Palmer had also submitted letters of interest in serving on the council.

The council was down to three voting members after Councilor Jerry Woodfin responded to an emergency call for the Burns Fire Department.

The council first voted for two out of the four candidates, and the vote was unanimous in favor of Deiter and Davis. The council took a vote as to who should fill which vacancy. The person filling LaForest’s seat will hold the position until 2016, while the appointee to the vacancy created by the resignation of Linc Reed-Nickerson will be up for election in November. Because it is too late to file to run in the election, the appointee could choose to run a write-in campaign.

By a 2-1 vote, Deiter was appointed to LaForest’s seat, and Davis filled the other spot. The two were sworn in and took their seats on the council.

It was also mentioned that Councilor Nona Popham did not file for re-election, so her seat will also be filled by the upcoming election.

Woodfin did file to run for re-election for his position on the council.

•••

The council held a preliminary discussion on whether the city should impose a local tax on marijuana in the event that Measure 91 passes in the Nov. 4 election.

Some of the aspects of the measure pertaining to the discussion are: Measure 91 legalizes recreational marijuana for persons age 21 and older; permits the manufacture and sale of marijuana subject to state licensing, regulation, and taxation; will be regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission; according to Section 42 of the initiative, the state will have the exclusive right to tax marijuana. Section 58 provides that the provisions of the measure supersede and repeal inconsistent municipal charters and ordinances; Section 84 provides that the measure will take effect 30 days after it is approved by voters.

City Manager Kraig Cutsforth told the council the city’s attorney recommended the council decide before the election if they want to impose a local tax because once the election is over, it would be too late.

Cutsforth said that several cities, including Bend, Roseburg and The Dalles, have decided not to impose a local tax, appearing to believe that such a tax would be validly preempted by the measure, and further cite uniformity of taxation, a desire to avoid litigation, and a general distaste for sales taxes as reasons for choosing not to enact a tax.

Other cities, including Tigard, Ashland, Milwaukie and Rogue River, have opted to impose a local tax, presumingly, believing that Section 58, insofar as it repeals local ordinances and charter provisions, is invalid.

Cutsforth explained that each city will have to decide for itself if it wants to enact a local tax.

Councilor Terri Presley stated that it would be worth looking into.

Cutsforth said he could provide the council with a model of the ordinance passed by Ashland at the Oct. 22 council meeting, and if the council decides to impose a tax, they will have to decide on the tax rate and pass a new resolution.

The council then moved on to a discussion to amend Burns Municipal Code 5.05 concerning business licenses, and declaring an emergency.

Cutsforth presented a draft ordinance for the council’s review, and explained the change is a two-step process. The first step is to change the current ordinance to allow the issuance of the current pending applications for the medical marijuana dispensaries. Then, a second ordinance will be drafted dealing with the time, place and manner of the specific type of business, with a public workshop for input.

The amended ordinance changes the current ordinance from an almost purely regulatory style to one of a revenue style.

Presley expressed concern about violating federal law regarding marijuana, and said the city still has a responsibility to keep the community safe.

Mayor Craig LaFollette stated the city’s legal counsel can explain the ordinance with regards to federal law, and the council agreed to hold a special session to talk with the attorney and get an explanation.

•••

Cutsforth reported the city’s well telemetry system was failing, and there was an emergency need to order a new system at a cost of about $8,200. He added that the radio system at the airport failed, and couldn’t be repaired, and requested approval from the council to replace the radio system at a cost of about $1,800. The council agreed to go ahead with both expenditures.

Cutsforth stated that he is continuing to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives about the base flood elevation data for the Silvies River watershed, and a meeting has been set for mid-November for the county-wide advisory committee to discuss air quality.

•••

In other business:

• Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson said his department had received 120 smoke detectors from a State Fire Marshal grant to install in homes, and they have installed 86 in about 20 homes already. He noted that only one of the homes where the new smoke detectors were installed had functional smoke alarms to replace. Williamson said when they install the remainder of the smoke detectors, they will apply for another grant as their goal is to get every residence equipped with them.

Williamson stated that after the council’s last meeting, when a citizen brought concerns about the dry brush near the nature trail, he had gone out to look at the situation and it is too dangerous to try and burn the brush off.

“There’s too much of a fuel load, and it would get out of hand,” Williamson said.

As a precautionary measure, the city maintenance crew cut down the brush on the city’s side of the trail;

• Burns Police Sergeant Newt Skunkcap reported there had been several more vehicle break-ins, and cautioned residents to keep their vehicles locked and to not leave anything of value in their vehicles;

• Public Works Director Dave Cullens requested permission from the council to proceed with an easement along a drainage ditch on the back side of Railroad Avenue. He asked for approval to spend about $8,000 for engineers to survey the area and then get an easement.

Woodfin asked what would happen if a property owner said “no” to having an easement placed on their property?

Cullens stated it would probably come back to the council to see what their next step should be.

Presley made a motion to have Cullens proceed with the easement, but the motion died for a lack of a second.

LaFollette asked Cullens to get more information and bring the request back to the council;

• Treva Spence was in attendance to ask for permission to close East Washington Street from North Broadway to North Alder on Oct. 18 for the Chili Cookoff, sponsored by Xi Delta Gamma. The council granted the request, and the street will be closed off the night before;

• During the citizens concerns portion of the meeting, Grant Gunderson asked about the public workshop for input on the medical marijuana dispensary business licenses. He then told the council that Cave Junction filed suit against the governor, the state of Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority to decide whether the state law authorizing the sale of medical marijuana through dispensaries complies with the state and U.S. constitutions.

“The lawsuit is moving forward. It’s still a federal offense to use or possess marijuana,” Gunderson said.

Gunderson also asked why the city didn’t put a one-year moratorium on the dispensaries when they had the chance? He requested a written reply to the question.

Dr. Tom Fitzpatrick questioned if the council talked to personnel from the schools, law enforcement and health officials before making their decision to allow business licenses for the dispensaries, and, if not, why?;

• Popham stated that the council was accused of not listening to the public on making their decision to allow dispensaries, but since the decision was made, she has received several phone calls in favor of the decision.

“One person said they couldn’t attend the meeting because of health issues. Another was out of town getting their ‘medicine,’ so they couldn’t be at the meeting either. There have been people talking to me from the other side. We have been listening to both sides.

“I also visited with my own doctor, and felt even better about my decision,” she said;

• the council agreed to hold an executive session at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, for a performance review of the city manager and for legal counsel on the Measure 91 local tax issue.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, at city hall.


Human remains found on Steens

Posted on October 15th in News

On Oct. 7, a deer hunter on Steens Mountain reported finding human remains on the east side of the mountain. The Harney County Sheriff’s Office responded, and located the human remains.

A search was conducted of the area on Oct.7-8, and the remains were recovered. The remains were forwarded to the Oregon State Medical Examiner to confirm the identity.

The case remains under investigation.


SandersAt approximately 6:35 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer confirmed Shane Sanders, 41, was taken into custody by his department. Sanders was lodged in the Grant County Jail on several charges, including menacing and unlawful use of a weapon.

Sanders was the subject of an extensive search by Grant County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of Oregon State Police (OSP) and the OSP SWAT team, after fleeing the Seneca area Wednesday morning as law enforcement officers responded to a shots fired incident during a domestic disturbance at a cabin in Seneca. After law enforcement officers arrived in the area, they heard additional shots. An armed suspect, identified as Sanders, was seen fleeing in the darkness and was the subject of an area search. There were no known persons injured.

After re-opening area roads Wednesday afternoon following a several-hour search, law enforcement personnel remained in the area. Officials believed there was no public safety threat at that time.


by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and local organizations are taking the opportunity to shed some light on the issue.

•••

The Burns Paiute Tribe Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program is seeking to celebrate abuse-free lives and to honor the lives of men, women, and children who have lost their lives in domestic violence incidents with its “Light In The Window” campaign.

The program obtained purple, battery-operated candles and distributed them to tribal members and staff at a presentation about domestic violence on Oct. 2. The candles will be displayed in windows or on porches for the month of October, and serve as a statement that domestic violence is not accepted in the community.

•••

Another local program, Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies, (HHOPE), will hold a candlelight vigil on Oct. 25 at 5 p.m., in the parking lot of the Harney County Museum. The purpose of the vigil is to commemorate the victims of domestic violence homicide.

HHOPE defines domestic violence as “a pattern of behaviors that one person uses to physically, sexually, emotionally and/or verbally abuse another person.”

A news release from HHOPE recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month states that:

• Domestic violence is never the fault of the victim.

• One in four women have been the victim of domestic violence by an intimate partner, while one in seven men have experienced the same;

• One in six women have been stalked during their lifetime, and one in 19 men have experienced the same;

• Jealousy and possessiveness are not a sign of love;

• Of those young women aged 15-19 who are murdered, 30 percent are killed by their intimate partner;

• Domestic violence occurs in every part of society. No group or community is immune to it;

• According to the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, nearly 20 Oregonians were killed by intimate partners in 2013.

HHOPE is a nonprofit with a mission “to provide housing, advocacy, and support services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through medical and emotional support, community education, and outreach by helping one person at a time escape an abusive situation.”

The organization reported that it responded  to 292 calls regarding domestic violence and provided 2057 shelter nights for adults and 943 shelter nights for children during 2013.

•••

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Awareness Month grew out of the first “Day of Unity” recognized in October, 1981. The first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October of 1987, and also marked the establishment of a national telephone hotline.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
•••

Burns Paiute Tribe Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program: 541-413-0216

Domestic Violence Advocates:

Teresa Cowing, 541-573-8053

Phyllis Miller, 541-573-8004

Mazie Richards, 541-573-8045

•••

Harney Helping Organization for Personal Emergencies (HHOPE)

• Website: www.hhope.org

• Office: 541-573-2726

• 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 541-573-7176

•••

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)

Website: www.ncadv.org

•••

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

•••

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by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Tree Top DSL Exchange webThe Department of State Lands (DSL) hosted a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 30, to receive input on the proposed land exchange between DSL and Tree Top Ranches.

The proposed exchange involves parcels of land located in Harney and Malheur counties, totaling about 1,220 acres.

Chris Castelli, senior policy and legislative analyst for the DSL, welcomed those in attendance and gave a short presentation showing the parcels of land that would be involved in the exchange.

The main concern of those attending was that the exchange could affect access to public lands and to South Fork Reservoir.

Castelli explained the reservoir does not meet the definition of a “navigable-for-public-use waterway,” and belongs to Tree Top Ranches.

In making its determination that the reservoir is not navigable-for-public-use, the DSL used an opinion of the Oregon Attorney General issued in 1972 regarding Fishhawk Lake, located in Clatsop and Columbia counties.

The question put forth in the Fishhawk Lake case  was, “Do members of the public have a right to use boats on the waters of an artificial lake, resulting from the damming of a non-navigable stream, although the beds and banks of the lake are privately owned and the waters are artificially impounded by the owner under a permit from the state engineer?”

The answer was, “No.”

In comparing South Fork reservoir to the Fishhawk Lake opinion, DSL determined that the reservoir is formed from the damming of a non-navigable stream, and is not deemed navigable by DSL.

Bill Mulder, representing Tree Top, said Tree Top is a cattle ranch, and the exchange makes sense because it aligns property lines with natural features. As for the reservoir, Mulder stated Larry Williams, the owner of Tree Top Ranches, has said if the exchange goes through, the reservoir will remain open to fishermen as long as use of the reservoir doesn’t become a nuisance.

Harney County resident Dave Glerup pointed out that three parcels of land that would go to Tree Top in the exchange, labeled 5B, 10B and 11B on the map, currently provide access to a large portion of public land, and if that access is closed, it would block off the public use.

Berry Anderson of Tree Top stated the issue for the ranch was hunting and the protection of private lands. He said fishermen are no problem, but Williams spends about $200,000 a year feeding wildlife on the ranch and hunters try to access the private land.

Members of the audience wanted to know if continued access to public land through the three parcels could be written into the exchange agreement. Several examples were given of past agreements where one of the parties said there was no problem, but as soon as the exchange was done, public access was blocked off.

Castelli was asked if all recorded, existing easements will remain in place after the exchange?

“That is our intent,” answered Castelli.

Jim Knott with the Oregon Hunters Association OHA) said, “There is a bad element wherever you go. People assume they can go anywhere they want, whenever they want.”

He said OHA tries to instill respect for private lands, and he would like to see a better description of some of the parcels included in the exchange proposal. He suggested maybe excluding some of the parcels that would be involved in the exchange.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty stated a solution would be to institutionalize, or legalize, every two-track road in the area affected by the land swap, thereby creating an easement and preserving public access.

DSL will  continue taking public comment on the proposed land exchange until Oct. 15.

Comments may be emailed to: realproperty@state.or.us, with a subject line of “Tree Top” or mailed to Asset Analyst Clara Taylor, Oregon Department of State Lands, 775 Summer Street NE No. 100, Salem, OR 97301.


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