CEO recruitment efforts continue

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Harney District Hospital (HDH) Development Coordinator Denise Rose began the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Health District Board of Directors (held Jan. 28) by presenting a video.

She explained that the video, which was produced by Evan Franulovich of eFrog Productions LLC, will primarily be used for physician recruitment.

“We were thrilled by the results,” Rose said concerning the video.

“It’s very professional, and it hits all the right notes,” HDH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Bishop added.

The video can be viewed on the hospital’s website at:


Board chair Dan Brown provided an update concerning the CEO recruitment committee. The purpose of the committee is find a replacement for Bishop, who will retire in August.

Brown said 35 resumes  had been received, and initial candidate screening began via videoconferencing.

“The process appears to be going well,” Brown said regarding CEO recruitment efforts. “Qualified candidates find this an attractive opportunity. I think it’s a compliment to the hospital, and particularly, employees and administration.”

Eric Buckland is assisting with the recruitment efforts. However, Bishop said he and HDH Chief Financial Officer Catherine White recommend eliminating a few items from his proposed contract, as these duties could be completed by the board and/or committee.

The board agreed to have Bishop present a modification of the contract proposal to Buckland.

“I don’t anticipate this being a difficult discussion,” Bishop said.

Board member Shana Withee complimented the committee on its ability to recruit qualified candidates while saving money.


During the public comment period, Cecil Dick stated that Harney County’s rural communities should have been included in the recruitment video.

Dick also expressed concern about wait times in the emergency room.

He reported that, although they were told someone would be right with them, he and his wife waited several hours after checking in at the emergency room on Jan. 4. Dick acknowledged that the emergency room was busy that day, but said he felt someone should have checked on them. He added that his comment was not a complaint, but a suggestion for improving service.

Bishop apologized for the bad experience, and Rose ensured that their medical need was met. HDH Chief Operating Officer/ Chief Nursing Officer Barb Chambers said she would follow up, and Brown thanked Dick for his comments.


Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell provided an update regarding HDH Family Care.

Rothwell reported that the clinic served 1,603 patients in December 2014, an increase of 409 patients from the previous month.

“We have been very busy with a lot of sick patients, but not the usual flu season traffic in the clinic to date,” Rothwell reported. “We are ready for flu season to start at any given time.”

She also reported that Dr. Heidi Vanyo was interviewed for a primary care physician position during the first week of January, and an offer was extended for her employment. If she accepts the offer, she will begin in May or June.

Rothwell said the clinic is in the process of obtaining credentialing for Dr. Henry Elder, a Canby-based psychiatrist, to provide services through videoconferencing.

Board member Tim Smith expressed concern regarding remote evaluation.

Rothwell replied that patients would be carefully selected for the service, adding that some may need to be referred to providers outside of Harney County for in-person assistance.

Bishop said the video conferencing services will be implemented on a trial basis.


Chambers reported that Dr. Jeffrey Mathisen, a general surgeon at HDH, is “making a huge impact” in the hospital’s surgical services.

She added that physical therapist Kris Sanders recently became certified in the “McKenzie Method” and can now offer this service to patients.

Chambers also reported that two, full-time nurses and an ultrasound technician have been added to the staff, and the first meeting of the patient advisory council went well.


In other business:

• Board secretary Susan Doverspike provided the finance committee report via email.

• The board discussed the quality and patient safety committee report.

Chambers said an “exceedingly low” number of medication errors were made, and she’s “very proud of that.” She explained that only about four errors were made in a one-year period.

• The board held its retreat Jan. 23 to work on strategic planning.

Board member Ann Vloedman said the board still needs to complete its self assessment. This will be discussed during the next board meeting.

• HDH Health Information Services Coordinator Toni Siegner said Amy Dobson is teaching a program to help pre-diabetic patients make lifestyle changes. She also reported that Kristen Gregg set up a children’s reading corner.

• White provided an overview of the profitability of the cataract surgery program.

• Rose updated the board regarding recruitment efforts and application statistics.

• HDH Human Resources Manager Sammie Masterson provided 2014 statistics concerning the average staff age (44.3 years) and longevity (6.5 years). The hospital’s doctors makeup the youngest age demographic (38.3 years).

• The board reviewed policies 100.040 “Duties of the Treasurer,” 100.045 “Duties of the Secretary,” and 100.050 “Duties of the Clerk” and approved them without changes.

• The board granted medical staff privileges to  Drs. Susana Samaniego, Meredith Baker and Brigit Hatch and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Chris Siegner.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25 in the hospital board conference room.

Council considers airport fuel truck

Posted on February 18th in News

Plan approved to upgrade streetlights on North Broadway

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Looking to increase the amount of fuel storage at the Burns Municipal Airport, Airport Manager Jeff Cotton asked the city council for permission to apply for a fuel truck through the General Services Administration (GSA) program.

Cotton told the council at their regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11, there were currently two vehicles available through GSA. One has a 2,500 gallon tank, and the other a 6,000 gallon tank.

Cotton said he would prefer to get the larger tank as that would allow him to have more fuel on site during fire season when demand is high, and he could also order a full load of fuel to be delivered to the airport, resulting in a lower price.

Cotton explained that while he can submit a request for the vehicles, there is no guarantee one will be awarded to the airport. There is no cost for the vehicle if one is awarded to the city, but the city would have to pay for getting the vehicle to the airport. The preferred vehicle is in Palmdale, Calif., so the only expense to the city would be getting someone to the truck and driving it back to Burns.

The council agreed to allow Cotton to put in for the vehicles, and if neither is awarded, to continue searching for a fuel truck through the GSA program.


Public Works Director Dave Cullens requested permission to use $6,544 from his budget to upgrade the streetlights on North Broadway. He said they would put in LED lights that provide better lighting while using less energy, and Oregon Trail Electric Co-op would help pay for a portion of the project. The LED lights would replace 16 of the lights currently being used.

The council approved the request.


Mayor Craig LaFollette stated in the absence of a city manager, everybody has stepped up to help get work done, and he thanked them. He then proposed additional pay for Interim City Manager/City Clerk Dauna Wensenk and Municipal Judge/Utilities Clerk Dawn Crafts. The proposal was for an additional $500 a month for Wensenk and an additional $100 a month for Crafts until the time a city manager is in place.

The council unanimously approved the proposal.


The council reviewed two donation requests, one from the Harney County Opportunity Team (HCOT) for the Arrowhead Plaza project, and the other from the Nadzitsaga Lacrosse Club.

Councilor Terri Presley stated when a donation request is made, she would like a representative from the group to attend the council meeting.

“It would be nice to have someone here to answer questions, if we have any. It’s a courtesy thing,” Presley said.

After some discussion, a motion was made to donate $100 to HCOT and $50 to Nadzitsaga. The motion passed on a 6-1, with Presley voting no.


In other business:

• the council approved Resolution 15-591 A, affecting changes to the 2014-2015 budget moving   funds from the water and sewer fund to the airport fund for the fire suppression project, and clarifying the well developed for the fire suppression project is the capital asset of the water and sewer fund;

• the council discussed Resolution No. 15-595 that establishes fees for medical marijuana dispensaries. Before approving the resolution, the council decided they needed clarification on the fee schedule, and tabled the discussion until they could talk with their legal counsel;

• Councilor Presley told the council the Capital Improvement Plan at the airport included putting up a structure to house snow removal equipment at a cost of $500,000. She explained that $450,000 would be Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funds, and the other $50,000 would be a local match. Presley explained that one of the conditions of using the funds to build  the structure was that the city then agreed to purchase new snow removal equipment within the next five years. She recommended the city take building the structure out of the plan for now, as there was no guarantee of getting grants to fund a new equipment purchase. The council agreed;

• the council appointed Wensenk budget officer for the 2015-2016 fiscal year;

• Burns Police Officer Robby Tiller reported that he and Blaze, the drug dog, passed the training held in Mountain Home, Idaho, and received their certification.

The next Burns Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, at city hall.

Sniffing out trouble

Posted on February 18th in News

Dogs are used in detection of illegal substances

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Parker Hetherwick and “Monnty” (left), and Robby Tiller and “Blade” are the two certified drug detection dog and handler teams in Harney County law enforcement. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Parker Hetherwick and “Monnty” (left), and Robby Tiller and “Blade” are the two certified drug detection dog and handler teams in Harney County law enforcement. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Burns Police Department (BPD) officer Robby Tiller recently achieved his certification as a drug detection dog handler, working with Blade, his canine partner against crime.

Tiller has been an officer with BPD for two-and-a-half years, and has been working with Blade, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, since last September. The two have been training for the certification exam since that time, and on Feb. 5, they scored 100 percent on the intensive, three-hour test.

Parker Hetherwick, deputy with the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, has been Tiller’s instructor throughout the process. Hetherwick has been with the sheriff’s office for eight months, and worked previously for the Burns Tribal Police for four-and-half years. He has worked with detection dogs for a number of years, and currently spends his days with a two-year-old black Czech Shepherd named Monnty.

Both Blade and Monnty are trained as drug detection dogs, and Monnty is “dual-purpose,” as he is also trained in apprehension and tracking. This means that he can chase or track and hold down someone who is attempting to evade law enforcement officers.

Tiller and Hetherwick both said that the dogs are great tools, and they wouldn’t be able to do a lot of their work without them. Hetherwick stressed that the dogs are used because of their special skills, which help keep the community safer.

“The intent is not to scare people. We use dogs because their sense of smell is 10 times more sensitive than humans,” Hetherwick said.

To explain, he suggested imagining you walked into a house where beef stew is being cooked. A person can smell the stew as a whole entity, while a dog would be able to smell the beef, carrots, and each of the various components.

Hetherwick said that dogs have an amazing ability to sniff out narcotics, even when they are packaged up and masked by other scents.

Passing the test

The certification is conducted by the Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association. Tiller’s certifying exam was held in Mountain Home, Idaho, and involved detection testing in a variety of situations, including vehicles, various rooms in a building, and parcels and luggage.

Tiller said the test was stressful, but it was all about him and Blade working together as a team.

“It’s all about trusting the dog,” he said.

He added that it’s vital to be able to pick up on subtle signals that the dog gives, such as when sniffing becomes more rapid.

Maintaining the skills

Re-certification is required annually, and Tiller and Hetherwick have to log four hours per week of drug detection training with Blade and Monnty. Hetherwick must do an additional four hours per week of apprehension training with his dog.

When practicing apprehension drills, Tiller puts on a bite suit or sleeve, and Hetherwick gives the command to Monnty to pursue him. The dog bites and locks his jaw on Tiller, trying to hold him in place until Hetherwick gives the command to release him.

Canine crime fighters

Detection dog training starts early, at two months of age. Blade was originally procured from Adlerhorst International, Inc. in Riverside, Calif., an organization that specializes in police canine training. Drug dogs are trained in detection of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana. They learn to pursue a specific toy, and then are introduced to the scent of each drug when a packaged sample of it is inserted into the toy. Blade’s “go-to” item is a rubber ball, and Monnty’s is a rubber Kong toy.

Commands are given in a language other than English, in order to ensure that the dog only responds to its handler, and not the person being apprehended. Blade has been trained in German, while Monnty “speaks” only Czech.

Off the clock

The dogs live at home with their handlers and lead normal canine lives when they’re off duty. Hetherwick said Monnty fits right in with the family, and the only thing they have to watch out for is keeping him away from people food, so that he doesn’t become distracted by the smell of it during drug searches.

On duty

Tiller and Hetherwick are the only certified detection dog handlers in Harney County law enforcement. They are called with specific requests from all local law enforcement agencies when there is suspicion of the presence of illegal drugs. Their work shifts have been coordinated so that there is a dog available during every shift.

If one of the dogs alerts,  it gives probable cause for an immediate search in some cases, and in others probable cause to obtain a search warrant.

Tiller said that on the very same day of his certification, he made a traffic stop and recovered a full marijuana pipe.


With these two certified dog and handler law enforcement duos “sniffing out” trouble, the community can only become a safer, happier and healthier place to live.

Ferrioli speaks at Lincoln Day dinner

Posted on February 11th in News

State senator lays out Republican agenda for 2015

Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

Sen. Ted Ferrioli paid a visit to Burns on Saturday, attending the Lincoln Day dinner hosted by the Harney County Republicans. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Sen. Ted Ferrioli paid a visit to Burns on Saturday, attending the Lincoln Day dinner hosted by the Harney County Republicans. (Photo by STEVE HOWE)

Oregon Senate Republican Leader Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, attended the Lincoln Day Dinner, hosted by the Harney County Republicans, Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Burns Elks Lodge.

Ferrioli presented an overview of current happenings in the state legislature, outlined the 2015 senate Republican agenda, and discussed his role on the committee working on the implementation of Measure 91.

Ferrioli said that in general, senate Republicans  were working to grow jobs, reduce regulation, and keep and expand tax cuts. He noted a number of bills being proposed by Democrats that would levy additional taxes. He said that those and other proposals, include raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and mandating that employers offer paid sick leave and family leave, would bankrupt thousands of small businesses.

In outlining the goals of the senate Republicans for the 2015 legislative session, Ferrioli said that they were far more detailed objectives than those of the Democrats. Some agenda items include:

• Working to grow rural Oregon by expediting land-use decisions for new and expanding businesses in counties with declining populations;

• Working to protect and expand the 2 percent tax cut to small businesses;

• Working to stop any taxes that hurt families and small businesses.

Ferrioli said that he is on the joint committee responsible for the implementation of Measure 91, which passed in the November 2014 election and legalizes recreational marijuana. He said he plans to place all those testifying before the committee under oath, in order to ensure that the newly legitimized marijuana business is not tied up in the black market.

He said that in the proceedings of the committee, he has been confronted with the question of how marijuana can be legal in Oregon, when it is illegal at the federal level. The response he has gotten, he said, centers around the 10th amendment, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Ferrioli said that he is a “big fan” of the 10th amendment, and added that he wonders why it couldn’t be used in other cases, such as those of timber or grazing laws.

In other comments, Ferrioli said he:

• opposes a proposal to require background checks on private transfers of firearms;

• wants additional school funding to be tied to educational outcomes.


Gretchen Bates, the new chair of the Harney County Republican Central Committee, talked about the need for people to get involved, and what the Harney County Republicans are currently focused on.

Bates talked about “tipping points” – the points at which people become inspired to take action.

“More people need to know that their efforts are required,” said Bates, “now is not the time to think that our involvement doesn’t matter.”

She said she is committed to preserving the values of hard work and self-sufficiency that are characteristic of Harney County. Bates noted that threats on a nationwide level include terrorism, illegal immigration, over-regulation, debt, and a biased media. She said that internal threats were just as dangerous as external threats, and recalled a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Bates said that as chair, her goals include coordinating with other like-minded groups, and creating an “action wing.” She noted that major issues the organization is focused on addressing include sage grouse, road closures, school funding, and finding and electing Republicans to office.


Tim Smith, former chair of the Harney County Republican Central Committee, spoke about the need for voters to step up during elections, and the power that Harney County and the 2nd Congressional District have to influence elections. He said that too many people are not voting during gubernatorial elections, and noted that the 2010 Republican candidate for governor lost by only 22,000 votes.

“We have the ability to elect the governor in the 2nd Congressional District,” said Smith.


Art Robinson, chair of the Oregon Republican Party, said that the country is challenged now more than ever. He said that people “have forgotten that this is a constitutional republic,” and that elected officials are acting as career politicians. However, citizen volunteers are responding to these problems, he said.

“Today, millions of Americans are coming out of the woodwork to help out,” said Robinson.

“Our party is vital, our country is vital, and we’re winning,” he added.


Richard Burke, executive director of the Western Liberty Network (WLN) presented information on his organization, and encouraged people to get involved in local government.

Burke explained that WLN offers training to grassroots activists on how to engage with local government, and get elected to local government offices. He said that although it is “unnatural” for conservatives to want to get involved in government, people should take responsibility and get involved.

“Folks on the left dominate local government, even in conservative areas,” said Burke.

He reminded the audience that May 19 was the filing deadline for the next election. He stressed that no position is too small or unimportant, and that experience is not necessary.

“All you need is a good head, and good values,” said Burke.

“You can win here,” he said.


Cynthia Kendoll, president of Oregonians For Immigration Reform (OFIR), spoke to the group about the effects of illegal immigration, the dire situation at the nation’s borders, and the defeat of Measure 88 in the November 2014 election.

Kendoll said that illegal immigration impacts every part of life in this country. She said that the group is non-partisan, and that its members support the mission of the organization for a variety of reasons. According to their website (, OFIR “works to stop illegal immigration as well as reduce legal immigration to a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable level here in Oregon and across the United States.”

Kendoll described her visits to the border, saying that it is a crisis situation, and that more elected officials should travel there to witness what is happening. She said that sheriffs, ranchers and others are pleading to the U.S. Congress to address the issue, without result.

Kendoll encouraged people to get involved. She said her own “tipping point” was when Measure 88, the Oregon Alternative Driver Licenses Referendum, was put on the ballot for the November 2014 election. The measure would have made four-year driver licenses available to those who cannot prove legal presence in the United States. She touted the overwhelming defeat of the measure as a victory, and noted that 87 percent of voters in Harney County voted against the measure.

“It takes all of us to be a success,” said Kendoll.


The next meeting of the Harney County Republicans will take place Tuesday, March 3, at 5:30 p.m. at Figaro’s Pizza. For more information, please contact Gretchen Bates at 541-573-7595.

Fire crews from the Burns Interagency Fire Zone expect to carry out a 9,200-acre prescribed fire on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Refuge Headquarters within the coming weeks. If weather permits, officials say the project could have started as early as Monday, Feb. 9.

The prescribed fire is intended to reduce fuel loading and improve wildlife habitat. The Burns Interagency Fire Zone does a number of prescribed fire projects annually to develop more fire resilient and healthier ecosystems.

Burning will occur as weather and fuel moisture conditions allow. There will be noticeable smoke and increased traffic around prescribed fire areas. The public should be aware of the activity and avoid the project site as much as possible.

For further information on prescribed burning in Harney County, contact the Burns District Bureau of Land Management office at 541-573-4400.

Resident brings issues to council

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The city of Burns should have a new city manager in place by this summer.

At their regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 28, the Burns City Council approved the hiring procedures and job announcement as prepared by the city’s legal counsel, Jeremy Green.

The tentative schedule for the hiring process is to begin the hiring process Feb. 1, start the screening process March 31, begin background checks and committee interviews April 15, begin sending letters of rejection and schedule an interview with the finalists May 1, select the preferred candidate June 1, and have the new city manager begin work in July or August.

There was some concern by the council on the amount of time the process takes, and Green explained that the time line can always be shortened if the council deems it necessary.

The council also expressed interest in having someone from the community on the screening committee, and Green concurred with the suggestion.


The council approved Ordinance No. 15-832, establishing time, place and manner regulations concerning medical marijuana dispensaries.

Green stated the ordinance is a “living document” because new legislation may be passed regarding the dispensaries and that would precipitate changes in the ordinance.

The council discussed a pending resolution to establish fees for medical marijuana dispensaries. Green said he had checked the fees of other cities, and felt the city of Burns should establish comparable fees.


John Chambers was in attendance to discuss several issues with the council. Chambers said that he, and others, have a problem with the “urban deer herds,” and the risks they pose to the community. He cited safety risks to people, domestic animals and vehicles, and said some form of action needs to be taken by the city to mitigate the risks for the benefit of the residents.

Mayor Craig LaFollette stated he didn’t want it to seem like he was “passing the buck,” but he recommended Chambers speak with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), as the city has no jurisdiction over the deer.

Chambers said he had talked with ODFW and was told they can’t capture and transplant the deer because the urban deer may spread disease  to the wild  herds, and because of the in-breeding occurring in town.

Chambers said he has spent a lot of money on landscaping, and the deer have destroyed about half of the plants.

“I can’t shoot them. Well, I could, but that would be illegal,” Chambers said. “There are a lot of people that are fed up with the deer problem.”

He suggested the council set up a committee to formulate solutions.

Chambers then questioned why the owner of a home or business is responsible for the sewer line from the structure to the main line? He suggested it be changed from the structure to the right-of-way, as most problems occur at the connection between the service line and the main line.

“Why would we do that?” asked LaFollette. “Why would we take on that financial responsibility?”

“Because I’m asking you to,” replied Chambers.

Public Works Director Dave Cullens said if the city took over that responsibility, there would have to be a sewer rate increase to cover the cost.

Chambers then stated his concerns about truck traffic through the city on Broadway and Monroe streets. He suggested trucks be re-routed around town because of safety concerns.

“Take the truck traffic off those roads,” he said.

Chambers also said there is problem with CenturyLink in the community, but he would address that issue at a later date.


Nick Collins, president of Harney County Little League, told the council the organization is working on a project to expand the baseball facilities on West Pierce, with the goal of hosting a Little League Tournament.

Collins said the event would bring in anywhere from 30-35 teams for a week, and other towns that hosted the event brought in about $100,000 revenue.

Collins said he is trying to raise funds for the project, and wasn’t asking the city for a donation, but rather a sponsorship and support.

“It’s a community thing,” Collins said. “The kids use the fields, and we’d like to have one facility where boys and girls of all ages could be playing at the same time.”

He said the organization needs fencing for the project, and asked about the city helping with that.

City Clerk Dauna Wensenk stated there is fencing at the airport, and the city needs some of it for a project, but not necessarily all of it.

“I don’t know how much fencing you need, but let’s say we had 250 feet of it. Could you use that?” LaFollette asked.

“We’ll take anything you can give us,” Collins said, and added they would probably need about 2,500 for the entire project.

Councilor Dan Hoke said he’d like the city to help out “in-kind.” He suggested maybe the public works crew could help the volunteers on a schedule type basis.

Cullens said the city has, in the past, donated the red cinders and bladed the area. The city also donates the water.


In other business:

• the council approved Resolution No. 15-594, authorizing C&B Sanitary Service to increase its service rates under the solid waste franchise agreement;

• the council scheduled a workshop for 6 p.m. Monday Feb. 16, to discuss several topics, including the ordinance that governs  the council for the benefit of new councilors, the current condition of city streets and solutions to the deterioration, and the water and sewer fund;

• Mayor LaFollette appointed Ted Marshall, Curt Blackburn, councilors Lou Ann Deiter and Terri Presley, and the three city office staff members to the Flood Ordinance Prevention committee;

• LaFollette said at a previous meeting, a resident made reference to the ethics of the council. He stated if someone has an issue with ethics, the state has a government ethics commission that residents can write to or call.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, at city hall.

Steering committee to meet in March

The Burns Paiute Tribe is in the process of creating a comprehensive economic development strategic plan.

The Tribe will participate in an intensive, locally-driven strategic planning process. Tribal leaders will be guided through “Plan Week,” about a 14-hour process resulting in a comprehensive strategic plan for the Tribe. This process will also guide tribal leaders as they implement strategies identified during “Plan Week.”  The Tribe’s plan week is scheduled for March 3-5, 2015.

“This is an important opportunity for the Tribe,” said Michelle Bradach, interim general manager. “Plan Week will help us identify key economic opportunities and quality-of-life issues.”

A steering committee, comprised of a cross-section of community leaders (city, county, regional, and tribal) will participate in seven key planning sessions to be held locally on Tuesday, March 3, and Thursday, March 5.

The Voice of the Community session is designed for the community to provide ideas, and will be held on Wednesday, March 4, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. This session will give members of the tribal community a chance to help select priorities for development. It will be held at the Gathering Center.

Bradach said, “This planning process supports local community planning efforts that integrate community and economic development with quality-of-life. This process will assist our community in addressing challenges that are interrelated, but are often not addressed comprehensively, including community competitiveness and revitalization; access to jobs; education; health care services; energy and other resource conservation; infrastructure; and environmental impacts.”

For more information about the strategic planning process, contact Michelle Bradach or Margaret Swoboda, 541-573-2088.

Meth lab evidence recovered

Posted on January 28th in News

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Meth labOn Thursday, Jan. 22, members of the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, Burns Police, Hines Police and Oregon State Police (OSP) served a search warrant for a possible methamphetmine lab on the residence at 431 East E Street in Burns.

Following a search, evidence was found in the house to show there was a possible meth lab, and the evidence was turned over to the OSP Crime Lab.

The house was vacant at the time of the search, and no arrests have been made at this time in connection with the incident.

The residence has been posted, and no one is allowed to enter the house until it has been cleaned to health standards.

The case remains under investigation.

Clinic to focus on chronic pain

Posted on January 28th in News

Living with chronic pain can be an overwhelming experience. It frequently leaves people feeling isolated, frustrated, dependent and even depressed or anxious. A person with chronic pain not only endures physical discomfort, but often also experiences psychological, social, and economic stressors.

According to the 2012 annual report of the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, about 20 percent of Oregonians suffer from chronic pain. Common methods for treating chronic pain typically come from an individual’s resources, or through prescription drugs that mask the pain and provide temporary relief. These methods can lead to adverse side effects, and do not cure the underlying cause of the pain.

A new, local pain clinic has been established through Cornerstone, a mental health outreach program. The goal of the clinic is to treat chronic pain through behavioral support methods, specifically addressing the body’s physiological response to pain and the areas in life that have been negatively impacted by this chronic condition. The Cornerstone Pain Clinic intends to meet the needs of those in the community suffering from chronic pain, and is a collaborative effort between medical, mental health, and pharmaceutical professionals.

Working with health care providers, Cornerstone Pain Clinic will utilize treatment strategies proven to decrease the brain’s overall response to pain, effectively reducing the amount of pain experienced and simultaneously better equipping a person’s ability to self-manage pain that may persist. In order to reduce the brain’s response to pain, it is important to understand why pain can become a neurological chronic condition. An individual’s pain usually originates either from an injury or another chronic condition or illness. When one is injured, pain serves as a purposeful signal and should last until the injury has healed. On the other hand, chronic pain continues past the normal time of healing, and no longer serves a functional purpose.

The experience of chronic pain changes the way the brain functions and processes pain. The central nervous system becomes highly reactive to any form of pain and ceases to function normally. Additional strain to the central nervous system, such as anxiety, stress, trauma, or psychological issues, prior to or just after an injury, can also greatly contribute to a person’s susceptibility to chronic pain. The treatment methods of Cornerstone Pain Clinic all focus on decreasing the reactivity of a central nervous system that has been altered by persistent pain and/or psychological stressors.

A free, “Living With Chronic Pain” workshop will be held Feb. 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cornerstone Building (610 W. Monroe St., Burns). The workshop will provide information on how chronic pain originates in the brain, the body’s physiological response, and the emotional response resulting from living with this condition. The event is open to individuals experiencing chronic pain and to those with a family member or friend that suffers from it. Frank Duhn, RPh, and Ashlee Voges, MSW, CADCI, CPS, will present. Refreshments will be provided. Additional information on the Cornerstone Pain Clinic program will be provided for those interested. Contact Ashlee Voges at 541-589-1729 with any questions.

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.

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