Warning stickers issued

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The city of Burns is once again attempting to get residents to comply with city ordinances regarding cleaning up their properties.

At the Burns City Council meeting on June 25, City Manager Kraig Cutsforth reported he had met with the department heads individually to be more active on the enforcement of the codes pertaining to the cleaning up of properties in the community.

Cutsforth met with Fire Chief Scott Williamson regarding nuisance properties with grass causing fire hazards, and reported the majority of properties had been identified and had either complied or were in the process of bringing their property into compliance with city ordinance.

Noting that there were a number of vehicles and trailers in city right-of-ways, Cutsforth and Officer Robbie Tiller began issuing notices to residents in the northwest section of town if they were in violation of the ordinances and the law. Cutsforth reported  about 15 warning stickers were issued to vehicles or trailers that had either no plates or expired tags, and the owners were not home. They also visited with about another dozen residents that were home, and asked them to correct the violation.

Cutsforth and Tiller will continue with the program on a weekly basis until the entire city is covered, and then it will be a continuing effort to maintain the cleanup.

During the citizens concerns portion of the meeting, three residents were present to express their displeasure over the notifications issued by the city.

Jan Kolar, who lives on West D Street, told the council  they  had moved their trailer to the right-of-way to accommodate company, then they were away for a few days, and returned home to find a sticker on the trailer. Kolar stated that there were many residents who have trailers, RVs and four-wheelers parked on city right-of-ways, and  it had been that way for a number of years. “I’m not pleased to hear we have to maintain it (right-of-way), but not use it,”  Kolar said.

She added that she was told the city was going to widen the street, but didn’t know of any plans to actually do that.

Richard Yates, a resident on West E Street, told the council he had petitioned to have the easement deeded to him several years ago, but was told the city wouldn’t be widening the street and he could “go ahead and treat it as your own property.”

Richard Roy, a North Court resident, said the beautification idea is OK, but asked what is the intent or the goal of the current method of enforcement. “If there’s a big plan, OK, but we need to let people know. There’s a process on how to do this,” Roy said.

Councilor Jerry Woodfin asked if their was a precedence in dealing with the right-of-ways. He asked if a resident had a garden on the right-of-way, would they have to move it? And then questioned, “After the garden, or trailer, is moved, does the city clean it up?”

Officer Tiller explained that it is a “junk issue.” He said people can use the right-of-ways, they just can’t store their “junk” there. “If you have a vehicle that doesn’t have a wheel, get it moved,” Tiller said.

Cutsforth added that they were only issuing notifications to vehicles that had no tags or expired tags.

Mayor Craig LaFollette stated it was not the intent of the city to cause anyone grief, and added that only notifications were issued, not citations. He went on to say that a city councilor was one of those that received a notification as well.

“Just because ‘we’ve done it for a lot of years’ doesn’t make it OK. We’re trying to move ahead,” LaFollette said.


Cutsforth stated the drilling for the well at the Burns airport had started, and the tests should be done at the end of the week. He explained that the location of the well had been moved back near the original location because of concerns for a neighbor’s well.

Councilor Terri Presley asked if there was an added cost to the city for having the well-digger move from one location to the other. Cutsforth said they had never started digging at the  first location, so there was no added charges.


In other business:

• the council approved a request by the Harney County Opportunity Team to close East A Street on Sept. 13 for the Burns Brewfest;

• Presley said that she was under the impression that the city would not spend any more money on the airport except for what was absolutely essential to the operation of the airport, and asked why money was spent for a swamp cooler?

Airport manager Jeff Cotton stated that he donated the swamp cooler, and the cost was for a contractor to put it in.

Cutsforth noted that the swamp cooler was important because people who arrive late sometimes spend the night in the building, and it gets “unbearable” some times;

• Presley told the council she was following up on the nuisance property on West Johnson, and had talked to the bank about the property;

• the council approved the 2014-2015 budget in the amount of $7,379,296.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at city hall.

Owners to be notified of violations

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The Hines Common Council met for its regular meeting June 24. During the meeting, the council discussed the enforcement of the nuisance abatement ordinance.

Councilors discussed city ordinance 9.52.050 “Noxious vegetation.” The code states that property owners may not allow “weeds, grass, brush, or other noxious vegetation to exceed 10 inches in height after June 1.” Noxious vegetation is defined as any vegetation likely to become a health, fire, or traffic hazard.

The issue was brought to the council as a result of a citizen complaint about the lack of enforcement of this city code, causing concern about dry fuel sources and high fire danger this summer. City Administrator Joan Davies asked the council what its position was with regard to this issue.

A lengthy discussion ensued. It was established that 1) the city is liable if it does not enforce the code (i.e., in the event of a fire starting on an offending property and spreading to neighboring properties), 2) there is no code enforcement officer, nor funding allocated to pay for one, and 3) there is a process by which the city can enter a property, clean it up, and bill the property owner. The problem is that the cost incurred is not necessarily recoupable. Administrator Davies explained that many of these “nuisance” properties already have liens on them, affecting the likelihood of the city collecting on a lien.

Councilors Dick Baird and John Mims volunteered to trim weeds and help clean up. City-owned alleys and narrower strips of city-owned property will be first on the list, giving residents a chance to receive notices and comply with the code.

Mayor Nikki Morgan offered to take photos of the offending properties, and help office staff with generating and mailing extra notices. Those property owners will be notified of the violation and given until July 3 to get weeds, grass, brush, and noxious vegetation mowed or cut.


Fire Chief Bob Spence reported that the Hines Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) had received three calls since the last council meeting.

One was a call to Wright’s Point. A fire there had flared up for the third time and spread to 25 acres. HVFD firefighters spent seven hours at that location.

The second call reported a mattress on fire at mile marker 82 on Hwy. 20 west, and the third call reported a brush fire near West Loop Road. HVFD assisted Burns Tribal Fire Department and Burns Fire Department on the brush fire. In both instances, the fires were quickly extinguished.

Chief Spence also reported that he had responded to the first illegal burn. Administrator Davies stated that flyers have gone out notifying residents of the burn ban that went into effect June 20. Residents are reminded that open burning, wood pits, and burn barrels are not allowed. Only covered barbecues are permitted under the ban.


During the weekend of June 21-22, HVFD firefighters attended a hazmat first responder class. The training was Friday through Monday, and three of the HVFD members attended all 20 hours, including a “table-top” exercise for responding to a hypothetical anthrax letter scenario. The training meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements, and is certified by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).


Chief Spence reported that Obsidian Days, held June 13-15, went well, but that participation was lower than usual. He thanked Hines City Hall for its work on the administrative side, and then presented a check to Mayor Morgan which included a $200 donation from HVFD for park beautification, and $190 in vendor payments toward electricity use. He said that left $500 in compensation for HVFD’s work at the event.


Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala gave a brief report from his department.

He thanked the Parole and Probation work crew for weeding in ditches around the city.

Zabala warned that there are a lot of rattlesnakes around town right now because they are attracted to water.

Baird told Zabala that the parks and the area around Circle Drive are “looking great.”

Councilor Dick Anderson added that he had spoken with local residents recently who told him that they had “never seen [the parks] look so good.”


Administrator Davies gave the Hines Police Department (HPD) report in the absence of Chief Ryan DeLange, who was unable to attend the meeting. Chief DeLange’s report stated that HPD responded to multiple fights, domestic violence assaults, beer thefts, driving under the influence of intoxicants, drug possession, and sex abuse cases in just one week.


Administrator Davies reported that $10,100 has been raised for the park fund in a little more than two years through refundable can and bottle donations, as well as the mayor’s donations of fees from the Hines Junket. She thanked the community for its generosity.

Davies advised the council of a recent meeting with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Harney County, and the city of Burns with regard to the monitoring of particulates in the air over the past year. DEQ is concerned about the number of times the maximum level has been exceeded. She learned about the monitoring process, and noted that both monitors are located in Burns. One monitor is located near Washington Park. A discussion ensued about whether this was a fair and accurate measure of air quality in Hines.

Davies said that monitors do take into account rangeland fires, but was not sure for what amount of time these were “credited” to the measurement after the fire has been contained. It may not count the days during which the undergrowth may still be smoldering.

Chief Spence noted that oil stoves (as a cleaner alternative to wood stoves that many residents use for heat) are not affordable for many people.

Zabala added that even oil stoves can contribute to the problem if they are not serviced regularly.

Davies noted that there was a wood stove replacement program in the past, but that it provided no compensation for those who did not qualify for assistance but were still unable to afford an oil stove.

Davies, Burns City Manager Kraig Cutsforth, as well as the Burns and Hines fire chiefs, will be meeting to discuss alternative sites for the monitors and what programs might be available for local residents.


Administrator Davies had advised the council that Desert Riders, the local motorcycle club that usually gives away free hot dogs in Hines Park on July 4, had come in to cancel its reservation due to a lack of funds. Davies estimated that it would be $500 to pay for the food, and asked the council if it would be willing to sponsor the event while the club provided the labor.

Councilor Ron Williams, owner of TopLoc Asphalt, volunteered to donate $200 from his business. Anderson and Baird, owners of Jitters Revolution, matched that donation, pledging another $200 to the cause.

Davies asked the council if it would be willing to cover the additional approximately $100 needed. Baird made a motion that the city donate whatever amount above $400 was needed to pay for the hot dog feed. Councilor Hilda Allison seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

In other business, the council:

• passed Resolution 2190, electing to receive state revenues for fiscal year 2014-15;

• passed Resolution 2191, adopting the 2014-15 budget in the total of $1,757,494, appropriating funds, and imposing and categorizing taxes at the permanent rate of 4.2922 per $1,000;

• decided to wait on approval of a lawn mower purchase until Zabala and crew were able to find the right model;

• approved accounts payable in the amount of $46,129.64.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Hines Common Council will be held July 8 at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.

Flying Old Glory

Posted on July 2nd in News
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden presented Verna Pettyjohn with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, and she, in turn, donated it to the Band of Brothers and other Harney County veterans. It now has a place of honor in the H.C. Senior and Community Services Center. Back row (L-R): Guy McKay, Rob Connall, Paul Hyland, Pettyjohn, Bill Allen, Jim Litscher. Front: Angie Lamborn, Don McDermond. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden presented Verna Pettyjohn with an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, and she, in turn, donated it to the Band of Brothers and other Harney County veterans. It now has a place of honor in the H.C. Senior and Community Services Center. Back row (L-R): Guy McKay, Rob Connall, Paul Hyland, Pettyjohn, Bill Allen, Jim Litscher. Front: Angie Lamborn, Don McDermond. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

LWIB boundaries discussed

Posted on June 25th in News

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

During the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Court (held June 18), discussion centered on proposed new regional boundaries for Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB) within The Oregon Consortium/Oregon Workforce Alliance (TOCOWA).

TOCOWA is a public/private partnership formed on behalf of 24 rural Oregon counties. The Oregon Consortium was originally formed in 1981. The Oregon Workforce Alliance is comprised of 48 members and was formed in 1999. The 24 counties are divided into regions, each having an LWIB.

Harney County belongs to TOCOWA. At a local level, this has resulted in the Training and Employment Consortium (TEC). TEC is a nonprofit managed in cooperation among six counties.

The proposed new “Eastern Region” LWIB includes eight counties: Baker, Grant, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa. This is because, in order to get Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, a Local Workforce Investment Area must have a budget of at least $1 million.

Grasty said he is concerned because the county was not given the opportunity to provide input on the new boundaries, and also because of the large area that the LWIB would cover.

He asked, “What economic tie is there between Pendleton and Burns?”

Counties must file a request to be in a new Local Workforce Investment Area, signed by a Chief Local Elected Official (CLEO), which Grasty determines to mean the county commissioners.

“I think we’re going to have to do this, but I think we [should] continue at every opportunity to say that we do not want to mess up anything we have here,” said Grasty.

Grasty stated that he looked into the possibility of forming a group with Lake and Grant counties, but that it would take two years to put together.

“I honestly think we’re stuck. We’re going to have to do this or we’re not going to have the services, and I think that’s totally unfair to our community,” stated Grasty.

The court decided to postpone any decision until it has the chance to ask questions of Agness Balassa, the workforce policy advisor to the governor’s office. Balassa is scheduled to be at the next county court meeting on July 2.


In unfinished business, discussion continued concerning the possibility of a surplus county land auction. Grasty recommended that commissioners take more time to look at the 13 parcels in the review process, unless they felt prepared to make a decision immediately. The commissioners asked Grasty about the expense of holding a land sale. Grasty explained that they have an efficient process in place and that the main cost would be advertising. Harney County Commissioner Dan Nichols stated that he didn’t see any reason to wait on putting these properties up for public auction, and made a motion to approve the sale. Harney County Commissioner Pete Runnels seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. The auction will be set for July.


The court discussed a film project that is in the works to document the people and culture of the county.

Grasty, Kate Marsh, and Randy Fulton recently attended a nonprofit conference and presented the concept to various organizations. The idea was received enthusiastically.

The court discussed the appointment of a Film Project Advisory Committee. A list of names was discussed and agreed to by consensus.


At 1:30 p.m., the budget hearing was opened for the 2014-15 budget, as approved by the budget committee. Grasty explained a few of the changes, specifically with regard to the senior and community transportation fund. Grant funds will be received for a new bus. Resolution 2014-05, appropriating these funds, carried unanimously. The hearing remained opened for public comment until 2:17 p.m.; no comments were received.

Runnels abstained from voting, declaring an actual conflict of interest for the record with regard to the district attorney’s department, the sheriff’s department, and the promotion portion of the general fund. Grasty moved to approve Resolution 2014-03, adopting the 2014-15 budget and making appropriations in the amount of $16,239,272. He noted that, in previous years, the motion included total dollars for the budget, but that this one only contained appropriations. The motion carried unanimously.


The court heard from Mia Sheppard, Oregon field representative with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. She traveled to Harney County to brief Grasty on the resource management plan process with the Bureau of Land Management with regard to managing public lands for multiple uses.

Sara Jones, executive director for the High Desert Partnership (HDP), updated the court on the work of the Harney County Restoration Collaborative. The court approved signing the letter in support of HDP’s grant request to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Jones thanked the court for its support on forest restoration projects.


The court heard from Barbara Cannady. She requested that a draft copy of the road inventory map be placed in various locations around the county. Grasty noted that it was a good suggestion, but could not promise that it would happen. He stated that the draft copy is posted in the courthouse foyer and that a public hearing has been set for July 16 at 1:30 p.m.

Cannady requested that the court block out her property from the county road map until after litigation over her driveway concludes. Grasty said that, although it wasn’t an unreasonable request, it should be brought up at the public hearing on July 16.


In other business, the court:

• signed the Intergovernmental Agreement between Harney and Grant counties for licensing, inspection, and enforcement of public facilities regulated by the Department of Human Services.

The agreement had been passed during the last meeting;

• reviewed, passed, and signed a court order for distribution of land sale money;

• passed Resolution 2014-04 in the matter of imposing and categorizing 2014-2015 taxes in the county at the rate of 4.5016 per $1,000.

Grasty explained that the budget committee had passed it as well;

• passed Resolutions 2014-06 and 2014-07, appropriating funds due to unexpected occurrence or condition in the Early Learning Council Hub fund and the building fund, respectively;

• reviewed correspondence from the Department of Revenue, Stacey Johnson, Harney County Jail Commander, Department of Environmental Quality, CenturyLink, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and the Bureau of Wildlife Management.

The Harney County Jail Commander requested someone to perform the annual jail inspection. Commissioner Runnels agreed to complete the inspection and report at the next court meeting;

• reviewed notices of water use requests. There were no objections to any;

• heard from Grasty that discussions with the insurance company continue regarding the bridge that was recently damaged by fire;

• approved Hammond Ranches application for approval to install a culvert and/or approach on Island Ranch Road;

• heard from Grasty that DCR Hay’s application for an approach to a county road has been dismissed because of a lack of authority to go through land not owned by them.

The court has requested an application from the landowner.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the county court will be held Wednesday, July 2, at 10 a.m. in Judge Grasty’s office at the courthouse.

Back (L-R): Mason Wulff, Cody King, Elizabeth Zamora, Tom Boyd, Connor Martin. Front (L-R): Dustin Thrall, Lizet Camacho Figueroa, Rachel Fenton, Kaiden Raif. Not pictured: Jackie Dowell. (Submitted photo)

Back (L-R): Mason Wulff, Cody King, Elizabeth Zamora, Tom Boyd, Connor Martin. Front (L-R): Dustin Thrall, Lizet Camacho Figueroa, Rachel Fenton, Kaiden Raif. Not pictured: Jackie Dowell. (Submitted photo)

Ten Slater Elementary School fifth-grade students have been selected to participate in the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) in Washington, D.C.

The students selected for the trip are Mason Wulff, Dustin Thrall, Connor Martin, Jackie Dowell, Kaiden Raif, Cody King, Rachel Fenton, Elizabeth Zamora, Tom Boyd and Lizet Camacho Figueroa.

The JrNYLC is hosted by Envision, an independent, educational organization that is not affiliated with any political party or the federal government.

Envision hosts JrNYLC to offer mature, high-achieving fifth grade and middle school students the opportunity to learn about leadership by studying the leaders of the past and by focusing on social advocacy to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. Through an examination of different historical time periods and characteristics of leadership, students will gain a better understanding of what it takes to become an effective leader.

The conference is designed to be a challenging and interactive leadership program for the nation’s most promising fifth grade and middle school students. The theme of the conference is Voices of Leadership: Reflecting on the Past to Create the Future. Scholars will examine the concept of leadership in the context of historical events from America’s past.

Each day, students and their faculty advisors meet in Leadership Focus Groups to discuss important skills and attributes, such as character, goal setting and teamwork. The overall goal of JrNYLC is to enhance and develop these traits within each student. Within their  Leadership Focus Groups and throughout the conference, scholars interact with peers from across the nation and develop long-lasting friendships that will continue long after they return home.

They will discover historic locations, such as Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, and explore the memorials and museums of the nation’s capital. They will lead and participate in exercises and activities designed to enhance critical thinking skills, promote problem solving within groups, and expose them to different ways of thinking.

As part of its ‘Fizz-Boom-Read’ summer reading program, the Harney County Library hosted the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) for a ‘React-O-Blast’ activity on Wednesday, June 18. The final experiment included a balloon bursting into a fireball. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

As part of its ‘Fizz-Boom-Read’ summer reading program, the Harney County Library hosted the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) for a ‘React-O-Blast’ activity on Wednesday, June 18. The final experiment included a balloon bursting into a fireball. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Eldridge served in South Pacific

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Kenny Eldridge at the WWII Memorial in Salem. (Submitted photo)

Kenny Eldridge at the WWII Memorial in Salem. (Submitted photo)

Kenny Eldridge arrived at the Burns Times-Herald office for an interview on Thursday afternoon (June 12). He was dressed in blue jeans and a button-up shirt, and he was wearing a cap that identified him as a World War II veteran.

After introductions and a bit of small talk, Eldridge reached into the pocket of his blue jeans and pulled out a pocketknife. Attached to the knife was a magnet, which he removed and stuck to his forearm.

The 90-year-old explained that a piece of shrapnel, which has been lodged in his right arm since September 1944, was keeping the magnet in place. The shrapnel provides an unpleasant reminder of Eldridge’s service in the second world war.

Fortunately, however, Eldridge was among the hundreds of World War II veterans who gathered near the Oregon State Capitol June 6 (the 70th anniversary of D-Day) to be honored with a much more suitable memorial.


Oregon World War II Memorial dedicated

The veterans were among the thousands of people who gathered at Willson Park in Salem for the dedication of the new Oregon World War II Memorial.

Weighing in at 20 tons, the 33-foot-tall granite pillar was erected to recognize the service and sacrifice of the approximately 152,000 Oregonians who served during the war.

And a black granite wall, containing the names of the 3,771 Oregonians who were killed in action during the war, stands near the pillar.

Eldridge described the people named on the wall as “the real heroes.”


Giving the ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Lewis H. May is among those who are listed on the wall.

Before serving in the U.S. Army, May worked at Burns Garage and roomed with his friend, Cyc Presley.

May was sent to the European Theater and was among the more than 160,000 Allied troops who landed along the beaches of Normandy, France to fight Nazi Germany on D-Day (June 6, 1944).

About a month later (July 7, 1944), May “gave the ultimate sacrifice,” presumably in the dense hedge groves while pushing inland. He now rests in the American cemetery in Normandy.

Presley later traveled to France to visit May’s grave site. He was accompanied by his family, including his son-in-law, Charlie Schmidt, who is an adjutant for the American Legion Harney County Post No. 63.

“When you walk the beaches of Normandy now, it’s so peaceful,” Schmidt said. “But a long time ago, there were days when it was hell.”


Eldridge’s story

Unlike May, who served in the European Theater and fought the Nazis, Eldridge served in the South Pacific Theater, fighting Japanese forces.

His three-part story was published in the Burns Times-Herald Dec. 4, 11 and 18, 2013 as part of Silent Warriors, a quarterly series of veterans’ stories that Megan Fitzpatrick compiled for her senior project.

Eldridge was drafted into the U.S. Army Nov. 27, 1943, and he began active service Dec. 18, 1943.

He received basic training at Camp Roberts in California. And on June 8, 1944, he was shipped out to New Guinea.

Although he was from California, Eldridge was assigned to the Alabama National Guards 31st Division, 167th Infantry Regiment, Company “B” second platoon, 2nd squad. This division was known as the Dixie division. And Eldridge was appointed the first scout of the patrol.

Eldridge’s friend, Everett L. Farquhar (nicknamed “Zeke”) was also made a first scout.

“They made us first scouts as soon as we were attached to their outfit,” Eldridge wrote in his autobiographical account. “If there was a dangerous mission or patrol that came up, one of us, as first scouts, lead out first for that patrol.”

Eldridge was part of the group that spearheaded the landing on Moratai Island, pushing inland until reaching a village where the Japanese set up a temporary camp.

During this time, a knee mortar hit the riffle that Eldridge was holding between his legs. The riffle was destroyed, but Eldridge’s life was spared.

And a second mortar hit between Eldridge’s legs, as he scrambled toward a tree.

With the exception of two soldiers, everyone in Eldridge’s platoon was injured or killed during the mortar attack. Luckily, Eldridge’s friend, Zeke, was one of the two who were not injured.

Fragments from both mortars, as well as ones that hit some of the other soldiers directly, were embedded throughout Eldridge’s body.

“I believe I had 28 wounds from my eyes to my lower legs,” Eldridge wrote. “I had some of these fragments removed later at sick calls over in the islands that were bothering me; when I bent my legs and arms, they pulled tight against my skin.”

Eldridge had other pieces of shrapnel removed later in life. Yet some pieces, like the one in his right arm, remain lodged in his body.

After Moratai was secured, Eldridge’s group spearheaded the landing on Mindanao Island.

While on the island, Eldridge was first scout on a mission to retrieve a walkie-talkie radio that was left behind by a platoon leader during a battle the previous day.

“We, the U.S., could not afford to let the enemy listen in on our walkie-talkie radios,” Eldridge explained.

While attempting to recover the radio, Eldridge spotted a booby trap. And in the events that followed, he was hit by concussion by friendly artillery shells that landed short of their targets.

“I remember flying up in the air. But I don’t remember coming back down,” Eldridge wrote.

His knees and elbows were also burned by phosphorus, which was set off to notify a pilot of their position. The pilot was directing the artillery from the air.

Eventually, word was received that the Japanese surrendered, and the war was over.

“This day was the happiest day for us since the war began,” Eldridge wrote.

He had spent 329 days on front-line combat.

After the war, Eldridge helped clean up Mindanao Island and waited to go home.

Part of his duties were to dig up the shallow graves and carry the dead back out.

“I still have nightmares about this, and I can still smell the smell,” Eldridge wrote. “Sometimes it makes me sick to my stomach, then I cry the rest of the night.”

Finally, a troop ship came in for the group, and Eldridge was sent back to the United States.

Unfortunately, by the time the ship docked in California, Eldridge contracted malaria and had to  be transported to a military hospital for treatment.

He stayed in the hospital until he was released, and was then sent to Fort McArthur, Calif. for discharge a few days later.

After the service, Eldridge resumed working for Douglas Aircraft Company in California, which was the job that he held before he was drafted.

Eldridge worked for the company for 18 years, eventually earning a supervisory position. While working, he also attended night school.

Eldridge moved to Harney County in 1993, stating, “God sent us here.”

He began writing an autobiographical account of his military service when he was in his 80s.

“I have started this story many times and messed up, rewrote pages, then started over,” Eldridge wrote at the beginning of his account. “I have scrapped and burned more pages than I have written.”

He added, “Since the war, I have tried the best I know how to not say one word about it, thinking that one day I could forget it all…I think in my own mind that if I am around other people, they will downgrade me because of what happened to me in the war.”


A lasting legacy

However, Eldridge eventually started to share his story. And he now emphasizes the importance of teaching younger generations about the war.

“The kids have got to learn about it, and the teachers have got to know about it, so they can tell the kids,” Eldridge said.

Schmidt agreed, stating, “Us young kids need to hear those stories that these men and women have.”

Schmidt, who attended the memorial dedication with his wife, Linda, said the ceremony may be the final recognition that some World War II veterans will receive for their service (as most are 90 years old or older). However, he added that the Oregon World War II Memorial will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the servicemen and women of the “Greatest Generation” for many generations to come.


A welcome home party

Eldridge said the dedication ceremony made him feel “at home.”

He added that even traveling to the ceremony was special.

Eldridge and his wife rode over to Salem with some friends in a caravan of vehicles that were escorted from Central Oregon by a group from the Oregon Veterans Motorcycles Association.

Eldridge said he learned about the caravan from Lyle Hicks who owns Jake’s Diner in Bend. (Eldridge travels from Burns to Bend almost every week to attend Central Oregon Band of Brothers meetings, which are held at the diner.)

The caravan was not required to obey regular traffic laws.

“We went through red lights and everything,” Eldridge explained.

He added that, when the caravan reached Sisters, the veterans were greeted by school children of various ages who lined the sides of the streets, waving American flags.

“Flags were flying everywhere,” Eldridge said. “It started with big kids and went down to little kids…all up and down that road.”

Eldridge said it felt like “a welcome home party,” adding that he received no such celebration when he returned from the South Pacific almost 70 years ago.

Public meeting to be held June 21

Market“The first market day of the Harney County Farmers Market’s seventh year will be Saturday, July 5, at the Hines City Park from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” said Fred and Linda Pelroy, co-market managers. The market runs into October, and generally ends with participation in the annual chili cook-off event in Burns, which is set for Saturday, October 18.

According to the Pelroys, “Fresh produce expected to be offered at the market will include various herbs, Swiss chard, onions, beet greens, rhubarb, different kinds of lettuce, and maybe even a few early tomatoes.” Typically, a wider range of produce items will be available as the growing season progresses, with early-season vegetables available first, and greenhouse growers bringing the greatest variety of produce initially.

In addition to the very fresh and tasty Harney County grown produce, market vendors are expected to offer quality craft items, including bird houses, various kinds of jewelry, pottery, artwork, photography, and hand crafted soaps, hand creams, etc. Other local products, like farm-fresh eggs and some great baked goods, should also be available at the market.  As the market season progresses, other vendors join in the fun.

The Pelroys remind market shoppers that a number of vendors will be participating in the Farm Direct Nutrition Program (FDNP) in 2014 and will accept the appropriate vouchers from eligible seniors and families participating in WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). Note: Vendors interested in getting the required training for these programs should contact Cindy Clarke at 541-977-4561.

People who wish to participate in the market or who have questions should call the 541-589-2933 or e-mail hcorfm@live.com   Note: The daily market fee for vendors will remain at $2; cost for the full season will remain at $25, and the student (18 or under) fees will be $1 per market day.   Required vendor application forms will be available at the market table each market day.

Please note:  a public meeting will be held at the Hines City Park at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 21, to answer questions,  give suggestions, and for an opportunity for vendors to sign up for the 2014 market.

New England native making his third cross-country journey

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Steve Laskey spent a rest day in Burns on his way to Maine. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

Steve Laskey spent a rest day in Burns on his way to Maine. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)

On May 21, Steve Laskey, 52, hopped aboard his bicycle in Spokane, Wash., and began a journey that will take him to the contiguous 48 states, ending in Maine sometime around Thanksgiving.

Laskey is bicycling solo around the country to raise funds for Make-A-Wish, and he is no stranger to long tours. In 1995, Laskey rode from California to his home state of Massachusetts, a distance of about 3,600 miles, and in 2008, Laskey biked from Alaska to Florida, covering about 5,000 miles.

Laskey said his current tour will be his longest one yet, about 7,500, and will probably be his last long ride.

Laskey’s ride south from Spokane on his way to California brought him to Burns, where he spent a rest day on June 4, his 15th day of travel. “I ride six days a week, and try to average 50 miles a day. It just depends on how tough the route is that day,” Laskey said.

Laskey’s planned route will take him in a snake-like pattern from north-to-south and then south-to-north toward his goal of “touching” 48 states. He camps along the way, carrying everything he needs on his bicycle. “Fully loaded, I’m carrying about 100 pounds,” Laskey said. “The one thing I’m concerned about is water while I’m going across the desert country. I can carry a week’s worth of food with me, but there’s no way I can take along a week’s worth of water.”

As a solution to the water concern, Laskey is hoping to find “water holes” along the way before he heads out along his planned route, or possibly even arrange water drops.

Laskey said his love for biking began when he was about 6 years old and he would ride to the country store. “Then, I started taking day trips, then week-long trips, and they just kept getting longer and longer,” he said.

Laskey noted that he loves the physical challenge, but it’s important to go slow to prevent injuries. He’s already crossed a 5,300-foot summit on this trip, and said when he’s riding over the mountains, he might go just a tenth of a mile before he takes a break because of the weight of the bike. “Then I’ll go another tenth and rest again. When I start to feel the burn in the legs, I know it’s time to rest a little,” he said.

Traveling solo may sound like a lonely way to go, but Laskey said it’s pretty much the opposite. “I meet people every day, and so far the trip has been excellent,” Laskey said.

He also travels with a laptop and a GPS so he can update his travels on his website BIKESURVIVORUSA.COM

For those wishing to make a donation, they can visit Laskey’s website and click on the “Donate” button.

Pioneer Day — June 14

Posted on June 11th in News

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

Queen Mother Doris Yriarte

My grandfather, Isaac Newton Hughet, and wife, Lillie Pfordt Hughet, settled in the Warm Springs Valley, now known as the Double O Valley, in 1889.

My father, Louis M. Hughet, was one of six boys and four girls born to Isaac Newton and Lillie Pfordt Hughet. The boys were Albert, Glen, Louis, Leonard, George and Leo Hughet. The four girls were Mildred, Esther, Stella and Gertrude Hughet.

I was born Feb. 19, 1928, to Louis M. and Myrthelene McPheeters Hughet in Burns, and the third child. My brother, Louis Milton Hughet Jr., was the oldest, born May 10, 1925. My sister, Helen Louise Hughet, was born March 19, 1926, and then my youngest sister, Elizabeth (Beth) Hughet was born Nov. 20, 1930; thus being the children of Louis M. Hughet Sr. and Myrthelene Hughet.

Before marrying Louis Hughet, my mother, Myrthelene McPheeters, taught school at the Peterson place while staying with Pete and Dolly Obiague. She told me she rode a horse or drove a buggy from the Obiagues to teach school. Upon marrying Louis, they started a ranch with only a white milk cow and her calf. My dad had to work for Bill Hanley and Pete Obiague to make ends meet, and was away from home much of the time to support his fledgling ranch business and feed his family.

During my childhood, my father taught me how to trap muskrats, skin, and take care of the hides. I had to run the trap line each day before breakfast. The muskrat hides were sold to a fur buyer, named Lanfear, for a $1 to $1.50 each. This extra money was important to pay their bills and buy flour, sugar and beans, which supplemented the occasional deer, antelope and wild pig meat my father killed.

Some childhood memories include: (1) riding my horse bareback one mile to school. My dad would not let me ride with a saddle until I was 12 years old for fear I would get my foot caught in the stirrup and get drug to death. (2) Watching a hound dog, named Bingo, chase coyotes and kill them. One day, while watching Bingo chase a coyote across the field, five other coyotes lay in wait to ambush and kill him. Upon having this encounter, Bingo barely outran them, snapping at his behind, back to the house. (3) Getting drug by a colt I was breaking in because a young neighbor kid spooked him while I was trying to get on. He ran under a clothes line, hitting me under the chin and knocking me off, catching my foot in the stirrup, dragging me through the greasewood, and into a meadow. I remember the meadow felt good compared to the greasewood, and decided to turn over, which released my foot from the stirrup, saving my life. Mom caught, and held him so I could get back on. The colt was ruined, and would buck with me off and on all day when I rode him. (4) During one winter day, my sister, Beth, and I wanted to ride a horse called Belgium. We were told we could, but stay off the ice. We headed straight for the ice, and the horse’s legs went every direction. I don’t know how he kept from breaking a leg. We got a darned good spanking for this shenanigan. (5) Working hard was a requirement for me, my brothers and sisters. One had no choice but to do their share in order to survive as a family.

Mom and Dad bought a house in Burns  when I was in the eighth grade. I went to school from eighth grade through high school in Burns. Upon graduation from high school in 1946, I went to work for the US National Bank as a bookkeeper, and for Al Brown as an accountant. I met Louis Alfonso Yriarte this same year, and we were married on Aug. 18, 1946. Our first child, Harland, was born July 28, 1948, and our second son, Charles, was born Dec. 3, 1949.

Like my mother and father, both of us had to work outside jobs in order to make a living. He worked two jobs, the railroad and the sawmill. My father wanted us to move back to the ranch in a partnership with my brother. When we moved from Burns to the ranch in 1948, we still had to do odd jobs, including fence building for the refuge and working for my father for $125 a month for three years. The partnership was dissolved after three years and in 1953, my father gave us some property to begin our base ranch. Over time, and when we could afford to, we continued to purchase additional acres to enhance our ranch at the Double O and on Steens Mountain.

During the flooding of Harney and Malheur lakes in 1984, our home was flooded and we had to move to our current location and build a new home. This new home is at the same location where I attended grade school as a child. In 2013, we had to move my husband to a care facility in Eugene, and I currently live at home at the Double O.

President Alfred Dunten

President Alfred Dunten

President Alfred Dunten

Turen Alfred “Al” Dunten comes from a long line of pioneers. Al’s paternal great-grandmother, Martha (Williams) Dunten, migrated to Oregon with her family on the Oregon Trail in 1853. His maternal great-grandparents, Bill and Sally Ward, and most of Sally’s siblings and their families, moved to and settled near what is now known as Van, about 21 miles northwest of Drewsey in 1882, in what was then still Grant County. The Ward children were all born at Van from 1883 through 1897. Al’s maternal grandmother, Frankie (Ward) Miller was born in 1888, about six months before Harney County was formed.

Al was born April 17, 1934, at the home of Harry and Emma Muller Clark, about 10 miles west of Drewsey, on the banks of the Middle Fork of the Malheur River to Turen J. Dunten (better known in his community as T. J.) and Wilma Della Miller Dunten. He has a sister, Helen Jeanette Sargent, who is a nurse living in Baker City, and a brother, Ray, who has retired from NRCS and lives in Ontario. His youngest sister was lost in a car/truck accident the night of her  high school graduation in 1966.

Alfred and his parents lived in the City Hotel owned and operated by his great-grandma Hamilton in Drewsey for the first year of his life.

In 1935, T.J. purchased  the family ranch about six miles west Drewsey in Kimball Flat, where Al grew up and, except for a few adventures elsewhere, has called home for the past 79 years.

He went to school in one-room Kimball Flat School for his first through eighth grades. His first teacher was Miss Horn. Mrs. Farrier, his second grade teacher, was so impressed with Al’s musical ability, as she taught him violin, that she promoted him to third  grade that year which made him a young graduate from Crane  Union High School in 1951. This curly-haired towhead soon became “Curly” to his friends. The kids in the area rode horses, walked, or rode bikes to school and spent recesses playing baseball, on their knees grading roads on the sand hill nearby, and riding sleds and toboggans down the steep sleigh track in winter.

Al attended Crane Union High School from Sept. 1947 to May 18, 1951. He participated in  football, basketball, and baseball  throughout high school. When track was added to the program in his senior year, Al placed third in both the 440 and 880 at the state track meet.

One high school escapade he recalls was a “steer riding” at the Crane railroad stockyards when the boys used the steers left by Hills to be shipped on the train the next morning as bucking stock for a little night steer riding “rodeo”, hoping Hills would never find out.

After high school, Al helped his dad on the ranch, doing custom farming, building livestock reservoirs with a cat and dozer, planting grain and stacking hay among other things. He helped Harold Fine cut small fir poles to be used as hay-buck teeth to sell to big ranches in the south end of Harney County, which did not reap the riches they had anticipated, but was an adventure.

Soon, Al joined Red Dunbar in trying a hand at bareback bronc riding and moved on to saddle bronc riding around the Northwest for a few years winning some championship buckles along the way. He enrolled in college in pre-veterinary at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1956. When he ran out of money after fall term in 1957, he came home and rode colts for Dan Opie at Lawen for the winter until “Uncle Sam” drafted him in March of 1958. He spent two years in the Army in classified communications.

After training at Fort Ord, Calif., and Fort Gordon, Ga., he spent one year in Korea, returning home in March 1960. He became reacquainted with the bratty little neighbor girl who had often begged him for a ride home from school on the handlebars of his bike, and he and Carol Anne Miler were married on June 17, 1961, after her graduation from Boise Junior College.  Their son, Turen Alfred Jr. (Tad), was born May 16, 1962, and their daughter, Cheryl Anne, was born July 18, 1963. After working for neighboring ranches for three years, Al and his family moved back to Kimball Flat to help Carol’s dad and build their own cattle business, which they still run today.


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Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012


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Desert Historic Theatre

Desert Historic Theatre

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For a list of sex offenders in your area, call the Oregon State Police sex offenders hotline 503-378-3720