OBIT JohnstonEarl Edward Johnston, 90, of Burns, passed away Feb. 7 in Medford.

Earl was born Nov. 23, 1924, in Dewey, Okla., and raised in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Earl and Effia Luetta were united in marriage May 29, 1943, in Mountain Grove, Mo.

Earl was a WWII veteran, serving in the Army. He worked as a body and fender man and mechanic for Edward Hines Lumber Company in Hines. He was no stranger to farm work, and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He attended the First Pentecostal Church in Burns. Earl enjoyed visiting with family and many friends, and spent many hours listening to his family play bluegrass music.

He is survived by his daughter, Esther L. Long of Medford; brother, JR Johnston of Norwood, Mo.; 10 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren; as well as nieces, nephews, family and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Effia Luetta Fry Johnston; son, Warrant Officer Edward Charles Johnston; his parents, Jason H. and Ollie Johnston; grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Byron Johnston and Mr. and Mrs. George Smith; and brothers, Marrion, Eugene and Silas.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Friday April 10, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, with closing words and prayer by Pastor Webb.

OBIT BaileyLifelong Harney County rancher/farmer Walter David Bailey passed away April 2.

Walt was born March 26, 1939, in Burns to Tom and Maxine (Kerns) Bailey.  He was raised in Diamond Valley, where he attended grade school. He graduated from Crane Union High School in 1957. As with most Crane graduates, Walt shared many humorous stories of attending school at Crane.

On August 3, 1959, Walt married Janice Jenkins.  They made their home in Diamond, where they raised three children, Brad, Doug and Vade, until they moved to Catlow Valley, later Frenchglen, and eventually settled on a place outside of Burns.

Walt and Janice raised hay and cattle for many years until Walt retired from the cattle and truck driving about 12 years ago.  Walt and Janice continued to raise hay involving all five grandsons.

Walt loved to have a good visit with old friends, play a fun game of cards, and eat a good steak, but his greatest joy came from his family, especially his five grandsons. He often joked that he had enough grandsons for a basketball team, and always asked them, “Did you get a whoopin’ at school today?” Walt is famous amongst his grandsons for his life-lessons, like how to drive a tractor and load a truck of hay, asking them to do a task and always adding, “Or are you too little?”,  his “political correctness,” “The secret to gambling is to always use other people’s money,” and “Good ain’t forever and bads not for good.”

Walt is survived by wife, Janice; sons, Brad (Roxane), Doug (Lori), and Vade (Heather); and grandsons, Brennan, Zach, Logan, Zane and Luke Bailey.  Walt is also survived by brother, Fred; sister, Libby Schafer; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Colleen Hutchins; and brothers, Tom and Bob (Beatle) Bailey.

At Walt’s request, there will be no funeral services.  Contributions in Walt’s memory may be made to Harney County Little League, in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.

Wednesday April 8

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

Burns City Council meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at Burns City Hall, 242 S. Broadway, at 6 p.m.

The city of Burns Public Safety Committee meets the second Wednesday of each month at 3 p.m. at the Burns Fire Hall.

Harney County Farm Bureau will hold it’s monthly meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the basement meeting room of the courthouse.

The Cancer Support Group will be meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, in the Hines City Hall meeting room. The Cancer Support Group is open to all cancer patients, survivors, family and support persons. Come learn and share about all types of cancer, ways to manage symptoms, treat side effects and make connections to help you navigate cancer care. Please contact Kristen Gregg or Maria Pichette, Harney District Hospital’s Outreach Coordinators at 541-573-8614 for more information.

Storytime for preschoolers is scheduled at the Harney County Library, 80 W. D St., each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Contact the Harney County Library for more information, 541-573 6670.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

ALANON, a support group for friends and families of alcoholics, meets each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns. Please use the back door on the south side of the building. All interested are welcome.

Thursday April 9

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

Jerome, Ariz. was once a rich copper mining city, then a ghost town, now a village visited by many. Jerome’s story is told by its retaining walls and stone buildings, reminiscent of the ancient Puebloans. Explore Jerome with local author Diane Rapaport at Harney County Library at 6:30 pm. 

Harney County Restoration Collaborative will meet from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at the Pine Room Restaurant, 543 W Monroe St., Burns. The purpose of the Harney County Restoration Collaborative is to bring people together to provide constructive input on the restoration efforts in the Malheur National Forest that will benefit the local community. The public is invited. At this meeting they will have presentations from local high school students on ideas for small diameter timber products. For more information please contact the High Desert Partnership at or 541-573-7820. 

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines meets for a no-host luncheon at noon each Thursday at Bella Java, 314 N. Broadway in Burns.

A Women’s AA meeting is held every Thursday at noon at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at noon each Thursday at Hines City Hall, 101 E. Barnes. Call 541-573-2896.

Tai Chi for Better Balance with Diane Rapaport is held each Tuesday and Thursday at Harney County Senior and Community Services Center from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — free.

Friday April 10

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

Hang out with friends at Harney County Library teen late night from 7-9 p.m. Friday, April 10. Open to grades 6-12.

Burns Union High School Class of 1965 will hold a reunion planning meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 10, at The Apple Peddler.

A recovery group, “Celebrate Recovery,” meets each Friday at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Dinner is served at 5:30 p.m. The main meeting is held at 6 p.m. and small group sessions are at 7 p.m. For more information, call 541-573-7100.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Friday at Symmetry Care at 5 p.m.

Saturday April 11

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

The High Desert Cutters will be having their first cutting of the year on Saturday, April 11, starting at 9 a.m. Sign-ups start at 8 a.m. This will be held at Cory Shelman’s on Highway 20. Please enter by 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. Call or text Sallianne Kelly at 541-413-0788 or email For any questions, call Corinne Elser at 541-589-1577. They will be starting with the Open class. They are also adding a new class for this cutting. It will be a 55-and-over jackpot.

A Veterans lunch will be served at the Hampton Station Cafe the second Saturday of April. RSVP  by calling Shelley at 541-576-4951.

The Harney County Radio Association meets every second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. in the basement meeting room of the Harney County Courthouse. All amateur radio operators and interested parties are welcome.

Sunday April 12

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

A free community dinner, eat in or take out (no strings attached), will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal/Peace Lutheran Church at the corner of Diamond and A streets. Call 541-573-2802.

Overeaters Anonymous meets each Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Harney District Hospital Annex (downstairs in cafeteria area).Enter through the cafeteria door on North Grand. For more information, call Susie at 541-589-1522.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church for 12×12 study.

Monday April 13

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

A Grief Support Group is held the second and fourth Monday of each month by Harney County Hospice and Rev. Jean Hurst during the day as well as the evening. For more information, call Harney County Hospice, 541-573-8360.

The HHOPE board of directors meets the second Monday of the month at 5:15 p.m. in the conference room at 85 N. Date.

The Burns Lions Club meets every Monday, except holidays, at noon at the Burns Elks Lodge. Those interested in serving the community and visitors are welcome. For more information call 541-573-4000.

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Burns Fire Dept. meets each Monday at the Burns Fire Hall at 7 p.m.

The Hines Volunteer Fire Department meets at the Hines Fire Hall each Monday at 7 p.m. (except the last Monday of the month). Prospective members may contact Fire Chief Bob Spence at 541-573-7477 or 541-573-2251.

Narcotics Anonymous meets each Monday at 10 a.m. in the community room at Saginaw Village, 605 N. Saginaw. For more information call 541-589-4405.

Tuesday April 14

Posted on April 8th in Community Calendar

Harney County Fair Board meets the second Tuesday of each month in the Hibbard Building at the Harney County Fairgrounds at 7 p.m.

The Harney County Library Foundation board of directors meets the second Tuesday of each month at the library at 5:30 p.m. The meetings are open to the public. For more information, call 541-573-7339.

Disabilities Services Advisory Council for Harney County meets the second Tuesday of each month at the state office building, 809 W. Jackson, at 1:30 p.m.

Symmetry Care Advisory Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at Symmetry Care, 53 W. Washington, at 1:30 p.m.

The American Legion Auxiliary meets the second Tuesday of each month at 63 W. “C” Street at noon.

The Harney County School District No. 3 board of directors meets at the District Office, 550 N. Court, the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Hines Common Council meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Hines City Hall, 101 E. Barnes, at 6:30 p.m.

Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA) trained volunteers will be at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center, 17 S. Alder, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each Tuesday to help with Medicare insurance needs or medications you cannot afford.

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Tai Chi for Better Balance with Diane Rapaport is held each Tuesday and Thursday at Harney County Senior and Community Services Center from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — free.

Boy Scouts meet each Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the LDS Church in Hines. All boys age 11 and above are welcome to participate.

Public works director position discussed

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After almost three years of not having a police chief, the Burns City Council decided it was time to put someone in that position, and the hire will come from within the department.

At its regular meeting on Wednesday, March 25, the council agreed by consensus to appoint Police Sergeant Newt Skunkcap to the police chief position at its next meeting on April 8.

Before agreeing to make the appointment, the council discussed the steps that led to the decision.

Skunkcap was promoted to sergeant in January 2014, and has been attending classes and training to meet the qualifications needed to be chief. It was pointed out that Burns Police Administrative Assistant Brice Mundlin will be retiring June 30, 2016, and by appointing Skunkcap to the chief position now, it will give him a year to work with Mundlin on handling the administrative duties of the position.

Mundlin said the city lost its last police chief because of budget cuts, and the department has been preparing Skunkcap for the position by sending him to training.

“Once he has been appointed chief, he will have a two-year window to complete the training, and he’s almost there,” Mundlin said. “All that’s left is a two-week managerial course.”

The council noted that when Mundlin retires, they will hire an entry-level officer to bring the department back up to four officers.

“We’ll have a chief that patrols and handles administrative duties, and we need a chief,” Mayor Craig LaFollette said. “Newt has been working with Brice already, and it makes more sense to hire from within the department than to get someone, like a retired police chief, who leaves after a couple years.”


The council discussed the retirement of Public Works Director Dave Cullens, effective Sept. 1. LaFollette stated that Cullens had presented the city with information about the position, and the council could use that information to help in the decision-making process. The council will discuss the position further at its next meeting.


The council approved Resolution No. 15-596, increasing budget amounts within the airport fund for the projection of wild fires and adding personnel services.

City Clerk/Interim City Manager Dauna Wensenk told the council the resolution was drafted because there wasn’t enough money to purchase fuel during the fire season last year. By using past figures, they can estimate how much fuel will be needed for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Burns Fire Chief Scott Williamson gave a brief overview of the conditions for the upcoming fire season. He said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking at 90 percent of its state lands being below 50 percent of average snow pack.

“We count on snowpack and runoff in the spring. There are more fuel loads drying out already, and depending on lightning activity, we could see the fire season early on,” Williamson said. “We’ve been talking with the BLM about how to fight fires because this is a completely different situation this year.”

Williamson added that his department has been working to get the word out to citizens about creating defensible space around their homes to protect themselves.

On Wednesday, April 1, a trailer from the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, designed to train fire fighters in live fire attack procedures, will be in town.


The council opened a public hearing at 6:15 p.m. to listen to an appeal of a planning commission decision.

Mayor LaFollette explained that the planning commission had denied a request for a variance at 35 South Grand to allow a previously-built carport up to the property line. The findings by the commission were that the applicant did not meet the four criteria required to allow a variance, and a 2-2 vote by the commission resulted in a denial of the request.

Ron Jones, who applied for the variance and the appeal, stated the planning commission meeting was done “unprofessionally,” and the commission brought hearsay into its decision to deny the variance request. Jones said he was told two years ago that he didn’t need a permit to build a 10×20 carport, and when he found out he did, he came to the planning commission to make amends, and he was denied his request.

“I can’t see a reason to not grant a variance. I made a mistake, came to the planning commission to ask for a variance, and never got a good reason why I was denied. There are no safety issues, no traffic problems, vision isn’t blocked, and I sent out letters to the neighbors and none had a problem,” Jones said. “I’m hoping you have some mercy here so I don’t have to tear down my building.”

LaFollette reminded Jones that the burden of proof was on him to show that he had met all the criteria to overturn the decision, and he had yet to do that.

Jones stated the building was a foot in back of the property line, but there was no proof of that as a survey had not been done, and it wasn’t clear where the actual property line runs.

A motion was made to approve the variance, but it died because of a lack of a second.

A second motion was made to deny the variance request, and it passed on a 3-2 vote. Councilors Dan Hoke and Lou Ann Deiter, and Mayor LaFollette voted in favor of the motion. Councilors Charity Robey and Jerry Woodfin voted nay.

Councilors Terri Presley and Dennis Davis excused themselves from the hearing, as they are on the planning commission.

Legal counsel advised that the staff needs to write up their findings and decision on the vote to clarify how they came up with their vote, and the decision will be adopted at the next meeting.


The council held a discussion regarding making the airport manager a city employee, rather than an independent contractor, until June 30. The compensation package would include a monthly salary of $1,800, plus benefits, and the manager’s performance would be subject to a review by the city manager or acting city manager.

There was also a discussion on a need for a back-up plan should the airport manger get sick or want to go on vacation.

The council voted to make the airport manager a city employee through June 30 and approved the compensation package.


In other business, the council:

• voted to approve the purchase of materials for fuel tank repairs at the airport in the amount of $7,868. That amount does not include shipping or installation costs;

• discussed having a community cleanup day on April 18. Wensenk said she had talked with C&B Sanitary about being open on that day from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. to accept yard debris and metal only. She asked for volunteers to help with the activity at the transfer station.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, at city hall.

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