Wednesday June 10

Posted on June 10th 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 Harney County Cultural Coalition will meet from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the Harney County Library. Items for discussion/action will include selecting members for the board of directors whose terms are ending and adding associates. Directors serve three-year terms; associates provide input and help the HCCC represent a diversity of points of view. The public is invited to attend.

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

The Cancer Support Group will be meeting on Wednesday, June 10, 5:30 p.m. in the Hines City Hall meeting room. The Cancer Support Group is open to all cancer patients, survivors, family and support persons. Please contact Kristen Gregg or Maria Pichette, Harney District Hospital’s Outreach Coordinators at 541-573-8614 for more information.

The Harney County Chamber Music Society will be holding their annual meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at Figaro’s Pizza Pub. They are looking for four individuals to serve as board members. For more information, contact Toni Brown 801-450-7064.

A Job Corps informational meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the Burns Paiute Gathering Center. Kris Ruge will be giving a presentation on what Job Corps has to offer. A light dinner will be served. If you plan on attending, call Rhonda Holtby 451-573-8032.

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.

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


Thursday June 11

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a meeting to provide information and receive public comments on the draft Redband Trout Conservation Plan. The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday, June 11, in the Harney County Community Center, 484 N. Broadway in Burns.

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.

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 June 12

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

Teen Summer Reading Program, for grades 6-12, at Harney County Library from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sign up, get a T-shirt, and a poker party for prizes. Sign up June 12 or by email at kids@harneycountylibrary.org

The BUHS Class of 1965 will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 12, at Figaro’s to finalize preparations for their 50th year class reunion.

Obsidian Days at the Hines City Park will be held Friday, June 12 through Sunday, June 14.

A recovery group, “Celebrate Recovery,” meets each Friday at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Snacks 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 June 13

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

The 99th annual Pioneer Day Celebration will be held Saturday, June 13, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services  Center. Registration begins at 10 a.m., potluck dinner at noon, and the program at 1 p.m. For more information call Bill Allen 541-589-2375 or Dave Arntz 541-573-3956.

Sign up for the Youth Summer Reading Program, “Every Hero has a Story,” from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at the Harney County Library. Sign up, get a free T-shirt (while supplies last), or by email at kids@harneycountylibrary.org

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 June 14

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

A Flag Day ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the giant flag in front of ACW, hosted by Harney Rodders and Burns Elks Lodge No. 1680. A hamburger feed will follow the ceremony.

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, June 14, 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 June 15

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

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 June 16

Posted on June 10th in Community Calendar

The High Desert Partnership will be hosting a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center in Burns regarding the issue of access on the southern Malheur National Forest. The purpose of the meeting is to provide help and input from local citizens to the staff of the Malheur National Forest to create a Travel Management Plan as part of the overall Forest Plan Revision.

The American Legion Harney County Post #63 meets at 63 W. “C” Street the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Harney County Watershed Council meets the third Tuesday of each month at the EOARC (Section 5) on Hwy. 205 in the conference room at 5:30 p.m.

Sylvia Rebekah Lodge meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at the I.O.O.F. Hall, 348 N. Broadway, at 6:30 p.m.

Harney County Preppers meet the third Tuesday every other month, and are a group who work at being more self-sufficient. An optional potluck dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting is from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the basement conference room of the Harney County Courthouse.

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.

Alcoholics Anonymous holds an open meeting each Tuesday at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord in Burns at 7 p.m.


HCWC hosts groundwater forum

Posted on June 3rd in News

Concerns raised regarding Harney Basin’s water levels

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

The Harney County Watershed Council (HCWC) hosted a Groundwater Forum Tuesday, May 26 at the Harney County Community Center. The purpose of the public meeting was to help water users in the Harney Basin understand the complexity of water usage and storage, as well as the application process for new irrigation wells for undeveloped land.

Facilitator Jack Southworth opened the meeting by introducing Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) Director Tom Byler and WRD Groundwater Section Manager Ivan Gall.

Byler began by stating that he was impressed by the turnout, adding that it was a testament to the importance of water to the Harney Basin.

Byler explained that water is considered a public resource, and the WRD allocates rights to use it. He said, although the WRD tries to manage water resources so that they’ll be sustainable over time, the department is concerned about the sustainability of groundwater use in the Harney Basin.

Gall explained that the key criteria for issuing a new groundwater permit is ensuring that water is available and within the capacity of the resource; the proposed use will not injure other water rights; and reasonably stable groundwater levels are maintained. He said depletion below economic levels must also be prevented, explaining that this is the point at which the expense of obtaining groundwater is so high that the operation becomes economically inviable.

Gall examined the issuance of groundwater permits in Harney County from 1995 to 2015, observing that there was “tremendous development over a relatively small area.”

Groundwater levels decline in Harney Basin

Gall stated that water levels are declining in the Harney Basin because groundwater use is exceeding the availability of recharge to the aquifer system.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock that acts as a reservoir for groundwater. Although they’re capable of storing immense amounts of water, aquifers can dry up if people drain them faster than nature can refill them.

Gall said the amount of permits issued in the Harney Basin exceeds the amount of available recharge, causing water levels to decline. He added that about 30 percent of the permits that were issued haven’t been used yet.

“We’re probably at a point where we need to stop issuing [permits] for a while and do a detailed study to refine our estimates,” he said, adding that this will only apply to permits in the Harney Basin area, and domestic and stock wells will not be affected.

The study

Gall said the WRD is planning a 3-5 year basin groundwater study that will:

• provide more detailed geological mapping;

• locate wells and measure groundwater levels;

• investigate the interaction between surface and groundwater;

• utilize light detection and ranging (LIDAR) acquisition;

• estimate groundwater use; and

• refine recharge estimates and groundwater basin boundaries.

Gall said he and his staff would like to locate wells and collect data as quickly as possible.

Jim Shepherd said his wells are still very strong and asked whether the government will start charging individuals for the water they pump.

He said, “I don’t want to tell you what my well is pumping unless you threaten me with my water right.”

Gall replied that there is no intention to charge for water use, and water level declines don’t necessarily mean that wells are having problems today. He added that the goal is to stabilize water levels so there won’t be problems in the future.

“My guys aren’t interested in whether your well produces 10 gallons a minute or 100,” he said. “We want to know the volume of water pulled out each season.”

Gall explained that the WRD hopes to compare this data with recharge estimates to develop a water budget for the basin.

Additionally, Gall stressed that participation in the study is voluntary.

“If you don’t want us on your property, you don’t have to have us on your property,” he said.

Someone in the audience asked why the department waited so long to begin the study and start denying applications.

Gall replied that the WRD lacked the funding and staff needed to collect data and process information. However, he said he should have the resources needed to start the study now, and it’s already begun.

“Harney County is going to get a lot of attention because we know there is a problem here,” he said. “We have to shift resources to put out the fire. Feel free to contact your legislatures and let them know that groundwater is important. I’d appreciate it.”

Protecting senior users

Gall said senior users’ investments need to be protected, and the sustainability of future groundwater levels needs to be considered.

A couple of senior users stated that their wells have dropped significantly, and they felt new wells were to blame.

However, another audience member expressed concern that the WRD was making rules based on conjecture and said the needs of people who are starting out in the agriculture business are not being considered.

Gall replied that the WRD has enough data to make the decisions that its making.

“I can’t give exact numbers, but I can see trends,” he said.

New permits and extensions

A few audience members asked specific questions about whether their requests for permits or extensions will be denied.

Gall said he feels confident enough in his understanding of the situation that he doesn’t want to issue anymore permits in the Harney Basin. He added that, although the state is legally obligated to continue accepting applications, water masters can attempt to dissuade individuals from applying. He also suggested obtaining a temporary classification for basin groundwater that would allow the WRD to “tell folks up front that we don’t want to bother putting you through the application process” until the groundwater study is complete.

He added that people who’ve already submitted applications can stop the  process and get their money back (except for a $250 processing fee).

An audience member asked whether he’d still be able to get an extension, explaining that he’s been on a waiting list to have his well drilled for two months.

Acknowledging that well drillers have been in short supply, Gall said hardship and due diligence will be considered, and applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

He added that an option may be to cancel permits that people don’t think they’re going to use, and issue them to people who plan to use them.

An audience member noted that government agencies have applied for water permits and asked whether this conflicts with private interests.

Gall replied that state and federal agencies don’t receive special treatment, and they’re approved or denied like anyone else.

Multiple aquifers?

Several audience members expressed the belief that there’s more than one aquifer in the Harney Basin

Gall acknowledged that a lot of people don’t like the idea of the WRD thinking about the Harney Basin as one aquifer system, but said this mode of thinking will grant the department more flexibility, which may be helpful.

An audience member commented that it’s probably easier to think of all the aquifers as linked, but  cautioned that this approach will be harmful.

Updating basin rules

As part of his presentation, Gall also proposed updating basin rules in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) 690-512.

Steven Doverspike asked who will write the rule changes and whether there will be a public review process.

Gall said it’s a public process, and a diverse group of stakeholders will be asked to provide input.

“That scares the hell out of me,” Shepherd said, expressing concern about the role that special interest groups might play in determining rules for the Harney Basin.

Byler said the WRD’s intent is to work with the community to gather information and help answer long-term questions.

“Rule making will be done in the community with the community,” he said.

However, he added that it is a public process, so people from around the state will have the opportunity to comment.

HCWC member Fred Otley said the collaborative process shouldn’t be missed, and he encouraged everyone to approach it from a positive, rather than negative, standpoint.

HCWC Coordinator Karen Moon said special interest groups were invited to participate in the collaborative process for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan.

“Having them there made for extra-long meetings and more meetings,” Moon said, “but having them there at the meetings made the process faster because it stopped the lawsuits at the end of the process.”

HCWC seeks public participation

HCWC members Dustin Johnson and Chris Bates encouraged the public to remain engaged by attending and participating in HCWC meetings.

“The more people we have, the more ideas we will have come to us,” Bates said.


Master water plan will be put out for bids

by Steve Howe
Burns Times-Herald

The Hines Common Council met for its regular meeting Tuesday, May 26. During the meeting, the ad hoc committee working to formulate new water billing rates presented a proposal to the council.

Councilor Rod Bennett made the presentation on behalf of the water rates committee, which is made up of Bennett and Councilors Dick Baird and Loren Emang, along with residents Darrel Smith and Bob Daniels, and is advised by Superintendent of Public Works Pedro Zabala. Bennett said the group had met five times, and had been researching water rates in other cities. He said they decided that the  city of Burns was a comparable basis to go off of for setting rates in Hines.

The proposal sets water base rates according to water line size (three-quarters of an inch or less through four-inch lines). For lines three-quarters of an inch or less, base rates would stay at $19 per month for both residential and commercial properties. For lines measuring one to four inches, the proposed base rates would increase by between 13 and 49 percent (increasing as line sizes increase).

Additionally, the proposal would increase the water usage rate from $.0020 per cubic foot for all users to $.0021 per cubic foot for residential and multi-family accounts, and $.0031 per cubic foot for commercial and out-of-town accounts. It also includes a $5.85 charge per unit for multi-family, commercial and out-of-town accounts.

Heath Huffman, general manager of Rory & Ryan and Best Western Rory & Ryan Inns, asked if each hotel room in a hotel would be considered a unit. Bennett said, yes, they would.

“That is a 58 percent increase in the hotel’s utilities bill,” said Huffman.

“Right now, it’s very tough, because our occupancy is down and continues to go down,” he added.

Troy Clark, owner of Rory & Ryan and Best Western Rory & Ryan Inns, explained that his business has not fully recovered since the economic downturn of 2007, and that occupancy rates continue to decrease.

“We’ve compensated for that by raising rates, just to keep these hotels running. We have increased our rates over the years to the sum of $26. So if you add another $5.85 [per unit water charge] to that, we either have to eat that or pass it on to our consumers.”

He explained that this would further affect occupancy rates, as travelers are already frequently moving on to Bend or Ontario to get cheaper rates.

Councilor Ron Williams commented that it would be “devastating” to lose either of the hotels.

“I think we should be sitting down with the hotel owners,” said Williams, adding, “I think it needs to be worked out as a team effort.”

It was decided that Clark would attend a meeting of the water committee to further discuss the proposal.

The proposal would also set out-of-town water base rates 50 percent higher than in-city rates. For instance, currently, a four-inch line has a base rate of $178.50 per month. The newly proposed residential and commercial (in-city) rate would be $265.75, and the out-town-rate would be $398.63 per month.

Bob Stearns, of Highland Ranch Estates (which is on an out-of-town account), said that the increase would go against an original agreement made when that community was forced to go onto city water due to an issue with arsenic in its well.

“When we went with the city, it was agreed upon that we would pay the same rate as they do in town. And here you’ve got it 50 percent higher,” said Stearns.

“I don’t feel that 50 percent over everyone else is justified,” he added.

After further discussion, Bennett told the audience that the committee had discussed a number of ideas and was trying to make the system equitable.

No vote was held on the proposal.

•••

City Administrator Joan Davies reminded the council that the city had received a $20,000 grant and been approved for a $30,000 loan at 1.76 percent interest in order to pursue a master water plan. She explained that the options were to put the project out for bids, or to directly appoint the city engineer.

Baird said that it came down to saving money.

“If we can save money by bidding it, we should be saving money,” he said.

Others on the council agreed, and the consensus was to direct Davies to put out the project for bid.

•••

The council adjourned its regular meeting for the budget meeting. The oath of office was given to new members Bryce Mertz and Diane Rapaport (as they were unable to attend the prior meeting), and the minutes of the May 20 meeting were approved.

Davies delivered the budget message for the upcoming fiscal year 2015-16. She read aloud the written statement, which presented the proposed budget of $1,745,185 for review. In the statement, Davies reported that:

• The amount is $15,209 less than the 2014-15 budget, even though employee insurance, workers compensation, and retirement benefit costs have increased, and the 9-1-1 dispatch services cost has doubled;

• The budget includes the general fund (city hall, police, fire and parks departments), utilities fund (water and sewer departments), state tax street fund, and capital projects fund. This year for the first time, water and sewer revenues will be separated in order to truly reflect what services are costing the city to provide, and what revenue is collected as an offset, she said;

• The economic downturn and property tax limitations continue to restrict revenue. Davies said that while the council and city employees continually strive to become more efficient and reduce expenditures, the city faces budgetary choices at a time when demand for services continue and infrastructure needs are increased.

The statement, which was distributed to all in attendance along with the second draft of the budget document, detailed personnel expenses, tax revenues, debt service, and specifics of the general fund, utilities fund, and state tax street fund.

Time was allowed for public input and discussion, and no comments were received. A budget hearing will be held Tuesday, June 9 at 6:45 p.m. at Hines City Hall. Following approval of the proposed budget, a financial summary will be published in the Burns Times-Herald.

•••

In other business, the council:

• heard a presentation from Mike Barry, Region 5 Local Agency Liaison with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding street maintenance and the availability of ODOT grant monies to assist small cities;

• heard from Harney County Chamber of Commerce director Chelsea Harrison. Harrison reported that the Central Oregon magazine, Cascade Arts & Entertainment, would be featuring a full back-cover  page in June and online promotion through the summer for the “Seven Wonders of Harney County” campaign;

• approved business licenses for Corstone Contractors and Timber Ridge Apartments;

• approved a donation of $124.87 (the amount remaining in the donations account) to the Kiwanis  Club July 4 fireworks;

• approved registration and per diem costs for Hines Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Reinaldo Cooke to attend the “Fire and Leadership” training at Chemetka Community College Brooks Regional Training Center June 6-7;

• approved registration costs for Hines Police Chief Ryan DeLange to complete an online executive leadership program through the Western Community Policing Institute. The program will give him credit toward his Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) Executive Certificate;

• approved Resolution 2198, repealing Resolution 2197, which had been deemed by city auditors to be redundant and unnecessary, as the “capital projects” transfer and “police seatbelt overtime” grant had already been budgeted;

• approved accounts payable for April 30, May 12, and May 26 in the amounts of $676.63, $9,134.40, and $9,354.75 respectively.

The next meeting of the Hines Common Council will be held Tuesday, June 9, at 6:30 p.m. at Hines City Hall.


by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Cody Rebeiro scores the Hilanders’ first run in Burns’ win over Reedsport. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Cody Rebeiro scores the Hilanders’ first run in Burns’ win over Reedsport. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Timely hitting and another solid pitching performance by Ty Hueckman gave the Hilanders an 8-6 win over Reedsport in the OSAA 2A/1A state baseball playoffs, and propelled the team into the semifinals against No. 1-ranked Monroe/Alsea.

Burns took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Cody Rebeiro drew a lead-off walk on scored on a double by Hueckman. Hueckman scored two batters later on Justin Lewellen’s base hit.

Reedsport answered with three runs on two hits, a walk and an error in the top of the second to jump ahead.

In the bottom of the second, the Hilanders loaded the bases on three walks, and with two outs, Austin Feist cleared the bases with a triple to left-center field, giving Burns a 5-3 lead.

After Reedsport cut the lead to one with a run in the third, the Hilanders scored twice in their half of the inning to go up 7-4.

The Braves scored a single run in the fifth and seventh innings, and Burns capped off their scoring with a run-scoring single by Feist in the sixth.

Hueckman surrendered five earned runs on six hits with three walks and 13 strike outs over seven innings to get the win.

Feist finished with three hits and four RBIs, and Hueckman and Lewellen each added a pair of hits.

Burns played Monroe/Alsea on Tuesday, June 2, with the winner advancing to face the winner of the Knappa-Regis game in the 2A/1A championship game Friday, June 5, at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer.

The results of the semifinal games were not available by press time.

          1  2  3  4  5  6  7    R  H  E

Reed 0  3  1  0  1  0  1    6   6   0

Bur   2  3  2  0  0  1  x    8   8   1

•••

The Burns Hilanders pounded out 22 hits on their way to a 23-4 win over Faith Bible in the first round of the OSAA 2A/1A state baseball playoffs on Wednesday, May 27.

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the third, the Hilanders sent 19 batters to the plate, and when the dust had settled, Burns was up 15-3.

Feist singled to get the rally started, and Ty Reid followed with a line drive single off the Falcons’ starting pitcher’s leg, forcing Faith Bible to make a pitching change. Lewellen greeted the new pitcher with an RBI-single, Garrett Blackburn drove in a pair of runs on a bunt-single, Boyd Vinson’s single pushed another run across the plate, and the floodgates were open.

Burns added another run in the fourth on Reid’s RBI-single, and put together a two-out, six-run rally in the fifth that featured seven consecutive hits.

Hueckman capped off the scoring for Burns with a sixth-inning home run.

Lewellen picked up the win by giving up just one earned run on six hits over five innings. He struck out three and walked five.

Hueckman, Blackburn, Feist and Lewellen each had three hits, and Hueckman led the team in RBIs with four. Vinson drove in three runs on two hits, and Trace Tiller, Blackburn, Lewellen, Reid and Talon Case each had two RBIs.

Feist and Lewellen were the team leaders in runs scored, each with four.

        1  2  3  4  5  6  7    R  H  E

FB   0  0  3  0  1  0  0    4   7   6

Bur  0  2 13 1  6  1  0   23 22  1


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