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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
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January 21, 1998     Hells Canyon Journal
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January 21, 1998
 

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Page 4 Hells Canyon Journal January 21, 1998 And $84.000 in State Funds Pine Eagle Schools To Lose 14 Students Each Year for Next 5 by Steve Backstrom of the Hells Canyon Journal Forecasts continue to an- ticipate declining enrollment for the foreseeable future in Pine Eagle School District. Superintendent/elementary principal Bob Dunton brought the point home in a discussion of graduation re- quirement at the January 12 school board meeting. Grades 5-12 in the district average 33 students per grade level, while grades K-4 aver- age only 19 students pergrade level. So, as the next few classes graduate, the district stands to lose 14 students year (and the $84,000 in state basic school support which goes with them), even if the incoming kindergarten classes can maintain the 19 students per class average. Dunton said he expects to be operating with one to one- and-a-half fewer teaching positions each of the next five years. The district's pupil teacher ratio is close to 14 to 1, so with the loss of each group of 14 students, a teach- ing position may need to be eliminated. To keep the bud- get in balance, more cuts than that may be indicated, as a teaching salary and benefit package come to significantly less than the $84,000 per year in anticipated school support reductions. In other business the board: voted unanimously to hire Jenny Gulick to fill the va- cant instructional assistant position at Halfway Elemen- tary School; unanimously app.roved Policy #216, which details procedures for resolving pos- sible disputes about account- ing issues; heard first readings of Policy #502.4, Graduation Requirements; Policy #421, Instructional Personnel, bringing district policy into line with Senate Bill 880, which made changes in the law governing tenure for teachers, and Policy #503.6 School Board, bringing the district's policies into line with budgetary decisions made last year which cut stu- dent insurance provided by the district. heard a report from super- intendent/principal Bob Dunton on changes imple- mented at mid-semester to help reduce the current year's budgetary shortfall and bal- ance student-teacher ratios in the schools: Linda McLean has joined the staff at Rich- land Elementary full-time; Shella DelCurto returns to Halfway Elementary full- time; bus runs for 24 RES students, who had been trav- eling to PEHS for elective classes, are discontinued for the balance of the school year. Thompson Appointed To Vacant Position Mike Thompson, Eagle Valley, was appointed by unanimous vote of the Pine Eagle School' Board to the position left vacant when Ralph Graven resigned from the board. Thompson was the only Eagle Valley resident among three pa- trons who expressed inter- est in the appointment. He will serve the remainder of Graven's unexpired term, which runs tmtil June 30, 1999. Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 Halfway, OR 97834 Phone: (541) 742-7900 Fax: (541) 742-7933 c-mail: hcj @pdx.oneworld.com Publ~t~r. Stet~ Backstrom Editor. Pat Garrigus Staff: David Baker, Coco Forte, Donna Higgins, Myra Rasmussen Correapondent$: Marjorie Baker, Linda Bergeron, John Garrigus, Isla Graven, David Light, Denis Norlander, Sybyl Smith The He/is Canyon douma/is published weekly for $15.00 (Baker County) or $18.00 (other areas)by Hells .Canyon Publishing, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Halfway, OR 97834, USPS Number: 002.953. | Post/~aster: Send address changes to Hells Canyon Jot/real, P.O. Box 646, | Halfway, OR 97834 " ~ Mitmb~rof~ Or~baNcw~,er P blishers Aumcialia,- By David D. Schmitt Focused Effort Needed for Summit Ridge Recreation Area Thank you to those who took the time to attend the Summit Ridge Non-motorized Winter Recreation Area proposal meet- ing in December and/or for providing comments via letter or phone. It is evident from the comments that this issue evokes strong feelings on both sides and will not fade away or get resolved without a focused effort. Comments I have received since the meeting, for the most part, echo those expressed at the meeting. I appreciate those of you who took the time to express your concerns and tried to consider the desires of those on the opposite side of the issue. At the meeting, I made the offer that if anyone was interested in being part of a group to resolve the conflict, there would be an opportunity to do so before a final decision. Since nine people have expressed a desire to give this a try, I have decided to hold off on making any decision and allow members of the public to attempt to come to an agreement on a resolution. Groups of this nature are commonly called Focus Groups. For the sake of reference, I will call this group the Pine District Winter Recreation Focus Group. The nine who ex- pressed an interest in being a part of this group are: Way le Lowe, Bruce Honeyman, Dennis Apple, Laura Scotford, Rusti Lattin, Kerry Macomber, Bob Goodman, Hal Weaver, and Mike Higgins. Ifyou told me you were interested in being part of this group and I forgot your name, I apologize. However, you can still be a part ofthe group asit is open to anyone who wishes to attend. Again, while smaller groups lend them- selves better to open discussions, anyone is welcome to attend as there is no standing membership. I would like to see a few more folks from outside Pine/Eagle Valleys on the Focus Group. If you are from one of the outlying areas and use the Pine District for winter recreation, I encourage you to be sure someone from your area attends the meetings. Although I will make arrangements for the meetings and assist with administrative needs, I need to be clear that this group is not an advisory group. At this time it is simply a group of interested public getting together in an attempt to resolve a conflict among themselves. I have contacted the people listed above. The first meeting will be Thursday, January 22, 7 - 9 p.m. at the Halfway Lions Hall. I have asked Tony Sowers to facilitate this meeting. If more meetings are needed to reach resolution, they will be scheduled at that time. I will try to keep you informed on the group's progress. Should they resolve the conflict, the need for me to make a decision to formalize a non-motorized recreation area will be unnecessary at this time. Thanks again for your interest in this proposal. (Editor's note: Pine District Ranger Dave Schmitt is cur- rently reviewing a proposal to create a designated cross country ski area -- non-motorized recreation area -- on Summit Ridge near Little Eagle Meadows. Some area snow- mobile enthusiasts have voiced opposition to the proposal.) MAIN STREET CAFE is moving to the former Halfway Realty building. Planning to open Feb. 10, 1998 More Details Soon! 541-742-7227 South Main Street, Halfway, Oregon Monday - Saturday Closed Rustlers Have New Opponent Livestock theft is still a problem in Oregon. "There are many animals missing and unaccounted for each year, and it is strongly suspected that theft is the cause," says Rodger Hu2hnan, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Animal Health and Identifi- cation Division. In 1997, over 400 livestock animals were reported miss, ing-- 372 cattle, seven horses, and over 20 sheep. That is only the n umber reported and does not include the stagger- ing number of unreported missing animals-- up to three or four times as many, says ODA. Theft is suspected in many, if not most, cases. "There are three or four geographic areas of the state right now where we know cattle are missing and unac- counted for year after year," says Huffman. "So we want to do some increased investi- gative work in those areas. Huffman didn't identify specific areas, but all are east of the Cascades. Who might do the investi- gating? For one, Roy Hyder, who retired as a major with the Oregon State Police in 1994. He was hired by ODA to fill a part-time position dedi- cated to livestock theft cases. Hyder says, "I g6t excited about this because cattlemen need more help. Contempo- rary police forces can't take care of livestock theft prob- lems by themselves. Given the choice between investi- gating a meth lab or a stolen animal, police departments are going to handle the former first. Also, not every cop un- derstands how cattle are raised, handled and moved." Hyder does. He grew up on a cattle ranch and comes from a family of stockmen. He spent most of his career work- ing in small towns like Burns and John Day. At the time he retired from the State Police, he was in charge of OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division. From his home in Jefferson County, Hyder will be on-call with the ODA, responding to reports of livestock the.ft and traveling statewide to anyhot spots of such activity. ODA's new part-time in- vestigator will not take the place of existing law enforce- ment efforts. County sheriffs and State Police will continue to respond first. For more information, on this program, contact Rodger ::Huffmmi t 103 9884681.