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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
February 18, 2004     Hells Canyon Journal
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February 18, 2004

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Page 4 Hells Canyon .Journal February 18, 2004 .S as Just' ,99 Funeral Home Rip.Off or Not? You Decide Dear Editor, Recently, many people in our community received a mailing from a national fu- neral home provider offering cremation service, and many folks signed up for the services this company provides after a sales representative visited their homes. Our funeral home has been contacted by several plaining why this policy will not cover all expenses. Also, if for any reason the family chooses to cancel this policy after the 30-day cancel- lation period, the only funds they wilt be reimbursed is the amount deposited in the trust account. The 60% that falls under "membership" and "merchandise delivered" was obviously not funded and long gone. When we called this corn- by Pat Garrigus , of the Helle Canyon Journal hasn't been a real killer winter," said George Keister, ODFW wildlife spe- cialist in the agency's Baker City office. "The herds didn't start out winter real well," Keister said. %Ve flew over the sec- ond week in December, be- fore the snows began, and found the ratio then [to be] 44 fawns to every 100 does. That is a little low; even in an easy winter we're going to lose some and this hasn't been an Keister continued. "If you ter shape than they went in." Snake River. The fawns are lose half the fawns, you're Last December's survey getting the worst ofit because probably going to have fewer found the deer still in pretty their body fat and energy tags come hunting season, good condition before the snow went to building bone and We've had a general decline began around Christmas. muscle last year and their in numbers and are slowly When the deer get down reserves are low," Keister cutting tags. Drought also to the Snake River breakssaid. tends to get deer in poorer before deep snow comes, their "Ifthe deer wait too long to shape going into winter and survival rate is much better," move down, they die," said we've had that." Keister acknowledged. "The Keister. And crusted snow Idaho Power has also stud- whitetails don't seem to leave makes them vulnerable to an led mule deer alongthe Snake Pine Valley, and a severe win- increasing cougar population River and their surveys con- ter can kill them, just as it and to coyotes. firm the general decline, will Pine Valley and PineWhy do some deer move in "When we don't have snow Creek deer that don't make it time while others don't? on the ground, there's no big to the breaks in time. Severe Keister believes that over advantage to the predators," deer-kill occurs when they get generations some deer (ex- Keister said. "Last year, we caught before reaching the cept whitetails) have learned went into spring with 38 Snake River. Since winterwhen to make the move out of fawns to 100 adults and that was late this year, we don't the high country and down to was a real easy winter. It expect a severe kill," he said. the Snake River breaks. should have been quite a bit "Probably the currently "Those that don't, won't higherthanthat, probablydue worst place for the herds is survive a severe winter. The to drought conditions and pre- Burnt River Valley - Bridge- survivors tell their kids about dation. Unlike this year, ani- port to Unity - and the best it, and the knowledge ben- male last year came out in bet- conditions are found along the efits following generations." of the families who later be- came concerned with what they purchased. All of the fami- lies we have talked to have cancelled their policies with this company for some very good reasons. The problems we found with the contracts these fatal. lies have brought to us are numerous. It might be wish- ful thinking that a company based over 300 miles away could possibly serve families in our community with any accountability. One blatant problem with the contract is that it clearly states there may be additional charges at the time of a death. Of course, this would depend on who and where the company would con- tract with to do the cremation for them pany at the request of a local family who had purchased easy winter. We'd like to see their cremation plan, theman- that ratio a bit higher. Back ager refused to talk to us and literally hung up on us. The family cancelled their policy only to receive calls from the manager trying to talk them into keeping the policy. The point is, this company does not want to deal with funeral directors who understand the small print of their contracts and know which questions to ask about both their goods and services. Throughout the years, we m the '50s and '70s, we had 80 fawns to 100 does going into the winter. Ideally, we'd like to have 44 this spring. Weql be doing that count in March." by Linda Bergeron have served many families who have purchasedpolicies Life in the Bookmobile and in the past that were supposed to cover all funeral expenses, Aging but didn't Therefore, , feel a Video for Drivers compelled to share the down- It's been a few weeks now that the Halfway Library has side of these companies with been operating out of the temporary bookmobile parked on Oregon trust laws require the public. As local funeral funeral homes place 90% of directors, we are concerned the monies paid for guaran- teed pre-arrangemJent plans into the trust account, allow- ing the funeral homes 10% for processing the paperwork. This company has found some about how these policies can serve the families and how it affects our industry when families don't get what they thought they were purchasing. Although the charges pre- creative ways to get around sented are reasonable, local this requirement by selling "memberships and by pro- viding what is called "mer- chandise delivered. "By using these terms, this company is keeping over 60% of the money paid by the family and depos- iting less than 40% into the trust account. While this prac- lice is not illegal, it certainly is questionable. In one ex- ample, only $476.10 was de- posited into the trust account. funeral homes can provide the same services, .and often for even less. If you have purchased one of these policies, or are consid- ering it, call your local fu- neral director to review it for you. We are licensed by the State of Oregon and account- able to our community. Or if you have questions about any other funeral arrangements you have made, your local fu- This amoUnt, >plus accrued director will behappy to nterest, is supposed to fund review and explain your ar- the cremation service at the rangements. timeofdeath. Of course, if this Sincerely, national company is no longer around - or serving our area Dennis Teskey at the time of death - your local Gray's West & Company funeral director will be ex- Pioneer Chapel Letters to the Editor Policy The Hells Canyon Journal encourages its readers to submit letters to the editor. Letters may be submitted by mail, in person, or electronically. However, for verifica- tion, letters must contain the address and telephone number of the author. There is no limit on the length of letters, although preference will be given to shorter letters. We reserve the right to edit, shorten, or refuse publica- tion of any letter, especially those which are deemed libelous or in bad taste. Letters submitted anonymously will not be considered for publication. PUBLIC NONCE Notice of Position Openings Date Issued - February 11,2004 Cloning Date - April 1, 2004 - 4:00 p.m. AGENCY: Pine Eagle School District No. 61, Baker County, Oregon 97834 POSITIONS: School Secretary Grounds Keeper Deputy Clerk POSITION OPENING: Pine Eagle School District No. 61 has the following position openings. Applications will be received through Apdl 1, 2004, or call 541-742-2811. Applications may be obtained at the district office. School Secratary - Beginning Date MId-Auguat, 2004 Grounds Keqq r - Beginning Date - July 1, 2004 Deputy Clerk - Beginning Date - July 1, 2004 Address application material to: Pine Eagle School District #61 Rt. 1 Box 185 Halfway, Oregon 97834 (541)742-2811 (541)742-2810 FAX I IIII I ,,, ,, ,,,, , ,1111 I I I I Hells Canyon Journal 145 North Main St. P.O. Box 646 HaLfway, OR 97834 Phone: (541) 742-7900 Fax: (541) 742-7933 email: hcj Editor and Publisher- Steve BaeksWom Palff: David Baker, Sue Forrester, Pat Garrigus, Cindy Omann, Anna Richardson and Patti Walker COmte: Unda Bergeron, John Garrlgus, and Sybyl Smith The ~ Canyon Jounut/is published weekly for $20.00 (Baker County) or $25.00 (other areas) by Hells Canyon Publishing, Inc. Periodical poltage paid at Halfway, OR 97834. USPS Number: 002-953 Postmaster: Send address changes to Hells Canyon Journal, P.O. Box 646, Member of ~ Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Gover Lane. Our building next door has been quite gutted inside, with window framing accomplished and the roof over the old entry dismantled. The Sid Johnson Construction crew began tackling the remodel right after the books and furnish- ings moved out. Do watch out for potential roadway hazards in the area. We're challenged with attempting to keep some degree of warmth in the cold metal "mobile," but most patrons are coming in for a quick glance over the efficient (and full) shelves and a quick check-out of materials. When our electrical plug doesn't accidentally get knocked loose, we have a librarian's computer that can access the multi-county system for checking-out, renewing and return- ing materials, and looking up titles on the on-line catalogue. In the kids' corner, there is a bright 3-D poster from OMSI for their celebration of Brain Awareness month in March, and special glasses to try on to catch all the details. Patrons have been making good use of the book-drop located in the US Bank, where library materials checked out from Halfway or Baker City can be returned. Items are Halfway City Council Update by Sue Forrester of the Helle Canyon Journal Reporter's note: Well, folks, # seems my ears needed a cleaning at the special coun- cil meeting held February 4. That $9.50 charge on the util- ity bill is for repayment of the water bond, not sewer. The extra two hours Mayor Marvin Burgraff wants to add to the city employees" work schedule is for Spring Bishop to receive extra training From City Clerk Diana Glynn, who already works full time. Then there's the meeting February Igh at the Lions" Itall--has nothing to do with Baker- Morrow. It's to ben meeting of local area business people to brainstorm ways to bring more commerce to Halfway and the surrounding area. (See related article on page 2 of this issue.) And finally, there's an apology to Page Frederichson (whose name ] decided should be spelled Paige), she said her Mom who reads HELLS CANYON JOURNAL in Louisiana has been bug- picked up Tuesday and Friday mornings, then checked in gin# her to set me straight. with a backdate which allow a four-day grace period. The bookmobile is kind of t nice little library, definitely a First to present informa- small space with limited selections, but the shelves are well- tion at the meeting was Tim organized and, with weekly travels to the Baker County Library, more new books come in each Thursday. Patron requests or books being held for them are also being retrieved more quickly. Current magazines are still available. References include the World Book Encyclopedia (2001), a 2003 almanac, and the current Oregon Blue Book. The bookmobile library is open two hours on Tuesday (3:00 to 5:00 p.m.), Thursday (4:00 to 6:00 p.m.) and Friday (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon), and the phone is connected: 742-5279. Remember. avoid fines by calling or dropping in to renew materials! A Driving Need: A Program for Mature Drivers and Those Who Care About Them, 30 minutes (Twen- tieth Century Insurance Company, 1998) There are two population groups which have the highest record of accidents. Do you know who they are? Teens and seniors. Teens lack experience, and senior drivers - consid- ered to be anyone age 55 or older - have physical and cognitive changes that need to be taken into consideration in evaluating their driving skills. By the year 2025, it is esti- mated that the American population over the age of 85 will have doubled from what it is now, so this is a topic that will affect many members of your family and community- maybe even YOU. Did you know that mature drivers are susceptible to "highway hypnosis?" Symptoms include increased blinking, unremembered lapses of time, inadequate perceptions of voice and sound, unawareness of decreased speed, and doz- ing off at the wheel. This video, and its accompanying booklet, details the specific, varied changes that aging drivers experience, and offers important suggestions and useful strategies so that older drivers can enjoy the freedom and independence of mobility for a long time. Among the items discussed: a drivers education class as a good review for long-time drivers; a professional check of peripheral vision as well as a regular eye exam; keeping windows and mirrors clean; making sure seat and mirrors are properly adjusted to the driver; avoiding complex driving situations and night driving; hearing loss and how it effects driving; professional testing of visual attention and thinking func- tions; knowing when it's time to stop driving. This video and booklet are available at the Halfway Library. I II IIIIIHI II IIII + Vitamins Y + Herbs + Natural Foods Tice of Oregon Association of Water Utilities (OAWU) He has been working with Frederickson to update Halfway's wellhead protec- tion program. The plan was begun several years ago, but II mttlt tm Q mdt 800-972-6879 ] ] ] [ ]] I ]]]] currently needs some changes directed by DEQ, in addition to some updating. A benefit of having such a plan in place is extended testing time on monitoring requirements. Each test costs $1,800, and that cost could possibly be cut in half o, er the period of monitoring. Another benefit is that a state-approved plan is a good selling point for the community. Another is a step- up in the priority list for DEQ grants because the commu- nity shows concern for pro- tecting the purity of its water source. It seems the only com- munities that have water source protection plans are those adjacent to Portland which benefited from Portland's work to get their mandated plan put together. It's not mandatory for other cities until mid-2005. Half- way is ahead of this particu- lar game. After Tice's presentation, the auditors from Bingham, Bingham & Watt arrived to give their annual report. Allen Bingham led the coun- cil through the inch-thick re- pert. He began with high com- pliments to city staffon their progress in bookkeeping and accounting practices. "The books are really clean," said Bingham. "Inter- nal controls rolled into place." The only glitch that caused a budget violation was the fact that a $178,000 grant payment, budgeted for the previous fiscal year, was late and arrived aRer the new fis- cal year started. Technically, the city should have reopened the budget, re-advertised, had more meetings. But it didn't. Bingham also compli- mented Dee Myers of Coordi- nations, Inc., for her superb administration of the Clinic grant. He said there was no question he could ask that she didn't have answers for with documentation to sup- port. Jim Watt complimented the city on budgeting and Continued on page 8 Richland Picks Administrator, Engineer for Water Project by Steve Backstrom of the Helle Canyon Journal The Richland City Council selected an administrator and an engineering firm for the city's water system improve- ment project at the council's monthly meeting, held Wednesday, February 11. Dee Myers of Coordina- tions, Inc. will administer the project, which is being funded with resources from the Com- munity Development Block Grant program and the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund. Myers previously administered a Community Development Block Grant for the new Pine Eagle Clinic/ Halfway-Oxbow Ambulance Service facility and is admin- istering the City of Halfway's ongoing, grant-funded sewer irrigation project. A proposal for administering the project was also submitted by the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District based in Enterprise, Oregon. Coun- cil members scored the pro- posals of each prospective administrator and Coordina- tions scored 345 to 255 for NEOEDD. The council also selected Anderson-Perry and Associ- ates, a civil engineering firm based in La Grande, which has worked on many projects in both Richland and Half- way, to be the engineering firm for the project. Holladay Engineering of Payette, Idaho, also submitted a pro- posal for the project. In a pro- cess similar to that used to .p select the project admlmstra- tor, council members scored the proposals and their scores were added together to give a final result. Anderson-Perry's proposal scored 495 to 255 for Holladay Engineering. In another item of busi- ness, the council granted a request from Steve Brooks for a lot line adjustment on the Longbranch property on Main Street. The property consists of two lots, and Brooks, who recently purchased the prep- erty, asked the council to con- sider allowing the line sepa- rating the lots to go east and west instead of north and south. A trailer on the prop- erty, which is located behind the Longbranch building, straddled the lot line as it was originally drawn. The council voted unani- mously to approve Brooks' request. The council also heard the first reading of a proposed policy governing the use of City Hall by private groups - the policywill be brought back with minor modifications for Conttuu l cm pap 8