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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
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August 15, 2012     Hells Canyon Journal
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August 15, 2012
 

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SMALLTOWNPAPERS 217 WEST COTA STREET SHELTON WA 98584 0000 &apos;C t HII00 Ca00l 75 Per Copy Halfway Receives Grant for Wastewater Project by Hayley Sanders of the Hells Canyon Journal It was a brief but largely positive session when the Halfway City Council met in August. In a meeting filled with updates, the big topic in Old Business was a grant received for the wastewater project. The city has been awarded $43,000 from IFA/OBDD to incorporate necessary up- grades to the wastewater fa- cility plan. The city's next step will be to accept the contract and advertise for a grant ad- ministrator. Also in the city's upcoming projects are street repairs for this year. The Baker County Road Department will be out sometime in late August or early September to fill pot- holes and do crack sealing on Halfway's streets. After this year, the council is hoping to apply for $50,000 in the next grant cycle to do chipsealing for the entire town. The new entering city lim- its and speed limit signs have arrived and will be installed along West Record Street in the next week or so. The coun- cil hopes the new signs will encourage people to slow down and drive more cau- tiously on city streets. Mayor Sheila Farwell re- ported that the city's insur- ance company, CtS, con- ducted another inspection. After last year's inspection, CIS required the city to make several changes and updates, including fencing off the Pine Valley Recycling Center from the sewer lagoons The city has managed to fulfill almost all the insurance company's demands and passed the re- cent review with flying col- ors. Farwell also reported the recycling center fence is in- stalled and the facility is up and running again. However, the council still needs to write a contract with the recycling committee to address some liability issues and shared costs. Property Safety Hazard Extension The council received a re- quest from Ray Vance, owner of the condemned old post office building at 151 N. Main Street, to extend to the end of September his deadline for dealing with the property due to family health issues. Baker County Building Inspector, Gary Bood, declared the building a public safety haz- ard in January and Vance was given a deadline of September 1, 2012 to either repair the building or tear it down. Vance has informed the council that his first prefer- ence is to sell the property, but if he is unable to find a buyer will begin the process of tearing it down. The coun- cil granted Vance the end of September extension. In new topics of discussion, the council was required to adopt an Excessive Force Policy. Simpl put, the policy states that: 1. City law en- forcement officials shall not use excessive force on non- violent individuals and 2. The city cannot physically bar entrance or exit from build- ings during non-violent dem- onstrations. The City of Half- way did not previously have a policy on this issue, but has occasionally had requests for peaceful demonstrations in the city limits. Town Meeting Planned After talking with County Commissioner Fred Warner, Farwell said the commis- sioner plans to hold a town hall meeting in Halfway sometime in September. While the date and location are not yet finalized, Warner will be talking to residents ,-}-and addressing their ques- tions, particularly focusing on the need for jobs in Baker County. City Recorder Heather Farley gave a reminder that the deadline for candidacy petitions is coming up soon. Three council positions and the office of mayor are all up for election in November. Farley stated that anyone wishing to run for office should have their paperwork in to City Hall by Monday, August 20. Finally, the city will be doing some repairs and plac- ing an order for bricks in Heritage Square soon. The bricks are placed on the Re- membrance Wall and are a great way to honor or memo- rialize a family or loved one. Bricks cost between $30 and $100, depending on the size and number of lines of print. If anyone is interested in pur- chasing a brick, now is the time to contact the city. The next Halfway City Council meeting will be Thurs- day, September 13 starting at 5:00 p.m. in City Hall. School Board Restores Music Position, Junior High Sports Program by Linda Bergeron of the Hells Canyon Journal At the regular meeting of the Pine Eagle School Board on August 13, the four direc- tors present gave unanimous approval to restore two popu- lar programs: full-time mu- sic, and junior high sports (at .<,,  HELLS CANYON JOURNAL l-._ PO BOX 646 ..... "Halfway, OR :-. 97834 0000.541-742-79oo last year's level). These budget modification opportunities were the result of an unanticipated budget balance discovered by Busi- ness Manager Lisa Butler, estimated at $100,000. The music program repre- sents a $28,000 cost and the junior high-level athletic pro- gram, $10,847. The remain- der of the unanticipated funds will be held in reserve. Board chair John Minarich's initial encourage- ment was to set aside at least half of the funds available, and to restore music. Bob Seal had concerns about filling a music position for a single year, but Superintendent Mike Corley related that, under current economic con- ditions, many teachers are Contrinued on page 7 August 15,, 2012 Fairgrounds Grandstand Photo by Hayloy Sanders WITH JUST OVER TWO WEEKS until the Baker County Fair in Halfway gets underway, work on the grandstand at the fairgrounds rodeo arena is progressing rapidly, with new structural lumber supporting the roof all the way around. As of the beginning of this week, the construction crew, run by Donnie Higgins of Smoky Creek Barn Company, has put sheeting on the roof, and all signs point to the project being complete in time for the fair. Richland Council Gets Senior Housing Update by Sherrie Kvamme of the Hells Canyon Journal The Richland City Council welcomed the information that Ron Hunter, a member of Pine Eagle Economic De- velopment Corporation board, brought to the meet- ing last week. Work on the Senior Housing Project at the former Richland Elementary School did not start on the projected date earlier this summer due to a property line adjustment procedure that needed to be resolved. Hunter assured the council that appropriate extensions had been made on grant timelines and the construc- 'on project should move ahead expeditiously in the near future. The Street, Water and Sewer reports were all in good order with minor exceptions. Councilor Debi Duggan noted that double-parking on some streets of Richland needed to be addressed. During one in- cident in particular, Duggan was impeded in responding to an ambulance call and the infraction has been reported to the Sheriffs Office. Coun- cilman Ed Edwards also made note of a pothole that needs to be filled in. Establishing A Personnel Mayor Gloria Wilson re- System for The City of ported the Safety Committee Richland. The title of tlie or- had met with Lisa Jacobson and have generated a brief list of items that need to be discussed. They will bring that compilation to the next meeting. In Old Business, Duggan said she had called the Jus- tice Court and confirmed that Judge Yervasi will attend the September council meeting to review ordinances, proce- dures and protocols. In New Business, the coun- cil unanimously passed Or- dinance#533-2 An Ordinance dinance is "City of Richland-- An Employee Handbook-. Policies and Benefits." The Ordinance was adopted to establish an equitable and uniform procedure regagding personnel matters. The coun- cil also unanimously passed Resolution 2012-04 Adopting Personnel Rules, Policies and Procedures for The City of Richland. City Recorder, Patti Crews, informed the Council that the CIS 2012 Best Prac- Continued on page 6 Youth Conservation Corps Provides Local Work by Hayley Sanders of the Hells Canyon Journal "You give me a day's work and I'll give you a day's pay" is Tom Smit's motto when he hires kids for the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps Smit, the Recreation Man- ager for the Pine District of the Wallowa-Whitman Na- tional Forest, has now over- seen 21 successful summer work programs, and never gets tired of teaching youth the benefits of hard, but re- warding, work. Generations of youth have gotten a summer job with OYCC thanks to fund- ing from the Training and Employment Consortium, Forest Service Funds, Or- egon Work-force Alliance, Baker County and the Or, egon Recovery and Reinvest- ment Act. To get into the program, potential crew members (local kids be- " tween the ages of 16 and 18) are required right off the bat to learn a necessary life skill - how to apply for and interview for a job. Applica- tions are given at school, and the students must turn in the application and their resume and, finally, be in- terviewed for a handful of slots that summer. "For a lot of them, it is their first job. They get the experience of having to be to work on time and having a structured job," said Smit. This year's OYCC crew had five workers, who were over- "MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK" - even when the work the trail. seen by their manager, Marry Harriman. The crew works 40 hours a week for six weeks durilg the summer doing a variety of projects and tasks in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. They also receive necessary training. "We go over job hazard analysis. Then step by step through every project on what the objective is, how to ac- complish it, and what the safety issues are," said Smit. Child labor laws dictate that some tools, like chainsaws, are off limits to those under 18, but there are still plenty at their disposal. Tools and training in hand, the crew set to work doing local trail maintenance, building fences and enclo- sures to protect aspen stands, repairing range fences, and cleaning up and maintaining campgrounds and recreation areas. It is hard work, but the kids and their Forest Service mentors enjoy it. "You'd be amazed that these kids live here and Submitted photo is carrying downed trees off never get to see what's in their own backyard. They get to go to placesthey never would have gone to before, and see things they never would have seen otherwise. It is an amazing experience," said Smit. The OYCC program is defi- nitely a wil-win for every- body involved and for the community. "I have to say that I've been running this program for 20 years, and it is a very rewarding program for them and for us."