Weekly Newsish Roundup August 8 to 14, 2016
10 Local Newsish Stories in 9 Minutes 42 Seconds!
Fires, Power Outage, Union County Fair, Island City Block Party
Hey LaGrande Alive, this is your weekly Newsish roundup brought to you by Grande Ronde Hospital and Direct Music Source.
It has been a fire-filled weekend. Sunday night, after a restful day of reading and relaxing, my girlfriend Lydia and I were looking out from my window on Depot St when, suddenly, we smelled smoke and noticed the air was a greyish tint. We were curious. So we went outside, walked down the alleyway behind some of the restaurants on Adams Avenue and, sure enough, there it was, a plume of smoke billowing from an air vent behind GC Asian fusion, a local Oriental restaurant in La Grande. We walked by casually, not really wanting to disturb the fire-fighters who were pulling up or the somewhat-frantic waiters milling around in the alleyway outside. Apparently the fire was the result of a small appliance downstairs at the restaurant. But what amazed Lydia and I was that there were still customers in the restaurant! Being served! That’s good customer service: they still serve your food, even when the floor is burning out from underneath them. Just kidding: the fire apparently wasn’t that big of a deal.
But other fires this weekend were. About 1:45 pm on Saturday, fire broke out near I84 around Meacham and closed down the highway until Sunday night. At its peak, the fire was 500 acres. The team fighting it included two helicopters, two bulldozers, seven single engine air tankers, and almost 285 firefighters. A level III evacuation notice for people living around Emigrant Springs was issued. But that’s in the past. Thankfully, as of last night, many of the firefighters have been demobilized, according to Larry Wooldridge, fire chief of La Grande Rural Fire District. The fire has gone from a 35 to 55% containment. Things are dying down, it seems. Firefighters still don’t know the cause of the fire was, but one has to wonder… If more people had watched my weekly round up last week and known about the new ODF fire rules, would this blaze still have happened? Spread the word people! LaGrandeAlive fights fires!
There’s also a fire burning about 10 miles southwest of Unity, OR too. This fire is even bigger than the one between LaGrande and Pendleton, 700 acres in fact, but none of it currently threatening homes, private properties, or people, thank God. There’s a level one evacuation notice for several homes and police have closed South Fork Burnt River Road to all traffic except for vehicles and residents.
And and more weekend weirdness. There was an almost 13,000 person power black-out this weekend. You probably experienced it, like I did. I was in the office here, actually, editing a new LeGrandealive.tv short when, suddenly, all the power went out. I freaked out. Premiere closed, my project died, I yelled and screamed but, ultimately, nothing could be done. Everything was gone, my project, my edits, my last four hours of work. Frustrated, I pulled out my sketchbook and started drawing until, about two hours later at around 5:45 PM, the power came back on and, fortunately, all of my work was there–auto save saved my ass once again. However other businesses that were actually didn’t have such an easy time of it. Businesses like Safeway and Granada theater and many small restaurants had to close during the time and many businesses with with a refrigerated section had to take special measures to save their produce. Ultimately, the blackout was caused by problem with a substation on Gekeler Lane. So what’s the moral of this story? Save your work. You never know when the power could go out or aliens could shoot an EMP and knock it out the electricity in their cataclysmic attack on Earth.
So enough of all this death and distraction and darkness! We need some fun things to cheer us up! And good news! There’s a lot of fun stuff going on, actually, so rejoice! First, the fair is going on in La Grande. Stock owners from hundreds of miles have gathered to show their pigs, cows, horses, goats, and more, to struct in stride and pose their little critters in all sorts of interesting ways and, ultimately, to have fun time getting together and petting furry creatures, just having a rooten-tooten-gooden small town time. It’s happening at the fairgrounds all week weekend long. It opened yesterday with with cream and egg pies for show, exotic small animals judging, amusement carnivals, a talent show, a parade downtown, and the Wasteland Kings capping off the evening. Today it continued with booths and more carnival rides. Tonight at 6pm Becky’s Studio of Dance will perform, and at 8pm the Wheat landers will perform music. Tomorrow, Friday, the fair opens back up at 8am, booths at 10pm, the carnival at 2pm, and at 7:30pm Mary Kate will visit the event. Saturday at 4 PM the junior market auction will take place all the way until 5:30 when Blue Tattoo will perform. Ashes to Ashes will also perform at 8:30 that night. Sunday is the last day for the fair, and at 3pm all exhibits are released. Ultimately, admission is six bucks for adults, four dollars for kids 7 to 17 years old, and there’s also season passes available for $12 and $18 respectively. Veterans are five dollars, and on Thursday night seniors over 60 get in for free. For more information check out their website at unioncountyfair.org.
But that’s not the only thing happening this next week. Island city also has its own celebration happening next Wednesday: the 11th annual kids day block party. Essentially it’s a big day of fun fantastic events and free stuff all oriented around the kids. Apple Eye Care, the business that hosts the event, will be giving out free eye exams for kids. There will also be games, free hot dogs and soda, trains rides, balloons, flags, water tables, crafts, cards, soda, water, and all sorts of other fun stuff oriented around, as Julie here says, loving on the kids.
Coffee With Will and Julie Coreson – Julie Coreson Talks About the Island City Block Party
Julie Coreson has fixed my glasses on multiple occasions. What generally happens is that I break them, again. I walk into Apple Eye Care, they direct me over to her small table, I recite some typical SOB story about how my glasses somehow fell apart, and she, chipper as a wine glass clink, jogs into the back and replaces the part I broke, completely free of charge. I’m completely indebted to her. So naturally that means I should invite her to talk to me on camera! In this Coffee With Will, Julie talks about Apple Eye Care’s 11th Annual Block Party that is happening next Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm. There’s a bunch of free stuff for kids, and a lot of fun stuff for everyone to boot. Thanks for coming in and chatting with me, Julie. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon for another repair session of my horribly abused eye-ware…
So don’t get hung up on fires and blackouts, get out of your house, go down to the fair our out to Island city–animals don’t require power, and neither do hot dogs, water tables, and arts and crafts and other small-town funness!
A couple other things happening here this weekend and early next. There’s a teen movie night on Friday at 6pm, with free popcorn and soda at the Cook Memorial Library in La Grande. Also, Jesus washed feet so modern Christians must wash cars Union County Young Life will be having a free car wash from 10 AM to noon on Saturday out at grocery outlet in island city. Next Tuesday the Community Connection of Northeast Oregon is hosting an evening to let people know the Senior Needs Assessment results. This event is on Tuesday night at the Union County Senior Center. And do you have kids? Well you should feed them well, and eat well yourself while you’re at it! Nature’s pantry can help you with that,. They’re now accepting applications for a class on August 29 that will teach people about how to do proper nutrition for kids and yourselves, the parents. Also next Wednesday, beer and books must go well together, because the Cook Memorial Library is teaching a class about book at Tap That Growlers in La Grande. Also Wednesday, there’s some funky experimental music happening at the Stage Door Theater at 8 PM. Two alternative musicians will share their experimental music for our country and classic rock saturated musical tastes. Probably good for us. And lastly, Anthony Lakes is hosting a solar eclipse viewing next year. Essentially you ride the run up to the top of Anthony Lakes and watch the viewing from the top. It’s 50 bucks, and you have to register in advance. The eclipse will begin at 10:24 AM on August 21, 2017. So sign up and don’t miss your opportunity to watch the solar eclipse from probably the best seats in all the Grande Ronde Valley except maybe my hot tub with me shirtless. Just kidding. I can’t afford a hot tub!
In sports, the La Grande “A” Legions went to extra innings this weekend and lost, just uy a little bit against North Medford 4 to 3. The game was Saturday, and it finished their run for state 2016. La Grande started in the lead, but they just couldn’t hold it. This was their second loss against Medford in the tournament, their first coming Wednesday 9 to 8, a foreboding for what was to be their last game of the season.
The 14-U La Grande All Stars are just are not done, however. They start their drive-through region champions on Thursday in Vancouver Washington against 13 other teams. And they will play their opening game against Wyoming Friday then play their second game against Utah the following Saturday. If they continue, they will play either Sunday or Monday depending on their seed in bracket play.
Have you ever played softball at night? Well, you have an opportunity to what is here in La Grande for it: the Moonlight Tourney. The Moonlight Tourney is a tradition in La Grande. For the last 20 years, teams have gathered from all over the Valley to play two days literally straight softball, two days AND two nights, until the final game on Sunday morning. And this year, the turnout is great so far. 34 teams are signed up for the event currently. The tournament begins this Friday and it runs to Sunday morning. The concession stand is open all night long. It’s held at Pioneer Park, and participants can camp while they play, provided they actually get any time to sleep if they do well in the tournament. I guess this tournament brings a whole new meaning to sleeping at second.
And that’s your weekly newsish roundup. This roundup was brought to you by Grande Ronde Hospital and Direct Music Source. Be sure to stay tuned to LaGrandeAlive.tv for another weekly newsish roundup and more local content. I’m Will Bowman.