The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, June 01, 2021, TUESDAY EDITION, Page 2, Image 2

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Today is Tuesday, June 1, the
152nd day of 2021. There are
213 days left in the year.
Imbler, Cove seniors graduate
On June 1, 2009, Gen-
eral Motors fi led for Chapter
11, becoming the largest U.S.
industrial company to enter
bankruptcy protection.
In 1792, Kentucky
became the 15th state.
In 1796, Tennessee
became the 16th state.
In 1812, President James
Madison, in a message to
Congress, recounted what he
called Britain’s “series of acts
hostile to the United States as
an independent and neutral
nation”; Congress ended up
declaring war.
In 1958, Charles de Gaulle
became premier of France,
marking the beginning of the
end of the Fourth Republic.
In 2003, leaders of the
world’s seven wealthiest
nations and Russia pledged
billions of dollars to fi ght AIDS
and hunger on the opening
day of their summit in Evian,
In 2009, Air France Flight
447, an Airbus A330 car-
rying 228 people from Rio de
Janeiro to Paris, crashed into
the Atlantic Ocean with the
loss of everyone on board.
In 2015, Vanity Fair
released its cover photo fea-
turing the former Bruce
Jenner with the headline, “Call
Me Caitlyn” as the Olympic
gold medalist publicly com-
pleted a gender transition.
In 2017, President Donald
Trump declared he would
pull the U.S. from the land-
mark Paris climate agreement.
(President Joe Biden signed
an order returning the U.S.
to that accord on his fi rst day
in offi ce.)
Ten years ago: In a
face-to-face meeting, GOP
leaders complained to Pres-
ident Barack Obama that he
had not produced a detailed
plan of spending cuts and
accused him of playing poli-
tics over Medicare; the White
House said Obama had in fact
led on the issue, and accused
Republicans of trying to
destroy the popular health
care program for seniors.
Space shuttle Endeavour and
its six astronauts returned to
Earth, closing out the next-to-
last mission in NASA’s 30-year
Five years ago: Ken
Starr resigned as Baylor Uni-
versity’s chancellor, a week
after the former prosecutor
who’d led the investigation of
the Bill Clinton-Monica Lew-
insky scandal was removed
as the school’s president over
its handling of sexual assault
complaints against football
One year ago: Police
violently broke up a peaceful
and legal protest by several
thousand people in Lafay-
ette Park across from the
White House, using chemical
agents, clubs and punches to
send protesters fl eeing; the
protesters had gathered fol-
lowing the police killing of
George Floyd in Minneap-
olis a week earlier. President
Donald Trump, after declaring
himself “the president of law
and order” and threatening
to deploy the U.S. military in
a Rose Garden speech, then
walked across the empty park
to be photographed holding
a Bible in front of St. John’s
Church, which had been dam-
aged a night earlier in a pro-
test fi re. A curfew failed to
prevent another night of
destruction in New York City;
Macy’s fl agship store was
among those targeted when
crowds smashed windows and
looted businesses. A Minne-
apolis medical examiner clas-
sifi ed George Floyd’s death as
a homicide, saying his heart
stopped as police restrained
him and compressed his neck.
Megabucks: $3.3 million
executive session
to be held June 3
Wallowa County Chieftain
Alex Wittwer/The Observer
Twenty Imbler High School seniors graduated in the school’s gym on Friday, May 28, 2021, cheered on by family and friends.
Alex Wittwer/The Observer
Cove High School graduates mark the end of the commencement ceremony at Cove High School on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
Worker shortage forces closure of
Grande Ronde hospice program
coordinating patient
care with local
hospice care centers
The Observer
LA GRANDE — Grande
Ronde Hospital and Clinics
announced Friday, May 28,
it will be shutting down its
hospice care program in
June 2021.
The board of trustees
made the decision at its May
2021 meeting, according to
a press release from Grande
Ronde Hospital.
“Our community is not
exempt from the serious
national shortage on health
care workers,” said Grande
Ronde Hospital and Clinics
President and Chief Execu-
tive Offi cer Jeremy Davis.
“Over the past year, it has
become increasingly dif-
Davis Carbaugh/The Observer
Grande Ronde Hospital on Sunset Drive in La Grande announced its
hospice program will be shut down in June 2021 due to the workforce
shortage in the medical fi eld.
fi cult to fi nd nursing staff
to support our hospice
The hospital is coor-
dinating with local hos-
pice care centers to create
a smooth transition for the
patients. There are two alter-
native hospice care centers
in La Grande following the
shutdown of Grande Ronde
Hospital’s program.
The stoppage comes
in the wake of workforce
shortages in the health
care industry that have
been escalated due to the
COVID-19 pandemic.
Selina Shaff er, director
of GRH’s Home Care Ser-
vices, said the hospice pro-
gram has been in service
since the 1980s. The work-
force shortage over the last
year led Shaff er and the pro-
gram to look at long-term
options for hospice care at
the hospital.
“The fallout from
COVID-19 has changed the
workforce landscape and we
are no longer immune to that
reality in Union County,”
she said.
Prior to its closure, the
hospice care program was
run jointly with the home
health program. The hospital
will now focus that depart-
ment’s attention fully on
the Home Health Care pro-
gram, with the current hos-
pice employees being transi-
tioned into home health.
The home health care ser-
vice will continue to operate
at full capacity.
Powerball: $252 million
11-13-22-27-46 — PB 20 x2
Win for Life: May 29
UC votes to recommend spending plan
Pick 4: May 30
The Observer
Mega Millions: $22 million
10-14-20-47-70 — MB 15 x2
• 1 p.m.: 3-6-4-7
• 4 p.m.: 6-5-6-8
• 7 p.m.: 4-7-6-9
• 10 p.m.: 7-8-6-1
Pick 4: May 29
• 1 p.m.: 7-7-3-2
• 4 p.m.: 4-6-0-4
• 7 p.m.: 4–7-5-7
• 10 p.m.: 3-3-2-4
Pick 4: May 28
• 1 p.m.: 8-6-0-9
• 4 p.m.: 2-8-6-4
• 7 p.m.: 1-5-1-7
• 10 p.m.: 3-4-3-3
Union County’s proposed
2021-22 budget, which
doesn’t call for personnel
or program cuts and adds
fi ve law enforcement offi -
cers, is now one step from
being adopted.
The Union County
Budget Committee unani-
mously voted Wednesday,
May 26, to recommend
that a total budget of
$50.01 million be adopted
for 2021-22. The vote
came after the second day
of meetings by the Union
County Budget Com-
Union County Airport.
mittee, where depart-
The fi ve law enforce-
ment offi cers who would
ment heads discussed the
be added under the pro-
operation and funding of
posed budget include
four corrections offi -
The budget com-
cers who are needed
mittee did not rec-
because the Union
ommend any changes
County Jail is under-
in the proposed
staff ed, according
spending plan.
to Union County
The $50.01 mil-
Sheriff Cody Bowen.
lion budget is about
The Union County
$1 million less than
Board of Commissioners
the current year’s budget.
will vote on adoption of the
The primary reason is that
proposed budget at its next
a number of grant-funded
meeting. It must adopt a
projects have been com-
2021-22 budget by June 30.
pleted in 2020-21, such as
work at the La Grande/
Alex McHaddad, chair
of the Union County
Budget Committee, said
Union County is in solid
fi nancial condition, and he
credits its staff with doing
a good job of putting the
budget together.
“I feel very good,” he
McHaddad also said
the budget indicates the
elected offi cials who helped
put the spending plan
together kept their cam-
paign promises because
the programs they voiced
support for prior to being
elected are set to receive
solid funding.
JOSEPH — No names
were named regarding
accusations of harass-
ment during the Joseph
City Council’s most recent
emergency meeting
and executive session,
Thursday, May 27, and
another executive session
was scheduled for June 3.
Interim City Adminis-
trator Brock
Eckstein had
said May 20
he expected
to be able
to iden-
tify those
and con-
clude inves-
tigations into
of harass-
ment of city
but he was
unable to
Thursday because of pro-
cedural problems. He
requested the added exec-
utive session to allow for
proper procedures to be
followed in the complaints
of harassment aired by
city offi cials, employees or
staff members, as speci-
fi ed under Oregon law that
allows for such sessions.
During the executive
session, Eckstein and the
council received advice
from the city’s attorney,
Wyatt Baum, which led to
a request during open ses-
sion for the next executive
Mayor Pro-tem Kathy
Bingham — who was
fi lling in for the absent
Mayor Belinda Buswell
— said the executive ses-
sion will take place at
6:30 p.m. June 3 following
a budget hearing and pre-
ceding the regular June
council meeting.
Also during the open
portion of the May 27
meeting, Eckstein pre-
sented a letter to the
council submitted by local
merchant Robert Lamb.
After getting the council’s
assent, Eckstein read it
into the record.
Lamb’s letter stated, in
part, “I specifi cally would
like to praise the work
by city Parks Director
Dennis Welch. Please
listen carefully to all com-
ments related to the sub-
ject at this meeting.”
Welch went on leave
March 22, saying he’d
been subject to stress and
“gaslighting” resulting
from harassment he’d
experienced. He returned
to work May 16 after
meeting with Eckstein.
In another matter that
was discussed during the
executive session, the
council during the open
session directed Eckstein
and Baum to negotiate a
separation agreement with
the prior Administrator/
Recorder Larry Braden.
Braden resigned April
16 citing “harassment by
members of the current
City Council.” He has
declined to specify the
nature of the harassment
or by whom he alleges it
occurred. After meeting
with Braden May 20, Eck-
stein said Braden didn’t
want to be more specifi c
than he was in his resigna-
tion letter.
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