East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, February 09, 2017, Page Page 10A, Image 10

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    Page 10A
East Oregonian
EDUCATION: ‘School choice isn’t really an issue (in Eastern Oregon)’
Continued from 1A
Given that a majority
of policy decisions and
funding comes at the local
and state level, Mulvihill
said school officials were
far more concerned with the
$1.8 billion budget gap being
discussed in the Oregon
Legislature than a change in
federal policy.
That being said, Mulvihill
said he and his colleagues do
have concerns about the new
direction of the U.S. Depart-
ment of Education.
Besides the fact that
DeVos has no previous expe-
rience with public education,
Mulvihill was troubled that
the Trump administration put
a halt on implementation of
the Every Student Succeeds
Act, which gave states more
authority to make their own
accountability standards.
“It was one of the biggest
successes of a gridlocked
congress,” he said, noting
the bipartisan support the law
Mulvihill expected strong
resistance from “blue state”
Oregon if Trump and DeVos
enact their policy ideas on
charter schools and private
school vouchers.
“School choice isn’t really
an issue (in Eastern Oregon),”
he said.
Oregon’s charter school laws,
which gives them flexibility
in hiring teachers and estab-
lishing curriculum while still
requiring oversight from a
local school board.
Mulvihill noted Nixyaawii
Community School, a charter
school on the Umatilla Indian
Reservation that is under the
Pendleton School District but
maintains unique curriculum
components centered around
tribal culture.
Mulvihill said other
communities created “charter
districts,” like those in Ione
and Cove, to open up enroll-
ment to students outside their
traditional boundaries.
Traditional districts have
largely negated the need for
charter districts by signing
agreements with surrounding
districts to ease the transfer
That means Pendleton
parents who want to send
their child to Helix for the
smaller class sizes can do it
without having to deal with a
lot of red tape.
Mulvihill said Eastern
Oregon parents who want
choice generally have it, but
data shows that many parents
would rather see their local
schools improve than send
their kids elsewhere.
At a Stanfield school
board meeting Wednesday
night, superintendent Shelley
Liscom broached the idea of a
charter school. Citing several
smaller districts in the region
that have switched to charter
schools, she felt it was worth
looking into.
“I may not be for it, it
doesn’t mean we’re going to
do it,” she said. “I just think
we need to have a discus-
Board members said they
would research and discuss
the idea.
Meanwhile, some leaders
of charter and private schools
are taking a wait-and-see
approach with DeVos.
Ione School District
superintendent Jon Peterson
anticipated a school voucher
program would probably
have a greater effect on urban
areas than the rural Ione
Community Charter School,
which mostly draws students
from Morrow County and
western Umatilla County.
Contact Antonio Sierra at
or 541-966-0836.
WILDLIFE: ODFW no longer does emergency feeding for big game
Continued from 1A
down the Malheur River
canyon to escape the deep
snow, only to find themselves
sucked in along roads and
“The poor critters are
just trying to find a place to
stand,” Torland said. “They’re
just looking for a place to go
that’s not covered in snow.”
Torland said he is aware of
numerous vehicle collisions
with wildlife, but he has not
kept track of the total number.
The latest figures are not yet
available from the Oregon
Department of Transporta-
tion, though there were 1,539
roadkill reports from Eastern
Oregon in 2015.
Staff are preparing to start
big game surveys next week,
Torland said, with population
estimates by spring. Deer
figures usually hover around
12,500 animals in the Beulah
Justin Primus, assistant
district wildlife biologist in
Baker City, said they are also
seeing deer and elk moving
down from the mountains.
While snowpack is close to
“The poor critters are just trying to find a
place to stand. They’re just looking for a
place to go that’s not covered in snow.”
— Scott Torland, district wildlife biologist for ODFW
average at higher elevations,
Primus said storms have
blanketed the valleys this year
as well, leaving animals to
scrounge deeper for forage.
Over the last few weeks,
Primus said there has been
about 30 inches of snow
Typically by now, the lower
slopes in the Keating Valley
and along Snake River Road
will begin to melt off, but that
hasn’t happened yet, Primus
“I think we’ve had a little
higher mortality on deer than
we’d normally see,” Primus
said. “I don’t think our elk
have really been as affected
by the winter conditions.”
As of last Friday, Primus
said temperatures are begin-
ning to poke back above
freezing and some spots and
melted up to a foot of snow in
some areas.
“Things are starting to
open up,” he said. “Hopefully,
that will continue through
next week.”
For its part, ODFW says it
has partnered with other agen-
cies and private landowners to
invest $18 million enhancing
summer and winter big game
habitat since 2010. The
agency says it works regularly
with local governments to
identify and protect winter
ranges that might otherwise
be impacted by industrial and
urban development.
One thing ODFW no
longer does is emergency
feeding for big game, which
Dennehy said carried a
number of negative conse-
quences. Feeding programs
only reached a small portion
of the target populations, she
said, and risked permanently
diverting animals from their
traditional winter ground.
Feeding animals may also
serve to bunch the animals
together, Dennehy said, which
makes them more susceptible
to predators and poachers.
ODFW does, however, still
maintain feeding programs
at three sites in Eastern
Oregon — at the Elkhorn,
Wenaha and White River
wildlife areas — designed to
keep wildlife off of adjacent
agricultural lands. Those three
areas currently feed more
than 70,000 pounds of hay
and nearly 33,000 pounds of
pellets per day to thousands of
deer and elk.
While winter may bring
short-term mortality to deer
and elk, Dennehy said the
increased snow will be a
good thing over the long-term
for the animals, improving
summer forage conditions
after multiple years of
Should spring surveys find
a significant amount of over-
winter mortality that would
require fewer hunting tags
this season, ODFW will alert
hunters by April 15.
Contact George Plaven at
or 541-966-0825.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
DISPATCH: Sheriff’s office
willing to listen to its partners
Continued from 1A
through a liaison obscure
whether others are having
the same problems, she
said, and if a solution that
works for one will work for
“That’s where the focus
should be,” she said. “Are
these common problems
among all users, or are
they just with a particular
agency making requests for
Case in point, she said,
was the trouble the dispatch
center and its users had in
2015 with the new digital
records system.
Littlefield said most
problems are “just small
adjustments” to accommo-
date a request from a one
department or another, and
at this point few agencies
have the same issues.
“If we did have a
situation that we did know
affected multiple agencies,
we would see that and
address that pretty quickly,”
he said.
Huxel also said a
seems unnecessary. When
Umatilla police have a
problem with the dispatch
center, she said, that’s when
she would address it.
“All I’m saying is, I
don’t want to get into a situ-
ation where we end up in
a meeting where everyone
has the same issues, and it’s
an on-going situation that
could have been addressed
long ago,” Huxel said.
“We just want the commu-
nication with the sheriff’s
Littlefield said the
sheriff’s office is willing to
listen to its partners about
the dispatch, the jail or any
other services because the
goal is to improve local law
enforcement. All agencies,
he said, “need to take some
kind of ownership and
responsibility” to make the
dispatch center better.
Contact Phil Wright at
com or 541-966-0833.
Chris Kennedy announces
bid for Illinois governor
Chris Kennedy, son of the
late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy,
announced Wednesday he
will run for Illinois governor
in 2018, bringing the instant
name recognition of his
family’s political legacy
to what’s expected to be a
sharply contested race.
businessman said Illinois
is heading “in the wrong
direction” under Repub-
lican. Gov. Bruce Rauner,
who’s seeking re-election.
In an email and video sent
to supporters, he talked
up history of service and
said he wants to “restore
the American dream to the
people of this state.”
“Today, I am announcing
my run for Governor
because I love Illinois,
but we have never been in
worse shape,” he said. “We
don’t need incremental
improvement — we need
fundamental change in state
Kennedy, 53, is the
eighth of 11 children of
Ethel Kennedy and Robert
Kennedy, a former U.S.
attorney general who repre-
sented New York in the
Senate and was assassinated
in 1968 while seeking the
Democratic nomination for
president. He is the nephew
of former President John F.
His campaign video
featured footage of his
parents and other family
members, and Kennedy
told The Associated Press
he believes Illinois voters
“remember fondly the
service to this country of the
Kennedy family.”
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