East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, February 24, 2017, Page Page 3A, Image 3

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Friday, February 24, 2017
East Oregonian
Page 3A
Cantu to
City council to get fresh perspective
take plea in
murder case
East Oregonian
Umatilla’s city council will
be getting a younger perspec-
tive through a new Youth
Advisory Council.
The council, which func-
tions as an eight-student club
at Umatilla High School,
meets each Tuesday to discuss
suggestions for improving
the city to pass on to the city
council and city staff. They
also plan to attend city council
Cameron Sipe, a high
school senior who serves as the
council’s president, said they
hope the council will consider
asking for their perspective
when weighing controversial
decisions. She said in their first
couple of meetings they have
been talking about what type
of community they will want
to move to in 10 years when
they are starting careers and
“What can we do to make
Umatilla that place?” she said.
Maria Moreno, a junior,
said one thing the advisory
council wants to focus on first
Staff photo by Jade McDowell
Cameron Sipe, Maria Moreno and Anthony Ibarra are three
of the members of the Youth Advisory Council in Umatilla.
is park improvements. They’ve
narrowed in on the small park
across from city hall, which
doesn’t have anything but grass
and benches.
“There’s a blank wall behind
it that’s a really gross color, and
we’re really hoping to get a
mural on there,” she said.
The students checked and
found out the school district
owns the building with the
blank wall, so they think there
is a good chance they will
be able to get permission to
sponsor a mural.
They have also talked about
finding a way to have more
activities for youth in town, and
about what they can do to help
revitalize downtown to attract
more businesses.
To help in their discussions,
they have signed up to shadow
various department heads at the
“I think to really make a
change in our town, we have to
understand it,” Sipe said.
Moreno added that shad-
owing city staff could provide
a “reality check” for what is
actually possible to accomplish.
Anthony Ibarra, a sopho-
more, said he was excited to
help offer “a fresh eye” to the
“It’s a pretty neat chance
that we have,” he said.
The Youth Advisory Council
was the brainchild of retired
city manager Bob Ward, who
attends two of the council’s
meetings a month to help
mentor the students.
He introduced the youth to
the city council earlier in the
month and told them it was
something he had wanted to put
together for a long time to help
provide another perspective
and youthful energy to the city.
“They are curious, enthusi-
astic and engaged,” he said.
Contact Jade McDowell at
com or 541-564-4536.
Planning for life
after high school
Late night with J.D. Kindle
PENDLETON — Country & western, freak
folk and late night lounge music is featured this
weekend at Virgil’s at Cimmiyotti’s.
James Dean Kindle will perform a solo event
Saturday beginning at 9 p.m. The restaurant is
located at 137 S. Main St., Pendleton. There is no
cover charge.
PSD hires consultant for
superintendent search
PENDLETON — The Pendleton School
District announced Thursday that the school board
has hired a consultant to assist its superintendenet
The district hired Greg McKenzie, an executive
recruiter with Windows to Leadership LLC who
was hired to help with the district’s 2016 search.
That search led to the hiring of superintendent
Andy Kovach, who recently announced his resig-
nation, effective July 1.
After bringing in the final candidates for a meet-
and-greet in Pendleton, the board plans to announce
the hire of a new superintendent in early May.
Athena schools awarded $5K grant
Staff photo by Jade McDowell
Third graders Alexia Martinez, left, and Ricky Brown, dressed up
as 100-year-olds for the 100th day of school at McNary Heights
Elementary School.
Students imagine
life at 100 years old
East Oregonian
Some students at McNary
Heights Elementary School looked
like they belonged more in a nursing
home than a school on Thursday.
students to dress up like they were
100 years old to celebrate finally
reaching the 100th day of school
after multiple snow days pushed
the milestone out.
“I just came up with the idea for
something that would not take up
too much time, but add a little spirit
to the day,” vice principal Nicole
Coyle said.
Elementary school students
donned paper beards, ties, cardigans
and shawls to celebrate.
Third grader Ricky Brown
borrowed a wooden cane with a
turtle carved into the top from his
“oma and opa” (that’s German for
grandma and grandpa, he says)
to complete his outfit. He said
being 100 years old would be hard
because “you can’t get out of the
house much, and do bowling and
stuff kids can do.”
Fourth grader Kaylonni Schaefer
wasn’t a big fan of the idea of getting
old either. She said she would prob-
ably have to wear glasses, and kids
might make fun of her for being old.
She said she picked out her own
“I picked out this dress and these
tights and then I picked this sweater
because I thought of a crazy old
cat lady,” she said, showing off her
black button-up cardigan.
The boys in her class, who had
made paper beards and “life alert”
badges for themselves, said they
would hate not being able to play
sports or run if they were actually
100, but they had fun dressing up.
The school will be celebrating
more dress-up days next week, in
honor of Read Across America.
People lined up in the cold
outside Hermiston Library
an hour and a half before the
building opened Thursday
morning, waiting to get help
on something that daunts
many Americans every year:
The AARP Tax Aide
program assists people
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., every
Tuesday and Thursday until
April 10, and anyone can use
the free service.
“It runs about 30 people
per day,” said volunteer
Everett Crouch.
Around 11:30 a.m., six
kind for AARP members,
comprised of people 55 and
Fred Allen, who has
worked as a tax preparer for
the last three years, said most
of the training takes place
online, at the IRS website.
“We study on our own,
starting in October,” he
said. Then, the preparers
get together for a couple of
weeks of training and review.
Each return is completed
by one preparer, and then
reviewed by another person.
“Every return gets a
quality review — two sets of
eyes to make sure we didn’t
miss anything,” he said.
Allen said he does not
SAIF presents free, half-day
agricultural safety seminars
HERMISTON — SAIF Corporation, Oregon’s
nonprofit workers’ compensation insurance
company, has rescheduled a pair of free agricul-
tural safety seminars in Hermiston.
The half-day seminars, which were canceled
in January due to snow and ice, will be Monday,
March 6 (in English) and Tuesday, March 7 (in
Spanish) at the Hermiston Conference Center.
Though the series is designed primarily for
agricultural workers, anyone is welcome to attend.
Topics will include welding, pesticide and farm
shop safety, as well as tips on workplace training.
The seminars will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
both days and lunch is provided.
Seating is limited, so early registration is
recommended by calling 1-800-285-8525 or
visiting www.saif.com/agseminar. More informa-
tion is also available on the SAIF website.
Free tax help at library keeps volunteers busy
of the seven tax preparers
were busy with clients, and
about 20 more were waiting
Don and Gloria Lane had
been waiting for help with
their taxes since 7:30 a.m.
They said they have used
the service every year for the
past 20 or so.
“It’s just the most conve-
nient way,” Gloria said.
The Lanes said they have
found the service very useful,
and their only complaint is
that although it is funded
by payments from AARP
members, anyone can use the
service for free, regardless of
age. Gloria said she’d like to
see a priority system of some
Due to its efforts at self-improvement, the
Athena-Weston School District received a $5,000
grant for local student scholarships from the
Oregon School Boards Association.
According to a Thursday press release, the
district qualified for the grant by completing a
five-step process that included a board project,
superintendent and board self-evaluations,
participation in the “Promise of Oregon”
campaign and individual board development.
“As a board, we were very excited for
an opportunity to come together with our
administrative team and have an honest and open
dialogue about how we can craft our strategic
vision and priorities to do what’s best for kids,”
Athena-Weston School Board chair Scott Wilson
said in a statement. “The OSBA Scholarship is
just icing on the cake and will go towards helping
some of our graduating seniors in their next steps
in education.”
East Oregonian
Murder defendant George Rodriguez Cantu
opted to take a plea deal less than two weeks before
his trial was scheduled to begin in Pendleton.
Cantu, 24, of Walla Walla, appeared via video
from jail for a hearing Thursday at the Umatilla
County Courthouse. His attorney, Robert Klahn
of Pendleton, told the court a settlement had been
Neither Klahn nor Umatilla County District
Attorney Dan Primus revealed the terms of the deal.
Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer set the plea
hearing for 9:30 a.m. Friday. He also asked Primus
to call the jail so Klahn could have after-hours
access to Cantu.
Cantu has pleaded not guilty to charges of
murder, unlawful use of a weapon against another,
unlawful discharge of a weapon and unlawful
possession of a firearm. Murder carries a mandatory
minimum sentence of 25 years.
The charges stem from the July 2015 drive-by
shooting death of Guadalupe Jose Diaz in
Milton-Freewater. Cantu has been in the Umatilla
County Jail, Pendleton, since March 2, 2016.
Court documents show prosecutors were ready
to bring gang members and shooting eyewitnesses
to testify at the two-week jury trial.
East Oregonian
Special education students from Hermiston,
Boardman, Irrigon and Umatilla high schools gathered
at the Hermiston Conference Center Thursday to learn
about life beyond high school.
The students heard from Good Shepherd Hospital’s
education, environmental and food services departments,
as well as Blue Mountain Community College about how
to find jobs, advocate for themselves and make connec-
tions with people in the community.
Jackie Whitesell, a learning specialist for the Herm-
iston School District, said this is the first year the four
schools have come together to pool their resources for
special education students.
“It’s to help students learn about options available to
them,” Whitesell said. “Since we’re a small area, we’ve
banded together — four different high schools — to offer
different educational outings.”
In addition to Thursday’s career day, students this year
have visited the SAGE Center in Boardman to learn about
agriculture and food preservation jobs and McNary Dam
in Umatilla to learn about engineering-related jobs.
“The goal is to have students go out of high school with
a job in mind, and be able to get that job,” Whitesell said.
The students are all part of the special education
programs at their schools. The program can include
students with developmental, intellectual and special
learning disabilities, as well as health and motor impair-
ments, Whitesell said.
During Thursday’s four-hour session, students rotated
between five different discussion groups, each focusing
on a different resource in the area: representatives from
Good Shepherd Hospital’s Environment, Education,
Food Services and Human Resources Departments, and
Blue Mountain Community College. At each session,
students discussed with speakers different job opportuni-
ties within those areas, what they entail, and how to make
a good impression when interviewing, as well as things
like stress management and what to expect in a typical
day at work.
“We’re going to talk about some weird jobs,” Bobbie
Sue Arias of BMCC told a group of students. “How many
of you knew that ‘bike messenger’ was a job?”
Arias asked students what some other similar jobs
might be, eliciting responses from students such as
“mailman” and “UPS driver.”
Nazario Rivera and Drew Brannon from Good
Shepherd Hospital’s Education Department talked to the
students about CPR instruction and Certified Nursing
“We discuss what kinds of skills they might need,
training,” Rivera said. “Any careers that might be within
our realm.”
Timur Gaston, a special education teacher at Irrigon
Junior/Senior High School, said the events this year have
been beneficial for her students.
“They’re realizing there are other opportunities,” she
said. “In our small community, the kids see jobs like
teachers, postal workers, gas station attendants farm
workers — but they don’t always know what else is out
there. That’s why these events are important.”
Contact Jayati Ramakrishnan at 541-564-4534 or
East Oregonian
have a background in finance
or accounting, and received
all the necessary training
when he started volunteering.
“I was in the Army,”
he said. “I joined mostly
because I was bored and
had too much time on my
hands — plus my tax returns
were a little complicated, and
I wanted to learn how to do
my own.”
The service is for personal
taxes and does not extend to
business taxes. To receive
help with your taxes, people
need to bring photo identi-
fication, the Social Security
cards of all the people for
whom they are filing and all
necessary documents.
Serving Eastern Oregon & Washington for over 25 years
Chrissy Woollard has joined John
Cimmiyotti as a new Financial Advisor
for Raymond James Financial Services
in the Pendleton offi ce. Chrissy has
been with Raymond James for 9 years
and currently she holds a series 7 &
66 and Life, Health, Variable insurance
licenses. Chrissy graduated from the
University of Wyoming with a BS in Science and a minor in Busi-
ness. Chrissy is a native of Pendleton and a Pendleton High
School graduate. Chrissy enjoys helping individuals, families
and businesses to attain their fi nancial goals. Chrissy can
be contacted by calling the local offi ce at 541-276-9184.
305 SW Dorion Ave. ~ Pendleton, OR 97801
8797 W. Gage Blvd., Ste. C-103 ~ Kennewick, WA 99336
541-276-9184 • 800-276-9184
Web Site: www.RaymondJames.com