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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (April 4, 2017)
TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2017
141st Year, No. 121
WINNER OF THE 2016 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
State budget proposal leaves
program $516K in the hole
By GEORGE PLAVEN
windows and a door.
She looked around her new
digs with a smile, but also a
hint of exhaustion. Chairs in the
computer lab and conference
room still wore plastic covers.
Mops, a stack of carpets and
empty boxes gave evidence of a
last-minute rush. The ﬁ rst class
would start at noon; the room,
gleaming and stocked with 30
computers, stood ready.
Down the hall, instructor
Former employees and graduates of
Umatilla County drug court are rallying to
save the program after it was recently cut
due to a half million dollar budget shortfall.
An online petition to raise public support
has garnered 78 signatures as of Monday. A
small group of advocates also met Monday
via video conference with state Rep. Greg
Smith (R-Heppner) to discuss how the
program beneﬁ ts the community.
Umatilla County announced last month
it will eliminate drug court effective June
30 as state funding has shriveled over the
last several bienniums. The latest budget
proposal released by Gov. Kate Brown
would leave the program $516,000 in the
Drug court was established in 2006,
providing court supervised drug and
alcohol treatment for offenders. Today, the
program serves about 90 people.
The decision to end drug court was
made by the Umatilla County Local Public
Safety Coordinating Council, or LPSCC.
Susan McHenry, chairwoman for the
council, said nobody disagrees with how
important the program is, but they cannot
continue to support it without state funding.
“This decision was purely an economic
one,” McHenry said.
Now, supporters of drug court are
pushing to maintain services they say are
vital for offenders and their families. Amy
Marvin, union representative for the local
American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Employees chapter, has started
a petition on Change.org that will be
delivered to both LPSCC and the Umatilla
County Board of Commissioners.
In the petition, Marvin says drug court
has “improved the lives of drug addicted
offenders, promoted family stability,
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
High school senior Ruby Kennedy, who is home schooled, listens to her teacher via teleconferencing while taking a math 70
class Monday at BMCC’s new Workforce Training Center in Boardman. Kennedy was teleconferencing with classrooms in John
Day and Baker.
First BMCC bond project comes to fruition
BY KATHY ANEY
The ﬁ rst of the Blue Moun-
tain Community College bond
construction projects is at the
ﬁ nish line.
After voters approved a $23
million bond two years ago,
BMCC broke ground on three
capital construction projects
in Boardman, Hermiston and
“We started west and moved
east,” said vice president of
public relations Casey White-
On Monday, BMCC’s new
Workforce Training Center in
Boardman opened to the public.
A couple of hours before the ﬁ rst
class, coordinator Anne Morter
looked harried, but happy. She
described the building as three
Employers seek more
changes to schedule bill
By PARIS ACHEN
SALEM — Despite
proposed revisions to a bill
that would mandate two
weeks’ notice for employee
schedule changes and penalty
pay for changes without the
required notice, employers
continued to voice opposition
to the regulations during a
hearing Monday, April 3.
The legislation is “an
ill-conceived attempt to more
formally systematize what is
inherently a very ﬂ uid and
dynamic process,” said Chris
Girard of Plaid Pantry Inc.
Girard said the bill
“would actually reduce ﬂ ex-
ibility in meeting employees’
scheduling needs.” Many
employees request last-
minute changes, and the
two-week notice requirement
makes it harder for employers
requests, he said.
A proposed amendment to
the bill, however, would give
employers a big concession.
The amendment removes
a requirement for “on-call
pay.” The provision would
have required employers to
pay for up to four hours of
work if the employee is on
call but works no hours. The
agriculture community and
other businesses cheered
times the size of the old facility
and abundantly more high-tech.
“It’s wired to the hilt,” she
said. “We have all the bells and
The structure houses three
an early childhood education
center and an industrial systems
technology lab. Morter, who had
a desk in the foyer in the old
building, now has an ofﬁ ce with
Students contemplate toll of distracted driving
Wrecked car of
on display at high school
By JAYATI RAMAKRISHNAN
Students trickled out of Hermiston
High School on their way to lunch
Monday afternoon, and many stopped at
the corner of the parking lot to examine
a large metal case, only to discover that
they were looking at a crumpled-up car.
It was a sobering realization.
“My mom and I drove by there
yesterday as she was teaching me to
drive,” said freshman Lylyana Jaime.
“She told me, ‘That’s what happens
when you text and drive.’ I will never
That reaction is exactly what
Shannon Moulton hopes observers will
take away from the display. Moulton’s
daughter, Alexxyss Therwhanger,
died on February 19, 2016, as she was
driving from Long Creek to Pilot Rock.
Therwhanger’s 1998 Buick Century
sedan, traveling north, failed to nego-
tiate a left-hand curve in the roadway,
and crossed over into the southbound
lane. It collided with a 1994 Lincoln
Therwhanger, who was 19 at the
time, was alone in the car and was
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
The wrecked car of Alexxyss Leigh Therwhanger, who died while
distracted by her phone while driving on Highway 395 last year south of
Pilot Rock, sits on display outside of the Hermiston High School Monday.
“There’s not any text so important that this should be
the end result.” — Shannon Moulton, mother of Alexxyss Therwhanger
pronounced dead at the scene. The
driver and passenger of the other car,
Frank Wimberley and Donnetta Marie
Kulis, were transported to the hospital
with serious injuries.
Oregon State Police later determined
that Therwhanger was distracted by
her phone at the time of the crash. The
display, which features Therwhanger’s
car exactly as it was found, is a visceral
reminder of what can happen with even
a slight distraction.