WEEKEND EDITION The invention of pork CHURCHES SHARE PIONEER roast SMITH ALL-EO PLAYER OF THE YEAR HISTORY LIFESTYLES/1C SPORTS/1B OPINION/5A APRIL 15-16, 2017 141st Year, No. 130 $1.50 WINNER OF THE 2016 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD IMESD to offer online school By ANTONIO SIERRA East Oregonian Starting in July, many Eastern Oregon administrators will be able to make any house with an internet connection in their district a school. Over the summer, the InterMoun- tain Education Service District plans to launch IMESD Online as a part of its local service plan. That means that along with its usual special education and technical support, the IMESD will be able to offer online school to all 18 school districts under its purview, which spans Umatilla, Morrow, Union and Baker counties. IMESD superintendent Mark Mulvihill has high hopes for the new program. “This could be as transformational Staff photo by Kathy Aney Rachel Bieren, wife of Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, who died last month in Syria receives her husband’s ashes after they were ﬂ own home and transported by hearse to Umatilla. Bieren’s ashes return home Air Force Staff Sgt. who died in Syria escorted by Patriot Guard Riders By JADE MCDOWELL East Oregonian Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren’s ashes were returned home with honors on Friday. Flags lined the main street through Umatilla in honor of the Air Force security forces airman, who died of apparent natural causes on March 28 while on active duty in Syria. Bieren, 25, grew up in Umatilla, and his family has been an active part of the community there. On Friday friends and family stood in support of his wife, Rachel Bieren, as she received the wooden box containing his ashes at her home. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders also stood at attention in a ﬂ ag line around the home, while other members Honoring Bieren A celebration of life for Bieren, open to the public, will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Umatilla High School gymnasium. Staff photo by Kathy Aney Patriot Guard Riders escort a hearse holding the ashes of Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, 25, back to his wife’s home in Uma- tilla on Friday afternoon. of the motorcycle group rode in the procession from the Pasco Airport to Bieren’s home. Gary David, Patriot Guard Riders ride captain for the Hermiston area, said that the group hoped the family was comforted by the support. “Of course, it’s our honor to do these for our military veterans,” he said. The group will also provide a ﬂ ag line for Bieren’s funeral service on Saturday. “We come from all walks of life, here for one purpose: to honor the veteran and his family,” David said. Along with the Patriot Guard Riders, vehicles from the Umatilla Police Department, Pasco Police Department and Umatilla Rural Fire Protection See BIEREN/10A See IMESD/10A Rural residents defend trapper program; don’t want cuts By ANDREW THEEN The Oregonian PORTLAND — In many Oregon communities, county governments are hard up for cash, a decades-old fact of life arising from falling timber revenue, stagnant property values and a deep-seated aversion to local tax levies. So locals are used to prioritizing services. Lincoln County Chair Terry Thompson recalls a time a few years back when a group of rural residents wanted to make their wishes known to the county board. “We want good roads that we can travel on,” he recalled them saying, “and the trapper. The rest of the things are just for people in the cities.” See TRAPPER/12A Getting an education in independent living HHS grad Kodie Arnold attends Washington school for the blind By JAYATI RAMAKRISHNAN East Oregonian Kodie Arnold runs lightly down the steps of a large brick building to open the front gate. “Sorry,” she says, opening the iron handle after a moment’s effort. “I’m kind of sore, I did a workout yesterday.” As Arnold makes her way back up to her room in the Washington State School for the Blind, she uses her hands to guide Editor’s note: Promise & her, barely hesitating as she Potential is an ongoing goes up the four ﬂ ights of series following young stairs. Arnold, who was raised adults as they leave in Hermiston and graduated high school and head from Hermiston High into the world. School in 2016, has always been fully blind, learning to read Braille and use a cane when she was young. She was born a few months early, and her eyes were See ARNOLD/12A Staff photo by E.J. Harris Receptionist Sam Nash helps Kodie Arnold put on a blindfold in the front ofﬁ ce of the Oregon Commission for the Blind on Wednesday in Portland. Students at the school are taught what it is like to be fully blind and Arnold has some sensitivities to light.