East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 05, 2017, Page Page 3A, Image 3

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017
East Oregonian
Page 3A
Morrow commissioner
files for re-election
BOARDMAN — Don sioners from Umatilla and
Russell has filed for his Morrow counties have
second term on Monday, the worked together and had a
first candidate to do so for good relationship, and said
the 2018 election.
Morrow County has similar
Russell, a Boardman working relationships with
businessman, said he hoped surrounding counties.
to continue to be a
“I think it’s
part of the positive
on in Morrow
affects one county
affects us all.”
“In my first
If re-elected,
term, we changed
Russell said he’d
the way we did
like to make fixing
business as a
the infrastructure
county,” he said.
of the county plan-
The county went
Contributed photo ning
from having an Don Russell
building in Irrigon
one of his priori-
and two commissioners ties. The building, called the
to having three elected Irrigon Annex, also houses
a the parole and probation
department administrator.
program, and a justice court.
“That was a big step for
“They’ve outgrown the
Morrow County,” he said.
space,” he said.
Russell said in his first
He said that his first year
term, he was involved with on the commission involved
the Association of Oregon a learning curve, including
Counties (AOC), and going to trainings like the
served on the transportation “County College” put on by
committee. He said the the AOC.
transportation package that
“I feel like the citizens
was passed in the state of the county have invested
legislature was a big win money in me, and I need to
for small counties around serve one more term to help
pay that back,” he said.
Russell said he was
The filing deadline for
proud of the way commis- the position is Mar. 6, 2018.
Brauer appointed presiding
judge for sixth district
Judge Christopher Brauer
of Pendleton will become
the next presiding judge
for Oregon’s Sixth Judicial
District, which encompasses
Umatilla and Morrow
counties. Brauer will begin
a two-year term on Jan. 1
and serve in the role through
December 2019.
Oregon Supreme Court
Chief Justice Thomas
Balmer appointed Brauer
to succeed Judge Dan Hill
of Hermiston, who served
in the role since January
2016, according to a written
statement from the Sixth
Judicial District. Balmer
made the appointment based
on the recommendation of
his colleagues.
Hill was promoted to
brigadier general in the
National Guard Bureau in
May 2016 and to assistant
to the chief counsel of the
National Guard Bureau, and
now serves as an advisor to
judge advocate general of
the Army.
Brauer works out of the
Umatilla County Courthouse
in Pendleton but also hears
cases in Heppner’s Morrow
He serves as the Sixth
District’s chief civil judge
and chief probate judge.
He manages many of the
probate, guardianship and
mental health cases for both
counties, and a full share of
the criminal case load.
In his new role, Brauer
will be responsible for
determining the courtroom
for major cases and making
orders and local rules for
court operations in the
two counties. Brauer has
more than three decades
of legal experience as a
civil practitioner, public
defender, elected district
attorney and circuit court
Staff photo by Jayati Ramakrishnan
Sheila Botti talks to Phil Rand before they go into character on the Journey to Bethlehem tour Saturday.
It takes a village to make a little town
East Oregonian
People from the area have been
enjoying the Journey to Bethlehem
interactive tour for a decade now, getting
immersed in scenes from the time of
Jesus Christ’s birth.
The event took place Friday, Saturday
and Sunday, and more than 2,000 were
expected to make the journey. The event
requires an army of volunteers, from the
actors to the people who put together the
event behind the scenes.
The 20-minute tour, at the Hermiston
Seventh-day Adventist Church, at 855 W.
Highland Ave., takes visitors back more
than 2,000 years. It depicts the passage
of travelers from Nazareth, who arrive
in Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth.
Travelers made the 90-mile journey,
which took four or five days, when the
census was being taken, and to pay the tax
collector. After leaving the tax collector’s
office, the travelers hear of the birth of
Jesus Christ, and complete their journey
at the manger where Mary and Joseph are
cradling a newborn Jesus. The tour ends
with the guides reminding travelers of
Jesus’ life, and asking them to remember
its significance in modern times.
Setting the Scene
Those roles, as well as the nearly 90
others on the tour, are filled by volunteers
ranging in age from 10 to 80-plus, with
people playing every part from lepers
outside Bethlehem to vendors in the city,
to a set of belligerent Roman guards.
“The roles are all volunteer, and they’re
all filled out of willingness,” said cast
director Sheila Botti, who has directed the
show for all of its 10 years. “It’s people
that just believe what the message behind
‘Journey’ is.”
Botti said the cast director usually
offers the same role to the person who
played it the previous year, and otherwise
they send out a request for a person to fill
that role. There are no auditions for the
roles, she said.
Some actors have taken it upon them-
selves to lend their own personality to
their roles. Phil Rand, who has been a part
of the tour since it started a decade ago,
fondly recalled his character progression.
“I started as a grumpy Roman guard,
and now I’m a grumpy innkeeper,” he
said. “So I’ve been promoted.”
He said yearly visitors now anticipate
his ornery performance. “People come to
see me snarl and growl,” he said. But he
has mellowed. “I have not made a child
cry in years,” he said.
Rand enjoys seeing people he knows
on the tours, especially from his days
working as a teacher in Hermiston and
Umatilla. He said for him, this is the true
start of the Christmas season.
“No (event) has more significance
than this,” he said. “People can buy all the
Christmas presents they want, but this is
the true meaning.”
For some of the younger performers,
it’s a chance to understand what they
learn in church a little better.
“This is my first year,” said 12 year-old
Aaliyah Giles, who was playing the role
of a perfume vendor in Bethlehem. “I like
getting to see friends, and getting to share
the Bible,” she said.
Ayden Randall, 12, has been
performing with the event for two years,
and this year serves as the tax collector’s
assistant, who loudly and threateningly
introduces travelers to the tax collector
and collects the money.
“I really like it, especially since I can
be over-dramatic,” he said. “I can catch
them by surprise.”
Building a City
Botti estimated that behind the
scenes, at least 35 volunteers help the
show come together. The crew includes
people who keep the torches and fires lit
throughout the tour, the musicians who
provide entertainment to those waiting
for the tour, and the greeters and people
serving refreshments.
And people will show up to help
without being asked, Botti said.
Dale Rincker, who was also acting
as a Roman guard in the tax collector’s
office, was busy sweeping an hour
before the show began. He said he
enjoyed seeing it come together each
“Once it gets dark and the torches
get lighted — I won’t use the word
magic, but it reminds people of the true
meaning of Christmas. It’s pretty cool.”
The set, which consists of several
12- to 15-foot-high walls, is set up
two weeks before the event behind the
church, and dismantled and stored the
rest of the year.
Inside, Jo Ann Rincker was helping
villagers and shepherds find the finishing
touches for their costumes, helping them
tie or drape cloth around their heads. The
costume room was filled with muslin
cloth, helmets and belts, and clothing
that looked like it may have been in
fashion 2,000 years ago.
“We pride ourselves on authenticity,”
Botti said. “For example, with shoes.
There’s no modern wear. When going
through the village, (performers) will
not be allowed to have their cell phones.
Even with the props we use.”
AWSD secures $270,000 grant
ATHENA — The Athe-
na-Weston School District’s
career technical education
program got a $271,628
shot in the arm through
the Oregon Department of
Education CTE Revitaliza-
tion Grant.
According to a Monday
district press release, Athe-
na-Weston will use the grant
to expand its welding, manu-
facturing and fabricating
“We envision a CTE
facility that can support addi-
tional programs of study and
critically, we envision active
district Superintendent Laure
Quaresma said in a state-
ment. “We are very excited
to receive this important
grant, which will increase
what we offer to our students
in meeting the Manufac-
turing Curriculum Program
of Instruction and Pathway
Standards. This redesign will
develop students who will be
prepared and competitive for
careers in local, regional and
state high-wage, high-de-
mand careers.”
Athena-Weston was one
of 64 applications totaling
$21 million in requests the
department of education
considered. The state prior-
itized the applications based
on geographic diversity,
community partnerships and
programs that lead to high-
wage, high-demand jobs,
especially for underserved
Oregon students in CTE
programs graduate at a rate
15.5 percent higher than the
statewide average.
Police rack up more than $4,000 to fight cancer
East Oregonian
The Pendleton Police Department
raised more than $4,000 Friday night in
the fight against cancer.
Pendleton officers and staff
participated in Cops for a Cause and
waited tables at Hamley Steakhouse,
Pendleton, to benefit the local chapter
of the American Cancer Society and
the Anson Fairbank family of Pend-
leton. Matt and Adrienne Fairbank
have a 2-year-old son, Anson, who is
recovering from leukemia and requires
regular doctor visits to Portland.
Dianna Melton, police assistant,
reported Friday’s effort brought in
$4,102. The amount also triggered
a pledge from Hamley Steakhouse
employee Joe Albitre: He promised to
shave his beard if police raise more
Pendleton police detective Howard than $2,000.
True to his word, Albitre had his
Bowen plays Santa Clause on Fri-
father handle the clippers and shave off
day for 2-year-old Anson Fairbank.
Contributed photo
his impressive display of whiskers, and
his wife posted video of the feat on her
Facebook page.
Pendleton police raised another
$1,800 independently of Friday night’s
event, Melton also said, and Pilot Rock
Officer Daniel Badal “put up an awesome
effort” and raised $800 more himself.
Earlier Friday, Santa Claus (Pend-
leton detective Howard Bowen) joined
several members of the Pendleton
police staff to deliver Christmas pres-
ents to Anson and his sister, Hailee.
Due to his weakened immune system,
Anson cannot go out to visit Santa.
The boy’s gift was a child-sized elec-
tric motorcycle, complete with police
And Albitre on Monday brought in
another $206 from people that donated
after police left, bringing the total from
the steakhouse to $4,308. Melton added
Pendleton police are taking donations
through December.
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