WALLOWA NATIVE WINS ROCKY MOUNTAIN EMMY — See story Page A3 Enterprise, Oregon WALLOWA.COM Issue No. 32 November 25, 2015 3RlLFe FhLeI VeaUFh EeJLnV aneZ $1 INSIDE TODAY Sudden firing of police chief in Illinois has direct impact on local search By Kathleen Ellyn Wallowa County Chieftain Enterprise City Council announced Friday that its top pick for police chief has withdrawn his application. -ames Episcopo of %rook¿ eld Vil- lage, Ill., has opted to remain in Illi- nois following the ¿ ring of %rook¿ eld Police Chief Steven Stelter on Oct. 30. Episcopo, a lieutenant, has been serving as acting chief since then. He is Patrol Commander in charge of 21 of¿ cers and has served as acting chief several times in the past. “We were very sorry to hear he was staying, but he was reluctant to leave his men in an un- settled situation and it was exactly this integrity that made Episcopo him such an attrac- tive candidate,” said Michele Young, Enterprise city administrator. Enterprise City Council voted unanimously to make a conditional offer to Episcopo in early October after he and his wife Suzanne toured Wallowa County, met members of the public, spent time with Enterprise po- lice of¿ cers and con¿ rmed their desire to be part of the community. At the time of the conditional offer, Young warned that the process could take several months to complete and revealed the council’s decision to de- velop another pool of candidates in case Episcopo declined the offer. Wallowa County Sheriff Steve Rogers has always maintained that he did not want to consider extend- ing county services to cover the city. However, Rogers met Episcopo and assisted the city in developing an ef- fective interview process for candi- dates. “If Enterprise asks for my help I’ll give it, but it’s none of my business (otherwise),” Rogers said. “I keep my nose out of it. I know that in these high-level professional positions like this it Must takes a long time to ¿ nd the right person. I think James (Episco- po) had all the good intentions in the world going in.” See SEARCH, Page A6 TIME TO JINGLE THRU JOSEPH Schedule Page A3 SCHOOL GETS CREATIVE WITH “Wallowa Lake — The Real Story” (Mt. Emily Press, 2015) by Joan Gilbert. Children’s book tells lake’s story Book the byproduct of student art project By 6FRt +eLVel Wallowa County Chieftain What did two ambitious and in- quisitive deer and one very annoyed pine tree have to do with the forma- tion of a local gem of nature, Wallowa Lake? The answer lies in a new chil- dren’s book that is the culmination of a sixth-grade art project that started in 2011. “Wallowa Lake — The Real Story” (Mt. Emily Press, 2015) by Joan Gil- bert offers a whimsical legend of how the lake came to be, followed by a few science lessons that provide an actual, geological explanation of the forces that carved it into our landscape. Gilbert wrote the book’s storyline, but the illustrations were pulled from a short claymation ¿ lm by the same name that was produced four years ago with her guidance by Colby Kni- fong’s sixth-grade class at Enterprise Elementary. “My son was in sixth grade,” Gil- bert said. “I knew it probably was my last art project with them, so I want- ed to do something really big. Before that, I had been teaching animation to kids at Chief Joseph Summer Camp.” Gilbert, who is a graphic designer as well as an author, had been involved with her kids’ school art projects for years before the Wallowa Lake ¿ lm. See BOOK, Page A9 Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftan Team-teachers Kyle Crawford and Jordan Alford surrounded by their sixth-grade students. Faced with over-full sixth grade, Enterprise Elementary employs unique approach By Kathleen Ellyn Wallowa County Chieftain T hirty-seven kids is just too many for one sixth-grade class. That’s the problem that faced Enterprise Schools Superintendent Brad Royse this year. Splitting the class in half was the logical step, but not the kind one, Royse said. “School had already started and I didn’t want to make the kids decide which teacher they wanted,” he said. Instead, he played to the strengths of two new ¿ rst-year teachers, Kyle Crawford and Jor- dan Alford, and divided the class only by subject matter. The teachers are in adjacent rooms and the kids cycle between them, 18 students at a time. “It’s much like junior high,” said Crawford. “The students just switch classes.” Crawford teaches math, science and social studies, while Alford teaches English, reading and spelling. So far, the parents and students love this arrangement, Royse said. It’s the best of both worlds: small class sizes means more teacher interaction, and sixth grade is still a single class, socially. 31W FattOePen IeG XS ZLth OaUJe ZLOG¿ UeV Washington ranchers blame state, federal agencies By Dan Wheat Capital Press CLE ELUM, Wash. — A panel of ranchers at the Washington Cattlemen’s Association an- nual meeting unloaded frustration and anger at state and federal agencies, saying their land management practices and inept ¿ re ¿ ghting are to blame for massive losses of rangeland, cattle and fencing in the last two years. The losses threaten the cattle industry, par- ticularly in Okanogan County where more than 1 million acres burned in the last two summers. That totals one third of the entire acreage of the county which, at 5,315 square miles, is larger than some states. Millions of dollars of public and private timber have been lost. About 1,000 head of cattle died in the Carlton ¿ re last year in Okanogan County while the tally so far this year is under 300. Hundreds of miles of fencing were lost both years but probably the biggest impact is loss of grazing on thousands of acres for several years causing ranchers to buy more hay and sell off cattle. “There’s got to be some change or this will ruin our industry,” said Vic Stokes, a Twisp rancher, who lost 250 head of cattle and 90 percent of his grazing in the Carlton ¿ re. The convention panel, Nov. 12 at Sunca- dia Resort, faulted the U.S. Forest Service and state agencies for not thinning forests and not allowing grazing which would reduce ¿ re fuel loads. The ranchers said local ¿ re¿ ghters do good work but are restrained when state and federal agencies take over. See FIRES, Page A9 Dan Wheat/Capital Press Vic Stokes, Twisp, Wash., rancher, speaks on wildfire panel at the Washington Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting near Cle Elum, Wash., Nov. 12. To his right is Okanogan County Commissioner Jim DeTro, Curlew rancher Doug Grumbach and Centerville rancher Neil Kayser.