Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View Entire Issue (April 12, 2017)
April 12, 2017
Wallowa County Chieftain
up to public
his was supposed to be an age of transparency. The
nexus of education, democracy and technology
should be creating an environment in which public
information is widely available to everyone.
But the world seems to be getting more opaque. As
conspiracy theory websites
grow in popularity and are
given increasing credence
despite an absence of
fact, traditional media is
Voice of the Chieftain
increasingly denied access
to the hard data that reliable reports are based on. And
sensing the upper-hand, government has become more
aggressive about shutting down public record releases
and whistle blowers.
A perfect example of this obstructionist behavior by
a government agency came up in Eastern Oregon last
The Malheur Enterprise, a weekly newspaper in
Vale, published a detailed report about a con man who
avoided prison time by feigning insanity. The Oregon
Psychiatric Security Review Board discharged Anthony
Montwheeler last year, and less than a month later he was
accused of kidnapping and killing his ex-wife, fleeing
police and crashing into a married couple on their way to
work, killing the husband.
What would have made the report even more
complete is documentation detailing Montwheeler’s
mental evaluations — documents that were used as
evidence at hearings of the Security Review Board.
When the board refused to release the records to the
Enterprise, the paper appealed the decision to the
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who ruled the
documents should be turned over.
Instead of complying, the Security Review Board has
sued the small paper to keep the records secret. To that
end, they are spending taxpayer dollars on a $400-an-
hour lawyer to argue the case in court.
These records are critical, and they should be made
public. They show what state officials knew — and
didn’t know — as they ruled that Montwheeler should be
released. They will put hard facts in the hands of citizens
and hold those in power accountable.
But this is about more than Anthony Montwheeler, the
Malheur Enterprise and the Security Review Board. This
is about beating back the brazen attempts of government
agencies to obscure the truth. The balance is tipping in
their favor already, and if those officials are allowed to
shut out and intimidate by reaching into the deep pockets
of taxpayers, we can all expect less access and truth in
In our opinion, the Enterprise is exactly the right rural
weekly for this fight. Owners Scotta Callister and Les
Zaitz have deep backgrounds in rural journalism and
aren’t intimidated by bureaucracy or obstinance. Zaitz, a
former Oregonian reporter, told us Monday the paper has
received an outpouring of support from people “offended
by the legal mismatch.”
The paper has set up a legal defense fund through the
Oregon Newspaper Foundation.
Donations ranging from $10 to $1,000 have been
recorded, and there are hopes to receive $20,000 by the
end of the month to enter the fight on more even ground.
Zaitz said this case is a chance to underscore the
importance of public access into what the government is
doing. And he is hopeful it will cultivate an environment
in which real reform is possible.
USPS No. 665-100
P.O. Box 338 • Enterprise, OR 97828
Office: 209 NW First St., Enterprise, Ore.
Phone: 541-426-4567 • Fax: 541-426-3921
Wallowa County’s Newspaper Since 1884
M eMber O regOn n ewspaper p ublishers a ssOciatiOn
N EWSROOM ASSISTANT
A D S ALES CONSULTANT
O FFICE MANAGER
Marissa Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Wahl, email@example.com
Stephen Tool, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Ellyn, email@example.com
Jennifer Powell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheryl Jenkins, email@example.com
p ublished every w ednesday by :
EO Media Group
Periodical Postage Paid at Enterprise and additional mailing offices
Subscription rates (includes online access)
Subscriptions must be paid prior to delivery
See the Wallowa County Chieftain on the Internet
facebook.com/Wallowa | twitter.com/wcchieftain
POSTMASTER — Send address changes to
Wallowa County Chieftain
P.O. Box 338
Enterprise, OR 97828
Contents copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction
without permission is prohibited.
‘Let it snow’ ... no, it must go
We have been continuing our
exploration of Wallowa County over the
past week, and it has been a pleasant
adventure. We have met so many terrific
people who have welcomed us with
Saturday morning we drove through
the snow to Joseph and had breakfast. It
was great. Then we walked around town
until we were cold and headed back to
the warmth of the car.
Later in the day, we headed up
to Wallowa for the Spring Fling and
rummage sale. We met several avid
readers, and even one who once lived in
the same part of Colorado as we did.
Although we were still stuffed from
breakfast, the ham and bean soup looked
and smelled terrific. We did partake of
fry bread, however. It was great.
Sunday we decided to get
adventurous and headed north on Hwy. 3
to Lewiston. Yikes.
Now mind you, having lived in
Colorado, we are somewhat accustomed
to narrow and winding roads. We lived
30 minutes from Red Mountain Pass
(11,000 feet) and had driven the road
from Ouray to Silverton a number of
The Lewiston road is like Red
Mountain Pass times 50. It seemed as if
it would never end.
After a brief sojourn in Lewiston, we
headed back through Walla Walla and
came down Hwy. 204. There is still an
incredible amount of snow above Elgin.
We arrived home Sunday night tired
but with the realization we had seen
WAHL TO WALL
some of the most beautiful territory in
Getting up Monday morning to more
snow wasn’t quite what we expected,
although we’ve been warned to expect
the unexpected weather-wise in this area.
Having grown up in North Dakota,
I am somewhat familiar with snow
lingering until well into April and
beyond. I recall a couple time when
snow fell on July 4.
Then we lived in Minnesota for
nearly 20 years, another area where snow
is common for months on end, especially
in the northern part of the state.
So you add an extra layer of clothing,
and life goes on.
We were encouraged Saturday to
see the snow didn’t keep folks at home
much. Minnesota was that way. No
matter how big the blizzard whirling
around outside, people were out
shopping and eating, cross-country
skiing and just going about life in
By far the best efforts to remove snow
from roadways and other surfaces we
found in Minnesota. We have a good
friend who works in the snow plowing
division of one of the larger Minneapolis
Chief Joseph stood bravely against
the snow that fell Saturday morning in
Joseph and across the county.
Those folks engage in all-out war
with snow their sworn enemy, and they
don’t stop until every last flake is moved
and disposed of properly. If it took 14
consecutive hours behind the wheel of
a plow, so be it. It’s what you do when
you’re under attack by Mother Nature.
I fully expected the daffodils in our
front yard to be a wrinkled mess by
Monday morning, but there they were,
yellow and fresh.
I suspect summer will make an
appearance before long, and after this
past winter, we’re all looking forward
Wahl is the editor of the Wallowa
County Chieftain and is looking forward
to eating on the patio without gloves.
Branding season best of times
My favorite time of year has rolled
around, branding season. This is the time
of year when ranch families get together
and help each other brand calves and
Calves are branded, immunized and
wormed after their mothers have gone
through their annual immunization and
worming. The occasions are fun and
festive with a barbecue part of the fiesta.
In old California, the owners of large land
grants would travel from rancho to rancho
to brand, and it was usually a several
day fandango at each place. Today they
carry on the tradition in a smaller way
on the Ranchero Visitadores trail ride.
The ride starts in Santa Ynez and each
night is spent at a different ranch where
they team rope or team pen for a couple
of hours before cocktails and barbecue.
Similar rides are conducted in Arizona
in the winter and have proven to be very
While in California in February,
I participated in a branding at Dan
Erickson’s. Most of the brandings there
are in the fall and are usually wrapped
up by Christmas. Dan’s was a little late
since he calves a little later than most. The
Erickson’s family ranch is in what’s left of
the California grasslands and the cattle are
summered in the Yosemite high country.
The calves are branded a little later
than here and are therefore bigger. This
means the calves are all headed and
heeled. Most of the calves here are heeled
and dragged to the fire.
Until I moved to this county I couldn’t
afford to buy a finished horse and had
to buy a green broke colt or raise and
start my own horse. I always enjoyed
starting a colt. You get a great sense of
accomplishment as the colt begins to
understand what you want as the training
There are periods when the learning
plateaus and it is basically repetition, but
then there are those leaps of understanding
when the colt finally figures out what you
want and responds. The toughest thing for
a colt is to figure out what the heck you
are after with all the pulling and spurring
that is going on. A lot of the process is
common sense, and the toughest thing for
a trainer is determine when to go to the
I read what Tom Dorrance wrote about
training horses. I had a tough time really
understanding what he was saying exactly.
What I did get from reading his book is
the idea of common sense and what your
colt might be thinking. Tom was born and
raised in Wallowa County and became
world famous as a horseman. The term
“horse whisperer” was coined and applied
One of his students, Ray Hunt, also
became quite famous for teaching people
about horses. Since them, there have
been a bunch of others that have defined
themselves as horse whisperers, and you
would think they invented it all. The
truth is, they are just parroting what Tom
Dorrance from Wallowa County taught
My wife’s godfather and uncle,
Frank Freitas, was probably the greatest
horseman I knew. Frank always rode
a horse that was good-looking, pretty
snappy and broke to death. Frank and his
brother owned a large ranch called the
Kesterson that ran along the San Joaquin
River from Los Banos to Gustine, Calif., a
distance of close to 30 miles.
See QUALLE, Page A5
There’s help if you have Parkinson’s
April is Parkinson’s Awareness
Month. Since Michael J. Fox,
Muhammad Ali and Linda Ronstadt
have shared their stories, most people
have heard of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
But they usually think that tremor
is the only symptom. Here are other
problems that are common:
• Muscular: stiff muscles,
difficulty standing, difficulty with
bodily movements, involuntary
movements, muscle rigidity, problems
with coordination, rhythmic muscle
contractions, slow bodily movement or
slow shuffling gait.
• Whole body: fatigue, dizziness,
poor balance or restlessness
LETTERS to the EDITOR
• Cognitive: amnesia, confusion
in the evening hours, dementia, or
difficulty thinking and understanding.
• Sleep: early awakening,
nightmares, or restless sleep.
• Speech: impaired voice, soft
speech, or voice box spasms.
• Mood: anxiety or apathy.
• Nasal: distorted sense of smell or
loss of smell.
• Facial: jaw stiffness or reduced
Also common are blank stare,
constipation, daytime sleepiness,
depression, difficulty swallowing,
drooling, falling, fear of falling,
limping, loss in contrast sensitivity,
neck tightness, small handwriting,
trembling, unintentional writhing or
If you or someone you love has
Parkinson’s, consider joining us at one
of our Wallowa County Parkinson’s
Support Group meetings, meant for
anyone interested in sharing, caring and
learning more about Parkinson’s and
how to support one another living with
or someone we love with the condition.
See LETTERS, Page A5