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About The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current | View Entire Issue (April 19, 2017)
FIVE LOCAL EASTER EGG HUNTS – PAGE B10
Grant County’s newspaper since 1868
W EDNESDAY , A PRIL 19, 2017
• N O . 16
• 20 P AGES
a visit to see the
Statue of Liberty.
Monument on the
National Mall in
was one of many
stops for the Philly
Positive impression, diversity of
experiences for 21 Grant Union students
By Angel Carpenter
Blue Mountain Eagle
fter two years of grueling fundraising activities,
21 Grant Union seventh- and eighth-graders and
14 chaperones made their Philly Trip a reality.
The group visited Philadelphia, New York and
Washington, D.C., March 24 through April 2,
during spring break.
Traveling to the Big Apple was an eye-opening culture
shock for most of the students.
“Just walking around New York was crazy, compared to
where we live,” said eighth-grader Quinten Hallgarth. “There
are so many people.”
The trip to downtown New York City included a ride
in three limos in Times Square and a night out at the
Gershwin Theatre for the play “Wicked.”
One day, the students went from having homemade break-
fast with the Amish in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to going
through security at the Pentagon.
“I learned a lot about the Pentagon that I never knew,” said
seventh-grader Sam McCracken. “I never thought it was that
Quinten said he was also impressed by the Pentagon, where
they walked a mile and a half of the 17 and a half miles of
“The guys told some funny stories,” he said. “They have a
big workout gym. Two White Houses could ﬁ t inside.”
“My favorite part was being able to see the White House,”
said eighth-grader Jordyn Young. “We got to go inside.”
Her other favorite spots included the Supreme Court and
See PHILLY, Page A8
The Philly Trip kids bring the Eagle along to the
Philadelphia Magic Gardens.
In tune with art
Traveling artist and piano tuner splits time between Oregon and New Mexico
By Rylan Boggs
Blue Mountain Eagle
The Eagle/Rylan Boggs
David Seacord plays the grand piano in the United
Methodist Church in John Day Friday, April 7. Seacord
tunes pianos and paints and said local retiring piano
technician Ed Carwithen is referring clients to him.
When David Seacord paints, he feels he
is merely a conduit for a higher power to
Instead of holding the brush, he is the
He started painting at 50 years old and
has since become a nationally sold artist.
Seacord splits his time between operating
out of Prairie City and New Mexico. When
on the road, he lives out of a large industri-
al truck retroﬁ tted with a personal library,
kitchen, sleeping area and piano.
As well as being a painter, he is also a
musician and piano tuning expert. Seacord
said he has tuned 10,000-15,000 pianos,
which provides a steady source of income
between art sales. He said local retiring pi-
ano technician Ed Carwithen is referring
clients to him.
Seacord paints emotionally and rarely
knows what the ﬁ nal product will look like.
“Painting is a spiritual process,” he said.
“I experience myself as the brush. I expe-
rience that there is a higher power that is
doing the painting.”
People often point out divine “beauties”
he subconsciously put into his own art. One
example is a small grizzly bear in his piece
Frozen Wild Freedom, a landscape of a
mountain lake in the winter.
Seacord’s publisher, Billie Sheen, has
high praise for David’s work and has faith
See ART, Page A8
County opposes governor’s proposed cuts to veteran funding
Budget increases from Measure 96, but Brown
proposes cutting $10 million from general fund
By Rylan Boggs
Blue Mountain Eagle
Grant County Court members
unanimously agreed to oppose cuts to
the Oregon Department of Veterans’
Affairs included in Gov. Kate Brown’s
County Judge Scott Myers said the
court signed a resolution created by
the Association of Oregon Counties in
opposition to cuts to the ODVA to en-
sure services for veterans in the county
After 84 percent of voters ap-
proved Measure 96, which allocated
1.5 percent of state lottery funds to
serve veterans, Brown approved cuts
from the department’s budget from
the general fund for 2017-19.
The ODVA is expected to receive
almost $18 million in lottery funds
but lose roughly $10 million from
the state’s general fund. Under the
proposed budget, the department will
see a $93 million increase overall
compared to the 2015-17 budget and
would add four jobs.
The upcoming biennium’s budget
will increase to about $512 million
from about $419 million in 2015-17
with the majority of funding coming
from other sources, including veteran
loan repayments, bond fees and Medi-
Myers said he was concerned
Brown was going back on promises to
fund veteran services and didn’t want
to see them lose $10
million in potential
Of the roughly
7,200 residents in
Grant County, more
than 10 percent are
Jeff Wilcox veterans — 809, ac-
cording to the U.S.
The Association of Oregon Coun-
ties said Measure 96 was intended to
strengthen funding for veterans, not
back-ﬁ ll budget cuts.
“A reduction in general fund sup-
port for Oregon’s veterans would not
honor the will of the voters,” the AOC
said in the resolution.
Grant County Veteran Service
Officer Jeff Wilcox said the overall
increase in funding was a step in the
right direction, but the county need-
ed to have plans in place for when
the money was allocated.
He said he was a big supporter of
John Day City Manager Nick Green’s
proposed hydroponic wastewater
treatment plant and housing plan. He
thought the wastewater plant could
offer job opportunities for vets and
called it a “winner for Grant County.”
Wilcox also said the housing plan,
which focuses on offering a range of
housing opportunities, would be an
effective way to provide homes for
veterans. To better serve veterans, he
said the veteran service ofﬁ cer posi-
tion in Grant County would need to be
changed from part time to full time.
Wilcox fears funding will be in-
sufﬁ cient for the high percentage of
veterans in the county. He compared
state funds for veterans to a leaking
bucket carried from west to east with
little left in the bucket when it reached