Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, June 15, 2016, Page A3, Image 3

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    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2016
Marie Baldo prepares to retire — for the second time
Second career
after Army fulfills
a delayed dream
Staff Writer
Librarians often get ste-
reotyped as quiet individu-
als who do most of their liv-
ing in the pages of books.
But before Marie Baldo
was handling returns, she
was handling nuclear weap-
ons in Germany.
Baldo, Hermiston Pub-
lic Library’s director since
2004, is retiring at the
end of the month. It’s her
second retirement, after
¿rst retiring from the 8.6.
“When I was a teen there
were two things I wanted to
do,” she said. “I wanted to
be a librarian — big time,
I wanted to be a librari-
an — and I wanted to join
WAC (the Women’s Army
When she left high
school she decided to pur-
sue the librarian path, but
she graduated from college
into a recession and after
si[ months of not ¿nding
work as a librarian she went
on to plan B and joined the
The WAC was being
phased out, but her college
degree allowed her to enter
as a second lieutenant and
participate for a year be-
fore she was transitioned to
ordnance work. 6he spent
much of her Army career
handling nuclear weapons
in Germany, but jokes she
was “issued” her husband
Fred Allen at Redstone
Arsenal in Huntsville, Al-
abama. 6he eventually
transitioned from nuclear
weapons to chemical ones
and ended up as command-
er of the 8matilla Chemical
Depot in the late 1990s.
The next step would
have been the Pentagon,
but Baldo didn’t want to
move to Washington, D.C.
Her husband had already
retired from the Army to
follow her to Hermiston,
so she made the decision to
retire too.
6he saw an opening for
a librarian in 8matilla and
decided to dust off her li-
brary sciences degree. The
job may not have been as
exciting, she said, but it
also didn’t keep her up at
night worrying that a mis-
take under her watch would
Baldo’s retirement
The public is invited to Baldo’s
retirement gathering Thursday
from 4-6 p.m. at the library, 235 E.
Gladys Ave. For more information
call 541-567-2882.
Hermiston Public Library director Marie Baldo stands next to a
display case full of pigs she has received over the years working
at the library.
cause mass casualties.
“6pecial weapons, nu-
clear and chemical, it’s a
real tightrope, a zero-mis-
take environment,” she
said. “Going from that to
putting on antlers and doing
a story time was a relief.”
6he had to get used to the
way libraries had changed
since she left school — the
absence of a physical card cat-
alog was a shock after spend-
ing so many hours in school
learning how to properly type
up cards. But she said many
functions of her job, such as
managing employees and
writing up reports, are not
much different than what she
did in the Army.
Libraries are becoming
wall-less, she said. People
used to be limited to the
books on the shelves of
their libraries. Now they
can jump online and request
an inter-library loan from
across the state, download
an e-book, listen to an au-
diobook or use a subscrip-
tion-based database.
“I can’t tell you what it’s
going to look like in the fu-
ture,” she said.
One of Baldo’s favorite
parts of the job, however, is
still buying books.
“I love zombie books,”
she said. “We probably have
a higher percentage of zom-
bie books than at other librar-
Another favorite experi-
ence has been working with
the teen advisory council.
Baldo said when she came
to the library the young adult
section was small and mostly
held classics like Tom 6aw-
yer. 6he put together a group
of teenagers, won a grant
and took them to Barnes and
Noble in Kennewick to pick
out $1,000 worth of young
adult books for the library
and then discuss them over
lunch. The “mall crawl” has
since become a beloved an-
nual tradition.
“They found ‘The Hunger
Games,’” she said. “They’ve
found good books, and our
circulation jumped tremen-
6he said she already had
a large amount of respect for
the staff when she arrived,
because she had served on
the Hermiston City Coun-
cil and knew how hard they
worked. 6he has enjoyed
working with them and col-
laborating with other librar-
“I know librarians from
Ontario to Hood River,
and they have become my
friends,” she said.
One thing she hasn’t en-
joyed as much is dealing
with the facilities side, in-
cluding several major repairs
and remodeling the library to
get rid of a former decorating
scheme she described as “vi-
olently pink.”
Now she is leaving it all
behind for retirement on June
30. Baldo said her pre-retire-
ment present for herself was
going through the qualifying
process for the T6A pre-
check program. 6he and her
husband already have two
trips planned (to the beach
and an Alaskan cruise) and
hope to take many more. Her
third dream as a teenager, af-
ter the Army and library, was
to travel.
“Talk about a lucky life,”
she said.
The city has not yet se-
lected Baldo’s successor and
is still reviewing candidates.
Council OKs hike to electricity customers this fall
Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Community members
are collecting donations for
a Hermiston family work-
ing to rebuild their lives
after losing their home to a
¿re on June 4.
Ayden Prewitt, a Herm-
iston High 6chool senior,
had walked with his class
earlier in the day and was
going home to get ready for
the school-wide graduation
party when he was greet-
ed by a wall of thick black
smoke at his front door.
He called 9-1-1, then his
parents, Cyndi and Jeremie
Prewitt, who were at anoth-
er graduation party a half-
mile away.
His parents drove home,
arriving before the ¿re de-
partment got there. They
ran into the house to try and
grab what they could and
search for the family’s two
dogs, but the smoke and
Àames pushed them back
out again before they could
save the Pomeranians.
“There was just nothing
we could do,” Cyndi said.
The insurance adjuster
has ruled the house a total
loss, although the family is
still working to salvage a
few items the ¿re skipped
over or they pulled out
when they ¿rst arrived.
“We lost a lot of pho-
tos, but there are still some
left,” Jeremie said.
Their daughter JaNessa,
who will be a senior in the
fall, also lost items, includ-
ing some of the clothing
she wears to events as a
8matilla County Fair prin-
cess. The Prewitts’ third
daughter 6kylar is not liv-
ing at home but had some
things stored there.
Cyndi and Jeremie said
the help they have received
since has been extreme-
ly humbling, starting with
three of Ayden’s friends
who refused to leave their
side the night of the ¿re.
“They missed out on
their graduation party to
stay with us,” Cyndi said,
wiping away tears.
Employers have of-
Staffj Writer
The Eastern Oregon
Trade and Event Center ap-
proved a $9.1 million bud-
get on June 10.
The 2016-2017 budget
includes $8.5 million ear-
marked for construction.
Operating costs have
been a question mark for
the EOTEC board, as the
event center building re-
cently became operational
while most of the project
remains under construc-
tion. For the 2016-2017 ¿s-
cal year the city of Herm-
iston and 8matilla County
are budgeted to contribute
$45,190 each to be added
to a beginning cash fund of
$55,300 and an estimated
event revenue of $46,200
for the year. An additional
$297,665 from the tourism
promotion assessment on
hotels will provide funds to
be used for marketing.
In addition to business
manager Heather Cannell’s
salary, personnel costs will
include a full-time admin-
istrative assistant, two part-
time janitorial staff and a
part-time ¿nance position
split with the city.
On the construction side,
bills will be paid out of a be-
ginning cash balance of $4.6
million, as well as a $1.4 mil-
lion state grant administrated
by the Port of 8matilla, $1
fered paid time off to
deal with the aftermath of
the fire, Jeremie’s moth-
er Donna Anderson has
let them stay with her,
and friends and strang-
ers alike have donated
clothing, gift certificates
and other items. Mailing
Made Easy, where Cyndi
works, is acting as a drop-
off point for donations,
and other people have
reached out through Face-
book asking how they can
help while the Prewitts
rebuild their home.
“There has been a tre-
mendous outpouring of
people wanting to help,”
Jeremie said. “It’s been
very comforting.”
Cyndi’s coworker Car-
The Hermiston City
Council approved an elec-
tric rate increase of 2.59
percent Monday.
The change was small-
er than the 4.4 percent in-
crease Hermiston Energy
6ervices superintendent
Nate Rivera originally
recommended during a
May 23 work session.
“We were able to tight-
en our belts and ¿nd some
cost savings,” he said.
The rate adjustments
vary by account type. The
charge per kilowatt hour
will remain the same for
residential customers but
their base charge will in-
crease from $10.50 per
month to $14. 6mall com-
mercial customers will
see a .71 percent increase,
large commercial cus-
“We wish you
a Great
tomers a .4 percent increase,
industrial no increase and ir-
rigation customers a 6.43 per-
cent increase.
The changes will take effect
on bills calculated after 6ept. 1.
The rate increase follows
an 11 percent increase adopt-
ed a year ago, but prior to that
Hermiston Energy 6ervices
had not raised rates for 12 years.
The utility had instead built up
a sizable reserve fund when the
cost of wholesale power from
Bonneville Power Administra-
tion was low and has been pull-
ing money from its reserves for
the past few years to make up
for signi¿cant increases in the
cost of power from BPA.
Rivera said at the May
23 workshop that model was
not sustainable. He also said
that Hermiston Energy 6er-
vices needed extra funds to
make capital improvements,
including a new $1 million
substation called Hermiston
East that should help reduce
power outages in the city and
get customers back online
faster if they do occur. Rivera
also wants to institute “smart
meters” that would tell HE6
as soon as the power goes
out and allow the utility to
automatically collect detailed
reports of customers’ energy
usage without sending a me-
ter reader door to door.
See Us for Hearing Tests Every
Monday and Tuesday.
29 SW Dorion, Pendleton, OR
Call 541-276-3155 for appointment
H ibbert
D ental
1100 Southgate, Suite 3 Pendleton, OR 97801
million raised through an
increase in the tourism pro-
motion assessment and do-
nations from the community.
The money will go toward
constructing barns, a rodeo
arena, food stalls, restrooms
and ¿nishing touches such as
fences and lighting.
www.hibbertdental.com • 541-612-3707
When they say “Summer in the city!”
and you say “The weather is pretty?”
405 N. 1st St., Suite #107,
Ric Jones,
Verna Taylor,
Forrest Cahill,
• Build your Confi dence?
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THURSDAY June 16, 6:45am
Blue Mountain Community College
Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center
Rm 134. 975 SE Columbia Dr, Hermiston OR
Tuesdays, 6-7pm
109 NE 5th Ave, Milton-Freewater, OR
Or check out these other fi ne Toastmaster Clubs
Pendleton Toastmasters, Articulate Ambassadors
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246 SW Dorion, Pendleton
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was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the
world may be different because I was important in the Life of a Child.
N F W
Exchange your old flag for a new American Flag!
Honoring Veterans
McKay Creek Estates
In honor of National Flag Week, we
will be handing out free
American flags.
Flags may be exchanged
Sunday, June 12 thru
Saturday, June 18 between
9:00am and 5:00pm.
Limited supply,
reserve yours today!
There will be a ceremonial
disposal of the retired flags
that are collected.
You're a grand old flag,
you're a high flying flag,
and forever in peace
may you wave.
~George M. Cohan
McKay Creek Estates
1601 Southgate Pl
Pendleton, OR 97801
(541) 276-1987