HermistonHerald.com WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2018 $1.00 INSIDE DAWGS HOOPS Girls dive into league play with pair of wins. PAGE A10 NEW EDITOR McDowell promoted to lead Herald. PAGE A3 LOCKED IN Youth group plans New Years Eve’s party. PAGE A4 Congrats, you made it through Christmas By JADE MCDOWELL NEWS EDITOR When I was about 12, my parents came to the conclusion that most par- ents come to at some point: My three younger brothers and I had gotten too focused on the “get- ting” part of Christmas instead of the giving. Their solution was to decree that while “Santa” would still be bringing us a few modest store-bought gifts, our Christmas gifts to our siblings needed to be homemade. That ﬁ rst year produced some interesting results. One brother decided to make me a hat, and the ﬁ nal product was a hilar- iously tall faux-fur cre- ation that made me look like some sort of Rus- sian Abraham Lincoln. He, in return, received a maze made out of popsi- cle sticks from our young- est brother. Over the years, as we got older and developed our wood-working prow- ess, sewing skills, musical talents and artistic abili- ties, the quality of presents improved. But that was never really the point. The point was realizing when Christmas came around that I was some- how more excited to watch my brother open a pair of See XMAS, Page A8 Staﬀ photo by E.J. Harris/ Hermiston High School students chant anti-gun violence slogans on Kennison Field during a walkout in Hermiston. More than 300 student participated in the gun violence protest at a little after 10 a.m. on March 14. on Jan. 11 that Camp Umatilla, the train- ing facility at the former Umatilla Chemical Depot outside of Hermiston, would get a $25 million upgrade. While transfer of the rest of the depot’s land to local control was dis- cussed throughout 2018, the year once again ended with the property still in the Army’s control. (See Page A3) A look at the people, news and events of 2018 HERMISTON HERALD 2 018 was a year of continued growth and change for Hermiston, which sur- passed 18,000 residents this year. As the year comes to a close we look back on some of the most notable stories: JANUARY The new year represented a new begin- ning for the Greater Hermiston Area Cham- ber of Commerce, which opened the doors in a new location at the Cornerstone Plaza on Jan. 2. On Jan. 8, the city of Hermiston voted to give Lamb Weston a 15-year tax break on a $250 million expansion of its french fry fac- tory. In lieu of property taxes, the company will pay Hermiston and Umatilla County $500,000 apiece for the next 15 years. Later, in April, Governor Kate Brown would visit the facility and present a $500,000 check from the state’s strategic reserve fund. FEBRUARY Staﬀ photo by E.J. Harris/ Isela Bautista, center, of Sunnyside, Washington, restocks ears of corn at her booth for Bautista Farms in September at the Hermiston Farmers Market. Community mental health provider Life- ways received an ultimatum from its par- ent organization, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc., in January: make key changes to services, or risk losing its contract. Sev- eral community groups and law enforcement leaders were frustrated about the organiza- tion’s crisis response time, and the reliance on emergency rooms and jail for people in crisis. Lifeways hired an outside consultant to help with those goals. The Oregon National Guard announced Stanﬁ eld Secondary School Principal Beth Burton stepped into the role of district superintendent after an abrupt departure by former school chief Shelley Liscom. Liscom had announced her resignation in Decem- ber after a few months of contention with the board, initially planning to stay until the end of the year. When the board selected Burton as her successor, they asked Liscom to step down early and appointed Burton to the role in the middle of the year. Hermiston became even more aligned with Washington schools, following its entry into the WIAA sports conference by align- ing its spring break with its northern neigh- bors instead of Oregon. The decision by the school board caused concern among some See YEAR, Page A12 Education Foundation grants help students express themselves By JAYATI RAMAKRISHNAN STAFF WRITER 8 08805 93294 2 Whether letting their voices soar out over the audience during a performance, playing a perfect French horn solo, or simply being able to spell out a word in class, all students have reasons to express themselves. Teachers at the Hermiston School District had a variety of projects in mind when applying for grants from the Hermiston Education Foundation, but all had the basic goal of helping their stu- dents create and communicate. Karly Carlson, a special education teacher in Highland Hills’ Life Skills pro- gram, received a grant to purchase an app that will help her students with verbal communication issues be able to interact with others. The app is called “PECS,” or Picture Exchange Communication System. Stu- dents can customize it as needed, to speak words or phrases that they want to say. Many of the already-downloaded words come with pictures, or students can take their own to go along with the words they add. “Most of my students are nonver- bal,” Carlson said. “But as we know, just because we can’t speak doesn’t mean we don’t have things to say.” Highland Hills will use the grant money from HEF, about $230, to pur- chase the app for two iPads for use in the Life Skills classroom. Carlson said some students have the app on their personal tablets, and she can see it being useful both in and outside of school. During the school day, she plans to have students program spelling words See EDUCATION, Page A6 Staﬀ photo by E.J. Harris Junior Kevin Sams plays the tenor drums during the ﬁ ght song during a winter sports pep rally on Dec. 11 at Hermiston High School.