Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, December 26, 2018, Image 1

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Girls dive into league play
with pair of wins.
McDowell promoted to
lead Herald.
Youth group plans New
Years Eve’s party.
you made
it through
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
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:
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.
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
08805 93294
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
“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
During the school day, she plans to
have students program spelling words
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