WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 WINNER OF THE 2008 ONPA GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Ranchers stampede to Public Lands Council Resigned or fired, PENDLETON
Confusion shadows league’s executive director employment
By ERIN MILLS East Oregonian
Wyoming rancher Lois Herbst gets downright angry when someone mentions sage grouse. Although the birds, best known for their colorful spring mating dance, have yet to be labeled “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service recently proclaimed them in need of protection. Herbst happens to ranch in a sage grouse “core area,” designated off-limits to wind development. If allowed to lease to wind companies, Herbst said, she could be making $55,000 a year. “Who is going to pay me for raising sage grouse?” she said at a Public Lands Council presentation Monday. Jeremy Maestas, biologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Services, sympathized with Herbst. But Wyoming is prime sage grouse habitat; essentially, he told Herbst, she was
By DEAN BRICKEY East Oregonian
Staff photo by E.J. Harris
Gary Miller, a field supervisor with the Department of Fish & Wildlife in La Grande, talks about the expansion of wolves into northeastern Oregon on Monday during the Public Lands Council annual meeting in Pendleton.
Whether Tammy Dennee still is the executive director of the Oregon Wheat Growers League depends upon whom you ask. Darren Padget, a Grass Valley farmer and the league’s president, said Tuesday the executive board fired Dennee Monday morning, Sept. 13. He apologized for offering just a brief statement, but said more information would be revealed after all the statewide organization’s officers could be briefed about the situation. “The executive committee of the Oregon Wheat Growers League has relieved Mrs. Dennee of her duties,” he said. Dennee Using the league’s e-mail address, Dennee released a statement that arrived at the East Oregonian Tuesday morning: “Upon further consideration and urging by the Oregon Wheat Growers League Board of Directors, I have been asked to continue as executive director of the league,” she wrote. “Therefore, I will continue to serve the wheat, barley, and oilseed producers of the state in this capacity going forward.” Her Tuesday statement followed her e-mailed statement Thursday that indicated she had resigned, but offered no explanation. Before working as the league’s executive director, Dennee was membership director for seven years. The East Oregonian could not contact Dennee for comments in time for this story.
SeaPort Airlines adds flights for Round-Up PENDLETON
Farmers’ markets draw few food stamp users
AP photo by Carlos Osorio
Temeka Williams, right, of Detroit, uses her bridge card tokens for a purchase from Elizabeth and Gary Lauber from Sweet Delights at the Farmer’s Market in Detroit on Saturday.
By DAVID RUNK and SARAH SKIDMORE The Associated Press
PORTLAND — Despite widespread efforts to attract low-income shoppers, farmers’ markets have had limited success in drawing people like Bishop Reed, who in the past three years has lost his job and his home. Reed signed up for food stamps six months ago and uses them to buy groceries for himself, his teenage daughter and a niece at either a local grocery chain or one of the discount stores. “What is a farmers’ market?” asked Reed, a Portland-area resi-
dent, when told he could use his benefits there as well. About one-fourth of the nation’s 6,000 or so farmers’ markets accept food stamps, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. But the bulk of SNAP benefits redeemed last year — 82 percent — went to grocery stores and supercenters. Less than 0.01 percent was spent at farmers’ markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although organizers have opened markets in a wider array of neighborhoods and changed their marketing tactics to reach low-income residents, many food stamps users still don’t know they can shop
Oregon lawmaker weighs in on heavy Idaho loads By JOHN MILLER Associated Press Writer
BOISE, Idaho — An Oregon congressman wants the federal government to investigate an oil company’s disputed plans to ship giant equipment through Idaho and Montana to an energy project in Canada. Democratic U.S. Rep. Pete DeFazio wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, saying he fears taxpayers are being asked to subsidize more than 200 shipments by Exxon Mobil Corp. over U.S. Highway 12. Exxon Mobil’s gear, weighing more than 300 tons, is due to travel from Lewiston, Idaho, and through Montana starting this winter on its way to the Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, Canada. Separately, ConocoPhillips also wants to send four shipments from Lewiston along Highway 12 to a refinery near Billings, Mont., this fall, though DeFazio didn’t mention that company’s shipments in his letter to LaHood. DeFazio, a member of the House
Transportation Committee, contends Exxon Mobil’s shipments will benefit the Irving, Texasbased company and the Korean manufacturer of its oil equipment, while degrading highway surfaces, bridges and road shoulders in Idaho and Montana. “If Idaho and Montana issue oversize and overweight load permits in violation of (federal standards), American taxpayers will pay the price for the unprecedented wear and tear on our highway system,” DeFazio wrote in his letter. “I am opposed to subsidizing Exxon Mobil oil sands mining in Canada with taxpayer dollars,” he added. “I urge you to investigate the permitting process in both states to ensure the impacts of oversized commercial traffic are not being underestimated.” The shipments are opposed by environmental groups and some residents of north-central Idaho who live along Highway 12 where it runs next to the Lochsa and
at the markets, lack transportation or time to get to them or simply believe they can spend their benefits better elsewhere. Advocates say the issue is important because one in eight Americans now receives food stamps, and lowincome communities often have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and other health problems made worse without access to fresh, healthy foods. “It is the best place to spend the (money),” said Anna Curtin, education and outreach specialist for the Portland Farmers Market in Oregon. “It benefits users, it benefits the
Last-minute travelers to the Pendleton RoundUp still have an opportunity to book a flight. SeaPort Airlines has added three round-trip flights between Portland and Pendleton this week to accommodate a growing number of passengers. The flights will give last- minute visitors — or those opting not to drive — an opportunity to fly in for the week’s festivities. Claire James, a SeaPort spokeswoman in Portland, said regular flights were filling up between Portland and Pendleton today, Friday and Sunday. SeaPort added one round-trip flight each day to facilitate last-minute travelers. Passengers can book flights departing Portland today at 5:30 p.m., Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Additional flights departing Pendleton are scheduled at 6:35 p.m. to-
Need a flight? To book a flight with Seaport Airlines for the Round-Up, visit www.seaportairlines.com or call 888-573-2767.
day, 3:45 p.m. Friday and 4:15 Sunday. The commuter airline also has made arrangements for those who want to attend the Round-Up, but can’t find overnight accommodations in the Pendleton area. SeaPort is offering customers the opportunity to book a $65 room, based on availability, at the Portland Airport Fairfield Inn Marriott. Passengers must call 503-253-3889 once they’ve made their SeaPort reservation. Itineraries must be presented upon checkin at the Fairfield. Tickets may be purchased at SeaPort’s website, www.SeaPortAirlines.com or by calling 888-573-2767.
Big night for tea party: O’Donnell wins Delaware By MICHAEL R. BLOOD The Associated Press
It’s tea time in America. Conservative Christine O’Donnell pulled off a stunning upset over nine-term Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware Tuesday, propelled by tea party activists into a November showdown with Democrat Chris Coons. After a primary season shaped by economic pain and exasperated voters, the grass-roots, anti-establishment movement can claim wins in at least seven GOP Senate races, a handful of Republican gubernatorial contests and dozens of House primary campaigns, and it influenced many others. In the fight for New Hampshire’s Republican Senate nomination, a second insurgent trailed in vote counting that was still going on Wednesday. After lagging in early returns, former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte moved ahead of Ovide Lamon-
Republican Party officials who saw Castle as their only hope for winning the Delaware seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden made clear they will not provide funding for O'Donnell in the general election.
tagne with a lead of roughly 1,000 votes, with results tallied from 85 percent of precincts. Ayotte was backed by establishment Republicans and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin; Lamontagne, a former chairman of the state Board of Education, campaigned with the support of tea party activists. In New York, tea party ally Carl Paladino dealt another shock to the GOP establishment, defeating former Rep. Rick Lazio in the race for the party’s nomination for governor. Paladino will face state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the well-known son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
The Delaware outcome reflected the energy and enthusiasm of the tea partiers, but O’Donnell also enters the race against Coons as an underdog, putting GOP control of the Senate further out of reach. Former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove told Fox News Channel, “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win,” and Delaware Republicans actively worked against her in as Tuesday’s voting drew to an end. On Wednesday, a triumphant O’Donnell accused the party of “Republican cannibalism.”