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Business/Ag Life



Educators to bring newfound knowledge to the classroom

Hot Lake Springs slates grand opening Aug. 5-7 HOT LAKE — After years of work, David and Lee Manuel are set for the grand opening of their Hot Lake Springs resort. The Manuels purchased the Hot Lake property, with its historic brick building that has served variously as a sanatorium, hospital and hotel, in 2003. Top-to-bottom renovations followed, with various aspects of the business opening as they were completed. Hot Lake Springs includes a bronze foundry, bed and breakfast, Magnoni’s Fine Italian Dining, a gallery and gift shop, a museum, the ReStore SalonSpa, a coffee drive-through and other features. Grand opening events begin at 5 p.m. Aug. 4 with a welcoming ceremony, a film about the restoration and a reception and a dinner. The opening continues Saturday with a flag raising, presentations by David Manuel and Braden Manuel, Jane Kirkpatrick and Bill Gulick, and more. An old-fashioned barbecue with musical guests is scheduled Saturday at 11 a.m., and a scavenger hunt goes on at 4 p.m. The flag raising, by members of the Oregon National Guard, will take place at noon. Sunday’s activities include a prayer walk and barbecue lunch and dinner. For a complete schedule or more information, call 541-963-4685.

Piano teacher goes digital Longtime La Grande piano teacher Joyce Hoke recently upgraded her business, Joyful Sounds Piano Lessons, with digital equipment. Hoke, who offers child and adult piano lessons in her studio at 1302 Walnut St., has purchased a Yamaha Clavinola digital piano, and also a Yamaha PocketTrak digital recorder for recording music to be sent over the Internet. Hoke said she has been playing piano more than 40 years, and teaching it for 23. “I teach piano to people of all ages and skill levels, emphasizing sight reading and fun activities,” she said. Originally from Joyce Hoke Canada, she moved to La Grande eight years ago. She’s been a worship leader and piano teacher at church, and an accompanist for the La Grande High School choir. Her husband, Loyd, owns Loyd Loyd’s Property Improvement, a local construction company. The couple has two grown children, Timothy and Rebecca. Hoke takes on about 40 students a year, and teaches year-round. Reach her at 541-910-3992 or by email at The website is

Employer assistance seminars coming to Eastern Oregon Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian has announced the final series of educational seminars for employers in Eastern Oregon this year. The seminars each focus on a particular topic and provide in-depth discussion of how to comply with state and federal laws. The seminars will be held Aug. 2-3 in Ontario and Aug. 4 in Pendleton. The upcoming seminar series includes: • Aug. 2 in Ontario: Effective Supervisory Practices The seminar offers practical tips and strategies for handling the supervisory process from hire to fire, and at every step in between. • Aug. 3 in Ontario: Wage and Hour Laws Seminar covers wage and hour issues, including meal periods and rest breaks, exempt and non-exempt employees, independent contractors and volunteers, deductions, minimum wage, travel and training time, and final paychecks and other payroll issues. Aug. 4 in Pendleton: Payroll Issues This seminar covers wage collection laws and garnishments, final paychecks, COBRA, overtime, comp time, differences between private and public sector employers, calculating hours worked and employee exemptions, recordkeeping and furloughs and pay reduction issues. For registration information, go to nar.shtml.

Small Business Happenings is a column about Union and Wallowa counties’ small business community. The column carries news about business start-ups, business events and business owners and employees who earn awards and recognition, or make significant gains in their careers. The column is editorial in nature and is not ad space or a marketing tool. Products and services will be discussed only in general terms. There is no charge for inclusion in the column. Items can be submitted via e-mail to, or phoned in to 541-963-3161.

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ifteen Oregon teachers became the students at last week’s Summer Agricultural Institute. The program is a weeklong educational opportunity for K-12 teachers who have little or no agricultural background. They receive three graduate-level credits from OSU for a reduced price along with handson instruction on incorporating agriculture into their classroom curriculum. The “hands on” part became a reality in the program’s sessions, particularly in Wednesday’s ruminant nutrition course at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Union. Associate Professor Chad Mueller and EOARC Superintendent Tim DelCurto, who both work in OSU’s Department of Animal Science, walked the teachers through a short explanation of ruminant digestive systems, answering questions about the beef and dairy industries and even fast food companies’ marketing tactics. Mueller and DelCurto joked that the next part of the session was the one that made the difference between earning an A and earning a B in the course: Teachers reached a gloved hand inside a cow’s stomach via a cannula on its side, exploring its rumin and learning about pre-gastric fermentation. Afterward, they examined samples of rumin microbial populations under a microscope to get a closer look at the contents of the cow’s stomach. The teachers spent the rest of the week visiting other farms, ranches and agricultural organizations and wrote lesson plans to present at the end of the week. “This is an opportunity for the agricultural community to put out more information,” Jana Dick, project coordinator, said. “We go to facilities and ranches and farms that are typical of the east side of the state.” The institute has one session in Corvallis and one in Union and La Grande every summer. The program reaches out to teachers who want to learn more about agriculture. This year’s participants included teachers who instruct students of all ages in many different subjects, not just science. Art teacher Andra Tom teaches at LaCreole Middle School in Dallas and looks forward to adding some of the technical and scientific aspects of the program to her own curriculum. “I had very little to no agricultural experience,” Tom said. She was excited about Katherine Jensen’s “Agriculture in Art” session and had plans to incorporate what she learned in her paper-making and visual-journaling units. “It’s all been really interesting and I’m looking forward to that (session), but sticking my hand in a cow today was pretty dang exciting,” Tom said. MANY OF THE TEACHERS work in communities where agriculture is an important part of students’ lives, but the teachers come from all over Oregon. “I’ve got teachers from Corvallis, Salem, Keizer, Eugene, Tillamook and Klamath Falls,” Dick said. “We regularly get teachers from Portland.” Stacie Phillips teaches sixth, seventh and eighth-grade science at Butte Creek Elementary School in Silver Falls and took the course to better communicate with her students. “I have like no agricultural experience and my students do,” Phillips said. She plans to introduce agriculture as a theme to motivate her students and she’s planning dissection and genetics units. Phillips is also considering digging a soil pit after associate professor Gary Kiemnec’s demonstration at EOARC. His presentation covered soil water-holding capacity and water tables, as well as different careers in

EASTERN OREGON AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER Superintendent Tim DelCurto answers questions from Oregon teachers attending OSU’s Summer Agricultural Institute last week. Teachers discussed sustainability and the beef and dairy industries before learning more about pre-gastric fermentation and the digestive systems of ruminant animals. The program is designed for teachers who have little or no agricultural experience.

‘Hands-on’ learning Teachers acquire knowledge about farming, ranching through Summer Agriculture Institute

LISA MCMAHAN | Observer photos

GIVING NEW MEANING TO “HANDS ON,’’ a session on ruminant nutrition taught teachers at OSU’s Summer Agricultural Institute about cows’ digestive systems using cannulated cows. English Language Development teacher Kevin Harper works with kindergarten through third-grade students at Sam Boardman Elementary School and, like many of the other teachers at last week’s program, plans to use some of the program’s content in helping his students develop language skills.

PROFESSOR GARY KIEMNEC GIVES SOME POINTERS from the soil pit at the agricultural research center in Union. Teachers gathered around to learn about water tables and water-holding capacity, discussing different ways to use what they learned in their respective classrooms.

soil science. Kiemnec also suggested lesson plans the teachers could adopt for their classrooms. “A good question to ask is, ‘Where did this soil come from?’” Kiemnec said, pointing to the different layers of soil in the pit where he stood. The teachers stayed at Cove

Ascension School, but Thursday evening they split up and spread out to get some one-on-one agricultural exposure through farm family visits. The teachers stay with families and learn about their lives and their careers. “We’ve had a teacher that

climbed on the combine,” Dick said of one farm family visit. “It’s exciting for them.” Dick said picking up the teachers the morning after is like seeing kids on Christmas morning, eager to share their experiences and hear other teachers’ tales. English Language Development teacher Kevin Harper works with students from kindergarten to third grade at Sam Boardman Elementary School and signed up for the Summer Agricultural Institute for some of the same reasons the other teachers did. “I wanted something to do this summer — I just wanted to learn,” he said. “SAI provided a valuable way to do that.” He thinks the week will give him more content to make language familiar for his students. “I think they’re relatively familiar with agriculture,” he said. “It’s certainly appropriate, meaningful content for my students.” The program is not only valuable for teachers, Dick said. “Agriculture is important to all of us — I think it’s so important for all of us to understand where our food comes from,” she said. “There are still a lot of people out there who still think their food comes from Safeway.”

'Hands-on' learning  

Story and photos by Lisa McMahan. K-12 teachers from around Oregon spend a week on Eastern Oregon farms and ranches, finding ways to incorpo...