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ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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Horizons 2011: Behind the Scenes very year, during the last weekend of July, The Argus Observer publishes its annual Horizons Magazine, focusing on a different theme. This year’s theme, “Behind the Scenes,” features people who play key, but not necessarily visible, roles in making our community what it is and how they do so. Each person brings something special to the local landscape, either through their volunteer work or their career. The different areas in which these people make a difference are: Health Care, Education, Natural Resources, Local Government,

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Rita Lewis .......................................F4 Tim Rawlings ..................................F5 Frank Yraguen ...............................F8 Rick Watkins ..................................F9 Barbara Choate ............................F10 Debbie Jeffries ..............................F12 Amanda Anderson .......................F14 Dave Page ......................................F17 Kelly Poe .......................................F18 Diana Burkhardt.......................... F20 Buckley Plummer .........................F22 Kit Kamo .............................. F23, F36 Darlyne Johnson ..........................F24 Ted Pettet ......................................F29 Jim Jones....................................... F31 John Bishop ..................................F33 Leanna Bentz................................ F41

Jolene Masterson ..........................F40 Abby Lee........................................F42 Tori Barnett ..................................F43 Charlene Pelland ..........................F44 Konnie Baines ...............................F45 Jay Chamberlin............................ F47 Don Gonzalez ................................F49 Kenneth Anderson .......................F50 Rachel Hopper.............................. F51 Jerry Campbell ............................F54 Linda Rowe ...................................F55 Kim Wilson ...................................F57 Junior Quintero ............................F59 Cheryl Cruson .............................. F60 Linda Aman .................................. F61 Barbara Richart ...........................F63

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Business/Economic Development and Community. These areas of focus and these people help make up the foundation of our community. Each person also shares a common trait they bring to their work. Snake River Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Kit Kamo said it best: “People in this valley are committed individuals, whether they’re businessmen or elected officials. Most of them have a passion for the region and for the area.” The people featured certainly do, which promises great things in the future.

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COMMUNITY

Lewis hopes to make a difference in local area F4

LINDSEY PARKER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Getting involved is something Fruitland resident Rita Lewis has taken seriously during her nine and a half years in the Treasure Valley. Despite her hectic schedule as branch manager of Sterling Savings Bank in Ontario, she gives her time back to the community to make it a better place to live. One of the Lewis’ biggest commitments is her work with the Treasure Valley Community College Foundation. Lewis is a board member and began serving in August 2005. Lewis’ primary goal as a TVCC Foundation Board member is to help raise money for TVCC scholarships. “It’s just a little teeny part of the piece (of the puzzle). I’m happy to make a difference,” she said. Lewis is also the community division chairperson for the science center campaign at TVCC. Lewis’ daughter graduated from TVCC, and, as the parent of a graduate, she said she thinks it is very important to work with TVCC to enrich students’ lives. Lewis grew up in South Dakota in a small community and completed her education as a business major. Lewis’

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husband, Mike, is a plant physiologist with an interest in the potato industry. They moved to Idaho in 1984 because it is potato country. She and her husband have two children. Her daughter lives in Spokane and her son in Payette. In addition to all that is on her plate, Lewis is also heavily involved with the Payette County Chamber of Commerce and is on her second term with the board. “We’re dedicated to the awareness of what our communities have to offer, and we all play a little part in making this community successful,” she said. The chamber is a networking device for business members and includes more than 300 individuals. Lewis is a chamber ambassador and presides at ribbon cuttings and welcomes new businesses to town. She is also present at community functions and said she enjoys helping new residents feel welcome. Lewis also volunteers with the Festival of Trees, which benefits Meals on Wheels and Help Them to Hope. “Without our support to Meals on Wheels, there would be lots of hungry people out there. Many people can’t afford the cost of meals. Our area is very economically depressed,” Lewis said. Lewis works with Festival of Trees because she sees the SEE LEWIS | PAGE F15

LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Rita Lewis, branch manager for Sterling Savings Bank in Ontario, dedicates a lot of her time to helping people through various community functions, including Festival of Trees.

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HEALTH

CARE

Desire for change brings Rawlings to Ontario

Rawlings base manager and Life Flight nurse

You never know what type of situation you will see. It is very rewarding for me to take somebody from a situation and stabilize them and get them to a hospital.

WILLIAM ANDERSON ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

— Tim Rawlings Life Flight Ontario base manager

WILLIAM ANDERSON | ARGUS OBSERVER

Ontario Life Flight Network Base Manager Tim Rawlings shows off the interior of a Life Flight Network helicopter. Rawlings has been with Life Flight for eight years and enjoys just about every aspect of his position.

Ontario Life Flight base averages about three calls for service. Rawlings said for him to even be considered for the position, he had to have at least five years of critical care experience and meet other requirements. As a Life Flight Network nurse, Rawlings said every day is different, and

every call brings something new. “You never know what type of situation you will see,” Rawlings said. “It is very rewarding for me to take somebody from a situation and stabilize them and get them to a hospital.” Rawlings currently lives in Nampa but grew up in Fruitland, which he believes

helps him at his job. “I know the area and the terrain,” he said. “I know a little more of what to expect. That is why I wanted to be in this spot. When I see people I know, that is a good thing.” Rawlings said he likes to build a rapport with the people in the area, which helps put them at ease during a very stressful situation. One of the aspects Rawlings said he enjoys most about his job happens to be one of the most trying as well. Rawlings said, because of the nature of his duties, it is difficult to have closure with the patients he treats, which is difficult for him. He said he tries his best to follow up with patients to see how they have done. “It helps with the mental closure,” Rawlings said. “I just hope maybe we made a difference.” Rawlings said he also has an outlet in his wife, Rebecca, who is an emergency room nurse at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise and understands many of the feelings he deals with regularly because they mirror her own.

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ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

After spending 16 years in Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center – Boise’s intensive care unit, Tim Rawlings was ready for a change. Rawlings said he wanted to join what he considered to be the best-of-the-best — the Life Flight Network crew. “As a nurse, I always looked up to Life Flight nurses,” Rawlings said. “They are the best of the best. They have the best knowledge, the best work ethic. I wanted to be that type of nurse.” So, Rawlings applied for and was given the job as a flight nurse as well as the position of Ontario’s base manager. That was eight years ago, and Rawlings said he still enjoys his job. During the week, his everyday responsibilities include staffing issues, making sure his base is stocked with all the necessities needed for everyday operations of the helicopter and overseeing the pilot, a flight nurse and flight paramedic. Along with running the hangar, Rawlings also takes a normal shift, flying two days a week on 24-hour shifts. “I basically handle the day-to-day operation,” Rawlings said. “I also take care of the concerns with the staff, as well as the patients and their family members.” Currently, in a 24-hour shift period, the

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ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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COMMUNITY

Yraguen busier than ever after retirement F8

Former circuit judge traded in robes for community work

You think retirement is going to be about slowing down, but, in the case of my wife and I, it’s become more intense.

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— Frank Yraguen Retired Malheur County circuit judge

ARGUS OBSERVER

VALE When Circuit Judge Frank J. Yraguen hung up his robes, he didn’t really retire but went onto other endeavors that have made him even busier than before. Yraguen said his father taught him his work ethic, and his mother taught him how to feel deeply and passionately and to better the lives of one’s children. “You think retirement is going to be about slowing down, but, in the case of my wife and I, it’s become more intense,” Yraguen said. Frank and his wife, Patty, began to do mediation, settlements and investiga-

tions privately about six years ago, which resulted in more work than they expected. Yraguen also occasionally sits on the bench. Yraguen was born in Ontario and was raised and educated in Oregon. He and his wife have three children. Growing up, becoming a judge was not what he thought he would do. He said his mother wanted him to grow up to be a very affluent lawyer. Yraguen said he decided one day he didn’t want to sit in the back room of a SEE YRAGUEN | PAGE F13

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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Even though Frank J. Yraguen retired from being a Malheur County circuit judge, he still is busier than ever concentrating on his own business with his wife, where they perform mediation, settlements and investigations, and volunteering in the community.

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LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

Watkins wears many hats in Fruitland F9 LARRY HURRLE ARGUS OBSERVER

FRUITLAND

LARRY HURRLE | ARGUS OBSERVER

Fruitland City Administrator Rick Watkins stands outside Fruitland City Hall and the Fruitland Fire Department. Watkins has been employed with the city for 36 years and is the city’s administrator, clerk, treasurer, zoning administrator, fire chief and ambulance director.

Staples had announced she would be retiring in a few years, and the city administration chose to hire someone who could be trained to take Staples’ position, once she

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left. In 1980, Watkins became the city’s clerk/treasurer and SEE WATKINS | PAGE F11

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Like a fine wine, Rick Watkins’ service to the City of Fruitland just gets better with age. Watkins, the Fruitland city administrator, has been through eight mayors and many more changes on the City Council during the 36 years he has been employed. When you figure it out, Watkins said, he has served about half of the administrations Fruitland has had since it was incorporated in 1948. “I never would have dreamed in a million years I would have been doing this for a living,” Watkins said about his position with the city. “I just really enjoy it. It is new, something different every day. You never know what’s going to smack you up along side the head every day. It’s been really fun — so far.” Watkins, a 1972 graduate from Fruitland High School, spent three months attending business school following high school. “I couldn’t stand it,” he said. He went to work for a neighbor of his who owned a chain of gas stations in the Northwest. His job was troubleshooting those stations that were having troubles. “I would go in and try to fix them up a little bit. Get the standards up,” Watkins said. His neighbor, who also happened to be a member of the City Council at the time, also knew Watkins wanted to be in a bookkeeping and administrative position. When a position came open with the city, Watkins’ neighbor quickly alerted his employee about the opportunity. “I happened to be at a station in La Grande at the time,” Watkins said. “I had to be here the next day for an interview, and I had to be here the next day after that to go to work. And I’ve been here ever since.” Watkins was essentially hired as a bookkeeper with the city in July of 1975. Former City Clerk/Treasurer Mary


EDUCATION

Payette gave Choate new career opportunity F10 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

PAYETTE With a background in business administration with a focus in finance from Loyola-Marymount University in Los Angeles, Barbara Choate had her pick of career choices after her previous job ended at Farmers Mutual Telephone Company. Choate said she had been hired to spearhead a cell phone service program at Farmers Mutual, but after it was established, she chose to look elsewhere rather than accept a day-to-day management position with the company. About the same time, the Payette School District was in the process of hiring a business manager, and Choate said the timing was right for her to apply. The decision, as it turned out, was a good one. “From my point of view, it’s been a very good fit,” Choate, who has been business manager for four years, said. “I believe I

was just meant to be here. It’s a dream job. I love doing what I do.” Although Choate and her husband have no children of their own except for their two chocolate Labs, she said she loves working in the school district, even in a behind-the-scenes capacity. “I’ve always enjoyed numbers, and I enjoy the challenge numbers present, and school finance is very challenging,” Choate said. Working for the school district, Choate said, was also a way she felt she could give back to the community and make a contribution to the next generation by helping make sure there is enough money with which to educate students. “I truly do enjoy being that person who is behind the scenes and does a lot and stays behind the scenes,” Choate said. Among her tasks as business manager, Choate prepares the annual budget, working closely with the school district budget committee. She also serves as clerk to the board, JESSICA KELLER | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Payette School District Business Manager Barbara Choate graduated from LoyolaMarymount University in Los Angeles with a degree in business administration with a focus in finance.The opening of her position in the district four years ago seemed like a good opportunity for a change in her career and a chance to give back to the community.

preparing the agendas and getting the packets sent out to board members. She also prepares the financial reports for the state and works with the federal programs and special education directors with their budgets. Choate also oversees accounts payable, payroll and human resources and

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manages grant funds. “This office is pretty much the heartbeat of everything finance for the schools,” Choate said, adding she and the two other people with whom she works make a great team. “Really it takes all three of us to SEE CHOATE | PAGE F13

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WATKINS: Former fire chief asked him in 1977 about joining department FROM PAGE F9

The way my career has gone, everything has transitioned in over a period of time where you could just kind of absorb it. I really love this stuff.

— Rick Watkins Fruitland city administrator

it,” Watkins said. “I really love this stuff.” Watkins said a lot has changed for the city in the past 63 years since it was incorporated. The city was governed by a board of trustees until 1968, when the state Legislature changed all towns and villages in Idaho to city status, making the cities operate with a mayor-council government. Since Watkins began in 1975, he said he has seen numerous changes within the inner workings of the city. “Back when I started, we hand-typed all the water bills,” he said. “It took three of us about five days to do the water bills. As soon as we got them done, I had to turn around and start typing addresses on the water billing cards for the next billing.” He said that advanced when the city bought an “Address-o-graph” machine, which would stamp addresses on the water bills with metal plates. “Once a month, I would put on coveralls and come to work because it was all chain-driven,” Watkins said. “The chain would come off every once in a while, and you’d have to get down in there and adjust the chain. It was a regular boat anchor.” In fact, when the city finally purchased a Burrows Bowing Machine to do the addresses, the new company gave the city credit for the old Address-o-graph ma-

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chine. “Once they looked at it, they said, ‘We’re giving you the credit, but we ain’t getting it out of there,’ ” Watkins said. “We had to use a backhoe to get it out of there. That’s how heavy it was.” When Watkins started for the city, the population of Fruitland was 2,063. Today, he said, the city has seen moderate growth, and the 2010 census has the city officially at 4,684. “Pretty much, our growth has been around 2 or 3 percent a year,” Watkins said. “I have attributed the success of the operations here to that real gradual growth. The services are able to keep up with the population.” Early in his career, though, Watkins said it wasn’t unusual for the city to run out of water. That is something, he said, the city has been diligent in working on. The advancement of the city’s water system, complete with its new water treatment facility on the Payette River, has helped lower the city’s fire rating from a 7, when Watkins began, to a 3 today. When he began, he said, volunteer firemen did not have pagers, and there was no 911 system. Instead, they had fire phones installed in

about seven or eight homes of firefighters. When a fire call came in, all the phones rang because it was a party line. And, of F11 course, they had the fire siren, which alerted firemen of a fire and alerted residents of the city to shut off their water to ensure enough water to fight the fire. “One of the craziest things was when somebody would call in and we have these guys answering the phone and the signal just kept getting weaker,” Watkins said about the fire phones. “They were a party line because everybody had a fire phone. It was all the same line.” Watkins said he has mostly good memories from his time at the city. He said each administration he has worked for is different, but each mayor had a passion for their community. “They’ve all been very community-oriented,” he said. As for the bad part, he said anything negative just doesn’t stand out. “We don’t have bad days. We just have some that are better than others,” he said. Watkins said he is at a point in his career when he enjoys watching other people in SEE FRUITLAND | PAGE F15

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then city administrator in 1982, when the position was officially created. In the interim, council member Art Campo approached Watkins in 1977 about another position in the city. “Art cornered me one day. He was the fire chief at the time, and said, ‘Ya know, Rick, I think you’re going to be around here for a long time. We’d really like to get you on the fire department.’ “I never even dreamed of doing that. It never even crossed my mind. I was single — 21, 22. I would get off work, go play softball, drink some beer, go to bed, come to work the next day. That’s just kind of the way it was.” So, Watkins joined the fire department. Campo retired in 1980, and his son, Dennis, became fire chief and promoted Watkins from training officer to assistant fire chief. In December of 1982, Dennis Campo resigned from the position, and the City Council made Watkins fire chief — a position he still holds today. At the time, Watkins was also the secretary of the city’s planning and zoning commission and later became the city’s zoning administrator. Finally, after the city contracted with Payette County to take over the ambulance service when Val Dolphus, owner of United Ambulance, retired, Watkins was eventually named ambulance director in 2006. That means, simply, Watkins wears six hats in his employment with the City of Fruitland. His positions include city administrator, city clerk, city treasurer, zoning administrator, fire chief and ambulance director. “The way my career has gone, everything has transitioned in over a period of time where you could just kind of absorb


RECREATION

Debbie Jeffries’ job not all fun and games F12

Ontario recreation supervisor says multi-tasking is required to keep programs running smoothly SCOTT FORD ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

ONTARIO Who said being a recreation supervisor for any size department is all fun and games? Ontario’s Debbie Jeffries will be the first to tell you about the fun and games but also about the hard work and long hours spent to get those fun and games up and running. For Jeffries, there is never a dull moment. In fact, things can get so hectic that being able to multi-task is almost a job requirement, she said. Jeffries started working for the recreation department in the summer of 1987 as an umpire, which led to a few other jobs with the department and ultimately the position she now holds. Jeffries coordinates all the events her department offers for the youth and for the adults, such as arts and crafts camps, Hershey youth track meets, NFL flag football, youth soccer, tennis lessons, youth tackle football, youth basketball, running camps, adult co-ed volleyball and more. “We have year-around activities for individuals to participate in,” Jeffries said. To keeping all the events running, Jeffries said there is so much time needed before each event begins doing things like registration, scheduling, securing equip-

They tell me they are bringing in their children to participate because they remember how much fun it was when they were kids and were participating in the Ontario Recreation Department.

— Debbie Jeffries Ontario recreation supervisor

ment and getting the fields ready for play. In addition, she has the task of typing and printing rosters, securing coaches and printing schedules before any child gets the call to let them know which team on which they will play. “For example, our soccer program needs more than 400 hours of work, from start to finish,” Jeffries said. Jeffries works under her supervisor, Kathy Daly, Ontario Parks and Recreation director, but said 99 percent of the job she handles. Jeffries said her biggest joy is when people who participated in the program when they were children come in with their own children. “They tell me they are bringing in their children to participate because they remember how much fun it was when they were kids and were participating in the Ontario Recreation Department,” Jeffries

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Ontario Recreation Supervisor Debbie Jeffries never has a dull moment as she is constantly answering the phone and checking things out on her computer to ensure the success of the recreation department programs.

said. “It is very, very satisfying when you witness a child succeed in an activity.” Jeffries said not everyone can do a job like this. “It takes a lot of patience, kindness and understanding,” she said. “You will get upset coaches, parents and kids, and you have to be able to solve the problem for them so they can continue to enjoy the experience.” Jeffries said she hopes the recreation department will continue to grow so more equipment, programs and personnel can

be added. “The more you have, the more you can offer,” Jeffries said. She said she is hopeful someday the department will be able to bring back adult softball and that the ridership for the ski bus regains interest. In her 22 years with the Ontario Recreation Department, Jeffries said today is just as fun as it was when she started. “I still enjoy what I do,” she said. SEE JEFFRIES | PAGE F15


YRAGUEN: Started as an attorney

CHOATE: Prepares annual budget

FROM PAGE F8

FROM PAGE F10

— Frank Yraguen Vale resident and community volunteer

said. Murals are not just created by splashing paint on the walls, he said, but take a lot of planning and preparation ahead of time and also maintenance and upkeep once completed. “I also modeled for the mural that is on the Christian Church, which is titled ‘The Sunday Go-a-Meeting,’ ” Yraguen said. “The artist said she needed someone with lots of lines.” Yraguen is also involved in the Vale FFA Scholarship Foundation, which has an auction every fall for vocational agricultural scholarships. “I think volunteering is necessary for every community, but more so for our type of community. We really thrive on what the volunteer organizations do,” Yraguen said. “I think it’s important for the fabric of our society.” He said schools are really in need of volunteers. “I don’t think we do enough for our schools. Kids are still falling through the cracks,” Yraguen said. Yraguen said he and his wife hope that their children and their children’s children will have the same opportunities to succeed that they have experienced during their lives.

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keep the office going.” She said the school district is very fortunate to have the teachers it does working there because they do so much for the children, including using their own funds to pay for things. Still, Choate said, it is disappointing for her to break the news the school district can’t afford to answer a request for funding, and the hardest part for her is when the school district doesn’t have the funds to do something new. Given the current financial climate, Choate said, preparing the budget has been pretty easy but disheartening. “My budget consists mostly of zeros on line items,” she said. While preparing the budget can be a big job, Choate said the busiest time of year is actually summer because the fiscal year ends on June 30, and there are things that need to be wrapped up. In mid-summer she begins preparing for the district’s annual audit. Things don’t start to slow down again until November and December. But although Choate works behind the scenes in the district and prefers it that

way, she also fields quite a few phone calls from the public, answering questions about the school district’s finances, how money is spent and why. F13 She said sometimes people call with ideas about how things should be done, and usually she can put a price tag on each idea and tell them if their suggestions make financial sense. She said she confers with Superintendent Pauline King if suggestions make educational sense but is good about getting back to people shortly after they call. Choate said, however, she does not mind answering questions and listening to suggestions and enjoys speaking with the public, even if she can’t always give people the answers they want to hear. “There is not a lot of flexibility on where your money can go,” she said. And despite the economic challenges facing the district, Choate said she still would not work anywhere else. “I would really like to retire from this job,” she said. “I would like this to be my last professional move. I truly feel like I have the opportunity to make a difference in this position.”

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law office becoming established and that what he needed was rapid trial experience. So he started calling district attorney offices. He was hired by Doyle Schiffman, Douglas County district attorney, in 1970 and was told the job was a three-year commitment. Yraguen and his wife had just bought a new house in Roseburg in 1971 and were settling in when he received a phone call from one of his mentors, Sen. Anthony Yturri, who, Yraguen said, was a reason he wanted to become an attorney. He said Yturri told him it was time to move back home because Yturri had arranged with then-Gov. Tom McCall to appoint Yraguen as Malheur County district attorney. Yraguen said he and his family had to move back right away in order to establish residency. He worked as district attorney for Malheur County until Oct. 1, 1976, and then he went down the road to become a judge and was a senior judge when he retired in 2001. Having always worked in public service, he is also an active community volunteer. Yraguen is active in state and local church-related work; youth activities, including FFA, Scouts and high school athletics; and has served on the Treasure Valley Community College Foundation Board. He works on the renovation of the Ontario Train Depot and is the treasurer for the Ontario Basque Club. Another project that Yraguen is involved in, and has been since the start, is the Vale Heritage Mural Society. “Murals have become so popular that the artists’ fees have gone up,” Yraguen

I think volunteering is necessary for every community, but more so for our type of community. We really thrive on what the volunteer organizations do. I think it’s important for the fabric of our society.


COMMUNITY

Leading the charge for a drug-free community F14

Anderson passionate about substance abuse awareness

If I can do anything, I will do my best to do so. I don’t do all this for a pat on the back.

WILLIAM ANDERSON

— Amanda Anderson Malheur County Drug Free Communities Coalition chair

ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO A personal connection to drug abuse paired with a passion for her children has kept Amanda Anderson busy for some time. SinceAnderson graduated from Ontario High School in 1997, she has had two people close to her in her life who have dealt with drug abuse. A person with whom she is close sent to prison for seven and a half years on methamphetamine charges and another recovering addict in her life have created a fire in her to help where she can. “This is very near and dear to me,” Anderson said. “This is such a huge thing for me. It is so wide spread.” The Ontario resident spends many of

her lunch hours and any available moment helping out with different organizations and coalitions aimed at helping those in the community. She is currently the chair of the Malheur County Drug Free Communities Coalition and also serves as a board member for the Payette County Substance Abuse Coalition. She also spends one lunch hour a month on the Ontario Police Board, while also attending the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club in Ontario. She recently concluded her duties as chair of the Treasure Valley Community

WILLIAM ANDERSON | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Amanda Anderson sits at her desk at Bank of the West. Anderson is a very active part of the community and feels strongly about creating awareness about substance abuse.

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College Foundation board but is still on the TVCC Budget Committee and the Ontario City Budget Committee. “Anything I am involved in, thankfully, is during the day,” Anderson said. “I am grateful the Bank of the West is involved.” Anderson said the vice president of Bank of the West, where she is branch manager, has always supported what she

is involved in, including the annual Mud Fest, the mud volleyball fundraiser she helps put on each year to raise money for local non-profit organizations. Anderson said she is trying to do what she can to help keep children away from drugs. “If I can do anything, I will do my best SEE ANDERSON | PAGE F15

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to do so,” Anderson said. “I don’t do all this for a pat on the back. “It amazes me how blind and naive people are to what is going on in the city,” she said of substance abuse. “It bothers me how many people aren’t aware of it.” Anderson also dedicates much of her time to her children and family. She said, on any given weekend, they can be found doing many different things in the outdoors, such as riding their horses or riding around on their four-wheelers. She and her husband, Brian, spend time

taking their 7-year-old son and twin girls, age 2 and a half, to soccer, wrestling, flag football or swimming. They also spend time with Anderson’s two step-daughters, who are 15 and 12 years old. Anderson also is an avid big-game hunter. Despite a hectic schedule throughout the day, Anderson said she does find some time for herself, after her children have gone to bed. “I attribute my success to my parents, Bob and Mary Barry,” Anderson said. “They raised me with Christian and family values to start me off right.”

FRUITLAND: Watkins hired in ’75 FROM PAGE F11

Back when we were first married, the fire alarm would go off and (Kim) would say, ‘Honey, be careful.’ Now, it’s ‘Turn that pager off before you leave, and take a shower before you come back to bed.

FROM PAGE F12

“Making people aware and letting people know what we are doing is one of my biggest jobs.” Jeffries said the city has had some special people step up and help with the recreation department. “People like Junior Quintero, who has

LEWIS: Is a member of ABWA FROM PAGE F4

needs of the community as a problem she can help fix through the fundraiser. She said she wants to see everyone in the community have their basic needs met, including clothes on their backs and food to eat. Lewis said she feels by giving back through volunteer work and donating financially, she can help give people what they need. “The community has such a huge need because it’s economically depressed. It makes me compassionate and want to help,” Lewis said. Lewis is also a member of the ABWA,

he appreciates how his family has grown. But looking back, he said it was fun to remember how things were. “Back when we were first married, the fire alarm would go off and (Kim) would say, ‘Honey, be careful,’ ” Watkins said. “Now, it’s ‘Turn that pager off before you leave, and take a shower before you come back to bed.’ ”

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the American Business Women’s Association, which raises funding for scholarships for women. Lewis said Sterling Savings Bank shares her passion for community involvement and service. Sterling Savings worked as a partner with Blackaby Insurance as the team “Insured Bankers” at Global Village, overseeing the children’s games. Lewis said she is proud of her employees, who are as eager to volunteer with community enrichment as she is. “Everyone who gives of their time makes a difference,” Lewis said.

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stepped up to help with the soccer program and football program, and Kathy has always been there for me,” Jeffries F15 said. “I love what I do, and I plan on doing it as long as it is here. Doing this job leaves me with the feeling of being needed. There are a lot of people who depend on me to make things happen.”

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the city starting to develop. At 57, Watkins isn’t seriously considering when he will retire. “Me and Mom (his wife, Kim) have talked about it,” Watkins said. “I’m healthy. I feel good. I still like what I’m doing. I’d like to do it another 10 years. It wouldn’t bother me a bit, if the folks here would have me.” If there were any regrets in his time with the city, Watkins said it would be the time he has spent away from his family. “There are a lot of night meetings. You just get into something and, bam, there goes the pager,” he said. “I have got to really hand it to my family. They’ve put up with a lot over the last 36 years. My wife, Kim, really stuck by me. We’ve been married 33 years, now.” Watkins said his time away from family was just something he had to get used to. He now has eight grandchildren and said

JEFFRIES: Oversees many areas


F16

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Below are just some of the events & organizations supported by the employees of The Argus Observer & Independent-Enterprise throughout the year: • Area Chambers of Commerce • Kiwanis Club • Lions Club • Rotary Club • American Business Women’s Association • Boys & Girls Club of the Western Treasure Valley • Love INC • Help Them To Hope • Festival of Trees • Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida • Malhuer Council on Aging • Four Rivers Cultural Center

• Snake River Transportation • Snake River Economic Development • Serve Day • Southeast Oregon Regional Foodbank • Malheur County Drug Free Collition • Payette County Substance Abuse Collition • Snake River JACLJapan Relief Organization • Snake River Correctional Institute • Downtown Ontario Business Association • Children’s Relief Nursery • Malheur Commission on Children & Families • Four Rivers Healthy Communitities • Area Churches • Area County Fairs & Parades


LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

Police Sgt. Dave Page fulfilling life’s dream by serving in Nyssa

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— Sgt. Dave Page Nyssa Police Department

LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Sgt. Dave Page, Nyssa, has served on the police force for 14 years. In addition to work-

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so enjoys how each day on the job is dif- ing full time, he will earn his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administraferent from the next. Law enforcement, is tion in October. Page’s father was a police officer, and Page said, for as long as he can remember, he wanted to be a police officer, too. far from being routine. “Everything is a little different,” Page said. In his downtime, Page is an advocate for bicycle safety. This year he talked about bicycle safety and stranger danger during summer school. His biggest project as of late is the Malheur Traffic Safety Commission, where he serves as chairman. The board works in conjunction with the Oregon Alliance for Community Traffic Safety, an organization that helps provide funds for traffic safety. Page said the two entities have been

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To serve and protect is the motto of many public safety offices across the land. In Nyssa, Dave Page has been doing just that for the past 14 years. Through his dedicated service to the community, Page has climbed the ranks to sergeant and is second in command to the police chief. Page is a graduate of Pine Eagle High School in Halfway, Ore. He has been married 16 years and has three children. Page received an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix, and he will earn his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administration in October. His aspirations of becoming a police officer started at a very early age, however, watching his dad. “My dad was a police officer,” Page said. “As far back as I can remember, this is what I’ve always wanted to do. I love working with people, making a difference in their life, just talking and working with people to try and get themselves turned around,” Page said. He said his favorite part of the job is the ability he has to help others. He said he al-

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F17


COMMUNITY

Healthy children, families a focus for Poe

F18 LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

LARRY MEYER | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Kelly Poe, director of the Malheur County Commission on Children and Families, talks about her vision for stronger families in the conference room near her office.

Healthy and happy children and families are a passion for Kelly Poe, and while the funding for the agency she directs is questionable, Poe is forging ahead with programs that support her goals of improving the quality of lives of youth and their parents. With the exception of a short gap, Poe has been a part of the Malheur County Commission on Children and Families since 2006, first as management assistant and, after a brief break, as director. Working with her, in the two-person agency, is Angie Uptmor, who now serves as management assistant. Prior to coming to the Commission on Children and Families, Poe said she did a variety of things. “The primary thing was as a mom with young children,” she said, adding she also had part-time jobs. Poe was also AmeriCorps Vista volunteer in the America Reads program in New Plymouth. “I created a volunteer program to help children read,” Poe said. “So I learned about volunteerism and community development. It’s a community that takes care of its

I created a volunteer program to help children read. So I learned about volunteerism and community development. It’s a community that takes care of its own kids.

— Kelly Poe Malheur County Commission on Children and Families director

own kids.” She said she also learned that helping create stability in the home works best at the local level. While much of the work of the commission was to pass on funding to various programs that provided services to children and families, Poe’s focus has been on the programs where there is known success. Whether or not there is funding through the Commission on Children and Families, Poe and Uptmor have worked to support those programs that help children and families do better. Poe’s inspiration was seeing successes other commuSEE POE | PAGE F21

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Burkhardt tapped into Saint Al’s network SCOTT FORD ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO In today’s high-tech world, with everchanging software in all aspects of working society, there is always someone making sure the programs are working and information is relayed properly and on time. At Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario, that person is Diana Burkhardt. Burkhardt has been doing I.T. work for 15 years with the hospital, and now that Holy Rosary Medical Center has become Saint Alphonsus-Ontario, Burkhardt works for the parent company, Trinity Health, as the information services director at the Ontario hospital. Information technology allows health care providers to collect, store, retrieve and transfer information electronically.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

CARE

We are constantly working to improve our systems and networks to share this information across the system to better care for our patients.

— Diana Burkhardt Saint Alphonsus-Ontario information services director

This is done so the medical providers and their patients can have access to the health information. Information technology has the potential to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care. “We are the same network as the Saint Alphonsus Health System throughout SEE BURKHARDT | PAGE F24

SCOTT FORD | ARGUS OBSERVER

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PAGE: Helps arrange bicycle rodeo

POE: MCCF helps identify resources

FROM PAGE F17

FROM PAGE F18

ARGUS OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

In this Argus Observer file photo taken from May 2010, a Nyssa police officer directs a child through a bike rodeo obstacle course at the annual Nyssa Kids Fair. Nyssa Police Sgt. Dave Page helps coordinate the bicycle rodeo.

We are all about positive re-enforcement. — Sgt. Dave Page Nyssa Police Department

Thunderegg Days,” he said. “They fill in the gaps when the full-time officers would have no staff otherwise.” He also would like more Nyssa residents to participate in making their community safe. “I’d like to see the community become more involved helping us with neighborhood watch — watch your communities,” Page said. “We won’t know as well if someone shouldn’t be there as a resident.”

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— Kelly Poe Malheur County Commission on Children and Families

sion’s goal is safer children, stable families and supportive communities. But the Malheur County Commission on Children and Families may not have much more time to help get programs on the ground. With the state budget cuts, the state and local commissions of children and families were not in the Oregon governor’s proposed budget and were not added in by the Legislature. “We are in the process of going away,” Poe said. With that in mind, Poe and Uptmor are supporting efforts to develop sustainable funding for organizations or non-profits. Poe’s goal is that, regardless of what happens with the Commission on Children and Families, she will have made a difference by enabling people to make better choices in their lives.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

able to secure money to buy bike helmets for children the last four years. They participate in the Nyssa Kids Fair each year hosting a bicycle rodeo. At the bicycle rodeo, volunteers check bicycle functionality, fit children with helmets if they don’t have one and check helmets if the children bring their own. There is a practice course set up for bike control, where children practicing stopping, turning and avoiding obstacles. At the previous bike rodeo,135 children participated,128 helmets were given out and 35 bikes were registered. “We have a lot of bikes stolen,” Page said. “Not a lot are registered. Finding the owner after a recovery becomes difficult. If there’s a stamp and (a bike is) registered, that will help deter theft,” Page said. Page said all the bike rodeo coordinators are volunteers. “David Stiefvater comes out, brings his trailer and sets up the course for the bicycles,” Page said. Stiefvater started a program called “Caught You Doing the Right Thing,” which the Nyssa Police Department has started implementing. Page said if an officer sees a child wearing a helmet and riding a bicycle safely that child gets a certificate for a free ice cream. “We are all about positive re-enforcement,” Page said. “It has helped with compliance with wearing the bike helmets. It gives officers a chance to interact with the youth of the community in a more positive manner.” Page is very supportive of his community reserve officers, who are all volunteers. “They come to the bike rodeo and

nities. When she came back to work in Ontario, Poe said she started looking at assets and strengths of the local area and asked herself what was missing. Answers included having safe places for children to be when they are out of school and their parents are working or places for children to be when there is no one else at home or they cannot go home. Also, they supported the establishment and support operation of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Treasure Valley. Another partnership is with the Harvest House Mission, which started the SEASON youth program and helps children from homeless families and runaway youth. A program called “Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System,” to which they are passing on grant funding, focuses on youth in the legal system. It is also being handled through Harvest House Mission and the SEASON Youth Program. Another program the commission funds is Healthy Start, which supports families with new-borns. The commis-


EDUCATION

Jack of all trades in the Ontario School District F22

Buckley Plummer has worked in a host of jobs through the years JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

ONTARIO To say Buckley Plummer’s employment with the Ontario School District has been well-rounded is somewhat of an understatement. Plummer has worked in the school district for more than 30 years, although not all consecutively, leaving and returning four different times. “Bad penny, you know,” Plummer, 64, jokes. Plummer first started in the school district in 1967 as a bus driver. Then he became a bus mechanic. After leaving briefly to pursue other opportunities he returned to the district as a groundskeeper and then went on to work in custodial and maintenance capacities. After that, Plummer advanced to managerial work, first serving as grounds and maintenance supervisor and then supervisor of grounds, maintenance and transportation. This year, however, Plummer is back to transportation supervisor only. “I can do about anything they throw my way,” he said. As transportation supervisor, Plummer said he oversees the operation and maintenance of the fleet, completes paperwork, oversees routing to a certain extent, manages the crew and files reports to the state. In addition, Plummer is an Oregon certified trainer of bus drivers, a third-party examiner for the Department of Motor Vehicles and administers mechanic certifications. He said last year he had the honor of being selected as one of four delegates from Oregon to go to a conference in Missouri to help set school transportation policies for the next five years. Although Plummer describes himself as a jack of all trades, has an associate’s degree from Treasure Valley

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JESSICA KELLER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Ontario School District Transportation Supervisor Buckley Plummer (right) reviews state reporting information with new secretary Kathy Glenn. Plummer has worked at the school district for more than 30 years, beginning in 1967 as a bus driver before moving on to serve in a number of other capacities.

Community College and at one point wanted to be a commercial pilot, most of the experience he has garnered through the years has been hands on. “I’ve always just had a mechanical ability,” he said. “I really haven’t had a lot of formal training.” He said he has always been a good listener and gained SEE PLUMMER | PAGE F27

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

SREDA director job offer a surprise to Kamo Job role is to market the tri-county region to interested prospects LARRY HURRLE ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO Kit Kamo wasn’t looking for a job when she was hired as the executive director for the Snake River Economic Development Alliance. Instead, the job came looking for her. After searching for the right person to fill the job, the board of directors for SREDA found the product of their search was virtually in their own back yard. Kamo was employed with the State of Idaho Department of Commerce as a business and economic development specialist, commuting each day from her New Plymouth home to Boise. Her experience

It was kind of an honor. I had a job and wasn’t looking. I have to say that not driving an hour each way to Boise is very nice.

— Kit Kamo Snake River Economic Development Alliance executive director

in the agriculture industry and economic development persuaded the board to actively pursue Kamo. “It was kind of an honor,” Kamo said. “I had a job and wasn’t looking. I have to say that not driving an hour each way to Boise is very nice. Now, it takes me 10 minutes to come to work.” Kamo accepted the position and started as SREDA’s executive director Jan. 1. While with the state, Kamo was actively working in the field of economic development and traveled extensively to eastern SEE DIRECTOR | PAGE F25

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Johnson a fixture at community library Ontario librarian has seen many changes in technology, operations in 39 years SHERI BANDELEAN ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

ONTARIO Darlyne Johnson is a fixture residents regularly see when they visit the Ontario Community Library. September marks Johnson’s 39th year working at the library, where she began as a library page before moving up the ranks to library assistant and now head librarian. In 2008, when the library became part of a voter-approved library district, the district’s board of directors re-appointed Johnson as head librarian. She had previously served in the same capacity when the library was funded by the City of Ontario. Johnson is in charge of making sure the library functions correctly, making sure the library is staffed and ensuring the library is ready to open to the public. “I do a little bit of everything — a jack of all trades, master of none,” Johnson said. Johnson grew up in the area and was raised in Council and Fruitland. Following high school, Johnson went into the service. She said after she was discharged, a

They say the Internet takes the place of the library, but, even though the Internet is a really good tool, it still doesn’t take the place of the library. You still need to work with kids with their literacy.

— Darlyne Johnson Ontario Community Library librarian

friend told Johnson about an opening at the library, so Johnson applied and has been there ever since. “I enjoy my work here,” Johnson said. A library is important to have in a community, she said, and the Ontario Community Library continues to grow, accepting about 20 new applications a week. “They say the Internet takes the place of the library, but, even though the Internet is a really good tool, it still doesn’t take the place of the library,” Johnson said. “You still need to work with kids with their literacy.” Materials the library offers include audio books, videos and DVDs, newspaSEE JOHNSON | PAGE F28

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the Treasure Valley,” Burkhardt said. “We are constantly working to improve our systems and networks to better share this information across the system to better care for our patients.” Initially, Burkhardt went to college to become a fashion designer but said after she took her first computer class, she changed her mind and went into information technologies. Her first job in the computer world was writing code for Les Schwab Tires. “I am a creative person and a detail-oriented person, and to analyze and figure things out is what I like about working with the computers,” Burkhardt said. Her job description includes customer service and making sure all the systems are up and running so hospital employees have what they need to do their jobs. “There is no way around keeping accurate information, and the electronic process is the way things are done,” Burkhardt said. “And it’s my job to make sure that the information is flowing correctly.” Burkhardt said keeping the network operating correctly is a vital part in the success of the hospital and for the health of its patients. “If the system is not running correctly, it could cause problems for the nurses, doctors and patients,” Burkhardt said. Information systems such as billing, patient registration, personnel and payroll, materials management, programs to order drugs, lab tests and procedures, filmless imaging and many others are vital to the smooth operation of the hospital, she said. Burkhardt said the most satisfying

Most patients do not know what I do and its effect on them. I hope, someday, all the health systems we have to deal with will become 100 percent integrated, which will make the information services work much more efficiently. — Diana Burkhardt Saint Alphonsus-Ontario information services director

thing about her job is knowing what she does really impacts the patients. “Most patients do not know what I do and its effect on them,” Burkhardt said. “I hope, someday, all the health systems we have to deal with will become 100 percent integrated, which will make the information services work much more efficiently.” Burkhardt has a number of co-workers with whom she works closely to keep the system operational, and she said it is a good group that communicates well to solve any glitch they may encounter with the systems at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario. “Decision-making wise, locally, it’s my responsibility to make the call,” Burkhardt said. “However, I do have a network with other I.T. people in Boise and Michigan to get advice from if something comes up that I have never seen before.” Burkhardt said knowing that she is making a difference in the lives of the patients, the nurses and doctors is the most satisfying thing about her job.

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D IR E CTO R :Kamo has previous experience in economic development work FROM PAGE F23

Idaho, the Magic Valley and southwestern Idaho. Prior to that, Kamo had experience in the agriculture industry through the Soil and Water Conservation District and was promoting business and the use of natural resources in a wise manner. That experience, she said, benefits her in unimaginable ways when it comes to promoting this area to businesses. “We are ag-based,” she said. “This is the most unique agricultural area in the state of Oregon because of the type of irrigation we use and the types of crops farmers are able to grow. We have one of the best agricultural areas in the Pacific Northwest.” Kamo has been working in the economic development industry for about 10 years. Nor is an organization like SREDA is not a new aspect for Kamo. While with the state, she worked closely with SIEDO, the South Idaho Economic Development Organization in the Magic Valley. That work, too, helped her prepare for her new position with SREDA. Kamo said she is excited about the work going on currently with SREDA.

We are ag-based. This is the most unique agricultural area in the state of Oregon because of the type of irrigation we use and the types of crops farmers are able to grow. We have one of the best agricultural areas in the Pacific Northwest.

F25

— Kit Kamo SREDA executive director

One of the most exciting things, she said, is a partnership SREDA entered with the State of Idaho to manage the visitors gateway rest area at milepost 1 in Idaho on Interstate 84 eastbound. “This is an opportunity for us to put information out there about the area,” Kamo LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER said. “We see a lot of business people traveling through, and the state pays us for The Snake River Economic Development Alliance entered into an agreement with the State of Idaho to manage the visitors gateway rest area in Idaho on Interstate 84 eastmanaging that out there.” bound, near milepost 1, which excited SREDA Executive Director Kit Kamo. Kamo said SREDA has a group of volunteers who work at the rest area. She said when SREDA first took over SEE SREDA | PAGE F29

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Kamo sees bright future for tri-county area F26

SREDA director receiving many requests for information about the region LARRY HURRLE ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

ONTARIO Since Snake River Economic Development Alliance Executive Director Kit Kamo started her new position, things have been going 100 miles per hour. Kamo’s first day was Jan. 1, and she said since then she has been continually sending out information about the western Treasure Valley to businesses expressing interest in the area. “It’s interesting because there are a lot more inquiries than I thought there would be,” Kamo said. “I worked for Malheur County Economic Development back in the mid ’90s. Very rarely did someone come calling, knocking at the door or sending emails and looking. Now, we receive a lot of leads, state leads, that we are able to respond to.” One of the first things Kamo did in her position with SREDA was attend a trade show in Florida, which dealt with renewable energy sources. “I was able to pick up a few leads from that as well for our region,” she said. “I’ve been to trade shows before, but not in the capacity I’m in now.” On the first day of the show, Kamo was able to make connections with a business that expressed interest in the area. “They actually came out in a week or 10 days for a site visit,” Kamo said. “That doesn’t happen very often. It was kind of

Kamo

a highlight of my first six months.” Mainly, Kamo said, there have been a lot of “tire kickers” checking out the area. She said businesses have inquired about areas in both Oregon and Idaho from the East, the Midwest

and California. The reason, she said, is because many costs are being passed down to the small and mid-sized businesses, especially in crowded industrial parks. When a business looks to expand, it can’t afford it where it is currently situated and begins looking for an area that will benefit its business plan, but at a better price overall. Early in 2012, Kamo said, she will attend another trade show, this time in Anaheim, Calif. There, she said, she will see literally thousands of small businesses, and she plans to target them by providing information about the western Treasure Valley. “The industrial parks in California are pretty sandwiched in,” Kamo said. “When they need to grow up or out, small businesses can’t, and they look elsewhere.” Kamo said it has been a challenge to have enough information for potential companies on the tri-county area. “I need to meet their needs right away,” Kamo said. “So, making sure I have information from Washington County, Payette County and Malheur County put together

ARGUS OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Electrical work begins at the site of a planned commercial complex that will include a Big 5 Sporting Goods store in Ontario, in this July file photo. SREDA Executive Director Kit Kamo said, as the economic situation improves across the country, economic development prospects should increase as more people are looking to create businesses of their own.

and available for them is a lot of work. I work very closely with Jim Jensen with Malheur County, Alan Daniels with the City of Ontario, Kevin Coats from Payette County and Jeff Haefer with Washington County.” Though she has not had any concrete inquiries yet, Kamo said that will come in time. “It’s going to take just so many months

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for a company to go through the process to decide if they’re actually coming,” Kamo said. “Six months is tough. It usually takes months to a couple of years before they actually come out and start digging. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes we get surprised.” Many of the companies looking at this area, she said, are in the food-processing SEE KAMO | PAGE F27

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PLUMMER: Considering retirement FROM PAGE F22

his practical knowledge in the field by listening and gaining instruction from coworkers in the field. “I’ve always been surrounded by really good, knowledgeable people,” Plummer said. While every job he has worked at in the district has had both good and bad points, Plummer said he has always enjoyed the co-workers with whom he has worked and the challenges his jobs have presented. “I’ve always liked doing new stuff, and I’ve always worked well with a challenge,” Plummer said. He said he gains satisfaction from having everything under his supervision run smoothly and by meeting the challenges, changes and demands of the times. He also enjoys knowing he is making a difference in the school district he, his wife and two daughters attended. In his various job positions, he has been able to host kindergarten school bus practices and serve on various committees including one involving the design of the 400 hall at Ontario High School and one formed

I’ve always liked doing new stuff, and I’ve always worked well with a challenge.

F27

— Buckley Plummer Longtime OSD employee

when the school district was preparing to integrate kindergarten into the district. Plummer said he does intend to retire, although when that will take place is currently undecided. He had planned to do it soon, but he was asked to postpone that decision for awhile, and he agreed. “At least they’re not kicking me out the door yet,” he said. Plummer said the rest of this summer will be spent filing reports and preparing for the new school year. And while his career in OSD has come full circle, beginning and ending in transportation, Plummer said he rarely is found working under the hood of a school bus these days. “I spend most of my time on a computer, anymore,” he said.

KAMO: Started her position Jan. 1 FROM PAGE F26

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industry. “It’s interesting that we’re getting a lot of the food industry inquiries in this area,” she said. “We’re an ideal situation with I84, U.S. 95, Highway 20-26. It’s an excellent hub for that type of thing. You want a company that fits the community and will be a good parent for you.” Overall, Kamo is optimistic about pos-

sible economic development prospects in this end of the western Treasure Valley. “This is a very exciting time,” Kamo said. “The timing (for SREDA) is really good because, as people come out of an economically stressed time, you see more entrepreneurs. Those people are inspired because they don’t have a job any more and they create their own company. We see so much more interest in our area here than we have seen in years.”


JOHNSON: Started as library page FROM PAGE F24

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

pers, magazines, large print books for the F28 older adults and, in a month or so, it will offer e-books and world book on computer. “We have a lot of older people that don’t like the Internet. They would prefer a book,” Johnson said, adding it is still important to keep up with other visitors’ library needs. “You have to grow with the technology.” Johnson works with the community by arranging for the bookmobile to the visit the surrounding areas as well as the fair, October Faire, schools and nursing homes and oversees the employee who takes it to the numerous places. Johnson also supervises the children’s librarian, who plans the events and activities for the children in the community. She also makes sure the books get cataloged, processed, placed on the shelved and are in good condition. In all, Johnson supervises seven employees. “A lot of people think that all a librarian does is sit at a desk, and that is not all we do,” Johnson said.

We are important to the community, and we are trying to make the library better.

— Darlyne Johnson Ontario Community Library head librarian

Johnson said she is trying to arrange for more programs at the library that will benefit the community. She also works with the Lifelong Learners on programming. “We are important to the community, and we are trying to make the library better,” Johnson said. Johnson resides in Fruitland with her husband, who has worked for a farmer and they have one son who works for the Idaho Department of Land and is a firefighter this year. Johnson said she also enjoys reading when she has time, especially non-fiction history books. She has a bachelors degree in business administration and is an advocate of higher education.

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FROM PAGE F27

SCOTT FORD | ARGUS OBSERVER

Payette County recreation director Ted Pettet has been on the job for four years and said he loves what he does for the county and for the kids.

Pettet glad to be involved with recreation district SCOTT FORD ARGUS OBSERVER

When Ted Pettet left Arizona to move his family to Idaho, he thought his days working with a local recreation department were far behind him. Pettet coached and taught school in Payson, Ariz., for 16 years and on the side

SEE PETTET | PAGE F38

— Kit Kamo Snake River Economic Development Alliance executive director

man or elected officials,” she said. “Most of them have a passion for the region and for the area. Those people have come together and have a vision that they could do something to increase the viability of the area. Working with those individuals is the greatest reward from the job. That’s the type of people we have in this valley.”

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People in this valley are committed individuals, F29 whether they’re businessmen or elected officials. Most of them have a passion for the region and for the area. Those people have come together and have a vision that they could do something to increase the viability of the area.

To schedule an appointment call:

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

FRUITLAND

helped the Payson Recreation Department with various programs before taking on a full-time position as the recreation coordinator. After moving to Idaho, Pettet was hired on as a teacher and baseball coach for Weiser High School and then four years later learned of the Payette County Recreation Department director position

the rest area, there was no local information at the site. Now, she said, the local chambers of commerce have made sure SREDA has brochures in the area that are available to travelers. “In our first two days, we had 246 visitors that our volunteers were able to visit with,” Kamo said. “That doesn’t count the ones they didn’t get to talk to. Of those 246 visitors, there were people from 15 different states and six different countries. It just gives you an idea that there’s a whole world out there driving through that rest stop. I was just amazed.” Kamo described her job as being that of a fishing expedition. Once the fish is on the hook with SREDA, she said, it is up to the communities to help her net them. Overall, Kamo said, it is the people of this community that make SREDA successful. “People in this valley are committed individuals, whether they’re business-


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COMMUNITY

Helping people second nature to Jim Jones F31

Former police chief heavily involved in local community JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

JESSICA KELLER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Ontario resident and former Police Chief Jim Jones (left) speaks with The Argus Observer Publisher John Dillon before an editorial board meeting, on which Jones is a temporary member. It’s just one of the many activities in which Jones participates.

thought process wasn’t necessarily on the same level as the students he was teaching, especially after he made a reference to “Peyton Place” and one pupil asking him what he meant. “I think it’s time,” he said. Not that he’s leaving the college all together, Jones said. He’ll still fill in for his teaching replacements when he is needed, and he will remain active behind the scenes at the college as well, acting as a liaison, recruiting peo-

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ple, helping people find jobs and working with the school in whatever capacity he is needed. Even without TVCC on his regular schedule anymore, Jones still has plenty to do. He has been active on the Lions for a number of years and instrumental in many of the fundraisers it has, including the annual Buckaroo Supper to raise money for the Ontario fireworks celebrations. SEE JONES | PAGE F36

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ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

In some fashion or another, longtime Ontario resident Jim Jones has made it his life’s work to help people. He just doesn’t say much about it. Jones, 75, grew up in Fruitland, and after graduating high school attended Boise Junior College before joining the Navy. When he got out, he intended to go to Washington State University and play football. That summer, however, a friend of his told him the Ontario Police Department needed officers and asked if he would join. He did, and the job stuck, and so did Jones. Jones, who moved to Ontario in 1957, served as an officer before becoming chief in 1962, a position he held until 1990. As police chief he was also appointed to a number of governor’s advisory committees for law enforcement, and, since 1965, he has taught criminal justice classes at Treasure Valley Community College, only deciding to retire this year. All through that time, however, even when he ran police departments in other cities on an interim basis after retiring as Ontario police chief, he never considered leaving the Ontario area. “It’s my home,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think you can find a better place to live. It’s just home.” He said he also thoroughly enjoyed teaching classes at TVCC. “I really enjoyed it, and just basically get a kick out of the kids,” he said. “If I had my life to do over, I’d do the same thing.” He decided, however, it was time to hang up his teaching hat this year after receiving a few clues that his


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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Bishop ensures city operations run smoothly City employee is on-call 24 hours a day LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

LARRY MEYER | ARGUS OBSERVER

John Bishop, Ontario City Public Works operations manager, stands outside the new Public Works office building in north Ontario.

As the City of Ontario public works operations manager, John Bishop is the face of the on-the-ground services provided by the city — public utilities and streets — that are necessary to support Ontario’s residential, commercial and industrial communities. He oversees water distribution, wastewater, storm water collection and street maintenance, services that touch about everyone who lives in or comes into town. “I’ve been with the city for about 16 and a half years,” Bishop said. He started as a utility maintenance worker and then transferred to the street department as supervisor and then opera-

F33 It is our responsibility to keep utilities in good shape. — John Bishop Ontario operations manager

tions manager in 2002. Bishop is not one to live his job at the office, however, being on-call 24 hours per day, by cell phone rather than by radio as in the past. “It works pretty smooth,” he said. Bishop grew up in Vale and his father, also John Bishop, was a Malheur County rancher and a former county commissioner. Bishop worked for a road district in the Nampa area, and, after getting married, wanted to move back to the Ontario, and applied for a position with the City of Ontario, he said. When the job was offered to someone else, Bishop went to work for Payette County and had been there just a few SEE BISHOP | PAGE F41

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011


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JONES: Stays active in community FROM PAGE F31

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

A couple months out of the year he is also active in Help Them to Hope and F36 serves on the Malheur County wage committee, which sets the wages for the elected officials in the county. He is also on the board of directors for the Malheur Federal Credit Union and is one of two historians for the Oregon Police Chief’s Association. Most recently he helped arrange the Fruitland High School Alumni Association’s 100-year reunion. If pressed, Jones could go on, but he says he’s no different than many other people whom he can think of who serve in their community too who don’t seek out the recognition. “I think it’s a part of the community, but I also think it’s a duty of somebody who lives in a community to be a part of its direction of travel,” he said. His two most satisfactory roles, however, were being police chief and working at TVCC, both jobs dedicated to helping people. Jones said his participation in the rest of his activities has just arisen through the years, and at 75, he still feels like he’s

I tried playing golf for awhile, but I just can’t do something that’s not contributing.

— Jim Jones Former Ontario police chief

40, despite having a kidney transplant in 1990. And, Jones said, he’s never considered slowing down either, although he does have a cabin in Sumpter he has enjoyed when he needed to get away and recharge his batteries. He said he sees a lot of people just sitting around, and he’s never understood that. “I tried playing golf for awhile, but I just can’t do something that’s not contributing,” he said. Jones said service clubs are crucial, and it worries him that fewer people are participating in them because service clubs keep the best aspects of a community alive. “I think that you just need to contribute to your community,” he said. “It just makes everything better.”

HEALTH

CARE

Bentz serves two roles at Saint Al’s-Ontario SHERI BANDELEAN ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO The experience gained as a lowly intern and then as assistant to the marketing director launched Leanna Bentz into the position of executive director of foundation and marketing at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario and all in just two years. “I’m really happy with what I’m doing here, and I want to see where I can grow in the hospital and the community,” Bentz said. “This job is challenging and a lot of work.” The executive director of foundation and marketing has two roles. The marketing and communication side deals with advertising and public relations, information about departments, services and making contacts in the community. The foundations portion is supposed to be the support for the hospital in terms of fundraising, creating relationships and building loyalty within the community as well as educating the community. The foundation exists to improve and enhance the medical center’s delivery of high quality healthcare through the success of outside support and volunteer leadership, charitable gifts. Bentz started out as an intern at the hospital to finish her requirements for her degree at Oregon State University. After her internship, she was hired as the assistant

to then-Marketing Director Mary Buchanan. Buchanan got transferred to Boise to work in the creative marketing department for the Saint Alphonsus Healthcare System, and when that happened Bentz moved up to the position she is now. Bentz is not a native of the area, but she has learned to love the area through her husband, she said. Her husband is a native of Treasure Valley. Bentz grew up in the Portland area in Gresham and met her husband while in high school when they both attended a high school leadership camp. They kept in contact but didn’t start dating until they got to college. Even though they both attended different colleges they were close by. Bentz went to OSU and her husband went to Western. Bentz got the internship when they got engaged, so they moved to Ontario and have been married for just more than a year. “I love the community,” Bentz said. “Surprisingly I adjusted really well. Everyone here is really friendly, and I felt like this community really had a sense of wanting to make everything better, so I was attracted to it.” Along with being dedicated to her job, she volunteers on the St. Peter Catholic School advisory board. “It was my first kind of volunteer commitment to the community, and I’m impressed with the vision and the mission of the school, and it has been a really good SEE BENTZ | PAGE F41

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of the schools are entering in the ADM into School Master each day. The school district has to report those numbers to the state four times a year, and they are very important because they are used to determine how much funding the district will receive for a year. She also keeps track of staff extended leave and vacation days on the personnel side of things. “I do a little bit of everything,” she said. If there are any special meetings scheduled, she arranges them, and she also sends out the required notices for every meeting to the various media in town. If legal notices have to be published, Masterson also arranges that. After a number of years at Alameda Elementary School, Masterson decided to apply for her current position when it became available in 2004. “It was a hard decision (to leave) because I really enjoyed working at Alameda and really enjoyed the kids,” she said. SEE MASTERSON | PAGE F40

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life in the Ontario School District in some form or another — either as student or employee. Masterson, 54, is the administrative assistant to the superintendent and board secretary, and has worked in the school district for 27 years, the past 24 consecutively. She began working in the school district as a secretary at Alameda in 1977. Masterson left in 1980 to be at home with her oldest daughter. She returned to the school district in 1987, when her second daughter was beginning kindergarten, to work in the library at Alameda before becoming a secretary again. Masterson was born and raised in Ontario, graduating from the Ontario school system, as did her two daughters. After graduating from high school she took some secretarial classes at Treasure Valley Community College before going to work. As board secretary, Masterson prepares all the board packets for the School Board meetings and makes sure they are sent to the board members on time. Masterson also does all the average daily membership and state reporting for the Department of Education using the School Master system. She also ensures the secretaries at each

F37


PETTET: Began with the Payette County Recreation District as an official FROM PAGE F29

F38 opening. With the encouragement from

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

friends and people who knew his recreation background, Pettet decided to apply for the position. That was four years ago. Prior to that, Pettet had been working with the Payette County Recreation District as umpire or official of various events, so he was no stranger to the program. Now, Pettet said he hopes he has done a good job for the county. “I have really enjoyed this job,” Pettet said. “There are a lot great people in Payette County, and it’s the people that make it fun.” Being a recreation director is more than what most people think, he said. “I think there is a lot of communications that take place behind closed doors that folks may not know about, finding coaches, getting registrations, securing facilities and coordinating those facilities, getting equipment and updating the equipment,” Pettet said. “Then there is public relations and marketing of the recreation center. And a lot of people may not realize the effort that is involved just to get one

program up and running. We use email, fliers and signage to get the word out.” Starting a new program or even just getting one up and running takes a lot of effort, and Pettet said there are always challenges. “It never turns out like you thought it would, and that is what my job is all about,” he said. “I have to be on hand to fix things when they do not go as planned.” Like the tournament Payette County Recreation recently ran with 91 games and 35 teams, both softball and baseball. Pettet said the department ran into some glitches during the weekend, and those kinds of things have to be handled quickly and effectively in order to make the event run. “I enjoy the people and the kids and to see them have success on the field or court, to watch them learn sportsmanship and develop camaraderie on the field,” Pettet said. “The best thank you that I have had is when people come up to me and tell me they have noticed the changes that were made, that they notice the direction we are trying to take the recreation cen-

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ter.” Pettet said he feels the department has implemented changes with the programs that make them safer for the participants. Some of those changes went over well and other did not, but, in the end, he said, they were made for safety reasons. Pettet said he would like to be able to add more programs to the Payette County Recreation menu, such as art in the park. He said he would also like to get lights on field four at Mesa Park. “We would love to be able to have a shuttle to run the youth to Roaring Springs or to take kids to see the Hawks, Stampede or the hockey team play,” Pettet said. “But things like that take people to step up and support them. Volunteers are always needed in a recreation department.” One new things taking place with the county recreation department is the McCain project, which Pettet said needs to be finished, and it’s the main focus of the department. As far as programs go, the Payette County Recreation Department is doing pretty much all it can at the moment, Pettet said. “We have added a youth volleyball program and a bowling program,” Pettet said. “The specialty programs are what we need to develop next. We do have an adult league, wood bat softball league with a different twist to it. We started it last year and had nine teams, and so far this year we have seven teams signed up for it.” Tackle football is coming up soon, and flag football is also getting ready to start. Pettet said he understands and appreciates the importance of sponsorship the recreation department receives. “We have a lot of sponsors for our base-

It never turns out like you thought it would, and that is what my job is all about.

— Ted Pettet Payette County Recreation District director

ball programs. We have well over 100 teams playing from May to June, both softball and baseball, and a lot of those teams are sponsored by someone, and we really appreciate those businesses and individuals that step up and take care of those teams,” Pettet said. “Then there are all the individuals that come out to volunteer their time as a coach. Being a volunteer coach is a tough thing to do. They donate all the time and have to put up with a lot of competitive parents, and sometimes I think people forget they are just volunteers doing the best job they can.” Pettet said the department also has had the local high schools step up and sponsor camps and clinics for the youth of Payette County, and that is a huge plus for the department. The Payette County Recreation Department has a group of individuals who make it work on a day-to-day basis, including Michelle Myers, bookkeeper and treasurer, Robin Hollis, office assistant, Dan Reed, maintenance and concessions supervisor, Ron Reanier, grounds and maintenance, and Jason Scott, a seasonal groundskeeper. “The great thing about having a good staff is I do not have to micromanage. They all do a great job for Payette County Recreation,” Pettet said. “There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.”

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MASTERSON: Has six years remaining before she’s eligible for retirement FROM PAGE F37

F40

Masterson said, even with the absence of children on a regular basis, she likes what she is doing now and says it was a good opportunity for her. “It’s a good place to work,” she said. Her duties are varied, which keeps things interesting as well, she said. “Each day it’s different,” Masterson said. She said while she enjoys every facet of her job, she enjoys the state reporting and keeping track of the ADM and the School Master System the most because it is interesting and important. She said the information she keeps goes to the state and the school district’s auditors, and she wants to know all the numbers are correctly reported. “I want everything to be in order for when the auditors come,” she said. “Our ADM is our money, so it’s important.” Masterson also attends School Master trainings and makes sure the system is working properly for the school year. The School Master system, while it took some learning, is very helpful and ef-

ficient because before it was implemented the secretaries had to keep track of the Average Daily Membership by hand. Masterson also attends the regular board meetings and special meetings, in which she keeps the minutes. After the meetings, she types them up to be included in the board members’ packets for the next month. If it’s busy in school district office, Masterson said she will also answer the phones and respond to people coming in the building. Masterson said her employment at the school district was a good opportunity for her because she could keep the same hours as her daughters, and when they both were in grade school she could work year round. “It was a good situation for me,” she said. “It worked well for us.” Staying in Ontario was also an easy decision for Masterson and her husband, to whom she has been married for almost 34 years. “Just overall it’s a good place to raise a family and a good place to stay,” she said. While her children are grown, and she

JESSICA KELLER | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Ontario School District Administrative Assistant Jolene Masterson first began her career with the district working at Alameda Elementary School. She said she enjoyed working at the school and seeing the children, but she finds the job she does now satisfying and challenging.

no longer encounters elementary students on a regular basis, Masterson said she is content because she has plenty of opportunity to visit and play with her grandchildren, and she is very active in the summer as a 4-H horse club leader, which she has done for a number of years. Masterson also rides horses on the 10 acres of land outside of Ontario where she Owned and Operated By Brooks Medford

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and her husband live. She also visits her mother, who lives next door, frequently, which she likes. Masterson said she has six more years before she reaches 30 and is eligible for retirement, and she intends to finish out her career in the Ontario School District. “It’s been a good career for me,” she said.


BENTZ: Is impressed by community

FROM PAGE F33

I think it has been a months when the City of Ontario called good fit. For the most to offer a job. part, this has been It was good to get his feet back on the ground instead of being just in a cab, he home for me.

SHERI BANDELEAN | ARGUS OBSERVER

Leanna Bentz has settled well into her position as executive director of foundation and marketing at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario. FROM PAGE F36

said. One of the newest changes in Bishop’s department is having public works situated in one building, on the north side of Ontario, putting all of public works under one roof. “We’re busy with a projects, including water and sewer extension or replacement. It saves a lot of money,” Bishop said, commenting that ongoing maintenance ends up being less expensive in the long run than major repairs when something fails. He expressed appreciation for the support from the City Council and budget committee for their support in funding needed projects and upgrading equipment. “It is our responsibility to keep utilities in good shape,” he said. Besides the 13 full-time employees in operations, Bishop hires four temporary

F41

— John Bishop Ontario operations manager

workers to help out during the summer projects. “A lot of temps become full-time workers,” he said. Having them as temporary workers allows him to know what experience they have and see their work habits. “Winter can be a challenge,” Bishop said of keeping the streets clear of snow and equipment and pipes operating. While Bishop answers a lot of phones calls, many people contractors and citizens make their first call to dispatch to get answers to questions. “I think it has been a good fit,” Bishop said. “For the most part, this has been home for me.”

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experience,” Bentz said. Bentz developed her sense of volunteerism as a member of a college sorority, participating in blood and school supply drives. She also served on the student council of her high school and worked on food drives, blood drives and adopting families at Christmas. “I wish I could do more volunteer work, It’s very rewarding,” Bentz said. Since she has been here, Bentz said she has witnessed the outreach work people in this community do, and it impresses her to see people such as Kelly Poe and Kim Wilson dedicate so much of their time helping people.

“That is what makes the community go round,” Bentz said. For now Bentz said she is just trying to settle into her role at the hospital and get to know the community and its needs in a healthcare partner. The community is growing, and as foundation and marketing director, Bentz said she needs to look into how the hospital can provide services to the community and find out what the community needs. Bentz said she is impressed with Saint Alphonsus-Ontario and believes in its mission of being is patient- and community-centered. “My goal is to educate the community to what we offer here,” Bentz said.

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EDUCATION

F42

Sharing information a main focus of Lee’s job at college JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO When Abby Lee first decided she wanted a background in communications, her goal in life was to move to New York City and work for a big PR firm. She said she learned, however, that Idaho boys don’t like living away from their home state, and when she got married straight out of college with her degree in communications and public relations, she knew New York City was not in the cards. Communications and public relations, however, were. Lee, public information director at Treasure Valley Community College, was hired at TVCC in 1999. Previously she worked in the same position for a hospital in Pullman, Wash., while her

I think I have a master’s degree in what most moms have already figured out how to do.

— Abby Lee TVCC public information director

husband, Brian, was finishing law school. “I define public relations as having good communications,” Lee said. Lee, however, has another role at the college that she sometimes employs, using her master’s degree in performance improvement. “I think I have a master’s degree in what most moms have already figured out how to do,” Lee, who has two daughSEE LEE | PAGE F48

JESSICA KELLER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Treasure Valley Community College Public Information Director Abby Lee (right) speaks with TVCC Administrative Assistant Gina Roper. Lee said maintaining good communication is essential for the college to run smoothly.

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Barnett enjoys glimpse into past job offers her LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

LARRY MEYER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Tori Barnett sits at her desk where she keeps track of records, both old and new, for the City of Ontario.

Records may be boring and mundane to some people, but don’t that say to Tori Barnett, who has been Ontario city recorder for just more than 16 years. Barnett was hired as city recorder for Ontario after she served in the military for five years before returning to the community in which she had grown up. The position had opened up with the retirement of the previous city recorder. “I enjoy doing records,” she said. Barnett said keeping and preserving old records are a passion for her, as they are a history of what has been done in the past in her job and in city government, as well as interesting information. For instance, the fourth city ordinance for the City of Ontario, in 1896, set the salary for city recorder at $100 per year. “I’m very territorial,” Barnett said, adding she is very careful and protective

F43 I like the history piece. It’s a fascination of how we evolved. — Tori Barnett Ontario city recorder

of the older records. She said she spends as much time as she can scanning the old city records and maintaining the current records, putting them on digital files. “It’s about preservation,” she said. Many of the records are on older paper, which is fading and easily torn. “You want to protect them from exposure and handling,” she said. Scanning documents is a ongoing project, she said. If she is not doing a project that has a deadline, she will grab a box of files and start scanning, she said. In addition to keeping records on city ordinances and other city business, SEE BARNETT | PAGE F44

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Pelland uses strengths to help veterans in area LINDSEY PARKER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Charlene Pelland, Ontario, gets things done. She’s a self-described “do-er” whose motto is, “Quit talking about it, and get it done,” she said. Pelland said she had lots of responsibility at home growing up and found it easy to take on more responsibility throughout her life. She said she pays attention to details and thrives at making sure the best laid plans take shape into action. Pelland said she has a strong patriotic love for her country, which spilled over into her volunteerism. She also has a strong will to help local veterans, and is a co-founder for the Veteran Advocates

BARNETT: Also clerk to the council

COMMUNITY

of Ore-Ida and helps to manage the Ontario office at 484 S.W. Fourth Ave., Ontario. “When a veteran walks through the door, it will be a safe and happy place for them,” Pelland said. Pelland said it was very important to her to make a difference, and her family has strong ties to the military. She is the second eldest in her family and has six brothers. Many of her family served in the military. “I have a strong passion,” she said. “Most of my brothers served in Vietnam. They weren’t treated very well when they got back. I’m not sure why we (the U.S.) objected so much. We should support them, whether we agree or not.” Pelland was a nurse during her career, primarily working with babies and in the SEE PELLAND | PAGE F46

FROM PAGE F44

Barnett keeps records on the cemetery plots. There are different levels of recordkeeping, Barnett said. “I like the history piece,” she said. “It’s a fascination of how we evolved.” In years past, people who brought cattle through town for sale or shipping could be fined if their animals damaged any trees, she said. Barnett is also the clerk to the Ontario City Council, preparing the agenda packets and taking minutes. She is also the city’s election officer. Part of those tasks includes keeping up on public meeting laws and ethics issues. “It’s important to have good relations with the City Council members,” she said. Barnett said she is another informational resource to council members about records and procedures during City Council meetings. One of the important ways Barnett keeps up on new laws important to her job and the City Council is through her partic-

I’m a one-person department. It’s a time-consuming job. — Tori Barnett Ontario city recorder

ipation in the Oregon Association of Municipal Recorders. Barnett will be taking over the reins of that organization this year as president, and, she said, when she travels for the organization she will using its money. Barnett is also the person who handles public records requests but said she receives very few. “We (already) put out as much information as we can,” she said, adding most of it can be found on the city’s new website. “I’m a one-person department,” Barnett continued. “It’s a time-consuming job.” Aside from her work for the city, Barnett has stayed involved in the community, volunteering with different events and organizations. “This is home,” she said. “This is where I grew up.”

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Restoration of Fruitland building a passion for Baines WILLIAM ANDERSON ARGUS OBSERVER

FRUITLAND Some people believe humans were put on this earth for a reason. Fruitland resident Konnie Baines, executive director of the Olde School Community Center in Fruitland, believes she was put on this earth for two purposes: to teach and to preserve the former Fruitland High School, the current Olde School Community Center. “Everybody is put on earth for a purpose,” Baines said. “I told the Lions Club, ‘why not this? I think this is why we were put here.’ That and teaching.” Baines spent 30 years of her life teaching at Fruitland High School, beginning as a librarian and then moving on to teach vocational skills to students. After years of doing these jobs, Baines then earned her degree from Eastern Oregon University and began teaching English at the high school. She retired from teaching

F45

Everybody is put on this earth for a purpose. I told the Lion’s Club, ‘Why not this? I think this is why we were put here.’

— Konnie Baines Olde School Community Center executive director

in 2000. Although Baines earned her degree, she said she did not take the most direct path to do it, nor did she hesitate when it was time to get it completed. “In 1990, I took all the classes Eastern Oregon University had to offer, and I challenged all the ones I could,” Baines said. “One summer, I took 87 credits.” Baines completed her degree in the earWILLIAM ANDERSON | ARGUS OBSERVER ly 1990s by attending classes in the sum- Konnie Baines shows off some photos used during the Fruitland all-school reunion in mer and was the first person in her family June, which are on display at the Olde School Community Center in Fruitland. Baines taught at Fruitland High School for 30 years and, with the help of her husband, has run SEE BAINES | PAGE F53 the Olde School Community Center for 15 years.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011


F46

LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Charlene Pelland (right), co-founder of Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida, shakes the hand of veteran Bill James. Pelland said she wanted to help create a safe, welcoming place for returning veterans, where they could come share their memories.

PELLAND: Dedicated to vets’ issues

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

FROM PAGE F44

HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT GROUND BREAKING

intensive care unit. Her passion for helping children spread when she moved to Ontario, four years ago, from Florida, and she volunteered with Treasure Valley Children’s Relief Nursery and served on the board of directors. The desire to honor the veterans of the community transitioned into a real driving force with VAOI, which started in 2006. The focus of the organization is sending boxes to the troops overseas. The organization sends letters, quilts and boxes of treats. Volunteers also holds fundraisers and collects change throughout the year to provide funds for its nonprofit organization. “I’m the one who makes sure all the t’s get crossed, and the i’s get dotted,” Pelland said. She admits she can see the details in the big picture. She works with other community members like Ron Verini, to provide a safe haven for veterans. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers, and she coordinates meetings with volunteers and helps plan events to benefit troops. “It’s a huge amount of work and implementation daily,” Pelland said. “We work

When I could only do one thing, I noted there are people out there that take care of our kids. There weren’t as many people with a passion to take care of veterans.

— Charlene Pelland Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida co-founder

with between 80 and 100 volunteers. I really enjoy working with the veterans.” Pelland said heart problems forced her to give up some of her volunteer work. She said she had to choose whether to give her time to the children at the Treasure Valley Children’s Relief Nursery or the veterans. She chose the latter because, she said, she believes there are not enough local resources for returning or retired veterans in the Ontario area. “When I could only do one thing, I noted there are people out there that take care of our kids. There weren’t as many people with a passion to take care of veterans,” Pelland said. Pelland said she wants to make sure the veterans are taken care of and help them tell their stories before they’re gone.


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Water management poses challenges for Chamberlin WILLIAM ANDERSON

F47

Being raised in an agricultural area, this is a noble cause. People forget NYSSA Growing up in an agricultural area, that we are feeding the Owyhee Irrigation District Manager Jay nation. Without water, this valley Chamberlin thinks what he does for a livwould not be what it is today. ing is a vital aspect of the area. ARGUS OBSERVER

— Jay Chamberlin Owyhee Irrigation District manager

getting pretty heavy. It gets frustrating and difficult. It is getting more and more cumbersome to the point that it paralyzes the ability to do what we were intended to do — store and deliver water to agricultural lands.” The Owyhee Irrigation District is the WILLIAM ANDERSON | ARGUS OBSERVER largest in the state and runs from Adrian, north to Weiser and east to Vale, and along Owyhee Irrigation District Manager Jay Chamberlin sits in front of a map of Malheur the Oregon-Idaho border. Chamberlin County while at the Ontario-area office. Chamberlin is working on his 11th year as dismanages 32 full-time employees and up to trict manager. 10 more seasonally. On any given day, Chamberlin can be found overseeing any of a number of duties, which include water distribution, managing federal and state contracts and trying to meet state water laws. “There are a lot of details involved with all operations,” Chamberlin said. “We are not only consuming, but also creating power as well.” Chamberlin said there are two major pumping plants on the Snake River to help supplement storage for the Owyhee SEE CHAMBERLIN | PAGE F53

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“Being raised in an agricultural area, this is a noble cause,” Chamberlin said. “People forget that we are feeding the nation. Without water, this valley would not be what it is today.” Chamberlin said as a whole, people are starting to recognize the importance of water and water quality. Chamberlin began his career in water management in the late 1970s, here in this area. Following a stint locally, Chamberlin took his knowledge to two projects in Montana, where he spent 20 years in total, learning many important skills he now implements as district manager of the Owyhee Irrigation District, where he has been working for the past 11 years. “Montana was a great place to be. The winters are a little tougher,” Chamberlin said. “It is good be back in Oregon.” One of the things he has learned along the way, Chamberlin said, is the politics of water rights and water issues vary greatly from state to state. “Oregon’s water rights and issues are much more political than other states,” Chamberlin said. “The political stuff is


LEE: Works closely with the college president to draft messages, position pieces FROM PAGE F42

F48 ters, joked.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Her performance improvement background, however, has been put into use at TVCC because she can systematically look at the various aspects of the college, from instruction to technology to communication, see how they are all working together systemically and make recommendations so people can do their jobs better and more effectively. Her biggest role at the college is to determine the best way to share, internally and externally, what is happening at the college and any changes, challenges or progress taking place. One of her duties is to communicate things taking place internally at the college between the different departments. One of the ways she does that is through the internal college newsletter. It is also her role to communicate with the public through the media, and she said she always tries to anticipate what reporters will want to know. Her background in journalism, reporting and editing at the Idaho

I really think it’s difficult to be a good communications professional if you haven’t earned your mettle in the trenches.

— Abby Lee Treasure Valley Community College public information director

News Tribune, helped her there because she can think like a journalist. “I really think it’s difficult to be a good communications professional if you haven’t earned your mettle in the trenches,” Lee said. Thinking like a reporter, Lee said, helps in her position because she understands what a reporter would want to know and what is important to the public. Lee said while she is definitely supportive of the college, she doesn’t let that compromise the need to share news with the public, even if it isn’t always positive. She said whether it is positive or negative, her role is to help the organization tell the

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truth in the best way possible. “So the truth is non-negotiable,” Lee said. She said she works with college officials to determine the best way to explain a certain situation, whether it’s the college’s budget or implementation of furlough days and how it will impact students and the public. She says it’s her job to convey the message that, no matter how uncomfortable the subject, the truth needs to be told because people already know it and the college needs to own it as well as any decisions made. “In practice, that’s always been a core value, wherever I work,” Lee said. She said she has never felt like she could not advise officials how best to handle or explain a situation and she is not afraid to tell someone that what they are contemplating is wrong if need be. That, however, has never really been an issue for Lee. “I am bringing a different perspective, and usually that’s been pretty well received,” Lee said. “Again, it’s all about relationships.”

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Relationships are especially important in her job working with the college president, Lee said, because she works closely with that person crafting messages, providing more information to questions and outlining top issues that need to be brought up in any given situation. Lee said she also has to know the president well in order to be able to craft a message that reflects that president’s voice, whether in speeches, position pieces or messages to the public. “It takes a while to get a sense of what their style is,” Lee said, adding she spends a lot of time with the college president learning what that person thinks about specific issues pertaining to the college, especially if she needs to draft a position piece reflecting that opinion that will be presented to legislators, which she does frequently. “I’m better now than I was in the very beginning,” she said. “It’s important that people don’t read this and say ‘Oh, this is Abby Lee.’”

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SEE TVCC | PAGE F62


NATURAL RESOURCES

Vale BLM manager responsible for large area Gonzalez previously worked in Forest Service for 31 years LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

VALE Most of the Vale Bureau of Land Management District is centered in Malheur County, but there are sections of the district as far north as southeast Washington, along the border of Oregon, and the Grande Ronde River Canyon, and east to the Boardman area. So, Don Gonzales manages a district that covers ground from Washington all the way down to Nevada and that impacts several counties and lots of people who work for the agency, do business with it or participate in activities on BLM managed land. “I’ve been in natural resources for 33 years,” Gonzales said, adding 31 years of that was working in the Forest Service. He said he worked in Roseberg on a detail for the BLM, he said, commenting about when he switched from the Forest Service to the BLM.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s seemed like the morale was better and more projects were happening,” he continued. “The policies are different. I’m learning new ways of managing resources.” What Gonzales has found in the Vale district is variety as there are a number of different issues that district staff have to deal with, from grazing to tourism. About onethird of his budget has to do with wildfire suppression. Up near Baker City, the BLM operates the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Also the BLM manages wilderness and wilderness study areas, grazing allotments and two wild and scenic river corridors. The BLM posts river rangers in the those corridors to make sure rafters are following the regulations and leaving camping areas clean. BLM staff work with the Forest Service and the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office in patrolling the Owyhee River, Gonzales said. There are 465,000 animal unit months being used by ranchers who put cattle out on the range. An AUM is amount of feed needed to sustain a cow and calf for one month. SEE GONZALEZ | PAGE F58

F49

LARRY MEYER | ARGUS OBSERVER

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RECREATION

Children keep Weiser recreation director going F50 SCOTT FORD ARGUS OBSERVER

WEISER Kenneth Anderson, a lifetime resident of Weiser, has been the recreation director in Weiser for the past four years. Anderson said he learned of the position opening through a phone call from a friend and decided to apply and got the job. “I wanted to hang out with the kids and to get the program up and running again,” Anderson said. “When I first came on board, I thought I would set a baseball field here and a soccer field there but soon realized it’s not one baseball field we need, it’s seven. It’s not one softball field we need, it’s nine. But to this point I am very happy with how things have and are turning out.” The Weiser Recreation Department offers more than 20 youth activities and 10 adult activities and has a staff of only two people.

“It’s trying, but we succeed because of the volunteers we have and all the sponsors we have,” Anderson said. Anderson also serves as maintenance man and divides his day into morning field work and afternoon office work. “I spend a lot of time on the fields, trying to keep them game-ready. It takes some time,” Anderson said. The Weiser Recreation Department’s two biggest activities are the soccer and baseball programs. Its baseball program has 21 teams in a town of about 5,000 people. Anderson said, when prepping for an upcoming activity, he relies heavily on his assistant, Jeannie Bates, for registrations and other paper work, while he coordinates with other recreation directors for scheduling and with Weiser High School for the use of its facilities. “The most satisfying thing being the recreation director is just knowing we have established a change for the positive,” Anderson said. “When I first came SEE ANDERSON | PAGE F52

SCOTT FORD | ARGUS OBSERVER

Weiser recreation director Kenneth Anderson mans the phone and computer from his office in Weiser. Anderson had been on the job for four years and loves to see the smiling faces at the sporting events the recreation department offers.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Hopper likes knowing ins and outs of finance F51 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO Ontario’s Rachel Hopper said she likely won’t have an answer if somebody asks where her keys are, but ask her why a certain amount was expended for a project, and she’ll be able to answer. Hopper is slowly making the transition from City of Ontario finance director, a position in which she has worked for 10 years, to being the Ontario School District finance director. Currently she is working both jobs and won’t completely relinquish her duties for the city until after the next audit process is finished. While Hopper started her degree in business administration at Oregon State University and ended at Northwest Nazarene University, she said a lot of the information she has accumulated through the years comes from institutional knowledge, things you only become familiar

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Rachel Hopper, the Ontario School District finance director, also worked for 10 years as the City of Ontario’s finance director.

working at a specific job.

That has helped her out tremendously working for the City of Ontario, where she started in 1999 helping write and administer community block grants. She was also introduced to the government accounting side of business adminstration and the audit process, which she enjoyed. When she became finance director for the city in 2000, the city underwent four audits that year, which was a harrowing but informative experience for her. She also helped pave the way, answering questions and working behind the scenes for a number of big projects that came up for the city, including integrating software to transitioning from an annual to a biennial budget and handling administrator duties for a number of grants, including those for the airport. She also oversaw funding and distribution for a number of capital projects, which will benefit her at the school district because she is acting as the school district representative for the $18.5 million bond construction project.

A big role for Hopper, however, was to prepare the city’s budget and present budget reports to the City Council and answer financial questions posed to her. That duty doesn’t change now that she is school district finance director. “I think my role has always been to provide as much information as possible so the best decision can be made to using our resources most efficiently,” Hopper said. While at the city, she was responsible for overseeing human resources, accounting, accounts payable, customer services and utility billing, the breakdown of duties is somewhat more decentralized in the school district. For example, she is not responsible for human resources, which falls under the duties of the human resources/operations manager. Through the years she has also found areas in which to save some money, even on small level, such as contracting services SEE HOPPER | PAGE F52

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011


ANDERSON: Likes what he does FROM PAGE F50

in, there were a lot of people that were

F52 none to happy with the program, and we

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

have mended some fences and now have other recreation departments coming back to Weiser for events.” Anderson said he understands he cannot make everyone happy. “You just want to put on the best and the most least expensive program you can, especially in this economy,” he said. Anderson said, being the director, he has to have big shoulders to take on all the issues that can and have arisen. “I take a lot of the blame when things come up, but I also offer a solution for the problem, and that has worked for me,” Anderson said. He said, like just about every other recreation department in the Treasure Valley, upgrading equipment is the Weiser Recreation Department’s biggest challenge. But in the end, Anderson said it is all worth it because when he sees the children coming off the field or court with smiles pasted to their faces, all the hard work seems like nothing.

“This is the age group where a kid will determine whether or not they like the sport they are competing in, and it’s our job to give the best possible experience in the sports they are participating in,” Anderson said. “That will help them get ready for the next level of competition if we do our job right.” Anderson said Weiser Mayor John Walker has supported everything he does with the program. “And if it was not for the parents and the local businesses, we would not have the success that we have had, and I and the entire community owe them a huge thank you,” Anderson said. A job that centers its attention around the youth of a community may leave a sense of being one of the most important figures in the community. Anderson, however, said he does not look at it that way. Instead, he sees himself as a guy who is just trying to give back to the community that was there for him when he was child. “It makes me feel good to give back to the community,” Anderson said.

HOPPER: Has administered grants FROM PAGE F51

out or switching to more efficient equipment. “It’s nickels and dimes, but if you don’t look at it you’re not recognizing the ability to make some changes and save,” Hopper said. Hopper said, even though she has always provided information and recommendations on where to cut and spend, sometimes the decisions made are political. “My job is to ask questions and provide the information and carry out the policy when it’s been adopted,” she said. Hopper said, at one point, she considered going back to school to get her masters degree in public administration when Scott Trainor was city manager for Ontario. She said she saw how enthusiastic he was about his job and how much could be accomplished, and she thought she wanted to do the same thing. When things started to get tough for the city financially, however, she learned people are always happy when the money’s there, but when it’s not it’s a lot harder to

make people happy, especially when difficult decisions . She said she watched the toll it took on Trainor, the stress it caused and the amount of time he spent away from his family because he was working on city issues and decided a job in public administration was not for her. It was then, she said, she really came to appreciate the buffer created by the city manager or, now, the superintendent, between her position and the public. While she reports the numbers and gives recommendations, the actual cuts are ordered by somebody else. With her background in business administration, Hopper said she knows she could have taken many different paths in her career, but she enjoys what she does. “I never went into (business administration) with a burning desire in my heart to be a CPA,” she said, adding she likes the diversity of her duties and the work she does with public funds accounting. “I think it’s a challenge and rewarding to see what happens after your work is done,” she said.

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BAINES:Takes great pride in center

CHAMBERLIN: Enjoys daily work

FROM PAGE F45

FROM PAGE F47

Old buildings are like old to receive a college degree, something her people. They just need mother was very proud of, she said. somebody to love them. I “It gave me a lot of satisfaction,” Baines said. “It taught me you can do anything love this old school.

— Konnie Baines Olde School Community Center

there, as well. In all, Baines said she wouldn’t be surprised if they have put more than $250,000 worth of work into the building, either with work performed, materials and money saved by doing the work themselves. This work has been noticed by others in the community and throughout the state. Last summer, the couple were awarded an Orchid Award by Preservation Idaho and the Idaho Preservation Council during the annual Orchids and Onions Awards. They were given the award for their preservation of the Olde School, which was scheduled for demolition the year they purchased the building. The Baines also received the Star Citizen award from Intermountain Community Bank, as well as the Fruitland Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year award in 1998. “I think the building makes me stronger,” Baines said. “Old buildings are like old people. They just need somebody to love them. I love this old school.” With the success she has had through the years, Baines gives a lot of credit to her husband. She said she even wants to change the old adage, “Behind every successful man is a good woman,” to “Behind every happy, busy woman is a good man.” “Don has been the driving force,” Baines said. “He has fixed everything here.”

I enjoy dealing with the resource itself and then the people. It is an extremely fulfilling job.

F53

— Jay Chamberlin Owyhee Irrigation District manager

Congress, which discusses water issues at the state level, and also served on the National Water Resource Board, which included 17 Western states. Through the years Chamberlin has seen the industry he works in change rapidly and expand to include water rights and invasive species. “We do the best we can do and rely on other experts,” Chamberlin said. Chamberlin said he enjoys what he does on a daily basis. The position has allowed him to travel the country and even visit Washington D.C. to testify before the Natural Resources Committee. “I enjoy dealing with the resource itself and then the people,” Chamberlin said. “It is an extremely fulfilling job.”

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

you want to do. I went to school for close to 20 years.” That work ethic passed on to her two sons, one of whom has an associate degree and the other has earned his masters degree. Both are working in an advanced electronics field. During her teaching career, Baines said a highlight was the plays produced on the stage. “You saw the kids who were not jocks and who didn’t fit in,” Baines said. “Then you saw them in a drama production and saw them succeed.” Baines said some of those events over time have changed the life of many of her students. “My concept of teaching is meeting a student at a personal level,” Baines said. “I tried to teach them how they needed to be taught.” Baines retired four years after she and her husband, Don, purchased the former Fruitland High School, in 1996. Upon retiring, the two were able to spend more time on something they are both passionate about, restoring the former Fruitland High School, the Olde School Community Center. Since then, they have earned a few awards for their work on preserving the old building. Through the years, many different upgrades and restoration have taken place inside the walls of the community center, which is where the Fruitland Community Library is situated, and many events are held and organizations meet

Reservoir. The plants under that are Chamberlin’s direction need to be managed 24 hours a day. In all, Chamberlin said he is responsible for about 500 miles of waterways. The total watershed is about 11,000 square miles and covers parts of Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. Chamberlin said, with the run-off from this year’s precipitation, from the end of January until the end of April, he and other employees were flying over the area to monitor snow levels to help predict the type of spring run-off that would be traveling to the valley. Chamberlin said he and the organization also relies on the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Resources Conservation Services to help with the forecasting. There are also automated sites to help forecast water levels. Along with his duties as district manager, Chamberlin also serves as vice president for the Oregon Water Resource


LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

F54

WILLIAM ANDERSON | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Fruitland Public Works Supervisor Jerry Campbell stands next to a discharge pipe on a recently re-painted ground water reservoir with the pump house in the background. The reservoir is used to help offset the use of large quantities of water for events, such as when there is a fire.

Campbell enjoys role as public works supervisor WILLIAM ANDERSON ARGUS OBSERVER

FRUITLAND With 10 people he supervises and overseeing the equivalent of three departments in Fruitland, Fruitland Public Work Supervisor Jerry Campbell still enjoys getting out and working in the field. “My favorite thing is when I can get out and work with the crew,” Campbell said. “I like to perform field work myself, with the guys.” More often than not, however, Campbell finds himself, filling the managerial side of his duties, including paper work, planning and answering phone calls. In all, Campbell is responsible for the

We take care of a whole array of facilities here. Our public works does it all.

— Jerry Campbell Fruitland public works supervisor

wastewater facility, the water distribution and storage systems in the city and maintaining the infrastructure for the city, including repairs and maintenance to all the city buildings, streets, the sewer system and parks and also all the maintenance on the police, fire and ambulance vehicles. “We take care of a whole array of facilities here,” Campbell said. “Our public SEE CAMPBELL | PAGE F56


NATURAL RESOURCES

F55

LARRY MEYER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Linda Rowe, manager of the Malheur Soil and Water Conservation District, shows a map/aerial photo of a sediment catch basin project southwest of Ontario that has proven to be very successful.

LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO Linda Rowe, manager of the Malheur Soil and Water Conservation District, was involved with the local agency long before she was hired to take the helm because conservation and SWDC programs were something that she believed in and supported. Hired in September of 2009, Rowe has been manager just short of two years. “I had been on the SWCD board for 14 years,” she said. Rowe had worked at Beef Northwest for seven years and also had been a part-time

secretary at SWCD before taking on her current role. In addition to her service as full board member, Rowe had served as an associate member, who has no decision-making authority but can advise the board and serve on committees. “Because I believe in the district and what we have been doing,” she said, explaining her decision on why she sought the manager position. “Putting projects on the ground.” She sees her role, in whatever capacity it has been at the SWCD, as helping the local community. “I could see the good of what we are trySEE ROWE | PAGE F58

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Rowe’s interest in soil and water district began long ago


CAMPBELL: Enjoys getting out into the field and doing work with his crews FROM PAGE F54

works does it all.

F56 “It is hard to describe a public works

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

job. There is so much to do, and we try to do it with as few people as we can, to not burden the taxpayers. I just try to make sure I do the best job I can, take care of the city as efficiently and as good as I can, without wasting time and money.” The city’s water treatment and wastewater facilities each have a superintendent to run them, but they still report to Campbell, while all the other duties fall under the umbrella of public works in Fruitland. Campbell said many of the larger cities have many different departments for what he and his crew are responsible. When not getting his hands dirty with his crew, Campbell said he also is responsible for managing the budgets for the different departments, taking care of paper work, writing reports and supervising all the employees and their work. One of the larger tasks Campbell has had to oversee since taking the position is the growth that Fruitland has experienced

in the past 20 years. When Campbell took over in 1991, he had a staff of five employees. As the city of Fruitland has grown, so has his staff to the level it is at today. In accommodating Fruitland’s growth, Campbell has worked closely with city engineers on the planning water and sewer system upgrades, as well as the plans and inspections for the housing subdivisions that went into Fruitland. Campbell said one benefit of the more recent slow-down in growth is it gives him more time for the routine maintenance. “We always have unexpected things come up,” Campbell said. “In a way, we are spread thin with the tasks and duties. Everybody under me has to be qualified and skilled. One day to the next, we are doing something different. We expect that of them, to be a jack of all trades.” While being able to complete every task in front of him, Campbell does need to hold certificates and licenses to be able to work on certain systems. As a result, he occasionally attends

It is hard to describe a public works job. There is so much to do, and we try to do it with as few people as we can, to not burden the taxpayers.

— Jerry Campbell Fruitland public works supervisor

trainings in the region to re-certify and to also obtain continuing education units. Another benefit of the slow-down in the home building was it occurred at the same time as the addition of a large surface water treatment plant, which Campbell said was a large undertaking with a big learning curve for him. “I have been involved in it for the past four years, since the planning stages, from the construction to hiring somebody with a level 3 license to manage it for us,” Campbell said. “It is kind of good timing. It took place when the housing market slowed down. We just picked up and transitioned into

other areas.” Even with large tasks in front of him, Campbell also takes pride in some of the smaller things he does that may not get as much notice. One of those things was the Spring Fair Parade, where Campbell worked long hours with Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff on a new parade route. The event went off without a hitch. “I take some pride in that, knowing that it didn’t end up being a fiasco. All the planning we did wasn’t a waste of time,” Campbell said. August will mark the 20th anniversary of Campbell’s job as the public works supervisor. Before assuming his current position, Campbell spent four years working for the City of Ontario in the water and sewer departments. He spent two years prior to that, from 1985 to 1987, as an employee of the Fruitland Public Works Department. Campbell grew up in Fruitland and attended Fruitland High School. He has also been member of the volunteer fire department since 1983.


COMMUNITY

Wilson helps less fortunate through Love INC LARRY MEYER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO As the saying goes, Kim Wilson, executive director of Tri-County Love In The Name of Christ has been giving the less fortunate “fish” with the help of local churches, but she has expanded her focus to starting programs teaching people “how to fish” — that is teaching them how to develop and manage their own resources. “For the past 20 years I’ve been working with people in need,” Wilson said. Until she moved to Malheur County about 20 years ago, Wilson had lived in the Walla Walla, Wash., area, and had worked as a dental hygienist in Walla Walla and in the Tri-Cities. She still worked as dental hygienist for a very short time after moving to Malheur County with her family and then became an associate pastor at the Ontario Church of the Nazarene, where she was responsible for the church’s benevolence outreach program. Breakfast Sandwich w/Ham

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“I saw a lot of families coming in with needs,” Wilson said. While doing that, Wilson said, she noticed that local churches were not coordinating their services to those in need. “I realized the churches were not communicating together,” she said. Searching the Internet, Wilson found Love INC, whose mission is to establish local networks of churches that help people in need and decided that was the model she wanted to follow. “I started it,” she said of the local Love SEE WILSON | PAGE F61

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Kim Wilson, executive director of Tri-County Love Inc, shows some of the clothing donated to the program.

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GONZALEZ: Sage grouse an issue FROM PAGE F49

Other issues that Gonzales and his

F58 staff administers are mining claims, geothermal resources and wind energy, and there is activity in all of those areas, including the U.S. Geothermal power project and Neil Hot Springs, west of Vale, a planned wind turbine power project in the hills north of Huntington and Vale and southwest of Nyssa. Things that come in the door can often present the biggest challenges to the staff, Gonzales said. These include tasks or projects that are in addition to the regular work that has been planned and budgeted for, tasks that come without additional funding, staffing or other resources. But Gonzales is positive about his staff and their ability and willingness to take on additional projects and get them done. “They are motivated to do what they can,” he said. The BLM employes 169 full-time employees in the district and 75 temporary workers.

The first thing right now is to make sure the employees have what they need to get stuff done.

— Don Gonzalez Vale BLM manager

“The first thing right now is to make sure the employees have what they need to get stuff done,” Gonzales said. “That is the top priority for me.” His next priority is keeping good relations with the public, he said. That includes doing community projects, such as having BLM staff cleaning vegetation out of the dikes between Vale and the Malheur River and helping improve the rodeo grounds in Vale. The BLM deals with many environmental issues, and one of the current ones is the sage grouse, which may be listed as an endangered species. “We’re doing what we can to manage the sage grouse communities to keep them from being listed as an endangered species,” Gonzales said.

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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ROWE: Works to help area farmers FROM PAGE F55

ing to do,” Rowe said. Joining Rowe in the office, is Gary Faw, watershed technician, and Terry Finnerty, GIS technician. The base mission is implementing projects and being the lead manager of projects. The agency helps build sediment ponds, construct wetlands, install pipelines and design and fund other irrigation projects. Another project SWCD has been doing is to install off-stream water tanks for cattle and wild-life to drink from, protecting water quality in the stream. Another project funded through the SWDC project has been juniper removal. While some may think the trees are pretty, they are actually an invasive species that take up all surrounding water, causing other plants to dry up and disappear, Rowe said. One project was funded to clear about 3,800 acres of juniper, and another grant will fund clearing of another 1,200 acres. She can see that paying big dividends in the return of stream flows, Rowe said. In areas where the juniper has been cleared, ranchers have been reporting they are finding water in places they were unaware it had been before, she said. Most of the projects take two years. “We have 30 projects in the file right now,” she said. Working with all the irrigation districts in the county, the SWCD is finishing up a project mapping all the canals, laterals and drainage ditches. “We’re going into the second phase,” she said. All of the irrigation districts are proactive in piping laterals, Rowe said. The

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RECREATION

Quintero fills a need for rec. department Local man also coaches area youth soccer and football

It was pretty evident there was a need for somebody to be on the site to neutralize things.

— Junior Quintero Lead soccer and football official Ontario Recreation Department

JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Payette resident Junior Quintero (center), not only acts as lead official/onsite supervisor at youth soccer and football games put on by the Ontario Recreation Department, he also coaches youth soccer and football as a volunteer for the Ontario and Payette County recreation departments. Quintero, who grew up in Ontario, said his part-time and volunteer coaching jobs are his way of giving back to the community.

peace. Quintero has been filling that role for two years now. “It was pretty evident there was a need for somebody to be on the site to neutralize things,” Quintero said. “You don’t want your kids to see that kind of thing. They’ve already seen what’s going on.” Quintero said his main role is acting as a liaison between parents and coaches or

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officials or between coaches and officials, responding to questions, concerns or complaints. Most of the time, because he is not there to see an altercation or situation arise, he responds from wherever he is at on the field when he is paged. This, however, works to his advantage because he said he then tries to calm people down and hear both sides of the story. If needed, he makes a ruling on the situation.

“Sometimes they just need the opportunity to vent,” Quintero said. “But I provide a lot of services like that.” Before he began this position, Quintero said difficulties would arise at weekend games, and parents or whomever would not have a chance to speak to Jeffries until the following work week, allowing their anger a chance to grow in that time and giving Jeffries two-days worth of frustrations to respond to upon returning to work. “So this way, it’s real easy to handle the situation now,” Quintero said. He said acting as lead official for flag football games is relatively easy, as they all take place on the Optimist field in Ontario. It’s when there are multiple games taking place at the fields near Alameda Elementary School that things can get difficult. Since taking on the position, Quintero said he has mitigated all sorts of situations, including accusations that a coach was encouraging his players to hurt the children on the opposing team. “Sometimes, we all hate to admit it, but the adults can be worse than kids,” SEE QUINTERO | PAGE F66

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While he no longer lives in Ontario, growing up in the city has filled Payette resident Junior Quintero with a sense of community pride. Quintero, 38, participated in Ontario Recreation Department programs growing up and now serves as the lead official/onsite supervisor for the city’s youth soccer and football programs. He also does all the stripe work for the fields. Quintero’s part-time position with the city was essentially tailor made for him, he said. He said he has known Recreation Supervisor Debbie Jeffries for years and was watching a soccer game with Jeffries’ younger brother one evening when the coach got upset at a call the official just made, and the official started calling the coach some choice names. Quintero said he felt he had to do something to diffuse the situation and got between the two and helped calm down the official. Afterwards, Jeffries became aware of the situation, and it was decided somebody needed to be on-hand in these types of situations to make decisions and adjustments and, in general, keep the

F59


BUSINESS | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Cruson believes serving the right thing to do F60 SHERI BANDELEAN

I’m a can-do person, and I care about the community.

ARGUS OBSERVER

ONTARIO Longtime business owner Cheryl Cruson has been very active in the Ontario community, serving on numerous boards and committees and working behind the scenes for economic development in the Treasure Valley. “I’m a can-do person, and I care about the community,” Cruson said. Cruson was born in Nampa but moved around as a child because her father was in the military. She went to school in Canada and graduated high school in Lakenheath, England. The family moved back to the states, and Cruson went on to Oregon State University and studied to be a home economics teacher. While at college she met Dale Cruson, who was from the Treasure Valley, and they later married. The two of them moved around for awhile, but in 1975 they settled in Ontario. “I just had a yearning to settle and grow

— Cheryl Cruson Businesswoman, community leader

some roots,” Cruson said. The Crusons took over the family business, Ontario Pipe Supply, of which they are third generation owners, and later opened Oregon Trail Hobbies & Gifts retail store in 1984. Before getting involved in the businesses, she worked as a sales/window designer for Children’s Alley form 1978 to 1984 and as a kindergarten teacher at the Church of the Nazarene before kindergarten was integrated into the public school system. “I was ready to get out of the house and have adult conversation,” Cruson said. Cruson is an advocate of community development through commitments to various local organizations and affiliations.

SHERI BANDELEAN | ARGUS OBSERVER

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

Business owner Cheryl Cruson, owner of Oregon Trail Hobbies & Gifts in Ontario, is very active in the community of Ontario, serving on numerous boards and committees.

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She is a busy woman with numerous activities and involvements. She is the weekly program chairperson and a former board member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the chamber, she has been a member of the American Business Women’s Association, for which she has held numerous offices, since 1984.

She is also currently the treasurer for the Experimental Aircraft Association, which she has been a member of since 1987 and for which she has served other offices as well. Both Cruson and her husband are pilots, and their favorite pastime is flying. They both have built and flown experimental SEE CRUSON | PAGE F62

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WILSON: Was a dental hygenist

COMMUNITY

FROM PAGE F57

LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Linda Aman, Nyssa, donates her time by volunteering with local hospice organizations, the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce and Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida.

Aman gains fulfillment by helping in many ways LINDSEY PARKER ARGUS OBSERVER

Building a solid community takes the effort of many individuals, and, in Nyssa, resident Linda Aman has become a cornerstone in the effort to help others. She leads by example by donating her time to

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returning veterans and with families requiring hospice care for their loved ones. Throughout the years, Aman has volunteered with the Red Cross, Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida and local hospice services. “I’m the extra person,” Aman said. “I

INC. chapter. Now in its seventh year, Tri-County Love INC. partners with 30 churches and 50 agencies to help bridge the gap between people in need and people in the Christian community who want to help. Love INC acts as the clearinghouse for collecting and distributing donated product and services and now has place to keep product until it is needed. There is also a store where people can buy donated items that cannot be passed on to clients. Churches pick a particular type of gap ministry or ministries they want to fill, and people requesting assistance are referred to them, she said. Ministries include baby clothes, diapers and wipes, bedding, basic food supplies for three to four days, clothes for youth and adults, basic home furnishings, fire wood and other needs. “They are screened to clarify their need,” Wilson said of applicants. In August, Love INC. will be involved in handing out school supplies to students in need. In just one month, the organization has helped 120 adults and 235

children. Over time, Wilson said, she saw an increase in repeat clients asking for continued support in services. If the clients F61 have requested assistance three or four times, they are encouraged to enroll in “life skills” programs designed to help them get to where they no longer need assistance. Currently, there are eight-week money management classes, 13-week budget — or financial peace — classes and a long-term new beginning relational program of about 40 weeks. In the money management classes, there has been a debt reduction of at least $25,000; $1.2 million in debt reduction to date in the budget classes; and the two families in the long-term new beginning pilot class realized a debt reduction of $31,500. Wilson also organizes parenting classes and cooking classes. Love INC. works off of donations and fundraisers only and does not pursue or accept any government funding, Wilson said. She said it is the volunteers who make the organization successful, and, in the last year, 3,500 volunteer hours were given.


TVCC: Lee also prepares brochures FROM PAGE F48

Lee said she believes an important part

F62 of her duties is to help the college presi-

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

dent whenever she can, which is why she works so closely with President Dana Young, and she is always asking herself what she can do to help Young be more effective. “Regardless of who is holding the position … it’s our job to help that person be successful,” Lee said. “I believe in the office of the president.” She said the primary way she supports Young is to help her communicate a message, whether it’s to students, the community or the deans or other staff. “Again, a lot of our communication is focused internally,” she said, adding it’s important for staff and people on campus are aware of different issues, campaigns or changes that might affect them. “I make sure our campus is has the information because they’re our best communicators. I don’t want them to be surprised.” Lee said she believes her job is key during challenging times, such as a fi-

Again, a lot of our communication is focused internally.

— Abby Lee TVCC public information director

nancial crisis or when the college is facing possible cutbacks, layoffs, elimination of programs or increases in tuition or fees. In those situations, she said, transparency and honesty are imperative. “That’s when you need good communication more than ever,” she said. When not working closely with Young, Lee said she also is responsible for course schedules, catalogs, advertising and information for various campaigns, such as that of the science center. Lee said she most recently was heavily involved in the redesign and overhaul of the college’s website. During the process, she said she learned a lot about how students use the website or how they don’t. The redesign, she said, should be fresher and more user-friendly.

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CRUSON: Once ran for county judge FROM PAGE F60

airplanes. She has also been a member of the air wing for the Malheur County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue since 1998. She is a member of the Malheur County Republican Women, from 2006 to present, Malheur County precinct person, from 1998 to present, and is an Ontario Chamber Ambassador. Cruson is also vice chair of the Treasure Valley Community College Board of Directors and a liaison to the foundation board. “The most rewarding thing I’m involved with right now is working with the college and being on the board of education,” Cruson said. “We are trying to get the new science building and the funds for that.” Cruson said the college seems to be an anchor for the community, and the area also relies on the college for the social aspects it brings to the community. Cruson is also the treasurer of the Ontario Downtown Business Association. By moving the hobby shop business to a larger place downtown, the Crusons hoped to revitalize the downtown area. At the time of the move, nine store fronts were vacant, and now there are only one or two that need to be filled. A few other projects that Cruson is involved in are the Snake River Radio Controlled Modelers Club and the Malheur County Rock and Gem Club, and she is on the Ontario Visitors and Convention Board. Cruson also once ran for Malheur County judge. “ I just saw the real need for the area,” Cruson said. In 1995, Cruson was the Oregon dele-

The most rewarding thing I’m involved with right now is working with the college and being on the board of education. We are trying to get the new science building and the funds for that.

— Cheryl Cruson Ontario businesswoman

gate to the White House Conference on small business. She has also served on local and state advisory boards for small business development centers. Cruson has conquered many projects and has been awarded for those accomplishments throughout the years. In 1983 she won the Eldon G. Schafer Award for her contributions to small businesses in the State of Oregon. In 1994 she was named the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year. Then, in 1998, she was named Ambassador of the Year. She received the Women of our World Community Volunteer award 2001 and Woman of the Year for American Business Women in 2002. The Crusons, who have a daughter and a son, will soon be first-time grandparents, which they are anxiously waiting. Cruson said when she finds some free time she enjoys reading, gardening and crossword puzzles and loves dogs and horses. She has always had a golden retriever at the store as an official greeter. She and her husband also love boating to their remote cabin on the Owyhee Reservoir, Cruson said they can find rest and relaxation in God’s beautiful desert.

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AMAN: Hospice work is special to her FROM PAGE F61

find what’s available and try to get community members involved. Tell me what needs to be done, and I get it done.” Aman said her hospice work is very rewarding. “Lots of people don’t understand, but it is very rewarding,” Aman, who has been doing hospice work since 2004, said. “We sit with (clients) and watch them complete their life. There’s a lot of insight from people. People choose what they want. You make their wishes happen. It’s a very beautiful time of life.” She and her husband, Russell, have three daughters. Aman has lived in Nyssa since 1955 and graduated from Nyssa High School. She also was a school secretary in Nyssa and worked as a media coordinator. Aman serves as a member of the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce and also as a volunteer with the Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida. For VAOI, Aman helps pack care packages for servicemen and women. She sorts donations and packs flat rate boxes full of goodies and personal care items for troops

whom otherwise may not have access to those things. The boxes are the main component of VAOI’s work. Aman signed up to volunteer with Veteran Advocates when she began helping the organization find a hall in Nyssa to complete its care packages, eventually the Josh Brennan Memorial Hall was opened. As a Nyssa Chamber member, Aman said she is part of everything. In the past she has helped organize Thunderegg Days and the lawnmower races as well as the Christmas parade, the tree lighting and window decorating. Aman said she completes a lot of paperwork and pays attention to details in her work with the chamber. “It’s important to volunteer,” she said. “If everyone does a share of the work, everyone can enjoy it, and helping others completes a person,” Aman said. Aman said she works hard to help others but she also takes care of herself and her family. “Most of the time I do well at getting stuff done,” Aman said. “That just seems to be my calling.”

Richart stays busy as mother, grandmother and deputy prosecutor LINDSEY PARKER ARGUS OBSERVER

PAYETTE Payette county Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barbara ‘Bobbi’ Richart grew up in a time when people said women couldn’t be lawyers. Richart, however, didn’t let other people’s opinions hold her back. “It’s through the element of law that I get a sense I’m doing something constructive,” Richart said. Richart describes herself a late bloomer. She began her undergraduate studies at age 23 and finished in three years with degrees in business administration and management. From there

she went on to law school. Richart began working as a clerk for attorneys, writing legal briefs and completing legal research. She said, although she was a lawyer, she didn’t have much experience when she started practicing law. “Once you pass the bar, we don’t have a clue what to do,” Richart said, adding there are no residencies for attorneys as there are for medical doctors. She said after law school, attorneys gain practical knowledge through trial and error until they have gained work experience to go out on their own. SEE RICHART | PAGE F65

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RICHART: Judges mock trial yearly FROM PAGE F63

LINDSEY PARKER | ARGUS OBSERVER

Payette County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Barbara Richart didn’t let other people’s opinions stop her from becoming an attorney. Richart works more than 40 hours a week and said she loves the variety in her job.

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— Barbara Richart Payette County deputy prosecutor

In her spare time, Richart said she judges high school mock trials almost annually. She said it’s fun. “The kids impress the heck out of me,” she said. Richart is a county drug court prosecutor, which involves property and drug cases, and sentences usually include treatment combinations where participants are required to make court appearances and are subject to random urine analysis testing. The drug court stints are for an average of 36 months. Richart said she would rather give participants the opportunity to go through Drug Court than serve all of their time in a cell. “You never totally know what to expect,” Richart said. “Everybody’s different, and the crimes change. Laws have evolved.”

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

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One of the first big cases she participated in was between two NBA teams, the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers, when Kermit Washington punched Rudolph Tomjanovich in the face during a fight in 1977 on the basketball court. It was a high profile case in it’s time, she said. Richart worked for the firm that was the primary insurance defense for the Lakers. It was this experience that got Richart interested in trial work. “I much prefer being the prosecutor and not the elected politician,” Richart said. She is a self-described “Army brat,” who grew up everywhere. Richart said she came to Idaho to be close to family. Richart has four children, two biological and two step-children, seven grandchildren and still works full time. Richart said she always works 40 hours a week, unless there’s a trial. Then, she said, she works after hours, staying late or working weekends.


QUINTERO: Grew up in Ontario, moved back to Payette to be with children FROM PAGE F59

Quintero said.

F66 He said, however, he is not too quick to

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

judge when a situation arises, adding he speaks with everybody involved — coaches, players, officials and parents — before making any kind of call. “I don’t always take things at face value,” he said. “I try to always give people the benefit of the doubt because, really, we’re only there to make the experience smooth and enjoyable for everyone.” He said there are about 800 children who participate in the youth soccer program and a little more than 100 in football. Quintero said his regular job as the lead optimizing technician/coordinator at Woodgrain has helped him the most as lead official and onsite supervisor for the soccer and football games because his leadership role at Woodgrain has taught him how to listen to people and resolve concerns and complaints. “Sometimes just being acknowledged is all that people want,” Quintero said. Quintero said his regular job and parttime jobs keep him very busy throughout

the year, but he enjoys them. Quintero said his five children, three biological and two step-children, love his side job. “They get to see Dad out there and active in the community,” he said. When he is not patrolling soccer and flag football games for Ontario Recreation, he is often coaching. He said he began coaching soccer years ago, after his own soccer-playing days were over, before he had children of his own. Quintero has also volunteered as an official for games in the past, as well. He also coaches flag football and next month will coach a third- and fourthgrade tackle football team for the Payette County Recreation District. “I really like coaching,” Quintero said, adding, at some point or another, he has coached all of his children’s different teams. Quintero said it is not only important for him to be involved in his children’s lives, which is why he moved from Boise to Payette a number of years ago, but it’s also important for him to participate in the community, which is why he volunteers

When you grow up in a place and you call it home, it’s always nice to be back. I think every parent wants their happy childhood to be their kid’s happy childhood, too.

— Junior Quintero Volunteer coach, Ontario Rec onsite supervisor

as a coach and works part-time for the Ontario Recreation Department as onsite supervisor and lead official. “I do it because I want to give back,” he said. “I know that sounds a little cliche. This is my way of giving back. If it helps the kids get a good experience through it, it’s worth it to me.” Quintero said he hopes, through his time and effort, children or parents will be encouraged to follow in his footsteps. He said a really “cool” thing happened to him this year as a parent of a child on a recreation league team when his son was on a team being coached by a man

Quintero used to coach. “I was explaining to my son that’s how it should be,” he said. “It’s almost like I’ve come back full circle.” Quintero said his love for the community came through growing up in it and having such a positive experience through programs such as those offered by the Ontario Parks and Recreation Department. He also is a big Ontario High School football fan, and he and his son attend every home football game in the fall. “I’m a Tiger, through and through,” he said. “That’s what I tell my son. I bleed Cardinal and Corn.” Quintero said he thinks Ontario was a great place to grow up and continues to be a great place to live. He said he knows the city has its problems, but if he can help make a difference in whatever way, then he will, and he only hopes that more people get involved as well. “When you grow up in a place and you call it home, it’s always nice to be back,” Quintero said. “I think every parent wants their happy childhood to be their kid’s happy childhood, too. “That’s the way it is for me,” he said.


F67

ARGUS OBSERVER, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011

876 SW 4th Avenue, Ontario 541-889-8012 www.ontariochamber.com



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