The Local News of Newberry Country


How to Avoid Identity Theft

(BEND OR) – Identity theft and scams can cost you money; learn the common-sense precautions that can keep you safe. Attend a free financial workshop, How to Avoid Identity Theft, Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Mid Oregon Credit Union, 1386 NE Cushing Drive, Bend.  Presenting this class will be Detective Zach Neemann, Digital Forensic Detective at Deschutes County Sheriff ‘s Office. To reserve your seat please call 541-382-1795 or email Refreshments will be served.

South African Wrestlers Competing With Local Teams on October 7 at LPHS

By Staff Writer

“A lot of talent is coming in from Central Oregon to compete with our international visitors,” said organizer and USA Wrestling coach Dave Kerr. “This includes eight returning state champions and one national champion. It’s pretty impressive.”

As he continues to line up local talent (having already selected four coaches), Kerr explained that “we’re now trying to fill the various weight classes – ranging from 100 to 280 pounds. We’re more than half way there.

“To date, Culver, Prineville, Ridgeview, Mt. View, Redmond, Gilchrist, La Pine, Summit and Bend high schools will be represented – with both male and female wrestlers.”

According to Kerr, “thirty athletes are traveling from South Africa to take part. We had initially hoped to have teams from Russia, but tensions between our two governments led to postponing the exchange. Tentatively, it will take place in March 2018.

“The international hospitality component – the regard and diplomacy we show our visitors – is just as important as the wrestling matches. As the organizer, I don’t want to let them down, and am counting on people in the community to become engaged.”

Kerr has identified five areas in which people can participate: transportation; accommodations (ideally visitors will stay with families that have wrestlers); food; attending the competitions; and helping to fund gear packages (including trophies, medals and good-will gifts).

Kerr’s son Derrick recently returned from Russia, where he and his wrestling teammates “were treated like Olympic athletes,” said Kerr. “Although the high schoolers were a little apprehensive about the trip, they returned feeling close to the people they met in Russia.

“They bonded in ways we couldn’t even have imagined beforehand. It was amazing. My goal to is create that same shared mentality – right here in La Pine.”

Those interested in learning more, or signing up to participate, should contact Kerr at 541-408-6112 or

Habitat for Humanity of La Pine Sunriver Where Volunteering Counts

By Staff Writer (with permission)

Each year Bancorp Insurance in La Pine, OR selects a non-profit organization to support with volunteer services. This year Bancorp Insurance chose to spend their time volunteering each Friday (and some Saturdays too!) to help build the new Habitat homes located off Skidgel Road in La Pine.

Habitat for Humanity of La Pine Sunriver (HfHLPS) works with the greater La Pine community families to ensure they have options for affordable housing. Through the hard work and efforts of businesses, families, friends and individual volunteers, these homes come together over several months! Each “qualifying family” has to agree to a set number of working hours on their own homes and others. Hours from friends and family help towards their overall number, but there is also a percentage they have to complete themselves as well.

HfHLPS is quick to point out that all of the volunteering effort helps keep construction costs low! No-interest loans, along with modest home sizes also keep things to a minimum for the recipient families.

When we asked Rex Lesueur, Bancorp’s President, how this came to be, he said that Bancorp has a great driving force behind our community volunteering efforts. Take Valerie Best, a co-worker, friend and family member to us all, has spent the last few years volunteering herself with Habitat and is now one of this year’s recipients of an HfHLPS home. “When the Bancorp staff sat down to select where our time would be focused, it was unanimous – Habitat was our choice!”

If you’re interested in volunteering, give Dan Varcoe a call at 541-771-9177 or email him We still have plenty more work to do on these homes!

Councilor Karen Ward Submits Letter of Resignation

By Staff Writer

Karen Ward, one of five members of La Pine’s City Council, has submitted her letter of resignation due to health reasons.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Ward moved to La Pine in 1996 with her husband Doug. “We often came here to visit my sister and brother-in-law, and fell in love with this wonderful small town,” she reminisced.

Initially Ward was appointed to the City Council and then elected to her current position. She always tried “to do my very best to serve the people – this is what it’s all about.”

Upon the death of her husband (who has been described as a valued participant of City government through his service on the City Council & Planning Commission), Ward threw herself into her regular position as Senior Center Manager & City Councilor.

Throughout her tenure on the city council, Ward maintained her hope that La Pine would retain its “small town feeling”.

According to Mayor Dennis Scott: “Karen was easy to talk to, and added her gift of common purpose to the council. She has been a real asset to the community.”

Recent past-Mayor Ken Mulenex added that “Karen’s commitment to public service will be sorely missed as future tough decisions come along.”

Wake-Up Call Underscores Need for Infrastructure Project: $25 Million Now Secured to Move Forward

By Andrea Hine, Contributing Writer

La Pine currently has just one main water line to service the city. Two wells (at 254-foot and 252-foot depths) and a 1.2 mg (million gallon) reservoir funnel through it.

When a vehicle hit a fire hydrant near the city’s wells and main water storage tank two years ago, breaking a line, water was shut off for more than six hours. All 700+ accounts that used city water (about two-thirds of households and 100 percent of businesses and schools) were affected.

Standing in front of a map showing the site of the shutoff, about two miles east of La Pine’s city limits on Finley Butte Road, City Manager Cory Misley crossed his fingers. “We currently have just one main water line to service the city. Two wells and a reservoir funnel through it. That type of incident could occur again at any time,” he warned.

“What happened in 2015 was a wake-up call. It brought to light – in a dramatic fashion – the long-acknowledged need for a new well source at the north end of town.”

Plans for infrastructure improvements were already in motion when Misley became city manager a year ago. With an estimated $25 million price tag, the project will add wells and water lines, and extend the existing water and wastewater systems.

“For example,” said Misley, “expansion will extend to neighborhoods that still run on wells and septic systems that were in place before La Pine was incorporated as a city in 2007. It will add almost a third to the number of existing utility customers.”

He noted that “these infrastructure improvements are a necessary step as La Pine’s population grows. Part of the city’s 20-year master plan, the investment sets the stage for further residential, commercial and industrial expansion – as well as living-wage jobs.”

Misley, who earned a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, spent the past 12 months exploring potential state and federal funding sources. “Everything was contingent on the funding package we developed,” he emphasized, “Agencies (such as the USDA) only want to back projects that they’re confident will be successful.”

In addition to completing multiple funding applications, Misley pointed to success in obtaining “good loans, with 40-year terms at low interest rates of two percent or less.” The resultant grants and loans (totaling approximately $22.2 million) will be augmented by City of La Pine contributions of some $2.5 million. Of the total $25 million amount, approximately $10.6 million is targeted for water systems improvements, and $14 million for wastewater.

Securing funding leads directly to the next step, also expected to take about a year. As Misley explained, “the city will hire an engineering firm to design the project, based on La Pine’s master plan. Bids will then be solicited for construction. Our goal from today is to have construction begin in spring 2018.”

Misley emphasized that “for a city this size, the sewer and water project is the most critical one we could be working on right now. Something of this magnitude dwarfs everything else.”


So, Was the Eclipse a Big Deal Here in La Pine?

By Staff Writer

Towne Pump:

“Thursday the 17th was crazy, and didn’t let up at all. I only got in half a cigarette the entire day,” observed Kevin Hildebrand of Towne Pump. “We normally do well, but we tripled our numbers. Someone even gave me a popsicle out their car window, which I really appreciated. It was the only sustenance I had during my entire shift. But I had fun.”

Central Perk:

“We had so much business, it was insane,” commented Liberty Ramsey, barista extraordinaire at Central Perk (located at the intersection of Highway 97 and 6th Street). “Many of the out-of-towners didn’t realize that CPN is a cardlock fueling network, like Pacific Pride, and thought we were a gas station. Some of them actually cut in front of our coffee customers – asking if I could fill their tank! It tested my patience – but I survived.”

Grocery Outlet:

“We definitely were busy,” noted Brett Turner, owner (with his wife Gina) of Grocery Outlet. “Our checkers were abuzz with all the visitors from different countries, and one counted six different languages being spoken in one day alone!”

Chamber of Commerce:

“Visitors were coming at a regular clip in the days leading up to the eclipse, and pulled out all the maps that were displayed outside our office,” recounted Ann Gawith and Teri Myers of the Chamber of Commerce. “They came from as far away as Germany, Australia, England, Canada, Brazil, Finland, Holland and Belgium. We met lots of nice people.”

Gordy’s Truck Stop:

“We stocked up on thousands of dollars’ worth of extra food in anticipation of eclipse traffic – which didn’t materialize,” said Brett Whitman, Manager of Gordy’s Truck Stop.   “And even though our parking lot was full of vehicles during the peak four-day period, business was actually slower than normal.”

La Pine Community Health Center:

“The people who came in for medical help were so thankful that they didn’t have to drive through heavy eclipse traffic to Bend in order to be seen. We were pleased to be here and ready to help them.” Charla DeHate, CEO of La Pine Community Health Center (LCHC), estimated that almost two dozen patients took advantage of LCHC’s decision to remain open during the two-day weekend preceding the solar eclipse. “Our walk-in clinic was also much busier than usual with southbound tourists on Tuesday.

“We collaborated with the City, which allowed us to put up sandwich boards in two strategic locations. That’s how patients knew we were open,” continued DeHate. “We also met beforehand with the Fire District to apprise them of our plans, and so 911 could refer people to LCHC. This kind of partnership will be critical in the event of other large-scale challenges such as the anticipated Cascadia subduction zone earthquake.”

Local Entrepreneur Makes Hay While the Sun Doesn’t Shine

By Staff Writer

“We were real happy stocking the eclipse t-shirts here, and having our logo on the back was great advertising.” Alan McCormack, of the popular Karen’s Grounded Café, said that customers were equally pleased. “As an example, a local patron insisted, ‘I’ve got to have one of those!’ If I had more sizes, we could have sold an even greater number.”

Also available at the Chamber of Commerce in the days preceding the solar eclipse, the t-shirt (available in three different designs) was the brainchild of graphic artist Sandy Golden-Eagle. “I’ve always loved art,” she explained, “particularly helping businesses market themselves, and bringing their ideas to life.”

As editor of the Newberry Eagle, she credited an article in a past issue by Helen Woods as the inspiration for her entrepreneurial venture. “Its title, ‘the sun is gone,’ was my muse.”

Woods agreed to let Golden-Eagle use her title – in exchange for a free t-shirt. “I had no idea if this effort would be successful, but my initial run of 96 shirts almost sold out.” She plans to produce more of the original designs, and is already working on other ideas.

“Many years ago, I was given a prophecy that I would bring people joy with my art,” shared Golden-Eagle. “I never imagined that t-shirts would be one of the vehicles for doing so!”