Sherman County eNews #344


  1. City of Moro Council Meeting, Jan. 3
  2. Top Local Weather Events for 2016
  3. Local Red Cross Sees Double Digit Increase in Disaster Responses in 2016
  4. Editorial. Frontier TeleNet: Planning? Process?
  5. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

At the end of life, what really matters

is not what we bought, but what we built;

not what we got, but what we shared;

not our competence, but our character;

and not our success, but our significance.

Live a life that matters.

Live a life of love.

~ unattributed.

1. City of Moro Council Meeting, Jan. 3

City of Moro

Council Meeting

City Hall

7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The agenda includes swearing-in of new officials, selection of council president, consent agenda, visitors, correspondence, citizen comments, landscape project, Downtown Revitalization Program, water/wastewater mapping, 2nd reading of two ordinances, past due accounts, “Elected Essentials” League of Oregon Cities workshop, legal counsel changes, maintenance assistant position and city administrator salary.

2. Top Local Weather Events for 2016

rainumbrellaDennis Hull- KB0NYC, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pendleton, provides monthly weather reports.

The June 8th supercell which produced a tornado, large hail, and damaging winds was 2016’s top regional weather related event as voted by staff members of the National Weather Service in Pendleton.   The supercell event received an average score of 9.8 on a scale of 1 to 11.

  1. June supercell (9.8)-On June 8, a thunderstorm over southern Wheeler County, Oregon rapidly developed into a supercell with golfball hail, damaging winds to 70 mph, and a brief tornado as it tracked northeast to near Monument and Ukiah.
  1. December snow and cold (8.2)-Widespread heavy snow was followed by arctic air during mid-December.  Snowfall averaged between 5 and 10 inches across the Columbia Basin and eastern mountains, but ranged up to between 15 and 20 inches in central Oregon.  The arctic air following the snow dropped temperatures below zero in many areas.  By the end of December, mountain snowpack had surged to 115 to 130 percent of normal.
  1. Fire outbreak (7.4)-Triple digit temperatures and humidity in the 5 to 10 percent range helped to spread an outbreak of fires at the end of July.  The Weigh Station fire occurred east of Pendleton and shut down I-84.  The Rail Fire near Unity, Oregon burned nearly 42 thousand areas in rugged terrain before being contained in early September.  The Range 12 fire started on the Yakima Training Center and burned for a week on 176 thousand acres of mostly grass and sage on BLM, state, and private lands.
  1. Wet October (6.4)-Rainfall was 1 to 3 inches above normal and ranked in the top 5 wettest Octobers across the region.  It was the wettest October on record in Washington at Bickleton, Prosser, Selah, Mill Creek, and Whitman Mission.  Trout Lake, Wash. at 14.58 inches beat their previous record by 3.62 inches.
  1. TIE. Strong El Nino to weak La Nina (6.4)-One of the strongest El Nino patterns on record last winter was reversed in a matter of months to a weak La Nina by mid-Summer.  
  1. TIE. Launch of GOES R (6.0) -The next generation of weather satellites began with the launch of GOES R on November 19.  GOES R reached geostationary orbit as was re-named GOES 16 at the end of the month.  After sensor deployment, calibration, and checkout, it promises to revolutionize satellite imagery and data collection.  It has 4 times the image resolution and can take an image every minute.  It also has the capability to track thunderstorm lightning.
  1.  Tri-Cities tornado(6.0)-An intense, but short lived thunderstorm brought a brief EF0 tornado in Kennewick on the late evening of May 21.  The thunderstorm also produced hail up to ¾ inch, damaging winds which downed trees, and localized flash flooding. 
  1.  Warm Dry April(4.4)-It was the warmest April on record in Washington at Walla Walla, Ellensburg, Yakima, Cle Elum, Kennewick, Moxee City, and Richland.  In Oregon, it was the warmest April on record at The Dalles, Hermiston,  LaGrande, and Pelton Dam.  Ellensburg beat their previous record warm April by near 5 degrees.  Couple the unseasonable warmth with a drier than normal month and the mountain snowpack virtually disappeared.

9 TIE.  Snowless January and February (4.2)-Many stations in the southern Columbia Basin went through the entire months of January and February without measurable snowfall.   In Washington, this included Dayton, Ice Harbor Dam,  Walla Walla, and Whitman Mission.  In Oregon, a snowless end of winter was observed at Heppner, Hermiston, Madras, Milton-Freewater, Pendleton, and Pilot Rock.  Snowpack in the mountains also suffered decreases.

9 TIE.  Drought Eased-(4.2) Moderate to severe drought was diminished in March, made a comeback in June, and

finally eased to just abnormally dry in December.  The mid December rating was the least drought coverage for the area since November 2013.

  1.  November warmth-(3.4) Indian Summer continued into November across eastern Washington and eastern Oregon.  In Washington, it was the warmest November on record statewide and second warmest on record in Oregon.  Individual stations in Washington which set records for warmest November include Walla Walla, Ellensburg, Pasco, Yakima, Easton, and Moxee City.  In Oregon, record warmth was set at The Dalles, Hermiston, Pendleton, Antelope, Grizzly, La Grande, and Monument.   Precipitation was below normal and mountain snowpack well behind normal.

3. Local Red Cross Sees Double Digit Increase in Disaster Responses in 2016

Red Cross logoPORTLAND, Ore., December 28, 2016 — With three days still remaining in 2016, the local American Red Cross in Oregon and Southwest Washington has had an extremely busy year, responding to 74 more disasters this year compared to last year.

Disaster Response:
In 2016, the Red Cross responded to approximately 668 local disasters. That’s a more than 12% increase in disaster responses in one year. We have also helped 2,410 people affected by these disasters, which include home fires, floods and wildfires.

“We responded to an extraordinary number of disasters in 2016,” said Amy Shlossman, Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Cascades Region. “When families lost everything in a fire or a flood this past year, the Red Cross was there to help thanks to the generosity of our local community. With the support of our volunteers and donors, we will continue to be there to help people affected by disasters in the years to come.”

Deployments to Relief Operations:
In addition to responding to disasters at home, 177 volunteer responders deployed to 24 disaster relief operations throughout the nation. In 2016, we saw an increase in large scale relief operations due to disasters throughout the U.S. (17 in 2015 compared to 24 in 2016). The local Red Cross more than doubled the number of volunteer responders that deployed to help at national relief operations (67 volunteers deployed in 2015 compared to 177 in 2016).

In 2016, 72 responders deployed multiple times throughout the year to relief operations including floods in Louisiana, floods in Texas, floods in Mississippi, floods in West Virginia, wildfires in California, a hurricane in Florida, floods in Iowa, a hurricane on the Southern East Coast, and wildfires and tornadoes in Tennessee.

Service to the Armed Forces:
The local Red Cross also provided emergency assistance to members of the armed forces and their families 860 times in 2016. We participated in 59 other military service and support events, including 18 reconnection workshops, which help members of the military reconnect with their families following deployment.

The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of local donors to fulfill its mission.

– A donation of $250 provides a night of emergency shelter and meals for a family of five.
– A donation of $335 helps deploy an emergency response vehicle to provide assistance to a community in need.
– A donation of $500 provides comfort kits which include toiletry and other comfort items for 200 armed service members.
– A donation of $1,650 enables the Red Cross to deploy a volunteer to a relief operation for 11 days — the average length of a disaster deployment.

People can help those who need it most through the Red Cross in four ways:

– Make a financial donation to the Red Cross at
– Schedule an appointment to give blood at
– Send cards to members of the Armed Forces through the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program at
– Give the gift of time by becoming a Red Cross volunteer at

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or find us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc.

4. Editorial. Frontier TeleNet: Planning? Process?

pencil.sharpWe continue to be disappointed and concerned about transparency and process. We are increasingly concerned about the lack of planning, short-range or long-range, illustrated here by comparing the minutes of a Frontier TeleNet board meeting to the report published by The Times-Journal.

The Frontier TeleNet board of directors met in regular session on December 20. Please keep in mind that these minutes will not be approved until the next meeting, Jan. 25.





“DECEMBER 20, 2016

         “The regular meeting of the Board of Directors for Frontier TeleNet was called to order by Chairman Judge Steve Shaffer at 10:09 AM.  This meeting held in the conference room of the North Central Education Service District, 135 S. Main Street, Condon, Oregon.

         “Directors Present:  Judge Steve Shaffer, Judge Gary Thompson, and Judge N. Lynn Morley.

         “Also Present:  April Stream, Ken Gross, Mac Stinchfield, Les Ruark, Rachel Weinstein, Rob Myers and Jeanne Burch.

         “Public Input/Comment:  Les Ruark asked if he could make a comment on items on the agenda?  Directors pointed out that later in the agenda he would have a chance to make comments.

         “Directors Changes to Agenda:  None

         “Minutes:  Minutes of November 10, 2016 meeting reviewed. Moved by Gary Thompson, seconded by Lynn Morley to approve minutes as presented. Motion carried with all present voting aye.

         “Financial:  Financial information reviewed.  Steve Shaffer noted that revenue appears to be slow to come in.  Steve Shaffer asked Robert Myers about the progress of the core update and if it was in budget?  Rob Myers reported that everything is progressing on time and within budget.  Steve Shaffer inquired about the upgrade to Roosevelt Tower?  Rob reported that work was progressing as weather permitted.  Jeanne Burch reported to the Board that a transfer of funds from contingency to personal services will be necessary to accommodate contract with Executive Marketing Director.  Resolution No. 4, a Resolution Transferring Funds from Contingency to Personal Services line items in 2016-2017 Frontier TeleNet Budget was reviewed. Moved by Lynn Morley, seconded by Gary Thompson to approve Resolution No. 4, transferring $55,000.00 from contingency to personal services line item in 2016-2017 Frontier TeleNet Budget.  Motion carried with all present aye.

         “A lengthy discussion held on the need to loan money to Financial Digital Network from Frontier TeleNet. This loan is necessary as the SIEC grant is a reimbursement grant and there will not be sufficient funds in Frontier Digital Network to advance this money. This item will be discussed in the Frontier Digital Network Board Meeting.

         “Discussion/Possible Action on Request for Quotes (RFQ) #816 and #817.  RFQ 816 is for connectivity Arlington to Fossil. REF 827 is for connectivity Wasco to Rufus.  Rob asked if we can arrange a contract based on RFQ versus Request for Proposal (RFP) Rob has made inquiries with contacts at the State and other sources but they have not answered. Solution might be to advertise for RFP and make some items more specific.  Lynn noted that Wheeler County has voted to go aerial versus buried fiber.  “Discussion on aerial versus buried fiber but there will be a backup with the wireless system.  Conclusion was that it makes sense to issue a RFP for these projects.           “Discussion on proposed partnerships.  Formal partnerships require a RFP.  Lynn pointed out a big difference between a partnership and a contracted service.  Lynn Morley moved to draft RFP 816 and 817.  Motion died for lack of a second.  Lynn Morley moved to draft RFP  816 Arlington to Fossil, 817 Wasco to Rufus and 818 Fossil Project.  “Discussion:  Gary Thompson pointed out that route on 817 is not acceptable.  Does not want to go down Scott Canyon Road.  Sherman County has recently constructed a new road on this route and Sherman County Road Department does not want digging in the new road.  A different route was proposed and that will be included in RFP 817.  Motion carried with all present voting aye.

         “NCESD Withdrawal:  The North Central Education District has tendered their withdrawal from the Frontier TeleNet ORS 190 Organization.  Steve Shaffer will be working with Legal Counsel, Will Carey, to ascertain the proper documentation for this withdrawal and also what other alternatives may be an option for Frontier TeleNet and Frontier Digital Network.

Public Comment:

         “Ken Gross from Home Telephone suggested that an engineering firm be retained for work on the RFP details.  Ken pointed out the engineering firm can work out all details so that those responding to the RFP would have complete details.  Rob Myers questioned how to retain engineering firm?  Ken also mentioned his earlier suggestion that a construction loan could be made to the RFP recipient and this would generate money back for Frontier TeleNet.

         “Les Ruark from Rock Creek, Oregon asked if it was a proper understanding that North Central Education District had withdrawn from Frontier TeleNet and was the withdrawal accepted?  Les also questioned how the ORS 190 would be restructured?  Judge Shaffer reported that the North Central ESD withdrawal letter was accepted and that legal counsel was being consulted to draw up the proper agreements regarding the ORS 190.  Les also asked some quality questions about the structure of the Frontier TeleNet organization.

         “Rachel Weinstein asked if there was not a sense of urgency for a plan to secure the grant money for Wheeler County portion of project?  Lynn Morley answered they are working with the State of Oregon and presenting a plan that will secure the funds.  Rachel also asked for clarification on obtaining an engineering firm?  Rob Myers answered that he needed to research the proper way to obtain a firm.

         “A discussion held on the technical term Hand Holds” (sic) for the system and what it means.

         “Next Meeting:  The next meeting of Frontier TeleNet will be January 25, 2017 at 2 PM in Fossil following the Tri-County Court Meeting.

         “There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 11:30 PM.

“Respectfully Submitted:

“Jeanne E. Burch

“Frontier TeleNet Staff”

/// ///

The Times-Journal, on December 22, 2016, published a report about the December 20 meeting, posted here with permission:

Frontier TeleNet directors now rethinking process to determine costs of ‘fiber build,’ other matters

         “Frontier TeleNet directors learned at their meeting Tuesday this week that the Request for Quotes process it used to determine the costs of installing a fiber optic cable on two separate projects – one from Wasco to Rufus in Sherman County and one from Arlington to Condon in Gilliam County – is not likely sufficient for securing contracts on the projects.

         “According to Rob Myers, Frontier TeleNet manager, he can’t find the answer to whether a contract can be awarded on the basis of a request for quotes.

         “Frontier TeleNet directors, county judges from Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties – Gary Thompson, Steve Shaffer and Lynn Morley, respectively, agreed Tuesday to re-write the requests and send them out gain as requests for proposals.

         “Ken Gross of Home Telephone Co., one of two companies that had responded to Frontier TeleNet’s earlier request for quotes, suggested that Frontier TeleNet go through the process of selecting an engineer to design the work that needs to be done, then submit the designed project to prospective contractors and request bid proposals. Having an independent engineer design the project to Frontier TeleNet’s specifications would allow contractors to submit bids on exactly the same specifications, and likely provide a more realistic cost of the project.

         “Also adding confusion to the matters Frontier TeleNet directors are dealing with is the recent announcement by the North Central Education Service District that the ESD directors had voted to withdraw from the Frontier TeleNet entity, which is an ORS 190 organization formed cooperatively some 15 years ago by the three county governments and the Education Service District.

         “It has been determined that the ESD’s withdrawal from, and the subsequent reformation of, the ORS 190 will require a public process involving all three counties.

         “Also discussed at the Dec. 20 meeting in Condon was the matter of cumbersome bookkeeping and supplemental budget processes and fund transfers from one entity – Frontier TeleNet – to another entity – Frontier Digital Network – which have here-to-fore operated as separate entities, but with the same directors. It was suggested that the two entities combine to simplify management and administration.

         “After two hours of discussion, Frontier TeleNet directors agreed that the matter of rethinking the ‘fiber build’ projects and processes requiring requests for proposals, the matter of processing the ESD’s withdrawal from the ORS 190, the matter of reforming the ORS 190, and the matter of combining the Frontier TeleNet and Frontier Digital entities whould all be submitted to legal counsel for advice.

         “The next public meetings to discuss these matters will be held Wednesday, Jan. 25. A meeting of the Tri-County Courts, which includes the county commissioners from each county, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 25 at the Jeanne Burch Building in Fossil. The Frontier TeleNet meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 25, and the Frontier Digital meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the same location.

         “The meetings are all open to the public.”

/// /// ///

The Times-Journal reporter and the Frontier TeleNet scribe were, indeed, at the same meeting.

As for planning and process, the NCESD gave notice that they were considering withdrawing from Frontier TeleNet months before doing so, giving plenty of time for legal advice and appropriate organizational response.

The matter of RFQ or RFP is a planning and process failure that hints at a predetermined outcome.

We believe the elected officials of the three county courts and Frontier TeleNet staff are complicit in the on-going negligence, deceit, mismanagement, and lack of planning, legal process and transparency.

And for transparency, by the way, it is now 70 days since we requested Frontier TeleNet public records of legal notices, agreements and contracts.

Holding our local government entities accountable is one very good reason to subscribe to The Times-Journal!  

5. Links: Things to Think About & Things to Do

bird.owl3Commentary. Thomas Sowell: Farewell

Thomas Sowell

Building Permits at 500 Court Street, Moro   According to the local building department, there were 5 building permits filed at this property over the past 2 years. 4 of them have valuations, the total of which is $6,017,790 

Historical & family history in Glengarry County, Ontario

Commentary. The Complexity of Creation

Manward Press. Liberty. Know-How. Connections.

Medical News Today



Help More Americans Understand How Economics Works! 

Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Commentary. Leave the U.N.