Sherman County eNews #16


  1. Sherman County Government Cancelation & Closures

  2. Guest Editorial. Frontier TeleNet Intergovernmental Agreement & Bylaws

  3. Registration Open for SAIF Free Ag Safety Seminar, Jan. 30

  4. Oregon Small Farms Conference, Feb. 18

1.Sherman County Government Closures, Cancelation

ShermanCoLogoDue to the current and projected freezing rain conditions, Judge Thompson is closing all Sherman County departments effective 10:30 a.m. today.

The County Court meeting regularly scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, has been canceled.  Additionally, County offices will open for business at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  Any updates will be posted on Sherman County’s Facebook page and on eNews.

Jenine McDermid, c.c.c.

Sherman County Clerk

Phone: 541-565-3606

2. Guest Editorial. Frontier TeleNet Intergovernmental Agreement & Bylaws

In the January 12, 2017 The Time-Journal article “Tri-County courts hear reports…,” concerning the discussion of Frontier TeleNet at an October 27, 2016 meeting, Sherman County Judge Gary Thompson is quoted as saying “that the original intent of installing fiber lines ‘was for the purposes of emergency services and 911, period, not for fiber to homes or cities.’” The article also states, “‘We’ve gone sideways,’ Judge Thompson said, with Condon’s discussion of getting fiber to homes and businesses.”

Judge Thompson’s comments are in conflict with the Intergovernmental Agreement Creating Frontier Telenet, and Frontier TeleNet’s and Bylaws. The Intergovernmental Agreement states, in part:

  1. WHEREAS, Counties desire to establish and maintain a consolidated, highly reliable system for the provision of emergency 9-1-1 and other public health and safety communication services;
  2. WHEREAS, Counties’ operations require telecommunications capabilities for the efficient provision of local governmental services;
  3. WHEREAS, Counties further desire to promote economic development .within their respective jurisdictions and surrounding communities through the development of advanced telecommunications infrastructure and related programs;
  4. WHEREAS, NCESD is engaged in the provision of general support services to the educational institutions within the boundaries of Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler;
  5. WHEREAS, NCESD and the school districts it serves require advanced telecommunications capabilities for the efficient provision of educational services;
  6. WHEREAS, the Parties intend to further the economy and efficiency of their respective units of local government by forming an intergovernmental agency;
  7. WHEREAS, pursuant to ORS 190.010, an intergovernmental agency may perform any or all functions and activities that a Party to an Agreement, or its officers or agencies, has the authority to perform;
  8. WHEREAS, the Parties anticipate that the benefits of the telecommunications network to be established by Frontier Telenet (as defined herein) will provide improved police, fire, medical aid service and educational communications within the boundaries of the Parties;
  9. WHEREAS, the Parties intend to use any authority delegated to Frontier Telenet to further the economy and efficiency of each Party by the design, construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of a telecommunications network for the benefit of the Parties and the citizens and organizations served by such parties;

Article 1 of the Bylaws lists Frontier TeleNet’s “Mission and Purpose of the Organization” as:

  1. To expand and enhance telecommunications capabilities for the efficient provision of local government services and educational services; and
  2. To provide for the coordination and interoperability of communications services in Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler counties; and to cooperatively establish and maintain a consolidated, highly reliable system for the provision of educational services, 9-1-1, law enforcement, emergency services and other public health and safety communications services; and
  3. To promote economic growth and the expansion and/or addition of business and industry both within the geographic boundaries of Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler counties; and where appropriate or in the best interests of the counties’ citizens, the surrounding communities of interest through the development of telecommunications infrastructure and related programs and services.

It is clear that the purpose of Frontier TeleNet is more than to create telecommunication infrastructure for emergency services and 911. The confusion is in how one interprets the Agreement and Bylaws.

~ David Bergmann is a Sherman County businessman based in Wasco, Oregon.

3. Registration Open for SAIF Free Ag Safety Seminar, Jan. 30

Summary: SAIF’s annual series of free, ag safety seminars–held all over Oregon–aims to reduce the number of work-related injuries. The next one will be held in The Dalles on January 30, with a Spanish session on January 31.
As one of Oregon’s largest industries, agriculture also tends to suffer its share of injuries and illnesses.

To reduce the number and severity of injuries in the industry, SAIF has presented free, half-day agricultural safety seminars across the state for more than 20 years. Each year the not-for-profit company reaches more supervisors, managers, and other workers and, hopefully, prevents more injuries.

Designed primarily for people working in agriculture, anyone with an interest in ag safety and health is welcome to attend. (They don’t have to be insured by SAIF.) The seminars run from November to March.

For the past 12 years, several of the sessions also have been presented in Spanish.

Employers with small ag businesses who attend the seminar will meet OSHA’s instructional requirement, one of four requirements that exempt small agricultural operations from random OSHA inspections.

This year, seminars will be held in 16 Oregon cities: Bandon, Central Point, Clackamas, Corvallis, Eugene, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Klamath Falls, La Grande, Madras, Ontario, Salem, The Dalles, Wilsonville, and Woodburn.

Spanish-language seminars will be held in Central Point, Hermiston, Hillsboro, Hood River, Klamath Falls, Salem, The Dalles, Woodburn, and Wilsonville.

The seminars — which begin November 1 in Ontario — are held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and include lunch.

Topics for the 2016-17 series:
Learning to S.I.T. | A simple, three-step approach to help make training more effective. The session focuses on effective teaching strategies while demonstrating applicable safety tips share within your operation.

Clearing the air on pesticide safety | We’ll cover Worker Protection Standard rule changes for 2017 and 2018, proper storage and handling of the typical crop protection materials, and some real-world hazards to avoid when spraying.

Farm shop safety: improving your odds | Tips to avoid injury, stay in compliance, and use the farm shop to set higher standards for other work areas–featuring SAIF’s new farm shop safety video.

Welding safety and other hot topics | Safety tips to reduce burns, eye injuries, and help manage toxic fumes while describing several unique fire hazards; plus skin cancer health facts, prevention, and detection guidelines.

This seminar series will not offer private applicator pesticide “core” credits.

The Oregon State Landscaping Contractors Board has approved the seminar for four hours of continuing education credits.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services has approved the seminar for four hours of producer continuing education credits.

Seating is limited, so early registration is recommended. You may register online at or call 800.285.8525. We’ll confirm by email as soon as we receive your registration. About one week before the seminar, we’ll send you an email reminder with the location address. If you have any questions, please call 800.285.8525.

Get more information, or view the schedule of seminars, at

4. Oregon Small Farms Conference, Feb. 18

The annual Oregon Small Farms Conference is set for Feb. 18 at Oregon State University in Corvallis. This is the 16th year for the event, which last year drew more than 1,000 attendees.

Considered a flagship educational offering of the OSU Extension Service’s Small Farms Program, the event is geared to a wide range of people associated with agriculture. The program targets farmers, agricultural professionals, food policy advocates, restaurant owners, students and managers of farmers markets. Through the program, participants have learned about subjects such as marketing, disease control, economics and organic certification.

This year’s program includes a range of speakers including farmers, OSU faculty and representatives from agribusiness and government agencies. The featured speaker will be Ben Hartman, farmer and author of “The Lean Farm.” He will conduct a series of sessions on the concept of eliminating waste and introducing efficiency to an operation.

Commenting on the meeting, Hartman says, “There are two pieces to lean production. On the one hand is waste elimination. On the other hand is the intense focus on creating what customers actually want. You’re either adding value or you’re contributing to waste.”

In addition, the conference will feature 24 workshops, including four in Spanish, on topics that include:

  • dryland farming
    • organic weed control
    • specialty crops
    • diversifying with cut flowers
    • recordkeeping
    • agritourism
    • field-to-market essentials
    • parasite control in livestock
    • insurance

Learn more at the Oregon Small Farms Conference website,

Larger range of courses
The conference is part of a bigger-picture series of online and on-site education course offerings from OSU. The Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management series is intended for people considering the idea of starting a farm, those within their first five years of farming and others who may be considering major changes in their farm business.

Melissa Fery, associate professor at OSU, commented, “Growing Farms is an opportunity for them [students] to dive in deeper and consider all aspects of their farm business and how they fit together. We’ll have discussions about goals, consider production and marketing options in the local region and take a close look at profitability. This course will show the reality of having a small farm business.”

The Growing Farms series includes six online modules, three in-class meetings and a full-day farm tour at three locations. The course can be taken solely online. Though developed with an Oregon focus, the class is relevant to novice farmers across the country.

For dates, locations and registration go to the OSU Professional and Continuing Education website, The $295 cost includes a discount to the 2017 Small Farms Conference set for Feb. 18on the OSU campus.

Source: Oregon State University