ONTARIO SCHOOL DISTRICT

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successes that are deserving of Ontario's pride.
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2005 Argus Observer Archive

      2005 Argus Observer Archive

          2005 Argus Observer Archive

              2005 Argus Observer Archive

                  2005 Argus Observer Archive

                      2005 Argus Observer Archive

                          2005 Argus Observer Archive

                                 Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                              Despite both teams making steady offensive attacks, the Ontario girl's soccer team was able to pull ahead and defeat Weiser, 4-2, on Monday at the Alameda Elementary soccer field.

                              The first half began as a 1-1 tie early on with an Ontario goal from Andrea Guerri and a Weiser goal from Tot Saito.

                              "We didn't play well really," said Ontario's head coach Greg Walk. "The flow wasn't there. They weren't working as a team. The defense was confused in the first half and let that goal in."

                              Near the end of the half Ontario's Christina Markee, a junior, pushed the Tigers ahead. On a break-away run, Markee charged the keeper and sent a straight, low shot into the goal.

                              "They've got speed," said Weiser head coach Bruce Winegar. "They've got two or three girls that when they get a step up on you, you can't catch up."

                              The second half started with several offensive attacks from Weiser, but the Ontario defense was able to hold back many of the runs. After Tiger Kim Boyd, a freshman, upped the score 3-1, with the assist from Ashlee Captein, Ontario picked up the pace and the majority of play took place on the Weiser half.

                              "We passed really good in the first half, but the defense broke down and let them in during the second," Winegar said. "We need to play 90 minutes of great soccer."

                              Boyd scored once more, but the Wolverines did not let up. On a Weiser run to goal, a shot bounced off an Ontario defender's leg back into the goal area. A scramble for the unpossessed ball resulted in Satio's second goal, increasing the score to 4-2.

                              "We didn't get the shots we wanted to get," said Winegar. "It's our passing that killed us. We would have had great shots on goal."

                              Weiser, who plays four games this week and is 1-2 in league play, will head to Homedale on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. match. Ontario, who is 3-1-1 for the season and 1-1 in league, will see if it can keep its offensive efforts up when it hosts Madras on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Greater Oregon League match-up.

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              As the importance of receiving a high school diploma continues to grow in the United States, the total number of high school dropouts has evolved into a growing concern to school districts and states.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said dropout rates are significant to school districts because for students to be successful in today's work world they must receive a high school diploma.

                              Without one it will be very difficult for students to find almost any job because most professions and businesses require at least a high school diploma.

                              The dropout issue, though, has other implications. The number of dropouts has become a tool to make school districts accountable for the number of students graduating, with emphasis coming from various sources, such as the federal No Child Left Behind program.

                              In Oregon the number of dropouts affects a school's budget as funding from the state is based on school attendance.

                               

                                 RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The freight train known as the third-ranked Ontario Tigers kept on chugging away, as they demolished Nampa Christian, 54-16, in non-conference girls basketball Saturday at Ontario High School.

                              The Tigers used solid defensive play to negate any offensive opportunities for the Trojans. The 2A Idaho school was limited to 21 percent shooting, and committed 19 turnovers.

                              Only one player on the Nampa Christian roster scored more than one basket as senior standout Lindsay Forseth led her squad with eight points and seven rebounds, before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.

                               

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Ontario School District officials, administrators and site councils spent a good portion of last week attending meetings regarding school improvement plans for each school in Ontario.

                              The school improvement plan meetings are conducted annually in the school district to review the goals set for the past school year. The meetings are designed to also review where the specific schools are currently in relation to future goals.

                              The school improvement plans are similar to the improvement plan the district must submit to the state every two years. The local school improvement plans, though, are specifically for the Ontario School District.

                               

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                               

                                RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario Tigers and the Weiser Wolverines each hit 3-point shots in the final seconds of regulation and needed overtime to settle their non-conference boys basketball matchup Tuesday as the Tigers slipped past the Wolverines 66-62.

                              Ontario shooting guard KJ Toombs started the fun with a 3-point shot with 11 seconds left to give the Tigers a 55-53 lead.

                              Weiser's Brandon Richins missed a game-tying shot, giving Ontario the ball back with seven seconds left, and Daniel Schram was sent to the foul line. Schram hit the first free throw and missed the second.

                              Weiser then had the ball back with four seconds left when Bobby Hopkins heaved a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 56-56.

                              In the extra session, the Tigers used free throws from Schram and Toombs to seal the deal as the Tigers went on to outscore the Wolverines 10-6 in overtime for the win.

                               

                                Argus Observer Sports Staff

                              The Ontario wrestling team enjoyed its first day of the sixth-annual Best of the West Duals. The Tigers earned a split, losing against Richland High School, 53-24, and defeating the West All-Stars, 52-22, Wednesday at Trac Arena in eastern Washington.

                              Ontario is one of 32 teams participating in the event, which includes schools from Washington, Idaho and Oregon with school classifications ranging from 3A level up to the 5A level.

                              In the first round, Ontario had five of the 14 wrestlers win matches.

                              Seven of Richland's 14 wins came by way of pinfall. Ontario scored two.

                              Tom Martinez (119), Jace Nakamura (125), Casey Erlbach (145), Toby Smith (171), and Joe Hernandez (215) all scored wins for the Tigers in their matches against Richland. Martinez and Smith won their matches by way of pinfall.

                               

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              A small group of concerned area residents are questioning whether the Ontario School District's disciplinary policies and practices are adequate to keep students safe in schools.

                              School district officials, though, said they believe the current discipline policy works well.

                              Susan and Will Bennett, parents of students at May Roberts Elementary School; Michael Borge, a former Alameda Elementary parent and staff member, and David Smith, a retired school teacher who once taught in Ontario, all said they want to see stronger leadership demonstrated by district teachers and administrators to address what they assert are serious behavioral and safety issues at Ontario schools.

                              Susan Bennett said all her children - three boys and a girl - have been harassed in some way at the school, sometimes physically bullied. Her youngest son - a first-grader - has suffered bruises and injury at the hands of classmates.

                              Borge is a former Ontario resident who also worked for the school district periodically for eight years at Alameda Elementary School. At Alameda, Borge worked with handicapped students and those with serious behavioral problems. He said he is also concerned, after he said he witnessed and heard about incidents of harassment and

                                 Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              Defense has been the calling card of the second-ranked Ontario Tigers all season, and Thursday was no exception.

                              The Tigers limited Vale to 32 percent shooting, and forced the Vikings into 15 turnovers in a 61-41 non-league girls basketball win at Ontario High School.

                               

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Ontario High School art teacher Pam Helfrich is finished.

                              After spending two years working toward her national board teaching certification, the 13-year veteran instructor has finally acquired the prestigious credentials.

                              She conceded, though, after devoting so much energy to her goal it is sometimes still difficult to grasp the fact she's finished.

                               

                                Tiesha miller argus observer

                              Some late 3-point shots and a crucial free throw were the ingredients to making extra minutes for the Parma and Ontario boys basketball teams at the Fruitland Christmas Tournament on Thursday.

                              The Tigers and Panthers took four minutes of overtime that ultimately decided a 66-63 Parma win over Ontario.

                              At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Parma came out with a pair of 3-point shots and a 2-point bucket to set up the lead after trailing 44-41 at the end of the third quarter.

                              Ten seconds into the final quarter, Parma's Trent Timmons hit the first 3-pointer to tie the game. Jesse Chaney soon followed with the other 3-pointer to put the Panthers up 47-44.

                              Facing a 49-44 deficit with minutes left in the game, Ontario responded with a shot from Ryan Wilson and two shots from Michael Shoaee to bring the match within one point.

                              The points continued to rise and with eight seconds remaining, Daniel Schram hit one of his two free throw shots to send the game into overtime with the teams tied at 55.

                              At the start of extra minutes KJ Toombs sunk a 3-point shot for Ontario, and Shoaee scored on a rebound and a free throw to help the Tigers hold a 61-57 lead with two minutes left.Timmons eventually made the tying shot and a free throw to give Parma the advantage. Brian Merrick built the Panther lead with a 2-point shot.

                              Although Ontario responded with more goals, it would not again see the lead.

                               

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario School District has the opportunity to receive a state grant to perform a school site study, should it choose to apply.

                              The grant, called the Transportation Grant Management Quick Response Program, provides planning and design assistance with the intention to help make proposed developments more pedestrian friendly.

                              The grant opportunity came to light at an Ontario planning commission meeting Dec. 13. The commissioners expressed an interest in the idea of the city applying for the grant jointly with the school district. Oregon Department of Transportation representative Cheryl Jarvis-Smith explained a little about the grant again at the City Council's meeting Dec. 19.

                              According to information in an e-mail furnished to Ontario Planning and Zoning Administrator Grant Young by Eric Jacobson, transportation/land use planner for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, the grant can help area officials with many things.

                              According to the e-mail, the type of assistance the grant could offer for the school siting issues in Ontario are design alternatives for redeveloping or expanding the existing site; evaluation of alternative sites making the high school a part of, or central to, a residential high school; public workshops and informational meetings; transportation planning, including looking at improvements to the street system near high school sites and local street connections.

                              Jacobson said the TGM program is a joint effort between the ODOT and DLCD to improve pedestrian access in cities.

                              Jacobson said in a phone interview he thought the Ontario School District, would be a good candidate for such a program after its failed school bond.

                              Jacobson, who said he did not know much more than what he has heard or has seen published, said from what he has heard, the school district has purchased property situated in a

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              After the tremendous fireworks show had ended, after the teams had shook hands and made the obligatory congratulations, the Vale Vikings came together on the field. Flanked by fellow students, parents and the community.

                              For Vale, homecoming night was everything it had been billed as the Vikings overwhelmed the Ontario Tigers, 39-6, Friday night in Vale in non-conference match-up.

                              "This team has learned how to be resilient," Vale head coach Jeff Jacobs said, sitting on the bench after the game. "Our focus this week was emotion and intensity, to play tough football. I am pleased with the results."

                              Vale got off to a good start when, with 2:32 left in the first quarter, the Vikings jumped on the board first. Vale's Jason Noland hauled in a five-yard pass from Brady Lovell to put six on the board. The PAT by Willy Maupin was perfect and the Vikings were on their way.

                              On the Viking's next possession, a one-yard dive off a quick count by Lovell put the Vikings up 13-0. Again, Maupin's kick was good as the Vikings begin to roll, both on offense and defense.

                              Vale's lone turnover in the game provided Ontario their chance to score. After a Kyle Joyce fumble, the Tigers marched from their own 28-yard line in 10 plays, culminating in a 13-yard pass from Bryson Sapp to KJ Toombs to finally see Ontario points on the board. The PAT was blocked and Vale went into halftime with a 14-6 lead.

                              The second half was all Vikings. On their first possession of the half, starting on their own 48-yard line, the Vikings drove 52 yards in six plays with Lovell again dashing five yards for the score.

                              Vale again scored early in the fourth quarter as Luke Skerjanec broke through the middle of the Tiger line for a 46-yard run for the touchdown.

                              After an Ontario four and out, Vale needed only two plays for Skerjanec again to break open on a 15-yard run for a Vale 36-6 lead.

                              A field goal of 22 yards by the Viking's Darin Johnson wrapped up the Viking's scoring for the night with 1:15 left in the game.

                              "Hats off to Vale," Tiger coach Randy Waite said. "We had chances we could not capitalize on and things just got away from us in the second half."

                              During the Ontario (0-5 overall) upcoming bye week, Waite said the team will concentrate on tackling.

                              "Teams are rushing at will against us," Waite said.

                              Vale (4-1 overall) travels to Grant Union on Friday to begin play in the Wapiti League.

                                 JESSICA KELLER - ARGUS OBSERVER

                              It seemed almost like Christmas to May Roberts Elementary teacher Teresa Gartung in her classroom Thursday afternoon as youth in May Roberts Student Council loaded up newly purchased backpacks with school supplies to send to Hurricane Katrina victims.

                              Thursday wrapped up a two-week fund-raising effort at May Roberts, where students collected and donated backpacks and school supplies for students who are preparing to go back to school in the Gulf Coast states and for a school in Portland where some children of evacuees are preparing to start classes.

                              Gartung said the children in her student council were very enthusiastic about the project.

                              "They are so excited about this," she said. "They're like 'yes, we're doing something that counts.'"

                              The May Roberts Student Council, made up of children in third- through fifth-grades, annually participates in fund-raisers for various projects.

                              The 27 backpacks and numerous school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, pens, construction paper, notebook paper and more, collected were picked up at the elementary school this morning by personnel from the Ontario National Guard Armory to be shipped off to different locations.

                              Gartung said what was so impressive about the fund-raising drive was how seriously some of the children took it - some even going out using their own money to purchase backpacks and supplies, referring to a suggested list provided by the Oregon Department of Education, which spearheaded the effort.

                              "I think generally across the board they've been pretty generous," Gartung said of the May Roberts students. "They don't have a lot to give, but I think they've been sincere."

                              During the school supply round-up, student council representative Carlos Sanchez, a fifth-grader, asked Gartung what they were going to raise funds for next.

                              "Last year a tsunami, this year Katrina. What's next year, a tornado?" he asked sincerely.

                              Gartung told him he could not plan what would happen in the future, but later told him when he asked her again they would help where they were needed.

                              Fifth-grader Brityn Sauer said she liked participating in the fund-raiser, and is happy to help. And responding to Gartung's comment about helping where needed, she said that was what they were about.

                              "It's fun to help people, and I know if we were there, we'd want them to help us, and they don't even have anything," Sauer said.

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The director of operations for the Ontario School District said the $30 million price tag on a proposed bond for a new high school is the result of increased construction costs.

                              Bob Nelson, director of operations for OSD, also said indications are the price to construct a new facility will not decrease in the future.

                              The bond proposal will go before voters for a final decision in November. The school district is asking voters to approve a bond package that includes rebuilding Ontario High School at a site just outside of town along with remodeling and renovations at Pioneer Elementary School.

                              The proposed high school and its added features, however, do not differ greatly from the one included in the school district's last school bond campaign.

                              "That high school that we would have built then is essentially the same building we're proposing to build now," Nelson said, adding the school district did not have land set aside during the last school bond in the late 1990s. That bond attempt failed.

                              The cost of that school district bond was $41 million for a variety of building projects in the district. The high school portion was estimated to cost $18 million.

                              In the new, $30 million bond proposal, the high school portion of the project carries an estimated cost of about $9 million more - most of that coming from price hikes in materials and construction, Nelson said.

                              According to architects from the Lombard Conrad, Boise, Nelson said, construction costs have risen steadily in the Pacific Northwest in the past 10 years as supply and demands increased from a growth boom in the region, as well as the expansion of global markets to supply and work within.

                              School district architects have seen 3 to 5 percent increases each year for the past several years in construction costs, but Nelson said in the past 18 months they have seen a 17 percent increase in construction costs. Those costs are not expected to go down, although Nelson said the greater costs are reflected more in smaller projects.

                              Nelson said the school district is watching construction costs very carefully because the bond amount is set at $30 million, and the school district has to work within that framework.

                              It is possible, if construction costs increase too much, the high school project will have to be scaled back, Nelson said.

                              In such cases, he said, typically amenities, such as athletic areas or auditoriums, get cut from the plan.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing specific has been selected to be trimmed from the overall project at this point. However, Carter said when the school district goes out to bid on the project, should the bond pass, alternatives will be included.

                              Currently the proposed high school bond includes construction of the building; a vocational technology building and greenhouse; expanded parking to accommodate about 800 spaces; room to expand the high school to accommodate growth; a practice field and all-weather track and area for field events; two soccer fields, tennis courts, two softball fields and baseball field; area for future football stadium and future event parking.

                              According to an estimated cost breakdowns, the majority of the cost of the project comes from the proposed 172,650 square foot building, at $125 per square foot. Site improvements are estimated to cost $2,100,000, architecture and engineering $1,634,868, along with a $1.4 million contingency to cover any extra expenses engineers could not account for. Equipment to be installed includes kitchen equipment and elevator for the two story building. The total cost of just the high school is estimated to be $27,583,418.

                              "It's not a fancy high school," Nelson said. "What it is is a functional high school that would meet the needs of our students in our community as well as today's educational needs and projected into the future."

                              The remodeling and construction at Pioneer Elementary School is estimated to cost $2,406,500. Rebuilding of an 8,140 square foot section at $125 per square foot is budgeted to cost a little more than $1 million, while remodeling of 6,000 more square feet at $80 per square foot will cost $480,000. Furnishings and equipment for the library at Pioneer was estimated at $50,000, and a $200,000 contingency budgeted.

                              While local businessman Norm Crume does not doubt construction costs dictate the majority of the costs of the proposed bond, he said he is still not decided on the school bond.

                              "My concern is whether it's the right move at the right time for the right amount of dollars," he said, adding while there is never a "right" time, increased fuel, electricity and utility costs make now more difficult.

                              "At this point in time I can see a need for a lot of it, and I can see people's concerns on the expense of it, and I don't really know which way to go."

                              Ontario residents will gain one of the best opportunities to ask questions and find out information regarding the proposed Ontario School District school bond Thursday night at Ontario High School.

                              Registered voters in the district should attend the meeting.

                              The district is proposing an ambitious $30 million bond to build a new high school and to renovate Pioneer Elementary School. The vote is set for Nov. 8, though most residents will receive a ballot in the mail before that date.

                              A citizens committee pushing the proposal as done a fairly good job trying to get as much information out to the public as possible during the past weeks. The school district, also, held several town hall meeting in the spring regarding the issue.

                              Still, the meeting Thursday night is a good idea, simply because it is always a good idea to distribute as much information as possible on an issue such as the bond.

                              There are still some lingering questions regarding the effort and the meetings Thursday may help dispel misconceptions and provide a platform to release general information.

                              Voters concerned about the issue should be on hand at the meeting.

                              The school bond proposal is a big issue with long-term implications for the entire Ontario communicates.

                              Voters should have as much information on hand to make the best, more informed choice when they prepare to make a decision.

                              Thursday night's meeting is a good idea. Hopefully area voters will take advantage of the opportunity.

                                 RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario boys soccer team needed a win Tuesday to clinch a spot in the OSAA Class 3A Boys State Soccer Tournament. The Tigers got their win, using a controlled attack to hold off La Grande, 1-0, in a 3A Special District 7 match-up at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                              Ontario's only score came at the 15 minute mark, as defender Payton Aarestad stole the ball from La Grande midfielder Micah Anderson and turned upfield making a pass to Adam Mendiola, who took the ball and did the rest as he juked through the La Grande defense to give Ontario a 1-0 advantage.

                              Ontario had several opportunities to score but couldn't finish. Midfielder Andres Navarette and forward Jorge Martinez both had shots either go wide or over the net.

                              "We should have scored more than one goal today," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We just didn't finish scoring on some of our opportunities."

                              La Grande midfielder Luke Kevan had the two best shots of the game as he was left alone with no defenders around and shot the ball over the net. Five minutes later, Kevan again was left alone by defender Scott Alward, but failed to capitalize.

                              "Our team finally woke up in the second half ," La Grande head coach Jessy Watson said. "Because it seemed like we were sleepwalking in the first half like we didn't want to play."

                              But waking up in the second half wasn't enough for La Grande, who drops to 5-4 overall and quite possibly takes them out of any playoff contention. "We need some help and for teams to lose for us to get into the playoffs," Watson said.

                              With the win, Ontario is now 5-3 overall and 4-2 in 3A Special District 7, as it clinches a playoff berth. The Tigers host Riverside in another 3A Special District 7 match-up on Saturday.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              School district residents grilled officials on a myriad of topics about the $30 million school bond they will vote on Nov. 8 in a question and answer-style town hall meeting Thursday night at the high school.

                              Approximately 100 district voters attended the final meeting between themselves and district officials before the election, which will determine whether the school district will build a new Ontario High School on 75 acres of land outside of town and make improvements to Pioneer Elementary School.

                              Ontario businessman Ralph Poole opened the meeting for the school district voicing his support the school bond.

                              Poole told the audience the bond was something he felt strongly about, having grown up in Ontario and being in the first class of students at Alameda Elementary School - the newest school district school built in 1964.

                              Poole addressed some of his reasons he hopes the school bond passes, and some of the concerns he has for the community.

                              He said he hears people say they will not vote for the school bond, even though there is a need for a new high school, because they dislike something the school district has done in the past.

                               

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Should the Nov. 8 $30 million bond levy pass, which will provide for a new Ontario High School and improvements to Pioneer Elementary, the school district is considering using the existing high school structure as a middle school.

                              What will happen to the existing high school building should a new high school be built has been a frequent question since the idea of a school bond has come up. Superintendent Dennis Carter, and the district panel, were posed with the question at Thursday night's town hall meeting.

                              Officials, however, are noncommittal, while acknowledging it is a possibility.

                              District Director of Operations Bob Nelson said the school district doesn't want to get ahead of the people in terms of the projects put before them.

                               

                                Ray Rodriguez Argus observer

                              The stars of the game were Ontario forward Jorge Martinez and midfielder Carlos Salgado, who combined for two goals and four assists. Salgado made crisp passes, setting up the four goals for his teammates.

                              Homedale played with six freshman as head coach David Correa said he wanted to rest his other players for the Snake River Valley Tournament on Thursday. Even with backups on the field, both teams had plenty of offensive flow, and the game was played at a quick pace, with both squads moving freely up and down the field.

                              The scoring started four minutes into the game when Ontario's Carlos Salgado was left alone in front of the net and shot past Homedale goalie Erik Corbett, giving the Tigers the lead.

                              The next two Ontario goals were setup by the duo of Martinez and Salgado as they used communication to make things work and increased Ontario's lead to 3-1.

                               

                                John L. Braese Argus Observer

                              Burns showed why they are undefeated in the Greater Oregon League. The Hilanders easily beat the Tigers, 25-15, 25-18, 25-15, in GOL volleyball action at Ontario High School.

                              Using powerful hitting from a number of players and almost error-less play, the Hilanders led from the beginning in most of the games and never relinquished the lead.

                              In the second game, the Tigers allowed Burns to run off a 8-1 lead before starting to climb back into the action. Finally taking a one-time lead at the 11-10 mark, the Hilanders again took over the game, tying the game at 12, and running away from there.

                              In the third game, Burns led from the first point, never allowing the Tigers a lead. As in the second game, the Tigers allowed a long run in the beginning of the game with Burns leading at one point by a score of 13-1. Slowly, Ontario fought back to within six points at 16-10, but the Hilanders began to pull away, winning the game and the match easily.

                               

                                 Tami Hart Argus Observer

                              The blare of the trumpets and the deep beat of the bass drums floated across the night air Monday at the Ontario High School stadium when 15 bands took to the field in the Battle of the Marching Machines.

                              Parma High School marched away with the

                              What happens when 15 bands and over 1,100 students arrive at Ontario? It's Monday night, and time for the

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              None of the three area school districts - Ontario, Nyssa and Vale - met the 2004 to 2005 school year Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

                              NCLB requires school districts to determine whether adequate yearly progress has been met toward the goal of all students meeting state academic standards by the 2013 to 2014 school year. Each year the performance of students in specified grades, as well as subgroups of students, is measured against annual performance targets.

                              Every two years, the performance objectives are raised 10 percent, and the 2004 to 2005 targets were increased from 40 to 50 percent in the English language arts portion, and from 39 to 49 percent in mathematics.

                              ONTARIO

                              The Ontario School District only had three schools meet AYP: Alameda, Cairo and Pioneer elementary schools.

                              The news was not so bright for other schools in the district.

                              Aiken and May Roberts elementary schools, Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School were all designated as

                               Argus Observer sports staff

                              After losing the opening two games, Vale head coach Mary Ann Standage decided to fire up her team, picking up a yellow and red card in Tuesday's match against the Ontario Tigers. It almost worked as the Tigers survived the onslaught of Vale, taking the victory in five games, 25-16, 25-15, 21-25, 21-25, 15-13 in non-league volleyball action at Vale High School.

                               

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario School Board approved appropriating $75,000 from the district's contingency fund to pay for cleanup of an underground oil leak at Pioneer Elementary School during a board meeting last week.

                              The discovery of the oil leak came during a project to replace two boilers at Pioneer Elementary this summer. The clean up, which entailed removing a large amount of contaminated dirt, has already been completed and all that remains of the initial project is repaving of a section of ground between the Pioneer gymnasium and main school building, Superintendent Dennis Carter said. While the boiler project was budgeted from the operations and maintenance fund, the $75,000, which covered the cost of the cleanup project, had not been budgeted for, he said, and required a transfer from the district's contingency fund. The school board passed the motion without any discussion.

                              The Pioneer boiler project began in early summer. The school district received a newer, larger boiler donated from the local LDS Church, which Carter said the district intended to use to replace the small boiler under the school's gymnasium and the larger, 100-year-old boiler under the main building.

                               

                                 RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario Tigers used three first half goals and six saves by goalkeeper Brett Hytrek to shut out the Baker City Bulldogs, 3-0, Thursday in Greater Oregon League boys soccer action on Senior Day at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                              The Tigers came out more aggressive and were able to beat the Bulldogs to many loose balls in the offensive zone.

                              Ontario was led by Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado who had five shots on goal apiece. The Tigers started the scoring at the 15 minute mark. Sophomore midfielder Salgado took a loose ball and shot from the left side into the right side of the goal to give Ontario the lead, 1-0.

                              After that first goal, Ontario gained momentum. The Tigers had 31 shots on goal.

                              At the 30 minute mark, Ontario's Daniel Schram took a pass from Salgado and shot the ball over the outstretched arms of the goalie to put the Tiger's up 2-0.

                               

                                Ray Rodriguez Argus Observer

                              The Ontario Tigers girls volleyball team clinched a playoff spot beating the Baker City Bulldogs in five hard-fought games, 25-13, 13-25, 25-17, 20-25, 17-15, Saturday in Ontario. The win ensures at least a share of second place in the Greater Oregon League. Ontario was down in the fifth game, 12-8, when Tigers' head coach Rod Williams called a time out. After the time out, Ontario would go on to score the next five points and then go back and forth with Baker City. Then sophomore Stephanie O'Connor served the game-winning point to hand Ontario the game, 17-15.

                               

                              This year, the Ontario High School Leadership program received the opportunity to sell the Jan-Lar Company wreaths.

                              This opportunity was provided when St. Peter Catholic School decided not to sell this product.

                              A lot of people during the past years have purchased these beautiful wreaths and may want to order again.

                              If you would like to order a wreath, contact OHS at 889-5309 and ask for the Leadership Department.

                              The Leadership class will send a student to your home or business to take your order.

                              Orders must be received by Nov. 9, 2005.

                              Wreaths are scheduled for delivery on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 2005.

                              Prices for the wreaths start at $17.95 for a 20-inch wreath.

                              The most expensive wreath is $19.95. A 28-inch door swag is also available for $17.95.

                              The proceeds from the wreath sales will help send Leadership students to the National Leadership conference in Philadelphia, PA in June.

                                Argus observer sports staff

                              Playing without seniors Vanessa Gomez and Carrie Heninger due to injuries, the Ontario Tigers dropped a three-game match to La Grande, 26-24, 25-13, 25-11, in a Greater Oregon League playoff volleyball match, Tuesday in Baker. The loss places the Tigers as the No. 3 seed going into the state tournament. Ontario begins tournament action Saturday, traveling to Sisters.

                               

                                  JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              More than three years of hard work will soon pay off for May Roberts Elementary students.

                              Ontario School District staff are finishing up the installation of a new playground set, the result of a long-range school plan to save the money from funds raised during the school's annual fund-raiser, which takes place in the fall. May Roberts Elementary Principal Frances Ramirez said every fall students sell Christmas holiday items and presents, and these past few years a portion of the funds was set aside specifically for the playground equipment. After three or so years of savings, the school's coffers had the necessary $10,751.38 to cover the cost of the playground set.

                               

                                John L. Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario Tigers could only hold off the Baker Bulldogs for a half. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the third quarter on their way to a 42-14 Greater Oregon League win over the Tigers, Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Baker win secures the second place seed for the Bulldogs, while Ontario falls to 1-8 overall and 1-3 in league play, closing the season.

                               

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario School Board Thursday night took no action on the lingering question of pursuing another school bond.

                              By a commanding 3-to-1 margin voters scuttled an ambitious, $30-million bond concept Nov. 8.

                              While no concrete plans to revisit the school bond issue were fashioned Thursday night, the consensus of the board seemed to be to ensure the bond issue did not fade away entirely.

                               

                               JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              With the help of a Union-Pacific Railroad grant program, the principals at Ontario and Nyssa high schools are networking with other principals across the United States to improve education practices.

                              Networking is just one feature provided by the Principals' Partnership program, sponsored by Union Pacific.

                              The program also gives the principals a chance to meet with a free, private consultant three times a year to discuss the educational needs of the schools. The consultant provides research, case studies, training or networking needed to address specific issues identified by the principals.

                              Ontario High School Principal Bret Uptmor, a first year principal who met with the high school's consultant for the first time in October, said he thinks the program is a success.

                               

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              This year marks the fifth year the Ontario Middle School after school and summer programs have been in place, and middle schoolers and staff are busier than ever with activities.

                               

                               Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                              The Ontario girls basketball team opened its season with a 56-22 blowout of non-conference opponent Nampa, Tuesday in Ontario.

                              With the experience of six seniors under its roster, the Tigers dominated early and held the Bulldogs from scoring until the third quarter.

                               

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              After one year as principal of both Ontario High School and Ontario Middle School, Lavelle Cornwell will return next year only as the OMS principal.

                              The announcement was made last week after Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter discussed the matter with Ontario School District board members at a May 19 meeting, and they agreed to honor a request by Cornwell to make the transition.

                              The school board also approved hiring a new principal for the vacant OHS position.

                              Cornwell, who taught at the high school for 19 years and became principal of OMS in 2001, assumed the new position of director of secondary education in the fall of 2004, after the departure of former OHS Principal Patrick Royal.

                              Cornwell announced her decision to her staff at the two schools this past week. Her decision, she said, was solely based on personal reasons and did not relate to her job.

                              "I just had a hard time balancing my personal life and my work life, and there comes a point when you have to put your priorities back in order," Cornwell said. The school district moved from one top administrator per school to joint principal positions in order to bring OMS and OHS administrators and staff "closer together in focus."

                              The idea, Carter said, was to create a better flow of communication between high school and middle school administrators and staff, and develop a more evenly-aligned curriculum and closer instructional programs. The end result, Carter said, is for a more seamless transition from middle school to high school for students, hopefully leading to a higher graduation rate. When students are in elementary school, teachers have a close, "nurturing" relationship with students, similar to that of a parent. As children advance through the school system, Carter said, it becomes less nurturing and assumes a more solid, educational role. There are places in the system, he said, that can be "jolting" to students, one being the transition from middle to high school.

                              "And we're trying to lessen the jolt a little bit and make it more of a continuum," Carter said.

                              Carter said the district achieved a lot of those goals under Cornwell's leadership, adding both he and the school board were pleased with Cornwell's performance. Carter said while the district may once again return to the director of secondary administration system in the future, for the time being, it will continue with its secondary education reformation plan under two administrators. The school district does not intend, he said, to abandon its plans for a closer middle and high school system because Cornwell is leaving, nor should Cornwell's departure be seen as a negative reflection of her abilities.

                              "Lavelle has done a good job," he said. "But we're respecting her wishes."

                              As for Cornwell, she described the past year as a "real learning experience" for her, but one she enjoyed and would not take back. She said the middle and high schools have accomplished a lot in the past year, which was a big transition for administrators and teachers, especially in improving better communication.

                              "It's been a great experience, and I thank the district for allowing me to have this experience," she said.

                              "And I hope it wasn't a negative experience for anybody else."

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              In a move that signals a step toward the construction of new high school, the Ontario School Board approved the purchase of about 75 acres of land from an Ontario couple at Thursday night's board meeting.

                              The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Avenue was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter announced during the meeting the sale of the land will be contingent upon rezoning of the property.

                              It is not, he said, contingent upon the passage of a bond measure.

                              The bulk of the purchase is 75 acres of what Carter said was "good farm land." Another acre or so of property contains the Wada's house, and a smaller house on the property currently not in use that Carter said would likely be demolished.

                              The Wada's agreed to sell the 75 acres of undeveloped land for $875,000.

                              The remainder of the selling price goes toward the purchase of the Wada's house.

                              Outgoing Ontario School Board member Carl Judy said during the meeting land of that quality in that vicinity, which is near Airport Corner, is selling for about $30,000 an acre, but the Wada's agreed to let the school district purchase it for $15,000 an acre.

                              "Which is practically a donation to the school district," Judy said, adding he was pleased be part of an arrangement that would benefit the high school and school district during his tenure.

                              While district officials had the first parcel of property, containing the Wada's house, appraised by an appraiser, Carter said the value of the remaining undeveloped land was not determined by a certified appraiser, but instead was determined by district officials.

                              He said a certified appraiser would not have been able to do any more than guess what the value of the land was based on land of similar quality and location.

                              Carter said district officials came up with their estimate of the land's value by gathering information on the asking and selling prices of nearby land sales made recently, specifically on property near the North Ontario Interchange.

                              The final sale will not be completed until the property, currently zoned farm use and situated just outside the city's Urban Growth Area, receives a zoning change, most likely to public use, Carter said, a process that could take six months and will begin immediately.

                              The property, Carter said, is adjacent to the current UGA and should be incorporated when the city completes its Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

                              Once the UGB expansion occurs, the school district plans to annex that land into the city.

                              "We would want to annex into the city because we intend to use city services," Carter said.

                              The property purchase, he said, is not contingent upon whether a school bond passes because the school district will eventually need the land for a bigger high school, despite what happens in the meantime, and because the school district would not be able to purchase the same amount of land of the same quality for a less expensive price in the future.

                              Should a school bond not pass, Carter said, and the land is not used immediately for construction, the district would likely lease the land to a farmer to raise crops to be sold, which in turn would generate a small profit for the school district.

                              Carter said he thought the land was currently being used to grow wheat and onions.

                              Carter said the district looked at purchasing other land in the area, and officials did speak with other people possibly interested in selling, but decided upon the Wada's property because it was felt the property is the best suited for the school district's needs at the best price.

                              Negotiations with the Wada's, Carter said, were pleasant. The two parties began negotiations about six weeks ago.

                              As of last week, Carter would not confirm or deny the school district was negotiating for property or whether the school district had a piece of property in mind.

                              When the school district began looking at rebuilding, officials considered rebuilding at the current site or rebuilding at a larger site, stating at least 50 acres were needed.

                              The Ontario School Board has not officially voted on rebuilding at a different site, nor approved going out for a school bond, but will likely address the issue at the July board meeting.

                              Carter had previously announced the budget committee approved transferring $1 million from the school district's contingency fund to a building improvement fund for the purchase of the land.

                              The Ontario School Board moved forward with that recommendation Thursday night during the 2005 to 2006 budget approval process.

                                 Ray Dickerson Special to the Argus Observer

                              Every taxpayer in the Ontario School District should ask some very important questions about whether or not we need a new high school in the county: Is this proposal a real need or is it just a "we want" from a bunch of school employees?

                              Reality is there are great numbers of planners and builders who like nothing more than to sell the construction of new schools to community school boards and municipalities. They are quick to send out consultants and engineers to tell boards how this or that building does not meet this or that requirement, while at the same time pitching what it would cost to plan, repair or construct a new facility, and that they would be more than willing to participate in the bidding process. Does anybody want to make an offer on that famous New York bridge?

                              Why would Ontario build a high school out of town for $29 million or so, without a sports facility? How much will it cost to tear down the old high school or make it into a middle school? If nothing needs to be done to the old high school before it's use as a middle school, then why is it not adequate as a high school? Wouldn't it be more difficult and costly for people just to travel to a country school?

                              The expected answer to why we need a new high school is that Ontario school enrollment is up and the school is too small. I would ask for proof and double check those figures.

                              I don't have specific figures. The school district superintendent has not answered my written request for the information submitted three weeks ago. I spoke with Superintendent Dennis Carter about getting enrollment and graduation information and he asked that I put my request in writing. I did and delivered it to his office within one hour of the request. To date there has been no response. I can only conclude that the district, which normally follows the advice of PR specialists and attorneys, does not want the facts to go to the public.

                              Taken from the OHS site committee Web page, enrollment during the last school year was 760 students. That figure is down from previous years when the building housed more than 900 students. And, once again, were there really 760 students last year?

                              According to graduation statistics released this week from the Oregon Education Department, OHS graduated 111 students this school year. That is 18 percent fewer students than they graduated last year. Yet, once again, there are different figures: The OHS Web page says there were 236 ninth graders, 188 10th graders, 186 11th graders and 156 12th graders. However, the OED statistics used 136 12th graders as the base for calculating the high school graduation rate. Twenty 12th graders just disappeared? By comparison, my 1956 OHS class graduated 100 students from that very same building. One wing of the building wasn't even used in those days and the student-teacher ratio was much more than 16:1, trust me.

                              Based on an average enrollment of 235 ninth graders during the past few years, and depending on which statistics to believe, the school completion (graduation) rate is about 47 percent. Yet the school Web site brags that 92 percent of eighth graders complete high school and 65 percent complete college. How could that be and what can we believe? Fifty-three percent of high school students disappear over the four years of high school, yet the school district touts a 5 percent to 6 percent drop out rate. Once again, what can we believe?

                              Dr. Carter and others who are campaigning for the new high school in the county contend that projected increases in enrollment justify the new building. Really? Check the trends! The enrollment is going the other direction, and demographically the decline will continue. Emotion and "we wants" are trumping reality.

                              Are we getting our money's worth? According to The Oregonian, Malheur County schools receive more money per student than do any other schools in Oregon. Ontario gets more than $10,000 per student, while other smaller schools get as much as $11,300 per student, which compares with $7,200 for other state schools, on average. Once again, on average, each Malheur County school receives $1 million more than comparable big city schools. The purpose, according to The Oregonian, is to help local schools graduate more students. How is OHS doing?

                              Taxpayers spend about $120,000 per student to put them through kindergarten to graduation. A four-year college degree at a very good school seems like a great deal by comparison. How many more dollars will it take to get all of our kids through school? I think the situation is totally out of control.

                              What the extra education dollars have purchased locally is 75 acres of farm ground for about $15,000 per acre. Farm ground, as farm ground, is probably worth $2,000 to $3,000 per acre. Renting out 75 acres for $7,500 per year would be a good return on a million dollars? Perhaps that says more about the state of education system than does anything else. Do we really need an acre of school grounds for each 10 students? Interestingly, urban planners want hundreds of people living per acre in stacked-up crowded conditions in Oregon so prime farm land can be protected. Will they spring for such sprawl for a school? I doubt it! If they do, someone needs to investigate their decision making process.

                              The overriding question is, if more dollars is the answer to education woes, why would the school system gamble on potentially throwing away a million or so on farm ground instead of investing in something that would improve the graduation rate? If not buying more education, why are needed repairs not being done to the existing high school? Especially since it has been revealed the building will be used as a middle school and the work has to be done anyway?

                              I think the answer is that the school system has more money than it can spend, and it is burning a hole in their pockets. More realistically perhaps, someone in the legislature knows all that money is lying around school districts in various accounts and wanted to get at it. The answer from OED and administrators everywhere, was spend it or lose it?

                              Hiring architects, planners and buying alfalfa fields for $15,000 an acre is one sure way to get rid of the money, but are the taxpayers being served?

                              The Ontario High School is an excellent building, well situated, and it and the beautiful sports facility can serve the residents of Ontario for many more years. We do not need to spend the big bucks on a country school. Remember this, the $29 million is only the beginning and only half the story. They will also want a new sports stadium, $10 million at least. Nothing but the best! Renovation of the high school and tearing down of the old middle school, another $10 million? It all smacks of a socialist public works program.

                              - Ray Dickerson is an Ontario resident.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Based on fair-market values for land in the area, the Ontario School District received a good bargain when it purchased about 75 acres by Airport Corner for a new high school.

                              The Ontario School Board approved the purchase of the land at its June 16 meeting.

                              The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Ave. was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land. The closure of the land sale is contingent upon rezoning of the property, which is currently zoned exclusive farm use.

                              The school district agreed to pay $875,000 for the approximately 75 acres of undeveloped farm land - $15,000 an acre for 50 acres of flat land and $5,000 an acre for the remaining undeveloped acreage. The remaining balance the school district will pay is for an acre or so of land that contains the Wada's house and a storage shed.

                              While the school district had the parcel the Wadas' house occupies professionally appraised, district officials did their own appraisal on the undeveloped property themselves.

                              District officials appraised the value of the land at about $30,000 per acre for the 50 acres or so of flat land, which the Wadas agreed to sell for half that price.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said they determined the land's value based on the asking prices and selling prices of similar properties up for sale. Officials looked at the price of a land exchange deal near the Ontario Interchange, Carter said. They also looked at land on the outskirts of town south of Fourth Avenue.

                              According to the Malheur County Assessor's Office chief appraiser Rich Thurmond, the school district's appraisal does not differ much from that of a certified appraiser, who would value the land based on sale prices of comparable properties from the same type of land-usage zone - farm use, industrial, commercial or residential.

                              Thurmond said "the value of the land seemed quite high" based on fair-market value of agricultural property, which ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the quality of the acreage. However, the $30,000 value per acre value appraised and the subsequent sale price are considerably less than fair-market value for industrial and commercially-zoned properties, Thurmond said. The fair market value for residential lots is about $30,000, Thurmond said, but added there are about four lots to an acre.

                              Carter said, while market value for farm land is considerably less than the agreed price, the property purchased is "highly developable." The land, however, is bare in the sense it is cut off from city infrastructure, such as water and sewer utilities and road maintenance, residential, industrial and commercial properties would have, he said.

                              "So somebody has to put some money into it before it's worth that," Carter said.

                              If and when the school district begins construction, infrastructure costs would be assumed by the district as the new high school would be connected to city services.

                              The property, which is rectangular in shape, extends from Southwest Fourth Avenue to Northwest Fourth Avenue, and is approximately two miles away from the current high school location.

                              In the contract signed between the two parties, the school district is paying for half of the land up front and the other half during the next five years.

                              The city budgeted $1 million to its capital building fund, in addition to the approximately $325,000 already in there, to cover the purchase price.

                              Construction of a new high school will be paid through a school bond. The school board will vote on whether to go out for a school bond levy at its July 21 meeting.

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario School Board rubber stamped a resolution declaring the district's intentions to go out for a school bond to build a new high school at Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting.

                              The amount of the bond is not to exceed $30 million, and the taxpayer levy will be used for the construction and capital improvements involved in building a new Ontario High School and renovating and upgrading Pioneer Elementary School.

                              Bond ballots will go out in the mail to district voters Oct. 22 through Nov. 8. Should the bond pass, the school district intends to have the new high school completed for the 2008 through 2009 school year.

                              The district has been considering the bond issue since the beginning of the year, and has hosted a series of meetings to gauge the support of the public.

                              The School Board discussed the bond issue right before the meeting in its work session, newly scheduled for 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of every month before school board meetings.

                              Newly-elected school board member Cliff Bentz brought up a number of questions in the session about language of the bond resolution, which was prepared by a bond counsel.

                              Bentz's concern was some of the language of the resolution was too broad, and should be changed to adequately reflect the process leading up to the vote.

                              The language prepared by the bond counsel and included in the resolution stated the School Board "held community forums to give District residents the opportunity to study all of the options under consideration for improving the District's schools and providing the best possible educational opportunities for District residents."

                              Bentz said he was not at all sure district residents had the opportunity to study all of the options during the community forums, and wanted to know what other chances the public was given to explore the issue.

                              Bentz said the community forum he attended was more reflective in nature.

                              "It was more of a 'what do you think,'" he said, stating the language should be amended to accurately reflect the opportunities for the public.

                              The board agreed to change the language stating the board "held community forums and other information gathering activities," referencing the previous public meetings and discussions the school district and board held on the issue.

                              The Ontario School Board also agreed to amend language to state board members looked carefully at estimated costs of the new high school, where it had previously said "all costs" for the new high school.

                              "The more explicit we are the better," board member John Phillips said.

                              Project architect Mike Patano agreed the changes were important, but even more so was the resolution language stating "this bond measure would provide the best possible educational opportunities for all District students at the most reasonable and responsible cost to taxpayers."

                              The words "reasonable and responsible," were essential, Patano said, "because that's what I think it's ultimately going to come down to," Patano said.

                              The school board also discussed the next steps to ensuring a school bond actually passed. A school bond promotional committee made up of volunteers is being formed, and the next few months will be spent advocating for the bond and informing the public of why the district is going out for this bond and the details of the project.

                              Patano advised the council the promotional committee and district officials need to be upfront and answer all questions posed to them.He said many future school district projects, such as the plans for the middle school and old high school building, depend on the success of the bond measure.

                              "This is setting the stage for the future," Patano said.

                              He said the promotional effort needs to be positive but aggressive and optimistic.

                              Phillips, however, reminded the board opponents' voices need to be heard and respected during the upcoming promotional and informational campaign so as to not alienate voters in the future.

                                 Evelyn Dame Special to the Argus Observer

                              English statesman Winston Churchill once stated, "First we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."

                              Good schools and adequate facilities affect everyone. Without an adequate investment in education, students will suffer, our community will stagnate, business will leave and property values will drop. I believe our local schools should be a source of pride and a symbol of our community's determination to ensure a better future for everyone who lives here. The support we give our local schools reflects the value we place on learning, a value that is imitated by our children.

                              For communities, funding school facilities is both a responsibility and a concern. The Ontario School Board, of which I am a director, recently passed a resolution to build a new high school and make major improvements at Pioneer Elementary School. As a community we will have an opportunity to create facilities that will provide an up-to-date, effective learning environment that will enhance teaching and learning, provide for health and safety, and accommodate the needs of all learners.

                              One and one half years ago, the district convened a facilities review committee to study the various buildings in the district. It was comprised of 32 members, including parents, business owners, senior citizens and educators. In July of 2004, the committee presented their report to the board and recommended the district build a new high school and enlarge and modernize Pioneer Elementary, the district's oldest building built in 1915. This spring we held three town hall meetings to gather community input. The patrons that attended overwhelmingly supported a new high school on a new site.

                              Our current high school facility was largely constructed in 1951. I am sure it was a "state-of-the-art" building when it was built more than half a century ago, but education has changed dramatically in the last 54 years. Students no longer sit in neat rows of desks as their teacher delivers the lesson for the day. If you visit our classrooms today, where space allows, you will most likely see desks grouped together to provide opportunities for group interaction, teaming and collaboration. Research shows that students who are active participants and become engaged in their studies, learn more about the subject and are more likely to retain the information, and use what they learn throughout their lives.

                              Another huge impact on our older school facilities has been the explosion of technology in our programs and in our lives. Access to information through the internet, CD-ROMS, television. teleconferencing and distance learning are seen as increasingly critical for our students today. Technological literacy has become a new basic for education. Ontario 8-C has been a leader in technology in this region for the last decade. Yet as we've embraced its use in everyday instruction it has increasingly pointed to the limitations our existing facilities impose, such as inadequate electrical wiring, space limitations and flexibility all become restricting in a building constructed long before most of us saw our first computer.

                              It seems education was a priority in this community in the 1950s and 60s. Ontario's citizens built five of its seven schools in a 13 year period: OHS in 1951, Aiken in 1957, Cairo in 1957, May Roberts in 1960, and Alameda in 1964. This very aggressive building schedule must have come after careful prioritizing, consideration and much sacrifice by Ontario's citizens. Its students have reaped the benefit of their vision during the course of the last 40 to 50 years.

                              Buildings once constructed are not static entities; even with the best maintenance, buildings wear out over time.

                              Mechanical and electrical systems become inefficient, and materials serve their useful life and deteriorate.

                              Let's face it, 700 plus students, staff, parents and community members using the facilities day in and day out, nights too, for 54 years presents a toll on even the best constructed edifice.

                              I haves been involved in the public school system in Ontario for the past 18 years. All five of our children graduated from Ontario High School.

                              I have been an active parent volunteer, lunch buddy and elected school board member for more than 11 years. I have spent many hours in the classrooms, attending programs and participating in activities in all of our facilities. I have experienced first hand the dedication of our well educated, hard working teachers and staff who do an admirable job given the limitations posed to their programs given our current facilities.

                              I believe the time has come when we must come together as a community and decide to once again make education a priority in Ontario. Through the years I have served on the 8-C Board too often I have heard, "The economy is bad this year," or " The timing is not good to go for a bond," or "We can't afford to pass a bond," yet the communities around us - that share the same economy - have continued to build new schools and improve their facilities.

                              Two and one half generations have passed through our buildings since the 1950s. As a community we have not invested in our school facilities in a major way since that time.

                              What renovations and additions that have been done in recent years, including the additions to May Roberts and Alameda have been done by the district being frugal with its capital fund dollars and without coming to the voters to fund them. I believe it is time for us come together as a community to take on the responsibility of investing in education for the next generation.

                              Ontario has a proud past and with your help it will have a bright future. I see exciting things on the horizon in education for Ontario's children.

                              It won't happen by itself. It won't happen when someone else does it.

                              It will only happen when each of us decides this is important enough to make it happen.

                              Evelyn Dame is a member of the Ontario School Board.

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              Although the East-West Shrine Game was played Saturday, the three local representatives have been preparing for the game since July 28. On the 28th, Vale's Mark Moreno, Ontario's JJ Anthony and Nyssa's Jose Escobedo left the local area for Wilsonville in preparation for the game with other East squad members.

                              On Friday, July 29, members of both squads boarded buses and visited the Shrine Hospital in Portland. The visit left an impression with Moreno.

                              "It was awesome to really see what we are playing for," Moreno said of the visit to the hospital. "The kids there really look up to us."

                              Anthony agreed with his teammate of the importance of the visit and the image left after visiting with the young patients at the hospital.

                              "Visiting the hospital was a great experience," Anthony said. "We had a great time talking to all the kids and listening to them."

                              Both squads also had time for formal dinners hosted by the Shrine personnel, a visit to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City and a trip to the Baker County Fair. After a golf tournament, acting as hosts for a parade through Baker and a breakfast sponsored by the Baker Cattlewomens, it was finally game time.

                              "This whole thing has been great," Anthony said. "The Shriners really know how to treat the football players and their families. I will remember this for the rest of my life."

                              The week also made time for new friends and getting to know neighbors according to Moreno.

                              "I have made some awesome friends," Moreno said. "I met people from all across the state.

                              "But my best friend is right here," Moreno said putting his arm around Anthony. "It is weird. We have lived about 20 miles from each other most of our lives, but this was the first time we really got to know each other."

                                 John Braese

                              Even with the play of three local athletes, Nyysa's Jose Escobedo, Vale's Mark Moreno and Ontario's JJ Anthony, the East team dropped a 20-9 decision to the West in the 53rd annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game. The game, aired for the first time on Fox Northwest Sports channel, was played at noon in Baker to accommodate the live coverage of the game.

                              The East was unable to muster much offense, scoring only on three field goals by Grant Union's Toby Thomas.

                              After winning the coin flip to begin the game, the East elected to defer and promptly forced the West to punt after three plays. The West returned the favor by forcing the East punter out after only three plays.

                              At 3:33 in the first quarter, a fumbled punt return by the East left the West the ball on the East's 46 yard line. On the third play of the drive, a 33 yard touchdown pass from Scappose's Tyler Morrill to Veronia's Eric Schmidlin put the first points of the game on the board. The two point conversion attempt failed, putting the West up 6-0.

                              The East scored early in the second quarter after a fumbled handoff set the team up on the 50 yard line. After driving down the field to the five yard line, the East settled for a field goal with 9:38 left in the half. The East knotted the score up in the same quarter after Thomas put the kick through the uprights from 21 yards out with 4:47 left in the quarter. Thomas completed the half, putting a 24 yard field goal through with two seconds left before halftime to put the East in the locker room with the lead, 9-6.

                              Midway through the third quarter, a string of long gains by the West's Vernonia's Travis Gwin (27 yard pass reception) and Tillamook's Clayton Smith (16 yard reception) set up a 22 yard run by Wilsonville's Spencer Smith for the second touchdown of the night for the West. When Morrill scampered in for the two point conversion, the West led 14-9.

                              In the fourth quarter, Thomas missed a field goal to the left on the East's best chance to get back into the ball game. Taking the ball with 6:08 left in the game, the West ran the clock down, scoring on the last play of the game to take the victory, 20-9.

                              The win is 22nd for the West compared to 28 for the East in the 53 year history. Since 1986, the East has won 15 of 19 games, the game in 1994 ending in a tie

                                  John Braese

                              After a week of balancing budgets, hammering out personnel contracts and preparing for the upcoming school bond election, what does a local district school superintendent to do for relaxation?

                              For Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter, the answer is to bang out dents on a Friday night, replace wheels that are bent and unusable and tune up his '96 Dodge Neon in preparation for a Saturday night of racing.

                              Beginning this season, Carter took up oval racing at Meridian Speedway. He races in a beginner's class, the "Hornets," a category where all cars are required to be painted a bright yellow.

                              "My brother got me into racing," Carter said. "He has been racing out at Meridian for years and had been talking to me about getting a car and racing for some time."

                              Racing proved to be a perfect fit for Carter.

                              "When I was the right age, I never got around to it," Carter said. "I went to Meridian all the time when I was younger. Back then, it was a dirt track. I have always enjoyed watching the races so this year I decided to give it a try."

                              Currently sitting ninth in the point standings, Carter missed the first set of races after a blown motor put him out for a few weeks. With the help of his brother, the two purchased the current Neon and made the modifications to make the car "race-ready."

                              "In this class, you really can't do much to the car," Carter said. "We put in a roll bar, harness, netting and the bar across the door. They don't allow many suspension or engine modifications."

                              Although Carter has not won a race outright this first year, he said he has claimed second and third in a few races.

                              "I was in first place in a heat race," Carter said, "when the second place guy passed me on the last lap. Last week, some guy ran me into the wall, so I was out for a little bit. This is a great stress reliever. It is such an adrenaline rush when those curves come up so fast at you."

                              Carter makes a weekend of the races. Starting Friday night, he tinkers with the car preparing for Saturday night.

                              Starting off from his Ontario residence early Saturday morning, Carter spends the day at the speedway with the other drivers, practicing and sharing race tips.

                              "I have not met any other superintendents racing," Carter said. "The big race for this class is Halloween. We run a 250 lap race that night. Usually, our longest races are 30 to 35 laps. That Halloween race should be great just to make it through the whole race."

                              After a weekend of banging fenders, will Carter leave his district job to pursue a career in NASCAR?

                              "I don't think so," Carter said. "This is just for fun. I don't think the NASCAR drivers need to worry about me taking their spot."

                                  JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter spoke to a group of Ontario business and community leaders about the upcoming school bond proposal at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce forum Monday.

                              Monday was the first of two scheduled appearances Carter will make to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce regarding the school district's levy, set to go before voters in November.

                              Carter will again address the chamber, which has announced its support for the bond levy, in October.

                              If passed, the $30 million bond levy, which comes to about $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value, will be used to build a new high school at a 75-acre site near Airport Corner on the outskirts of Ontario as well as make improvements and additions to Pioneer Elementary School.

                              In the first half of his presentation, Carter provided the informational background of the school bond and the process the school district used leading up to the decision to go forward with the project.

                              In his speech, Carter addressed some questions from the community that have arisen during the process, including why the district decided to choose a site on the outskirts of town for a new high school, instead of rebuilding at the current site.

                              He said, contrary to some opinion, the school district did not choose the new site as an investment in land, but rather because the acreage at the new site - 50 acres of flat ground for the actual building site and 25 acres on a hilly area - is necessary for school district space needs. Secondary to that, he addressed concerns raised in the community about the new site's proximity to the gun range and the airport, disputing that either would affect school district operations or be a safety hazard.

                              He also addressed the school district's decision to purchase the land prior to the bond passing. He said the decision was based on practicality.

                              "Whatever happens with this bond issue, at some point in time we're going to have to build a new high school," Carter said. "We felt that we needed to get a good piece of land tied up."

                              In the second segment, Carter spoke from the perspective as a school district resident and taxpayer telling the crowd why he thought a school bond was necessary for the community.

                              He said a new high school with more space is necessary for both space and technology demands of the school district. The current labs at the high school, he said, were built at a time when technology and education was much different. Large, updated labs he said are a need for the future.

                              Having enough space to accommodate all the high school's activities at one site is another need, Carter said, if only to provide a safe environment for students. Lastly, Carter said, a new high school is an economic advantage for the community because when businesses and people consider places to locate, the kind of school system and educational settings and buildings factor into their decisions.

                              "This may be the best economic jump start this community has going for it right now," Carter said.

                              He said while the a school building is only a facade and does not affect the quality of education offered inside those buildings, a prospective new hire would react more favorably to a school district with updated, modern facilities when choosing between two school districts.

                              "So do you get the best and the brightest if you don't have the right facilities for them?" Carter asked.

                              Ontario Chamber Director John Breidenbach said it was because of the economic advantages a new high school would bring to the community behind the chamber's decision to support the school bond.

                              "If they build it, they will come," Breidenbach joked.

                              "Our position is from an economic standpoint the value of a new school is a direct benefit to our businesses," he said.

                                  John Braese - Argus Observer

                              Sometimes, bad news becomes good. As Ontario's Megan Moeller was drawing near to the end of her career at Mount Hood Community College, she was contacted by Portland State regarding a scholarship. Happily preparing for the short trip to Portland upon graduation, Moeller was decimated when she contacted the coach later in the year and found the offer had been withdrawn. With the assistance of her coach at Mount Hood, Moeller found a new home - Montana State University-Billings.

                              "I am so excited about Montana," Moeller said. "Practice starts Sept. 6 and I can't wait. I am moving next weekend."

                              Moeller fought against numerous injuries while at Mount Hood, including a knee injury which was scheduled to put her out for a full season. However, six weeks after surgery, Moeller was back in time for the NWAACC's tournament.

                              "I was supposed to be out for a longer time, but I just could not miss the tournament," Moeller said.

                              This year, Moeller and Mount Hood finished in third place in the NWAACC tournament after knocking out Lower Columbia in the quarterfinals.

                              "We did not finish as well as we wanted, but knocking out Lower Columbia was worth the whole season," Moeller said.

                              Moeller, who is a 2003 graduate of Ontario, is ready to tackle the mountains and winters of Montana.

                              "I would like to major in psychology," Moeller said. "I would like to work with younger kids in the counseling area. I really liked the Portland area so I may return there or Boise."

                              Summer was busy for Moeller as she finished up a summer course at Treasure Valley Community College and helped coach the Field of Dreams U-14 team. Coaching, Moeller found out, may have helped her find her place in the future also.

                              "I see both aspects of the game now," Moeller said of coaching and playing softball. "I want to coach somewhere. I live for softball, but after finishing my playing career, coaching would be a great way to extend my softball interest."

                              A slide this summer injured her shoulder, but Moeller said she would wait until after the season before a decision on surgery is made. Meanwhile, she is packing and preparing for the long trip to Billings.

                              Moeller's new team, the Yellowjackets, finished the 2005 season at 13-5 in the Pacific-West Conference, good enough for second place. With an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Montana battled through the loser bracket to the semifinals, losing to host Cal State Dominguez. For the season, 81 team and individual records were set in the 2005 season.

                              "I am going to stay at third base even when I get to Billings," Moeller said. "Some parts of this have been tough, but I am what I am because of my dad, both in softball and in life."

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              A quick start helped the Payette girls soccer team on Tuesday.

                              The Pirates scored all four goals in the first half, helping them to a 4-1 decision over Mountain Home in nonconference girls soccer at Payette High School.

                              The Pirates broke out quickly as Eve Thomason and Hillary Byars combined to do the first-half damage for Payette (1-0 overall). Thomason led all scorers in the game with three goals while Byars picked up the other one.

                              During the second half, the Pirates held the ball on the offensive side of the field most of the half with the exception of one breakaway for Mountain Home, which resulted in its lone score.

                              "I was very happy with our aggressiveness and ball control tonight," Payette head coach Vonnie Paul said after the game. "Mountain Home is a very physical team and we handled that aspect well."

                              Paul prefers scheduling a team like Mountain Home early in the season to give the freshmen players a taste of high school soccer and the physicality of the sport at this level.

                              "The freshmen come out of the Outback League and don't realize how much tougher the other players at this level are," Paul said. "I am trying to show them you can be a successful athlete and still be a lady."

                              Paul was also happy with the flexibility the team showed in positions and substitutions.

                              "We have girls that can step in for each other and play the position whenever needed," Paul said.

                              Tigers head coach Carlos Jacome was unhappy, not with the loss, but with his team's performance.

                              "They just did not perform," Jacome said. "They forgot to talk to each other and just played kick ball out there."

                              Playing a tough Caldwell team to a tie on Monday may have taken some of the steam out of the team, according to Jacome.

                              "This is high school soccer," Jacome said. "They need to learn that the games come quickly every week."

                              For the night, Mallory Barnard had nine saves while one assist each went to Eve Thomason, Mandy Greif and Cassie Gross.

                              The Pirates host Fruitland on September 8.

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              In his 11th year as the Ontario Police Department school resource officer for Ontario Middle School, Officer George Tolman said he has learned a great deal about the role of law enforcement in schools.

                              Last week he added to that knowledge, spending two days in Bend at an Oregon School Resource Officer conference.

                              "The role we take as school resource officers is totally different than you take in law enforcement," Tolman said.

                              He said there is a "uniqueness" to the position separate from the rest of law enforcement. As school resource officer, dealing with students rather than the general public, his role is one of teacher, counselor and social service worker, in addition to police officer. Instead of just enforcing problems as they arise, as police officers do with the public, Tolman said he has to look at a student individually and consider what is the best mode of recourse to take.

                              "So the police officer part of this kind of takes a back seat," Tolman said, adding making an arrest is often the last step the process.

                              School resource officers are a nontraditional part of law enforcement, so educational conferences such as the one Tolman attended last week are valuable because they are more tailored to how law enforcement pertains to education.

                              He attended five different sessions at the Oregon School Resource Officer conference, the first the association has hosted, one specifically on the school shooting that took place at Thurston High School in the 1990s.

                              Tolman said one of the officers who responded to the shooting spoke in the seminar, taking the school resource officers in attendance through the process the police followed the day of the shooting, after which they evaluated the procedure, stating what was good and what should have been done differently.

                              OPD officers train specifically on how to enter school shooting situations, and would be well prepared in such a situation, Tolman said. Just the presence of school resource officers at Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School reduces the likelihood of a Thurston-style shooting, he said.

                              At the conference, Tolman also attended seminars on a method to use life stories to communicate with students, obtaining grant information and grant writing, investigating computer crimes and addressing the media.

                              All, Tolman said, were valuable and will help him in the scope of his role as school resource officer.

                              "To me, knowledge is power," Tolman said, adding he appreciates every training and education seminar he attends because they give him more experience to draw from.

                              "How I conduct my business now is a lot different than when I first started here because it was a very new concept for me," he said of making the transition from police officer to the more specialized position of school resource officer.

                              Tolman is more experienced than most school resource officers because he was given the opportunity by Ontario Police Chief Mike Kee to continue acting as school resource officer, whereas most police officers are only in their position for three or four years.

                              "But I enjoy the prevention part as much as the law enforcement," he said.

                              The Ontario School District, he said, has also been very proactive in its approach toward law enforcement in its schools. As a result, he said, there is less violence and bullying is addressed as much as possible.

                              "Because no one has a right to come into schools and make others feel threatened and intimidated," he said.

                              While violence is a primary concern to all districts, Tolman said the issues school resource officers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis vary.

                              Tolman said he spoke to a school resource officer in Prineville who was interested in Ontario's daytime curfew, which Prineville does not have.

                              In the next few months, Tolman, however, wants to take information he learned from a constitutional rights conference he attended this summer into the eighth-grade classrooms, teaching eighth-graders their rights as people, and law enforcement's role in society.

                              "There's a lot of stuff I'd like to teach the kids in eighth grade," he said.

                                John Braese Argus Observer

                              Imagine your family vehicle has a 90-gallon diesel fuel tank, but it is only averaging about seven miles-per-gallon.

                              The cost to fuel the tank is going up each and every day you need diesel. The guzzler is on the road five days a week at minimum and called upon frequently for side trips to out of the way places.

                              The above dilemma is a real one for many local school districts, as fuel costs continue to climb. In the wake of the massive damage generated by Hurricane Katrina, fuel prices are projected to jump another 15 to 20 cents per gallon, providing little, or no, relief for schools across the region.

                              At its heart, the challenge for many districts is simple, but troubling. School districts budget a certain amount each year to cover transportation costs. At the same time, each district still must deliver students to and from school each day.

                              As fuel prices climb, so does the overall cost for each school district.

                              Payette schools superintendent Pauline King met with administrators and her transportation chief Monday to discuss the district's plan to handle the mounting costs. While King said she is not prepared to take any drastic measures - yet - she is also preparing for the worst-case scenario.

                              "We are going to proceed very cautiously when approving field trips," King said. "The principals will act as watchdogs and we have decided the elementary schools will be allowed two field trips per year."

                              King is walking the fine line between the budget and serving the needs of the students of Payette.

                              "Only approved competitions are funded," King said. "Teachers will need to define the educational purpose of any proposed field trips. Efficiency is the key to get through this. We are holding very tight on the costs of transportation."

                              The situation is similar in nearby Fruitland where Fruitland School District Superintendent Alan Felgenhauer said he is considering cuts down the line as a last resort.

                              "We increased our budget by half again over last year's for fuel," Felgenhauer said, "and that was based on 40 cents per gallon less than it is now. We are looking at making cuts from other places just to pay the fuel bill."

                              Felgenhauer agreed with King the students need to be transported for a number of reasons.

                              "Obviously, we need to get them back and forth from school, but there is necessary academic and sports related trips," Felgenhauer said. "We are tracking the problem and seeing how much of a drain it is becoming. We may have to eventually cut trips completely, but that is a last resort. We like to get kids places for opportunities."

                              In Jordan Valley, cuts are already in place because of high fuel prices.

                              Situated in an area where every trip is a long one, Jordan Valley School District Superintendent Michael Sessions has already changed some sports schedules.

                              "Our league games are locked in," Sessions said, "but we have cut back on non-league games already. We had planned on playing Adrian a few times, but decided against the trip due to fuel. We budgeted more for fuel this year and it is still not enough."

                              Sessions is also in a position to use parents for some trips. With only 10 students in the seventh and eighth grades, field trips are chaperoned while parents take up a large share of the driving, saving the district on fuel.

                              "In sports, we are trying to get closer games whenever possible," Sessions said. "Instead of playing Oregon teams, we are now scheduling Greenleaf and Gem State in Idaho. They are closer and have been really good in playing us."

                              Fuel costs have also hurt Jordan Valley in other ways. Budgeted currently for a resealing project for the district's parking lot, rising costs for sealant shoved the project out of sight for the projected money.

                              "They want $20,000 for an area the size of a large driveway," Sessions said. "We had the money budgeted, but we may not follow through with it."

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said every effort was made to anticipate what fuel prices would be this year.

                              "We made quite an increase last year," Carter said. "We tried to anticipate and leave ourselves some room for an increase like we are seeing now."

                              Carter is concerned the 70 percent of money paid by the state to deliver students to and from school will also be impacted by the rising fuel prices.

                              "If the state cuts back in what they pay, we could really be behind on the fuel costs," Carter said.

                              Carter said most "extras" such as field trips, were slashed long ago and are not available as a safety valve this time around.

                              "In athletics, we are pretty much locked into the current schedule," Carter said.

                                 Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              A new head coach and a couple of key returners have the Ontario boys soccer team eager for the 2005 season.

                              The Tigers embark on the new season tonight against Weiser at Alameda Elementary School.

                              Brandon Smith, a 1999 graduate of Ontario, takes over as head coach of the Tigers. Smith replaces Jeremy Skousen, who guided the Tigers to a 7-6-2 record in 2004. Ontario was bounced in the first-round of the OSAA state tournament last season.

                              Smith was a first-team all-state performer for the Tigers, and has coached rec teams, before landing his first high school coaching job.

                              "When I heard the job was open, I just decided to apply," Smith said. "It's real exciting to be coaching here."

                              The Tigers have some experience returning in seniors Adam Mendiola and Carlos Salgado. Smith said he expects his team to be competitive.

                              "We expect to have a real good team," Smith said. "We have several seniors and a lot of juniors, so it's not a real young team."

                              A point of emphasis during early season practice has been turning up the defensive pressure, Smith said.

                              "The two things we have been working on the most is in the way we play defense," Smith said. "We've been a lot more aggressive, a lot faster. Offensively, we have been working on making runs to get open. We've seen a lot of improvement during practice."

                              Smith said he expects La Grande and Mac-Hi to be among the contenders in Special District 7. However, he said, the Tigers should be right there among the league's elite.

                              "We have a good shot at winning," Smith said. "Things have come together. We have a lot of guys with good touch on the ball. We just need to toughen up the defense and we will have a good shot at it."

                              The Ontario girls soccer team has quietly become one of the most consistent programs in the state, and this season should be more of the same.

                              The Tigers, which begin the 2005 season tonight with a nonleague matchup at Weiser, have qualified for the Class 3A/2A/1A state tournament every since 1998. Last season, the Tigers finished second in Special District 7, posting a 6-1-1 record, and a 7-4-2 record overall. Ontario went on to fall, 2-0, to Wilsonville in the second round of the tournament.

                              "Last year went well," Ontario head coach Greg Walk said. "We only had two seniors and a lot of sophomores. We started two freshmen against Wilsonville. We are not hurting at any position. We have good depth all the way around."

                              Three seniors - Kayla Mitchell, Laurel Saito and Sonya Feibert - will be counted on to provide leadership. The Tigers also return their top keeper in junior Danni Thomas.

                              "They have the talent to do very well," Walk said. "It depends on how we come together, how we support each other. We can do as well as last year, I think we are a stronger team. The only thing that would stop us is us."

                              Walk said the district title, and a top seed into the state playoffs, could come down to whoever can catch La Grande.

                              "La Grande is the front runner. They have been tough the last four years," Walk said. "I think it is a coin toss between us and La Grande, after that I don't know. Riverside lost a lot of seniors. Mac-Hi could be a threat, and Madras self-destructed last year."

                                 Argus Observer sports staff

                              The Ontario boys soccer team was in midseason form, scoring 10 goals before halftime on their way to an 18-1 nonleague romp over Weiser on Tuesday at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                              The game was the first of the season for Ontario, which went 7-6-2 in 2004.

                              "We really played well, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they have pressure on them," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "It was fun to get that first win."

                              Ontario was aggressive from the start, using quick passes and an aggressive attack to pepper the Weiser defense.

                              "That was all part of the plan to be aggressive," Smith said. "I think our guys just moved a lot faster."

                              The Tigers got plenty of offensive help. Carlos Salgado led the way with four goals, while Jorge Martinez and Adam Mendiola each added three. Andres Navarette and Mitch Oakes each finished with two goals.

                              "We rotated everyone in, so everyone had the opportunity to contribute," Smith said.

                              Ontario opens Special District 7 play Saturday at Riverside, while Weiser begins Snake River Valley play Thursday at McCall-Donnelly.

                                 Julie Engel Argus Observer

                              Pennies add up.

                              All last week, students at Alameda Elementary School brought in change for their Victims of Hurricane Katrina penny drive.

                              They brought in a lot of pennies - $2,618 worth.

                              Kelsey Zimmerman, a first- and second-grade teacher, said she thought of the penny drive while driving the 30 minutes it takes for her to reach work from her home in Adrian. The school started the drive Friday, Sept. 2, and ended it Friday.

                              "The kids have seen it on the news and they are just really affected by it," Zimmerman said.

                              The winning class was going to receive an ice cream party, but because the students raised so much money all the classes will receive ice cream and the winning class - Jolene Zagaris's with $458 - will have a pizza party.

                              Zimmerman said she never heard a student say, "I want to win the ice cream party," but they all said they wanted to help.

                              One student even brought in his piggy bank to class and emptied its contents into the coin jar. Some teachers had to bring bigger jars to accommodate the mass amount of coins.

                              Many of the students in Alameda Elementary live below the poverty line, and Zagaris said she was shocked to see how much the children were giving.

                              "What a neat thing for them to learn to give," Zagaris said.

                              Another school to jump in to help was Aiken Elementary with a "Supercenter Store" and coin drive.

                              Second- and third-grade students made crafts all week, such as pet rocks, beaded bracelets and paper plate tambourines. Other students did face painting, fishing for stickers and sold concessions. Each item was only 25 cents, but all those quarters added up to a total of $500 for the day.

                              Teachers presented the students with a "what can we do" question, and the students took off from there. Most children said what they were doing made them feel happy and great.

                              "We sat at the rug and thought of ideas to do for the hurricane," Alycea Wilson, 7, said.

                              Fifth-grade students started a coin drive to go on all month. A big jar is located in the Aiken Elementary office and anyone can drop in to donate.

                              Ontario High School students will be canvassing the town all next week collecting donations for hurricane victims. The leadership students will travel in pairs and are instructed to knock on every door in Ontario.

                              Also, a group of OHS students will hold a car wash from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at Les Schwab in Ontario.

                              All proceeds will go to the Red Cross. Ontario Middle School's student council will meet Tuesday to discuss fund-raising options. The students will most likely do a coin drive, and in the past raised more than $2,000 for the tsunami victims.

                                 Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                              Having gone from league opponents to non-league, the Ontario and Vale volleyball teams have maintained their rivalry even if the stakes have gone down. Both teams entered the court on Tuesday amped up to compete against an opponent that consistently gives them a run for their money. This time the victory went to Ontario as the Tigers swept the Vikings, winning all three sets, 25-21, 25-17, 26-24, at Ontario High School.

                              Vale, however, didn't go down without a fight.

                              "Sometimes the rivalry overshadows the focus, and we don't stay on task, but Vale is always going to get up for Ontario," said Vale coach Mary Ann Standage.

                              During the first set the score remained tight. For the second, Vale struggled behind and never took the lead.

                              The third set seemed to suggest a new wind as Vale scored the first point and maintained a lead until near the end.

                              "After beating them twice we're a team that gets loose and lackadaisical, and we lost focus," said Ontario coach Rod Williams. "Playing Vale can distract us from the game at hand."

                              The Vikings kept the Tigers at a three-point deficit until Jerrimi Hofmann's three serves gave Ontario the first lead of the set going from 13-14 to 15-14. The teams stayed within a point or two of each other until the score reached 24-24, and Ontario pulled ahead to win the set and the game.

                              Ontario's Kylie Roberts played an integral role in the win. "Kylie played a tremendous game," Williams said. "She needed to step up because we were missing some key players, and she had a great night at the net."

                              Along with Roberts, Tara Alvarado and Lindsay Skeen are apart of what Ontario feels is it's power-house blocking.

                              "In the first game they changed their offense and started tipping it because they couldn't get past our blocking," Williams said. "We know we can block anyone in the state except Burns."

                              For Vale, Amy Barlow went 14-for-14 serving, Elisa Mooney had nine kills and Jordan McDaniel had 5 kills and 4 blocks.

                              "We had some really good plays, and we missed some cues," said Standage. "When you are in a game so close, you can't go back and miss a serve. We missed some serves at some crucial times that hurt."

                              Neither team has encounter league play yet this season. Vale is now 2-3 and heads to Fruitland Tournament on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Ontario, 3-1, will open up league play with a tri-meet. The Tigers play Mac-Hi at 2:20 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30.

                              "This is a big win for us because Vale is a rival, but realistically it's just practice for Saturday when our league games begin," said Williams. "But, it always feels good to beat a rival."

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              As with its district counterpart in Nyssa, the Vale School District has seen an increase in student enrollment for the beginning of 2005 to 2006 school year, while Ontario School District has experienced only a minimal gain.

                              According to Vale Superintendent Matthew Hawley, 947 students are enrolled in the school district the beginning of this school year - an increase of 26 students, and up from 921 at the beginning of the 2004 to 2005 school year.

                              That number is significant, however, because Vale's student enrollment has been decreasing the past six years. The number of Vale's students dropped significantly just during the last school year. While it had 921 at the beginning of the year, Hawley said, the district had only 886 students last spring. The fact the school has 947 starting this year, Hawley said, is very positive.

                              "My biggest concern is how many we retain," Hawley said.

                              Vale Elementary School has seen the biggest increase of all Vale's schools, jumping from 385 last year to 415 this year. Vale High School gained 16 students, up from 307 to 323. On the other hand, Vale Middle School lost 18 students, down from 139 to 121, and Willowcreek Elementary lost two. Hawley said the question being asked in the Vale School District office is why the school district is experiencing an increase in student enrollment, when in past years it has declined. Vale, he said, has not experienced new development or houses, which would indicate or promote growth.

                              Hawley said his best guess is Vale has picked up students from interdistrict transfers from Ontario and the outlying school districts.

                              He said while the school year has started on a positive note regarding student enrollment, "it is too soon to tell" overall what this increase means to the district.

                              Ontario has not seen any big changes from last year to the present, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said district officials did not anticipated any.

                              As of Sept. 7, the school district had 2,687 students enrolled in Ontario schools, an increase of nine students, up from 2,679 enrolled as of Sept. 8, 2004.

                              The most dramatic difference in enrollment numbers, according to the district, are in the elementary schools, where numbers decreased from 1,266 to 1,239 - a drop of 27 students.

                              Carter attributes the drop in students to the fact Ontario's charter school, Four Rivers Community School, added an extra class and grade level this year, and the 27 students is roughly the size of one additional class.

                              Carter said, however, the district's numbers should not be affected overall because, assuming those 27 students are now attending the charter school, they will re-enter the Ontario school system within a couple of years.

                              Ontario High School experienced the most significant increase in students, jumping from 776 in September 2004 to 811. Carter said much of that growth comes from the large class of students that transferred up from the middle school. The middle school showed no change in enrollment numbers, as a result, he said.

                              Carter said while the school district's enrollment is fairly consistent with last year, Ontario has been slowly increasing in numbers over a longer period of time, and he expects more dramatic differences in numbers in the long run.

                              "The reality is it's started to trend up," Carter said.

                                Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                              McCall-Donnelly's offsides trap might have been the demise of the Ontario boy's soccer team on Thursay at the Alameda Elementary School soccer field. The Tigers lost to the Vandals, 3-1, and relinquished possesion on offsides calls at least nine times in the second half alone.

                              "I've got some veteran players in the back," said McCall-Donnelly coach Mike Maini. "They are headed up by Jordan Congleton and are able to get the job done."

                              Ontario's Jorge Martinez scored the first goal of the game in the first half. "Being down at the start of the game pushed us to go harder and make passes crisp," said McCall-Donnelly goal keeper Bob Verschoor, a senior.

                              The Vandals' Ryan Mulick's two goals were also in the first half, the last of which was scored on a run down the field and shot diaganally past the keeper into the center of the goal. For the remainder of the half, play remained in the midfield area with switched possesion between teams and occasional runs but no goals.

                              The Tigers came into the second half with more agression. Frequent attacks were made by Ontario's Adam Mendiola, Jorge Martinez and Andres Navarette. Initially many of Ontario's shots went above or to the left of the right of the goal posts. But offsides calls extinguished many attempted runs.

                              "We controlled the ball and created opportunites to score, but we just didn't score," said Ontario coach Brandon Smith. "When you have 10, one on ones with the goalie, one should go in. I really felt like we controlled the whole game, and at the end we got too tired to play."

                              Eventualy the Tigers were able to make several break-aways but were haulted by the McCall-Donnelly defense or Verschoor.

                              "Their physical nature combined with their speed, we had to play at 100 percent the whole game," Maini said. "They're finishing wasn't all that great, but Bob [the goal keeper] was able to cut the angle and come out on thier break aways and cut out the havoc."

                              McCall-Donnelly's final goal was scored by Chase Millemann on a hard shot that hit the keeper's hands and bounced over him and into the goal.

                              McCall-Donnelly is now 8-1 overall and 1-0 in league play and will play Middleton on Saturday at home. Ontario, 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league, has a bit of a break and plays Madras on Sept. 24.

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              Both Ontario and Nyssa volleyball teams found out that the Tigers can play without Vanessa Gomez in the lineup as Ontario defeated the Bulldogs 25-21, 25-14, 16-25, 27-25 in volleyball action Tuesday night in Nyssa.

                              With Gomez gone on a family trip to California, Tigers head coach Rod Williams discovered the next generation of Ontario volleyball stars, bringing up Rebecca McDanel from the junior varsity for her first varsity game.

                              "Rebecca just played extraordinary for us tonight," Williams said. "The traveling is starting to wear us down, though, and it showed some tonight. We would get big leads and then let off our guard. You can't shut a team like Nyssa down when you let them back into the games."

                              Ontario was led by Tara O'Conner with nine kills. Stephanie O'Conner had 30 assists while Kristia Maeda had 17 perfect passes. Kylie Roberts led with 14 blocked shots and three stuffs. Serving, Jerrimi Hoffman had five aces.

                              "We played well tonight, a lot more aggressive than we had in the last couple games," Nyssa head coach Candy Ball said after the game. "We did struggle with our serves tonight, missing 10. You cannot give a good team like Ontario 10 points on missed serves."

                              Ball said she had planned on playing good teams this year to ready the Bulldogs for upcoming league play.

                              "We need to play the good teams," Ball said. "To stay at the top of the game, you need to push yourself and play quality teams like Ontario."

                              For the Bulldogs, Hailey Froerer led with 10 kills while Chelsey Ramos had two blocks for kills. Whitney Spear had 22 passes to lead the Bulldogs.

                              Nyssa (1-2 overall) is off for the weekend, traveling to Marsing on Tuesday.

                              Ontario opens Greater Oregon League play on Saturday, hosting Mac-Hi at 2:30 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30 p.m.

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario Tigers advanced to 2-1 in Special District 7 play, defeating the Madras White Buffaloes, 3-2, on Saturday Alameda Elementary School soccer fields.

                              Ontario's Adam Mendiola scored on a jumping header for the Tigers' go-ahead goal. The assist was picked up by Jorge Martinez for his kick from the outside corner.

                              "I knew we needed it badly," Mendiola said of the goal. "I thought I better contribute. I just timed this one perfect."

                              A very physical game on both sides, Mendiola said he prefers those types of games. Earlier in the game, he picked up a yellow card for his play. However, both teams picked up their share of fouls for the game.

                              "Our coach has been working us really hard in conditioning," Mendiola said. "I like those types of games where we can mix it up with teams."

                              Ontario also received scores from Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado. Martinez picked up an additional assist from the Salgado goal for a total of two. His work running the outside right portion of the field was a major contribution to the Tiger win.

                              "I thought we controlled the field well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We had good movement, and our defense played really tough. I thought one of the secrets today was out winning the ball in the air." Ontario (3-2 overall) travels to Baker on Wednesday.

                              The Ontario Tigers trip to Baker was a successful one as the Tigers beat up on the Bulldogs, 4-1, in boys soccer action Wednesday.

                              Leading 2-0 at the half, Ontario cruised through the second half of the game to take the win and push their record in the Special District 7 to 3-1 for the season.

                              "We played really well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "Baker has a much improved team over what they have had in the past years. I was impressed with how much better they played us this time."

                              Jorge Martinez, Carlos Salgado and Mitch Oakes each picked up a goal apiece for the Tigers in the win.

                              The Tigers host Mac-Hi on Saturday at the Alameda Elementary Fields for another league matchup.

                                John Braese Argus Observer

                              Join a branch of the military?

                              Look into a college?

                              Flower arranging?

                              How about law enforcement?

                              For students close to graduation, or for those still a few years away from their final school days, the job fair held Thursday at Four Rivers Cultural Center offered a variety of different career choices.

                              More than 1,000 students attended the event at FRCC and gained an up-close view of more than 60 different careers offered locally. Area professionals also were on hand to provide insight into their tools of the trade and the type of training students will need to succeed in the job market.

                              The job fair event, though, can trace its roots directly to Ontario High School counselor David Hopper.

                              "We planted some seeds for careers," Hopper said. "I cannot stress enough how the community has stepped up for this program. Not one person did not show up that was scheduled to be here for the kids. This community truly cares about the children."

                              The students from throughout the valley were able to attend small workshops presented by a variety of instructors in different career fields.

                              After the workshops, the young workers-to-be were able to view tables filled with information of qualifications, training needed and starting pay scales for differing vocations.

                              Talking to Debbie Lyons, United States Bureau of Land Management, Ontario High School sophomore Alycia Adams was especially interested in the possibilities of working in the "Adopt a Horse" program.

                              "I like horses and spending time with horses," Adams said. "I also like welding, and Debbie (Lyons) said BLM could always use people like me."

                              Ontario sophomores Edgar Garcia and Alex Sierra were visiting with local Navy recruiter Paul Snider. Sierra was interested in the Navy career because his interests focused on diving, water and machine guns.

                              Garcia, however, said the Army caught his eye this day. And if the students left the building, a chance to run a backhoe and learn a little about construction was available outside.

                              Ontario Public Works Director Steve Gaschler sat outside in a small backhoe, giving the students a chance to operate the backhoe by filling a bucket with sand.

                              The day is to be an annual event for local schools Hopper said.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Two Ontario High School seniors finalized their college plans recently, as both Rick Ramirez and Todd Smith will be heading off this fall to play football.

                              Ramirez, 18, will be heading to the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., to play football and work toward a criminal justice degree.

                              "They have a really good field of study I am going into in criminal justice," Ramirez said. "I am going to play football to pay for school."

                              Ramirez help lead the Tigers' to the second round of the OSAA Class 3A state playoffs during his senior season. Ramirez recorded 114 tackles and 45 assists, and had one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

                              Ontario head football coach Randy Waite said the College of the Redwoods is a good fit for Ramirez.

                              "I think it is good for him acedemically, with the small class sizes," Waite said. "As far as I know, Ramirez is the only middle linebacker they have recruited. I know they (the college) are looking forward to this and so is Rick."

                              The California junior college went 2-8 in 2004, and are a member of the Golden Valley Conference.

                              Ramirez said to play college football, he will need to drop a few pounds and then add at least 20 pounds of muscle.

                              "I wanted to play pretty bad and not be board and lazy," Ramirez said. "I will have an opportunity, if I get to play both years."

                              Ramirez has said he is interested in heading to Oregon State University or a couple other four-year schools after his time in Eureka.

                              Smith will be heading to play football at Rocky Mountain College, a NAIA school in Billings, Mont.

                              Smith is expected to play either outside linebacker or defensive end for Rocky Mountain.

                              "He has the opportunity to play and participate," Waite said. "I think he knows he will not be going in and playing right away."

                              Rocky Mountain College is a four-year liberal arts college. The Bears will be looking to rebound from a 1-10 season last fall - the school's worst record since 1995.

                              Waite said if Smith works hard and is able to put on some weight, he will do just fine.

                              Nyssa's Jose Escobedo has also signed a letter of intent to play football at Western Oregon University. Escobedo, an offensive and defensive lineman with the Bulldogs, helped Nyssa to the 2A Oregon state football playoffs last season.

                                 Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              The season comes to an end for the Ontario High softball team on Saturday, but for senior catcher Stephanie Simpson her softball career will continue on next year.

                              Simpson signed a letter-of-intent, on Monday, to play softball at Walla Walla Community College following graduation.

                              The senior is hitting .260 with nine RBIs for the Tigers, who are 12-10 on the season. Simpson, who was a second-team All-Greater Oregon League selection last season, has also enjoyed a solid season behind the plate, throwing out 6-of-9 would-be basestealers.

                              "It's exciting when you have players move on to the next level," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said. "When somebody from Ontario gets signed to go on to any program, whether it's a community college program or a four-year program it's awesome."

                              Walla Walla is a member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Eastern Division, and a rival of Treasure Valley Community College. Stephanie Simpson had a chance to spend time with the Warriors over the weekend, when Walla Walla was in town for a East Division twinbill with the Chukars. The doubleheader was postponed on Saturday, giving Simpson and Warrior head coach Mike Staudenmaier a chance to talk.

                              "We hung out Saturday, and I got the chance to meet the team and talk with the coach," Stephanie Simpson said. "I just clicked with the team and I really like the coach's philosophy."'

                              Following Saturday's meeting, the Warriors made a big impression on their recruit, drilling the Chukars, 20-1 and 15-5, to clinch a spot in the postseason. Walla Walla hit 12 home runs in the sweep of Treasure Valley.

                              "They are a really good team," Stephanie Simpson said.

                              Stephanie Simpson's choices came down to the the Washington school and Treasure Valley.

                              "I thought back and forth about the two schools," Stephanie Simpson said. "But I wanted to get out of Ontario and try something new."

                                William Anderson

                              What is the point of hosting a sporting event without a little controversy?

                              The controversy came in the last girls event of the day, the second to last event of the two-day Greater Oregon League district track meet at Ontario High School Saturday afternoon.

                              In the 1,600-meter relay, Ontario and Burns were tight the duration of the race, with Ontario holding a slight lead through the first three legs.

                              On the final leg, Ontario's anchor leg Jordan Bainbridge was cut off by Burns' Jaela Dinsmore on the homestretch, pushing Bainbridge out of bounds. Bainbridge and Dinsmore kept running next to each other as the two girls collided at the finish line with Burns getting the win.

                              After a review, the Burns relay team was disqualified for the action, giving Ontario the win.

                              According to Ontario track coach Trever Wilson, a runner cannot take away another runners position on the track.

                              The race was simply a highlight of the day for the Ontario girls, who finished fourth with 93 points, and were off the pace of Burns. The Hilanders won the girls title with 163.5 points. La Grande was second with 127.5, and Baker took third with 114.

                              On the boys side, La Grande walked away with the event in first place with 205.5 points, while Burns was second with 121 and Baker third at 105.5 points. Ontario finished fourth with 98.5 points.

                              In all, the Tigers will send 13 athletes to state to compete in 10 events.

                              Bainbridge will compete in four separate events. Along with the 1,600-meter relay, Bainbridge will compete in the 400-meter relay, the 400-meter and the 200-meter.

                              "I am looking forward to next week. It will be good competition," Bainbridge said. "I have a lot of room to improve."

                              Bainbridge did well Saturday, taking first place honors in the 400, with a time of 1:00.04, while getting second in the 200, behind Dinsmore, while also helping the 1,600 relay team to a first place finish, and the 400 relay team to a second place finish.

                              "She has been doing this all year," Wilson said. "She has been doing what she has to do to get to state all year. She is looking forward to going to state."

                              Jacob Blaylock also qualified for more than one event, winning all three races he enters, the 800-meter, 2:01.06, the 1,500-meter, 4:29.13, and the 1,600-meter-relay team, 3:33.96.

                              Jose Rivera qualified in two events for the Tigers, in his first year of running track, the 1,600 relay and the 400-meter-relay.

                              "It is outrageous," Rivera said of going to state. "I am glad to be competing at the state level."

                                 Argus Observer Sports Staff

                              The Ontario girls tennis team won its ninth district title in 11 years, scoring 32 team points Friday and Saturday in the Special District 4 tennis tournament in Madras.

                              The Ontario girls' tennis team will be sending seven girls to the state tournament next weekend.

                              Ontario's Stephanie Babij picked up the girls singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the finals, to earn her second district title.

                              Three Ontario doubles teams qualified for state; Hannah Pobanz and Julie Hall, Christy Linford and Jenna McClean and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Connor, to help Ontario win their third straight district title.

                              "I thought we played really well," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said.

                              As for the boys, Ontario scored 24.5 points to finish second behind Baker's, 27.

                              Payton Aarestad picked up a district championship by knocking off Luke Rembold of Baker, 6-1, 6-0. Rembold is a two time district champ.

                              "Payton brought his game today," Gill said. "He had patience. The boys took third a year ago, so this was an improvement."

                              Nick Babij and Michael Shoeaee earned a state birth in boys doubles for the Tigers.

                              Vale's Cassandra Andrews and Karissa Nelson also qualified for state in the girls singles, while Evelyn Kaaen and Luci Delong also qualified in girls doubles action.

                              Nyssa will be sending one athlete, Luis Ramirez in boys singles, to participate in the state meet.

                              The Tigers travel to Eugene for the 3A/2A/1A State tennis match beginning Friday.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The crowd Monday night was smaller, but some new faces turned out to get more information about the Ontario 8C School District's plan to build a new high school.

                              Architects tasked with the design of a new high school provided cost analysis figures for rebuilding at the school's current site or rebuilding at a new area.

                              The meeting, the third sponsored by the Ontario School District to gather support for a major new local learning facility, was held at Ontario High School.

                              Both options - rebuild at the current school site or start fresh at a new place - were discussed at Monday's meeting, while more questions about cost arose.

                              One of the central questions that lingered after the meeting was what the current high school building would be used for if another site was chosen to build on, and what the costs would be for such a plan.

                              While nothing has been decided yet - school district officials and board members apparently are still grappling with whether to sponsor a school bond to rebuild the high school - one option, if the school district decided to build on a new site, is to move Ontario Middle School to the high school, which would require renovating the building. Many people in attendance at the meeting wanted to know the costs associated with the middle school to high school switch, and when that project would take place. Both project architect, Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing firm has been decided on renovation of the high school, should that option be chosen, but it probably would happen as a second phase to rebuilding at a new site, perhaps within two years of the completion of a new high school.

                              Patano was receptive to the audience members' desire to know the associated costs with that phase, and stated before the meeting adjourned the architects have some more homework to do regarding the issue.

                              Also during the meeting, audience members had one more chance to tell the school district their desires about even rebuilding a new high school. They reached a unanimous consensus a new high school was needed at a new site. While construction of a new high school at a new site is more expensive, Patano said the cost was not that much greater than rebuilding at the current site.

                              Patano estimated the school bond to be 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, numbers provided by Northwest Pacific Securities - a bonding agency out of Washington.

                              To rebuild at the current site - using a three story building model - architects estimate it would cost $24.5 million or $27.5 million including improvements to Pioneer Elementary School, next door. That would cost taxpayers with assessed property value of $75,000 $186 a year or $15.50 a month.

                              To rebuild at a new site, estimated to cost about $30.5 million, it would cost $206 per year or $17.19 a month for property assessed at $75,000 a year. Kathy Judy, a real estate agent in Ontario, estimated the average property house in Ontario to be worth about $96,000, which raises those numbers slightly.

                              Architects will make a report of their findings to the school board at 7 p.m. Thursday.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario 8C School District budget committee approved a $1 million addition to the district's building equipment fund for the possible purchase of a parcel of land for a new high school site as part of the school district's 2005 to 2006 budget.

                              The budget committee approved the proposed 2005 to 2006 budget May 9. The budget will be reviewed for final approval by the school board at its June 16 meeting.

                              While officially the district maintains it has made no final plans for a new high school, the district is considering a school bond measure to help fuel the construction of a new facility at the existing high school site or possibly at a new area.

                              Should the school district choose to rebuild at a new site, $1 million was included in the 2005 to 2006 budget for the purchase of that land, Ontario 8C School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said.

                              The $1 million injected into the building equipment fund will be transferred from the school district's general fund cash carryover, Carter said.

                              Carter said the $1 million to the building improvement fund is the biggest increase in the proposed budget. The school district had only budgeted $475,000 in the fund for 2004 to 2005 fiscal year.

                              Just because $1 million has been budgeted, however, does not mean that's the amount that will be spent, Carter said, because a decision to purchase new land has not even been decided upon yet by the school district.

                              "So we don't have a price set on that," Carter said. Should the school board decide to either not go out for a bond measure or not build at a new site, the $1 million will not be spent at all, but will be transferred back into the general fund, he said.

                              Carter said the proposed budget only mentions a "possible" purchase of land, but nothing else pertaining to building a new high school has been included, partly because planning for such a project would occur in 2006-2007.

                              "If we do run a bond issue, and the bond issue passes, that would be a separate budget fund next year, and that's not covered in this budget," he said. "Nothing is included in this budget for building a high school."

                              Other than the land purchase funding, very little differs in the proposed budget from last year, Carter said.

                              Besides the $1 million transfer, the other significant change in the district's proposed budget is for three additional teachers for the school district's English as a second language program, Carter said.

                              Primary increases in the budget relate to an increase in PERS costs and salary increases that were negotiated last year, he said.

                              "This is essentially maintaining-our-program kind of budget," Carter said. "We didn't have to make any cuts in the budget this past year."

                              The proposed budget total, $33,136,827, is a little more than last year's adopted budget of $28,743,933, partly because state funds are expected to increase slightly, even though the school district does not have an exact amount of its portion of state funds yet.

                              Carter said officials used what would be the district's portion of state funds should the Legislature pass a biennium school budget of $5.25 billon - Gov. Ted Kulongoski's midway compromise between the amounts suggested by Republicans and Democrats.

                              Carter said so far, Republicans have agreed to $5.2 billion during the negotiation process, and Carter said if the $5.25 billion amount is not received, the district's cash carryover should pick up the difference.

                              "We do maintain some cash carryover to make up for uncertainty of state funding," Carter said.

                                Tami Hart Argus Observer

                              The yellow plastic ribbons fluttered in the breeze - a modest reminder of those serving overseas around the world - as small hands worked to tie the ribbons to the fence bordering Aiken Elementary School.

                              First-graders from Ms. Marie Clark's class at Aiken Elementary took part in the yellow ribbon project developed by two Ontario women who have family members serving in Iraq.

                              Marcie Sloane and Vickie Sissel worked with the children Tuesday to replace the fading yellow ribbons that had been in place on the fence for two years now.

                              It was Sloane's granddaughter, Bailey Allender, who came up with the idea to put up the ribbons when she was a student at Aiken. Allender's father, Sgt. Brian Allender, is with Ontario's Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Brigade, which is currently stationed in Kikurk.

                              Over time, though, the ribbons have faded and Sloane said it was time for a redo.

                              "As family members, we wanted to see them redone," Sloane said. "I drive past here everyday and it makes me sad."

                              Sloane said she contacted school officials, who gave the go-ahead for the project.

                              Aiken Elementary School principal Mark Hinthorn said many of the students at Aiken have either a family member or know of someone who has a family member serving in the armed forces.

                              "This project is a way for the children to express hope for the soldiers' safe return," Hinthorn said.

                              Despite their young age, Hinthorn said the children understand on a general level what is happening overseas.

                              "Students have seen our flags flying at half-staff. They often ask why. I'm direct in letting them know another of our Oregon soldiers has died," he said.

                              Fortunately, the school has not had any students with family members who were killed in action, and Hinthorn said he has not seen a negative emotional impact on the students.

                              Sissel said she sees the project as a good way to get the children involved and she said during the ribbon-tying, children were asking her questions about the war, which she said she and Sloane tried to answer on the children's' level.

                              Sissel's husband, Les, is the first sergeant for Alpha Company.

                              "I think this shows community support and it keeps things in the eyes of the community," Sissel said.

                              "I think this is important and I wish we saw more of it," Sloane said. She pointed out other communities, such as Baker and La Grande, show their support with flags and ribbons throughout the community. She applauded Nyssa's troop program of sending care packages to soldier's overseas.

                              "Most of the businesses in Nyssa are involved in it. It's a regular committee. Ontario has nothing like that," she said.

                              Sloane said the ribbons at Aiken would remain in place until all the soldiers come home - not just the soldiers of Alpha Company.

                              "Until the war is over, those ribbons will stay up. I think it's that important."

                                Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              Argus Observer file photo Ontario's Payton Aarestad returns a shot during a match last month. The Tigers begin play at the 3A state tournament on Friday.

                              When the 3A/2A/1A Oregon State Tennis Tournament tournament kicks off on Friday at the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club, the Ontario girls tennis team will be the hunted, not the hunter. That's what happens when you are the defending state champions.

                              Play begins at 9 a.m. MDT on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for the 10 Tigers, seven girls and three boys, four Vale and one Nyssa players who will be making the trip.

                              Last year, the Ontario girls tennis team was aiming to complete unfinished business when play started. After all, Ontario had a third-place finish in 2003 and a fourth-place finish in 2002. Powered by top six finishes from three girls doubles teams, the Tigers took its first-ever 3A/2A/1A state title. According to the Oregon School Activities Association web site, Ontario's title is the first time a 3A/2A/1A team tennis title has traveled east of the Blue Mountains.

                              "When I first started coaching here, just getting there was great," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said. "To win it was a big accomplishment. We are hoping to perform well in Eugene. If we do that good things will come."

                              Last year Kelsey Pobanz and Kristy Church were the Tigers' best finishers, taking second in girls doubles. Church and Pobanz, who both graduated, fell 7-5, 7-5 to La Salle's Missy DeCosta and Catherine Everist. DeCosta returns, and is teamed with Jen Denardis. They are the No. 1 seeded doubles team.

                              Ontario's Laurel Saito and Julie Hall are the fourth-seeded doubles tandem. Saito is filling in for Hannah Pobanz, who tore an ACL during the district tournament last weekend.

                              "Laurel is a very good player," Gill said. "They have a shot if they play well together."

                              Christie Linford and Jenna McClain (8-0) and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Conner are the other doubles teams for Ontario.

                              Stephanie Babij (17-1 overall) opens the tournament as the No. 2 seed in girls singles, and will face Stanfield's Leah Walchli in the first round.

                              Michael Shoaee and Nick Babij, who are 18-2 on the season, are seeded second in boys doubles after finishing second at district. Payton Aarestad (18-2) rounds out the Ontario contingent. Aarestad is the third-seed going into the opening round.

                              "He has earned that (seeding)," Gill said.

                              Vale's Karissa Nelson and Cassandra Andrews are unranked in girls singles. The Vikings are also sending Evelyn Kaaen and Luci DeLong are unranked in girls doubles, and must face DeCosta and Denardis in the first round.

                              Nyssa's lone representative - Luis Ramirez - is unranked in boys singles.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              The Ontario School Board received an update on the district's town hall meetings - designed to gauge support for rebuilding a new high school - at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

                              Project architect Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, briefed the school board on the conclusions drawn from the last of three school bond town hall meetings. The last school bond town hall meeting occurred Monday.

                              Although the school board did not vote on whether to go out for a school bond to rebuild Ontario High School, and will not do so until June at the earliest, Patano provided a favorable report for the district to move ahead with its plans.

                              The options the school district has available are not rebuilding the high school, rebuilding the high school at the current site or rebuilding the high school at a new site.

                              "I think of all the town hall meetings, you have overwhelming support for a new high school at a new site," Patano said.

                              While the district has not made a final decision about presenting a school bond to area votes, it has already set aside $1 million in this year's budget to buy land for the project.

                              Patano also pointed out, if the school board should go out for a bond, open communication is necessary and school district officials and bond supporters should be prepared to answer any question in order to garner trust, even if those questions touch on previously controversial topics.

                              "Whether it's Lindbergh or whether it's the district office," he said. "We can't let anything slide off the table."

                              Patano also presented to the council the estimated cost figures of the project, which were also announced to the town hall attendants Monday.

                              Rebuilding at the current site, and performing construction work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $27.5 million. Rebuilding at a new, ideal 50 acre site, plus the work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $30.5 million.

                              That cost, Patano said, does not include the cost of purchasing the property. Patano announced at Monday night's meeting, that land will most likely be the near the bypass in Ontario.

                              The second cost estimate provided - building at a new site - also does not incorporate the price tag of a new stadium and athletic facilities, which were deliberately left off because, Patano said, it was a potential deal breaker, especially because the current stadium is popular and in the middle of town.

                              Patano said to rebuild at the current site, which would incorporate approximately 23 acres of land, school district resident voters could expect to pay $248 a year for property with $100,000 assessed value. For a 50 acre site it would cost $275 a year for property assessed at $100,000.

                              Patano, with the agreement of school board members, said when a bond measure is presented to the public, promoters should be sure to address the importance of a new high school in the community and stress a new high school as an investment. He said more and more when people consider moving into an area, they look at what kind of schools a community has, what the hospitals are like and how progressive that community is. A new high school, Patano stressed could be an "economic rejuvenator" in Ontario.

                              Most of the remainder of the meeting took place in executive session where the school board addressed two topics - real property transactions and personnel matters.

                                 Rob Moseley Argus Observer

                              After dominating competition in the Greater Oregon League all season, Ontario sophomore Jordan Bainbridge took her talents to the state meet this weekend, and it was once again an eye-opening experience.

                              "Being here feels different than any other race I've ever been in," said Bainbridge, who finished fourth in both the 200 and 400 meters. "You come here and everyone's the best. It's really exciting to be here."

                              Marist won the team title in the OSAA Class 3A track and field championships at Hayward Field. The Spartans scored 61 points, while Bainbridge scored 10 points to give the Tigers 25th place.

                              Bainbridge improved on her seventh-place finish in the 200 at state a year ago by finishing in 26.80 seconds in Saturday's final. She finished fourth in the 400 for the second year in a row, crossing the line in 58.66.

                              Both times were personal bests for Bainbridge, who said the experience of being at state last year helped her this weekend but also increased the pressure.

                              "Last year I was pretty young, so I was just excited to be here," Bainbridge said. "Now I'm a year older, and there are more expectations."

                              Still, she said, the level of competition was inspiring. "It's just really different," Bainbridge said. "Here, I'm pushed really hard. I'm getting an idea of what my best can be."

                              The weekend didn't go off without a hitch. First, Ontario coach Kate Guerrero gave birth Wednesday and wasn't able to attend the meet.

                              Then, the girls 4x400-meter relay team didn't advance to the final in qualifying Friday despite entering the meet seeded third.

                              "Our splits just weren't good enough, and I'm not sure why," Bainbridge said.

                              She ran the relay along with Denali Cox, Bianca Davis and Angie Hamman.

                              "I think we were just really nervous," Bainbridge said. "It's really different running here."

                              Hamman failed to qualify for the final in the 400 meters, and the boys 4x100 relay team also didn't advance Friday.

                              "It was a little weird last night," Bainbridge said. "I was the only one preparing for a race."

                              The only other Tiger competing Saturday was J.J. Anthony, who didn't make the final in the shot put.

                              With her sophomore season now behind her, Bainbridge said her goal as a junior will be to break the school record of 57.9 in the 400.

                              Among the winners in the girls Class 4A meet Saturday was Sheryl Page, who transferred to Sandy from Ontario last summer and won the 1,500 meters in 4 minutes, 36.22 seconds.

                              Page finished second to Annaliese Chapa of Central Catholic in their district cross country meet last fall, but she outkicked Chapa down the stretch Saturday to claim the state 1,500 title.

                                  GARY HENLEY Special to the Argus Observer

                              Astoria's Field of Streams was turned into a Field of Dreams for the Ontario Tigers in a Class 3A first round state playoff game Monday night.

                              A tireless grounds crew pumped nearly 130 gallons of water off Astoria's Ernie Aiken Field during the past three days, just so the Tigers and Fishermen could square off on the diamond.

                              The game was delayed an hour-and-a-half to allow for some extra drying, but after driving clear across the state to begin with, the Tigers didn't mind waiting.

                              And it paid off in the end for the visitors.

                              Ontario scored three runs in the top of the first to set the tone for a 9-3 win over the Fishermen, ending Astoria's season and sending the Tigers on to the next round, where they will face Central.

                              "We weren't even sure if we were going to get to play this one, so it sure felt good to go out and win it," Ontario coach Les Horn, whose team improves to 15-11 overall, said.

                              Monday's key statistic wasn't Astoria's 14 hits - it was the 12 runners left on base for the Fishermen.

                              Ontario pitcher Jose Garcia was in trouble on more than one occasion, but always seemed to come up with a big out - or two - when he needed it.

                              "I've never seen a kid pitch in trouble better than he does," Horn said of Garcia. "He gets in trouble, then he just works and bears down and pitches his way out of it."

                              The Tigers ended the first inning with a 5-4-3 double play, and the Fishermen loaded the bases with one out in the second inning before Garcia retired the next two batters.

                              Astoria loaded the bases again in the fourth, but Garcia struck out Andrew MacLean swinging to end the inning.

                              The Fishermen had the bases juiced with one out in the fifth, but Astoria's Kevin Berry lined a sharp grounder to Ontario shortstop Matt Mejia, who stepped on second for one out, then fired to first to get Berry to end the inning.

                              Astoria had base runners reach second in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could never come through with the big hit.

                              "The 6-3 double play with the bases loaded was huge, and the 5-4-3 was huge," Horn said. "If we don't get those two double plays, it's a whole different game."

                              Meanwhile, the Tigers tacked on one run in the fifth and another in the sixth, then used a bases-loaded double by Kurt Kolbaba on their way to a four-run seventh inning.

                              Kolbaba finished with four RBI's on two doubles and a single, while Rick Ramirez blasted a big two-run homer in the first inning for one of his two hits.

                              "I was really surprised when Rick got a hold of that one," Horn said. "That was his first home run of the year. It's a great time to have it."

                              Garcia allowed 14 hits with five strikeouts and a walk, and helped himself with a double at the plate in the seventh inning.

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              Three Ontario High School seniors traveled a varied path to their 2005 graduation but the end result was the same: a diploma.

                              While they all also chose diverse roads to follow after graduation, for one day they were all unified under a single "2005" graduation banner.

                              Chris Schauer was born and raised in Ontario and attended grade school through high school with the same basic, core group of students.

                              "I know everybody," Schauer said, "I saw them when they started in Ontario, I saw them when they left Ontario."

                              Entering into high school, Schauer played baseball all four years. Schauer concluded the season Friday with his teammates in their 6-5 playoff loss to North Marion. Schauer said the 2005 baseball season was one of the highlights of his prep career. Schauer said he plans to play baseball after graduation, this time for the U.S. Marine Corps. On June 6, a few short days after he walks through the line, Schauer will start a 15-week basic training stint at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

                              After graduation from boot camp, he will return home for an 11-day leave and then return for combat training and a two-year tour in aircraft mechanics.

                              "The Marines were not giving money to everybody just to join," Schauer said. "They were looking for people that want to be there. They want the tougher ones."

                              Schauer admitted his family is concerned about the current world situation regarding his decision to join the U.S. Marines.

                              "My parents are worried about me," Schauer said. "I am not worried about going to Iraq. I am supportive of our troops. The troops don't make the decisions and I don't know enough about Iraq to make an opinion."

                              Schauer said he hopes to return eventually to catch up with old friends.

                              "I plan on coming back for my 20th reunion," Schauer said. "I enjoyed high school, but it will not be the highlight of my life. There were flat points in high school and I will probably get over missing my friends pretty quick."

                              Christian Aguirra chose a longer path to his diploma. After moving to Ontario from Ontario, Calif., two years ago, this year was a repeat of his senior year after ending up eight credits short of graduation last year.

                              "Hell yeah, I am excited about graduating," Aguirra said. "I am the first in my family to graduate from high school. I am proof that if you apply yourself, you are going to make it."

                              Aguirra said he plans on becoming a school counselor or psychologist. Aguirra will be the first to admit that two years ago, many did not think he was going to make it to graduation. After becoming involved in some trouble at school, Aguirra was placed in the night school program for a time before being allowed to return to regular school.

                              "Some teachers really care, some don't," Aguirra said. "Some teachers told me just to give up and go get a GED. There were some teachers, though, that really came through for me and told me I could make it. That first year, I was a real knucklehead."

                              Aguirra said he was shocked on the differences between California and Ontario High School.

                              "In Cali, they did not care. They never told you if you were missing this or that, they just let you go on," Aguirra said. "I am really not a school type of person and had a hard time applying myself. But I found out that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything."

                              After walking through the line, Aguirra said he plans on attending TVCC, finding a job and marrying his fiance, whom he met at Ontario High. Looking at his 20-year reunion, Aguirra said he will be back.

                              "Hell yeah, I'm coming back. I want everybody to see what I did in life," Aguirra said. "I am a knucklehead and I made it."

                              Kailey Poole will graduate with a host of school accolades. Poole has filled roles as Ontario High School Associated Student Body Treasurer, a member of the Leadership Club, while participating in soccer and softball.

                              Poole, a lifelong Ontario resident, arrived at OHS after attending St. Peter's Catholic School. Looking back at high school, Poole said she cannot believe how fast the time went by.

                              "It just went by so fast," Poole said. "It was so fun, I just can't believe it is over."

                              After graduation, Poole said she will be attending Oregon State University on scholarship, a family tradition. Planning now on entering sports medicine, Poole said she is anxious to get started with "real life." After college, Poole said she is unsure if a return to the Ontario area is in the cards.

                              "Maybe I will go to Boise," Poole said. "I would like to stick around the area and raise a family, but I don't know if it will be Ontario."

                              Poole said she is also looking forward to a reunion with her classmates in 20 years.

                              "It will be cool to see how everybody turned out," Poole said. "It will also be weird because now we are such a big part of each others' lives. In 20 years, we will barely know each other."

                              Looking back at her last four years, Poole said she was happy with the closeness achieved by her class in this last year.

                              "High school was not as bad and scary as I thought it would be," Poole said. "I enjoyed it a lot. Congratulations to us - we are awesome."

                                 Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              As the saying goes "to be the man, you have to beat the man."

                              The Burns wrestling team proved that may be easier said than done.

                              The Hilanders used four technical falls, three forfeits and three pins to earn a 53-21 Greater Oregon League decision over Ontario Tuesday at Ontario High School.

                              The Tigers then turned around and dropped a 61-12 nonleague decision to Nyssa.

                              Burns, who is the three-time defending 3A state champions, showed no signs of slowing down, racing to a quick 8-0 lead.

                              "We knew it was going to be a tough match," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We did not wrestle well. I think the kids were trying so hard, they were doing things we normally wouldn't do."

                              Ontario rallied back from the 8-0 hole, getting a pin from Paul Rangel (160 pounds) and a forfeit from Juan Mendez (171) to grab a 12-8 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 21-8 on a 6-1 decision from Todd Smith (189) and a forfeit win by JJ Anthony (215).

                              Then the wheels fell off.

                              Burns won the next eight matches, including three by pin, to take the easy win.

                              "We were not as aggressive as we had been," Rangel said. "We wanted to be counter wrestlers and not do what we do."

                              Things did not go much better against Nyssa, which is the five-time 2A state champions.

                              Nyssa gave up just two forfeits, on the way to its seventh dual win of the season.

                              Cody Peterson (145) set the tone for the dual with an impressive 6-4 overtime win over Ontario's Jose Rivera. Peterson scored a one-point escape with two seconds remaining in the third period, tying the match at 4-4. Both wrestlers could not generate much during the one minute overtime, until Peterson scored a two-point takedown with two seconds left to score the win.

                              "I think that match set the tone for the rest of the night," Nyssa head coach Luke Cleaver said. "The guys knew it would be a hard-fought match."

                              Nyssa took the dual's other close contest, getting a 7-6 win from Braden Bair over Ontario's Todd Smith at 189 pounds.

                              Bair scored a takedown with two seconds left in the third period, capping a comeback from a 6-4 third-period deficit.

                              "It was a tough match," Bair said. "I knew if I wanted to get the win I had to get it done."

                              Nyssa, who was coming off a first-place showing at the Wapiti League Duals on Friday and the McCall-Donnelly Invitational on Saturday, got five wins via pin against the Tigers.

                              "We seem to be peaking at just the right time," Cleaver said. "We are getting closer to where we need to be as district gets closer."

                              Ontario closes its regular season Thursday at Vale. Nyssa will travel to Burns Thursday for a showdown with the Hilanders.

                                 Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              The Ontario School District asserts it is taking steps to correct or improve a number of areas of concern outlined in a recent audit report.

                              While the overall report - conducted by Oster Professional Group, Burns - was good, auditors did highlight several critical items for improvement, including attendance records and the student body cash account process.

                              Ontario School District Fiscal Services Manager Director Cheri Siddoway said the district has already addressed the biggest issue - attendance membership reporting of English as a Second Language students.

                              According to a letter from Oster Professional Group, auditors were unable to apply audit procedures to the enrollment/withdrawal status of students in the ESL program because attendance records by grade level were not available.

                              Siddoway said the total number of ESL students has always been tracked by the district. Just the total number, she said, of ESL students was reported to the state.

                              Siddoway said prior to the audit all the required information for the ESL students, such as their names, attendance dates, including entrance and exit dates and their status, was maintained.

                              However the information was not, she said, maintained in a single document the auditors could track and audit easily to compare with the numbers given to the state.

                              Instead, the information was in many different files, and could not be audited without cross-referencing several different sources.

                              Siddoway said the school secretaries have now added names, attendance and membership dates for each of those students in one document, so their attendance and ESL membership can be tracked more adequately.

                              Siddoway said the district just completed the ESL attendance for the second quarter, and that information has been submitted to the state and the auditors for review and approval.

                              "That was what we saw as the most pressing issue," Siddoway said.

                              The ESL program is a Title I program, which means federal funding is passed down to the district to provide services for children who would otherwise be at a disadvantage.

                              Careful recording and auditing is necessary to prove money is spent appropriately and reflects the need and the numbers of students at a particular school.

                              Siddoway said she will now turn her attention to issues at the high school and middle school.

                              The audit report stated while the elementary schools "have greatly improved their organization and attendance records," the auditors could not apply their procedure to the high school and middle school.

                              The attendance systems at the high school and middle school are working, Siddoway said, but auditors want teachers to verify with a signature each student actually attending class on a given day, to verify the electronic records.

                              "In this great era of technological advancement where a lot is done electronically, they want a piece of paper and a pencil," she said.

                              Siddoway said all the attendance improvements are important because the funding the school district receives from the state is based on enrollment at the schools.

                              She said there has been an increased focus on accountability during the past couple of years because of all the corporate accounting scandals. These efforts are a way for the school district to show the funds they receive are appropriate for the number of students it serves, Siddoway said.

                              "It was very valid," Siddoway said of the auditor's letter. "We do need to make some changes, and I think we'll have a more solid system when we're done."

                              The school district is also taking steps to improve how student body cash accounts are handled. Rather than having one person responsible for the cash accounts - signing approvals, writing checks, recording receipts and reconciling accounts - the auditors recommended more than one school official review the accounts and transactions.

                              Siddoway said currently, school secretaries usually handle most of the student body account transactions, although principals usually write checks.

                              She said in the future, most likely the secretary and principal will review and sign off on the transactions made to ensure a proper checks and balance system is in place.

                              "That's always going to be a problem when you have a small office staff," Siddoway said.

                              Schools will also keep special accounts, using funds collected by staff for various occasions such as staff birthdays or deaths in the family, separate from the student body cash accounts.

                              Siddoway said it has been easier for some schools to include those funds in the student body cash accounts to keep track of them, but since they are not public funds, and are actually staff funds, they do not need to be recorded by the district and can be kept separately.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Needing a major decision for a tie, and a technical fall or a pin for a victory, Vale sent out freshman Ronny Koda in a 103-pound match.

                              Koda delivered a major decision, with a 19-5 win over Ontario's Tom Martinez in the dual meets final match, as Vale defeated Ontario 41-40 in a nonleague wrestling dual Thursday night in Vale.

                              Vale picked up the win on criteria "G" or the number of near falls in the dual.

                              As for Koda, he started out the match with the Vikings trailing 40-36, as Koda came out strong, taking a 7-2 lead after the first round, including a near fall with only 45 seconds left in the first round.

                              Koda continued to impress in the second round, extending his lead to 13-5, still needing one more point for a major decision.

                              Koda got that point early in the third round, escaping from Martinez only 13 seconds into the round, only needing to hold on for the win. He did more than that, picking up another take down and near fall for a 19-5 victory.

                              "I was a little bit nervous," Koda said of the match. "I wanted to do my best. I felt like I did a pretty good job. I am pretty excited."

                              Koda's coach, Bart Ewing also thought Koda wrestled well in the match.

                              "It was a great match," Ewing said. "He wrestled as well as expected. He did a great job."

                              As for the rest of the Viking (3-10 overall) wrestling team, they used five pins a forfeit and the major decision to pick up the victory over the Tigers (10-9).

                              Ontario managed a major decision, a pin and five forfeits in the loss.

                              "They chose to forfeit to our seniors, and the young kids wrestled like young kids," Ontario coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have had a brutal two weeks of practice and matches. We gave the kids some pressure to see who would react. The next week, we will get ready for district."

                              Vale started out the match picking up pins in four of the first six matches, to jump out to a 24-10 lead. One forfeit later, Vale was up 30-10, before Ontario went on a run, picking up four forfeits and a pin for a 40-36 lead before the final match, the 103-pounders.

                              "We had a lot of kids wrestle well," Ewing said. "Tonight we did a great job."

                              Vale is back in action Saturday in a Pine Eagle Tournament at Halfway, while Ontario is off until the district tournament at Burns Feb. 11.

                                  Tami Hart Argus Observer

                              Mike Smith talks fast. Like the world's best auctioneer on the block, the words fall from his mouth in a rhythm, a cadence that draws his listeners in, filling them with his inspiring message.

                              And he moves even faster than he talks - hands gesturing and clapping, fingers snapping, he is a man in constant motion.

                              He has to be quick in order to keep up with the more than 100 students attending the Oregon Association of Student Council's Eastern Region Midwinter Conference at the Four Rivers Cultural Center Friday.

                              As the motivational speaker for the conference, it was Smith's job to lead the students from Ontario, Nyssa, Adrian and Annex through a series of icebreakers, activities and discussions centered on the conference theme "Building a Better Mousetrap."

                              "It's a gift," Smith joked of his ability to be a fast talker.

                              It's that gift, though, he uses to convey to the high school and middle school students that they are personally responsible for their own actions and there are skill sets they can use to make them better leaders.

                              "These kids, if we can get them honed in on the fact that their job is not to decorate for the dance, but to help other kids get involved in decorating for the dance, if we can get that across, we can have a better place," Smith, who has been making his high-energy presentations for more than 16 years, said. "That's what it's all about. Leadership skills will help get them to another place."

                              Laurie Grim, Ontario High School Leadership adviser, said the students who are attracted to student council and leadership in the first place are those who want to give something back to their school and their community.

                              "These are the kids that want to make memories. They want students to have a good experience in high school. They want students to participate and be involved because they know that although there is a lot of learning taking place in the classrooms, that some of the memories are made on bus trips during co-curricular activities whether it be playing on the football team, or whatever. The more involved we can get more people, the happier kids are to come to school," Grim said.

                              She had her first taste of leadership classes 13 years ago when she accompanied six students to a summer leadership camp.

                              It was Mike Taylor, who was principal when Grim first started her career at OHS, who had the vision he wanted most, if not all, students to have the opportunity to be exposed to leadership concepts such as time management, stress management and problem solving.

                              Grim said the role of the present day student councils has changed since its inception.

                              "I think in that regard it's gone from being the six elected ASB officers to having 70 kids in advanced leadership that want to give back to the community," Grim said. "I can't think of a better thing to do for kids."

                              Grim and Smith agree, though, on thing has not changed - students still face an enormous amount of peer pressure.

                              "What's changed is what's available for peer pressure," Grim said.

                              Smith agreed.

                              "They have more peer pressure and they have more choices and they have more bad choices they can make than previous generations had," Smith said.

                              That's why Smith hopes by teaching the students that by keeping busy with making the right choices and doing the right things, they will not have time to be doing the wrong things.

                              "I'd like these kids to know that they have a power that our age group doesn't have with their age group and its worse today than it ever has been before," Smith said. "There used to be a phrase 'if your friend jumped off a bridge would you jump too?'" The bottom line is we, as kids, would have said 'no'' but today, these kids have gotta go 'I'm not sure.'' That's scary. I want them to know they have this power."

                              Grim said she hopes the students' experiences in leadership classes and on student council will inspire them to go on to become leaders in other areas, whether it is leading as a good parent, leading a city council somewhere in the country or become a leader in their church.

                              "I want them to learn that leadership is service, not self-service," Grim said.

                                William Anderson argus observer

                              A big run right out of the half and good free-throw shooting in overtime, lifted Ontario to a 55-49 win over La Grande Saturday evening in Greater Oregon League boys basketball action in Ontario.

                              Out of the half, Ontario trailed 28-23, and started the second half strong.

                              Ontario scored six straight points to open up the second half to take a 29-28 lead.

                              La Grande took back the lead, as Christian Siltanen sank a 3-pointer, for a 31-29 advantage.

                              Ontario went on a 10-4 run over the final three and half minutes of the third quarter, taking a 39-35 lead into the final quarter.

                              Ontario (14-5 overall, 5-2 GOL) managed only 2-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter, while La Grande hit a pair of field goals, and connected on both of its free throws, to force the overtime period, tied 41-41.

                              That's where Ontario's free-throw shooting came into play.

                              In the overtime period, Ontario shot 12-for-16 from the free-throw line in the extra stanza, to seal the victory, including 7-for-8 for Ontario's Tyler David, while both Matt Mejia and Nick Babij each went 2-for-2 from the line in the extra time.

                              "When they are fouling you and sending you to the line, it gives you some extra confidence," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "We made a few adjustments and more screens (in the second half). We had a few open looks, and reinforced some offensive strategies."

                              In the first half, Ontario struggled offensively, scoring only 23 points, with seven coming from Jacob Blaylock, who finished with 16 points.

                              David added 16 points, and Nick Babij had 11 points in the win.

                              La Grande was led by Ben Pettit with 17 points, while teammate Siltanen added 11 in the loss.

                              Ontario travels to Riverside Friday in GOL action.

                                 William Anderson argus observer

                              A 20-2 run over an eight minute span all but sealed the win for the Ontario girls basketball team as it went on to defeat La Grande 52-29 in a Greater Oregon League matchup Saturday night at Ontario High School.

                              After a quick start by Ontario, 10-2 to start the game, La Grande battled back to make it a 10-10 game after the first quarter.

                              This is where Ontario picked up its play.

                              Seconds after La Grande connected on a field goal, Ontario got hot from the floor, sparked by Jaimi Arant's field goal, the Ontario Tigers (18-3 overall, 6-1 GOL) used nine field goals and a pair of free throws over an eight minute stretch, that stretched into the second half, to build up a 30-14 lead over La Grande, just 11 seconds into the second half.

                              "We played good defense the whole game," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "It was a great defensive effort. We cut off everything they wanted to do."

                              Cutting off what La Grande was trying to do helped Ontario, as they continued to stretch out its lead to a 42-21 advantage after three quarters of play.

                              Ontario's largest lead of the game came with just over four minutes left in the game, when Kayla Mitchell hit two free throws for a 50-23 Ontario advantage.

                              Part of the reason, Ontario held a 26-20 advantage in rebounds, which plagued Ontario last time these two teams met.

                              "We did a great job boxing out," Buck said. "There was a great improvement in that area. Everybody came in and did a great job."

                              Ontario's defense forced 13 La Grande turnovers in the conest. Ontario was led by Vanessa Gomez with 13 points, while Kylie Roberts and Jaimi Arant each added 10 points, and AJ Hawk had nine points.

                              La Grande (6-14, 2-5) was led by Jill Jensen with nine points.

                              Ontario travels to Boardman to take on Riverside Friday and is back at home Saturday against Mac-Hi, both games are in Greater Oregon League action.

                                Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              If any team is equipped to end the Burns wrestling teams district title run, it very well could be the Ontario Tigers.

                              Burns has won the last three District 7-3A titles, and ended up claiming 3A state titles.

                              The district tournament begins Friday at Burns High School, and concludes Saturday. The top three in each weight class qualify for the state tournament, which runs Feb. 17 through Feb. 19 at The Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

                              Burns enters the tournament with the bull's-eye squarely on its back. But that does not bother first-year head coach Jeff Kloetzer.

                              "We have been wrestling well," he said. "We've been doing what we should be doing in training. I don't think there is any extra pressure (to repeat). I think we are in good shape."

                              The Hilanders have performed well in tournament formats this season, winning the 94-team Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, the Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa and their own Burns Invitational.

                              "The bigger the tournaments," Kloetzer said, "the better we are going to be because our depth is a factor."

                              Ontario, which was the last team other than Burns to win a district title in 2000-2001, is excited to see how it stacks up against the Hilanders in a tournament format.

                              "This is what we have been working for all season," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have worked really hard the last two weeks getting things sharpened up."

                              The seeding meetings are scheduled for today at Burns High School, but Anthony said he expected to have at least three top seeds - Paul Rangel (189 pounds), Todd Smith (189) and JJ Anthony (215).

                              Ontario has had its own success in tournaments this season, winning the Caldwell Invitational, the LaPine Tournament and finishing fourth in the Oregon Classic.

                              "When we took the Caldwell tournament, we basically had two guys in each weight," Anthony said. "We definitely have to have some guys wrestle real well.

                              Anthony said how his younger wrestlers fare will determine how high Ontario rises in the team standings.

                              "We have so many freshmen, if they wrestle tough we will do well," Anthony said. "The older kids are going to hold their own."

                                William Anderson Argus Observer   

                              It may have taken Ontario nearly three and a half minutes to score its opening points, but the Tigers would not be held down for long, as they continued an offensive assault, rolling to a 57-25 Greater Oregon League victory over Mac-Hi Saturday night in Ontario.

                              Both teams struggled from the onset of the game, with neither team being able to sink a shot, until Ontario's Kylie Roberts hit a jumper with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter to put the Tigers up 2-0.

                              That's as close as the Pioneers would get.

                              Ontario scored the first eight points of the game, before Mac-Hi scored with just under two minutes left in the first quarter for an 8-2 Ontario lead.

                              "They (Mac-Hi) pulled the ball out and were patient," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said about the cold start. "We missed four shots in the first four minutes and hit our next five. That is the way the ball bounces."

                              Both teams exchanged baskets to end the quarter, but Ontario simply used that as a starting point.

                              The two teams played an even game over the first two minutes of the second quarter, before Ontario opened up the game with a 15-2 run to end the half, building up a 32-11 lead.

                              "That was big. It put the game in our hands at the half," Buck said about the run at the end of the half. "We are pretty good inside and outside."

                              In the second half, the Tigers (20-3 overall, 8-1 GOL) continued to play well, as they extended their lead to a game high 32 points with 5:18 left in the game when Saito hit two free throws for a 51-19 lead.

                              "We had a good defensive effort," Buck said. "Jaimi (Arant) is making good decisions for us. She is unselfish."

                              Ontario was led offensively by Vanessa Gomez scoring 11 points for the Tigers, while Kylie Roberts added nine and Stephanie Babij had eight points.

                              Ontario is back in action Thursday, when they travel to Burns in the season and GOL finale.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              It was nearly like looking into a mirror for the Ontario boys basketball team, with a few slight differences.

                              Saturday night, the Ontario Tigers used clutch free throw shooting in the fourth quarter to hang on to defeat Mac-Hi 57-49 in a Greater Oregon League boys basketball game in Ontario.

                              One of the differences in the game for the two teams was the fact that Ontario came out hot in the first half, building up a 20-2 lead and heading into the half with a 34-20 lead, while on the road for the Tigers, Ontario used a late push for the victory.

                              Saturday night, the Tigers (16-5 overall, 7-2 GOL) again used a soft touch from the charity stripe to hold off the Pioneers for the win.

                              In the fourth quarter, six of the Tigers eight points came from the free throw line, as the Tigers converted all six free throws in the quarter, all coming in the final 35 seconds of the game, to hold onto a 51-49 lead, and stretch it out for the victory.

                              "I think it is a combination of a couple things - (Mac-Hi) having nothing to lose, and we got a little complacent," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "It is amazing how fast momentum can change and how hard it is to get back."

                              The momentum that changed from the Tigers' favor was in the third quarter.

                              Ontario was holding onto a double digit lead early in the second half, when Mac-Hi, led by Curtis Carlson, went on a 8-2 run to cut the lead down to 40-32 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

                              Each team exchanged points the rest of the third quarter, for a 49-41 Ontario advantage.

                              The Pioneers made a final push, scoring the fourth quarter's first six points, to cut the lead down to 49-47 with just over four minutes left to play.

                              After a Jacob Blaylock field goal with 2:18 left in the game, Carlson added a lay-up with 39 seconds left, before Ontario sank its free throws.

                              Ontario was led by Nick Babij, scoring 20 points, while Blaylock added 12 points and Tyler David added 10 in the win.

                              Mac-Hi was led by Carlson's 20 points, while teammate Josh Paine added 11 points and Nathan Millar added 10 points.

                              Ontario travels to Burns Thursday to conclude its regular season.

                                 Argus Observer sports staff

                              The host team Burns surprised few in taking home their fourth-straight district title with 305.5 team points, followed by Ontario, 208, Mac-Hi, 185, Baker, 182, Riverside, 178, and La Grande, 122.

                              "We wrestled pretty well," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said.

                              The Tigers had one district champ, as Paul Rangel won the 160-pound weight class as Ontario had four wrestlers fall in the championship match.

                              Toby Smith, 152, Todd Smith, 189, JJ Anthony, 215, and Colin Gundle, 275, earned a state birth with a runner-up performance.

                              "I think Toby Smith had a really good tournament," Anthony said. "Tom Martinez had a really good tournament. The older kids wrestled pretty well and they all placed where they should have. We had a couple of freshman step up and qualify."

                              Toby Smith and Tom Martinez, 103, are the two freshman who qualified, with Martinez picking up a third place finish, along with Jace Nakamura, 125, and Jose Rivera, 145.

                              According to Anthony, the Tigers lost four third-place matches by one or two points, and were real close to having four more wrestlers qualify.

                              "It was pretty much like I expected," Anthony said. "I am pretty happy with the eight that we got."

                              Anthony also said he thought the Hilanders wrestled well in winning their fourth straight district title.

                              Ontario's state qualifiers are headed to Salem Thursday, Friday and Saturday, for their state tournament.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Some are going for the first time, some are going back, but one thing for sure is that eight wrestlers from the Ontario wrestling team are headed to Salem at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, beginning Thursday and through Saturday.

                              Paul Rangel is one of the wrestlers headed back to the state tournament for another chance for a state title after he finished seventh last year at 145-pounds.

                              This year, Rangel moved up to the 160-pound weight class, and won a district title Saturday at the 3A District 7 tournament in Burns.

                              Joining Rangel on the trip to Salem are seniors Todd Smith (189 pounds), JJ Anthony (215), Colin Gundle (215), and Jose Rivera (145).

                              Junior Jace Nakamura (125), freshmen Toby Smith (152) and Tom Martinez (103) round out the Ontario contingent.

                              "As far as the state tournament, it has been the tradition for years, anyone out of the Greater Oregon League has a chance to place at state," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "Any wrestler who qualifies out of our league and wrestles like they should, has a chance."

                              With that said, Anthony thinks his wrestlers have a shot at doing well at the state level.

                              Anthony said Rangel and Todd Smith are seeded pretty high and are favorites to place pretty high.

                              "I think Jose and JJ have a chance to be there as well," Anthony said.

                              Anthony said Gundle also has a shot of doing pretty well at state, as long as he can rebound from nagging injuries.

                              Nakamura is heading back for this third-straight state appearance.

                              As far as a team standpoint, Burns, Estacada and Sweet Home are considered the favorites.

                              Still, Anthony thinks the Tigers will have a chance at bringing home some hardware this season.

                              "Hopefully we can get enough placers," he said. "I think we can bring home some hardware, it just depends on how we wrestle."

                                Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              A significant number of students in Malheur County missed all, or part, of a school day Wednesday because of the state's "Exclusion Day."

                              Exclusion Day is an attempt by the state to ensure all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified day-care centers are up to date with vaccinations. If children are not caught up by the date set by the state, which this year was Wednesday, they are not allowed to return to school until proof of vaccination is submitted to their school.

                              In Nyssa, 19 students in all three schools were excluded because the school district still needed proof of vaccination. Vale School District excluded one student for one day.

                              In Ontario, 241 students missed a portion or all of the school day because of the state vaccination mandate Wednesday including 220 students from Ontario Middle School.

                              Just seven students at the elementary school level and 14 at the high school level were excluded.

                              Ontario Middle School Principal LaVelle Cornwell said OMS, which has 708 students total, had a long line of young people waiting to turn in their vaccination documents at the beginning of the school day. Most, she said, returned to class during some part of the day.

                              She said of those students, many needed their next shot in the hepatitis B series required for middle school-aged children.

                              Cornwell said the school began preparing for Exclusion Day by notifying parents with notes about a month and a half ago, and Wednesday, she said, names of students who still needed to turn in their vaccination proof were announced at the end of the day.

                              "It's a matter of parents following through," Cornwell said.

                              Vaccinations are available through many sources in the area, Kelly Jensen, Malheur County Health Department registered nurse said, including family practitioners, Valley Family Health Care and the health department.

                              "So there are people to give them," she said.

                              Jensen said the health department has been busy vaccinating school kids the past two weeks, but received a steady stream through yesterday morning, trickling off in the afternoon.

                              Ontario Middle School student Amber Smith received her hepatitis B vaccine yesterday afternoon. Her mother, Cyndi Smith, said when she was a child, vaccines were given at school for free.

                              She said she did not mind having to take her kids elsewhere to receive the vaccines they need, even if it did mean missing a day of school.

                              "I'd rather them be out and have to have (vaccinations) than in school and get something," she said.

                              Jensen said the type of vaccination a child needs depends on his or her age, but the top three vaccinations the health department has been distributing are the varicella, or chicken pox vaccines, MMRs (measles, mumps and rubella) and hepatitis B vaccinations.

                              Shots cost between $6 and $15 for each vaccine, and the health department charges on a sliding fee scale, Jensen said, although they have not been requiring children younger than 18 who need vaccinations to pay the same day if families were not able to.

                               Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                              When Paul Rangel won the 135-pound Class 3A state championship in 2003, there was some criticism behind the scenes he had won because his opponent had the equivalent of one arm tied behind his back. Thursday morning, Rangel set out to prove he could beat the same wrestler with both arms free.
                              Donovan Brink | Special to the Argus Observer Ontario's Paul Rangel tries to score a reversal against North Marion's Ivan Cam during their first-round match in the 160-pound class Thursday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center. Rangel won the match by a 6-1 decision on his way to today's quarterfinal round.

                              In one of the strongest weight brackets in the 2005 Class 3A state tournament, Rangel grappled his way into Friday's championships quarterfinals, earning a rematch with Seaside junior Josiah Sigler, whom Rangel beat for the 2003 championship.

                              Rangel, Jose Rivera, Toby Smith and J.J. Anthony all advanced to Friday's quarterfinals with solid first-day performances at the 2005 Class 3A state wrestling championships, which are being held at the newly constructed Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center in Salem.

                              Ontario lost two of its eight-man contingent in Thursday's consolation matches - Tom Martinez and Jace Nakamura were both eliminated from the tournament.

                              As for Rangel, his will be one quarterfinal match, which likely will draw some attention.

                              During their match two years ago, Sigler was wrestling with a heavily wrapped left shoulder, which he had damaged earlier in the tournament yet still reached the finals.

                              "He hit me in the face a couple of times with it," Rangel joked Thursday while some of his Ontario teammates tried to stay alive in consolation action.

                              Rangel is just one of four Tigers who advanced through the first two rounds of championship action and took to the mats at 9 a.m. today for a shot at Friday night's semifinal round.

                              Rangel is the lowest-seeded wrestler in this year's 160-pound class. While that might come as an insult to a one-time state champion, he will run into second-seeded Sigler, who with two healthy arms lost to Ben Cate of Burns in last year's 140-pound title bout.

                              Rangel advanced to the quarterfinals by winning a pair of matches Thursday, beating North Marion's Ivan Cam 6-1 and adding a first-round pin of Sutherlin's Morgan Green.

                              Jose Rivera (145 pounds) also got off to a strong start, beating Colin Phillips of Taft by a 7-2 decision before pummeling Sutherlin's Caleb Scroggins with a 19-1 technical fall.

                              Toby Smith (152), who had a first-round bye, moved on with a 4-3 decision over Philomath's Matt Hill, while 215-pounder J.J. Anthony advanced with a bye and a first-round pin of Sherwood's Ryan Ruge.

                              Anthony's pin seemed much quicker than it was. At roughly the 1-minute mark of the first period, Anthony and Ruge tied up just outside the center circle. In no time at all, Anthony threw a head-and-arm technique with such precision that Ruge fell straight to his back. The actually pinning move took roughly four seconds before the match was stopped.

                              Ontario coach Charlie Anthony overall was pleased with his team's first-day effort, which was interrupted when returning state placer Todd Smith (189) was knocked into the consolation bracket with an 8-4 loss to Riley Gibson of Phoenix.

                              "Rivera had a great day, Paul got it going and J.J. looked pretty good," coach Anthony said. "And to have a freshman (Toby Smith) still alive on the second day, that's pretty good, too."

                              As for Todd Smith's loss, the coach said the elder Smith was simply outwrestled.

                              "(Gibson) is a tough kid, and he just came out stronger than Todd did," Anthony said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see (Gibson) place pretty high. That 189 is a tough weight."

                              Ontario heavyweight Colin Gundle lost his second-round match by a 6-2 decision, but bounced back in Thursday night's consolation action to stay alive with an 11-3 major decision over Elmira's Thor Rogers.

                              By the end of Thursday's action, the Tigers were in 10th place in the team standings with 30.5 points, one point better than La Grande, which sat in 13th place.

                              Three-time defending state champion Burns trailed Estacada after one round of championship matches, but leapt over the Rangers with a strong second round. After launching 10 wrestlers into the quarterfinals, Burns finished the day with 68 points to Estacada's 59.

                                 Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                              Brothers Todd and Toby Smith both wrestled to top-eight state placement to lead the Ontario Tigers Saturday at the Class 3A state wrestling championships at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center.

                              Todd Smith, wrestling at 189 pounds, placed third with his 9-1 consolation championship victory over Rainier's Olin Howlett, while Toby won his way into the placement matches before falling to Steven Dailey of Molalla in the consolation quarterfinals.

                              "That's pretty cool," the elder Smith said of placing at the state tournament with his brother. "For a freshman, he came out here and wrestled his (rear) off."

                              While the Tigers had two wrestlers earn state placement, they had several more fall just short of qualifying for the placement rounds.

                              Among those was one-time state champion Paul Rangel.

                              In a rematch of the 140-pound championship match from 2003, Rangel fell to Seaside's Josiah Sigler in Friday morning's championship quarterfinals by a 4-3 decision. Later Friday morning, he was eliminated from the tournament in a 5-4 loss to Stayton's Chris Porter.

                              Another Tiger, 145-pounder Jose Rivera, also lost in Friday's quarterfinals, dropping a 7-3 decision to second-seeded Matt Lang of Estacada. One match later, Rivera was knocked from the tournament, pinned by Siuslaw's Justin Bentson in 58 seconds.

                              Todd Smith lost his Friday quarterfinal match, but was able to recover to work his way through the consolation bracket. Ontario 215-pounder J.J. Anthony also reached the quarterfinals, but was pinned by top-seed Jeff Crowley of Astoria and eliminated one match later by a pin from LaPine's Jeremy Sanders.

                              "We had a lot of kids lose a lot of close matches on Friday," Ontario coach Charlie Anthony said. "I'm not real disappointed. We could have gotten a little more luck than we had. We just didn't hit everything right this time."

                              Ontario finished within the top 20, taking 19th with 52.5 points. Burns won its fourth straight state title, racking up 222 points. The Hilanders easily outdistanced second place Estacada (173.5) and third place Phoenix (116.5).

                              Todd Smith bounced back from his quarterfinal loss by winning four consecutive consolation matches: a second-round pin of Toledo's Bobby Rudel, a 24-second pin of Stayton's Cameron Koumentis, a 9-2 decision over Kyle Witty of La Grande, and finally the major decision of Howlett in the consolation champioship match.

                              "This one feels a lot better," said Smith, who placed fifth at the 2004 state championships. "I didn't wrestle as well as I could have in the early rounds."

                              Toby Smith, meanwhile, recovered from his quarterfinal loss by beating Sweet Home's Colton Cooley 7-3 in his first consolation match. After falling to Molalla's Steven Dailey 14-1 in the consolation quarterfinals, he was beaten 9-7 by Illinois Valley's Westcott Lynch in the seventh-place match.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              A stellar defensive performance helped the fifth-ranked Ontario girls basketball team prove last Thursday was no fluke, as the Tigers knocked off No. 2-ranked Burns, 46-41, Tuesday evening in a 3A District 7 seeding game at Vale High School.

                              Last Thursday, the Tigers went into Burns and came away with a 48-41 victory, handing Burns its first loss of the season.

                              The Tigers continued to show Burns, and everybody else, they belong atop the Greater Oregon League with the win.

                              "We played good defense the whole game," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "Our biggest thing was we fought the mental side of missing shots. We struggled with that at first."

                              The Hilanders problems started in the fourth quarter, as Ontario picked up its defensive, and offensive, intensity.

                              Burns (22-2 overall) started the quarter with a 35-30 lead, with things in its favor.

                              Burns' lead would not last long in the quarter, as Ontario opened up the quarter on a 7-2 run during the first two minutes, tying the game up, 37-37.

                              The Hilanders responded with a free throw and a 3-pointer during a 75 second stretch, to retake the lead, 41-37, with 4:50 left to play.

                              From there on out it was Ontario's (22-3) game.

                              During the next minute and a half, Ontario went 3-for-6 from the free throw line to pull the game within one point, 41-40, before A.J. Hawk hit a jumper inside the 3-point line with 2:54 left to play, putting Ontario up, 42-41.

                              After a missed field goal by Burns, Hawk hit a pair of free throws to put Ontario up 44-41 with 58 seconds to play.

                              Burns took the ball down court and a 3-pointer was off the mark, giving Ontario the ball back and the opportunity to run out the clock.

                              Instead, Jaimi Arant hit a pair of free throws with only 22 seconds left to secure the victory.

                              During the fourth quarter, Ontario's defense held Burns to only 1-for-7 shooting from the floor

                              "I really wasn't thinking," Hawk said about her late free throws. "I knew I had to make my free throws."

                              Hawk, along with Kayla Mitchell and Kylie Roberts led the Tigers with 10 points each in the win. Vanessa Gomez added 11 rebounds for Ontario.

                              "Kayla Mitchell coming in off the bench and having confidence shooting was a big turning point for us," Buck said.

                              Burns was led by Katie Torland with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Jessica Clemens added 13 points in the loss.

                              "We couldn't hit a bucket and they made key shots," Burns coach Alice Herauf said. "Ontario is a good team and they made shots down the stretch."

                              Burns will play Baker Thursday evening at Burns, while Ontario will host the winner of that game Saturday in Ontario.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              The Burns girls basketball team took back something that they have owned for the last two seasons - the Greater Oregon League title.

                              Saturday evening, the Burns Hilanders knocked off Ontario 44-32 in the 3A District 7 girls basketball tournament at Ontario High School.

                              True, the Ontario girls and the Burns girls each shared the regular season title, with Ontario taking the tie breaker Monday evening in Vale, as the two teams have played three times in the last 10 days.

                              After a pair of Ontario victories over the defending state champions, Burns got back on top, taking the No. 1 seed out of the district, to the state sub tournament, beginning Wednesday.

                              Ontario will host Rainier Wednesday evening in the first round of the state sub tournament.

                              Early on, it appeared as if Ontario was going to win their third straight against Burns, jumping out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.

                              Burns quickly responded in the second quarter. After a Tigers (23-4) field goal, to grab a 15-6 lead, before the Hilanders (23-3) really got going.

                              The Hilanders scored the next six points and a 13-3 overall run to finish off the half, with Burns on top 19-18.

                              "They just played better than us tonight. We missed a lot of shots," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We led early, and just went on a long stretch without scoring."

                              In the second half, Ontario managed only 14 points, while Burns scored 25 points, to pull away for the victory.

                              "We didn't make a lot of shots inside and Burns played good defense," Buck said. "This whole week and a half, both teams have gotten a lot better."

                              Vanessa Gomez led Ontario with 10 points.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              The Ontario girls gameplan may be simple, but the Tigers will have their hands full trying to accomplish the task.

                              Wednesday night, Ontario hosts the Rainier Columbians in the first round of the 3A OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires State Sub Tournament.

                              Ontario head coach Jon Buck said the Tigers need to score more points than Rainier.

                              "The gameplan is the same as always, play good defense and keep turnovers low," Buck said. "I would like to shoot better than the last couple of games."

                              Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Ontario High School, with the winner advancing to play at Gladstone Saturday, while the loser gets to begin spring sports.

                              Buck and the Tigers (23-4 overall) know a little about the Columbians.

                              "They press a lot and play a couple of different defenses. They play zone and man," Buck said. "They are pretty fast and quick, but not tall or big. They are pretty scrappy and like to fastbreak."

                              Buck said the Tigers have a size advantage over Rainier, with the tallest post player listed at 5-foot-5. But the Columbians also have good outside shooters.

                              "We will have to get to them and not let them have those shots," Buck said. "I think we will be in good shape. We have to play well from here on out."

                              As for the Tigers, Buck said the bench is going to have to step up and play big minutes for the Tigers. Also, the Tigers will have to do a better job on the offensive boards.

                              "We are still trying to get better in all phases of the game," Buck said. "Our bench is going to have to step up."

                              Buck said at this point in the season, every team the Tigers face is going to be good.

                              William Anderson is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-5387, or by e-mail, WilliamA@argusobserver.com. Story ideas are always welcomed.

                               William Anderson Argus Observer

                              After suffering through a poor first quarter, the Ontario girls basketball team turned up their intensity a notch, and cruised to a 55-38 victory over the Rainier Columbians during the first round of the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires State Sub Tournament at Ontario High School Wednesday.

                              Coming out of the first half, the Tigers trailed Rainier 3-2.

                              Quickly out of the game, the Tigers roared to the tune of 11 straight points in the first two minutes of the second quarter, to jump to a 13-3 lead. Ontario would never trail again.

                              "We needed to take a few inside shots in the first quarer," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We did not take an opportunity in the first quarter."

                              Following the Tigers run to open the quarter, each team battled back and forth until Ontario took a 24-14 lead after the first half.

                              '"We would get a little run, but Rainier got back going. They hit a few 3's and kept things going," Buck said. "Rainier did a good job to keep it close."

                              The second half belonged to Ontario, as the Tigers (23-4 overall) kept pushing, opening the second half on a 8-2 run over the first four and a half minutes, to take a 32-16 lead.

                              The Columbians responded with a free throw and a 3-pointer to cut down the Tigers' lead to 32-20.

                              The rest of the quarter, Ontario outscored Rainier 7-4, for a 39-24 lead after three quarters of play.

                              "The second half we sent the ball inside and we also kicked it out," Buck said. "We had decent outside shots, but the advantage for us was inside."

                              With the Tigers having an obvious height advantage over the Columbians, the Tigers utilized their post play, as Vanessa Gomez scored a game-high 14 points and AJ Hawk added seven points, as the two girls combined for 15 rebounds.

                              During the final quarter of play, Ontario pushed their lead to a game-high 23 points, three times. First, when Vanessa Gomez completed a three point play, as the Tigers went up 51-28, with 3:24 left in the game.

                              The Tigers did it twice more in the final three minutes, to hold on for the victory.

                              Ontario's Kylie Roberts and Stephanie Babi each scored 10 points in the win.

                              Rainier was led by Megan Benson and Trista Staehely, who each came off the bench, with 10 points, while Leanna Nagunst grabbed 10 rebounds.

                              The win advances Ontario to the second round of the Sub Tournaments, as they travel to Gladstone Saturday.

                              We never set out to fight the Ontario School District. Instead, we simply preferred to focus on our job to report the news and to ask relevant questions.

                              Probably no other incident leaves as many unanswered questions and as bad an aftertaste for taxpayers as the recent legal case between the Argus Observer and the Ontario School District.

                              For those readers unfamiliar with this episode, the issue revolves around an incident last spring when several Ontario High School teachers showed students an Internet video of American hostage Nicholas Berg's beheading by Iraqi insurgents.

                              At first glance, the entire incident appeared straightforward. The incident occurred; school officials conceded it was a violation of school board policy; the incident led to some kind of teacher discipline and an apparent apology from the teachers to the school board.

                              I say apparent because, at the end of the day, we really don't know what occurred in terms of the discipline the school board thought appropriate in this incident.

                              The board spent at least 80 minutes reviewing the incident at a May executive session. Some type of discussion apparently went on. Unfortunately, we'll never know what was decided. Especially in light of the fact there are no minutes, no record, of the executive session. Which, while not wanting to put too fine a point on it, is a violation of the Oregon Public Records Law.

                              We initially tried to play the video episode as straight up as possible. We asked for information. We were denied. So we petitioned Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris to make a legal judgment on our public information requests. We asked for a number of items, including the names of the teachers disciplined and a description of the disciplinary action taken against the teachers.

                              Norris declined all of our requests but one. He ruled the public had a right to know what kind of action the school board instituted in regard to teacher discipline. SpecificallyNorris wrote: "Decisions by elected officials are properly subjected to scrutiny by the press

                                Donovan Brink special to the Argus Observer

                              With a trip to the state tournament on the line, the Lady Tigers left nothing to chance.

                              A 3-pointer by Kylie Roberts early in the second quarter pushed Ontario to a 19-1 lead as the Lady Tigers busted Gladstone, winning 54-38 and earning a spot in the eight-team state tournament, which for the girls begins Thursday.

                              Ontario (24-4 overall) will face Marist in the first round of the state tournament Thursday at 9:15 p.m. MST at Oregon State University's Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

                              The Lady Tigers had little trouble with Gladstone. After their rough start in an earlier state playoff game against Rainier, Ontario led Gladstone 16-1 after one quarter and 24-10 at halftime, thanks in part to 11 points - and three 3-pointers - by Kylie Roberts.

                              Ontario beat Gladstone under the basket, as A.J. Hawk finished with 16 points and Vanessa Gomez also added 16 points.

                              "We wanted to get the ball inside," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "That's all we really tried to do."

                              When Roberts hit a 3-pointer early in the second quarter, the outcome was all but decided for Ontario. After Gladstone recovered to pull within 21-10, Hawk hit a free throw and Roberts added a field goal for a 24-10 halftime lead.

                              In the third quarter, Ontario led by as many as 16 points, getting a 3-pointer from Roberts, back-to-back buckets by Hawk and a score from Gomez to lead 37-21 after three quarters.

                              With Gladstone challenging in the fourth quarter, Hawk converted a three-point play and added a bucket with 4:56 to play, pushing Ontario to a 46-28 lead, and all but locking up the victory.

                              Any doubt of Ontario's win was sealed in the final two minutes when Gomez hit a field goal then converted a free throw for a 50-31 lead with 2:54 to go.

                              Ontario enters Thursday's Class 3A state tournament on the bottom half of the bracket, opposite Greater Oregon League champion Burns, which secured a spot in the final round of eight by beating Scappoose 45-28 Saturday.

                                Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              It wouldn't be a tournament without the fifth-ranked Ontario Tigers.

                              Ontario begins play at the OSAA Class 3A Girls State Basketball Championships Thursday in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The Tigers (24-4 overall) meet 10th-ranked Marist (17-8) in the opening round.

                              The other first round matchups include No. 2 Burns (25-2) vs. unranked Junction City (20-6), No. 4 Cascade (23-1) vs. top-ranked North Bend (24-1) and No. 3 Tillamook (22-1) vs. No. 8 Philomath (20-4).

                              "There are a lot of good teams in the tournament," senior point guard Jaimi Arant said. "But I think this team has gotten better as the season as gone on."

                              The trip to Corvallis is the seventh straight Ontario and the 13th in the last 15 years for the Tigers. Ontario has brought home trophies each of the last six seasons, joining Marist as the only schools to accomplish the feat.

                              Ontario head coach Jon Buck said making the annual trek west never gets old.

                              "We enjoy it a lot," Buck said. "It's a lot of fun. You get to see a lot of good teams, and figure out what you need to work on to become one of those teams."

                              The Tigers, whose best finish was a third-place in 1993, beat Rainier and Gladstone in the subtournament to earn their place among the elite eight.

                              Against Rainier, Ontario scored only two points in the first quarter, but rebounded for a 55-38 win. Against Gladstone, there was no such lull for Ontario, which opened a 19-1 lead and never looked back.

                              "I think we took Rainier to easily," junior Kylie Roberts said. "We thought we would step in walk all over them, and it bit us in the butt. Against Gladstone, we saw film, and we knew how fast they were. So we knew we needed to be at the top of our game. And we came out and took care of business."

                              The Tigers will have a tough road with the defending state champions - Burns - in attendance. Ontario handed the Hilanders both of their losses on the season, and the two teams are on opposite sides of the bracket.

                              "I'd like for it to come down to a GOL final," Arant said. "That would be great, but there are other great teams there that we will have to deal with."

                              Buck believes Burns will be in the thick of the title chase, but said he also likes Cascade, Tillamook and North Bend to challenge the Hilanders.

                              "I'd pick Tillamook right now," Buck said. "Any four of them are capable of winning tournament. And I think we are right up there as well."

                                 Christen McCurdy Argus Observer

                              The report cards are in.

                              Three Ontario elementary schools received good news when the Oregon Department of Education issued its annual state report card in December.

                              Cairo Elementary School was rated an exceptional school by the state, and Aiken and May Roberts elementary schools both received a "strong" rating.

                              Ontario's other schools received a satisfactory rating from the state.

                              Administrators at all three schools said the improved ratings are the result of a great deal of hard work in each building.

                              "I think No. 1 is we had some students who started out pretty low and the staff members just brought them along," Cairo Elementary School Principal Steve Bishop said.

                              Bishop said the school has not implemented any new programs in terms of reading and writing or mathematics, but has focused on helping students in the building improve on their skills.

                              "Reading and math have really taken a front burner," May Roberts Elementary School Principal Frances Ramirez said.

                              Ramirez said at May Roberts the students have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction every day, and parents are even encouraged not to make doctor appointments for their children during those times so the children get the instruction every day they are in school.

                              Another innovation has been funding for regular meetings of teachers in each grade level so they are all on the same page, and progress tracking of students who are identified as needing help.

                              Aiken Elementary School Principal Mark Hinthorn said school staff worked to improve in every area the report card rates schools.

                              The report card this year gave schools an overall rating and also ranked youth on student performance (academic achievement), student behavior (attendance/dropout rates), improvement and school characteristics. School improvement director Sherri Sims said the school characteristics number refers to the number of children the school actually tests. Ontario Public School rated as exceptional in this area, she said, because educators made sure everyone was tested.

                              "We don't exempt a bunch of kids so our school will be better," Sims said. "We test them all."

                              The state's report card rates districts as part of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but the ratings are separate from determinations of whether the schools met adequate yearly progress. Where the state's ratings are based on a number of different factors, AYP is determined solely on student achievement on test scores and student participation.

                              "The Oregon report is more holistic," Sims said.

                              Overall, students in the district met or exceeded standards, but AYP determinations are based not on the achievements of the group as a whole. Instead, the failure of one group of students identified by the act to meet standards results in a "did not meet AYP" standard for the whole district. In Ontario's case, white students met standards in student achievement and participation. Hispanic students, special education students, limited English proficient students and economically disadvantaged students did not meet student achievement standards but did meet student participation standards. Only the elementary schools are designated Title 1 schools by the district, Sims said, so those are the schools that stand to face federal funding problems if they fail to meet adequate yearly progress standards down the line. Eligibility for Title 1 funding, she said, is determined by census figures on how many children qualify for free or reduced lunch. In Ontario, that number is 70 percent, though numbers are higher at some schools than others.

                              "So many of the things in (No Child Left Behind) were already in the law, but they didn't have the teeth that this one has," Sims said. "A lot of people are sitting up and paying attention."

                                Larry Meyer Argus Observer

                              here was a general consensus among residents at a public meeting Tuesday night at Ontario High School that construction of a facility on a new, larger site was the preferred option.

                              The next big issue for school bond supporters, though, will be how to get the rest of the community on board and engaged in the project.

                              An estimated 80 to 90 people gathered Tuesday at the OHS Commons for the meeting sponsored by the Ontario School District to discuss the future of a new high school.

                              The meeting was conducted by Mike Patano, Nate Turner and Shellie Loper of The Matrix Group, consultants in educational facility planning and management and was preceded by tours of the building.

                              This session was an outgrowth of a report by a district facilities committee which recommended to the school board last summer the high school either be replaced or be revamped.

                              In opening his discussion, Patano said, "The real work needs to be done by you folks."

                              "What we have today is a school built in 1952, on 26 acres," Patano said.

                              A number of programs, he said, are handled off site because there is not enough room.

                              He said it is important to go out into the community to ask folks what they want in a high school.

                              "This is about gathering information," he said about the meeting. "There are no preconceived ideas."

                              Patano said most high schools have a life of 50 to 70 years. Patano said the OHS building was getting to the end of its useful life. The standard campus size is about 40 to 50 acres, he said.

                              The school plays a vital part in the community, Patano said. "Whatever we do is for the kids," he said.

                              Patano led participants in an exercise in which they were split into groups to decide and list their preferences on such issues as rebuilding or remodeling, to stay at the same location or move the high school to a new location, and if going to a new location, what to do about the football stadium.

                              There were 15 groups.

                              Patano said cost issues at a new site would include, beside construction, purchase of a new site and putting in the infrastructure such as water, power and phones and landscaping.

                              Costs for building at the current site would include the price of demolishing the existing building and restoring some of the athletic fields, Patano said, noting construction of a school would take about 18 months versus 12 to 14 months at a new site.

                              While there was consensus to build on a new site, there was not a consensus on where, but suggestions focused on the west side of town, either near the Yturri Memorial Beltline or between Southwest Fourth Avenue and Southwest 18th Avenue.

                              There was also no consensus on the football stadium, with people mentioning the concerns about having adequate parking and handicapped access. However, there was also concerns about students and others who walk to activities, and keeping that option available to them. It was suggested the stadium could be left as the location for games, with practice fields and new, larger track facilities constructed at the new site.

                              Those practice fields could be converted later as a stadium.

                              One group said it is important all options be explored on whether to rebuild or remodel and the pro and cons be presented.

                              Also, a part of the discussion was the option, once a new high school is built, to move the middle school to the vacated high school building, so those students will be in one building, instead of being spread through several buildings.

                              Patano said a similar public meeting will be held in about another month.

                              "We need to hear from everyone," he said.

                                Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                              During a game in which the Lady Tigers found themselves constantly clawing back into their opening-round Class 3A state tournament game, Marist junior Kristina Neet, who incidentally wears No. 33 - had a 3-point shooting night for the record books, going 8-for-8 from behind the arc as the Spartans held off a late surge by Ontario to earn a 72-71 victory and end any Ontario hopes of an all Greater Oregon League state championship pairing with Burns.

                              "We didn't take away their strengths well enough," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said, alluding to Neet's state tournament record-setting performance. "Neet shot some deep ones, and she's good at it, and we let her have too many of those."

                              Marist head coach Makano Apo was thrilled with his team's sudden outside threat, which he said was available early in the season, but never materialized.

                              "We didn't have much of a perimeter game at the start," Apo said. "We had the shooters, but they weren't hitting their shots."

                              Ontario rallied from double-digit deficits throughout the night, none more notable or memorable than the Lady Tigers' furious drive from a 17-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to bring the game down to the final seconds, and every fan in Gill Coliseum to the edge of their seats.

                              Trailing 59-42 with 5:21 remaining, Ontario went on an 11-3 run - which included a 3-pointer by Jaimi Arant - to pull within 62-56 with two minutes remaining.

                              But, like earlier Ontario rallies, Marist recovered and extended the lead back to double digits, leaving many of the cardinal-and-corn-clad fans to believe a victory was near impossible.

                              Sporting the never-say-die attitude that has long been the label of OHS girls basketball, the Lady Tigers rallied again, getting five of their next seven points from Vanessa Gomez to pull within 69-63 with just less than one minute to play.

                              After an Ontario bucket by Kylie Roberts and a free throw by Marist's Neet, A.J. Hawk scored to pull Ontario with 70-67 with 20 seconds remaining. Moments later, Gomez stole an errant Marist pass and scored to make it a one-point ballgame with 13.2 seconds remaining.

                              Marist's Tana Loftin converted a pair of free throws to once again make it a three-point game, leading 72-69.

                              Ontario brought the ball down the floor looking to get Roberts open for a 3-point look. When that failed, Stephanie Babij took an open 3-pointer which was perfectly on line, but clipped the front of the rim and caromed off the back rim. Gomez grabbed the rebound and scored at the buzzer for the final margin.

                              "We did all the right things to come back and have a shot at the end," Buck said.

                              Ontario led 3-2 early in the first quarter, but Marist quickly put the Lady Tigers in to dire straits with a 15-0 run, and led 17-5 after one quarter.

                              "We weren't playing at the speed we needed to play," Buck said. "It was like the girls were a little unsure of themselves. There was no sense of urgency like there should be in a state tournament game."

                              Neet began to light up the Lady Tigers in the second quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and converting a three-point play to help the Spartans maintain their dozen-point lead, 32-20, at halftime.

                              The Lady Tigers rallied to pull within two points, 34-32, early in the third quarter, but again fell victim to Neet's neat 3-point shooting as the Spartan hit back-to-back treys for a 40-32 lead, converted another 3-pointer for a 49-36 advantage, then was fouled on a 3-pointer - which she made - and hit the free throw for a 53-38 Marist lead entering the fourth quarter.

                              Neet wasn't as big a factor in the fourth quarter, but Loftin was, scoring nine of Marist' 19 fourth-quarter points.

                              Gomez led all Ontario scorers with 23 points and had 10 rebounds, while Roberts also posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Hawk had 12 points and seven rebounds for Ontario, while Stephanie Babij added nine points.

                              Neet finished with a game-high 31 points on 9-for-11 total field-goal shooting, while Loftin added 16 along with six steals.

                              Neet's 8-for-8 shooting from 3-point range set new records for the most 3-pointers made in a tournament game, as well as the highest 3-point percentage in a tournament game.

                              Ontario faces Cowapa League champion Tillamook today in the consolation round. Tillamook was beaten by Philomath, 52-50, prior to the Ontario-Marist contest.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Ontario's Chris Schauer and Ricky Ramirez combined to toss a one-hitter, holding Weiser to only three base runners, as the Tigers cruised to an 18-0 win over the Wolverines Tuesday afternoon in a nonleague baseball game at Ontario High School.

                              The game was the season opener for both teams.

                              Schauer and Ramirez forced the Wolverines into 12 ground ball outs, two strikeouts and a runner thrown out, while pounding out 12 hits, on the way to scoring 18 runs.

                              The excitement of Weiser's lone hit, a single by Josh Munson, was shortlived, as Munson was thrown out trying to advance to second.

                              "We knew we were going to struggle offensively with only three guys with varsity experience," Weiser head coach Ted Pettet said. "Our numbers are way down and we had two starters who didn't get to play. It will come around."

                              The hit by Munson, was the only ball the Ontario pitchers allowed to leave the infield all game.

                              "They both threw really well," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "Chris has four different pitches, we had to force him to throw a fastball. He did good at mixing it up and changing speeds. We had to force Ricky to throw off-speed."

                              Horn also said that this year's Tigers (1-0 overall) boast five or six players who can pitch when called upon.

                              As for the Tigers' offense, despite not getting a hit until the sixth batter, Ontario managed to score three runs in the opening inning, all after two outs, and kept building from there.

                              In the second frame, the Tigers tacked on two more runs, with two outs, helped by a triple by Matt Mejia, who finished the game with two triples and two runs batted in, to build a 5-0 lead after two innings.

                              Ontario blew the game open in the third, with a nine run inning, followed by four more runs in the fourth inning.

                              "Our offense did put the ball in play and we were selective at the plate," Horn said. "We are pretty well-rounded and have confidence in our pitchers. The defense did a great job."

                              Jose Garcia and Eddie Mendoza each finished with two hits and two RBIs, while Daniel Schram knocked in two runs.

                              Ontario is back in action Thursday, when they travel to Payette in a nonconference game, while Weiser (0-1) travels to Vale Thursday in a nonleague contest.

                                Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              The Ontario School Board heard from district food service supervisor Elaine Russell during its Tuesday morning special work session.

                              While the school board will not address district policy at tonight's regularly scheduled board meeting - an item initially included on the agenda - school nutrition was included among those policies to be reviewed.

                              The policy issue agenda item was revoked because Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said the board should take a little bit longer to discuss and review the policies.

                              Board members have not had time to discuss the matter since last month's school board meeting, when they made minor revisions to various policy topics, based on recommendations from the state.

                              The school's nutrition program, the school district's responsibilities and vending machines, were some issues raised last month.

                              While discussion is likely to continue pertaining to school board policy, board members had a better idea of how the district's food program operates after Russell's presentation.

                              According to Russell, the school district provides about 1,200 breakfasts and 1,800 lunches to students each day.

                              The school district receives some cost reimbursement from federal programs because the schools have been designated "severe need" schools.

                              The meals provided by the school meet United States Department of Agriculture nutrition standards and the nutritional value in each item served is carefully documented by the school, Russell said.

                              Russell said the biggest change in the standards pertains to fat and sodium content, however, the school district has not had to make any major changes because the fat and sodium content were well within the regulations.

                              "We're following this program because it proves we're doing something right," Russell said.

                              Answering board member Pamela Russell's question pertaining to low-carbohydrate diets, which some school districts have chosen to recognize, Elaine Russell said she refused to serve low-carb meals.

                              "I think it's the most ignorant diet I've ever heard of," she said.

                              Russell said the bottom line at the school district was to go back to the major food groups, and to provide healthy choices. Students, she said, have a choice what they eat, and can decide between three or four entrees.

                              "There's more going in the trash than I'd like, but you can't control that," Russell said, answering a question from one of the board members. She said by giving students a choice, at least the school district is enticing students to eat something, although Russell said she does not approve of some of the foods, such as sugary cereals.

                              Still, she said, the only meals some of the students receive every day are the ones they are served at school, "so if they end up eating a Cocoa Puff, it's better than nothing."

                              Russell also said she and her staff are very selective about what is served to the students, focusing on what they want to eat, and what tastes good.

                              "If we won't eat it, then I'm not serving it to a kid," Russell said. "We're very quality conscious."

                              Russell said she thinks the school district is doing a good job to ensure students receive quality meals that are cost effective for the school district and cites the high percentage of students who eat school lunches at school. Carter said the school board will discuss school policies on school food and vending machines again at next month's board meeting.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              The Ontario baseball team continued to dominate its opponents, picking up a 12-0 win over Payette in a nonconference baseball game Thursday at Harmon Killebrew Field in Payette.

                              The Tigers pitching staff continued to pitch strong, allowing only three hits on the day, while their offense knocked out 13 hits of their own.

                              "I was telling the team how they played better than they did Tuesday," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We hit the ball hard, everybody was hitting. Things look great offensively. I love the way we hit the ball."

                              Hit the ball is what the Tigers did. Six of their 13 hits were for extra bases, with Matt Mejia belting a pair of triples, while Nick Alvarado drilled a two-run home run.

                              The Tigers got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in the first inning.

                              Payette managed to advance a runner to third base in the bottom of the frame, but he was left stranded on third, when the final out of the inning was made.

                              Each team went quietly in the second inning, before Ontario exploded for five runs in the third and fourth innings.

                              "Ontario is a quality team, while we are still in the works," Payette head coach Tracy Bratcher said. "We will get there eventually. Our guys are doing good things."

                              After two games, Horn still sees a lot of room for improvement for the Tigers (2-0 overall)

                              "I think we are going to see better pitching. So we will be working against our pitching (in practice)," he said. "We are on the right track."

                              Horn also said the Tigers pitching is looking good after only two games.

                              "We cannot get much better, only allowing four hits (in the two games)," Horn said.

                              Kurt Kolbaba picked up the win for the Tigers, pitching the first three innings, while Jose Garcia pitched the final two innings, striking out five batters and going 3-for-4 from the plate.

                              Tyler David went 3-for-3 for the Tigers, and Kyle Doman joined Alvarado, to knock in two runs.

                              For the Pirates (0-3), Matt Coats took the loss on the mound and Alan Wood had a double for the Pirates in the loss.

                              "We are doing some things well and starting to get ahead of some hitters," Bratcher said. "The way we are swinging the bats, we are going to have to have Cy Young performances."

                              The Tigers are on the road next Friday, when they travel to Weiser, while Payette hosts Melba in a doubleheader Saturday.

                                John Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario and Adrian track and field teams joined the Nyssa Bulldogs for the non-scoring Nyssa Invitational Track Meet Thursday at Nyssa High School.

                              The meet was designed for all the teams to work out the bugs, try different kids out in events and for new track athletes to get the feel of being on the track during a meet situation.

                              Nyssa's Luz Gordillo took advantage early in the meet, setting a new Nyssa record for the girls high jump. On her second attempt, Gordillo, a junior, sailed over the bar at the 9-foot mark. This bettered the previous record of 8-6 by six inches.

                              "I hopefully hit the 10-foot mark this year," Gordillo said.

                              Coaches for all three teams agreed upon one thing for this year - their teams are young.

                              "This will be a building year," Ontario assistant coach Kate Guerrero said. "We have a few returnees, but the team is full of freshmen and kids who have never run track before."

                              The Tigers currently have 47 on the young team, but do have a few standouts.

                              "Jordan Bainbridge will be tough in the 400 and Riley Frisby should place well in the 800," Guerrero said, speaking of district and state hopefuls.

                              "This is a growing year for us, but we have some tough freshmen," Adrian head coach Andrea Buchholz said. "We have good athletes, but we are very young."

                              When speaking of leaders, Buchholz is looking toward a few on the team.

                              "We want a lot out of Aaron Langley in the long and triple jump and hurdles and watch Sarah McPeak in the hurdles," Buchholz said.

                              "We have a strong unit, especially in the throws and middle distances and we have excellent jumpers," Nyssa head coach Jeff Larson said.

                              Larson was quick to point out Zach McDonald returns after last year's champion in the shot put. The Bulldogs also see Jose Escobedo return in the javelin from last year's team.

                              "Today, Chelsey Ramos started off one foot less than her best throw of last year," Larson said referring to the javelin competition. "She is starting off well."

                              "We are looking for Kelsey Storm in the relays and sprints and Laura Urridia in the pole vault, hurdles and relays to come out big for us this year," Larson said. "We expect both the boys and girls to be fighting for the district championship. Vale and Grant Union will be tough and you can never count out Enterprise."

                                Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              The Ontario District School Board renewed Superintendent Dennis Carter's contract for a three-year period at Thursday night's regular meeting.

                              The contract, which extends from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2008, did not have many changes from his previous contract, Carter said.

                              The biggest change was the 2 percent boost in Carter's annuity compensation, which came in lieu of a raise of salary.

                              As superintendent, Carter receives $93,000 a year for his work overseeing the district's schools and operations. The 2 percent hike came out to be about a $1,900 increase in his annuity, which goes toward his retirement, Carter said. The language in his contract states "the superintendent shall be provided a tax sheltered annuity of $14,151 annually, which shall be paid in 12 monthly installments of $1,179.25."

                              During his three-year period, his contract terms state the superintendent's salary will be negotiated for the 2006 to 2007 year and 2007 to 2008, but it cannot be less than the previous year.

                              Carter said in lieu of regular salary increases, his annuity compensation has been adjusted.

                              Last year, Carter said, his annuity increase was about 1.5 percent.

                              The 2 percent increase was in line, Carter said, with the 2 percent increase the district administrators received in their insurance benefits this year. Next year, any increase will affect their salaries.

                              In all, Carter's total salary of about $107,000, is comparable with other superintendents' salaries, he said. Carter's contract was passed by four of the five school board members. Marlow Pounds abstained during the vote.

                              Pounds said he has no complaints about Carter's performance.

                              "Dr. Carter has done a fine job as superintendent," Pounds said.

                              His only concern centered around the annuity increase. Pounds said he thought there should be a maximum amount allowed to anybody, but refused to comment further.

                              "It's just the principle for me," Pounds said.

                              In the otherwise brief meeting, the school board also approved accepting a $250 award from Wells Fargo that will go toward buying jump ropes and hula hoops at May Roberts Elementary.

                              The district will be discussing another $450 award from Wells Fargo bank to go to another school in the district at next month's meeting.

                              Three recent articles in the Argus Observer address issues related to a legal dispute between the Argus and the Ontario School District. They were: a news article titled "Judge rules on Argus, school district suit" printed Feb. 20, 2005, an opinion page article by editor Pat Caldwell titled "Shattered alliance" printed March 6, 2005 and another news article titled "School district spent nearly $20,000 on lawsuit" printed March 15, 2005. Although two of the three were printed as news articles the volume of quotes from Argus publisher Steve Krehl and Argus editor Pat Caldwell make them as much the opinion of the paper as news articles. In addition to these three articles the Argus printed various news and opinion articles last summer related to this story. With the obvious slant in the articles it is appropriate for the school district to respond with "The rest of the story."

                              The issue started with the showing by teachers to students of a video of American hostage Nicholas Berg's beheading by Iraqi insurgents. The district administration determined this to be a violation of school district policy and took disciplinary action against the teachers. Along with the disciplinary action the district provided a press release and note to the parents of involved students expressing regret for the incident and informing them that appropriate disciplinary action had been taken. The district determined it was appropriate under the law to release the information but not to release information regarding against whom the disciplinary action was taken or what the disciplinary action was. Under Oregon law most actions of the district are public and must be disclosed to the press. However, personnel items including discipline are generally not available to the press under the law.

                              The Argus and the Associated Press took issue with the school district's interpretation of the law. They demanded that the school district disclose the names of the teachers involved, the disciplinary action taken, and a variety of other items. When the district declined to provide the information demanded by the Argus and Associated Press the news agencies took legal action against the district by petitioning Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris to make a legal judgment on their public information requests. With this petition the Argus initiated the legal action.

                              It is the responsibility of the district through its administration to interpret the law in this type of case. The district must consider the law as written along with interpretations of the law made in past court cases. The district in making its decision must balance under the law the public's right to know against the right of privacy by the individuals involved. Once the interpretation is made the district has an obligation under the law to follow its interpretation. If someone on any side of the issue disagrees with the decision of the district, they have a right to pursue a legal interpretation at the next step.

                              The Argus disagreed with the interpretation of the law by the district and pursued it to the next step, the district attorney. The Argus and the Associated Press appealed to the district attorney to require the release of four items by the district. Although the Argus has stated repeatedly that the school district started this case by suing the Argus this is the point at which the legal action started. The Argus legally appealed to the first place of an appropriate appeal of the school district's action. This was the start of the case not when the district appealed the district attorney's opinion.

                              Each side was asked by the district attorney to provide arguments for its case before he made a decision. When he made a decision he ruled for the district in three of the four items. He agreed with the Argus that the district should provide information to the Argus related to the discipline imposed on the teachers. Either side at that point had the option to appeal to the court. The Argus could have appealed to the court for release of the three items denied, and the district could appeal to the court to not release the disciplinary action imposed. The Argus elected not to appeal and in fact opined in an editorial that it probably wouldn't have been appropriate to release that information anyway. If it would have been wrong to release the information, why did the Argus ask the district attorney to require the district to release it?

                              At this point the district had two options. It could release the information as required by the district attorney or appeal the decision to the court. A reading of the district attorney's decision makes these two options very clear. The district after consultation with legal counsel opted to appeal the decision. As stated earlier the district with this appeal did not start the legal fight. It simply still believed its interpretation of the law and appealed to the next proper step, the court. If the district believed its interpretation of the law to be correct, it would have been inappropriate for it to release the information without going to the next step.

                              With the appeal to the court both sides of the dispute were allowed to make arguments of their case to the judge. A hearing was held in which she decided she needed more information from the district before she could make a decision. After hearing the arguments of both sides and being provided the additional information she ruled for the district, that the information sought by the Argus was exempt from disclosure. Once the judge handed down her decision it is the law related to this case. The school district no longer has the option of making its studied interpretation of the law.

                              The court's interpretation of the law is the law the district must abide by unless it is appealed to a higher court.

                              To violate the judge's decision at this point would virtually assure those disciplined a successful suit against the district with a much higher financial risk by the district than the present case. But Mr. Krehl on behalf of the Argus poses in a statement in the February 20 article that the district should do exactly that. Quoted from the Argus "We urge the school board to reconsider this issue and to release the type of disciplinary action it took and felt was prudent in this matter," Krehl said. The judge's decision is the law. All school board members are required when being sworn into office to affirm that they will uphold the law. To release the information after the judge has determined it to be exempt would be to violate the law. It is hard to believe that the press would encourage (demand) the district violate the law, but that is exactly what following Mr. Krehl's demand would be.

                              In summary, The district regrets the need to expend funds to defend itself in a lawsuit with the press. The district did not keep this information in the interest of hiding its actions from the public. It rather interpreted the law, followed the action necessitated by that interpretation and when challenged, followed the necessary court process.

                              State law carefully balances public access to sensitive employment-related decisions with employees' right to privacy. (The Argus concedes this fact in its request.) The district considered these competing needs carefully in deciding not to allow the newspaper to have the documents it requested. In the end, it is the Argus Observer that forced this issue into the courts, rather than the District. The District was really between a rock and a hard spot with a high risk of being sued whatever interpretation it made of the law.

                              Carl Judy, Board Chair

                              Marlow Pounds, Board Vice Chair Dr John Phillips, Board Member

                              Evelyn Dame, Board Member

                              Pamela Russell, Board Member

                              Dr Dennis Carter, Superintendent

                                John Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario softball team started strong, and then allowed the Vale Vikings back into the game, before narrowly escaping Vale with a 11-10 win in nonleague softball action Tuesday at Vale High School.

                              The Vikings' Lindsey Ables belted a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, trimming Ontario's lead to 11-10, and giving Vale a chance to complete the rally with only one out. However, the next two Vale batters grounded out to first base, allowing the Tigers to escape with the win.

                              Ontario (5-0 overall) jumped all over Vale starting pitcher Stacey Chamberlain, scoring early in the first when Kristia Maeda doubled and drove in a run. She was immediately followed by Sarah Wharton who singled in Maeda. By the end of the inning, the Tigers had a quick 3-0 lead. The Vikings answered with two in the bottom of the first inning to tighten up the game.

                              In the second and the third innings, the Tigers scored a total of six runs, two in the second and four in the third. The Vikings (0-3) went scoreless in the second and only managed three in the third to fall behind the Tigers, 9-5.

                              "We struggled for those two innings," Vale head coach Brandy Hemenway said. "We had crucial errors that allowed Ontario to advance runners on bases. We just can't allow errors for extra bases when playing a team like Ontario."

                              Ontario's bats went cold and the Vikings defense tightened up, especially in the area of errors, limiting the Tigers to only two additional runs in the game, those coming in the sixth. The Vikings scored two in the fourth and two in the sixth to close the score to 11-9 at the end of the sixth.

                              "This was not a very good game for us," Tiger coach Randy Simpson said. "We had too many letdowns and mental breakdowns."

                              Even with the problems, the Ontario coach did see some things he was pleased with in the win.

                              "We did have some great hits," Simpson said. "Stephanie Simpson was a big bat for us and the short game was what we wanted."

                              The Tigers meet McCall-Donnelly for two games Thursday in Ontario, while the Vikings travel to La Grande on Thursday for a doubleheader.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Ontario's Rick Ramirez and Jose Garcia combined on a no-hitter Tuesday, leading the Ontario Tigers to a 29-0 nonleague baseball win over Payette at Ontario High School. The game was halted after the top of the fifth inning, because of the 10-run mercy rule.

                              Ramirez pitched the first four innings for the Tigers, striking out eight batters and walking one, and no Payette runner advanced past second base, before Garcia came in to throw a perfect fifth inning for the victory.

                              "Ricky (Ramirez) threw the ball really well and Jose (Garcia) was lights out," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "I think we are doing good. It is hard to tell. Hopefully when we see some good pitching, we can hit it."

                              The Payette (0-10 overall) pitching staff, on the other hand, hurt themselves with walks and hit batters. Starting pitcher, Forrest Barnard walked or hit the first five batters of the game, before Eddie Mendoza hit a run-scoring single to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, which ended up being all the Tigers would need in the game.

                              "When you don't get any starting pitching and the game is 2-0 with the bases loaded before the other team has to swing a bat, it is a long day," Payette head coach Tracy Bratcher said. "That type of inning the first half of an inning, kind of takes the wind out of our sails."

                              In the first inning, the Tigers sent 20 batters to the plate, and scored 18 runs, on 10 hits, two Pirate errors, three Ontario walks and four hit batters.

                              "We are not mentally tough," Bratcher said. "It is easy to make excuses. We just need to pick it up. It is like we take two steps forward and 10 steps back."

                              The Tigers (4-0) knocked out 22 hits, with all nine starting players recording at least two runs batted in. Kurt Kolbaba led the way with five RBIs and two doubles, while Daryl Norris had four RBIs.

                              Both teams are back in action this week, with Payette hosting Nampa Christian Thursday in a nonconference game. Ontario begins Greater Oregon League play Friday against Riverside at Boardman.

                                 JOHN BRAESE Argus Observer

                              The Ontario girls remained perfect on the season, sweeping two games from McCall-Donnelly in nonleague softball action Thursday at the Ore-Ida Heinz Regional Sports Complex in Ontario.

                              The Tigers used a four-run first inning to win the opener, 7-5, then followed with a 3-2 victory to complete the sweep.

                              With the two wins, Ontario moves its season record to an unblemished 7-0.

                              Ontario started the first game with a quick four-run first inning, thanks to three Vandal errors. The Tigers added two more runs in the third after a wild pitch scored two Ontario runners.

                              Errors were costly on both sides. The Tigers committed five errors, while only allowing one hit. McCall-Donnelly allowed four hits, but also committed three errors in the loss.

                              Ontario went 9-for-9 on stolen bases against the Vandals' catcher.

                              "We knew their regular catcher was not here and took advantage of them moving their junior varsity catcher up for this game," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said.

                              The Vandals scored first, in the nightcap, on a RBI double by Jamie Peterson, driving in Abby Andrew from first base. The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning with a RBI single by Jaimi Arant.

                              Kylie Roberts put Ontario on top for good with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers tacked on another run later in the same frame to take a 3-1 lead.

                              "We are still having mental breakdowns, not true errors, just mental breakdowns," Simpson said. "We have to be more savvy in these games. I was happy with only one error in that second game."

                              McCall-Donnelly head coach Bill Shipley was also happier with the play of his team in the second game compared to the first game.

                              "I think we really took care of our errors after that first game," Shipley said. "Our pitcher (Dana Shipley) is hitting her spots now and we are letting our defense play defense."

                              The Vandals were just happy to be playing outdoors even with the loss. Due to snow, McCall Donnelly continues to practice in the school gym, only reaching the fields in New Meadows twice this season for an outdoor practice.

                              "We continue to get better the more we can play outdoors," Shipley said. The Vandals (5-4 overall) have next week off for spring break and begin league action against Payette, Monday, April 11.

                              The Tigers now patiently wait for their Greater Oregon League opener on Thursday when they host Baker.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Good hitting and solid pitching helped the Ontario baseball team to a Greater Oregon League sweep Tuesday at Ontario High School.

                              The Tigers swept the Burns Hilanders, 16-3 and 14-2, in a GOL twinbill.

                              In the opener, the Tigers turned to their big bats to score runs, as No. 3 hitter Matt Mejia took a 2-2 pitch to center field for a grand slam home run, capping an eight-run second inning for the Tigers.

                              Ontario scored three more runs in the third, and five runs in the fourth to pull away.

                              The Tigers' pitching staff allowed only one earned run in the game.

                              "I think we spent a lot of time talking about what we needed to do at the plate," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "Our approach at the plate was better. People went out and had a plan. We did well, we hit situationally."

                              In the nightcap, the Tigers kept the pressure on, opening up the game by sending 10 batters to the plate in the first inning. The first eight batters recorded a hit in the big inning.

                              Daryl Norris' two-run double was the highlight of the inning, that put the Tigers (7-1 overall, 3-1 GOL) up comfortably, 6-2.

                              The Tigers kept the runs coming, picking up eight more runs in the next two innings, for a 14-2 advantage, and the win.

                              "They just hit the ball really well," Burns head coach Kevin Feist said. "They put the bat on the ball and got base hits. We did not do very well defensively."

                              The Hilanders committed seven errors on the day, which led to 14 unearned runs.

                              As a contrast, Ontario's three errors resulted in two unearned runs.

                              "We are gearing up, getting better," Horn said. "I think we are on the right track."

                              Mejia finished with eight runs batted in, one home run and a double, while Norris had four runs batted in and a pair of doubles. Aaron Mauney, Chris Schauer and Rick Ramirez each had two runs batted in for the Tigers.

                              Kurt Kolbaba picked up the win in the first game for Ontario, while Schauer picked up the win in the nightcap.

                              Eric Garner had a pair of RBIs for the Hilanders.

                              Ontario continues GOL play Saturday, hosting Mac-Hi.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              The Ontario softball team showed signs of brilliance, but also looked like the Tigers of old, as they were swept by the No. 1 Baker Bulldogs 12-0 and 14-2 in a Greater Oregon League double header Thursday afternoon at the Ore-Ida/Heinz Regional Sports Complex in Ontario.

                              Opening up the second game, the Tigers played well off the bat, keeping Baker scoreless in the top half of the first inning.

                              In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers took advantage of a walk, four Baker errors and one Tiger base hit, to score two runs to take a quick 2-0 lead.

                              The Tigers were not able to score any more on the four errors by the Bulldogs, however.

                              "We were not in the right spot at the right time," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said. "We are going to make some adjustments."

                              The 2-0 lead was short lived, however, as the Tigers of old reared their ugly head, allowing five Baker runs, as the Bulldogs (10-0 overall, 4-0 GOL) showed why they are the No. 1 team in the state.

                              Baker scored 14 unanswered runs over the next five innings.

                              "The bottom of our order hammered the ball," Baker head coach Steve Bachman said. "We are a good hitting team, all the way around."

                              The Bulldogs pounded out 25 hits in the two games against the Tigers (7-2, 0-2), including three home runs and five doubles, while Ontario managed only three hits in the two games.

                              Following the first inning, of the second game, the Tigers managed only two more hits, with no base runners advancing past second base.

                              "We just got done with the No. 1 team in the state," Simpson said. "The first game we played well, but had a mental breakdown."

                              The mental breakdown Simpson was mentioning came in the seventh inning of the first game, when the Tigers had four errors, allowing the Bulldogs to score nine runs, for a 12-0 margin of victory.

                              The Tigers are on the road Saturday, to take on Mac-Hi in a Greater Oregon League game. Baker is at Pendleton Tuesday in a nonleague contest.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Preliminary cost figures for a proposed new high school in Ontario apparently exist, though neither top Ontario school officials nor representatives from the firm authorized to conduct the engineering on the project will reveal the numbers.

                              Construction cost estimates of a proposed new high school building have been sidestepped in the two town hall meetings the school district has held about a proposed school bond measure to fuel the construction of a new high school.

                              However, both Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter and a top official with Lombard Conrad Architects, Boise, the firm in charge of engineering the project, said it is too early in the process to focus on a single cost estimate.

                              When the issue of cost was raised at the town hall meeting Thursday by the audience, Lombard Conrad Architects' Mike Patano said the architects did not want to talk about figures yet because there were still too many variables.

                              He said the next step in the process was to get costs for the project options, which include rebuilding at the current site or purchasing land and building at a new site.

                              Lombard Conrad Vice President Nate Turner, however, said Friday, at this point of the project, building construction cost estimates are determined by square footage needs and average cost per square foot figures from data recorded from previous school construction projects.

                              Turner refused to give a concrete number or even a preliminary number estimate for building construction costs, nor would he state on the record the number of square feet Ontario school teachers and officials said they would need on a list provided to Lombard Conrad.

                              He said they did not want to throw numbers out to people at this point in the process. Instead the firm wants residents to concentrate on what they want for their school and the community before introducing a cost to them.

                              "So it's kind of a step-by-step process," he said. "At this point if you throw any numbers out there, that's all they'll focus on. Now's not the time."

                              Turner said his firm was wary of providing any numbers, even preliminary, because the architects are still in the "fact-gathering" part of the process and determining what people want to do about the high school. Turner said the architectural firm will have all the cost estimates for the school board within the next month, including cost estimates of rebuilding at the current site and building at a different site, which has additional costs such as land purchase and installing infrastructure.

                              Superintendent Dennis Carter said, however, preliminary costs have been provided to the school district from Lombard Conrad. Carter also refused to disclose those figures, stating they were "too broad to share at this point."

                              He said the school district has only received a "wide estimate of what it would cost" to rebuild or to build at a new site. He said the numbers were not accurate enough yet to require releasing them to the public.

                              "It doesn't make any sense to give out wrong information," he said.

                              But Carter conceded the cost figures of the various project options that will eventually be presented will still be estimates and will not incorporate every cost of the project, such as the specific school features, like windows or other design aspects. Carter did say the refined costs provided to the school board and the public will be more accurate.

                              Ontario resident Norm Crume, who attended Thursday's meeting and expressed concern about the cost of the project and what people could afford, confirmed no numbers, preliminary or otherwise, were given out at the meeting, but said he was not surprised architects and the school district had preliminary numbers at their disposal.

                              The school board, however, does not appear to be aware either the school district or the architects had information on possible cost.

                              Board member Marlow Pounds, who attended both town hall meetings, was surprised numbers were available or had been released to the school district.

                              "We weren't given any numbers at all, and I'm glad we don't know," Pounds said. "We need to meet with more people and see what their feelings are about (the project)."

                              He said he's not surprised architects have an idea what the project will cost because they are familiar with building schools. Pounds said the only information provided to the school board, however, was at the last meeting, when the audience was told rebuilding at the existing site would cost about 30 percent more than building at a new site. Both Pounds and Carter said no decision has been made on the project, or even whether the district will go forward with a bond measure. Carter also said the school board will not decide on the project or the attached cost estimates immediately. He said there would probably be a month-long delay before a decision was made. The public, Carter said, would have plenty of opportunity to comment before any final decisions were made, although those details also have to be refined. Carter said the earliest a school bond would be on a ballot, if approved, would be November.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              For one inning, the Ontario baseball team looked like they have all year, putting the ball in play, picking up a double and scoring three runs.

                              Little else went right.

                              The Tigers did not get another hit the rest of the day, falling 14-3 and 19-0 to Mac-Hi in a Greater Oregon League doubleheader Saturday afternoon in Ontario.

                              In the opener, Mac-Hi started strong, picking up three runs on two Ontario errors and no hits.

                              Ontario responded with three runs of its own, using a Mac-Hi error and a Chris Schauer double.

                              Little did the Tigers know, the double would the be only hit the Pioneer pitching staff would allow the rest of the day. Mac-Hi's pitching allowed only two base runners the remainder of the day, one on an error and one on a walk.

                              "We just did not seem to have our heads in the game at all," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We had their pitcher against the ropes and let him off the hook. We never even went after the second guy."

                              In the nightcap, the Tigers managed only one base runner, a walk in the second inning.

                              "This was unexpected," Mac-Hi head coach Barry Wofford said of the sweep. "We got the bats going and it was contagious. We hit the ball really well."

                              In the first inning of the second game, Ontario had their best chance to get a hit, when Matt Mejia hit a fly ball over the right field wall, only a few feet foul, before failing to reach base.

                              Defensively, things were not much better for the Tigers (7-3 overall, 3-3 GOL) as they committed 10 errors on the day, while their pitching allowed the Pioneers (7-0, 4-0) 31 hits in the two games.

                              "We didn't make it hard for them," Horn said. "We didn't pitch, didn't catch, didn't run and didn't hit well. There was nothing today that we did well."

                              Schauer picked up the only Tigers hit, a double, and drove in a run in the game.

                              The Tigers will try to rebound Tuesday, when they travel to Vale in a nonleague game.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              A pair of runs in the top of the third inning held up for the Ontario baseball team, as it was able to sneak out of Vale with a 4-2 win over the Vale in a nonleague baseball game Tuesday afternoon.

                              Leading off the inning, Chris Schauer belted a 2-0 pitch to the wall in left-center field for a leadoff double. Matt Mejia followed up the double with a triple, scoring Schauer from second, to give Ontario a 2-1 lead over the Vikings.

                              After a failed squeeze bunt attempt that resulted in a runners on first and third for the Tigers, thing began to get a little interesting.

                              Ontario's Aaron Mauney, the runner on first, went to steal second. After an error on the shortstop, Mejia scored with the batter Rick Ramirez taking the strike. After another strike, Ramirez fouled off a bunt attempt being called out.

                              "We did not hit at all," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We have to work out of that. We were not able to get the bunt down."

                              After a brief argument between Horn and the home plate umpire, the next batter was fanned as well. Two walks later, the bases were loaded for the Tigers, before a weak grounder to third base ended the inning.

                              In the bottom of the frame, Vale had a run taken back on a controversial call, as Vale's Jason Noland was called out, after scoring a run, for runners interference. While running from second to third, Noland ran in front of the ball's path, giving the Tigers' (8-3 overall) third baseman trouble fielding the ball. After Noland scored and the play was dead, Horn argued the call, and the umpire reversed his decision, ruining the Vikings' rally, and taking wind out of their sails.

                              The Tigers' Daniel Schram pitched a complete game, while striking out nine Vikings (6-2) to pick up the win, while Noland took the loss, after allowing only one earned run.

                              "Daniel pitched a heck of a game," Horn said.

                              Vale's coach echoed Horn's remarks

                              "I thought Ontario played well. Schram threw well," Vale head coach Rick Yraguen said. "I think they put too much pressure on them at the plate. They need to relax and be selective."

                              Vale finished with five hits while Ontario only finished with four, but Ontario also had five walks, while Vale had none.

                              Both teams are back in action this weekend, as Ontario travels to Baker Friday in a GOL twinbill, while Vale hosts Grant Union in a Special District 8 doubleheader.

                                 JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              Cairo Elementary School and its "Destination Imagination " teams need help raising about $18,000 to send the two student teams and advisers to the Destination Imagination "Global Finals" in Tennessee May 23 through May 29.

                              The Destination Imagination teams, comprised of 12 students in Patty Mizuta's fifth-grade class, each recently placed second in the state championships, earning them a chance to compete at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

                              Carmie Rodriguez, a coach for one of the teams and a special education assistant at Cairo, said the trip will be a great experience for the students.

                              "There haven't been any other schools from around here (represented) in a long time," Rodriguez said.

                              Destination Imagination is an extracurricular program that challenges students to work together, research, think and be creative by presenting them with assignments in six categories. The "global finals" will have students from every state and different countries competing in the various categories. Of the six categories teams had to choose from in Destination Imagination, Rodriguez's team chose the "designing bridges" category. The other team, coached by Shelia Turner, who also is an assistant teacher at Cairo, chose the "dizzy derby" category, in which they had to build a functioning car that runs on something other than gasoline.

                              The students have worked hard on their projects, Rodriguez said, all of the work done by them, with the coaches only serving in an advisory capacity.

                              The teams began their projects in late November. Rodriguez's team members met twice a week to build their own bridge designed to be sturdy and hold a certain amount of weight, incorporating structural features of a bridge in a different country into their design.

                              Rodriguez said her students chose structural features from a bridge in Scotland for theirs "because they decided it looked the strongest."

                              Turner's team met three or four times a week to build a car, using the body of an old riding lawnmower. In competition, the car had to meet certain requirements and maneuver around certain obstacles. The students also had to write and present an eight-minute play, in which they incorporated the history of automobiles.

                              Hunter Oakes, of Turner's "Dizzy Derby" team, said the project was hard work but a lot of fun.

                              "For me it was just fun driving the vehicle," Oakes said.

                              While the vehicle is still in one piece, the Rodriguez team's bridge is not - each bridge getting smashed in competition.

                              Rodriguez said rebuilding the bridge will not be a problem for her team.

                              Raising money for the trip is the biggest challenge.

                              The Cairo Destination Imagination teams will sponsor a series of fund-raisers including a spaghetti feed May 7, soda can drives, car washes and candy sales.

                              There will also be collection cans in various businesses in town, and the teams will be looking for sponsors, whose names will be printed on a T-shirt.

                                 John Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario girls remained undefeated in Special District 4 and the Tigers, as a team, defeated La Grande in tennis action Tuesday. The Tigers used wins in the girls singles and doubles brackets along with wins by the boys in a 6-4 decision over La Grande.

                              Payton Aarestad started Ontario off quickly, defeating Brandan Marshall in a straight set victory, 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 boys singles. A returning second-round state qualifier from last year, Aarestad used a forehand with backspin and capitalized on multiple double faults by Marshall in the game. Aarestad, who perfects his game on the weekends on indoor courts in Boise, was never behind and wrapped up the match quickly.

                              "I want to go all the way this year in the state tournament," Aarestad said. "I would like to continue to play on the college level after graduation."

                              Ontario's Stephanie Babij managed an easy time in the No. 1 girls singles match. Using precision ground strokes, Babij defeated La Grande's Teresa Kiemnee in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Returning from a fourth-place finish in the state tournament last year, Babij remains undefeated in Special District 4 this year.

                              In a rematch from last year's state tournament, Ontario's Hannah Pobanz and Jenna McClean had to fight for a 6-4, 6-4 victory over La Grande's Kathryn Ely and Jen Hubbard in the No. 1 doubles match.

                              "Both these teams are quality," Ontario's coach Dennis Gill said. "Both of these teams will probably see each other again in state this year."

                              Nick Babij and Mike Shoaee continued to roll along in the district, defeating La Grande's Keaton Orton and Tyler Dretter, 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 boys doubles.

                              On the girls side, Sonya Seibert had an easy time of it, defeating La Grande's Kalya Wilson in a two-set match in No. 3 singles play. On the doubles side, Ontario's No. 2 team also notched a victory as Julie Hall and Christie Linford had a two-set victory.

                              "The girls continue to look strong this year," Gill said. "We are a little lean on the boys side, but continue to do well there also."

                              The Tigers (4-2-2 Special District 4) travel to Vale on Thursday for a match against the Vikings.

                                JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                              "Volunteers: An essential piece of the puzzle" was the theme of the day, and good food, company and music accompanied at "Taste of Ontario" volunteer appreciation event Wednesday at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.

                              About 150 people who offer their time and dedication to help serve others, were in turn served at the 11th annual event hosted by the Ontario School District in recognition of community volunteers for National Volunteer Appreciation Week.

                              The atmosphere was lively as attendants enjoyed food, conversation and a performance by Ontario elementary honors choir students. Members of various organizations also recognized their volunteers, in between door prize announcements.

                              Event coordinator and Ontario School District Public Information Officer Katherine Collins said the event is held each year to thank the 1300 or so volunteers for the school district as well as volunteers for the rest of the community.

                              "There's a saying 'it takes a village to raise a child,' and in the school district we really recognize it does," Collins said.

                              She said while school district volunteers are appreciated, every organization with volunteers in every facet of the community, work to improve the lives of children and people in Ontario, and for their efforts, they deserve to be recognized.

                              "If you think about it, it's volunteer efforts that makes a community really strong," Collins said.

                              She said seeing the volunteers from the community gather in one room and be thanked by Ontario school officials, who served the food, makes her realize what a special community Ontario is.

                              Both Superintendent Dennis Carter and School Board Chairman Carl Judy echoed those sentiments at the event.

                              "Our system works a lot better because of our volunteers," Carter said to the crowd.

                              Judy, who joked there was a void in the local work force because of the event, also thanked the volunteers, stating their work is putting Ontario on the map.

                              "Throughout the community here there are a lot of positive things going on and that really makes Ontario a great place," he said.

                              Sharon Briggs, representing the Four Rivers Cultural Center volunteer organization, also commended attendants for their caring and time.

                              "I can tell you, without even knowing, there's some phenomenal heart in here," she said.

                              The volunteers honored also enjoyed and appreciated the event, some of them returning each year to attend.

                              Della Johnson, a Meals on Wheels volunteer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1st Ward, said the best thing about the event was the people, but the food was good, too.

                              "It's nice to see all the volunteers," she said.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Even though the head coach was away, the Ontario tennis team did not miss a beat Tuesday afternoon, as the Tigers picked up a 6-4 Special District 4 win over visiting Baker in Ontario.

                              Even without head coach Dennis Gill looking through the fence at the players, everyone still knew the pressure that was riding on the match.

                              "There is huge pressure," Gill's assistant coach Beverly Church said. "I will be calling him once we are done. I think the kids have really stepped up and performed for Dennis."

                              Church said the players know what the head coach expects of them, and all want to do their best.

                              One of those players who did well, was Chelsey Iida. The junior picked up a two-set victory in No. 3 girls singles.

                              Iida picked up a 7-6 first-set win, taking the tie breaker 7-4. Iida used the momentum to pick up a 6-2 second-set victory to close the match.

                              "I think I did pretty well today. It was hot, but I stuck in there," Iida said. "I am doing pretty good for my first year in singles, it is pretty fun. It is more of a challenge (than doubles)."

                              Last year Iida and Laurel Saito were doubles partners, during the Ontario girls' run to the 3A/2A/1A state championship team title.

                              "She did a good job of sticking it out and getting the critical points," Church said of Iida. "She took the momentum and finished strong."

                              This year, both Iida and Saito are playing singles, as Saito picked up a three-set victory in No. 2 girls singles, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

                              Stephanie Babij picked up a No. 1 girls singles win with a 6-3, 7-5 decision. Julie Hall and Christie Linford won their No. 1 girls doubles match, 6-2, 6-2 and Hannah Pobanz and Jenna McClean picked up a No. 2 girls win, 6-1, 6-0, as the Ontario girls swept the Bulldogs.

                              Ontario's No. 1 boys doubles picked up the only boys win for the Tigers, as Nick Babij and Mike Shoaee won their match, 6-1, 6-3.

                              The Tigers are back in action Thursday, when they host Weiser in a nonleague tennis match in Ontario.

                              City scene -Scott Trainor

                              Sometimes things come up that might not necessarily be directly tied to the city organization but are so positive for our community it is important to highlight them. One such event, reported in the Argus Observer last week, was the recent accomplishment of 12 students from Cairo Elementary who qualified to compete in the global competition for a program known as Destination Imagination. That competition, held in Knoxville, Tennessee, and involving students from 47 states and 15 foreign countries, will pit the best and the brightest from our schools against those from around the world.

                              What exactly is Destination Imagination? Destination Imagination - or DI for those "veterans" of the program - is a 22-year-old program that strives to develop and bring out creativity and imagination from participants through the completion of various technical challenges. The students from Cairo, divided into two teams, competed in separate categories. One team competed in the "Dizzy Derby" challenge, which involved the creation of a vehicle that can transport one or more team members around a triangular track, burning no fuel, and meeting many other criteria. The other team competed in a competition involving the design and construction of a bridge of a particular size that must also carry a certain amount of weight.

                              If this was not enough, the kids also incorporate theater elements into their presentations as they develop a storyline around their technical challenge. Finally, the competition culminates with each team stepping up to meet an "instant challenge," which is really an improvisational opportunity for the kids to address a specific problem with only a few moments notice.

                              It is great to see our community's youth excelling at those things they put their minds to.

                              However, qualifying for the global competition is only the first step. The kids now need to raise almost $18,000 in a very short period to help pay the costs to send the competitors, coaches, and adult chaperones to Tennessee to compete.

                              The teams will be holding a spaghetti dinner and silent auction May 7 at the Boulevard Grange Hall; they will be selling candy bars; they will be collecting pop cans; they will be having car washes; they will even be seeking sponsors who are willing to donate funds to assist these kids.

                              Essentially, they are now putting their creative minds to work at raising the money necessary to achieve their dream.

                              From time to time, these events come up that give us all an opportunity to support and be a part of something positive for our community. I would hope we would all consider whatever assistance or support we could provide these talented youth who will be representing Ontario on a global stage. Sidewalks, roads, water lines and parks build a town, but these are the things that build a community.

                              Scott Trainor is the Ontario City Manager.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              The Ontario girls tennis team have been playing at the same level they left off last season, when they won the girls state team title.

                              This year, after losing a couple key components to the championship team, the Tigers are playing strong, helping the Ontario tennis team to a 10-0 nonleague win over Weiser Thursday afternoon in Ontario.

                              The three girls singles teams and the two girls doubles teams combined to go 5-0 on the day.

                              "We had a pretty good senior class. We want to prove we can do it," Ontario's Hannah Pobanz said. "We have some strong underclassmen this year."

                              Still, with the confidence the Tigers have this year, they know there is still a lot of work to be done.

                              "We need to be aggressive at the net and put that ball away," Ontario's Julie Hall said.

                              Hall and Pobanz teammated up in girls doubles match to pick up a 6-4, 6-0 win. Jenna McClean and Christie Linford picked up another Ontario girls doubles win, in the No. 2 girls doubles match.

                              Stephanie Babij picked up a win in No. 1 girls action, while Laurel Saito picked up a win in No. 2 girls action.

                              For the boys, Ontario's Ryan Blankenbaker knocked of Weiser's Chris Shirts in No. 2 boys singles, 6-2, 6-1.

                              "He played a good game today," Ontario assistant coach Gary Gibbs said. "He still has better tennis in him."

                              Although Blankenbaker did not think he played very well, he said his forehand was working well, but not his serve.

                              "I have been doing okay," he said. "I need to work on my all around game."

                              Shirts, normally a doubles player, still received praise from his coach after the defeat.

                              "He did okay," Weiser head coach Mike Carpenter said. "I just wanted him to work on his serve. He played well."

                              The Tigers are back in action Saturday, when they travel to Burns to play both Burns and Madras in a Special District 4 action, while the Wolverines (2-10 overall) travels to Fruitland Tuesday in Snake River Valley tennis action.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Maybe it was the two weeks off, but for whatever the reason, both the Ontario girls basketball team and the Vale girls basketball team shrugged off a little rust in a 60-42 Ontario nonleague victory Monday night in Ontario.

                              Ontario used a big second half, especially the fourth quarter, and the help of 20 made free throws, to come away with the victory.

                              "We came into the break feeling pretty well," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We played wild at times and made some poor mental decisions."

                              Opening up the game, the Tigers took command of the game early, jumping out to an early 13-3 lead, with just under three minutes to play in the quarter.

                              Vale kept battling to make it respectable, 15-7, after the first quarter of play.

                              In the second quarter, the Vikings (2-6 overall) went on a run of their own, cutting the lead down to 19-12, before scoring seven straight points to tie the game at 19 with more than two minutes left in the half.

                              Ontario's (9-2) Vanessa Gomez hit a free throw and Jaimi Arant hit a field goal as Ontario regained a 22-19 lead heading into the half.

                              "There is no excuse for coming and playing as lethargic as we did," Vale head coach Jason Johnson said. "It was nice to see them compete, even when they are not at their best."

                              Unfortunately for the Vikings, this is as close as they would get the rest of the game, as Ontario came out and put distance between the two teams.

                              Ontario scored the first six points of the second half and continued to expand their lead through the final buzzer.

                              "We did a pretty good job of looking inside," Buck said. "That opened things up for us. We did a solid job on defense."

                              Ontario was led offensively by Kylie Roberts with 19 points, while Gomez was right behind with 17 points.

                              The Vikings were led by Elisa Mooney with nine points.

                              The Vikings will host Elgin Friday in a Wapiti League opener, while the Tigers host Nampa Christian tonight in a nonleague battle.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Like a light switch, the eighth-ranked Ontario girls basketball team can be turned on, but also as quicky - turned off.

                              The Tigers were able to find the "on" switch Tuesday, using a couple of big runs to pull away with a 55-39 victory over Nampa Christian in a nonleague game in Ontario.

                              Throughout the first quarter, each team seemed to be feeling the other out, before Ontario's switch was turned "on."

                              The Tigers (10-2 overall) outscored the Trojans 14-4 in the second quarter, including an 8-0 stretch to end the half, aided by two Kylie Roberts 3-pointers.

                              "We did that (play in streaks) quite a bit, making poor decisions," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "Kylie (Roberts) hit a couple of buckets, some quick points to go from a four to 10-point lead."

                              After the break, Ontario again switched off, as Nampa Christian went on an 8-2 run to start the quarter to cut the Ontario lead to 29-25.

                              That is as close as the Trojans would get the rest of the game, as Ontario extended its lead through the game for the final margin of victory.

                              Leading the way for the Tigers was Vanessa Gomez with 20 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 9-for-11 from the floor. Roberts finished with 12 points and AJ Hawk had eight rebounds.

                              The Tigers begin Greater Oregon League play Jan. 14, when they host Burns.

                                John Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario wrestling team makes its first home appearance Saturday, and they will have a few friends on hand.

                              The Tigers host the Battle at the Border Tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. at Ontario High School. The seven-team tournament features Greater Oregon League mates La Grande and Baker City and 2A Vale, along with Emmett, Weiser and Timberline.

                              "This will be a really good tournament for our younger kids," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "Emmett usually has some really good kids and Timberline looked good at the Rollie Lane Tournament. But we have some really good kids coming on this season."

                              Each weight class is set to have 12 participants with finals in each bracket set to start at approximately 3 p.m.

                              The Tigers go into their own tournament after placing fourth last weekend in the always tough Oregon Classic Tournament. On a team that is made up predominantly of freshmen and seniors, Anthony stated he was "pleasantly surprised with the finish."

                              "Some of our freshmen really came through in the tournament," Anthony said. "We count on people like Todd Smith and Paul Rangel, but some of the young kids really stepped up."

                              Saturday's tournament also coincides with a two-pound weight gain, which goes into effect Saturday, that each wrestler is allowed.

                              "For many of the kids," Anthony said, "this will be the first time at a weight class."

                              The Tigers will place approximately 40 wrestlers on the mat. To ensure all 40 remain on the team throughout the season, Anthony is hosting a half-hour study hall before each practice.

                              "The kids have to have a 2.0 GPA to be on the team," Anthony said. "We try and help them out with the study halls and talking with teachers before grades come out."

                                 John Braese  Argus Observer

                              With a name like "Battle at the Border" it's only fitting the top two teams were from each state - Idaho and Oregon.

                              The team championships came down to the finals match, as Emmett edged out Ontario for 233 points and a tournament title. The Tigers managed 223 team points Saturday at Ontario High School.

                              La Grande finished third with 135 points, while Timberline took fourth with 134.5 and Vale wrapped up fifth place with 118 points. Weiser was a single point behind in sixth.

                              In the 103-pound weight class, Vale teammates Ronny Koda and Garrett Chamberlin met in the championship round with Chamberlin taking the victory by pin.

                              The Tigers' Juan Trejo was champion in the 130-pound weight class with a pin over teammate Andres Hernandez.

                              Luke Skerjanec, a freshman at Vale, clinched a 9-8 victory over Emmett's Jack Carskadan in the championship match of the 135-pound weight class.

                              "This is the biggest win of my year," Skerjanec said. "I thought I was behind and just dug way down deep."

                              Skerjanec is part of a youth movement in Vale, with eight out of the 13 team members being freshmen. Four of those freshmen ended up in the finals of the tournament, including two champions.

                              "This tournament has been a big help to us," Vale coach Bart Ewing said. "I only have three upper classmen and we needed this for experience."

                              Ontario's Jose Rivera won by decision over Pat Sears of Emmett for the championship in the 145-pound weight class.

                              In the 160-pound class, the Tigers' Paul Rangel took a 6-2 victory over Weiser's Jacob Scarbrough.

                              "This was the toughest match I had in the tourney," Rangel said. "I pinned the other two earlier matches."

                              The victory improved Rangel's record on the season to 18-3.

                              "I tried my best," Scarbrough said. "Rangel is a good, solid wrestler and you can't try any trick moves on him. I think I am better than what I showed today though."

                              Dallas Jones, head coach of the Weiser junior varsity team, was pleased with the performance of Scarbrough.

                              "He is a tough kid," Jones said. "All of our team wrestled hard this tournament and I think they are learning to wrestle with an aggressive attitude."

                              Rounding out the weight classes, Ontario's Colin Gundle pinned teammate, Dennis Tolman for the championship in the 275-pound weight class.

                              "It was a good tournament," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We definitely found some things we need to work on today. This was our first home match so it was good for the kids to wrestle in front of the hometown."

                                Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              Ontario girls basketball post Vanessa Gomez might be the most critical judge of her season.

                              Gomez, a junior, doesn't judge the season by how well she's playing, but rather how she can improve and how much she helps her team, in addition to how well it's doing.

                              "I think I'm doing OK," she said. "I know there are things I can improve on."

                              While Gomez is critical of her season, she may be a tad too modest. A force to be reckoned with at the post position, she frequently has double-digit scoring nights, not only down low, but from further out as well.

                              "My teammates are telling me to take more of those shots," she said.

                              But coach Jon Buck said her real strong suit is rebounding.

                              "She's going to rebound, no matter what," he said. "You can put her up against the boys, and she'll rebound."

                              Her intensity is what makes her such a strong player, Buck said, because she's not afraid to play hard or draw the occasional foul.

                              "She's just a good all-around player," he said.

                              Buck also said what makes her such an asset for the team is her strength, her work ethic and her great attitude.

                              "She's a great leader," he said.

                              But Gomez said there's always room for improvement.

                              Last year, she said, the team relied a lot on the strength of Maggie Smith-Davidson, who did most of the scoring down low for the Tigers, which gave Gomez a lot of opportunity to work on rebounding.

                              But since Smith-Davidson graduated, Gomez said she has worked hard to fill Smith-Davidson's shoes, spending a lot of time during the summer fixing her game.

                              She worked on boxing out, defense, free throws and other aspects of the game because Gomez said it's her goal to be able to respond accurately and draw results from whatever situation she's in during a game.

                              "I think I would like to get to the point where I did 95 percent of everything I needed to do," she said. "I think I need to push myself to do better."

                              As for her team, she sees a bright season and a trip to state in the Tigers' future.

                              "I think we're good enough," she said, adding she wouldn't be surprised if they saw the Burns Hilanders, who handed the Tigers a league-opening loss last week, in postseason action. And despite the Tigers' loss to Burns, Gomez said she is sure Ontario can beat the Hilanders.

                              "I think by the time state rolls around, we'll be pretty good, and we'll do well," she said.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Staying busy is a subtle art form Ontario High School junior Stephanie Montgomery has down.

                              How busy? Well, Montgomery plays two sports, is active in her church, performs in both the high school and Treasure Valley Youth Orchestra and is an active member of the Future Farmers of America. Montgomery, 17, is the Ontario FFA chapter's reporter.

                              "It gets pretty hectic, but it is pretty fun," Montgomery said. "I know I am involved and get to talk with a lot of members not involved in FFA."

                              As reporter, Montgomery's responsibilities include taking photographs of activities and meetings, sending e-mails out about activities, writing stories and keeping track of what other chapters are doing to share with members.

                              "She is doing very well," Ontario FFA adviser Les Linegar said. "She does outstanding and is very active. She has participated in a lot of contests and activities. She is a very active member of our chapter."

                              Along with being the reporter for the Ontario Chapter, Montgomery is also an alternative district officer.

                              With this responsibility, Montgomery said she gets to talk with other FFA members from Vale, Nyssa, Jordan Valley and Crane.

                              "It has been interesting," Montgomery said. "It is a lot of fun. I have made a lot of friends. I used to be shy and quiet, but not anymore."

                              As far as athletics, Montgomery said she participates in cross country and basketball. She said she also plays the violin and viola in orchestra.

                              "She is a well-rounded student," Linegar said. "She challenges herself all the time. She is always working and making sure that her responsibilities are done and done right."

                              Along the way, Montgomery said she has learned a few things and has some memorable experiences.

                              "I have learned to time manage," she said. "A lot of my activities have overlapped. I have had to sacrifice some and it has been a little give and take. My instructors have worked with me."

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              A stingy defense and decent free throw shooting down the stretch helped the Ontario girls basketball team to a 38-20 nonleague victory over the Nampa Bulldogs Tuesday night in Ontario.

                              Heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers were holding on to a 26-18 lead, when they turned up their defense a notch, as they held Bulldogs to 1-for-5 shooting in the final quarter of play, as Ashleigh Dailey hit a jumper to the lone bucket for the Bulldogs.

                              As for the Tigers, they were held to only 4-of-6 shooting from the free throw line in the third quarter, but improved their offense in the final quarter, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 4-for-8 from the free throw line to hold onto the lead.

                              "We had a great defensive effort," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We had good ball pressure and made it tough on them."

                              Defensively, Ontario (11-3 overall) forced 19 Bulldog turnovers and held Nampa to 42 percent shooting from the field.

                              "We had enough offense," Buck said. "Out posts did not do much scoring at all. Jaimi (Arant) and Kayla (Mitchell) did a good job with penetration."

                              Arant led all scorers with 14 points and Mitchell added six points for the Tigers in the win.

                              "Nampa's defense is strong at pushing us out of the key," Buck said. "They did a good job of that."

                              Ontario started out the game on a 4-0 start, before Nampa cut the lead to 5-4. Ontario went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with a 14-4 lead. In the second quarter, each team battled to score eight points, as Ontario went into the half with a 22-12 lead.

                              Nampa was led offensively by Amanda Vink with eight points.

                              Ontario is back in action Friday, when it hosts Baker City, and travels to La Grande on Saturday. Both games are Greater Oregon League matchups.

                               Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              SPOKANE, Wash. - Coaches around the West Coast Conference are becoming well aware of Stephanie Hawk, and that means good things for the Gonzaga women's basketball team.

                              Hawk, a 2003 graduate of Ontario High School, won the WCC Player of the Week award on Monday, after averaging 18.5 points and seven rebounds in victories over Loyola Marymount (67-59) and Pepperdine (71-54).

                              "It was nice," Hawk said. "I didn't even know until my dad called me, and told me 'congratulations.' I didn't have a clue about it."

                              Hawk scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds along with two blocks against Loyola Marymount. Against the Waves, Hawk scored a career-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds.

                              "I struggled shooting the ball for a while," Hawk said of last week's 24-point outing against Pepperdine. "I don't know if they had advance scouts, but I don't think they thought I could shoot the mid-range jumper. So they spent more time focusing on other players. It was nice to be able to help (our team) out."

                              The pair of games marked the first time in Hawk's 43 game collegiate career she has scored in double-digits in back-to-back games.

                              "It was nice to get the wins," Hawk, who has started 11 games this season, said. "I always want to play well. If I score two points and we win that's fine."

                              Hawk, who was the 2002-2003 Greater Oregon League Player of the Year, has helped Gonzaga to a 15-2 record and a 4-0 start in the WCC. The Bulldogs, who will host San Francisco and San Diego this week, are starting to get national notice, receiving seven votes in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.

                              "We take the season one game at a time," Hawk said. "It's nice with our team because somebody can have an off-night and anybody can go off and help out. We have really good chemistry."

                              Hawk is averaging almost nine points and five rebounds a game in 17 games, but Hawk's scoring average has climbed to 13 points a game during WCC play, good enough for eighth in the conference. Hawk leads the WCC in shooting percentage (.559), is fourth in blocked shots (1.25) and seventh in free throw shooting (.778).

                              Those numbers are dramatic improvements over her freshman season, when Hawk averaged less than two points a game for the Bulldogs. Hawk, who played in 26 games for Gonzaga last season, also collected more than two rebounds a night.

                              "As a freshman, you are just scared to death, " Hawk said. "Everything is faster. But this season everything is completely normal. You really do adjust, and get better as time goes by. It's a lot of fun."

                                Argus Observer

                              Most first-time high school wrestlers spend time learning the sport on the junior varsity.

                              Not Ontario's Kaz Honjo.

                              The senior has spent the beginning of the season as the Tigers' top man at 119 pounds. So far, Honjo has three wins to his credit.

                              Honjo, a 17-year-old from Yanaguchi, Japan is attending Ontario High School as a foreign exchange student. The daughter of his host family, Stephanie Nishihara, first introduced Honjo to the world of high school wrestling. From there, Honjo has earned a place on the team as "one of the guys" according to teammates.

                              Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony has only good to say about his first year wrestler.

                              "Kaz is just one of the guys," Anthony said. "He is always out there and working his tail off in practice."

                              While most wrestlers worry about making weight, this is one area that had not concerned Honjo.

                              "I love fast food," Honjo said.

                              His passion for Big Macs and milkshakes is not only well known among teammates, but by the entire student body. After matches, Honjo can usually be found at one of many local eateries with the Ontario team. Unlike his teammates, Honjo has had little trouble in the area of weight gain.

                              Honjo has wrestled most of the season at 119, but moved to 125 pounds for the Tigers' "Battle at the Border Invitational." Honjo did not fare well, losing two matches, but Honjo took it in stride, stating the meet was "fun."

                              Wrestling will not be the finality of Honjo's athletic career at Ontario. He plans on also competing this spring in baseball.

                              Honjo's wrestling career will not continue after his return to Japan. Honjo stated there is no wrestling team in his hometown, but sumo wrestling is popular in the area. Honjo has told his host family he does wish to return to the area for college.holds his own

                                Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              A potential school construction project and bond measure will be a major issue Ontario school district officials will explore in upcoming months.

                              At the Ontario School District 8C school board meeting Thursday night, board members appointed an architectural firm to the project and approved a motion to move ahead with negotiations for a contract between the district and Lombard Conrad Architects.

                              Eight applicants from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Nevada submitted proposals to the school district for the construction project to rebuild or remodel Ontario High School.

                              Of those eight, district officials and building committee members narrowed the list down to four based on the initial proposals. District officials and committee members then met with representatives from the four remaining architectural companies and gave them scores based on the interviews and the information provided.

                              Conrad Lombard was the architectural firm who scored highest and was recommended to the school board.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said the project has been split into two phases, and once a contract has been agreed upon, Lombard Conrad architects will begin the preliminary phase of the project, which will cost between $50,000 and $55,000.

                              Carter said the preliminary phase will provide initial project ideas and options for the district to consider, such as whether it is best to remodel or rebuild Ontario High School, and also provide materials used in the promotion of the bond issue, should the school board decide to go that route.

                              He said it would not be prudent for the school district to approve both phases, if it is not certain whether it is feasible, based on voter support, for the district to go out for a bond measure.

                              At the school board work session earlier this week, board member Marlow Pounds said he was not sure he wanted to go out for any bond measure unless the school board had a pretty good idea district residents were in favor of the idea.

                              The other school board members concurred, and said the preliminary phase of the project would partly be utilized to asses voter support.

                              A special meeting discussing ballots and the bond conference three district board members attended recently is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the school district building. The three principal architects from Lombard and Conrad, will also be at the meeting.

                              Also during Thursday's meeting, the school board received a report on the district's 2003-2004 audit findings. The Oster Professional Group, Burns, conducted the audit. The audit was generally favorable, although the district was informed of a few matters it should improve upon regarding attendance reporting and student body cash accounts.

                              The school board also approved four Education Service District resolutions allowing for the expenditure of funds used for services each school district in Malheur County provides, including student services and programs, support and technical support services, management services for financial support, printing and communications.

                              In his superintendent's report, Carter also told board members when this year's school board elections were. Three school board positions, filled by Pounds, John Phillips and Carl Judy, are up this year. The filing period is from Feb. 5 through March 17. The election is in May.

                                Argus Observer Sports Staff

                              The Ontario Tigers saw LaGrande shoot 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to secure a close win over the Tigers 46-41 in a Greater Oregon League boys basketball action Saturday night in LaGrande.

                              Using a stifling second quarter defense, the Ontario Tigers held LaGrande to only four points. However, poor shooting from the field doomed Ontario as LaGrande forged forward in the fourth quarter with 18 points and the win.

                              "I was proud of the kids and the level of competition they put forth," Ontario coach Scott Helmich said. "We were playing on a short rotation from Friday and due to injuries, some of the other kids really are stepping up."

                              Ontario was led in the loss by Nick Babij with 24 points. David Uchida added seven.

                              Ontario (10-5 overall, 1-2 GOL) hosts Riverside Friday in Greater Oregon League Action.

                              Harper 54

                              Huntington 50

                              HARPER - Huntington's slow start proved to be their demise as Harper took a 54-50 Tri-Co League boys' basketball game victory Friday in Harper.

                              After being outscored 16-5 in the first quarter, the Locomotives (5-15 overall, 4-6 Tri-Co) were forced to come from behind the rest of the game. Finally taking the lead in the fourth quarter, a costly turnover cost Huntington the game.

                              Harper was led by Tyler Clark with 20 points, while Trini Rodriguez added 12 points in the win.

                                 Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                              Ontario School Board members, district officials, architects and residents met Monday night in a special meeting to discuss the steps necessary to proceed with a bond measure to either rebuild, or remodel, Ontario High School.

                              The meeting, school board chairman Carl Judy said, was designed to gather suggestions and formulate a plan to move forward while recognizing the community played an "integral" part in the process.

                              To get a better idea of what aspects need to be addressed, district members who recently attended a bonds and ballots conference presented their ideas on what was needed for a bond measure to gain approval from the community. Just about everyone at the gathering seemed to agree a bond measure needed widespread community support prior to any vote.

                              School board member Pamela Russell said community members needed to understand why a new or remodeled high school was necessary and why it is relevant to education today.

                              Board member Evelyn Dame said with community members more likely to be economizing, it is essential for a grass roots effort to take place so district officials can assess what the community would support and to explain the needs of the school district.

                              While the economic times are an additional challenge, Dame said she was not sure it was a good idea to wait to ask for a bond measure.

                              "I don't think we can ever find an ideal time," Dame said.

                              Meanwhile, Ontario High School, which was built in 1952, is out of date, facing space and technological challenges.

                              What satisfied the educational needs in the past, Dame said, do not necessarily apply now.

                              The steps necessary to take the information to the community and educate the voters, however, raised some debate in the meeting.

                              Some discussion centered around whether the entire cost of the project was more important for the public to know at the onset or whether the community needed to decide what it would support and pay for. Garnering support from those on a fixed income was also a matter of great concern.

                              At the meeting's conclusion, more questions had been raised than answered.

                              Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said during the meeting it seemed many of the questions were "chicken and egg," but the best plan to follow to begin with is for district officials and architects from Lombard-Conrad Architects of Boise to meet in a smaller setting and develop some sort of a timeline.

                              That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

                                William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Poor shooting in the second quarter nearly cost the Ontario girls basketball team a win, as they battled back and hung on for a 43-38 nonleague victory over the Weiser Wolverines Tuesday night in Ontario.

                              Starting out the second quarter, Ontario came out with a 15-5 lead and had things looking its way before Weiser awakened from its slumber.

                              Ontario started out the quarter, with AJ Hawk hitting two free throws for Ontario. Weiser responded with Paige Walker hitting a field goal, followed by Jaimi Arant hitting two more free throws for Ontario, giving the Tigers (14-3 overall) a 19-7 lead, with six minutes left in the half.

                              This is where the Wolverines (9-9) took over.

                              Weiser scored the next 12 points of the quarter, while holding Ontario to 0-for-8 shooting from the field in the quarter, to take a 21-19 lead in the quarter, as Weiser's Cassie Carlson hit a field goal with only nine seconds left in the half.

                              "I thought we played a pretty good first quarter, both offensively and defensively," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "In the second quarter, we did not play very well. There was a change in momentum to their favor."

                              From the half on, it was a dog fight for both teams, as Weiser quickly extended its lead when Tatianna Saito hit a field goal.

                              Ontario responded with two quick field goals of their own, before Weiser scored again, for a 25-23 Wolverine lead.

                              Ontario and Weiser each exchanged baskets before Ontario hit two field goals in the over the last three and half minutes of the quarter, for a 29-27 advantage heading into the final quarter of play.

                              From that point on, Ontario held onto a slim lead the rest of the way, as they stretched their lead to 40-31 when Kristin Saito hit a free throw with 2:57 left in the game.

                              Weiser battled to cut the lead down to 41-38 with only 18 seconds left, but ran out of gas down the stretch, as Ontario held on for the win.

                              "We lost a little intensity in the fourth quarter," Weiser head coach Tim Erhard said. "We gave a great effort. They showed a lot of heart. We just ran out of gas."

                              Erhard said his teams goal for the game was to hold down Ontario's Vanessa Gomez and Kylie Roberts. The Wolverines did just that, as they held the duo to only 12 points, with 10 coming from Gomez.

                              Ontario was led by Hawk with 15 points and 12 rebounds, with nine points coming in the first half of play.

                              "We had an advantage inside," Buck said. "We did a good job inside and had to battle them."

                              Weiser, was led by Carlson with 12 points.

                              Both teams are back in action Friday, as Weiser hosts Homedale in a Snake River Valley conference game and Ontario hosts Riverside in a Greater Oregon League matchup.

                                Argus Observer sports staff

                              The win keeps Ontario in third place in the GOL with a 3-2 record.

                              Curtis Carlson scored 15 points in the first half, helping the Pioneers (7-10 overall, 2-3 GOL) to a 32-20 lead at the break.

                              "He was tough to guard," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said of Carlson.

                              Ontario's Nick Babij proved equally as difficult to guard, pouring in a game-high 32 points. Tyler David added 25 to help spark the comeback.

                              "This is a good win for us," Helmick said. "This helps build confidence, knowing they can come back from a big deficit.:

                              The Tigers continue GOL play Friday at league-leading Baker

                                 Argus Observer sports staff

                              Ontario (16-3 overall, 4-1 GOL) limited the Pioneers (8-10, 1-4) to 18 percent shooting (8-of-44) for the game.

                              "We are really playing good defense," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said.

                              The Tigers, who finished 27-of-53 from the floor, opened the game on a 14-2 run, helped by Vanessa Gomez, who had six points in the run. Ontario wound up with a 29-4 lead at the break.

                              Kylie Roberts led the Tigers with 14 points, on 6-of-11 shooting, while Gomez finished with 10 points. Kayla Mitchell added eight points, eight assists and five rebounds. Jaimi Arant added seven assists and AJ Hawk pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with seven points.

                              Ontario resumes GOL play Friday at Baker.

                                John L. Braese Argus Observer

                              The Ontario Tigers moved one step closer to the state tournament, beating Baker 25-10, 12-25, 26-24, 19-25, 15-6, in a Greater Oregon League seeding game Tuesday night at Weiser High School.

                              A three-way tie for second place in the GOL - between the Bulldogs, Ontario and La Grande - forced the playoff. With the win, the Tigers advance to another seeding playoff with La Grande tonight in Baker City.

                              With the exception of the last game, the Tigers had a slow start in each of the other games. In the first, Baker jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead before Ontario could fight back to a 10-10 tie. The Bulldogs then forged ahead again before the Tigers fought back at 19 all, taking the lead for good from that point on for the win.

                              Playing 10 games Saturday truly showed in the second game according to Ontario head coach Rod Williams.

                               

                                Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              The Weiser football team cleared its final preseason hurdle, downing Ontario, 55-7, in just over two quarters on Friday in front of a disappointing Homecoming crowd at Tiger Stadium in Ontario. The game was halted, following Colton Chandler's 1-yard dive, at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter because of the 45-point mercy rule.

                              The win sets up a key Snake River Valley clash next Friday between the Wolverines and Fruitland in Weiser. Both teams enter the game undefeated, and both are expected to be contenders for the 3A state title.

                              "I'm really proud of the kids," Weiser head coach John Srholec said. "Ontario is a big rival for us, and we never take them lightly. They are young, but they are going to get better."

                              Weiser, which opened the season against four Oregon playoff teams from 2004, is 4-0 on the season for the first time since 1998.

                              The Wolverines used a strong rushing attack to score on all eight of its possessions. Bryce Svedin led Weiser with nine carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Scharbrough added 10 carries for 86 yards and a score.

                              "Weiser is a good football team," Ontario head coach Randy Waite said. "We are not good right now. We have young guys, but we are done using that excuse. We are not a good football team."

                              The Wolverines scored 28 first-quarter points, including a pair of touchdown runs by Svedin, to set the tone early. While Weiser's offense was carving up the porous Ontario defense, the Wolverines' defense had little problems keep the Tigers under wraps. Ontario did not manage a first down until 1:38 remained in the opening quarter, and finished with just 67 total yards.

                              "We came together as a team and kept our focus," Weiser quarterback Sam Lancaster said. "We knew it was their Homecoming and sometimes teams do not come out focused."

                              Ontario did manage to get on the board early in the second quarter, when K.J. Toombs hauled in a 26-yard pass from Bryson Sap to trim the lead to 28-7. But Weiser had an answer,when Lancaster caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Svedin to put the wraps on a seven-play, 61-yard drive. Weiser scored two more touchdowns to take a 49-7 lead into halftime.

                              "We have to grow as a team," Waite said after his team fell to 0-4 on the season. "We took a step backward here tonight."

                              Nick Alvarado paced Ontario, which travels to Vale on Friday for a nonleague match-up, with nine carries for 32 yards, while Sap was 4-for-8 for 43 yards with an interception.

                                Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                              The Weiser football team cleared its final preseason hurdle, downing Ontario, 55-7, in just over two quarters on Friday in front of a disappointing Homecoming crowd at Tiger Stadium in Ontario. The game was halted, following Colton Chandler's 1-yard dive, at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter because of the 45-point mercy rule.

                              The win sets up a key Snake River Valley clash next Friday between the Wolverines and Fruitland in Weiser. Both teams enter the game undefeated, and both are expected to be contenders for the 3A state title.

                              "I'm really proud of the kids," Weiser head coach John Srholec said. "Ontario is a big rival for us, and we never take them lightly. They are young, but they are going to get better."

                              Weiser, which opened the season against four Oregon playoff teams from 2004, is 4-0 on the season for the first time since 1998.

                              The Wolverines used a strong rushing attack to score on all eight of its possessions. Bryce Svedin led Weiser with nine carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Scharbrough added 10 carries for 86 yards and a score.

                              "Weiser is a good football team," Ontario head coach Randy Waite said. "We are not good right now. We have young guys, but we are done using that excuse. We are not a good football team."

                              The Wolverines scored 28 first-quarter points, including a pair of touchdown runs by Svedin, to set the tone early. While Weiser's offense was carving up the porous Ontario defense, the Wolverines' defense had little problems keep the Tigers under wraps. Ontario did not manage a first down until 1:38 remained in the opening quarter, and finished with just 67 total yards.

                              "We came together as a team and kept our focus," Weiser quarterback Sam Lancaster said. "We knew it was their Homecoming and sometimes teams do not come out focused."

                              Ontario did manage to get on the board early in the second quarter, when K.J. Toombs hauled in a 26-yard pass from Bryson Sap to trim the lead to 28-7. But Weiser had an answer,when Lancaster caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Svedin to put the wraps on a seven-play, 61-yard drive. Weiser scored two more touchdowns to take a 49-7 lead into halftime.

                              "We have to grow as a team," Waite said after his team fell to 0-4 on the season. "We took a step backward here tonight."

                              Nick Alvarado paced Ontario, which travels to Vale on Friday for a nonleague match-up, with nine carries for 32 yards, while Sap was 4-for-8 for 43 yards with an interception.

                                 William Anderson Argus Observer

                              Aaron Mauney ended the first game and Chris Schauer ended the second game, as the Ontario baseball team swept the Riverside Pirates 8-7 and 10-0 in a Greater Oregon League double header Saturday afternoon in Ontario.

                              In the opener, Mauney ended the first game, in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he singled to right field, scoring Matt Mejia, as Riverside's right fielder took his time getting the ball into the infield, allowing Mejia to score all the way from first base.

                              To get into a position to win the game, Ontario took advantage of 12 Riverside errors for the win.

                              "We just played and stayed with them," Ontario coach Les Horn said. "We are fortunate to get it done in the bottom of the eighth."

                              The Tigers scored two runs in the first inning, three in the second inning and one run in each of the third and fourth innings, to keep the game close.

                              In the nightcap, Schauer ended the game for the Tigers (13-6 overall, 8-6 GOL) in the bottom of the fifth inning, hitting a run-scoring single to left field, with the bases loaded and one out.

                              Schauer also shut down the Pirates' (5-9 GOL) bats, allowing only two hits in the five innings, as no Riverside base runner advanced past second base.

                              The win for Schauer came after taking three weeks off with an arm injury.

                              "He was efficient and kept Riverside off balance," Horn said of Schauer.

                              Ontario travels to Milton-Freewater for a GOL double head with Mac-Hi Tuesday afternoon.

                          Ontario's offense charges, December 2005

                             Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                          Despite both teams making steady offensive attacks, the Ontario girl's soccer team was able to pull ahead and defeat Weiser, 4-2, on Monday at the Alameda Elementary soccer field.

                          The first half began as a 1-1 tie early on with an Ontario goal from Andrea Guerri and a Weiser goal from Tot Saito.

                          "We didn't play well really," said Ontario's head coach Greg Walk. "The flow wasn't there. They weren't working as a team. The defense was confused in the first half and let that goal in."

                          Near the end of the half Ontario's Christina Markee, a junior, pushed the Tigers ahead. On a break-away run, Markee charged the keeper and sent a straight, low shot into the goal.

                          "They've got speed," said Weiser head coach Bruce Winegar. "They've got two or three girls that when they get a step up on you, you can't catch up."

                          The second half started with several offensive attacks from Weiser, but the Ontario defense was able to hold back many of the runs. After Tiger Kim Boyd, a freshman, upped the score 3-1, with the assist from Ashlee Captein, Ontario picked up the pace and the majority of play took place on the Weiser half.

                          "We passed really good in the first half, but the defense broke down and let them in during the second," Winegar said. "We need to play 90 minutes of great soccer."

                          Boyd scored once more, but the Wolverines did not let up. On a Weiser run to goal, a shot bounced off an Ontario defender's leg back into the goal area. A scramble for the unpossessed ball resulted in Satio's second goal, increasing the score to 4-2.

                          "We didn't get the shots we wanted to get," said Winegar. "It's our passing that killed us. We would have had great shots on goal."

                          Weiser, who plays four games this week and is 1-2 in league play, will head to Homedale on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. match. Ontario, who is 3-1-1 for the season and 1-1 in league, will see if it can keep its offensive efforts up when it hosts Madras on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Greater Oregon League match-up.

                          Measuring success, December 4, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          As the importance of receiving a high school diploma continues to grow in the United States, the total number of high school dropouts has evolved into a growing concern to school districts and states.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said dropout rates are significant to school districts because for students to be successful in today's work world they must receive a high school diploma.

                          Without one it will be very difficult for students to find almost any job because most professions and businesses require at least a high school diploma.

                          The dropout issue, though, has other implications. The number of dropouts has become a tool to make school districts accountable for the number of students graduating, with emphasis coming from various sources, such as the federal No Child Left Behind program.

                          In Oregon the number of dropouts affects a school's budget as funding from the state is based on school attendance.

                           

                          Tigers maul punchless Nampa Christian, December 11, 2005

                             RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The freight train known as the third-ranked Ontario Tigers kept on chugging away, as they demolished Nampa Christian, 54-16, in non-conference girls basketball Saturday at Ontario High School.

                          The Tigers used solid defensive play to negate any offensive opportunities for the Trojans. The 2A Idaho school was limited to 21 percent shooting, and committed 19 turnovers.

                          Only one player on the Nampa Christian roster scored more than one basket as senior standout Lindsay Forseth led her squad with eight points and seven rebounds, before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.

                           

                          Progress report, December 13, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Ontario School District officials, administrators and site councils spent a good portion of last week attending meetings regarding school improvement plans for each school in Ontario.

                          The school improvement plan meetings are conducted annually in the school district to review the goals set for the past school year. The meetings are designed to also review where the specific schools are currently in relation to future goals.

                          The school improvement plans are similar to the improvement plan the district must submit to the state every two years. The local school improvement plans, though, are specifically for the Ontario School District.

                           

                          Making do, December 14, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                           

                          Tigers take win in OT, December 21, 2005

                            RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario Tigers and the Weiser Wolverines each hit 3-point shots in the final seconds of regulation and needed overtime to settle their non-conference boys basketball matchup Tuesday as the Tigers slipped past the Wolverines 66-62.

                          Ontario shooting guard KJ Toombs started the fun with a 3-point shot with 11 seconds left to give the Tigers a 55-53 lead.

                          Weiser's Brandon Richins missed a game-tying shot, giving Ontario the ball back with seven seconds left, and Daniel Schram was sent to the foul line. Schram hit the first free throw and missed the second.

                          Weiser then had the ball back with four seconds left when Bobby Hopkins heaved a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 56-56.

                          In the extra session, the Tigers used free throws from Schram and Toombs to seal the deal as the Tigers went on to outscore the Wolverines 10-6 in overtime for the win.

                           

                          Ontario falls even in first round, December 22, 2005

                            Argus Observer Sports Staff

                          The Ontario wrestling team enjoyed its first day of the sixth-annual Best of the West Duals. The Tigers earned a split, losing against Richland High School, 53-24, and defeating the West All-Stars, 52-22, Wednesday at Trac Arena in eastern Washington.

                          Ontario is one of 32 teams participating in the event, which includes schools from Washington, Idaho and Oregon with school classifications ranging from 3A level up to the 5A level.

                          In the first round, Ontario had five of the 14 wrestlers win matches.

                          Seven of Richland's 14 wins came by way of pinfall. Ontario scored two.

                          Tom Martinez (119), Jace Nakamura (125), Casey Erlbach (145), Toby Smith (171), and Joe Hernandez (215) all scored wins for the Tigers in their matches against Richland. Martinez and Smith won their matches by way of pinfall.

                           

                          Parents question school district discipline policy, December 23, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          A small group of concerned area residents are questioning whether the Ontario School District's disciplinary policies and practices are adequate to keep students safe in schools.

                          School district officials, though, said they believe the current discipline policy works well.

                          Susan and Will Bennett, parents of students at May Roberts Elementary School; Michael Borge, a former Alameda Elementary parent and staff member, and David Smith, a retired school teacher who once taught in Ontario, all said they want to see stronger leadership demonstrated by district teachers and administrators to address what they assert are serious behavioral and safety issues at Ontario schools.

                          Susan Bennett said all her children - three boys and a girl - have been harassed in some way at the school, sometimes physically bullied. Her youngest son - a first-grader - has suffered bruises and injury at the hands of classmates.

                          Borge is a former Ontario resident who also worked for the school district periodically for eight years at Alameda Elementary School. At Alameda, Borge worked with handicapped students and those with serious behavioral problems. He said he is also concerned, after he said he witnessed and heard about incidents of harassment and

                          Tigers ride defense to win, December 23, 2005

                             Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          Defense has been the calling card of the second-ranked Ontario Tigers all season, and Thursday was no exception.

                          The Tigers limited Vale to 32 percent shooting, and forced the Vikings into 15 turnovers in a 61-41 non-league girls basketball win at Ontario High School.

                           

                          Teacher gains prestigious certificate, December 28, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Ontario High School art teacher Pam Helfrich is finished.

                          After spending two years working toward her national board teaching certification, the 13-year veteran instructor has finally acquired the prestigious credentials.

                          She conceded, though, after devoting so much energy to her goal it is sometimes still difficult to grasp the fact she's finished.

                           

                          Parma ousts Ontario, December 30, 2005

                            Tiesha miller argus observer

                          Some late 3-point shots and a crucial free throw were the ingredients to making extra minutes for the Parma and Ontario boys basketball teams at the Fruitland Christmas Tournament on Thursday.

                          The Tigers and Panthers took four minutes of overtime that ultimately decided a 66-63 Parma win over Ontario.

                          At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Parma came out with a pair of 3-point shots and a 2-point bucket to set up the lead after trailing 44-41 at the end of the third quarter.

                          Ten seconds into the final quarter, Parma's Trent Timmons hit the first 3-pointer to tie the game. Jesse Chaney soon followed with the other 3-pointer to put the Panthers up 47-44.

                          Facing a 49-44 deficit with minutes left in the game, Ontario responded with a shot from Ryan Wilson and two shots from Michael Shoaee to bring the match within one point.

                          The points continued to rise and with eight seconds remaining, Daniel Schram hit one of his two free throw shots to send the game into overtime with the teams tied at 55.

                          At the start of extra minutes KJ Toombs sunk a 3-point shot for Ontario, and Shoaee scored on a rebound and a free throw to help the Tigers hold a 61-57 lead with two minutes left.Timmons eventually made the tying shot and a free throw to give Parma the advantage. Brian Merrick built the Panther lead with a 2-point shot.

                          Although Ontario responded with more goals, it would not again see the lead.

                           

                          State grant could propel Ontario school site review, December 30, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario School District has the opportunity to receive a state grant to perform a school site study, should it choose to apply.

                          The grant, called the Transportation Grant Management Quick Response Program, provides planning and design assistance with the intention to help make proposed developments more pedestrian friendly.

                          The grant opportunity came to light at an Ontario planning commission meeting Dec. 13. The commissioners expressed an interest in the idea of the city applying for the grant jointly with the school district. Oregon Department of Transportation representative Cheryl Jarvis-Smith explained a little about the grant again at the City Council's meeting Dec. 19.

                          According to information in an e-mail furnished to Ontario Planning and Zoning Administrator Grant Young by Eric Jacobson, transportation/land use planner for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, the grant can help area officials with many things.

                          According to the e-mail, the type of assistance the grant could offer for the school siting issues in Ontario are design alternatives for redeveloping or expanding the existing site; evaluation of alternative sites making the high school a part of, or central to, a residential high school; public workshops and informational meetings; transportation planning, including looking at improvements to the street system near high school sites and local street connections.

                          Jacobson said the TGM program is a joint effort between the ODOT and DLCD to improve pedestrian access in cities.

                          Jacobson said in a phone interview he thought the Ontario School District, would be a good candidate for such a program after its failed school bond.

                          Jacobson, who said he did not know much more than what he has heard or has seen published, said from what he has heard, the school district has purchased property situated in a

                          -----------------

                          Ontario falls to Vale, 39-6, October 2, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          After the tremendous fireworks show had ended, after the teams had shook hands and made the obligatory congratulations, the Vale Vikings came together on the field. Flanked by fellow students, parents and the community.

                          For Vale, homecoming night was everything it had been billed as the Vikings overwhelmed the Ontario Tigers, 39-6, Friday night in Vale in non-conference match-up.

                          "This team has learned how to be resilient," Vale head coach Jeff Jacobs said, sitting on the bench after the game. "Our focus this week was emotion and intensity, to play tough football. I am pleased with the results."

                          Vale got off to a good start when, with 2:32 left in the first quarter, the Vikings jumped on the board first. Vale's Jason Noland hauled in a five-yard pass from Brady Lovell to put six on the board. The PAT by Willy Maupin was perfect and the Vikings were on their way.

                          On the Viking's next possession, a one-yard dive off a quick count by Lovell put the Vikings up 13-0. Again, Maupin's kick was good as the Vikings begin to roll, both on offense and defense.

                          Vale's lone turnover in the game provided Ontario their chance to score. After a Kyle Joyce fumble, the Tigers marched from their own 28-yard line in 10 plays, culminating in a 13-yard pass from Bryson Sapp to KJ Toombs to finally see Ontario points on the board. The PAT was blocked and Vale went into halftime with a 14-6 lead.

                          The second half was all Vikings. On their first possession of the half, starting on their own 48-yard line, the Vikings drove 52 yards in six plays with Lovell again dashing five yards for the score.

                          Vale again scored early in the fourth quarter as Luke Skerjanec broke through the middle of the Tiger line for a 46-yard run for the touchdown.

                          After an Ontario four and out, Vale needed only two plays for Skerjanec again to break open on a 15-yard run for a Vale 36-6 lead.

                          A field goal of 22 yards by the Viking's Darin Johnson wrapped up the Viking's scoring for the night with 1:15 left in the game.

                          "Hats off to Vale," Tiger coach Randy Waite said. "We had chances we could not capitalize on and things just got away from us in the second half."

                          During the Ontario (0-5 overall) upcoming bye week, Waite said the team will concentrate on tackling.

                          "Teams are rushing at will against us," Waite said.

                          Vale (4-1 overall) travels to Grant Union on Friday to begin play in the Wapiti League.

                          Students help out -Student Council at May Roberts steps up to help Hurricane Katrina victims, October 3, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER - ARGUS OBSERVER

                          It seemed almost like Christmas to May Roberts Elementary teacher Teresa Gartung in her classroom Thursday afternoon as youth in May Roberts Student Council loaded up newly purchased backpacks with school supplies to send to Hurricane Katrina victims.

                          Thursday wrapped up a two-week fund-raising effort at May Roberts, where students collected and donated backpacks and school supplies for students who are preparing to go back to school in the Gulf Coast states and for a school in Portland where some children of evacuees are preparing to start classes.

                          Gartung said the children in her student council were very enthusiastic about the project.

                          "They are so excited about this," she said. "They're like 'yes, we're doing something that counts.'"

                          The May Roberts Student Council, made up of children in third- through fifth-grades, annually participates in fund-raisers for various projects.

                          The 27 backpacks and numerous school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, pens, construction paper, notebook paper and more, collected were picked up at the elementary school this morning by personnel from the Ontario National Guard Armory to be shipped off to different locations.

                          Gartung said what was so impressive about the fund-raising drive was how seriously some of the children took it - some even going out using their own money to purchase backpacks and supplies, referring to a suggested list provided by the Oregon Department of Education, which spearheaded the effort.

                          "I think generally across the board they've been pretty generous," Gartung said of the May Roberts students. "They don't have a lot to give, but I think they've been sincere."

                          During the school supply round-up, student council representative Carlos Sanchez, a fifth-grader, asked Gartung what they were going to raise funds for next.

                          "Last year a tsunami, this year Katrina. What's next year, a tornado?" he asked sincerely.

                          Gartung told him he could not plan what would happen in the future, but later told him when he asked her again they would help where they were needed.

                          Fifth-grader Brityn Sauer said she liked participating in the fund-raiser, and is happy to help. And responding to Gartung's comment about helping where needed, she said that was what they were about.

                          "It's fun to help people, and I know if we were there, we'd want them to help us, and they don't even have anything," Sauer said.

                          Rising construction costs impact total price of new high school, October 5, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The director of operations for the Ontario School District said the $30 million price tag on a proposed bond for a new high school is the result of increased construction costs.

                          Bob Nelson, director of operations for OSD, also said indications are the price to construct a new facility will not decrease in the future.

                          The bond proposal will go before voters for a final decision in November. The school district is asking voters to approve a bond package that includes rebuilding Ontario High School at a site just outside of town along with remodeling and renovations at Pioneer Elementary School.

                          The proposed high school and its added features, however, do not differ greatly from the one included in the school district's last school bond campaign.

                          "That high school that we would have built then is essentially the same building we're proposing to build now," Nelson said, adding the school district did not have land set aside during the last school bond in the late 1990s. That bond attempt failed.

                          The cost of that school district bond was $41 million for a variety of building projects in the district. The high school portion was estimated to cost $18 million.

                          In the new, $30 million bond proposal, the high school portion of the project carries an estimated cost of about $9 million more - most of that coming from price hikes in materials and construction, Nelson said.

                          According to architects from the Lombard Conrad, Boise, Nelson said, construction costs have risen steadily in the Pacific Northwest in the past 10 years as supply and demands increased from a growth boom in the region, as well as the expansion of global markets to supply and work within.

                          School district architects have seen 3 to 5 percent increases each year for the past several years in construction costs, but Nelson said in the past 18 months they have seen a 17 percent increase in construction costs. Those costs are not expected to go down, although Nelson said the greater costs are reflected more in smaller projects.

                          Nelson said the school district is watching construction costs very carefully because the bond amount is set at $30 million, and the school district has to work within that framework.

                          It is possible, if construction costs increase too much, the high school project will have to be scaled back, Nelson said.

                          In such cases, he said, typically amenities, such as athletic areas or auditoriums, get cut from the plan.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing specific has been selected to be trimmed from the overall project at this point. However, Carter said when the school district goes out to bid on the project, should the bond pass, alternatives will be included.

                          Currently the proposed high school bond includes construction of the building; a vocational technology building and greenhouse; expanded parking to accommodate about 800 spaces; room to expand the high school to accommodate growth; a practice field and all-weather track and area for field events; two soccer fields, tennis courts, two softball fields and baseball field; area for future football stadium and future event parking.

                          According to an estimated cost breakdowns, the majority of the cost of the project comes from the proposed 172,650 square foot building, at $125 per square foot. Site improvements are estimated to cost $2,100,000, architecture and engineering $1,634,868, along with a $1.4 million contingency to cover any extra expenses engineers could not account for. Equipment to be installed includes kitchen equipment and elevator for the two story building. The total cost of just the high school is estimated to be $27,583,418.

                          "It's not a fancy high school," Nelson said. "What it is is a functional high school that would meet the needs of our students in our community as well as today's educational needs and projected into the future."

                          The remodeling and construction at Pioneer Elementary School is estimated to cost $2,406,500. Rebuilding of an 8,140 square foot section at $125 per square foot is budgeted to cost a little more than $1 million, while remodeling of 6,000 more square feet at $80 per square foot will cost $480,000. Furnishings and equipment for the library at Pioneer was estimated at $50,000, and a $200,000 contingency budgeted.

                          While local businessman Norm Crume does not doubt construction costs dictate the majority of the costs of the proposed bond, he said he is still not decided on the school bond.

                          "My concern is whether it's the right move at the right time for the right amount of dollars," he said, adding while there is never a "right" time, increased fuel, electricity and utility costs make now more difficult.

                          "At this point in time I can see a need for a lot of it, and I can see people's concerns on the expense of it, and I don't really know which way to go."

                          District session a great opportunity for city voters, October 5, 2005

                          Ontario residents will gain one of the best opportunities to ask questions and find out information regarding the proposed Ontario School District school bond Thursday night at Ontario High School.

                          Registered voters in the district should attend the meeting.

                          The district is proposing an ambitious $30 million bond to build a new high school and to renovate Pioneer Elementary School. The vote is set for Nov. 8, though most residents will receive a ballot in the mail before that date.

                          A citizens committee pushing the proposal as done a fairly good job trying to get as much information out to the public as possible during the past weeks. The school district, also, held several town hall meeting in the spring regarding the issue.

                          Still, the meeting Thursday night is a good idea, simply because it is always a good idea to distribute as much information as possible on an issue such as the bond.

                          There are still some lingering questions regarding the effort and the meetings Thursday may help dispel misconceptions and provide a platform to release general information.

                          Voters concerned about the issue should be on hand at the meeting.

                          The school bond proposal is a big issue with long-term implications for the entire Ontario communicates.

                          Voters should have as much information on hand to make the best, more informed choice when they prepare to make a decision.

                          Thursday night's meeting is a good idea. Hopefully area voters will take advantage of the opportunity.

                          Tigers clinch state berth, October 5, 2005

                             RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario boys soccer team needed a win Tuesday to clinch a spot in the OSAA Class 3A Boys State Soccer Tournament. The Tigers got their win, using a controlled attack to hold off La Grande, 1-0, in a 3A Special District 7 match-up at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                          Ontario's only score came at the 15 minute mark, as defender Payton Aarestad stole the ball from La Grande midfielder Micah Anderson and turned upfield making a pass to Adam Mendiola, who took the ball and did the rest as he juked through the La Grande defense to give Ontario a 1-0 advantage.

                          Ontario had several opportunities to score but couldn't finish. Midfielder Andres Navarette and forward Jorge Martinez both had shots either go wide or over the net.

                          "We should have scored more than one goal today," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We just didn't finish scoring on some of our opportunities."

                          La Grande midfielder Luke Kevan had the two best shots of the game as he was left alone with no defenders around and shot the ball over the net. Five minutes later, Kevan again was left alone by defender Scott Alward, but failed to capitalize.

                          "Our team finally woke up in the second half ," La Grande head coach Jessy Watson said. "Because it seemed like we were sleepwalking in the first half like we didn't want to play."

                          But waking up in the second half wasn't enough for La Grande, who drops to 5-4 overall and quite possibly takes them out of any playoff contention. "We need some help and for teams to lose for us to get into the playoffs," Watson said.

                          With the win, Ontario is now 5-3 overall and 4-2 in 3A Special District 7, as it clinches a playoff berth. The Tigers host Riverside in another 3A Special District 7 match-up on Saturday.

                          Getting the word out, October 7, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          School district residents grilled officials on a myriad of topics about the $30 million school bond they will vote on Nov. 8 in a question and answer-style town hall meeting Thursday night at the high school.

                          Approximately 100 district voters attended the final meeting between themselves and district officials before the election, which will determine whether the school district will build a new Ontario High School on 75 acres of land outside of town and make improvements to Pioneer Elementary School.

                          Ontario businessman Ralph Poole opened the meeting for the school district voicing his support the school bond.

                          Poole told the audience the bond was something he felt strongly about, having grown up in Ontario and being in the first class of students at Alameda Elementary School - the newest school district school built in 1964.

                          Poole addressed some of his reasons he hopes the school bond passes, and some of the concerns he has for the community.

                          He said he hears people say they will not vote for the school bond, even though there is a need for a new high school, because they dislike something the school district has done in the past.

                           

                          School district looking at all its options, October 9, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Should the Nov. 8 $30 million bond levy pass, which will provide for a new Ontario High School and improvements to Pioneer Elementary, the school district is considering using the existing high school structure as a middle school.

                          What will happen to the existing high school building should a new high school be built has been a frequent question since the idea of a school bond has come up. Superintendent Dennis Carter, and the district panel, were posed with the question at Thursday night's town hall meeting.

                          Officials, however, are noncommittal, while acknowledging it is a possibility.

                          District Director of Operations Bob Nelson said the school district doesn't want to get ahead of the people in terms of the projects put before them.

                           

                          Martinez, Salgado key in Ontario win, October 11, 2005

                            Ray Rodriguez Argus observer

                          The stars of the game were Ontario forward Jorge Martinez and midfielder Carlos Salgado, who combined for two goals and four assists. Salgado made crisp passes, setting up the four goals for his teammates.

                          Homedale played with six freshman as head coach David Correa said he wanted to rest his other players for the Snake River Valley Tournament on Thursday. Even with backups on the field, both teams had plenty of offensive flow, and the game was played at a quick pace, with both squads moving freely up and down the field.

                          The scoring started four minutes into the game when Ontario's Carlos Salgado was left alone in front of the net and shot past Homedale goalie Erik Corbett, giving the Tigers the lead.

                          The next two Ontario goals were setup by the duo of Martinez and Salgado as they used communication to make things work and increased Ontario's lead to 3-1.

                           

                          Burns thumps Tigers, October 12, 2005

                            John L. Braese Argus Observer

                          Burns showed why they are undefeated in the Greater Oregon League. The Hilanders easily beat the Tigers, 25-15, 25-18, 25-15, in GOL volleyball action at Ontario High School.

                          Using powerful hitting from a number of players and almost error-less play, the Hilanders led from the beginning in most of the games and never relinquished the lead.

                          In the second game, the Tigers allowed Burns to run off a 8-1 lead before starting to climb back into the action. Finally taking a one-time lead at the 11-10 mark, the Hilanders again took over the game, tying the game at 12, and running away from there.

                          In the third game, Burns led from the first point, never allowing the Tigers a lead. As in the second game, the Tigers allowed a long run in the beginning of the game with Burns leading at one point by a score of 13-1. Slowly, Ontario fought back to within six points at 16-10, but the Hilanders began to pull away, winning the game and the match easily.

                           

                          Bands battle it out, October 12, 2005

                             Tami Hart Argus Observer

                          The blare of the trumpets and the deep beat of the bass drums floated across the night air Monday at the Ontario High School stadium when 15 bands took to the field in the Battle of the Marching Machines.

                          Parma High School marched away with the

                          Bands battle it out October 17, 2005

                          What happens when 15 bands and over 1,100 students arrive at Ontario? It's Monday night, and time for the

                          Ontario district comes up short on NCLB goals, October 18, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          None of the three area school districts - Ontario, Nyssa and Vale - met the 2004 to 2005 school year Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

                          NCLB requires school districts to determine whether adequate yearly progress has been met toward the goal of all students meeting state academic standards by the 2013 to 2014 school year. Each year the performance of students in specified grades, as well as subgroups of students, is measured against annual performance targets.

                          Every two years, the performance objectives are raised 10 percent, and the 2004 to 2005 targets were increased from 40 to 50 percent in the English language arts portion, and from 39 to 49 percent in mathematics.

                          ONTARIO

                          The Ontario School District only had three schools meet AYP: Alameda, Cairo and Pioneer elementary schools.

                          The news was not so bright for other schools in the district.

                          Aiken and May Roberts elementary schools, Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School were all designated as

                          Ontario escapes Vale upset bid, October 19, 2005

                           Argus Observer sports staff

                          After losing the opening two games, Vale head coach Mary Ann Standage decided to fire up her team, picking up a yellow and red card in Tuesday's match against the Ontario Tigers. It almost worked as the Tigers survived the onslaught of Vale, taking the victory in five games, 25-16, 25-15, 21-25, 21-25, 15-13 in non-league volleyball action at Vale High School.

                           

                          School board approves money for clean up effort, October 25, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario School Board approved appropriating $75,000 from the district's contingency fund to pay for cleanup of an underground oil leak at Pioneer Elementary School during a board meeting last week.

                          The discovery of the oil leak came during a project to replace two boilers at Pioneer Elementary this summer. The clean up, which entailed removing a large amount of contaminated dirt, has already been completed and all that remains of the initial project is repaving of a section of ground between the Pioneer gymnasium and main school building, Superintendent Dennis Carter said. While the boiler project was budgeted from the operations and maintenance fund, the $75,000, which covered the cost of the cleanup project, had not been budgeted for, he said, and required a transfer from the district's contingency fund. The school board passed the motion without any discussion.

                          The Pioneer boiler project began in early summer. The school district received a newer, larger boiler donated from the local LDS Church, which Carter said the district intended to use to replace the small boiler under the school's gymnasium and the larger, 100-year-old boiler under the main building.

                           

                          Tigers shutout Bulldogs, October 28, 2005

                             RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario Tigers used three first half goals and six saves by goalkeeper Brett Hytrek to shut out the Baker City Bulldogs, 3-0, Thursday in Greater Oregon League boys soccer action on Senior Day at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                          The Tigers came out more aggressive and were able to beat the Bulldogs to many loose balls in the offensive zone.

                          Ontario was led by Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado who had five shots on goal apiece. The Tigers started the scoring at the 15 minute mark. Sophomore midfielder Salgado took a loose ball and shot from the left side into the right side of the goal to give Ontario the lead, 1-0.

                          After that first goal, Ontario gained momentum. The Tigers had 31 shots on goal.

                          At the 30 minute mark, Ontario's Daniel Schram took a pass from Salgado and shot the ball over the outstretched arms of the goalie to put the Tiger's up 2-0.

                           

                          Tigers win in five, October 30, 2005

                            Ray Rodriguez Argus Observer

                          The Ontario Tigers girls volleyball team clinched a playoff spot beating the Baker City Bulldogs in five hard-fought games, 25-13, 13-25, 25-17, 20-25, 17-15, Saturday in Ontario. The win ensures at least a share of second place in the Greater Oregon League. Ontario was down in the fifth game, 12-8, when Tigers' head coach Rod Williams called a time out. After the time out, Ontario would go on to score the next five points and then go back and forth with Baker City. Then sophomore Stephanie O'Connor served the game-winning point to hand Ontario the game, 17-15.

                           

                          Leadership class gears up for wreath sales, November 2, 2005

                          This year, the Ontario High School Leadership program received the opportunity to sell the Jan-Lar Company wreaths.

                          This opportunity was provided when St. Peter Catholic School decided not to sell this product.

                          A lot of people during the past years have purchased these beautiful wreaths and may want to order again.

                          If you would like to order a wreath, contact OHS at 889-5309 and ask for the Leadership Department.

                          The Leadership class will send a student to your home or business to take your order.

                          Orders must be received by Nov. 9, 2005.

                          Wreaths are scheduled for delivery on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 2005.

                          Prices for the wreaths start at $17.95 for a 20-inch wreath.

                          The most expensive wreath is $19.95. A 28-inch door swag is also available for $17.95.

                          The proceeds from the wreath sales will help send Leadership students to the National Leadership conference in Philadelphia, PA in June.

                          Ontario gets swept, November 3, 2005

                            Argus observer sports staff

                          Playing without seniors Vanessa Gomez and Carrie Heninger due to injuries, the Ontario Tigers dropped a three-game match to La Grande, 26-24, 25-13, 25-11, in a Greater Oregon League playoff volleyball match, Tuesday in Baker. The loss places the Tigers as the No. 3 seed going into the state tournament. Ontario begins tournament action Saturday, traveling to Sisters.

                           

                          Effort pays off, November 3, 2005

                              JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          More than three years of hard work will soon pay off for May Roberts Elementary students.

                          Ontario School District staff are finishing up the installation of a new playground set, the result of a long-range school plan to save the money from funds raised during the school's annual fund-raiser, which takes place in the fall. May Roberts Elementary Principal Frances Ramirez said every fall students sell Christmas holiday items and presents, and these past few years a portion of the funds was set aside specifically for the playground equipment. After three or so years of savings, the school's coffers had the necessary $10,751.38 to cover the cost of the playground set.

                           

                          Ontario loses momentum after half time, November 6, 2005

                            John L. Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario Tigers could only hold off the Baker Bulldogs for a half. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the third quarter on their way to a 42-14 Greater Oregon League win over the Tigers, Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Baker win secures the second place seed for the Bulldogs, while Ontario falls to 1-8 overall and 1-3 in league play, closing the season.

                           

                          School board sidesteps future bond issue, November 18, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario School Board Thursday night took no action on the lingering question of pursuing another school bond.

                          By a commanding 3-to-1 margin voters scuttled an ambitious, $30-million bond concept Nov. 8.

                          While no concrete plans to revisit the school bond issue were fashioned Thursday night, the consensus of the board seemed to be to ensure the bond issue did not fade away entirely.

                           

                          Successful partnership, November 21, 2005

                           JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          With the help of a Union-Pacific Railroad grant program, the principals at Ontario and Nyssa high schools are networking with other principals across the United States to improve education practices.

                          Networking is just one feature provided by the Principals' Partnership program, sponsored by Union Pacific.

                          The program also gives the principals a chance to meet with a free, private consultant three times a year to discuss the educational needs of the schools. The consultant provides research, case studies, training or networking needed to address specific issues identified by the principals.

                          Ontario High School Principal Bret Uptmor, a first year principal who met with the high school's consultant for the first time in October, said he thinks the program is a success.

                           

                          Area after-school program still going strong, November 21, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          This year marks the fifth year the Ontario Middle School after school and summer programs have been in place, and middle schoolers and staff are busier than ever with activities.

                           

                          Ontario kicks off season, November 30, 2005

                           Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                          The Ontario girls basketball team opened its season with a 56-22 blowout of non-conference opponent Nampa, Tuesday in Ontario.

                          With the experience of six seniors under its roster, the Tigers dominated early and held the Bulldogs from scoring until the third quarter.

                           

                          Cornwell to return to top middle school slot, June 1, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          After one year as principal of both Ontario High School and Ontario Middle School, Lavelle Cornwell will return next year only as the OMS principal.

                          The announcement was made last week after Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter discussed the matter with Ontario School District board members at a May 19 meeting, and they agreed to honor a request by Cornwell to make the transition.

                          The school board also approved hiring a new principal for the vacant OHS position.

                          Cornwell, who taught at the high school for 19 years and became principal of OMS in 2001, assumed the new position of director of secondary education in the fall of 2004, after the departure of former OHS Principal Patrick Royal.

                          Cornwell announced her decision to her staff at the two schools this past week. Her decision, she said, was solely based on personal reasons and did not relate to her job.

                          "I just had a hard time balancing my personal life and my work life, and there comes a point when you have to put your priorities back in order," Cornwell said. The school district moved from one top administrator per school to joint principal positions in order to bring OMS and OHS administrators and staff "closer together in focus."

                          The idea, Carter said, was to create a better flow of communication between high school and middle school administrators and staff, and develop a more evenly-aligned curriculum and closer instructional programs. The end result, Carter said, is for a more seamless transition from middle school to high school for students, hopefully leading to a higher graduation rate. When students are in elementary school, teachers have a close, "nurturing" relationship with students, similar to that of a parent. As children advance through the school system, Carter said, it becomes less nurturing and assumes a more solid, educational role. There are places in the system, he said, that can be "jolting" to students, one being the transition from middle to high school.

                          "And we're trying to lessen the jolt a little bit and make it more of a continuum," Carter said.

                          Carter said the district achieved a lot of those goals under Cornwell's leadership, adding both he and the school board were pleased with Cornwell's performance. Carter said while the district may once again return to the director of secondary administration system in the future, for the time being, it will continue with its secondary education reformation plan under two administrators. The school district does not intend, he said, to abandon its plans for a closer middle and high school system because Cornwell is leaving, nor should Cornwell's departure be seen as a negative reflection of her abilities.

                          "Lavelle has done a good job," he said. "But we're respecting her wishes."

                          As for Cornwell, she described the past year as a "real learning experience" for her, but one she enjoyed and would not take back. She said the middle and high schools have accomplished a lot in the past year, which was a big transition for administrators and teachers, especially in improving better communication.

                          "It's been a great experience, and I thank the district for allowing me to have this experience," she said.

                          "And I hope it wasn't a negative experience for anybody else."

                          School district moves ahead on land purchase, June 19, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          In a move that signals a step toward the construction of new high school, the Ontario School Board approved the purchase of about 75 acres of land from an Ontario couple at Thursday night's board meeting.

                          The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Avenue was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter announced during the meeting the sale of the land will be contingent upon rezoning of the property.

                          It is not, he said, contingent upon the passage of a bond measure.

                          The bulk of the purchase is 75 acres of what Carter said was "good farm land." Another acre or so of property contains the Wada's house, and a smaller house on the property currently not in use that Carter said would likely be demolished.

                          The Wada's agreed to sell the 75 acres of undeveloped land for $875,000.

                          The remainder of the selling price goes toward the purchase of the Wada's house.

                          Outgoing Ontario School Board member Carl Judy said during the meeting land of that quality in that vicinity, which is near Airport Corner, is selling for about $30,000 an acre, but the Wada's agreed to let the school district purchase it for $15,000 an acre.

                          "Which is practically a donation to the school district," Judy said, adding he was pleased be part of an arrangement that would benefit the high school and school district during his tenure.

                          While district officials had the first parcel of property, containing the Wada's house, appraised by an appraiser, Carter said the value of the remaining undeveloped land was not determined by a certified appraiser, but instead was determined by district officials.

                          He said a certified appraiser would not have been able to do any more than guess what the value of the land was based on land of similar quality and location.

                          Carter said district officials came up with their estimate of the land's value by gathering information on the asking and selling prices of nearby land sales made recently, specifically on property near the North Ontario Interchange.

                          The final sale will not be completed until the property, currently zoned farm use and situated just outside the city's Urban Growth Area, receives a zoning change, most likely to public use, Carter said, a process that could take six months and will begin immediately.

                          The property, Carter said, is adjacent to the current UGA and should be incorporated when the city completes its Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

                          Once the UGB expansion occurs, the school district plans to annex that land into the city.

                          "We would want to annex into the city because we intend to use city services," Carter said.

                          The property purchase, he said, is not contingent upon whether a school bond passes because the school district will eventually need the land for a bigger high school, despite what happens in the meantime, and because the school district would not be able to purchase the same amount of land of the same quality for a less expensive price in the future.

                          Should a school bond not pass, Carter said, and the land is not used immediately for construction, the district would likely lease the land to a farmer to raise crops to be sold, which in turn would generate a small profit for the school district.

                          Carter said he thought the land was currently being used to grow wheat and onions.

                          Carter said the district looked at purchasing other land in the area, and officials did speak with other people possibly interested in selling, but decided upon the Wada's property because it was felt the property is the best suited for the school district's needs at the best price.

                          Negotiations with the Wada's, Carter said, were pleasant. The two parties began negotiations about six weeks ago.

                          As of last week, Carter would not confirm or deny the school district was negotiating for property or whether the school district had a piece of property in mind.

                          When the school district began looking at rebuilding, officials considered rebuilding at the current site or rebuilding at a larger site, stating at least 50 acres were needed.

                          The Ontario School Board has not officially voted on rebuilding at a different site, nor approved going out for a school bond, but will likely address the issue at the July board meeting.

                          Carter had previously announced the budget committee approved transferring $1 million from the school district's contingency fund to a building improvement fund for the purchase of the land.

                          The Ontario School Board moved forward with that recommendation Thursday night during the 2005 to 2006 budget approval process.

                          School district has questions to answer, June 28, 2005

                             Ray Dickerson Special to the Argus Observer

                          Every taxpayer in the Ontario School District should ask some very important questions about whether or not we need a new high school in the county: Is this proposal a real need or is it just a "we want" from a bunch of school employees?

                          Reality is there are great numbers of planners and builders who like nothing more than to sell the construction of new schools to community school boards and municipalities. They are quick to send out consultants and engineers to tell boards how this or that building does not meet this or that requirement, while at the same time pitching what it would cost to plan, repair or construct a new facility, and that they would be more than willing to participate in the bidding process. Does anybody want to make an offer on that famous New York bridge?

                          Why would Ontario build a high school out of town for $29 million or so, without a sports facility? How much will it cost to tear down the old high school or make it into a middle school? If nothing needs to be done to the old high school before it's use as a middle school, then why is it not adequate as a high school? Wouldn't it be more difficult and costly for people just to travel to a country school?

                          The expected answer to why we need a new high school is that Ontario school enrollment is up and the school is too small. I would ask for proof and double check those figures.

                          I don't have specific figures. The school district superintendent has not answered my written request for the information submitted three weeks ago. I spoke with Superintendent Dennis Carter about getting enrollment and graduation information and he asked that I put my request in writing. I did and delivered it to his office within one hour of the request. To date there has been no response. I can only conclude that the district, which normally follows the advice of PR specialists and attorneys, does not want the facts to go to the public.

                          Taken from the OHS site committee Web page, enrollment during the last school year was 760 students. That figure is down from previous years when the building housed more than 900 students. And, once again, were there really 760 students last year?

                          According to graduation statistics released this week from the Oregon Education Department, OHS graduated 111 students this school year. That is 18 percent fewer students than they graduated last year. Yet, once again, there are different figures: The OHS Web page says there were 236 ninth graders, 188 10th graders, 186 11th graders and 156 12th graders. However, the OED statistics used 136 12th graders as the base for calculating the high school graduation rate. Twenty 12th graders just disappeared? By comparison, my 1956 OHS class graduated 100 students from that very same building. One wing of the building wasn't even used in those days and the student-teacher ratio was much more than 16:1, trust me.

                          Based on an average enrollment of 235 ninth graders during the past few years, and depending on which statistics to believe, the school completion (graduation) rate is about 47 percent. Yet the school Web site brags that 92 percent of eighth graders complete high school and 65 percent complete college. How could that be and what can we believe? Fifty-three percent of high school students disappear over the four years of high school, yet the school district touts a 5 percent to 6 percent drop out rate. Once again, what can we believe?

                          Dr. Carter and others who are campaigning for the new high school in the county contend that projected increases in enrollment justify the new building. Really? Check the trends! The enrollment is going the other direction, and demographically the decline will continue. Emotion and "we wants" are trumping reality.

                          Are we getting our money's worth? According to The Oregonian, Malheur County schools receive more money per student than do any other schools in Oregon. Ontario gets more than $10,000 per student, while other smaller schools get as much as $11,300 per student, which compares with $7,200 for other state schools, on average. Once again, on average, each Malheur County school receives $1 million more than comparable big city schools. The purpose, according to The Oregonian, is to help local schools graduate more students. How is OHS doing?

                          Taxpayers spend about $120,000 per student to put them through kindergarten to graduation. A four-year college degree at a very good school seems like a great deal by comparison. How many more dollars will it take to get all of our kids through school? I think the situation is totally out of control.

                          What the extra education dollars have purchased locally is 75 acres of farm ground for about $15,000 per acre. Farm ground, as farm ground, is probably worth $2,000 to $3,000 per acre. Renting out 75 acres for $7,500 per year would be a good return on a million dollars? Perhaps that says more about the state of education system than does anything else. Do we really need an acre of school grounds for each 10 students? Interestingly, urban planners want hundreds of people living per acre in stacked-up crowded conditions in Oregon so prime farm land can be protected. Will they spring for such sprawl for a school? I doubt it! If they do, someone needs to investigate their decision making process.

                          The overriding question is, if more dollars is the answer to education woes, why would the school system gamble on potentially throwing away a million or so on farm ground instead of investing in something that would improve the graduation rate? If not buying more education, why are needed repairs not being done to the existing high school? Especially since it has been revealed the building will be used as a middle school and the work has to be done anyway?

                          I think the answer is that the school system has more money than it can spend, and it is burning a hole in their pockets. More realistically perhaps, someone in the legislature knows all that money is lying around school districts in various accounts and wanted to get at it. The answer from OED and administrators everywhere, was spend it or lose it?

                          Hiring architects, planners and buying alfalfa fields for $15,000 an acre is one sure way to get rid of the money, but are the taxpayers being served?

                          The Ontario High School is an excellent building, well situated, and it and the beautiful sports facility can serve the residents of Ontario for many more years. We do not need to spend the big bucks on a country school. Remember this, the $29 million is only the beginning and only half the story. They will also want a new sports stadium, $10 million at least. Nothing but the best! Renovation of the high school and tearing down of the old middle school, another $10 million? It all smacks of a socialist public works program.

                          - Ray Dickerson is an Ontario resident.

                          District gets a good deal, July 5, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Based on fair-market values for land in the area, the Ontario School District received a good bargain when it purchased about 75 acres by Airport Corner for a new high school.

                          The Ontario School Board approved the purchase of the land at its June 16 meeting.

                          The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Ave. was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land. The closure of the land sale is contingent upon rezoning of the property, which is currently zoned exclusive farm use.

                          The school district agreed to pay $875,000 for the approximately 75 acres of undeveloped farm land - $15,000 an acre for 50 acres of flat land and $5,000 an acre for the remaining undeveloped acreage. The remaining balance the school district will pay is for an acre or so of land that contains the Wada's house and a storage shed.

                          While the school district had the parcel the Wadas' house occupies professionally appraised, district officials did their own appraisal on the undeveloped property themselves.

                          District officials appraised the value of the land at about $30,000 per acre for the 50 acres or so of flat land, which the Wadas agreed to sell for half that price.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said they determined the land's value based on the asking prices and selling prices of similar properties up for sale. Officials looked at the price of a land exchange deal near the Ontario Interchange, Carter said. They also looked at land on the outskirts of town south of Fourth Avenue.

                          According to the Malheur County Assessor's Office chief appraiser Rich Thurmond, the school district's appraisal does not differ much from that of a certified appraiser, who would value the land based on sale prices of comparable properties from the same type of land-usage zone - farm use, industrial, commercial or residential.

                          Thurmond said "the value of the land seemed quite high" based on fair-market value of agricultural property, which ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the quality of the acreage. However, the $30,000 value per acre value appraised and the subsequent sale price are considerably less than fair-market value for industrial and commercially-zoned properties, Thurmond said. The fair market value for residential lots is about $30,000, Thurmond said, but added there are about four lots to an acre.

                          Carter said, while market value for farm land is considerably less than the agreed price, the property purchased is "highly developable." The land, however, is bare in the sense it is cut off from city infrastructure, such as water and sewer utilities and road maintenance, residential, industrial and commercial properties would have, he said.

                          "So somebody has to put some money into it before it's worth that," Carter said.

                          If and when the school district begins construction, infrastructure costs would be assumed by the district as the new high school would be connected to city services.

                          The property, which is rectangular in shape, extends from Southwest Fourth Avenue to Northwest Fourth Avenue, and is approximately two miles away from the current high school location.

                          In the contract signed between the two parties, the school district is paying for half of the land up front and the other half during the next five years.

                          The city budgeted $1 million to its capital building fund, in addition to the approximately $325,000 already in there, to cover the purchase price.

                          Construction of a new high school will be paid through a school bond. The school board will vote on whether to go out for a school bond levy at its July 21 meeting.

                          Ontario School Board OK's bond levy, July 24, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario School Board rubber stamped a resolution declaring the district's intentions to go out for a school bond to build a new high school at Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting.

                          The amount of the bond is not to exceed $30 million, and the taxpayer levy will be used for the construction and capital improvements involved in building a new Ontario High School and renovating and upgrading Pioneer Elementary School.

                          Bond ballots will go out in the mail to district voters Oct. 22 through Nov. 8. Should the bond pass, the school district intends to have the new high school completed for the 2008 through 2009 school year.

                          The district has been considering the bond issue since the beginning of the year, and has hosted a series of meetings to gauge the support of the public.

                          The School Board discussed the bond issue right before the meeting in its work session, newly scheduled for 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of every month before school board meetings.

                          Newly-elected school board member Cliff Bentz brought up a number of questions in the session about language of the bond resolution, which was prepared by a bond counsel.

                          Bentz's concern was some of the language of the resolution was too broad, and should be changed to adequately reflect the process leading up to the vote.

                          The language prepared by the bond counsel and included in the resolution stated the School Board "held community forums to give District residents the opportunity to study all of the options under consideration for improving the District's schools and providing the best possible educational opportunities for District residents."

                          Bentz said he was not at all sure district residents had the opportunity to study all of the options during the community forums, and wanted to know what other chances the public was given to explore the issue.

                          Bentz said the community forum he attended was more reflective in nature.

                          "It was more of a 'what do you think,'" he said, stating the language should be amended to accurately reflect the opportunities for the public.

                          The board agreed to change the language stating the board "held community forums and other information gathering activities," referencing the previous public meetings and discussions the school district and board held on the issue.

                          The Ontario School Board also agreed to amend language to state board members looked carefully at estimated costs of the new high school, where it had previously said "all costs" for the new high school.

                          "The more explicit we are the better," board member John Phillips said.

                          Project architect Mike Patano agreed the changes were important, but even more so was the resolution language stating "this bond measure would provide the best possible educational opportunities for all District students at the most reasonable and responsible cost to taxpayers."

                          The words "reasonable and responsible," were essential, Patano said, "because that's what I think it's ultimately going to come down to," Patano said.

                          The school board also discussed the next steps to ensuring a school bond actually passed. A school bond promotional committee made up of volunteers is being formed, and the next few months will be spent advocating for the bond and informing the public of why the district is going out for this bond and the details of the project.

                          Patano advised the council the promotional committee and district officials need to be upfront and answer all questions posed to them.He said many future school district projects, such as the plans for the middle school and old high school building, depend on the success of the bond measure.

                          "This is setting the stage for the future," Patano said.

                          He said the promotional effort needs to be positive but aggressive and optimistic.

                          Phillips, however, reminded the board opponents' voices need to be heard and respected during the upcoming promotional and informational campaign so as to not alienate voters in the future.

                          Proud past, bright future, August 4, 2005

                             Evelyn Dame Special to the Argus Observer

                          English statesman Winston Churchill once stated, "First we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."

                          Good schools and adequate facilities affect everyone. Without an adequate investment in education, students will suffer, our community will stagnate, business will leave and property values will drop. I believe our local schools should be a source of pride and a symbol of our community's determination to ensure a better future for everyone who lives here. The support we give our local schools reflects the value we place on learning, a value that is imitated by our children.

                          For communities, funding school facilities is both a responsibility and a concern. The Ontario School Board, of which I am a director, recently passed a resolution to build a new high school and make major improvements at Pioneer Elementary School. As a community we will have an opportunity to create facilities that will provide an up-to-date, effective learning environment that will enhance teaching and learning, provide for health and safety, and accommodate the needs of all learners.

                          One and one half years ago, the district convened a facilities review committee to study the various buildings in the district. It was comprised of 32 members, including parents, business owners, senior citizens and educators. In July of 2004, the committee presented their report to the board and recommended the district build a new high school and enlarge and modernize Pioneer Elementary, the district's oldest building built in 1915. This spring we held three town hall meetings to gather community input. The patrons that attended overwhelmingly supported a new high school on a new site.

                          Our current high school facility was largely constructed in 1951. I am sure it was a "state-of-the-art" building when it was built more than half a century ago, but education has changed dramatically in the last 54 years. Students no longer sit in neat rows of desks as their teacher delivers the lesson for the day. If you visit our classrooms today, where space allows, you will most likely see desks grouped together to provide opportunities for group interaction, teaming and collaboration. Research shows that students who are active participants and become engaged in their studies, learn more about the subject and are more likely to retain the information, and use what they learn throughout their lives.

                          Another huge impact on our older school facilities has been the explosion of technology in our programs and in our lives. Access to information through the internet, CD-ROMS, television. teleconferencing and distance learning are seen as increasingly critical for our students today. Technological literacy has become a new basic for education. Ontario 8-C has been a leader in technology in this region for the last decade. Yet as we've embraced its use in everyday instruction it has increasingly pointed to the limitations our existing facilities impose, such as inadequate electrical wiring, space limitations and flexibility all become restricting in a building constructed long before most of us saw our first computer.

                          It seems education was a priority in this community in the 1950s and 60s. Ontario's citizens built five of its seven schools in a 13 year period: OHS in 1951, Aiken in 1957, Cairo in 1957, May Roberts in 1960, and Alameda in 1964. This very aggressive building schedule must have come after careful prioritizing, consideration and much sacrifice by Ontario's citizens. Its students have reaped the benefit of their vision during the course of the last 40 to 50 years.

                          Buildings once constructed are not static entities; even with the best maintenance, buildings wear out over time.

                          Mechanical and electrical systems become inefficient, and materials serve their useful life and deteriorate.

                          Let's face it, 700 plus students, staff, parents and community members using the facilities day in and day out, nights too, for 54 years presents a toll on even the best constructed edifice.

                          I haves been involved in the public school system in Ontario for the past 18 years. All five of our children graduated from Ontario High School.

                          I have been an active parent volunteer, lunch buddy and elected school board member for more than 11 years. I have spent many hours in the classrooms, attending programs and participating in activities in all of our facilities. I have experienced first hand the dedication of our well educated, hard working teachers and staff who do an admirable job given the limitations posed to their programs given our current facilities.

                          I believe the time has come when we must come together as a community and decide to once again make education a priority in Ontario. Through the years I have served on the 8-C Board too often I have heard, "The economy is bad this year," or " The timing is not good to go for a bond," or "We can't afford to pass a bond," yet the communities around us - that share the same economy - have continued to build new schools and improve their facilities.

                          Two and one half generations have passed through our buildings since the 1950s. As a community we have not invested in our school facilities in a major way since that time.

                          What renovations and additions that have been done in recent years, including the additions to May Roberts and Alameda have been done by the district being frugal with its capital fund dollars and without coming to the voters to fund them. I believe it is time for us come together as a community to take on the responsibility of investing in education for the next generation.

                          Ontario has a proud past and with your help it will have a bright future. I see exciting things on the horizon in education for Ontario's children.

                          It won't happen by itself. It won't happen when someone else does it.

                          It will only happen when each of us decides this is important enough to make it happen.

                          Evelyn Dame is a member of the Ontario School Board.

                          New' best friends, August 7, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          Although the East-West Shrine Game was played Saturday, the three local representatives have been preparing for the game since July 28. On the 28th, Vale's Mark Moreno, Ontario's JJ Anthony and Nyssa's Jose Escobedo left the local area for Wilsonville in preparation for the game with other East squad members.

                          On Friday, July 29, members of both squads boarded buses and visited the Shrine Hospital in Portland. The visit left an impression with Moreno.

                          "It was awesome to really see what we are playing for," Moreno said of the visit to the hospital. "The kids there really look up to us."

                          Anthony agreed with his teammate of the importance of the visit and the image left after visiting with the young patients at the hospital.

                          "Visiting the hospital was a great experience," Anthony said. "We had a great time talking to all the kids and listening to them."

                          Both squads also had time for formal dinners hosted by the Shrine personnel, a visit to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City and a trip to the Baker County Fair. After a golf tournament, acting as hosts for a parade through Baker and a breakfast sponsored by the Baker Cattlewomens, it was finally game time.

                          "This whole thing has been great," Anthony said. "The Shriners really know how to treat the football players and their families. I will remember this for the rest of my life."

                          The week also made time for new friends and getting to know neighbors according to Moreno.

                          "I have made some awesome friends," Moreno said. "I met people from all across the state.

                          "But my best friend is right here," Moreno said putting his arm around Anthony. "It is weird. We have lived about 20 miles from each other most of our lives, but this was the first time we really got to know each other."

                          West triumphs over East, August 7, 2005

                             John Braese

                          Even with the play of three local athletes, Nyysa's Jose Escobedo, Vale's Mark Moreno and Ontario's JJ Anthony, the East team dropped a 20-9 decision to the West in the 53rd annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game. The game, aired for the first time on Fox Northwest Sports channel, was played at noon in Baker to accommodate the live coverage of the game.

                          The East was unable to muster much offense, scoring only on three field goals by Grant Union's Toby Thomas.

                          After winning the coin flip to begin the game, the East elected to defer and promptly forced the West to punt after three plays. The West returned the favor by forcing the East punter out after only three plays.

                          At 3:33 in the first quarter, a fumbled punt return by the East left the West the ball on the East's 46 yard line. On the third play of the drive, a 33 yard touchdown pass from Scappose's Tyler Morrill to Veronia's Eric Schmidlin put the first points of the game on the board. The two point conversion attempt failed, putting the West up 6-0.

                          The East scored early in the second quarter after a fumbled handoff set the team up on the 50 yard line. After driving down the field to the five yard line, the East settled for a field goal with 9:38 left in the half. The East knotted the score up in the same quarter after Thomas put the kick through the uprights from 21 yards out with 4:47 left in the quarter. Thomas completed the half, putting a 24 yard field goal through with two seconds left before halftime to put the East in the locker room with the lead, 9-6.

                          Midway through the third quarter, a string of long gains by the West's Vernonia's Travis Gwin (27 yard pass reception) and Tillamook's Clayton Smith (16 yard reception) set up a 22 yard run by Wilsonville's Spencer Smith for the second touchdown of the night for the West. When Morrill scampered in for the two point conversion, the West led 14-9.

                          In the fourth quarter, Thomas missed a field goal to the left on the East's best chance to get back into the ball game. Taking the ball with 6:08 left in the game, the West ran the clock down, scoring on the last play of the game to take the victory, 20-9.

                          The win is 22nd for the West compared to 28 for the East in the 53 year history. Since 1986, the East has won 15 of 19 games, the game in 1994 ending in a tie

                          Racing superintendent, August 21, 2005

                              John Braese

                          After a week of balancing budgets, hammering out personnel contracts and preparing for the upcoming school bond election, what does a local district school superintendent to do for relaxation?

                          For Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter, the answer is to bang out dents on a Friday night, replace wheels that are bent and unusable and tune up his '96 Dodge Neon in preparation for a Saturday night of racing.

                          Beginning this season, Carter took up oval racing at Meridian Speedway. He races in a beginner's class, the "Hornets," a category where all cars are required to be painted a bright yellow.

                          "My brother got me into racing," Carter said. "He has been racing out at Meridian for years and had been talking to me about getting a car and racing for some time."

                          Racing proved to be a perfect fit for Carter.

                          "When I was the right age, I never got around to it," Carter said. "I went to Meridian all the time when I was younger. Back then, it was a dirt track. I have always enjoyed watching the races so this year I decided to give it a try."

                          Currently sitting ninth in the point standings, Carter missed the first set of races after a blown motor put him out for a few weeks. With the help of his brother, the two purchased the current Neon and made the modifications to make the car "race-ready."

                          "In this class, you really can't do much to the car," Carter said. "We put in a roll bar, harness, netting and the bar across the door. They don't allow many suspension or engine modifications."

                          Although Carter has not won a race outright this first year, he said he has claimed second and third in a few races.

                          "I was in first place in a heat race," Carter said, "when the second place guy passed me on the last lap. Last week, some guy ran me into the wall, so I was out for a little bit. This is a great stress reliever. It is such an adrenaline rush when those curves come up so fast at you."

                          Carter makes a weekend of the races. Starting Friday night, he tinkers with the car preparing for Saturday night.

                          Starting off from his Ontario residence early Saturday morning, Carter spends the day at the speedway with the other drivers, practicing and sharing race tips.

                          "I have not met any other superintendents racing," Carter said. "The big race for this class is Halloween. We run a 250 lap race that night. Usually, our longest races are 30 to 35 laps. That Halloween race should be great just to make it through the whole race."

                          After a weekend of banging fenders, will Carter leave his district job to pursue a career in NASCAR?

                          "I don't think so," Carter said. "This is just for fun. I don't think the NASCAR drivers need to worry about me taking their spot."

                          Superintendent makes case for new school, August 23, 2005

                              JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter spoke to a group of Ontario business and community leaders about the upcoming school bond proposal at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce forum Monday.

                          Monday was the first of two scheduled appearances Carter will make to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce regarding the school district's levy, set to go before voters in November.

                          Carter will again address the chamber, which has announced its support for the bond levy, in October.

                          If passed, the $30 million bond levy, which comes to about $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value, will be used to build a new high school at a 75-acre site near Airport Corner on the outskirts of Ontario as well as make improvements and additions to Pioneer Elementary School.

                          In the first half of his presentation, Carter provided the informational background of the school bond and the process the school district used leading up to the decision to go forward with the project.

                          In his speech, Carter addressed some questions from the community that have arisen during the process, including why the district decided to choose a site on the outskirts of town for a new high school, instead of rebuilding at the current site.

                          He said, contrary to some opinion, the school district did not choose the new site as an investment in land, but rather because the acreage at the new site - 50 acres of flat ground for the actual building site and 25 acres on a hilly area - is necessary for school district space needs. Secondary to that, he addressed concerns raised in the community about the new site's proximity to the gun range and the airport, disputing that either would affect school district operations or be a safety hazard.

                          He also addressed the school district's decision to purchase the land prior to the bond passing. He said the decision was based on practicality.

                          "Whatever happens with this bond issue, at some point in time we're going to have to build a new high school," Carter said. "We felt that we needed to get a good piece of land tied up."

                          In the second segment, Carter spoke from the perspective as a school district resident and taxpayer telling the crowd why he thought a school bond was necessary for the community.

                          He said a new high school with more space is necessary for both space and technology demands of the school district. The current labs at the high school, he said, were built at a time when technology and education was much different. Large, updated labs he said are a need for the future.

                          Having enough space to accommodate all the high school's activities at one site is another need, Carter said, if only to provide a safe environment for students. Lastly, Carter said, a new high school is an economic advantage for the community because when businesses and people consider places to locate, the kind of school system and educational settings and buildings factor into their decisions.

                          "This may be the best economic jump start this community has going for it right now," Carter said.

                          He said while the a school building is only a facade and does not affect the quality of education offered inside those buildings, a prospective new hire would react more favorably to a school district with updated, modern facilities when choosing between two school districts.

                          "So do you get the best and the brightest if you don't have the right facilities for them?" Carter asked.

                          Ontario Chamber Director John Breidenbach said it was because of the economic advantages a new high school would bring to the community behind the chamber's decision to support the school bond.

                          "If they build it, they will come," Breidenbach joked.

                          "Our position is from an economic standpoint the value of a new school is a direct benefit to our businesses," he said.

                          OHS graduate signs with Yellowjackets, August 29, 2005

                              John Braese - Argus Observer

                          Sometimes, bad news becomes good. As Ontario's Megan Moeller was drawing near to the end of her career at Mount Hood Community College, she was contacted by Portland State regarding a scholarship. Happily preparing for the short trip to Portland upon graduation, Moeller was decimated when she contacted the coach later in the year and found the offer had been withdrawn. With the assistance of her coach at Mount Hood, Moeller found a new home - Montana State University-Billings.

                          "I am so excited about Montana," Moeller said. "Practice starts Sept. 6 and I can't wait. I am moving next weekend."

                          Moeller fought against numerous injuries while at Mount Hood, including a knee injury which was scheduled to put her out for a full season. However, six weeks after surgery, Moeller was back in time for the NWAACC's tournament.

                          "I was supposed to be out for a longer time, but I just could not miss the tournament," Moeller said.

                          This year, Moeller and Mount Hood finished in third place in the NWAACC tournament after knocking out Lower Columbia in the quarterfinals.

                          "We did not finish as well as we wanted, but knocking out Lower Columbia was worth the whole season," Moeller said.

                          Moeller, who is a 2003 graduate of Ontario, is ready to tackle the mountains and winters of Montana.

                          "I would like to major in psychology," Moeller said. "I would like to work with younger kids in the counseling area. I really liked the Portland area so I may return there or Boise."

                          Summer was busy for Moeller as she finished up a summer course at Treasure Valley Community College and helped coach the Field of Dreams U-14 team. Coaching, Moeller found out, may have helped her find her place in the future also.

                          "I see both aspects of the game now," Moeller said of coaching and playing softball. "I want to coach somewhere. I live for softball, but after finishing my playing career, coaching would be a great way to extend my softball interest."

                          A slide this summer injured her shoulder, but Moeller said she would wait until after the season before a decision on surgery is made. Meanwhile, she is packing and preparing for the long trip to Billings.

                          Moeller's new team, the Yellowjackets, finished the 2005 season at 13-5 in the Pacific-West Conference, good enough for second place. With an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Montana battled through the loser bracket to the semifinals, losing to host Cal State Dominguez. For the season, 81 team and individual records were set in the 2005 season.

                          "I am going to stay at third base even when I get to Billings," Moeller said. "Some parts of this have been tough, but I am what I am because of my dad, both in softball and in life."

                          Pirates sink Tigers, Aug. 31, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          A quick start helped the Payette girls soccer team on Tuesday.

                          The Pirates scored all four goals in the first half, helping them to a 4-1 decision over Mountain Home in nonconference girls soccer at Payette High School.

                          The Pirates broke out quickly as Eve Thomason and Hillary Byars combined to do the first-half damage for Payette (1-0 overall). Thomason led all scorers in the game with three goals while Byars picked up the other one.

                          During the second half, the Pirates held the ball on the offensive side of the field most of the half with the exception of one breakaway for Mountain Home, which resulted in its lone score.

                          "I was very happy with our aggressiveness and ball control tonight," Payette head coach Vonnie Paul said after the game. "Mountain Home is a very physical team and we handled that aspect well."

                          Paul prefers scheduling a team like Mountain Home early in the season to give the freshmen players a taste of high school soccer and the physicality of the sport at this level.

                          "The freshmen come out of the Outback League and don't realize how much tougher the other players at this level are," Paul said. "I am trying to show them you can be a successful athlete and still be a lady."

                          Paul was also happy with the flexibility the team showed in positions and substitutions.

                          "We have girls that can step in for each other and play the position whenever needed," Paul said.

                          Tigers head coach Carlos Jacome was unhappy, not with the loss, but with his team's performance.

                          "They just did not perform," Jacome said. "They forgot to talk to each other and just played kick ball out there."

                          Playing a tough Caldwell team to a tie on Monday may have taken some of the steam out of the team, according to Jacome.

                          "This is high school soccer," Jacome said. "They need to learn that the games come quickly every week."

                          For the night, Mallory Barnard had nine saves while one assist each went to Eve Thomason, Mandy Greif and Cassie Gross.

                          The Pirates host Fruitland on September 8.

                          Focused on students, August 31, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          In his 11th year as the Ontario Police Department school resource officer for Ontario Middle School, Officer George Tolman said he has learned a great deal about the role of law enforcement in schools.

                          Last week he added to that knowledge, spending two days in Bend at an Oregon School Resource Officer conference.

                          "The role we take as school resource officers is totally different than you take in law enforcement," Tolman said.

                          He said there is a "uniqueness" to the position separate from the rest of law enforcement. As school resource officer, dealing with students rather than the general public, his role is one of teacher, counselor and social service worker, in addition to police officer. Instead of just enforcing problems as they arise, as police officers do with the public, Tolman said he has to look at a student individually and consider what is the best mode of recourse to take.

                          "So the police officer part of this kind of takes a back seat," Tolman said, adding making an arrest is often the last step the process.

                          School resource officers are a nontraditional part of law enforcement, so educational conferences such as the one Tolman attended last week are valuable because they are more tailored to how law enforcement pertains to education.

                          He attended five different sessions at the Oregon School Resource Officer conference, the first the association has hosted, one specifically on the school shooting that took place at Thurston High School in the 1990s.

                          Tolman said one of the officers who responded to the shooting spoke in the seminar, taking the school resource officers in attendance through the process the police followed the day of the shooting, after which they evaluated the procedure, stating what was good and what should have been done differently.

                          OPD officers train specifically on how to enter school shooting situations, and would be well prepared in such a situation, Tolman said. Just the presence of school resource officers at Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School reduces the likelihood of a Thurston-style shooting, he said.

                          At the conference, Tolman also attended seminars on a method to use life stories to communicate with students, obtaining grant information and grant writing, investigating computer crimes and addressing the media.

                          All, Tolman said, were valuable and will help him in the scope of his role as school resource officer.

                          "To me, knowledge is power," Tolman said, adding he appreciates every training and education seminar he attends because they give him more experience to draw from.

                          "How I conduct my business now is a lot different than when I first started here because it was a very new concept for me," he said of making the transition from police officer to the more specialized position of school resource officer.

                          Tolman is more experienced than most school resource officers because he was given the opportunity by Ontario Police Chief Mike Kee to continue acting as school resource officer, whereas most police officers are only in their position for three or four years.

                          "But I enjoy the prevention part as much as the law enforcement," he said.

                          The Ontario School District, he said, has also been very proactive in its approach toward law enforcement in its schools. As a result, he said, there is less violence and bullying is addressed as much as possible.

                          "Because no one has a right to come into schools and make others feel threatened and intimidated," he said.

                          While violence is a primary concern to all districts, Tolman said the issues school resource officers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis vary.

                          Tolman said he spoke to a school resource officer in Prineville who was interested in Ontario's daytime curfew, which Prineville does not have.

                          In the next few months, Tolman, however, wants to take information he learned from a constitutional rights conference he attended this summer into the eighth-grade classrooms, teaching eighth-graders their rights as people, and law enforcement's role in society.

                          "There's a lot of stuff I'd like to teach the kids in eighth grade," he said.

                          Schools must grapple with high fuel costs, September 1, 2005

                            John Braese Argus Observer

                          Imagine your family vehicle has a 90-gallon diesel fuel tank, but it is only averaging about seven miles-per-gallon.

                          The cost to fuel the tank is going up each and every day you need diesel. The guzzler is on the road five days a week at minimum and called upon frequently for side trips to out of the way places.

                          The above dilemma is a real one for many local school districts, as fuel costs continue to climb. In the wake of the massive damage generated by Hurricane Katrina, fuel prices are projected to jump another 15 to 20 cents per gallon, providing little, or no, relief for schools across the region.

                          At its heart, the challenge for many districts is simple, but troubling. School districts budget a certain amount each year to cover transportation costs. At the same time, each district still must deliver students to and from school each day.

                          As fuel prices climb, so does the overall cost for each school district.

                          Payette schools superintendent Pauline King met with administrators and her transportation chief Monday to discuss the district's plan to handle the mounting costs. While King said she is not prepared to take any drastic measures - yet - she is also preparing for the worst-case scenario.

                          "We are going to proceed very cautiously when approving field trips," King said. "The principals will act as watchdogs and we have decided the elementary schools will be allowed two field trips per year."

                          King is walking the fine line between the budget and serving the needs of the students of Payette.

                          "Only approved competitions are funded," King said. "Teachers will need to define the educational purpose of any proposed field trips. Efficiency is the key to get through this. We are holding very tight on the costs of transportation."

                          The situation is similar in nearby Fruitland where Fruitland School District Superintendent Alan Felgenhauer said he is considering cuts down the line as a last resort.

                          "We increased our budget by half again over last year's for fuel," Felgenhauer said, "and that was based on 40 cents per gallon less than it is now. We are looking at making cuts from other places just to pay the fuel bill."

                          Felgenhauer agreed with King the students need to be transported for a number of reasons.

                          "Obviously, we need to get them back and forth from school, but there is necessary academic and sports related trips," Felgenhauer said. "We are tracking the problem and seeing how much of a drain it is becoming. We may have to eventually cut trips completely, but that is a last resort. We like to get kids places for opportunities."

                          In Jordan Valley, cuts are already in place because of high fuel prices.

                          Situated in an area where every trip is a long one, Jordan Valley School District Superintendent Michael Sessions has already changed some sports schedules.

                          "Our league games are locked in," Sessions said, "but we have cut back on non-league games already. We had planned on playing Adrian a few times, but decided against the trip due to fuel. We budgeted more for fuel this year and it is still not enough."

                          Sessions is also in a position to use parents for some trips. With only 10 students in the seventh and eighth grades, field trips are chaperoned while parents take up a large share of the driving, saving the district on fuel.

                          "In sports, we are trying to get closer games whenever possible," Sessions said. "Instead of playing Oregon teams, we are now scheduling Greenleaf and Gem State in Idaho. They are closer and have been really good in playing us."

                          Fuel costs have also hurt Jordan Valley in other ways. Budgeted currently for a resealing project for the district's parking lot, rising costs for sealant shoved the project out of sight for the projected money.

                          "They want $20,000 for an area the size of a large driveway," Sessions said. "We had the money budgeted, but we may not follow through with it."

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said every effort was made to anticipate what fuel prices would be this year.

                          "We made quite an increase last year," Carter said. "We tried to anticipate and leave ourselves some room for an increase like we are seeing now."

                          Carter is concerned the 70 percent of money paid by the state to deliver students to and from school will also be impacted by the rising fuel prices.

                          "If the state cuts back in what they pay, we could really be behind on the fuel costs," Carter said.

                          Carter said most "extras" such as field trips, were slashed long ago and are not available as a safety valve this time around.

                          "In athletics, we are pretty much locked into the current schedule," Carter said.

                          Ontario soccer kicks off new season, September 6, 2005

                             Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          A new head coach and a couple of key returners have the Ontario boys soccer team eager for the 2005 season.

                          The Tigers embark on the new season tonight against Weiser at Alameda Elementary School.

                          Brandon Smith, a 1999 graduate of Ontario, takes over as head coach of the Tigers. Smith replaces Jeremy Skousen, who guided the Tigers to a 7-6-2 record in 2004. Ontario was bounced in the first-round of the OSAA state tournament last season.

                          Smith was a first-team all-state performer for the Tigers, and has coached rec teams, before landing his first high school coaching job.

                          "When I heard the job was open, I just decided to apply," Smith said. "It's real exciting to be coaching here."

                          The Tigers have some experience returning in seniors Adam Mendiola and Carlos Salgado. Smith said he expects his team to be competitive.

                          "We expect to have a real good team," Smith said. "We have several seniors and a lot of juniors, so it's not a real young team."

                          A point of emphasis during early season practice has been turning up the defensive pressure, Smith said.

                          "The two things we have been working on the most is in the way we play defense," Smith said. "We've been a lot more aggressive, a lot faster. Offensively, we have been working on making runs to get open. We've seen a lot of improvement during practice."

                          Smith said he expects La Grande and Mac-Hi to be among the contenders in Special District 7. However, he said, the Tigers should be right there among the league's elite.

                          "We have a good shot at winning," Smith said. "Things have come together. We have a lot of guys with good touch on the ball. We just need to toughen up the defense and we will have a good shot at it."

                          The Ontario girls soccer team has quietly become one of the most consistent programs in the state, and this season should be more of the same.

                          The Tigers, which begin the 2005 season tonight with a nonleague matchup at Weiser, have qualified for the Class 3A/2A/1A state tournament every since 1998. Last season, the Tigers finished second in Special District 7, posting a 6-1-1 record, and a 7-4-2 record overall. Ontario went on to fall, 2-0, to Wilsonville in the second round of the tournament.

                          "Last year went well," Ontario head coach Greg Walk said. "We only had two seniors and a lot of sophomores. We started two freshmen against Wilsonville. We are not hurting at any position. We have good depth all the way around."

                          Three seniors - Kayla Mitchell, Laurel Saito and Sonya Feibert - will be counted on to provide leadership. The Tigers also return their top keeper in junior Danni Thomas.

                          "They have the talent to do very well," Walk said. "It depends on how we come together, how we support each other. We can do as well as last year, I think we are a stronger team. The only thing that would stop us is us."

                          Walk said the district title, and a top seed into the state playoffs, could come down to whoever can catch La Grande.

                          "La Grande is the front runner. They have been tough the last four years," Walk said. "I think it is a coin toss between us and La Grande, after that I don't know. Riverside lost a lot of seniors. Mac-Hi could be a threat, and Madras self-destructed last year."

                          Tigers clobber Weiser, September 7, 2005

                             Argus Observer sports staff

                          The Ontario boys soccer team was in midseason form, scoring 10 goals before halftime on their way to an 18-1 nonleague romp over Weiser on Tuesday at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                          The game was the first of the season for Ontario, which went 7-6-2 in 2004.

                          "We really played well, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they have pressure on them," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "It was fun to get that first win."

                          Ontario was aggressive from the start, using quick passes and an aggressive attack to pepper the Weiser defense.

                          "That was all part of the plan to be aggressive," Smith said. "I think our guys just moved a lot faster."

                          The Tigers got plenty of offensive help. Carlos Salgado led the way with four goals, while Jorge Martinez and Adam Mendiola each added three. Andres Navarette and Mitch Oakes each finished with two goals.

                          "We rotated everyone in, so everyone had the opportunity to contribute," Smith said.

                          Ontario opens Special District 7 play Saturday at Riverside, while Weiser begins Snake River Valley play Thursday at McCall-Donnelly.

                          Chipping in to help, September 12, 2005

                             Julie Engel Argus Observer

                          Pennies add up.

                          All last week, students at Alameda Elementary School brought in change for their Victims of Hurricane Katrina penny drive.

                          They brought in a lot of pennies - $2,618 worth.

                          Kelsey Zimmerman, a first- and second-grade teacher, said she thought of the penny drive while driving the 30 minutes it takes for her to reach work from her home in Adrian. The school started the drive Friday, Sept. 2, and ended it Friday.

                          "The kids have seen it on the news and they are just really affected by it," Zimmerman said.

                          The winning class was going to receive an ice cream party, but because the students raised so much money all the classes will receive ice cream and the winning class - Jolene Zagaris's with $458 - will have a pizza party.

                          Zimmerman said she never heard a student say, "I want to win the ice cream party," but they all said they wanted to help.

                          One student even brought in his piggy bank to class and emptied its contents into the coin jar. Some teachers had to bring bigger jars to accommodate the mass amount of coins.

                          Many of the students in Alameda Elementary live below the poverty line, and Zagaris said she was shocked to see how much the children were giving.

                          "What a neat thing for them to learn to give," Zagaris said.

                          Another school to jump in to help was Aiken Elementary with a "Supercenter Store" and coin drive.

                          Second- and third-grade students made crafts all week, such as pet rocks, beaded bracelets and paper plate tambourines. Other students did face painting, fishing for stickers and sold concessions. Each item was only 25 cents, but all those quarters added up to a total of $500 for the day.

                          Teachers presented the students with a "what can we do" question, and the students took off from there. Most children said what they were doing made them feel happy and great.

                          "We sat at the rug and thought of ideas to do for the hurricane," Alycea Wilson, 7, said.

                          Fifth-grade students started a coin drive to go on all month. A big jar is located in the Aiken Elementary office and anyone can drop in to donate.

                          Ontario High School students will be canvassing the town all next week collecting donations for hurricane victims. The leadership students will travel in pairs and are instructed to knock on every door in Ontario.

                          Also, a group of OHS students will hold a car wash from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at Les Schwab in Ontario.

                          All proceeds will go to the Red Cross. Ontario Middle School's student council will meet Tuesday to discuss fund-raising options. The students will most likely do a coin drive, and in the past raised more than $2,000 for the tsunami victims.

                          Tigers sweep Vale, September 14, 2005

                             Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                          Having gone from league opponents to non-league, the Ontario and Vale volleyball teams have maintained their rivalry even if the stakes have gone down. Both teams entered the court on Tuesday amped up to compete against an opponent that consistently gives them a run for their money. This time the victory went to Ontario as the Tigers swept the Vikings, winning all three sets, 25-21, 25-17, 26-24, at Ontario High School.

                          Vale, however, didn't go down without a fight.

                          "Sometimes the rivalry overshadows the focus, and we don't stay on task, but Vale is always going to get up for Ontario," said Vale coach Mary Ann Standage.

                          During the first set the score remained tight. For the second, Vale struggled behind and never took the lead.

                          The third set seemed to suggest a new wind as Vale scored the first point and maintained a lead until near the end.

                          "After beating them twice we're a team that gets loose and lackadaisical, and we lost focus," said Ontario coach Rod Williams. "Playing Vale can distract us from the game at hand."

                          The Vikings kept the Tigers at a three-point deficit until Jerrimi Hofmann's three serves gave Ontario the first lead of the set going from 13-14 to 15-14. The teams stayed within a point or two of each other until the score reached 24-24, and Ontario pulled ahead to win the set and the game.

                          Ontario's Kylie Roberts played an integral role in the win. "Kylie played a tremendous game," Williams said. "She needed to step up because we were missing some key players, and she had a great night at the net."

                          Along with Roberts, Tara Alvarado and Lindsay Skeen are apart of what Ontario feels is it's power-house blocking.

                          "In the first game they changed their offense and started tipping it because they couldn't get past our blocking," Williams said. "We know we can block anyone in the state except Burns."

                          For Vale, Amy Barlow went 14-for-14 serving, Elisa Mooney had nine kills and Jordan McDaniel had 5 kills and 4 blocks.

                          "We had some really good plays, and we missed some cues," said Standage. "When you are in a game so close, you can't go back and miss a serve. We missed some serves at some crucial times that hurt."

                          Neither team has encounter league play yet this season. Vale is now 2-3 and heads to Fruitland Tournament on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Ontario, 3-1, will open up league play with a tri-meet. The Tigers play Mac-Hi at 2:20 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30.

                          "This is a big win for us because Vale is a rival, but realistically it's just practice for Saturday when our league games begin," said Williams. "But, it always feels good to beat a rival."

                          Overall student enrollment in Vale climbs, September 16, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          As with its district counterpart in Nyssa, the Vale School District has seen an increase in student enrollment for the beginning of 2005 to 2006 school year, while Ontario School District has experienced only a minimal gain.

                          According to Vale Superintendent Matthew Hawley, 947 students are enrolled in the school district the beginning of this school year - an increase of 26 students, and up from 921 at the beginning of the 2004 to 2005 school year.

                          That number is significant, however, because Vale's student enrollment has been decreasing the past six years. The number of Vale's students dropped significantly just during the last school year. While it had 921 at the beginning of the year, Hawley said, the district had only 886 students last spring. The fact the school has 947 starting this year, Hawley said, is very positive.

                          "My biggest concern is how many we retain," Hawley said.

                          Vale Elementary School has seen the biggest increase of all Vale's schools, jumping from 385 last year to 415 this year. Vale High School gained 16 students, up from 307 to 323. On the other hand, Vale Middle School lost 18 students, down from 139 to 121, and Willowcreek Elementary lost two. Hawley said the question being asked in the Vale School District office is why the school district is experiencing an increase in student enrollment, when in past years it has declined. Vale, he said, has not experienced new development or houses, which would indicate or promote growth.

                          Hawley said his best guess is Vale has picked up students from interdistrict transfers from Ontario and the outlying school districts.

                          He said while the school year has started on a positive note regarding student enrollment, "it is too soon to tell" overall what this increase means to the district.

                          Ontario has not seen any big changes from last year to the present, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said district officials did not anticipated any.

                          As of Sept. 7, the school district had 2,687 students enrolled in Ontario schools, an increase of nine students, up from 2,679 enrolled as of Sept. 8, 2004.

                          The most dramatic difference in enrollment numbers, according to the district, are in the elementary schools, where numbers decreased from 1,266 to 1,239 - a drop of 27 students.

                          Carter attributes the drop in students to the fact Ontario's charter school, Four Rivers Community School, added an extra class and grade level this year, and the 27 students is roughly the size of one additional class.

                          Carter said, however, the district's numbers should not be affected overall because, assuming those 27 students are now attending the charter school, they will re-enter the Ontario school system within a couple of years.

                          Ontario High School experienced the most significant increase in students, jumping from 776 in September 2004 to 811. Carter said much of that growth comes from the large class of students that transferred up from the middle school. The middle school showed no change in enrollment numbers, as a result, he said.

                          Carter said while the school district's enrollment is fairly consistent with last year, Ontario has been slowly increasing in numbers over a longer period of time, and he expects more dramatic differences in numbers in the long run.

                          "The reality is it's started to trend up," Carter said.

                          McCall defeats Ontario, September 16, 2005

                            Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                          McCall-Donnelly's offsides trap might have been the demise of the Ontario boy's soccer team on Thursay at the Alameda Elementary School soccer field. The Tigers lost to the Vandals, 3-1, and relinquished possesion on offsides calls at least nine times in the second half alone.

                          "I've got some veteran players in the back," said McCall-Donnelly coach Mike Maini. "They are headed up by Jordan Congleton and are able to get the job done."

                          Ontario's Jorge Martinez scored the first goal of the game in the first half. "Being down at the start of the game pushed us to go harder and make passes crisp," said McCall-Donnelly goal keeper Bob Verschoor, a senior.

                          The Vandals' Ryan Mulick's two goals were also in the first half, the last of which was scored on a run down the field and shot diaganally past the keeper into the center of the goal. For the remainder of the half, play remained in the midfield area with switched possesion between teams and occasional runs but no goals.

                          The Tigers came into the second half with more agression. Frequent attacks were made by Ontario's Adam Mendiola, Jorge Martinez and Andres Navarette. Initially many of Ontario's shots went above or to the left of the right of the goal posts. But offsides calls extinguished many attempted runs.

                          "We controlled the ball and created opportunites to score, but we just didn't score," said Ontario coach Brandon Smith. "When you have 10, one on ones with the goalie, one should go in. I really felt like we controlled the whole game, and at the end we got too tired to play."

                          Eventualy the Tigers were able to make several break-aways but were haulted by the McCall-Donnelly defense or Verschoor.

                          "Their physical nature combined with their speed, we had to play at 100 percent the whole game," Maini said. "They're finishing wasn't all that great, but Bob [the goal keeper] was able to cut the angle and come out on thier break aways and cut out the havoc."

                          McCall-Donnelly's final goal was scored by Chase Millemann on a hard shot that hit the keeper's hands and bounced over him and into the goal.

                          McCall-Donnelly is now 8-1 overall and 1-0 in league play and will play Middleton on Saturday at home. Ontario, 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league, has a bit of a break and plays Madras on Sept. 24.

                          Ontario takes Nyssa in three, September 16, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          Both Ontario and Nyssa volleyball teams found out that the Tigers can play without Vanessa Gomez in the lineup as Ontario defeated the Bulldogs 25-21, 25-14, 16-25, 27-25 in volleyball action Tuesday night in Nyssa.

                          With Gomez gone on a family trip to California, Tigers head coach Rod Williams discovered the next generation of Ontario volleyball stars, bringing up Rebecca McDanel from the junior varsity for her first varsity game.

                          "Rebecca just played extraordinary for us tonight," Williams said. "The traveling is starting to wear us down, though, and it showed some tonight. We would get big leads and then let off our guard. You can't shut a team like Nyssa down when you let them back into the games."

                          Ontario was led by Tara O'Conner with nine kills. Stephanie O'Conner had 30 assists while Kristia Maeda had 17 perfect passes. Kylie Roberts led with 14 blocked shots and three stuffs. Serving, Jerrimi Hoffman had five aces.

                          "We played well tonight, a lot more aggressive than we had in the last couple games," Nyssa head coach Candy Ball said after the game. "We did struggle with our serves tonight, missing 10. You cannot give a good team like Ontario 10 points on missed serves."

                          Ball said she had planned on playing good teams this year to ready the Bulldogs for upcoming league play.

                          "We need to play the good teams," Ball said. "To stay at the top of the game, you need to push yourself and play quality teams like Ontario."

                          For the Bulldogs, Hailey Froerer led with 10 kills while Chelsey Ramos had two blocks for kills. Whitney Spear had 22 passes to lead the Bulldogs.

                          Nyssa (1-2 overall) is off for the weekend, traveling to Marsing on Tuesday.

                          Ontario opens Greater Oregon League play on Saturday, hosting Mac-Hi at 2:30 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30 p.m.

                          Ontario soccer takes on Madras, September 25, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario Tigers advanced to 2-1 in Special District 7 play, defeating the Madras White Buffaloes, 3-2, on Saturday Alameda Elementary School soccer fields.

                          Ontario's Adam Mendiola scored on a jumping header for the Tigers' go-ahead goal. The assist was picked up by Jorge Martinez for his kick from the outside corner.

                          "I knew we needed it badly," Mendiola said of the goal. "I thought I better contribute. I just timed this one perfect."

                          A very physical game on both sides, Mendiola said he prefers those types of games. Earlier in the game, he picked up a yellow card for his play. However, both teams picked up their share of fouls for the game.

                          "Our coach has been working us really hard in conditioning," Mendiola said. "I like those types of games where we can mix it up with teams."

                          Ontario also received scores from Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado. Martinez picked up an additional assist from the Salgado goal for a total of two. His work running the outside right portion of the field was a major contribution to the Tiger win.

                          "I thought we controlled the field well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We had good movement, and our defense played really tough. I thought one of the secrets today was out winning the ball in the air." Ontario (3-2 overall) travels to Baker on Wednesday.

                          Ontario gets 3-1 win at Baker, September 29, 2005

                          The Ontario Tigers trip to Baker was a successful one as the Tigers beat up on the Bulldogs, 4-1, in boys soccer action Wednesday.

                          Leading 2-0 at the half, Ontario cruised through the second half of the game to take the win and push their record in the Special District 7 to 3-1 for the season.

                          "We played really well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "Baker has a much improved team over what they have had in the past years. I was impressed with how much better they played us this time."

                          Jorge Martinez, Carlos Salgado and Mitch Oakes each picked up a goal apiece for the Tigers in the win.

                          The Tigers host Mac-Hi on Saturday at the Alameda Elementary Fields for another league matchup.

                          Planning for the future, May 5, 2005

                            John Braese Argus Observer

                          Join a branch of the military?

                          Look into a college?

                          Flower arranging?

                          How about law enforcement?

                          For students close to graduation, or for those still a few years away from their final school days, the job fair held Thursday at Four Rivers Cultural Center offered a variety of different career choices.

                          More than 1,000 students attended the event at FRCC and gained an up-close view of more than 60 different careers offered locally. Area professionals also were on hand to provide insight into their tools of the trade and the type of training students will need to succeed in the job market.

                          The job fair event, though, can trace its roots directly to Ontario High School counselor David Hopper.

                          "We planted some seeds for careers," Hopper said. "I cannot stress enough how the community has stepped up for this program. Not one person did not show up that was scheduled to be here for the kids. This community truly cares about the children."

                          The students from throughout the valley were able to attend small workshops presented by a variety of instructors in different career fields.

                          After the workshops, the young workers-to-be were able to view tables filled with information of qualifications, training needed and starting pay scales for differing vocations.

                          Talking to Debbie Lyons, United States Bureau of Land Management, Ontario High School sophomore Alycia Adams was especially interested in the possibilities of working in the "Adopt a Horse" program.

                          "I like horses and spending time with horses," Adams said. "I also like welding, and Debbie (Lyons) said BLM could always use people like me."

                          Ontario sophomores Edgar Garcia and Alex Sierra were visiting with local Navy recruiter Paul Snider. Sierra was interested in the Navy career because his interests focused on diving, water and machine guns.

                          Garcia, however, said the Army caught his eye this day. And if the students left the building, a chance to run a backhoe and learn a little about construction was available outside.

                          Ontario Public Works Director Steve Gaschler sat outside in a small backhoe, giving the students a chance to operate the backhoe by filling a bucket with sand.

                          The day is to be an annual event for local schools Hopper said.

                          Moving up the ladder, May 11, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Two Ontario High School seniors finalized their college plans recently, as both Rick Ramirez and Todd Smith will be heading off this fall to play football.

                          Ramirez, 18, will be heading to the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., to play football and work toward a criminal justice degree.

                          "They have a really good field of study I am going into in criminal justice," Ramirez said. "I am going to play football to pay for school."

                          Ramirez help lead the Tigers' to the second round of the OSAA Class 3A state playoffs during his senior season. Ramirez recorded 114 tackles and 45 assists, and had one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

                          Ontario head football coach Randy Waite said the College of the Redwoods is a good fit for Ramirez.

                          "I think it is good for him acedemically, with the small class sizes," Waite said. "As far as I know, Ramirez is the only middle linebacker they have recruited. I know they (the college) are looking forward to this and so is Rick."

                          The California junior college went 2-8 in 2004, and are a member of the Golden Valley Conference.

                          Ramirez said to play college football, he will need to drop a few pounds and then add at least 20 pounds of muscle.

                          "I wanted to play pretty bad and not be board and lazy," Ramirez said. "I will have an opportunity, if I get to play both years."

                          Ramirez has said he is interested in heading to Oregon State University or a couple other four-year schools after his time in Eureka.

                          Smith will be heading to play football at Rocky Mountain College, a NAIA school in Billings, Mont.

                          Smith is expected to play either outside linebacker or defensive end for Rocky Mountain.

                          "He has the opportunity to play and participate," Waite said. "I think he knows he will not be going in and playing right away."

                          Rocky Mountain College is a four-year liberal arts college. The Bears will be looking to rebound from a 1-10 season last fall - the school's worst record since 1995.

                          Waite said if Smith works hard and is able to put on some weight, he will do just fine.

                          Nyssa's Jose Escobedo has also signed a letter of intent to play football at Western Oregon University. Escobedo, an offensive and defensive lineman with the Bulldogs, helped Nyssa to the 2A Oregon state football playoffs last season.

                          Simpson signs with Warriors, May 11, 2005

                             Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          The season comes to an end for the Ontario High softball team on Saturday, but for senior catcher Stephanie Simpson her softball career will continue on next year.

                          Simpson signed a letter-of-intent, on Monday, to play softball at Walla Walla Community College following graduation.

                          The senior is hitting .260 with nine RBIs for the Tigers, who are 12-10 on the season. Simpson, who was a second-team All-Greater Oregon League selection last season, has also enjoyed a solid season behind the plate, throwing out 6-of-9 would-be basestealers.

                          "It's exciting when you have players move on to the next level," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said. "When somebody from Ontario gets signed to go on to any program, whether it's a community college program or a four-year program it's awesome."

                          Walla Walla is a member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Eastern Division, and a rival of Treasure Valley Community College. Stephanie Simpson had a chance to spend time with the Warriors over the weekend, when Walla Walla was in town for a East Division twinbill with the Chukars. The doubleheader was postponed on Saturday, giving Simpson and Warrior head coach Mike Staudenmaier a chance to talk.

                          "We hung out Saturday, and I got the chance to meet the team and talk with the coach," Stephanie Simpson said. "I just clicked with the team and I really like the coach's philosophy."'

                          Following Saturday's meeting, the Warriors made a big impression on their recruit, drilling the Chukars, 20-1 and 15-5, to clinch a spot in the postseason. Walla Walla hit 12 home runs in the sweep of Treasure Valley.

                          "They are a really good team," Stephanie Simpson said.

                          Stephanie Simpson's choices came down to the the Washington school and Treasure Valley.

                          "I thought back and forth about the two schools," Stephanie Simpson said. "But I wanted to get out of Ontario and try something new."

                          Individuals stand out for Tigers at district, May 15, 2005

                            William Anderson

                          What is the point of hosting a sporting event without a little controversy?

                          The controversy came in the last girls event of the day, the second to last event of the two-day Greater Oregon League district track meet at Ontario High School Saturday afternoon.

                          In the 1,600-meter relay, Ontario and Burns were tight the duration of the race, with Ontario holding a slight lead through the first three legs.

                          On the final leg, Ontario's anchor leg Jordan Bainbridge was cut off by Burns' Jaela Dinsmore on the homestretch, pushing Bainbridge out of bounds. Bainbridge and Dinsmore kept running next to each other as the two girls collided at the finish line with Burns getting the win.

                          After a review, the Burns relay team was disqualified for the action, giving Ontario the win.

                          According to Ontario track coach Trever Wilson, a runner cannot take away another runners position on the track.

                          The race was simply a highlight of the day for the Ontario girls, who finished fourth with 93 points, and were off the pace of Burns. The Hilanders won the girls title with 163.5 points. La Grande was second with 127.5, and Baker took third with 114.

                          On the boys side, La Grande walked away with the event in first place with 205.5 points, while Burns was second with 121 and Baker third at 105.5 points. Ontario finished fourth with 98.5 points.

                          In all, the Tigers will send 13 athletes to state to compete in 10 events.

                          Bainbridge will compete in four separate events. Along with the 1,600-meter relay, Bainbridge will compete in the 400-meter relay, the 400-meter and the 200-meter.

                          "I am looking forward to next week. It will be good competition," Bainbridge said. "I have a lot of room to improve."

                          Bainbridge did well Saturday, taking first place honors in the 400, with a time of 1:00.04, while getting second in the 200, behind Dinsmore, while also helping the 1,600 relay team to a first place finish, and the 400 relay team to a second place finish.

                          "She has been doing this all year," Wilson said. "She has been doing what she has to do to get to state all year. She is looking forward to going to state."

                          Jacob Blaylock also qualified for more than one event, winning all three races he enters, the 800-meter, 2:01.06, the 1,500-meter, 4:29.13, and the 1,600-meter-relay team, 3:33.96.

                          Jose Rivera qualified in two events for the Tigers, in his first year of running track, the 1,600 relay and the 400-meter-relay.

                          "It is outrageous," Rivera said of going to state. "I am glad to be competing at the state level."

                          Ontario girls claim district tennis title, May 16, 2005

                             Argus Observer Sports Staff

                          The Ontario girls tennis team won its ninth district title in 11 years, scoring 32 team points Friday and Saturday in the Special District 4 tennis tournament in Madras.

                          The Ontario girls' tennis team will be sending seven girls to the state tournament next weekend.

                          Ontario's Stephanie Babij picked up the girls singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the finals, to earn her second district title.

                          Three Ontario doubles teams qualified for state; Hannah Pobanz and Julie Hall, Christy Linford and Jenna McClean and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Connor, to help Ontario win their third straight district title.

                          "I thought we played really well," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said.

                          As for the boys, Ontario scored 24.5 points to finish second behind Baker's, 27.

                          Payton Aarestad picked up a district championship by knocking off Luke Rembold of Baker, 6-1, 6-0. Rembold is a two time district champ.

                          "Payton brought his game today," Gill said. "He had patience. The boys took third a year ago, so this was an improvement."

                          Nick Babij and Michael Shoeaee earned a state birth in boys doubles for the Tigers.

                          Vale's Cassandra Andrews and Karissa Nelson also qualified for state in the girls singles, while Evelyn Kaaen and Luci Delong also qualified in girls doubles action.

                          Nyssa will be sending one athlete, Luis Ramirez in boys singles, to participate in the state meet.

                          The Tigers travel to Eugene for the 3A/2A/1A State tennis match beginning Friday.

                          School district sponsors third bond meeting, May 17, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The crowd Monday night was smaller, but some new faces turned out to get more information about the Ontario 8C School District's plan to build a new high school.

                          Architects tasked with the design of a new high school provided cost analysis figures for rebuilding at the school's current site or rebuilding at a new area.

                          The meeting, the third sponsored by the Ontario School District to gather support for a major new local learning facility, was held at Ontario High School.

                          Both options - rebuild at the current school site or start fresh at a new place - were discussed at Monday's meeting, while more questions about cost arose.

                          One of the central questions that lingered after the meeting was what the current high school building would be used for if another site was chosen to build on, and what the costs would be for such a plan.

                          While nothing has been decided yet - school district officials and board members apparently are still grappling with whether to sponsor a school bond to rebuild the high school - one option, if the school district decided to build on a new site, is to move Ontario Middle School to the high school, which would require renovating the building. Many people in attendance at the meeting wanted to know the costs associated with the middle school to high school switch, and when that project would take place. Both project architect, Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing firm has been decided on renovation of the high school, should that option be chosen, but it probably would happen as a second phase to rebuilding at a new site, perhaps within two years of the completion of a new high school.

                          Patano was receptive to the audience members' desire to know the associated costs with that phase, and stated before the meeting adjourned the architects have some more homework to do regarding the issue.

                          Also during the meeting, audience members had one more chance to tell the school district their desires about even rebuilding a new high school. They reached a unanimous consensus a new high school was needed at a new site. While construction of a new high school at a new site is more expensive, Patano said the cost was not that much greater than rebuilding at the current site.

                          Patano estimated the school bond to be 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, numbers provided by Northwest Pacific Securities - a bonding agency out of Washington.

                          To rebuild at the current site - using a three story building model - architects estimate it would cost $24.5 million or $27.5 million including improvements to Pioneer Elementary School, next door. That would cost taxpayers with assessed property value of $75,000 $186 a year or $15.50 a month.

                          To rebuild at a new site, estimated to cost about $30.5 million, it would cost $206 per year or $17.19 a month for property assessed at $75,000 a year. Kathy Judy, a real estate agent in Ontario, estimated the average property house in Ontario to be worth about $96,000, which raises those numbers slightly.

                          Architects will make a report of their findings to the school board at 7 p.m. Thursday.

                          Planning ahead, May 17, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario 8C School District budget committee approved a $1 million addition to the district's building equipment fund for the possible purchase of a parcel of land for a new high school site as part of the school district's 2005 to 2006 budget.

                          The budget committee approved the proposed 2005 to 2006 budget May 9. The budget will be reviewed for final approval by the school board at its June 16 meeting.

                          While officially the district maintains it has made no final plans for a new high school, the district is considering a school bond measure to help fuel the construction of a new facility at the existing high school site or possibly at a new area.

                          Should the school district choose to rebuild at a new site, $1 million was included in the 2005 to 2006 budget for the purchase of that land, Ontario 8C School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said.

                          The $1 million injected into the building equipment fund will be transferred from the school district's general fund cash carryover, Carter said.

                          Carter said the $1 million to the building improvement fund is the biggest increase in the proposed budget. The school district had only budgeted $475,000 in the fund for 2004 to 2005 fiscal year.

                          Just because $1 million has been budgeted, however, does not mean that's the amount that will be spent, Carter said, because a decision to purchase new land has not even been decided upon yet by the school district.

                          "So we don't have a price set on that," Carter said. Should the school board decide to either not go out for a bond measure or not build at a new site, the $1 million will not be spent at all, but will be transferred back into the general fund, he said.

                          Carter said the proposed budget only mentions a "possible" purchase of land, but nothing else pertaining to building a new high school has been included, partly because planning for such a project would occur in 2006-2007.

                          "If we do run a bond issue, and the bond issue passes, that would be a separate budget fund next year, and that's not covered in this budget," he said. "Nothing is included in this budget for building a high school."

                          Other than the land purchase funding, very little differs in the proposed budget from last year, Carter said.

                          Besides the $1 million transfer, the other significant change in the district's proposed budget is for three additional teachers for the school district's English as a second language program, Carter said.

                          Primary increases in the budget relate to an increase in PERS costs and salary increases that were negotiated last year, he said.

                          "This is essentially maintaining-our-program kind of budget," Carter said. "We didn't have to make any cuts in the budget this past year."

                          The proposed budget total, $33,136,827, is a little more than last year's adopted budget of $28,743,933, partly because state funds are expected to increase slightly, even though the school district does not have an exact amount of its portion of state funds yet.

                          Carter said officials used what would be the district's portion of state funds should the Legislature pass a biennium school budget of $5.25 billon - Gov. Ted Kulongoski's midway compromise between the amounts suggested by Republicans and Democrats.

                          Carter said so far, Republicans have agreed to $5.2 billion during the negotiation process, and Carter said if the $5.25 billion amount is not received, the district's cash carryover should pick up the difference.

                          "We do maintain some cash carryover to make up for uncertainty of state funding," Carter said.

                          A fitting tribute, May 18, 2005

                            Tami Hart Argus Observer

                          The yellow plastic ribbons fluttered in the breeze - a modest reminder of those serving overseas around the world - as small hands worked to tie the ribbons to the fence bordering Aiken Elementary School.

                          First-graders from Ms. Marie Clark's class at Aiken Elementary took part in the yellow ribbon project developed by two Ontario women who have family members serving in Iraq.

                          Marcie Sloane and Vickie Sissel worked with the children Tuesday to replace the fading yellow ribbons that had been in place on the fence for two years now.

                          It was Sloane's granddaughter, Bailey Allender, who came up with the idea to put up the ribbons when she was a student at Aiken. Allender's father, Sgt. Brian Allender, is with Ontario's Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Brigade, which is currently stationed in Kikurk.

                          Over time, though, the ribbons have faded and Sloane said it was time for a redo.

                          "As family members, we wanted to see them redone," Sloane said. "I drive past here everyday and it makes me sad."

                          Sloane said she contacted school officials, who gave the go-ahead for the project.

                          Aiken Elementary School principal Mark Hinthorn said many of the students at Aiken have either a family member or know of someone who has a family member serving in the armed forces.

                          "This project is a way for the children to express hope for the soldiers' safe return," Hinthorn said.

                          Despite their young age, Hinthorn said the children understand on a general level what is happening overseas.

                          "Students have seen our flags flying at half-staff. They often ask why. I'm direct in letting them know another of our Oregon soldiers has died," he said.

                          Fortunately, the school has not had any students with family members who were killed in action, and Hinthorn said he has not seen a negative emotional impact on the students.

                          Sissel said she sees the project as a good way to get the children involved and she said during the ribbon-tying, children were asking her questions about the war, which she said she and Sloane tried to answer on the children's' level.

                          Sissel's husband, Les, is the first sergeant for Alpha Company.

                          "I think this shows community support and it keeps things in the eyes of the community," Sissel said.

                          "I think this is important and I wish we saw more of it," Sloane said. She pointed out other communities, such as Baker and La Grande, show their support with flags and ribbons throughout the community. She applauded Nyssa's troop program of sending care packages to soldier's overseas.

                          "Most of the businesses in Nyssa are involved in it. It's a regular committee. Ontario has nothing like that," she said.

                          Sloane said the ribbons at Aiken would remain in place until all the soldiers come home - not just the soldiers of Alpha Company.

                          "Until the war is over, those ribbons will stay up. I think it's that important."

                          Tigers take on new role at 3A state tennis tournament, May 19, 2005

                            Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          Argus Observer file photo Ontario's Payton Aarestad returns a shot during a match last month. The Tigers begin play at the 3A state tournament on Friday.

                          When the 3A/2A/1A Oregon State Tennis Tournament tournament kicks off on Friday at the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club, the Ontario girls tennis team will be the hunted, not the hunter. That's what happens when you are the defending state champions.

                          Play begins at 9 a.m. MDT on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for the 10 Tigers, seven girls and three boys, four Vale and one Nyssa players who will be making the trip.

                          Last year, the Ontario girls tennis team was aiming to complete unfinished business when play started. After all, Ontario had a third-place finish in 2003 and a fourth-place finish in 2002. Powered by top six finishes from three girls doubles teams, the Tigers took its first-ever 3A/2A/1A state title. According to the Oregon School Activities Association web site, Ontario's title is the first time a 3A/2A/1A team tennis title has traveled east of the Blue Mountains.

                          "When I first started coaching here, just getting there was great," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said. "To win it was a big accomplishment. We are hoping to perform well in Eugene. If we do that good things will come."

                          Last year Kelsey Pobanz and Kristy Church were the Tigers' best finishers, taking second in girls doubles. Church and Pobanz, who both graduated, fell 7-5, 7-5 to La Salle's Missy DeCosta and Catherine Everist. DeCosta returns, and is teamed with Jen Denardis. They are the No. 1 seeded doubles team.

                          Ontario's Laurel Saito and Julie Hall are the fourth-seeded doubles tandem. Saito is filling in for Hannah Pobanz, who tore an ACL during the district tournament last weekend.

                          "Laurel is a very good player," Gill said. "They have a shot if they play well together."

                          Christie Linford and Jenna McClain (8-0) and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Conner are the other doubles teams for Ontario.

                          Stephanie Babij (17-1 overall) opens the tournament as the No. 2 seed in girls singles, and will face Stanfield's Leah Walchli in the first round.

                          Michael Shoaee and Nick Babij, who are 18-2 on the season, are seeded second in boys doubles after finishing second at district. Payton Aarestad (18-2) rounds out the Ontario contingent. Aarestad is the third-seed going into the opening round.

                          "He has earned that (seeding)," Gill said.

                          Vale's Karissa Nelson and Cassandra Andrews are unranked in girls singles. The Vikings are also sending Evelyn Kaaen and Luci DeLong are unranked in girls doubles, and must face DeCosta and Denardis in the first round.

                          Nyssa's lone representative - Luis Ramirez - is unranked in boys singles.

                          Architect urges district to move ahead on new school blueprint, May 22, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          The Ontario School Board received an update on the district's town hall meetings - designed to gauge support for rebuilding a new high school - at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

                          Project architect Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, briefed the school board on the conclusions drawn from the last of three school bond town hall meetings. The last school bond town hall meeting occurred Monday.

                          Although the school board did not vote on whether to go out for a school bond to rebuild Ontario High School, and will not do so until June at the earliest, Patano provided a favorable report for the district to move ahead with its plans.

                          The options the school district has available are not rebuilding the high school, rebuilding the high school at the current site or rebuilding the high school at a new site.

                          "I think of all the town hall meetings, you have overwhelming support for a new high school at a new site," Patano said.

                          While the district has not made a final decision about presenting a school bond to area votes, it has already set aside $1 million in this year's budget to buy land for the project.

                          Patano also pointed out, if the school board should go out for a bond, open communication is necessary and school district officials and bond supporters should be prepared to answer any question in order to garner trust, even if those questions touch on previously controversial topics.

                          "Whether it's Lindbergh or whether it's the district office," he said. "We can't let anything slide off the table."

                          Patano also presented to the council the estimated cost figures of the project, which were also announced to the town hall attendants Monday.

                          Rebuilding at the current site, and performing construction work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $27.5 million. Rebuilding at a new, ideal 50 acre site, plus the work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $30.5 million.

                          That cost, Patano said, does not include the cost of purchasing the property. Patano announced at Monday night's meeting, that land will most likely be the near the bypass in Ontario.

                          The second cost estimate provided - building at a new site - also does not incorporate the price tag of a new stadium and athletic facilities, which were deliberately left off because, Patano said, it was a potential deal breaker, especially because the current stadium is popular and in the middle of town.

                          Patano said to rebuild at the current site, which would incorporate approximately 23 acres of land, school district resident voters could expect to pay $248 a year for property with $100,000 assessed value. For a 50 acre site it would cost $275 a year for property assessed at $100,000.

                          Patano, with the agreement of school board members, said when a bond measure is presented to the public, promoters should be sure to address the importance of a new high school in the community and stress a new high school as an investment. He said more and more when people consider moving into an area, they look at what kind of schools a community has, what the hospitals are like and how progressive that community is. A new high school, Patano stressed could be an "economic rejuvenator" in Ontario.

                          Most of the remainder of the meeting took place in executive session where the school board addressed two topics - real property transactions and personnel matters.

                          Bainbridge gets a pair of fourth place finishes, May 22, 2005

                             Rob Moseley Argus Observer

                          After dominating competition in the Greater Oregon League all season, Ontario sophomore Jordan Bainbridge took her talents to the state meet this weekend, and it was once again an eye-opening experience.

                          "Being here feels different than any other race I've ever been in," said Bainbridge, who finished fourth in both the 200 and 400 meters. "You come here and everyone's the best. It's really exciting to be here."

                          Marist won the team title in the OSAA Class 3A track and field championships at Hayward Field. The Spartans scored 61 points, while Bainbridge scored 10 points to give the Tigers 25th place.

                          Bainbridge improved on her seventh-place finish in the 200 at state a year ago by finishing in 26.80 seconds in Saturday's final. She finished fourth in the 400 for the second year in a row, crossing the line in 58.66.

                          Both times were personal bests for Bainbridge, who said the experience of being at state last year helped her this weekend but also increased the pressure.

                          "Last year I was pretty young, so I was just excited to be here," Bainbridge said. "Now I'm a year older, and there are more expectations."

                          Still, she said, the level of competition was inspiring. "It's just really different," Bainbridge said. "Here, I'm pushed really hard. I'm getting an idea of what my best can be."

                          The weekend didn't go off without a hitch. First, Ontario coach Kate Guerrero gave birth Wednesday and wasn't able to attend the meet.

                          Then, the girls 4x400-meter relay team didn't advance to the final in qualifying Friday despite entering the meet seeded third.

                          "Our splits just weren't good enough, and I'm not sure why," Bainbridge said.

                          She ran the relay along with Denali Cox, Bianca Davis and Angie Hamman.

                          "I think we were just really nervous," Bainbridge said. "It's really different running here."

                          Hamman failed to qualify for the final in the 400 meters, and the boys 4x100 relay team also didn't advance Friday.

                          "It was a little weird last night," Bainbridge said. "I was the only one preparing for a race."

                          The only other Tiger competing Saturday was J.J. Anthony, who didn't make the final in the shot put.

                          With her sophomore season now behind her, Bainbridge said her goal as a junior will be to break the school record of 57.9 in the 400.

                          Among the winners in the girls Class 4A meet Saturday was Sheryl Page, who transferred to Sandy from Ontario last summer and won the 1,500 meters in 4 minutes, 36.22 seconds.

                          Page finished second to Annaliese Chapa of Central Catholic in their district cross country meet last fall, but she outkicked Chapa down the stretch Saturday to claim the state 1,500 title.

                          Wait pays off for Tigers, May 24, 2005

                              GARY HENLEY Special to the Argus Observer

                          Astoria's Field of Streams was turned into a Field of Dreams for the Ontario Tigers in a Class 3A first round state playoff game Monday night.

                          A tireless grounds crew pumped nearly 130 gallons of water off Astoria's Ernie Aiken Field during the past three days, just so the Tigers and Fishermen could square off on the diamond.

                          The game was delayed an hour-and-a-half to allow for some extra drying, but after driving clear across the state to begin with, the Tigers didn't mind waiting.

                          And it paid off in the end for the visitors.

                          Ontario scored three runs in the top of the first to set the tone for a 9-3 win over the Fishermen, ending Astoria's season and sending the Tigers on to the next round, where they will face Central.

                          "We weren't even sure if we were going to get to play this one, so it sure felt good to go out and win it," Ontario coach Les Horn, whose team improves to 15-11 overall, said.

                          Monday's key statistic wasn't Astoria's 14 hits - it was the 12 runners left on base for the Fishermen.

                          Ontario pitcher Jose Garcia was in trouble on more than one occasion, but always seemed to come up with a big out - or two - when he needed it.

                          "I've never seen a kid pitch in trouble better than he does," Horn said of Garcia. "He gets in trouble, then he just works and bears down and pitches his way out of it."

                          The Tigers ended the first inning with a 5-4-3 double play, and the Fishermen loaded the bases with one out in the second inning before Garcia retired the next two batters.

                          Astoria loaded the bases again in the fourth, but Garcia struck out Andrew MacLean swinging to end the inning.

                          The Fishermen had the bases juiced with one out in the fifth, but Astoria's Kevin Berry lined a sharp grounder to Ontario shortstop Matt Mejia, who stepped on second for one out, then fired to first to get Berry to end the inning.

                          Astoria had base runners reach second in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could never come through with the big hit.

                          "The 6-3 double play with the bases loaded was huge, and the 5-4-3 was huge," Horn said. "If we don't get those two double plays, it's a whole different game."

                          Meanwhile, the Tigers tacked on one run in the fifth and another in the sixth, then used a bases-loaded double by Kurt Kolbaba on their way to a four-run seventh inning.

                          Kolbaba finished with four RBI's on two doubles and a single, while Rick Ramirez blasted a big two-run homer in the first inning for one of his two hits.

                          "I was really surprised when Rick got a hold of that one," Horn said. "That was his first home run of the year. It's a great time to have it."

                          Garcia allowed 14 hits with five strikeouts and a walk, and helped himself with a double at the plate in the seventh inning.

                          Local Ontario grads reflect on school, the future, May 29, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          Three Ontario High School seniors traveled a varied path to their 2005 graduation but the end result was the same: a diploma.

                          While they all also chose diverse roads to follow after graduation, for one day they were all unified under a single "2005" graduation banner.

                          Chris Schauer was born and raised in Ontario and attended grade school through high school with the same basic, core group of students.

                          "I know everybody," Schauer said, "I saw them when they started in Ontario, I saw them when they left Ontario."

                          Entering into high school, Schauer played baseball all four years. Schauer concluded the season Friday with his teammates in their 6-5 playoff loss to North Marion. Schauer said the 2005 baseball season was one of the highlights of his prep career. Schauer said he plans to play baseball after graduation, this time for the U.S. Marine Corps. On June 6, a few short days after he walks through the line, Schauer will start a 15-week basic training stint at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

                          After graduation from boot camp, he will return home for an 11-day leave and then return for combat training and a two-year tour in aircraft mechanics.

                          "The Marines were not giving money to everybody just to join," Schauer said. "They were looking for people that want to be there. They want the tougher ones."

                          Schauer admitted his family is concerned about the current world situation regarding his decision to join the U.S. Marines.

                          "My parents are worried about me," Schauer said. "I am not worried about going to Iraq. I am supportive of our troops. The troops don't make the decisions and I don't know enough about Iraq to make an opinion."

                          Schauer said he hopes to return eventually to catch up with old friends.

                          "I plan on coming back for my 20th reunion," Schauer said. "I enjoyed high school, but it will not be the highlight of my life. There were flat points in high school and I will probably get over missing my friends pretty quick."

                          Christian Aguirra chose a longer path to his diploma. After moving to Ontario from Ontario, Calif., two years ago, this year was a repeat of his senior year after ending up eight credits short of graduation last year.

                          "Hell yeah, I am excited about graduating," Aguirra said. "I am the first in my family to graduate from high school. I am proof that if you apply yourself, you are going to make it."

                          Aguirra said he plans on becoming a school counselor or psychologist. Aguirra will be the first to admit that two years ago, many did not think he was going to make it to graduation. After becoming involved in some trouble at school, Aguirra was placed in the night school program for a time before being allowed to return to regular school.

                          "Some teachers really care, some don't," Aguirra said. "Some teachers told me just to give up and go get a GED. There were some teachers, though, that really came through for me and told me I could make it. That first year, I was a real knucklehead."

                          Aguirra said he was shocked on the differences between California and Ontario High School.

                          "In Cali, they did not care. They never told you if you were missing this or that, they just let you go on," Aguirra said. "I am really not a school type of person and had a hard time applying myself. But I found out that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything."

                          After walking through the line, Aguirra said he plans on attending TVCC, finding a job and marrying his fiance, whom he met at Ontario High. Looking at his 20-year reunion, Aguirra said he will be back.

                          "Hell yeah, I'm coming back. I want everybody to see what I did in life," Aguirra said. "I am a knucklehead and I made it."

                          Kailey Poole will graduate with a host of school accolades. Poole has filled roles as Ontario High School Associated Student Body Treasurer, a member of the Leadership Club, while participating in soccer and softball.

                          Poole, a lifelong Ontario resident, arrived at OHS after attending St. Peter's Catholic School. Looking back at high school, Poole said she cannot believe how fast the time went by.

                          "It just went by so fast," Poole said. "It was so fun, I just can't believe it is over."

                          After graduation, Poole said she will be attending Oregon State University on scholarship, a family tradition. Planning now on entering sports medicine, Poole said she is anxious to get started with "real life." After college, Poole said she is unsure if a return to the Ontario area is in the cards.

                          "Maybe I will go to Boise," Poole said. "I would like to stick around the area and raise a family, but I don't know if it will be Ontario."

                          Poole said she is also looking forward to a reunion with her classmates in 20 years.

                          "It will be cool to see how everybody turned out," Poole said. "It will also be weird because now we are such a big part of each others' lives. In 20 years, we will barely know each other."

                          Looking back at her last four years, Poole said she was happy with the closeness achieved by her class in this last year.

                          "High school was not as bad and scary as I thought it would be," Poole said. "I enjoyed it a lot. Congratulations to us - we are awesome."

                          Tigers fall twice, February 2, 2005

                             Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          As the saying goes "to be the man, you have to beat the man."

                          The Burns wrestling team proved that may be easier said than done.

                          The Hilanders used four technical falls, three forfeits and three pins to earn a 53-21 Greater Oregon League decision over Ontario Tuesday at Ontario High School.

                          The Tigers then turned around and dropped a 61-12 nonleague decision to Nyssa.

                          Burns, who is the three-time defending 3A state champions, showed no signs of slowing down, racing to a quick 8-0 lead.

                          "We knew it was going to be a tough match," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We did not wrestle well. I think the kids were trying so hard, they were doing things we normally wouldn't do."

                          Ontario rallied back from the 8-0 hole, getting a pin from Paul Rangel (160 pounds) and a forfeit from Juan Mendez (171) to grab a 12-8 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 21-8 on a 6-1 decision from Todd Smith (189) and a forfeit win by JJ Anthony (215).

                          Then the wheels fell off.

                          Burns won the next eight matches, including three by pin, to take the easy win.

                          "We were not as aggressive as we had been," Rangel said. "We wanted to be counter wrestlers and not do what we do."

                          Things did not go much better against Nyssa, which is the five-time 2A state champions.

                          Nyssa gave up just two forfeits, on the way to its seventh dual win of the season.

                          Cody Peterson (145) set the tone for the dual with an impressive 6-4 overtime win over Ontario's Jose Rivera. Peterson scored a one-point escape with two seconds remaining in the third period, tying the match at 4-4. Both wrestlers could not generate much during the one minute overtime, until Peterson scored a two-point takedown with two seconds left to score the win.

                          "I think that match set the tone for the rest of the night," Nyssa head coach Luke Cleaver said. "The guys knew it would be a hard-fought match."

                          Nyssa took the dual's other close contest, getting a 7-6 win from Braden Bair over Ontario's Todd Smith at 189 pounds.

                          Bair scored a takedown with two seconds left in the third period, capping a comeback from a 6-4 third-period deficit.

                          "It was a tough match," Bair said. "I knew if I wanted to get the win I had to get it done."

                          Nyssa, who was coming off a first-place showing at the Wapiti League Duals on Friday and the McCall-Donnelly Invitational on Saturday, got five wins via pin against the Tigers.

                          "We seem to be peaking at just the right time," Cleaver said. "We are getting closer to where we need to be as district gets closer."

                          Ontario closes its regular season Thursday at Vale. Nyssa will travel to Burns Thursday for a showdown with the Hilanders.

                          School district audit highlights areas of concern, February 3, 2005

                             Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          The Ontario School District asserts it is taking steps to correct or improve a number of areas of concern outlined in a recent audit report.

                          While the overall report - conducted by Oster Professional Group, Burns - was good, auditors did highlight several critical items for improvement, including attendance records and the student body cash account process.

                          Ontario School District Fiscal Services Manager Director Cheri Siddoway said the district has already addressed the biggest issue - attendance membership reporting of English as a Second Language students.

                          According to a letter from Oster Professional Group, auditors were unable to apply audit procedures to the enrollment/withdrawal status of students in the ESL program because attendance records by grade level were not available.

                          Siddoway said the total number of ESL students has always been tracked by the district. Just the total number, she said, of ESL students was reported to the state.

                          Siddoway said prior to the audit all the required information for the ESL students, such as their names, attendance dates, including entrance and exit dates and their status, was maintained.

                          However the information was not, she said, maintained in a single document the auditors could track and audit easily to compare with the numbers given to the state.

                          Instead, the information was in many different files, and could not be audited without cross-referencing several different sources.

                          Siddoway said the school secretaries have now added names, attendance and membership dates for each of those students in one document, so their attendance and ESL membership can be tracked more adequately.

                          Siddoway said the district just completed the ESL attendance for the second quarter, and that information has been submitted to the state and the auditors for review and approval.

                          "That was what we saw as the most pressing issue," Siddoway said.

                          The ESL program is a Title I program, which means federal funding is passed down to the district to provide services for children who would otherwise be at a disadvantage.

                          Careful recording and auditing is necessary to prove money is spent appropriately and reflects the need and the numbers of students at a particular school.

                          Siddoway said she will now turn her attention to issues at the high school and middle school.

                          The audit report stated while the elementary schools "have greatly improved their organization and attendance records," the auditors could not apply their procedure to the high school and middle school.

                          The attendance systems at the high school and middle school are working, Siddoway said, but auditors want teachers to verify with a signature each student actually attending class on a given day, to verify the electronic records.

                          "In this great era of technological advancement where a lot is done electronically, they want a piece of paper and a pencil," she said.

                          Siddoway said all the attendance improvements are important because the funding the school district receives from the state is based on enrollment at the schools.

                          She said there has been an increased focus on accountability during the past couple of years because of all the corporate accounting scandals. These efforts are a way for the school district to show the funds they receive are appropriate for the number of students it serves, Siddoway said.

                          "It was very valid," Siddoway said of the auditor's letter. "We do need to make some changes, and I think we'll have a more solid system when we're done."

                          The school district is also taking steps to improve how student body cash accounts are handled. Rather than having one person responsible for the cash accounts - signing approvals, writing checks, recording receipts and reconciling accounts - the auditors recommended more than one school official review the accounts and transactions.

                          Siddoway said currently, school secretaries usually handle most of the student body account transactions, although principals usually write checks.

                          She said in the future, most likely the secretary and principal will review and sign off on the transactions made to ensure a proper checks and balance system is in place.

                          "That's always going to be a problem when you have a small office staff," Siddoway said.

                          Schools will also keep special accounts, using funds collected by staff for various occasions such as staff birthdays or deaths in the family, separate from the student body cash accounts.

                          Siddoway said it has been easier for some schools to include those funds in the student body cash accounts to keep track of them, but since they are not public funds, and are actually staff funds, they do not need to be recorded by the district and can be kept separately.

                          Vale knocks off Tigers, February 4, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Needing a major decision for a tie, and a technical fall or a pin for a victory, Vale sent out freshman Ronny Koda in a 103-pound match.

                          Koda delivered a major decision, with a 19-5 win over Ontario's Tom Martinez in the dual meets final match, as Vale defeated Ontario 41-40 in a nonleague wrestling dual Thursday night in Vale.

                          Vale picked up the win on criteria "G" or the number of near falls in the dual.

                          As for Koda, he started out the match with the Vikings trailing 40-36, as Koda came out strong, taking a 7-2 lead after the first round, including a near fall with only 45 seconds left in the first round.

                          Koda continued to impress in the second round, extending his lead to 13-5, still needing one more point for a major decision.

                          Koda got that point early in the third round, escaping from Martinez only 13 seconds into the round, only needing to hold on for the win. He did more than that, picking up another take down and near fall for a 19-5 victory.

                          "I was a little bit nervous," Koda said of the match. "I wanted to do my best. I felt like I did a pretty good job. I am pretty excited."

                          Koda's coach, Bart Ewing also thought Koda wrestled well in the match.

                          "It was a great match," Ewing said. "He wrestled as well as expected. He did a great job."

                          As for the rest of the Viking (3-10 overall) wrestling team, they used five pins a forfeit and the major decision to pick up the victory over the Tigers (10-9).

                          Ontario managed a major decision, a pin and five forfeits in the loss.

                          "They chose to forfeit to our seniors, and the young kids wrestled like young kids," Ontario coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have had a brutal two weeks of practice and matches. We gave the kids some pressure to see who would react. The next week, we will get ready for district."

                          Vale started out the match picking up pins in four of the first six matches, to jump out to a 24-10 lead. One forfeit later, Vale was up 30-10, before Ontario went on a run, picking up four forfeits and a pin for a 40-36 lead before the final match, the 103-pounders.

                          "We had a lot of kids wrestle well," Ewing said. "Tonight we did a great job."

                          Vale is back in action Saturday in a Pine Eagle Tournament at Halfway, while Ontario is off until the district tournament at Burns Feb. 11.

                          Students gain insight into leadership, February 6, 2005

                              Tami Hart Argus Observer

                          Mike Smith talks fast. Like the world's best auctioneer on the block, the words fall from his mouth in a rhythm, a cadence that draws his listeners in, filling them with his inspiring message.

                          And he moves even faster than he talks - hands gesturing and clapping, fingers snapping, he is a man in constant motion.

                          He has to be quick in order to keep up with the more than 100 students attending the Oregon Association of Student Council's Eastern Region Midwinter Conference at the Four Rivers Cultural Center Friday.

                          As the motivational speaker for the conference, it was Smith's job to lead the students from Ontario, Nyssa, Adrian and Annex through a series of icebreakers, activities and discussions centered on the conference theme "Building a Better Mousetrap."

                          "It's a gift," Smith joked of his ability to be a fast talker.

                          It's that gift, though, he uses to convey to the high school and middle school students that they are personally responsible for their own actions and there are skill sets they can use to make them better leaders.

                          "These kids, if we can get them honed in on the fact that their job is not to decorate for the dance, but to help other kids get involved in decorating for the dance, if we can get that across, we can have a better place," Smith, who has been making his high-energy presentations for more than 16 years, said. "That's what it's all about. Leadership skills will help get them to another place."

                          Laurie Grim, Ontario High School Leadership adviser, said the students who are attracted to student council and leadership in the first place are those who want to give something back to their school and their community.

                          "These are the kids that want to make memories. They want students to have a good experience in high school. They want students to participate and be involved because they know that although there is a lot of learning taking place in the classrooms, that some of the memories are made on bus trips during co-curricular activities whether it be playing on the football team, or whatever. The more involved we can get more people, the happier kids are to come to school," Grim said.

                          She had her first taste of leadership classes 13 years ago when she accompanied six students to a summer leadership camp.

                          It was Mike Taylor, who was principal when Grim first started her career at OHS, who had the vision he wanted most, if not all, students to have the opportunity to be exposed to leadership concepts such as time management, stress management and problem solving.

                          Grim said the role of the present day student councils has changed since its inception.

                          "I think in that regard it's gone from being the six elected ASB officers to having 70 kids in advanced leadership that want to give back to the community," Grim said. "I can't think of a better thing to do for kids."

                          Grim and Smith agree, though, on thing has not changed - students still face an enormous amount of peer pressure.

                          "What's changed is what's available for peer pressure," Grim said.

                          Smith agreed.

                          "They have more peer pressure and they have more choices and they have more bad choices they can make than previous generations had," Smith said.

                          That's why Smith hopes by teaching the students that by keeping busy with making the right choices and doing the right things, they will not have time to be doing the wrong things.

                          "I'd like these kids to know that they have a power that our age group doesn't have with their age group and its worse today than it ever has been before," Smith said. "There used to be a phrase 'if your friend jumped off a bridge would you jump too?'" The bottom line is we, as kids, would have said 'no'' but today, these kids have gotta go 'I'm not sure.'' That's scary. I want them to know they have this power."

                          Grim said she hopes the students' experiences in leadership classes and on student council will inspire them to go on to become leaders in other areas, whether it is leading as a good parent, leading a city council somewhere in the country or become a leader in their church.

                          "I want them to learn that leadership is service, not self-service," Grim said.

                          Tigers surge to win, February 6, 2005

                            William Anderson argus observer

                          A big run right out of the half and good free-throw shooting in overtime, lifted Ontario to a 55-49 win over La Grande Saturday evening in Greater Oregon League boys basketball action in Ontario.

                          Out of the half, Ontario trailed 28-23, and started the second half strong.

                          Ontario scored six straight points to open up the second half to take a 29-28 lead.

                          La Grande took back the lead, as Christian Siltanen sank a 3-pointer, for a 31-29 advantage.

                          Ontario went on a 10-4 run over the final three and half minutes of the third quarter, taking a 39-35 lead into the final quarter.

                          Ontario (14-5 overall, 5-2 GOL) managed only 2-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter, while La Grande hit a pair of field goals, and connected on both of its free throws, to force the overtime period, tied 41-41.

                          That's where Ontario's free-throw shooting came into play.

                          In the overtime period, Ontario shot 12-for-16 from the free-throw line in the extra stanza, to seal the victory, including 7-for-8 for Ontario's Tyler David, while both Matt Mejia and Nick Babij each went 2-for-2 from the line in the extra time.

                          "When they are fouling you and sending you to the line, it gives you some extra confidence," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "We made a few adjustments and more screens (in the second half). We had a few open looks, and reinforced some offensive strategies."

                          In the first half, Ontario struggled offensively, scoring only 23 points, with seven coming from Jacob Blaylock, who finished with 16 points.

                          David added 16 points, and Nick Babij had 11 points in the win.

                          La Grande was led by Ben Pettit with 17 points, while teammate Siltanen added 11 in the loss.

                          Ontario travels to Riverside Friday in GOL action.

                          Ontario continues to roll in GOL play, February 6, 2005

                             William Anderson argus observer

                          A 20-2 run over an eight minute span all but sealed the win for the Ontario girls basketball team as it went on to defeat La Grande 52-29 in a Greater Oregon League matchup Saturday night at Ontario High School.

                          After a quick start by Ontario, 10-2 to start the game, La Grande battled back to make it a 10-10 game after the first quarter.

                          This is where Ontario picked up its play.

                          Seconds after La Grande connected on a field goal, Ontario got hot from the floor, sparked by Jaimi Arant's field goal, the Ontario Tigers (18-3 overall, 6-1 GOL) used nine field goals and a pair of free throws over an eight minute stretch, that stretched into the second half, to build up a 30-14 lead over La Grande, just 11 seconds into the second half.

                          "We played good defense the whole game," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "It was a great defensive effort. We cut off everything they wanted to do."

                          Cutting off what La Grande was trying to do helped Ontario, as they continued to stretch out its lead to a 42-21 advantage after three quarters of play.

                          Ontario's largest lead of the game came with just over four minutes left in the game, when Kayla Mitchell hit two free throws for a 50-23 Ontario advantage.

                          Part of the reason, Ontario held a 26-20 advantage in rebounds, which plagued Ontario last time these two teams met.

                          "We did a great job boxing out," Buck said. "There was a great improvement in that area. Everybody came in and did a great job."

                          Ontario's defense forced 13 La Grande turnovers in the conest. Ontario was led by Vanessa Gomez with 13 points, while Kylie Roberts and Jaimi Arant each added 10 points, and AJ Hawk had nine points.

                          La Grande (6-14, 2-5) was led by Jill Jensen with nine points.

                          Ontario travels to Boardman to take on Riverside Friday and is back at home Saturday against Mac-Hi, both games are in Greater Oregon League action.

                          Ontario aims to end Burns' district title run, February 10, 2005

                            Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          If any team is equipped to end the Burns wrestling teams district title run, it very well could be the Ontario Tigers.

                          Burns has won the last three District 7-3A titles, and ended up claiming 3A state titles.

                          The district tournament begins Friday at Burns High School, and concludes Saturday. The top three in each weight class qualify for the state tournament, which runs Feb. 17 through Feb. 19 at The Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

                          Burns enters the tournament with the bull's-eye squarely on its back. But that does not bother first-year head coach Jeff Kloetzer.

                          "We have been wrestling well," he said. "We've been doing what we should be doing in training. I don't think there is any extra pressure (to repeat). I think we are in good shape."

                          The Hilanders have performed well in tournament formats this season, winning the 94-team Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, the Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa and their own Burns Invitational.

                          "The bigger the tournaments," Kloetzer said, "the better we are going to be because our depth is a factor."

                          Ontario, which was the last team other than Burns to win a district title in 2000-2001, is excited to see how it stacks up against the Hilanders in a tournament format.

                          "This is what we have been working for all season," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have worked really hard the last two weeks getting things sharpened up."

                          The seeding meetings are scheduled for today at Burns High School, but Anthony said he expected to have at least three top seeds - Paul Rangel (189 pounds), Todd Smith (189) and JJ Anthony (215).

                          Ontario has had its own success in tournaments this season, winning the Caldwell Invitational, the LaPine Tournament and finishing fourth in the Oregon Classic.

                          "When we took the Caldwell tournament, we basically had two guys in each weight," Anthony said. "We definitely have to have some guys wrestle real well.

                          Anthony said how his younger wrestlers fare will determine how high Ontario rises in the team standings.

                          "We have so many freshmen, if they wrestle tough we will do well," Anthony said. "The older kids are going to hold their own."

                          Tigers roll on to win, February 13, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer   

                          It may have taken Ontario nearly three and a half minutes to score its opening points, but the Tigers would not be held down for long, as they continued an offensive assault, rolling to a 57-25 Greater Oregon League victory over Mac-Hi Saturday night in Ontario.

                          Both teams struggled from the onset of the game, with neither team being able to sink a shot, until Ontario's Kylie Roberts hit a jumper with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter to put the Tigers up 2-0.

                          That's as close as the Pioneers would get.

                          Ontario scored the first eight points of the game, before Mac-Hi scored with just under two minutes left in the first quarter for an 8-2 Ontario lead.

                          "They (Mac-Hi) pulled the ball out and were patient," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said about the cold start. "We missed four shots in the first four minutes and hit our next five. That is the way the ball bounces."

                          Both teams exchanged baskets to end the quarter, but Ontario simply used that as a starting point.

                          The two teams played an even game over the first two minutes of the second quarter, before Ontario opened up the game with a 15-2 run to end the half, building up a 32-11 lead.

                          "That was big. It put the game in our hands at the half," Buck said about the run at the end of the half. "We are pretty good inside and outside."

                          In the second half, the Tigers (20-3 overall, 8-1 GOL) continued to play well, as they extended their lead to a game high 32 points with 5:18 left in the game when Saito hit two free throws for a 51-19 lead.

                          "We had a good defensive effort," Buck said. "Jaimi (Arant) is making good decisions for us. She is unselfish."

                          Ontario was led offensively by Vanessa Gomez scoring 11 points for the Tigers, while Kylie Roberts added nine and Stephanie Babij had eight points.

                          Ontario is back in action Thursday, when they travel to Burns in the season and GOL finale.

                          Ontario withstands late Mac-Hi rally, February. 13, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          It was nearly like looking into a mirror for the Ontario boys basketball team, with a few slight differences.

                          Saturday night, the Ontario Tigers used clutch free throw shooting in the fourth quarter to hang on to defeat Mac-Hi 57-49 in a Greater Oregon League boys basketball game in Ontario.

                          One of the differences in the game for the two teams was the fact that Ontario came out hot in the first half, building up a 20-2 lead and heading into the half with a 34-20 lead, while on the road for the Tigers, Ontario used a late push for the victory.

                          Saturday night, the Tigers (16-5 overall, 7-2 GOL) again used a soft touch from the charity stripe to hold off the Pioneers for the win.

                          In the fourth quarter, six of the Tigers eight points came from the free throw line, as the Tigers converted all six free throws in the quarter, all coming in the final 35 seconds of the game, to hold onto a 51-49 lead, and stretch it out for the victory.

                          "I think it is a combination of a couple things - (Mac-Hi) having nothing to lose, and we got a little complacent," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "It is amazing how fast momentum can change and how hard it is to get back."

                          The momentum that changed from the Tigers' favor was in the third quarter.

                          Ontario was holding onto a double digit lead early in the second half, when Mac-Hi, led by Curtis Carlson, went on a 8-2 run to cut the lead down to 40-32 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

                          Each team exchanged points the rest of the third quarter, for a 49-41 Ontario advantage.

                          The Pioneers made a final push, scoring the fourth quarter's first six points, to cut the lead down to 49-47 with just over four minutes left to play.

                          After a Jacob Blaylock field goal with 2:18 left in the game, Carlson added a lay-up with 39 seconds left, before Ontario sank its free throws.

                          Ontario was led by Nick Babij, scoring 20 points, while Blaylock added 12 points and Tyler David added 10 in the win.

                          Mac-Hi was led by Carlson's 20 points, while teammate Josh Paine added 11 points and Nathan Millar added 10 points.

                          Ontario travels to Burns Thursday to conclude its regular season.

                          Ontario claims second place behind Hilanders, February 14, 2005

                             Argus Observer sports staff

                          The host team Burns surprised few in taking home their fourth-straight district title with 305.5 team points, followed by Ontario, 208, Mac-Hi, 185, Baker, 182, Riverside, 178, and La Grande, 122.

                          "We wrestled pretty well," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said.

                          The Tigers had one district champ, as Paul Rangel won the 160-pound weight class as Ontario had four wrestlers fall in the championship match.

                          Toby Smith, 152, Todd Smith, 189, JJ Anthony, 215, and Colin Gundle, 275, earned a state birth with a runner-up performance.

                          "I think Toby Smith had a really good tournament," Anthony said. "Tom Martinez had a really good tournament. The older kids wrestled pretty well and they all placed where they should have. We had a couple of freshman step up and qualify."

                          Toby Smith and Tom Martinez, 103, are the two freshman who qualified, with Martinez picking up a third place finish, along with Jace Nakamura, 125, and Jose Rivera, 145.

                          According to Anthony, the Tigers lost four third-place matches by one or two points, and were real close to having four more wrestlers qualify.

                          "It was pretty much like I expected," Anthony said. "I am pretty happy with the eight that we got."

                          Anthony also said he thought the Hilanders wrestled well in winning their fourth straight district title.

                          Ontario's state qualifiers are headed to Salem Thursday, Friday and Saturday, for their state tournament.

                          Tigers ready for run at 3A state title, February 15, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Some are going for the first time, some are going back, but one thing for sure is that eight wrestlers from the Ontario wrestling team are headed to Salem at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, beginning Thursday and through Saturday.

                          Paul Rangel is one of the wrestlers headed back to the state tournament for another chance for a state title after he finished seventh last year at 145-pounds.

                          This year, Rangel moved up to the 160-pound weight class, and won a district title Saturday at the 3A District 7 tournament in Burns.

                          Joining Rangel on the trip to Salem are seniors Todd Smith (189 pounds), JJ Anthony (215), Colin Gundle (215), and Jose Rivera (145).

                          Junior Jace Nakamura (125), freshmen Toby Smith (152) and Tom Martinez (103) round out the Ontario contingent.

                          "As far as the state tournament, it has been the tradition for years, anyone out of the Greater Oregon League has a chance to place at state," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "Any wrestler who qualifies out of our league and wrestles like they should, has a chance."

                          With that said, Anthony thinks his wrestlers have a shot at doing well at the state level.

                          Anthony said Rangel and Todd Smith are seeded pretty high and are favorites to place pretty high.

                          "I think Jose and JJ have a chance to be there as well," Anthony said.

                          Anthony said Gundle also has a shot of doing pretty well at state, as long as he can rebound from nagging injuries.

                          Nakamura is heading back for this third-straight state appearance.

                          As far as a team standpoint, Burns, Estacada and Sweet Home are considered the favorites.

                          Still, Anthony thinks the Tigers will have a chance at bringing home some hardware this season.

                          "Hopefully we can get enough placers," he said. "I think we can bring home some hardware, it just depends on how we wrestle."

                          Exclusion Day hammers Ontario Middle School, February 17, 2005

                            Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          A significant number of students in Malheur County missed all, or part, of a school day Wednesday because of the state's "Exclusion Day."

                          Exclusion Day is an attempt by the state to ensure all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified day-care centers are up to date with vaccinations. If children are not caught up by the date set by the state, which this year was Wednesday, they are not allowed to return to school until proof of vaccination is submitted to their school.

                          In Nyssa, 19 students in all three schools were excluded because the school district still needed proof of vaccination. Vale School District excluded one student for one day.

                          In Ontario, 241 students missed a portion or all of the school day because of the state vaccination mandate Wednesday including 220 students from Ontario Middle School.

                          Just seven students at the elementary school level and 14 at the high school level were excluded.

                          Ontario Middle School Principal LaVelle Cornwell said OMS, which has 708 students total, had a long line of young people waiting to turn in their vaccination documents at the beginning of the school day. Most, she said, returned to class during some part of the day.

                          She said of those students, many needed their next shot in the hepatitis B series required for middle school-aged children.

                          Cornwell said the school began preparing for Exclusion Day by notifying parents with notes about a month and a half ago, and Wednesday, she said, names of students who still needed to turn in their vaccination proof were announced at the end of the day.

                          "It's a matter of parents following through," Cornwell said.

                          Vaccinations are available through many sources in the area, Kelly Jensen, Malheur County Health Department registered nurse said, including family practitioners, Valley Family Health Care and the health department.

                          "So there are people to give them," she said.

                          Jensen said the health department has been busy vaccinating school kids the past two weeks, but received a steady stream through yesterday morning, trickling off in the afternoon.

                          Ontario Middle School student Amber Smith received her hepatitis B vaccine yesterday afternoon. Her mother, Cyndi Smith, said when she was a child, vaccines were given at school for free.

                          She said she did not mind having to take her kids elsewhere to receive the vaccines they need, even if it did mean missing a day of school.

                          "I'd rather them be out and have to have (vaccinations) than in school and get something," she said.

                          Jensen said the type of vaccination a child needs depends on his or her age, but the top three vaccinations the health department has been distributing are the varicella, or chicken pox vaccines, MMRs (measles, mumps and rubella) and hepatitis B vaccinations.

                          Shots cost between $6 and $15 for each vaccine, and the health department charges on a sliding fee scale, Jensen said, although they have not been requiring children younger than 18 who need vaccinations to pay the same day if families were not able to.

                          Four Tigers stay alive, February. 18, 2005

                           Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                          When Paul Rangel won the 135-pound Class 3A state championship in 2003, there was some criticism behind the scenes he had won because his opponent had the equivalent of one arm tied behind his back. Thursday morning, Rangel set out to prove he could beat the same wrestler with both arms free.
                          Donovan Brink | Special to the Argus Observer Ontario's Paul Rangel tries to score a reversal against North Marion's Ivan Cam during their first-round match in the 160-pound class Thursday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center. Rangel won the match by a 6-1 decision on his way to today's quarterfinal round.

                          In one of the strongest weight brackets in the 2005 Class 3A state tournament, Rangel grappled his way into Friday's championships quarterfinals, earning a rematch with Seaside junior Josiah Sigler, whom Rangel beat for the 2003 championship.

                          Rangel, Jose Rivera, Toby Smith and J.J. Anthony all advanced to Friday's quarterfinals with solid first-day performances at the 2005 Class 3A state wrestling championships, which are being held at the newly constructed Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center in Salem.

                          Ontario lost two of its eight-man contingent in Thursday's consolation matches - Tom Martinez and Jace Nakamura were both eliminated from the tournament.

                          As for Rangel, his will be one quarterfinal match, which likely will draw some attention.

                          During their match two years ago, Sigler was wrestling with a heavily wrapped left shoulder, which he had damaged earlier in the tournament yet still reached the finals.

                          "He hit me in the face a couple of times with it," Rangel joked Thursday while some of his Ontario teammates tried to stay alive in consolation action.

                          Rangel is just one of four Tigers who advanced through the first two rounds of championship action and took to the mats at 9 a.m. today for a shot at Friday night's semifinal round.

                          Rangel is the lowest-seeded wrestler in this year's 160-pound class. While that might come as an insult to a one-time state champion, he will run into second-seeded Sigler, who with two healthy arms lost to Ben Cate of Burns in last year's 140-pound title bout.

                          Rangel advanced to the quarterfinals by winning a pair of matches Thursday, beating North Marion's Ivan Cam 6-1 and adding a first-round pin of Sutherlin's Morgan Green.

                          Jose Rivera (145 pounds) also got off to a strong start, beating Colin Phillips of Taft by a 7-2 decision before pummeling Sutherlin's Caleb Scroggins with a 19-1 technical fall.

                          Toby Smith (152), who had a first-round bye, moved on with a 4-3 decision over Philomath's Matt Hill, while 215-pounder J.J. Anthony advanced with a bye and a first-round pin of Sherwood's Ryan Ruge.

                          Anthony's pin seemed much quicker than it was. At roughly the 1-minute mark of the first period, Anthony and Ruge tied up just outside the center circle. In no time at all, Anthony threw a head-and-arm technique with such precision that Ruge fell straight to his back. The actually pinning move took roughly four seconds before the match was stopped.

                          Ontario coach Charlie Anthony overall was pleased with his team's first-day effort, which was interrupted when returning state placer Todd Smith (189) was knocked into the consolation bracket with an 8-4 loss to Riley Gibson of Phoenix.

                          "Rivera had a great day, Paul got it going and J.J. looked pretty good," coach Anthony said. "And to have a freshman (Toby Smith) still alive on the second day, that's pretty good, too."

                          As for Todd Smith's loss, the coach said the elder Smith was simply outwrestled.

                          "(Gibson) is a tough kid, and he just came out stronger than Todd did," Anthony said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see (Gibson) place pretty high. That 189 is a tough weight."

                          Ontario heavyweight Colin Gundle lost his second-round match by a 6-2 decision, but bounced back in Thursday night's consolation action to stay alive with an 11-3 major decision over Elmira's Thor Rogers.

                          By the end of Thursday's action, the Tigers were in 10th place in the team standings with 30.5 points, one point better than La Grande, which sat in 13th place.

                          Three-time defending state champion Burns trailed Estacada after one round of championship matches, but leapt over the Rangers with a strong second round. After launching 10 wrestlers into the quarterfinals, Burns finished the day with 68 points to Estacada's 59.

                          Ontario brothers cap strong showing, February 20, 2005

                             Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                          Brothers Todd and Toby Smith both wrestled to top-eight state placement to lead the Ontario Tigers Saturday at the Class 3A state wrestling championships at the Oregon State Fairgrounds Expo Center.

                          Todd Smith, wrestling at 189 pounds, placed third with his 9-1 consolation championship victory over Rainier's Olin Howlett, while Toby won his way into the placement matches before falling to Steven Dailey of Molalla in the consolation quarterfinals.

                          "That's pretty cool," the elder Smith said of placing at the state tournament with his brother. "For a freshman, he came out here and wrestled his (rear) off."

                          While the Tigers had two wrestlers earn state placement, they had several more fall just short of qualifying for the placement rounds.

                          Among those was one-time state champion Paul Rangel.

                          In a rematch of the 140-pound championship match from 2003, Rangel fell to Seaside's Josiah Sigler in Friday morning's championship quarterfinals by a 4-3 decision. Later Friday morning, he was eliminated from the tournament in a 5-4 loss to Stayton's Chris Porter.

                          Another Tiger, 145-pounder Jose Rivera, also lost in Friday's quarterfinals, dropping a 7-3 decision to second-seeded Matt Lang of Estacada. One match later, Rivera was knocked from the tournament, pinned by Siuslaw's Justin Bentson in 58 seconds.

                          Todd Smith lost his Friday quarterfinal match, but was able to recover to work his way through the consolation bracket. Ontario 215-pounder J.J. Anthony also reached the quarterfinals, but was pinned by top-seed Jeff Crowley of Astoria and eliminated one match later by a pin from LaPine's Jeremy Sanders.

                          "We had a lot of kids lose a lot of close matches on Friday," Ontario coach Charlie Anthony said. "I'm not real disappointed. We could have gotten a little more luck than we had. We just didn't hit everything right this time."

                          Ontario finished within the top 20, taking 19th with 52.5 points. Burns won its fourth straight state title, racking up 222 points. The Hilanders easily outdistanced second place Estacada (173.5) and third place Phoenix (116.5).

                          Todd Smith bounced back from his quarterfinal loss by winning four consecutive consolation matches: a second-round pin of Toledo's Bobby Rudel, a 24-second pin of Stayton's Cameron Koumentis, a 9-2 decision over Kyle Witty of La Grande, and finally the major decision of Howlett in the consolation champioship match.

                          "This one feels a lot better," said Smith, who placed fifth at the 2004 state championships. "I didn't wrestle as well as I could have in the early rounds."

                          Toby Smith, meanwhile, recovered from his quarterfinal loss by beating Sweet Home's Colton Cooley 7-3 in his first consolation match. After falling to Molalla's Steven Dailey 14-1 in the consolation quarterfinals, he was beaten 9-7 by Illinois Valley's Westcott Lynch in the seventh-place match.

                          Defense wins again, February 23, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          A stellar defensive performance helped the fifth-ranked Ontario girls basketball team prove last Thursday was no fluke, as the Tigers knocked off No. 2-ranked Burns, 46-41, Tuesday evening in a 3A District 7 seeding game at Vale High School.

                          Last Thursday, the Tigers went into Burns and came away with a 48-41 victory, handing Burns its first loss of the season.

                          The Tigers continued to show Burns, and everybody else, they belong atop the Greater Oregon League with the win.

                          "We played good defense the whole game," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "Our biggest thing was we fought the mental side of missing shots. We struggled with that at first."

                          The Hilanders problems started in the fourth quarter, as Ontario picked up its defensive, and offensive, intensity.

                          Burns (22-2 overall) started the quarter with a 35-30 lead, with things in its favor.

                          Burns' lead would not last long in the quarter, as Ontario opened up the quarter on a 7-2 run during the first two minutes, tying the game up, 37-37.

                          The Hilanders responded with a free throw and a 3-pointer during a 75 second stretch, to retake the lead, 41-37, with 4:50 left to play.

                          From there on out it was Ontario's (22-3) game.

                          During the next minute and a half, Ontario went 3-for-6 from the free throw line to pull the game within one point, 41-40, before A.J. Hawk hit a jumper inside the 3-point line with 2:54 left to play, putting Ontario up, 42-41.

                          After a missed field goal by Burns, Hawk hit a pair of free throws to put Ontario up 44-41 with 58 seconds to play.

                          Burns took the ball down court and a 3-pointer was off the mark, giving Ontario the ball back and the opportunity to run out the clock.

                          Instead, Jaimi Arant hit a pair of free throws with only 22 seconds left to secure the victory.

                          During the fourth quarter, Ontario's defense held Burns to only 1-for-7 shooting from the floor

                          "I really wasn't thinking," Hawk said about her late free throws. "I knew I had to make my free throws."

                          Hawk, along with Kayla Mitchell and Kylie Roberts led the Tigers with 10 points each in the win. Vanessa Gomez added 11 rebounds for Ontario.

                          "Kayla Mitchell coming in off the bench and having confidence shooting was a big turning point for us," Buck said.

                          Burns was led by Katie Torland with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Jessica Clemens added 13 points in the loss.

                          "We couldn't hit a bucket and they made key shots," Burns coach Alice Herauf said. "Ontario is a good team and they made shots down the stretch."

                          Burns will play Baker Thursday evening at Burns, while Ontario will host the winner of that game Saturday in Ontario.

                          Tigers fall to Hilanders in district championship, February 27, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          The Burns girls basketball team took back something that they have owned for the last two seasons - the Greater Oregon League title.

                          Saturday evening, the Burns Hilanders knocked off Ontario 44-32 in the 3A District 7 girls basketball tournament at Ontario High School.

                          True, the Ontario girls and the Burns girls each shared the regular season title, with Ontario taking the tie breaker Monday evening in Vale, as the two teams have played three times in the last 10 days.

                          After a pair of Ontario victories over the defending state champions, Burns got back on top, taking the No. 1 seed out of the district, to the state sub tournament, beginning Wednesday.

                          Ontario will host Rainier Wednesday evening in the first round of the state sub tournament.

                          Early on, it appeared as if Ontario was going to win their third straight against Burns, jumping out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.

                          Burns quickly responded in the second quarter. After a Tigers (23-4) field goal, to grab a 15-6 lead, before the Hilanders (23-3) really got going.

                          The Hilanders scored the next six points and a 13-3 overall run to finish off the half, with Burns on top 19-18.

                          "They just played better than us tonight. We missed a lot of shots," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We led early, and just went on a long stretch without scoring."

                          In the second half, Ontario managed only 14 points, while Burns scored 25 points, to pull away for the victory.

                          "We didn't make a lot of shots inside and Burns played good defense," Buck said. "This whole week and a half, both teams have gotten a lot better."

                          Vanessa Gomez led Ontario with 10 points.

                          Tigers ready for state run, March 1, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          The Ontario girls gameplan may be simple, but the Tigers will have their hands full trying to accomplish the task.

                          Wednesday night, Ontario hosts the Rainier Columbians in the first round of the 3A OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires State Sub Tournament.

                          Ontario head coach Jon Buck said the Tigers need to score more points than Rainier.

                          "The gameplan is the same as always, play good defense and keep turnovers low," Buck said. "I would like to shoot better than the last couple of games."

                          Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Ontario High School, with the winner advancing to play at Gladstone Saturday, while the loser gets to begin spring sports.

                          Buck and the Tigers (23-4 overall) know a little about the Columbians.

                          "They press a lot and play a couple of different defenses. They play zone and man," Buck said. "They are pretty fast and quick, but not tall or big. They are pretty scrappy and like to fastbreak."

                          Buck said the Tigers have a size advantage over Rainier, with the tallest post player listed at 5-foot-5. But the Columbians also have good outside shooters.

                          "We will have to get to them and not let them have those shots," Buck said. "I think we will be in good shape. We have to play well from here on out."

                          As for the Tigers, Buck said the bench is going to have to step up and play big minutes for the Tigers. Also, the Tigers will have to do a better job on the offensive boards.

                          "We are still trying to get better in all phases of the game," Buck said. "Our bench is going to have to step up."

                          Buck said at this point in the season, every team the Tigers face is going to be good.

                          William Anderson is the Assistant Sports Editor for the Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-5387, or by e-mail, WilliamA@argusobserver.com. Story ideas are always welcomed.

                          Keeps on rolling, March 3, 2005

                           William Anderson Argus Observer

                          After suffering through a poor first quarter, the Ontario girls basketball team turned up their intensity a notch, and cruised to a 55-38 victory over the Rainier Columbians during the first round of the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires State Sub Tournament at Ontario High School Wednesday.

                          Coming out of the first half, the Tigers trailed Rainier 3-2.

                          Quickly out of the game, the Tigers roared to the tune of 11 straight points in the first two minutes of the second quarter, to jump to a 13-3 lead. Ontario would never trail again.

                          "We needed to take a few inside shots in the first quarer," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We did not take an opportunity in the first quarter."

                          Following the Tigers run to open the quarter, each team battled back and forth until Ontario took a 24-14 lead after the first half.

                          '"We would get a little run, but Rainier got back going. They hit a few 3's and kept things going," Buck said. "Rainier did a good job to keep it close."

                          The second half belonged to Ontario, as the Tigers (23-4 overall) kept pushing, opening the second half on a 8-2 run over the first four and a half minutes, to take a 32-16 lead.

                          The Columbians responded with a free throw and a 3-pointer to cut down the Tigers' lead to 32-20.

                          The rest of the quarter, Ontario outscored Rainier 7-4, for a 39-24 lead after three quarters of play.

                          "The second half we sent the ball inside and we also kicked it out," Buck said. "We had decent outside shots, but the advantage for us was inside."

                          With the Tigers having an obvious height advantage over the Columbians, the Tigers utilized their post play, as Vanessa Gomez scored a game-high 14 points and AJ Hawk added seven points, as the two girls combined for 15 rebounds.

                          During the final quarter of play, Ontario pushed their lead to a game-high 23 points, three times. First, when Vanessa Gomez completed a three point play, as the Tigers went up 51-28, with 3:24 left in the game.

                          The Tigers did it twice more in the final three minutes, to hold on for the victory.

                          Ontario's Kylie Roberts and Stephanie Babi each scored 10 points in the win.

                          Rainier was led by Megan Benson and Trista Staehely, who each came off the bench, with 10 points, while Leanna Nagunst grabbed 10 rebounds.

                          The win advances Ontario to the second round of the Sub Tournaments, as they travel to Gladstone Saturday.

                          Shattered alliance, March 6, 2005

                          We never set out to fight the Ontario School District. Instead, we simply preferred to focus on our job to report the news and to ask relevant questions.

                          Probably no other incident leaves as many unanswered questions and as bad an aftertaste for taxpayers as the recent legal case between the Argus Observer and the Ontario School District.

                          For those readers unfamiliar with this episode, the issue revolves around an incident last spring when several Ontario High School teachers showed students an Internet video of American hostage Nicholas Berg's beheading by Iraqi insurgents.

                          At first glance, the entire incident appeared straightforward. The incident occurred; school officials conceded it was a violation of school board policy; the incident led to some kind of teacher discipline and an apparent apology from the teachers to the school board.

                          I say apparent because, at the end of the day, we really don't know what occurred in terms of the discipline the school board thought appropriate in this incident.

                          The board spent at least 80 minutes reviewing the incident at a May executive session. Some type of discussion apparently went on. Unfortunately, we'll never know what was decided. Especially in light of the fact there are no minutes, no record, of the executive session. Which, while not wanting to put too fine a point on it, is a violation of the Oregon Public Records Law.

                          We initially tried to play the video episode as straight up as possible. We asked for information. We were denied. So we petitioned Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris to make a legal judgment on our public information requests. We asked for a number of items, including the names of the teachers disciplined and a description of the disciplinary action taken against the teachers.

                          Norris declined all of our requests but one. He ruled the public had a right to know what kind of action the school board instituted in regard to teacher discipline. SpecificallyNorris wrote: "Decisions by elected officials are properly subjected to scrutiny by the press

                          On to the next round, March 6, 2005

                            Donovan Brink special to the Argus Observer

                          With a trip to the state tournament on the line, the Lady Tigers left nothing to chance.

                          A 3-pointer by Kylie Roberts early in the second quarter pushed Ontario to a 19-1 lead as the Lady Tigers busted Gladstone, winning 54-38 and earning a spot in the eight-team state tournament, which for the girls begins Thursday.

                          Ontario (24-4 overall) will face Marist in the first round of the state tournament Thursday at 9:15 p.m. MST at Oregon State University's Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

                          The Lady Tigers had little trouble with Gladstone. After their rough start in an earlier state playoff game against Rainier, Ontario led Gladstone 16-1 after one quarter and 24-10 at halftime, thanks in part to 11 points - and three 3-pointers - by Kylie Roberts.

                          Ontario beat Gladstone under the basket, as A.J. Hawk finished with 16 points and Vanessa Gomez also added 16 points.

                          "We wanted to get the ball inside," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "That's all we really tried to do."

                          When Roberts hit a 3-pointer early in the second quarter, the outcome was all but decided for Ontario. After Gladstone recovered to pull within 21-10, Hawk hit a free throw and Roberts added a field goal for a 24-10 halftime lead.

                          In the third quarter, Ontario led by as many as 16 points, getting a 3-pointer from Roberts, back-to-back buckets by Hawk and a score from Gomez to lead 37-21 after three quarters.

                          With Gladstone challenging in the fourth quarter, Hawk converted a three-point play and added a bucket with 4:56 to play, pushing Ontario to a 46-28 lead, and all but locking up the victory.

                          Any doubt of Ontario's win was sealed in the final two minutes when Gomez hit a field goal then converted a free throw for a 50-31 lead with 2:54 to go.

                          Ontario enters Thursday's Class 3A state tournament on the bottom half of the bracket, opposite Greater Oregon League champion Burns, which secured a spot in the final round of eight by beating Scappoose 45-28 Saturday.

                          March means another state tournament, March 9, 2005

                            Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          It wouldn't be a tournament without the fifth-ranked Ontario Tigers.

                          Ontario begins play at the OSAA Class 3A Girls State Basketball Championships Thursday in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The Tigers (24-4 overall) meet 10th-ranked Marist (17-8) in the opening round.

                          The other first round matchups include No. 2 Burns (25-2) vs. unranked Junction City (20-6), No. 4 Cascade (23-1) vs. top-ranked North Bend (24-1) and No. 3 Tillamook (22-1) vs. No. 8 Philomath (20-4).

                          "There are a lot of good teams in the tournament," senior point guard Jaimi Arant said. "But I think this team has gotten better as the season as gone on."

                          The trip to Corvallis is the seventh straight Ontario and the 13th in the last 15 years for the Tigers. Ontario has brought home trophies each of the last six seasons, joining Marist as the only schools to accomplish the feat.

                          Ontario head coach Jon Buck said making the annual trek west never gets old.

                          "We enjoy it a lot," Buck said. "It's a lot of fun. You get to see a lot of good teams, and figure out what you need to work on to become one of those teams."

                          The Tigers, whose best finish was a third-place in 1993, beat Rainier and Gladstone in the subtournament to earn their place among the elite eight.

                          Against Rainier, Ontario scored only two points in the first quarter, but rebounded for a 55-38 win. Against Gladstone, there was no such lull for Ontario, which opened a 19-1 lead and never looked back.

                          "I think we took Rainier to easily," junior Kylie Roberts said. "We thought we would step in walk all over them, and it bit us in the butt. Against Gladstone, we saw film, and we knew how fast they were. So we knew we needed to be at the top of our game. And we came out and took care of business."

                          The Tigers will have a tough road with the defending state champions - Burns - in attendance. Ontario handed the Hilanders both of their losses on the season, and the two teams are on opposite sides of the bracket.

                          "I'd like for it to come down to a GOL final," Arant said. "That would be great, but there are other great teams there that we will have to deal with."

                          Buck believes Burns will be in the thick of the title chase, but said he also likes Cascade, Tillamook and North Bend to challenge the Hilanders.

                          "I'd pick Tillamook right now," Buck said. "Any four of them are capable of winning tournament. And I think we are right up there as well."

                          Top honors, March 9, 2005

                             Christen McCurdy Argus Observer

                          The report cards are in.

                          Three Ontario elementary schools received good news when the Oregon Department of Education issued its annual state report card in December.

                          Cairo Elementary School was rated an exceptional school by the state, and Aiken and May Roberts elementary schools both received a "strong" rating.

                          Ontario's other schools received a satisfactory rating from the state.

                          Administrators at all three schools said the improved ratings are the result of a great deal of hard work in each building.

                          "I think No. 1 is we had some students who started out pretty low and the staff members just brought them along," Cairo Elementary School Principal Steve Bishop said.

                          Bishop said the school has not implemented any new programs in terms of reading and writing or mathematics, but has focused on helping students in the building improve on their skills.

                          "Reading and math have really taken a front burner," May Roberts Elementary School Principal Frances Ramirez said.

                          Ramirez said at May Roberts the students have 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction every day, and parents are even encouraged not to make doctor appointments for their children during those times so the children get the instruction every day they are in school.

                          Another innovation has been funding for regular meetings of teachers in each grade level so they are all on the same page, and progress tracking of students who are identified as needing help.

                          Aiken Elementary School Principal Mark Hinthorn said school staff worked to improve in every area the report card rates schools.

                          The report card this year gave schools an overall rating and also ranked youth on student performance (academic achievement), student behavior (attendance/dropout rates), improvement and school characteristics. School improvement director Sherri Sims said the school characteristics number refers to the number of children the school actually tests. Ontario Public School rated as exceptional in this area, she said, because educators made sure everyone was tested.

                          "We don't exempt a bunch of kids so our school will be better," Sims said. "We test them all."

                          The state's report card rates districts as part of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but the ratings are separate from determinations of whether the schools met adequate yearly progress. Where the state's ratings are based on a number of different factors, AYP is determined solely on student achievement on test scores and student participation.

                          "The Oregon report is more holistic," Sims said.

                          Overall, students in the district met or exceeded standards, but AYP determinations are based not on the achievements of the group as a whole. Instead, the failure of one group of students identified by the act to meet standards results in a "did not meet AYP" standard for the whole district. In Ontario's case, white students met standards in student achievement and participation. Hispanic students, special education students, limited English proficient students and economically disadvantaged students did not meet student achievement standards but did meet student participation standards. Only the elementary schools are designated Title 1 schools by the district, Sims said, so those are the schools that stand to face federal funding problems if they fail to meet adequate yearly progress standards down the line. Eligibility for Title 1 funding, she said, is determined by census figures on how many children qualify for free or reduced lunch. In Ontario, that number is 70 percent, though numbers are higher at some schools than others.

                          "So many of the things in (No Child Left Behind) were already in the law, but they didn't have the teeth that this one has," Sims said. "A lot of people are sitting up and paying attention."

                          School bond proposal, March 11, 2005

                            Larry Meyer Argus Observer

                          here was a general consensus among residents at a public meeting Tuesday night at Ontario High School that construction of a facility on a new, larger site was the preferred option.

                          The next big issue for school bond supporters, though, will be how to get the rest of the community on board and engaged in the project.

                          An estimated 80 to 90 people gathered Tuesday at the OHS Commons for the meeting sponsored by the Ontario School District to discuss the future of a new high school.

                          The meeting was conducted by Mike Patano, Nate Turner and Shellie Loper of The Matrix Group, consultants in educational facility planning and management and was preceded by tours of the building.

                          This session was an outgrowth of a report by a district facilities committee which recommended to the school board last summer the high school either be replaced or be revamped.

                          In opening his discussion, Patano said, "The real work needs to be done by you folks."

                          "What we have today is a school built in 1952, on 26 acres," Patano said.

                          A number of programs, he said, are handled off site because there is not enough room.

                          He said it is important to go out into the community to ask folks what they want in a high school.

                          "This is about gathering information," he said about the meeting. "There are no preconceived ideas."

                          Patano said most high schools have a life of 50 to 70 years. Patano said the OHS building was getting to the end of its useful life. The standard campus size is about 40 to 50 acres, he said.

                          The school plays a vital part in the community, Patano said. "Whatever we do is for the kids," he said.

                          Patano led participants in an exercise in which they were split into groups to decide and list their preferences on such issues as rebuilding or remodeling, to stay at the same location or move the high school to a new location, and if going to a new location, what to do about the football stadium.

                          There were 15 groups.

                          Patano said cost issues at a new site would include, beside construction, purchase of a new site and putting in the infrastructure such as water, power and phones and landscaping.

                          Costs for building at the current site would include the price of demolishing the existing building and restoring some of the athletic fields, Patano said, noting construction of a school would take about 18 months versus 12 to 14 months at a new site.

                          While there was consensus to build on a new site, there was not a consensus on where, but suggestions focused on the west side of town, either near the Yturri Memorial Beltline or between Southwest Fourth Avenue and Southwest 18th Avenue.

                          There was also no consensus on the football stadium, with people mentioning the concerns about having adequate parking and handicapped access. However, there was also concerns about students and others who walk to activities, and keeping that option available to them. It was suggested the stadium could be left as the location for games, with practice fields and new, larger track facilities constructed at the new site.

                          Those practice fields could be converted later as a stadium.

                          One group said it is important all options be explored on whether to rebuild or remodel and the pro and cons be presented.

                          Also, a part of the discussion was the option, once a new high school is built, to move the middle school to the vacated high school building, so those students will be in one building, instead of being spread through several buildings.

                          Patano said a similar public meeting will be held in about another month.

                          "We need to hear from everyone," he said.

                          'Three' times the misery for Ontario, March 11, 2005

                            Donovan Brink Special to the Argus Observer

                          During a game in which the Lady Tigers found themselves constantly clawing back into their opening-round Class 3A state tournament game, Marist junior Kristina Neet, who incidentally wears No. 33 - had a 3-point shooting night for the record books, going 8-for-8 from behind the arc as the Spartans held off a late surge by Ontario to earn a 72-71 victory and end any Ontario hopes of an all Greater Oregon League state championship pairing with Burns.

                          "We didn't take away their strengths well enough," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said, alluding to Neet's state tournament record-setting performance. "Neet shot some deep ones, and she's good at it, and we let her have too many of those."

                          Marist head coach Makano Apo was thrilled with his team's sudden outside threat, which he said was available early in the season, but never materialized.

                          "We didn't have much of a perimeter game at the start," Apo said. "We had the shooters, but they weren't hitting their shots."

                          Ontario rallied from double-digit deficits throughout the night, none more notable or memorable than the Lady Tigers' furious drive from a 17-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to bring the game down to the final seconds, and every fan in Gill Coliseum to the edge of their seats.

                          Trailing 59-42 with 5:21 remaining, Ontario went on an 11-3 run - which included a 3-pointer by Jaimi Arant - to pull within 62-56 with two minutes remaining.

                          But, like earlier Ontario rallies, Marist recovered and extended the lead back to double digits, leaving many of the cardinal-and-corn-clad fans to believe a victory was near impossible.

                          Sporting the never-say-die attitude that has long been the label of OHS girls basketball, the Lady Tigers rallied again, getting five of their next seven points from Vanessa Gomez to pull within 69-63 with just less than one minute to play.

                          After an Ontario bucket by Kylie Roberts and a free throw by Marist's Neet, A.J. Hawk scored to pull Ontario with 70-67 with 20 seconds remaining. Moments later, Gomez stole an errant Marist pass and scored to make it a one-point ballgame with 13.2 seconds remaining.

                          Marist's Tana Loftin converted a pair of free throws to once again make it a three-point game, leading 72-69.

                          Ontario brought the ball down the floor looking to get Roberts open for a 3-point look. When that failed, Stephanie Babij took an open 3-pointer which was perfectly on line, but clipped the front of the rim and caromed off the back rim. Gomez grabbed the rebound and scored at the buzzer for the final margin.

                          "We did all the right things to come back and have a shot at the end," Buck said.

                          Ontario led 3-2 early in the first quarter, but Marist quickly put the Lady Tigers in to dire straits with a 15-0 run, and led 17-5 after one quarter.

                          "We weren't playing at the speed we needed to play," Buck said. "It was like the girls were a little unsure of themselves. There was no sense of urgency like there should be in a state tournament game."

                          Neet began to light up the Lady Tigers in the second quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and converting a three-point play to help the Spartans maintain their dozen-point lead, 32-20, at halftime.

                          The Lady Tigers rallied to pull within two points, 34-32, early in the third quarter, but again fell victim to Neet's neat 3-point shooting as the Spartan hit back-to-back treys for a 40-32 lead, converted another 3-pointer for a 49-36 advantage, then was fouled on a 3-pointer - which she made - and hit the free throw for a 53-38 Marist lead entering the fourth quarter.

                          Neet wasn't as big a factor in the fourth quarter, but Loftin was, scoring nine of Marist' 19 fourth-quarter points.

                          Gomez led all Ontario scorers with 23 points and had 10 rebounds, while Roberts also posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Hawk had 12 points and seven rebounds for Ontario, while Stephanie Babij added nine points.

                          Neet finished with a game-high 31 points on 9-for-11 total field-goal shooting, while Loftin added 16 along with six steals.

                          Neet's 8-for-8 shooting from 3-point range set new records for the most 3-pointers made in a tournament game, as well as the highest 3-point percentage in a tournament game.

                          Ontario faces Cowapa League champion Tillamook today in the consolation round. Tillamook was beaten by Philomath, 52-50, prior to the Ontario-Marist contest.

                          Ontario opens in style, March 16, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Ontario's Chris Schauer and Ricky Ramirez combined to toss a one-hitter, holding Weiser to only three base runners, as the Tigers cruised to an 18-0 win over the Wolverines Tuesday afternoon in a nonleague baseball game at Ontario High School.

                          The game was the season opener for both teams.

                          Schauer and Ramirez forced the Wolverines into 12 ground ball outs, two strikeouts and a runner thrown out, while pounding out 12 hits, on the way to scoring 18 runs.

                          The excitement of Weiser's lone hit, a single by Josh Munson, was shortlived, as Munson was thrown out trying to advance to second.

                          "We knew we were going to struggle offensively with only three guys with varsity experience," Weiser head coach Ted Pettet said. "Our numbers are way down and we had two starters who didn't get to play. It will come around."

                          The hit by Munson, was the only ball the Ontario pitchers allowed to leave the infield all game.

                          "They both threw really well," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "Chris has four different pitches, we had to force him to throw a fastball. He did good at mixing it up and changing speeds. We had to force Ricky to throw off-speed."

                          Horn also said that this year's Tigers (1-0 overall) boast five or six players who can pitch when called upon.

                          As for the Tigers' offense, despite not getting a hit until the sixth batter, Ontario managed to score three runs in the opening inning, all after two outs, and kept building from there.

                          In the second frame, the Tigers tacked on two more runs, with two outs, helped by a triple by Matt Mejia, who finished the game with two triples and two runs batted in, to build a 5-0 lead after two innings.

                          Ontario blew the game open in the third, with a nine run inning, followed by four more runs in the fourth inning.

                          "Our offense did put the ball in play and we were selective at the plate," Horn said. "We are pretty well-rounded and have confidence in our pitchers. The defense did a great job."

                          Jose Garcia and Eddie Mendoza each finished with two hits and two RBIs, while Daniel Schram knocked in two runs.

                          Ontario is back in action Thursday, when they travel to Payette in a nonconference game, while Weiser (0-1) travels to Vale Thursday in a nonleague contest.

                          Food program success, March 17, 2005

                            Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          The Ontario School Board heard from district food service supervisor Elaine Russell during its Tuesday morning special work session.

                          While the school board will not address district policy at tonight's regularly scheduled board meeting - an item initially included on the agenda - school nutrition was included among those policies to be reviewed.

                          The policy issue agenda item was revoked because Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said the board should take a little bit longer to discuss and review the policies.

                          Board members have not had time to discuss the matter since last month's school board meeting, when they made minor revisions to various policy topics, based on recommendations from the state.

                          The school's nutrition program, the school district's responsibilities and vending machines, were some issues raised last month.

                          While discussion is likely to continue pertaining to school board policy, board members had a better idea of how the district's food program operates after Russell's presentation.

                          According to Russell, the school district provides about 1,200 breakfasts and 1,800 lunches to students each day.

                          The school district receives some cost reimbursement from federal programs because the schools have been designated "severe need" schools.

                          The meals provided by the school meet United States Department of Agriculture nutrition standards and the nutritional value in each item served is carefully documented by the school, Russell said.

                          Russell said the biggest change in the standards pertains to fat and sodium content, however, the school district has not had to make any major changes because the fat and sodium content were well within the regulations.

                          "We're following this program because it proves we're doing something right," Russell said.

                          Answering board member Pamela Russell's question pertaining to low-carbohydrate diets, which some school districts have chosen to recognize, Elaine Russell said she refused to serve low-carb meals.

                          "I think it's the most ignorant diet I've ever heard of," she said.

                          Russell said the bottom line at the school district was to go back to the major food groups, and to provide healthy choices. Students, she said, have a choice what they eat, and can decide between three or four entrees.

                          "There's more going in the trash than I'd like, but you can't control that," Russell said, answering a question from one of the board members. She said by giving students a choice, at least the school district is enticing students to eat something, although Russell said she does not approve of some of the foods, such as sugary cereals.

                          Still, she said, the only meals some of the students receive every day are the ones they are served at school, "so if they end up eating a Cocoa Puff, it's better than nothing."

                          Russell also said she and her staff are very selective about what is served to the students, focusing on what they want to eat, and what tastes good.

                          "If we won't eat it, then I'm not serving it to a kid," Russell said. "We're very quality conscious."

                          Russell said she thinks the school district is doing a good job to ensure students receive quality meals that are cost effective for the school district and cites the high percentage of students who eat school lunches at school. Carter said the school board will discuss school policies on school food and vending machines again at next month's board meeting.

                          Ontario bats heat up, March 18, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          The Ontario baseball team continued to dominate its opponents, picking up a 12-0 win over Payette in a nonconference baseball game Thursday at Harmon Killebrew Field in Payette.

                          The Tigers pitching staff continued to pitch strong, allowing only three hits on the day, while their offense knocked out 13 hits of their own.

                          "I was telling the team how they played better than they did Tuesday," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We hit the ball hard, everybody was hitting. Things look great offensively. I love the way we hit the ball."

                          Hit the ball is what the Tigers did. Six of their 13 hits were for extra bases, with Matt Mejia belting a pair of triples, while Nick Alvarado drilled a two-run home run.

                          The Tigers got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in the first inning.

                          Payette managed to advance a runner to third base in the bottom of the frame, but he was left stranded on third, when the final out of the inning was made.

                          Each team went quietly in the second inning, before Ontario exploded for five runs in the third and fourth innings.

                          "Ontario is a quality team, while we are still in the works," Payette head coach Tracy Bratcher said. "We will get there eventually. Our guys are doing good things."

                          After two games, Horn still sees a lot of room for improvement for the Tigers (2-0 overall)

                          "I think we are going to see better pitching. So we will be working against our pitching (in practice)," he said. "We are on the right track."

                          Horn also said the Tigers pitching is looking good after only two games.

                          "We cannot get much better, only allowing four hits (in the two games)," Horn said.

                          Kurt Kolbaba picked up the win for the Tigers, pitching the first three innings, while Jose Garcia pitched the final two innings, striking out five batters and going 3-for-4 from the plate.

                          Tyler David went 3-for-3 for the Tigers, and Kyle Doman joined Alvarado, to knock in two runs.

                          For the Pirates (0-3), Matt Coats took the loss on the mound and Alan Wood had a double for the Pirates in the loss.

                          "We are doing some things well and starting to get ahead of some hitters," Bratcher said. "The way we are swinging the bats, we are going to have to have Cy Young performances."

                          The Tigers are on the road next Friday, when they travel to Weiser, while Payette hosts Melba in a doubleheader Saturday.

                          Teams get going in nonscoring meet, March 18, 2005

                            John Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario and Adrian track and field teams joined the Nyssa Bulldogs for the non-scoring Nyssa Invitational Track Meet Thursday at Nyssa High School.

                          The meet was designed for all the teams to work out the bugs, try different kids out in events and for new track athletes to get the feel of being on the track during a meet situation.

                          Nyssa's Luz Gordillo took advantage early in the meet, setting a new Nyssa record for the girls high jump. On her second attempt, Gordillo, a junior, sailed over the bar at the 9-foot mark. This bettered the previous record of 8-6 by six inches.

                          "I hopefully hit the 10-foot mark this year," Gordillo said.

                          Coaches for all three teams agreed upon one thing for this year - their teams are young.

                          "This will be a building year," Ontario assistant coach Kate Guerrero said. "We have a few returnees, but the team is full of freshmen and kids who have never run track before."

                          The Tigers currently have 47 on the young team, but do have a few standouts.

                          "Jordan Bainbridge will be tough in the 400 and Riley Frisby should place well in the 800," Guerrero said, speaking of district and state hopefuls.

                          "This is a growing year for us, but we have some tough freshmen," Adrian head coach Andrea Buchholz said. "We have good athletes, but we are very young."

                          When speaking of leaders, Buchholz is looking toward a few on the team.

                          "We want a lot out of Aaron Langley in the long and triple jump and hurdles and watch Sarah McPeak in the hurdles," Buchholz said.

                          "We have a strong unit, especially in the throws and middle distances and we have excellent jumpers," Nyssa head coach Jeff Larson said.

                          Larson was quick to point out Zach McDonald returns after last year's champion in the shot put. The Bulldogs also see Jose Escobedo return in the javelin from last year's team.

                          "Today, Chelsey Ramos started off one foot less than her best throw of last year," Larson said referring to the javelin competition. "She is starting off well."

                          "We are looking for Kelsey Storm in the relays and sprints and Laura Urridia in the pole vault, hurdles and relays to come out big for us this year," Larson said. "We expect both the boys and girls to be fighting for the district championship. Vale and Grant Union will be tough and you can never count out Enterprise."

                          Board renews superintendent's contract, March 20, 2005

                            Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          The Ontario District School Board renewed Superintendent Dennis Carter's contract for a three-year period at Thursday night's regular meeting.

                          The contract, which extends from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2008, did not have many changes from his previous contract, Carter said.

                          The biggest change was the 2 percent boost in Carter's annuity compensation, which came in lieu of a raise of salary.

                          As superintendent, Carter receives $93,000 a year for his work overseeing the district's schools and operations. The 2 percent hike came out to be about a $1,900 increase in his annuity, which goes toward his retirement, Carter said. The language in his contract states "the superintendent shall be provided a tax sheltered annuity of $14,151 annually, which shall be paid in 12 monthly installments of $1,179.25."

                          During his three-year period, his contract terms state the superintendent's salary will be negotiated for the 2006 to 2007 year and 2007 to 2008, but it cannot be less than the previous year.

                          Carter said in lieu of regular salary increases, his annuity compensation has been adjusted.

                          Last year, Carter said, his annuity increase was about 1.5 percent.

                          The 2 percent increase was in line, Carter said, with the 2 percent increase the district administrators received in their insurance benefits this year. Next year, any increase will affect their salaries.

                          In all, Carter's total salary of about $107,000, is comparable with other superintendents' salaries, he said. Carter's contract was passed by four of the five school board members. Marlow Pounds abstained during the vote.

                          Pounds said he has no complaints about Carter's performance.

                          "Dr. Carter has done a fine job as superintendent," Pounds said.

                          His only concern centered around the annuity increase. Pounds said he thought there should be a maximum amount allowed to anybody, but refused to comment further.

                          "It's just the principle for me," Pounds said.

                          In the otherwise brief meeting, the school board also approved accepting a $250 award from Wells Fargo that will go toward buying jump ropes and hula hoops at May Roberts Elementary.

                          The district will be discussing another $450 award from Wells Fargo bank to go to another school in the district at next month's meeting.

                          The school district responds - The rest of the story, March 20, 2005

                          Three recent articles in the Argus Observer address issues related to a legal dispute between the Argus and the Ontario School District. They were: a news article titled "Judge rules on Argus, school district suit" printed Feb. 20, 2005, an opinion page article by editor Pat Caldwell titled "Shattered alliance" printed March 6, 2005 and another news article titled "School district spent nearly $20,000 on lawsuit" printed March 15, 2005. Although two of the three were printed as news articles the volume of quotes from Argus publisher Steve Krehl and Argus editor Pat Caldwell make them as much the opinion of the paper as news articles. In addition to these three articles the Argus printed various news and opinion articles last summer related to this story. With the obvious slant in the articles it is appropriate for the school district to respond with "The rest of the story."

                          The issue started with the showing by teachers to students of a video of American hostage Nicholas Berg's beheading by Iraqi insurgents. The district administration determined this to be a violation of school district policy and took disciplinary action against the teachers. Along with the disciplinary action the district provided a press release and note to the parents of involved students expressing regret for the incident and informing them that appropriate disciplinary action had been taken. The district determined it was appropriate under the law to release the information but not to release information regarding against whom the disciplinary action was taken or what the disciplinary action was. Under Oregon law most actions of the district are public and must be disclosed to the press. However, personnel items including discipline are generally not available to the press under the law.

                          The Argus and the Associated Press took issue with the school district's interpretation of the law. They demanded that the school district disclose the names of the teachers involved, the disciplinary action taken, and a variety of other items. When the district declined to provide the information demanded by the Argus and Associated Press the news agencies took legal action against the district by petitioning Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris to make a legal judgment on their public information requests. With this petition the Argus initiated the legal action.

                          It is the responsibility of the district through its administration to interpret the law in this type of case. The district must consider the law as written along with interpretations of the law made in past court cases. The district in making its decision must balance under the law the public's right to know against the right of privacy by the individuals involved. Once the interpretation is made the district has an obligation under the law to follow its interpretation. If someone on any side of the issue disagrees with the decision of the district, they have a right to pursue a legal interpretation at the next step.

                          The Argus disagreed with the interpretation of the law by the district and pursued it to the next step, the district attorney. The Argus and the Associated Press appealed to the district attorney to require the release of four items by the district. Although the Argus has stated repeatedly that the school district started this case by suing the Argus this is the point at which the legal action started. The Argus legally appealed to the first place of an appropriate appeal of the school district's action. This was the start of the case not when the district appealed the district attorney's opinion.

                          Each side was asked by the district attorney to provide arguments for its case before he made a decision. When he made a decision he ruled for the district in three of the four items. He agreed with the Argus that the district should provide information to the Argus related to the discipline imposed on the teachers. Either side at that point had the option to appeal to the court. The Argus could have appealed to the court for release of the three items denied, and the district could appeal to the court to not release the disciplinary action imposed. The Argus elected not to appeal and in fact opined in an editorial that it probably wouldn't have been appropriate to release that information anyway. If it would have been wrong to release the information, why did the Argus ask the district attorney to require the district to release it?

                          At this point the district had two options. It could release the information as required by the district attorney or appeal the decision to the court. A reading of the district attorney's decision makes these two options very clear. The district after consultation with legal counsel opted to appeal the decision. As stated earlier the district with this appeal did not start the legal fight. It simply still believed its interpretation of the law and appealed to the next proper step, the court. If the district believed its interpretation of the law to be correct, it would have been inappropriate for it to release the information without going to the next step.

                          With the appeal to the court both sides of the dispute were allowed to make arguments of their case to the judge. A hearing was held in which she decided she needed more information from the district before she could make a decision. After hearing the arguments of both sides and being provided the additional information she ruled for the district, that the information sought by the Argus was exempt from disclosure. Once the judge handed down her decision it is the law related to this case. The school district no longer has the option of making its studied interpretation of the law.

                          The court's interpretation of the law is the law the district must abide by unless it is appealed to a higher court.

                          To violate the judge's decision at this point would virtually assure those disciplined a successful suit against the district with a much higher financial risk by the district than the present case. But Mr. Krehl on behalf of the Argus poses in a statement in the February 20 article that the district should do exactly that. Quoted from the Argus "We urge the school board to reconsider this issue and to release the type of disciplinary action it took and felt was prudent in this matter," Krehl said. The judge's decision is the law. All school board members are required when being sworn into office to affirm that they will uphold the law. To release the information after the judge has determined it to be exempt would be to violate the law. It is hard to believe that the press would encourage (demand) the district violate the law, but that is exactly what following Mr. Krehl's demand would be.

                          In summary, The district regrets the need to expend funds to defend itself in a lawsuit with the press. The district did not keep this information in the interest of hiding its actions from the public. It rather interpreted the law, followed the action necessitated by that interpretation and when challenged, followed the necessary court process.

                          State law carefully balances public access to sensitive employment-related decisions with employees' right to privacy. (The Argus concedes this fact in its request.) The district considered these competing needs carefully in deciding not to allow the newspaper to have the documents it requested. In the end, it is the Argus Observer that forced this issue into the courts, rather than the District. The District was really between a rock and a hard spot with a high risk of being sued whatever interpretation it made of the law.

                          Carl Judy, Board Chair

                          Marlow Pounds, Board Vice Chair Dr John Phillips, Board Member

                          Evelyn Dame, Board Member

                          Pamela Russell, Board Member

                          Dr Dennis Carter, Superintendent

                          Ontario wins nonleague thriller over Vikings, March 30, 2005

                            John Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario softball team started strong, and then allowed the Vale Vikings back into the game, before narrowly escaping Vale with a 11-10 win in nonleague softball action Tuesday at Vale High School.

                          The Vikings' Lindsey Ables belted a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, trimming Ontario's lead to 11-10, and giving Vale a chance to complete the rally with only one out. However, the next two Vale batters grounded out to first base, allowing the Tigers to escape with the win.

                          Ontario (5-0 overall) jumped all over Vale starting pitcher Stacey Chamberlain, scoring early in the first when Kristia Maeda doubled and drove in a run. She was immediately followed by Sarah Wharton who singled in Maeda. By the end of the inning, the Tigers had a quick 3-0 lead. The Vikings answered with two in the bottom of the first inning to tighten up the game.

                          In the second and the third innings, the Tigers scored a total of six runs, two in the second and four in the third. The Vikings (0-3) went scoreless in the second and only managed three in the third to fall behind the Tigers, 9-5.

                          "We struggled for those two innings," Vale head coach Brandy Hemenway said. "We had crucial errors that allowed Ontario to advance runners on bases. We just can't allow errors for extra bases when playing a team like Ontario."

                          Ontario's bats went cold and the Vikings defense tightened up, especially in the area of errors, limiting the Tigers to only two additional runs in the game, those coming in the sixth. The Vikings scored two in the fourth and two in the sixth to close the score to 11-9 at the end of the sixth.

                          "This was not a very good game for us," Tiger coach Randy Simpson said. "We had too many letdowns and mental breakdowns."

                          Even with the problems, the Ontario coach did see some things he was pleased with in the win.

                          "We did have some great hits," Simpson said. "Stephanie Simpson was a big bat for us and the short game was what we wanted."

                          The Tigers meet McCall-Donnelly for two games Thursday in Ontario, while the Vikings travel to La Grande on Thursday for a doubleheader.

                          Tigers clobber Payette, March 30, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Ontario's Rick Ramirez and Jose Garcia combined on a no-hitter Tuesday, leading the Ontario Tigers to a 29-0 nonleague baseball win over Payette at Ontario High School. The game was halted after the top of the fifth inning, because of the 10-run mercy rule.

                          Ramirez pitched the first four innings for the Tigers, striking out eight batters and walking one, and no Payette runner advanced past second base, before Garcia came in to throw a perfect fifth inning for the victory.

                          "Ricky (Ramirez) threw the ball really well and Jose (Garcia) was lights out," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "I think we are doing good. It is hard to tell. Hopefully when we see some good pitching, we can hit it."

                          The Payette (0-10 overall) pitching staff, on the other hand, hurt themselves with walks and hit batters. Starting pitcher, Forrest Barnard walked or hit the first five batters of the game, before Eddie Mendoza hit a run-scoring single to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead, which ended up being all the Tigers would need in the game.

                          "When you don't get any starting pitching and the game is 2-0 with the bases loaded before the other team has to swing a bat, it is a long day," Payette head coach Tracy Bratcher said. "That type of inning the first half of an inning, kind of takes the wind out of our sails."

                          In the first inning, the Tigers sent 20 batters to the plate, and scored 18 runs, on 10 hits, two Pirate errors, three Ontario walks and four hit batters.

                          "We are not mentally tough," Bratcher said. "It is easy to make excuses. We just need to pick it up. It is like we take two steps forward and 10 steps back."

                          The Tigers (4-0) knocked out 22 hits, with all nine starting players recording at least two runs batted in. Kurt Kolbaba led the way with five RBIs and two doubles, while Daryl Norris had four RBIs.

                          Both teams are back in action this week, with Payette hosting Nampa Christian Thursday in a nonconference game. Ontario begins Greater Oregon League play Friday against Riverside at Boardman.

                          -----------------

                          Ontario sweeps aside Vandals, April 1, 2005

                             JOHN BRAESE Argus Observer

                          The Ontario girls remained perfect on the season, sweeping two games from McCall-Donnelly in nonleague softball action Thursday at the Ore-Ida Heinz Regional Sports Complex in Ontario.

                          The Tigers used a four-run first inning to win the opener, 7-5, then followed with a 3-2 victory to complete the sweep.

                          With the two wins, Ontario moves its season record to an unblemished 7-0.

                          Ontario started the first game with a quick four-run first inning, thanks to three Vandal errors. The Tigers added two more runs in the third after a wild pitch scored two Ontario runners.

                          Errors were costly on both sides. The Tigers committed five errors, while only allowing one hit. McCall-Donnelly allowed four hits, but also committed three errors in the loss.

                          Ontario went 9-for-9 on stolen bases against the Vandals' catcher.

                          "We knew their regular catcher was not here and took advantage of them moving their junior varsity catcher up for this game," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said.

                          The Vandals scored first, in the nightcap, on a RBI double by Jamie Peterson, driving in Abby Andrew from first base. The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning with a RBI single by Jaimi Arant.

                          Kylie Roberts put Ontario on top for good with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second inning. The Tigers tacked on another run later in the same frame to take a 3-1 lead.

                          "We are still having mental breakdowns, not true errors, just mental breakdowns," Simpson said. "We have to be more savvy in these games. I was happy with only one error in that second game."

                          McCall-Donnelly head coach Bill Shipley was also happier with the play of his team in the second game compared to the first game.

                          "I think we really took care of our errors after that first game," Shipley said. "Our pitcher (Dana Shipley) is hitting her spots now and we are letting our defense play defense."

                          The Vandals were just happy to be playing outdoors even with the loss. Due to snow, McCall Donnelly continues to practice in the school gym, only reaching the fields in New Meadows twice this season for an outdoor practice.

                          "We continue to get better the more we can play outdoors," Shipley said. The Vandals (5-4 overall) have next week off for spring break and begin league action against Payette, Monday, April 11.

                          The Tigers now patiently wait for their Greater Oregon League opener on Thursday when they host Baker.

                          Tigers roll to sweep, April 6, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Good hitting and solid pitching helped the Ontario baseball team to a Greater Oregon League sweep Tuesday at Ontario High School.

                          The Tigers swept the Burns Hilanders, 16-3 and 14-2, in a GOL twinbill.

                          In the opener, the Tigers turned to their big bats to score runs, as No. 3 hitter Matt Mejia took a 2-2 pitch to center field for a grand slam home run, capping an eight-run second inning for the Tigers.

                          Ontario scored three more runs in the third, and five runs in the fourth to pull away.

                          The Tigers' pitching staff allowed only one earned run in the game.

                          "I think we spent a lot of time talking about what we needed to do at the plate," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "Our approach at the plate was better. People went out and had a plan. We did well, we hit situationally."

                          In the nightcap, the Tigers kept the pressure on, opening up the game by sending 10 batters to the plate in the first inning. The first eight batters recorded a hit in the big inning.

                          Daryl Norris' two-run double was the highlight of the inning, that put the Tigers (7-1 overall, 3-1 GOL) up comfortably, 6-2.

                          The Tigers kept the runs coming, picking up eight more runs in the next two innings, for a 14-2 advantage, and the win.

                          "They just hit the ball really well," Burns head coach Kevin Feist said. "They put the bat on the ball and got base hits. We did not do very well defensively."

                          The Hilanders committed seven errors on the day, which led to 14 unearned runs.

                          As a contrast, Ontario's three errors resulted in two unearned runs.

                          "We are gearing up, getting better," Horn said. "I think we are on the right track."

                          Mejia finished with eight runs batted in, one home run and a double, while Norris had four runs batted in and a pair of doubles. Aaron Mauney, Chris Schauer and Rick Ramirez each had two runs batted in for the Tigers.

                          Kurt Kolbaba picked up the win in the first game for Ontario, while Schauer picked up the win in the nightcap.

                          Eric Garner had a pair of RBIs for the Hilanders.

                          Ontario continues GOL play Saturday, hosting Mac-Hi.

                          Bulldogs sweep Tigers, April 8, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          The Ontario softball team showed signs of brilliance, but also looked like the Tigers of old, as they were swept by the No. 1 Baker Bulldogs 12-0 and 14-2 in a Greater Oregon League double header Thursday afternoon at the Ore-Ida/Heinz Regional Sports Complex in Ontario.

                          Opening up the second game, the Tigers played well off the bat, keeping Baker scoreless in the top half of the first inning.

                          In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers took advantage of a walk, four Baker errors and one Tiger base hit, to score two runs to take a quick 2-0 lead.

                          The Tigers were not able to score any more on the four errors by the Bulldogs, however.

                          "We were not in the right spot at the right time," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said. "We are going to make some adjustments."

                          The 2-0 lead was short lived, however, as the Tigers of old reared their ugly head, allowing five Baker runs, as the Bulldogs (10-0 overall, 4-0 GOL) showed why they are the No. 1 team in the state.

                          Baker scored 14 unanswered runs over the next five innings.

                          "The bottom of our order hammered the ball," Baker head coach Steve Bachman said. "We are a good hitting team, all the way around."

                          The Bulldogs pounded out 25 hits in the two games against the Tigers (7-2, 0-2), including three home runs and five doubles, while Ontario managed only three hits in the two games.

                          Following the first inning, of the second game, the Tigers managed only two more hits, with no base runners advancing past second base.

                          "We just got done with the No. 1 team in the state," Simpson said. "The first game we played well, but had a mental breakdown."

                          The mental breakdown Simpson was mentioning came in the seventh inning of the first game, when the Tigers had four errors, allowing the Bulldogs to score nine runs, for a 12-0 margin of victory.

                          The Tigers are on the road Saturday, to take on Mac-Hi in a Greater Oregon League game. Baker is at Pendleton Tuesday in a nonleague contest.

                          School district project numbers remain elusive, April 10, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Preliminary cost figures for a proposed new high school in Ontario apparently exist, though neither top Ontario school officials nor representatives from the firm authorized to conduct the engineering on the project will reveal the numbers.

                          Construction cost estimates of a proposed new high school building have been sidestepped in the two town hall meetings the school district has held about a proposed school bond measure to fuel the construction of a new high school.

                          However, both Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter and a top official with Lombard Conrad Architects, Boise, the firm in charge of engineering the project, said it is too early in the process to focus on a single cost estimate.

                          When the issue of cost was raised at the town hall meeting Thursday by the audience, Lombard Conrad Architects' Mike Patano said the architects did not want to talk about figures yet because there were still too many variables.

                          He said the next step in the process was to get costs for the project options, which include rebuilding at the current site or purchasing land and building at a new site.

                          Lombard Conrad Vice President Nate Turner, however, said Friday, at this point of the project, building construction cost estimates are determined by square footage needs and average cost per square foot figures from data recorded from previous school construction projects.

                          Turner refused to give a concrete number or even a preliminary number estimate for building construction costs, nor would he state on the record the number of square feet Ontario school teachers and officials said they would need on a list provided to Lombard Conrad.

                          He said they did not want to throw numbers out to people at this point in the process. Instead the firm wants residents to concentrate on what they want for their school and the community before introducing a cost to them.

                          "So it's kind of a step-by-step process," he said. "At this point if you throw any numbers out there, that's all they'll focus on. Now's not the time."

                          Turner said his firm was wary of providing any numbers, even preliminary, because the architects are still in the "fact-gathering" part of the process and determining what people want to do about the high school. Turner said the architectural firm will have all the cost estimates for the school board within the next month, including cost estimates of rebuilding at the current site and building at a different site, which has additional costs such as land purchase and installing infrastructure.

                          Superintendent Dennis Carter said, however, preliminary costs have been provided to the school district from Lombard Conrad. Carter also refused to disclose those figures, stating they were "too broad to share at this point."

                          He said the school district has only received a "wide estimate of what it would cost" to rebuild or to build at a new site. He said the numbers were not accurate enough yet to require releasing them to the public.

                          "It doesn't make any sense to give out wrong information," he said.

                          But Carter conceded the cost figures of the various project options that will eventually be presented will still be estimates and will not incorporate every cost of the project, such as the specific school features, like windows or other design aspects. Carter did say the refined costs provided to the school board and the public will be more accurate.

                          Ontario resident Norm Crume, who attended Thursday's meeting and expressed concern about the cost of the project and what people could afford, confirmed no numbers, preliminary or otherwise, were given out at the meeting, but said he was not surprised architects and the school district had preliminary numbers at their disposal.

                          The school board, however, does not appear to be aware either the school district or the architects had information on possible cost.

                          Board member Marlow Pounds, who attended both town hall meetings, was surprised numbers were available or had been released to the school district.

                          "We weren't given any numbers at all, and I'm glad we don't know," Pounds said. "We need to meet with more people and see what their feelings are about (the project)."

                          He said he's not surprised architects have an idea what the project will cost because they are familiar with building schools. Pounds said the only information provided to the school board, however, was at the last meeting, when the audience was told rebuilding at the existing site would cost about 30 percent more than building at a new site. Both Pounds and Carter said no decision has been made on the project, or even whether the district will go forward with a bond measure. Carter also said the school board will not decide on the project or the attached cost estimates immediately. He said there would probably be a month-long delay before a decision was made. The public, Carter said, would have plenty of opportunity to comment before any final decisions were made, although those details also have to be refined. Carter said the earliest a school bond would be on a ballot, if approved, would be November.

                          Tigers fall flat in GOL losses to Mac-Hi, April 10, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          For one inning, the Ontario baseball team looked like they have all year, putting the ball in play, picking up a double and scoring three runs.

                          Little else went right.

                          The Tigers did not get another hit the rest of the day, falling 14-3 and 19-0 to Mac-Hi in a Greater Oregon League doubleheader Saturday afternoon in Ontario.

                          In the opener, Mac-Hi started strong, picking up three runs on two Ontario errors and no hits.

                          Ontario responded with three runs of its own, using a Mac-Hi error and a Chris Schauer double.

                          Little did the Tigers know, the double would the be only hit the Pioneer pitching staff would allow the rest of the day. Mac-Hi's pitching allowed only two base runners the remainder of the day, one on an error and one on a walk.

                          "We just did not seem to have our heads in the game at all," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We had their pitcher against the ropes and let him off the hook. We never even went after the second guy."

                          In the nightcap, the Tigers managed only one base runner, a walk in the second inning.

                          "This was unexpected," Mac-Hi head coach Barry Wofford said of the sweep. "We got the bats going and it was contagious. We hit the ball really well."

                          In the first inning of the second game, Ontario had their best chance to get a hit, when Matt Mejia hit a fly ball over the right field wall, only a few feet foul, before failing to reach base.

                          Defensively, things were not much better for the Tigers (7-3 overall, 3-3 GOL) as they committed 10 errors on the day, while their pitching allowed the Pioneers (7-0, 4-0) 31 hits in the two games.

                          "We didn't make it hard for them," Horn said. "We didn't pitch, didn't catch, didn't run and didn't hit well. There was nothing today that we did well."

                          Schauer picked up the only Tigers hit, a double, and drove in a run in the game.

                          The Tigers will try to rebound Tuesday, when they travel to Vale in a nonleague game.

                          Ontario holds off Vikings, April 13, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          A pair of runs in the top of the third inning held up for the Ontario baseball team, as it was able to sneak out of Vale with a 4-2 win over the Vale in a nonleague baseball game Tuesday afternoon.

                          Leading off the inning, Chris Schauer belted a 2-0 pitch to the wall in left-center field for a leadoff double. Matt Mejia followed up the double with a triple, scoring Schauer from second, to give Ontario a 2-1 lead over the Vikings.

                          After a failed squeeze bunt attempt that resulted in a runners on first and third for the Tigers, thing began to get a little interesting.

                          Ontario's Aaron Mauney, the runner on first, went to steal second. After an error on the shortstop, Mejia scored with the batter Rick Ramirez taking the strike. After another strike, Ramirez fouled off a bunt attempt being called out.

                          "We did not hit at all," Ontario head coach Les Horn said. "We have to work out of that. We were not able to get the bunt down."

                          After a brief argument between Horn and the home plate umpire, the next batter was fanned as well. Two walks later, the bases were loaded for the Tigers, before a weak grounder to third base ended the inning.

                          In the bottom of the frame, Vale had a run taken back on a controversial call, as Vale's Jason Noland was called out, after scoring a run, for runners interference. While running from second to third, Noland ran in front of the ball's path, giving the Tigers' (8-3 overall) third baseman trouble fielding the ball. After Noland scored and the play was dead, Horn argued the call, and the umpire reversed his decision, ruining the Vikings' rally, and taking wind out of their sails.

                          The Tigers' Daniel Schram pitched a complete game, while striking out nine Vikings (6-2) to pick up the win, while Noland took the loss, after allowing only one earned run.

                          "Daniel pitched a heck of a game," Horn said.

                          Vale's coach echoed Horn's remarks

                          "I thought Ontario played well. Schram threw well," Vale head coach Rick Yraguen said. "I think they put too much pressure on them at the plate. They need to relax and be selective."

                          Vale finished with five hits while Ontario only finished with four, but Ontario also had five walks, while Vale had none.

                          Both teams are back in action this weekend, as Ontario travels to Baker Friday in a GOL twinbill, while Vale hosts Grant Union in a Special District 8 doubleheader.

                          Cairo students accomplish goal, now need funds, April 20, 2005

                             JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          Cairo Elementary School and its "Destination Imagination " teams need help raising about $18,000 to send the two student teams and advisers to the Destination Imagination "Global Finals" in Tennessee May 23 through May 29.

                          The Destination Imagination teams, comprised of 12 students in Patty Mizuta's fifth-grade class, each recently placed second in the state championships, earning them a chance to compete at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

                          Carmie Rodriguez, a coach for one of the teams and a special education assistant at Cairo, said the trip will be a great experience for the students.

                          "There haven't been any other schools from around here (represented) in a long time," Rodriguez said.

                          Destination Imagination is an extracurricular program that challenges students to work together, research, think and be creative by presenting them with assignments in six categories. The "global finals" will have students from every state and different countries competing in the various categories. Of the six categories teams had to choose from in Destination Imagination, Rodriguez's team chose the "designing bridges" category. The other team, coached by Shelia Turner, who also is an assistant teacher at Cairo, chose the "dizzy derby" category, in which they had to build a functioning car that runs on something other than gasoline.

                          The students have worked hard on their projects, Rodriguez said, all of the work done by them, with the coaches only serving in an advisory capacity.

                          The teams began their projects in late November. Rodriguez's team members met twice a week to build their own bridge designed to be sturdy and hold a certain amount of weight, incorporating structural features of a bridge in a different country into their design.

                          Rodriguez said her students chose structural features from a bridge in Scotland for theirs "because they decided it looked the strongest."

                          Turner's team met three or four times a week to build a car, using the body of an old riding lawnmower. In competition, the car had to meet certain requirements and maneuver around certain obstacles. The students also had to write and present an eight-minute play, in which they incorporated the history of automobiles.

                          Hunter Oakes, of Turner's "Dizzy Derby" team, said the project was hard work but a lot of fun.

                          "For me it was just fun driving the vehicle," Oakes said.

                          While the vehicle is still in one piece, the Rodriguez team's bridge is not - each bridge getting smashed in competition.

                          Rodriguez said rebuilding the bridge will not be a problem for her team.

                          Raising money for the trip is the biggest challenge.

                          The Cairo Destination Imagination teams will sponsor a series of fund-raisers including a spaghetti feed May 7, soda can drives, car washes and candy sales.

                          There will also be collection cans in various businesses in town, and the teams will be looking for sponsors, whose names will be printed on a T-shirt.

                          Tigers roll to win, April 20, 2005

                             John Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario girls remained undefeated in Special District 4 and the Tigers, as a team, defeated La Grande in tennis action Tuesday. The Tigers used wins in the girls singles and doubles brackets along with wins by the boys in a 6-4 decision over La Grande.

                          Payton Aarestad started Ontario off quickly, defeating Brandan Marshall in a straight set victory, 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 boys singles. A returning second-round state qualifier from last year, Aarestad used a forehand with backspin and capitalized on multiple double faults by Marshall in the game. Aarestad, who perfects his game on the weekends on indoor courts in Boise, was never behind and wrapped up the match quickly.

                          "I want to go all the way this year in the state tournament," Aarestad said. "I would like to continue to play on the college level after graduation."

                          Ontario's Stephanie Babij managed an easy time in the No. 1 girls singles match. Using precision ground strokes, Babij defeated La Grande's Teresa Kiemnee in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Returning from a fourth-place finish in the state tournament last year, Babij remains undefeated in Special District 4 this year.

                          In a rematch from last year's state tournament, Ontario's Hannah Pobanz and Jenna McClean had to fight for a 6-4, 6-4 victory over La Grande's Kathryn Ely and Jen Hubbard in the No. 1 doubles match.

                          "Both these teams are quality," Ontario's coach Dennis Gill said. "Both of these teams will probably see each other again in state this year."

                          Nick Babij and Mike Shoaee continued to roll along in the district, defeating La Grande's Keaton Orton and Tyler Dretter, 6-2, 6-0 in No. 1 boys doubles.

                          On the girls side, Sonya Seibert had an easy time of it, defeating La Grande's Kalya Wilson in a two-set match in No. 3 singles play. On the doubles side, Ontario's No. 2 team also notched a victory as Julie Hall and Christie Linford had a two-set victory.

                          "The girls continue to look strong this year," Gill said. "We are a little lean on the boys side, but continue to do well there also."

                          The Tigers (4-2-2 Special District 4) travel to Vale on Thursday for a match against the Vikings.

                          Taste of Ontario event recognizes local volunteers, April 21, 2005

                            JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                          "Volunteers: An essential piece of the puzzle" was the theme of the day, and good food, company and music accompanied at "Taste of Ontario" volunteer appreciation event Wednesday at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.

                          About 150 people who offer their time and dedication to help serve others, were in turn served at the 11th annual event hosted by the Ontario School District in recognition of community volunteers for National Volunteer Appreciation Week.

                          The atmosphere was lively as attendants enjoyed food, conversation and a performance by Ontario elementary honors choir students. Members of various organizations also recognized their volunteers, in between door prize announcements.

                          Event coordinator and Ontario School District Public Information Officer Katherine Collins said the event is held each year to thank the 1300 or so volunteers for the school district as well as volunteers for the rest of the community.

                          "There's a saying 'it takes a village to raise a child,' and in the school district we really recognize it does," Collins said.

                          She said while school district volunteers are appreciated, every organization with volunteers in every facet of the community, work to improve the lives of children and people in Ontario, and for their efforts, they deserve to be recognized.

                          "If you think about it, it's volunteer efforts that makes a community really strong," Collins said.

                          She said seeing the volunteers from the community gather in one room and be thanked by Ontario school officials, who served the food, makes her realize what a special community Ontario is.

                          Both Superintendent Dennis Carter and School Board Chairman Carl Judy echoed those sentiments at the event.

                          "Our system works a lot better because of our volunteers," Carter said to the crowd.

                          Judy, who joked there was a void in the local work force because of the event, also thanked the volunteers, stating their work is putting Ontario on the map.

                          "Throughout the community here there are a lot of positive things going on and that really makes Ontario a great place," he said.

                          Sharon Briggs, representing the Four Rivers Cultural Center volunteer organization, also commended attendants for their caring and time.

                          "I can tell you, without even knowing, there's some phenomenal heart in here," she said.

                          The volunteers honored also enjoyed and appreciated the event, some of them returning each year to attend.

                          Della Johnson, a Meals on Wheels volunteer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1st Ward, said the best thing about the event was the people, but the food was good, too.

                          "It's nice to see all the volunteers," she said.

                          Tigers pick up key win over Bulldogs, April 27, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Even though the head coach was away, the Ontario tennis team did not miss a beat Tuesday afternoon, as the Tigers picked up a 6-4 Special District 4 win over visiting Baker in Ontario.

                          Even without head coach Dennis Gill looking through the fence at the players, everyone still knew the pressure that was riding on the match.

                          "There is huge pressure," Gill's assistant coach Beverly Church said. "I will be calling him once we are done. I think the kids have really stepped up and performed for Dennis."

                          Church said the players know what the head coach expects of them, and all want to do their best.

                          One of those players who did well, was Chelsey Iida. The junior picked up a two-set victory in No. 3 girls singles.

                          Iida picked up a 7-6 first-set win, taking the tie breaker 7-4. Iida used the momentum to pick up a 6-2 second-set victory to close the match.

                          "I think I did pretty well today. It was hot, but I stuck in there," Iida said. "I am doing pretty good for my first year in singles, it is pretty fun. It is more of a challenge (than doubles)."

                          Last year Iida and Laurel Saito were doubles partners, during the Ontario girls' run to the 3A/2A/1A state championship team title.

                          "She did a good job of sticking it out and getting the critical points," Church said of Iida. "She took the momentum and finished strong."

                          This year, both Iida and Saito are playing singles, as Saito picked up a three-set victory in No. 2 girls singles, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

                          Stephanie Babij picked up a No. 1 girls singles win with a 6-3, 7-5 decision. Julie Hall and Christie Linford won their No. 1 girls doubles match, 6-2, 6-2 and Hannah Pobanz and Jenna McClean picked up a No. 2 girls win, 6-1, 6-0, as the Ontario girls swept the Bulldogs.

                          Ontario's No. 1 boys doubles picked up the only boys win for the Tigers, as Nick Babij and Mike Shoaee won their match, 6-1, 6-3.

                          The Tigers are back in action Thursday, when they host Weiser in a nonleague tennis match in Ontario.

                          Cairo students deserve support, April 27, 2005

                          City scene -Scott Trainor

                          Sometimes things come up that might not necessarily be directly tied to the city organization but are so positive for our community it is important to highlight them. One such event, reported in the Argus Observer last week, was the recent accomplishment of 12 students from Cairo Elementary who qualified to compete in the global competition for a program known as Destination Imagination. That competition, held in Knoxville, Tennessee, and involving students from 47 states and 15 foreign countries, will pit the best and the brightest from our schools against those from around the world.

                          What exactly is Destination Imagination? Destination Imagination - or DI for those "veterans" of the program - is a 22-year-old program that strives to develop and bring out creativity and imagination from participants through the completion of various technical challenges. The students from Cairo, divided into two teams, competed in separate categories. One team competed in the "Dizzy Derby" challenge, which involved the creation of a vehicle that can transport one or more team members around a triangular track, burning no fuel, and meeting many other criteria. The other team competed in a competition involving the design and construction of a bridge of a particular size that must also carry a certain amount of weight.

                          If this was not enough, the kids also incorporate theater elements into their presentations as they develop a storyline around their technical challenge. Finally, the competition culminates with each team stepping up to meet an "instant challenge," which is really an improvisational opportunity for the kids to address a specific problem with only a few moments notice.

                          It is great to see our community's youth excelling at those things they put their minds to.

                          However, qualifying for the global competition is only the first step. The kids now need to raise almost $18,000 in a very short period to help pay the costs to send the competitors, coaches, and adult chaperones to Tennessee to compete.

                          The teams will be holding a spaghetti dinner and silent auction May 7 at the Boulevard Grange Hall; they will be selling candy bars; they will be collecting pop cans; they will be having car washes; they will even be seeking sponsors who are willing to donate funds to assist these kids.

                          Essentially, they are now putting their creative minds to work at raising the money necessary to achieve their dream.

                          From time to time, these events come up that give us all an opportunity to support and be a part of something positive for our community. I would hope we would all consider whatever assistance or support we could provide these talented youth who will be representing Ontario on a global stage. Sidewalks, roads, water lines and parks build a town, but these are the things that build a community.

                          Scott Trainor is the Ontario City Manager.

                          Tigers rolling along, April 29, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          The Ontario girls tennis team have been playing at the same level they left off last season, when they won the girls state team title.

                          This year, after losing a couple key components to the championship team, the Tigers are playing strong, helping the Ontario tennis team to a 10-0 nonleague win over Weiser Thursday afternoon in Ontario.

                          The three girls singles teams and the two girls doubles teams combined to go 5-0 on the day.

                          "We had a pretty good senior class. We want to prove we can do it," Ontario's Hannah Pobanz said. "We have some strong underclassmen this year."

                          Still, with the confidence the Tigers have this year, they know there is still a lot of work to be done.

                          "We need to be aggressive at the net and put that ball away," Ontario's Julie Hall said.

                          Hall and Pobanz teammated up in girls doubles match to pick up a 6-4, 6-0 win. Jenna McClean and Christie Linford picked up another Ontario girls doubles win, in the No. 2 girls doubles match.

                          Stephanie Babij picked up a win in No. 1 girls action, while Laurel Saito picked up a win in No. 2 girls action.

                          For the boys, Ontario's Ryan Blankenbaker knocked of Weiser's Chris Shirts in No. 2 boys singles, 6-2, 6-1.

                          "He played a good game today," Ontario assistant coach Gary Gibbs said. "He still has better tennis in him."

                          Although Blankenbaker did not think he played very well, he said his forehand was working well, but not his serve.

                          "I have been doing okay," he said. "I need to work on my all around game."

                          Shirts, normally a doubles player, still received praise from his coach after the defeat.

                          "He did okay," Weiser head coach Mike Carpenter said. "I just wanted him to work on his serve. He played well."

                          The Tigers are back in action Saturday, when they travel to Burns to play both Burns and Madras in a Special District 4 action, while the Wolverines (2-10 overall) travels to Fruitland Tuesday in Snake River Valley tennis action.

                          -----------------

                          Tigers maul Vale, January 4, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Maybe it was the two weeks off, but for whatever the reason, both the Ontario girls basketball team and the Vale girls basketball team shrugged off a little rust in a 60-42 Ontario nonleague victory Monday night in Ontario.

                          Ontario used a big second half, especially the fourth quarter, and the help of 20 made free throws, to come away with the victory.

                          "We came into the break feeling pretty well," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We played wild at times and made some poor mental decisions."

                          Opening up the game, the Tigers took command of the game early, jumping out to an early 13-3 lead, with just under three minutes to play in the quarter.

                          Vale kept battling to make it respectable, 15-7, after the first quarter of play.

                          In the second quarter, the Vikings (2-6 overall) went on a run of their own, cutting the lead down to 19-12, before scoring seven straight points to tie the game at 19 with more than two minutes left in the half.

                          Ontario's (9-2) Vanessa Gomez hit a free throw and Jaimi Arant hit a field goal as Ontario regained a 22-19 lead heading into the half.

                          "There is no excuse for coming and playing as lethargic as we did," Vale head coach Jason Johnson said. "It was nice to see them compete, even when they are not at their best."

                          Unfortunately for the Vikings, this is as close as they would get the rest of the game, as Ontario came out and put distance between the two teams.

                          Ontario scored the first six points of the second half and continued to expand their lead through the final buzzer.

                          "We did a pretty good job of looking inside," Buck said. "That opened things up for us. We did a solid job on defense."

                          Ontario was led offensively by Kylie Roberts with 19 points, while Gomez was right behind with 17 points.

                          The Vikings were led by Elisa Mooney with nine points.

                          The Vikings will host Elgin Friday in a Wapiti League opener, while the Tigers host Nampa Christian tonight in a nonleague battle.

                          Tigers thump Trojans, January 5, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Like a light switch, the eighth-ranked Ontario girls basketball team can be turned on, but also as quicky - turned off.

                          The Tigers were able to find the "on" switch Tuesday, using a couple of big runs to pull away with a 55-39 victory over Nampa Christian in a nonleague game in Ontario.

                          Throughout the first quarter, each team seemed to be feeling the other out, before Ontario's switch was turned "on."

                          The Tigers (10-2 overall) outscored the Trojans 14-4 in the second quarter, including an 8-0 stretch to end the half, aided by two Kylie Roberts 3-pointers.

                          "We did that (play in streaks) quite a bit, making poor decisions," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "Kylie (Roberts) hit a couple of buckets, some quick points to go from a four to 10-point lead."

                          After the break, Ontario again switched off, as Nampa Christian went on an 8-2 run to start the quarter to cut the Ontario lead to 29-25.

                          That is as close as the Trojans would get the rest of the game, as Ontario extended its lead through the game for the final margin of victory.

                          Leading the way for the Tigers was Vanessa Gomez with 20 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 9-for-11 from the floor. Roberts finished with 12 points and AJ Hawk had eight rebounds.

                          The Tigers begin Greater Oregon League play Jan. 14, when they host Burns.

                          Ontario wrestlers set for home debut, January 13, 2005

                            John Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario wrestling team makes its first home appearance Saturday, and they will have a few friends on hand.

                          The Tigers host the Battle at the Border Tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. at Ontario High School. The seven-team tournament features Greater Oregon League mates La Grande and Baker City and 2A Vale, along with Emmett, Weiser and Timberline.

                          "This will be a really good tournament for our younger kids," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "Emmett usually has some really good kids and Timberline looked good at the Rollie Lane Tournament. But we have some really good kids coming on this season."

                          Each weight class is set to have 12 participants with finals in each bracket set to start at approximately 3 p.m.

                          The Tigers go into their own tournament after placing fourth last weekend in the always tough Oregon Classic Tournament. On a team that is made up predominantly of freshmen and seniors, Anthony stated he was "pleasantly surprised with the finish."

                          "Some of our freshmen really came through in the tournament," Anthony said. "We count on people like Todd Smith and Paul Rangel, but some of the young kids really stepped up."

                          Saturday's tournament also coincides with a two-pound weight gain, which goes into effect Saturday, that each wrestler is allowed.

                          "For many of the kids," Anthony said, "this will be the first time at a weight class."

                          The Tigers will place approximately 40 wrestlers on the mat. To ensure all 40 remain on the team throughout the season, Anthony is hosting a half-hour study hall before each practice.

                          "The kids have to have a 2.0 GPA to be on the team," Anthony said. "We try and help them out with the study halls and talking with teachers before grades come out."

                          Tigers finish second in 'border' squirmish, January 16, 2005

                             John Braese  Argus Observer

                          With a name like "Battle at the Border" it's only fitting the top two teams were from each state - Idaho and Oregon.

                          The team championships came down to the finals match, as Emmett edged out Ontario for 233 points and a tournament title. The Tigers managed 223 team points Saturday at Ontario High School.

                          La Grande finished third with 135 points, while Timberline took fourth with 134.5 and Vale wrapped up fifth place with 118 points. Weiser was a single point behind in sixth.

                          In the 103-pound weight class, Vale teammates Ronny Koda and Garrett Chamberlin met in the championship round with Chamberlin taking the victory by pin.

                          The Tigers' Juan Trejo was champion in the 130-pound weight class with a pin over teammate Andres Hernandez.

                          Luke Skerjanec, a freshman at Vale, clinched a 9-8 victory over Emmett's Jack Carskadan in the championship match of the 135-pound weight class.

                          "This is the biggest win of my year," Skerjanec said. "I thought I was behind and just dug way down deep."

                          Skerjanec is part of a youth movement in Vale, with eight out of the 13 team members being freshmen. Four of those freshmen ended up in the finals of the tournament, including two champions.

                          "This tournament has been a big help to us," Vale coach Bart Ewing said. "I only have three upper classmen and we needed this for experience."

                          Ontario's Jose Rivera won by decision over Pat Sears of Emmett for the championship in the 145-pound weight class.

                          In the 160-pound class, the Tigers' Paul Rangel took a 6-2 victory over Weiser's Jacob Scarbrough.

                          "This was the toughest match I had in the tourney," Rangel said. "I pinned the other two earlier matches."

                          The victory improved Rangel's record on the season to 18-3.

                          "I tried my best," Scarbrough said. "Rangel is a good, solid wrestler and you can't try any trick moves on him. I think I am better than what I showed today though."

                          Dallas Jones, head coach of the Weiser junior varsity team, was pleased with the performance of Scarbrough.

                          "He is a tough kid," Jones said. "All of our team wrestled hard this tournament and I think they are learning to wrestle with an aggressive attitude."

                          Rounding out the weight classes, Ontario's Colin Gundle pinned teammate, Dennis Tolman for the championship in the 275-pound weight class.

                          "It was a good tournament," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We definitely found some things we need to work on today. This was our first home match so it was good for the kids to wrestle in front of the hometown."

                          Ontario's Vanessa Gomez, January 18, 2005

                            Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          Ontario girls basketball post Vanessa Gomez might be the most critical judge of her season.

                          Gomez, a junior, doesn't judge the season by how well she's playing, but rather how she can improve and how much she helps her team, in addition to how well it's doing.

                          "I think I'm doing OK," she said. "I know there are things I can improve on."

                          While Gomez is critical of her season, she may be a tad too modest. A force to be reckoned with at the post position, she frequently has double-digit scoring nights, not only down low, but from further out as well.

                          "My teammates are telling me to take more of those shots," she said.

                          But coach Jon Buck said her real strong suit is rebounding.

                          "She's going to rebound, no matter what," he said. "You can put her up against the boys, and she'll rebound."

                          Her intensity is what makes her such a strong player, Buck said, because she's not afraid to play hard or draw the occasional foul.

                          "She's just a good all-around player," he said.

                          Buck also said what makes her such an asset for the team is her strength, her work ethic and her great attitude.

                          "She's a great leader," he said.

                          But Gomez said there's always room for improvement.

                          Last year, she said, the team relied a lot on the strength of Maggie Smith-Davidson, who did most of the scoring down low for the Tigers, which gave Gomez a lot of opportunity to work on rebounding.

                          But since Smith-Davidson graduated, Gomez said she has worked hard to fill Smith-Davidson's shoes, spending a lot of time during the summer fixing her game.

                          She worked on boxing out, defense, free throws and other aspects of the game because Gomez said it's her goal to be able to respond accurately and draw results from whatever situation she's in during a game.

                          "I think I would like to get to the point where I did 95 percent of everything I needed to do," she said. "I think I need to push myself to do better."

                          As for her team, she sees a bright season and a trip to state in the Tigers' future.

                          "I think we're good enough," she said, adding she wouldn't be surprised if they saw the Burns Hilanders, who handed the Tigers a league-opening loss last week, in postseason action. And despite the Tigers' loss to Burns, Gomez said she is sure Ontario can beat the Hilanders.

                          "I think by the time state rolls around, we'll be pretty good, and we'll do well," she said.

                          Hectic schedule defines life for Montgomery, January 19, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Staying busy is a subtle art form Ontario High School junior Stephanie Montgomery has down.

                          How busy? Well, Montgomery plays two sports, is active in her church, performs in both the high school and Treasure Valley Youth Orchestra and is an active member of the Future Farmers of America. Montgomery, 17, is the Ontario FFA chapter's reporter.

                          "It gets pretty hectic, but it is pretty fun," Montgomery said. "I know I am involved and get to talk with a lot of members not involved in FFA."

                          As reporter, Montgomery's responsibilities include taking photographs of activities and meetings, sending e-mails out about activities, writing stories and keeping track of what other chapters are doing to share with members.

                          "She is doing very well," Ontario FFA adviser Les Linegar said. "She does outstanding and is very active. She has participated in a lot of contests and activities. She is a very active member of our chapter."

                          Along with being the reporter for the Ontario Chapter, Montgomery is also an alternative district officer.

                          With this responsibility, Montgomery said she gets to talk with other FFA members from Vale, Nyssa, Jordan Valley and Crane.

                          "It has been interesting," Montgomery said. "It is a lot of fun. I have made a lot of friends. I used to be shy and quiet, but not anymore."

                          As far as athletics, Montgomery said she participates in cross country and basketball. She said she also plays the violin and viola in orchestra.

                          "She is a well-rounded student," Linegar said. "She challenges herself all the time. She is always working and making sure that her responsibilities are done and done right."

                          Along the way, Montgomery said she has learned a few things and has some memorable experiences.

                          "I have learned to time manage," she said. "A lot of my activities have overlapped. I have had to sacrifice some and it has been a little give and take. My instructors have worked with me."

                          Tigers clamp down, January 19, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          A stingy defense and decent free throw shooting down the stretch helped the Ontario girls basketball team to a 38-20 nonleague victory over the Nampa Bulldogs Tuesday night in Ontario.

                          Heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers were holding on to a 26-18 lead, when they turned up their defense a notch, as they held Bulldogs to 1-for-5 shooting in the final quarter of play, as Ashleigh Dailey hit a jumper to the lone bucket for the Bulldogs.

                          As for the Tigers, they were held to only 4-of-6 shooting from the free throw line in the third quarter, but improved their offense in the final quarter, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 4-for-8 from the free throw line to hold onto the lead.

                          "We had a great defensive effort," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "We had good ball pressure and made it tough on them."

                          Defensively, Ontario (11-3 overall) forced 19 Bulldog turnovers and held Nampa to 42 percent shooting from the field.

                          "We had enough offense," Buck said. "Out posts did not do much scoring at all. Jaimi (Arant) and Kayla (Mitchell) did a good job with penetration."

                          Arant led all scorers with 14 points and Mitchell added six points for the Tigers in the win.

                          "Nampa's defense is strong at pushing us out of the key," Buck said. "They did a good job of that."

                          Ontario started out the game on a 4-0 start, before Nampa cut the lead to 5-4. Ontario went on a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with a 14-4 lead. In the second quarter, each team battled to score eight points, as Ontario went into the half with a 22-12 lead.

                          Nampa was led offensively by Amanda Vink with eight points.

                          Ontario is back in action Friday, when it hosts Baker City, and travels to La Grande on Saturday. Both games are Greater Oregon League matchups.

                          Hawk taking flight, January 20, 2005

                           Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          SPOKANE, Wash. - Coaches around the West Coast Conference are becoming well aware of Stephanie Hawk, and that means good things for the Gonzaga women's basketball team.

                          Hawk, a 2003 graduate of Ontario High School, won the WCC Player of the Week award on Monday, after averaging 18.5 points and seven rebounds in victories over Loyola Marymount (67-59) and Pepperdine (71-54).

                          "It was nice," Hawk said. "I didn't even know until my dad called me, and told me 'congratulations.' I didn't have a clue about it."

                          Hawk scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds along with two blocks against Loyola Marymount. Against the Waves, Hawk scored a career-high 24 points to go with nine rebounds.

                          "I struggled shooting the ball for a while," Hawk said of last week's 24-point outing against Pepperdine. "I don't know if they had advance scouts, but I don't think they thought I could shoot the mid-range jumper. So they spent more time focusing on other players. It was nice to be able to help (our team) out."

                          The pair of games marked the first time in Hawk's 43 game collegiate career she has scored in double-digits in back-to-back games.

                          "It was nice to get the wins," Hawk, who has started 11 games this season, said. "I always want to play well. If I score two points and we win that's fine."

                          Hawk, who was the 2002-2003 Greater Oregon League Player of the Year, has helped Gonzaga to a 15-2 record and a 4-0 start in the WCC. The Bulldogs, who will host San Francisco and San Diego this week, are starting to get national notice, receiving seven votes in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll.

                          "We take the season one game at a time," Hawk said. "It's nice with our team because somebody can have an off-night and anybody can go off and help out. We have really good chemistry."

                          Hawk is averaging almost nine points and five rebounds a game in 17 games, but Hawk's scoring average has climbed to 13 points a game during WCC play, good enough for eighth in the conference. Hawk leads the WCC in shooting percentage (.559), is fourth in blocked shots (1.25) and seventh in free throw shooting (.778).

                          Those numbers are dramatic improvements over her freshman season, when Hawk averaged less than two points a game for the Bulldogs. Hawk, who played in 26 games for Gonzaga last season, also collected more than two rebounds a night.

                          "As a freshman, you are just scared to death, " Hawk said. "Everything is faster. But this season everything is completely normal. You really do adjust, and get better as time goes by. It's a lot of fun."

                          Honjo John Braese, January 20, 2005

                            Argus Observer

                          Most first-time high school wrestlers spend time learning the sport on the junior varsity.

                          Not Ontario's Kaz Honjo.

                          The senior has spent the beginning of the season as the Tigers' top man at 119 pounds. So far, Honjo has three wins to his credit.

                          Honjo, a 17-year-old from Yanaguchi, Japan is attending Ontario High School as a foreign exchange student. The daughter of his host family, Stephanie Nishihara, first introduced Honjo to the world of high school wrestling. From there, Honjo has earned a place on the team as "one of the guys" according to teammates.

                          Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony has only good to say about his first year wrestler.

                          "Kaz is just one of the guys," Anthony said. "He is always out there and working his tail off in practice."

                          While most wrestlers worry about making weight, this is one area that had not concerned Honjo.

                          "I love fast food," Honjo said.

                          His passion for Big Macs and milkshakes is not only well known among teammates, but by the entire student body. After matches, Honjo can usually be found at one of many local eateries with the Ontario team. Unlike his teammates, Honjo has had little trouble in the area of weight gain.

                          Honjo has wrestled most of the season at 119, but moved to 125 pounds for the Tigers' "Battle at the Border Invitational." Honjo did not fare well, losing two matches, but Honjo took it in stride, stating the meet was "fun."

                          Wrestling will not be the finality of Honjo's athletic career at Ontario. He plans on also competing this spring in baseball.

                          Honjo's wrestling career will not continue after his return to Japan. Honjo stated there is no wrestling team in his hometown, but sumo wrestling is popular in the area. Honjo has told his host family he does wish to return to the area for college.holds his own

                          School district reviews bond blueprint, January 23, 2005

                            Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          A potential school construction project and bond measure will be a major issue Ontario school district officials will explore in upcoming months.

                          At the Ontario School District 8C school board meeting Thursday night, board members appointed an architectural firm to the project and approved a motion to move ahead with negotiations for a contract between the district and Lombard Conrad Architects.

                          Eight applicants from Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Nevada submitted proposals to the school district for the construction project to rebuild or remodel Ontario High School.

                          Of those eight, district officials and building committee members narrowed the list down to four based on the initial proposals. District officials and committee members then met with representatives from the four remaining architectural companies and gave them scores based on the interviews and the information provided.

                          Conrad Lombard was the architectural firm who scored highest and was recommended to the school board.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said the project has been split into two phases, and once a contract has been agreed upon, Lombard Conrad architects will begin the preliminary phase of the project, which will cost between $50,000 and $55,000.

                          Carter said the preliminary phase will provide initial project ideas and options for the district to consider, such as whether it is best to remodel or rebuild Ontario High School, and also provide materials used in the promotion of the bond issue, should the school board decide to go that route.

                          He said it would not be prudent for the school district to approve both phases, if it is not certain whether it is feasible, based on voter support, for the district to go out for a bond measure.

                          At the school board work session earlier this week, board member Marlow Pounds said he was not sure he wanted to go out for any bond measure unless the school board had a pretty good idea district residents were in favor of the idea.

                          The other school board members concurred, and said the preliminary phase of the project would partly be utilized to asses voter support.

                          A special meeting discussing ballots and the bond conference three district board members attended recently is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the school district building. The three principal architects from Lombard and Conrad, will also be at the meeting.

                          Also during Thursday's meeting, the school board received a report on the district's 2003-2004 audit findings. The Oster Professional Group, Burns, conducted the audit. The audit was generally favorable, although the district was informed of a few matters it should improve upon regarding attendance reporting and student body cash accounts.

                          The school board also approved four Education Service District resolutions allowing for the expenditure of funds used for services each school district in Malheur County provides, including student services and programs, support and technical support services, management services for financial support, printing and communications.

                          In his superintendent's report, Carter also told board members when this year's school board elections were. Three school board positions, filled by Pounds, John Phillips and Carl Judy, are up this year. The filing period is from Feb. 5 through March 17. The election is in May.

                          Ontario picks up GOL win, January 24, 2005

                            Argus Observer Sports Staff

                          The Ontario Tigers saw LaGrande shoot 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to secure a close win over the Tigers 46-41 in a Greater Oregon League boys basketball action Saturday night in LaGrande.

                          Using a stifling second quarter defense, the Ontario Tigers held LaGrande to only four points. However, poor shooting from the field doomed Ontario as LaGrande forged forward in the fourth quarter with 18 points and the win.

                          "I was proud of the kids and the level of competition they put forth," Ontario coach Scott Helmich said. "We were playing on a short rotation from Friday and due to injuries, some of the other kids really are stepping up."

                          Ontario was led in the loss by Nick Babij with 24 points. David Uchida added seven.

                          Ontario (10-5 overall, 1-2 GOL) hosts Riverside Friday in Greater Oregon League Action.

                          Harper 54

                          Huntington 50

                          HARPER - Huntington's slow start proved to be their demise as Harper took a 54-50 Tri-Co League boys' basketball game victory Friday in Harper.

                          After being outscored 16-5 in the first quarter, the Locomotives (5-15 overall, 4-6 Tri-Co) were forced to come from behind the rest of the game. Finally taking the lead in the fourth quarter, a costly turnover cost Huntington the game.

                          Harper was led by Tyler Clark with 20 points, while Trini Rodriguez added 12 points in the win.

                          Securing education, January 25, 2005

                             Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                          Ontario School Board members, district officials, architects and residents met Monday night in a special meeting to discuss the steps necessary to proceed with a bond measure to either rebuild, or remodel, Ontario High School.

                          The meeting, school board chairman Carl Judy said, was designed to gather suggestions and formulate a plan to move forward while recognizing the community played an "integral" part in the process.

                          To get a better idea of what aspects need to be addressed, district members who recently attended a bonds and ballots conference presented their ideas on what was needed for a bond measure to gain approval from the community. Just about everyone at the gathering seemed to agree a bond measure needed widespread community support prior to any vote.

                          School board member Pamela Russell said community members needed to understand why a new or remodeled high school was necessary and why it is relevant to education today.

                          Board member Evelyn Dame said with community members more likely to be economizing, it is essential for a grass roots effort to take place so district officials can assess what the community would support and to explain the needs of the school district.

                          While the economic times are an additional challenge, Dame said she was not sure it was a good idea to wait to ask for a bond measure.

                          "I don't think we can ever find an ideal time," Dame said.

                          Meanwhile, Ontario High School, which was built in 1952, is out of date, facing space and technological challenges.

                          What satisfied the educational needs in the past, Dame said, do not necessarily apply now.

                          The steps necessary to take the information to the community and educate the voters, however, raised some debate in the meeting.

                          Some discussion centered around whether the entire cost of the project was more important for the public to know at the onset or whether the community needed to decide what it would support and pay for. Garnering support from those on a fixed income was also a matter of great concern.

                          At the meeting's conclusion, more questions had been raised than answered.

                          Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said during the meeting it seemed many of the questions were "chicken and egg," but the best plan to follow to begin with is for district officials and architects from Lombard-Conrad Architects of Boise to meet in a smaller setting and develop some sort of a timeline.

                          That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

                          Tigers hold on for win, January 26, 2005

                            William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Poor shooting in the second quarter nearly cost the Ontario girls basketball team a win, as they battled back and hung on for a 43-38 nonleague victory over the Weiser Wolverines Tuesday night in Ontario.

                          Starting out the second quarter, Ontario came out with a 15-5 lead and had things looking its way before Weiser awakened from its slumber.

                          Ontario started out the quarter, with AJ Hawk hitting two free throws for Ontario. Weiser responded with Paige Walker hitting a field goal, followed by Jaimi Arant hitting two more free throws for Ontario, giving the Tigers (14-3 overall) a 19-7 lead, with six minutes left in the half.

                          This is where the Wolverines (9-9) took over.

                          Weiser scored the next 12 points of the quarter, while holding Ontario to 0-for-8 shooting from the field in the quarter, to take a 21-19 lead in the quarter, as Weiser's Cassie Carlson hit a field goal with only nine seconds left in the half.

                          "I thought we played a pretty good first quarter, both offensively and defensively," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "In the second quarter, we did not play very well. There was a change in momentum to their favor."

                          From the half on, it was a dog fight for both teams, as Weiser quickly extended its lead when Tatianna Saito hit a field goal.

                          Ontario responded with two quick field goals of their own, before Weiser scored again, for a 25-23 Wolverine lead.

                          Ontario and Weiser each exchanged baskets before Ontario hit two field goals in the over the last three and half minutes of the quarter, for a 29-27 advantage heading into the final quarter of play.

                          From that point on, Ontario held onto a slim lead the rest of the way, as they stretched their lead to 40-31 when Kristin Saito hit a free throw with 2:57 left in the game.

                          Weiser battled to cut the lead down to 41-38 with only 18 seconds left, but ran out of gas down the stretch, as Ontario held on for the win.

                          "We lost a little intensity in the fourth quarter," Weiser head coach Tim Erhard said. "We gave a great effort. They showed a lot of heart. We just ran out of gas."

                          Erhard said his teams goal for the game was to hold down Ontario's Vanessa Gomez and Kylie Roberts. The Wolverines did just that, as they held the duo to only 12 points, with 10 coming from Gomez.

                          Ontario was led by Hawk with 15 points and 12 rebounds, with nine points coming in the first half of play.

                          "We had an advantage inside," Buck said. "We did a good job inside and had to battle them."

                          Weiser, was led by Carlson with 12 points.

                          Both teams are back in action Friday, as Weiser hosts Homedale in a Snake River Valley conference game and Ontario hosts Riverside in a Greater Oregon League matchup.

                          Babij lifts Tigers past Pioneers, January 31, 2005

                            Argus Observer sports staff

                          The win keeps Ontario in third place in the GOL with a 3-2 record.

                          Curtis Carlson scored 15 points in the first half, helping the Pioneers (7-10 overall, 2-3 GOL) to a 32-20 lead at the break.

                          "He was tough to guard," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said of Carlson.

                          Ontario's Nick Babij proved equally as difficult to guard, pouring in a game-high 32 points. Tyler David added 25 to help spark the comeback.

                          "This is a good win for us," Helmick said. "This helps build confidence, knowing they can come back from a big deficit.:

                          The Tigers continue GOL play Friday at league-leading Baker

                          Defense spurs Ontario to win, January 31, 2005

                             Argus Observer sports staff

                          Ontario (16-3 overall, 4-1 GOL) limited the Pioneers (8-10, 1-4) to 18 percent shooting (8-of-44) for the game.

                          "We are really playing good defense," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said.

                          The Tigers, who finished 27-of-53 from the floor, opened the game on a 14-2 run, helped by Vanessa Gomez, who had six points in the run. Ontario wound up with a 29-4 lead at the break.

                          Kylie Roberts led the Tigers with 14 points, on 6-of-11 shooting, while Gomez finished with 10 points. Kayla Mitchell added eight points, eight assists and five rebounds. Jaimi Arant added seven assists and AJ Hawk pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with seven points.

                          Ontario resumes GOL play Friday at Baker.

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                          Ontario gets past Baker, November 2, 2005

                            John L. Braese Argus Observer

                          The Ontario Tigers moved one step closer to the state tournament, beating Baker 25-10, 12-25, 26-24, 19-25, 15-6, in a Greater Oregon League seeding game Tuesday night at Weiser High School.

                          A three-way tie for second place in the GOL - between the Bulldogs, Ontario and La Grande - forced the playoff. With the win, the Tigers advance to another seeding playoff with La Grande tonight in Baker City.

                          With the exception of the last game, the Tigers had a slow start in each of the other games. In the first, Baker jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead before Ontario could fight back to a 10-10 tie. The Bulldogs then forged ahead again before the Tigers fought back at 19 all, taking the lead for good from that point on for the win.

                          Playing 10 games Saturday truly showed in the second game according to Ontario head coach Rod Williams.

                           

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                          Weiser dismantles Ontario, September 25, 2005

                            Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          The Weiser football team cleared its final preseason hurdle, downing Ontario, 55-7, in just over two quarters on Friday in front of a disappointing Homecoming crowd at Tiger Stadium in Ontario. The game was halted, following Colton Chandler's 1-yard dive, at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter because of the 45-point mercy rule.

                          The win sets up a key Snake River Valley clash next Friday between the Wolverines and Fruitland in Weiser. Both teams enter the game undefeated, and both are expected to be contenders for the 3A state title.

                          "I'm really proud of the kids," Weiser head coach John Srholec said. "Ontario is a big rival for us, and we never take them lightly. They are young, but they are going to get better."

                          Weiser, which opened the season against four Oregon playoff teams from 2004, is 4-0 on the season for the first time since 1998.

                          The Wolverines used a strong rushing attack to score on all eight of its possessions. Bryce Svedin led Weiser with nine carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Scharbrough added 10 carries for 86 yards and a score.

                          "Weiser is a good football team," Ontario head coach Randy Waite said. "We are not good right now. We have young guys, but we are done using that excuse. We are not a good football team."

                          The Wolverines scored 28 first-quarter points, including a pair of touchdown runs by Svedin, to set the tone early. While Weiser's offense was carving up the porous Ontario defense, the Wolverines' defense had little problems keep the Tigers under wraps. Ontario did not manage a first down until 1:38 remained in the opening quarter, and finished with just 67 total yards.

                          "We came together as a team and kept our focus," Weiser quarterback Sam Lancaster said. "We knew it was their Homecoming and sometimes teams do not come out focused."

                          Ontario did manage to get on the board early in the second quarter, when K.J. Toombs hauled in a 26-yard pass from Bryson Sap to trim the lead to 28-7. But Weiser had an answer,when Lancaster caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Svedin to put the wraps on a seven-play, 61-yard drive. Weiser scored two more touchdowns to take a 49-7 lead into halftime.

                          "We have to grow as a team," Waite said after his team fell to 0-4 on the season. "We took a step backward here tonight."

                          Nick Alvarado paced Ontario, which travels to Vale on Friday for a nonleague match-up, with nine carries for 32 yards, while Sap was 4-for-8 for 43 yards with an interception.

                          Weiser dismantles Ontario, September 25, 2005

                            Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                          The Weiser football team cleared its final preseason hurdle, downing Ontario, 55-7, in just over two quarters on Friday in front of a disappointing Homecoming crowd at Tiger Stadium in Ontario. The game was halted, following Colton Chandler's 1-yard dive, at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter because of the 45-point mercy rule.

                          The win sets up a key Snake River Valley clash next Friday between the Wolverines and Fruitland in Weiser. Both teams enter the game undefeated, and both are expected to be contenders for the 3A state title.

                          "I'm really proud of the kids," Weiser head coach John Srholec said. "Ontario is a big rival for us, and we never take them lightly. They are young, but they are going to get better."

                          Weiser, which opened the season against four Oregon playoff teams from 2004, is 4-0 on the season for the first time since 1998.

                          The Wolverines used a strong rushing attack to score on all eight of its possessions. Bryce Svedin led Weiser with nine carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Jacob Scharbrough added 10 carries for 86 yards and a score.

                          "Weiser is a good football team," Ontario head coach Randy Waite said. "We are not good right now. We have young guys, but we are done using that excuse. We are not a good football team."

                          The Wolverines scored 28 first-quarter points, including a pair of touchdown runs by Svedin, to set the tone early. While Weiser's offense was carving up the porous Ontario defense, the Wolverines' defense had little problems keep the Tigers under wraps. Ontario did not manage a first down until 1:38 remained in the opening quarter, and finished with just 67 total yards.

                          "We came together as a team and kept our focus," Weiser quarterback Sam Lancaster said. "We knew it was their Homecoming and sometimes teams do not come out focused."

                          Ontario did manage to get on the board early in the second quarter, when K.J. Toombs hauled in a 26-yard pass from Bryson Sap to trim the lead to 28-7. But Weiser had an answer,when Lancaster caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Svedin to put the wraps on a seven-play, 61-yard drive. Weiser scored two more touchdowns to take a 49-7 lead into halftime.

                          "We have to grow as a team," Waite said after his team fell to 0-4 on the season. "We took a step backward here tonight."

                          Nick Alvarado paced Ontario, which travels to Vale on Friday for a nonleague match-up, with nine carries for 32 yards, while Sap was 4-for-8 for 43 yards with an interception.

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                          Tigers get key sweep, May 1, 2005

                             William Anderson Argus Observer

                          Aaron Mauney ended the first game and Chris Schauer ended the second game, as the Ontario baseball team swept the Riverside Pirates 8-7 and 10-0 in a Greater Oregon League double header Saturday afternoon in Ontario.

                          In the opener, Mauney ended the first game, in the bottom of the eighth inning, when he singled to right field, scoring Matt Mejia, as Riverside's right fielder took his time getting the ball into the infield, allowing Mejia to score all the way from first base.

                          To get into a position to win the game, Ontario took advantage of 12 Riverside errors for the win.

                          "We just played and stayed with them," Ontario coach Les Horn said. "We are fortunate to get it done in the bottom of the eighth."

                          The Tigers scored two runs in the first inning, three in the second inning and one run in each of the third and fourth innings, to keep the game close.

                          In the nightcap, Schauer ended the game for the Tigers (13-6 overall, 8-6 GOL) in the bottom of the fifth inning, hitting a run-scoring single to left field, with the bases loaded and one out.

                          Schauer also shut down the Pirates' (5-9 GOL) bats, allowing only two hits in the five innings, as no Riverside base runner advanced past second base.

                          The win for Schauer came after taking three weeks off with an arm injury.

                          "He was efficient and kept Riverside off balance," Horn said of Schauer.

                          Ontario travels to Milton-Freewater for a GOL double head with Mac-Hi Tuesday afternoon.

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                      Ontario's offense charges, December 2005

                         Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                      Despite both teams making steady offensive attacks, the Ontario girl's soccer team was able to pull ahead and defeat Weiser, 4-2, on Monday at the Alameda Elementary soccer field.

                      The first half began as a 1-1 tie early on with an Ontario goal from Andrea Guerri and a Weiser goal from Tot Saito.

                      "We didn't play well really," said Ontario's head coach Greg Walk. "The flow wasn't there. They weren't working as a team. The defense was confused in the first half and let that goal in."

                      Near the end of the half Ontario's Christina Markee, a junior, pushed the Tigers ahead. On a break-away run, Markee charged the keeper and sent a straight, low shot into the goal.

                      "They've got speed," said Weiser head coach Bruce Winegar. "They've got two or three girls that when they get a step up on you, you can't catch up."

                      The second half started with several offensive attacks from Weiser, but the Ontario defense was able to hold back many of the runs. After Tiger Kim Boyd, a freshman, upped the score 3-1, with the assist from Ashlee Captein, Ontario picked up the pace and the majority of play took place on the Weiser half.

                      "We passed really good in the first half, but the defense broke down and let them in during the second," Winegar said. "We need to play 90 minutes of great soccer."

                      Boyd scored once more, but the Wolverines did not let up. On a Weiser run to goal, a shot bounced off an Ontario defender's leg back into the goal area. A scramble for the unpossessed ball resulted in Satio's second goal, increasing the score to 4-2.

                      "We didn't get the shots we wanted to get," said Winegar. "It's our passing that killed us. We would have had great shots on goal."

                      Weiser, who plays four games this week and is 1-2 in league play, will head to Homedale on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. match. Ontario, who is 3-1-1 for the season and 1-1 in league, will see if it can keep its offensive efforts up when it hosts Madras on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a Greater Oregon League match-up.

                      Measuring success, December 4, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      As the importance of receiving a high school diploma continues to grow in the United States, the total number of high school dropouts has evolved into a growing concern to school districts and states.

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said dropout rates are significant to school districts because for students to be successful in today's work world they must receive a high school diploma.

                      Without one it will be very difficult for students to find almost any job because most professions and businesses require at least a high school diploma.

                      The dropout issue, though, has other implications. The number of dropouts has become a tool to make school districts accountable for the number of students graduating, with emphasis coming from various sources, such as the federal No Child Left Behind program.

                      In Oregon the number of dropouts affects a school's budget as funding from the state is based on school attendance.

                       

                      Tigers maul punchless Nampa Christian, December 11, 2005

                         RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The freight train known as the third-ranked Ontario Tigers kept on chugging away, as they demolished Nampa Christian, 54-16, in non-conference girls basketball Saturday at Ontario High School.

                      The Tigers used solid defensive play to negate any offensive opportunities for the Trojans. The 2A Idaho school was limited to 21 percent shooting, and committed 19 turnovers.

                      Only one player on the Nampa Christian roster scored more than one basket as senior standout Lindsay Forseth led her squad with eight points and seven rebounds, before she fouled out in the fourth quarter.

                       

                      Progress report, December 13, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      Ontario School District officials, administrators and site councils spent a good portion of last week attending meetings regarding school improvement plans for each school in Ontario.

                      The school improvement plan meetings are conducted annually in the school district to review the goals set for the past school year. The meetings are designed to also review where the specific schools are currently in relation to future goals.

                      The school improvement plans are similar to the improvement plan the district must submit to the state every two years. The local school improvement plans, though, are specifically for the Ontario School District.

                       

                      Making do, December 14, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                       

                      Tigers take win in OT, December 21, 2005

                        RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario Tigers and the Weiser Wolverines each hit 3-point shots in the final seconds of regulation and needed overtime to settle their non-conference boys basketball matchup Tuesday as the Tigers slipped past the Wolverines 66-62.

                      Ontario shooting guard KJ Toombs started the fun with a 3-point shot with 11 seconds left to give the Tigers a 55-53 lead.

                      Weiser's Brandon Richins missed a game-tying shot, giving Ontario the ball back with seven seconds left, and Daniel Schram was sent to the foul line. Schram hit the first free throw and missed the second.

                      Weiser then had the ball back with four seconds left when Bobby Hopkins heaved a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at 56-56.

                      In the extra session, the Tigers used free throws from Schram and Toombs to seal the deal as the Tigers went on to outscore the Wolverines 10-6 in overtime for the win.

                       

                      Ontario falls even in first round, December 22, 2005

                        Argus Observer Sports Staff

                      The Ontario wrestling team enjoyed its first day of the sixth-annual Best of the West Duals. The Tigers earned a split, losing against Richland High School, 53-24, and defeating the West All-Stars, 52-22, Wednesday at Trac Arena in eastern Washington.

                      Ontario is one of 32 teams participating in the event, which includes schools from Washington, Idaho and Oregon with school classifications ranging from 3A level up to the 5A level.

                      In the first round, Ontario had five of the 14 wrestlers win matches.

                      Seven of Richland's 14 wins came by way of pinfall. Ontario scored two.

                      Tom Martinez (119), Jace Nakamura (125), Casey Erlbach (145), Toby Smith (171), and Joe Hernandez (215) all scored wins for the Tigers in their matches against Richland. Martinez and Smith won their matches by way of pinfall.

                       

                      Parents question school district discipline policy, December 23, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      A small group of concerned area residents are questioning whether the Ontario School District's disciplinary policies and practices are adequate to keep students safe in schools.

                      School district officials, though, said they believe the current discipline policy works well.

                      Susan and Will Bennett, parents of students at May Roberts Elementary School; Michael Borge, a former Alameda Elementary parent and staff member, and David Smith, a retired school teacher who once taught in Ontario, all said they want to see stronger leadership demonstrated by district teachers and administrators to address what they assert are serious behavioral and safety issues at Ontario schools.

                      Susan Bennett said all her children - three boys and a girl - have been harassed in some way at the school, sometimes physically bullied. Her youngest son - a first-grader - has suffered bruises and injury at the hands of classmates.

                      Borge is a former Ontario resident who also worked for the school district periodically for eight years at Alameda Elementary School. At Alameda, Borge worked with handicapped students and those with serious behavioral problems. He said he is also concerned, after he said he witnessed and heard about incidents of harassment and

                      Tigers ride defense to win, December 23, 2005

                         Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      Defense has been the calling card of the second-ranked Ontario Tigers all season, and Thursday was no exception.

                      The Tigers limited Vale to 32 percent shooting, and forced the Vikings into 15 turnovers in a 61-41 non-league girls basketball win at Ontario High School.

                       

                      Teacher gains prestigious certificate, December 28, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      Ontario High School art teacher Pam Helfrich is finished.

                      After spending two years working toward her national board teaching certification, the 13-year veteran instructor has finally acquired the prestigious credentials.

                      She conceded, though, after devoting so much energy to her goal it is sometimes still difficult to grasp the fact she's finished.

                       

                      Parma ousts Ontario, December 30, 2005

                        Tiesha miller argus observer

                      Some late 3-point shots and a crucial free throw were the ingredients to making extra minutes for the Parma and Ontario boys basketball teams at the Fruitland Christmas Tournament on Thursday.

                      The Tigers and Panthers took four minutes of overtime that ultimately decided a 66-63 Parma win over Ontario.

                      At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Parma came out with a pair of 3-point shots and a 2-point bucket to set up the lead after trailing 44-41 at the end of the third quarter.

                      Ten seconds into the final quarter, Parma's Trent Timmons hit the first 3-pointer to tie the game. Jesse Chaney soon followed with the other 3-pointer to put the Panthers up 47-44.

                      Facing a 49-44 deficit with minutes left in the game, Ontario responded with a shot from Ryan Wilson and two shots from Michael Shoaee to bring the match within one point.

                      The points continued to rise and with eight seconds remaining, Daniel Schram hit one of his two free throw shots to send the game into overtime with the teams tied at 55.

                      At the start of extra minutes KJ Toombs sunk a 3-point shot for Ontario, and Shoaee scored on a rebound and a free throw to help the Tigers hold a 61-57 lead with two minutes left.Timmons eventually made the tying shot and a free throw to give Parma the advantage. Brian Merrick built the Panther lead with a 2-point shot.

                      Although Ontario responded with more goals, it would not again see the lead.

                       

                      State grant could propel Ontario school site review, December 30, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario School District has the opportunity to receive a state grant to perform a school site study, should it choose to apply.

                      The grant, called the Transportation Grant Management Quick Response Program, provides planning and design assistance with the intention to help make proposed developments more pedestrian friendly.

                      The grant opportunity came to light at an Ontario planning commission meeting Dec. 13. The commissioners expressed an interest in the idea of the city applying for the grant jointly with the school district. Oregon Department of Transportation representative Cheryl Jarvis-Smith explained a little about the grant again at the City Council's meeting Dec. 19.

                      According to information in an e-mail furnished to Ontario Planning and Zoning Administrator Grant Young by Eric Jacobson, transportation/land use planner for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, the grant can help area officials with many things.

                      According to the e-mail, the type of assistance the grant could offer for the school siting issues in Ontario are design alternatives for redeveloping or expanding the existing site; evaluation of alternative sites making the high school a part of, or central to, a residential high school; public workshops and informational meetings; transportation planning, including looking at improvements to the street system near high school sites and local street connections.

                      Jacobson said the TGM program is a joint effort between the ODOT and DLCD to improve pedestrian access in cities.

                      Jacobson said in a phone interview he thought the Ontario School District, would be a good candidate for such a program after its failed school bond.

                      Jacobson, who said he did not know much more than what he has heard or has seen published, said from what he has heard, the school district has purchased property situated in a

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                      Ontario falls to Vale, 39-6, October 2, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      After the tremendous fireworks show had ended, after the teams had shook hands and made the obligatory congratulations, the Vale Vikings came together on the field. Flanked by fellow students, parents and the community.

                      For Vale, homecoming night was everything it had been billed as the Vikings overwhelmed the Ontario Tigers, 39-6, Friday night in Vale in non-conference match-up.

                      "This team has learned how to be resilient," Vale head coach Jeff Jacobs said, sitting on the bench after the game. "Our focus this week was emotion and intensity, to play tough football. I am pleased with the results."

                      Vale got off to a good start when, with 2:32 left in the first quarter, the Vikings jumped on the board first. Vale's Jason Noland hauled in a five-yard pass from Brady Lovell to put six on the board. The PAT by Willy Maupin was perfect and the Vikings were on their way.

                      On the Viking's next possession, a one-yard dive off a quick count by Lovell put the Vikings up 13-0. Again, Maupin's kick was good as the Vikings begin to roll, both on offense and defense.

                      Vale's lone turnover in the game provided Ontario their chance to score. After a Kyle Joyce fumble, the Tigers marched from their own 28-yard line in 10 plays, culminating in a 13-yard pass from Bryson Sapp to KJ Toombs to finally see Ontario points on the board. The PAT was blocked and Vale went into halftime with a 14-6 lead.

                      The second half was all Vikings. On their first possession of the half, starting on their own 48-yard line, the Vikings drove 52 yards in six plays with Lovell again dashing five yards for the score.

                      Vale again scored early in the fourth quarter as Luke Skerjanec broke through the middle of the Tiger line for a 46-yard run for the touchdown.

                      After an Ontario four and out, Vale needed only two plays for Skerjanec again to break open on a 15-yard run for a Vale 36-6 lead.

                      A field goal of 22 yards by the Viking's Darin Johnson wrapped up the Viking's scoring for the night with 1:15 left in the game.

                      "Hats off to Vale," Tiger coach Randy Waite said. "We had chances we could not capitalize on and things just got away from us in the second half."

                      During the Ontario (0-5 overall) upcoming bye week, Waite said the team will concentrate on tackling.

                      "Teams are rushing at will against us," Waite said.

                      Vale (4-1 overall) travels to Grant Union on Friday to begin play in the Wapiti League.

                      Students help out -Student Council at May Roberts steps up to help Hurricane Katrina victims, October 3, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER - ARGUS OBSERVER

                      It seemed almost like Christmas to May Roberts Elementary teacher Teresa Gartung in her classroom Thursday afternoon as youth in May Roberts Student Council loaded up newly purchased backpacks with school supplies to send to Hurricane Katrina victims.

                      Thursday wrapped up a two-week fund-raising effort at May Roberts, where students collected and donated backpacks and school supplies for students who are preparing to go back to school in the Gulf Coast states and for a school in Portland where some children of evacuees are preparing to start classes.

                      Gartung said the children in her student council were very enthusiastic about the project.

                      "They are so excited about this," she said. "They're like 'yes, we're doing something that counts.'"

                      The May Roberts Student Council, made up of children in third- through fifth-grades, annually participates in fund-raisers for various projects.

                      The 27 backpacks and numerous school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, pens, construction paper, notebook paper and more, collected were picked up at the elementary school this morning by personnel from the Ontario National Guard Armory to be shipped off to different locations.

                      Gartung said what was so impressive about the fund-raising drive was how seriously some of the children took it - some even going out using their own money to purchase backpacks and supplies, referring to a suggested list provided by the Oregon Department of Education, which spearheaded the effort.

                      "I think generally across the board they've been pretty generous," Gartung said of the May Roberts students. "They don't have a lot to give, but I think they've been sincere."

                      During the school supply round-up, student council representative Carlos Sanchez, a fifth-grader, asked Gartung what they were going to raise funds for next.

                      "Last year a tsunami, this year Katrina. What's next year, a tornado?" he asked sincerely.

                      Gartung told him he could not plan what would happen in the future, but later told him when he asked her again they would help where they were needed.

                      Fifth-grader Brityn Sauer said she liked participating in the fund-raiser, and is happy to help. And responding to Gartung's comment about helping where needed, she said that was what they were about.

                      "It's fun to help people, and I know if we were there, we'd want them to help us, and they don't even have anything," Sauer said.

                      Rising construction costs impact total price of new high school, October 5, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The director of operations for the Ontario School District said the $30 million price tag on a proposed bond for a new high school is the result of increased construction costs.

                      Bob Nelson, director of operations for OSD, also said indications are the price to construct a new facility will not decrease in the future.

                      The bond proposal will go before voters for a final decision in November. The school district is asking voters to approve a bond package that includes rebuilding Ontario High School at a site just outside of town along with remodeling and renovations at Pioneer Elementary School.

                      The proposed high school and its added features, however, do not differ greatly from the one included in the school district's last school bond campaign.

                      "That high school that we would have built then is essentially the same building we're proposing to build now," Nelson said, adding the school district did not have land set aside during the last school bond in the late 1990s. That bond attempt failed.

                      The cost of that school district bond was $41 million for a variety of building projects in the district. The high school portion was estimated to cost $18 million.

                      In the new, $30 million bond proposal, the high school portion of the project carries an estimated cost of about $9 million more - most of that coming from price hikes in materials and construction, Nelson said.

                      According to architects from the Lombard Conrad, Boise, Nelson said, construction costs have risen steadily in the Pacific Northwest in the past 10 years as supply and demands increased from a growth boom in the region, as well as the expansion of global markets to supply and work within.

                      School district architects have seen 3 to 5 percent increases each year for the past several years in construction costs, but Nelson said in the past 18 months they have seen a 17 percent increase in construction costs. Those costs are not expected to go down, although Nelson said the greater costs are reflected more in smaller projects.

                      Nelson said the school district is watching construction costs very carefully because the bond amount is set at $30 million, and the school district has to work within that framework.

                      It is possible, if construction costs increase too much, the high school project will have to be scaled back, Nelson said.

                      In such cases, he said, typically amenities, such as athletic areas or auditoriums, get cut from the plan.

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing specific has been selected to be trimmed from the overall project at this point. However, Carter said when the school district goes out to bid on the project, should the bond pass, alternatives will be included.

                      Currently the proposed high school bond includes construction of the building; a vocational technology building and greenhouse; expanded parking to accommodate about 800 spaces; room to expand the high school to accommodate growth; a practice field and all-weather track and area for field events; two soccer fields, tennis courts, two softball fields and baseball field; area for future football stadium and future event parking.

                      According to an estimated cost breakdowns, the majority of the cost of the project comes from the proposed 172,650 square foot building, at $125 per square foot. Site improvements are estimated to cost $2,100,000, architecture and engineering $1,634,868, along with a $1.4 million contingency to cover any extra expenses engineers could not account for. Equipment to be installed includes kitchen equipment and elevator for the two story building. The total cost of just the high school is estimated to be $27,583,418.

                      "It's not a fancy high school," Nelson said. "What it is is a functional high school that would meet the needs of our students in our community as well as today's educational needs and projected into the future."

                      The remodeling and construction at Pioneer Elementary School is estimated to cost $2,406,500. Rebuilding of an 8,140 square foot section at $125 per square foot is budgeted to cost a little more than $1 million, while remodeling of 6,000 more square feet at $80 per square foot will cost $480,000. Furnishings and equipment for the library at Pioneer was estimated at $50,000, and a $200,000 contingency budgeted.

                      While local businessman Norm Crume does not doubt construction costs dictate the majority of the costs of the proposed bond, he said he is still not decided on the school bond.

                      "My concern is whether it's the right move at the right time for the right amount of dollars," he said, adding while there is never a "right" time, increased fuel, electricity and utility costs make now more difficult.

                      "At this point in time I can see a need for a lot of it, and I can see people's concerns on the expense of it, and I don't really know which way to go."

                      District session a great opportunity for city voters, October 5, 2005

                      Ontario residents will gain one of the best opportunities to ask questions and find out information regarding the proposed Ontario School District school bond Thursday night at Ontario High School.

                      Registered voters in the district should attend the meeting.

                      The district is proposing an ambitious $30 million bond to build a new high school and to renovate Pioneer Elementary School. The vote is set for Nov. 8, though most residents will receive a ballot in the mail before that date.

                      A citizens committee pushing the proposal as done a fairly good job trying to get as much information out to the public as possible during the past weeks. The school district, also, held several town hall meeting in the spring regarding the issue.

                      Still, the meeting Thursday night is a good idea, simply because it is always a good idea to distribute as much information as possible on an issue such as the bond.

                      There are still some lingering questions regarding the effort and the meetings Thursday may help dispel misconceptions and provide a platform to release general information.

                      Voters concerned about the issue should be on hand at the meeting.

                      The school bond proposal is a big issue with long-term implications for the entire Ontario communicates.

                      Voters should have as much information on hand to make the best, more informed choice when they prepare to make a decision.

                      Thursday night's meeting is a good idea. Hopefully area voters will take advantage of the opportunity.

                      Tigers clinch state berth, October 5, 2005

                         RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario boys soccer team needed a win Tuesday to clinch a spot in the OSAA Class 3A Boys State Soccer Tournament. The Tigers got their win, using a controlled attack to hold off La Grande, 1-0, in a 3A Special District 7 match-up at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                      Ontario's only score came at the 15 minute mark, as defender Payton Aarestad stole the ball from La Grande midfielder Micah Anderson and turned upfield making a pass to Adam Mendiola, who took the ball and did the rest as he juked through the La Grande defense to give Ontario a 1-0 advantage.

                      Ontario had several opportunities to score but couldn't finish. Midfielder Andres Navarette and forward Jorge Martinez both had shots either go wide or over the net.

                      "We should have scored more than one goal today," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We just didn't finish scoring on some of our opportunities."

                      La Grande midfielder Luke Kevan had the two best shots of the game as he was left alone with no defenders around and shot the ball over the net. Five minutes later, Kevan again was left alone by defender Scott Alward, but failed to capitalize.

                      "Our team finally woke up in the second half ," La Grande head coach Jessy Watson said. "Because it seemed like we were sleepwalking in the first half like we didn't want to play."

                      But waking up in the second half wasn't enough for La Grande, who drops to 5-4 overall and quite possibly takes them out of any playoff contention. "We need some help and for teams to lose for us to get into the playoffs," Watson said.

                      With the win, Ontario is now 5-3 overall and 4-2 in 3A Special District 7, as it clinches a playoff berth. The Tigers host Riverside in another 3A Special District 7 match-up on Saturday.

                      Getting the word out, October 7, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      School district residents grilled officials on a myriad of topics about the $30 million school bond they will vote on Nov. 8 in a question and answer-style town hall meeting Thursday night at the high school.

                      Approximately 100 district voters attended the final meeting between themselves and district officials before the election, which will determine whether the school district will build a new Ontario High School on 75 acres of land outside of town and make improvements to Pioneer Elementary School.

                      Ontario businessman Ralph Poole opened the meeting for the school district voicing his support the school bond.

                      Poole told the audience the bond was something he felt strongly about, having grown up in Ontario and being in the first class of students at Alameda Elementary School - the newest school district school built in 1964.

                      Poole addressed some of his reasons he hopes the school bond passes, and some of the concerns he has for the community.

                      He said he hears people say they will not vote for the school bond, even though there is a need for a new high school, because they dislike something the school district has done in the past.

                       

                      School district looking at all its options, October 9, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      Should the Nov. 8 $30 million bond levy pass, which will provide for a new Ontario High School and improvements to Pioneer Elementary, the school district is considering using the existing high school structure as a middle school.

                      What will happen to the existing high school building should a new high school be built has been a frequent question since the idea of a school bond has come up. Superintendent Dennis Carter, and the district panel, were posed with the question at Thursday night's town hall meeting.

                      Officials, however, are noncommittal, while acknowledging it is a possibility.

                      District Director of Operations Bob Nelson said the school district doesn't want to get ahead of the people in terms of the projects put before them.

                       

                      Martinez, Salgado key in Ontario win, October 11, 2005

                        Ray Rodriguez Argus observer

                      The stars of the game were Ontario forward Jorge Martinez and midfielder Carlos Salgado, who combined for two goals and four assists. Salgado made crisp passes, setting up the four goals for his teammates.

                      Homedale played with six freshman as head coach David Correa said he wanted to rest his other players for the Snake River Valley Tournament on Thursday. Even with backups on the field, both teams had plenty of offensive flow, and the game was played at a quick pace, with both squads moving freely up and down the field.

                      The scoring started four minutes into the game when Ontario's Carlos Salgado was left alone in front of the net and shot past Homedale goalie Erik Corbett, giving the Tigers the lead.

                      The next two Ontario goals were setup by the duo of Martinez and Salgado as they used communication to make things work and increased Ontario's lead to 3-1.

                       

                      Burns thumps Tigers, October 12, 2005

                        John L. Braese Argus Observer

                      Burns showed why they are undefeated in the Greater Oregon League. The Hilanders easily beat the Tigers, 25-15, 25-18, 25-15, in GOL volleyball action at Ontario High School.

                      Using powerful hitting from a number of players and almost error-less play, the Hilanders led from the beginning in most of the games and never relinquished the lead.

                      In the second game, the Tigers allowed Burns to run off a 8-1 lead before starting to climb back into the action. Finally taking a one-time lead at the 11-10 mark, the Hilanders again took over the game, tying the game at 12, and running away from there.

                      In the third game, Burns led from the first point, never allowing the Tigers a lead. As in the second game, the Tigers allowed a long run in the beginning of the game with Burns leading at one point by a score of 13-1. Slowly, Ontario fought back to within six points at 16-10, but the Hilanders began to pull away, winning the game and the match easily.

                       

                      Bands battle it out, October 12, 2005

                         Tami Hart Argus Observer

                      The blare of the trumpets and the deep beat of the bass drums floated across the night air Monday at the Ontario High School stadium when 15 bands took to the field in the Battle of the Marching Machines.

                      Parma High School marched away with the

                      Bands battle it out October 17, 2005

                      What happens when 15 bands and over 1,100 students arrive at Ontario? It's Monday night, and time for the

                      Ontario district comes up short on NCLB goals, October 18, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      None of the three area school districts - Ontario, Nyssa and Vale - met the 2004 to 2005 school year Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

                      NCLB requires school districts to determine whether adequate yearly progress has been met toward the goal of all students meeting state academic standards by the 2013 to 2014 school year. Each year the performance of students in specified grades, as well as subgroups of students, is measured against annual performance targets.

                      Every two years, the performance objectives are raised 10 percent, and the 2004 to 2005 targets were increased from 40 to 50 percent in the English language arts portion, and from 39 to 49 percent in mathematics.

                      ONTARIO

                      The Ontario School District only had three schools meet AYP: Alameda, Cairo and Pioneer elementary schools.

                      The news was not so bright for other schools in the district.

                      Aiken and May Roberts elementary schools, Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School were all designated as

                      Ontario escapes Vale upset bid, October 19, 2005

                       Argus Observer sports staff

                      After losing the opening two games, Vale head coach Mary Ann Standage decided to fire up her team, picking up a yellow and red card in Tuesday's match against the Ontario Tigers. It almost worked as the Tigers survived the onslaught of Vale, taking the victory in five games, 25-16, 25-15, 21-25, 21-25, 15-13 in non-league volleyball action at Vale High School.

                       

                      School board approves money for clean up effort, October 25, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario School Board approved appropriating $75,000 from the district's contingency fund to pay for cleanup of an underground oil leak at Pioneer Elementary School during a board meeting last week.

                      The discovery of the oil leak came during a project to replace two boilers at Pioneer Elementary this summer. The clean up, which entailed removing a large amount of contaminated dirt, has already been completed and all that remains of the initial project is repaving of a section of ground between the Pioneer gymnasium and main school building, Superintendent Dennis Carter said. While the boiler project was budgeted from the operations and maintenance fund, the $75,000, which covered the cost of the cleanup project, had not been budgeted for, he said, and required a transfer from the district's contingency fund. The school board passed the motion without any discussion.

                      The Pioneer boiler project began in early summer. The school district received a newer, larger boiler donated from the local LDS Church, which Carter said the district intended to use to replace the small boiler under the school's gymnasium and the larger, 100-year-old boiler under the main building.

                       

                      Tigers shutout Bulldogs, October 28, 2005

                         RAY RODRIGUEZ ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario Tigers used three first half goals and six saves by goalkeeper Brett Hytrek to shut out the Baker City Bulldogs, 3-0, Thursday in Greater Oregon League boys soccer action on Senior Day at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                      The Tigers came out more aggressive and were able to beat the Bulldogs to many loose balls in the offensive zone.

                      Ontario was led by Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado who had five shots on goal apiece. The Tigers started the scoring at the 15 minute mark. Sophomore midfielder Salgado took a loose ball and shot from the left side into the right side of the goal to give Ontario the lead, 1-0.

                      After that first goal, Ontario gained momentum. The Tigers had 31 shots on goal.

                      At the 30 minute mark, Ontario's Daniel Schram took a pass from Salgado and shot the ball over the outstretched arms of the goalie to put the Tiger's up 2-0.

                       

                      Tigers win in five, October 30, 2005

                        Ray Rodriguez Argus Observer

                      The Ontario Tigers girls volleyball team clinched a playoff spot beating the Baker City Bulldogs in five hard-fought games, 25-13, 13-25, 25-17, 20-25, 17-15, Saturday in Ontario. The win ensures at least a share of second place in the Greater Oregon League. Ontario was down in the fifth game, 12-8, when Tigers' head coach Rod Williams called a time out. After the time out, Ontario would go on to score the next five points and then go back and forth with Baker City. Then sophomore Stephanie O'Connor served the game-winning point to hand Ontario the game, 17-15.

                       

                      Leadership class gears up for wreath sales, November 2, 2005

                      This year, the Ontario High School Leadership program received the opportunity to sell the Jan-Lar Company wreaths.

                      This opportunity was provided when St. Peter Catholic School decided not to sell this product.

                      A lot of people during the past years have purchased these beautiful wreaths and may want to order again.

                      If you would like to order a wreath, contact OHS at 889-5309 and ask for the Leadership Department.

                      The Leadership class will send a student to your home or business to take your order.

                      Orders must be received by Nov. 9, 2005.

                      Wreaths are scheduled for delivery on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 2005.

                      Prices for the wreaths start at $17.95 for a 20-inch wreath.

                      The most expensive wreath is $19.95. A 28-inch door swag is also available for $17.95.

                      The proceeds from the wreath sales will help send Leadership students to the National Leadership conference in Philadelphia, PA in June.

                      Ontario gets swept, November 3, 2005

                        Argus observer sports staff

                      Playing without seniors Vanessa Gomez and Carrie Heninger due to injuries, the Ontario Tigers dropped a three-game match to La Grande, 26-24, 25-13, 25-11, in a Greater Oregon League playoff volleyball match, Tuesday in Baker. The loss places the Tigers as the No. 3 seed going into the state tournament. Ontario begins tournament action Saturday, traveling to Sisters.

                       

                      Effort pays off, November 3, 2005

                          JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      More than three years of hard work will soon pay off for May Roberts Elementary students.

                      Ontario School District staff are finishing up the installation of a new playground set, the result of a long-range school plan to save the money from funds raised during the school's annual fund-raiser, which takes place in the fall. May Roberts Elementary Principal Frances Ramirez said every fall students sell Christmas holiday items and presents, and these past few years a portion of the funds was set aside specifically for the playground equipment. After three or so years of savings, the school's coffers had the necessary $10,751.38 to cover the cost of the playground set.

                       

                      Ontario loses momentum after half time, November 6, 2005

                        John L. Braese Argus Observer

                      The Ontario Tigers could only hold off the Baker Bulldogs for a half. The Bulldogs scored 22 points in the third quarter on their way to a 42-14 Greater Oregon League win over the Tigers, Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The Baker win secures the second place seed for the Bulldogs, while Ontario falls to 1-8 overall and 1-3 in league play, closing the season.

                       

                      School board sidesteps future bond issue, November 18, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario School Board Thursday night took no action on the lingering question of pursuing another school bond.

                      By a commanding 3-to-1 margin voters scuttled an ambitious, $30-million bond concept Nov. 8.

                      While no concrete plans to revisit the school bond issue were fashioned Thursday night, the consensus of the board seemed to be to ensure the bond issue did not fade away entirely.

                       

                      Successful partnership, November 21, 2005

                       JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      With the help of a Union-Pacific Railroad grant program, the principals at Ontario and Nyssa high schools are networking with other principals across the United States to improve education practices.

                      Networking is just one feature provided by the Principals' Partnership program, sponsored by Union Pacific.

                      The program also gives the principals a chance to meet with a free, private consultant three times a year to discuss the educational needs of the schools. The consultant provides research, case studies, training or networking needed to address specific issues identified by the principals.

                      Ontario High School Principal Bret Uptmor, a first year principal who met with the high school's consultant for the first time in October, said he thinks the program is a success.

                       

                      Area after-school program still going strong, November 21, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      This year marks the fifth year the Ontario Middle School after school and summer programs have been in place, and middle schoolers and staff are busier than ever with activities.

                       

                      Ontario kicks off season, November 30, 2005

                       Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                      The Ontario girls basketball team opened its season with a 56-22 blowout of non-conference opponent Nampa, Tuesday in Ontario.

                      With the experience of six seniors under its roster, the Tigers dominated early and held the Bulldogs from scoring until the third quarter.

                       

                      Cornwell to return to top middle school slot, June 1, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      After one year as principal of both Ontario High School and Ontario Middle School, Lavelle Cornwell will return next year only as the OMS principal.

                      The announcement was made last week after Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter discussed the matter with Ontario School District board members at a May 19 meeting, and they agreed to honor a request by Cornwell to make the transition.

                      The school board also approved hiring a new principal for the vacant OHS position.

                      Cornwell, who taught at the high school for 19 years and became principal of OMS in 2001, assumed the new position of director of secondary education in the fall of 2004, after the departure of former OHS Principal Patrick Royal.

                      Cornwell announced her decision to her staff at the two schools this past week. Her decision, she said, was solely based on personal reasons and did not relate to her job.

                      "I just had a hard time balancing my personal life and my work life, and there comes a point when you have to put your priorities back in order," Cornwell said. The school district moved from one top administrator per school to joint principal positions in order to bring OMS and OHS administrators and staff "closer together in focus."

                      The idea, Carter said, was to create a better flow of communication between high school and middle school administrators and staff, and develop a more evenly-aligned curriculum and closer instructional programs. The end result, Carter said, is for a more seamless transition from middle school to high school for students, hopefully leading to a higher graduation rate. When students are in elementary school, teachers have a close, "nurturing" relationship with students, similar to that of a parent. As children advance through the school system, Carter said, it becomes less nurturing and assumes a more solid, educational role. There are places in the system, he said, that can be "jolting" to students, one being the transition from middle to high school.

                      "And we're trying to lessen the jolt a little bit and make it more of a continuum," Carter said.

                      Carter said the district achieved a lot of those goals under Cornwell's leadership, adding both he and the school board were pleased with Cornwell's performance. Carter said while the district may once again return to the director of secondary administration system in the future, for the time being, it will continue with its secondary education reformation plan under two administrators. The school district does not intend, he said, to abandon its plans for a closer middle and high school system because Cornwell is leaving, nor should Cornwell's departure be seen as a negative reflection of her abilities.

                      "Lavelle has done a good job," he said. "But we're respecting her wishes."

                      As for Cornwell, she described the past year as a "real learning experience" for her, but one she enjoyed and would not take back. She said the middle and high schools have accomplished a lot in the past year, which was a big transition for administrators and teachers, especially in improving better communication.

                      "It's been a great experience, and I thank the district for allowing me to have this experience," she said.

                      "And I hope it wasn't a negative experience for anybody else."

                      School district moves ahead on land purchase, June 19, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      In a move that signals a step toward the construction of new high school, the Ontario School Board approved the purchase of about 75 acres of land from an Ontario couple at Thursday night's board meeting.

                      The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Avenue was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land.

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter announced during the meeting the sale of the land will be contingent upon rezoning of the property.

                      It is not, he said, contingent upon the passage of a bond measure.

                      The bulk of the purchase is 75 acres of what Carter said was "good farm land." Another acre or so of property contains the Wada's house, and a smaller house on the property currently not in use that Carter said would likely be demolished.

                      The Wada's agreed to sell the 75 acres of undeveloped land for $875,000.

                      The remainder of the selling price goes toward the purchase of the Wada's house.

                      Outgoing Ontario School Board member Carl Judy said during the meeting land of that quality in that vicinity, which is near Airport Corner, is selling for about $30,000 an acre, but the Wada's agreed to let the school district purchase it for $15,000 an acre.

                      "Which is practically a donation to the school district," Judy said, adding he was pleased be part of an arrangement that would benefit the high school and school district during his tenure.

                      While district officials had the first parcel of property, containing the Wada's house, appraised by an appraiser, Carter said the value of the remaining undeveloped land was not determined by a certified appraiser, but instead was determined by district officials.

                      He said a certified appraiser would not have been able to do any more than guess what the value of the land was based on land of similar quality and location.

                      Carter said district officials came up with their estimate of the land's value by gathering information on the asking and selling prices of nearby land sales made recently, specifically on property near the North Ontario Interchange.

                      The final sale will not be completed until the property, currently zoned farm use and situated just outside the city's Urban Growth Area, receives a zoning change, most likely to public use, Carter said, a process that could take six months and will begin immediately.

                      The property, Carter said, is adjacent to the current UGA and should be incorporated when the city completes its Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

                      Once the UGB expansion occurs, the school district plans to annex that land into the city.

                      "We would want to annex into the city because we intend to use city services," Carter said.

                      The property purchase, he said, is not contingent upon whether a school bond passes because the school district will eventually need the land for a bigger high school, despite what happens in the meantime, and because the school district would not be able to purchase the same amount of land of the same quality for a less expensive price in the future.

                      Should a school bond not pass, Carter said, and the land is not used immediately for construction, the district would likely lease the land to a farmer to raise crops to be sold, which in turn would generate a small profit for the school district.

                      Carter said he thought the land was currently being used to grow wheat and onions.

                      Carter said the district looked at purchasing other land in the area, and officials did speak with other people possibly interested in selling, but decided upon the Wada's property because it was felt the property is the best suited for the school district's needs at the best price.

                      Negotiations with the Wada's, Carter said, were pleasant. The two parties began negotiations about six weeks ago.

                      As of last week, Carter would not confirm or deny the school district was negotiating for property or whether the school district had a piece of property in mind.

                      When the school district began looking at rebuilding, officials considered rebuilding at the current site or rebuilding at a larger site, stating at least 50 acres were needed.

                      The Ontario School Board has not officially voted on rebuilding at a different site, nor approved going out for a school bond, but will likely address the issue at the July board meeting.

                      Carter had previously announced the budget committee approved transferring $1 million from the school district's contingency fund to a building improvement fund for the purchase of the land.

                      The Ontario School Board moved forward with that recommendation Thursday night during the 2005 to 2006 budget approval process.

                      School district has questions to answer, June 28, 2005

                         Ray Dickerson Special to the Argus Observer

                      Every taxpayer in the Ontario School District should ask some very important questions about whether or not we need a new high school in the county: Is this proposal a real need or is it just a "we want" from a bunch of school employees?

                      Reality is there are great numbers of planners and builders who like nothing more than to sell the construction of new schools to community school boards and municipalities. They are quick to send out consultants and engineers to tell boards how this or that building does not meet this or that requirement, while at the same time pitching what it would cost to plan, repair or construct a new facility, and that they would be more than willing to participate in the bidding process. Does anybody want to make an offer on that famous New York bridge?

                      Why would Ontario build a high school out of town for $29 million or so, without a sports facility? How much will it cost to tear down the old high school or make it into a middle school? If nothing needs to be done to the old high school before it's use as a middle school, then why is it not adequate as a high school? Wouldn't it be more difficult and costly for people just to travel to a country school?

                      The expected answer to why we need a new high school is that Ontario school enrollment is up and the school is too small. I would ask for proof and double check those figures.

                      I don't have specific figures. The school district superintendent has not answered my written request for the information submitted three weeks ago. I spoke with Superintendent Dennis Carter about getting enrollment and graduation information and he asked that I put my request in writing. I did and delivered it to his office within one hour of the request. To date there has been no response. I can only conclude that the district, which normally follows the advice of PR specialists and attorneys, does not want the facts to go to the public.

                      Taken from the OHS site committee Web page, enrollment during the last school year was 760 students. That figure is down from previous years when the building housed more than 900 students. And, once again, were there really 760 students last year?

                      According to graduation statistics released this week from the Oregon Education Department, OHS graduated 111 students this school year. That is 18 percent fewer students than they graduated last year. Yet, once again, there are different figures: The OHS Web page says there were 236 ninth graders, 188 10th graders, 186 11th graders and 156 12th graders. However, the OED statistics used 136 12th graders as the base for calculating the high school graduation rate. Twenty 12th graders just disappeared? By comparison, my 1956 OHS class graduated 100 students from that very same building. One wing of the building wasn't even used in those days and the student-teacher ratio was much more than 16:1, trust me.

                      Based on an average enrollment of 235 ninth graders during the past few years, and depending on which statistics to believe, the school completion (graduation) rate is about 47 percent. Yet the school Web site brags that 92 percent of eighth graders complete high school and 65 percent complete college. How could that be and what can we believe? Fifty-three percent of high school students disappear over the four years of high school, yet the school district touts a 5 percent to 6 percent drop out rate. Once again, what can we believe?

                      Dr. Carter and others who are campaigning for the new high school in the county contend that projected increases in enrollment justify the new building. Really? Check the trends! The enrollment is going the other direction, and demographically the decline will continue. Emotion and "we wants" are trumping reality.

                      Are we getting our money's worth? According to The Oregonian, Malheur County schools receive more money per student than do any other schools in Oregon. Ontario gets more than $10,000 per student, while other smaller schools get as much as $11,300 per student, which compares with $7,200 for other state schools, on average. Once again, on average, each Malheur County school receives $1 million more than comparable big city schools. The purpose, according to The Oregonian, is to help local schools graduate more students. How is OHS doing?

                      Taxpayers spend about $120,000 per student to put them through kindergarten to graduation. A four-year college degree at a very good school seems like a great deal by comparison. How many more dollars will it take to get all of our kids through school? I think the situation is totally out of control.

                      What the extra education dollars have purchased locally is 75 acres of farm ground for about $15,000 per acre. Farm ground, as farm ground, is probably worth $2,000 to $3,000 per acre. Renting out 75 acres for $7,500 per year would be a good return on a million dollars? Perhaps that says more about the state of education system than does anything else. Do we really need an acre of school grounds for each 10 students? Interestingly, urban planners want hundreds of people living per acre in stacked-up crowded conditions in Oregon so prime farm land can be protected. Will they spring for such sprawl for a school? I doubt it! If they do, someone needs to investigate their decision making process.

                      The overriding question is, if more dollars is the answer to education woes, why would the school system gamble on potentially throwing away a million or so on farm ground instead of investing in something that would improve the graduation rate? If not buying more education, why are needed repairs not being done to the existing high school? Especially since it has been revealed the building will be used as a middle school and the work has to be done anyway?

                      I think the answer is that the school system has more money than it can spend, and it is burning a hole in their pockets. More realistically perhaps, someone in the legislature knows all that money is lying around school districts in various accounts and wanted to get at it. The answer from OED and administrators everywhere, was spend it or lose it?

                      Hiring architects, planners and buying alfalfa fields for $15,000 an acre is one sure way to get rid of the money, but are the taxpayers being served?

                      The Ontario High School is an excellent building, well situated, and it and the beautiful sports facility can serve the residents of Ontario for many more years. We do not need to spend the big bucks on a country school. Remember this, the $29 million is only the beginning and only half the story. They will also want a new sports stadium, $10 million at least. Nothing but the best! Renovation of the high school and tearing down of the old middle school, another $10 million? It all smacks of a socialist public works program.

                      - Ray Dickerson is an Ontario resident.

                      District gets a good deal, July 5, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      Based on fair-market values for land in the area, the Ontario School District received a good bargain when it purchased about 75 acres by Airport Corner for a new high school.

                      The Ontario School Board approved the purchase of the land at its June 16 meeting.

                      The price agreed upon between the district and Shingo and Emie Wada for their property at 3179 Southwest Fourth Ave. was $1,064,750 for two parcels of land. The closure of the land sale is contingent upon rezoning of the property, which is currently zoned exclusive farm use.

                      The school district agreed to pay $875,000 for the approximately 75 acres of undeveloped farm land - $15,000 an acre for 50 acres of flat land and $5,000 an acre for the remaining undeveloped acreage. The remaining balance the school district will pay is for an acre or so of land that contains the Wada's house and a storage shed.

                      While the school district had the parcel the Wadas' house occupies professionally appraised, district officials did their own appraisal on the undeveloped property themselves.

                      District officials appraised the value of the land at about $30,000 per acre for the 50 acres or so of flat land, which the Wadas agreed to sell for half that price.

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said they determined the land's value based on the asking prices and selling prices of similar properties up for sale. Officials looked at the price of a land exchange deal near the Ontario Interchange, Carter said. They also looked at land on the outskirts of town south of Fourth Avenue.

                      According to the Malheur County Assessor's Office chief appraiser Rich Thurmond, the school district's appraisal does not differ much from that of a certified appraiser, who would value the land based on sale prices of comparable properties from the same type of land-usage zone - farm use, industrial, commercial or residential.

                      Thurmond said "the value of the land seemed quite high" based on fair-market value of agricultural property, which ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the quality of the acreage. However, the $30,000 value per acre value appraised and the subsequent sale price are considerably less than fair-market value for industrial and commercially-zoned properties, Thurmond said. The fair market value for residential lots is about $30,000, Thurmond said, but added there are about four lots to an acre.

                      Carter said, while market value for farm land is considerably less than the agreed price, the property purchased is "highly developable." The land, however, is bare in the sense it is cut off from city infrastructure, such as water and sewer utilities and road maintenance, residential, industrial and commercial properties would have, he said.

                      "So somebody has to put some money into it before it's worth that," Carter said.

                      If and when the school district begins construction, infrastructure costs would be assumed by the district as the new high school would be connected to city services.

                      The property, which is rectangular in shape, extends from Southwest Fourth Avenue to Northwest Fourth Avenue, and is approximately two miles away from the current high school location.

                      In the contract signed between the two parties, the school district is paying for half of the land up front and the other half during the next five years.

                      The city budgeted $1 million to its capital building fund, in addition to the approximately $325,000 already in there, to cover the purchase price.

                      Construction of a new high school will be paid through a school bond. The school board will vote on whether to go out for a school bond levy at its July 21 meeting.

                      Ontario School Board OK's bond levy, July 24, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario School Board rubber stamped a resolution declaring the district's intentions to go out for a school bond to build a new high school at Thursday night's regularly scheduled meeting.

                      The amount of the bond is not to exceed $30 million, and the taxpayer levy will be used for the construction and capital improvements involved in building a new Ontario High School and renovating and upgrading Pioneer Elementary School.

                      Bond ballots will go out in the mail to district voters Oct. 22 through Nov. 8. Should the bond pass, the school district intends to have the new high school completed for the 2008 through 2009 school year.

                      The district has been considering the bond issue since the beginning of the year, and has hosted a series of meetings to gauge the support of the public.

                      The School Board discussed the bond issue right before the meeting in its work session, newly scheduled for 5:30 p.m. the third Thursday of every month before school board meetings.

                      Newly-elected school board member Cliff Bentz brought up a number of questions in the session about language of the bond resolution, which was prepared by a bond counsel.

                      Bentz's concern was some of the language of the resolution was too broad, and should be changed to adequately reflect the process leading up to the vote.

                      The language prepared by the bond counsel and included in the resolution stated the School Board "held community forums to give District residents the opportunity to study all of the options under consideration for improving the District's schools and providing the best possible educational opportunities for District residents."

                      Bentz said he was not at all sure district residents had the opportunity to study all of the options during the community forums, and wanted to know what other chances the public was given to explore the issue.

                      Bentz said the community forum he attended was more reflective in nature.

                      "It was more of a 'what do you think,'" he said, stating the language should be amended to accurately reflect the opportunities for the public.

                      The board agreed to change the language stating the board "held community forums and other information gathering activities," referencing the previous public meetings and discussions the school district and board held on the issue.

                      The Ontario School Board also agreed to amend language to state board members looked carefully at estimated costs of the new high school, where it had previously said "all costs" for the new high school.

                      "The more explicit we are the better," board member John Phillips said.

                      Project architect Mike Patano agreed the changes were important, but even more so was the resolution language stating "this bond measure would provide the best possible educational opportunities for all District students at the most reasonable and responsible cost to taxpayers."

                      The words "reasonable and responsible," were essential, Patano said, "because that's what I think it's ultimately going to come down to," Patano said.

                      The school board also discussed the next steps to ensuring a school bond actually passed. A school bond promotional committee made up of volunteers is being formed, and the next few months will be spent advocating for the bond and informing the public of why the district is going out for this bond and the details of the project.

                      Patano advised the council the promotional committee and district officials need to be upfront and answer all questions posed to them.He said many future school district projects, such as the plans for the middle school and old high school building, depend on the success of the bond measure.

                      "This is setting the stage for the future," Patano said.

                      He said the promotional effort needs to be positive but aggressive and optimistic.

                      Phillips, however, reminded the board opponents' voices need to be heard and respected during the upcoming promotional and informational campaign so as to not alienate voters in the future.

                      Proud past, bright future, August 4, 2005

                         Evelyn Dame Special to the Argus Observer

                      English statesman Winston Churchill once stated, "First we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."

                      Good schools and adequate facilities affect everyone. Without an adequate investment in education, students will suffer, our community will stagnate, business will leave and property values will drop. I believe our local schools should be a source of pride and a symbol of our community's determination to ensure a better future for everyone who lives here. The support we give our local schools reflects the value we place on learning, a value that is imitated by our children.

                      For communities, funding school facilities is both a responsibility and a concern. The Ontario School Board, of which I am a director, recently passed a resolution to build a new high school and make major improvements at Pioneer Elementary School. As a community we will have an opportunity to create facilities that will provide an up-to-date, effective learning environment that will enhance teaching and learning, provide for health and safety, and accommodate the needs of all learners.

                      One and one half years ago, the district convened a facilities review committee to study the various buildings in the district. It was comprised of 32 members, including parents, business owners, senior citizens and educators. In July of 2004, the committee presented their report to the board and recommended the district build a new high school and enlarge and modernize Pioneer Elementary, the district's oldest building built in 1915. This spring we held three town hall meetings to gather community input. The patrons that attended overwhelmingly supported a new high school on a new site.

                      Our current high school facility was largely constructed in 1951. I am sure it was a "state-of-the-art" building when it was built more than half a century ago, but education has changed dramatically in the last 54 years. Students no longer sit in neat rows of desks as their teacher delivers the lesson for the day. If you visit our classrooms today, where space allows, you will most likely see desks grouped together to provide opportunities for group interaction, teaming and collaboration. Research shows that students who are active participants and become engaged in their studies, learn more about the subject and are more likely to retain the information, and use what they learn throughout their lives.

                      Another huge impact on our older school facilities has been the explosion of technology in our programs and in our lives. Access to information through the internet, CD-ROMS, television. teleconferencing and distance learning are seen as increasingly critical for our students today. Technological literacy has become a new basic for education. Ontario 8-C has been a leader in technology in this region for the last decade. Yet as we've embraced its use in everyday instruction it has increasingly pointed to the limitations our existing facilities impose, such as inadequate electrical wiring, space limitations and flexibility all become restricting in a building constructed long before most of us saw our first computer.

                      It seems education was a priority in this community in the 1950s and 60s. Ontario's citizens built five of its seven schools in a 13 year period: OHS in 1951, Aiken in 1957, Cairo in 1957, May Roberts in 1960, and Alameda in 1964. This very aggressive building schedule must have come after careful prioritizing, consideration and much sacrifice by Ontario's citizens. Its students have reaped the benefit of their vision during the course of the last 40 to 50 years.

                      Buildings once constructed are not static entities; even with the best maintenance, buildings wear out over time.

                      Mechanical and electrical systems become inefficient, and materials serve their useful life and deteriorate.

                      Let's face it, 700 plus students, staff, parents and community members using the facilities day in and day out, nights too, for 54 years presents a toll on even the best constructed edifice.

                      I haves been involved in the public school system in Ontario for the past 18 years. All five of our children graduated from Ontario High School.

                      I have been an active parent volunteer, lunch buddy and elected school board member for more than 11 years. I have spent many hours in the classrooms, attending programs and participating in activities in all of our facilities. I have experienced first hand the dedication of our well educated, hard working teachers and staff who do an admirable job given the limitations posed to their programs given our current facilities.

                      I believe the time has come when we must come together as a community and decide to once again make education a priority in Ontario. Through the years I have served on the 8-C Board too often I have heard, "The economy is bad this year," or " The timing is not good to go for a bond," or "We can't afford to pass a bond," yet the communities around us - that share the same economy - have continued to build new schools and improve their facilities.

                      Two and one half generations have passed through our buildings since the 1950s. As a community we have not invested in our school facilities in a major way since that time.

                      What renovations and additions that have been done in recent years, including the additions to May Roberts and Alameda have been done by the district being frugal with its capital fund dollars and without coming to the voters to fund them. I believe it is time for us come together as a community to take on the responsibility of investing in education for the next generation.

                      Ontario has a proud past and with your help it will have a bright future. I see exciting things on the horizon in education for Ontario's children.

                      It won't happen by itself. It won't happen when someone else does it.

                      It will only happen when each of us decides this is important enough to make it happen.

                      Evelyn Dame is a member of the Ontario School Board.

                      New' best friends, August 7, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      Although the East-West Shrine Game was played Saturday, the three local representatives have been preparing for the game since July 28. On the 28th, Vale's Mark Moreno, Ontario's JJ Anthony and Nyssa's Jose Escobedo left the local area for Wilsonville in preparation for the game with other East squad members.

                      On Friday, July 29, members of both squads boarded buses and visited the Shrine Hospital in Portland. The visit left an impression with Moreno.

                      "It was awesome to really see what we are playing for," Moreno said of the visit to the hospital. "The kids there really look up to us."

                      Anthony agreed with his teammate of the importance of the visit and the image left after visiting with the young patients at the hospital.

                      "Visiting the hospital was a great experience," Anthony said. "We had a great time talking to all the kids and listening to them."

                      Both squads also had time for formal dinners hosted by the Shrine personnel, a visit to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City and a trip to the Baker County Fair. After a golf tournament, acting as hosts for a parade through Baker and a breakfast sponsored by the Baker Cattlewomens, it was finally game time.

                      "This whole thing has been great," Anthony said. "The Shriners really know how to treat the football players and their families. I will remember this for the rest of my life."

                      The week also made time for new friends and getting to know neighbors according to Moreno.

                      "I have made some awesome friends," Moreno said. "I met people from all across the state.

                      "But my best friend is right here," Moreno said putting his arm around Anthony. "It is weird. We have lived about 20 miles from each other most of our lives, but this was the first time we really got to know each other."

                      West triumphs over East, August 7, 2005

                         John Braese

                      Even with the play of three local athletes, Nyysa's Jose Escobedo, Vale's Mark Moreno and Ontario's JJ Anthony, the East team dropped a 20-9 decision to the West in the 53rd annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game. The game, aired for the first time on Fox Northwest Sports channel, was played at noon in Baker to accommodate the live coverage of the game.

                      The East was unable to muster much offense, scoring only on three field goals by Grant Union's Toby Thomas.

                      After winning the coin flip to begin the game, the East elected to defer and promptly forced the West to punt after three plays. The West returned the favor by forcing the East punter out after only three plays.

                      At 3:33 in the first quarter, a fumbled punt return by the East left the West the ball on the East's 46 yard line. On the third play of the drive, a 33 yard touchdown pass from Scappose's Tyler Morrill to Veronia's Eric Schmidlin put the first points of the game on the board. The two point conversion attempt failed, putting the West up 6-0.

                      The East scored early in the second quarter after a fumbled handoff set the team up on the 50 yard line. After driving down the field to the five yard line, the East settled for a field goal with 9:38 left in the half. The East knotted the score up in the same quarter after Thomas put the kick through the uprights from 21 yards out with 4:47 left in the quarter. Thomas completed the half, putting a 24 yard field goal through with two seconds left before halftime to put the East in the locker room with the lead, 9-6.

                      Midway through the third quarter, a string of long gains by the West's Vernonia's Travis Gwin (27 yard pass reception) and Tillamook's Clayton Smith (16 yard reception) set up a 22 yard run by Wilsonville's Spencer Smith for the second touchdown of the night for the West. When Morrill scampered in for the two point conversion, the West led 14-9.

                      In the fourth quarter, Thomas missed a field goal to the left on the East's best chance to get back into the ball game. Taking the ball with 6:08 left in the game, the West ran the clock down, scoring on the last play of the game to take the victory, 20-9.

                      The win is 22nd for the West compared to 28 for the East in the 53 year history. Since 1986, the East has won 15 of 19 games, the game in 1994 ending in a tie

                      Racing superintendent, August 21, 2005

                          John Braese

                      After a week of balancing budgets, hammering out personnel contracts and preparing for the upcoming school bond election, what does a local district school superintendent to do for relaxation?

                      For Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter, the answer is to bang out dents on a Friday night, replace wheels that are bent and unusable and tune up his '96 Dodge Neon in preparation for a Saturday night of racing.

                      Beginning this season, Carter took up oval racing at Meridian Speedway. He races in a beginner's class, the "Hornets," a category where all cars are required to be painted a bright yellow.

                      "My brother got me into racing," Carter said. "He has been racing out at Meridian for years and had been talking to me about getting a car and racing for some time."

                      Racing proved to be a perfect fit for Carter.

                      "When I was the right age, I never got around to it," Carter said. "I went to Meridian all the time when I was younger. Back then, it was a dirt track. I have always enjoyed watching the races so this year I decided to give it a try."

                      Currently sitting ninth in the point standings, Carter missed the first set of races after a blown motor put him out for a few weeks. With the help of his brother, the two purchased the current Neon and made the modifications to make the car "race-ready."

                      "In this class, you really can't do much to the car," Carter said. "We put in a roll bar, harness, netting and the bar across the door. They don't allow many suspension or engine modifications."

                      Although Carter has not won a race outright this first year, he said he has claimed second and third in a few races.

                      "I was in first place in a heat race," Carter said, "when the second place guy passed me on the last lap. Last week, some guy ran me into the wall, so I was out for a little bit. This is a great stress reliever. It is such an adrenaline rush when those curves come up so fast at you."

                      Carter makes a weekend of the races. Starting Friday night, he tinkers with the car preparing for Saturday night.

                      Starting off from his Ontario residence early Saturday morning, Carter spends the day at the speedway with the other drivers, practicing and sharing race tips.

                      "I have not met any other superintendents racing," Carter said. "The big race for this class is Halloween. We run a 250 lap race that night. Usually, our longest races are 30 to 35 laps. That Halloween race should be great just to make it through the whole race."

                      After a weekend of banging fenders, will Carter leave his district job to pursue a career in NASCAR?

                      "I don't think so," Carter said. "This is just for fun. I don't think the NASCAR drivers need to worry about me taking their spot."

                      Superintendent makes case for new school, August 23, 2005

                          JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter spoke to a group of Ontario business and community leaders about the upcoming school bond proposal at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce forum Monday.

                      Monday was the first of two scheduled appearances Carter will make to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce regarding the school district's levy, set to go before voters in November.

                      Carter will again address the chamber, which has announced its support for the bond levy, in October.

                      If passed, the $30 million bond levy, which comes to about $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value, will be used to build a new high school at a 75-acre site near Airport Corner on the outskirts of Ontario as well as make improvements and additions to Pioneer Elementary School.

                      In the first half of his presentation, Carter provided the informational background of the school bond and the process the school district used leading up to the decision to go forward with the project.

                      In his speech, Carter addressed some questions from the community that have arisen during the process, including why the district decided to choose a site on the outskirts of town for a new high school, instead of rebuilding at the current site.

                      He said, contrary to some opinion, the school district did not choose the new site as an investment in land, but rather because the acreage at the new site - 50 acres of flat ground for the actual building site and 25 acres on a hilly area - is necessary for school district space needs. Secondary to that, he addressed concerns raised in the community about the new site's proximity to the gun range and the airport, disputing that either would affect school district operations or be a safety hazard.

                      He also addressed the school district's decision to purchase the land prior to the bond passing. He said the decision was based on practicality.

                      "Whatever happens with this bond issue, at some point in time we're going to have to build a new high school," Carter said. "We felt that we needed to get a good piece of land tied up."

                      In the second segment, Carter spoke from the perspective as a school district resident and taxpayer telling the crowd why he thought a school bond was necessary for the community.

                      He said a new high school with more space is necessary for both space and technology demands of the school district. The current labs at the high school, he said, were built at a time when technology and education was much different. Large, updated labs he said are a need for the future.

                      Having enough space to accommodate all the high school's activities at one site is another need, Carter said, if only to provide a safe environment for students. Lastly, Carter said, a new high school is an economic advantage for the community because when businesses and people consider places to locate, the kind of school system and educational settings and buildings factor into their decisions.

                      "This may be the best economic jump start this community has going for it right now," Carter said.

                      He said while the a school building is only a facade and does not affect the quality of education offered inside those buildings, a prospective new hire would react more favorably to a school district with updated, modern facilities when choosing between two school districts.

                      "So do you get the best and the brightest if you don't have the right facilities for them?" Carter asked.

                      Ontario Chamber Director John Breidenbach said it was because of the economic advantages a new high school would bring to the community behind the chamber's decision to support the school bond.

                      "If they build it, they will come," Breidenbach joked.

                      "Our position is from an economic standpoint the value of a new school is a direct benefit to our businesses," he said.

                      OHS graduate signs with Yellowjackets, August 29, 2005

                          John Braese - Argus Observer

                      Sometimes, bad news becomes good. As Ontario's Megan Moeller was drawing near to the end of her career at Mount Hood Community College, she was contacted by Portland State regarding a scholarship. Happily preparing for the short trip to Portland upon graduation, Moeller was decimated when she contacted the coach later in the year and found the offer had been withdrawn. With the assistance of her coach at Mount Hood, Moeller found a new home - Montana State University-Billings.

                      "I am so excited about Montana," Moeller said. "Practice starts Sept. 6 and I can't wait. I am moving next weekend."

                      Moeller fought against numerous injuries while at Mount Hood, including a knee injury which was scheduled to put her out for a full season. However, six weeks after surgery, Moeller was back in time for the NWAACC's tournament.

                      "I was supposed to be out for a longer time, but I just could not miss the tournament," Moeller said.

                      This year, Moeller and Mount Hood finished in third place in the NWAACC tournament after knocking out Lower Columbia in the quarterfinals.

                      "We did not finish as well as we wanted, but knocking out Lower Columbia was worth the whole season," Moeller said.

                      Moeller, who is a 2003 graduate of Ontario, is ready to tackle the mountains and winters of Montana.

                      "I would like to major in psychology," Moeller said. "I would like to work with younger kids in the counseling area. I really liked the Portland area so I may return there or Boise."

                      Summer was busy for Moeller as she finished up a summer course at Treasure Valley Community College and helped coach the Field of Dreams U-14 team. Coaching, Moeller found out, may have helped her find her place in the future also.

                      "I see both aspects of the game now," Moeller said of coaching and playing softball. "I want to coach somewhere. I live for softball, but after finishing my playing career, coaching would be a great way to extend my softball interest."

                      A slide this summer injured her shoulder, but Moeller said she would wait until after the season before a decision on surgery is made. Meanwhile, she is packing and preparing for the long trip to Billings.

                      Moeller's new team, the Yellowjackets, finished the 2005 season at 13-5 in the Pacific-West Conference, good enough for second place. With an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Montana battled through the loser bracket to the semifinals, losing to host Cal State Dominguez. For the season, 81 team and individual records were set in the 2005 season.

                      "I am going to stay at third base even when I get to Billings," Moeller said. "Some parts of this have been tough, but I am what I am because of my dad, both in softball and in life."

                      Pirates sink Tigers, Aug. 31, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      A quick start helped the Payette girls soccer team on Tuesday.

                      The Pirates scored all four goals in the first half, helping them to a 4-1 decision over Mountain Home in nonconference girls soccer at Payette High School.

                      The Pirates broke out quickly as Eve Thomason and Hillary Byars combined to do the first-half damage for Payette (1-0 overall). Thomason led all scorers in the game with three goals while Byars picked up the other one.

                      During the second half, the Pirates held the ball on the offensive side of the field most of the half with the exception of one breakaway for Mountain Home, which resulted in its lone score.

                      "I was very happy with our aggressiveness and ball control tonight," Payette head coach Vonnie Paul said after the game. "Mountain Home is a very physical team and we handled that aspect well."

                      Paul prefers scheduling a team like Mountain Home early in the season to give the freshmen players a taste of high school soccer and the physicality of the sport at this level.

                      "The freshmen come out of the Outback League and don't realize how much tougher the other players at this level are," Paul said. "I am trying to show them you can be a successful athlete and still be a lady."

                      Paul was also happy with the flexibility the team showed in positions and substitutions.

                      "We have girls that can step in for each other and play the position whenever needed," Paul said.

                      Tigers head coach Carlos Jacome was unhappy, not with the loss, but with his team's performance.

                      "They just did not perform," Jacome said. "They forgot to talk to each other and just played kick ball out there."

                      Playing a tough Caldwell team to a tie on Monday may have taken some of the steam out of the team, according to Jacome.

                      "This is high school soccer," Jacome said. "They need to learn that the games come quickly every week."

                      For the night, Mallory Barnard had nine saves while one assist each went to Eve Thomason, Mandy Greif and Cassie Gross.

                      The Pirates host Fruitland on September 8.

                      Focused on students, August 31, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      In his 11th year as the Ontario Police Department school resource officer for Ontario Middle School, Officer George Tolman said he has learned a great deal about the role of law enforcement in schools.

                      Last week he added to that knowledge, spending two days in Bend at an Oregon School Resource Officer conference.

                      "The role we take as school resource officers is totally different than you take in law enforcement," Tolman said.

                      He said there is a "uniqueness" to the position separate from the rest of law enforcement. As school resource officer, dealing with students rather than the general public, his role is one of teacher, counselor and social service worker, in addition to police officer. Instead of just enforcing problems as they arise, as police officers do with the public, Tolman said he has to look at a student individually and consider what is the best mode of recourse to take.

                      "So the police officer part of this kind of takes a back seat," Tolman said, adding making an arrest is often the last step the process.

                      School resource officers are a nontraditional part of law enforcement, so educational conferences such as the one Tolman attended last week are valuable because they are more tailored to how law enforcement pertains to education.

                      He attended five different sessions at the Oregon School Resource Officer conference, the first the association has hosted, one specifically on the school shooting that took place at Thurston High School in the 1990s.

                      Tolman said one of the officers who responded to the shooting spoke in the seminar, taking the school resource officers in attendance through the process the police followed the day of the shooting, after which they evaluated the procedure, stating what was good and what should have been done differently.

                      OPD officers train specifically on how to enter school shooting situations, and would be well prepared in such a situation, Tolman said. Just the presence of school resource officers at Ontario Middle School and Ontario High School reduces the likelihood of a Thurston-style shooting, he said.

                      At the conference, Tolman also attended seminars on a method to use life stories to communicate with students, obtaining grant information and grant writing, investigating computer crimes and addressing the media.

                      All, Tolman said, were valuable and will help him in the scope of his role as school resource officer.

                      "To me, knowledge is power," Tolman said, adding he appreciates every training and education seminar he attends because they give him more experience to draw from.

                      "How I conduct my business now is a lot different than when I first started here because it was a very new concept for me," he said of making the transition from police officer to the more specialized position of school resource officer.

                      Tolman is more experienced than most school resource officers because he was given the opportunity by Ontario Police Chief Mike Kee to continue acting as school resource officer, whereas most police officers are only in their position for three or four years.

                      "But I enjoy the prevention part as much as the law enforcement," he said.

                      The Ontario School District, he said, has also been very proactive in its approach toward law enforcement in its schools. As a result, he said, there is less violence and bullying is addressed as much as possible.

                      "Because no one has a right to come into schools and make others feel threatened and intimidated," he said.

                      While violence is a primary concern to all districts, Tolman said the issues school resource officers are dealing with on a day-to-day basis vary.

                      Tolman said he spoke to a school resource officer in Prineville who was interested in Ontario's daytime curfew, which Prineville does not have.

                      In the next few months, Tolman, however, wants to take information he learned from a constitutional rights conference he attended this summer into the eighth-grade classrooms, teaching eighth-graders their rights as people, and law enforcement's role in society.

                      "There's a lot of stuff I'd like to teach the kids in eighth grade," he said.

                      Schools must grapple with high fuel costs, September 1, 2005

                        John Braese Argus Observer

                      Imagine your family vehicle has a 90-gallon diesel fuel tank, but it is only averaging about seven miles-per-gallon.

                      The cost to fuel the tank is going up each and every day you need diesel. The guzzler is on the road five days a week at minimum and called upon frequently for side trips to out of the way places.

                      The above dilemma is a real one for many local school districts, as fuel costs continue to climb. In the wake of the massive damage generated by Hurricane Katrina, fuel prices are projected to jump another 15 to 20 cents per gallon, providing little, or no, relief for schools across the region.

                      At its heart, the challenge for many districts is simple, but troubling. School districts budget a certain amount each year to cover transportation costs. At the same time, each district still must deliver students to and from school each day.

                      As fuel prices climb, so does the overall cost for each school district.

                      Payette schools superintendent Pauline King met with administrators and her transportation chief Monday to discuss the district's plan to handle the mounting costs. While King said she is not prepared to take any drastic measures - yet - she is also preparing for the worst-case scenario.

                      "We are going to proceed very cautiously when approving field trips," King said. "The principals will act as watchdogs and we have decided the elementary schools will be allowed two field trips per year."

                      King is walking the fine line between the budget and serving the needs of the students of Payette.

                      "Only approved competitions are funded," King said. "Teachers will need to define the educational purpose of any proposed field trips. Efficiency is the key to get through this. We are holding very tight on the costs of transportation."

                      The situation is similar in nearby Fruitland where Fruitland School District Superintendent Alan Felgenhauer said he is considering cuts down the line as a last resort.

                      "We increased our budget by half again over last year's for fuel," Felgenhauer said, "and that was based on 40 cents per gallon less than it is now. We are looking at making cuts from other places just to pay the fuel bill."

                      Felgenhauer agreed with King the students need to be transported for a number of reasons.

                      "Obviously, we need to get them back and forth from school, but there is necessary academic and sports related trips," Felgenhauer said. "We are tracking the problem and seeing how much of a drain it is becoming. We may have to eventually cut trips completely, but that is a last resort. We like to get kids places for opportunities."

                      In Jordan Valley, cuts are already in place because of high fuel prices.

                      Situated in an area where every trip is a long one, Jordan Valley School District Superintendent Michael Sessions has already changed some sports schedules.

                      "Our league games are locked in," Sessions said, "but we have cut back on non-league games already. We had planned on playing Adrian a few times, but decided against the trip due to fuel. We budgeted more for fuel this year and it is still not enough."

                      Sessions is also in a position to use parents for some trips. With only 10 students in the seventh and eighth grades, field trips are chaperoned while parents take up a large share of the driving, saving the district on fuel.

                      "In sports, we are trying to get closer games whenever possible," Sessions said. "Instead of playing Oregon teams, we are now scheduling Greenleaf and Gem State in Idaho. They are closer and have been really good in playing us."

                      Fuel costs have also hurt Jordan Valley in other ways. Budgeted currently for a resealing project for the district's parking lot, rising costs for sealant shoved the project out of sight for the projected money.

                      "They want $20,000 for an area the size of a large driveway," Sessions said. "We had the money budgeted, but we may not follow through with it."

                      Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said every effort was made to anticipate what fuel prices would be this year.

                      "We made quite an increase last year," Carter said. "We tried to anticipate and leave ourselves some room for an increase like we are seeing now."

                      Carter is concerned the 70 percent of money paid by the state to deliver students to and from school will also be impacted by the rising fuel prices.

                      "If the state cuts back in what they pay, we could really be behind on the fuel costs," Carter said.

                      Carter said most "extras" such as field trips, were slashed long ago and are not available as a safety valve this time around.

                      "In athletics, we are pretty much locked into the current schedule," Carter said.

                      Ontario soccer kicks off new season, September 6, 2005

                         Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      A new head coach and a couple of key returners have the Ontario boys soccer team eager for the 2005 season.

                      The Tigers embark on the new season tonight against Weiser at Alameda Elementary School.

                      Brandon Smith, a 1999 graduate of Ontario, takes over as head coach of the Tigers. Smith replaces Jeremy Skousen, who guided the Tigers to a 7-6-2 record in 2004. Ontario was bounced in the first-round of the OSAA state tournament last season.

                      Smith was a first-team all-state performer for the Tigers, and has coached rec teams, before landing his first high school coaching job.

                      "When I heard the job was open, I just decided to apply," Smith said. "It's real exciting to be coaching here."

                      The Tigers have some experience returning in seniors Adam Mendiola and Carlos Salgado. Smith said he expects his team to be competitive.

                      "We expect to have a real good team," Smith said. "We have several seniors and a lot of juniors, so it's not a real young team."

                      A point of emphasis during early season practice has been turning up the defensive pressure, Smith said.

                      "The two things we have been working on the most is in the way we play defense," Smith said. "We've been a lot more aggressive, a lot faster. Offensively, we have been working on making runs to get open. We've seen a lot of improvement during practice."

                      Smith said he expects La Grande and Mac-Hi to be among the contenders in Special District 7. However, he said, the Tigers should be right there among the league's elite.

                      "We have a good shot at winning," Smith said. "Things have come together. We have a lot of guys with good touch on the ball. We just need to toughen up the defense and we will have a good shot at it."

                      The Ontario girls soccer team has quietly become one of the most consistent programs in the state, and this season should be more of the same.

                      The Tigers, which begin the 2005 season tonight with a nonleague matchup at Weiser, have qualified for the Class 3A/2A/1A state tournament every since 1998. Last season, the Tigers finished second in Special District 7, posting a 6-1-1 record, and a 7-4-2 record overall. Ontario went on to fall, 2-0, to Wilsonville in the second round of the tournament.

                      "Last year went well," Ontario head coach Greg Walk said. "We only had two seniors and a lot of sophomores. We started two freshmen against Wilsonville. We are not hurting at any position. We have good depth all the way around."

                      Three seniors - Kayla Mitchell, Laurel Saito and Sonya Feibert - will be counted on to provide leadership. The Tigers also return their top keeper in junior Danni Thomas.

                      "They have the talent to do very well," Walk said. "It depends on how we come together, how we support each other. We can do as well as last year, I think we are a stronger team. The only thing that would stop us is us."

                      Walk said the district title, and a top seed into the state playoffs, could come down to whoever can catch La Grande.

                      "La Grande is the front runner. They have been tough the last four years," Walk said. "I think it is a coin toss between us and La Grande, after that I don't know. Riverside lost a lot of seniors. Mac-Hi could be a threat, and Madras self-destructed last year."

                      Tigers clobber Weiser, September 7, 2005

                         Argus Observer sports staff

                      The Ontario boys soccer team was in midseason form, scoring 10 goals before halftime on their way to an 18-1 nonleague romp over Weiser on Tuesday at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

                      The game was the first of the season for Ontario, which went 7-6-2 in 2004.

                      "We really played well, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they have pressure on them," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "It was fun to get that first win."

                      Ontario was aggressive from the start, using quick passes and an aggressive attack to pepper the Weiser defense.

                      "That was all part of the plan to be aggressive," Smith said. "I think our guys just moved a lot faster."

                      The Tigers got plenty of offensive help. Carlos Salgado led the way with four goals, while Jorge Martinez and Adam Mendiola each added three. Andres Navarette and Mitch Oakes each finished with two goals.

                      "We rotated everyone in, so everyone had the opportunity to contribute," Smith said.

                      Ontario opens Special District 7 play Saturday at Riverside, while Weiser begins Snake River Valley play Thursday at McCall-Donnelly.

                      Chipping in to help, September 12, 2005

                         Julie Engel Argus Observer

                      Pennies add up.

                      All last week, students at Alameda Elementary School brought in change for their Victims of Hurricane Katrina penny drive.

                      They brought in a lot of pennies - $2,618 worth.

                      Kelsey Zimmerman, a first- and second-grade teacher, said she thought of the penny drive while driving the 30 minutes it takes for her to reach work from her home in Adrian. The school started the drive Friday, Sept. 2, and ended it Friday.

                      "The kids have seen it on the news and they are just really affected by it," Zimmerman said.

                      The winning class was going to receive an ice cream party, but because the students raised so much money all the classes will receive ice cream and the winning class - Jolene Zagaris's with $458 - will have a pizza party.

                      Zimmerman said she never heard a student say, "I want to win the ice cream party," but they all said they wanted to help.

                      One student even brought in his piggy bank to class and emptied its contents into the coin jar. Some teachers had to bring bigger jars to accommodate the mass amount of coins.

                      Many of the students in Alameda Elementary live below the poverty line, and Zagaris said she was shocked to see how much the children were giving.

                      "What a neat thing for them to learn to give," Zagaris said.

                      Another school to jump in to help was Aiken Elementary with a "Supercenter Store" and coin drive.

                      Second- and third-grade students made crafts all week, such as pet rocks, beaded bracelets and paper plate tambourines. Other students did face painting, fishing for stickers and sold concessions. Each item was only 25 cents, but all those quarters added up to a total of $500 for the day.

                      Teachers presented the students with a "what can we do" question, and the students took off from there. Most children said what they were doing made them feel happy and great.

                      "We sat at the rug and thought of ideas to do for the hurricane," Alycea Wilson, 7, said.

                      Fifth-grade students started a coin drive to go on all month. A big jar is located in the Aiken Elementary office and anyone can drop in to donate.

                      Ontario High School students will be canvassing the town all next week collecting donations for hurricane victims. The leadership students will travel in pairs and are instructed to knock on every door in Ontario.

                      Also, a group of OHS students will hold a car wash from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at Les Schwab in Ontario.

                      All proceeds will go to the Red Cross. Ontario Middle School's student council will meet Tuesday to discuss fund-raising options. The students will most likely do a coin drive, and in the past raised more than $2,000 for the tsunami victims.

                      Tigers sweep Vale, September 14, 2005

                         Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                      Having gone from league opponents to non-league, the Ontario and Vale volleyball teams have maintained their rivalry even if the stakes have gone down. Both teams entered the court on Tuesday amped up to compete against an opponent that consistently gives them a run for their money. This time the victory went to Ontario as the Tigers swept the Vikings, winning all three sets, 25-21, 25-17, 26-24, at Ontario High School.

                      Vale, however, didn't go down without a fight.

                      "Sometimes the rivalry overshadows the focus, and we don't stay on task, but Vale is always going to get up for Ontario," said Vale coach Mary Ann Standage.

                      During the first set the score remained tight. For the second, Vale struggled behind and never took the lead.

                      The third set seemed to suggest a new wind as Vale scored the first point and maintained a lead until near the end.

                      "After beating them twice we're a team that gets loose and lackadaisical, and we lost focus," said Ontario coach Rod Williams. "Playing Vale can distract us from the game at hand."

                      The Vikings kept the Tigers at a three-point deficit until Jerrimi Hofmann's three serves gave Ontario the first lead of the set going from 13-14 to 15-14. The teams stayed within a point or two of each other until the score reached 24-24, and Ontario pulled ahead to win the set and the game.

                      Ontario's Kylie Roberts played an integral role in the win. "Kylie played a tremendous game," Williams said. "She needed to step up because we were missing some key players, and she had a great night at the net."

                      Along with Roberts, Tara Alvarado and Lindsay Skeen are apart of what Ontario feels is it's power-house blocking.

                      "In the first game they changed their offense and started tipping it because they couldn't get past our blocking," Williams said. "We know we can block anyone in the state except Burns."

                      For Vale, Amy Barlow went 14-for-14 serving, Elisa Mooney had nine kills and Jordan McDaniel had 5 kills and 4 blocks.

                      "We had some really good plays, and we missed some cues," said Standage. "When you are in a game so close, you can't go back and miss a serve. We missed some serves at some crucial times that hurt."

                      Neither team has encounter league play yet this season. Vale is now 2-3 and heads to Fruitland Tournament on Saturday. Also on Saturday, Ontario, 3-1, will open up league play with a tri-meet. The Tigers play Mac-Hi at 2:20 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30.

                      "This is a big win for us because Vale is a rival, but realistically it's just practice for Saturday when our league games begin," said Williams. "But, it always feels good to beat a rival."

                      Overall student enrollment in Vale climbs, September 16, 2005

                         JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      As with its district counterpart in Nyssa, the Vale School District has seen an increase in student enrollment for the beginning of 2005 to 2006 school year, while Ontario School District has experienced only a minimal gain.

                      According to Vale Superintendent Matthew Hawley, 947 students are enrolled in the school district the beginning of this school year - an increase of 26 students, and up from 921 at the beginning of the 2004 to 2005 school year.

                      That number is significant, however, because Vale's student enrollment has been decreasing the past six years. The number of Vale's students dropped significantly just during the last school year. While it had 921 at the beginning of the year, Hawley said, the district had only 886 students last spring. The fact the school has 947 starting this year, Hawley said, is very positive.

                      "My biggest concern is how many we retain," Hawley said.

                      Vale Elementary School has seen the biggest increase of all Vale's schools, jumping from 385 last year to 415 this year. Vale High School gained 16 students, up from 307 to 323. On the other hand, Vale Middle School lost 18 students, down from 139 to 121, and Willowcreek Elementary lost two. Hawley said the question being asked in the Vale School District office is why the school district is experiencing an increase in student enrollment, when in past years it has declined. Vale, he said, has not experienced new development or houses, which would indicate or promote growth.

                      Hawley said his best guess is Vale has picked up students from interdistrict transfers from Ontario and the outlying school districts.

                      He said while the school year has started on a positive note regarding student enrollment, "it is too soon to tell" overall what this increase means to the district.

                      Ontario has not seen any big changes from last year to the present, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said district officials did not anticipated any.

                      As of Sept. 7, the school district had 2,687 students enrolled in Ontario schools, an increase of nine students, up from 2,679 enrolled as of Sept. 8, 2004.

                      The most dramatic difference in enrollment numbers, according to the district, are in the elementary schools, where numbers decreased from 1,266 to 1,239 - a drop of 27 students.

                      Carter attributes the drop in students to the fact Ontario's charter school, Four Rivers Community School, added an extra class and grade level this year, and the 27 students is roughly the size of one additional class.

                      Carter said, however, the district's numbers should not be affected overall because, assuming those 27 students are now attending the charter school, they will re-enter the Ontario school system within a couple of years.

                      Ontario High School experienced the most significant increase in students, jumping from 776 in September 2004 to 811. Carter said much of that growth comes from the large class of students that transferred up from the middle school. The middle school showed no change in enrollment numbers, as a result, he said.

                      Carter said while the school district's enrollment is fairly consistent with last year, Ontario has been slowly increasing in numbers over a longer period of time, and he expects more dramatic differences in numbers in the long run.

                      "The reality is it's started to trend up," Carter said.

                      McCall defeats Ontario, September 16, 2005

                        Tiesha Miller Argus Observer

                      McCall-Donnelly's offsides trap might have been the demise of the Ontario boy's soccer team on Thursay at the Alameda Elementary School soccer field. The Tigers lost to the Vandals, 3-1, and relinquished possesion on offsides calls at least nine times in the second half alone.

                      "I've got some veteran players in the back," said McCall-Donnelly coach Mike Maini. "They are headed up by Jordan Congleton and are able to get the job done."

                      Ontario's Jorge Martinez scored the first goal of the game in the first half. "Being down at the start of the game pushed us to go harder and make passes crisp," said McCall-Donnelly goal keeper Bob Verschoor, a senior.

                      The Vandals' Ryan Mulick's two goals were also in the first half, the last of which was scored on a run down the field and shot diaganally past the keeper into the center of the goal. For the remainder of the half, play remained in the midfield area with switched possesion between teams and occasional runs but no goals.

                      The Tigers came into the second half with more agression. Frequent attacks were made by Ontario's Adam Mendiola, Jorge Martinez and Andres Navarette. Initially many of Ontario's shots went above or to the left of the right of the goal posts. But offsides calls extinguished many attempted runs.

                      "We controlled the ball and created opportunites to score, but we just didn't score," said Ontario coach Brandon Smith. "When you have 10, one on ones with the goalie, one should go in. I really felt like we controlled the whole game, and at the end we got too tired to play."

                      Eventualy the Tigers were able to make several break-aways but were haulted by the McCall-Donnelly defense or Verschoor.

                      "Their physical nature combined with their speed, we had to play at 100 percent the whole game," Maini said. "They're finishing wasn't all that great, but Bob [the goal keeper] was able to cut the angle and come out on thier break aways and cut out the havoc."

                      McCall-Donnelly's final goal was scored by Chase Millemann on a hard shot that hit the keeper's hands and bounced over him and into the goal.

                      McCall-Donnelly is now 8-1 overall and 1-0 in league play and will play Middleton on Saturday at home. Ontario, 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league, has a bit of a break and plays Madras on Sept. 24.

                      Ontario takes Nyssa in three, September 16, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      Both Ontario and Nyssa volleyball teams found out that the Tigers can play without Vanessa Gomez in the lineup as Ontario defeated the Bulldogs 25-21, 25-14, 16-25, 27-25 in volleyball action Tuesday night in Nyssa.

                      With Gomez gone on a family trip to California, Tigers head coach Rod Williams discovered the next generation of Ontario volleyball stars, bringing up Rebecca McDanel from the junior varsity for her first varsity game.

                      "Rebecca just played extraordinary for us tonight," Williams said. "The traveling is starting to wear us down, though, and it showed some tonight. We would get big leads and then let off our guard. You can't shut a team like Nyssa down when you let them back into the games."

                      Ontario was led by Tara O'Conner with nine kills. Stephanie O'Conner had 30 assists while Kristia Maeda had 17 perfect passes. Kylie Roberts led with 14 blocked shots and three stuffs. Serving, Jerrimi Hoffman had five aces.

                      "We played well tonight, a lot more aggressive than we had in the last couple games," Nyssa head coach Candy Ball said after the game. "We did struggle with our serves tonight, missing 10. You cannot give a good team like Ontario 10 points on missed serves."

                      Ball said she had planned on playing good teams this year to ready the Bulldogs for upcoming league play.

                      "We need to play the good teams," Ball said. "To stay at the top of the game, you need to push yourself and play quality teams like Ontario."

                      For the Bulldogs, Hailey Froerer led with 10 kills while Chelsey Ramos had two blocks for kills. Whitney Spear had 22 passes to lead the Bulldogs.

                      Nyssa (1-2 overall) is off for the weekend, traveling to Marsing on Tuesday.

                      Ontario opens Greater Oregon League play on Saturday, hosting Mac-Hi at 2:30 p.m. and Riverside at 8:30 p.m.

                      Ontario soccer takes on Madras, September 25, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      The Ontario Tigers advanced to 2-1 in Special District 7 play, defeating the Madras White Buffaloes, 3-2, on Saturday Alameda Elementary School soccer fields.

                      Ontario's Adam Mendiola scored on a jumping header for the Tigers' go-ahead goal. The assist was picked up by Jorge Martinez for his kick from the outside corner.

                      "I knew we needed it badly," Mendiola said of the goal. "I thought I better contribute. I just timed this one perfect."

                      A very physical game on both sides, Mendiola said he prefers those types of games. Earlier in the game, he picked up a yellow card for his play. However, both teams picked up their share of fouls for the game.

                      "Our coach has been working us really hard in conditioning," Mendiola said. "I like those types of games where we can mix it up with teams."

                      Ontario also received scores from Jorge Martinez and Carlos Salgado. Martinez picked up an additional assist from the Salgado goal for a total of two. His work running the outside right portion of the field was a major contribution to the Tiger win.

                      "I thought we controlled the field well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "We had good movement, and our defense played really tough. I thought one of the secrets today was out winning the ball in the air." Ontario (3-2 overall) travels to Baker on Wednesday.

                      Ontario gets 3-1 win at Baker, September 29, 2005

                      The Ontario Tigers trip to Baker was a successful one as the Tigers beat up on the Bulldogs, 4-1, in boys soccer action Wednesday.

                      Leading 2-0 at the half, Ontario cruised through the second half of the game to take the win and push their record in the Special District 7 to 3-1 for the season.

                      "We played really well," Ontario head coach Brandon Smith said. "Baker has a much improved team over what they have had in the past years. I was impressed with how much better they played us this time."

                      Jorge Martinez, Carlos Salgado and Mitch Oakes each picked up a goal apiece for the Tigers in the win.

                      The Tigers host Mac-Hi on Saturday at the Alameda Elementary Fields for another league matchup.

                      Planning for the future, May 5, 2005

                        John Braese Argus Observer

                      Join a branch of the military?

                      Look into a college?

                      Flower arranging?

                      How about law enforcement?

                      For students close to graduation, or for those still a few years away from their final school days, the job fair held Thursday at Four Rivers Cultural Center offered a variety of different career choices.

                      More than 1,000 students attended the event at FRCC and gained an up-close view of more than 60 different careers offered locally. Area professionals also were on hand to provide insight into their tools of the trade and the type of training students will need to succeed in the job market.

                      The job fair event, though, can trace its roots directly to Ontario High School counselor David Hopper.

                      "We planted some seeds for careers," Hopper said. "I cannot stress enough how the community has stepped up for this program. Not one person did not show up that was scheduled to be here for the kids. This community truly cares about the children."

                      The students from throughout the valley were able to attend small workshops presented by a variety of instructors in different career fields.

                      After the workshops, the young workers-to-be were able to view tables filled with information of qualifications, training needed and starting pay scales for differing vocations.

                      Talking to Debbie Lyons, United States Bureau of Land Management, Ontario High School sophomore Alycia Adams was especially interested in the possibilities of working in the "Adopt a Horse" program.

                      "I like horses and spending time with horses," Adams said. "I also like welding, and Debbie (Lyons) said BLM could always use people like me."

                      Ontario sophomores Edgar Garcia and Alex Sierra were visiting with local Navy recruiter Paul Snider. Sierra was interested in the Navy career because his interests focused on diving, water and machine guns.

                      Garcia, however, said the Army caught his eye this day. And if the students left the building, a chance to run a backhoe and learn a little about construction was available outside.

                      Ontario Public Works Director Steve Gaschler sat outside in a small backhoe, giving the students a chance to operate the backhoe by filling a bucket with sand.

                      The day is to be an annual event for local schools Hopper said.

                      Moving up the ladder, May 11, 2005

                        William Anderson Argus Observer

                      Two Ontario High School seniors finalized their college plans recently, as both Rick Ramirez and Todd Smith will be heading off this fall to play football.

                      Ramirez, 18, will be heading to the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif., to play football and work toward a criminal justice degree.

                      "They have a really good field of study I am going into in criminal justice," Ramirez said. "I am going to play football to pay for school."

                      Ramirez help lead the Tigers' to the second round of the OSAA Class 3A state playoffs during his senior season. Ramirez recorded 114 tackles and 45 assists, and had one interception, which was returned for a touchdown.

                      Ontario head football coach Randy Waite said the College of the Redwoods is a good fit for Ramirez.

                      "I think it is good for him acedemically, with the small class sizes," Waite said. "As far as I know, Ramirez is the only middle linebacker they have recruited. I know they (the college) are looking forward to this and so is Rick."

                      The California junior college went 2-8 in 2004, and are a member of the Golden Valley Conference.

                      Ramirez said to play college football, he will need to drop a few pounds and then add at least 20 pounds of muscle.

                      "I wanted to play pretty bad and not be board and lazy," Ramirez said. "I will have an opportunity, if I get to play both years."

                      Ramirez has said he is interested in heading to Oregon State University or a couple other four-year schools after his time in Eureka.

                      Smith will be heading to play football at Rocky Mountain College, a NAIA school in Billings, Mont.

                      Smith is expected to play either outside linebacker or defensive end for Rocky Mountain.

                      "He has the opportunity to play and participate," Waite said. "I think he knows he will not be going in and playing right away."

                      Rocky Mountain College is a four-year liberal arts college. The Bears will be looking to rebound from a 1-10 season last fall - the school's worst record since 1995.

                      Waite said if Smith works hard and is able to put on some weight, he will do just fine.

                      Nyssa's Jose Escobedo has also signed a letter of intent to play football at Western Oregon University. Escobedo, an offensive and defensive lineman with the Bulldogs, helped Nyssa to the 2A Oregon state football playoffs last season.

                      Simpson signs with Warriors, May 11, 2005

                         Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      The season comes to an end for the Ontario High softball team on Saturday, but for senior catcher Stephanie Simpson her softball career will continue on next year.

                      Simpson signed a letter-of-intent, on Monday, to play softball at Walla Walla Community College following graduation.

                      The senior is hitting .260 with nine RBIs for the Tigers, who are 12-10 on the season. Simpson, who was a second-team All-Greater Oregon League selection last season, has also enjoyed a solid season behind the plate, throwing out 6-of-9 would-be basestealers.

                      "It's exciting when you have players move on to the next level," Ontario head coach Randy Simpson said. "When somebody from Ontario gets signed to go on to any program, whether it's a community college program or a four-year program it's awesome."

                      Walla Walla is a member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges Eastern Division, and a rival of Treasure Valley Community College. Stephanie Simpson had a chance to spend time with the Warriors over the weekend, when Walla Walla was in town for a East Division twinbill with the Chukars. The doubleheader was postponed on Saturday, giving Simpson and Warrior head coach Mike Staudenmaier a chance to talk.

                      "We hung out Saturday, and I got the chance to meet the team and talk with the coach," Stephanie Simpson said. "I just clicked with the team and I really like the coach's philosophy."'

                      Following Saturday's meeting, the Warriors made a big impression on their recruit, drilling the Chukars, 20-1 and 15-5, to clinch a spot in the postseason. Walla Walla hit 12 home runs in the sweep of Treasure Valley.

                      "They are a really good team," Stephanie Simpson said.

                      Stephanie Simpson's choices came down to the the Washington school and Treasure Valley.

                      "I thought back and forth about the two schools," Stephanie Simpson said. "But I wanted to get out of Ontario and try something new."

                      Individuals stand out for Tigers at district, May 15, 2005

                        William Anderson

                      What is the point of hosting a sporting event without a little controversy?

                      The controversy came in the last girls event of the day, the second to last event of the two-day Greater Oregon League district track meet at Ontario High School Saturday afternoon.

                      In the 1,600-meter relay, Ontario and Burns were tight the duration of the race, with Ontario holding a slight lead through the first three legs.

                      On the final leg, Ontario's anchor leg Jordan Bainbridge was cut off by Burns' Jaela Dinsmore on the homestretch, pushing Bainbridge out of bounds. Bainbridge and Dinsmore kept running next to each other as the two girls collided at the finish line with Burns getting the win.

                      After a review, the Burns relay team was disqualified for the action, giving Ontario the win.

                      According to Ontario track coach Trever Wilson, a runner cannot take away another runners position on the track.

                      The race was simply a highlight of the day for the Ontario girls, who finished fourth with 93 points, and were off the pace of Burns. The Hilanders won the girls title with 163.5 points. La Grande was second with 127.5, and Baker took third with 114.

                      On the boys side, La Grande walked away with the event in first place with 205.5 points, while Burns was second with 121 and Baker third at 105.5 points. Ontario finished fourth with 98.5 points.

                      In all, the Tigers will send 13 athletes to state to compete in 10 events.

                      Bainbridge will compete in four separate events. Along with the 1,600-meter relay, Bainbridge will compete in the 400-meter relay, the 400-meter and the 200-meter.

                      "I am looking forward to next week. It will be good competition," Bainbridge said. "I have a lot of room to improve."

                      Bainbridge did well Saturday, taking first place honors in the 400, with a time of 1:00.04, while getting second in the 200, behind Dinsmore, while also helping the 1,600 relay team to a first place finish, and the 400 relay team to a second place finish.

                      "She has been doing this all year," Wilson said. "She has been doing what she has to do to get to state all year. She is looking forward to going to state."

                      Jacob Blaylock also qualified for more than one event, winning all three races he enters, the 800-meter, 2:01.06, the 1,500-meter, 4:29.13, and the 1,600-meter-relay team, 3:33.96.

                      Jose Rivera qualified in two events for the Tigers, in his first year of running track, the 1,600 relay and the 400-meter-relay.

                      "It is outrageous," Rivera said of going to state. "I am glad to be competing at the state level."

                      Ontario girls claim district tennis title, May 16, 2005

                         Argus Observer Sports Staff

                      The Ontario girls tennis team won its ninth district title in 11 years, scoring 32 team points Friday and Saturday in the Special District 4 tennis tournament in Madras.

                      The Ontario girls' tennis team will be sending seven girls to the state tournament next weekend.

                      Ontario's Stephanie Babij picked up the girls singles title with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the finals, to earn her second district title.

                      Three Ontario doubles teams qualified for state; Hannah Pobanz and Julie Hall, Christy Linford and Jenna McClean and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Connor, to help Ontario win their third straight district title.

                      "I thought we played really well," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said.

                      As for the boys, Ontario scored 24.5 points to finish second behind Baker's, 27.

                      Payton Aarestad picked up a district championship by knocking off Luke Rembold of Baker, 6-1, 6-0. Rembold is a two time district champ.

                      "Payton brought his game today," Gill said. "He had patience. The boys took third a year ago, so this was an improvement."

                      Nick Babij and Michael Shoeaee earned a state birth in boys doubles for the Tigers.

                      Vale's Cassandra Andrews and Karissa Nelson also qualified for state in the girls singles, while Evelyn Kaaen and Luci Delong also qualified in girls doubles action.

                      Nyssa will be sending one athlete, Luis Ramirez in boys singles, to participate in the state meet.

                      The Tigers travel to Eugene for the 3A/2A/1A State tennis match beginning Friday.

                      School district sponsors third bond meeting, May 17, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The crowd Monday night was smaller, but some new faces turned out to get more information about the Ontario 8C School District's plan to build a new high school.

                      Architects tasked with the design of a new high school provided cost analysis figures for rebuilding at the school's current site or rebuilding at a new area.

                      The meeting, the third sponsored by the Ontario School District to gather support for a major new local learning facility, was held at Ontario High School.

                      Both options - rebuild at the current school site or start fresh at a new place - were discussed at Monday's meeting, while more questions about cost arose.

                      One of the central questions that lingered after the meeting was what the current high school building would be used for if another site was chosen to build on, and what the costs would be for such a plan.

                      While nothing has been decided yet - school district officials and board members apparently are still grappling with whether to sponsor a school bond to rebuild the high school - one option, if the school district decided to build on a new site, is to move Ontario Middle School to the high school, which would require renovating the building. Many people in attendance at the meeting wanted to know the costs associated with the middle school to high school switch, and when that project would take place. Both project architect, Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, and Ontario School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said nothing firm has been decided on renovation of the high school, should that option be chosen, but it probably would happen as a second phase to rebuilding at a new site, perhaps within two years of the completion of a new high school.

                      Patano was receptive to the audience members' desire to know the associated costs with that phase, and stated before the meeting adjourned the architects have some more homework to do regarding the issue.

                      Also during the meeting, audience members had one more chance to tell the school district their desires about even rebuilding a new high school. They reached a unanimous consensus a new high school was needed at a new site. While construction of a new high school at a new site is more expensive, Patano said the cost was not that much greater than rebuilding at the current site.

                      Patano estimated the school bond to be 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, numbers provided by Northwest Pacific Securities - a bonding agency out of Washington.

                      To rebuild at the current site - using a three story building model - architects estimate it would cost $24.5 million or $27.5 million including improvements to Pioneer Elementary School, next door. That would cost taxpayers with assessed property value of $75,000 $186 a year or $15.50 a month.

                      To rebuild at a new site, estimated to cost about $30.5 million, it would cost $206 per year or $17.19 a month for property assessed at $75,000 a year. Kathy Judy, a real estate agent in Ontario, estimated the average property house in Ontario to be worth about $96,000, which raises those numbers slightly.

                      Architects will make a report of their findings to the school board at 7 p.m. Thursday.

                      Planning ahead, May 17, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario 8C School District budget committee approved a $1 million addition to the district's building equipment fund for the possible purchase of a parcel of land for a new high school site as part of the school district's 2005 to 2006 budget.

                      The budget committee approved the proposed 2005 to 2006 budget May 9. The budget will be reviewed for final approval by the school board at its June 16 meeting.

                      While officially the district maintains it has made no final plans for a new high school, the district is considering a school bond measure to help fuel the construction of a new facility at the existing high school site or possibly at a new area.

                      Should the school district choose to rebuild at a new site, $1 million was included in the 2005 to 2006 budget for the purchase of that land, Ontario 8C School District Superintendent Dennis Carter said.

                      The $1 million injected into the building equipment fund will be transferred from the school district's general fund cash carryover, Carter said.

                      Carter said the $1 million to the building improvement fund is the biggest increase in the proposed budget. The school district had only budgeted $475,000 in the fund for 2004 to 2005 fiscal year.

                      Just because $1 million has been budgeted, however, does not mean that's the amount that will be spent, Carter said, because a decision to purchase new land has not even been decided upon yet by the school district.

                      "So we don't have a price set on that," Carter said. Should the school board decide to either not go out for a bond measure or not build at a new site, the $1 million will not be spent at all, but will be transferred back into the general fund, he said.

                      Carter said the proposed budget only mentions a "possible" purchase of land, but nothing else pertaining to building a new high school has been included, partly because planning for such a project would occur in 2006-2007.

                      "If we do run a bond issue, and the bond issue passes, that would be a separate budget fund next year, and that's not covered in this budget," he said. "Nothing is included in this budget for building a high school."

                      Other than the land purchase funding, very little differs in the proposed budget from last year, Carter said.

                      Besides the $1 million transfer, the other significant change in the district's proposed budget is for three additional teachers for the school district's English as a second language program, Carter said.

                      Primary increases in the budget relate to an increase in PERS costs and salary increases that were negotiated last year, he said.

                      "This is essentially maintaining-our-program kind of budget," Carter said. "We didn't have to make any cuts in the budget this past year."

                      The proposed budget total, $33,136,827, is a little more than last year's adopted budget of $28,743,933, partly because state funds are expected to increase slightly, even though the school district does not have an exact amount of its portion of state funds yet.

                      Carter said officials used what would be the district's portion of state funds should the Legislature pass a biennium school budget of $5.25 billon - Gov. Ted Kulongoski's midway compromise between the amounts suggested by Republicans and Democrats.

                      Carter said so far, Republicans have agreed to $5.2 billion during the negotiation process, and Carter said if the $5.25 billion amount is not received, the district's cash carryover should pick up the difference.

                      "We do maintain some cash carryover to make up for uncertainty of state funding," Carter said.

                      A fitting tribute, May 18, 2005

                        Tami Hart Argus Observer

                      The yellow plastic ribbons fluttered in the breeze - a modest reminder of those serving overseas around the world - as small hands worked to tie the ribbons to the fence bordering Aiken Elementary School.

                      First-graders from Ms. Marie Clark's class at Aiken Elementary took part in the yellow ribbon project developed by two Ontario women who have family members serving in Iraq.

                      Marcie Sloane and Vickie Sissel worked with the children Tuesday to replace the fading yellow ribbons that had been in place on the fence for two years now.

                      It was Sloane's granddaughter, Bailey Allender, who came up with the idea to put up the ribbons when she was a student at Aiken. Allender's father, Sgt. Brian Allender, is with Ontario's Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Brigade, which is currently stationed in Kikurk.

                      Over time, though, the ribbons have faded and Sloane said it was time for a redo.

                      "As family members, we wanted to see them redone," Sloane said. "I drive past here everyday and it makes me sad."

                      Sloane said she contacted school officials, who gave the go-ahead for the project.

                      Aiken Elementary School principal Mark Hinthorn said many of the students at Aiken have either a family member or know of someone who has a family member serving in the armed forces.

                      "This project is a way for the children to express hope for the soldiers' safe return," Hinthorn said.

                      Despite their young age, Hinthorn said the children understand on a general level what is happening overseas.

                      "Students have seen our flags flying at half-staff. They often ask why. I'm direct in letting them know another of our Oregon soldiers has died," he said.

                      Fortunately, the school has not had any students with family members who were killed in action, and Hinthorn said he has not seen a negative emotional impact on the students.

                      Sissel said she sees the project as a good way to get the children involved and she said during the ribbon-tying, children were asking her questions about the war, which she said she and Sloane tried to answer on the children's' level.

                      Sissel's husband, Les, is the first sergeant for Alpha Company.

                      "I think this shows community support and it keeps things in the eyes of the community," Sissel said.

                      "I think this is important and I wish we saw more of it," Sloane said. She pointed out other communities, such as Baker and La Grande, show their support with flags and ribbons throughout the community. She applauded Nyssa's troop program of sending care packages to soldier's overseas.

                      "Most of the businesses in Nyssa are involved in it. It's a regular committee. Ontario has nothing like that," she said.

                      Sloane said the ribbons at Aiken would remain in place until all the soldiers come home - not just the soldiers of Alpha Company.

                      "Until the war is over, those ribbons will stay up. I think it's that important."

                      Tigers take on new role at 3A state tennis tournament, May 19, 2005

                        Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      Argus Observer file photo Ontario's Payton Aarestad returns a shot during a match last month. The Tigers begin play at the 3A state tournament on Friday.

                      When the 3A/2A/1A Oregon State Tennis Tournament tournament kicks off on Friday at the Eugene Swim and Tennis Club, the Ontario girls tennis team will be the hunted, not the hunter. That's what happens when you are the defending state champions.

                      Play begins at 9 a.m. MDT on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday for the 10 Tigers, seven girls and three boys, four Vale and one Nyssa players who will be making the trip.

                      Last year, the Ontario girls tennis team was aiming to complete unfinished business when play started. After all, Ontario had a third-place finish in 2003 and a fourth-place finish in 2002. Powered by top six finishes from three girls doubles teams, the Tigers took its first-ever 3A/2A/1A state title. According to the Oregon School Activities Association web site, Ontario's title is the first time a 3A/2A/1A team tennis title has traveled east of the Blue Mountains.

                      "When I first started coaching here, just getting there was great," Ontario head coach Dennis Gill said. "To win it was a big accomplishment. We are hoping to perform well in Eugene. If we do that good things will come."

                      Last year Kelsey Pobanz and Kristy Church were the Tigers' best finishers, taking second in girls doubles. Church and Pobanz, who both graduated, fell 7-5, 7-5 to La Salle's Missy DeCosta and Catherine Everist. DeCosta returns, and is teamed with Jen Denardis. They are the No. 1 seeded doubles team.

                      Ontario's Laurel Saito and Julie Hall are the fourth-seeded doubles tandem. Saito is filling in for Hannah Pobanz, who tore an ACL during the district tournament last weekend.

                      "Laurel is a very good player," Gill said. "They have a shot if they play well together."

                      Christie Linford and Jenna McClain (8-0) and Vanessa Gomez and Tara O'Conner are the other doubles teams for Ontario.

                      Stephanie Babij (17-1 overall) opens the tournament as the No. 2 seed in girls singles, and will face Stanfield's Leah Walchli in the first round.

                      Michael Shoaee and Nick Babij, who are 18-2 on the season, are seeded second in boys doubles after finishing second at district. Payton Aarestad (18-2) rounds out the Ontario contingent. Aarestad is the third-seed going into the opening round.

                      "He has earned that (seeding)," Gill said.

                      Vale's Karissa Nelson and Cassandra Andrews are unranked in girls singles. The Vikings are also sending Evelyn Kaaen and Luci DeLong are unranked in girls doubles, and must face DeCosta and Denardis in the first round.

                      Nyssa's lone representative - Luis Ramirez - is unranked in boys singles.

                      Architect urges district to move ahead on new school blueprint, May 22, 2005

                        JESSICA KELLER ARGUS OBSERVER

                      The Ontario School Board received an update on the district's town hall meetings - designed to gauge support for rebuilding a new high school - at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

                      Project architect Mike Patano, The Matrix Group, Boise, briefed the school board on the conclusions drawn from the last of three school bond town hall meetings. The last school bond town hall meeting occurred Monday.

                      Although the school board did not vote on whether to go out for a school bond to rebuild Ontario High School, and will not do so until June at the earliest, Patano provided a favorable report for the district to move ahead with its plans.

                      The options the school district has available are not rebuilding the high school, rebuilding the high school at the current site or rebuilding the high school at a new site.

                      "I think of all the town hall meetings, you have overwhelming support for a new high school at a new site," Patano said.

                      While the district has not made a final decision about presenting a school bond to area votes, it has already set aside $1 million in this year's budget to buy land for the project.

                      Patano also pointed out, if the school board should go out for a bond, open communication is necessary and school district officials and bond supporters should be prepared to answer any question in order to garner trust, even if those questions touch on previously controversial topics.

                      "Whether it's Lindbergh or whether it's the district office," he said. "We can't let anything slide off the table."

                      Patano also presented to the council the estimated cost figures of the project, which were also announced to the town hall attendants Monday.

                      Rebuilding at the current site, and performing construction work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $27.5 million. Rebuilding at a new, ideal 50 acre site, plus the work at Pioneer Elementary, is estimated to cost $30.5 million.

                      That cost, Patano said, does not include the cost of purchasing the property. Patano announced at Monday night's meeting, that land will most likely be the near the bypass in Ontario.

                      The second cost estimate provided - building at a new site - also does not incorporate the price tag of a new stadium and athletic facilities, which were deliberately left off because, Patano said, it was a potential deal breaker, especially because the current stadium is popular and in the middle of town.

                      Patano said to rebuild at the current site, which would incorporate approximately 23 acres of land, school district resident voters could expect to pay $248 a year for property with $100,000 assessed value. For a 50 acre site it would cost $275 a year for property assessed at $100,000.

                      Patano, with the agreement of school board members, said when a bond measure is presented to the public, promoters should be sure to address the importance of a new high school in the community and stress a new high school as an investment. He said more and more when people consider moving into an area, they look at what kind of schools a community has, what the hospitals are like and how progressive that community is. A new high school, Patano stressed could be an "economic rejuvenator" in Ontario.

                      Most of the remainder of the meeting took place in executive session where the school board addressed two topics - real property transactions and personnel matters.

                      Bainbridge gets a pair of fourth place finishes, May 22, 2005

                         Rob Moseley Argus Observer

                      After dominating competition in the Greater Oregon League all season, Ontario sophomore Jordan Bainbridge took her talents to the state meet this weekend, and it was once again an eye-opening experience.

                      "Being here feels different than any other race I've ever been in," said Bainbridge, who finished fourth in both the 200 and 400 meters. "You come here and everyone's the best. It's really exciting to be here."

                      Marist won the team title in the OSAA Class 3A track and field championships at Hayward Field. The Spartans scored 61 points, while Bainbridge scored 10 points to give the Tigers 25th place.

                      Bainbridge improved on her seventh-place finish in the 200 at state a year ago by finishing in 26.80 seconds in Saturday's final. She finished fourth in the 400 for the second year in a row, crossing the line in 58.66.

                      Both times were personal bests for Bainbridge, who said the experience of being at state last year helped her this weekend but also increased the pressure.

                      "Last year I was pretty young, so I was just excited to be here," Bainbridge said. "Now I'm a year older, and there are more expectations."

                      Still, she said, the level of competition was inspiring. "It's just really different," Bainbridge said. "Here, I'm pushed really hard. I'm getting an idea of what my best can be."

                      The weekend didn't go off without a hitch. First, Ontario coach Kate Guerrero gave birth Wednesday and wasn't able to attend the meet.

                      Then, the girls 4x400-meter relay team didn't advance to the final in qualifying Friday despite entering the meet seeded third.

                      "Our splits just weren't good enough, and I'm not sure why," Bainbridge said.

                      She ran the relay along with Denali Cox, Bianca Davis and Angie Hamman.

                      "I think we were just really nervous," Bainbridge said. "It's really different running here."

                      Hamman failed to qualify for the final in the 400 meters, and the boys 4x100 relay team also didn't advance Friday.

                      "It was a little weird last night," Bainbridge said. "I was the only one preparing for a race."

                      The only other Tiger competing Saturday was J.J. Anthony, who didn't make the final in the shot put.

                      With her sophomore season now behind her, Bainbridge said her goal as a junior will be to break the school record of 57.9 in the 400.

                      Among the winners in the girls Class 4A meet Saturday was Sheryl Page, who transferred to Sandy from Ontario last summer and won the 1,500 meters in 4 minutes, 36.22 seconds.

                      Page finished second to Annaliese Chapa of Central Catholic in their district cross country meet last fall, but she outkicked Chapa down the stretch Saturday to claim the state 1,500 title.

                      Wait pays off for Tigers, May 24, 2005

                          GARY HENLEY Special to the Argus Observer

                      Astoria's Field of Streams was turned into a Field of Dreams for the Ontario Tigers in a Class 3A first round state playoff game Monday night.

                      A tireless grounds crew pumped nearly 130 gallons of water off Astoria's Ernie Aiken Field during the past three days, just so the Tigers and Fishermen could square off on the diamond.

                      The game was delayed an hour-and-a-half to allow for some extra drying, but after driving clear across the state to begin with, the Tigers didn't mind waiting.

                      And it paid off in the end for the visitors.

                      Ontario scored three runs in the top of the first to set the tone for a 9-3 win over the Fishermen, ending Astoria's season and sending the Tigers on to the next round, where they will face Central.

                      "We weren't even sure if we were going to get to play this one, so it sure felt good to go out and win it," Ontario coach Les Horn, whose team improves to 15-11 overall, said.

                      Monday's key statistic wasn't Astoria's 14 hits - it was the 12 runners left on base for the Fishermen.

                      Ontario pitcher Jose Garcia was in trouble on more than one occasion, but always seemed to come up with a big out - or two - when he needed it.

                      "I've never seen a kid pitch in trouble better than he does," Horn said of Garcia. "He gets in trouble, then he just works and bears down and pitches his way out of it."

                      The Tigers ended the first inning with a 5-4-3 double play, and the Fishermen loaded the bases with one out in the second inning before Garcia retired the next two batters.

                      Astoria loaded the bases again in the fourth, but Garcia struck out Andrew MacLean swinging to end the inning.

                      The Fishermen had the bases juiced with one out in the fifth, but Astoria's Kevin Berry lined a sharp grounder to Ontario shortstop Matt Mejia, who stepped on second for one out, then fired to first to get Berry to end the inning.

                      Astoria had base runners reach second in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could never come through with the big hit.

                      "The 6-3 double play with the bases loaded was huge, and the 5-4-3 was huge," Horn said. "If we don't get those two double plays, it's a whole different game."

                      Meanwhile, the Tigers tacked on one run in the fifth and another in the sixth, then used a bases-loaded double by Kurt Kolbaba on their way to a four-run seventh inning.

                      Kolbaba finished with four RBI's on two doubles and a single, while Rick Ramirez blasted a big two-run homer in the first inning for one of his two hits.

                      "I was really surprised when Rick got a hold of that one," Horn said. "That was his first home run of the year. It's a great time to have it."

                      Garcia allowed 14 hits with five strikeouts and a walk, and helped himself with a double at the plate in the seventh inning.

                      Local Ontario grads reflect on school, the future, May 29, 2005

                         John Braese Argus Observer

                      Three Ontario High School seniors traveled a varied path to their 2005 graduation but the end result was the same: a diploma.

                      While they all also chose diverse roads to follow after graduation, for one day they were all unified under a single "2005" graduation banner.

                      Chris Schauer was born and raised in Ontario and attended grade school through high school with the same basic, core group of students.

                      "I know everybody," Schauer said, "I saw them when they started in Ontario, I saw them when they left Ontario."

                      Entering into high school, Schauer played baseball all four years. Schauer concluded the season Friday with his teammates in their 6-5 playoff loss to North Marion. Schauer said the 2005 baseball season was one of the highlights of his prep career. Schauer said he plans to play baseball after graduation, this time for the U.S. Marine Corps. On June 6, a few short days after he walks through the line, Schauer will start a 15-week basic training stint at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

                      After graduation from boot camp, he will return home for an 11-day leave and then return for combat training and a two-year tour in aircraft mechanics.

                      "The Marines were not giving money to everybody just to join," Schauer said. "They were looking for people that want to be there. They want the tougher ones."

                      Schauer admitted his family is concerned about the current world situation regarding his decision to join the U.S. Marines.

                      "My parents are worried about me," Schauer said. "I am not worried about going to Iraq. I am supportive of our troops. The troops don't make the decisions and I don't know enough about Iraq to make an opinion."

                      Schauer said he hopes to return eventually to catch up with old friends.

                      "I plan on coming back for my 20th reunion," Schauer said. "I enjoyed high school, but it will not be the highlight of my life. There were flat points in high school and I will probably get over missing my friends pretty quick."

                      Christian Aguirra chose a longer path to his diploma. After moving to Ontario from Ontario, Calif., two years ago, this year was a repeat of his senior year after ending up eight credits short of graduation last year.

                      "Hell yeah, I am excited about graduating," Aguirra said. "I am the first in my family to graduate from high school. I am proof that if you apply yourself, you are going to make it."

                      Aguirra said he plans on becoming a school counselor or psychologist. Aguirra will be the first to admit that two years ago, many did not think he was going to make it to graduation. After becoming involved in some trouble at school, Aguirra was placed in the night school program for a time before being allowed to return to regular school.

                      "Some teachers really care, some don't," Aguirra said. "Some teachers told me just to give up and go get a GED. There were some teachers, though, that really came through for me and told me I could make it. That first year, I was a real knucklehead."

                      Aguirra said he was shocked on the differences between California and Ontario High School.

                      "In Cali, they did not care. They never told you if you were missing this or that, they just let you go on," Aguirra said. "I am really not a school type of person and had a hard time applying myself. But I found out that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything."

                      After walking through the line, Aguirra said he plans on attending TVCC, finding a job and marrying his fiance, whom he met at Ontario High. Looking at his 20-year reunion, Aguirra said he will be back.

                      "Hell yeah, I'm coming back. I want everybody to see what I did in life," Aguirra said. "I am a knucklehead and I made it."

                      Kailey Poole will graduate with a host of school accolades. Poole has filled roles as Ontario High School Associated Student Body Treasurer, a member of the Leadership Club, while participating in soccer and softball.

                      Poole, a lifelong Ontario resident, arrived at OHS after attending St. Peter's Catholic School. Looking back at high school, Poole said she cannot believe how fast the time went by.

                      "It just went by so fast," Poole said. "It was so fun, I just can't believe it is over."

                      After graduation, Poole said she will be attending Oregon State University on scholarship, a family tradition. Planning now on entering sports medicine, Poole said she is anxious to get started with "real life." After college, Poole said she is unsure if a return to the Ontario area is in the cards.

                      "Maybe I will go to Boise," Poole said. "I would like to stick around the area and raise a family, but I don't know if it will be Ontario."

                      Poole said she is also looking forward to a reunion with her classmates in 20 years.

                      "It will be cool to see how everybody turned out," Poole said. "It will also be weird because now we are such a big part of each others' lives. In 20 years, we will barely know each other."

                      Looking back at her last four years, Poole said she was happy with the closeness achieved by her class in this last year.

                      "High school was not as bad and scary as I thought it would be," Poole said. "I enjoyed it a lot. Congratulations to us - we are awesome."

                      Tigers fall twice, February 2, 2005

                         Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      As the saying goes "to be the man, you have to beat the man."

                      The Burns wrestling team proved that may be easier said than done.

                      The Hilanders used four technical falls, three forfeits and three pins to earn a 53-21 Greater Oregon League decision over Ontario Tuesday at Ontario High School.

                      The Tigers then turned around and dropped a 61-12 nonleague decision to Nyssa.

                      Burns, who is the three-time defending 3A state champions, showed no signs of slowing down, racing to a quick 8-0 lead.

                      "We knew it was going to be a tough match," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We did not wrestle well. I think the kids were trying so hard, they were doing things we normally wouldn't do."

                      Ontario rallied back from the 8-0 hole, getting a pin from Paul Rangel (160 pounds) and a forfeit from Juan Mendez (171) to grab a 12-8 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 21-8 on a 6-1 decision from Todd Smith (189) and a forfeit win by JJ Anthony (215).

                      Then the wheels fell off.

                      Burns won the next eight matches, including three by pin, to take the easy win.

                      "We were not as aggressive as we had been," Rangel said. "We wanted to be counter wrestlers and not do what we do."

                      Things did not go much better against Nyssa, which is the five-time 2A state champions.

                      Nyssa gave up just two forfeits, on the way to its seventh dual win of the season.

                      Cody Peterson (145) set the tone for the dual with an impressive 6-4 overtime win over Ontario's Jose Rivera. Peterson scored a one-point escape with two seconds remaining in the third period, tying the match at 4-4. Both wrestlers could not generate much during the one minute overtime, until Peterson scored a two-point takedown with two seconds left to score the win.

                      "I think that match set the tone for the rest of the night," Nyssa head coach Luke Cleaver said. "The guys knew it would be a hard-fought match."

                      Nyssa took the dual's other close contest, getting a 7-6 win from Braden Bair over Ontario's Todd Smith at 189 pounds.

                      Bair scored a takedown with two seconds left in the third period, capping a comeback from a 6-4 third-period deficit.

                      "It was a tough match," Bair said. "I knew if I wanted to get the win I had to get it done."

                      Nyssa, who was coming off a first-place showing at the Wapiti League Duals on Friday and the McCall-Donnelly Invitational on Saturday, got five wins via pin against the Tigers.

                      "We seem to be peaking at just the right time," Cleaver said. "We are getting closer to where we need to be as district gets closer."

                      Ontario closes its regular season Thursday at Vale. Nyssa will travel to Burns Thursday for a showdown with the Hilanders.

                      School district audit highlights areas of concern, February 3, 2005

                         Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                      The Ontario School District asserts it is taking steps to correct or improve a number of areas of concern outlined in a recent audit report.

                      While the overall report - conducted by Oster Professional Group, Burns - was good, auditors did highlight several critical items for improvement, including attendance records and the student body cash account process.

                      Ontario School District Fiscal Services Manager Director Cheri Siddoway said the district has already addressed the biggest issue - attendance membership reporting of English as a Second Language students.

                      According to a letter from Oster Professional Group, auditors were unable to apply audit procedures to the enrollment/withdrawal status of students in the ESL program because attendance records by grade level were not available.

                      Siddoway said the total number of ESL students has always been tracked by the district. Just the total number, she said, of ESL students was reported to the state.

                      Siddoway said prior to the audit all the required information for the ESL students, such as their names, attendance dates, including entrance and exit dates and their status, was maintained.

                      However the information was not, she said, maintained in a single document the auditors could track and audit easily to compare with the numbers given to the state.

                      Instead, the information was in many different files, and could not be audited without cross-referencing several different sources.

                      Siddoway said the school secretaries have now added names, attendance and membership dates for each of those students in one document, so their attendance and ESL membership can be tracked more adequately.

                      Siddoway said the district just completed the ESL attendance for the second quarter, and that information has been submitted to the state and the auditors for review and approval.

                      "That was what we saw as the most pressing issue," Siddoway said.

                      The ESL program is a Title I program, which means federal funding is passed down to the district to provide services for children who would otherwise be at a disadvantage.

                      Careful recording and auditing is necessary to prove money is spent appropriately and reflects the need and the numbers of students at a particular school.

                      Siddoway said she will now turn her attention to issues at the high school and middle school.

                      The audit report stated while the elementary schools "have greatly improved their organization and attendance records," the auditors could not apply their procedure to the high school and middle school.

                      The attendance systems at the high school and middle school are working, Siddoway said, but auditors want teachers to verify with a signature each student actually attending class on a given day, to verify the electronic records.

                      "In this great era of technological advancement where a lot is done electronically, they want a piece of paper and a pencil," she said.

                      Siddoway said all the attendance improvements are important because the funding the school district receives from the state is based on enrollment at the schools.

                      She said there has been an increased focus on accountability during the past couple of years because of all the corporate accounting scandals. These efforts are a way for the school district to show the funds they receive are appropriate for the number of students it serves, Siddoway said.

                      "It was very valid," Siddoway said of the auditor's letter. "We do need to make some changes, and I think we'll have a more solid system when we're done."

                      The school district is also taking steps to improve how student body cash accounts are handled. Rather than having one person responsible for the cash accounts - signing approvals, writing checks, recording receipts and reconciling accounts - the auditors recommended more than one school official review the accounts and transactions.

                      Siddoway said currently, school secretaries usually handle most of the student body account transactions, although principals usually write checks.

                      She said in the future, most likely the secretary and principal will review and sign off on the transactions made to ensure a proper checks and balance system is in place.

                      "That's always going to be a problem when you have a small office staff," Siddoway said.

                      Schools will also keep special accounts, using funds collected by staff for various occasions such as staff birthdays or deaths in the family, separate from the student body cash accounts.

                      Siddoway said it has been easier for some schools to include those funds in the student body cash accounts to keep track of them, but since they are not public funds, and are actually staff funds, they do not need to be recorded by the district and can be kept separately.

                      Vale knocks off Tigers, February 4, 2005

                         William Anderson Argus Observer

                      Needing a major decision for a tie, and a technical fall or a pin for a victory, Vale sent out freshman Ronny Koda in a 103-pound match.

                      Koda delivered a major decision, with a 19-5 win over Ontario's Tom Martinez in the dual meets final match, as Vale defeated Ontario 41-40 in a nonleague wrestling dual Thursday night in Vale.

                      Vale picked up the win on criteria "G" or the number of near falls in the dual.

                      As for Koda, he started out the match with the Vikings trailing 40-36, as Koda came out strong, taking a 7-2 lead after the first round, including a near fall with only 45 seconds left in the first round.

                      Koda continued to impress in the second round, extending his lead to 13-5, still needing one more point for a major decision.

                      Koda got that point early in the third round, escaping from Martinez only 13 seconds into the round, only needing to hold on for the win. He did more than that, picking up another take down and near fall for a 19-5 victory.

                      "I was a little bit nervous," Koda said of the match. "I wanted to do my best. I felt like I did a pretty good job. I am pretty excited."

                      Koda's coach, Bart Ewing also thought Koda wrestled well in the match.

                      "It was a great match," Ewing said. "He wrestled as well as expected. He did a great job."

                      As for the rest of the Viking (3-10 overall) wrestling team, they used five pins a forfeit and the major decision to pick up the victory over the Tigers (10-9).

                      Ontario managed a major decision, a pin and five forfeits in the loss.

                      "They chose to forfeit to our seniors, and the young kids wrestled like young kids," Ontario coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have had a brutal two weeks of practice and matches. We gave the kids some pressure to see who would react. The next week, we will get ready for district."

                      Vale started out the match picking up pins in four of the first six matches, to jump out to a 24-10 lead. One forfeit later, Vale was up 30-10, before Ontario went on a run, picking up four forfeits and a pin for a 40-36 lead before the final match, the 103-pounders.

                      "We had a lot of kids wrestle well," Ewing said. "Tonight we did a great job."

                      Vale is back in action Saturday in a Pine Eagle Tournament at Halfway, while Ontario is off until the district tournament at Burns Feb. 11.

                      Students gain insight into leadership, February 6, 2005

                          Tami Hart Argus Observer

                      Mike Smith talks fast. Like the world's best auctioneer on the block, the words fall from his mouth in a rhythm, a cadence that draws his listeners in, filling them with his inspiring message.

                      And he moves even faster than he talks - hands gesturing and clapping, fingers snapping, he is a man in constant motion.

                      He has to be quick in order to keep up with the more than 100 students attending the Oregon Association of Student Council's Eastern Region Midwinter Conference at the Four Rivers Cultural Center Friday.

                      As the motivational speaker for the conference, it was Smith's job to lead the students from Ontario, Nyssa, Adrian and Annex through a series of icebreakers, activities and discussions centered on the conference theme "Building a Better Mousetrap."

                      "It's a gift," Smith joked of his ability to be a fast talker.

                      It's that gift, though, he uses to convey to the high school and middle school students that they are personally responsible for their own actions and there are skill sets they can use to make them better leaders.

                      "These kids, if we can get them honed in on the fact that their job is not to decorate for the dance, but to help other kids get involved in decorating for the dance, if we can get that across, we can have a better place," Smith, who has been making his high-energy presentations for more than 16 years, said. "That's what it's all about. Leadership skills will help get them to another place."

                      Laurie Grim, Ontario High School Leadership adviser, said the students who are attracted to student council and leadership in the first place are those who want to give something back to their school and their community.

                      "These are the kids that want to make memories. They want students to have a good experience in high school. They want students to participate and be involved because they know that although there is a lot of learning taking place in the classrooms, that some of the memories are made on bus trips during co-curricular activities whether it be playing on the football team, or whatever. The more involved we can get more people, the happier kids are to come to school," Grim said.

                      She had her first taste of leadership classes 13 years ago when she accompanied six students to a summer leadership camp.

                      It was Mike Taylor, who was principal when Grim first started her career at OHS, who had the vision he wanted most, if not all, students to have the opportunity to be exposed to leadership concepts such as time management, stress management and problem solving.

                      Grim said the role of the present day student councils has changed since its inception.

                      "I think in that regard it's gone from being the six elected ASB officers to having 70 kids in advanced leadership that want to give back to the community," Grim said. "I can't think of a better thing to do for kids."

                      Grim and Smith agree, though, on thing has not changed - students still face an enormous amount of peer pressure.

                      "What's changed is what's available for peer pressure," Grim said.

                      Smith agreed.

                      "They have more peer pressure and they have more choices and they have more bad choices they can make than previous generations had," Smith said.

                      That's why Smith hopes by teaching the students that by keeping busy with making the right choices and doing the right things, they will not have time to be doing the wrong things.

                      "I'd like these kids to know that they have a power that our age group doesn't have with their age group and its worse today than it ever has been before," Smith said. "There used to be a phrase 'if your friend jumped off a bridge would you jump too?'" The bottom line is we, as kids, would have said 'no'' but today, these kids have gotta go 'I'm not sure.'' That's scary. I want them to know they have this power."

                      Grim said she hopes the students' experiences in leadership classes and on student council will inspire them to go on to become leaders in other areas, whether it is leading as a good parent, leading a city council somewhere in the country or become a leader in their church.

                      "I want them to learn that leadership is service, not self-service," Grim said.

                      Tigers surge to win, February 6, 2005

                        William Anderson argus observer

                      A big run right out of the half and good free-throw shooting in overtime, lifted Ontario to a 55-49 win over La Grande Saturday evening in Greater Oregon League boys basketball action in Ontario.

                      Out of the half, Ontario trailed 28-23, and started the second half strong.

                      Ontario scored six straight points to open up the second half to take a 29-28 lead.

                      La Grande took back the lead, as Christian Siltanen sank a 3-pointer, for a 31-29 advantage.

                      Ontario went on a 10-4 run over the final three and half minutes of the third quarter, taking a 39-35 lead into the final quarter.

                      Ontario (14-5 overall, 5-2 GOL) managed only 2-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter, while La Grande hit a pair of field goals, and connected on both of its free throws, to force the overtime period, tied 41-41.

                      That's where Ontario's free-throw shooting came into play.

                      In the overtime period, Ontario shot 12-for-16 from the free-throw line in the extra stanza, to seal the victory, including 7-for-8 for Ontario's Tyler David, while both Matt Mejia and Nick Babij each went 2-for-2 from the line in the extra time.

                      "When they are fouling you and sending you to the line, it gives you some extra confidence," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "We made a few adjustments and more screens (in the second half). We had a few open looks, and reinforced some offensive strategies."

                      In the first half, Ontario struggled offensively, scoring only 23 points, with seven coming from Jacob Blaylock, who finished with 16 points.

                      David added 16 points, and Nick Babij had 11 points in the win.

                      La Grande was led by Ben Pettit with 17 points, while teammate Siltanen added 11 in the loss.

                      Ontario travels to Riverside Friday in GOL action.

                      Ontario continues to roll in GOL play, February 6, 2005

                         William Anderson argus observer

                      A 20-2 run over an eight minute span all but sealed the win for the Ontario girls basketball team as it went on to defeat La Grande 52-29 in a Greater Oregon League matchup Saturday night at Ontario High School.

                      After a quick start by Ontario, 10-2 to start the game, La Grande battled back to make it a 10-10 game after the first quarter.

                      This is where Ontario picked up its play.

                      Seconds after La Grande connected on a field goal, Ontario got hot from the floor, sparked by Jaimi Arant's field goal, the Ontario Tigers (18-3 overall, 6-1 GOL) used nine field goals and a pair of free throws over an eight minute stretch, that stretched into the second half, to build up a 30-14 lead over La Grande, just 11 seconds into the second half.

                      "We played good defense the whole game," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said. "It was a great defensive effort. We cut off everything they wanted to do."

                      Cutting off what La Grande was trying to do helped Ontario, as they continued to stretch out its lead to a 42-21 advantage after three quarters of play.

                      Ontario's largest lead of the game came with just over four minutes left in the game, when Kayla Mitchell hit two free throws for a 50-23 Ontario advantage.

                      Part of the reason, Ontario held a 26-20 advantage in rebounds, which plagued Ontario last time these two teams met.

                      "We did a great job boxing out," Buck said. "There was a great improvement in that area. Everybody came in and did a great job."

                      Ontario's defense forced 13 La Grande turnovers in the conest. Ontario was led by Vanessa Gomez with 13 points, while Kylie Roberts and Jaimi Arant each added 10 points, and AJ Hawk had nine points.

                      La Grande (6-14, 2-5) was led by Jill Jensen with nine points.

                      Ontario travels to Boardman to take on Riverside Friday and is back at home Saturday against Mac-Hi, both games are in Greater Oregon League action.

                      Ontario aims to end Burns' district title run, February 10, 2005

                        Andrew Cutler Argus Observer

                      If any team is equipped to end the Burns wrestling teams district title run, it very well could be the Ontario Tigers.

                      Burns has won the last three District 7-3A titles, and ended up claiming 3A state titles.

                      The district tournament begins Friday at Burns High School, and concludes Saturday. The top three in each weight class qualify for the state tournament, which runs Feb. 17 through Feb. 19 at The Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem.

                      Burns enters the tournament with the bull's-eye squarely on its back. But that does not bother first-year head coach Jeff Kloetzer.

                      "We have been wrestling well," he said. "We've been doing what we should be doing in training. I don't think there is any extra pressure (to repeat). I think we are in good shape."

                      The Hilanders have performed well in tournament formats this season, winning the 94-team Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, the Rollie Lane Invitational in Nampa and their own Burns Invitational.

                      "The bigger the tournaments," Kloetzer said, "the better we are going to be because our depth is a factor."

                      Ontario, which was the last team other than Burns to win a district title in 2000-2001, is excited to see how it stacks up against the Hilanders in a tournament format.

                      "This is what we have been working for all season," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "We have worked really hard the last two weeks getting things sharpened up."

                      The seeding meetings are scheduled for today at Burns High School, but Anthony said he expected to have at least three top seeds - Paul Rangel (189 pounds), Todd Smith (189) and JJ Anthony (215).

                      Ontario has had its own success in tournaments this season, winning the Caldwell Invitational, the LaPine Tournament and finishing fourth in the Oregon Classic.

                      "When we took the Caldwell tournament, we basically had two guys in each weight," Anthony said. "We definitely have to have some guys wrestle real well.

                      Anthony said how his younger wrestlers fare will determine how high Ontario rises in the team standings.

                      "We have so many freshmen, if they wrestle tough we will do well," Anthony said. "The older kids are going to hold their own."

                      Tigers roll on to win, February 13, 2005

                        William Anderson Argus Observer   

                      It may have taken Ontario nearly three and a half minutes to score its opening points, but the Tigers would not be held down for long, as they continued an offensive assault, rolling to a 57-25 Greater Oregon League victory over Mac-Hi Saturday night in Ontario.

                      Both teams struggled from the onset of the game, with neither team being able to sink a shot, until Ontario's Kylie Roberts hit a jumper with 4:37 remaining in the first quarter to put the Tigers up 2-0.

                      That's as close as the Pioneers would get.

                      Ontario scored the first eight points of the game, before Mac-Hi scored with just under two minutes left in the first quarter for an 8-2 Ontario lead.

                      "They (Mac-Hi) pulled the ball out and were patient," Ontario head coach Jon Buck said about the cold start. "We missed four shots in the first four minutes and hit our next five. That is the way the ball bounces."

                      Both teams exchanged baskets to end the quarter, but Ontario simply used that as a starting point.

                      The two teams played an even game over the first two minutes of the second quarter, before Ontario opened up the game with a 15-2 run to end the half, building up a 32-11 lead.

                      "That was big. It put the game in our hands at the half," Buck said about the run at the end of the half. "We are pretty good inside and outside."

                      In the second half, the Tigers (20-3 overall, 8-1 GOL) continued to play well, as they extended their lead to a game high 32 points with 5:18 left in the game when Saito hit two free throws for a 51-19 lead.

                      "We had a good defensive effort," Buck said. "Jaimi (Arant) is making good decisions for us. She is unselfish."

                      Ontario was led offensively by Vanessa Gomez scoring 11 points for the Tigers, while Kylie Roberts added nine and Stephanie Babij had eight points.

                      Ontario is back in action Thursday, when they travel to Burns in the season and GOL finale.

                      Ontario withstands late Mac-Hi rally, February. 13, 2005

                        William Anderson Argus Observer

                      It was nearly like looking into a mirror for the Ontario boys basketball team, with a few slight differences.

                      Saturday night, the Ontario Tigers used clutch free throw shooting in the fourth quarter to hang on to defeat Mac-Hi 57-49 in a Greater Oregon League boys basketball game in Ontario.

                      One of the differences in the game for the two teams was the fact that Ontario came out hot in the first half, building up a 20-2 lead and heading into the half with a 34-20 lead, while on the road for the Tigers, Ontario used a late push for the victory.

                      Saturday night, the Tigers (16-5 overall, 7-2 GOL) again used a soft touch from the charity stripe to hold off the Pioneers for the win.

                      In the fourth quarter, six of the Tigers eight points came from the free throw line, as the Tigers converted all six free throws in the quarter, all coming in the final 35 seconds of the game, to hold onto a 51-49 lead, and stretch it out for the victory.

                      "I think it is a combination of a couple things - (Mac-Hi) having nothing to lose, and we got a little complacent," Ontario head coach Scott Helmick said. "It is amazing how fast momentum can change and how hard it is to get back."

                      The momentum that changed from the Tigers' favor was in the third quarter.

                      Ontario was holding onto a double digit lead early in the second half, when Mac-Hi, led by Curtis Carlson, went on a 8-2 run to cut the lead down to 40-32 with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

                      Each team exchanged points the rest of the third quarter, for a 49-41 Ontario advantage.

                      The Pioneers made a final push, scoring the fourth quarter's first six points, to cut the lead down to 49-47 with just over four minutes left to play.

                      After a Jacob Blaylock field goal with 2:18 left in the game, Carlson added a lay-up with 39 seconds left, before Ontario sank its free throws.

                      Ontario was led by Nick Babij, scoring 20 points, while Blaylock added 12 points and Tyler David added 10 in the win.

                      Mac-Hi was led by Carlson's 20 points, while teammate Josh Paine added 11 points and Nathan Millar added 10 points.

                      Ontario travels to Burns Thursday to conclude its regular season.

                      Ontario claims second place behind Hilanders, February 14, 2005

                         Argus Observer sports staff

                      The host team Burns surprised few in taking home their fourth-straight district title with 305.5 team points, followed by Ontario, 208, Mac-Hi, 185, Baker, 182, Riverside, 178, and La Grande, 122.

                      "We wrestled pretty well," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said.

                      The Tigers had one district champ, as Paul Rangel won the 160-pound weight class as Ontario had four wrestlers fall in the championship match.

                      Toby Smith, 152, Todd Smith, 189, JJ Anthony, 215, and Colin Gundle, 275, earned a state birth with a runner-up performance.

                      "I think Toby Smith had a really good tournament," Anthony said. "Tom Martinez had a really good tournament. The older kids wrestled pretty well and they all placed where they should have. We had a couple of freshman step up and qualify."

                      Toby Smith and Tom Martinez, 103, are the two freshman who qualified, with Martinez picking up a third place finish, along with Jace Nakamura, 125, and Jose Rivera, 145.

                      According to Anthony, the Tigers lost four third-place matches by one or two points, and were real close to having four more wrestlers qualify.

                      "It was pretty much like I expected," Anthony said. "I am pretty happy with the eight that we got."

                      Anthony also said he thought the Hilanders wrestled well in winning their fourth straight district title.

                      Ontario's state qualifiers are headed to Salem Thursday, Friday and Saturday, for their state tournament.

                      Tigers ready for run at 3A state title, February 15, 2005

                        William Anderson Argus Observer

                      Some are going for the first time, some are going back, but one thing for sure is that eight wrestlers from the Ontario wrestling team are headed to Salem at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, beginning Thursday and through Saturday.

                      Paul Rangel is one of the wrestlers headed back to the state tournament for another chance for a state title after he finished seventh last year at 145-pounds.

                      This year, Rangel moved up to the 160-pound weight class, and won a district title Saturday at the 3A District 7 tournament in Burns.

                      Joining Rangel on the trip to Salem are seniors Todd Smith (189 pounds), JJ Anthony (215), Colin Gundle (215), and Jose Rivera (145).

                      Junior Jace Nakamura (125), freshmen Toby Smith (152) and Tom Martinez (103) round out the Ontario contingent.

                      "As far as the state tournament, it has been the tradition for years, anyone out of the Greater Oregon League has a chance to place at state," Ontario head coach Charlie Anthony said. "Any wrestler who qualifies out of our league and wrestles like they should, has a chance."

                      With that said, Anthony thinks his wrestlers have a shot at doing well at the state level.

                      Anthony said Rangel and Todd Smith are seeded pretty high and are favorites to place pretty high.

                      "I think Jose and JJ have a chance to be there as well," Anthony said.

                      Anthony said Gundle also has a shot of doing pretty well at state, as long as he can rebound from nagging injuries.

                      Nakamura is heading back for this third-straight state appearance.

                      As far as a team standpoint, Burns, Estacada and Sweet Home are considered the favorites.

                      Still, Anthony thinks the Tigers will have a chance at bringing home some hardware this season.

                      "Hopefully we can get enough placers," he said. "I think we can bring home some hardware, it just depends on how we wrestle."

                      Exclusion Day hammers Ontario Middle School, February 17, 2005

                        Jessica Keller Argus Observer

                      A significant number of students in Malheur County missed all, or part, of a school day Wednesday because of the state's "Exclusion Day."

                      Exclusion Day is an attempt by the state to ensure all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified day-care centers are up to date with vaccinations. If children are not caught up by the date set by the state, which this year was Wednesday, they are not allowed to return to school until proof of vaccination is submitted to their school.

                      In Nyssa, 19 students in all three schools were excluded because the school district still needed proof of vaccination. Vale School District excluded one student for one day.

                      In Ontario, 241 students missed a portion or all of the school day because of the state vaccination mandate Wednesday including 220 students from Ontario Middle School.

                      Just seven students at the elementary school level and 14 at the high school level were excluded.

                      Ontario Middle School Principal LaVelle Cornwell said OMS, which has 708 students total, had a long line of young people waiting to turn in their vaccination documents at the beginning of the school day. Most, she said, returned to class during some part of the day.

                      She said of those students, many needed their next shot in the hepatitis B series required for middle school-aged children.

                      Cornwell said the school began preparing for Exclusion Day by notifying parents with notes about a month and a half ago, and Wednesday, she said, names of students who still needed to turn in their vaccination proof were announced at the end of the day.