Oct. 15, 1996

Grant Asher is enjoying every bit of retirement, though it’s much different than the “normal” retirement. Since retiring as Hermiston Police Department chief in November 1994, he’s become a private investigator, sports official, safety teacher and more.

He enjoys the thrill and variety of being a private investigator, mainly working for defense attorneys with cases like accidents, unfaithful spouses and child custody. One of Asher’s more interesting cases involved theft and vandalism for a huge Washington farm, with drugs and gun running also suspected.

“I spent 30 hours a month for five months on that farm investigating and providing security. That was fun.” Still wanting to be involved in the justice and corrections systems, Asher teaches gun safety, personal protection and a lethal weapons class for Blue Mountain Community College, and advises criminal justice students. If all this isn’t enough, he also officiates sports games for youths through adults.

Though Asher is engaged in many activities, he claims, “I wouldn’t want to spend 40 hours a week at any of them.” He likes to stay busy doing multiple activities, not solely dedicated to just one. “I’m a jack of all trades, a master of none.”


Oct. 14, 1971

On Oct. 30, Hermiston will have the pleasure of hosting former Hitler-worshiper and escapee Mrs. Maria Hirschmann, who will speak of her experiences and renewed Christian faith at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Highland Avenue.

At the age of 14, Maria underwent training to become a Hitler Youth Leader in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in which her Christian image of God was changed to Hitler and the “Mein Kampf” became her new Bible. Many trusted and viewed Hitler as a messiah because he’d brought hope and employment to Germany — but after Maria observed the brutality and starvation of a Russian camp in Bohemia, she became outraged and disgusted. She then made a walk/run escape all the way to East Germany, through no man’s land, and to the safety of West Germany where she eventually married a former U-boat officer.

The Hirschmanns lived in Munich before coming to the United States in 1995, where she is a counselor-teacher in a California school for dropouts and he is studying for his PhD. She appreciates America and often says, “Freedom makes good people better, and bad people worse.”


Oct. 17, 1946

Crashing into structures is dangerous enough, without having a 750-pound siren falling down as well.

Leighton Smith of Hermiston was driving by the First National Bank building when his front left tire blew out and caused him to swerve, hitting the steel tower hosting the fire siren and bell that stood at the intersection of First and Main. The siren landed just a few feet away from Smith’s car, and though it was undoubtedly frightening, Smith was exceedingly fortunate that the siren missed him.

After falling to the pavement, the siren was considered a total loss. The old fire bell, however, was more fortunate and didn’t sustain any damages. It was soon removed from the tower and placed on a temporary structure near the jail for use during the emergency.

City councilmen met three days later to make arrangements for replacing the siren and tower.


Oct. 13, 1921

You may recall reading about the $20,000 fire that happened in Hermiston about a month before (in 1921). Well, due to that fire and the fact that it’s Fire Prevention Week, local fire chief I.E. Putman asks people to be more conscientious and careful.

Films educating about fire safety are planned to be played at schools this week, along with some guest speaking in the hope of making the public more aware of the dangers of fires before, not after, they happen. Hermistonians are asked to clean up prime fire materials — like rags, old papers, shavings — that are commonly found in houses and around the town to prevent another drastic fire from occurring.

In addition, Putman stresses the point that it doesn’t matter if you’re insured. Insurance won’t entirely cover the loss a fire brings, and even if it does, the fire could spread to uninsured property.


McKenzie Rose, a sophomore at Echo High School, searched Hermiston Herald archives to compile these article summaries.

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