Oct. 1, 1996

Eight-year-old barrel racer Ashley Smith severed her liver when her horse reared, went into a backflip, and landed on her. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, rapidly losing blood.

Since her blood type is AB negative, a rare one, it had to be flown in. After abdominal surgery, she was transported to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland to undergo a second surgery; removing half of her liver because blood wasn’t flowing to it, and it was dying.

Ashley’s mother, Connie, said the doctors called her survival a miracle because “the liver is the most vascular organ and a severed liver often means bleeding to death in seconds.” Connie also thanked the overwhelming community support, prayers and faith for pulling her family through that tough time.

Ashley was in the hospital for three months and spent 18 months recuperating. Three years later, she’s in sixth grade, plays basketball and track at Armand Larive Middle School, and is back in the saddle — just for pleasure at the moment. She hopes to compete again, but is building back her confidence.


Sept. 30, 1971

The Hermiston FFA had a celebration to kick-start the upcoming year with a barbecue and swimming party at the pool.

Charles Cruikshank, new vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, has quite a bit of experience with FFA. He taught in the agriculture department at Malin High School before coming to Hermiston, and a former student of his, John McCulley (of Malin), is being installed as the National FFA secretary (a very high honor). His goal is to help the Hermiston FFA boys earn as much as possible, including awards, trips and more.

The initiation (“Greenhand”) ceremony will welcome new FFA members. Among those Greenhands are four girls — Sandy Settle, Ramona Music, Bonnie Thomas and Becky Meyer. Ramona had some remarks about the way they were accepted, claiming, “They (the boys) don’t think we’re quite capable of doing everything they do, but we are. When you’re used to lugging around 100-pound feed sacks, pitching a little manure doesn’t scare you.” Donna Kopacz, home economics teacher and FHA (future homemakers) advisor, will assist the girls in their FHA endeavours.


Oct. 3, 1946

Francis F. Vause attempted to give two hitchhikers a ride, and they repaid his good deed by bounding and gagging him, and stealing his car.

State police report that around 1:30 p.m., Vause was driving on Highway 207 near the underpass at Hinkle when he saw the two men. When he pulled over, they pulled out guns, tied him to the Fred McMurray ranch. With the family on vacation, the house was also ransacked.

Vause was able to free himself and began walking towards Hermiston, soon getting a ride and reporting the incident. Luckily, he was uninjured but the two men and his bright green sedan are yet to be found.


Sept. 29, 1921

A fire that originated in the city bakery and aided by a strong wind destroyed about half a block on Main Street.

The fire was called in around noon and firemen, led by I. E. Putman, arrived soon on the scene and quickly got to work. A prevalent wind was blowing the flames east and down the block; if not for their prompt response and determined fight, the fire could’ve easily spread to half the town.

The bakery, owned by Dr. F. P. Adams and operated by W. O. Sutherland, had only four walls remaining but was well covered by insurance. Burt Mullin’s barber shop was also hit hard, though a few fixtures survived. Sam Rodgers’ store was made of fireproof walls, but the roof wasn’t and his stock was almost entirely destroyed. Though he probably lost the most, at least 75% of the damage was covered by insurance. The offices of E. P. Dodd and W. Warner were burned out but the fixtures rescued, and both were well-insured.

Flames even entered the First National Bank building, but didn’t get further than the second floor and caused very little damage. In fact, this building was largely responsible for preventing the fire from spreading further, as it partly protected the other buildings by blocking the wind. The fire cost about $20,000 in loss and damage, though fortunately not any lives.


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

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