The city of Hermiston is once again offering free Christmas tree recycling.

Hermiston residents can drop off their old (real wood) Christmas trees next to the south parking lot at Butte Park until Jan. 28. Trees should be free of tinsel, ornaments and other objects.

After the drop-off deadline the city, in partnership with RDO Equipment and Vermeer, will turn the trees into mulch to be used in city parks.

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The Hermiston Public Library is expanding its hours in the new year.

Starting Jan. 2, the library will open at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. on Monday through Thursday. The library will continue to close at 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday hours will remain from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Library director Mark Rose announced the change in an email, stating it reflected one of the goals that the library had put together after a community-based strategic planning process this year.

“With our growing community we see this as a benefit to families with small children and those needing access to the internet for work, housing and other needs,” he wrote.

In addition to the earlier opening time, the library is also moving its Friday story time for children to Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

For more updates on the library, visit its new website at or like them on Facebook.

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Tickets are on sale for the annual Melonville Comedy Festival, which will be held Jan. 25 at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center.

The tickets, $25 if purchased ahead of time, are available online at or from the Last Chance Tavern or Midway Bar & Grill.

Look for more information about the event in a future edition of the Hermiston Herald.

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Oregon State lawmakers have received their committee assignments for the coming session.

Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, will soon be sworn in for his 10th consecutive two-year term as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, making him the longest-serving member of the GOP Caucus.

Smith wields continuing congressional clout as co-vice chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on General Government. Other assignments include Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction, co-vice chair of the Joint Student Success Committee, Joint Tax Expenditures Committee, Joint Legislative Administration Committee, Joint Legislative Audit Committee and the House Committee on Revenue.

Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, is midway through his second four-year term.

His committees include the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Workforce and the Transportation and Economic Development Subcommittee. He will also take on the General Government Subcommittee for the first time.

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On December 11-13 the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Blue Mountain Community College, sponsored and hosted free training for local and regional law enforcement and public safety personnel called “Tactical Medical for First Responders.” Three instructors from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) from Artesia, New Mexico, taught each of the eight-hour courses over the three days at the BMCC campus in Hermiston.

The program teaches students to perform a Medical Threat Assessment, including a medical plan to help citizens during an emergency operation with injuries. At the completion of the training, students were provided with tourniquets and emergency trauma medical kits free of charge, with grants funds that UCSO obtained from Good Shepherd Medical Center in Hermiston and St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton.

The class was fully attended by 72 students from several local and regional agencies over the three days of training. UCSO Deputy Chris Daugherty organized the event and Matthew DeGarmo from BMCC provided the venue.

Agencies who attended the training included the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office patrol, civil, corrections and communications divisions, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, Umatilla County Fire District 1 and police departments from Boardman, Hermiston, Pendleton, Pilot Rock, Stanfield, Umatilla and the Tri-Cities.


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