Simmons Agency is leading the charge in sprucing up downtown today. Activities include weeding, laying bark, planting flowers and taking down lights from the street’s trees. They will be working from the morning through the afternoon, and the street will be closed off block by block so that volunteers can work. The cleanup will start at 8:30 a.m. at the Roemark building.

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Slow down! The Hermiston Police Department’s traffic office will be switching from a motorcycle to a “quasi-unmarked” car, according to Police Chief Jason Edmiston. The car will still bear the logo of the Hermiston Police Department on the side, but will not be as immediately recognizable as a police car.

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Hermiston is losing Thompson Hall on the old fairgrounds but gaining the Maxwell Event Center downtown as a venue for hosting medium-sized events. Mitch Meyers, owner of Hermiston Brewing Company and Nookies Restaurant, is almost done turning the building at the northeast corner of Locust Avenue and N First Place into a 3,000 square foot event center capable of seating 150 to 160 people indoors and another 75 to 100 outdoors. The center can be booked by calling 541-561-1047.

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Four local members of the class of 2017 won Ford Family Foundation scholarships, joining 101 other winners from Oregon out of a pool of 5,883 applicants. Vanessa Ambriz-Mendoza of Hermiston High School, Jahayra Garcia-Sandoval of Hermiston High School and Selene Andrade-Bernal of Riverside High School are all headed to University of Portland, while Marlina Serratos of Irrigon High School is headed to George Fox University. The renewable scholarship covers 90 percent of each student’s unmet financial need for each academic year.

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The new downtown Holiday Inn Express is kicking into nearby projects, bringing in about $100,000 in additional tax revenue to the urban renewal district. That money is being spent on things like the festival street and wayfinding signs. For more on the budget, see Page A3.

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The Umatilla County Fire District 1 is holding an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 3, at their station 22 on Diagonal and East Punkin Center Road. The district will be hosting a barbecue to show its appreciation for the community’s support of the new fire district.

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Does anyone remember Hal Block? We found his name as an owner of the current Hermiston Herald office at 333 E. Main and we’d like to know more about the man. Give us a call at 541-567-6457.

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And lastly, welcome to new Hermiston residents and newspaper subscribers John and Sherry Christner, who recently moved from California. If you happen to bump into them around town, make sure to share Hermiston’s welcoming spirit.

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