Farewell, Fontaines,
end of an eatery era

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY HOLLY MOSS Taw Braden, a second grader at Rockey Heights Elementary School, slimes principal Jerad Farley as part of a reading program contest June 14 in Hermiston.

Longtime Hermiston restaurateurs Chuck and Karen Fontaine seem committed to making another attempt at retirement. The Fontaines have operated restaurants at three different locations in Hermiston for more than 40 years, dating back to the Steel Wheel nightclub which they bought in 1976.

They have attempted to retire before, after selling their Fontaine’s restaurant building to Ye Olde Pizza Shoppe in 2006, they had planned to retire then. But they took over Stockman’s in December 2014, leasing the building on a three-year term. They have decided to not renew their lease and try to sell the restaurant business. They say this retirement will stick. But we wouldn’t be surprised to see Chuck working in someone else’s kitchen from time to time.

Get your order of Seaburg Fontaine in while you can.


Laurie Ball-Kiser, longtime organizer of Hermiston’s community Christmas and Thanksgiving meals, passed away early Monday morning at Good Shepherd Medical Center.

Ball-Kiser was the organizing force behind the holiday meals — which offered food, fellowship and volunteer opportunities to countless community members — for more than 25 years.

She was mostly absent from last year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas efforts, however, after suffering a stroke in September. Makayla Humphreys stepped up to the plate to coordinate the events in her place, indicating that Ball-Kiser’s legacy will likely live on in future community meals.


The community also lost John W. Smallmon this year, when he passed away on April 11 in Mesa, Arizona. Smallmon practiced law in Hermiston for more than 40 years, including as a district judge and municipal judge.

He belonged to the Rim Rock Roamers RV group, Elks, Eagles, Shriners, and was a life member of Hermiston Masonic Lodge 137 and MOAA. He served on the Good Shepherd Hospital Board, American Hospital Association and Board of Governors of Portland Shriners Children Hospital. After retirement, he and his wife traveled for 10 years in their motor home seeing the sights in most of the lower 48 states before retiring in Arizona.


On June 14, the students at Rocky Heights Elementary carried on a five year tradition of “sliming” the principal on the last day of school. To reward the students for reaching an end of the year reading goal, the top readers from each grade level earned the privilege of pouring a bucket of slime on principal, Jerad Farley.

Pictured from R to L are: back row: Tad Farley, 4th grade, Kristi Smalley, Hermiston SD Elementary Librarian, Jerad Farley, front row: Cate Doherty, 3rd grade, Keely Burns, 1st grade, Taw Braden, 2nd grade, Jacob LaBeck, 5th grade and Leslie Mendoza Romero, 5th grade and “Super Slimer.” (Picture by: Jessica Campbell)

Romero earned the distinction of “Super Slimer” by reading the most words in the school while also maintaining a high level of reading accuracy as measured by the Accelerated Reader Program.


A beverage with roots in Hermiston will get some exposure at a New Mexico rodeo this year.

Chute 8 Whiskey has been named the official whiskey of the Rodeo de Santa Fe, which will take place June 21 to 24. The drink is named after the entertainment venue of Hermiston’s Farm-City Rodeo, and the logo features Butch Knowles and David Bothum, two of the rodeo’s founders and rodeo legends.

The whiskey was created by Farm-City Rodeo and Portland-based Indio Spirits in 2015. According to the creators of the whiskey, the logo of two cowboys on horseback shaking hands across a fence is a tribute to the way Farm-City operated in its early days.

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