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 Kathy Aney

PGE starts scholarship fund for laid-off workers

BOARDMAN — Portland General Electric is attempting to dull the sting of upcoming mass layoffs at Boardman Coal Plant by offering employees free classes at Blue Mountain Community College.

PGE spokesman Steven Corson said the company’s $30,000 donation to BMCC to establish the program was one of the ways PGE was avoiding leaving its employees high and dry.

“We don’t want to be that company,” he said.

PGE announced its intention to cease coal-based energy production at the plant back in 2010, but they recently started talking with the more than 70 employees who work in Boardman about their post-coal plant options as the deadline loomed.

Corson said some employees talked about transferring to another PGE worksite while others mulled retiring.

But for those employees who were looking to stay in the area, the company is offering them a chance to switch careers by getting a degree or certificate at BMCC.

Corson said the program was not only meant to benefit their employees, but act as a retention tactic to ensure that employees have an incentive to continue working at the plan through its closing date on Dec. 31, 2020.

Casey White-Zollman, BMCC’s vice president of public relations, said she and BMCC Foundation Executive Director Margaret Gianotti visited the Boardman facility a few months ago and were impressed by PGE’s plan.

“This is a pretty amazing thing they’re doing,” she said.

According to White-Zollman, the PGE Boardman Scholarship Fund is open to anyone who is or will become unemployed due to the closure of the Boardman Coal Plant.

Starting with the summer term in June, scholarship recipients will get as much as $1,500 toward their tuition.

Recipients must be enrolled in at least one class, and if they maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average, they will get another $1,500 for a second term.

Corson said the scholarship fund will remain active through the end of 2021, one year after the Boardman Coal Plant is slated to close.

White-Zollman said six PGE employees have already applied for the scholarship.

Evangelists to speak at Stanfield church

STANFIELD — Nathan and Tracy Webber will serve as guest speakers during a pair of services at Crossroads Community Church in Stanfield.

The public is invited to hear the couple speak Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 350 N. Sherman St., Stanfield.

More than 30 years ago, Rev. Michael Kinlock talked Nathan into presenting a message at a Stanfield High School assembly. According to Kinlock, who recently retired from the ministry at the Stanfield church, that was the start of Weber’s ministry to the nation.

Nathan Weber went on to become an evangelist, speaking before 250,000 to 350,000 students a year in secondary schools and churches across the nation. Tracy is an accomplished musician and actor on local stages in the Willamette Valley.

For more information, call 541-449-3434 or 541-449-1251.

Clinic at Hermiston High School will open June 3

HERMISTON — The Hermiston School District is partnering with the Good Shepherd Health Care System to open a new Wellness Clinic at Hermiston High School.

By using Good Shepherd Urgent Care staff to offer illness evaluation and treatment, vaccines, routine physical exams and sports physicals, both parties are hoping the clinic will have wide-ranging effects.

“A significant part of our mission is to make health care accessible to our community. By partnering with the Hermiston School District to provide a Wellness Clinic for teachers, students, and staff members we will be able to provide for the health care needs of our community,” Good Shepherd Medical Group Vice President Troy LeGore said in a press release. “The Wellness Clinic will provide easy access to district employees, teachers, and students — reducing absenteeism — providing parents with an accessible care option for their children — all while providing high quality and compassionate care.”

The clinic will begin operations on June 3 and June 10 from 8 a.m. to noon and on June 5 and June 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

Students under 18 must have a parent or guardian turn in a parent consent form and medical history to receive care. If patients have insurance, the clinic will bill it.

Parents, students, and staff can make an appointment by calling 541-667-6199.

Walk-ins are also welcome.