Other important local stories in 2004

• A 32-year-old Irrigon man, Shane Hartung, was fatally shot in April after he attacked the two Morrow County Sheriff's deputies who responded to a domestic violence call at his house with a machete. Toxicology reports later indicated he had amphetamines, methamphetamines and alcohol in his system. A grand jury ruled in May that the deputies were justified in the use of deadly force and that no criminal charges were warranted.

• The Pendleton City Council approved by a 7-1 vote a daytime curfew that will take effect in the new year. The ordinance will prohibit minors ages 7 or older who have not completed 12th grade from being in public places during school hours except as part of a school activity unless they are with a parent or guardian, excused from school by a parent or school official, traveling between school and home or emancipated or exempt from school attendance.

• A technician helping install a new crane at the Port of Morrow in Boardman was killed when the a section of crane collapsed in April. In November, a section of the 64-year-old Port of Umatilla crane buckled, causing its boom to collapse and halting container-loading operations. Both cranes will be replaced.

• The city of Hermiston opened its long-awaited aquatic center in late July.

• One man was killed and his son was injured during a home-invasion robbery of a home near Hermiston. Several farm laborers were living in the house. Police have arrested four suspects and are searching for a fifth.

• The Sykes call center, which once employed more than 300, announced it would close its doors by mid year, then extended that deadline to the end of the year. But as the year drew to a close, the company was hiring again.

• The April shooting deaths of two Pendleton women near the Pendleton airport was ruled a murder-suicide by investigators. Donna Lea Chavez fired a .357-caliber revolver at close range at Anne Grimsley, according to Umatilla County District Attorney Chris Brauer, and then turned the gun on herself.

• The Freedom Writers, inner-city teens from California who wrote about the harsh reality of growing up amid gangs and violence, come to Echo after a high school teacher created a controversy by using the book in her class.

• Keystone expanded its Pendleton trailer plant with the help of the city, which constructed a new $2.5 million building adjacent to the company's original warehouse. Keystone is adding another assembly line and eventually will employ another 125 workers.

• Voters rejected in November a special levy that would have provided the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office with an extra $3 million a year for five years. The office continues to grapple with staffing and service issues due to budget woes.

• A 12-person jury found Rashan Sarad Brown guilty of four counts of aggravated murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder this fall for the killing of Julie Ann Wilde, 28, and Victor Hugo Torres, 19, during a robbery in December of 1999.

• The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation opened the Nixyaawii charter school in Mission.

• Irrigon's new sewer plant comes on line and voters approve money for water plant improvements.

• Former OSP trooper Ken Matlack unseats Morrow County Sheriff Verlin Denton in the November election.

• Longtime Hermiston pilot Steven Caldwell died when a single-engine aircraft he'd built himself crashed shortly after take-off from the Hermiston Airport in mid October.

• After six months of curriculum and staff changes prompted by a Board of Nursing report last June, the BMCC nursing program was granted continuing approval by the Oregon State Board of Nursing in late November.

• A broadband wireless Internet (WiFi), developed by ez wireless of Hermiston, held a "cable cuttings" in February for the system in Boardman and Hermiston.

• Construction starts on the Westgate overpass in Pendleton

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