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It's bitter/sweet on the local business front...


   Welcome to Prineville
   With the band Countryfied playing on a flatbed truck in front, the new Troutman's Emporium opened Wednesday morning to a crowd of nearly 800 Prinevillians. Dallas Troutman, the store founder and chairman, said he thought this was the largest group ever to attend one of their store openings in a community this size and it was certainly the largest gathering I've seen at a store opening in this community.
   When the excited crowd filed through the door, they were treated to a totally new store stocked full of merchandise giving local shoppers the largest selection of clothing, shoes and home accessories they've ever had under one roof. There was also the enticement of the $15,000 in merchandise and prizes scheduled to be given away during the five-day grand opening celebration.
   One of the things that most impressed me about the opening event was the professionalism and organization of the management. These people seem to know what they are doing and they enjoyed doing it. It was obvious, too, that they plan to be to be a part of this community.
   During his brief talk Troutman commented how 46 years ago he interviewed with Rusty Romine for a job at Prineville's Erickson's Department Store. He said he didn't get the job. But can you imagine if he had he could have possibly eventually opened his first store here. If it had happened that way, today we'd be able to claim that two of the county's largest privately owned businesses (Emporium and Les Schwab) started here.
   We're excited that Emporium has come to Prineville and we wish them great success.
   Pat yourself on the back
   Crook County residents have a lot to take pride in; after all as far as Oregon is concerned we are in the middle of it all. Add to the list of qualities that make our part of the world worth living is the fact that we are ahead of things. Since he took office, President George Bush has talked on the value of people taking care of people and not leaving it up to the government. Well, in two news stories in Tuesday's edition there was proof that folks around here believe in that. The articles had to do with the success of a couple of recent fundraisers.
   For the ninth year, a softball tournament raised money for a child abuse prevention program. And during the same weekend, nearly 200 residents spent hours, long hours, in a 24-hour walking relay at the football field to raise money and increase cancer awareness. In both events, needed funds were forthcoming.
   Rarely a month goes by that there isn't a story or a photo in the paper reporting on a local organization donating money or toys or something to someone in need. The Sons of the American Legion get their pictures taken when they donate stuffed animals to the county health department ... or when they donate rebuilt bicycles to the Boys and Girls Club.
   Another success story is the annual Buddy Poppy drive by the VFW and American Legion Auxiliary. Remember the 500 bicycle helmets donated to local kids by the Prineville Traffic Safety Committee?
   People going out of their way to open their wallets for others turned up at the county fair, too. To help finance the proposed 4-H/FFA building at the fairgrounds a lamb was donated to be auctioned off and it was ... not just once, but over and over with each winning bidder sending it back to be sold again, and again for a total of six fund raising sessions under the auctioneer's hammer.
   Face it - Crook County residents are generous.
   There is one other point that should be made, however. Those people bidding on that lamb each time knew where their money was going and what it would be used for. That is something everybody should ask about when the donation is solicited; does the money go to a local need? Another question to ask is how much of the money ends up in "administrative costs"?
   Summer is about half gone, which means it isn't long before the holiday season comes around again. That is one of the favorite times of the year for fundraisers and it is a good time to be sure the money raised ends up where it is supposed to be. Our recommendation is to give, but give wisely.
   End of lecture.
   Take pride, Crook County, for being the good kind of people your are. Go ahead, give yourselves a pat on the back, you deserve it.
   A sad day
   We are saddened at the loss of Ochoco Lumber. Not only have we lost important jobs, but also we have lost a good community citizen. Ochoco Lumber will continue to exist with its corporate offices still in Prineville, but it's unlikely that they will be able to play the same active part in the community when their interests are 120 miles down the road and on the other side of the world.
   We keep hearing rumors that the mill will reopen in a year or two, and we hope that will happen, but now it is a sad day for the former employees, the community and the company