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Lots of stars expected at party
   One of the more interesting annual events in Crook County is the annual Oregon Star Party, which runs from tonight through Sunday in the Ochoco National Forest at Indian Trail Spring. Last year more than 700 people from around the country converged on high prairie to gaze at the stars and learn more about astronomy.
   The amateur astronomers call it deep sky viewing, but it sounds more like a family reunion with participants embracing anyone interested in their passion for looking at the heavens.
   If you're so inclined, this weekend could be one of the best events yet barring problems from forest fire smoke. There is no rain in the forecast and the moon is dark, which will make the stars even brighter.
   If you decide to go you can still register at the event. There is, however, a detour just past the Big Summit Ranger Station, so the trip will take about an hour and one-half. There are good directions and a map available on the Oregon Star Party web at [http://www.oregonstarparty.org/index.htm]. If you go, please be careful because the fire danger is high.
   Sprucing up Prineville
   Have you noticed all the terrific things happening in Prineville lately?
   The business owners have been doing a great job of making Prineville look better plus we're starting to see more newbusinesses to serve our community.
   Here are some of the changes that we've noticed recently:
   * Morgan's Bar and Grill has new sidewalks and landscaping.
   * Checker's Custom Coffee added new sidewalks and landscaping at their new location on west Third Street.
   * The Old Checker's location down by the Court House has new sidewalks.
   * Han's Pharmacy has new sidewalks.
   * The Elk's Club is getting new sidewalks and a new parking lot.
   * Wagner's Price Slasher is being totally remodeled, inside and out.
   * The new Emporium at Ochoco Plaza is a fantastic eddition to the community.
   * Cross Street station is celebrating their first anniversary this week. The opening of that facility cleaned up one of the ugliest corners in town.
   We also have several new businesses and changes of ownership.
   * On Main Street, next to Chuck's Printing there is a new publication called the Roundup. They also have a shop called Wild West Graphics located with them. Wild West sells Crook County and Prineville T-Shirts and sweatshirts.
   * Right next door to those businesses is a new business called Sunshine Wear. They do custom printed or embroidered apparel.
   * There are also two new rental businesses, Smith Rentals on Gardner Road and a short distance away SMAF Rents on Industrial Park Road.
   q Prineville also has a new Internet Service Provider (ISP) called PrineTime. They are located next to Coldwell Banker on Third Street.
   As Prineville Crook County Chamber of Commerce President Donna Mohan points out, there's a pattern developing here and it's exciting to see so many business and property owners joining in Prineville's revitalization effort.
   Speaking of Prineville's revitalization effort, those of you who are waiting patiently for the results of the "Our Town" survey, the wait is almost over. The results will be presented at the September 18 meeting of the Chamber's Public Affairs Form, which will be held at 7 a.m. at the Crook County Library. We received an excellent response on the Survey that ran in the Central Oregonian on May 17. The results will help the "Our Town" committee shape the direction of Prineville. Everyone is invited.
   And from another part of town ... a few words from County Judge Scott Cooper
   Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury yesterday issued his final redistricting map, assigning various parts of Oregon to new house and senate districts for the next 10 years. This is the third significant map to be proposed as part of the redistricting process. Absent a decision by the Oregon Supreme Court to throw out the secretary's map, this is the final plan.
   Crook County vehemently opposed two earlier plans-the plan sponsored by Republicans in the Oregon legislature and a second "draft" plan proposed by the Democratic secretary of state. The legislative plan would have divided Crook County between districts, placing Powell Butte in one house district and Prineville in another. The secretary of state's draft plan would have divided the county along a tortured line between districts on the east and the west.
   County officials, including Judge Scott Cooper and County Clerk Dee Berman attended a redistricting hearing in Bend to protest vigorously that Crook County is a single "community of interest" and should not be divided between legislative districts. Other Crook County residents who gave testimony in opposition to the draft plan included Karole Stockton on behalf of the Prineville Soroptimists and Lewie Stahancyk. Apparently, the testimony was persuasive. Salem "insiders" say that while the secretary of state's staff continued to support splitting Crook County in the final plan, the secretary himself overruled staff and decided to keep the county's citizens together in a single district.
   The boundaries of the new house district 55 include all of Crook County, the eastern, (largely unpopulated) portion of Deschutes County, Lake County, northern Klamath County and eastern Jackson County. Prineville is the largest city in the new district, followed by Lakeview, guaranteeing Prineville prominent attention in future campaigns for house seats.
   Southern Klamath County, including Klamath Falls, comprises district 56. Combined, districts 55 and 56 make up a single senate district.
   Republicans have already announced plans to challenge the secretary's draft plan as too partisan. How the Oregon Supreme Court will rule is uncertain, but provided the secretary can prove that he adhered to the non-partisan principles he claims underlay the plan, it seems unlikely that the court will want to get involved in drawing a controversial redistricting map of its own.
   Thanks to all those who helped lobby for a "sensible" plan for Crook County. This is a big win, demonstrating that sometimes it really does pay to stomp our feet and throw a tantrum.