New directors join Union County Chamber of Commerce board

LA GRANDE — The Union County Chamber of Commerce has its new board of directors.

The chamber in a recent press release announced the addition of new board members Tyler Brooks and Michael Fields, as well as the return of Patrick Flynn and Kevin Loveland for their second terms.

The board provides leadership to help carry out the chamber’s mission to promote and support commerce and community in Union County.

Flynn is the manager of the Grande Ronde Hospital Foundation and the chamber board’s secretary. He grew up in La Grande and Island City and graduated from La Grande High School. Afterward, he attended Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, where he earned a bachelor’s and a subsequent master’s degree in business administration.

Loveland is a long-time resident of Union County and the owner of Loveland Funeral Chapel, La Grande. He also is involved in a number of other activities, organizations and groups throughout La Grande, Union County and the Northeast Oregon region.

Brooks owns Brooks Painting. He grew up in La Grande, graduated from La Grande High School, has a college degree in graphic design and has deep experience serving on nonprofit boards.

Fields is a member of the business faculty at Eastern Oregon University, is active in youth sports and volunteers with La Grande Main Street Downtown on its economic vitality committee.

The four join eight others on the board for 2021.

Help available for CARES Act grant applications

LA GRANDE — Union County is preparing to receive a little more than $700,000 in federal CARES Act grant funding to assist small businesses. The Eastern Oregon University Small Business Development Center in a press release Tuesday, Dec. 1, announced it is available to help locals through the application process.

Donna Beverage, chair of the county board of commissioners, said in the press release the county is working to have all of the details in place by Friday. She explained businesses that were ordered to close and have suffered the greatest impact will be the focus. Business owners should have their bookkeeping up to date and financials in order to expedite the process, as funding will be committed by Dec. 31.

“It’s important to note that many businesses which may have qualified for other grant funding found themselves ineligible because they could not provide the financial documentation required,” the press release stated.

Staff at the SBDC on the university campus are working remotely to be in compliance with the governor’s most recent “Freeze Order,” but they stand ready to assist you by Zoom, conference call or email. To schedule an appointment for this or any other business advising questions, call 541-962-1532 or email eousbdc@gmail.com.

Grant, Wheeler and Morrow counties also received funding, and businesses should contact their county offices for information on the application process and deadlines.

Fed restricts visits at ag service centers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in a press release Tuesday, Dec. 1, it is temporarily restricting in-person visits for numerous service centers in Oregon because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread. However, USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services.

The federal agricultural department is using a phased, data-driven approach to determine which service centers are open for in-person appointments. Field work, including conservation planning assistance, will continue with social distancing.

All USDA service centers are open for business, and service center staff members from the FSA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will work with producers by phone, email and digital tools. Producers can learn more about how to leverage these digital offerings by visiting www.farmers.gov/mydocs.

Producers wishing to conduct business with the FSA, NRCS or any other service center agency should call ahead to confirm and schedule appointments. More information on service center status is online at www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status and contact information for local service centers is available at www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

— EO Media Group

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