Rhode Island man wants to turn the county’s infestation into a gourmet feast
Baker County’s worst grasshopper infestation
in 22 years is drawing national attention, including a request from the
owner of a Rhode Island purveyor of edible insects who was featured in
Discovery magazine and an upcoming television show as “The Bug Eating
“I heard about your situation out there through a piece on public
broadcasting. I do run an edible insect business, and I have an
interest in purchasing some grasshoppers,” said Dave Glacer, in a
letter to the city of Haines seeking contacts for buying grasshoppers.
“I also read about plans for funding a large-scale response with
insecticides. Although that’s the usual response to this kind of
situation, there is a better method out there: harvesting,” Glacer said.
Store at Chamber of Commerce office offers variety of local hand-made items
The Chamber Store inside the Baker County Chamber of Commerce provides
a place for area artisans and businesses to sell hand-made gifts,
authentic Baker City souvenirs and other items.
Debi Bainter checks one of her favorite scented candles made by Primitives by Pam. Bainter is the Chamber executive director. The store also has books, hats and shirts that depict Baker County in words and pictures. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
The store also directs visitors to local shops.
Chamber Manager Debi Bainter said the Chamber Store, at 490 Campbell
St. near Interstate 84, is a highly visible place for merchants,
artisans and home-based businesses to display and sell a sampling of
“The more stuff people see here, the more they travel down Main Street
to shop,” Bainter said. “When people get off the Interstate and stop at
the chamber, my hope is that they will see something that piques their
interest, so we can direct them to a business in town where they can
find more of it.”
Following a record-setting decade for catastrophic forest fires, a new
era may be on the horizon focusing on sequestering carbon dioxide in
trees instead of letting them burn and pollute the atmosphere.
Mike Gaudern of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association talked with Baker County woodland owners last week. (Baker City Herald/Ed Merriman)
Mike Gaudern, executive director of the Oregon Small Woodlands
Association, delivered that message to members of the Baker County
Private Woodlands Association during a swing through Eastern Oregon
“Oregon has been picked as one of three pilot project states in the
nation” where cap and trade carbon credit trading will be made
available to woodland owners through the Chicago Climate Exchange
program, which was formed in 2002 and began trading carbon credits in
“I don’t care if you believe what Al Gore and others are saying about
carbon emissions causing global warming or not. My interest is making
you money,” Gaudern said. “We grow trees that suck carbon out of the
air, and people want to pay us money for it — a lot of money.”
The business Bob and Kay Petrik of Baker City started in Cambodia is thriving, and helping dozens of women
The seamstresses of Khmer Krafts are busier
than ever these days crafting purses for Great American Fundraising,
which works with 25,000 schools across the nation.
Khmer Krafts, a Cambodian business founded by Bob and Kay Petrik to offer employment for women, has signed a five-year contract to provide purses for Great American Fundraising, which works with 25,000 schools across the country. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Khmer Krafts was established in 2005 by Bob and Kay Petrik of Baker
City to provide jobs to women who graduate from Cambodia’s Battambang
The company tagline is “Purses with a Purpose — Fashion that Makes a Difference.”
Cambodia is still recovering from The Killing Fields, the period from
1975-1979 when the communist guerilla group Khmer Rouge swept through
the country and forced city dwellers into labor camps. More than three
million Cambodians were killed.
The Petriks first visited the Asian country in 2004 with Musicianaries
International, and that’s when they met the Rev. Setan Lee, founder of
Kampuchea for Christ (KFC) and a survivor of The Killing Fields.
Lee’s sister-in-law, Chhevan Yos, manages Khmer Krafts and designs the purses, wallets and book covers.
At first, the business employed 20 women, who in 2006 sewed 2,800 purses.
Baker County residents and businesses produced slightly less trash last
year than in 2006, but they recycled quite a lot more of it.
Overall, the county recycled 24.4 percent of its refuse during 2007,
according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
That’s an increase of 5.6 percent from 2006.
It’s also the second-highest rate DEQ has recorded since it started measuring recycling in 1992.
Baker County’s highest rate was 25 percent in 1996.
County residents generated 16,403 tons of garbage during 2007 and they
recycled 3,673 tons of cardboard, glass and other stuff — 32 percent
more than the previous year’s total of 2,783 tons.
(The 2007 figures equate to a recycling rate of 22.4 percent, but DEQ
adds a 2-percent “credit” to Baker County’s rate due to Baker Sanitary
Service’s free yard debris dumping program.)
Oregon Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative ratepayers will enjoy a small break starting with their October electric bill.
A decrease — although a modest one.
The cooperative announced Wednesday it was reducing customers’ electric
bills an average of 0.68 percent, beginning with bills printed Thursday.
That would save ratepayers 68 cents on a $100 electric bill.
Some growers say yields are down a bit, but the weather was conducive to a good wheat crop
Potatoes came on late and yields are down
slightly in some places due to a combination of a prolonged winter, wet
spring and an early frost this fall, but abundant irrigation this
summer also helped produce superior quality spuds, according to Baker
Ken Austin grabs a chunk of dirt off the conveyor moving spuds to a truck during the potato harvest at Jason and Rosie Williams’ farm near North Powder. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Also on the plus side, the cool, damp weather that affected potato
yields produced an above average wheat crop at the Blatchford farm near
“It was a good water year, and that’s good for potato quality,” said
Dave Blatchford, who founded the family farm along with his brother Jim
in the early 1970s.
The Blatchfords grow Russet potatoes on about 700 acres. Workers were busy Monday harvesting potatoes under warm, sunny skies.
Andrew Bryan, a Baker City businessman and city councilor, has been named the county’s marketing director.
Bryan replaces Kari Whitacre, who resigned to take a new position with a community development organization in Corvallis.
Bryan began his duties Monday. He will be paid $42,000 per year.
To take the job, Bryan resigned from the board of directors for the
Baker County Development Corp., a non-profit group that supervises the
marketing director and channels transient room tax money to attract
visitors to Baker County.
The remaining board members then hired Bryan, who’s also an education consultant.
Oregon has 18 electrical cooperatives, and a handful of public utility
districts and city-owned utilities are scattered throughout Oregon and
Washington. Many are eager to be partners with Baker City-based Oregon
Trail Electric Consumers Cooperative, or OTEC.
Because the era of plentiful and cheap energy provided by the
Bonneville Power Administration is coming to a close, and smaller
utilities across the Northwest have decided it’s better to pool their
risk if they must develop other sources of electricity — including
renewables — themselves.
OTEC is a popular potential partner for other utilities, said the
utility’s general manager, Werner Buehler, because it’s large and
Harvest Festival Saturday at Geiser-Pollman Park
Autumn is here, but Baker County gardens and farms are still bursting with vegetables and fruit.
“It was such an incredible bumper crop season,” said May Heriza, who
has been busy preserving food and has sold produce all season at the
Baker City Farmers Market.
This Saturday celebrates the season at the market’s Harvest Festival,
with live music by Johnny Starr and a gourmet meal featuring local
The market will be extended by one hour, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The
location, as always, is in the northeast corner of Geiser-Pollman Park.
The menu will include roasted squash soup with garlic baguette and
apple cider for $4; a side of Sexton Ranches lamb sausage for $1;
caramel apples made with certified organic apples from Eagle Creek
Orchards for $2.50; and pumpkin bread for $1.50.