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Reject pot legalizing Measure 91

Marijuana helps thousands of Oregonians.

About 65,000 state residents (247 of them in Baker County) have a card, issued by a doctor, that allows them to legally use the drug for medicinal purposes. By far the most common reason — 62,100 people — is relief of severe pain. Another 16,300 consume the drug to ease chronic muscle spasms, and 9,000 use it to relieve nausea (those numbers, obviously, exceed 65,000; many people who have a medical marijuana card use the drug to treat multiple symptoms.)

Measure 91 on the Nov. 4 ballot has nothing to do with those Oregonians.

The measure’s purpose is to legalize marijuana for people who don’t need the drug for its therapeutic benefits but who enjoy its intoxicating effects.

We don’t believe that purpose is compelling enough to offset the potentially negative effects of legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

We urge voters to reject Measure 91.

Forest Service comes to its senses on media

Some officials from the U.S. Forest Service seem to believe that photographs in a newspaper, or video segments on a TV program, could sully the pristine nature of America’s wilderness areas.


We are too.

Or, rather, we were perplexed until the Forest Service’s chief, Tom Tidwell, issued a belated but welcome press release Thursday that makes a lot more sense than some of his underlings’ recent statements.

NFL gets too much attention


The National Football League has gotten as much attention recently for its players’ alleged crimes than their touchdowns.

This isn’t altogether a bad trend.

The blizzard of publicity that followed the release of a video showing Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancé in an elevator, knocking her unconscious, cast a bright light on the horrors of domestic violence.


10 years for two murders?

We weren’t shocked when Judge J. Burdette Pratt decided last week that Dillan Dakota Willford Easley, the 15-year-old Baker City boy accused of murdering his foster father and another man near Granite last October, won’t stand trial as an adult.

Easley was 14 when he allegedly shot and killed his foster father, Michael Piete, 43, and Piete’s uncle, Kenneth C. Gilliland. Both men lived in Baker City.

The killings happened at a hunting cabin near Granite, on Oct. 4, 2013.

Football field trip folly

We’re not sure what “pro-social” activities are, or are supposed to be.

What we do know is that juveniles who are on probation for such crimes as burglary and meth possession shouldn’t be getting free trips to college football games, no matter what you call it.

On Sept. 13, four employees from Washington County’s Juvenile Department escorted 12 youth offenders to Eugene’s Autzen Stadium, where they watched the University of Oregon play the University of Wyoming.

Paying to visit public lands

One advantage to living in Baker County, where about half of our 2 million acres are publicly owned, is that we can go to a lot of places without having to pay an admission fee.

But the federal government, which manages most of the county’s public acreage, seems to have an insatiable appetite for our dollars.

A current and troubling example is a bill in Congress we were alerted to by a fine watchdog organization, the Western Slope No Fee Coalition of Colorado.

Keeping an eye on the goats

Baker County is the best place in Oregon to see mountain goats in their natural habitat.

But perhaps it’s become too good, in at least one place.

That’s Twin Lakes, the scenic, and understandably popular, spot in the Elkhorns west of Baker City.

The goats that congregate around the lakes are so blasé about the presence of people, including campers, that they’ve become at the least a nuisance.

A serious threat

The most important thing about Tuesday’s bomb threat at Baker Middle School is that it was only a threat.

No bomb.

No injuries.

Not even much class time lost, as the school’s approximately 260 seventh- and eighth-graders were in their seats by 8:30 a.m., just 35 minutes after the normal start.

The second most important aspect of this event is that the person apparently responsible, a 13-year-old boy who’s a student at BMS, was identified.

Councilors should all be involved

Baker City Council members Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles and Richard Langrell let down their constituents last week.

The trio didn’t attend a special City Council meeting during which councilors evaluated City Manager Mike Kee’s performance over the past year.

This is a vital part of the Council’s job.

Kee oversees the city’s day-to-day operations. He’s responsible for the city’s 70 or so employees.

Don’t let fire guard down yet

We’ll concede that a fire probably would have felt pleasantly warm these past few chilly mornings if you were camping or otherwise outdoors.

But although dawns with temperatures in the 30s remind us that autumn is approaching, summer and its specter of wildfires has not yet gone away.

If we can maintain our diligence for a few more weeks, though, chances are good that we’ll get through another fire season without the devastation that other places in Oregon and other western states have recently endured.

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