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Baker City's dilemma

Baker City officials have a dilemma on their hands.

One source is a parasite, cryptosporidium, that can leave you suffering from diarrhea and nausea if it gets into your stomach.

The other source is perhaps even more insidious: the federal government.


What's recycling cost?

For most Baker City residents, recycling is hardly the most onerous task on their agenda.

But it could be a lot easier.

As is typical, though, the convenience of leaving recyclables at the curbside along with your trash comes at a cost.

We don’t know how high the cost would be.

But we should.

To that end, we urge the City Council to ask Baker Sanitary Service for an updated estimated cost to offer curbside recycling to its customers.


Let's go camping!

We never thought we’d write this, but here goes:

We sort of wish Portland Mayor Sam Adams was in charge of the Forest Service.

Well, maybe not the entire Forest Service. But at least the agency’s camping rules.


Farewell to studded tires?

Get ready, Baker County drivers.

They’re coming for our studded tires.

And this time the “they” isn’t Oregon’s legislators, who have failed to banish studded tires from the state’s roads despite concerns dating to the early 1970s about the damage the tires cause to pavement.

This time it’s our fellow voters.

And we in the thinly populated lands east of the Cascades know too well why that’s significant.


A valuable reminder

Last month’s collision of a bicycle and an unmarked police car in a Baker City intersection  should serve as a reminder to cyclists of the potential danger inherent in sharing streets with 3,000-pound vehicles.

Great deal, EPA

The federal government has managed to make the possible closure of one of Baker County’s larger private employers seem downright merciful.

Ash Grove Cement Co.’s plant near Durkee, 27 miles southeast of Baker City, employs about 116 people.

The plant has an annual payroll of about $9 million. It’s also the county’s second-biggest taxpayer, putting $727,000 into the county’s coffers last fiscal year.

In other words, Ash Grove is a vital part of Baker County economy — more so since the county recently endured its highest August jobless rate (9.2 percent) in a quarter-century.


Thanks for nothing

We wish President Obama were as eager to help Baker County resuscitate its flagging economy as he is to ensure that an Idaho company gets to build a power transmission line through the county.

Pot and guns

There are good reasons to deny a person the privilege of buying a gun.

That a person has a card allowing him to legally use marijuana is a bad reason.


Playing a waiting game with Wallowa wolves

We’ve begun to reconsider our optimism about the prospect that wolves will return to some of their former habitat in Oregon in anything resembling a peaceful manner.

Based on the exploits this year of the Imnaha wolf pack — until recently the biggest of Oregon’s three packs — our earlier sense of hope is being replaced by skepticism.

Last week the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), which manages wolves in far Eastern Oregon, announced that its agents would kill two of the four remaining Imnaha wolves. One of the targeted wolves is the pack’s alpha, or breeding, male.

ODFW killed two other Imnaha wolves in May.


OTEC equality

There’s no way to sugarcoat the rate hikes that Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative announced last week.

But though we can’t sweeten the reality that, starting Saturday, we’ll pay more for a product none of us can do without, we can say this: OTEC’s board of directors made this ordeal less sour, for many of us, than it could have been.

Before we explain how, let’s deal with one major issue.

OTEC had to charge its customers more.

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