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Bill a boon for schools

We had begun to wonder whether the Oregon Legislature would get around to doing something about a matter vital to the future of Baker County schools.

It was belated action, but this week it finally happened.

The legislation is Senate Bill 250, and it will soon become law.


Reasonable limit on school boss' contract

Walt Wegener, superintendent of the Baker School District, deserves to have his employment contract extended for another year.

That would give Wegener, who started work here July 1, 2010, and signed a contract that continues until June 30, 2012, some measure of job security through June 30, 2013. More importantly, it would give the district continuity of leadership while it restructures its staff and budget to accommodate declining enrollment.

The school board, though, is considering offering Wegener a multi-year extension, beyond 2013.

That’s not appropriate.


A real warning

We’re not branding the National Weather Service as Chicken Little, but we were getting rather annoyed by the onslaught of flood watches and warnings the agency issued earlier this spring for the Powder River in Baker City.

All the while the river, though certainly running high for the season, stayed comfortably within its banks.

The weather prognosticators, to their credit, have adjusted their threshold to reflect the realities of the river.

This is what you call “ground-truthing.”


Honoring Col. Baker

We have on occasion chastised the Oregon Legislature for dealing with inane topics while it’s in session in Salem.

Designating an official state soil, for instance, seemed to us an unjustified indulgence when Oregon’s coffers, or so we’re told, are $3 billion short.

And so it is with the understanding that we expose ourselves to charges of hypocrisy that we congratulate lawmakers for passing a bill designating Edward Dickinson Baker Day.



The term “public land” sounds pretty straightforward.

It’s not.

Not in parts of Baker County, at any rate.

A person would naturally expect that public land belongs to the public, which is to say all of us. And so it logically follows that all of us can go there.

The first part is accurate.

The second part, not so much.


Making something out of a Jungle

Baker City’s kids deserve clean and safe places to play.

Boys Jungle could be one of those places.

But it’s not one now.


Laughing at politicians

True humor is relatively rare in politics but we always have a good chuckle when one politician responds to a blatant publicity stunt with.... a blatant publicity stunt.

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer really got us giggling this week with his clumsy, and silly, ploy to embarrass Sarah Palin.


Refresher needed

The Baker School Board needs a refresher course on Oregon’s Public Meetings law.

We’re convinced that the board ran afoul of the law Monday afternoon.

Specifically, the board excluded two reporters from the Baker City Herald from attending the portion of the meeting when a teacher, who has filed a grievance against the district, met with the board.


Grid needs fixing

Probably we ought not be shocked that our country’s transition to relying on “clean” electricity would have its messy bits.

The current conflict in the Northwest, though predicted by experts, surprised the general public.

It pits endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River against the wind turbines on which we’ve lavished billions of dollars of public subsidies.


Faith healing bill protects kids

Oregonians are as a rule pretty tolerant of unconventional behavior.

We let people grow, and smoke, marijuana for a whole host of reasons.

We allow people to enlist the help of a physician to complete suicide.

But our tolerance must have reasonable limits.

To its credit, the Legislature last week acted to impose such a limit — one that’s long been lacking and that has, sadly, contributed to the deaths of at least two Oregon children.


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