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Inflaming the gun debate

The issue of guns is complicated.

There’s more than one issue, of course, which partially explains the complexity.

We’re skeptical, then, when someone suggests that the matter can be distilled to the conflict between Americans who “favor gun rights” and those who “favor gun control."

The future of a fish

Much of the attention given to the status of the bull trout in and around Baker County over the past 16 years has focused on the potential effects on livestock grazing, irrigation for farming, logging and other natural resources industries.

But the bull trout recovery plan the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released this month reminds us that this fish, which has been a threatened species since 1999, could also affect recreation — specifically, fishing for brook trout.

City made good deal

The Baker City Council made a good deal this week with retiring City Manager Mike Kee.

That it’s also a good deal for Kee doesn’t change this.

Is Baker passing up pot of taxes?

Oregon’s marijuana stores have done a brisk business since recreational sales became legal Oct. 1. Retailers reported sales topping $11 million during the first week.

None of those sales was in Baker County.

Crime statistics mislead

There are at least a few well-known aphorisms that highlight the fallibility of statistics.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” — often wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, although its actual origin is uncertain — probably is the most repeated.

Misleading statistics sometimes are innocuous.

But it’s no minor matter when the source of a statistic is such a respected agency as the FBI, and the figures in question purport to show how often violent crimes happen in Baker City.

Hopeful after Haggen

The short, strange saga of the Haggen grocery store in Baker City has attracted considerable attention among local residents.

Which is no surprise.

We all have to eat, after all.

And although the slated Nov. 25 closure of the Haggen store at 1120 Campbell St. won’t leave shoppers without an option, we have over the decades become accustomed to having two major grocery chains — Safeway and Albertsons — from which to choose our staples. 

After another tragedy

President Obama, in talking about the man who shot and killed nine people Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, said the U.S. has “become numb” to mass shootings.

We disagree.

And we’re pretty sure Roseburg residents do too.

Nor do we concur with Mr. Obama’s description of the nation’s response to Thursday’s tragedy as “routine."

Feds find money to build

With the federal government rolling up billion-dollar annual bills for fighting wildfires, a public building in Baker City that costs a bit less than $1 million might seem mathematically insignificant.

But we think the structure the U.S. Forest Service is building this fall is noteworthy.

Not because the $889,000 in public dollars the agency is spending on the building near the intersection of 11th and H streets will hamper its firefighting campaign in a meaningful way.

Prayers fine, but so is poetry

The debate over whether local government meetings should begin with a prayer, and in particular with explicitly Christian invocations that mention Jesus, has been a divisive one in the past in Baker City.

This need not happen again.

A simple and fair solution exists, and we urge the Baker County commissioners to grab it.

A sad end for an iconic sign

The neon heyday of Baker City’s 10th Street strip faded a bit farther into the past last week.

The distinctive red-and-yellow sign at the In & Out drive-in, at the corner of 10th and D streets, was taken down and hauled out of town Tuesday morning.

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