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Fee needs fixing

Used to be the only price you had to pay for the privilege of pulling a few trout from Anthony or Grande Ronde Lake was the cost of a fishing license.

This, at least, was fair, since the money goes to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department, the agency that dumps fish in the lakes every year.


Helping the river and its users

A group of Baker Valley farmers and ranchers, along with government officials, figured out how to keep water in the Powder River, and keep cattle out.

Which sounds like a boon for the river and its inhabitants, but like a potential disaster for those farmers and ranchers.


Law's a damper


Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants to clean Oregon’s air.

This is a fine goal, and one we share.

Trouble is, one of the governor’s tactics for achieving that goal puts an unfair burden on places, including Baker City, where the air, according to the state’s environmental watchdogs, is already admirably pure.

That tactic is Senate Bill 102. Kulongoski signed the bill, also known as “Heat Smart,” into law in late June.

The law, the first of its kind in the nation, mandates that if your home has a woodstove that’s not EPA-certified (this includes most stoves built before 1986), you must remove the stove before you sell your home.

But that’s not all you have to do.


Local dealers OK, but questions remain


Baker City’s new car dealerships escaped the purge that is supposed to save Chrysler and General Motors.

This is a good thing.

Between them, Chrysler dealer Powder River Motors and GM affiliate Baker Garage employ a couple dozen people and have a combined annual payroll of close to $1 million.

But although it seems that Baker City will emerge unscathed from the near-collapse of two of the nation’s biggest manufacturers, we remain worried about the nationwide ramifications of this debacle.

What we have, mainly, are questions. But the Obama administration, which is supposed to be overseeing this “restructuring” of the bankrupt companies, has offered little in the way of substantive answers.


End classes early on Wednesdays

We still think students in Baker City schools should attend classes a full five days each week.

But we understand why the Baker School Board decided last week to keep, at least for the coming school year, the slightly shortened schedule that’s been in place the past seven years.

We agree, as Board Chair Ginger Savage put it, that parents deserve at least that measure of “continuity” as they prepare for the myriad changes the board approved this spring.


End classes early on Wednesdays

We still think students in Baker City schools should attend classes a full five days each week.

But we understand why the Baker School Board decided last week to keep, at least for the coming school year, the slightly shortened schedule that’s been in place the past seven years.


Wanted: Your opinions


There will be no better time than this summer to tell Steve Ellis, supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, where you think motor vehicles should be allowed to go on the forest.

Last week the Wallowa-Whitman unveiled its draft environmental impact statement for the forest’s proposed travel management plan. That plan will determine where motorized vehicles (except for snowmobiles, which are exempt) can travel on about 1.3 million acres of the 2.4-million-acre Wallowa-Whitman.

The forest will accept public comments on the DEIS through Aug. 20.


Council needn't rush this decision


The Baker City Council should allow itself more time to find a new city manager.

We suggest councilors extend the application deadline from Aug. 7, the date they set during a special meeting Friday, to Oct. 7.

This is a singularly bad time to rush such an important decision.

The Council is divided, both numerically and philosophically, in a way we have not seen in at least a decade.

Four councilors voted last week to fire City Manager Steve Brocato.

The three other councilors voted against that motion.


Keep some SUVs, help school clubs


We understand that Oregon state government purports to be a leader in promoting green practices.

But we’d like to believe that putting publicly owned hybrids on the state’s highways isn’t more important than helping high school students travel to workshops and competitions for clubs such as Future Business Leaders of America and the FFA.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to conclude, based on the Legislature’s apparent priorities, that Priuses don’t take precedent over students.


Way to go, Bulldogs


Baker High School’s baseball team climbed higher this year than ever before on the state playoff mountain.

The Bulldogs were turned back just below the summit.

Two measly runs short.

Baker lost 8-6 to Astoria in the Class 4A state championship game on Saturday in Keizer.

It was the first time the Bulldogs had advanced to the final game.


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