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Salmon sensibility


We’re not fish biologists, but we’re pretty sure that a salmon is still a salmon even if grew up in a hatchery rather than a river.

Which is not to say all salmon, or their cousins the steelhead, are equal.

Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals understands these distinctions.

A three-judge panel ruled last week that the federal government can continue to use hatchery-raised salmon to augment their wild (meaning non-hatchery) counterparts.


Feds to the rescue?


Kids are committing fewer crimes in Baker County.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that one of the factors officials credit for the decline in juvenile crime — the city police department’s school resource officer, who works at Baker High School and Baker Middle School — might not have a job after June 30.

That’s because the Baker School District, which pays about 65 percent of SRO Shannin Zednik’s annual salary and benefits of about $77,000, needs to slash its spending.


Don’t wait, Congress

We expect Oregon’s congressional delegation to bicker occasionally.

But we figured there was universal agreement among them about the federal county payments program.

We are so naive.

County payments, which Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden helped create in 2000, are supposed to help counties, including Baker, that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly when the amount of logging on federal land plummeted starting in the early 1990s.


Those ‘stupid’ security measures

So Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio thinks random checks of airline passengers’ carry-on bags are “really stupid.”

Well, we’ll take really stupid over a hijacking every time.

Fortunately, we haven’t had one of those in this country for 7fi years.

The interesting thing here is that DeFazio, a 12-term Democrat from Springfield whose district covers most of Oregon’s southwest quarter, told the (Eugene) Register-Guard newspaper that he considers himself an expert on airport security.


Keep watching the water legislation

There’s scarcely a better way for the Oregon Legislature to scare farmers and ranchers than to debate bills that mention water rights.

People in the ag business pay particular attention to such legislation.

Their scrutiny isn’t prompted by paranoia, either.

It’s awfully hard, after all, to run a farm or ranch without an ample supply of water.

For most producers in Baker County some of that water — most of it, in many cases — comes from rivers and streams.


Sticking around

Jobs are scarce in most places these days, but Baker County soon will have four pretty good ones available.

All are with the county’s road department.

In a confluence of retirements rare for the sheer durations involved, four road department workers either have retired, or intend to do so by May 28.


Kickstand this one


45 years is enough

Quite a lot has changed since 1964, even if you don’t account for the Beatles, the moon landing and the Internet.

Yet after four and a half decades, by one measure not so much as a tree has fallen nor a patch of sagebrush been scorched in Baker County.

This oversight is to be rectified finally.

The measure in question is how the Oregon Department of Forestry defines which private lands in Baker County are forested and which are for grazing.


No need to tinker with the tax kicker

Even while they fret about the state having too little money, some Oregon legislators envision a time when the state will have more than it needs.

That’s optimism, we suppose.

But this is not the proper time for lawmakers to propose a bill that would ensure Oregon residents and businesses would keep less of the money they earn once the economy rebounds.

The legislation is Senate Joint Resolution 29. It was introduced last week.

The bill’s target is Oregon’s famous income tax “kicker” refund system.


Stop Senate Bill 440

The recession has spurred state lawmakers to new levels of creativity in their quest for money.

Among the more shortsighted of the ideas is Senate Bill 440.

The bill would overturn a 2003 state law that mandates that government agencies spend at least 70 percent of money they collect from lodging taxes to promote tourism.

SB 440 would allow cities and counties to spend lodging taxes any way they see fit.

That’s appropriate for, say, property taxes.


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