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Forest Service proposes large timber sale in Elkhorns

The U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, released an environmental study today for one of the biggest proposed timber sales on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in the past 25 years.

The East Face project, which is designed to reduce the risk of large wildfires, includes almost 50,000 acres of public land, mostly Forest Service with about 1,200 acres of BLM ground.

Class Cleans Up

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Baker High School students Caistyn Brooks, right, and Tucker Foersterling remove the wood-plank siding from one of the buildings Monday.

BTI Students Tear Down Buildings On Contaminated Property

The weathered, wooden buildings that have occupied the east Baker City lot at 2430 Balm St. for more than 90 years have come down this week as part of an educational effort to clean up the contaminated site.

The work began Friday when two students from the Baker Technical Institute at Baker High School used pry bars and hammers to begin ripping nails and boards from two of the buildings. They worked alongside and under the guidance of their teacher, Megan Alameda, and volunteer Mike Aguirre.

Alameda is the instructor for the class titled “Environmental Science: Brownfield in Baker.” Aguirre, owner of My Little Woodshop in Baker City, has helped train the students and lead them in the first phase of the tear-down work in exchange for the usable salvaged weathered wood.

One volunteer so far for spot on City Council

With just two days left to apply, only one person has volunteered to fill a vacancy on the Baker City Council.

Margaret D. “Sandy” Lewis has applied to replace Ben Merrill, who resigned last month.

The city is accepting applications until 10 a.m. on Friday.

Police Chief disputes FBI crime statistics

Chief Wyn Lohner says FBI report 'completely inaccurate'

Although the FBI uniform crime report released last week doesn’t rank Baker City as the worst in Oregon in terms of violent crimes, the 61 such crimes reported in 2014 is higher than the number reported by many Oregon cities of similar size.

La Grande, with a population of 13,150 compared to Baker City’s 9,890 residents, reported just 15 violent crimes in 2014.

Roseburg killer's mother says he had Asperger's syndrome

By Gosia Wozniacka and Brian Melley

Associated Press

PORTLAND — The deadly shooting last week at an Oregon community college has an eerie parallel with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 pupils and six adult staff members in 2012.

Like Adam Lanza, the gunman in the Connecticut massacre, Christopher Harper-Mercer was living a mostly solitary life with a mom who shared his fascination with firearms.

Both stories illustrate the struggles parents face caring for a deeply troubled child, struggles that can inadvertently lead to a volatile outcome made easier by ready access to weaponry.

Two Baker men charged with poaching deer

Two Baker City men have been charged with illegally killing multiple buck deer, and wasting the meat, after a 10-month investigation by Oregon State Police fish and wildlife troopers in Baker City.

Dustin Reid Hellbusch, 18, is charged with 10 counts of taking/possessing a buck deer, eight counts of waste of a big game animal, and one count of tampering with evidence.

Taylor Michael Morris, 18, is charged with eight counts of taking/possessing a buck deer, seven counts of waste of a big game animal, and one count of tampering with evidence.

Police expect to arrest more suspects in the case, which started in November 2014 after a report to the state’s “Turn In a Poacher” (TIP) program.

OSP is asking the public for more information about this case. People can call Sr. Trooper McNeil at 541-523-5867, extension 4171, or call the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Haggen wants to auction stores on Nov. 9

The Haggen grocery chain has asked a bankruptcy court to approve the company’s plan to try to sell some of its stores, including the one in Baker City, by auction on Nov. 9.

Bids would be due on Nov. 2, and a court hearing to consider the auction results would take place Nov. 24, according to the schedule Haggen has proposed.

Water supply holds up

Baker City’s drought-depleted water supply is keeping up with demand.

The 11 streams and springs in the city’s watershed in the Elkhorn Mountains west of town are producing about 2 million gallons per day (MGD), Public Works Director Michelle Owen said.

Creating Careers

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Kylie Siddoway, right, and Hailey Zikmund are partners in the study of sustainable agriculture. Both girls, who live on ranches, said they look forward to careers in agriculture.

Baker Technical Institute Expands To The Middle School

Kristen Spaulding walks calmly through the flurry of activity in her fourth-period Baker Middle School classroom guiding students through computer-led, hands-on assignments.

The renovated space, which formerly housed the school’s teachers lounge, is the new home of the middle school version of Baker Technical Institute.

Spaulding says teaching middle schoolers is a job she enjoys and finds she’s well-suited for.

“It’s not for the faint of heart, but I like it,” she says as she guides a room filled with 30 students clamoring for her attention as the clock ticks off the 52 minutes they spend in the BTI classroom.

County, Forest Service discuss coordination

A Wednesday meeting at the Baker County Courthouse was the beginning of a coordination process between county and Forest Service officials concerning land management policies.

Topics at the meeting — which allowed public attendance, but no public comment — were related to wildfires that burned about 150,000 acres of forest and rangeland in the county this summer.

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