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Blooming Again

Baker County’s Eagle Creek Orchard Recovers From 2013 Freeze


Photo by Lisa Britton Asian pear trees are in loaded with blossoms at Eagle Creek Orchard near Richland. But not every flower results in fruit — Rob Cordtz can tell by looking that the flower with a brown center (right) isn’t viable, but the one just to the left appears healthy. Also, the fruit must be thinned to allow room to grow and ensure the limbs don’t break from a heavy load.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

A year ago Rob and Linda Cordtz spent all night watching the temperature plummet in their fruit orchard and trying every frost protection measure they had to save the harvest.

The cold won, resulting in a nearly 100 percent loss.

A year later to the day — April 15 — the couple smile and laugh among trees bursting with blooms and the promise of fruit.

“They grew like crazy. It’s going to be a bumper year,” Rob says.

They own Eagle Creek Orchard near Richland. It has been certified organic with Oregon Tilth since 2008, and this year will be their 10th harvest.

After losing their crop in 2013, the Cordtzes knew they had to upgrade their frost protection system, and were encouraged to fundraise through a crowdsourcing website called Indiegogo. Donations met the goal of $30,000. 

 

City Council to consider fee increases


By Pat Caldwell

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Baker City residents could face a number of fee hikes in the upcoming year, and many of the price boosts are tied to the annual consumer price index and the city’s fixed debt obligations.

City officials will ask the City Council to approve the full slate of fee increases at its next meeting, April 22.

Officials are recommending price increases in ambulance base rate charges, cemetery, building department and wastewater fees along with a boost in water mainline charges.

Modest price hikes on city fees are common, Finance Director Jeanie Dexter said.

“We set these (fees) every year. Every year some fees change,” Dexter said.

 

Moon to pull a disappearing act


By Jayson Jacoby

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The moon and the Earth will cooperate.

But will the clouds?

More to the point, will the clouds steer clear of Northeastern Oregon tonight and early Tuesday when the Earth’s shadow obscures the moon, creating a total lunar eclipse.

Tonight’s eclipse, which starts about 10:55 p.m., is the first that’s potentially visible, in its entirety, from Baker City since Dec. 21, 2010.

The total eclipse — when the full moon is completely blocked by the Earth’s shadow — will last for 78 minutes, from 12:06 a.m. until 1:24 a.m.

 

Intense Training

National Guard Prepares For Major Exercise In 2015


By Pat Caldwell

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The leader of Eastern Oregon’s biggest Guard outfit says this summer’s annual training stint on the high desert south of Boise will be one of the most important since the unit prepared to deploy overseas during the war on terror.

Lt. Col. Brian Dean said Friday that the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, will perform a number of high-tempo training exercises in August as the unit prepares for a rotation during the summer of 2015 at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Calif.

The 3rd Battalion consists of Guard units from Baker City, La Grande, Woodburn, Hood River, The Dalles, Hermiston, Pendleton and Ontario. 

“It (Annual Training) will be very intense,” he said. 

 

Retired ODFW biologist: Hunt wolves as soon as possible


The Oregon Hunters Association issued a press release today that includes excerpts of an interview with Vic Coggins, a longtime wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlfe in Enterprise.

The press release follows:

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services considers removing gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species list, Vic Coggins, former longtime Oregon district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Enterprise, believes that delisting is vital for managing wolves in Oregon. If approved by the USFWS, wolves throughout the U.S. would no longer be listed under the Endangered Species Act, except for the Mexican gray wolf in the southwest.

Recently retired, Coggins spent the last few years of his nearly 50-year career as a wildlife biologist dealing with wolves in northeastern Oregon as the animals moved into the area from Idaho. “They are costing the state a lot of money to manage and a lot of wildlife losses,” he said. “And that is also a loss of money and hunting opportunity."

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Easter egg hunt set for April 19


Baker City’s annual Easter egg hunt is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 19 at Geiser-Pollman Park.

The event is for children ages 3 through 11.

Children should start lining up at 9:45 a.m. in the designated age group areas in the park. The police siren will sound at 10 a.m.

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More Than A Mall

Tribute To BHS Teacher Marla Cavallo 


By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

What started out as a closet of clothes has grown into a full-fledged community resource that also gives students work experience.

Marla’s Mall was established in memory of Marla Cavallo, a long-time PE and health teacher at Baker High School who died of breast cancer Jan. 19, 2007, at the age of 45. 

“We started out with just a little corner of the Learning Center classroom,” said Susan Myers, who helps run Marla’s Mall.

It has since relocated to North Baker Elementary, where the clothing alone takes up an entire room.

 

An award-winning tribute to a dog


By Chris Collins

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Kaylan Mosser’s love and admiration for her pitbull-mix dog, Jasper, has paid cash dividends.

The Baker Middle School eighth-grader’s essay about what she has learned through her relationship with Jasper won first place in her division of the Oregon Humane Society Be Kind to Animals Poster and Story Contest.

Kaylan won a $100 gift card for her story and was invited to attend the “A’Cat’Emy Awards”  banquet in Portland, said teacher Chelsea Hurliman.

 

Mayor: City owes him $12,800

 


By Pat Caldwell

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The lingering legal conflict between Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell and the city appears to be on the verge of escalating.

And a court battle might be on the horizon.

An April 1 letter from Langrell’s attorney to the city asks for more than $12,000 in reimbursement in connection to an annexation/water fee dispute. Also included in the reimbursement demand is money that Langrell and his wife, Lynne, assert they’ve paid to be part of a rural fire protection district. 

In their initial request in early January, the Langrells asked the city to reimburse them $14,907.

 

 

Council passes pot store limits


By Pat Caldwell

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At first glance the agenda for the Baker City Council Tuesday boasted all the ingredients of a lengthy session, but councilors tackled their work with alacrity and quickly moved through 11 items.

The Council selected five volunteers — Corrine Vegter, Brian Vegter, Ann Mehaffy, Terri Axness and Derek Hosler — to serve on the newly-formed Public Arts Commission, and assigned Councilor Dennis Dorrah and City Manager Mike Kee as city representatives to the new board.

The Council then approved — on its third and final reading — Ordinance 3333. This ordinances is a mandate to create a moratorium — not a ban — on medical marijuana dispensaries. 

 
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