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Rainy Reprieve

Storm Interrupts Abnormally Dry Spring

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Zac Searles, right, and Riley Carter, Baker City Department of Public Works employees, help keep street drains flowing on a rainy Wednesday morning.

By Jayson Jacoby

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The spring rain, as it almost always does in Baker County, finally arrived.

With the summer solstice just four days away, a soggy storm interrupted what was on pace to be the driest spring around here since World War II.

As of 9 a.m. today, almost half an inch of rain had fallen at the Baker City Airport since Tuesday afternoon.

That isn’t nearly enough to erase the rainfall deficit for June, or for the spring.

But the dousing did push the precipitation total, for the period starting April 1, to 1.66 inches. 

See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 


St. Alphonsus to ban all tobacco starting July 1

The hospital company’s policy also prohibits e-cigarettes

By Chris Collins

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St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City is implementing a new policy beginning July 1 that will prohibit the use of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, at all of its sites.

The tobacco ban extends to the Baker Clinic at 3175 Pocahontas Road, and Valley Medical Clinic, 3820 17th St., which are part of the St. Alphonsus campus, said Laura Huggins, hospital spokeswoman. 

The rules for the Express Care Clinic inside Albertsons at 1120 Campbell St. will follow the store’s policy, Huggins said.

And the store follows Oregon’s Smokefree Workplace Law, said Marc Ruberti, Albertsons store director.

See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Baker County miner continues legal tussle with BLM

By Pat Caldwell

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While he does not profess to be any more of a religious man than most, Guy Michael is probably more familiar with the themes that surround the biblical tale of David vs. Goliath than most people.

The Baker County miner knows all about facing long odds against a powerful, established entity.

Since 2009, Michael has led a one-man crusade to secure what he believes is justice in a case that revolves around a series of mining claims he held on the Burnt River near Bridgeport.

Michael’s legal clash with the BLM erupted after the federal agency confiscated his property from one of his unpatented mining claims and never paid him a cent or returned the items, which include a bulldozer.

Michael, who believes he has a right under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution to be reimbursed, eventually steered his case through a number of federal courts before pushing the issue to the Supreme Court.

See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Delays on Hells Canyon Dam road June 25-27

Travelers to Hells Canyon Dam should plan for significant delays between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT June 25-27 as crews repair a communications cable there.

The road over the dam will be closed during those periods except for a 15-minute window at the end of each two-hour period.

A traffic flagger will be stationed on the Idaho side of the dam, and a message board placed at the Oxbow Bridge, 20 miles upriver, to inform drivers.

Police investigating apparent suicide

Oregon State Police (OSP), with the assistance of the Baker County Medical Examiner, is continuing the investigation into the death of an adult male found deceased Monday evening from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound near his vehicle about 6 miles southeast of Baker City.

On June 16, 2014 at approximately 8:27 p.m., OSP was contacted by Baker County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) after a citizen's report of a found vehicle associated with a missing 36-year old Baker City man. According to BCSO, the man took the family car and hadn't been seen since 7:00 a.m. that morning.

13-year-old Baker City boy accused of stabbing father

Boy's father did not need medical treatment 

A 13-year-old Baker City boy was arraigned today in Baker County Juvenile Court on a charge of second-degree assault, a Class B felony, for allegedly stabbing his father Monday night.

Police were dispatched to the family’s 10th Street home at 6:35 p.m., according to the Baker County Sheriff’s Office press log.

The boy’s father was not seriously injured and did not seek medical attention, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said.

The Major Crime Team was activated Monday to continue the investigation, Shirtcliff said. The team includes officers from Baker City Police, Oregon State Police and the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities transported the boy to The Dalles where he is being held in the juvenile section of the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR).

Former Baker man media liaison for family of Troutdale school shooter

Deon Strommer, a former Baker City resident, is serving as media spokesman for the family of Jared Michael Padgett, the 15-year-old Troutdale boy who fatally shot a classmate at Reynolds High School last week and then killed himself.

The Oregonian quoted Strommer in a story about Padgett's funeral, which took place Monday.

A videotaped interview with Strommer was posted on the newspaper's website, www.oregonlive.com.

Strommer and his wife, Amy, still own property in Baker County, including the Subway restaurant in Baker City. 

Parkway Progress

City Pursues Future Expansion Of Leo Adler Memorial Parkway

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald Baker City recently installed steps leading to the Powder River just upstream from the Myrtle Street bridge.

By Pat Caldwell

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A proposed expansion of the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway secured a big boost in the wake of the Baker City Budget Committee hearings last month after officials set aside money to try to buy property near Wade Williams Elks Memorial Park.

The budget committee added $36,000 to the 2014-2015 budget to buy the property.

City Manager Mike Kee said the long-term plan for the property is to transform it into a trailhead for the Adler Parkway, a paved pedestrian and bicycle route that starts at the north edge of the city at Hughes Lane and follows the Powder River south to its current terminus at Bridge Street.

That’s several blocks north of Wade Williams.

While the property purchase near the park, a Little League baseball complex that’s just east of the river, will be a leap forward in terms of the future, a lot of work remains, Kee said.

See more in Monday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Dredge group close to goal

SUMPTER — Friends of the Sumpter Valley Dredge recently received three grants totaling $11,000, bringing the volunteer nonprofit group to within $78,849 of its five-year goal of raising money to finish restoring the historic gold-mining machine.

The group received $5,000 grants from Trust Management Services, and two grants through the Oregon Community Foundation:

• $5,000 from the Robert W. Chandler II Fund

• $1,000 from the Northeast Oregon Heritage Fund

Friends of the Sumpter Valley Dredge has a goal of raising $570,120 for the 2010-14 period. The three latest grants bring the total to $491,271 — 86 percent of the goal.

See more in Monday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Mosquitoes are a menace

By Jayson Jacoby

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The mosquitoes got the jump on Matt Hutchinson this spring.

Not that mosquitoes jump, exactly.

But they fly.

And in the case of the females, they bite.

“It’s been pretty busy,” said Hutchinson, who’s in his second year as manager of the Baker Valley Vector Control District.

To put it another way, he’s the hired mosquito killer for a 200,000-acre area that includes Baker City and most of the Baker, Bowen and Keating valleys.

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