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Missing Halfway woman found safe

A Halfway woman who went missing Monday in the Wallowa Mountains was found safe this morning, Sheriff Mitch Southwick said.

Alice Covey, 65,  was camping with her husband and two or three other people in the Little Eagle Meadows area about three miles north of the Summit Point trailhead, Southwick said.

The group started out on a day hike toward Cornucopia on Monday, but Alice Covey turned back when she twisted her ankle, Southwick said.

When the others returned to their camp, Covey was not there. They searched but could not find her.

The Sheriff's Office received a call at 5:25 p.m. Monday, reporting that Covey was missing.

Searchers found Covey about 8:30 a.m. today. She was calling for help and appears to be in good condition, Southwick said.

After having some food and water, Covey will walk with searchers back to the trailhead, the sheriff said.

Beasts of Burden

Reliving Pioneer Days At The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center 

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald Sheryl Curtis — Bullwhacking’ Kass — holds one of her oxen, Job, as the Stoltzfus family pets the steer and gets ready to pose for photos Saturday. From left to right are Janna, Lisa, Caroline and father Myron Stoltzfus. The family visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center as they get ready to move to Payette, Idaho, later this fall.

By Coby Hutzler

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The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center was the site of an historical wagon camp re-enactment this weekend, playing host to demonstrations of blackpowder shooting, Dutch-oven cooking, dancing, and more.

Ox handler “Bullwhackin’ Kass,” also known as Sheryl Curtis, was on hand to explain how oxen were used to haul wagons along the Oregon Trail’s 2,200 miles.

Curtis, of Okanogan, Washington, had two oxen with her this weekend, Saul and Job, ages 17 and 11. The two form a gargantuan team, with a combined weight of 6,538 pounds. 

Curtis said that oxen, despite being commonly understood as a particular breed of stout, sturdy working bovine, aren’t a breed at all. 

“(That they’re called oxen) only means that they’re trained to work,” she said.

Curtis said that while oxen are usually steers, bulls are also used. 

“If there’s no cow (nearby) there’s no problem,” she said. 

As the wagons on the trail were prone to accidents, and since some branches of the trail passed unpalatable grass and water too alkaline for the oxen, Curtis said that it was a rare thing for the animals to survive the whole trip. 

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


Never mind calendar: Fall debuts as August takes a bow

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker County weather rarely conforms to the edicts of the equinoxes.

Officially, fall doesn’t arrive for almost three weeks.

But August’s final breath, as it were, felt decidely autumnal.

The cold front that spawned a boisterous thunderstorm Saturday afternoon in Baker City also ushered in the coolest air since the summer solstice.

Sunday’s high temperature of 68 degrees at the Baker City Airport was was the lowest in almost 2months.

It was the coolest day since June 18, when the high was 61.

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

Ice Bucket Challenge Brings A Chill To Baker City

Coby Hutzler / Baker City Herald Ginger Savage, director of the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, is doused with ice water Wednesday evening. She agreed to endure the frigid experience after the center raised enough money to schedule two visits from the Missoula Children’s Theater next summer.

By Coby Hutzler

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A frigid wave is sweeping the country. 

What began as a dare to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, has exploded in popularity and led to record donations to the ALS Association — almost $100 million in just the past month or so.

That wave is called the Ice Bucket Challenge.

State confirms three "presumptive" cases of West Nile virus in Baker County residents

By Jayson Jacoby

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Three Richland-area residents were likely infected with West Nile virus through mosquito bites earlier this summer, according to the Oregon Health Authority and the Baker County Health Department.

The agencies are calling the three cases, the first human West Nile infections in Baker County since 2007, “presumptive” because final test results are still pending.

But Dr. Emilio DeBess, public health veterinarian with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), said the three Baker County residents definitely contracted either West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis.

Both are spread by mosquitoes, but the tests that have been done so far on blood samples from the three people could not distinguish between the two diseases, DeBess said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta can perform that test, but results probably won’t be available for two to three weeks, he said.

It’s far more likely that the three Baker County residents were infected with West Nile virus, DeBess said.

Kids Keep Their Cool

Daughter’s Phone Call Helps Mom Who Had Allergic Reaction To Sting


Submitted photo Elishah Thomas with her daughter, Izabella, 8, left, and her son, Ezra, 6.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Elishah Thomas has been stung before, so she didn’t give it much thought when a yellow jacket nabbed her on the morning of Aug. 18.

She and her company were picking apricots at her place, about 12 miles outside of Baker City, when a wasp stung her middle finger.

“I’ve never had a problem with stings — even this summer,” she said.

To alleviate her throbbing finger, she dabbed on some Benadryl cream and then returned to picking apricots.

Not long after, she came down with a throbbing headache.

She and took some ibuprofen and went back outside to feed the horses and get her truck for a trip to town.


Three seek seats on City Council

It appears that at least one write-in candidate will be elected to the Baker City Council Nov. 4.

That’s because just three people have qualified for the ballot, which will include four openings.

City Recorder Luke Yeaton said this morning that three candidates qualified for the ballot before the deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday: Benjamin Merrill, R. Mack Augenfeld and James Thomas.

With fewer candidates than vacancies, the qualified person who receives the most write-in votes will also be elected.

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

Deschner, founder of Salt Lick Auction, receives award for fundraising

Whit Deschner of Baker City, founder of the Great Salt Lick Contest and Auction, a fundraiser for Parkinson’s Disease research, was named a recipient of a 2014 Crystal Award Tuesday by the Willamette Valley Development Officers.

The annual event, in which people enter actual salt licks “sculptured” by cattle and wildlife, has raised more than $50,000 for the Oregon Health Sciences University’s Parkinson’s Center.

Deschner, who formerly lived near Sparta east of Baker City, has the disease.

He will be honored at the Portland Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthrophy Awards for Excellence in Fundraising on Sept. 18 in Portland.

Deschner will receive the Community Hero award.

Two file for City Council, 4 others collecting signatures

Two candidates have filed for the Baker City Council election in November.
Four others are collecting signatures in advance of the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, City Recorder Luke Yeaton said.
Benjamin Merrill and R. Mack Augenfeld have collected the required signatures, Yeaton said.
Four others who could be on the November ballot are incumbent Councilor Roger Coles, along with Randy Daugherty, a former councilor, and James Thomas and Rustin Smith. 
Four of the seven positions on the City Council are up for election this fall.
The incumbents for those slots are Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles, Barbara Johnson and Clair Button.
Due to a clause in the city charter that limits councilors to serving no more than two consecutive terms, neither Dorrah nor Button is eligible to run for re-election.
The top three vote-getters in November will be elected to four-year terms.
The fourth-place finisher will serve a two-year term. 

Get My Good Side

24th-annual Baker City Memory Cruise attracts more than 175 classic automobiles 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A 1935 Studebaker Dictator Coupe attracts attention during the Memory Cruise show-and-shine Saturday at Geiser-Pollman Park. The car is owned by Jim McBath of Meridian, Idaho. Approximately 175 cars participated in the 24th-annual cruise, according to Dan Haberman, an event organizer.

By Jayson Jacoby

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A hailstorm, most generally, qualifies as a nuisance.

Combine it with a classic car show, though, and you’ve got a potential nightmare.

Fortunately the dark clouds that amassed over Baker City on Friday night, the first day of the 24th-annual Memory Cruise, slunk away without dropping anything dangerous over an estimated 175 vintage automobiles that gathered in Baker City.

In the storm’s wake was a sunny Saturday, and one of the larger turnouts in the show’s history, said Wayne Ryder, one of the organizers.

“I think it was very successful,” Ryder said this morning. “We had about 20 more cars than last year. This was right up there with our biggest attendance ever.”

Ryder said about 175 cars attended, and many of those participated not only in the show-and-shine Saturday morning and afternoon at Geiser-Pollman Park but also showed up later for the Durkee Steak Feed at Quail Ridge Golf Course and the downtown cruise on Main Street.

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

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