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Cole trial set for November

Brian Cole’s attorney has asked a Pendleton judge to reconsider his decision to allow at trial most of the evidence police gathered in an investigation of allegations that Cole provided alcohol to a 17-year-old girl and sexually abused her.

Baker City attorney Bob Moon filed the motion Friday in Baker County Circuit Court.

During a pretrial hearing Monday, a 3 p.m. court session was scheduled for Aug. 25 to consider additional argument on the issue.

Cole’s trial has been set for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1 in Baker County Circuit Court.

Moon contends Reynolds based his decision to allow the evidence at trial “on a theory that was not argued by the state” during a May 21 hearing. Moon argued that officers illegally stopped Cole and did not advise him of his rights when they interviewed him and the girl on Halloween night at the Pocahontas Fire Station about two miles west of Baker City.

Cole was cited and released that night on a charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor. The deputies found a bottle of peppermint schnapps from inside Cole’s car and also cited the girl on a charge of minor in possession of alcohol. She was released to her parents.


Local Elks Lodge’s first woman ruler would rather talk about the future, not making history

Debby Ray, the first woman chosen as Baker lodge’s exalted ruler, prefers touting the Elks’ many charitable works

Debby Ray is passionate about the Elks, and this year she is presiding as exalted ruler of the Baker Lodge No. 338 — the first woman to hold this position at the local level.

Though women have always had a role in the Elks, they weren’t allowed to join until 1995, under an amendment to the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Elks.

Prior to that, the Elks had been an all-male organization since it was founded in 1896.

There are 2,000 Elks Lodges — Baker’s is No. 338.

One who wants to join the Elks must be at least 21, be of good character, be a believer in God, and be an American citizen. Candidates must be approved by an investigatory committee and then approved by two-thirds of the members present and voting.

Ray became an Elk nine years ago in Alaska, and prior to that she spent 12 years in the Emblem Club, an Elks organization for women.

“We did a lot of help for all the events,” she said.

Now, as exalted ruler, she’s spending most of her spare time and vacation leave working on Elks projects.

And she relishes every minute.


Crews douse fire near Unity Reservoir

Firefighters had help from heavy equipment in the air and on the ground Monday to stop a 30-acre lightning fire near Unity Reservoir that came within about a mile and a half of several homes.

No structures were damaged, and none was threatened today.

The fire was 90 percent contained Monday night, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), which is coordinating the firefighting effort.


When your stomach says hello to your brain

Baker City Herald

Aerobatic pilot Tim Decker puts his 1998 Pitts S-2B through its stomach-churning paces at the Wings Over Baker air show on Friday. This is Decker’s 6th season performing at airshows.
Have you ever seen Baker City upside down?

It is just as beautiful, though it may be hard to appreciate the view while you’re trying to hold in your breakfast.

“OK, now I’m going to do a barrel roll,” Pilot Tim Decker said just before he spun the Pitts S-2B stunt plane upside down.

The view, though temporary, was spectacular.

“Now we we’ll just go upside down for a bit,” he said.

Flying 800 feet above ground in a plane that has flipped over is one thing most people will likely never do. Most would be thankful for that. Others will be envious of those who have.


Lightning ignites at least 10 small fires

The first major lightning storm in Northeastern Oregon in almost a month sparked at least 10 small wildfires in the region Sunday evening.

None of the fires burned more than an acre, and firefighters had contained all of the blazes Sunday.

Fire crews searched for but were unable to find several other possible blazes that were reported after the storm, which passed over Baker City about 6 p.m.


Struggling to stay in their homes

Baker City Herald

George Dyke, right, of Halfway sits in his home with his state-provided caregiver, Rose Darting. Rose helps George and his wife, Shirley, with basic tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
George and Shirley Dyke of Halfway depend on a service that Oregon officials aren’t sure the state will be able to afford beyond this winter.

It’s called Oregon Project Independence (OPI).

OPI has allowed elderly people to continue living in their homes by supplying them with an in-home caregiver who helps with daily activities such as cooking, cleaning and making medical appointments.

George, 81, has a bad hip, rheumatoid arthritis and has frequent hospital check-ups because of side-effects brought on by chemotherapy treatment during a battle with prostate cancer.


County wants to save, but not run, Ski Anthony Lakes

Baker City Herald

A packed audience urged Baker County commissioners Wednesday to accept Ski Anthony Lakes as a gift from the current owners and to create a nonprofit entity to run the resort.

Commissioners could decide at their next meeting, on July 28, whether to do so.

Connie Kearney, part of the three-family group that owns the ski area about 35 miles northwest of Baker City, said she and her husband, Lee, and the two other couples in the ownership group offered to donate the resort to Baker County because they don’t want to either dismantle the business or sell it to private investors and risk seeing it shut down and its assets, valued at $1.2 million, sold piece by piece.


Committee decries cuts in inmate work crews

Baker City Herald

Keeping the Powder River Correctional Facility off the state’s budget chopping block was a top priority at Wednesday’s Prison Advisory Council meeting, but the meeting also buzzed with criticism of a decision that curtailed some inmate work crews starting July 1.

“Our No. 1 priority is to protect the Powder River facility and staff,” said Fred Warner Jr., chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners. “We will fight all we can to keep Powder River. We will fight to our last breath to keep Powder River as the last minimum-security prison closed.”


Health clinic coming to N. Powder

Baker City Herald

Students and residents in North Powder will soon be able to see a medical provider without driving to Baker City or La Grande.

Through a partnership between Powder Valley School and Eastern Oregon Medical Associates in Baker City, the school clinic will be reopened this fall. The students decided to name it the Badger Aid Health Clinic.

The clinic was originally operated on grant money by Oregon Health and Sciences University. But that money started dwindling several years ago.


OPB's "Think Out Loud" broadcasts from Haines ranch today


"Think Out Loud," Oregon Public Broadcasting's radio discussion program, will broadcast live Thursday morning at 9 a.m. from Mike and Debby Schoeningh's ranch near Haines.

The episode's topic is "Live from Haines: Ranching Roundtable."

Guests include the Schoeninghs, George Chandler, co-owner of Chandler Herefords in Baker Valley, and Diane Snyder, who grew up on the Daggett Ranch, which was sold in 2008.

OPB broadcasts in Baker County on FM 88.9.

The one-hour "Think Out Loud" will be rebroadcast Thursday evening starting at 9 p.m.


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