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Baker man accused of making a bomb

A Baker City man who’s been held at the Baker County Jail since Dec. 1 has been arrested on new charges accusing him of making a bomb.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner said Jonathon Romine, 35, of Baker City, was charged Tuesday with unlawful manufacturing of an explosive device and unlawful possession of an explosive device. Both crimes are Class C felonies.


Chamber of Commerce hires executive director

The Baker County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau has hired Shelly Cutler as executive director.

Cutler will start her new job on Jan. 4, 2016.

A liberal studies graduate of Eastern Oregon University,  Cutler has experience in communications, writing and marketing.

She is the new co-owner of  Tropical Sun Bronzing Spa on Court Avenue between Main and First streets.


Making it work for everyone

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Jobs for People with Disabilities: A Three-Part Series Starts Today

Changes are taking place daily for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oregon, and for the agencies that serve them.

That change is motivated by the pending settlement of a class-action lawsuit that calls for moving people with disabilities out of sheltered workshops and integrating them into community employment.

The settlement and subsequent governor’s executive order requiring change have set in motion a massive statewide effort to accomplish that goal. 

Oregon’s “Employment First” policy is based on the philosophy that if the state is going to provide assistance for its residents, employment should come first, says Robert Costello, one of two field service managers for Oregon’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department.


Rape suspect served prison time

Robert Lee Witter of Huntington served 2 1/2 years for an attempted sexual abuse conviction in Multnomah County

An 80-year-old Huntington man accused of multiple sex crimes against children served 2 years in prison on a 2004 Multnomah County sex crime conviction.

Robert Lee Witter, who lives at 205 E. Adams St. in Huntington, was convicted for attempted first-degree sexual abuse and interfering with a police report in Multnomah County on Nov. 19, 2004.


Hungry Hordes

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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald file photo, 2014 Elk come down from the mountains to feed each winter at the Elkhorn Wildlife Area west of North Powder. The Wildlife Area consists of 10 feeding sites along the eastern base of the Elkhorn Mountains.

November Cold Snap Drives Elk To State-Owned Feed Sites

The elk showed up early, and they brought their appetites.

But Eddie Miguez was ready.

He would have preferred, though, that Northeastern Oregon’s first bout of wintry weather would have waited for, well, winter.

Miguez manages the Elkhorn Wildlife Area, a network of 10 sites along the eastern base of the Elkhorn Mountains where he and his crew of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) workers feed several hundred elk and deer each year.


Lighting Up Downtown Baker City

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Matt McBride, left, and Blain Leamaster top the community's Christmas tree in downtown Baker City Monday. The public works employees, including Justin Plumbtree, strung lights to prepare the spruce for the holiday season and the tree lighting that follows Saturday's Twilight Parade, which begins at 5 p.m. along Main Street. Other street decorations are being placed along main thoroughfares this week.

•  TWILIGHT PARADE: Starts Saturday at 5 p.m.

•  Awards for best use of lights, theme and music

•  Following the parade, caroling and lighting of community Christmas tree,   Court and Main streets


New charges for rape suspect

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Robert Lee Witter

Robert Lee Witter of Huntington is accused of raping one child and sexually abusing a second child

The Baker County District Attorney’s Office has filed nine additional sexual abuse charges against a Huntington man arrested last month on three sex crimes involving a child.

Robert Lee Witter, 80, of 205 E. Adams St. in Huntington, was arraigned Monday in Baker County Circuit Court on two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct, one count of encouraging second-degree child sexual abuse and felon in possession of a firearm.


Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort opens for the ski season this Saturday

The ski and snowboard season starts Saturday at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort.

The ski area in the Elkhorn Mountains, 34 miles northwest of Baker City, has a 20-inch snow base, with more snow forecast later this week. 


Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Family Fun Day

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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Fun Day at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center finds a Haines family, Austin Harkness and his parents, Christy and Andrew, dressing the part of trail pioneers for a family portrait. With a little bit of math at another station, Austin figured he would have taken more than 11 million steps if he'd have walked the journey from Missouri to Oregon City.

By Joshua Dillen

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Family Fun Day means kids get to enjoy the wonders of the old West and more at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

Crafts, skits, pioneer history and photo opportunities were part of the annual event at the center east of Baker City on Friday.

Exhibit Specialist Gypsy Burks said it is nice to have local families enjoying the center. She said it was a contrast to other times of the year when visitors are mostly from out of town.


Eastern Oregon jobless rate drops in two months

By Pat Caldwell

For the Baker City Herald

Newly released statistics from the Oregon Employment Department show the jobless rate across Eastern Oregon dropped between September and October and Baker County added 90 jobs during a 12-month period stretching from 2014 to present.

The county’s nonfarm payroll employment rate showed a boost of 90 jobs since October 2014 as the private sector added 70 jobs and local government contributed 20. The most significant employment boosts occurred in manufacturing — 30 jobs — and retail trade with 20 jobs.


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