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Nuts About Nutcrackers

For Dave and Joyce Hunsaker, a collection of Nutcrackers marks their 20 years together 

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Nutcrackers help record important events in the lives of a Baker City couple, Joyce Badgley Hunsaker and her husband, Dave. A trip to Egypt sparked the creation of Osiris, mummified with athletic tape and accented with hieroglyphics.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The display is a walk through 20 years of life lived by Joyce and Dave Hunsaker.

It all started with a single Nutcracker figurine they bought while honeymooning at Niagara Falls.

“It started as a good idea — and became an obsession,” Joyce says with a smile. “I started making them the year we were married.”

They both enjoy the Nutcracker ballet, and attend a performance every year.

“I’ve been going for 30 years, 20 years with Joyce,” Dave says.


Small earthquake near La Grande

A small earthquake, measured at 3.0 on the Richter scale, happened about 6:55 p.m. Sunday about 10 miles west-northwest of La Grande.

The quake happened about 6.7 kilometers below the ground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Although a 3.0 quake is relatively weak, it could have been felt by people in the local area.

For more information check: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/uw60659986#shakemap 


City Council approves golf course contract

The Baker City Council has approved a three-year contract with Bill Tiedemann to manage the city-owned Quail Ridge Golf Course.

The Council approved the deal by a 4-0 vote during a special meeting starting at noon Friday.

Mayor Richard Langrell and Councilors Dennis Dorrah, Clair Button and Barbara Johnson attended, giving the Council the minimum number for a quorum, which is required for the Council to vote on motions.


The last embraces

Family Members Talk About Five Missing In Plane 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Steve and Terri Smith (on the couch), along with Terri's daughter, Katie Morrissey, recount the events of Dec. 1, when Dale Smith's plane went missing en route from Baker City to Butte, Mont.

By Chris Collins

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Steve and Terri Smith have fond memories of Thanksgiving and are heading toward Christmas with grateful, but broken, hearts.

They are grateful that their last visit with Steve’s oldest son, Dale, and his family ended with embraces and expressions of love for one another. 

And they are grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from people all over the world since the plane piloted by Dale disappeared on Dec. 1. 

But they are heartbroken at the overwhelming realization that the five people aboard appear to have been lost to them while flying over the dense forests and steep mountains of central Idaho en route from Baker City to Butte, Mont.

“We’re so grateful to Baker for all the prayers, donations and concern we’ve experienced from the community,” Steve Smith, 72, said Wednesday during an interview at his home on Mill Creek Lane tucked up against the Elkhorn Mountains, about 10 miles west of Baker City.

“We can’t believe the outpouring we’ve received as a family,” he says as tears well in his eyes and then roll down his cheeks as he thinks of the five people missing since their single-engine plane lost power that December afternoon.


Council wants changes to golf course contract

Councilors will meet again Friday at noon to consider revised contract

Baker City Councilors have asked for several changes to a proposed three-year contract with a Baker City man who wants to manage the city-owned Quail Ridge Golf Course.

Councilors are tentatively scheduled to meet in a special session at noon on Friday at City Hall, 1655 First St.,  to consider the revised  contract that City Manager Mike Kee negotiated with Bill Tiedemann.

It's not clear, though, whether a quorum (at least four councilors) will be available at noon.

If there's not a quorum the Council will meet anyway, but not be able to vote on any motions. 

Councilors asked for the changes during a special meeting Wednesday.

One of the more significant has to do with the city's potential financial responsibilty should Tiedemann's expenses exceed his revenues.

In the original version the city would have to make up any shortfalls above $10,000, with no ceiling set on the city's cost.

In the revised version the city would be liable for a maximum of $20,000. 


School board approves 3-year contract with teachers

By Chris Collins

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The Baker School Board approved, on a 4-1 vote, a new three-year contract agreement with district teachers Tuesday night.

Director Kyle Knight voted against the plan.

The new contract provides an overall increase of about 2 percent for the certified staff, but with a higher increase  added to the upper and lower ends of the salary schedule. Over the next three years, the contract will be reopened to consider salary and benefits as state school revenue changes.

Under the new agreement, a beginning teacher would earn about 6.7 percent more in 2013-14.


Megaload draws a crowd in Unity

Photo by Laurene Munger The first of three planned “megaloads” on Highway 26 near Unity on Tuesday.

By Jayson Jacoby

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They call it a “megaload” but so far as Gary Munger is concerned, it was “the biggest parade that’s been through Unity for ages.”

Many of the southern Baker County town’s 70 residents turned out Tuesday afternoon to watch the 901,000-pound load of oil refining equipment roll past at a sedate 30 mph or so.

Munger and his wife, Laurene, watched the massive machinery go by near the Burnt River Community Church, where Gary serves as pastor.

The church is along Highway 26 about 3 1/2 miles west of Unity.

The route was known but the timing was a surprise.


Frozen pipe leads to damage at Leo Adler House

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Kurt Miller says the frozen pipe was discovered before severe water damage could happen at the Leo Adler House Museum. A water pipe froze during Baker City's recent sub-zero weather, which caused the heat boiler to shut down and in turn caused the upstairs toilet to freeze and break, he said.


By Jayson Jacoby

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A water pipe leading to the steam boiler in the Leo Adler House museum froze last week, damaging the boiler and causing minor water damage inside the 124-year-old home.

The Baker County Museum Commission is hoping to raise the estimated $7,500 needed to replace the boiler with a forced-air furnace, said volunteer commissioner Kurt Miller.

The Commission also needs to repair water damage, limited to one toilet, at an estimated cost of $1,300, Miller said.


City Council schedules special meeting Wednesday to consider golf course contract

The Baker City Council will have a special meeting Wednesday evening to consider a proposed contract for management of the city-owned Quail Ridge Golf Course.

The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1655 First St.

After the longtime course manager, Seven Iron Inc., announced this fall that it would not continue to run the 18-hole course, the city submitted a request for proposals.

It received one, from Bill Tiedemann.

City Manager Mike Kee, who has been negotiating a proposed three-year contract with Tiedemann, said he expects councilors to vote Wednesday on whether to accept that contract. 


Geiser-Pollman Park Bandstand project gets a boost

The Baker City Bandstand Pavilion Project received an early Christmas present this week in the form of a $1,000 donation from the Jack and Meredith Wilson Family Fund.  

“The letter announcing this generous gift was issued by The Oregon Community Foundation, which manages the funds,” Dave Hunsaker, Bandstand Project Chair, said in a press release.

“The Oregon Community Foundation has been a staunch supporter of our project. We are deeply appreciative of this latest vote of confidence from the Wilson family and from the Foundation as a whole."

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