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Police warn about jury duty scam


Baker City Police are warning residents about a recent scam in which at least three local residents received phone calls claiming they have arrest warrants or have missed jury duty.

The caller then asks for money to pay off the warrant or penalty for missing jury duty.

This is in no way legitimate. Law enforcement agencies do not call people and ask them to wire money for any purpose.

Baker City Councilor Barbara Johnson said she received one of the scam calls today. 

The caller, who had a thick Southern accent, told her she had two arrest warrants for failing to show up for jury duty.

Johnson said she did receive a jury summons earlier this spring, but she applied for and received a deferment.

The caller asked her to go to the Rite Aid store and buy two pre-paid cash cards, one for $480 and one for $369, plus a $166 processing fee.

Johnson said she put the caller on hold and used a different phone to call police. 

More information about avoiding this and other scams is available by calling Sgt. Kirk McCormick at the Baker City Police Department, 541-524-2014, Extension 22.


County planners to review windfarm application


The Baker County Planning Commission will meet Thursday, June 26 to consider an application for a wind farm near Huntington.

The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Connection Senior Center, 2810 Cedar St. in Baker City.

The application is from Oregon Windfarms LLC of Kirkland, Wash. That company already has the county's approval for a total of 50 megawatts of electricity production from wind farms, said Tara Andrews, a planner with the county Planning Department.


Snow still blocking Elkhorn Drive above Anthony Lakes


Snow continues to block a section of the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway between Anthony Lakes and the North Fork of the John Day River.

The 106-mile paved route, also known as Forest Road 73, is a popular summer driving tour that circles the Elkhorn Mountains west of Baker City.

Earlier this week snow was about two feet deep near Grande Ronde Lake, said Dan Ermovick, recreation program manager for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

The road is open to Anthony Lakes, and on the west side of the Elkhorns it's open from Granite to the North Fork John Day River bridge.

Ermovick said he expects the entire route will be open by around the first of July. 


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. 


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