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At long last, Siletz Valley returns to state tournament

Baker City Herald

The Siletz Valley Warriors haven’t played in the boys state basketball tournament since Gerald Ford was president.

They have quite the compelling excuse, though, for the 36-year drought that ended this afternoon when the Warriors ran onto the court at Baker High School.

For 24 of those years Siletz Valley didn’t have a basketball team.

Didn’t even have a high school, come to that.

Which makes it sort of difficult to put together a squad.

A century down the line, she's still feeling fine




Baker City Herald

A large group of friends, neighbors and relatives — and cake and punch — were waiting for Myrtle Petersen in a common room at Meadowbrook Place, a senior living facility in Baker City.

Friday was Myrtle’s birthday.

But no ordinary birthday.

Myrtle was celebrating for the 100th time.

A summer school with one class — but it's a tuff one


Tuffstone is an integral part of many historic buildings in Baker City.


Baker City Herald

Local residents interested in stone masonry can spend this summer learning the ancient trade by helping to build a home in Baker County.

And the budding stonemasons will be working with Pleasant Valley tuff, a native stone that’s integral to several significant structures in Baker City, including City Hall.

My, how we've (not) grown

Baker City Herald

Would you believe that Baker County was a more bustling place 100 years ago?

The notion sounds far-fetched.

There was no interstate freeway bisecting the county in 1911, after all.

The place was in fact bereft of paved roads of any sort.

(And it’s not easy to bustle in the mud.)

Not that there any great demand then for hard-surfaced thoroughfares, considering only a relative handful of residents owned one of those newfangled, but exceedingly primitive, automobiles.

Walden: Debt must go down


About 100 people turned out Monday to talk with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.


Baker City Herald

More than 100 people attended U.S. Rep. Greg Walden’s town hall meeting on Monday at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City.

Walden, a Republican from Hood River, addressed a couple of topics before taking questions from constituents.

He talked first about the need for cutting the federal budget.

“Deficits have gotten out of control — and we have to do something about it,” Walden said. “This is simply unsustainable."

A new flavor of take-home work


Youth at First Presbyterian Church bagged up food for the “Learn and Grow To Go” project during their 30-Hour Famine Friday night. Helping, from right to left around the table, were Corey Lee, Sarah McNeil, Michelle Freese, Thomas Hamilton, Keaton Bachman and Kyle Srack.


Baker City Herald

First Presbyterian Church has partnered with the Baker School District to make sure students have enough to eat during the weekend.

Liz Romtvedt, youth and missions coordinator at the church, patterned the “Learn and Grow To Go” nutrition project after a similar program in La Grande.

She wants to eventually expand to the high school and elementary schools.

The project is aimed at helping provide weekend meals for students and families who are “in transition,” meaning they might not have a permanent residence.

Beavers in Baker City

Baker City Herald

Homeowners along Powder River are learning to protect their trees from the nocturnal animals

Larry Pearson sacrificed a healthy quaking aspen last summer to their insatiable incisors, but he bears no real grudge against beavers.

“Personally I like seeing them around,” said Pearson, who has lived for 33 years in a home beside the Powder River in north Baker City.

Well, not exactly “seeing.”

Pearson has seen several beavers outside the city limits, but he’s not yet spotted one of the rotund rodents near his home on Grandview Drive.

That’s to be expected, given that beavers are largely nocturnal.

“I can tell when they’ve been in my yard, though,” Pearson said.

Even when the animals don’t leave blatant evidence — it’s pretty hard not to notice when a 14-inch-diameter aspen in your backyard has been gnawed down — Pearson said he can usually find the muddy patch in his grass where the beavers climbed from the river’s bank.


Baker schools move closer to 4-day week

Baker City Herald

The Baker School Board took the first step Tuesday night to moving the 5J district to a four-day week and placing a local option tax on the May ballot in an effort to preserve jobs and maintain programs that otherwise would have to be cut to balance the 2011-12 budget.

After about 2 1/2 hours of discussion, the board approved a “cabinet report” that calls for cutting $2,144,996 from next year’s budget and eliminating 11.51 positions.

Walden seeks to reverse EPA rule on Ash Grove mercury

Baker City Herald

Rep. Greg Walden is trying two tactics to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing new mercury emissions rules for cement plants that could threaten the future of Ash Grove Cement Co.’s Durkee factory.

The Durkee plant, about 25 miles southeast of Baker City, is among Baker County’s larger private employers, with a workforce of 116 and an annual payroll of about $9 million.

City manager feels duty to hometown

Baker City Herald

Mike Kee has been pleasantly surprised by the reception he’s received since returning to his hometown to guide the community as Baker City manager.

“People have come in and said, ‘we’re really pleased you’re here and we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt — and you’re going to have to mess that up,’ ” Kee said in a recent interview in his spacious second-floor City Hall office overlooking the Elkhorn Mountains.

 “I’ve taken that responsibility very seriously and I’m trying not to mess it up."

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