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City workers want contract change

Union that represents 28 employees wants overtime paid on daily, rather than weekly, basis

The union that represents close to half of Baker City’s workers wants the City Council to change the union’s contract to make those employees eligible for overtime pay or comp time if they work longer than their normal daily shift.

$10 million coming to city, county for roads

Money, from increases in vehicle fees and gas tax, will pay for work on Resort Street, Chico Lane, Chandler Lane, Best Frontage Road

Opponents missed the deadline for submitting an initiative petition to stop a 6-cents-per-gallon statewide gas tax increase, clearing the way for city and county officials to move forward with $10 million in road improvements, according to Fred Warner Jr., chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners.

 “The (Sept. 25) deadline has passed,” Warner said. “We can go ahead and get started with engineering design for the road construction projects.”


Missing man’s body found near Sumpter

Steven Knox Hewlett hadn’t been seen since late August

Undersheriff Warren Thompson found the body of Steven Knox Hewlett Friday after hunters discovered a small cooler in the area where the 60-year-old Portland man went missing in mid-August.

Thompson said Hewlett appeared to have died of natural causes. His body was found 1.3 miles west of where his Ford Taurus was discovered stuck on Sawmill Gulch Road on Aug. 19. Hewlett had left a note inside the car stating that he was “walking back to town.”


Free jazz concert Saturday at Baker High

The Commanders, a 12-piece jazz band from the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, will give a free performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Baker High School, 2500 E St.

‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t have to be difficult to say

“ ‘Sorry’ seems to be the hardest word.” This line from an old Elton John song seems to apply to a barrage of apologies, and pseudo-apologies, coming recently from politicians, athletes and performers.

But many people are skeptical of the sincerity of these celebrity expressions of regret. Perhaps we’re skeptical because over the years, with the guidance of parents and teachers, we’ve learned a few things about apologizing.


Baker County being considered for beef slaughtering facility

The Baker County Livestock Association is looking into the potential of bringing a USDA certified beef slaughtering facility to Baker County.

Dan Forsea, BLCA president, said there currently are no stationary USDA certified cattle processing plants in Oregon, but there is one portable slaughtering plant that’s USDA certified operating out of Walla Walla, Wash., that might serve as a workable model for Baker County.


Proposed ‘Dark Sky’ ordinance turned down

Opponents of a what’s been called a “rural lights out” or “dark sky” ordinance packed Thursday night’s Baker County Planning Commission meeting to testify and urge the commission to drop it from from a proposed revision of the county’s subdivision ordinance.

After listening to dozens of farmers, ranchers and other opponents of the ordinance, and two people who saw some merit in it, the planning commission voted unanimously to delete the proposed ordinance from consideration.


Oregon Bounty Harvest Days set at NHOTIC

Celebration is planned both Saturday and Sunday at the Center

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is planning two days of displays, demonstrations, and programs about traditional local foods, from historic times to the present day, during Oregon Bounty Harvest Days on Saturday and Sunday.

Both days will feature cooking demonstrations and samples of locally grown and harvested ingredients, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Four city manager finalists selected

The Baker City Council narrowed its search for a new city manager to four finalists during a Thursday workshop session.

Acting City Manger Tim Collins said the City Council directed city staff to set up interviews with three of the four finalists during October. The fourth candidate will be interviewed in November.


Baker schools renamed to reflect realignment

Three members of the Baker School Board met early Thursday morning to take care of some housekeeping chores needed to ensure that the state will keep paying for each child enrolled in the district.

Superintendent Don Ulrey explained that the district had until Oct. 15 to officially notify the state of the restructuring of the district’s elementary schools, which previously were designated as K-6 schools. During Thursday’s meeting, attended by directors Ginger Savage, Lynne Burroughs and Rusty Munn, the board agreed to rename the schools according to grade levels.

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