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Vans on the road


As of July 1, 2007, there were slightly more than 500,000 vans with 15-passenger capacity registered in the U.S., according to the Department of Transportation.

Two models made up the vast majority of the total:

• Ford Econo Club E-350

(model years 1978-2007),

305,015

• Dodge B350-3500

(model years 1981-2002;

vehicle no longer in production), 125,304

Of the remaining 15-passenger vans, most were made by General Motors, badged as either Chevrolet or GMC models


Update: Three crash victims remain in hospital


Three of the victims of Thursday’s freeway crash that killed two members of a Colorado church group remained hospitalized in Boise today.

Christine Sandra Aki, 18, of Golden, Colo., was released from St. Alphonsus Hospital Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Katherine Elizabeth Darlene Ischura, 18, of Geneva, Ohio, was discharged Tuesday.

Here are condition updates on the three still being treated for injuries sustained in the single-vehicle rollover:

• Phillip Joel Harris, 24, Attalla, Ala., critical.

• William Chris Rodgers, 22, Lakewood, Colo., serious.

• Aaron Stearling Werntz, 19, of Freeport, Ill., fair.


Churches go slow with big vans

Congregations mainly keep 15-passenger vans on city streets

Read more...
Pastor Roger Scovil said he and the Baker City Christian Church committee consider the church’s 15-passenger van, at right, to be unsafe hauling large groups of people on the freeway. The committee bought the larger bus, left, which has dual rear wheels, for safety, better road stability and cheaper insurance cost. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
Pastor Roger Scovil knows 15-passenger vans can be tricky to drive on the highway, so his church mainly confines its van to the more placid pace of Baker City streets.

And for the past several years the Baker City Christian Church has not loaded its 1994 Ford van with its full complement of 15 riders.

Church members removed the rearmost seat, trimming the van’s passenger capacity to 12, Scovil said.


Johnson wants to return to Oregon


Tim Johnson will be fulfilling his goal of returning to his home state if he’s hired as Baker City manager.

The 51-year-old Johnson emerged as the top candidate for the job after a Monday City Council meeting to consider the four finalists. During a special meeting at City Hall, the Council voted to conduct background investigations of Johnson and the No. 2 choice, Clarence Hulse, a managing consultant with Belize Real Estate Development Group in Cocoa, Fla.

The Council will not formally offer the job until the background checks are completed, a meeting to solicit public input has been scheduled and contract terms are hashed out, said interim City Manager Tim Collins.


Council chooses top 2

The two finalists for the Baker City manager’s job hail from opposite sides of the country.

The Baker City Council on Monday chose Tim W. Johnson of Portland, a consultant and former assistant to the city manager of San Diego, and Clarence Hulse, a managing consultant for Belize Real Estate Development Group LLC in Florida and a former deputy city manager in Cocoa, Fla.

Of the two, Johnson is the frontrunner based on a motion the Council approved by a 5-2 vote.


Fire protection bills pile up for forest owners


When Oregon’s timber industry was booming, paying fire patrol assessments and other government fees wasn’t a problem for Lyle Defrees and other Baker County private woodland owners.

But times have changed.

DeFrees said forest owners are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, with little or no money coming in from timber harvests on one side, and soaring firefighting costs attributed to declining forest health on the other.

John Buckman, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northeast District forester, said that this year private landowners paid about $1.58 per acre for fire protection on property classified as timberland.

According to an ODF graph, this year’s fire protection rate was the highest in the past decade due to higher than expected firefighting costs in 2006 and 2007.


Council picks top two choices for city manager

The two finalists for the Baker City manager’s job hail from opposite sides of the country.

The Baker City Council on Monday chose Tim W. Johnson of Portland, a consultant and former assistant to the city manager of San Diego, and Clarence Hulse, a managing consultant for Belize Real Estate Development Group LLC in Florida and a former deputy city manager in Cocoa, Fla.


Storyteller mesmerizes students

Read more...
First-grader Nessa Copley flaps her wings as she becomes part of the storytelling Friday at Brooklyn Primary School. Kathy Hunter of Wallowa used funny noises to capture the attention of her young audience. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Give Kathy Hunter a microphone and she will mesmerize her listeners — not an easy feat when the audience is nearly 400 youngsters from kindergarten to grade 3.

Funny noises are the key, and she opened her performance with a story about a snoring giant and a little African spider who managed to wedge his way into a mysterious little box.


Council to discuss manager finalists

The City Council was scheduled to meet in a private session at noon today to discuss the four city manager candidates whom councilors interviewed last week.

Mayor Dennis Dorrah has asked each councilor to choose two favorite candidates.


Fire crews save most hay from blaze

Flames destroyed 100 to 150 tons of more than 500 tons stored in shed

John and Kate Rohner were grateful today for the work of their friends and neighbors — and some people they didn’t even know — who pitched in Friday afternoon to help save about 400 tons of hay from a fire that broke out in a storage shed at their farm.

The Rohners said they lost 100 to 150 tons of the more than 500 tons of hay that had been stored in the shed since Sept. 18.


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