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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.

Cole court hearing delayed

A court appearance scheduled today for Brian Cole, a former Baker County commissioner charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, has been postponed.

“We have asked for a new court date,” said Tony Green, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Justice. “We were not ready to go to court yet because the investigation is ongoing.”

Baker City honors veterans 'extraordinary' deeds


Baker City Herald

American Legion Commander Dale Dodge introduced the crowd gathered at the Courthouse Wednesday to a few “ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things” as they served their country during war time.

Dodge, 56, a Vietnam veteran who served as a machinist in the U.S. Navy from 1971 to 1979, addressed about 50 people gathered for a Veterans Day ceremony at the Courthouse.

Among the “ordinary people” Dodge described were two of Baker County’s own. First he told of Sgt. John Noble Holcomb, a Richland boy who grew into a man while serving as a U.S. Army squad leader in Vietnam. And then he introduced his audience to Cpl. Jessica A. Ellis, an Army combat medic who served two tours of duty in Iraq. Both gave the ultimate sacrifice for their countries.

Police say man impersonated officer, stopped woman's car


Baker City Herald

Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner is asking community residents to be wary of scheme involving a man impersonating a police officer.

He said a Baker County woman reported that she was pulled over by what she thought was an unmarked patrol car displaying emergency lights at about 8:35 p.m. on Nov. 5. The stop, which happened near A&D Restoration at 370 Elm St. near Highway 30 at the south Baker City limits, was not conducted by a police officer, Lohner said.

Three similar incidents were reported earlier in the year in the Idaho communities of Parma and Council. Two of those incidents involved lone women and the third was a woman and her father. All were traveling in rural areas.

“The incidents are occurring in the nighttime hours when there is less traffic and fewer officers,” Lohner added.

The Baker City suspect’s vehicle was described as a light-colored passenger car with a red-and-blue light mounted on its dash, Lohner said. During the incident, a man stepped from the car and approached the woman’s vehicle, shining a flashlight in her eyes, he said.

Jobless rate down, but not all the news is good


Baker City Herald

Baker County’s 8.5 percent non-seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate, down from 9.2 percent in August, was the lowest among Northeastern Oregon counties.

For the first time this year, Baker County’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate came in a full 1 percent below the national average, which was 9.5 percent in September.

Baker County’s rate was 2.3 percent below Oregon’s statewide rate of 10.8 percent, according to the November edition of the Eastern Oregon Labor Trends report published by the Oregon Employment Department.

Among counties in Northeastern Oregon, Wallowa County posted the next lowest jobless rate at 8.7 percent, followed by 9.3 percent for Malheur County, 9.9 percent for Grant County, 10.2 percent for Union County, and 15 percent for Harney County.

Survivors say Baker City residents' support 'amazing'


Baker City Herald

The van crossed the Idaho border about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, moving west through Baker County toward Portland.

The destination for these 16 young adults was a business convention where they would work for 10 days to raise money to support their ministry in Federal Heights, Colo.

“It was just routine for us — we travel all over the country to work these trade shows,” says Nicole Byrd, 25.

She was driving the van.

Byrd and the 15 passengers in the van belong to the Rocky Mountain Masters Commission, a training program affiliated with the New Life Worship Center, in Federal Heights, Colo., about 15 minutes from Denver.

During the nine-month program, the students learn discipleship and leadership by provided free programs — dance, music, sports — for the community’s youth.

Two killed, 14 hurt in freeway crash

Scott Skinner, Oregon State Police collision reconstructionist, puts together clues and evidence leading to a crash that occurred on Interstate 84 Thursday morning near Baker City.

Baker City Herald
Two members of a Colorado church died, and 14 others were hurt after the 2002 Ford van they were traveling in slid out of control on icy Interstate 84 near Baker City and rolled multiple times Thursday morning.
Joshua John Pischura, 20, of Geneva, Ohio, died at St. Elizabeth Health Services, according to Oregon State Police.
Another passenger, Taune Nicole Winter Pepper, 23, of Deer Trail, Colo., was flown by air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where she died Thursday afternoon.

Halfway scrambles after explosion at water station

Though a backup well is online, residents are still asked to boil drinking water

Halfway City Council President Marion Crow, left, and contractor Denny Farwell, husband of Halfway Mayor Sheila Farwell, survey the damage and discuss insulating water pipes exposed to freezing nighttime temperatures after an explosion and fire Sunday at the town’s water pumping station. (Baker City Herald/Ed Merriman)
Halfway officials reveled Tuesday in the cooperative community effort and volunteerism that helped the city of nearly 500 come through a water system crisis that came within four hours of leaving the town high and dry.

“Everybody cooperated and everything came together, and we had a good result,” said Halfway Mayor Sheila Farwell.

City Council sets timeline to hire city manager

The Baker City Council set a timeline for the final stages for hiring a new city manager from a field of four finalists who were visiting Baker City this week for interviews with the City Council.

Mayor Dennis Dorrah congratulated City Manager Pro-Tem Tim Collins for putting together a welcoming reception, tours of the town and meetings with selected members of the community. Collins said he arranged the meetings at Dorrah’s suggestion as much to sell the city manager candidates on Baker City as to give those involved in the meet-and-greet sessions a chance to interact with the candidates — Timothy Johnson of Portland, Eric Strahl of Michigan, Clarence Hulse of Florida and James Patrick of Kalispell, Mont.

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