By ED MERRIMAN
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.
By LISA BRITTON
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
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.
By CHRIS COLLINS and JAYSON JACOBY
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
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.
Though a backup well is online, residents are still asked to boil drinking water
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.
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)
“Everybody cooperated and everything came together, and we had a good result,” said Halfway Mayor Sheila Farwell.
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.
A $4.89 million federally funded economic recovery grant from Business Oregon is headed to the Ochoco Lumber Co. of John Day.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced Tuesday the funding will construct a
wood pellet fuel facility, helping support the retention of 80
full-time jobs and creating 11 new ones in the community.
PORTLAND — State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo released
the latest batch of report cards for Oregon schools, with 95 percent
rated ‘‘satisfactory’’ or ‘‘outstanding.’’
The other 5 percent were deemed in need of improvement, mostly because of poor test scores.
The Salvation Army and NE Oregon Compassion Center have seen more need this year
Baker City residents are being asked to go to their pantries this
week to gather food to be given to neighbors who might be having
trouble making ends meet as the holidays approach.
Holli Diamond, The Salvation Army’s family service caseworker, is again organizing this year’s food baskets, Angel Trees and red kettles — and she needs volunteers. (Baker City Herald file photo/S. John Collins)
The annual Scouting for Food drive is scheduled Saturday from 9 a.m.
to noon. Boys Scouts and members of other church and school youth
groups will be distributing fliers Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to
remind residents of the Saturday event, said Cliff Cole, Northeast
Oregon Compassion Center ministry director.
An explosion at the Halfway water pumping station Sunday afternoon
prompted city officials to call on area residents to conserve water,
according to Mayor Sheila Farwell.
The Baker City Council at Tuesday’s meeting will discuss the city
manager selection process, accept quarterly reports from city
department heads and Historic Baker City, and consider a resolution
establishing Banner Bank as the city’s merchant service provider.
“Recently the city opened checking and savings accounts at Banner
Bank to save money on bank charges and earn interest at a higher rate
(currently 2 percent),” according to written explanation recommending a
change from Sterling Bank to Banner Bank.