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Test confirms at least one Baker County resident had West Nile virus

A state health official said today that he received test results Monday confirming that at least one Baker County resident contracted West Nile virus this summer from a mosquito bite.
Dr. Emilio DeBess, public health veterinarian with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), said he expects that three other "presumptive" human cases of the virus will also be confirmed as West Nile once the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have tested blood samples.
Initially the OHA reported three presumptive human cases in Baker County, all of them people who live near Richland.
DeBess said the agency received a later report that a fourth resident, who lives in Halfway, had also been infected with the virus.
State officials are also awaiting test results from a Malheur County resident who is suspected of having contracted the disease.
No other Oregon counties have had any presumptive or confirmed human cases of West Nile virus. The disease has been found in mosquitoes trapped in Baker, Union, Morrow, Jackson and Klamath counties.
DeBess said it's unlikely there will be any more human cases this year, as mosquito populations dwindle.

Southern Oregon firefighter hurt on blaze in Hells Canyon

A firefighter from Southern Oregon suffered a fractured skull and other injuries Sunday evening when he was hit by a falling tree while working on the Freezeout Ridge fire in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in Idaho.

Richard "Wally" Ochoa Jr., 51, also suffered two broken arms, a broken jaw and thumb, and numerous lacerations.

He was taken by helicopter to a Boise hospital, where he is in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

Human remains found near Marble Creek

On September 19, 2014 the Baker County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a Bow hunter who reported finding Human Bones in the Marble Creek Area.  The Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene with the Oregon State Police and confirmed that they were human bones and also located clothing and a back pack in the area.  The Oregon State Police Crime Lab also responded and processed the scene.  

There is a tentative identification on the remains but the next of kin has not been notified.  We are also awaiting more positive identification from the Oregon State Medical Examiners Office once they receive the remains.

It appears this may have been a non violent death.  The bones also appear to have been there for 18 to 24 months.

All in the family at the ice cream shop

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

With every little change — from the new paint to the new floor — she thought of John Osborn.

“The whole time I was thinking ‘I wonder if John would like this?’” said Brandi Osborn, who now owns Charley’s Ice Cream Parlor with her husband, Mark Osborn, who is John’s son.

John Osborn died July 2. He was 61.

He’d been trying to sell the ice cream shop for several years, and when he passed away it was left to his wife, Joyce, who already has a full-time job.

Baker Middle School students aspire to go beyond the common

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Dylan Mastrude, left, is student body president at Baker Middle School, and Zachary Schwin is vice president.

By Chris Collins

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Baker Middle School students are being challenged this year to step out of the mainstream and into the realm of the Uncommon Man.

Student Body President Dylan Mastrude and Vice President Zachary Schwin were two who accepted the challenge during a Sept. 10 assembly promoting the philosophy.

Both young men say they plan to make academics more of a priority in the coming year as part of their pledge.

N. Powder teacher finalist for award

Molly Smith, a third-grade teacher at North Powder Charter School, is a 2014 Oregon finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.

Smith, who lives in Baker City, was recognized at the Oregon Math Leaders Conference August in McMinnville.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching were established in 1983 by an Act of Congress and are administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.  Each year the program recognizes outstanding mathematics and science teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.  Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspirations to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.  

Easley, teen charged in double murder, won't be tried as an adult

From the Blue Mountain Eagle

CANYON CITY — Dillan Dakota Willford Easley will not be tried as an adult for the shooting deaths of his foster father and another man last October at a hunting cabin near Granite.

Visiting Malheur County Circuit Court Judge J. Burdette Pratt made the ruling Wednesday evening in Grant County Circuit Court. Easley was 14 at the time of the shootings on Oct. 4, 2013. He turned 15 on June 1. 

See more in Friday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

South winds bring smoke from California wildfire

Strong southerly winds overnight brought smoke from a huge wildfire near Lake Tahoe into Baker Valley.
The winds, combined with clouds, also made for a balmy night in Baker City. The temperature rose from 59 degrees at 1 a.m. to 72 degrees at 2:45 a.m. at the Baker City Airport.

Still Spraying

March storms bolstered snowpack in city’s mountain watershed, helped city's water supply defy the drought

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A Baker City residential sprinkler system douses both a homeowner's lawn and flower garden in this July photo.

By Jayson Jacoby

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If you want to know why Baker City’s faucets flowed at full capacity during the dry and torrid afternoons of July and August, and continue to chug along this week during summer’s last hot gasp, you have to look back.

Many months back, to the latter days of winter, when nobody was dousing their tomatoes or letting their kids scamper around in the sprinkler.

And you also have to look up, to the peaks of the Elkhorn Mountains that intercept Pacific storms and wring out their moisture.


Baker man gets 70 months in prison for stabbing

A Baker City man will spend the next 70 months in prison for stabbing another man in the shoulder multiple times during an argument in early June.

Judge Greg Baxter sentenced Robert Goodwin, 27, of 2690 Seventh St., on Monday after Goodwin pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff stated in a press release.

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