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Bookish Brooklyn

Baker County Community Literacy Coalition gives away more than 500 books to local children

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A Curious George book finds it way into the hands of third-grade student Emily Huffer during the Literacy Program's book giveaway Tuesday. Jim Tomlinson, seated at far left, organizes the event for students at Brooklyn Primary.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The third-graders couldn’t contain themselves, throwing out names of books hoping their favorites were on display.

Jim Tomlinson answered each question in turn, then invited the students to come forward, one table at a time, to pick out a new book. 

“You get a sticker to put your name in it, and it’s yours to keep. And you get to choose,” he told the class.

Students at local elementary schools were treated to a new book this week as part of REAL — Read Everyday and Learn.


County commissioners set special meeting Wednesday morning

The Baker County Board of Commissioners will have a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss a possible policy about accommodating citizens who want to make long presentations during commission meetings.

Wednesday's meeting will start at 9 a.m. at the Courthouse, 1995 Third St.

Commissioner Mark Bennett suggested the discussion after the Dec. 4 meeting in which a resident made a lengthy presentation during a meeting that had a lengthy agenda.

The Commission does not enforce any time limit on citizens' presentations, including ones that are not part of the agenda. 


Broken pipe spills water into Baker High School classrom

By Chris Collins

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A Baker High School science classroom was damaged Monday when a broken pipe sent water gushing from the attic area.

Principal Jerry Peacock said the frigid temperatures caused water in a pipe’s elbow connection in the attic to freeze and then burst. Teacher Burke Smejkal was in his room on the east side of the high school when the pipe broke around lunchtime. 

Smejkal alerted maintenance workers who shut the water off and began the cleanup effort. 

Smejkal’s classes were shifted to another room in the afternoon to ensure student safety while workers assessed the damage, Peacock said. Water did not reach classroom computers, but there was some damage to insulation, sheetrock and walls.


Deep Freeze Fun

Baker City Braves Arctic Chill During Christmas Twilight Parade

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald Girls Scouts weren't the only Twilight Parade participants trying to keep warm Saturday night in Baker City. The annual parade started at 5 p.m. followed by the Christmas tree lighting despite wintry temperatures hovering between 3 and 5 degrees.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Hot cocoa, if it can be said to have a flaw, can’t be easily tossed to eager children watching a parade.

Candy, of course, is the traditional parade handout.

But have you ever tried to eat a Tootsie Roll that’s been subjected to a temperature of 3 degrees?

Never mind what kind of gum four out of five dentists recommend.

All five would warn you off the frostbitten hunk of chocolate nougat (or whatever a Tootsie Roll is made of).


Search for airplane scaled back

By Chris Collins

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The search has been scaled back for a single-engine plane that went missing  Dec. 1 en route from Baker City to Butte, Mont.

The search had been centered around the remote Johnson Creek Airstrip near Yellow Pine, Idaho, in the mountains of central Idaho.

That’s where the pilot, Dale Smith, 51, a software executive from San Jose, Calif., was thought to be heading after seeking coordinates for the unpaved airstrip from air traffic controllers at Salt Lake City.


County balks at B2H route

Commissioners also revise Second Amendment resolution forwarded by Baker County Republican Central Committee

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Concerns remain about how a proposed power transmission line would affect views around the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, which is in the upper right of the photo.

By Terri Harber

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Baker County Commissioners heard an update about the Boardman to Hemingway, B2H, transmission line project Wednesday.

Focus of the presentation was showing how the power line might look to people viewing different sections along alternative routes from a variety of distances.

The local section of the 300-mile, 500-kilovolt line would run just west of the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center — between the Center and Baker Valley — if the BLM proposal made this past spring continues to advance.


Raccoon found in town with canine distemper

By Chris Collins

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A raccoon that was acting abnormally Saturday afternoon in a northwest Baker City neighborhood was suffering from canine distemper, said Brian Ratliff, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district biologist.

A community resident reported at 2:50 p.m. Saturday that cars were dodging the animal as it walked down the road at 17th and Baker streets, Ratliff said.


Drip water to keep lines from freezing


Baker City’s Public Works Department recommends residents keep a pencil lead-width stream of cold water running from one faucet to help prevent pipes and water meters from freezing.

The cold snap that started Tuesday is predicted to intensify this weekend, with temperatures plunging to around 10 below zero on Sunday and Monday mornings.

With little snow cover to insulate the ground, buried pipes are more vulnerable to freezing.

 The cost of keeping one faucet flowing is minimal — one unit of water, 748 gallons, costs 64 cents.

Residents who can’t get water to come out of their faucets are advised not to call a plumber right away because the problem could be a frozen water meter, which is the city’s responsibility, rather than a pipe on your property, which is the owner’s responsibility.

Instead, call the city’s water department at 541-523-6541. After weekday business hours, call Baker County Consolidated Dispatch at 541-523-3644.



Baker pilot familiar with area where plane is missing

By Chris Collins

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Mel Cross, a Baker City pilot who grew up in Idaho, has spent many hours flying over the rugged mountains where a single-engine plane that left Baker City Sunday has gone missing en route to Butte, Mont.

Cross is familiar with the Johnson Creek Airstrip, which is about 50 miles northeast of Cascade, Idaho, where he was raised.

That’s the unpaved airstrip where 51-year-old Dale Smith had hoped to land when his six-seat BE36 Beech Bonanza airplane began experiencing engine trouble Sunday afternoon.

“That’s rugged country — a lot of huge country,” Cross said.

Cross, 74, has accumulated 2,400 hours in the air over the past 38 years.


Wind farm proposals move forward

Baker City Herald file photo A company is moving ahead with its plan to build two wind farms near Huntington.

By Terri Harber

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Developers planning to build two wind farms on private property in Baker County are trying to complete enough work this year to qualify for state and federal tax credits. 

“We’re moving along,” said Robert Guertin, a spokesman for Oregon Wind Farms Inc. “We’re fairly confident we’ll meet all of the requirements."

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