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Searchers find missing Halfway man


A Baker County Sheriff's deputy and a family friend found a Halfway man Saturday evening after he failed to return from a ride on his ATV.

Deputy Gabe Maldonado and Bob Torres, a friend, found Charles Larry Merriman, 77, about 8 p.m. Saturday.

Merriman had rolled his ATV, according to a press release from Baker County Sheriff Mitch Southwick.

A Halfway ambulance took Merriman to St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City.

Lea Preble, who is Merriman's stepdaughter, called police about 5 p.m. Saturday to report him missing after he failed to return from his ride. He had left his home about 11 a.m. He did not bring food or water.

Several family friends had searched for Merriman with no success.

After Preble's call, two sheriff's deputies and members of the county's Search and Rescue team began looking for Merriman.


Making room

 

Ginger Whitney, left, and Coby Mastrude help show off the new Women’s Breast Health Suite at St. Alphonsus Medical Center during an open house at the hospital Friday. (Chris Collins/Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins

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St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City welcomed the community to an open house Friday to show off its newly remodeled lobby area, Women’s Breast Health Suite and auxiliary gift shop.

The remodeled entryway provides easier access to the hospital’s admitting staff and a roomier waiting area for patients and visitors. The gift shop, which is operated by the volunteers of the hospital auxiliary, has moved to a new space straight down the hallway from the lobby.

And the Women’s Breast Health Suite is situated just across the hall from the radiology department in space formerly occupied by medical records.

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


City installs mile markers on Leo Adler Pathway

 

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City workers placed markers at quarter-mile intervals along the Leo Adler Memorial Pathway Friday. Powder River Correctional Facility inmates designed and built the markers in cooperation with the city’s parks department. (Photo by Lisa Britton)

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Now those who use the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway can easily track their distance with new markers that were installed Friday.

The markers are placed at quarter-mile intervals measured from Hughes Lane.

The spur to the Baker Sports Complex has its own markers, also measured from Hughes Lane.

For instance, if you start at Hughes, it is eight-tenths of a mile to the Sports Complex. 

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


Home Grown

Community Garden Revival


S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A crew of volunteers prepare the former community garden, at the north side of the rodeo arena, for cultivation and planting. Teresa Schwab, right, organizer for the Baker City Community Garden, soaked the base of metal fence posts Tuesday to help with their removal. Laurie Wittich, left, with Mountain Valley Mental Health, works with Michael Fedderly to pull posts.

By Chris Collins

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A self-described “do-gooder” who is passionate about helping others has thrown her energy into developing a community garden.

 Teresa Schwab, 50, moved to Baker City 10 months ago to join her aunt, Susan Fleming, who works at Ace Nursery.

On Tuesday, Schwab led the first of many work parties planned to prepare, cultivate and nurture the garden site, which sits just north of the rodeo arena on Baker County Fairgrounds property. Small-scale gardens have been planted at the site in the past.

Schwab says her goal in developing the garden is to help people — who wouldn’t otherwise be able to — grow their own food.

And as she looks toward the future, Schwab hopes to build a second community garden in another area of town and a third after that to allow residents to walk to the one nearest their neighborhood.

Schwab said she attended the Fair Board’s meeting last month in the hope of launching the project.

“I told them my vision and was given their blessing,” she said.

That vision includes the creation of 10 garden plots measuring 15 feet by 50 feet — enough space to plant crops to feed a family of four or to be shared by multiple people, she says.

The plots will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis after an application is completed.

For this year, gardeners will share the cost of water to grow their crops. A sliding fee based on each person’s ability to pay, to a maximum of $25 for the season, will be charged, Schwab said.

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


BLM office: $2.1 million lease


By Jayson Jacoby

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About 30 local employees from the BLM are slated to move into their new office in Baker City this September.

The workers had been sharing office space for the past nine years with their counterparts from another federal agency, the Forest Service, in a compound of modular buildings at 3285 11th St.

The new BLM office is close — just across H Street to the north on the former site of the New Tribes Mission.

Don Thompson of North Bend said he and his brother, Dan, who are partners in a development company and construction firm, bought the Baker City property late last year.

The sales price was $300,000, according to the Baker County Assessor’s Office.

Don Thompson said he and his brother bought the former New Tribes site after reading a prospectus from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), a federal agency that helps secure office space for other agencies, including the BLM.

“The focus was to develop office space for the BLM,” Thompson said.

The GSA has signed a 10-year lease for $2.1 million for about 7,000 square feet of office space, said Stephanie Kenitzer, public affairs manager for the agency’s Northwest/Arctic Region.

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


Road over Hells Canyon Dam closed part of the day June 2-5, and June 9-12


The road over Hells Canyon Dam will be closed to all traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT June 2, 3, 4 and 5, and again on June 9, 10, 11 and 12.

A traffic flagger will be on the Idaho side of the dam, and a message board will be in place across the Oxbow bridge.

The closure is necessary because heavy equipment will be working on the dam, removing the barriers that kept water from the spill gates while maintenance work was being done earlier this year.


Four Baker City Council positions up for election in November

Prospective candidates can file between June 4 and Aug. 26


Four of the seven positions on the Baker City Council will be up for election in the Nov. 4 general election.

The terms for councilors Clair Button, Roger Coles, Dennis Dorrah and Barbara Johnson expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Due to the clause in the city charter that limits councilors to serving no more than two consecutive terms, neither Dorrah nor Button is eligible to run for re-election.

Coles and Johnson are eligible to run. 

The top three vote-getters in November will be elected to four-year terms.

The fourth-place finisher will serve a two-year term. 

All four terms will begin with the Council's first meeting in early January 2015.

More information about filing as a candidate is available at www.bakercity.com/government/elections 


Police plan progresses

Proposal to hire lieutenant under one-year contract spurred debate, however


By Pat Caldwell

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The proposal to add a full-time, contract lieutenant’s slot to the Baker City Police Department roster triggered vigorous debate during last week’s budget hearings but the concept will be part of the final fiscal plan submitted to the City Council for ratification in June.

At issue was a proposal by Police Chief Wyn Lohner to drop one of three current sergeant positions and add the new lieutenant slot. The new lieutenant position will be structured under a one-year contract. Also, the position will be non-union and will not be eligible for overtime pay. The blueprint proved controversial because city officials want to move one of the current, active-duty police sergeants into the slot after he retires.

Budget committee chair Beverly Calder made a motion late in the week to jettison the proposal from the proposed budget and keep the third sergeants position.

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


Summer lunches served in park


By Chris Collins

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Children visiting Geiser-Pollman Park this summer will not only get the chance to frolic in the new playground, but they’ll also be offered a free lunch.

The park has been added as a third lunch site for the Baker School District’s summer program, which is available free to everyone 18 and younger Monday through Friday. The program will run from June 16 through Aug. 22, said Jessica Wickert, the district’s Food Services director.

Lunch will not be served at Brooklyn Primary School this summer, but instead will be offered at the North Baker Campus at 2725 Seventh St.  Baker City Christian Church will again open its doors at 675 Highway 7 to the summer lunch program.

Lunch at the park will begin at 11:15 a.m., just after the library’s summer reading sessions end each day, Wickert said. The Christian Church meals will be served beginning at 11:45 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon daily at the North Baker site.

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

 


City Council cancels meeting tonight


The Baker City Council will not have its regularly scheduled meeting this evening.

The city announced the meeting's cancellation in a press release this morning.

The published agenda had included just a couple of items, and councilors decided they could add those items to the agenda for the next scheduled meeting, on June 10, City Recorder Becky Fitzpatrick said.


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