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Fire that threatened Huntington moving toward Farewell Bend

A fire that threatened homes in Huntington is moving east toward Farewell Bend and being pushed by 25 mph winds, a Baker County official said this morning.

The fire, which apparently started about 7:35 a.m., doesn't appear to pose a further threat to the town of 510 at the southeastern corner of the county, said Jason Yencopal of Baker County Emergency Management.

The fire started at a home on Third Street and then burned southeast, up the hill above the town, Yencopal said. 

The blaze burned a garage, but Yencopal said he didn't yet know whether any other structures were damaged, or whether anyone was injured.

The fire has burned an estimated 1,300 acres, about half private land and half BLM land, said Carolyn Chad, a spokeswoman at BLM's Vale District office.

Chad said five single-engine airplanes are available to drop retardant, and they're assisted by a BLM Hotshot crew, a bulldozer and several fire engines.

The Oregon Department of Transportation briefly closed Highway 30 between Huntington and Farewell Bend, but the highway is open now.

Interstate 84 is open. 

Durkee couple lost historic barn, sheds in Saturday fire

BLM report that no structures were damaged was inaccurate

A Saturday evening fire destroyed Kathy and Gary Bloomer's historic wooden barn on their ranch near Durkee, but firefighters from Huntington saved the couple's nearby home.

A BLM report that no structures were damaged in the fire, which spread to 247 acres of private and BLM land on Gold Hill, was inaccurate.

Kathy Bloomer said this morning she's grateful to the Huntington Fire Department, and all others who helped.

"It's pretty devastating," she said. "It's still so surreal when you look out there and see what's gone.

"But there were no injuries, and we still have our home."

Still Growing

Rock Garden Greenhouse Turns 25 

Chris Collins / Baker City Herald At her home along the foothills of Hunt Mountain, northwest of Baker City, Dona Servid grooms the flowers that will be sold in town at the family's Rock Garden Greenhouse.

By Chris Collins

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An interest in plants and a desire to stay home to raise her three daughters inspired Dona Servid to establish a greenhouse at her home on Hunt Mountain Lane.

That was 25 years ago — she can track the date because she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, Sarah, at the time.

Otherwise one year flows into the next as the 58-year-old continues to work at home even after raising those three girls to adulthood. Amy is 29; Alexa is 26 and is planning a fall wedding; and Sarah is 25.

From November to June, Dona tends the flowers and plants that are the foundation of Rock Garden Greenhouse at the base of the Elkhorn Mountains.

And while she is nurturing the plants, arranging baskets and deadheading wilted blossoms, her husband, Mark, and her sister, Eileen Gyllenberg, staff the new greenhouses on Cedar Street daily. Eileen works most of the day Monday through Thursday and Mark takes over after finishing his day job as a dental hygienist at Baker Dental Group. He also spends all day at the site on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Dona recalls how the business got its start with a tiny 12-by-4-foot greenhouse that sat at the end of the trailer house they lived in before their present home was built.

For more see Monday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 


Kee: City is in good shape

By Pat Caldwell

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With just a week left in the fiscal year, Baker City Manager Mike Kee said he believes the city’s ship of state appears to be moving forward into the future on a steady, balanced course.

Kee said Friday his theme is simple: steady as she goes.

Kee’s confidence is based on a couple of factors.

Mountain bike festival planned at Anthony Lakes

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resorrt has scheduled its inaugural Mountain Bike Festival for Saturday, Aug. 2 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bicyclists are invited to attend the family-friendly event and explore newly built mountain bike trails around the resort, 35 miles northwest of Baker City in the Elkhorn Mountains.

Guided rides will be available for riders of all abilities, starting at 10:30 a.m. A kids bike park will be open throughout the event.

There will be a barbecue and Barley Brown's beer, as well as free handouts from sponsors include Mountain Works and Jamis bikes. Free RV hookups will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Former Baker City man killed in motorcycle crash

A former Baker City man was killed in a motorcycle accident Sunday evening in the southern Wallowa Mountains.

Matthew Charles Button, 38, who lived at San Diego, was pronounced dead at St. Marys Hospital in Walla Walla, Wash., Baker County Sheriff Mitch Southwick said.

The accident happened while Button was riding with a group on Forest Road 7755 near the Boulder Park trailhead along Eagle Creek.

Button's motorcycle went off the road and struck a tree, Southwick said. 

Button wasn't wearing a helmet, Southwick said.

The accident was reported about 6:15 p.m. Sunday. Other riders in Button's group brought him to Sgt. Travis Ash of the Baker County Sheriff's Office, who drove Button to Balm Creek Reservoir where a Lifeflight helicopter picked him up.

Baker High School announces spring honor roll

Baker High School has announced its fourth-quarter honor roll.

Honor students are:

* Denotes 4.00 grade-point average.


*Nathan Baeth,*Dallas Bain, Justin Ball, *Matthew Barnes, Kristi Boman, *Allison Brown, Jesse Burk, *Riley Carter, *Ryan Cashen, Mason Cline, Brandon Ellwanger, Hannah Fast, Allisyn Ferdig, Cody Gyllenberg, *Mikayla Jones, Evan Krohn, Ian Krohn, *Trent Law, Heather Mazzagotte, Kyle McCoy, Zachery Mothershed, Erin Parker, * Ian Rasmussen, Samantha Searles,*Brian Staebler-Siewell, Katarina Vela, *Adam Webb, Alicia Wirth, Nicole Wirth, *Molly Wynn. 


*Kate Averett, *Aria Carpenter, *Rebekah Compos, Grant Ermovick, Tiffani Fisher, Skyler Hack, Aiden Hayes, Michelle Lehman, Levi Mansuetti, Taite Mendenhall, Micah Mespelt, Tanya O’Neal, Mairyn Owen, *Anna Payton, *Madison Richards, Kayla Smith, *Zachary Tomac.


 *Makenna Bachman, Samuel Baxter, Nina Beaudoin, Kendelyn Bone’, *Megan Burk, Megan Chapman, *Dylan Chaves, Porter Cline, Christopher Conant, Elizabeth Coon, Robinita Davis, Emma Deputy, Daniel Drake, *Madison Elms, Melissa Foltz, Jayden Freeman, Rachel Freeman, *Dusty Gyllenberg, *Koby Hansen, Wyatt Knadle, Ashley Knoll, Lindsay Livingston, *Danielle McCauley, Hannah Myers, Brody Powell, Hollis Robb, Emily Sandefur, Morgan Scilacci, Rory Scilacci, *Benton Spaugh, *Braden Staebler-Siewell, Teancum Taylor, Marco Vela, Autumn Weideman, *Hannah Wilson.


James Ah Hee, Kara Bennett, Micah Bradford, Cecylee Bruce, Josephine Bryan, Zechariah Compos, *Mason Dahl, Lisa Daugherty, Thomas Dunn, Logan Dyke, Gracie Huggins, Tyler Joseph, *Kourtney Lehman, Shane McCauley, *Jared Miller, Marcus Plumley, Casey Poe, Kayley Pointer, *Erik Ruby, *Ryan Schwin, Josephine Stearns, Bryson Thomas, Logan Toubeaux-Handy, Kirsten White.

Feeling Frustrated

Veterans Discuss Devolving Situation In Iraq

Pat Caldwell / Baker City Herald Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles assigned to Baker City’s Fox Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry prepare to escort a convoy at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in this December 2010 photo. The Baker City Guard unit spent a year in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn.

By Pat Caldwell

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La Grande resident Todd Gorham doesn’t follow the news out of Iraq. 

At least not any more.

When Brian Cole, also a La Grande resident, talks about Iraq, he exudes an indifferent outlook, regarding the situation through a lens of complex geo-politics.

Baker City Councilor and Vietnam War veteran Clair Button doesn’t spend much time reading or viewing TV news about the current situation in Iraq either.

The three men — though separated by age and distance — share a common link: All three participated in two of the more controversial American wars since the end of World War II. Button served as an infantryman in Vietnam, and Cole and Gorham served in Iraq. 

The American ground combat phase in Iraq concluded at the end of 2011 and since then Iraq faced varied levels of instability. Two weeks ago that instability metastasized as a rag-tag, al-Qaida breakaway band of guerillas known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant began a massive onslaught across the northern part of the country.

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

Baker City selling items on eBay

Looking for a phone booth?

To buy, not use. 

Baker City selling about 125 items, including a phone booth as well as playground equipment removed this spring from Geiser-Pollman Park, on eBay.

The city's online auction starts Saturday at 6 p.m. PDT. Items will come on line every two minutes, city spokesman Tom Fisk said.

Other items include soil-testing equipment, a four-way flashing light that used to hang at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Resort Street, several street signs and parking meters.

The eBay auction will end at 10:10 p.m. on July 1.

The easiest way to find the items is to go to www.eBay.com, type in "Baker City Public Works." 

The city is also selling three surplus vehicles on a different online auction site — www.govdeals.com/BakerCityPW.

That auction also will end at 10:10 p.m. on July 1. 

The city has sold several hundred items, and brought in more than $30,000, with eBay auctions in previous years. 

Practical shooting competition Sunday

People of all ages and abilities will converge on the Powder River Sportsmen’s Club’s Virtue Flat Shooting Range this weekend for a regional championship shooting contest.

The Idaho U.S. Practical Shooters Association Section Championship event has drawn a record number of 118 registered competitors, said Ray Merritt, match director.

That number includes 15 women and 15 juniors and several professional shooters, Merritt said.

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