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Hazy days of fall

Temperature Inversion Reduces Air Quality


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By Jayson Jacoby

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The persistent weather pattern that led to a temperature inversion in Baker County over the past week or so has also degraded the air quality, albeit slightly.

During inversions, cold air is trapped near the ground, and contaminants such as wood smoke and car exhaust accumulate.

Also, wind speeds are low during inversions, which contribute to the stagnation.

The air quality index (AQI) measured in Baker City, has been in the moderate category the past six days.

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Shops ready for the big day


By Terri Harber

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Local businesses are preparing for the holiday shopping season.

A large number of local retailers plan to entice shoppers by offering specials or expanding their hours of operation to varying degrees until Christmas.

Many local businesses have big plans for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

And many intend to make Small Business Saturday, Nov. 30, profitable for local businesses (some eateries and even a motel or two, participate) and pleasant for shoppers.

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Ski season waits on a big storm


By Jayson Jacoby

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A stubborn dry weather pattern will deprive skiers of a post-Thanksgiving powder run at Anthony Lakes Ski Area.

But one more big storm might be enough to kick off the skiing and snowboarding season.

And that storm could be brewing in the North Pacific while we’re gobbling turkey, poised to barge in next week.

“We’re just waiting for another good storm,” Chelsea McLagan, marketing director at the resort in the Elkhorn Mountains west of North Powder, said Tuesday afternoon.

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Council likes golf course proposal


By Terri Harber

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Dozens of people came to the special Baker City Council meeting on Friday to show their support for Bill Tiedemann, who wants to manage the city-owned Quail Ridge Golf Course now that longtime manager Seven Iron LLC has bowed out.

Councilors voted 6-0 to authorize City Manager Mike Kee to negotiate a contract with Tiedemann that could be for three years, but with a clause allowing the city to renegotiate terms after the first year.

Councilor Kim Mosier was absent Friday.

The Council would have the final say on whether to approve a contract with Tiedemann.

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New judge appointed to Grant County double murder case


By Chris Collins

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A retired Vale judge has been appointed to hear the case of a 14-year-old boy in foster care accused of killing two Baker County men at a hunting cabin near Granite on Oct. 3.

Dillan Dakota Willford Easley has been charged with shooting his foster father, Michael Piete, 43, and Piete’s uncle, Kenneth C. Gilliland, 64. Easley had been placed in foster care with Piete and his wife, Carlotta, by Douglas County authorities.

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Baker residents remember where they were on Nov. 22, 1963


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The front page of the Baker Democrat-Herald on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963

By Jayson Jacoby

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There had never been a day quite like it in American history.

And almost certainly it will never be replicated: Nov. 22, 1963.

John F. Kennedy was not, of course, the first American president to be assassinated.

But the murders of presidents Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and William McKinley preceded radio and television.

In the absence of those far-reaching media it wasn’t possible for any country — and in particular one as vast as the U.S. — to experience a momentous event in such an instantaneous way.

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Powering Ahead

Baker County Continues Working On Plan To Build A Hydroelectric Plant At Mason Dam


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Jayson Jacoby / Baker City Herald Baker County officials continue to work on a plan to build a hydroelectric plant at Mason Dam, which blocks the Powder River about 15 miles southwest of Baker City.

By Terri Harber

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Oregon wildlife officials are considering whether to allow Baker County to add a hydroelectric project to Mason Dam without making it easier for fish to pass over the dam.

The project site, along the Powder River about 15 miles southwest of Baker City, contains habitat crucial for bull trout, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The county, by applying for new non-consumptive water rights for the hydro plan, triggered a state review of whether the project would require fish passage enhancement or protective fish screening at Mason Dam.

Instead of making any changes to Mason Dam, which has no fish ladders, county officials are proposing to replace a culvert on Silver Creek and improve fish passage conditions at another culvert on McCully Fork instead of work at Mason Dam itself.

Both streams are Powder River tributaries near Sumpter, above Mason Dam and Phillips Reservoir.

 

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School district has a choice on all-day kindergarten


By Chris Collins

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Three community members who serve on the Baker School District’s Budget Committee joined school board members Tuesday night to consider a full-day kindergarten program in the context of budget planning for the coming year.

Rusty Munn, Ginger Savage and Rosemary Abell joined the board to hear Doug Dalton, the district’s chief financial officer, talk about long-range planning. 

Because the state has not provided money to pay for full-day kindergarten, districts will not be required to offer them by 2015, as the board previously believed, Dalton said Tuesday.

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Something Fishy

Students at Eagle Cap innovative high school learn to raise fish and grow plants in the same operation

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Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald James AhHee, a student at Eagle Cap innovative high school in Baker City, measures water quality. He is learning how to test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels in the filtering system that will supply nutrients to plants. Ammonia is the waste product of the fish. Nitrite is toxic to the fish. Bacteria that is on mesh screens in the tank converts it to nitrates which are used to fill sweet basil plants.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The fish dart from side to side, trying to escape the eyes on the other side of the glass.

But the students are tasked with observing the behavior of these fish, so the swimmers better get used to being watched.

These fish are the control group, whose size will be measured against the fingerlings across the room that are part of an aquaponics project at Eagle Cap innovative high school in Baker City.

Science teacher Burke Smejkal introduced the concept to his Engineering Systems class, which includes youth from both Eagle Cap and Baker High School.

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Council will look at draft rules

Dangerous Dog Ordinance Discussion


By Terri Harber

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The citizens advisory panel writing an ordinance regulating dangerous dogs has finished its work on a draft for Baker City Councilors to look over during their Dec. 10 meeting.

The dog-mauling death of 5-year-old Jordan Ryan on Sept. 27 prompted councilors to seek ways to reduce the possibility of similar dog attacks.

Jordan was killed by a pit bull.

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