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Hey, No Sweat!

Baker City Cycling Classic Riders Bask In Mild Weather

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald — The Tour d'Town Criterium finds cyclists from throughout the Northwest racing a 1K course in downtown Baker City. The Saturday event is the third of four stages and features several men's categories and two women's.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Oh how contradictory June can be.

Last year, riders in the Baker City Cycling Classic rode in sweltering heat and humidity during the Friday road race, never seeming to get enough water to counteract the conditions.

This year, racers took off in 70-degree weather. They actually emptied their water bottles during the Catherine Creek climb, and many didn’t get extra water at the last feed zone.

Then, as the third peloton (main group of cyclists) raced to the finish, the skies opened up with lightning, thunder and pouring rain.

Back farther from the finish, some cyclists were pelted with hail that left welts.

Although wet, race director Brian Vegter says the racers preferred that to last year’s heat.

“Everybody had smiles on their faces — ‘most epic day ever!’ ” he said.

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

Historical glass display joins its twin at Baker Heritage Museum


A glass display case travels to another home since its beginnings at the former Neuberger and Heilner clothing store on Main Street in downtown Baker City. Powder River Correctional Facility inmates provided the muscle June 20 to move the historic case from Crossroads Carnegie Art Center to the Baker Heritage Museum, where others like it are used for displaying artifacts. (S. John Collins/Baker City Herald)

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

A simple gift came with a surprise recently when Crossroads Carnegie Art Center gave a glass cabinet to the Baker Heritage Museum. 

Turns out it wasn’t the only one of its kind.

“Unbeknownst to us, its matched partner is at the museum,” said Ginger Savage, Crossroads director.

The display case was originally used at the Neuberger and Heilner department store on Main Street. 

When Crossroads moved into that space, the case was used as the front counter.

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

Council swaps emails about mayor

By Pat Caldwell

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A smoldering dispute among several Baker City Council members regarding Mayor Richard Langrell’s comments and actions flamed openly Tuesday night, sending a clear signal that the controversy could have long-term implications.

At the end of the Council meeting Tuesday, Councilor Clair Button asked City Manager Mike Kee to place a proposal on the next meeting agenda to discuss Langrell’s job performance, with the ultimate objective of having the Council decide whether to rescind Langrell’s status as mayor.

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


Baker woman arrested after high-speed chase in town, on freeway

Police arrested a Baker City woman Tuesday night  after a high-speed chase that ended on the freeway when the stolen vehicle she was driving was disabled by a spike strip.

Melissa Thacker, 30, of 390 Spring Garden Ave., remains in jail today on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, attempting to elude police, reckless driving, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, criminal trespassing and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.

An employee of Cliff’s Saws and Cycles reported about 6 p.m. Tuesday that a woman was attempting to ride a customer’s motorcycle at the business, according to a press release. 

Thacker was accused of threatening a woman and taking a vehicle from the woman’s 11th Street home at about 6:17 p.m.

The pursuit, which lasted about 11 minutes, began when Thacker ran a stop sign at 11th and D streets, police said. She traveled 60 mph down 10th Street and reached speeds up to 81 mph on the freeway before the spike strip was deployed by Oregon State Police. She was arrested after a short foot pursuit.

Hells Canyon Junior Rodeo this weekend at Halfway

HALFWAY — Skye Hack is the 2014 Hells Canyon Junior Rodeo queen and invites everyone to join the action Saturday and Sunday as the 57th-annual Hells Canyon Junior Rodeo gets under way.

The rodeo begin at 1 p.m. both days at the Halfway rodeo arena.

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.

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