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County Commissioners declare drought emergency

The Baker County Board of Commissioners ratified a declaration of a drought emergency in the county during their meeting this morning.

The local drought disaster declaration is the first step in potentially obtaining state and federal disaster aid.

Last year county commissioners declared a drought emergency much earlier — on June 5.

The county will forward its declaration to Gov. John Kitzhaber, who will decide whether to add Baker County to the list of Oregon counties under a state disaster declaration.

Baker County commissioners also approved drought declarations in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Eastern Oregon counties object to Blue Mountains forest plan revision

By Katy Nesbitt

WesCom News Service

ENTERPRISE — Representatives from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association voted Friday in John Day to object to the forest plan out for public comment until Aug. 15.

The draft document, known as The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision, is a guide to managing the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and part of the Ochoco national forests.

“Too many things are wrong, including the basic tenet, and we don’t think it’s fixable,” Wallowa County Commissioner Mike Hayward said.

Farmers Market at different spot this Wednesday only

The Baker City Farmers Market will be at a different location this Wednesday, Aug. 6, due to the Baker County Fair.

The market will be at East and D streets, just north of its normal spot.

Next Wednesday the market returns to its regular place at the Baker Event Center, 2600 East St.


Storms bring fire & ice

Depending on where you were during the weekend you might have been pummeled by hail, drenched by rain or rattled by lightning that sparked lots of wildfires

By Jayson Jacoby

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A relentless barrage of thunderstorms during the weekend brought hail and torrential rain to parts of Baker County as well as hundreds of lightning bolts that ignited more than two dozen wildfires.

Most of the new blazes are less than one acre.

But a group of fires ignited Friday night or early Sunday in the North Fork John Day Wilderness northeast of Granite prompted the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to close a pair of hiking trails and part of a forest road.

Dubbed the Mount Ireland Complex, the fires are mainly in the Baldy Creek area north of Mount Ireland, which is topped by a Wallowa-Whitman fire lookout station.

The biggest of the blazes has burned about 20 acres.

Both trails leading to Baldy Lake — one follows Baldy Creek for six miles from a trailhead off the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, the other trail starts at a ridgecrest about a mile west of the lake — are closed to the public.

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

Four slots but so far no takers

Baker City Council Election This November 

By Pat Caldwell

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Four slots on the Baker City Council are up for grabs this November but so far there hasn’t been much interest from the public.

“Not one application for the city council turned in. We’ve given two out but not had any returned,” City Manager Mike Kee said Tuesday.

Kee conceded that often individuals wait until he last moment — in this case Aug. 26 — before turning in council applications. Four positions, now held by Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles, Barbara Johnson and Clair Button, will be open for the autumn election.

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

OSP might close only forensic lab in Eastern Oregon

From The (La Grande) Observer: 

The future of the Eastern Oregon crime lab is up in the air.

Employees at the Oregon State Police’s Pendleton crime lab were told Wednesday that the OSP is considering all options for its forensic labs — including closing the Pendleton location.

Keith Kerr, director of the Pendleton lab, said the announcement came this week but that no decision has been made.

“The OSP are looking at the options for what to do with our laboratory due to budgetary issues,” he said. “They’ve been seeking input from our partner agencies.”

The Department of Administrative Services earlier this year issued a Request for Information regarding construction of a new lab to be sited in Pendleton. According to the DAS, there has not been any movement on that front.

“There’s nothing confirmed at this point,” said Lt. Gregg Hastings, OSP public information officer. “They are still trying to decide where to relocate.”

Closure of the Pendleton lab without construction of a new one would leave Eastern Oregon without a crime lab. An Ontario lab closed several years ago. Other state crime labs are located in Bend, Central Point, Clackamas and Springfield.


Thursday Art Night planned

Baker Art Guild will present the film “Gregory Crewdson - Brief Encounters” for Thursday Art Night on July 31 at the Eltrym Theatre, 1809 Second St. The evening begins with storytelling at 6:30 p.m. The theme is “Brushes with Celebrity.” The film start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 adults, $4 students and proceeds benefit the Crossroads Scholarship Fund.

About the film:

Acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson doesn’t just “take” his images, he creates them, through elaborate days and weeks of invention, design, and set-up. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts. In his decade-long project “Beneath the Roses” he uses light, color and character to conjure arresting images, managing a crew of 60 amidst seemingly countless logistical and creative obstacles.

Filmed over a decade, beginning in 2000, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters provides an unparalleled view of the moment of creation of his images. It also reveals the life-story behind the work—through frank reflections on his life and career, including the formative influences of his psychologist father and his childhood fascination with the work of Diane Arbus. Childhood fears and ideals, adult anxieties and desires, the influences of pop-culture all combine to form who buy cialis we are, and for Crewdson, motivate his work.

There is no specific backstory, no before-and-after to Gregory Crewdson’s images, simply the moment that lends itself to mystery and intrigue. Hundreds of movie lights combine with the setting sun in a perfect moment of illumination.

For more info about the film visit http://www.gregorycrewdsonmovie.com/ or www.eltrym.com

Baseball Bonanza

Baker Sports Complex Hosting Regional Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald The Baker County Diamondbacks practice at the Baker Sports Complex in preparation for the Regional Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament that begins Monday. The Baker County team, coached by Keith Dunn, right, and Ty Bennett, far background, will join nine other teams from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana and Oregon in the week-long tournament. The winning team advances to the Babe Ruth World Series Aug. 20-27 at Longview, Washington.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker City will be the epicenter for Babe Ruth baseball in the Northwest next week.

Ten teams from five states — Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — will gather at the Baker Sports Complex for the Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament Aug. 4-10.

The winning team will advance to the Babe Ruth World Series, for ages 13-15, from Aug. 20-27 at Longview, Wash.

Baker County and Union County will each have a team in the tournament, said Carrie Folkman of Baker City, the tournament’s treasurer.

Each of the eight other teams will be spending the week in Baker City.

Overall, with players, coaches, parents and siblings, the influx of visitors associated with the tournament should exceed 300, Folkman said.

The Babe Ruth regional tournament is precisely the sort of event promoters of the Sports Complex envisioned when the facility, which includes two baseball and two softball fields, was being planned about 15 years ago north of the Baker High School track.

“We have a premier facility in Oregon,” Folkman said. “The goal always was to attract this kind of tournament.”

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


North Powder soldier honored

Army Staff Sgt. Kevin A. Hopson, a North Powder native and 2005 graduate of Powder Valley High School, has been named by the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) as its Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and winner of one of the AMC's "Best Warrior" awards.

Hopson, who enlisted in the Army after graduation and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, will now compete in the Army-wide Best Warrior competition in October.

The AMC Best Warrior competition included 11 events that tested a variety of military skills and knowledge in a high-pressure atmosphere. A total of eight competitors -- three Soldiers and five NCOs -- competed for AMC’s Best Warrior titles and earned points based on their performance in specific events.

Out of a perfect score of 500 points, Hopson topped all competitors with 339 points.

He serves as the Force Protection NCA at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.


Mosquito-fogging started Monday night, scheduled to continue next two nights

Workers from the Baker Valley Vector Control District sprayed a mosquito-killing fog in parts of Baker City Monday night, and district manager Matt Hutchinson said the plan is to cover the rest of the city tonight and Wednesday night.

On Monday night the district's two fogging trucks covered areas north of Campbell Street and east of 10th Street, Hutchinson said.

Tonight the crew hope to cover areas east of the railroad tracks and south of Campbell to about the railroad tracks, and to fog the rest of town Wednesday night.

Hutchinson said the fogging trucks won't start rolling until after 9 p.m.

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