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Comforting Kids

Local Quilters Donate To Children Who Have Eye Surgery

Lisa Britton/For the Baker City Herald Monica Bailey, left, and Cherrie Conklin sort through some of the 76 handmade quilts that Baker County quilters are donating to the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic in Portland.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Women in Baker City are sending quilted comfort to the young patients at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic in Portland.

Patients at the clinic receive a handmade quilt after surgery, and then get to take it home.

“Usually the kids wake up with a quilt on their bed,” said Bethany Painter, research assistant at the clinic.

Grant will pay to assess Pilcher, Wolf Cr. dam needs

By Jayson Jacoby

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The federal government will spend $60,000 to hire engineers to study two local irrigation dams and decide whether either needs upgrades.

The money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go to the Powder Valley Water Control District and pay for assessments of the Pilcher Creek and Wolf Creek dams.

BMS principal assigned to Haines

By Chris Collins

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After more than 10 years as Baker Middle School principal, Mindi Vaughan will be moving to her new office 10 miles down the road next year.

She has been reassigned as principal of Haines and Keating Elementary schools. Vaughan also will serve as the district’s federal programs director and serve as liaison to families who are homeless.

Gov. Kate Brown declares drought emergency for Baker County

SALEM (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in two more counties — Baker and Wheeler — due to drought, low snowpack levels and low water conditions.

Baker Middle School Snack & Feed Program-making P,B and J’s

Seventh period work experience class at Baker Middle School is a well-oiled sandwich-making machine made up of a few teachers and five to eight students.

Four days a week in room number three, Melody Webb, a paraprofessional, leads eighth-grade students in making 250 sandwiches in a flurry of peanut butter, jelly and bread.

And they do it in 30 minutes.

Employment figures drop from a year ago

Baker County’s unemployment rate recorded a significant decline from a year ago but the local area still lags behind both the state and the nation regarding the overall number of people without employment.

According to February statistics from the Oregon Employment Department’s Eastern Oregon Labor Trends, Baker County logged a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. The good news is the 6.5 percent rate is far lower than numbers noted in February 2014. In February 2014 Baker County chronicled a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. On the flipside however, Baker County’s February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is still higher than the jobless rate for Oregon — fixed at 5.8 percent. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2015 was 5.5 percent. Government jobs — including state, federal and local — continue to employ the most people — 1,190 — in Baker County.

Dad Comes Home

Command Sergeant Major Wayne Chastain Surprises His Children

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Ashlie Chastain, 16, is overcome with emotion when her father, Wayne, surprised her during her band practice at Baker High School Thursday morning. His return from Afghanistan has been a well-kept secret.

By Chris Collins

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A conspiracy of the sweetest kind played out at two Baker schools Thursday morning.

The co-conspirators were parents Farrah and Wayne Chastain and staff members at South Baker Intermediate School and Baker High School. They worked together to orchestrate the surprise homecoming of the Chastain children’s father, a soldier who’s spent the past year in Afghanistan.

Dress Express at BHS

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Prom dresses can be rented at the Dress Express at Baker High School. From left, Kara Bennet, Ashlie Chastain and Corrin Wilson help keep the selection ready and presentable as part of a leadership class.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The girls sort through fancy dresses of all hues — some strapless, some not; some with sparkles, some with ribbons, some just simple satin.

The idea for this “Dress Express” at Baker High School began in 2010 and has slowly been gaining momentum, providing an affordable option for fancy high school dances.

Last year, the BHS leadership class used proceeds from the Sadie Hawkins dance to increase the Dress Express inventory.

County mulls pot sales ban

By Joshua Dillen

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Baker County is preparing to follow Baker City’s lead in banning the commercial sale of marijuana.

County commissioners on Wednesday discussed Ordinance No 2015-02, which would ban recreational and medical marijuana stores in the unincorporated parts of the county.

Front doors at Brooklyn School locked this morning but threat didn't materialize

Teachers at Brooklyn School were on alert this morning and the front doors of the building were locked in anticipation “of a potential problem with a parent that didn’t come to fruition,” said Betty Palmer, interim superintendent.

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