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ODFW plans wolf meeting Tuesday at Keating

Jayson Jacoby/Baker City Herald These possible wolf tracks were photographed Saturday morning on BLM land near Ruckles Creek, about 10 miles east of Baker City.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will have a public town hall meeting Tuesday evening at the Keating School to give local ranchers ideas about how to protect their herds from possible attacks by a wolf pack that has killed at least one deer and one elk in Baker County this month.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m., said Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at ODFW’s Baker City office.

Space is limited, and Ratliff said priority will be given to livestock owners in the vicinity. All others are welcome to attend, space permitting, he said.


Brothers consider trying to open medical marijuana dispensary in Baker City

By Pat Caldwell

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Bud Minton said all he and his brother Ted wanted to do was open a business in Baker City.

In fact, Bud Minton said, he and his brother want to be as transparent as possible regarding their effort to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Baker City.

The North Carolina resident and his brother are actively searching for a place to situate a dispensary — what Ted Minton dubbed as a Compassion Center in emails to the city — and they first contacted town officials about the proposal last autumn.

“I’m trying to help my brother. We are trying to be on board and to work with the city. To work within the parameters of the legal boundaries. We are trying not to ruffle any feathers,” Bud Minton said Thursday in a phone interview.


Wolves kill one deer, one elk in Baker County


By Jayson Jacoby

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A pack of wolves has killed at least one deer and one elk in Baker County over the past two weeks.

A biologist from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said a group of four wolves killed a female deer on Feb. 7 near Ruckles Creek, about 10 miles east of Baker City.

Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the ODFW office in Baker City, also said that a group of three to four wolves ate, and probably killed, an adult cow elk around Feb. 16 near Durkee.



Interpretive Center closed Monday for maintenance

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center will be closed Monday, Feb. 24 while crews work on the heating system.

The Center, five miles east of Baker City, will re-open as usual at 9 a.m. on Feb. 25.

The current calendar of programs is available on the Center’s website at oregontrail.blm.gov or by calling 541-523-1843.


Schyler’s Last Act

Editor’s Note:

Lisa Britton was working this weekend on a feature story about Schyler Miller when she learned that he had become ill and was taken to the hospital.

Photo by Lisa Britton Schyler Miller, left, performs earlier this month in “Bus Stop,” an Eastern Oregon Regional Theater production.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Schyler Miller loved to hear the laughter out beyond those bright stage lights.

Laughter, you see, meant he was doing his job well.

“I personally love acting in comedies,” Miller said Friday as he prepared for the opening night of “Bus Stop.” “There are times the crowd is laughing so hard I start to giggle myself.

“Listening to people laugh — it makes me feel good. To affect people that way is a wonderful feeling.”

His acting seemed seamless, with every line memorized and delivered to elicit a response from the audience.

But it takes a lot of work to act like this — and Miller had to work a bit harder during the last five years as he fought acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

He lost that fight Monday. He was 20.



Chet Smith, Chuck Schlingman die

Smith, 102, was a local historian; Schlingman the “talking pumpkin’ for 35 years

By Jayson Jacoby

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and Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Chet Smith preserved in his mind more than a century of Baker City history.

Chuck Schlingman delighted hundreds of local kids during his 35-year career as Baker City’s famous ‘talking pumpkin.”

Both men died this past week.

Smith, 102, died Monday at his home.

Schlingman, 90, died Friday at his home.


Locals grill Merkley on grouse

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley fields questions and concerns from about 80 people attending the town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon in Baker City.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker County residents peppered U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley with questions Tuesday that took the Democrat from their back yards to Capitol Hill to the factories of China.

A recurring theme during Merkley’s 70-minute town hall meeting at the former North Baker Elementary School was possible federal protection for the sage grouse, and in particular how such protection could affect the beef cattle industry in the county.

Among the approximately 80 people who attended, several asked Merkley about this chicken-size bird that shares habitat with some of Baker County’s most important public livestock grazing allotments.

Merkley actually had the first word on sage grouse, though.


YMCA CEO issues statement about contract dispute regarding Fitness Center work

Heidi Dalton, CEO of the Baker County YMCA, issued a written statement at noon today regarding a dispute between the YMCA and Gyllenberg Construction Inc. of Baker City over the remodeling of the former Wilson's Market, now the YMCA's Fitness Center on Pocahontas Road.

Dalton's statement reads: "The Baker County YMCA is currently in legal negotiations with Gyllenberg Construction, Inc. regarding our property at 3715 Pocahontas Road in Baker City, Oregon. Both the Baker County YMCA and Gyllenberg Construction, Inc. are taking the necessary legal steps to ensure that the financial and construction management responsibilities for cost overruns on the project are enforced as agreed upon in the contract. The liens that have been filed on the property are a direct result of the dispute regarding the cost overruns and will be resolved through the legal process. The Baker County YMCA will make no further comments regarding this matter until the legal proceedings are complete."

According to a claim of construction lien signed by Brent Gyllenberg on Nov. 4, 2013, the company claims the YMCA owes Gyllenberg Construction $385,262.70.

The total cost of the contract was $1,338,888.76, of which the company received $753,386.06 in credits, payments and offsets, according to the document.

A subcontractor, Powder River Electric Inc. of Baker City, filed a separate claim of construction lien on Nov. 12, 2013, seeking $31,450.08. 

The YMCA remodeled the former grocery store last year. The Fitness Center opened in September 2013.

The YMCA bought the building in 2012. 


Smith family plans memorial Saturday for plane crash victims

The Steve and Terri Smith family and the Baker City LDS Church have scheduled a community memorial and reception on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. at the LDS Church on Hughes Lane in Baker City.

The Smith family lost five of their family members in an airplane crash in Valley County, Idaho, as they were traveling from a Thanksgiving visit in Baker City. 

The Smiths would like to show their appreciation to the community for their support of the family during the December search and recovery of the airplane and occupants.

 A brief memorial of the victims will be followed by a community gathering with refreshments and the opportunity for the Smith family to thank Baker County residents.

 For more information contact Sel Mastrude, 541-403-0366. 


YHEC sign-ups scheduled Feb. 18

Sign-ups for the Baker City National Rifle Association-sponsored Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) will begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Powder River Sportsmen’s Club meeting room at Eighth and Broadway streets.

The registration fee is $25. Prospective students must already have been through a state-mandated hunter safety program or be already enrolled in one.

For more information, call Buck Buckner at 541-523-6108.

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