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Could the city and county combine tasks?

By Pat Caldwell

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An idea to consolidate portions of the Baker City Public Works Department with the Baker County Road Department resonates with some city councilors, but what that process would actually mean — and how it could be executed — remains undefined.

Some members of the Baker City Council consider a plan to consolidate certain government branches a viable method to save money and increase efficiency.

The consolidation concept is not a new one. 

Several years ago the city planning department folded into the county, and the city and county also have combined their building inspection departments.

Langrell wants city in court

By Pat Caldwell

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A dispute between Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell and the city might be settled in court.

On Tuesday Langrell filed a complaint in Baker County Circuit Court demanding the city pay him more than $9,000 in water and sewer fees he and his wife, Lynne, have paid for their motel.

The dispute between the Langrells and the city has continued — in one form or another — for years.

Richard Langrell said Tuesday afternoon that it’s time to finish what evolved into a nearly decade-long legal dispute.

“It (the court documents) is just telling the city I’m tired of them running me around and it’s time to get it settled,” he said.

Bounty For Books

Baker County Community Literacy Coalition Receives $49,122 Grant

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald file photo Searching through books provided by Jim Tomlinson, Baker County Community Literacy Coalition coordinator, background, are Mariah Petty, left, Jackson Gross, center, and Reece Hatfield. The book giveaway was held in December 2013 at Brooklyn Primary.

By Chris Collins

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The Baker County Community Literacy Coalition has received a $49,122 Early Literacy Grant.

The grant will benefit families with children from birth to age 6, said Jim Tomlinson, community literacy coordinator. 

“The purpose of the grant is to improve children’s early literacy skills in order to increase readiness for kindergarten, close opportunity and achievement gaps, and to ensure that all children are reading on grade level by the end of third grade,” an announcement of the award stated. 

Baker City mayor files papers with city requesting reimbursement of water and sewer fees

Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell today filed a complaint in Baker County Circuit Court in which he demands the city reimburse him for $8,931.47 in water and sewer fees, plus one-half of the water and sewer fees paid he and his wife, Lynne, paid in the months of February, March and April 2014.

A summons was delivered this morning to City Hall, stating that the city must appear in court to defend against the Langrells' complaint within 30 days, or the Langrells will ask the court to rule in their favor and order the city to pay the money.

In early January the Langrells' attorney, Rebecca J. Knapp of Enterprise, wrote the city a letter demanding $14,907.71.

City officials denied the request, and they insist the city doesn't owe Langrell anything.

More recently, in an April 1 letter Knapp asks the city for $8,931.47 in water and sewer fees, plus one-half of the water and sewer fees the Langrells paid in February, March and April.

City Manager Mike Kee said he was served with a copy of Langrell's petition and summons this morning.

Kee referred questions to the city's attorney, Brent Smith.

Langrell said earlier this month that he believes the city would settle with him before the matter goes to court. 

See Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald for a story about the Langrells' petition.

County commissioners to consider medical marijuana dispensary moratorium

The Baker County Board of Commissioners will have a special meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Courthouse, 1995 Third St. in Baker City.

The agenda includes a proposed ordinance instituting a moratorium on opening medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Baker City Council has already approved a one-year moratorium on such businesses, as allowed by a law the Legislature passed in March.

Baker man falls asleep while driving, crashes near Durkee

Oregon State Police photo/Hector Torres of Baker City suffered only minor injuries Monday morning when he fell asleep while driving on Interstate 84 near Durkee and crashed his 1993 Geo.

A Baker City man sustained minor injuries Monday morning when he fell asleep at the wheel near Durkee and crashed into a metal freeway sign.

Hector Torres, 25, was traveling west at 7:30 a.m. when his 1993 Geo four-door went off the road and rolled before coming to rest against the metal post, Oregon State Police Sgt. Ty Duby stated in a press release.

Huntington Fire Department volunteers and a Baker City ambulance crew extricated Torres from the vehicle, Duby said. Torres was taken to St. Alphonsus Medical Center. 

Police cited Torres on a charge of failing to drive in his lane. Torres was wearing a seat belt, Duby said.

Oregon Department of Transportation workers helped at the scene.

138 voters shift to GOP

Most who have changed in 2014 had been registered as Democrats 

By Jayson Jacoby

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As of Thursday, 138 Baker County voters have changed their registration to Republican this year, a shift that allows them to vote in the two all-Republican county commissioner races in the May 20 primary.

The majority of the registered voters who have switched their affiliation to the GOP since Jan. 1 were previously registered as Democrats.

According to records from County Clerk Tami Green’s office, 91 of the 138 registered voters who changed their affiliation to Republican this year had been registered as Democrats.

Another 28 were previously not affiliated with any party, and 14 had been registered as Independents.

Back to Boston

One Year After Bombing, Two Baker Men Will Compete In Boston Marathon 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Mike Knutson, left, and Davey Peterson continue training for the Boston Marathon. The historic event happens Monday. An easy-day workout finds the runners along Best Frontage Road near Baker City.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon didn’t deter Baker City’s Mike Knutson and Davey Peterson from signing up for the 2014 race — if anything, it encouraged them to go.

“It’s always a celebration,” Knutson said. “This year, because of last year, will be even more of a celebration.”

The 118th Boston Marathon will be Monday, April 21, which is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts.

Man found hiding in Dumpster after fleeing Courthouse

A Baker City who bolted and ran from the Baker County Circuit Courtroom Thursday morning was found hiding in an alley Dumpster and taken back into custody just eight minutes later.

Sean Dean Taylor, 23, of 1760 Broadway St., was arrested at 11:38 a.m. He will face additional charges of second-degree escape, a Class C felony; and interfering with a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said in a press release.

Circuit Court Judge Greg Baxter had just sentenced Taylor to 150 days in jail after his probation was revoked on a conviction for strangulation constituting domestic violence when Taylor fled, Shirtcliff said. He was not in custody at the time of the hearing and was wearing “street clothes,” Shirtcliff said.

Easter egg hunt Saturday


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Baker City’s annual Easter egg hunt is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 19 at Geiser-Pollman Park.

The event is for children ages 3 through 11.

Children should start lining up at 9:45 a.m. in the designated age group areas in the park. The police siren will sound at 10 a.m.

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