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Woman, 73, died in Grant County last week after car got stuck in snow

CANYON CITY (AP) — A 73-year-old Washington state woman died after she and her 81-year-old sister walked for 12 hours to get help when their car got stuck in an Eastern Oregon snowdrift, a sheriff says.

Stella Adamson and her older sister, Sue Blake, both of Vancouver, were in a Toyota Camry when they got stuck on May 13 on a forest road about 8 miles west of the North Fork Campground in northeast Grant County, Sheriff Glenn Palmer said in a statement.

ELECTION RESULTS: Harvey prevails over Warner

Bill Harvey has defeated  incumbent Fred Warner Jr.  in the race for Baker County Commission chairman.

In updated preliminary results released by the Baker County Clerk's office at 10:30 p.m., Harvey had 1,752 votes to Warner's 1,256.

In the race for Position 2 on the Board of Commissioners, incumbent Mark Bennett won comfortably with 1,782 votes to challenger Dick Fleming's 814 votes and Gene Stackle's 278 votes. 

No Democrats filed for the primary in the two county commission races. Barring a write-in campaign in the November general election, the winners of both primary races will run in effect unopposed.

In the three-person race for Baker County Clerk, Cindy Carpenter defeated Marcy Osborn and Lara Petitclerc and, by receiving more than half the votes cast in the race, Carpenter was elected without having to advance to a runoff with the runner up in the November election.

With 2,135 votes out of 4,116 cast, Carpenter received almost 52 percent of the votes. Osborn finished second with 1,338, and Petitclerc third with 635.

In the Republican primary for the right to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley in November, Baker County Republicans preferred Monica Wehby. She received 1,527 votes to Jason Conger's 745 votes and Mark Callahan's 251 votes.

Baker golfer Brandon Ellwanger wins state championship

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald — Brandon Ellwanger

Baker senior Brandon Ellwanger has won the individual title at the Class 4A boys golf tournament at Eagle Crest Resort near Redmond.

Ellwanger took the lead after the first round of the two-day tournament by carding a 1-under par 71 on Monday.

He followed that with a 1-over par 73 today, leaving him at even par for the tournament and three shots ahead of runner up Tyler Franke, a senior from Sutherlin.

Ellwanger struggled on the front nine in today's final round, shooting 3-over par, but he recovered to birdie three of the final six holes, Baker Coach Mike Long said in a phone interview this afternoon.

Ellwanger was at 4-over par after he bogeyed the 10th hole, but he went on to birdie the par-5 14th, the par-3 16th and the par-5 18th. 

Franke, who was one shot behind Ellwanger after one round, went the opposite direction on the final nine holes of today's round, finishing with consecutive bogeys for a 3-over round of 75 and a two-day total of 147, three shots behind Ellwanger.

Baker finished sixth in the team standings. 

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

County extends Holcomb Park boat ramp

Baker County has extended the boat ramp at Holcomb Park, on the Powder River arm of Brownlee Reservoir about two miles east of Richland.

The ramp now is usable when Brownlee is as much as 36 feet below full (2,041 feet elevation). That's the same as the ramp at neighboring Hewitt Park, also owned and operated by the county.

Brownlee is about 10 feet below full today, meaning both Hewitt and Holcomb ramps are usable.

Memorial Day service planned at Mount Hope Cemetery

A Memorial Day ceremony is planned for Monday, May 26 starting at 11 a.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery on South Bridge Street in Baker City.

Chaplain Jerry Shaw of VFW Post No. 3048 will give the opening prayer.

Dale Dodge of the American Legion will be master of ceremonies.

A lunch at the VFW Memorial Club, 2005 Valley Ave., will follow the ceremony.

Major meteor shower possible Friday night

Skywatchers might get a treat late Friday and early Saturday with an unexpected meteor showers that could rival the better known annual displays such as the Perseid and Leonid showers.

The Earth will be passing through debris left by the comet 209P/Linear more than 200 years ago.

Although astronomers say there's no guarantee, this could produce one of the most active meteor showers in decades in the U.S.

If that happens, the peak viewing time would be between 10:30 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Saturday.

The other factor, of course, is weather.

The National Weather Service is forecasting cloudy skies Friday night, but that forecast could change. 


May’s Pretty Mess

Dampest day since December litters sidewalks with tree blossoms 

Chris Collins/Baker City Herald Heavy rain on Sunday stripped most of the blossoms from flowering plum trees along Court Avenue between First and Second streets. A total of .30 of an inch of rain fell at the Baker City Airport, making Sunday the wettest day of the month. It was also the highest daily total since Dec. 20, 2013. That day’s total of .41 of an inch came in the form of snow, however.

By Jayson Jacoby

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May was seriously in arrears, rain-wise.

And despite Sunday’s heavy showers, it still is.

A total of .30 of an inch of rain fell during the day at the Baker City Airport.

It was the dampest day not only for the month, but since Dec. 20, 2013, when a snowstorm pummeled the airport with the liquid equivalent of .41 of an inch.

Sunday’s deluge was hardly unusual for May.

It is statistically speaking the wettest month in Baker County, with an average of 1.46 inches of rain.

(June, by the way, ranks second, at 1.31 inches. Those two months combine for disproportionate share of the yearly rainfall, accounting for 27 percent of the annual average of 10.13 inches.)

So far, though, this May has failed to fulfill its rainy reputation.

Even after Sunday the monthly total is a paltry .47 of an inch.

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


Mayor: City needs to cut personnel costs

Mayor Richard Langrell says city spends too much, but City Manager Mike Kee said workforce has shrunk

By Pat Caldwell

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The Baker City Budget Committee will kick off a series of meetings tonight to review the city’s financial plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Along with the tonight’s 6 o’clock session at City Hall, 1655 First St., budget meetings are slated for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at the same time and place, if needed. The budget committee consists of the City Council and seven citizen members. 

The city staff will present an overall, proposed budget of about $19 million – including $5.9 in the general fund account, which includes the police and fire departments and city administration.

At least one member of the council said Friday that he will be going into the sessions with one specific goal.

“The employee costs are still out of line,” Mayor Richard Langrell said. “And even though last year the City Council’s No. 1 goal was to reduce employee costs, the city manager has not followed the council’s goals.”

Kee said that at least as far as he is concerned the city has addressed personnel costs.

“I think we are doing a real decent job controlling labor costs,” he said. 

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

N. Powder couple pleads not guilty to sex crime charges

LA GRANDE — Joe and Faith Miller, the North Powder couple accused of sex crimes, both pleaded not guilty to all charges against them Monday afternoon in Union County Circuit Court.

Joe Miller, 69, and his wife Faith Miller, 55, pleaded not guilty to all total of 32 counts of alleged sex charges. 

The total includes charges of first-degree rape, 2 counts; first-degree sodomy 2 counts; unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree, 1 count; first-degree sex abuse, 4 counts; second-degree sex abuse, 4 counts; third-degree sex abuse, 4 counts; sexual misconduct, 4 counts; contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, 4 counts and first-degree criminal mistreatment, 2 counts.

The Millers were arrested April 25 by the Union County Sheriff’s Office following an April 23 joint secret indictment warrant, according to court documents. The crimes allegedly took place between June 2011 and July 2013.

Snow Basin project held up

By Katy Nesbitt

WesCom News Service

La Grande — An appeals court decision is forcing the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to create more protection for elk within the 29,000-acre Snow Basin logging project area.

 A lawsuit filed in 2012 sought protection for not only elk, but also endangered bull trout. The appeals court upheld the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s decision that there is sufficient data proving bull trout were extirpated from the streams within the project area decades ago and further protection measures were unnecessary. However, the court did order the Forest to provide supplemental information that would ensure protection for elk from vehicular travel.

Baker County intervened in the case, siding with the Forest. 

“I was disappointed that the Ninth Circuit reversed their decision,” Fred Warner Jr., Baker County Board of Commissioners Chairman, said Thursday. “Hopefully the Forest Service can do a supplemental environmental impact statement and get everything going.”

See more in the May 16 issue of the Baker City Herald. 

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