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City looks at UV fast track

By Terri Harber

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No signs of cryptosporidium were detected in raw water samples taken from the Baker City water supply on Sept. 15 and 18, city councilors learned Tuesday.

In addition, a sample of water from Elk Creek collected on Sept. 15 also came back negative for crypto, Michelle Owen, the city’s public works director, said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

A sample from Elk Creek taken on Aug. 4 contained 913 crypto oocysts; no other water sample taken since the crypto outbreak was confirmed in late July has contained more than three oocysts.

The city has not used Elk Creek water since Aug. 7, the day officials received lab test results from the Aug. 4 sample.


Game camera photographs 5 cougars together

Photo courtesy of Suzan Jones A motion-sensing camera on Suzan and Keith Jones’ property in southern Baker County took this photograph of five cougars about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Suzan and Keith Jones’ motion-sensing game cameras have taken some pretty interesting photos this year.

But none comes close to the picture that showed up on the Baker County couple’s computer screen Sunday morning.

The photo, which was taken Saturday evening, shows five cougars.


Coyote had rabies and canine distemper

By Chris Collins

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A sick coyote shot by a sheriff’s deputy in a Kirkway Drive neighborhood Wednesday night was suffering from both rabies and canine distemper, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 The diagnosis was made after a necropsy (animal autopsy) was conducted at the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Corvallis, according to Brian Ratliff, ODFW district wildlife biologist in Baker City.

The coyote was first seen about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday wandering through the Kirkway neighborhood by Brian Addision. It was foaming at the mouth and appeared to be disoriented, Addison said.

Deputy Nathan Lay of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed the coyote with a shotgun after it wandered into a nearby field to the east of Kirkway Drive.


Deputy kills sick coyote sighted by residents


By Chris Collins

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A sick coyote found disoriented and foaming at the mouth was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy Wednesday evening in the neighborhood along Kirkway Drive.

Deputy Nathan Lay of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police game officer Sr. Trooper Brad Duncan responded to the report of a possibly rabid coyote, said Undersheriff Warren Thompson.

Lay killed the animal with a shotgun after it left the neighborhood and traveled east into an adjoining field, he said. It was then delivered to the Baker City office of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).


Former Baker man helps African country rebuild

Submitted photo Nathan Habbyshaw, left, a missionary based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, stands with body guards. He and his wife, Nicole, run an orphanage and provide other services within a large compound located near in the eastern portion of the African country.

By Terri Harber

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About a decade ago, former Baker City resident Nathan Habbyshaw was looking for something meaningful to do with his life. 

Habbyshaw, now 31, was taking community college courses in Bend and had worked in a pizza shop and for the U.S. Forest Service.

Then, he said, “God kind of opened my eyes.”

What Habbyshaw could see in front of him next, spiritually, was Africa. He ended up in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the age of 22.


School board wants more details on proposed one-stop service shop

By Chris Collins

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Baker School Board members agreed Tuesday night that the district should step back from any plans to establish a one-stop service center for children and families at the North Baker Education Center.

More details are needed before moving forward with any plans, the directors stated, after hearing from two women coordinating the efforts.

Amy Johnson of Wallowa County, director of the Building Healthy Families program, and Kelly Poe of Malheur County, who is coordinating the three-county application to the state seeking designation as an early learning hub, attended a work session and continued their discussion with the board after the regular meeting got under way.

Johnson explained that Building Healthy Families is serving 432 families in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties.


Wallowa-Whitman cancels public use restrictions

With the arrival of wetter, much cooler weather, the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will soon cancel the restrictions on campfires, chain saw use and other activities that had been in place for more than a month.

The public use restrictions end at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

"I would like to remind the public that although cooler temperatures and recent rain have reduced the need for public use restrictions, we are still in fire season," Bret Ruby, the Wallowa-Whitman's fire management officer, said in a press release.

"Fires should be built in a fire ring and should never be left unattended," Ruby said. "Extinguish campfires by adding water and stirring the coals until the fire is completely out."

Fire restrictions within one-quarter mile of the Snake River, in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and along the Grande Ronde River remain in place.

To report a wildfire, call 9-1-1.


Fire burns 19 acres south of Dooley Mtn.

A fire reported Monday afternoon has burned about 19.5 acres in the Cornet Creek area south of Dooley Mountain.

Three fire engine, a bulldozer and a helicopter worked on the lightning-sparked blaze Monday.

The fire is about one-half mile west of the Dooley Mountain highway, 17 miles south of Baker City.

The blaze burned in grass, timber and logging slash.

Five other fires were reported late Sunday and early Monday, all sparked by lightning as well. All burned less than half an acre.

Updated information on local fires is available online at http://bmidc.org/index.shtml. 


It's moving week for the YMCA

Kathy Orr /Baker City Herald Heidi Dalton, left, CEO of the Baker County YMCA, and Dave Coughlin, an original board member and co-founder of YMCA, looked at the organization’s new fitness center on Sunday. The YMCA renovated the former Wilson’s Market in the Maxi-Mart Center on Pocahontas Road just west of 17th Street, in northwest Baker City. Workers have been busy moving treadmills, exercise bikes and other equipment from the former fitness center on Main Street to the new location, which will open on Saturday morning.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

By the end of this week, the new Baker County YMCA will be up and running.

“We’re going to be in operating condition by Saturday morning,” said Heidi Dalton, CEO.

The Y has spent the past year working on a new home, and this Saturday’s open house will reveal the new space to the public.

(It is closed this week during the transition.)


Heat: No records, but no relief either

By Jayson Jacoby

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The summer of 2013 hasn’t overwhelmed Baker County with sweltering heat, but the season has been awfully consistent in its warmth.

Both July and August were hotter than average — July’s average high of 88 degrees surpassed the average by three degrees, and August’s 88.1 was almost four degrees above average.

Neither month came close to breaking any records, though.

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