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Possible cougar tracks found along Powder River

Tracks that might have been made by a cougar were found earlier this week along the Powder River between Myrtle and Estes streets.

Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's (ODFW) Baker City office, said assistant district biologist Justin Primus looked at photographs of the prints on Thursday.

At least one of the photos showed a track consistent with a cougar's paw, but there was nothing in the photo to show scale, and Primus couldn't definitively identify the track as being made by a cougar, Ratliff said.

"It could be," Ratliff said.

Equation Frustration

A new math curriculum is challenging Baker students, teachers 

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald Fifth-grade teacher Merrie Hensley gives Hayden Younger help with his math.

By Chris Collins

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Fifth-grade teacher Merrie Hensley can be found on YouTube these days trying to help her students learn a new way to understand old math lessons.

Hensley’s instruction can be accessed from any computer by typing YouTube into the web browser and then simply searching her name: Merrie Hensley.

Her voice and invisible pencil guide students through lessons based on the “Engage New York” process that uses place-value charts and strategies and small black dots, which are termed disks, to represent numbers on the charts.

Horse trainer balks at BLM

By Jayson Jacoby

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Lise Yervasi is perplexed about the BLM’s insistence that she turn over to the agency a wild horse she’s been training since late August at her ranch in northern Baker County.

Perplexed and angry.

The situation started when Yervasi, an accomplished equestrian who also was diagnosed four years ago with an autoimmune motor neuron disease (similar to ALS), drove to the BLM’s wild horse corrals near Burns to pick up the mustang.

The bay horse, officially Mustang 1703, although Yervasi named the animal Oberon, was captured two years ago as a yearling in the Coyote Lake Herd Management Area about 80 miles southwest of Burns.

Dairy Queen latest victim of hackers

NEW YORK (AP) — Ice cream and fast food chain Dairy Queen is the latest retailer to reveal a hack of its customer data.

The company said Thursday that hackers may have gained access to customer names, credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates at 395 stores between August and October. The company said it has fixed the malware problem.

The list of affected restaurants in Oregon includes Baker City and La Grande, as well as Stayton, two in Medford, Eugene, Oakridge, Warrenton and Keizer.

Customer data could have been accessed between Aug. 5 and Aug. 31, according to Dairy Queen. 

Richland couple hurt in single-vehicle crash

A Richland couple were both taken by Lifeflight to a Boise hospital Thursday evening after their car went off Highway 86 and rolled near Richland.

William Thompson, 82, and his wife, Beverly Jean Thompson, 76, were hurt in the single-vehicle crash that happened about 6:25 p.m.

William Thompson was in good condition this morning at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. Beverly Thompson was treated at the hospital and released. 

Their 2004 Subaru Legacy rolled near Milepost 35, about seven miles west of Richland, Baker County Sheriff Mitch Southwick said.

Southwick said Oregon State Police are investigating the accident.

He didn't have details such as who was driving or whether the Thompsons were wearing seatbelts.

Feds could decide grocery future in Baker

Proposed merger of Albertsons, Safeway stores

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker City’s grocery business could change, at least in terms of store ownership, if federal regulators approve the acquisition of Safeway stores by a company that already owns Albertsons stores.

Baker City’s grocery trade is dominated by those two stores, which face each other across East Campbell Street near the freeway.

If the proposed merger goes through — it was announced in March, and Safeway shareholders endorsed the deal in late July — a single company, Cerberus Capital, would own both of those stores.

Catch The Wind

Five wind farms are being planned near Huntington and Lime 

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald The Elkhorn Valley wind farm near North Powder is the largest wind power development in the area. Five other smaller developments are planned in southeastern Baker County.

By Coby Hutzler

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Wind power in Baker County is lifting off. 

Within the past year, the county has given three conditional-use permits for a total of five wind farm sites, allowing for their construction to begin.

All the projects are situated in the hills surrounding Huntington and Lime, about 45 miles southeast of Baker City.

Bob Guertin of Oregon Windfarms, LLC, which is managing all five projects, said that while there are some intervening steps to take care of — including the installation of a substation — the projects appear to be in good shape going forward.

“We expect that sometime later this fall or early in the spring they’ll be in construction,” Guertin said.

Couple, pets avoid injury in house fire

By Chris Collins

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A south Baker City couple and their pets escaped injury  in a fire accidentally started in a bedroom of the home Tuesday morning.

Firefighter Sara Blair said the alarm was sounded at 11:05 a.m. with an initial report that Jack and Janice Clark were inside the home.

Baker man in critical condition after fire

By Chris Collins

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A Baker City man was in critical condition this morning at the Legacy Oregon Burn Center in Portland after a Monday night fire at his home.

Aaron Proffitt, 31, of 1370 Ninth St., was taken by Baker City ambulance to St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City and later flown to the Portland hospital.

Chalking It Up

Color Dash, sponsored by Baker High School Leadership Class, sponsors fundraiser for local family 

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald A rainbow of colors drifted over the Baker Sports Complex Saturday morning when about 100 joggers, including Remington Benson, 7, ran a 1½ -mile course to raise money for a family in need. Suzy Cole, left, helped coordinate the event, which was put on by her Baker High School Leadership Class.

The sky was bright blue Saturday morning at the Baker Sports Complex.

Except for the clouds of red, yellow, orange, green, purple and, yes, blue.

The second-annual Color Dash raised an estimated $600 to help a local family, said Suzy Cole, who teaches the Baker High School Leadership Class, the event’s sponsor.

About 100 people ran a 1.5-mile course, during which students festooned runners’ white shirts with bright-colored clouds of chalk.

Cole said a Leadership Class committee, led this year and last year by Makenna Bachman, talked with principals at Baker schools and then chose a family as the beneficiary of the Color Dash.

The event will return next year.


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