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Property owners say city is overcharging them for Resort Street project

 

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Workers bury utility lines along Resort Street in this April 2013 photo. S. John Collins/Baker City Herald

 Pat Caldwell

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A funding source critical to last year’s Resort Street improvement project will be reviewed by a citizens committee after several property owners on that street expressed concerns about the issue during Tuesday night’s City Council session.

At the heart of the matter are questions about how much the property owners should pay for burying power lines and other utilities during the Resort Street project. The city created a Local Improvement District (LID) to pay part of the bill to bury the utilities.

 An LID is a funding system that provides for a group of property owners to share costs of infrastructure improvements.

The Resort Street LID money — $294,881 — constitutes about 43 percent of the $686,413 project. 

The city disbursed $389,459.73 from the street fund toward the project. 

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Nanette Lehman, 2013 Teacher of the Year, wins another award


Nanette Lehman, who teaches second grade at Haines School and was named Oregon’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, has received another honor that will take her to China this summer.

Lehman has received the  National Education Association Foundation’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the Baker School District announced on its website.

Lehman traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award during a gala event Feb. 7.

“These prestigious awards recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession, community engagement, attention to diversity, and leadership in professional development,” the district website states.  

The Oregon Education Association selected Lehman as the state’s representative for the award.  She was one of 36 public school educators chosen for the honor. 

Lehman will be among 34 of those who will travel to China in June to participate in the 2014 Global Learning Fellows Program. The group will travel to Beijing and Xian, China, where participants “will learn how to enhance the connections of the cultural and educational worlds.” 

Haines School received a check for $650 from the NEA Foundation. It was recognized as “a school that creates an environment that encourages teamwork and excellence from students and educators alike,” the website states.

 

City Council OKs ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries

Ordinance includes sunset clause for June 15, 2014, based on the Legislature's discussion about limiting cities' authority

 


By Pat Caldwell

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A decision with statewide overtones arrived in an anticlimactic fashion Tuesday night when the Baker City Council passed a mandate to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Council approved Ordinance No. 3330 — Prohibiting the Establishment of Marijuana Facilities/Dispensaries within City Limits — on its third reading and by a unanimous vote.

The ordinance — which will now go onto the city books — stipulates that any person, firm, organization or other entity that stands in violation of the mandate will face a fine up to $5,000. The ordinance will sunset on June 15, 2014.

The sunset clause will allow city officials to review a separate proposed, but related, business license ordinance. The clause will also allow city leaders to see what the Oregon Legislature decides to do with a bill that might allow cities and counties restrict, but not ban, medical marijuana dispensaries.

 

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School board OKs plan to move kindergartners to modulars at Brooklyn


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Monday afternoon kindergarten class finds students solving addition and subtraction problems using cubes that could be linked together to add or separated to subtract. Each partner was given a number. Together they had to come up with a correct sum of cubes. Students visible from left to right are Payton Lane, near left, Lauren Sweet, Jackson Foersterling, William Payne, Cooper Foersterling, Otis Young, in background, and Reagan Ritter.

By Chris Collins

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Modular buildings will be added to the grounds of Brooklyn Primary School next year to make room for kindergartners.

The plan, which could see as many as four modulars purchased by the district in the next two years, was approved by the Baker School Board Tuesday night.

The decision came at the end of a special meeting that lasted just a little more than 90 minutes. About 30 people, mostly elementary teachers and administrators from all levels, gathered in the audience to hear the discussion and the decision.

Superintendent Walt Wegener said today that the estimated cost of the modular buildings, including transporting them, building a foundation to place them on, installing water, lights and safety features and buying furniture will be $300,000 to $350,000.

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Library to ban tobacco use starting Saturday


By Chris Collins

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Smokers not only will have to leave the park and the Leo Adler Parkway to light up starting Thursday, but beginning Saturday they’ll also have to leave the library grounds.

Library Director Perry Stokes said members of the library district board of directors agreed at their Feb. 10 meeting to ban smoking, including e-cigarettes, and other tobacco use on library property, extending to the block surrounding the library’s exterior. The library’s property ends at the city sidewalk, Stokes said.

The city ordinance, which bans only the use of smoking products, will take effect Thursday.

The library district board worded its ban to include the use of all tobacco products, including smokeless types.

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Interstate 84 closed again between La Grande and Baker


Interstate 84 is closed again between Baker City and La Grande due to an accident four miles east of La Grande at milepost 265 according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.  In addition, multiple crashes 18 miles east of Pendleton have closed I-84 between La Grande and Pendleton.
 
Updates available at www.tripcheck.com or by calling 511 on a mobile  phone.
 

Third candidate joins race for Baker County Clerk


A third candidate has joined the race to replace Tami Green as Baker County Clerk.

Lara Petitclerc of Baker City has filed as a candidate for the nonpartisan position.

She joins Marcy Osborn and Cindy Carpenter as candidates in the May 20 primary.

Green announced in early February that she won’t seek re-election to a fourth term when her current term expires at the end of 2014.

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Trucks line up in Baker City as westbound freeway closed


The parking lot at Baker Truck Corral is crammed with trucks this morning as drivers wait for the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 to re-open.

The westbound lanes were closed about 8:50 p.m. Monday following a multi-vehicle crash near Meacham that happened about 7:40 p.m. Monday.

There are also several disabled semi-trucks in the Meacham and Cabbage Hill areas, the result of ice and dense fog, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The westbound lanes were initially closed at La Grande, then the closure was extended to Baker City and to Ontario.

Although the eastbound lanes are open, ODOT officials are recommending drivers postpone travel on the freeway this morning if possible.

"It's treacherous out there with the black ice and fog," said Tom Strandberg, an ODOT spokesman in La Grande. 

Updates are available at www.tripcheck.com, or call 511 on a mobile phone.

 

Cougar killed near Hereford

A federal trapper has set several snares to try to capture other cougars near Bebe Racey’s home 


By Jayson Jacoby

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Oregon wildlife officials on Sunday trapped and killed an adult female cougar near Bebe Racey’s home in southern Baker County, and a federal trapper is still trying to catch as many as three other cougars roaming the area.

One cougar has walked onto Racey’s front porch, said Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Baker City office.

 

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City’s first dangerous dog case opened


By Chris Collins

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The first dangerous/vicious dog case is on the docket even before a hearings officer has been appointed to consider the evidence.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner said his officers received a report of allegations of a pit-bull type dog chasing people in an east Baker City neighborhood on Feb. 15.

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