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Pot talks not over

By Joshua Dillen

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Eleven people attended a meeting at Baker City Hall Thursday to discuss how marijuana dispensaries could be regulated if the City Council’s recent decision to ban commercial pot sales were to be deemed unconstitutional in Oregon courts.

A Tough Field

FFA Tractor-Driving Competition

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Guiding equipment straight and even is part of cultivating skills judged by Jarrod Maxwell and Tami Foltz. Future Farmers of America member Bryce Melville from Wallowa was at the controls Wednesday during the FFA Skills Competition at the Baker County Fairgrounds. Drivers try not to knock over paper cups aligned in rows. A student's knowledge of tractor operation and safety is graded at all four stations.

By Joshua Dillen

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Meat, dairy and tractors were the main focus of three career development events at the Baker County Fairgrounds Wednesday.

Eastern Oregon District FFA members tested their skills in those areas. The competition helped students prepare for state-level FFA events.

ODFW to revive trout in Balm Cr. Reservoir

By Jayson Jacoby

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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to sow a fish-killing poison this fall in a Baker County reservoir where illegally introduced fish have trumped the once-thriving trout population.

But it’s not Phillips Reservoir.

Instead the Fish and Wildlife Department (ODFW) will target Balm Creek Reservoir, in the southern Wallowa foothills about 22 miles northeast of Baker City.

Bentz: Road package must be fair

By Pat Caldwell

For the Baker City Herald

For state Rep. Cliff Bentz, a future state transportation funding package must revolve around two key concepts: fairness and relevancy.

Comforting Kids

Local Quilters Donate To Children Who Have Eye Surgery

Lisa Britton/For the Baker City Herald Monica Bailey, left, and Cherrie Conklin sort through some of the 76 handmade quilts that Baker County quilters are donating to the Elks Childrenís Eye Clinic in Portland.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Women in Baker City are sending quilted comfort to the young patients at the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic in Portland.

Patients at the clinic receive a handmade quilt after surgery, and then get to take it home.

“Usually the kids wake up with a quilt on their bed,” said Bethany Painter, research assistant at the clinic.

Grant will pay to assess Pilcher, Wolf Cr. dam needs

By Jayson Jacoby

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The federal government will spend $60,000 to hire engineers to study two local irrigation dams and decide whether either needs upgrades.

The money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will go to the Powder Valley Water Control District and pay for assessments of the Pilcher Creek and Wolf Creek dams.

BMS principal assigned to Haines

By Chris Collins

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After more than 10 years as Baker Middle School principal, Mindi Vaughan will be moving to her new office 10 miles down the road next year.

She has been reassigned as principal of Haines and Keating Elementary schools. Vaughan also will serve as the district’s federal programs director and serve as liaison to families who are homeless.

Gov. Kate Brown declares drought emergency for Baker County

SALEM (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared drought emergencies in two more counties — Baker and Wheeler — due to drought, low snowpack levels and low water conditions.

Baker Middle School Snack & Feed Program-making P,B and J’s

Seventh period work experience class at Baker Middle School is a well-oiled sandwich-making machine made up of a few teachers and five to eight students.

Four days a week in room number three, Melody Webb, a paraprofessional, leads eighth-grade students in making 250 sandwiches in a flurry of peanut butter, jelly and bread.

And they do it in 30 minutes.

Employment figures drop from a year ago

Baker County’s unemployment rate recorded a significant decline from a year ago but the local area still lags behind both the state and the nation regarding the overall number of people without employment.

According to February statistics from the Oregon Employment Department’s Eastern Oregon Labor Trends, Baker County logged a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. The good news is the 6.5 percent rate is far lower than numbers noted in February 2014. In February 2014 Baker County chronicled a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. On the flipside however, Baker County’s February seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is still higher than the jobless rate for Oregon — fixed at 5.8 percent. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2015 was 5.5 percent. Government jobs — including state, federal and local — continue to employ the most people — 1,190 — in Baker County.

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