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Plowing Through

A relatively placid winter suddenly gets busy for local road crews

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald It was a busy weekend for Baker County Public Works Department snow-plowing crews.

By Pat Caldwell

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A relatively quiet winter season came to a screeching halt last week when a series of storms careened off the Pacific Ocean and rode roughshod over much of Oregon, and the inclement weather will probably linger through the coming weekend.

“It’s just a series of days in a row. We are still in winter,” Bob Diaz, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service forecasting office in Boise, said Friday.

Even the normally temperate Willamette Valley was bombarbed with a trio of snow and ice storms, the first on Thursday.

Two more major systems — one for tonight and into Tuesday and another slated to hit close to the weekend — will rotate over the state before the weather begins to moderate.

Temperatures will be warmer, though, and Baker Valley could get more rain than snow this week.


Baker High School graduation rate rises

But Superintendent Walt Wegener says school has "chronic attendance issue"

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker High School’s graduation rate continues to rise.

But Baker Schools Superintendent Walt Wegener said that improving trend has happened despite what he termed a “chronic attendance issue” at the high school.

In 2013, 80 percent of BHS students graduated on time, according to a report released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Education.

That’s up from 78 percent in 2012, and from 72 percent the previous two years.

Oregon’s statewide average for 2013 was 67 percent.

Although Baker students are graduating at a higher rate than the Oregon average, they’re also missing class much more often.


Fund set up for family of Powder River Correctional Facility employee

The staff at Powder River Correctional Facility has set up a fund for the family of Bruce Davis, a correctional officer at the minimum-security prison who died Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot at his home.

Davis was 50.

He started his career at Powder River in January 1997 as a food services coordinator.


Quilt Club won't host show during Miners Jubilee

The Baker City Quilt Club has announced that it won't be hosting its annual quilt show during the 2014 Miners Jubilee.

The show has been a fixture of Miners Jubilee for the past 25 years.

"The Quilt Club would like to thank all of the quilters that have shared their special quilts for everyone to enjoy," the club said in a press release Sunday.


Marcy Osborn files for county clerk

Marcy Osborn of Baker City has filed as a candidate for Baker County Clerk.

Incumbent Clerk Tami Green announced this week that she won't seek re-election for a fourth term. Green's current term expires at the end of 2014.

Osborn, who is the deputy watermaster for Baker County, graduated from Baker High School in 1996.She earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master of education degree from Eastern Oregon University.


Bill would let cities limit medical pot

By Pat Caldwell

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An Oregon Senate bill that pushes the issue of local versus state control to center stage will face the first of a number of legislative hurdles next week during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The legislation – Senate bill 1531 – is designed to grant cities and counties throughout Oregon the power to limit medical marijuana facilities, often dubbed dispensaries.


Scam Alert: Businesses getting Visitor Guide sales calls

Two Baker City Businesses reported on Thursday that they were contacted by an Illinois company that claimed to represent the Baker City Herald selling advertising for the 2014-2015 Visitor Guide.

 The Baker City Herald employees sell and produce the Baker County Visitor Guide, and have not contracted with any other company or service to sell advertising.  Businesses are asked to  report any call or email that claims to represent the Baker City Herald to your Baker City Herald advertising representative, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Dale Mack charged with pointing firearm at another person, but D.A. says no evidence he fired shots

District Attorney said woman Mack is accused of assaulting allegedly fired two shots from handgun

By Jayson Jacoby

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A Baker City man is charged with several crimes after a domestic assault Thursday morning that prompted police to call in a SWAT team and close a section of North Cedar Street for several hours.

Dale Mack, 38, of 3660 Cedar St., who was arrested behind his home about 10 a.m. Thursday, was scheduled to be arraigned at 1:15 p.m. today in Baker County Circuit Court on six misdemeanor counts.

His bail was set at $52,500.

The Northeastern Oregon SWAT team, which is based in La Grande and includes members from Baker and Union counties, was summoned after it was reported that shots were fired during the incident.

District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said there is no evidence that Mack fired the gun.

Rather, it appears that the woman Mack is accused of assaulting at his home grabbed a handgun and fired two shots, neither of which hit anyone, Shirtcliff said.



Baker schools were on "limited code yellow" during incident this morning

That's the lowest precaution level, meaning exterior doors were locked and monitored, but students could walk between classrooms inside the buildings

All Baker Schools inside the Baker City limits were on a "limited code yellow" status for a few hours this morning while police investigated a shooting on North Cedar Street.

In a "limited code yellow," schools' exterior doors were locked and monitored, Superintendent Walt Wegener said.

Teachers continued to teach, and students were allowed to move about inside the school as needed, he said.

The next highest level, "strong code yellow," requires students to remain in their classrooms, but teaching would continue, Wegener said.


Prison employee dies of apparent self-inflicted gunshot

Incident not related to shooting in north Baker City

An employee of the Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, Baker City Police reported.

The incident is not related to the situation this morning in north Baker City in which at least two shots were fired but no one was injured, police said. 

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