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Business balance

Economic Development In Baker City

S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Tabor Clarke, who owns a Main Street jewelry store, says finding your niche in a slow-growth population area like Baker County is a key to sustaining a business. He believes quality of life offered here should be a critical motivator when trying to attract new families and businesses to Baker City and the area

By Pat Caldwell

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Safeguarding successful local businesses while simultaneously focusing on potential leads regarding firms outside the area are the two key ingredients to success for Greg Smith, Baker County economic development director.

“Our primary focus is on assisting existing business owners in the county,” Smith said this week.

Smith said adopting a practical method to the effort to stimulate the local economy is also critical.

“What we are trying to do is to reach out to those small companies that would be a good fit to relocate into the county. What we are trying to be is realistic in our approach,” he said.

UV water treatment should start today

Starting as soon as today, every drop of Baker City’s drinking water will be bombarded with crypto-inactivating ultraviolet light before it gets to your faucets.

The temporary UV system the city installed last week was scheduled to be turned on today, City Manager Mike Kee said Tuesday.

City officials have hired a company to install a permanent UV treatment facility that is slated to be finished by the end of this year.

Thinking (and playing) outside the box

A Different Sort Of Playhouse


S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A playhouse made of not just cardboard, but with art and love, awaits small grandchildren at the home of Brenda Goshorn, 2305 Third St. Goshorn’s daughter, Heather, exits the door. She handled interior decor, while her mom painted the exterior. The Goshorn’s dog, Zoey, explores the playhouse if the door is left open.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

With just a few simple items — cardboard boxes and spray paint — Brenda Goshorn and her daughter, Heather, have created a playhouse to delight any youngster.

Now she just has to wait until her granddaughters come to visit.

“It makes me anxious for them to get here,” Brenda said.

When her newest granddaughter was born in Washington, Brenda and Heather went to visit. While there, Heather built a quick box house with her 2-year-old niece.



Retired pilot puzzled by missing airliner

By Jayson Jacoby

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John Clarke has been following the mystery of the missing Malaysian jetliner (see story on Page 7A) with a perspective few people share.

Clarke, who lives in the foothills of the Elkhorns northwest of Haines, is a retired airline pilot.

He worked for United Airlines and captained Boeing 777s, the same model as the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, for the last six years of his career, which ended in 2000.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful airplane,” Clarke said of the 777. “I never had any problems with it. It’s a lot of fun to fly, an easy plane to fly."

Latest scam: Buy Green Dot card

A phone and mail scam that has cost one Baker City resident $1,320 involves the purchase of Green Dot pre-paid debit cards.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner said a local resident bought three such cards — two worth $500, and one worth $320 — then gave the PIN number to the cards over the phone to the scammer.

That information allowed the person to get the money.

Lohner said he remembers a similar scam several years ago, but the prevalence today of pre-paid cards just makes people more vulnerable.

"You don't have to send a money order like you used to," he said.

The scam involves phone calls and mailings telling recipients they have won a large sum of money — $1 million, in some cases — and that they have to buy a Green Dot card in order to collect the prize.

Lohner said no legitimate company would require a winner to buy such a card, and to give the PIN number to someone over the phone.

At least one of the phone numbers involved with the scam is from Jamaica, Lohner said, the origin of many other scams.

"It's a reminder to people to be extra cautious," he said. 

Walden: Forest Service must consult with counties before closing roads

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., today announced he has introduced the Forest Access in Rural Communities Act (H.R. 4272) to stop the problematic travel management rule on national forests in the West and promote local control over future proposals to restrict forest access.

“For too long, the input and wishes of local citizens have been pushed to the backseat when it comes to decisions about access to our public lands. This common-sense bill will put local communities back in the driver’s seat in the Forest Service’s travel management planning process,” Walden said.

Middle class mission

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden Visits Baker City

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., spoke to a group of about 40 local residents Sunday afternoon at the Baker City Senior Center.

By Jayson Jacoby

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U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden visited Baker City Sunday and he touted his efforts locally on behalf of what he called “the most important issue of our time — growing the middle class.”

“The middle class has really taking a shellacking,” Wyden, a Democrat, told a crowd of about 40 who gathered at 1 p.m. at the Baker City Senior Center.

“How are we going to have jobs — and particularly jobs where people can make a decent living?” Wyden asked.

He cited a couple of examples in which he took action to either help to create, or to preserve, such jobs.

More logging on tap locally?

Draft version of Forest Plans for Blue Mountains national forests estimates an increase in logging over the next 15 years

By Jayson Jacoby

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U.S. Forest Service officials from the three national forests in the Blue Mountains believe they can increase logging in the region over the next 15 years.

In the draft version of the revised management plans for the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur national forests, which were released to the public Friday for a 90-day review and comment period, Forest Service officials delve into the past and look toward the future.

The documents over several hundred pages examine in detail not only logging but all aspects of forest policy, including motor vehicle access and road maintenance, wilderness designation and protecting habitat for elk and dozens of other species.

Perhaps the most dramatic change since 1990, when the current management plans for each of the three forests were adopted, is in the volume of commercial timber cut in the forests.

At that time the three forests together were producing close to 600 million board-feet of timber each year, according to the draft plan unveiled Friday.

Starting in the early 1990s, though, logging volumes plummeted.

Since 2004 the three forests’ combined annual volume has averaged about 50 million board-feet.

Clip off the old block

Daniel Hansell carries on his father’s tonsorial tradition

Pat Caldwell

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He doesn’t label it a family vocation in the traditional sense but there is no doubt that Daniel Hansell can draw upon a host of memories for inspiration as he begins his career as a barber in town.

The memories, of course, revolve around his father, Wally Hansell. The senior Hansell stood behind the barber chair in Baker City and La Grande for a long time. Now his son is following in the father’s footsteps with a new shop on Resort Street.

Hansell said he is still a bit nervous — the shop on Resort is his first foray into the business world — but he is excited and optimistic about the future.

Anthony Lakes legend Bert Vanderwall dies

Bert Vanderwall, one of the patriarchs of Anthony Lakes Ski Area, died Thursday at Settler’s Park assisted living facility in Baker City.

Vanderwall, a longtime Haines resident, was 86.

He and his wife, Betty, started the first ski shop at Anthony Lakes in 1962, and the first ski school in 1963. Bert was ski area manager from 1976-85.

A ski run at the resort — Bert’s Run — is named in his honor, and the daily snow report from the ski area is “Bert’s Snow Report."

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