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Standing Guard


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Mike Frazier says he’s expressing his feelings about some of what’s going wrong with America by erecting an approximately 30-foot-tall Minuteman facade high above Interstate 84 east of Baker City. The statue is meant to be a plea for patriotism as inspired by the original Minutemen of the Revolutionary War.

Landowner Erects Minuteman Statue Near Pleasant Valley

By Joshua Dillen

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The Redcoats aren’t coming, but the hills above Pleasant Valley have a new revolutionary guard.

Specifically, there is a 32-foot-high wooden replica of a Revolutionary War Minuteman looking over the freeway. Mike Frazier, who owns 2,400 acres in the Alder Creek area, said he erected the wooden statue to wake up citizens.

“Slowly, we’re giving up a lot of our liberty. People give it up so slowly, they don’t realize they are losing it,” he said, “Ben Franklin said ‘people that give up liberty for security, deserve neither.’ "

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Supporters of wind farm make their case


By Terri Harber

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Baker County Commissioners are considering whether to overturn an advisory panel’s decision to reject conditional use permits for construction of wind farms near Lime and Huntington.

The event on Wednesday attracted a busload of Huntington residents. They alone nearly filled the small meeting room at the Baker County Courthouse.

They brought with them a petition signed by nearly 170 people stating support for the energy project.

County Commissioner Mark Bennett recused himself from the appeal hearing because he was the county’s planning director when the developers, Oregon Windfarms LLC, initially made their permit request in late April.

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Lower school test scores not a shock


By Chris Collins

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As expected, changes to the way Oregon evaluates its students and a higher bar for meeting benchmarks has resulted in fewer districts satisfying requirements of state school improvement during the 2012-13 school year.

And students at Baker County schools and the North Powder Charter School were no exception.

The Oregon Department of Education released statewide test results Thursday for reading, writing, math and science.

“The percent of students meeting state standard declined except in high school reading and math,” Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton said in a press release.

That trend held true for the Baker School District for the most part, as well, with the percentage of Baker High School students meeting math standards dropping just 1 point (from 63.9 percent to 62.9 percent). And, the percentage of BHS students meeting reading standards increasing slightly (84.2 percent, up from 83.8 percent in 2011-12).

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Rolling back time

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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Vintage Chevrolet owners park to frame a photo at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Sunday. These six cars have the same 194 cubic-inch engine with model years ranging from 1930 to 1933. Gary Barquist of Lincoln, Wash., retrieves a camera from his 1930 Chevy.

Classic Depression-Era Chevrolets Congregate In Baker City


By Joshua Dillen

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It’s vintage Chevrolet mania in Baker City this week as the town is overrun by classic cars.

A total of 35 Depression-era Chevrolets are touring Baker City and nearby historical sites.

The Vintage Chevrolet Club of America (VCCA) is having its ninth-annual Early Six Cylinder Tour for 1929-36 Chevrolets in Baker City this year.

Some of the cars arrived over the weekend, and all 35 antique automobiles made it to Baker City by Monday.

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Residents tell City Council they want answers on crypto


By Terri Harber

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Several residents spoke to Baker City Councilors on Tuesday about ongoing efforts to control cryptosporidium that entered the municipal water supply in July and sickened hundreds of residents.

“Citizens want answers,” resident Mike Borisoff said.

“All I see is the city manager and most of the council trying to cover things up and not provide accountability,” he said.

Borisoff thinks a city employee should have been watching the livestock fence near Elk Creek, where a water sample collected on Aug. 4 contained 913 crypto oocysts.

No other sample tested has contained more than three oocysts.

City officials have acknowledged that cattle entered the watershed in the Elk Creek area during August.

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Sumpter man charged in tavern crash


By Chris Collins

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A Sumpter man was arraigned Monday in Baker County Circuit Court on charges related to an Aug. 9 incident at the Elkhorn Saloon at Sumpter in which he is accused of trying to hurt people because of their sexual orientation.

Delbert Gene Phillips, 68, is being held at the Baker County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.

A Baker County grand jury indicted Phillips on charges of driving under the influence, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, three counts of attempted first-degree assault and eight counts of recklessly endangering another person.

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Water samples free of crypto; city receives other test results


The latest batch of four Baker City water samples did not contain crypto, according to the city.
 
The city also received test results from feces samples of mountain goats, elk and cattle.
 
A key aspect of the crypto investigation is trying to link the species of crypto — there are more than 20 — that infected local residents, with any crypto found in feces or in water samples, Dr. Emilio De Bess, Oregon state epidemiologist, said this morning.
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Commissioners to hear wind farm appeal

By Terri Harber

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Baker County commissioners will hear appeals to the July planning commission decision not to allow construction of a pair of wind farms in Lime and Huntington.

The meeting begins at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Baker County Courthouse, 1995 Third St. in Baker City. 

The public is invited but there won’t be additional public testimony regarding the merits or drawbacks of this project.

 

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Biscuits lost in freeway truck fire

By Chris Collins

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A truckload of biscuits burned on the freeway near Durkee early this morning.

Oregon State Police Sr. Trooper Ed Mercado said the truck driver Giovanni Rosales-Salas, 47, of Orem, Utah, was traveling from Utah to Washington when his truck caught fire in the westbound freeway lanes at Milepost 328. The Huntington Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 2:30 a.m. today.

 

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City Council divided on Kee, Owen


Councilor Roger Coles suggested in an email that City Manager Mike Kee consider retiring, but some other councilors defend Kee and Public Works Director Michelle Owen in the wake of the city’s crypto outbreak

 

By Terri Harber

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and Jayson Jacoby

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Baker City’s cryptosporidium outbreak this summer has led to a rift among city councilors about the level of responsibility City Manager Mike Kee and members of his staff bear for the crisis.

Councilor Roger Coles, in a recent email to Kee, suggested the city manager, who started work here three years ago this week, would be wise to retire “rather than putting up with all of these problems.”

Councilors are expected to discuss the situation during an executive session preceding Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

The executive session, which starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, is closed to the public.

The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m.

The executive session was scheduled after the Council’s Aug. 29 work session. During that public meeting councilors mentioned, without giving much in the way of detail, emails written by councilors that Councilor Kim Mosier described as “hostile” and Councilor Barbara Johnson called “mean-spirited.”

A series of emails dating back to late July, which the Baker City Herald received from the city through Oregon’s public records law, shows that Coles, along with Mayor Richard Langrell, have been critical of both Kee and Public Works Director Michelle Owen’s performance.

Mosier, along with Councilors Clair Button and Mike Downing, meanwhile, have defended both Kee and Owen.

 

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