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Thursday thunderstorms: fire and rain


A Thursday afternoon cloudburst fills city drains causing Terrie Laeger to keep an eye on rising water approaching her store entrance. Laeger owns the Pat-A-Cake Bakery at Fourth and Broadway streets. The high water began to recede just before sloshing through the door. All four corners of the intersection flooded. A Baker City Department of Public Works employee, Craig Dolby, parked his vehicle to block the front-door splashes from passing motorists driving through the pools.

Thunderstorms bulled through Baker County in the depths of night and again in the middle of the afternoon Thursday, sparking several new wildfires and dumping more rain than Baker City’s storm drains could handle.

The afternoon squall also spawned a brief shower of hail.

In all, the storms doused the Baker City Airport with almost half an inch of rain, the most in a 24-hour period since mid June.

Lightning was also widespread during both storms.

A bolt ignited a blaze on Black Mountain, just south of Phillips Reservoir.

Firefighters kept the fire to one-tenth of an acre. They had help from a helicopter that dropped buckets of water on the fire.

Community Briefs

Record sales at Fair livestock auction


Cody Kester, 17, grooms his steer he says is the second heaviest to enter the auction ring during Saturday’s livestock sale at the fair. The steer weighed 1,462 pounds.


By Chris Collins

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The 77th annual 4-H and FFA Livestock Auction brought record sales for the youngsters who worked hard to prepare their animals for the final day of the Baker County Fair at Baker City.

“It’s the highest total auction we’ve ever had,” said Randy Guyer, who’s been associated with the sale since 1975, but began keeping records seri- ously in 1981.

Total sales for the 129 animals sold at this year’s Aug. 9 auc-
tion were at about $245,000 as of Wednesday. That doesn’t include the “add-on money” from people who didn’t make it to the sale — but who want to contribute — that is still

coming in, said Jayne Kellar, the sale committee’s co-treasurer with Terri Siddoway. Kellar also is the office manager for the Baker County Extension Service.

Guyer, who’s also a sale committee member, said the sale total could go as high as $250,000 once everything is accounted for.

The second highest auction total was collected during the 2012 fair when the sale brought in $228,107 for 138 animals, Guyer said.

Last year’s sale, at which 144 ani- mals were sold, earned $190,434.   For the full story, see Friday's print edition of the Baker City Herald.

Woman charged with animal neglect

Facebook Helps Police Identify Suspect

Photo courtesy of Animal Clinic of Baker Trooper, a Bordie collie mix, is recovering from surgery to repair his broken forelegs.

By Chris Collins

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The Baker City Police Department’s new Facebook page was created just in time to help investigators solve the mystery of who owned a Border-collie mix dog that suffered two broken legs when it was hit by a car last week.

Information was developed from Facebook that led police to Marcia Shelynn Studebaker, 30, of 2431 Campbell St. 

Studebaker was arrested at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday on charges of first-degree animal neglect, a Class A misdemeanor, and initiating a false report, a Class C misdemeanor.

She was released from jail Tuesday after posting $1,500 bail, 10 percent of the total $15,000 bail. Studebaker is scheduled to appear in Baker County Circuit Court at 1:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25.

Sgt. Dustin Newman said Studebaker called police at 6:24 a.m. on Aug. 4 to report that the dog’s owner had abandoned it after it was hit by a car about 6 p.m. on Aug. 3.

Newman said Studebaker originally told him that a woman was walking the 9-month-old pup down the street past Studebaker’s house on Campbell between Fifth and Sixth streets, when the dog broke loose from its leash and took off chasing a goose. The dog was subsequently hit by a car, Studebaker told Newman. 

See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

Paving Priority

Pocahontas Road: 10th Street To The Railroad Tracks

By Pat Caldwell

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A proposal approved by the Baker City Council Tuesday night will capitalize on a joint deal with the county to deliver a much-needed upgrade to a section of Pocahontas Road later this summer.

The City Council sanctioned an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the county to repave the road between 10th Street and the railroad tracks in September.

That stretch of Pocahontas has produced complaints from drivers recently.

“The county has got a lot of calls on Pocahontas because the travel lanes are in really bad shape,” Baker County Commission Chairman Fred Warner Jr. said during Tuesday’s session at City Hall.

Under the IGA, the county will, in effect, act as the city’s contractor and place the fresh asphalt on that busy part of Pocahontas, which passes St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City and also leads to the YMCA Fitness Center.

Pocahontas is also the preferred driving route to town for many of the people who live along Pine Creek and other rural residential developments in Baker Valley.

The city originally planned to repave the street in 2015. 

See more in Wednesday's issue of the Baker City Herald. 

More mosquitoes trapped in Keating Valley infected with West Nile virus

A third pool of mosquitoes trapped in Keating Valley has tested posted for West Nile virus.

The mosquitoes were trapped on Aug. 4, said Matt Hutchinson, manager of the Baker Valley Vector Control District.

Two other pools of mosquitoes trapped in Keating Valley on July 21 also were infected with the virus.

A pool of mosquitoes consists of 10 to 50 insects. 

Baker police arrest woman on animal neglect charge

Baker City Police this morning arrested a 30-year-old woman on charges of first-degree animal neglect and initiating a false report.

Marcia Shelynn Studebaker, 2431 Campbell St., is accused of filing a false report after her dog was hit by a car and broke both its forelegs.

Police said Studebaker reported on Aug. 4 that she had kept the dog overnight and that its owner had abandoned the dog.

Forest Service discourages travel on section of Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway due to fire

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is discouraging drivers from traveling a roughly 10-mile section of Forest Road 73, the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, near the Badger Butte 2 fire about four miles southwest of Anthony Lakes.

The road will be barricaded at times to accommodate fire crews.

The barricades will be set up at the junction with Forest Road 380, which leads to Peavy Cabin, and at the Anthony Lakes Ski Area.

The byway is open from Baker Valley to Anthony Lake and the Forest Service campground there, as well as to the Elkhorn Crest trailhead. 

Road 380 to Peavy Cabin, a Forest Service rental cabin, remains open. 

The Badger Butte 2 fire, originally estimated at 50 acres, is now pegged at about 25 acres.

About 120 people are working on the fire, which burned throughout Monday night, according to the Forest Service.

A fire camp is set up in the parking lot at the Anthony Lakes ski area. 

City Council to consider repaving section of Pocahontas Road this year

The Baker City Council will discuss a proposal during its meeting tonight that would allow the city to repave a section of Pocahontas Road this summer.

The deal would require the city to postpone chip-sealing of several city streets until 2015.

The Council meets at 7 p.m.  at City Hall, 1655 First St.

Emergency Surgery


Demolition Derby Demands Speedy Work By Mechanics

Coby Hutzler / Baker City Herald Andy Johnson, left, and Kurt Hills work to repair Hills’ car between heats Saturday. Drivers and teams had about an hour between heats to attend to their vehicles before resuming their dirty work in the arena.

By Coby Hutzler

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The Baker County Fair wrapped up with a muddy and smoky demolition derby at the fairgrounds on Saturday evening.

J.R. Streifel, one of the organizers, said 1,100 spectators attended. 

“It was an awesome crowd,” he said, adding that there was standing room only. “We’d love to be able to have more seats."


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