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Rep. Greg Walden to discuss his forest access bill Monday in La Grande

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., will discuss a bill he is writing regarding public access to national forests as part of a roundtable discussion on travel management Monday morning in La Grande.
The congressman will be at AC Power Sports, 10701 Walton Road in La Grande, Monday at 9:15 a.m.
"This legislation is the result of over a year of conversations with local counties and leading members of the motorized recreation community to craft a bill that can put local communities back in the driver's seat," Walden said in a press release.

School district buys modulars

Ben Merrill to replace Jerry Peacock as Baker High School principal

By Chris Collins

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With school districts throughout the state scrambling to secure modulars, the Baker School District is one of the few to make a successful purchase.

Doug Dalton, the district’s chief financial officer and business manager, told the School Board Tuesday night that the district is the new owner of three 2011 used modulars, at a cost of $318,000, that will be placed on the grounds of Brooklyn Primary School. 

Two of the buildings will be used to house kindergartners in 2014-15 and the third will be an open space that can be used for PE, music and reading classes.

Controlling crypto

Temporary Water Treatment Plant Nearly Ready 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Baker City’s temporary UV water treatment system is installed and will be operative soon. The UV system is below ground and situated between the city's two reservoirs. It’s to the left of the center building that houses electrical controls. City employees at the site Tuesday are, left to right, Larry McBroom, Karl Ritch and Keith Radabaugh.

By Pat Caldwell

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Baker City’s temporary UV water treatment reactor is in place and will soon be on line, but City Manager Mike Kee said he isn’t ready to heave a sigh of relief or consider the specter of last summer’s cryptosporidium crisis to be exiled.

At least not yet.

The City Council made a leap forward regarding a final solution to the crypto threat Tuesday when it approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price Amendment with the James W. Fowler Co., for the construction of a permanent UV facility. The decision effectively puts the wheels in motion for the firm to begin the $3.1 million venture.

“It (the temporary UV reactor) is in. It is not operating, but it is installed,” Kee said.

Ballot set for May 20 primary

By Jayson Jacoby

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The ballot for Baker County’s primary election on May 20 is set.

Tuesday was the deadline to file as a candidate.

Idaho Power doesn't expect B2H power line to be in service before 2020

Company had earlier projected completion of the transmission line in 2018

Idaho Power Company has pushed back by two years its estimated completion date for the controversial Boardman-to-Hemingway power transmission line.

On the website, www.boardmantohemingway.com, the company says: "Idaho Power’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) identified the need for a 2018 in-service date for the project. However, the completion date of the project is subject to siting, permitting, regulatory approvals, in-service date requirements of the parties electing to construct the line, the terms of any resulting joint construction agreements, and other conditions. In light of the permitting delays and siting impediments that have occurred and are expected to continue, Idaho Power estimates that the in-service date for the Boardman-to-Hemingway line would be in 2020 or beyond."

A group of Baker County residents opposes a proposed route for the 500-kilovolt line that would place it near the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

A draft environmental impact statement for the project is slated to be released to the public later this month.

Collared wolf crosses Brownlee Reservoir to Idaho

A radio-collared wolf from the Snake River pack that spent several days in the Medical Springs area last week has crossed Brownlee Reservoir and entered Idaho.

The four-year-old male wolf, designated OR-18, apparently swam across the reservoir Thursday, said Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Baker City office.

Ratliff said signals from the wolf's collar showed the animal was in the Medical Springs area the afternoon of March 4.

Later that week the wolf traveled over Little Lookout and Big Lookout mountains, east of Baker City, then headed east down Connor Creek toward Brownlee, Ratliff said.

Ratliff said he was along the Snake River Road Thursday morning, at the mouth of Connor Creek, when he picked up the signal from the wolf's collar.

He didn't see the wolf, but by Thursday evening the signal showed the animal was in Idaho.

The wolf hadn't returned to Oregon as of this morning, Ratliff said.

Ratliff said he has not heard any reports of sightings or tracks associated with the pack of five wolves that have also been in Baker County over the past month.

None of those wolves has a tracking collar, although state officials hope to fit a collar to at least one of the wolves.

Spay/neuter group seeks city surcharge

By Jayson Jacoby

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A Baker City woman who’s been working for several years to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in Baker County hopes city residents will contribute financially to the effort.

Suzanne Fouty, who coordinates the nonprofit Mollie Atwater and Friends Spay/Neuter Fund, will talk to the City Council during its meeting Tuesday about a proposal to add a monthly surcharge of 50 cents to residents’ water/sewer bills.

The money — an estimated $24,000 per year — would help pay to spay or neuter animals as well as hire a part-time coordinator who would apply for grants.

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

Dale Mack pleads guilty to 2 counts

He was released from jail Friday, one month after incident at his home

By Chris Collins

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A Baker City man who spent the past month in jail facing domestic violences charges that brought a SWAT team to his home after shots were fired, pleaded guilty to assault and drug possession Friday in Baker County Circuit Court.

Dale Myron Patrick Mack, 38, of 3660 Cedar St., was released from jail Friday. He received credit for time served on a 30-day jail term imposed at sentencing on the misdemeanor assault charge.

Mack pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a Class C felony, and one count of fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence in an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office.

Senator Wyden coming to Baker City March 16

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will have a town hall meeting in Baker City on Sunday, March 16 at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center, 2810 Cedar St.

Baker City's temporary UV water treatment system arrives

System should be operating later this month

By Pat Caldwell

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The ghost of last summer’s cryptosporidium crisis may finally be banished by the middle of March after the city’s temporary UV water treatment system goes online.

City Manager Mike Kee said Thursday that the Calgon Carbon Sentinel UV System will be here today, and city workers will begin to install the mechanism Monday.

“It will be done the week after next,” Kee said.

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