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Detour open around Wallowa Loop Road construction

The detour route around construction on the Wallowa Mountain Loop Road east of Halfway is snow-free and open to vehicles.

The 30-mile route, which starts in Halfway and passes Fish Lake, is mainly a one-lane gravel road with turnouts.

The detour is accessible to trailers, but large motor homes are not recommended.

Police arrest suspect in Monday night stabbing

Baker City Police have arrested a 26-year-old Baker City man on charges that he stabbed another Baker City man several times Monday night.

The suspect, Robert Goodwin, was arrested about 8:45 a.m. today at his home, 2690 Seventh St. 

The victim, Ryan Amundson, 26, of Baker City, was stabbed multiple times in the upper body during an altercation at his home at 2270 Place St., according to a press release. 

Amundson was taken by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City where he was treated for his injuries and is in stable condition this morning.

Amundson and Goodwin know each other, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said.

Fire season begins Wednesday

The official start of fire season in Northeastern Oregon will be at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, two weeks or so earlier than usual.

“The drying of the larger dead fuel is two to three weeks ahead of schedule, a similar situation to what firefighters are experiencing on the Two Bulls Fire near Bend,” said Dennis Perilli, Pendleton Unit forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry. “This year’s grass crop is tall and abundant and although it is still green in most places, the warm dry weather that we are having will allow that grass to start curing soon."

Baker City Farmers Market has new home

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The Baker City Farmers Market has a new location this year at the Baker County Fairgrounds, on the grassy area beside the Community Events Center.

The physical address is 2600 East St., just north of Campbell Street.

The market begins June 11 and will be held every Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It continues through Oct. 22.

This year will feature food events once a month, held the last Wednesday when a local chef cooks up specialty foods.

To stay up-to-date, find the market on Facebook.

Bye, Bulldogs

Baker High School Class of 2014 

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald Leading the pack of 87 senior Bulldogs into the future are, front, Alex Hurst, left, and Raina Smull. Each of these graduates will step into the future with memories and friends with the ability and skills to find their own individual pathway in life.

By Chris Collins

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Jerry Peacock was in his element as he addressed the 87 graduating seniors of the Baker High School Class of 2014 assembled on the football field, and the family and friends who packed the stadium to honor them Sunday afternoon.

“There’s a perfect storm a brewin’,” Peacock joked with his audience. “I’ve got a big audience, I’ve got a mic in my hand and I’ve got something you want — you’re not going anywhere until I’m done.”

As he has done for the past 22 years as the big dawg on campus and the longest tenured high school principal in Oregon, Peacock reached out to the graduates with words of encouragement and high expectations and in the hope that each will find success.

His address followed speeches by salutatorians Ryan Cashen and Brandon Ellwanger, and preceded remarks from valedictorians Samantha Searles and Ian Rasmussen.

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


ODFW to release salmon in Powder River

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to release about 200 adult chinook salmon this week in the Powder River just below Mason Dam.

Anglers will be able to fish for these salmon through Sept. 1 along the river from the dam downstream to the Hughes Lane bridge in north Baker City. The daily bag limit will be two spring chinook.

The release is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.

ODFW has released adult chinook in the Powder River several years in the past decade. The fish are surplus chinook caught in the trap just below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. The dam prevents salmon from migrating farther upstream.

Anglers are reminded that much of the reach of the Powder River between Mason Dam and Baker City is through private land. Anglers should always ask permission before entering private property. The first mile or so downstream from the dam is public land.

To confirm the release date, call ODFW's La Grande office at 541-963-2138.

Book Cutbacks

Baker County Library District Budget

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Mom and son find good stories Thursday at the Baker County Library. Krista Carmiencke says she and Arlo, along with younger son Kai, come regularly to spend time in the children’s section.

By Chris Collins

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The Baker County Library District Board will consider a proposed 2014-15 budget that holds the line on employee raises and cuts $15,000 from the fund allocated to buy new materials when it meets June 16.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the library, 2400 Resort St.

The money-saving plan was introduced by Perry Stokes, library director, in his presentation to the library district’s budget committee during its May 21 meeting.

Stokes said the action is needed because of a 22-percent increase in health-care benefits for library employees, a total increase of $19,764. (Eleven of the 22 workers qualify for health-care benefits, Stokes said.)

Health-care costs had been rising 10 percent annually but did not increase last year, so this year’s double-hit was a catch-up expense, Stokes said.

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

Cross-country bicycle racers coming through Baker City

A group of 50 cyclists participating in a race that sounds more like a punishment than a sporting event will be riding through Baker City this weekend.

The Trans Am Bike Race started Saturday morning at 5 o'clock in Astoria.

It ends, 4,233 miles later, in Yorktown, Va.

And the fastest riders expect to finish the cross-country route in about two weeks.

Which, if you do the math, works out to a daily average of about 300 miles — a long day even in a car, much less on a bicycle that won’t move an inch unless you pedal.

Salt Lick Bronze Sculpture Takes Its Place At Court And Resort

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Whit Deschner’s artistic replica of an original salt lick has been bronzed and placed at the east side of Court Street Plaza in Baker City. Tyler Fouts, right, owner of the Blue Mountain Fine Art foundry, and foundry artist Eddie Beach, left, position the 344-pound bronze on its stand Monday under the watchful eye of Deschner, background left, and Steve Hardrath. Foundry artist Andrew Gettle was handling the lift truck operation. Commemorative bricks are being sold that will attach all around the stand along with a dedication plaque. The metal stand is a joint effort of Jason Yencopal, Baker Welding and Natural Structures. A formal ceremony will be scheduled soon, Deschner said.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Baker City’s new public art display may garner second glances — and need an explanation.

The bronze salt lick, standing four feet tall, was installed Monday on the Resort Street side of Court Street Plaza downtown.

This was a project of the Ford Family Leadership Cohort 4 Group, and has been 18 months in the making.

“A year and a half ago its finish seemed unseen and distant but those involved stuck with it and here we are, a piece of public art,” says Whit Deschner.

It was cast at Blue Mountain Fine Art in Baker City.

“I want everyone to know what a gem this community has in having such a world class foundry here,” Deschner said.

The idea for a salt lick sculpture grew from the Great Salt Lick Contest and Auction, which Deschner started eight years ago to raise money for Parkinson’s disease research.

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

A raise for Mark Bennett

By Pat Caldwell

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Not too long ago members of the Baker County Board of Commissioners could expect a specific workload when doing the people’s business.

The work focused on budgets, setting policy and overseeing the various county department chiefs. 

But times change.

Now a commissioner slot often translates into a large number of meetings, late nights and extended travel that stretches across the sage steppes of southeastern Oregon to the Willamette Valley and back again. And, as more and more issues tied to state and federal regulations — concerning everything from timber to water — descend on the local area, the role of commissioners has expanded.

The decision by the county compensation board to boost commissioner Mark Bennett’s hours — from a quarter-time position to a half-time slot — is just one of the more recent examples of how the political landscape in Eastern Oregon has changed.

The move boosts Bennett’s salary from $16,000 a year to $32,000.

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

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