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State confirms three "presumptive" cases of West Nile virus in Baker County residents

By Jayson Jacoby

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Three Richland-area residents were likely infected with West Nile virus through mosquito bites earlier this summer, according to the Oregon Health Authority and the Baker County Health Department.

The agencies are calling the three cases, the first human West Nile infections in Baker County since 2007, “presumptive” because final test results are still pending.

But Dr. Emilio DeBess, public health veterinarian with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), said the three Baker County residents definitely contracted either West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis.

Both are spread by mosquitoes, but the tests that have been done so far on blood samples from the three people could not distinguish between the two diseases, DeBess said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta can perform that test, but results probably won’t be available for two to three weeks, he said.

It’s far more likely that the three Baker County residents were infected with West Nile virus, DeBess said.

Kids Keep Their Cool

Daughter’s Phone Call Helps Mom Who Had Allergic Reaction To Sting


Submitted photo Elishah Thomas with her daughter, Izabella, 8, left, and her son, Ezra, 6.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Elishah Thomas has been stung before, so she didn’t give it much thought when a yellow jacket nabbed her on the morning of Aug. 18.

She and her company were picking apricots at her place, about 12 miles outside of Baker City, when a wasp stung her middle finger.

“I’ve never had a problem with stings — even this summer,” she said.

To alleviate her throbbing finger, she dabbed on some Benadryl cream and then returned to picking apricots.

Not long after, she came down with a throbbing headache.

She and took some ibuprofen and went back outside to feed the horses and get her truck for a trip to town.


Three seek seats on City Council

It appears that at least one write-in candidate will be elected to the Baker City Council Nov. 4.

That’s because just three people have qualified for the ballot, which will include four openings.

City Recorder Luke Yeaton said this morning that three candidates qualified for the ballot before the deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday: Benjamin Merrill, R. Mack Augenfeld and James Thomas.

With fewer candidates than vacancies, the qualified person who receives the most write-in votes will also be elected.

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

Deschner, founder of Salt Lick Auction, receives award for fundraising

Whit Deschner of Baker City, founder of the Great Salt Lick Contest and Auction, a fundraiser for Parkinson’s Disease research, was named a recipient of a 2014 Crystal Award Tuesday by the Willamette Valley Development Officers.

The annual event, in which people enter actual salt licks “sculptured” by cattle and wildlife, has raised more than $50,000 for the Oregon Health Sciences University’s Parkinson’s Center.

Deschner, who formerly lived near Sparta east of Baker City, has the disease.

He will be honored at the Portland Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthrophy Awards for Excellence in Fundraising on Sept. 18 in Portland.

Deschner will receive the Community Hero award.

Two file for City Council, 4 others collecting signatures

Two candidates have filed for the Baker City Council election in November.
Four others are collecting signatures in advance of the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, City Recorder Luke Yeaton said.
Benjamin Merrill and R. Mack Augenfeld have collected the required signatures, Yeaton said.
Four others who could be on the November ballot are incumbent Councilor Roger Coles, along with Randy Daugherty, a former councilor, and James Thomas and Rustin Smith. 
Four of the seven positions on the City Council are up for election this fall.
The incumbents for those slots are Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles, Barbara Johnson and Clair Button.
Due to a clause in the city charter that limits councilors to serving no more than two consecutive terms, neither Dorrah nor Button is eligible to run for re-election.
The top three vote-getters in November will be elected to four-year terms.
The fourth-place finisher will serve a two-year term. 

Get My Good Side

24th-annual Baker City Memory Cruise attracts more than 175 classic automobiles 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A 1935 Studebaker Dictator Coupe attracts attention during the Memory Cruise show-and-shine Saturday at Geiser-Pollman Park. The car is owned by Jim McBath of Meridian, Idaho. Approximately 175 cars participated in the 24th-annual cruise, according to Dan Haberman, an event organizer.

By Jayson Jacoby

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A hailstorm, most generally, qualifies as a nuisance.

Combine it with a classic car show, though, and you’ve got a potential nightmare.

Fortunately the dark clouds that amassed over Baker City on Friday night, the first day of the 24th-annual Memory Cruise, slunk away without dropping anything dangerous over an estimated 175 vintage automobiles that gathered in Baker City.

In the storm’s wake was a sunny Saturday, and one of the larger turnouts in the show’s history, said Wayne Ryder, one of the organizers.

“I think it was very successful,” Ryder said this morning. “We had about 20 more cars than last year. This was right up there with our biggest attendance ever.”

Ryder said about 175 cars attended, and many of those participated not only in the show-and-shine Saturday morning and afternoon at Geiser-Pollman Park but also showed up later for the Durkee Steak Feed at Quail Ridge Golf Course and the downtown cruise on Main Street.

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

Police Chief wants City Council to resume discussion of medical pot shops

Baker City Police Chief Wyn Lohner wants the City Council to resume its discussion about ways the city could ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

Councilors will convene Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1655 First St.

In April the City Council approved a one-year moratorium prohibiting medical marijuana stores from opening in the city.

That ban ends May 1, 2015.

“In order to ensure Marijuana Dispensaries do not open in our community, further council action is needed,” Lohner wrote in a report to councilors.

Forest plan draws opposition from many

By Pat Caldwell

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Casual observers probably should be granted some latitude when they draw an admittedly spontaneous conclusion after a glance at the Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision. The massive 1,300-page plus tome looks imposing. At the very least, it looks complicated. For anyone who holds the weighty document in both hands, its very size conjures up intricate and thorny images of governmental acronyms and complex science with difficult translation.

Yet for many people in the eastern region of Oregon — especially for a fair-sized number of elected officials — there isn’t much that’s complicated about the plan’s reception. Plain and simple, many homegrown politicians — not to mention a number of concerned citizens — see the blueprint as a failure. 

In short, they don’t like it. 

Not one bit.

For the full story see Friday's print edition of the Baker City Herald. 

Public Record: August 22, 2014


Jessie Jeanne Cates: 85, of Baker City, died Aug. 20, 2014, at Beehive Homes.

Gray’s West & Co., is in charge of arrangements.


Douglas Duane Calder: Memorial service, 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 23, at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. William “Bill” Bishop of the American Legion will officiate. There will be a reception afterward at the Calder residence.  Disposition will be by cremation at Eastern Oregon Pioneer Crematory. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion, Baker City Post No. 41, and American Legion La Grande Post No. 43 through Gray’s Wet & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

Darcy Mehl: Celebration of life and memorial service, 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 30, at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception afterward at the Eagles Club, 2935 H St. Memorial contributions may be made to Heart ‘n’ Home Hospice & Palliative Care, through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834. Leave online condolences at www.tamispine

Debi Garrett: Private family graveside service at 4 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19., at Mount Hope Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family for a celebration of Debi’s life service at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Baker City Eagles Lodge, 2935 H St.


Baker City Police

Arrests, citations

FAILURE TO APPEAR (Hood River County warrant): Aubrey Scott Fryman, 28, of 3255 13th  St., 9:54 a.m. Wednesday, at 3325 Pocahontas Road; jailed.

Baker County Sheriff’s Office

Arrests, citations

FAILURE TO APPEAR (Umatilla County warrant): Cindy Trader, 50, no fixed address, 12:16 p.m. Thursday, at the Baker County Jail where she was being held on other charges; released for transport to Umatilla County.

CONTEMPT OF COURT (Baker Justice Court warrant): Aaron Bud Allen Webber, 29, of 3245 14th St., 11:12 a.m. Wednesday, at the Baker County Jail where he is being held on other charges.

Exhibit tells the history of camping

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is hosting an exhibit about the history of camping until Sept. 8, in the center’s Flagstaff Gallery.

The exhibit, called “Traveling Light,” features a timeline that walks visitors through 200 years of camping history starting with the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s and ending with the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009.

Why look at two centuries of camping?

“The idea was to show when camping went from a necessity to a recreational pursuit,” said Gypsy Burks, the center’s exhibits specialist.

For the full story see Friday's print edition of the Baker City Herald.

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