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Baker County sending deputy to Harney County

Baker County Sheriff Travis Ash said he will send one deputy to Burns this week in response to a request for aid from Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward.

The deputy will travel to Burns on Thursday and return to Baker County on Sunday, Ash said.

Harvey, Bentz say Refuge takeover a mistake

Two local lawmakers earlier this week expressed concern and frustration regarding the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a group of activists protesting government land-use policies and the treatment of two Harney County ranchers. 

Both Baker County Commission Chairman Bill Harvey and state Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, whose district includes both Baker and Harney counties, decried the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge and contend the action will likely create problems rather than solve them.

Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupants say they'll leave when feds transfer land to locals

BURNS — A leader of the small armed group that has been occupying a remote national wildlife refuge in Oregon said Tuesday that they will go home when a plan to turn over management of federal lands to locals is implemented.

Ammon Bundy — one of the sons of rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 Nevada standoff with the government over grazing rights — told reporters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that ranchers, loggers and farmers should have control of federal lands.

Bundy offered few specifics of the group’s plan, but LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, said the group would examine the underlying land ownership transactions to begin to “unwind it."

N. Powder rancher disturbed by occupation of wildlife refuge

Curtis Martin, past president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, worries the action will deflect attention from what he calls the "travesty of justice" involving the prison sentences of ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven

The situation in Harney County, with armed militia members occupying a federal building and vowing to stay there for years, is precisely the outcome Curtis Martin hoped would not happen.

Martin is a North Powder cattle rancher and past president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

He describes the five-year prison terms imposed on Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, for lighting fires that burned onto public land, as a “travesty of justice.”

Yet Martin also is disturbed that a group of people, following a rally Saturday in Burns in support of the Hammonds,  occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Group backing Harney County ranchers takes over wildlife refuge building near Burns

BURNS (AP) — A family previously involved in a showdown with the federal government has occupied a building at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon and is asking militia members to join them.

Ammon Bundy — the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights — told The Oregonian on Saturday that he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The protest began as a rally in support of Oregon ranchers facing jail time for arson.

Much About Maps

Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald An existing Idaho Power Company power line crosses Highway 86 near the historical marker that tells the story of the lone pine tree that once stood in Baker Valley. The marker is about three miles east of Interstate 84.

County commissioners meet with BLM officials to discuss proposed Boardman-To-Hemingway power line

“The best we can see is a tolerable route.”

That’s what Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett said about Idaho Power’s Boardman-to-Hemingway power line, which might become part of the county’s landscape several years in the future.

On Wednesday the county commissioners met with Idaho Power officials, BLM Vale District Manager Don Gonzalez, and the owners of land across which the 500-kilovolt transmission line might run.

The meeting was designed to give county officials more information about the BLM’s environmentally preferred route for the B2H line, which was shown on maps uploaded to the B2H website last month.

And then they were taken down.

State traps, transfers troublesome wild turkeys

Wild turkeys had a good year in 2015 in parts of Baker County.

Maybe too good.

Biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have trapped about 35 turkeys recently near Baker City and moved the birds, which had been gobbling hay and silage meant for cattle, to a state-owned wildlife area west of North Powder.

Getting The Drift

Photo by Kathy Reedy Snow piles are a fact of winter life in Sumpter, 28 miles southwest of Baker City. Snow-coated Mount Ireland looms in the background, at left.

After 2 Dry Winters, Deep Snow A Welcome Sight For Baker County Towns 

The yardstick has resumed its customary role as the necessary snow-measuring device for a couple of Baker County’s more blizzard-prone towns.

The past few winters, by contrast, the puny ruler, the foot-long instrument that elementary students store in their pencil boxes, would have sufficed to keep track of snow depths in Sumpter and Halfway.

This year, though, to plunge a ruler into a drift in either place would be to risk losing the thing until spring.

Animal shelter project moves ahead

One more step has been completed in the process that aims to build an animal shelter in Baker City.

New Hope for Eastern Oregon Animals has created a capital campaign plan that focuses on a financial strategy to raise money to build the shelter.

Jeanie Dexter, chair of New Hope’s board of directors, said the plan is an important  and necessary step in the planning of the facility that is projected to be constructed in 2019.

Family’s Home

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Wisdom family members traveled to Baker City to spend Christmas at the historic Wisdom house/vacation rental at the corner of Second and Broadway streets.

The Wisdoms Reminisce In Historic Baker City Home That Bears Their Name

John Berg leads the way around the Wisdom House, describing it from his memories.

The first phone was right near the kitchen, he says — turning the crank connected the caller to the operator, who then connected to the person you were calling.

Next stop, the kitchen: He says a big mahogany table sat in the dining room, surrounded by 12 chairs.

And the banister — everyone, it seems, has slid down the banister.

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