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Building Skills

Baker City’s ‘Vocational Program On Steroids’


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Teacher David Frazey, center, checks progress on a wall frame project being constructed by freshmen Evan Bigler, left, and Preston Waggoner.

By Chris Collins

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What Jerry Peacock describes as a “vocational program on steroids” has been established at Baker High School this fall.

It’s called Baker Technical Institute (BTI) and it appears to be a hit with the students enrolled in programs aimed at helping set them on a pathway to success once they graduate.


Judge blocks logging

Ruling Affects Snow Basin Project In Eastern Baker County


By Pat Caldwell

For the Baker City Herald

A beleaguered Baker County timber sale is once again in legal limbo after a federal judge issued a ruling last week in Portland.

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s 29,000-acre Snow Basin project, once seen by some elected leaders as a model for forest restoration, is in a holding pattern in the wake of Judge Marco Hernandez’s 55-page opinion released Dec. 9.

Three of the proposed five timber sales that make up the project have been sold, but only one has been logged.

 

Progress is now stalled on the two that were sold.


County voters to decide in May whether to make commission positions non-partisan


Baker County voters will decide in May 2015 whether to make the three Baker County Board of Commissioner positions non-partisan.

Those are partisan positions now.

The change would apply to future elections. 

Randy Joseph, who lives near Sumpter, is the chief petitioner.

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


Wheel Watching

Garry McLin’s colorful Ferris wheel catches the eyes of passers-by on Main Street


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Garry McLin's 6-foot-4-inch-tall Ferris wheel spins in the window at Baker Gold and Silver 24 hours a day.

By Joshua Dillen

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One would not expect to see a carnival ride in Baker City at this time of year.

But there is one on Main Street.

Unfortunately, it’s not ridable.

Unless the passenger is a small mouse.

Or a Lego man.

Garry McLin, 70, who “hangs out” at Baker Gold and Silver most days, has built a 6-foot-tall electric-powered Ferris wheel in the establishment.


Baker School Board Superintendent Search: 6 candidates to replace Wegener


By Chris Collins

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An update on progress toward hiring a new Baker School District superintendent will be presented when the 5J Board meets Tuesday night.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the District Office, 2090 Fourth St.

Directors reviewed 12 applications in a special executive (closed to the public) meeting Thursday and pared the applicant pool to six, said Norma Nemec, executive secretary to the board and superintendent. Thirty volunteers will review the applications of those six between today and Jan. 6 as the process continues.

Superintendent Walt Wegener will retire on June 30, 2015.

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


Made (of) Headlines

Dress is printed with the Feb. 15, 1912, issue of the Baker Herald


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Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald Eloise Dielman holds a 102-year-old dress that features stories and headlines from the Feb. 15, 1912, issue of the Baker Herald newspaper.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

The origin of the 102-year-old dress isn’t a mystery — it’s the why part that no one knows for sure.

Gary and Eloise Dielman received, by mail, a dress that was printed with the Feb. 15, 1912, edition of The Baker Herald.

“It probably was for Statehood Day,” Eloise said.


County ready if payments are canceled


By Jayson Jacoby

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A federal program that brings about $700,000 per year to Baker County’s coffers might be a casualty in Congress’ budget wars, but the county’s top elected official isn’t worried.

Fred Warner Jr., outgoing chairman of the county’s Board of Commissioners, cites two reasons for his confidence in the county’s ability to weather the potential end of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program.


Clearing the air

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Evidence still exists that some smokers disregard the city ordinance prohibiting smoking along the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway and city parks. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins)
 


 By Joshua Dillen

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It’s been nine months since Baker City banned smoking at city parks and along the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway.

Lighting up was also prohibited on property owned by the Baker City Library, including walkways and parking lots extending to the sidewalks.

Both city and library officials say the tobacco bans have been effective, with few complaints or other problems.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner said officers have warned many smokers but written just four citations.

The city’s ordinance bans the use of smoking products and e-cigarettes.

The library’s ban includes smokeless tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes. 


Kee gets a raise

By Joshua Dillen

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A heated discussion among Baker City councilors Tuesday centered on a proposal to give City Manager Mike Kee a pay raise.

After about 20 minutes of sometimes intense debate, the Council voted 4-3 to give Kee a 2-percent raise effective Jan. 1.

Mayor Clair Button and Councilors Kim Mosier, Barbara Johnson and Mike Downing voted in favor of the pay hike, Kee’s first since he was hired in September 2010 with an annual salary of $90,000.


Tougher tests coming

Oregon Schools Switching To Smarter Balanced Assessment This Spring


By Chris Collins

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School officials predict that Oregon students will struggle with new tests that will be administered this spring, despite rigorous efforts to prepare them.

That won’t necessarily mean students are doing worse, it’s more a reflection of an increase in expectations, according to the Oregon Department of Education.

The new Smarter Balanced Assessment will require students to provide more in-depth answers and to explain how they arrive at them. 

The previous tests — OAKS (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) — were multiple-choice.

Teachers are employing a variety of strategies designed to help their students meet the new standards and to prepare for the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

But that doesn’t mean they are “teaching to the test,” says Superintendent Walt Wegener. He maintains that it’s impossible to teach to a test when no one knows what the questions will be.

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


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