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Blustery Tuesday in Baker County

March might be going out like a lamb in some respects — sunny skies and a warming trend are forecast this week — but the roaring of the north wind might bring to mind a lion.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory today for Baker County. The advisory is in effect from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Winds in Baker Valley could gust to 50 mph.

The culprits are a low-pressure storm to our southeast — it is dumping snow on Twin Falls, Idaho, this morning — and a high-pressure ridge building to the northwest. 

Crazy for eggs

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald

The annual Easter egg hunt at Geiser-Pollman Park in Baker City gets off to a whirlwind start Saturday morning as kids in various age groups scoop up as many plastic eggs and other items as possible. All eggs contain surprises, but some offer prize-winning slips to be redeemed for major prizes.

History on display

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald A self-portrait by Tom Novak of Baker City includes sections from several of the murals he created for the Baker Heritage Museum.

Tom Novak’s Art Adorns The  Baker Heritage Museum

 By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

An art project four years in the making now adorns the exterior of the Baker Heritage Museum.

Eighteen painted panels depicting scenes from Baker County’s past were installed Saturday. 

Tom Novak has worked on the project for quite a few years, beginning with the original eight that face Campbell Street.

In 2012, the museum secured a grant from Meyer Memorial Trust to fund 18 more.

But Novak fell ill and the project was delayed.

Grange Hall bustles with activity

By Cherise Kaechele

WesCom News Service

NORTH POWDER — The North Powder Grange Hall is a bustle of activity normally — that’s no exception at noon on Friday when a large lunch is served to the community for a measly $3.

A small group of women decided to step up and take the initiative to help feed their community when services were taken away several years ago. 

Joyce Lawyer, Barbara Campbell, Jackie Calhoun and June Bauck put their heads together years ago when Community Connection decided to pull out their food services in North Powder.

The “Lunch Bunch,” as the four women call themselves, decided to provide a meal to anyone in the community once a week for just a few dollars, said Carol Bouchard, a Grange member.

BTI hires nursing program director

By Chris Collins

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A professional nurse with experience teaching at the  college level has joined the staff of Baker Technical Institute and will direct its nursing assistant program.

Michele Hibbard also will serve as an instructor in BTI’s  Health Services Department, said Doug Dalton, the Baker School District’s chief financial officer and BTI spokesman. 

Hibbard was hired after the Oregon Sate Board of Nursing approved the nursing program for certification, Dalton stated in a press release.

“This is part of our expansion of the Health Services pathway,” Dalton said. “When we looked at demand for next-generation jobs, in health care it’s strong and appears to be gaining momentum.”

BLM moves closer to final route

Preliminary Preferred B2H Alternative Announced

 By Joshua Dillen

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Local opposition to a huge power transmission line project might not stop it, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is meeting with local governments to consider their input to develop routes. 

The BLM this week announced the release of the preliminary preferred alternative for the project routes that it is considering for inclusion in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) of Idaho Power’s Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (B2H).

Baker County Commissioner Mark Bennett has seen detailed versions of the maps that can be viewed at http://www.boardmantohemingway.com/maps. There are also more detailed maps available for viewing at the Baker County Planning Office in the basement of the Courthouse, 1995 Third St.

FFA teams bring home state championships

Submitted photo The Ag Marketing team of, from left, Kourtney Lehman, Morgan Scilacci and Melissa Foltz, not pictured, won first place at state. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Collins

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Kourtney Lehman has a dilemma.

But it’s a good dilemma.

The Baker High School junior must choose just one contest to compete in at the 2016 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in October.

She qualified to advance to nationals by claiming three state titles at the Oregon FFA State Convention March 18-21. 

“I was surprised winning all of them,” Lehman said Tuesday.

So now she must decide: Should she compete with her Ag Marketing championship team? Or go it alone in Prepared Speaking or choose the Job Interview competition?

Lehman says she hasn’t yet decided. If she doesn’t compete with the Ag Marketing Team, the other members of the championship team, Melissa Foltz and Morgan Scilacci, would still advance. They would substitute another member of the Baker FFA Chapter in Lehman’s place. 

Council eyes fee increases

Water rates could go up as much as 25 percent to fund improvements

By Joshua Dillen

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Baker City councilors discussed likely fee hikes for various city services to be adopted next month during their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Councilor Dan Lowe asked what the expected response from the public is concerning fee hikes and how they would express concerns and provide input in the process.

Dexter said she didn’t expect much of a negative response from this year’s increases and they could come in and talk to city staff or comment at any Council meeting.

“Certainly before adoption (of the new fee schedule) they would want to come in and state their concerns,” she said.


Bur buttercup is not a welcome sign of spring

Submitted photo The bur buttercup is one of the more unwelcome signs of spring. Now is the time to treat the noxious weed.

By Arnie Grammon

Baker County Noxious Weed Supervisor

While we’d all prefer crocus and daffodils to remind us of spring’s arrival, too often we’re confronted with bur buttercup instead. You can choose to ignore it at your own peril. Just don’t plan on going barefoot this summer. 

In any case, conditions are perfect right now to treat this weed. As long as we have temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit and low wind conditions, it’s go time.

Council to discuss raising fees

By Joshua Dillen

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The Baker City Council will discuss raising water and other fees at Tuesday’s meeting.

The meeting starts  at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 1655 First St.

No fee decisions will be made at the meeting.

Many fees will see a 1.2-percent increase based on the consumer price index. That would make the monthly base charge for water $32.76 per month plus 69 cents per unit (about 750 gallons) in excess of three units in a month (for most residential customers).

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