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More logging on tap locally?

Draft version of Forest Plans for Blue Mountains national forests estimates an increase in logging over the next 15 years

By Jayson Jacoby

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U.S. Forest Service officials from the three national forests in the Blue Mountains believe they can increase logging in the region over the next 15 years.

In the draft version of the revised management plans for the Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur national forests, which were released to the public Friday for a 90-day review and comment period, Forest Service officials delve into the past and look toward the future.

The documents over several hundred pages examine in detail not only logging but all aspects of forest policy, including motor vehicle access and road maintenance, wilderness designation and protecting habitat for elk and dozens of other species.

Perhaps the most dramatic change since 1990, when the current management plans for each of the three forests were adopted, is in the volume of commercial timber cut in the forests.

At that time the three forests together were producing close to 600 million board-feet of timber each year, according to the draft plan unveiled Friday.

Starting in the early 1990s, though, logging volumes plummeted.

Since 2004 the three forests’ combined annual volume has averaged about 50 million board-feet.


Clip off the old block

Daniel Hansell carries on his father’s tonsorial tradition

Pat Caldwell

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He doesn’t label it a family vocation in the traditional sense but there is no doubt that Daniel Hansell can draw upon a host of memories for inspiration as he begins his career as a barber in town.

The memories, of course, revolve around his father, Wally Hansell. The senior Hansell stood behind the barber chair in Baker City and La Grande for a long time. Now his son is following in the father’s footsteps with a new shop on Resort Street.

Hansell said he is still a bit nervous — the shop on Resort is his first foray into the business world — but he is excited and optimistic about the future.


Anthony Lakes legend Bert Vanderwall dies

Bert Vanderwall, one of the patriarchs of Anthony Lakes Ski Area, died Thursday at Settler’s Park assisted living facility in Baker City.

Vanderwall, a longtime Haines resident, was 86.

He and his wife, Betty, started the first ski shop at Anthony Lakes in 1962, and the first ski school in 1963. Bert was ski area manager from 1976-85.

A ski run at the resort — Bert’s Run — is named in his honor, and the daily snow report from the ski area is “Bert’s Snow Report."


State agency punishes Pine-Eagle teacher

By Chris Collins

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A teacher at the Pine-Eagle Charter School in Halfway has been disciplined by the state teacher licensing agency for using poor judgment in his interaction with students.

During its quarterly meeting in Salem on March 7, the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission agreed to impose a public reprimand on the teaching license of Christopher Howard de Castro, 38, who teaches fifth- and sixth-graders at the Halfway school.


Man arrested on I-84 had 59 debit cards

By Chris Collins

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A Las Vegas man who was arrested by an Oregon State trooper during a routine traffic stop on the freeway near Baker City Wednesday afternoon is being held on suspicion of identity theft involving as many as 59 debit cards.

Isney Echavarria-Perez, 31, was arraigned Thursday in Baker County Circuit Court on one count of aggravated identity theft, a Class B felony; and five counts each of identity theft and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, both Class C felonies, said District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff.


Rep. Greg Walden to discuss his forest access bill Monday in La Grande

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., will discuss a bill he is writing regarding public access to national forests as part of a roundtable discussion on travel management Monday morning in La Grande.
The congressman will be at AC Power Sports, 10701 Walton Road in La Grande, Monday at 9:15 a.m.
"This legislation is the result of over a year of conversations with local counties and leading members of the motorized recreation community to craft a bill that can put local communities back in the driver's seat," Walden said in a press release.

School district buys modulars

Ben Merrill to replace Jerry Peacock as Baker High School principal

By Chris Collins

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With school districts throughout the state scrambling to secure modulars, the Baker School District is one of the few to make a successful purchase.

Doug Dalton, the district’s chief financial officer and business manager, told the School Board Tuesday night that the district is the new owner of three 2011 used modulars, at a cost of $318,000, that will be placed on the grounds of Brooklyn Primary School. 

Two of the buildings will be used to house kindergartners in 2014-15 and the third will be an open space that can be used for PE, music and reading classes.


Controlling crypto

Temporary Water Treatment Plant Nearly Ready 

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Baker City’s temporary UV water treatment system is installed and will be operative soon. The UV system is below ground and situated between the city's two reservoirs. It’s to the left of the center building that houses electrical controls. City employees at the site Tuesday are, left to right, Larry McBroom, Karl Ritch and Keith Radabaugh.

By Pat Caldwell

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Baker City’s temporary UV water treatment reactor is in place and will soon be on line, but City Manager Mike Kee said he isn’t ready to heave a sigh of relief or consider the specter of last summer’s cryptosporidium crisis to be exiled.

At least not yet.

The City Council made a leap forward regarding a final solution to the crypto threat Tuesday when it approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price Amendment with the James W. Fowler Co., for the construction of a permanent UV facility. The decision effectively puts the wheels in motion for the firm to begin the $3.1 million venture.

“It (the temporary UV reactor) is in. It is not operating, but it is installed,” Kee said.


Ballot set for May 20 primary

By Jayson Jacoby

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The ballot for Baker County’s primary election on May 20 is set.

Tuesday was the deadline to file as a candidate.


Idaho Power doesn't expect B2H power line to be in service before 2020

Company had earlier projected completion of the transmission line in 2018

Idaho Power Company has pushed back by two years its estimated completion date for the controversial Boardman-to-Hemingway power transmission line.

On the website, www.boardmantohemingway.com, the company says: "Idaho Power’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) identified the need for a 2018 in-service date for the project. However, the completion date of the project is subject to siting, permitting, regulatory approvals, in-service date requirements of the parties electing to construct the line, the terms of any resulting joint construction agreements, and other conditions. In light of the permitting delays and siting impediments that have occurred and are expected to continue, Idaho Power estimates that the in-service date for the Boardman-to-Hemingway line would be in 2020 or beyond."

A group of Baker County residents opposes a proposed route for the 500-kilovolt line that would place it near the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

A draft environmental impact statement for the project is slated to be released to the public later this month.

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