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Blustery Baker

Winds Peel Off Part Of D&B Supply’s Roof


By Jayson Jacoby

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Winds gusting to gale force buffeted Baker County Saturday night, snapping tree limbs, causing power outages and ripping off about half of the metal roof at the D&B Supply Store in Baker City.

Gusts peeled off the roofing about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, after the store, at 3515 Pocahontas Road, was closed, manager Jim Bjork said this morning.

A Baker City Police officer reported the damage after driving by the store and noticing what Bjork described as a “mountain of tin” on the east side of the store between the building and 17th Street.


False Alarm No. 2

Emergency alarm system activated at Brooklyn Primary School


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald The police search through Brooklyn Primary Thursday morning includes the modular units that house kindergarten classes and one first grade class, above. From left are Oregon State Police officers, Joey Jayo and Andrew McClay, and Travis Ash, Baker County Sheriff’s Department.

By Chris Collins

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On Tuesday night, Baker High School Principal Ben Merrill was telling the Baker School Board how a new messaging system will revolutionize district communication with parents.

By Thursday morning, the software program was speaking for itself.

It was used by Merrill and Ellen Dentinger, District Office receptionist, to send out the same message simultaneously to 479 parents of Brooklyn Primary School students assuring them that their children were safe after a panic alarm was inadvertently activated by a staff member.


Fire season ends in Northeastern Oregon


Starting today, fire season was officially terminated for forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Northeast Oregon District. This includes private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands in seven counties: Union, Baker, Wallowa, Umatilla and small portions of Grant, Malheur and Morrow. Scattered rain showers throughout the district over the past few weeks, combined with cooler fall temperatures has reduced the fire danger. 

However, John Buckman, Northeast Oregon District Forester, reminds the public to implement safe practices when using fire in the fall months. 

“Fall is a good time to burn forest slash or yard debris, but please recognize that just one sunny and windy day can change conditions very quickly,” he said. “Each fall we respond to escaped fires, so please continue to use fire in a responsible manner."


Another accidental activation of alarm at Brooklyn; again, no threat found


There was another activation of the panic alarm system at Brooklyn Elementary School this morning. Police have searched the school at 1350 Washington Ave. and Police Chief Wyn Lohner reported about 8:50 a.m. that the situation was clear, no threat was found and all students are safe.

The alarm system, which was installed earlier this year at the school which houses 450 students in grades K-3, was accidentally activated on the morning of Sept. 24. There was no threat to students in that incident, either, but police and other emergency workers responded to search the school, and students were locked into their rooms as the district’s protocol dictates in such situations.


Baker School Board balks at goals report

The decision doesn’t affect the district’s controversial new curriculum for math instruction, however


By Chris Collins

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The Baker School Board has declined to endorse a school district report that sets “aspirational goals” designed to close the achievement gap and bring all students up to benchmark standards.

Although the district has submitted the report to the Oregon Department of Education, the board, on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, refused to sign off on the plan. Directors Andrew Bryan, Richard McKim and Kyle Knight voted no. Kevin Cassidy and Chris Hawkins voted in favor.

The rejection came despite Superintendent Walt Wegener’s explanation that the board, by law, is excluded from being involved in developing what’s known as an “achievement compact."


12% have returned ballots


Slightly more than 12 percent of Baker County’s 9,894 registered voters — 1,221 — had returned their ballots for the Nov. 4 general election as of this morning, Baker County Clerk Tami Green said.

The deadline to return ballots is 8 p.m. on election day.

Ballots that haven’t been mailed by late next week should be hand-delivered to the Courthouse, 1995 Third St., or taken to a drop-off site. 

The ballot box on the west side of the Courthouse is open 24 hours per day.


Soroptimists donate $1,000 for for MayDay victims safe house


The MayDay, Inc. safe house for victims of domestic violence is better able to serve clients thanks to a generous donation from the Baker County chapter of Soroptimist International.  The club paid nearly $1,000 for repairs after the shelter home was damaged by flooding in its basement.

The home provides temporary housing for victims while they find longer-term accomodations.  Food and personal items are provided because clients often leave their homes quickly in order to escape abusive situations, according to Milli Joseph, MayDay’s executive director.


Write-ins without ‘Jr.’ after Warner won’t count


By Jayson Jacoby

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Voters who write in Fred Warner Jr. for Baker County Commission chairman won’t have their vote count for him if they leave out the “Jr.” as part of his name.

County Clerk Tami Green said she posed the question to state elections officials after she learned some voters intended to write in Warner on the Nov. 4 ballot.


Cutting A Deal

Private forest owners form cooperative to sell timber to Boise Cascade 


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Baker City Herald File Photo/Ed Merriman A new cooperative formed by private forest owners in Baker County will make it easier, and more profitable, for owners here and in Union and Wallowa counties to sell their timber.

By Chris Collins

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Private woodland owners in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties will receive premium prices for their timber this winter thanks to an agreement forged with Boise Cascade last month.

The agreement came about with the formation of the Blue Mountain Woodland Cooperative, which has been 12 years in the making, said Bob Parker, Extension forester.

The co-op was formed by members of the Baker County Small Woodlands Association. Many of the same people serve in leadership roles in both organizations.


Gas leak leaves Sam-O Swim chilly


By Chris Collins

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Swimmers were forced to take cold showers Tuesday at Sam-O Swim Center and the air temperature was a bit cooler than usual, but no one was in danger as a result of natural gas leaks detected by YMCA staff, Baker City Manager Mike Kee said Wednesday.

Natural gas that fuels the hot water system and the boiler were turned off while the issue was investigated and repairs were made. The city-owned pool remained heated during that period.

Heidi Dalton, the YMCA’s chief executive officer, said the pool did not close and most swimmers showed up as usual. They simply took a quick cold shower as required before entering the pool and then showered at home after swimming, she said.

Swimming lessons, water aerobics, swim team practice and lap swimming are scheduled Monday through Thursday at the pool.


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