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School district, classified union settle on contract

Bus drivers for the Baker School District will receive an extra dollar per hour in their paychecks starting July 1 under a contract agreement approved by the Baker School Board Thursday night.

The board’s ratification of the agreement, which was settled by a mediator, brought to an end a year of negotiations with members of the Oregon School Employees Association. The OSEA ratified the agreement earlier.

Bullish Market

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Tammie McEnroe of Haines helps keep the cattle in their correct sale order before they enter the auction barn at the Harrell Hereford Ranch spring bull sale Monday.

Buyers Congregate To Bid On Baker County Bulls, Heifers, Horses

Ranchers from more than a dozen states gathered at two Baker Valley ranches this week to bid on bulls, heifers and quarter horses.

And auction results, ranch officials said, reflected the general optimism in a cattle industry that benefited from record-high prices before a decline last fall.

“The last two years, price-wise have been the greatest for ranchers in history,” said Jay George, owner of United Livestock Brokers in Kansas.

George has been assisting with the marketing of sales at the Harrell Hereford Ranch, along Salmon Creek northwest of Baker City, since 1989.

Ballot set for May 17 primary

No additional candidates filed for election to county positions before Tuesday’s filing deadline, County Clerk Cindy Carpenter said today.

There will be no Democratic candidates on the May 17 primary ballot for Baker County Commissioner, Position 1, the seat currently held by Tim L. Kerns, who is not seeking re-election. Three Republicans will vie for their party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election: Jeff Nelson, Kody Justus and Bruce Nichols.

Travis Ash and John Hoopes are seeking election as Baker County sheriff. Ash, the incumbent, was appointed to the office in March 2015 after former Sheriff Mitch Southwick retired from the position on April 30. Ash’s term continues through the end of 2016.

Honduras Help

Photo by Carrie Folkman Dr. Jon Schott of Baker City has made 15 trips to Honduras and he founded a nonprofit organization called Faith & Humanity Missions.

Baker City Doctor, Others Return From Medical Mission

Honduras and its people, says Carrie Folkman, stay with you long after you board a plane to return home.

“They are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met,” said Folkman, of Baker City. “There are very few days that I don’t think of Honduras.” 

Folkman joined a team of 24 during a 10-day medical mission trip to Honduras in January. It was her fourth time to go on the trip organized by Dr. Jon Schott of Baker City.

This was Schott’s 15th year, and he has now established a nonprofit organization called Faith & Humanity Missions, which sends two teams every year — one in January and one in June. 

Baker students do well at industrial skills contest

ALBANY — Baker High School students were among the winners in the annual High School Industrial Skills Contest Thursday at Linn-Benton Community College.

About 220 students from 21 Oregon high schools competed in contests for computer aided drafting and design (CADD), machine tool milling and turning and several types of welding technology.

Running Strong

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Pine Creek follows its eastward course from the Elkhorn Mountains beside snow-laden banks Thursday.

Snowpack Stays Above Average Despite Dry, Mild February

Mark Ward has been waiting for a snowstorm.

February let him down.

But Ward would welcome a March blizzard just as warmly.

So to speak.

The verdict: BHS tops in Mock Trial

Submitted photo Members of the Baker High School Mock Trial Team from left, Hollis Robb, Isabella Evans and Koby Hansen, listen intently during the regional competition.

Baker High School’s Mock Trial Team made all the right motions and gained all the right rulings to win the regional competition and advance to the 2016 state Mock Trial Competition March 11-12 in Portland.  

The BHS team competed again Vale and La Grande Feb. 27 at La Grande.

“We had a fantastic weekend,” said Stephani Rasmussen.

Growing Presence

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife photo OR-10, a female wolf pup from the Walla Walla pack. She was captured, fitted with a radio collar, and released on Oct. 21, 2011, in northern Umatilla County.

Oregon’s Wolf Population Surpasses 100 For First Time

Bill Moore isn’t surprised that Oregon’s wolf population has surpassed 100 for the first time since the animals returned to the state about a decade ago.

Indeed Moore, who raises cattle near Unity in southern Baker County, believes there are far more than 100 wolves roaming the state.

“You can’t count all of them,” said Moore, a past president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. “I think we’ve already got considerably more wolves than their estimate.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), which manages wolves in the state and compiles the annual population estimate, doesn’t discount that possibility.

Baker schools invite parents to sample proposed math curricula

Parents of Baker School District children are being invited into classrooms this month to observe three different math curricula being considered for adoption by the district.

The observations, which must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance, are part of the district’s plan to involve parents in the selection process.

“This is in response to some of the concerns expressed this year,” said Betty Palmer, assistant superintendent and director of curriculum and instruction.

Friends of the Library volunteer to organize spelling contest

The Friends of the Baker County Library have volunteered to administer spelling tests for this year’s Oregon Statewide Spelling Championship. The Friends group is a nonprofit organization that works with the library foundation.

In early February, the Oregon Spellers organization sent out a call for volunteers to find a group who could administer the contest at the county level.

Otherwise, the county contest would not have happened this year.

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