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Wallowa-Whitman tightens fire restrictions

Chain saws for firewood cutting prohibited; campfires restricted 

Due to persistent hot, dry weather and increasing fire danger, starting tonight at midnight, campfires on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest will be allowed only in designated campgrounds and recreation sites, and using chain saws for firewood cutting will be prohibited.
Campfires are still allowed, however, in the following wilderness areas: Eagle Cap, North Fork John Day, Monument Rock and Hells Canyon.
Year-round restrictions on campfires — for instance, they're not allowed within 1/4-mile of some lakes in the Eagle Cap — remain in effect. 
No off-road travel on motor vehicles is allowed, including on roads blocked by a gate, barricade, log, boulders or earthern berm.
A full list of of restrictions is available at: www.fs.usda.gov/wallowa-whitman and also by toll-free phone call at 541-523-1234.

Travels In China

Award-Winning Teacher Nanette Lehman

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Nanette Lehman, 2013 Oregon Teacher of the Year, talks about her recent return from an education-based trip to China.

By Chris Collins

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Nanette Lehman’s life has been changed in ways she never expected over the past year and a half.

Lehman, 46, traveled across the country during 2013 as the Oregon Teacher of the Year and this summer, though her reign as the state’s top teacher ended in January, Lehman traveled around the globe en route to a 10-day visit to China as part of the honor.

The adventure began in November 2012 when the Haines second-grade teacher was named the Oregon Teacher of the Year. Her term officially began in January 2013.

Along the way, Lehman got to know other teachers who were selected for the honor from their states. She was asked to speak to other teachers and in other school districts, her counsel was sought on matters of school reform and she even attended Space Camp in Alabama with her fellow award-winning teachers.

In April 2013, the teachers traveled to Washington, D.C., where they were recognized for their expertise in a ceremony at the White House where they met personally with President Barack Obama.

Lehman was one of eight Teachers of the Year who were among 34 educators chosen to participate in the 2014 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship, which culminated with the trip to China this summer.

The fellowship recipients were recognized in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 7 during the annual NEA Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. 

West Nile virus confirmed in mosquitoes trapped in Keating Valley

West Nile virus was detected in two pools of mosquitoes collected on July 21 in Keating Valley.

This is the first detection of West Nile virus in Baker County in 2014.

Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Corvallis confirmed the positive mosquito pools, Matt Hutchinson, manager of the Baker Valley Vector Control District, announced in a press release.

The virus has not been found in any birds, horses or people in Baker County this year.

Hutchinson said the Vector Control District, which receives its operating money from a pair of property tax levies, "will increase surveillance and control measures within the district in response to the positive mosquito pool."

County Commissioners declare drought emergency

The Baker County Board of Commissioners ratified a declaration of a drought emergency in the county during their meeting this morning.

The local drought disaster declaration is the first step in potentially obtaining state and federal disaster aid.

Last year county commissioners declared a drought emergency much earlier — on June 5.

The county will forward its declaration to Gov. John Kitzhaber, who will decide whether to add Baker County to the list of Oregon counties under a state disaster declaration.

Baker County commissioners also approved drought declarations in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Eastern Oregon counties object to Blue Mountains forest plan revision

By Katy Nesbitt

WesCom News Service

ENTERPRISE — Representatives from the Eastern Oregon Counties Association voted Friday in John Day to object to the forest plan out for public comment until Aug. 15.

The draft document, known as The Blue Mountain Forest Plan Revision, is a guide to managing the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and part of the Ochoco national forests.

“Too many things are wrong, including the basic tenet, and we don’t think it’s fixable,” Wallowa County Commissioner Mike Hayward said.

Farmers Market at different spot this Wednesday only

The Baker City Farmers Market will be at a different location this Wednesday, Aug. 6, due to the Baker County Fair.

The market will be at East and D streets, just north of its normal spot.

Next Wednesday the market returns to its regular place at the Baker Event Center, 2600 East St.


Storms bring fire & ice

Depending on where you were during the weekend you might have been pummeled by hail, drenched by rain or rattled by lightning that sparked lots of wildfires

By Jayson Jacoby

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A relentless barrage of thunderstorms during the weekend brought hail and torrential rain to parts of Baker County as well as hundreds of lightning bolts that ignited more than two dozen wildfires.

Most of the new blazes are less than one acre.

But a group of fires ignited Friday night or early Sunday in the North Fork John Day Wilderness northeast of Granite prompted the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to close a pair of hiking trails and part of a forest road.

Dubbed the Mount Ireland Complex, the fires are mainly in the Baldy Creek area north of Mount Ireland, which is topped by a Wallowa-Whitman fire lookout station.

The biggest of the blazes has burned about 20 acres.

Both trails leading to Baldy Lake — one follows Baldy Creek for six miles from a trailhead off the Elkhorn Drive Scenic Byway, the other trail starts at a ridgecrest about a mile west of the lake — are closed to the public.

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

Four slots but so far no takers

Baker City Council Election This November 

By Pat Caldwell

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Four slots on the Baker City Council are up for grabs this November but so far there hasn’t been much interest from the public.

“Not one application for the city council turned in. We’ve given two out but not had any returned,” City Manager Mike Kee said Tuesday.

Kee conceded that often individuals wait until he last moment — in this case Aug. 26 — before turning in council applications. Four positions, now held by Dennis Dorrah, Roger Coles, Barbara Johnson and Clair Button, will be open for the autumn election.

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

OSP might close only forensic lab in Eastern Oregon

From The (La Grande) Observer: 

The future of the Eastern Oregon crime lab is up in the air.

Employees at the Oregon State Police’s Pendleton crime lab were told Wednesday that the OSP is considering all options for its forensic labs — including closing the Pendleton location.

Keith Kerr, director of the Pendleton lab, said the announcement came this week but that no decision has been made.

“The OSP are looking at the options for what to do with our laboratory due to budgetary issues,” he said. “They’ve been seeking input from our partner agencies.”

The Department of Administrative Services earlier this year issued a Request for Information regarding construction of a new lab to be sited in Pendleton. According to the DAS, there has not been any movement on that front.

“There’s nothing confirmed at this point,” said Lt. Gregg Hastings, OSP public information officer. “They are still trying to decide where to relocate.”

Closure of the Pendleton lab without construction of a new one would leave Eastern Oregon without a crime lab. An Ontario lab closed several years ago. Other state crime labs are located in Bend, Central Point, Clackamas and Springfield.


Thursday Art Night planned

Baker Art Guild will present the film “Gregory Crewdson - Brief Encounters” for Thursday Art Night on July 31 at the Eltrym Theatre, 1809 Second St. The evening begins with storytelling at 6:30 p.m. The theme is “Brushes with Celebrity.” The film start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 adults, $4 students and proceeds benefit the Crossroads Scholarship Fund.

About the film:

Acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson doesn’t just “take” his images, he creates them, through elaborate days and weeks of invention, design, and set-up. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts. In his decade-long project “Beneath the Roses” he uses light, color and character to conjure arresting images, managing a crew of 60 amidst seemingly countless logistical and creative obstacles.

Filmed over a decade, beginning in 2000, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters provides an unparalleled view of the moment of creation of his images. It also reveals the life-story behind the work—through frank reflections on his life and career, including the formative influences of his psychologist father and his childhood fascination with the work of Diane Arbus. Childhood fears and ideals, adult anxieties and desires, the influences of pop-culture all combine to form who buy cialis we are, and for Crewdson, motivate his work.

There is no specific backstory, no before-and-after to Gregory Crewdson’s images, simply the moment that lends itself to mystery and intrigue. Hundreds of movie lights combine with the setting sun in a perfect moment of illumination.

For more info about the film visit http://www.gregorycrewdsonmovie.com/ or www.eltrym.com

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