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Baker’s biggest ‘B’ gets brighter

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald The huge ‘B’ on a hillside just west of Baker City has a fresh coat of white paint.

By Chris Collins

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Eleven Baker High School seniors made the long, steep hike up the foothills west of town last Saturday to become part of a long-standing tradition.

The students added a new coat of white paint to the gigantic letter B that represents their school on the hillside. The number 15 sits below and to the left of the B noting that the new paint was applied by members of the BHS Class of 2015.

The project was organized by Maddie Richards, senior class president.

Principal Ben Merrill praised Richards for her leadership skills in organizing the half-day project.

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

At Crypto Control

Baker City’s UV Light Water Treatment Plant Nears Completion

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Baker City's ultraviolet light water treatment facility nears completion. At lower left is one of three UV reactors with each utilizing 40 UV lamps. Doug Schwin, city engineer, said Thursday each reactor can handle 6 million gallons of water per day. During summertime high peak water use — about 7½ million gallons per day — two reactors will operate, he said. The third reactor will alternate its operation with the others. The plant's capacity is 12 million gallons per day, Schwin said.

By Joshua Dillen

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In spite of a lack of cryptosporidium oocysts found in Baker City’s water since August of 2013, there is still a full assault against the gut-wrenching organisms.

The city’s public works department has been using a portable ultraviolet light (UV) purification system in the war against cryptosporidium since March.

A new and permanent UV purification plant is almost completed and will be online next month for an initial startup.

Contractor will start lining sewer lines Monday

Starting Monday, Nov. 3, a contractor will be installing a lining in sewer and stormwater mains in several places in Baker City.

PEC Corporation of Helena, Montana, will be doing the work.

The process is called “cast in place pipe” and it doesn’t require workers to dig up pipes to replace them. Instead, the liner is installed into the existing pipe.

The work will take about two weeks, and there could be minor traffic disruptions in areas where crews are working.

Striking Back

Fundraiser For Domestic Violence Advocacy Organization

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald A MayDay fundraiser to help “Strike Out Abuse” drew people to Elkhorn Lanes in Baker City Saturday to participate in cosmic bowling. In Halloween costumes as two nerds are Shelby Griffith, left, and NovaLee Shoemaker. At right is Kerrie Fast as a snooty teenager. The event offered a silent auction, raffles, door prizes and prizes for best costumes. Proceeds from the event will help support MayDay programs for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.

A cosmic bowling fundraiser Saturday afternoon and evening at Elkhorn Lanes in Baker City raised $2,055 for MayDay Inc., the nonprofit organization that helps victims of sexual and domestic violence and elder abuse.

The bowling event itself, which pitted teams of six against one another, raised $736 in entry fees, said Mark Bogart, a spokesman for MayDay.

Raffle tickets for a snowblower donated by Sears brought in another $260.

The remainder — $1,059 — was raised by other raffle and silent auction items.

Vote tallies will be delayed

Write-in votes, which will affect the Baker City Council race and possibly the Baker County Commission chairman race, probably won’t be available until early in the week after Nov. 4 election

By Jayson Jacoby

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The last election in Tami Green’s 14-year stint as Baker County Clerk might be the most complicated.

It definitely will be among the more frustrating for Green, the county’s chief elections officer.

Greg Walden coming to Baker City Sunday

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., will have a town hall meeting Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2, at the Geiser Grand Hotel, 1996 Main St. in Baker City.

The event will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Walden is seeking re-election for a ninth term in Congress. 

Montoya is the new supervisor for Wallowa-Whitman National Forest

The Pacific Northwest Region of the USDA Forest Service announces Tom Montoya as the new Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor. 

“It is my pleasure to announce the selection of Tom Montoya as the new Forest Supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest,” Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, said in a press release. “Tom is a proven leader and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job of leading the Wallowa-Whitman  by continuing to build on the achievements made in accelerating restoration, forest plan revision, and creating a safe and inclusive work place."

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

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."

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