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Student arrested in Baker Middle School bomb threat

A 13-year-old Baker Middle School student was arrested this morning and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly leaving a note at the school claiming there was a bomb in the building.

Classes, which normally start at 7:55, were delayed until about 8:30 a.m. while police searched the school. They didn't find anything suspicious.

The note was found in an upstairs boys bathroom at the school. 

The student, a boy, was arrested at 8:43 a.m. and will be taken to the juvenile detention facility in The Dalles.

Disorderly conduct is a Class A misdemeanor. 

Middle School staff suspected the student based on the his behavior on Monday, according to a press release from the Baker City Police Department.

That suspicion led Baker City Police Lt. Kirk McCormick to interview the student. 

After the bomb threat was found, Baker City Police arrived and secured the building at about 6:40 a.m., with the assistance of Baker City Public Works crews who placed barricades, shutting off street access around the middle school. 

While the Baker 5J School District coordinated the diversion of students and staff away from the middle school, law enforcement personnel from the Oregon State Police, Baker County Sheriff’s Office and Baker City Police Department arrived at the Command Post to organize search teams. 

At about 7:30 a.m., five search teams consisting of law enforcement personnel and school district employees began a search of the building and its grounds. At about 8:15 a.m. all five teams reported back to the command post with nothing suspicious located. The building was then released back to the school, while Law Enforcement secured the area where the message was located.


Against The Grain

Great Salt Lick Contest And Auction Coming Soon

Photo by Whit Deschner Artist at work: A horse puts the finishing touches on a possible entry in the annual Great Salt Lick Contest.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

This year’s Great Salt Lick contest and auction — themed “Poor Poor Lickable Me” — happens Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Events Center, 2600 East St. in Baker City.

Viewing and judging starts at 5 p.m., followed by refreshments, beer by Barley Brown’s and wine from Copper Belt. 

The auction begins at 7 p.m. with auctioneer Mib Daily.

Pocahontas Road repaving scheduled

Crews are scheduled to grind away the existing asphalt this Thursday on Pocahontas Road between 10th Street and the railroad tracks.

The section of road is slated to be repaved on Sept. 22 and 23.

Traffic will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 11.

During the repaving on Sept. 22, the center and north lanes of Pocahontas will be closed during those hours, and on Sept. 23 the south lane will be closed.

Rain or other inclement weather could delay the work.

A traffic plan will be posted on the city’s website, www.bakercity.com. More information is available by calling 541-524-2063 or 541-524-2046.

Getting Your Goat

Fish And Wildlife Tries To Entice Mountain Goats Away From Campsites 

Alex Pajunas/Baker City Herald file photo Mountain goats are willing photo subjects, but their lack of fear of humans can also pose a problem when the animals hang around campsites in the Elkhorn Mountains.

By Jayson Jacoby

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The mountain goats that amused and entertained us in the afternoon were a nuisance by dinner, and downright annoying as dusk settled over our camp at Twin Lakes in the Elkhorn Mountains.

It was Aug. 1.

My daughter Olivia, who’s 7, and my father-in-law, Howard Britton, pitched our two tents in a grove of subalpine firs at the northwest corner of the lower, and larger, of this pair of lakes in a glacier-carved basin about 13 miles west of Baker City.


4 of 7 councilors turn out to evaluate City Manager Kee

By Jayson Jacoby

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The Baker City Council convened in a special meeting Thursday evening to evaluate City Manager Mike Kee’s performance over the past year, but just four of the seven councilors turned out.

Councilors Roger Coles, Dennis Dorrah and Richard Langrell, each of whom has been critical at times of either Kee or members of his management staff, were absent.

Mayor Clair Button and councilors Kim Mosier, Barbara Johnson and Mike Downing, meanwhile, spent a little over one hour talking about their impressions of Kee’s work.

Baker City burn ban ends at 7 a.m. Friday

The ban on outdoor burning inside the Baker City limits will end at 7 a.m. Friday.

The end to the burn ban is due to recent rains and cooler temperatures, Fire Chief Jim Price said in a press release.

Residents still need a permit for open burning. Permits are available at the Fire Department on Second Street.

Idaho Power to build new power line near Halfway

HALFWAY — Idaho Power Company will be building a new power transmission line near Halfway this fall — and it’s right next to the existing line.

And that existing line will continue to bring power to the area while construction crews are working.

 “We are rebuilding the new line right next to the old line, so our crews will be extremely careful and aware of that energized line,” Project Manager Brett Flynn said in a press release. “It will be important to keep the power on during construction for residents of the Halfway and Richland areas."

More Keating mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus

Mosquitoes trapped Aug. 25 in Keating Valley tested positive for West Nile virus.

It's the eighth "pool" of mosquitoes in Baker County to be infected with the virus since July 21 (a pool of mosquitoes consists of 10 to 50 insects).

All eight pools were trapped in Keating Valley, said Matt Hutchinson, manager of the Baker Valley Vector Control District.

Hutchinson is responsible for controlling mosquitoes in the 200,000-acre district, which includes most of Baker, Bowen and Keating valleys.

Hiker OK after night lost

Searchers found Alice Covey, 65, of Halfway about 8:30 Tuesday morning, the day after she went missing

Submitted photo Alice Covey, on horseback, arrives at the Summit Point trailhead Tuesday morning.

By Jayson Jacoby

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When Alice Covey realized she was lost in the Wallowa Mountains, she worried more about her family than herself.

“I didn’t want my family to worry,” said Covey, the 65-year-old Halfway woman who endured temperatures in the 30s Monday night before searchers found her about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Covey was hungry and thirsty, but otherwise healthy and happy.

Although ecstatic would better describe her emotion when she saw an Oregon State Police plane flying overhead Tuesday morning.

Back to Brooklyn

New modulars will accommodate larger-than-expected first grade 

Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald Hand in hand and starting a new school year Tuesday morning at Brooklyn Primary are Cameryn, left, and Dylan Conklin, with mom Joy Goodman.

By Coby Hutzler

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For many kids across the country, yesterday marked the first day of the new school year. 

That was certainly true at Baker City’s Brooklyn Primary School, where the atmosphere was both excited and ambitious as little ones became acquainted with new friends and new routines —and their new classrooms. 

Brooklyn is now home to three modular buildings purchased earlier this year, and while the units are ready for teaching, they’re awaiting a few final, behind-the-scenes touches. 

“The water is all connected, and although our land-line phone system is not fully operational, (staff members) are in contact via cell phones,” said Gundula O’Neal, Brooklyn’s principal.

The modulars’ arrival couldn’t have come soon enough.

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

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