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County Clerk decides not to seek re-election


Baker County Clerk Tami Green announced in an email this morning that she has withdrawn from her bid for re-election.

"It is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I announce today that I am withdrawing from candidacy for County Clerk," Green wrote. "Scott (her husband) and I have a business opportunity that we are very excited about. It's something that will take us away from Baker for part of the year so as much as I love the work that I do and all of you, I love my husband more."

Green said she will remain in office until her term ends at the end of 2014, and she also offered to help the new county clerk.

The deadline to register for the office is March 11.

See Wednesday's Baker City Herald for a story, and check back to www.bakercityherald.com and the Herald's Facebook page. 

 

Sumpter couple charged with cattle theft


A Sumpter couple has been indicted on charges of first-degree theft and unauthorized use of livestock.

Richard Phillip Newman, 75, and Lynette Bullington, 63, of 39554 Sumpter Cemetery Road, were arraigned Thursday in Baker County Circuit Court on the indictments issued by a Baker County grand jury.

According to a press release from Baker County District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff, the pair came into possession of a black Angus calf, owned by Cal and Vicki Foster of Bowen Valley, in the fall of 2010.

Newman and Bullington knew the calf did not belong to them, but they kept the animal and had the animal artificially inseminated, producing another calf, according to Shirtcliff.

The couple is charged with two counts of first-degree theft, a Class C felony, and one count of unauthorized use of a livestock animal, a Class A misdemeanor. 

 

Paying for Paving

Baker City’s Street Maintenance Needs Increase Faster Than Revenue


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S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Helping with Resort Street paving last July are Valley Paving and Asphalt employees, from left, Graig Grimm, David Sutherland, Erick Upton and Bill Stewart.

By Pat Caldwell

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Framed against the excess of data packed into Baker City’s recent audit report, the short paragraph regarding city streets is one easily overlooked by even the most discerning of readers.

Yet the implications of those few short sentences could be long-lasting and, in reality, signal the first tones of a warning bell.

The report — crafted by Guyer & Associates — was reviewed earlier this month by the Baker City Council. In the report, the status of Baker City’s streets was addressed in a short, concise paragraph.

“. . . Street fund resources (mainly state gas tax and 18.47 percent of property taxes) are not sufficient to maintain the City’s street in their current condition. If the city’s streets are not properly maintained (i.e. overlays, chip sealing, fog sealing, crack sealing) they will continue to deteriorate . . ."

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Baker City mayor claims city has overcharged his motel for water, sewer fees


By Pat Caldwell

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Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell says the city owes him almost $15,000.

City officials contend they don’t owe Langrell a cent.

That difference in perception and interpretation is the epicenter of a dispute regarding water and sewer fees, zoning, and property taxes.

“The only thing I’ve done wrong is try to get along with them (the city)” Langrell said Thursday.

Langrell wants the city to reimburse him $14,907.71 in water and sewer fees he paid during the past several years for his motel, the Always Welcome Inn.

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Baker County soldier's awards to be displayed at Courthouse


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John Noble Holcomb

By Jayson Jacoby

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The military honors awarded to Army Sgt. John Noble Holcomb, a Richland man who was killed in Vietnam on Dec. 3, 1968, at age 22, will be displayed at the Baker County Courthouse.

The roster of accolades includes America’s highest — the Medal of Honor — which was bestowed on Holcomb posthumously.

Holcomb is one of just 13 Oregonians, and the only Baker County resident, ever to receive the U.S. military’s highest decoration.

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Farm Bill includes payments to counties


By Jayson Jacoby

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The federal Farm Bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday includes a one-year funding extension for a program that’s a vital source of revenue for Baker County and other rural Oregon counties.

The bill, which is expected to easily pass the Senate and also has President Obama’s endorsement, extends the PILT program — Payments In Lieu of Taxes.

Under PILT, which started in 1976, the federal government sends money to counties that have large amounts of federal land, which is not subject to property taxes, within their borders.

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Icy roads force school closure


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S. John Collins/Baker City Herald Baker City paramedics, Jason Jacobs, left, and B.J. Lynch, along with Oregon State Police and the Baker Rural Fire Department personnel prepare to move Martha Tizcareno, 45, to an ambulance Wednesday morning. Tizcareno of Keating was traveling west on Highway 86 when she lost control of her vehicle on black ice. She was transported to St. Alphonsus Hospital with neck and wrist injuries. OSP Lt. Gordon Larson comforts Tizcareno’s daughter, Nallely Robles, who arrived later with her brother, Juan, standing center.

By Jayson Jacoby and  Chris Collins

Baker City Herald

A rare Baker County ice storm, perhaps the worst of its kind in the past 20 years, slathered streets, roads and pretty much any inanimate object with a slippery glaze overnight.

Conditions were sufficiently dangerous to prompt school officials to cancel classes in Baker, Burnt River in Unity, and North Powder.

Baker County Circuit Court also was closed today.

“It’s an awful mess out there,” said Tom Strandberg, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation in La Grande. “It’s just a sheet of ice on all the highways.”

Nor were the problems confined to highways.

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Winter weather advisory for Baker County


The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Baker County as a potentially messy mixture of snow, freezing rain and snow is forecast to spread into the area late Tuesday afternoon and overnight.

The advisory takes effect at 9 p.m. PST today and continues through 4 p.m. PST Wednesday.

The forecast for Baker City is for a 30 percent chance of snow today, mainly after 4 p.m.

Snow or freezing rain is likely between 10 p.m. today and 4 a.m. Wednesday, then rain, possibly mixed with snow or freezing rain, the rest of Wednesday.

The storm should get rid of the temperature inversion that has dominated local weather for the past two weeks, meaning warmer temperatures for valleys and much colder temperatures in the mountains.

More information: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/boi/ 

 

Baker man who accidentally shot himself released from hospital, now in Baker jail

A Baker City man who spent more than a week in a Boise hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the leg is in custody today at the Baker County Jail.

Eric Lee Cavyell, 23, of 3270 G St., was arrested at 6:27 p.m. Sunday on a statewide felony warrant charging him with violating his parole.

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Highway tree trim

Pruning Willows Along Highway 30 Between Baker City and North Powder


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Kathy Orr / Baker City Herald Drivers traveling Highway 30 between Baker City and North Powder over the past couple weeks probably have noticed ODOT crews trimming roadside willows. Here, Rick Broadie consolidates a pile of limbs that’s burning in a gravel right-of-way just west of North Powder.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Baker County’s abnormally arid January has had at least one benefit.

With no snow to plow, crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have been able to tackle the considerable task of trimming willow limbs that overhang Highway 30 between Baker City and North Powder and pose a potential hazard for travelers.

“If it’s not snowing they’ll be out there,” said Brad Payton, who oversees ODOT’s Baker City maintenance station. “Every year we whittle away at it, and with this kind of weather we’re knocking out as much as we can."

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