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School superintendent says 'hug' caused panic alarm activation at Brooklyn Primary

The accidental activation of the alarm this morning was the third such incident this school year 


By Chris Collins

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Police and school administrators were called to Brooklyn Primary School today on the third false alarm in just a little more than four months.

Superintendent Walt Wegener said an alarm fob was activated when “somebody hugged somebody really hard.”

He had no other details about the false alarm.

Police and other emergency workers and school district employees were called to the building at 1350 Washington Ave. at 11:12 a.m. Brooklyn School houses about 450 students in Grades K-3 and a staff of about 35.

Wegener said the system has been turned off until the glitch is fixed.

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


Passer-by acts fast when he sees flames


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Photo courtesy of Markeith Reese No one was hurt in the fire that destroyed this Baker City home early Saturday, thanks in part to passer-by Markeith Reese.

By Chris Collins

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A 21-year-old man was in the right place at the right time to help wake a sleeping family and get them out of a burning house early Saturday.

Markeith Reese said he was driving east on Campbell Street near 10th Street at 2:30 a.m. when he saw the fire at 3010 Campbell Street.

Reese said flames were visible before he reached the railroad tracks, about two blocks west of where the house was destroyed by fire.


Police consider using body cameras


By Joshua Dillen

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“Every breath you take, every move you make...I’ll be watching you.”

That’s what The Police sang in 1983.

For actual policemen (not members of the rock band) and those who interact with them, the lyrics might be a part of their reality in the future. 

Police in Baker City are examining the use of body cameras on their officers.

“It’s something we’re looking at. It’s going to come down to reliability and economics,” Lt. Kirk McCormick of the Baker City Police Department said.


In an email world, letters last


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Lisa Britton / For the Baker City Herald Louise Palumbo has saved dozens of letters she has received from Yoko Kawashima Watkins over the past 47 years.

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Louise Palumbo is rare in this world of emails and text messages.

“I don’t have a computer or cell phone,” says Palumbo, 89.

But she has paper and a pen, and her table is covered with the Christmas cards she received this year.

“I send them, so I get them,” she says.


Library touts online tools


By Jayson Jacoby

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Have you ever wandered the fiction aisles at the Baker County Library, overwhelmed by the thousands of choices?

Bringing along a few literary critics would be handy.

Except it might get a little crowded. 


Police: Woman tried to hire a hitman

Suspect had a restraining order earlier this year against the ex-boyfriend she allegedly wanted to have murdered


By Jayson Jacoby

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A Baker City woman who allegedly tried to hire someone to kill her ex-boyfriend had a restraining order against the man earlier this year and had accused of him of pointing a gun at her.

Emily Alicia Munsell, 24, of 1356 Dewey Ave., was arrested Friday night after offering money to a Baker City Police detective in a telephone sting.


Promising Start

Winter’s barely begun, but snow is piling up in the mountains


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Kathy Orr/Baker City Herald Recent storms have boosted the snowpack in the Elkhorn Mountains. This scene from Baker Valley takes in, at the upper right, the summit of Elkhorn Peak.

By Jayson Jacoby

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After two years of drought, Northeastern Oregon could use a deep mountain snowpack.

So far, nature is cooperating.

It’s early, to be sure — the snowpack reaches its peak in most places from mid-April through early May — but the early returns, so to speak, are promising.

“The last week has been incredible for us,” said Andrew Umpleby, manager of the Powder Valley Water Control District.


Less need for aid?

Requests for food boxes, toys drop substantially at The Salvation Army


By Jayson Jacoby

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Holli Diamond waited for people to sign up for Christmas food boxes and toys for their kids.

She waited, and she wondered.

Always, in the decade Diamond has worked for The Salvation Army, they showed up in their dozens in the three weeks before Christmas.

But not this December.


Historic Holiday

Baker Heritage Museum’s Special Christmas Break Opening


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Kathy Orr /Baker City Herald Baker Heritage Museum displays many unusual items such as this 1895 portable dental chair manufactured by S S White Company. Arlie King, left, his mother, Gudelia, and his father, Richard King wondered how tough the patient had to be to sit in the chair.

By Joshua Dillen

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Besides playing in the snow, a trip back in time was possible over the weekend in Baker City.

At least it was for those who took advantage of an off-season opening at the Baker Heritage Museum.

Closed for most of the winter season, the museum was open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the holiday break.


Lights, (in)Action

Baker City's new crypto-inactivating UV light facility is up and running


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S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Chlorinated raw water enters the plant via three pipes at near left, then up, over and down to treatment in the ultraviolet light reactors before flowing up, over and down again to a holding reservoir for residential use.

By Joshua Dillen

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The final phase in Baker City’s war against cryptosporidium is complete.

Crypto oocysts in the municipal water supply are doomed. 

The city is fighting the gut-twisting bug with light.

Deadly ultraviolet (UV) light, that is. 

A new $3 million UV water treatment plant is up and running. The facility and its maiming of oocysts that may be in the city’s water supply — the oocyst is the shell that protects crypto from conventional disinfectants such as chlorine, which the city adds to its water — is the final blow to the microscopic critter.


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