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City Council schedules special meeting to award Sam-O bid

The Baker City Council will have a special meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1655 First St., to award a bid for repairs at Sam-O Swim Center.


Waiting For White

Snowpack Makes Modest Gains

S. John Collins / Baker City Herald Phillips Reservoir, in Sumpter Valley southwest of Baker City, is at about 15 percent of its capacity.

By Jayson Jacoby

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Jeff Colton is in the water supply business which ought to mean, in these days of drought, that he’s a worried man.

He’s not exactly bubbling with enthusiasm.

But he refuses to give in to, as he puts it, “doom and gloom.”

“I want to be optimistic, positive,” said Colton, who manages the Baker Valley Irrigation District.

His perspective is not without logic.

Yes, the snowpack in Northeastern Oregon is below average — in some areas well below.

But it’s equally true that, statistically speaking, the peak period for amassing snow won’t start for a couple of weeks.


Langrell claim hinges on 2005 record

By Pat Caldwell

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When is a deal a deal?

A good question under certain circumstances and especially relevant, it appears, when one considers the dispute between Baker City Mayor Richard Langrell and the city.

Langrell asserts the city owes him $14,907.71 in water and sewer fees he paid over the past nine years for his motel, the Always Welcome Inn.

The city contends it doesn’t owe Langrell a cent.

City officials maintain that in 2005 Langrell agreed to continue paying double water and sewer fees in exchange for a 10-year property tax waiver on his property after it was annexed into the city.


Wolf tracks found in northern Baker County

By Jayson Jacoby

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For the first time in almost five years, state officials have confirmed that multiple wolves have been roaming in Baker County.

Russ Morgan, the wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said this morning he believes five wolves have spent at least the past month or so in the Medical Springs area, near the border between Baker and Union counties about 22 miles northeast of Baker City.

It’s possible the pack consists of four wolves — gauging numbers based solely on tracks in the snow isn’t precise — but Morgan said he believes there are five wolves in the group.

What’s not clear, since ODFW hasn’t actually seen the wolves themselves, is whether the pack includes a breeding pair, Morgan said.

Nor do biologists know the ages of the wolves, he said.


Baker High School honor roll students

Baker High School has announced its honor roll for the first semester.

Students with an asterisk in front of their name earned a 4.0 GPA.


Kate Averett picked for OTEC's Washington, D.C., tour

Kate Averett of Baker City is one of four high school students picked to represent Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative during a youth tour of Washington, D.C., in June.

Averett, a junior at Baker High School, will join Erin Bodfish of La Grande, Mariah Ribeiro of Burns and Marta Faulkner of Canyon City for the Rural Electric Youth Tour.

Almost 2,000 students from across the U.S. will attend the one-week trip to the nation's capital. Students will visit historical sites, learn leadership skills and meet with congressional leaders.

More information about the tour is available on OTEC's website, www.otecc.com.


Public meetings scheduled on Blue Mountain national forests management plan

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled a series of public meetings starting in mid-March to unveil a draft environmental impact statement that examines a proposed long-term management plan for the three national forests in the Blue Mountains: Wallowa-Whitman, Umatilla and Malheur.
Two of the meetings will be in Baker County.
• March 25, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Baker City Community Events Center, 2600 East St.
• March 27, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Halfway Lions Hall, 235 Lion St., Halfway
The draft EIS will be released to the public on March 14, the start of a 90-day comment period.
The three national forests have been working on the management plan for several years.
Each of the forests has a separate management plan; the Wallowa-Whitman's dates to 1990. 
Management plans — typically known as "forest plans" — describe broad strategies for managing national forests but don't include specific projects such as timber sales, grazing allotments or road closures.
Although the potential effects for all three forests are being studied under a single EIS, each forest will have a separate management plan.

BMS girl’s essay wins prizes


By Chris Collins and Jayson Jacoby

Baker City Herald

When eighth-grader Kate Jesenko’s teacher announced the assignment in December, Kate didn’t dread the task ahead.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

The assignment from Chelsea Hurliman, who teaches at Baker Middle School, was more than just classwork.

It was also a contest — the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars “Patriots Pen” essay competition.

Hurliman wasn’t surprised that Kate, 13, earned an “A” on the assignment, in which Hurliman instructed Kate and her classmates to complete an essay on the topic of “What Patriotism Means to Me."


Bentz talks about GOP priorities for Legislature

Oregon’s Capitol in Salem. The Legislature begins a five-week session today.

By Pat Caldwell

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An Eastern Oregon Republican legislator said the GOP’s goals will be limited but a number of critical issues will take center stage in the short legislative session that begins today in Salem.

District 60 Representative Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), whose district includes Baker County, said the five-week session will present the Republican minority with an opportunity to review a number of initiatives set by Democrats.

“We (Republicans) are in the minority so when you are in the minority your goals are modest because you’re not in charge,” Bentz said.


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. 

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