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Spring scourge and shedding willows

Willow trees and dogs have more in common than you might have thought.

One thing, anyway.

Which, given the general dissimilarity between animals and plants, perhaps is one more thing than you expected.

Both shed.

Copiously at times.

I don’t own a dog so this attribute in canines, which I understand can be especially acute among the more hirsute breeds, poses no problem for me.

Or my furniture.

Letters to the Editor for April 29, 2016

Nichols knows how to run the county efficiently

 I support Bruce Nichols for Baker County commissioner. He is smart. He has been an accountant for decades. He knows the math, and the numbers in a budget spreadsheet, to run a county efficiently. Because he has worked with these numbers for years, his business has been auditing city governments for years. He knows what it takes to have efficient government, a government that has a balanced budget.

This is so important. He has worked with local employees on these issues, for years.

I trust Bruce, he is an easygoing, and happy person.

He needs to be our next Baker County Commissioner.

Lisa Rimer


Nichols’ financial background vital for county

There is an unusually important primary election for the Republican Baker County Commissioner coming up May 17. We have only three county commissioners thus each can have a decisive role in county governance. All three candidates are conservative Republicans but there are unusually important differences. See the candid statements at bakercounty.org.

Bruce Nichols is of old family in the area and an accountant who has audited budgets of Baker County cities including Halfway where he is well-respected. Bruce spoke here and impressed me with his experience and ideas for dealing with county budgets, organization, and legal and personnel issues as they affect efficiency and business development. This background is so important to a council whose overwhelming mandate is to manage our $6 million budget and to promote local prosperity. He will advocate strongly for unnecessary regulation and has vowed to work toward advantageous relations with federal and state agencies.

Kody Justus is a community volunteer and rancher who has little small government knowledge. His candidate statement speaks to little other than pushback against the Forest Service, BLM and government overreach. He is a past coordinator for the Baker County Oathkeepers as he reported in his candidate statement. A fact that he did not acknowledge in last week’s Republican forum. If you don’t know what this fringe organization really represents you should. Their website features photos of militia activities with assault weapons. They vow to uphold the Constitution with a capital C. This is code for interpreting their own view of the constitution following the “intent of the founding fathers.” They do not generally support our Supreme Court. I would be more than afraid of their courts. Mr. Justus uses this quote and capital C constitution in his candidate statement. He supports local control of public lands. How would this work? He also reportedly brought food to the Malheur occupiers. 

Kody should put his efforts into effective organizations like the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association or the NRA, or Greg Walden’s efforts on forest utilization. They support a democracy that has lasted more than 200 years.

Steve White


Nichols will make sure tax dollars are spent wisely

I am writing this letter in support of Bruce Nichols for Baker County Commissioner. In the years I have known Bruce I have found him to be  honest, fair and of high integrity. I think he is the strongest choice for County Commissioner and one who will question and work within the budget to ensure that the citizens are receiving the best value for their local tax dollars. He is aware of all the issues in the county and will work within the law to address them. He will also be committed to keeping Baker County a friendly and supportive environment where small businesses can continue to grow or be welcomed to start or relocate here.

Please join me in voting for Bruce Nichols for Baker County Commissioner.

Mitch Southwick

Baker City

Elect Bruce Nichols as commissioner

Republican voters in Baker County have three legitimate candidates to choose from as they decide who they want to represent them as a county commissioner.

But we believe Bruce Nichols is the strongest candidate, and we urge Republicans to vote for him in the May 17 primary.

With no other non-GOP candidates in the race, the winner of the Republican primary likely will replace Tim L. Kerns on the three-member Board of Commissioners starting in January 2017.

The Herald’s editorial board — publisher Kari Borgen, reporter Chris Collins and editor Jayson Jacoby — interviewed Nichols and the two other GOP candidates, Kody Justus and Jeff Nelson.

We believe all three were motivated to run by a sincere desire to help Baker County thrive, and we think that’s admirable.

We also believe each candidate has something substantial to offer his potential constituents.

But we think Nichols would bring the most to the Board of Commissioners, and to county residents.

Letters to the Editor for April 27, 2016

Justus will protect our constitutional rights

I have had the pleasure of watching Kody Justus working behind the scenes for the past year and a half.....as a concerned citizen, without compensation, due to his dedication to the people of Baker County, as well as his desire to see that the Constitution, reigns supreme, in Baker County. Those who support this Constitution are NOT radicals, as those on the Left decry. When I was growing up, those who defended the Constitution were referred to as patriots, not radicals. 

Just consider how effective Justus can be as our next county commissioner, with the authority, power and desire to accomplish the real will of the people. I have witnessed his passion for Baker County and his dedication to the people of Baker County in dealing with abuses to both, when the Constitution has been ignored by the federal and state government.

County let dollars slip away

“Slipped through the cracks” is a nice enough metaphor, but it’s not one we like to hear when the substance that slipped away is public money.

Baker County Commission Chairman Bill Harvey used that metaphor last week in describing the lapse of the county’s lease with Union Pacific Railroad.

The railroad owns the property near 10th and Broadway where the county-owned Sumpter Valley Railroad Depot sits. The county moved the historic building there about 20 years ago.

Letters to the Editor for April 22, 2016

Troubled by Nichols’ answers; I’m voting for Justus

Tuesday night I attended the Baker County Republican forum for the County Commissioner candidates.

I found the inconsistencies of statements made by Bruce Nichols absolutely amazing.  Any questions about blocking government overreach, Nichols just rolled over — he would not stand up for Baker County or Baker County citizens on any issue.

The inconsistencies of his answers to other issues are also a concern. When asked about his involvement in a Baker County ranch issue regarding  range land and alfalfa fields being destroyed by two companies Nichols was CEO of, Nichols responded he was not CEO nor in a decision-making role.  Yet, Baker County recorded special warranty deeds (B10150075 and B10150076) clearly show Mr. Nichols’ signature on these deeds for these companies with the title of “CEO” in April of 2010.  

Nichols also skirted around the issue of and would not commit to his position on the consolidation of law enforcement in Baker County, which is contrary to his recorded event in Halfway on April 1 and other statements he has made.  

Nichols’ final comment to candidate Kody Justus was rude and arrogant. Is this really the temperament we need as a Commissioner? I don’t think so. Please join me in voting for Kody Justus for Baker County Commissioner.  

Suzie Dyke

Baker City

Justus would stand against federal overreach

At the April 1 meeting in Halfway for Commissioner Candidate Bruce Nichols, I asked if a similar situation as what happened in Harney County happened in Baker County would he consider it an “overreach” of the federal government.

Mr. Nichols was not sure what was meant by overreach, so I explained to him that, if the government is acting beyond the boundaries of the law, would you consider that overreach. Nichols stalled and kept saying this was a court issue.  I responded that courts can be swayed, which Nichols agreed this was true, but further said he would have to follow the law.

I again asked would you be willing to help an individual citizen in Baker County who was having similar problems as the Hammond Family had in Harney County with the BLM. Mr. Nichols responded, “Not that individual, no. Because they violated the law.”

My response, “That’s what I needed to know.”  I would just like to tell Mr Nichols that following illegal laws or ignoring illegal overreach is not following your sworn oath of office. My vote on May 17 is for Kody Justus. Baker County does not need another bureaucrat as a commissioner.

Tom Huff


Justus will stand up for Baker County residents

While living in Utah in 1996, I well remember when nearly 2 million acres were stolen by the Clinton administration in the Escalante land-grab. It cost the local folks their jobs, new business, and millions in lost taxes and future royalty revenues. President Clinton claimed not to support this, but he lied. Big surprise.

Backing this Utah land grab was David Hunsaker, then a BLM manager. This is the same man who now calls Kody Justus’ supporters “radical” in their support of states’ rights and local autonomy and economy. Mr. Hunsaker used the excuse of a “drought” to permanently rob ranchers of grazing rights in Utah. He has a long history of fighting ranchers, cattle associations, county officials, and local economy.

Secondly, it scares me that Mr. Hunsaker and others with ties to big government and liberal agendas are presently throwing political weight behind Bruce Nichols. I wonder why.  His platform seems to be nothing more than the status quo, and he presents zero ambition in defending this county from federal assaults on our lands and byways, even saying he wants to “soften the approach” regarding our access to forest roads. Do we want that?

Kody Justus has noble priorities. He circulates among the people, knows the people, and will work diligently to ensure that Baker County retains an equal footing with federal agencies like the BLM and Forest Service when it comes to our mountain roads, local resource management, and 2nd Amendment rights. Kody has lifelong history as a rancher; he’s carried certification from the Oregon Department of Safety Standards and Training and has worked for the corrections industry. Kody has a clean and honest record since making positive changes earlier in his life.  

Don’t let Mr. Hunsaker demonize and intimidate you by classifying you as a “strident vocal minority,” as if you are ignorant of a true cause and purpose. You are the majority. You are this county.  This election is about you, me, and our way of life. Vote Justus for Baker County.

Jake Brown


Surprised again by the sneaky spring snowdrift

The spring snowdrift is a curious creature, generally benign and almost always photogenic, but also occasionally malevolent.

Especially to your feet.

And possibly other parts.

If the day is not too warm, and the drift is not too exposed to sunlight, you can hike atop the snow almost as easily as if on bare ground.

Yes on weed, mosquito, library levies

The term “quality of life” can be broadly defined but we think almost everyone would agree that a place which boasts a robust library district, and where taxpayers contribute to controlling both disease-spreading mosquitoes and the economic damage of noxious weeds, qualifies as a good place to live.

Baker County is such a place.

And we urge voters to help keep it so by approving three measures on the May 17 ballot.

Letters to the Editor for April 20, 2016

I’m voting to continue the Baker County Library levy

Branch libraries in Haines, Halfway, Richland, Sumpter and Unity are the ties that bind far-flung Baker County communities together. The unique local buildings provide a gathering place, meeting space and learning center. The local librarians provide access to resources across the nation, programs to enrich the lives of Baker County residents from children to senior citizens and help to learn, expand and grow for all their patrons.

A yes vote in our May primary election to renew the library levy at no increase in your current taxes will continue this service to all of Baker County and provide a base to access grants and programs to keep our library one of the finest in the state.

Dotty Miles

North Powder resident,

 Baker County taxpayer

We’re backing Justus for Baker County Commissioner

We support Kody Justus for Baker County Commissioner because in our experience with Kody, he has always been insightful and considerate to our issues.

It is our feeling that Kody is a strong and responsible man who will meet the needs of the Baker County Commissioner position.

Linda and Bob Oelke

Baker City

Justus is the candidate Baker County needs

As I have looked at the different people running for County Commissioner, I have narrowed down my choice to the person who appears to best suit our needs, here in Baker County.

We do not need a transplant from other regions to tell us how to handle our local problems. We need someone who has lived and earned his living here and understands the needs of the people of the entire county, not just the townsfolk. Someone who graduated from BHS and served in the military to defend the rights of us all to be able to actually voice our opinions without fear of governmental retribution. That someone is Kody Justus.

If you check his Facebook page you will find the  quote “I used to pray for somebody to speak out, to stand up to defend our liberties, then I realized I am somebody.”  This is the kind of person I want to stand up to the folks who wish to destroy our way of life in Eastern Oregon.

I am quite upset over the slanderous opinions voiced in one newspaper. For that person just remember what the Bible says, “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone ...”

On that note I suggest you look at the man he has become and cast your vote for Kody Justus, a man for us all.

Peggie Longwell

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for April 18, 2016

Justus responds to criticism about his criminal record

My closest supporters have asked that I make a comment in response to some of the numerous negative articles and editorials in which I have been the target for one newspaper lately. Those who know me know that like most people, I’m not lily white. I think what is most shocking to those around me is the eagerness of some to throw stones at a man and his family simply because they support a competing candidate or point of view.

I was admittedly wrong back in 1994. I did not seek defense then nor do I seek it now.  I own my mistakes. Over the years I’ve done everything Biblically outlined to reshape my life and make it right. I can do no more than what God requires to accomplish this — and yet it seems somehow the editor of a local newspaper feels she must require more of me even than God.  What can a person say in response to that?

Instead, I believe it far more productive to focus on my plans for Baker County. For some reason many seem to think I acted without thought and am regretting my decision to visit the Refuge in Burns. Though I regret my decisions from 1994, I do not regret this one. I value the insight I obtained from talking to those who were there as well as those who visited. That insight has added to the knowledge and wisdom I would carry into the position of County Commissioner.  

It has been nearly two and a half decades since that time of shaky judgment in my youth. Since then, I have gained skills, knowledge and wisdom. I have a beautiful family, deep roots in the community and a faith I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have worked hard to build a solid base from which to serve Baker County and all its residents — and if I know anything, it’s hard work. I ask for your vote for County Commissioner. 

Kody Justus

Baker City

Editor’s note: Justus is referring in part to a recent editorial in the Record-Courier, which referenced his conviction for domestic abuse in 1994 and a diversion agreement for drunken driving.


American patriots: a tradition 241 years strong

It was 241 years ago today — April 18, 1775 — that Paul Revere, William Dawes and a 13-year-old girl whose name escapes me at this time, made their midnight ride to warn Samuel Adams, John Hancock and the Boston Patriots that the British Army was coming to arrest them.

The next day, April 19, 1775, about 5 a.m., 700 British troops arrived at Lexington, Massachusetts, to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia. Soon after, the “shot heard around the world” was fired. Eight Americans lay dead and another 10 were wounded. The American Revolution had begun.

Citizens all, we must never dismiss the agony since that day until today, 241 years later, that our patriots have endured to secure and maintain our freedom.

May God continue to bless America.

Bill Hanley

Baker City

Nichols would bring needed perspective to county

My husband and I are supporting Bruce Nichols for County Commissioner. I had the pleasure of working with Bruce for three years on the Baker City budget committee.  As with all volunteers, the giving of his time, input and expertise was very much appreciated.

We are confident that Bruce Nichols will be a great addition and bring a needed perspective to our County Commission.  Please remember to vote, and please join us in supporting Bruce Nichols.

Gail and Ray Duman

Baker City

Nichols has tools to help make Baker County better

We are ranchers in Baker County. There are so many projects form fencing, keeping machinery running properly, irrigating, growing and harvesting crops and keeping livestock healthy. We learn by using the right tools so things go well.  As problems arise we use those tools and the knowledge we have to successfully take care of the problem and even make it better than it was.  

We have known Bruce Nichols for many years. We know that he has the right tools and the knowledge to help solve all the different problems that come up in the county and make Baker County a better and a great place for all of us to live and enjoy. We will be voting for Bruce Nichols and recommend you also vote for Bruce Nichols.

Bob and Marilyn Harrison

Baker City

Vocal minority is too radical; we support Nichols

When we as electors of our representatives exercise our right to vote, we freely choose to participate in a process guided by our Constitution…all of it…not just those pieces with which we agree. When our Founding Fathers divided our government’s functions into its three component parts, they presciently included processes for resolving disagreements that were surely to spring up through the years as the messy job of implementing a new form of self-government began.

We as voters retain the ultimate power of representing ourselves and of amending the Constitution if we deem it necessary. We as individuals may disagree as to the meaning of the language of the Constitution…thus the founders saw fit to include the legal process for redress: the federal court system. We may personally disagree with some of the Supreme Court’s decisions as well as ones from the lower courts. But we must recognize the legitimate role the legal system plays in this process.

We also recognize the only legitimate avenue for change is engagement in our process. When we see some of the outrageous acts committed by a loud, raucous and disrespectful minority, we are reminded of our commitment to act within the confines of our republic and remain hopeful that others will too. We are committed to electing thoughtful, open-minded, informed, honest and capable representatives at all levels who share our commitment to this country and its principles. That is why we encourage others to join us in voting for Bruce Nichols.

The candidate for Baker County Commissioner who is supported by the strident vocal minority is just too radical for us…and for Baker County.

Dave and Joyce Hunsaker

Baker City

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