Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

We need more published proof of crypto

Dozens of Baker City residents have recently suffered from digestive illnesses, blamed on cryptosporidium.

The only way to confirm that cryptosporidium caused the illnesses, is by multiple lab tests of the people who got sick. Most of these would then have to show a preponderance of the little beasties, in at least a majority of the affected people.

Remember, those who have gotten sick represent a tiny fraction (roughly, less than one percent) of people who've been drinking city water without getting sick. Also, scores of other factors can cause similar digestive diseases.

Since the incident, there has been a huge surge of local bottled water sales. A lot of money has been spent to find these micro-organisms in the water supply. Some local businesses have taken an especially hard financial hit while they weigh their options on how to proceed.

Still, no one has seen the proof.The city has in the past published its lab test results. Couldn't the Baker County Health Department do the same?

The lab test results of those afflicted could surely remain anonymous, right?

After all, if businesses stand to lose thousands of dollars, and the City itself is being pressured to spend millions, shouldn't we have more proof than just "officials confirm"?What officials? How did they confirm? Where's the beef?

L.E. Castillo

Baker City

Public works director not to blame for crypto

Your editorial last Friday blaming Public Works Director Michelle Owen for the outbreak of cryptosporidium is profoundly wrong. She is not responsible for any delay in reporting. Nor is anyone else in city government, except the City Council. Responsibility for the problem is found elsewhere. The delay in question is not in testing and reporting but in preventing.

In November 2009 Ms. Owen reported to the Council that the federal Environmental Protection Agency had enacted municipal water treatment rules and that the city is required to comply with them. Thereafter, she and City Manager Mike Kee have advised the City Council on numerous occasions that compliance was not only required but, stating the obvious, it made sense to protect against cryptosporidium.

The vocal opponents of compliance were Councilors Dennis Dorrah and Roger Coles. City water was tested and in November 2011 the Council was advised that cryptosporidium had been found. Ms. Owen and Manager Kee again urged compliance with the federal rule. Coles and Dorrah were opposed and were able to persuade a majority of the Council to vote against compliance. At a later Council meeting Councilor Dorrah said he was content to pay the fine and wait for a problem.

Well, the problem has arrived. You should investigate the foregoing and then state an informed opinion. With the facts, you will discover that Michelle Owen is not the villain.

Milo Pope

Baker City

Wind farms could be a boon to Huntington area

This letter is in regards to the Baker County Planning Commission's decision to deny the proposal to allow Oregon Wind Farms to operate wind turbines in the Huntington area. We, as Huntington residents are disappointed with the committee's lack of knowledge of the area as well as an understanding of the needs of the community. We are equally disturbed that the eastern part of the county has no representation in this area of county government.

No offense to Mr. Joseph, but why is he allowed to operate a power generating system in this part of the county and you won't allow anyone else to? There appears to be a general lack of regard for the Huntington area citizens and the potential for economic growth that is so desperately needed here. As Baker County's second-largest city (like it or not) we pay our share of county taxes and seem to fall short in reaping any benefits.

As to the argument about the aesthetics of wind turbines in the area, the proposed land to be used is primarily range land and isn't generally visited for its scenic value. There is a much bigger blight aesthetically speaking in our area that is controlled by Baker County and is visible to every single vehicle that travels through on the interstate. I am of course referring to the old Lime plant.

Many citizens in Huntington wholeheartedly support the endeavors of Oregon Wind Farms. We feel that our voices need to be heard and taken into consideration. We personally own property and a business in Huntington. Our children attend school here. We have a very large, personal vested interest in the future of this part of the county, which is why we are writing this letter in support of Mr. Steiner's proposal. For these and many other reasons, we urge the County Commissioners to approve the appeal and allow us as a community to move forward into the future.

Chuck and Shelley Guerri


Shrine weekend is a true community effort

The Baker County Shrine Club would like to thank all the people that made the 2013 East-West Shrine Football game. As always, Baker School District 5J had the field and facilities in top shape and showcased our community. A big thank you to the Baker County Livestock Association and the Cattlewomen for the Shrine Steer and the breakfast. The Quarterback Club put on a great barbecue for the players and the community. A special thank you to the Haines Stampede for their Shrine roping event which garnered $3,000 for the Shriners Hospital.

We are proud and gratified to see how our hospitality industry reacted to the emergency water issues and continued to make Shrine weekend a special time for our visitors. It is a tribute to them that the weekend was a huge success and the Shrine Hospital and the kids will benefit.

There are too many people to individually thank but you know who you are. This is a community effort and because of your efforts, the weekend is a great success.

Thanks again for a great weekend and we look forward to next year's game.

Fred Warner Jr.

Baker County Shrine President