Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

What's great about Baker? Here's a list to get started

As I attended the OPB broadcast from Bull Ridge Brew Pub last week, I started thinking about Baker City. One thing came to me: the sense of pride we all have about our town. Sure, there are some things that aren't great but there are people and things I realize make me proud and should make us all proud.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Dave Johnson and Baker High football team. Two state championships in three years. Need I say more?

2. Our agricultural community. Farmers like Brent Kerns and his family, and the Blatchfords and others, produce a huge amount of the best potatoes anywhere.

3. Our ranching community, like Rob Thomas and his family with innovative breeding techniques produce some of the best Angus bulls in the country.

4. Dwight and Barbara Sidway, who took over a dilapidated building in our city center and made it into a regional treasure by dint of hard work and long hours.

5. Bev Calder who took a small wine shop into the spotlight and then expanded it into La Grande. A tourist stop without tackiness.

6. Bill Brown and Tyler Brown and their family who started a unique restaurant and brewery which regularly wins national championships and which is now expanding to a new building.

7. Mary Stevenson who started with a dream in the middle of the worst recession in the history of the country and has made a beautiful, quiet facility for us to enjoy, and is now expanding.

8. Anthony Lakes Ski Area. Best powder in Oregon. Enough said.

9. Richard and Kathleen Chaves. Hometown boy makes good and keeps it at home. Look at the Sports Complex, the Crossroads/Carnegie Art Center and, now, the Old Post Office. All done with class.

10. Brian and Corrine Vegter. They operate under the radar but are integral in many community projects including the Elkhorn Classic bicycle race and the annual turkey trot. Now involved in a bike path along the old Sumpter Valley right of way. Talented artists.

11. Heidi Dalton. Although only on the job for several months as director of the YMCA she has already transformed the institution and is dynamically leading it into a new facility for the benefit of all of us.

12. John Wilson and Beef Northwest. Know how many cattle they feed? Don't ask. They are supplying a large (and tasty) protein source to the west.

13. Barbara McNeil andndash; Zephyrs. She chose Baker City over Manhattan. That has to count.

14. Randy and Mary Jane Guyer. He is head of a large accounting firm and they are both constantly involved in community civic projects, usually as leaders.

15. Tabor Clarke, who almost singlehandedly over many years developed the Leo Adler Memorial Parkway, giving our town a scenic foot and bicycle pathway along our beautiful river.

There are, I'm sure, many others that affect you and that I have not mentioned. Just keep them in mind when someone "disses" our town.

Dave Coughlin is a Baker City attorney.

Keep America safe; defend the Second Amendment

As we Americans, and our elected officials, struggle to make sense of the increasing violence by armed mass murderers, the issue of revisiting our Second Amendment rights is again at the top of the list as a foundational contributing factor to the senseless slaughter we have recently witnessed. Over the last 20 years we have seen mass killings in public schools, Amish schools, universities, military bases, (where arms were unavailable to the military personnel victims, but stored in the armory), churches, Hindu temples, theaters, nursing homes, beauty salons, political gatherings, shopping malls, parking lots, etc;....... one venue has been noticeably absent from the list. There has never been a mass shooting at a gun show. One needs not to spend much mental energy to figure out why. The greatest deterrent to an armed criminal, or even an armed mentally ill person seeking to take innocent lives, (as evidenced in the venues where these attacks occur), is the realization his evil actions may be countered by law-abiding armed citizens.

So as you hear the media attacking Second Amendment rights (which began again Monday on NBC Morning Show), remember the only certain deterrent to unlawful deadly force, is lawful deadly force. The Nazis well understood that concept. Murderers and terrorists will always be with us. Guns will always be with us, regardless of legislation. As with illegal drugs, where there is a demand there is a supply, generated by those who seek to thwart the law.

Conversely, a gun is not always the preferred weapon, as we saw in the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history, when on 9/11/2001, a few crazed Muslim extremists slaughtered 3,000 innocent people, using box cutters, jet engines, and jet-A fuel. One (sane) legally armed citizen on each of those aircraft, or at Sandy Hook School, could have made a huge difference in the loss of innocent life.

Keep American safe.... defend our Second Amendment right.

Don Williams

Baker City

Local residents did Baker proud on OPB's 'Think Out Loud'

One of my favorite Oregon Public Radio programs, "Think Out Loud," was recorded in Baker City last week. It was a wonderful program. All the speakers were enthusiastic, factual and positive about life in Baker County.

Barbara Sidway, TImothy Bishop, Mark Ferns, Ginger Savage, Rob Thomas, Richard Chaves and several others let the rest of Oregon know how lucky we are to live in Baker County.

Frances Burgess

Baker City