50 YEARS AGO

from the Democrat-Herald

December 29, 1970

The Haines-Hot Lake area north of Baker is a prospective geothermal area studied by the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries as a possible source of electric power generation. Exploration in this area is expected to get under way next year.

25 YEARS AGO

from the Baker City Herald

December 29, 1995

If your job is to remove snow from Northeastern Oregon’s roads, you were busy today, from Baker Valley to Ladd Canyon and Meacham.

And it is on days like this that a chemical that can prevent the falling snow from sticking on the pavement seems a magic elixir.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has such a substance: liquid magnesium chloride.

The transportation department sprayed magnesium chloride on highways in several parts of the state, including Northeastern, during a two-year study that ended last winter; officials found it worked well under certain conditions.

10 YEARS AGO

from the Baker City Herald

December 29, 2010

By all standards save that of a true desert, no year in Baker City could reasonably be described as wet.

The soggiest year on record here — 1978, when precipitation (rain and melted snow combined) totaled 15.76 inches — is well short of the liquid onslaught that, say, Salem typically endures between Halloween and Easter.

Baker City’s annual average of 10.68 inches barely keeps us out of the same category as the Mojave or the Sahara.

ONE YEAR AGO

from the Baker City Herald

December 30, 2019

Rocky Brown pretty much grew up as a “Les Schwab boy,” as he puts it, and he hopes his family’s association with perhaps the most iconic name in the Northwest tire business will continue for decades to come.

Brown and his brother, Jim, own Lew Brothers Tire Service Inc., a business that’s been operating in Baker City for 103 years.

The tire store has been under the ubiquitous red-and-yellow Les Schwab sign since 1970, and so the Browns had a personal stake in the recent announcement that Les Schwab Tires, a private firm based in Bend, is up for sale.

“There’s certainly some unknowns,” said Rocky Brown, who with his brother bought the business in 1984 from their father, Pleas Brown. “All of our heads are just kind of spinning.”

(Pleas Brown died in 2010.)

But the situation for Lew Brothers is different from that of the majority of the stores branded as Les Schwab retailers.

Of the approximately 500 stores in 10 western states, about 435 are owned by the company, Rocky Brown said.

But Lew Brothers is among the 65 independently owned stores that operate under the Les Schwab banner but remain separate business entities, Brown said.

“Les Schwab is our supplier,” he said.

Brown said it seems logical to him that if a company buys Les Schwab, it would want to keep the name — and the reputation that goes with it.

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