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July 1, 2010 Front Page

Photo and story by Tammy Bloom
Ground Breaking — From left, Alice Trindle, Baker County Planning Commissioner, Betty Mathews (Forest Service), Steve Ellis, supervisor of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; Jen Fitzpatrick (Forest Service), Bruce Nash with High Desert Aggregate and Paving and Bill Junnila of Anthony Lakes, break ground June 24 for a $1.98 million road project on the Anthony Lakes Highway.

The Elkhorn Drive Road Reconstruction Project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Project begins at the forest boundary where the Federal Highway Project ended two years ago, and continues approximately 10 miles to the junction of Forest Road 43 (past the Anthony Lake Ski area).

High Desert Aggregate and Paving Inc. of Redmond is the general contractor for the project, which includes slope stabilization, culvert replacement, asphalt res-surfacing and erosion control.
The public can expect up to one hour long delays on the road throughout the summer. Completion is expected by late fall 2010.

City Council Approves Budget Cuts Of Three Positions, City Manager Resigns

by Mark Bogart
After failing to reach agreement on a budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 22, the Baker City Council got the job done at a special meeting the following day.  However, the repercussions of that spending plan have included the loss of three management level positions and the resignation of the city manager (see related article Page 4).

Tuesday’s meeting was complicated by the expected loss of revenue resulting from the City Budget Committee’s plan to eliminate funding for economic development from budget. Before it could reach a final decision, the City Council had to figure out how to apply the loss of revenue without significantly reducing its projected unexpended ending fund balance (the money needed at the end of one year in order to carry over into the next).  Further complicating the decision was a combination of confusion and mixed feelings about the staffing needed for the police department. 

Baker County Commissioners Consider Taking Over Operation Of Ski Resort

By Jason Smith
The Baker County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday, June 23, to discuss contract reviews, documents to be signed, and document ratifications.  Among the topics discussed was whether Baker County should take over Anthony Ski Lakes’ lease and assets and the current situation with wolves in Oregon.

The owners of Ski Anthony Lakes had recently submitted a proposal to Baker County in which the county would take over the ski area operation, ownership of buildings and other assets, as well as the lease with the Forest Service.

“Anthony Lakes is a valuable asset for Baker County,” said Fred Warner Jr., County Commissioner Chair, “and I think the same can be said for Union County.” It had recently been hoped that Union County would partner with Baker County on an interim basis to operate the resort. Warner, however,  said  although Union County commissioners had not officially looked at this, they did not seem interested in being a full-fledged partner.

BLM Makes Improvements To Virtue Flat Staging Area

By Jason Smith
The Bureau of Land Management is making extensive improvements to its staging area at Virtue Flat, just off State Highway 86, about 11 miles east of Baker City. For ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) riders, that means their tax dollars are going to work.

The ATV fund was created in 1985 to provide off-road recreation financial support from gas tax revenue for off-road ATV use. According to the Oregon OHV guide, OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) riders have a unique opportunity in Oregon because they support the OHV program when they purchase operating permits and pay taxes on their OHV fuel.  “It's a program paid for by the user for the user,” states the OHV guide.

Opinion Poll
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Wednesday, 07 July 2010