The Baker County press. (Baker City, Ore.) 2014-current, November 25, 2016, Page 5, Image 5

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    FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2016
Variable speed limit meeting Dog deaths
Several of the ODOT
employees as well as OSP
officers agreed drivers are
aware of adverse condi-
tions as they are occurring
in the afore mentioned
areas, in other words it is
obvious conditions require
slower speeds to be safe,
but all too often drivers
drop down into the valley
and assume conditions are
no longer treacherous.
Unfortunately, that is
usually not the case.
Clark explained how
the system is designed to
The 30-mile stretch is
divided into three, 10-mile
A sensor placed in each
section controls what
happens in regards to the
speed displayed, including
any message as to why that
limit was adjusted, for ex-
ample ice or low visibility.
Clark, as well as Don
Fine and Dan Fine, who
have been instrumental in
inputting information into
the system, agree that in
the future more sensors
will only contribute to the
usefulness of the project
because as it stands now
a sensor could be detect-
ing ice on the road surface
triggering a speed change
that may reflect on a sign
several miles away from
the sensor where there may
not in fact be ice.
There was agreement
that some improvements
may need to happen in the
Triggers for the changes
in speed was another topic
of discussion especially
in areas where trucks are
required to stop and chain
up as road congestion is
another reason that may
trigger speed changes.
OSP questioned the abil-
ity to manually change the
signs based on conditions
they may be encountering
while on patrol, trigger-
ing an in-depth discus-
sion about what needs to
happen in a situation such
as that.
It was decided that local
dispatch would need to be
contacted or regional dis-
patch as in the case of OSP
who could then in turn get
in touch with ODOT for
evaluation as to whether
a manual override of the
system is necessary.
Another question raised
was how local agencies
would know if the signs
changed. Joey Jayo from
the Baker County Sher-
riff Department asked if
the information would be
available on the ODOT
tripchek website.
The answer to that ques-
tion was no, that is not
currently an availability
but is a good option for the
However, law enforce-
ment can scan the ODOT
radio channel for informa-
tion and all were given a
website that could also be
It was also discussed that
text and email notifications
were an option. Enforce-
ment of citations written
was also cause for concern
among law enforcement.
Data pertaining to a spe-
cific time and location are
recorded and stored.
If for any reason law
enforcement needs that
data, for example if a cita-
tion is contested, access to
that specific data will be
It was also noted by law
enforcement and ODOT,
both heard concerns from
the community that the
overhead signs also housed
That rumor was put
to rest with a clear and
concise no that this was not
the case.
It should also be noted
that roadside speed limit
signs have been removed
in the VSL area where the
overhead signs are to ease
confusion as speed limit
All other roadside signs
remain and signs stating
that a driver is entering a
variable speed limit area
have been placed both east
and west bound before
entering the area.
Roadside signs are also
visible stating when drivers
are leaving the VSL area.
Concern was raised that
more signage was needed
at freeway on ramps as
drivers are entering the
VSL area via a connecting
state highway and may not
realize they are entering a
VSL area.
This being the first of
its kind project in the
state ODOT’s Ace Clark
said that he would “Urge
patients” as the system is
“Not perfect.”
ODOT is hopeful that
with the success of this
VSL project, after working
out initial kinks, others in
the state will soon follow,
specifically mentioned
were Boardman to Pend-
leton and Mount Hood to
Don Fine and Dan Fine
of ODOT indicated that
they did have some spare
parts if repairs were needed
and everyone from ODOT
present at the meeting
encouraged drivers if they
encounter an issue or see
something not quite right
to notify dispatch immedi-
ately so that adjustments
can be made promptly.
The overhead signs
were hard wired to existing
power as solar power in
our area is not always reli-
able and can be sketchy.
As with every fiscal year
money was allocated for
this project in ODOT’s
yearly budget, basically in
lieu of other projects such
as smoothing out curves,
this project was prioritized
and completed.
There are also plans in
the near future to add a
third passing lane to the
Ladd Canyon area as an
ODOT project and replace
a failing culvert under the
freeway in that area.
Sex offender
sentenced to
14 years
Photo courtesy of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office.
David Lee Hayes
On November 22, 2016,
David Lee Hays (dob 1-20-
1947) of 1310 C St. Baker
City, OR, was sentenced to
168 months (14 years) in
Hays pled guilty to one
count of Unlawful Sexual
penetration in the Sec-
ond Degree, one count of
Sexual Abuse in the First
Degree and one count of
Attempted Sodomy in the
First Degree.
Seven other charges
were dismissed as part of
plea agreement with the
District Attorney’s Office.
The victim was a child
at the time of the offenses
and is now an adult.
The victim was known
to Mr. Hays.
Hays was sentenced to
75 months in prison on the
Unlawful Sexual Penetra-
tion charge.
He was sentenced to 75
months in prison on the
Sexual Abuse in the First
Degree charge with 33
months consecutive to the
Sexual Penetration charge
and 42 months concurrent.
He was also sentenced
to an additional 60 months
for the Attempted Sodomy
in the First Degree charge
which also ran consecutive
to the other counts.
Hays will be on post-
prison supervision for
60 months following his
prison terms and will be
required to complete sex
offender treatment and
register as a sex offender
upon release.
District Attorney Matt
Shirtcliff said in a press
release on Monday, “We
wanted Mr. Hays to receive
a lengthy prison sentence
as a result of these crimes
as they have caused signifi-
cant trauma to the victim.
“It was also important
for the victim to have the
case resolved without a
trial. The victim was very
pleased with the result of
the sentence.”
Chief Wyn Lohner confirmed that at least one other
citizen has come to the Department to discuss the death
of a dog. However, when a citizen declines officer contact
or would prefer not to have a case opened, it becomes im-
possible for police to assist beyond the initial discussion.
Sherman said she plans on working with the police in
the hope of finding some answers, if indeed there is a
poisoning problem in town.
Lohner did say that the one case they are currently in-
vestigating regarding a possible dog poisoning was likely
not related to any other potential poisoning due to the
specific details of that case.
The most common symptoms are listed below, but not
all patients experience every symptom or the same sever-
ity: Sore throat, malaise, lesions inside the mouth, red
rash, without itching but occasionally with blistering, on
the hands, feet and around the mouth, fever, irritability in
infants, and loss of appetite.
The Center for Disease Control states that there is no
treatment for the disease. It has a limited life span, and
will run its course. CDC recommends treatment of indi-
vidual symptoms, such as NSAIDS for fever and pain.
There are also no preventative measures which can be
taken before an outbreak. General good hygiene practices
are always helpful, such as frequent hand-washings.
The most common victims of the virus are young
children. Most youngsters do not practice especially good
hygiene and are less likely to protect themselves from
possible contagion.
However, older children and adults are also potential
victims, and may even carry the virus without experienc-
ing any symptoms.
The duration of the illness is normally seven to 10
days. However, Mayo Clinic warns "although your child
is most contagious with hand-foot-and-mouth disease
during the first week of the illness, the virus can remain
in his or her body for weeks after the signs and symptoms
are gone. That means your child still can infect others."
Pine Eagle Charter School requires that children's spots
be healed before their return to school.
Several parents elected to keep their healthy children
home today, in an attempt to avoid contagion.
Candi Mader said "I'm keeping my daughter home.
Don't want to risk the baby getting it also."
Jayme Shouse stated, "My daughter has a cold and I
didn't want to expose her to anything else while her resis-
tance is down."
With the five-day Thanksgiving Break beginning
Wednesday, the hope is that the disease will have run its
course by the time the students return on Monday.
Man shot in leg
On November 23, 2016 at about 2:13 a.m., Baker City
Police received a report from the Emergency Department
at the St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City that a
patient had been brought in with a gunshot wound.
Baker City Police Department (BCPD) Officers re-
sponded to the hospital and found the victim was Joshua
John William Kepner, (03/16/1985), who had sustained
a gunshot wound to the upper left leg. Kepner was later
transported by ambulance to St. Alphonsus Medical
Center in Boise.
At this time police believe that the wound was
sustained by a bullet fired from a handgun, which was re-
covered, and that it occurred in the backyard of Kepner’s
residence at 1188 Washington Avenue in Baker City. The
wound is suspected to have been self-inflicted.
The Baker County Major Crime Team was called out
to investigate the shooting. Members of the Baker County
Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Baker County
District Attorney’s Office arrived to assist BCPD person-
At this time the investigation is ongoing and there
have been no charges filed.
Theater auditions
Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre is proud to announce
auditions for "The Odd Couple-female version" on Dec
5th and 6th at 6:00pm at the Irongate Theatre in the Bas-
che Mall in Baker City, Ore.
Director, Leanne Hinkle is looking for six women and
two men for the production which will open Feb 10th,
2017 for a two weekend run.
Even the best of friends can make the worst of room-
mates. Neil Simon’s mismatched couple is butting heads
again in this gender twist on his mega-popular 1965
comedy. It’s now the 80’s as messy Olive Madison and
neat freak Florence Unger come to live together follow-
ing their respective failed marriages. But it’s a hilariously
challenged pairing as these two, with the help of a circle
of Trivial Pursuit-playing friends and a pair of hand-
some Spanish neighbors, survive three weeks as the most
mismatched roommates of all time.
For further information please contact Director Leanne
Hinkle at 541-554-5549.