Baker City herald. (Baker City, Or.) 1990-current, June 05, 2021, Image 1

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Serving Baker County since 1870 •
June 5, 2021
Local • Outdoors • Sports • TV
Good Day Wish
To A Subscriber
A special good day to
Herald subscriber Craig
Laeger of Baker City.
Local, 2A
After more than a year,
children will once again
gather for storytime with
Missy Grammon from the
Baker County Library.
Sports, 5A
Denver Nuggets were
undaunted, even when
down 14 points in the third
quarter and facing an an-
tagonistic Portland crowd.
Nikola Jokic had 36
points and the Nuggets
eliminated the Portland
Trail Blazers in six games
with a 126-115 victory
Thursday night, June 3.
Spencer Shirtcliff, BHS Class of 2020, And His Brother Payton, Class of
2021, Talk About How Pandemic Affected Their Senior Years
One Pandemic,
Two Graduates
Red Cross plans
blood drive in
Baker on June 14
The American Red Cross
has scheduled a blood
drive for Monday, June
14, from noon to 6 p.m. at
the Nazarene Church, 1250
Hughes Lane in Baker
City. Call Myrna Evans at
541-523-5368, or go online
to, to
schedule an appointment.
Blood donors will not be
required to wear a mask if
they are fully vaccinated
against COVID-19, but
they will need to bring an
immunization card if they
want to go without a mask.
Mostly sunny
74 / 40
Mostly sunny
The space below is for
a postage label for issues
that are mailed.
Baker City Herald
Baker County’s fi rst COVID-19 testing
clinic since early January brought 18 people
to a parking lot across from the Baker
County Health Department on Thursday,
June 3.
County offi cials have been focusing since
winter on vaccinating residents. But a
recent drop in the number of residents be-
ing tested for the virus has offi cials worried
about a rise in the test positivity rate push-
ing the county into a higher risk level, with
more stringent restrictions on businesses
and events.
Test positivity rate is one criterion the
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) uses to set
risk levels. The other is the number of cases.
Jason Yencopal, the county’s emergency
management director, said he appreci-
ated the people who took the free test on
As of Friday, he didn’t know whether any
of the tests was positive.
By Jayson Jacoby
Shirtcliff Family/Contributed Photo
The Shirtcliff family at a Baker High School football game in April 2021. From left, Beth, Spen-
cer, Payton and Matt.
72 / 37
By Jayson Jacoby
and Samantha O’Conner
Grad speaker
has been with
students for
all 13 years
draws 18
See Testing/Page 3A
72 / 37
By Jayson Jacoby
Spencer Shirtcliff lost his
senior prom and his gradua-
tion ceremony and his fi nal
high school baseball season to
COVID-19, but he concedes
things might have turned out
even worse.
He could have been his
Spencer, 19, glances at
Payton, who’s 18 months
younger and, more important
in this case, one year behind
at Baker High School.
Although Spencer laments
the larceny that the virus
committed on the last term of
his senior year, in the spring
of 2020, he has greater sym-
pathy for Payton and the BHS
Class of 2021.
“I felt really bad for you,”
Spencer said to Payton on the
warm, breezy evening of Mon-
day, May 31 in the shady back-
yard of the Shirtcliff family’s
Baker City home, fi ve days
before Payton’s 18th birthday
and six days before he was set
to receive his diploma.
“We had some normal for
our senior year,” Spencer said
to Payton. “You had none.”
Payton considers this.
And although he acknowl-
edges that his brother has a
point, Payton also feels that,
comparatively speaking, he
fared better than some of the
younger students at Baker
As Nicole Sullivan stands at the lectern
Sunday afternoon and gives the
Baker High School commence-
ment address, she’ll remember
when some of the faces gazing
up at her looked quite different.
Faces that had yet to lose a
single baby tooth.
Faces several years from a
fi rst blemish of acne.
Faces that revealed the nervousness of
children who have never been in a class-
Sullivan has an unusually close relation-
ship with many of the seniors who will
receive their diplomas on Sunday.
She taught some of them as kinder-
gartners in 2008, when she was a student
teacher in the Baker School District.
See Brothers/Page 3A
See Graduation/Page 2A
Byway makes
an early debut
■ A crew from Anthony Lakes
Mountain Resort plowed enough snow
to open one lane of the popular paved
route, usually closed until late June
By Jayson Jacoby
The Elkhorn Drive scenic byway is a 106-mile loop,
but by late spring in most years just a few sections of the
paved road, the total distance little longer than a football
fi eld, prevent drivers from making the full trip.
This would have been one of those years.
Until a crew from Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort got
Peter Johnson/Contributed Photo
See Byway/Page 6A One lane is open through snowdrifts on the Elkhorn Drive Byway.
Issue 11, 12 pages
Classified ............. 2B-4B
Comics ....................... 5B
Community News ....3A
Crossword ........2B & 4B
Dear Abby ................. 6B
Horoscope ........3B & 4B
Jayson Jacoby ..........4A
News of Record ........2A
Obituaries ..................2A
Opinion ......................4A
Outdoors ................... 1B
Senior Menus ...........2A
Sports .............. 5A & 6A
Turning Backs ...........2A
Weather ..................... 6B