In this age of pervasive sex and violence in popular culture, of divorce and decay of the family, of social problems and parental irresponsibility, of declining ethical standards and morality, it’s refreshing to see people doing the right thing. That was true in the case of the recent home fire on Ash Street. Doing the right thing meant racing into flames to rescue neighbors and loved ones. It meant risking lives to save others.
We have high expectations of our candidates for governor. We expect them to listen without rendering immediate judgment, to learn and lead. We expect them to be problem solvers and to be people of character.
That’s why it came as a big surprise that most of the candidates have spotty voting records. According to a newspaper survey, Republican contenders Allen Alley missed 22 of 42 elections, Chris Dudley missed seven of 13 elections and Bill Sizemore missed 14 of 42 elections. Democratic ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber, meantime, missed five of the last 13 elections.
Small acts of personal innovation and service can make the community a better place to live. For evidence, look no further than the Books-N-Bites program, in which students from Greenwood and Island City elementary schools have donated 500 children’s books to local restaurants.
The purpose of the program, according to Ellen Lester, the library-media specialist for the schools, is to encourage children to read while they wait for their meals. Her goal was to get 100 books from each school. The kids more than doubled expectations.
Measures 66 and 67 that appear on the Jan. 26 ballot have resulted in a
divided state. We have the Legislature to thank for that, since
apparently it had business groups saying they could support a temporary
tax on high-income individuals and an increase in corporate taxes. But
the Legislature went ahead with a permanent tax increase anyway. The
opposition rose up, passed around signature petitions and forced a veto
vote onto the ballot.
Caught in the middle are the kids in public schools, college students,
public safety services and recipients of public social services. If
Measures 66 and 67 go down on Jan. 26, the state will be lacking about
$733 million a year that was included in state budgets for the 2009-11
The Grande Ronde Valley lost one of its agricultural pioneers and
mainstays and a good community citizen with the death Dec. 31 of
Weishaar left a positive mark on all he touched, whether it was his
involvement in agriculture and related organizations, or his
contributions to the community through his involvement in a wide
assortment of groups, from the Lions Club to the Oregon Trail Electric
Weishaar, in fact, was a founding member of OTEC, the cooperative that
was formed as a way to meet the region’s electrical needs upon the
departure of CP National Corp. Stan was among the group of people who
worked valiantly back in the 1980s to put the co-op together, and who
offered to serve on the fledgling utility’s board. His commitment never
waned; he served continuously on the board until just recently, when he
announced he would step down from the elected position.
Whether it’s firefighters, emergency medical technicians, mail carriers or even long-lost relatives visiting for the holidays, having a home properly identified will pay dividends. Should an emergency occur, it could mean the difference between life and death.
Head’s up, Oregon drivers. It’s time to hang up and drive. As of Jan.
1, law enforcement can pull drivers over and give them a $142 ticket
for driving while texting or talking if they lack a hands-free cell
phone device. Simply put, Oregon drivers will not be able to text
message, and cell phone use will be limited to adults using hands-free
A drive down Island Avenue a week before the law goes into effect shows
that many people will have to change their habits. Hand-held cell phone
use while driving has become ubiquitous not only in the big cities but
in every town in Northeast Oregon. Most drivers have stories of close
calls due to people yakking on their cell phones and not paying enough
attention to the road.
Sen. Ron Wyden recently announced, along with representatives of the
timber industry and environmental groups, that an agreement had been
reached on a new forest restoration bill, one that the senator said
would result in providing timber for the near-decimated eastside forest
The Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection and Jobs
Act applies to the six eastside national forests. The bill is a step in
the right direction of improving forest health while at the same time
allowing some logging, but it is certainly no panacea. Still, Wyden,
D-Ore., and the players from both sides who crafted the legislation
should be commended for opening a dialogue that heretofore had been
absent. It’s a start, and Eastern Oregon communities can benefit from
even a little boost in logging from national forests.
The Christmas season would not be complete without Rudolph the
red-nosed reindeer, Santa Claus and the enactment of the Nativity
scene, nor would it be totally fulfilling without such local traditions
as the Holiday Music Festival, the Lanetta Paul & Friends Recital
and George Frederic Handel’s oratorio, “Messiah.”
Recently the community was treated to a masterful performance of
“Messiah.” More than 70 people had been perfecting this labor of love
since rehearsals started way back in sunny September, some traveling
100 miles each way weekly for the privilege. Yes, 100 miles each way in
all sorts of weather, and all the wear and tear on the body and the
automobile that implies. This is a pretty darn big act of personal
sacrifice and service.
Are you ready for some football? The Insight Bowl at Tempe, Ariz., Dec. 31 will match 6-6 Iowa State versus 6-6 Minnesota. Sure, the flight south is a great escape from Old Man Winter’s icy clutches for fans of those two schools. But is anyone else not totally bored out of their skulls going to watch this meaningless game on TV?
Sure, there are bowls to look forward to. Tonight, Oregon State University meets Brigham Young University in the Las Vegas Bowl. And on Jan. 1 the University of Oregon meets The Ohio State University in the Rose Bowl. Fans throughout Oregon, whether they are Beaver or Duck boosters, will be on the edge of their EZ chairs for both games.