Monday was unofficially labeled “Cyber Monday’’ as a way for online
business to reap a bigger share of rewards from the Christmas shopping
dollar. It’s an online version of “Black Friday,’’ which has become an
institution for on-site sales and the official kickoff of the Christmas
shopping season. Here’s hoping that local folks didn’t blow their
Christmas spending allowance at out-of-area retailers Monday. Local
businesses need and depend on those dollars.
Is the spirit of Thanksgiving alive in your household — and in your heart — today?
Day offers an annual reminder to all of us that we should pause, if
even for a moment, and give thanks for the things we have.
Each of us should take time to think about, to appreciate, what makes
our lives special. For some of us that might be family, friends, love,
health or simply having food on the table and a roof over our heads.
Especially this year, when many people are doing with less — much less
— than they ever have. Times are that tough for some.
The people of Union County wound up with more than a good thing last
year after they advised the county board of commissioners, by vote, to
purchase the land for the Mount Emily Recreation Area. The 6,000-acre
tract just a few miles north of La Grande has taken shape as a scenic
wonderland available to all outdoor recreationists, for all time.
Tons of junk left on the land over the years have been hauled away.
Steps have been taken to protect wetlands and riparian areas. Trails
for motorized and non-motorized use have been cleared, groomed and
Somehow it doesn’t seem right that large portions of the general population, millions and millions of people who have never served, are entitled to stay home on the legal holiday known as Veterans Day.
It would be more fitting if the right to skip work that day were accorded to veterans only. The holiday would have much more meaning. For that one day, veterans would really feel special.
The La Grande School District is studying the possibility of presenting
a local option levy to district voters to help overcome the revenue
shortfalls the district is projecting lie ahead. The study is certainly
Although the local economy is not in the kind of position that makes
passage of any tax measure very likely, the reality is that a local
option tax might be the best opportunity to try to keep the district
whole at a fairly reasonable cost. Any tax measure right now would be a
tough sell. But when the district could be faced with the prospect of
more cuts every year, including the loss of athletics and activities, a
majority of voters might be able to be convinced that keeping local
schools whole is really in the community’s best interest — both short-
Union County has a lot going it, strengths like a low crime rate, cities with lots of trees, being an educational hub, the natural beauty of the Grande Ronde Valley and so on. But as far as tourism is concerned, Union County has been a gateway to other places. That’s OK. Those other place include some of the finest tourism destinations in America, including the rugged and beautiful Wallowa Mountains, Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest gorge, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, Oregon’s largest.
Some very good news is coming out of Eastern Oregon University. Enrollment is up dramatically. Impressively, in fact.
Eastern has 3,957 students this fall, its most ever. The number
eclipses the previous record, set last year, by nearly 300. And most
significantly, freshman enrollment grew 34 percent.
Some of the growth may be attributable to the economy. A lot of people
decide to go to school when jobs are tight. In fact, all of the
universities in the Oregon University System saw jumps in enrollment.
But for EOU, it’s more than just a sour economy. The university is
doing a lot of things right, from recruiting to making a concerted
effort to retain students — two areas that may have gone lacking for a
The drug war may not be totally winnable. But it is a war worth
fighting, to discourage the bad guys, protect the public safety from
petty and major crime, and send a clear message to youth that drug use
and abuse comes with a very high pricetag.
The Union County’s Sheriff’s Department got a boost in the battle
against drugs and their insidious damage to local families and
individuals with several recent grants. One of the biggest is a
$309,000 two-year Recovery Act Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Grant
from the federal government. The grant will help the department beef up
its drug task force known as MERIT, or Multi-Agency Enforcement
Response Interdiction Team, as it battles drug crime in the region.
Union County businesses have a long history of contributing to good
causes and helping to make their little corner of the world a better
RD Mac Inc. and GCT Land Management are continuing the tradition. RD
Mac Inc. expanded a parking lot and worked with GCT Land Management to
install a sidewalk at Island City Elementary School recently.
Of all the news stories we’ve seen lately, the one about swine flu parties beats all.
seems that some people around the country are holding gatherings in
which a person infected with swine flu is present. Believe it or not,
the idea is to deliberately catch the flu. The logic is fuzzy, but
apparently people think if they get sick in the first mild swine flu
outbreak, they won’t get sick in a more severe second or third round.
There are many good, sound medical reasons not to go to one of these
parties, the main one being that swine flu is a new virus and no one
can predict its effects on individuals. Suffice it to say that it’s
safer and saner to get a swine flu vaccination as soon as one comes
available to you.