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Home arrow Opinion arrow MY VOICE

Blue Mt. Forum bids adieu

Sir Brian Urquhart, former Undersecretary of the United Nations, spoke in La Grande in April 1997 on the topic, “The United Nations: Past, Present and Future” at the first event sponsored by Blue Mountain Forum.

He was followed in August by state Sen. David Nelson and Rep. Mark Simmons discussing “Reflections on the 1997 Legislative Session.’’ In November of that year, Wayne Inman, retired Portland police officer and retired Sheriff of Yellowstone County, Montana, who had been featured in a documentary, “Not in Our Town,’’ spoke about racism in American society.

The first year’s programs had been planned by a local group that met for the first time on Feb. 6, 1997, at the home of Gary and Kate Hathaway to form an organization whose purpose was “to bring to this region informed and distinguished speakers to promote diversity and substance in public discourse.”

Letters and Comments for March 6, 2009

Letters and Comments for March 6, 2009

Changing of the guard

On behalf of all Eastern Oregon University students, faculty, alumni and staff, I would like to humbly thank this wonderful community for its support. As we prepare for Eastern’s next president to be named, I reflect on all this community has helped us accomplish.

Our challenges have been great, and the ways in which La Grande, Union County and the Eastern Oregon community has responded to assist us are many.

Financial giving to the EOU Foundation for increased scholarship opportunities has made a difference in whether some students attended at all, or were able to stay once admitted and enrolled — thank you...

Ice rink and events center good for kids and the community

As we watch the excitement building on television about the 2010 Olympics, hear that inspiring music theme and realize it is only an eight- or nine-hour drive from La Grande to Vancouver, B.C., isn’t it fun to envision yourself or your kids getting out on a rink and skating to cool music or your kids picking up a hockey stick and scrimmaging with friends?

Don’t you wish you or your kids could take part in some of the activities you see?

Maybe we have a future Olympian in our town, but without a skating rink no one would ever know. It’s time to change that and try to build an ice rink and events center.

Cross-country journey Texas to Oregon trek covers a lot of ground

Similar to how studies show most accidents occur close to home, the most dangerous part of a 2,700-mile journey is the last 30 miles.

That’s the biggest thing I’ll take from my journey here from Texas, although there are plenty others to choose from.

Big Towers, Big Impact

I have been involved in a citizens group in Baker City that is concerned about a proposal from Idaho Power to run 500kV electrical lines from Boardman to Hemingway, Idaho.

Oregon will have 250 of the 298-mile run. Eighty-eight percent of the project will be on private lands. The proposed routes were determined by a committee consisting only of Idaho residents. None of the four Oregon counties affected (Umatilla, Union, Baker and Malheur) were consulted or will benefit from the additional power.

EOU enriches our community

This promises to be a year filled with good fortune and strength.

How do I know? Well, during January, Dale and I took part in two activities that were supposed to assure us of this. Happily for us they both included food and friends.

On New Year’s Day we visited the home of friends, Graham and Barbara, where luck came in a bowl of cornbread and black-eyed peas smothered with pot liquor (liquid from cooking the beans). This traditional southern custom is one Barbara and Graham brought to La Grande when they moved here from Mississippi.

Stone Soup and a Walk for Warmth

The story of Stone Soup seems a fitting tale for our time of economic distress. In this old fable, a stranger enters a poor village seeking a place to sleep for the night and something to eat. The suspicious and hard-up villagers deny having anything to share until he charms them into making a wonderful soup for everyone using water, a “special” stone, and their many small contributions that will “make the soup taste better.” ...

Exemplifying public service

What a wild and wacky winter it’s been so far!

As The Observer recently pointed out, this past December was colder than normal and precipitation was higher than normal. And the snow and cold temperatures didn’t stop with Dec. 31. As the new year rolled in, we saw temperatures drop to a low of minus-4 on Jan. 4 and snow or rain fell on four of the first seven days of the New Year.

Through all of that cold and snow, the City of La Grande’s Public Works Department has persevered. They have logged more than 680 hours of overtime with 1,900 total man-hours worked. Over this period of time, Public Works has had 18 employees in the field and six in the office answering phones and providing support for the field workers.

Believing in miracles pays off for puppy, family

I want to share an inspiring story of a miracle that meant a lot to our family. This miracle happened while we were visiting family in the area and involved one of your local vets, Marc Omann at the Country Animal Clinic by Wal-Mart in Island City.

My then 8-year-old daughter received a Shih Tzu puppy from my sister who lives in the area. Dr. Marc has been the vet for my sister and brother-in-law’s farm for many years and had given Luke (the puppy) his shots and check-up. So when we were in town during the summer, I called ahead and scheduled to get Luke fixed while we were helping family move.

School bond - Election results don't tell the whole story

Even before the outcome of the school bond measure was decided, I knew our school district and our community would be better for the experience.

As part of our bond communication efforts, we engaged groups and individuals to a degree that we have not seen in recent years. We re-established and strengthened the lines of communication between all of the parties and opened a positive dialogue that will continue regardless of the results of the school bond measure.

Elgin needs health district

ELGIN — A health district is a municipal corporation. It exists with the specific purpose of providing some type of health service. Like other local governments, health districts have legal and ethical obligations.

Health districts receive tax revenues based on the voter-approved permanent rate per $1,000 in assessed property value within the defined geographic area. Most importantly, a health district is governed by a publicly elected board. The decisions regarding services and community accessibility come from local decisions. The board makes and maintains local control over the clinic.

If having a medical clinic in Elgin is truly important to the residents, they will have to vote for the district and have it pass. This will provide a baseline of funding that would be enough to keep the clinic stable. The other revenue from billing would be enough to keep someone interested in running the clinic here and the doors open more often.

Letters and comments for September 27, 2008

Kramer, Addison, Loomis, Hays

What matters most?

This year’s Union County Fair was blessed with good weather, attracting large crowds all four days of the fair. As part of our efforts to engage citizens in discussion on public policy issues, the Union County Democrats hosted an informal “vote your issues” poll at our fair booth using colorful glass stones.

Each voter could use six stones, singly or in multiples, to drop into six glass jars labeled: Economy, Education, End War, Energy, Health Care and Veterans. We told the fairgoers that we would report on the results following the fair.

Burning more than we ever logged

In the Aug. 20 edition of The Observer is a story of the latest attempt by the Forest Service to hold one of its famous “controlled” burns in weather judged to be extremely high for fire danger and held in an area that had large amounts of private property.

In typical arrogant fashion, the regional spokesman for the Forest Service said, and I quote, “This happens all the time. You burn up someone’s fence post or pasture and they file a claim.”

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