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La Grande Observer 12/22/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FOR DECEMBER 16 - 21, 2002



Hearts damaged

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the Rev. Jocelyn St. Arnaud story.

I am one of many who were touched deeply by this man. But the fact of the matter is the church has allowed this to happen to countless children and the congregations they belong to.

You say justice requires a presumption of innocence. What about the innocence of the children? Would any of you have listened or believed if you had been told?

Not only have the accusers' lives been damaged but also the hearts of all of us who loved and cherished this man.

We will all always cherish the good that the Father Jocelyn did for us and all that he taught us. This also includes his accusers.

Have any of you taken the time to really think about the alleged victims?

These things could have been stopped years ago if only the Catholic Church would have stopped it. Instead, they moved these men and changed their names and told no one.

The Catholic Church put us all in a very sad position. All of us who loved.

At one time in our lives we felt like family in Elgin in the church. It is time now to remember those feelings and how much love we shared, and come together once again and support the children and help with the healing.

We as children not only looked up to the Father Jocelyn, but also the rest of you for love and support.

Please find it in your hearts to help all of those hurt by this, which is everyone who knew and loved this man.

My final question is: If you were told about what happened when the victim was a child would you have believed it? Now as an adult the truth comes out and do you believe him now?

It is time for healing by all. It is time to help the next generation of children in the Catholic Church.

Father Jocelyn will always be loved. We will never forget the good he brought into our lives and our community.

I was one of the children he helped. Father Jocelyn brought God into my life and taught me to not only love myself, but also taught me to love others. He helped me become the person I am today.

My prayers go out to all. God Bless.

Ronda K. Doud La Grande

Adopt local preference rule

To the Editor:

In August I wrote a community comment column about local government policies pertaining to selection of vendors and contractors for design and construction work funded by the city and county. I advocated giving area businesses some kind of preference over outside firms when bidding on these projects.

This would keep local firms alive, which is especially needed during low economic cycles. It would inject new money and taxes into our area. It would create family-wage jobs that are desperately needed here. I am not talking about small amounts of money; millions of dollars are spent on these kinds of projects.

I expected a response from city and county officials concerning this idea. To the best of my knowledge, no response ever appeared.

On Dec. 3, I read an article in The Observer that described how the City of Salem had voted to enact just such a rule. This rule, said to be the first of its kind in the state, automatically gives local firms a nod when their bid is within 5 percent of other outside firms' bids on goods and services. The reason they said they did this was to keep money circulating in the city's economy and help Salem businesses keep their doors open.

Apparently, there is no problem with enacting this kind of local preference rule. If the City of Salem, where state government is based, has done it, all other city governments should be able to follow suit.

Local officials should move to create a similar atmosphere in our area. The benefits are obvious and will have a large and positive impact here, especially in the creation of desperately needed jobs.

It is unfortunate that this idea wasn't acted upon earlier. Being a leader is preferable to being a follower.

Jim Tejcka


Don't cut state patrolmen

To the Editor:

County roads and snow-slick freeways, towns 40 to 50 miles apart, more people traveling alone, women with small children possibly broken down or caught in a bad storm — and they want to cut the number of state patrolmen?

Rest areas are unprotected with no pay phones and not everyone has a cell phone. Occasionally women get murdered or people get robbed at gunpoint because they stopped at a rest area.

Why would they leave children and women unprotected? For expensive buildings or fancy carpeting? Maybe it is just a matter of priorities.

Please do not cut the number of patrolmen. Children deserve to be protected. Please fill my Christmas stocking with a patrolman, not candy. We all need a bear-hug occasionally.

Sharlene Donnelly

La Grande

Help save valuable resource

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago I brought to everyone's attention a few problems with our local Salvation Army Thrift Store.

As it has been told to me, the fire marshal went through but was apparently unaware of the (water from the) leaking roof running down into the electrical components of the light fixtures or the burn marks where bulbs have shorted out.

Please assist me in getting these mishaps looked at and fixed so that we have this valued local outlet for the public.

I will willingly donate my time to coordinate these efforts but as that's all I have at this time, you will have to help me in saving this needed public resource.

Louis H. Michaels

La Grande

Song for the season

To the Editor:

It is deceiving to enter the holiday season without being aware of the specter of Measure 28 looming behind us. It casts a long shadow and its fetid breath is hot on the back of our necks.

I will, therefore, keep in the holiday spirit and will set my message to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Sing along because soon we will all know the words.

On the 12th day after voting no on Measure 28, my ballot gave to me ...

12 released convicts

11 less policemen

10 businesses going bankrupt

9 families weeping

8 grannies homeless

7 schools a-closing

6 more begging street kids

5 homes foreclosing

4 families moving out of state

3 disabled people abandoned

2 babies hungry

... and a pink slip from my company!

Don't let Ore-gon become Ore-gone!

Vote yes on Measure 28.

Zee Koza

La Grande

Dependent on chemicals

To the Editor:

"Banking on swallows," the Dec. 6 outdoors feature, suggests that current vector control using chemicals to kill or disrupt reproduction of mosquitoes may actually exacerbate the mosquito problem.

The article states that food shortages can cause swallows to abandon nests.

So even a single local application that disrupts the supply of mosquitoes for a few days could do serious damage to an entire colony of full-time mosquito eaters.

Swallow reproduction is critically timed to insect reproduction. Many bird species depend on insects for survival. Vector control money should be devoted to improving bird habitat rather than poisoning and starving nature's proven insect predators.

As natural insect predators decrease, people turn more and more to chemical controls.

Current vector control is just another example of our culture's increasing dependency on chemicals. Our food, air, water and many daily products are laden with chemicals. Not surprisingly cancer, Alzheimer's, immune system dysfunction and other debilitating conditions are becoming increasingly common.

We must begin looking to possible long- range consequences before introducing more chemicals or modifying genetics. Vector control is just one small aspect of the rampant environmental degradation taking place worldwide.

Mary McCracken

La Grande

Top 2 destructive forces

To the Editor:

Worldwide, on this earth, the two most destructive forces in existence today are:

1. Advertising.

2. News media (newspaper, TV, radio and magazines).

Both are nearly all negative in the results and damage they cause. By comparison, wars take a back seat.

I know there are always exceptions to statements such as those above.

The mass media can be a force for civilization's awakening. There is, presently, a national campaign for media accountability. You can access this site at: www.ourmediavoice.org.

Florence Blevins

La Grande

USA PATRIOT Act poses problems

To the Editor:

The USA PATRIOT Act became a household word when President Bush signed the act into law on Oct. 26, 2001. What people may not know is how the act could affect any library patron.

USA PATRIOT stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. Part of the act broadens the FBI's access to business records and computer systems in order to investigate cases involving foreign intelligence and international terrorism.

Since library records are considered business records, they are subject to search and confiscation under the act. Computers, servers and databases like e-mail and Web histories can also be searched and confiscated. Devices that watch e-mail can be installed on servers. A gag order provision in the act prohibits discussion of the search with anyone other than those necessary for producing the information demanded by the warrant. In short, the USA PATRIOT Act gives the FBI access to information on what patrons borrow, research and communicate, and only a few select people will know.

Freedom to access information, regardless of content, is the foundation of democracy. It is embodied in the First Amendment and is upheld in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights.

Privacy laws in Oregon and 47 other states protect this freedom by providing confidentiality of library patron records. However, those laws carry no weight in light of the USA PATRIOT Act.

The national library community is concerned that the act overreaches the bounds of reasonable safe measures. The result is an erosion of basic rights that form the foundation holding our nation upright. This erosion will eventually turn the idea of safety on its head.

Librarians are reviewing policies to ensure patron confidentiality within the confines of the act. In the meantime, we encourage the public to utilize their library as the precious resource it is.

Diana Gleason, J.D., M.L.I.S.

documents/reference librarian

Pierce Library

Eastern Oregon University

La Grande

Cruelty to animals not answer

To the Editor:

I am writing to the community in general and specifically to the loosely organized group of county residents that has lost patience with rude and inconsiderate dog owners.

Have you talked to your neighbor? Ever? I mean calmly and rationally, not screaming at them to do something about it, or rude comments as you pass them on the way to work.

I have been surprised at how many people don't even bother to communicate to their neighbors in person about annoying dogs.

Often dogs bark when they are lonely and their owners aren't at home, so how could their owners be aware of this except by calm and respectful communication?

Cruelty to animals is not the answer.

From what was written in the Observer article Dec. 12, people wish to remain anonymous when they call in complaints to animal control.

Why is this? What do you have to hide or be ashamed of?

Ask yourselves these questions the next time you feel like taking matters into your own hands.

Mandie Herrmann

La Grande

Turn flier miles back to county

To the Editor:

The Observer wanted reader input regarding frequent flier miles and county employees.

I agree with The Observer, these miles, accumulated from travel paid for by county taxes, should be turned back to the county. If these employees want to keep their free flier miles they should pay for the trip out of their own pockets not at county expense.

I question the need for so many trips.

Another comment is the condition of roads, some of which are in the Union area. We have one road in particular where one could blow a tire if traveling over 5 mph, which is the potential for a good wreck, yet the county bragged about saving expenses in improving Buffalo Peak with county employees.

The county is getting into too much real estate such as the golf course and railroad, and not tending to the business for which county taxes are meant.

Hazel Hawkins

La Grande

Covering for accused priests

To the Editor:

To Joe Garlitz, Vicky Correll and the 86 other people who signed the letter published Dec. 5:

I don't think that you are realizing who the true victims of this thing are. It is not Father Jocelyn. It is your children, your grandchildren and every other child in the Catholic community. This is not a criminal case against the late Father Jocelyn. It is a lawsuit against the Catholic churches brought forth to try and put a stop to the "covering for accused priests" by changing names and moving them elsewhere.

Every accused child molester has people who love and trust them and see nothing but good in them. Your quick response to the news article in The Observer is proof that this is how you felt for this man and is also one of the reasons why children don't come forward until years later. For all you people who feel that way for Father Jocelyn, I'm truly sorry!

But let's not forget to pray for the victims in this, for surely this hasn't been easy on them.

Elgin is a small and closeknit community and it had to be hard for these two men to come forward. My hope for them is that the Catholic church there will enfold them in their arms and support them through this rather than be full of anger and resentment toward them. After all, they are children of your church. I pray for you all.

Betty Owen


John Howard right for Salem

To the Editor:

In the November election race, John Howard ran a clean campaign.

He did not attempt to discredit his opponent on a single issue. This says much about his character.

With 16 years as commissioner he has done an excellent job of representing the best interests of the people of Union County. His hard work and dedication have greatly benefited our county as a whole.

Governor-elect Ted Kulongoski would do well to consider John to be a member of his staff in Salem. It would also give our side of the state a much-needed shot in the arm.

John would be able to continue his efforts to improve our economy and other important issues. I urge everyone interested to give John Howard the support necessary to accomplish this.

J. Winter Wright


Racing to bottom of rung

To the Editor:

If I were given the task to limit the future of a state and its children, I would do exactly what Oregon is doing today.

I would take steps to make sure my state ranked at the bottom of the 50 states in education and economic development.

First, to assure the maximum damage, I would make severe cuts in K-12 education, inflicting maximum damage on the future of the most vulnerable and arguably most valuable part of our society — the children.

This would have the effect of forcing under-prepared students into the community college and university system, and increasing enrollment in welfare and prison programs. Then I would cut their funding too.

I would make sure community colleges took a big enough hit so they would be forced to eliminate expensive professional technical programs in favor of less-expensive liberal arts classes.

That way, students trained in agriculture, mechanical, and medical technologies would be in short supply.

I would then under-fund public universities, forcing them to set enrollment limits or raise standards so they could stay in business.

Then, the least prepared students would be forced to pass on higher education or start in community colleges. This would put more financial strain on community colleges and set up a system that requires public universities to prepare graduates for non-existent jobs or leave the state, because progressive businesses seldom flock to states with low education standards and a limited skilled workforce.

The stage is set: under-prepared K-12 children, decreased capacity to train a highly skilled workforce, educating and exporting university graduates, making sure businesses go elsewhere.

Watch out Mississippi, we're moving fast to take your place at the bottom of the rung.

Travis Kirkland, president

Blue Mountain Community College


Girls perform, explore in Scouts

To the Editor:

Twelve girls, ages 8 to 10, gathered around the piano recently at a local retirement residence singing "Jingle Bells" to the accompaniment of an amazing concert pianist who resides there.

After an hour, they were still singing enthusiastically. It is debatable whether the girls or the residents were enjoying themselves more!

In November, these same girls could be seen collecting food for the hungry, and marching proudly in a parade supporting our nation's veterans.

Girls gathered in October on a no-school day, some driving clear from Elgin, and spent the day excitedly exploring the mysteries of meteorology and biology.

This past summer, a 10-year-old girl traveled with a group of girls on an educational six-day trip to the coast, seeing the ocean for the first time in her life.

Perhaps you have guessed by now what all of these have in common: Girl Scouts! For annual dues of a mere $7, girls ages 5 through 17 have the opportunity to learn, grow and build lasting friendships in an all-girl environment.

But as in the old grace which begins, "Back of the loaf is the flour; back of the flour is the mill ...," there would be no Girl Scout troops without the adult volunteers who lead them. The leaders need the volunteers who train and support them, who in turn are aided by the few paid staff who make the whole of our Silver Sage Council run smoothly.

Behind the council are the many donors who believe in the opportunities that are provided to local girls through Girl Scouting. United Way is a significant supporter of Girl Scouting in Union County. We would encourage you to please remember United Way during this season of giving. If you would like more information about Girl Scouting or becoming an adult volunteer, please call our local Girl Scout office at 663-0209.

Brook Smith, leader

Girl Scout Troop 706

Island City


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