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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FOR JANUARY 1 - 19, 2002



Dont neglect culture

To the Editor:

Legislators are currently meeting and discussing possible budget cuts. One potential program to be cut is the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The trust represents two years of hard work by a bipartisan group of legislators and community leaders around the state (HB 2923). We need to help ensure that the trust remains intact. Oregon currently ranks in the bottom 10 percent of state funding for culture. As legislators consider budget cuts, we must ensure that they recognize the critical role arts, heritage and humanities play in the strength and vitality of our communities. Strong culture opportunities mean strong communities, which in turn mean a strong economy. Oregon cannot afford to continue to neglect our cultural resources.

In FY 2000, the nonprofit arts industry alone contributed $100.2 million in direct spending to the Oregon economy and supported 3,623 jobs. Developing our culture means preserving our past and shaping our future. The bottom line is that Oregon simply cannot afford to continue neglecting its cultural resources.

Jennie Tucker


Workers small part of equation

To the Editor:

I write this rebuttal to the Dec. 27 editorial, not as an OTEC board member but as a consumer and a person who works with these people every day.

Do they make a good wage for the work that they do? Yes, they make the same as all other people working in the electrical industry. The standard is set by the industry, not the companies. You have to pay a good wage to attract good people. These people are very well educated and have many hours of training.

The only statement in the editorial that was correct is that the rates were raised to meet expenses, not to make a profit, as OTEC is a non-profit cooperative owned by the members/consumers.

The members would not be very happy if the company was losing money.

As a consumer, I am not happy having to pay higher utility costs, but it is an illegitimate statement to put the rate costs on the utility workers. They are a very small part of the equation.

The next time you see a meter reader, defending themselves from a dog to read your meter or a winter storm takes out your power and the line crews are fighting the elements to restore your power or a customer service representative has to deal with an upset customer because of false statements in the newspaper, then, maybe you will look at their wages in perspective. They earn them.

Gary M. Potter


Pursue more ethical reporting

To the Editor:

I am deeply disturbed by The Observers handling of the Shari Bennett-La Grande School Board issue.

While I dont know Ms. Bennett personally and Im not well informed regarding the issues surrounding her resignation, I do believe that she was treated unfairly by your newspaper.

The news articles relating to her seemed more intent on discrediting her than on presenting an accurate, unbiased report of the issues. Further, I sensed that the news articles were written in this manner to attempt to provoke a controversy (and possibly sell more newspapers?).

The Observers mistreatment of Shari Bennett is merely the tip of the iceberg. Your newspaper has done an equally fine job of victimizing the CHD, the Union County planning director and the new library location (to name just a few).

In your attempts to stir up controversy and thereby possibly sell more newspapers, countless individuals and organizations have been recklessly chewed up and spit out on the pages of your newspaper.

I find The Observers actions to be unethical and deplorable.

It is high time The Observer rise above National Enquirer tactics and return to its charge of reporting news in a factual, unbiased manner.

As a subscriber, I expect to see my subscription money put toward ethical reporting, otherwise I intend to cancel my subscription.

Pam Barlow

La Grande

Advocacy smothers science

To the Editor:

In 1997 I chaired Oregons Joint Legislative Committee on Stream Restoration and Species Recovery. Today, I am co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Natural Resources.

My colleagues and I have listened to thousands of hours of testimony from scientists, agency experts and private citizens who are working to pass along an intact heritage and strong environmental ethic to their children, the next generation of rural Oregonians.

Most natural resource issues are complex and our understanding of many species is imperfect. We have relied on scientists and agency experts to guide us in forming public policy, and frankly we need the help. Every natural resource decision creates economic and social winners and losers, and every decision affects the viability of species.

But no natural resource policy can be implemented without its most critical component, the consent of the governed, whose land and resources, voluntary efforts and willingness to comply with the law are the basis for all progress.

What happens when scientists lie? Im referring to the recent disclosure that scientists researching the presence of Canadian Lynx in Northwest forests submitted domestic lynx hairs as wild samples from various locations.

Donna Darm of the National Marine Fisheries Service, in comments on a draft agency document affecting thousands of miles of Oregon rivers and streams, privately admitted the agency has no data to support such vast designations, but ordered her staff to designate it all.

Such actions cannot be condoned or tolerated. It used to be thought that scientists could help us understand our complex world, and even help predict the likely outcomes of actions. It seems science has been smothered by advocacy, and federal officials cannot be trusted, leaving citizens and landowners as the only beacon of reliability.

State Sen. Ted Ferrioli

John Day

Protect our Bill of Rights

To the Editor:

Attention, fellow gun owners, hunters and American patriots, the United Nations has hatched a treacherous plot to nullify our Second Amendment rights as part of a worldwide movement toward gun control.

So far, this is what Ive learned about the U.N.s anti-Second Amendment conspiracy. It would ban possession of guns by anyone except government officials and target shooters who would be forced to store their weapons at target ranges.

It would increase global power for international police units to enforce anti-gun laws.

It would require the worldwide licensing of firearms in a vast U.N.-computer bank, giving the U.N. personal information about private citizens.

This action demonstrates why our Congress must take immediate action to disentangle America from the U.N.s gun-grabbing clutches. Once gun ownership is taken away by worldwide licensing, we will be at the mercy of the U.N. and unable to fight back.

So I ask you, if the United Nations succeeds in stripping Americans of our Second Amendment rights, will they respect our property rights and the sanctity of the American family. Will they respect the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution?

Loyal Americans know that the answer is no. Please urge your congressman to stand firm against the United Nations to ensure our Bill of Rights is protected. Because without our Congress fighting for us and protecting our nation from U.N. control, I greatly fear for our nations Constitution, its sovereignty and our precious Bill of Rights.

Jim Bovard


BPA tries to satisfy power demand

To the Editor:

The next time your power is out during a major storm, go tell the linemen who have probably been working at least 22 hours straight in bone-chilling cold and dangerous wind that their wages are too high.

Actually, you will probably have little chance to do that. Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative has a record of system reliability that is


Wages are only one factor in the rates a utility is forced to charge. I am certain that the management of OTEC has done everything in its power to keep rates as reasonable as possible. Since OTEC is a consumer-owned utility, it is not subject to regulation by the PUC.

The seeds for our present high electric rates were sown in the 1970s when the voters of our state approved a ballot measure prohibiting investor-owned utilities from including in their rate base (the amount of their investment they are allowed to earn a return on) any facility not completed and producing power. This guaranteed that no new major generating plants would be built in Oregon. PGEs Coyote Springs plant does not qualify as a major facility, nor do the wind farms presently under construction.

Population and demand for electricity have increased at an alarming rate. BPA changed from merely marketing the power from the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to trying to satisfy power demand for the entire region. OTEC is dependent on BPA and must pay whatever BPA charges. BPA must bid against every other utility for power and

even deal with the speculators who are now buying and selling future power demand and generation.

I am not connected with OTEC except as a customer/member.

Dwight Matthews


You can get help with college costs

To the Editor:

New Years Day marked the kickoff of the financial aid season. About 30,000 students will graduate from Oregon high schools in 2002, and this is the time of year when families really begin asking themselves how they can afford to pay those college costs.

Getting as much financial aid as you qualify for is part of the answer to that question. The financial aid process can seem very confusing, but there is a simple message for students and families seeking financial aid for next year: File your FAFSA in January, and then complete your OSAC scholarship application before March 1.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and determines eligibility for many scholarships, loans, grants and work-study programs.

Filing the FAFSA form in January is the single most important action you can take. The FAFSA is available in hardcopy form and online. If you do a good job on the form, the rest of the financial aid process sort of takes care of itself.

If you are looking for even more money for college, the Oregon Student Assistance Commission scholarship application offers $8.5 million in privately funded scholarships based on all kinds of qualifications, not just grades.

More than 3,000 Oregon students received scholarships through the program this year. The application is available in hardcopy form and online, and must be postmarked by March 1.

Check with your high school counselor, local college or university financial aid office, or log on to the Oregon Student Assistance Commission Web site at www.osac.state.or.us for more information.

If you know a family facing college cost sticker shock, pass this information on to them.

Gene J. Evans,

public information director

Oregon Student Assistance Commission


Enjoys music of Christmas season

To the Editor:

Since Sept. 11 I have noticed some great improvements in the lives of people around us.

I like it that no longer is there an uproar about prayers in schools or anywhere else for that matter.

I hope they continue with singing, God Bless America at the seventh-inning stretches. Its wonderful seeing flags and crosses everywhere even in Christmas lighting displays.

KCMB and Channel 3 on cable television had Christmas music on even after Christmas Day. As you probably know, the 12 days of Christmas begin on Dec. 25, providing an extended Christmas season.

I do enjoy relaxing with Christmas music in the background and no interruption to boot.

So lets continue with God Bless America and Peace on Earth Good Will to Man to all our brethren around the world.

Jackie Colwell


Help equip dog with bullet-proof vest

To the Editor:

My name is Lindsey Lankford and Im from the Faith Lutheran Church Confirmation Group 2002.

My friends and I are raising money to buy a bulletproof vest for Union Countys only police dog, Collin.

People might have seen us walk around downtown La Grande this past Saturday asking for money to buy a bulletproof vest.

People do not know how expensive these bulletproof vests are. We need donations to help buy Collins vest.

We would like your readers to donate to help protect Collin.

You can send these donations to:

Faith Lutheran Church Confirmation Group

(or FLCCG)

104 12th Street

La Grande, OR 97850

Thank you,

Lindsey Lankford

La Grande

Money sent Dec. 27

To the Editor:

I am grateful to the businesses and individuals of Union County, Wallowa County, Meridian, Idaho, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Washington for their support and participation in the 2001 Muscular Dystrophy Association Lockup.

Due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the 2001 Lockup will be postponed until March of this year.

On Dec. 27, I sent certified with a return receipt and insured for the maximum amount allowable all the monies I collected from July through the middle of December .

I apologize for the long delay in sending the cash, checks and pledges to the region office in Spokane. With the help of the community, other counties and the help I received in five states, I was able to raise $1,973.01.

Gary Hartsock

La Grande

Will someone do the math?

To the Editor:

According to the front page of The Observer on Jan 7, one can assume that the age-old truth of what is good for the goose is good for the gander does not apply in the big city of La Grande. Perhaps it only applies if one is not politically connected.

In the story about the burned-out house it states that the citys ordinance gives the owner of a burned-out building 120 days to clean up the site. It also makes mention of that terrible stuff called asbestos that most of us have been living with all of our natural lives in the form of floor tile, insulation and other such common day-to-day things of old.

Now since my political education has taken a back seat to my mathematical learning, I am having great difficulty in equating several years with 120 days, when it comes to that great hole in Adams Avenue which contains the rubble and residue of asbestos-this and asbestos-that which years ago was a beautiful furniture store.

Then of course there is the Trop, with its second-story front decorated with home-grown plywood windows and painted with the best black soot insurance could buy to decorate further La Grandes main drag. Is there a mathematician, not politically connected, who can equate these years with 120 days? Perhaps La Grandes planning director can further my education as he lowers the 120-day boom on the unfortunate homeowner on Gekeler Lane near 20th Street.

I would like to see this equation worked out in textbook form in The Observer.

David Arnott


Flag lessons for children

To the Editor:

I have vivid memories of what the American flag means to me. A young teacher in 1950 knew that her curriculum included teaching flag etiquette and the Pledge of Allegiance to kindergartners: putting your right hand (not the left) over your heart, showing respect to the flags hung in every classroom.

Each day began with the flag salute. Those days you could place a manger scene and Hanukkah candles in your classroom and no one complained. Somber portraits of Washington and Lincoln hung in halls with giddy, colorful murals of childrens art.

Everyone saluted the flag; no one dreamed of wearing it on pants or burning it.

To little Martin the flag meant his family ate well and sent money to grandparents in Mexico. To Kathy it meant the school nurse helped her crippled sister. To bright Jimmy Moon it meant reaching for the moon even though Mama was alcoholic and daddy was gone. To me it meant teaching children right and wrong about America without fear.

The flag stood for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. White stripes meant purity, justice, freedom, a government of checks and balances guarding against dictatorship. When besmirched, the flag could be restored and returned to honor.

Red stood for the blood shed bringing this land to nationhood, keeping safe the worlds first true representative democracy.

The stars? They are heavenly connections. America was formed by bold, praying men reaching for the stars. People came from all over the world because where our flag flies there are star-reaching opportunities.

These ideas I simplified and taught the children. I salute the flag and will sacrifice to keep it flying.

Evelyn Donnell

La Grande

Government must cut its own costs

To the Editor:

The State of Oregon is trying to come up with a way to deal with the upcoming revenue shortfall. Is cutting programs that provide services to people who really need them the solution?

Asking the state education system to cinch up their belts again in an already money-starved system does not seem right.

If a corporation was faced with this dilemma, would they cut services or jobs?

I would like to know the cost of government for Oregon. Maybe the government should do some cost-cutting also. Just how fat is everybody on the hill? Should some of that be trimmed and save something for the people who put you there to look out for our best interests?

John R. Arnold

La Grande

Changed mind on limits

To the Editor:

Oregonians are fortunate that the Supreme Court overturned term limits.

I admit that in 1992 I voted for term limits; however, I have since come to see the damage they caused the state.

Because of term limits, Oregon has lost out in so many ways in legislative experience, know-how and, most of all, perspective.

It makes you wonder if we might not be in the budget mess were in today if it hadnt been for term limits.

Proponents say they are running another term-limits initiative, but since 1992, weve learned what problems term limits cause.

We cant let that happen to Oregon again.

Bob Brogoitti,

state representative, 1977-89

La Grande

Police dog protected

To the Editor:

My name is Tami Gillies and I am from the Faith Lutheran Church confirmation group of 2002.

We are thankful to everyone who donated money to help us save Collin, the police K-9.

We have reached our goal. Now were able to buy him a bullet-proof vest.

Lindsey Lankford

Tami Gillies

Leah VanLaarhoven

Craig Moschkau

It smells so sweet

To the Editor:

Narcotic: Benzaldehyde in perfume, cologne, hairspray, laundry bleach, deodorants, detergent, vaseline, lotion, shaving cream, shampoo, bar soap, dishwashing detergent.

Narcotic: Etheyl acetate in perfume, cologne, aftershave, shampoo, nail color, nail enamel remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid.

Narcotic: Linalool in perfume, hand lotion, nail enamel remover, hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, vaseline lotion, air fresheners, bleach powder, shaving cream, after shave, solid deodorants, cologne, bar soap. Linalool attracts bees.

These three narcotics are in synthetic perfumes. Such perfumes are not only in most if not all of our personal care products, but are also in some brands of cigarettes as well as some prepared foods.

Synthetic perfumes are added to pesticides.

Some lawn pesticides now add the synthetic scent of cherry or bubble gum. Then they put up a little sign warning children and pets to stay away. Maybe if they add bees and butterflies to their sign, the bees will stay away and the butterflies wont be killed.

What comes to mind when we see or hear the word fragrance? Does a child leaning over a potty taking a deep breath from a toxic toilet deodorizer come to mind?

Or maybe a cute teddy bear telling you to breathe deep the narcotic and the anesthetic effect of chloroform in the fabric softener?

More information on this subject can be found on the Internet. Search: MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity ) or chemical injury.

Also check out the Environmental Protection Agency site.

Carol A. Rucker



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