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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FOR JUNE 14 - 19, 2004



Absence inexcusable

To the Editor:

A La Grande parent of a graduating senior just told me that Superintendent Jay Rowell was not at the graduation ceremony held on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. An announcement was made at the beginning of graduation stating that Superintendent Rowell had been "kidnapped" by his wife for his 40th birthday. A member of the school board then read Superintendent Rowell's speech. I think his absence is inexcusable.

The superintendent position is compensated at approximately $91,000 per year and is a year-round position, as I understand it. I was told that the superintendent approves the schedule for the graduation and that this was not a surprise event as Mr. Rowell's absence was approved by the school board.

If hundreds of students, parents, and family members set aside time on Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Rowell should have done the same. If Mr. Rowell wanted to celebrate his 40th birthday, he should have done it on a different weekend.

This is not a good message for our kids. They are about to start the next step in their lives. Either in college or through employment, these students will be expected to know how to set priorities and will be held accountable for their actions.

These students worked for 12 years to earn the right to walk across the stage and accept their diplomas. They spent 12 years being accountable to parents, teachers and school administrators. This one night is their turn to be center stage — to be honored for their efforts. For the La Grande school superintendent not to attend because of his 40th birthday is a slap in the face to these students, their parents and their families.

Mr. Rowell and the school board that excused him should be ashamed.

I realize there are two sides to every story so I would really like to hear the other side of this one.

Kathy Christensen


Serious worldwide issue

To the Editor:

For many years we have been receiving warnings from many sources, national and international, of impending and critical global warming.

During several decades of this continuing deluge of information from scientists across the world, American administrations, past and present, have proposed further studies, which many times reach the previous conclusion, or have dismissed these indications out of hand as not being proven.

The current administration, upon assuming office, contemptuously dismissed all such evidence as not being borne out by fact, and called for further studies. Recently, a study released by the Department of Defense presents evidence that overwhelmingly supports the theory that the world is warming rapidly, and dangerously so for all life on earth.

There is evidence now that such an event may come sooner then previously anticipated, be more critical than previously considered possible and to cause problems world-wide, with profound political changes to follow because of major changes in the availability of essentials such as water, food and fuels.

This study projects that world war will follow as those who are fortunate enough to have, erect barriers against the unfortunate have-nots remaining in the world. However, even should this study exaggerate these dangers there is sufficient scientific evidence to cause us to take global warming seriously.

Since these studies have been carried out by the administration's own Defense Department, one would think the administration might consider acting to reduce the causes and begin to study ways to minimize their effects. Or will it again, disdainfully, dismiss this information as before?

Perhaps it is time to address this issue seriously. Should we begin a telephone, letter and e-mail campaign to our congressional delegates as a means to make the administration pay attention? I think so.

David R. Bishop


Is the world a safer place?

To the Editor:

When the United States invaded Iraq, Hasni Mubarek of Egypt said that we just created 100 more Osama Bin Ladens. Then when the pictures of the atrocities committed at Abu Graib in Baghdad were revealed to the world, another Arab leader said that we created 1,000 more Osama Bin Ladens.

There are 1.25 billion Muslims in the world and we have succeeded in making enemies of most of them. Over the past five decades we have directly or indirectly killed over a million Muslims in 11 majority Muslim nations.

To further aggravate the situation, prominent church leaders like Billy Graham's son, Franklin, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others have said that Islam is a terrible, ungodly religion. Of course there are fanatical Muslims, but there are also fanatical Christians — some who handle poisonous snakes and others who go to Israel and tell the Jews they should get rid of all the Palestinians and non-Jews in the West Bank and Gaza because God gave all that land to the Jews.

Just recently, our ambassador to Saudi Arabia said that all Americans should leave that country because they couldn't be protected.

Many nations, including Muslim nations and Israel, now have nuclear capability.

How in the world can anyone say that we are winning the war on terrorism and that we are safer now that we have made preemptive war on Afghanistan and Iraq and alienated Muslims as well as non-Muslims throughout the world? Lon Skjei


Wonderful production

To the Editor:

On May 26 we went to Greenwood Elementary School to see Mrs. Olds' third-grade class put on the play "The Wizard of Oz.''

Mrs. Olds, all her students and other people helped put on a great production. Our oldest granddaughter was in the play and all of the kids did a wonderful job.

Mr. and Mrs Fred Beickel

La Grande

We are safer now

To the Editor:

Several times over the past months I have heard Sen. Kerry, Sen. Biden and Sen. Kennedy say that "America is no safer than it was on or before 9/11." They also say, "Homeland Security is not working, not keeping us safe."

Well, just today, June 14, it was announced over Fox News that a foreign terrorist was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, frustrating a plot to blow up a large shopping mall in that city.

I know it is speculation, but, how many more such acts of terror have been prevented by the very fact that we have a Homeland Security Department, which it would seem is bringing the CIA and FBI up to better standards.

I think it would be better if these gentlemen would be sure they know of that which they speak before speaking.

Roy Hills

Island City


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