LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM AUGUST 9 - AUGUST 14, 2004
Time out for Cheney?
To the Editor:
"Would you please help your mother-in-law put up a curtain rod?"
"Dad, can you please help me fix my bike?"
"Kids, I am late for a meeting. Could you please help clear the dishes from the dinner table?"
"Sir, I have stopped you to let you know that you have a tail light out. Can we depend on you to get it fixed?"
"We are really busy. Would you mind working an hour overtime?"
"Mom, could you please help me with this algebra problem?"
Imagine the impact on each person asking these favors if the reply was "Go *#@& yourself." Vice President Dick Cheney gave this reply to Sen. Patrick Leahy on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Wow! I thought the Bush-Cheney ticket was supposed to be based on family values. That statement sure doesn't fit too many families I know. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and their Christian Right following seem to be looking the other way.
"Well, I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it," bragged the vice president to Fox news reporter Neil Cavuto.
Why does it take a 12-year-old young lady to point out the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney needs some mouth soap and to serve some "time out"?
Michael B. Farmer
Too many closed minds
To the Editor:
This letter is concerning Lucy Gilchrist's letter in the Aug. 3 Observer, where she criticized Leif Bullock for his support of gay marriage.
When I read the letter, I could not help but feel a slight sense of anger in me. It's all good for people to have their own opinions, but when you imply that everyone must believe in God, and believe that homosexuality is wrong, that in itself is wrong.
Why must people be so closed-minded in this town? I constantly read letters from people who are like this, and it saddens me that there are about 25 people in La Grande who are open-minded, most of whom are still in high school.
I don't believe in God, though Lucy Gilchrist's letter implied that everyone does/should. And wisdom is not what dictates that "we as a nation better not turn our backs on His standards." I believe that was the Bible.
Delight in area's history
To the Editor:
Many of the diary entries from pioneers that were part of wagon trains coming into the Grande Ronde Valley exclaimed about the beauty of it. On Main Street in Union is a place to bring, again, exclamations. It is the Union County Museum filled with items of history, geology, pictures from the past and a wealth of reading material about this area.
It is staffed with volunteers who can't always be there, so you might want to call to make sure it is open, but generally it is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week until they go to winter hours. You can take yourself and your family back to the bygone years of yesterday, delighting in viewing items from your own history.
The displays encompass too many to list, but what an enjoyable way to view some scenes from the good old days.
Delivering a message?
To the Editor:
It may be that the gentleman up the branch was right and everyone in the gay marriage battle could use a little more humility.
After reading the young man's column in the July 26 Observer, I went back to my Bible and did a little research. What I discovered made me humble enough to wonder if this young man from a small town in the countryside might be delivering a message from God.
A couple of thousand years ago God did something similar with the son of a rural carpenter. He took a young man and charged him with delivering a message to the people and a lot of self-appointed know-it-alls gave this young man a very difficult time because they didn't like the message he brought.
In Mark 12:30-31 the young man chosen by God stated His message pretty clearly: "Love God and love thy neighbor as thyself. There are no commandments greater than these.'' (Paraphrased) Jesus was God's messenger then, and His detractors were many.
I note that the young man in La Grande has detractors as well. However, there seems to be a lot more of loving God and loving one's neighbors in the young man's words than in those of his detractors.
Lake Oswego and La Grande
State makes parks a priority
To the Editor:
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department appreciates your recognition of the improvements at Catherine Creek State Park and your support of Gov. Kulongoski's park per year initiative.
You also write, "Oregon also needs to look at improving the parks it already has." We agree wholeheartedly. In fact, we're doing more than just looking at it; we've invested millions of dollars since 1998 doing just that.
Since the late 1990s when voters passed a ballot measure to dedicate Lottery funds to parks and salmon restoration, the department has been investing more than $15 million from every two-year budget on critical park repairs and improvements. These improvements, which continue to this day, include replacing water, sewer and electrical systems at older parks; building and remodeling new restrooms with fully accessible facilities; repairing and restoring park buildings, repairing and building roads; developing and improving trails, and significantly expanding the camping experience by adding more yurts and cabins.
Examples of projects completed in Northeast Oregon include the new cabin loop and the restoration of the Community Building at Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area; a major electrical system upgrade, restroom replacement and playground addition at Wallowa Lake State Recreation Area; water storage, restroom and boating facility improvements at Farewell Bend State Recreation Area and road and parking improvements at the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Site.
We also play a role in improving local parks through our Local Governments Grants program. These grants have supported La Grande's Pioneer Park and improvements in Elgin and Ukiah.
We will meet the governor's park per year initiative, and I can assure you we will also continue improving and maintaining existing parks.
Both sets of priorities the need to grow, and the need to maintain are part of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department mission and strategy for the future. For more information on the department and the state park system, look us up online at www.prd.state.or.us/ or call us at 1-800-551-6949 and request information by mail.
Director, Oregon State Parks
Second thoughts on letter
To the Editor:
In May 2003 I penned a letter to The Observer in which I sharply chided Lyle Schwarz's editorial comments supporting the American invasion of Afghanistan.
In the 14 months that have passed since then I have had many occasions to reflect on quality of political discourse at both the local and national level.
One such moment was recently when I reread my letter to The Observer. I was struck by my own appetite for delivering barbs and a corresponding absence anywhere in the text of any mention of the fact that I consider Lyle Schwarz to be one of the most important teachers and mentors in my professional life, one of the dearest and most humane men alive, and someone that I have always considered myself extremely lucky to count as a friend.
For my part, I regret allowing my own penchant for satire and a weakness for sarcasm to obscure a truth which was, and is, far more important to me than anything I wrote in that editorial.
It might seem odd or even inappropriate to some readers for me to be asking The Observer to publish a letter of a personal nature, but I would respond simply that I wish to apologize publicly to Lyle (however tardily) for my caustic tone in the same newspaper where I caricatured him earlier.
It is an indication of Lyle's character that he did not respond to me in kind, although he would have been well within his rights to do so.
While he and I will continue to hold contrary views on certain political matters, in the future none of that will tempt me to forget the tremendous admiration and love I have for him.
I trust that Janet or one of Lyle's many friends will clip this letter and make sure that he sees it. I'd like for us to get together soon, have a beer and solve the world's problems.
Flowers removed too soon
To the Editor:
Do you have a loved one in the Cove Cemetery?
I do. I go to visit them every couple of weeks. I pull the wild morning glories and the tall weeds, and I brush any dirt off the stones.
I then remove any old flowers that have faded and no longer look pretty. I bring new, bright, pretty artificial flowers to place on the stones. I buy artificial flowers because they look pretty for so much longer. They have such beautiful arrangements now.
After Memorial Day the cemetery looked so pretty with the beautiful flowers decorating the stones. Two weeks later the flowers were all gone. Don't tell me the caretaker had to remove them so that he could mow the grass. There is nothing but dried grass on the slope where my loved ones are and does not need nor get mowed. Why does the caretaker remove all the flowers, even the ones that are in hanging baskets?
This makes me feel as if I have been slapped in the face and that my loved ones don't matter. Why can't he leave the flowers where they are? What do they hurt? It's a sad enough place without the loss of some of the brightness from the flowers.
It's sad to see the flowers go to the burn pile while they are still fresh and beautiful.
Grateful for acts of kindness
To the Editor:
On July 23 my truck heated up coming from Joseph to La Grande. I pulled into Legacy Ford to have mechanics evaluate the condition of the motor, only to be told that serious damage had been inflicted on the motor.
My wife and I had to remain in La Grande for the next five days while the parts arrived and the motor was repaired. What should have been days of turmoil actually became an extended vacation because of the actions of members of this great community.
First, Legacy Ford staff were marvelous. They loaned me a car at no cost and informed me that Ford Motor Company warranted the motor of my truck for 100,000 miles. The repair cost was only the deductible.
We were traveling with a horse. Al Peterson, manager of the Mavericks riding area, helped us immensely. When he realized that our visit would coincide with the fair, he got a friend to move our trailer to a location where it would not be blocked by fair customers. He also gave us a gift, a wooden shelf that he had made.
We stayed at the Super-8 Motel. Legacy Ford got us a very special rate for our stay. Super-8 staff were also very understanding.
And then there were the wonderful staff at Kentucky Fried Chicken, who held their buffet line open after hours so we could enjoy their buffet.
While in La Grande we were able to tour Northeastern Oregon. What a beautiful area. We even talked about moving to the area.
Everywhere we went Oregonians were so friendly. We will always remember these great people, and we will always have a place in our hearts for the people of La Grande.
Roland and MaryTom Haun