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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM NOVEMBER 29 - DECEMBER 4, 2004



Learning experience

To the Editor:

In response to the letter from Juliet Smith in The Observer of Nov. 23, "Sets wrong example" concerning "For the Love of FBLA," I was backstage with these young, masculine men, who happen to be members of the football, wrestling, basketball and soccer teams, helping, along with the young women of LHS to do their make-up, dress and to encourage them.

It was common to hear these guys say, "Whoa, you girls go through a lot." "You do all of this stuff?" and "This isn't easy."

"You're right, you're catching on," was my thought. They experienced a moment of equality and some of them came out looking better than women. You suggested "Fear Factor," well here are 11 young men taking risks.

I think our educators are indeed on the right track for our next generation. These men that night learned how to be on stage in front of a crowd — our next conference speakers; they endured being made fun of by their peers — education in conflict management; they had to come up with a talent — use of the arts and creativity; and they portrayed women, that is they learned the understanding of walking a mile in some else's shoes, and that's not easy in high heels.

The letter writer need not be saddened by this experience, unless you fear diversity, strength in character, understanding and compassion, the ability to take life with a grain of salt, to have fun and being able to laugh at yourself. These are wonderful values and virtue that any mother would love to have her son learn.

I would recommend that next year you attend Miss LHS, support the program with a financial contribution, and see the enjoyable entertaining show that these student put on.

Olie Copenhaver McDougall

La Grande


Reconsider rail for trail

To the Editor:

It infuriates me to read about the huge amounts of money that community leaders commit to wild ideas like the scenic train and a dilapidated hotel while modest ideas that would support established local businesses, community programs and recreational opportunities are ignored or under-funded.

The railroad right of way should have provided recreational uses for locals and a variety of tourists. After salvaging the tracks, the trail could more than pay for itself with user fees such as those charged for skiing or golfing.

Our local physical and economic health would have benefited, but instead we have the train which relatively few people will use and which will never turn a profit.

I attended meetings and advocated for a trail when the railroad right of way was offered for sale. Opposition to a public trail from the few adjoining Wallowa County landowners was apparently more important to area decision-makers than the good of the majority of Union and Wallowa County residents.

And so it went. All aboard!

A trail along that right of way would be well used by locals and attract visitors year around. Motels and RV parks, restaurants and grocery stores, bike shops and camp supply stores would benefit. A similar trail near Aspen is extremely popular with locals and tourists. Bikers, equestrians, walkers and cross-country skiers all coexist along the Roaring Fork River just as we could along our own spectacular Grande Ronde.

Perhaps it isn't too late to reconsider and reinvest in our own health, wealth and happiness.

Mary McCracken

La Grande


Hospital begs questions

To the Editor:

I have some concerns about Grande Ronde Hospital. This is a community hospital not private. Local people worked hard to raise money to get this hospital started.

When did the administrator, Jim Mattes, become president and CEO? Who appointed him? Is it true that he has been paid salary and perks of over $1 million in the past five years? Who elects the board of directors and who are they? Why has there never been a profit and loss statement published?

There is concern that 25 beds are not enough to serve a county of 25,000. Is this why so many of our ill are sent to Portland, Boise, Pendleton, Hermiston and even Baker City?

Then there's the ambulance and the money spent to house the EMTs and ambulance, only to have the hospital turn it over to the city, which is doing a good job with it.

On average the city ambulance answers five calls a day. The city appears to make a profit from this service. The hospital closed the transitional care unit. The space just sits there unused. The hospital spent a great deal of money for the birthing center. But does it show a profit? We talk about doctors leaving; how many obstetricians do we have in practice in Union County? How many pregnant women have gone out of La Grande to give birth?

Who audits the books? Is it done yearly? Are the directors given full information? It appears that the hospital is not doing a very good job in serving the health needs of Union County.

The time has come for a citizens committee to be formed to oversee our community-owned hospital. Union County needs an open community hospital to serve the needs when illnesses strikes.

Frank Cooke

La Grande


More fitting memorial

To the Editor:

I certainly agree with Molly Cook that we should honor the memory of Margaret Hassan and strive to ensure that her humanitarian efforts are not forgotten.

However, I think she misses the mark if she blames our leaders for Hassan's death. U.S. actions in the Middle East were precipitated by the unprovoked murder of 3,000 American Citizens on Sept. 11, 2001.

If we reward Margaret Hassan's murderers by pulling out of Iraq as her terrorist murderers want, she will have died in vain. This would also condemn millions to live under the ruthless yoke of the terrorists and guarantee the death of many more Margaret Hassans.

I suggest that a more fitting memorial would be for coalition and Iraqi freedom fighters to adopt the rallying cry "Remember Hassan!'' as they dispatch the cowardly, misguided murderers to the hell they deserve.

Gerald J. Perren



Veteran feels honored

To the Editor:

How honored I was this Veterans' Day to be remembered and honored by the Island City Elementary School students, faculty and staff.

The bugler playing "Taps" brought tears to my eyes, and the children just really put their hearts into the songs of the services which I was able to sing along to also.

We veterans were also honored again this year by Imbler School faculty, staff and students with a delicious breakfast and later a program in the school gym. I was given a small flag by each of four very young students and a rock — yes a rock — with our flag painted on it, treasures I will keep and add to those I received at Imbler last year.

Thank you to staff, faculty and students of both schools for honoring us veterans. I felt deeply honored.

And of course the veterans' organizations and all who participated in the Veterans' Day parade. I thank you.

Roy Hills

La Grande


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