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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FROM SEPTEMBER 3 - 15, 2001



Intended to provide relief

To the Editor:

Year after year, more and more restrictions have been imposed on landowners without paying any compensation. These restrictions take away the right of rural landowners to live on their own land, the right to build a home for their children or parent, or to sell some of the land to live on.

The passage of Measure 7, which requires compensation to the landowners for regulations that take their land, is intended to provide relief to rural landowners. Everyone knows that people who live on their land will be better stewards of the land than an absentee owner.

I am glad to see that the Oregon Supreme Court has accepted the appeal of the local courts decision blocking Measure 7 and now I look forward to the day when private property rights are protected in Oregon.

Ervin Van Blaricom


Facts about fireworks

To the Editor:

My son, G.J.W. McIntosh, was involved in the fire Aug. 18 on 20th Street and Gekeler Lane.

I know that sometimes newspaper reporters dont get their facts straight but they do their best to gather the information.

In this case it affected two boys. The boys were not in a field behind a shed, they were on the sidewalk of the Nazarene Church. Also the fireworks were not firecrackers.

I called The Observer and spoke to the person in charge. I told him the facts and asked him to check the police report. He said he would and he took my phone number. I have not heard from him.

Therefore I am writing to inform you of the facts. Thank you.

Dorothy McIntosh

La Grande

Park spelled correctly

To the Editor:

At first I was going to write a note of thanks to the City of La Grande but then decided it would be better to let the public know that it had done something good.

It was a small thing, perhaps, but important to those who rely on the correctness of our local heritage.

There was a directional sign at our five-stop-intersection on N Avenue that pointed towards Birnie Park located on the curve of C Avenue and Gekeler Lanebutit was spelled BERNIE. Every time I drove by N Avenue and looked at the sign, the misspelling haunted me in fear that our younger generation would never know how to correctly spell the George and Jean Birnie for whom the park honored.

Was it important to take down the sign and put a new one?

Some of us think so and, hopefully, your appreciated efforts will help the sign serve as an educational tool as well as a directional one.

Thank you, city.

Dorothy Fleshman

La Grande

Helping in many ways

To the Editor:

As a board member of Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries serving Union County, I see a volunteer program working at its best.

This area of Oregon, with its high unemployment rate, split families and the high number of low-income households, results in a greater ratio of people desperately needing help. Add to this the rising costs of utilities, housing, medications and transportation and it is easy to conclude that this community has to find solutions.

The Neighbor to Neighbor Food Bank sets up its distribution the last Saturday of each month, unless otherwise arranged, to serve families when other resources are exhausted. In August we gave out food for 224 people, of which 97 were children. We depend on United Way, a number of churches, individuals, Community Connection and the Oregon Food Bank to make this possible.

Local food drives, such as those put on by the college students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the mail carriers, are of the greatest importance when our other resources run low as they sometimes have.

United Way is our largest source of income. To ensure that deserving people receive help, Neighbor to Neighbor relies on the resources available through the police station and through the Salvation Army.

Neighbor to Neighbor is also called upon to help pay for medications, help with utilities and sometimes with rent. We can only do as much as there is money available. We hope this year the United Way drive is a huge success so that we can help people in need, as we ought to do.

Many volunteers also help Neighbor to Neighbor prepare a stockpile of firewood to help people keep warm during cold winter months.

Please stop by to visit our booth at the upcoming United Way Campaign kick-off to be held Thursday.

Helen J. Deatherage

La Grande

Charen column right on

To the Editor:

At last, someone sees logic. Mona Charens column Monday on the Gary Condit fiasco is long overdue. The entire news media seems to have forgotten that in this nation a person accused of crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Too often, the media ignores this tenet and instead, insists on finding a scapegoat.

Consider the damage done, in the event that the scapegoat is eventually brought to trial. There is no manner in which a fair, unbiased trial could occur, due to the frenzied pillorying by the media, before accusations are formally committed in a court of law.

I hope that Condit is able to sue the media for millions. When will the media wake up to its obligation to present news without bias?

When will I see, even in The Observer, the opinion of a defending attorney being reported, instead of only the prosecuting attorney being quoted? The reason is both obvious and sad. Innocence no longer represents news, despite its guarantee in our Constitution.

Be very glad that the judicial system has not yet yielded to the screams of irresponsible media.

When it does, all that our forefathers fought for, will have been irretrievably lost and every one of us will be to blame, for not standing firm in the insidious face of hysteria.

Mike Lamb

La Grande

Take advantage of free bulbs

To the Editor:

Enclosed with their power bills last month, Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative customers received two coupons for compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

These coupons have been sent to us all to encourage the use of energy-efficient bulbs for lights that are left on for appreciable time periods.

Compact fluorescent bulbs have improved a lot over the past couple of years. They now fit in most lamps and fixtures, they no longer flicker or buzz and they really do use 75 percent less electricity and last eight to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

We can have the same amount of light for one fourth the electricity cost, and we all have two $6-off coupons.

I urge everyone to take advantage of this opportunity. The coupons expire Sept. 30 so dont wait.

You can buy your new bulbs and redeem your coupons at Bares Hardware in Union, Elgin Hardware, or in La Grande at Arrow, Bi-Mart, Millers Home Center, Rite-Aid or Wal-Mart.

If we all act on this opportunity and replace bulbs in lamps that are left on all evening, together we can save a significant amount of electricity and money thanks to BPA and OTEC.

Kay Firor


Remember the sabbath

To the Editor:

Perhaps I am wrong, but I think most people in La Grande are Christians and follow the teaching in the Bible.

It seems to me we have changed over the past years in keeping the commandment, Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. More and more civic activities seem to be creeping into our everyday life.

I was particularly concerned when they announced that the circus was to be held on Sunday this year.

As we grow in tourism, I hope we will not become an area that treats the sabbath as just another day or one for activities that will influence our children for the future.

GeorgAnna Fuller

La Grande

Cavalier use of dollars

To the Editor:

I agree with your Sept. 1 editorial about the Baker School Board and the teachers to a point (Where were teachers when pact was signed?).

What your editorial did not address was the part played by Oregon taxpayers who are paying the bill.

I find the approach by the union to voluntarily forgo salary increases to pressure the school board to buy out the superintendents contract to the tune of over $200,000 a very cavalier use of scarce education dollars.

Whatever games are being played in Baker, Im afraid the losers are the students and the taxpayers who pay hard-earned money to support education. Too often school boards are buying out contracts to appease the unions.

For my part, I hope my dollars are spent on the essentials of student education and not for power plays between union and management.

Doran Hopkins


Families provided services

To the Editor:

We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful area where people work together to help our children and families with opportunities to reach their goals.

The Health Network for Rural Schools is actively working with county and state agencies to provide services where they are needed. This year Family Resource Centers have been opened in the rural communities with a coordinator to assist agencies in bringing services to rural Union County.

Nurse practitioners are providing medical services in the rural schools. School nurses are visiting the schools. A psychologist and social worker provide mental health services. These professionals cannot provide full-time service to each school, but their assistance is greatly appreciated.

Another service is information on the free health insurance for kids and application assistance. Many employers cannot provide health insurance for part-time workers or employees children, though one of the best ways to ensure success in school or on the job is with good health-care coverage. The Oregon Health Plan and the Childrens Health Insurance Program fill this gap for many in Union and Wallowa counties.

The United Way is a supporter of the Health Network for Rural Schools. Now the United Way needs our support. Lets all contribute toward a better community by contributing to the United Way.

Elinor Riley

community outreach worker

Health Network for Rural Schools

What asthma attack is like

To the Editor:

At the last city council meeting a young lady testified that she had bronchial asthma and was not bothered by smoke from burning yard debris. This is akin to the Primatene commercial an asthma sufferer can take one puff and run a marathon. Some people perhaps have a mild case.

Let us describe to you what an asthma attack is really like. First run around the block a couple of times until you are winded. Then put a clothespin on your nose and a straw in your mouth. Now tape the sides of your mouth shut and just breathe through the narrow, restricted space of the straw.

Now run around the block a couple more times struggling to get air to your lungs through the tiny straw. Then you will know what an asthma attack really feels like.

Marge and Henry Woodford

La Grande

Do what is honorable

To the Editor:

The injustice to landowners from unfair land use regulations must be stopped. Amazingly, governmental agencies can get away with taking property from landowners without paying just compensation even though our national and state constitutions specifically say that just compensation must be paid.

They get away with it because the courts dont require compensation for a regulatory taking so long as they leave the landowner with any use. This is unfair and wrong.

There was a measure Measure 7 on last years ballot aimed at protecting the rights of landowners from such takings. The measure simply says that if the government imposes regulations that restrict the use of property and reduce its value, then just compensation must be paid to the landowner.

Opponents of Measure 7 objected, saying this is a bad measure because it would cost $5.4 billion per year. If true, that means that the governments have stolen, and plan to steal, $5.4 billion worth of private property. This is shocking.

Fortunately, that was scare-talk. However, some stealing is involved. Our governments needs to do the honorable thing and pay what it owes, or remove the regulations to restore the value of the land. This will not only relieve the government from liability for takings, it will increase property tax revenues generated by the restored value.

Its time for the courts to approve Measure 7.

Amy Lou Werst


Thanks, but no thanks for federal tax rebate

To the Editor:

I sent the following to President Bush:

Thanks but no thanks for the $600 check rebate on my federal taxes. You didnt do with this money what I sent it to Washington for.

I wanted more help for education, for Social Security, for prescription medicine for the elderly, for better forest management and more national parks. I absolutely did not want more money spent on our war machine. How can other nations respect us in a brotherly manner when we treat them so brutally and unfriendly?

You think we need to waste our money on a Star Wars shield. We already have 22 Trident nuclear submarines circulating the earths oceans, any one of which is capable of destroying 408 centers of human population with a nuclear warhead 10 times more powerful than the one that incinerated Nagasaki. The preceding figures are from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

You know that other countries know that we have this obscene power. Why would anyone attack us knowing that we can wipe them off the face of the earth? My logic is different from your logic.

I am sending my rebate check to the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a well- respected long-time organization that promotes peaceful solutions to our world-wide problems. Im really tired of our bullying the rest of the world. How many wars have we fought since that last world war? More than 100, and they occurred on every continent, except Australia.

I dont like the way you are spending my money.

W.H. Oberteuffer

La Grande

Seek to live with less hurry, haste

To the Editor:

I am writing, as a Buddhist, to praise GeorgAnna Fullers recent call for a more diligent observance of the Sabbath (letter to the editor, The Observer, Sept. 8).

If Sabbath is a word more often used by Christians than by Buddhists, what the Sabbath represents is held in reverence by followers of both faiths.

Buddhists of the tradition to which I belong aspire to observe what we term a Day of Mindfulness at least 60 times each year.

On such a day, be it a Sunday or otherwise, we seek to live with less hurry and haste, the better to try our very best to practice compassion, gratitude and understanding the whole day long. Throughout these Buddhist Sabbaths, we turn our thoughts to the earnest hope that all the world shall dwell in harmony and peace.

This weeks terrible, unforeseen events, which followed close upon the publication of Ms. Fullers letter, have surely tempted many of us to sacrifice charity, forgiveness and love at the altar of anger and outrage.

As the tragedy that came to light on Sept. 11 continues to unfold, may each of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, take to heart Ms. Fullers timely plea for a stronger commitment to Christian values, each in our own way.

Whether, as her letter suggests, visiting the circus on the Sabbath is a violation of those values is open to debate.

Under certain circumstances a trip to the circus might bring great joy to a melancholy child, and in such a case, unlikely as it seems, a circus could become a tool of righteousness.

But the circus is not the real subject of GeorgAnna Fullers fine letter, whose gist, I am certain, speaks to each of us, deeply.

John Suydam

La Grande

In honor of personnel

To the Editor:

As volunteers from the Cove Quick Response Team and Cove Fire Department, we would like to take a moment of silence to express our deepest prayers for the fallen men and women of the New York fire and emergency medical services.

In our hearts we can only imagine what a horrific challenge this is going to be for the rest of the fire and EMS services to start the long process of cleaning up this mess, and of trying to recover the bodies of so many dead.

As members of an EMS team we all know the closeness that is achieved within our group. You become friends in a very different and intimate way.

They are your other family in a sense. So everyone take a minute and thank your local EMS. Please take a moment to bow your heads and think of the loved ones left now for dead.

What a terrible tragedy to make us stop and pray for so many gone on this September day.

Weve not lost only family and friends, but EMS and fire personnel who help us to the end.

Volunteers or paid, we all want to help save lives and property because of what youve been dealt.

We run to help you in time of need, for its in our blood to do this good deed.

So please take a moment to say thank you to all who go at the sound of the tone, big or small.

Well pray for you, our fallen friends, for God will be taking you home again.

Debra Hansen

and the members of the Cove Rural Fire Protection District

Back President Bush

To the Editor:

Referring to W.H. Oberteuffers letter of Sept. 11, how ironic his letter would appear the same day the United States was attacked.

Mr. Oberteuffer asked, Why would anyone attack us knowing that we could wipe them off the face of earth?

Also, he mentioned he was going to send his tax rebate to the Fellowship of Reconcil-iation. How nice.

His thinking is the same as a lot of wishy-washy liberal bleeding hearts if he thinks you can peacefully negotiate with people who have no sense of right or wrong and are willing to kill innocent civilians and themselves for their cause.

If this type of thinking had prevailed back in 1941 we would have lost the war.

America has just been attacked and Americans were killed in our homeland. We are at war. Get real! Time has shown that the only thing these terrorists understand is violence.

By my letter you can tell that I am angry. I am sick and tired of all the bickering that has been going on in the newspaper about our government. If we are going to defeat these terrorists we MUST join together behind President Bush and his advisers and give him all the support we can. We did this in 1941 and we can do it now.

Robert C. Bull

La Grande


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