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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Monday, March 24





Mammen: Volunteers needed to get ready for next winter

To the Editor:

This has been a wonderful winter to sit by a cozy fire in the fireplace and read a book. While doing that, how many of us were thinking about the families in La Grande who did not have enough heat to keep their homes warm? Well, Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries was thinking about it and from October through February, a dedicated group of hardy fellows donated more than 180 volunteer hours at the Neighbor to Neighbor woodlot by chopping, splitting and stacking over 35 cords of wood to be distributed to those in need. Winter had some pretty cold days this year, causing a higher than usual demand for free firewood. 

We know that warmer weather is on the way, but this is the time to be looking for wood to be cut, split and stacked for next year. That means more volunteers are needed to make this happen. Before wood preparation can be considered, there has to be a supply of wood. This is where you can help. Many of you will be going out into the woods in the coming months to gather wood for your own use. Neighbor to Neighbor invites you to share a portion of your cut to the woodlot. Every little bit helps. To those of you who plan to have a tree removed and don’t intend to use the wood yourself, consider donating that wood to Neighbor to Neighbor. Just have the trimmed wood left on your property and that group of hardy fellows mentioned before will come, pick it up and deliver it to the lot. 

I understand that wood cutting and splitting can be almost addictive for some men, so if you fall into that category and would like to join this great volunteer group or if you would like to donate downed wood to Neighbor to Neighbor, call Dennis Rea, Wood Program coordinator, at 541-663-8265.

Ginny Mammen

La Grande





Seydel: Dr. Rice helps people live productive lives

To the Editor:

I love to read Bill Heavy’s “one page article” that appears every month at the back of Field and Stream magazine. This month he talks about people who love to hunt, anti-hunters and “slob hunters.” 

Of most interest to me is his definition of “slob hunters.” He feels that if hunters were honest, they would agree that 1-in-5 of the people in their hunting group are slob hunters. That is, and I quote Heavy, “I’m talking about those guys who bend the law or fail to respect and care for their kill.”

Wow, 1-in-5 in a hunting group. I guess what happens in hunting camp, stays in hunting camp. The public seldom hears these stories. What if the mountains could talk? What about “let the man with no sin throw the first stone”?

Should we take these hunters’ livelihoods away because of their hidden, stupid hunting mistakes? Joel Rice made a very stupid mistake. He has been open, public, honest and repentant about his mess. Maybe the fines and community service could be double. He has to live with this error and face his patients/clients every day. By removing his certification, we are not improving our community. He also faces the scrutiny and judgment of his physician peers. Perhaps, let them deal with his certification.

We see immaturity rear its ugly head every day. But if people can keep working, they have an opportunity to hold on to or rebuild their integrity. Dr. Rice helps people get back to work and live productive lives. Let’s get on with life and put this problem to rest.

We, the public, are not without sin. Ours is just hidden.

Judith M. Seydel

La Grande




Sorensen: Everyone should have access to health care

To the Editor:

I agree with Mr. Still’s views (Wednesday, March 12) on the need for a single payer health care system.  There are features to the Affordable Care Act that benefit many Americans and I was thrilled that it was passed into legislation. It is certainly better than the old system. But a single payer system would have been better; every American would be covered, and it would be simpler and more cost effective to administer.  

I believe that health care is as important as education and police protection; both are single payer systems that the American people have embraced as important enough to pay for with our tax dollars.  The fact of the matter is, even with the Affordable Care Act, there will still be millions of people who are uninsured and many who are insured who will not be seeking the treatment they need because of high co-pays and deductibles. 

The cost of health care in the U.S. is more than double that of other first world countries. A quarter of our costs are associated with administration. Billions of dollars are wasted dealing with insurance companies. For example, the number of billing clerks alone needed relative to patient care is many times that of countries with a single payer system.  Insurance companies’ overhead is typically over 20 percent while Medicare’s overhead pays less than 5 percent in overhead.  We would save billions in administrative costs if we had a single payer system.

Businesses would benefit with a single payer system as well.  Those who offer benefits to their employees are at a huge competitive disadvantage. The average cost of employee health insurance for businesses is typically 20 percent of payroll. In no other country do businesses have to take on such a burden of paying for employee health care.  

Every other industrialized country has some form of universal health care and none uses profit-making insurance companies. Our Medicare System has proven to be an efficient, effective system that is invaluable to senior citizens. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had access to it?  

Kim Sorensen

La Grande


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