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La Grande Observer Paper 07/23/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow MY VOICE

We should not have to choose

A few months ago I became aware of the county’s plan to demolish the Shelter From the Storm building and erect a courthouse on its site. Since then, I have discussed this issue with many people from diverse backgrounds, and I’ve been struck with two recurring themes.

MY VOICE: Reduction will dampen fire danger

Recently, I signed the Record of Decision for the Tollgate Fuels Reduction Project and began implementing a series of activities to reduce hazardous fuels on Umatilla National Forest lands adjacent to the Tollgate community.

MY VOICE: Time to protect our long-term health

Chemicals invade our lives insidiously and have disastrous cumulative long-term effects on human health and the environment.


MY VOICE: The value of farmland in NE Oregon

We live in an area of the country and state that is rich in culture, history, its hardworking, patriotic and generous people and agriculture. Often, busy lives lead to forgetting the beauty of our backyard and taking for granted all that God has given us.

MY VOICE: Where do we live and why?

I saw the picture of a driveway and the headlines about someone shooting cows — the picture suggested the cows were in the driveway. I read about a sheriff’s investigation: cut fence — bicyclists or hikers — lost cattle that couldn’t be found, a man devoted to returning land to its natural state, the property of cattlemen trying to make a go of a living lost to feedlots. 


MY VOICE: Where is the gratitude?

Time for a bit of history I guess. The big dust up over moving the shelter offices — not the women’s shelter — would benefit from some historic facts. As a past shelter board member, a participant in the locating and facilitating the building of the actual shelter itself and the person who came up with the name Shelter From the Storm, a line from a Bob Dylan song by the way, I think I can speak to the history involved. 


MY VOICE: Are the commissioners listening?

It has been brought to my attention that because the Shelter From the Storm is taking a stand to protest the demolition of their building, they are ungrateful for all the years of “free” rent and “free” utilities bestowed upon the SFS by the county commissioners. 


MY VOICE: Oregonians need transparency on trade

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade pact with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA has fundamentally changed the way we do business in America. 


MY VOICE: Taxpayers outside of URA should not bear burden

The subject of urban renewal has been one taking up much discussion, confusion, time, innuendos and differing views. After all, it is the United States of America and we welcome debate and discussions toward solving a problem.

MY VOICE: No need to hasten eviction of shelter

I bet you’d agree with me: politics, especially at the county commission level, is filled with do’s and don’t’s.


MY VOICE: The impact of abuse prevention

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Nothing in my abuse prevention work prepared me for the letter a Healthy Families client sent us. It immediately moved me to tears, and is a letter every social work professional longs to receive.

MY VOICE: Crowdfunding can bolster community

As executive director of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to support our region’s entrepreneurs and owners of existing businesses. Over the last few years, a grassroots funding platform has gained popularity, and I’m excited to introduce it to those of you who have never heard of “crowdfunding.”


MY VOICE: Open primaries will encourage people to vote

While collecting signatures on Initiative Petition 31-IP-0113 to place the question of whether Union County commissioners should be elected on a nonpartisan basis on the May 2014 primary ballot, petition circulators heard voters are tired of partisanship in government, want politicians to put the interests of the community before their party’s interests, and want them to move forward to solve difficult local, state, and national economic and social issues we face today. 


MY VOICE: Gathering community input

Over the past four months, the La Grande School District and a Strategic Facilities Planning Committee of citizens has worked diligently to study the facility and safety needs throughout the district, and we’re now ready to gather some important feedback from the community. 

MY VOICE: A fine line: When does hurting animals become animal abuse?

Several weeks back I attended the hearing for Dr. Joel Rice and the shooting of seven cows on his property. I sat and listened to a veterinarian give testimony about how two of the cows suffered due to gunshot wounds. 

MY VOICE: ACA will add to the bottom line

The Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” is a huge step forward in medical insurance reform. It is struggling to make its implementation schedule and is creating a lot of ambiguity and some anxiety for almost everyone concerned. There are many good things about this act that strengthen and improve coverage. 

MY VOICE: Reclaim our animal shelter

In 2012, many supporters of the original Blue Mountain Humane Association came together over concerns about the longevity and continuation of the animal shelter services that had been provided by BMHA since 1996. In December 2011, John Brinlee had convinced the BMHA board of directors that he was the best candidate for president of the nonprofit and that they could trust his guidance to continue the great work that had been accomplished by previous boards and staff. 


MY VOICE: Cove unified on issue of drugs


MY VOICE: Hang íem high on Glass Hill Road? Letís not

My name is Douglas Byers and I had a herder’s camp next to Dr. Joel Rice’s place on Glass Hill Road from April to November 2012. I lived, cooked, worked and slept outdoors up there every day from spring snowmelt to the first heavy snow of that fall. If there is anyone that knows the daily movements of sky, wildlife and cattle in that area, I’d wager it’s me. 


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