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The Observer paper 12/24/14

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The front-page photo in The Observer on Monday depicts the reality of a long basketball season for many of the young men and women in Northeast Oregon. Many of them start the basketball season before fall sports wind down even if they are still involved in fall playoffs. The Imbler players pictured were lying on the floor exhausted. The perseverance of these young people should encourage us as we look at the future in rural Oregon. Congratulations go out to Ken Kramer, who kneels over a player, encouraging the young man on to victory at this past weekend's district tournament. Imbler advanced to the state 2A tournament, where it began its quest for a state championship Tuesday morning. Nothing comes easy, but the Panthers persevered with an overtime victory over Santiam Christian.

Another story has emerged during this season of basketball at Imbler, and that is the unselfish dedication that a man like Kramer brings each and every day. Kramer, who is retired from being a leader in the field of education, both in Oregon and Alaska, has not forsaken his love of the young people who make education a wonderful career or his love for sports. Kramer spends countless hours coaching, then driving the Imbler basketball bus on weekends, recently logging a weekend trip from Imbler to John Day and back and then the next day to Joseph. All this for no pay!

Kramer is the epitome of a person who cares about developing lifetime skills and character in the young people he has guided.

Teams from La Grande and other school districts around our circulation area will also be competing in state playoffs, but it is refreshing that someone like Kramer would dedicate so much of his personal time to help young athletes without any financial remuneration. He shows a willingness to serve in any capacity that is necessary. No, Kramer is not super human. He's just a person who values young people and cares enough to act on it. He's leading through example.

Choose a channel

Charter Communications' Channel 40 in the La Grande, Union and Baker service area has sat idle for several months now — ever since Paul Allen's Action Sports Cable Network ceased to exist. When will Charter come up with something to put on Channel 40?

If the cable provider can't decide on what type of programming to place on Channel 40, which is actually part of the basic cable lineup, perhaps it needs some suggestions from customers. How about the Food Network, which is good enough for just about every other cable provider in the country? Or Comedy Network? Or Do-It-Yourself Network? Or MSNBC?

Charter needs to get on with the filling dead air that every subscriber is helping to pay for.


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