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La Grande Observer Daily paper 10/24/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow WIEN'S VISION CAN IMPROVE COUNTY FAIR

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WIEN'S VISION CAN IMPROVE COUNTY FAIR

What will the Union County Fair look like in one, three or five years? Will it have the same exhibits, the same participation of 4-H and FFA youth, the same attendance, and the same look within exhibit buildings? And will it have similar entertainment on its main and smaller stages?

Some changes will be subtle; others may be sweeping. But expect new fair manager Sally Brownton Wiens to take a fresh look at the fair and retool it to make it even more attractive to the public.

The 2003 fair, slated for July 30 through Aug. 2, will look about the same as previous fairs. Much of the fair already is planned and few changes, other than the direction the carnival midway will be set up, will be visible.

Expect Wiens to make a difference at future fairs, retooling the concept to help move into the 21st century something that is loaded with so much tradition.

Wiens, a lifetime resident of La Grande, has seen many fairs come and go in the county. Her creativity, energy, sense of history and ability to listen to people will be put to good use in coming months and years. Her first order of business will be to find grants and partnerships to help fill the fair's coffers as state funding dwindles.

She'll also be looking at the fair's image, trying to see what can be done to attract even more participants and visitors.

Wiens won't be holed up in the office, but will be out among the people during fair week. Stop by and share a comment or two with her. She'll be open to ideas as she steps forward to turn the fair from what it is today into something that will be more dynamic and appealing in the years to come.

DRIVING 101

Everyone else is the bad driver, right? Wrong. According to a Volvo Cars of North America, AAA and Partners for Highway Safety poll, more than 90 percent of drivers admit to occasionally speeding, eating, using cell phones or reading while driving. But they are certain other drivers are even worse at driving; the other guy is the truly dangerous one.

The poll numbers speak like a confessional. Seventy-three percent of drivers admitted to speeding; 59 percent to eating while behind the wheel; 37 percent to using cell phones; 28 percent to wearing no seat belt; 26 percent to using no signal when turning; and 14 percent to reading while driving. Must be a good book.

The bigger issue here is basic human behavior 101. People need to worry more about what they can control — their own driving behavior — and less about what they can't control, other drivers' behavior. And just because other drivers speed, eat hot dogs behind the wheel, chat on a cell phone with friends or the baby-sitter, wear no seat belt, fail to use signals or read behind the wheel, we don't have to follow suit. The life we save may be our own.

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