October 29, 2001 11:00 pm

Let Forest Service know how you feel

To the Editor:

As this years snowmobile season approaches, everyone who uses the Mount Emily Snow Park should know that you cannot ride from the freeway overpass to the snow park if the road has been plowed.

When the snow park is full almost every weekend there is no way to turn around a four-place trailer, so you are stuck in the middle of the road blocking everyone from sledders to skiers. Some of us park on the overpass and ride into the snow park.

Now Ive been told and there is a sign at the cattle guard that you cant ride the road if it has been plowed. If you do, you can be ticketed.

So if you want to park at the snow park and ride to Kamelo or Indian Lake you cant use the road from the snow park to the freeway or you can get a ticket. Now Mount Emily Road is a designated snowmobile road, all of it not some here and some there.

If you do not want your son, daughter, wife or yourself to get a ticket, this is the time to call the Forest Service and let them know how you feel about this. The number is 963-7186.

J.R. Kauffman

La Grande

Membership drive important

To the Editor:

I am inviting Union County citizens to become honorary members of the Oregon State Sheriffs Association.

Membership appeals will be sent out in the mail shortly.

With government funding becoming increasingly difficult to secure, the honorary membership drive has taken on a greater importance.

The funding is vital in helping us carry out our mission of making our communities safer places to live, work and play.

Individuals choosing to become honorary members can do so for as little as $25, while businesses can show their support by making a $40 contribution.

Dues will be used to support crime prevention and awareness, promote public safety, fight drug abuse and provide critically important technical resources, additional training for sheriffs and their deputies and legislative support on key criminal justice issues.

Contributions are tax-deductible.

People not receiving a membership appeal or wanting more information can obtain it by contacting the Oregon State Sheriffs Association, P.O. Box 2313, Salem, OR 97308. Or they can also contact the sheriffs office.

I encourage everyone receiving a membership appeal to consider joining forces with us by becoming an honorary member. It is a valuable investment in our future.

Union County Sheriff Steve Oliver

La Grande

Bailey speaks plainly

To the Editor:

The author of an Oct. 13 letter to the editor saw no bias in the reporting of Ric Baileys alleged firewood cutting violation in Wallowa County.

Compare the Bailey article to an article of similar size written this year regarding a local attorney.

The attorney, formerly employed as an assistant prosecutor for the Union County District Attorneys office, was censured by the State Bar for knowingly withholding several thousand dollars from an insurance company.

The two incidents are worth comparing. The proven malfeasance of a former prosecuting attorney involving thousands of dollars merits gentle sanction, no criminal charges and no photo. The alleged firewood cutting violation of a local gadfly who dares to irritate the powerful merits two columns and a photo.

Mr. Bailey is presented to the public as a hypocrite. I wonder who the hypocrites really are.

Richard K. Ric Baileys real crime is that he attempts to make the logging of our national forests a more open process. Anyone who has been to a public meeting and contrasted the speaking style and substance of Ric Bailey with a Forest Service bureaucrat knows why Bailey is their enemy.

He speaks plainly and openly. Bureaucrats are trained to speak the way phone bills are designed to be read. That is, they are deliberately vague and jargon-laden, to prevent public knowledge and participation.

I dont agree with every position taken by Ric Bailey and the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, but I applaud his efforts and encourage him to continue his hard work.

Charles H. Gillis

La Grande

You cant mix evil, love

To the Editor:

Much of Tim Hoffnagles Oct. 16 letter disturbs me, but what concerns me most is his assertion that Osama bin Laden loves his God and his country.

I wonder if a person who has experienced real love, not in a romantic sense, could make that statement. Osama bin Laden and his followers do not love God or their country. They may be passionate. They may be dedicated. But they do not love.

The only way to argue that their actions are truly based on love of God and country is to argue that different definitions and sources of love not only exist but are true. And that cannot be. Truth does exist. To argue against that is to argue for the moral relativism that says that what the terrorists did is understandable because their motivations were good in their own eyes.

Certainly, we can see the danger in such thinking. We cannot construe any of the terrorists behavior to be good because it aimed at the deliberate destruction of innocent people motivated by hatred.

You cannot do evil and love at the same time. The only way to believe that the source of the terrorists acts was love and not evil is to believe that there is no true definition of right and wrong, love and hate. This is where a great part of my sadness for this nation and this world lies: we try to decide on our own what is real or true, right or good, and all the while the source of those things does exist and probably wishes wed stop insisting on trying to figure this all out on our own.

Inherent in living a life that is motivated by the true definition of love is its fruits what do our actions produce?

Michelle Babcock

La Grande

Dont forget local needs

To the Editor:

I stood Oct. 11 in Riverside Park, watching my Girl Scout troop along with other local Girl Scouts plant a beautiful Scarlet Oak tree. These girls and adult volunteers had braved the cold, rainy weather to show their support for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of exactly one month previous.

The whole country has pulled together in the weeks since Sept. 11, in support of both the families of the victims and of New York City which sustained the bulk of the monetary damage. Volunteers collected food, clothing, money and other essential items to ship to New York City. Other volunteers donated their time, money and energy, flying to New York to help out at ground zero. This outpouring of so many different kinds of support shows who we Americans really are.

One thing that we must not forget, as we reach out to help our brothers and sisters across the country, is that there are other, local needs. We cannot abandon the other worthy causes, where many are now hurting financially.

As you help out in the aftermath of this tragedy, please do not forget your neighbors. Remember the Union County United Way, which supports Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and many other worthy causes in our community. They could really use your support, too.

Brook Smith, leader

Girl Scout Troop 706

Island City

Dance Sampler successful

To the Editor:

On Saturday I saw an example of cooperation and community spirit that was very gratifying.

Two independent dance groups, the Star Promenaders and the Northeast Oregon Folklore Society, worked together to present the first Dance Sampler.

It was called this because everyone got to sample several different kinds of dancing. It was such a fun evening that it reminded me how events like this are so good for helping people meet and enjoy other people and for increasing individuals sense of belonging in the community.

Im grateful to Pat Phelps for coming up with the idea and for all the work she did to make it happen.

Dianne Lewis

La Grande

Reaching for potential

To the Editor:

Your local United Way supports important programs in our community like Kids Club, an after-school program for kindergarten through sixth-grade children. Kids Club offers an affordable, structured program that children can attend while their parents work or attend school.

Funding from sources such as the United Way ensures that children have a place to go after school and during the summer break and are not being left home alone unsupervised.

As a state certified day care center, Kids Club is structured to meet developmental needs of elementary-age children, and to provide them with a chance to participate in activities which will help them reach their full potential. These activities include expressive art, active play, dramatic play, sports, games, science projects, crafts and reading.

By supporting your local United Way, you will help keep needed programs like Kids Club available for children in your community.

Jeff Hensley, assistant director

Community Connection

of Northeast Oregon

La Grande

Get out of hot pot

To the Editor:

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If youre in a relationship that threatens your safety or your childrens safety, I urge you to get help.

Sometimes we know right up front that things arent quite right. But thats not always the case. Some abusers are more cunning and over a period of time can even make you doubt your own judgment.

I once had a counselor who kept bringing up the subject of frogs. Shed say something like, If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water, hell know something is terribly wrong and fight to get out. However if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water and slowly turn up the heat under it, hell try to adjust to the temperature change bit by bit, until before he realizes what is happening hes cooked.

My counselor was talking about why some of us dont recognize a bad situation as being as awful as it is until its too late.

Trust your gut feeling; trust your own intuition. If it doesnt make sense, doesnt seem right, doesnt jive with your morals, or is so outrageous you question your own or your partners sanity, check it out. Shelter From the Storm in La Grande is an excellent place to start.

Domestic violence is no joke and it is scary. It takes courage, education, resources and support to climb out of a bad situation. Learning to stay safe and make better choices is hard work. But I know from experience that this town is full of good people and fine organizations that can and will help you if you are ready.

Please stop to consider. If you were a frog and needed to be thinking about pots, wouldnt you forget the cooking pot and choose to hang out around flower pots instead?

Joyce Atchley


City must enforce its land-use plan

To the Editor:

Its great that the Union County Economic Development Corporation has a full-time person to work on economic development. However, to achieve positive economic development you need the involvement of small-business owners and the citizens of the community. Economic development is not going to be achieved if investors are aware the local government does not enforce its comprehensive land-use plan.

We would like to know why the city has allowed the property at 2314 Adams Ave. to be used as a nonconforming residence in a general commercial zone when the use was changed in October 1999 to general commercial.

On Jan. 10 the city council only revoked the home occupation permit and did not address the legality of the property being used as a residence. The planning director on Jan 11 issued an opinion that it was a lawful residence.

However, LUBAs final order dated July 17 states the city needs to adopt a final decision on whether the disputed dwelling may continue to be used for a residence as a nonconforming use.

This needs a final decision, not a mere opinion. But that would require a hearing, which apparently the planning department does not want to address.

Citizens need to be aware that if the comprehensive plan is not followed and enforced the affected party needs to go through the court system, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars and take many years.

What we have gone through to protect our rights could happen to any property owner unless we get the problem out of city hall. Maybe a full-time paid mayor could be the answer, similar to the county commissioners.

We also want to know why are we getting threats after the city council on Jan. 10 approved the revocation of the home occupation permit for a real estate office?

Lanny and Juanita Robson

La Grande

Mail brings heart-destroying news

To the Editor:

My heart has been filled with sorrow for the people of our country who have lost so many family and friends due to the horrific act of people who are filled with hate, greed and revenge against our nation.

But my heart too has been broken as of recently. The hate and revenge that lives in the hearts of people who are our neighbors and, yes, even fellow church family, just blows me away.

It is so opposite of everything I have been taught and raised to believe from the Word of God. God is a forgiving, loving and caring God who knows first-hand the pain of watching his own son die for all of us. Yet in this great nation of ours, there are people who hide, just like the terrorists do, not in caves or other countries but behind Christianity and the law.

The mail can bring all kinds of things nowadays, disease or heart-destroying news that because of a legality you are not to love and care about your grandkids anymore.

Well, this is my hearts cry: Any of our friends or loved ones who read this and know me, every time you see my grandkids on the street or in a store or at their school, will you please tell them that this grandma still loves them?

Angie Bales

Omak, Wash.

Working to stop abuse

To the Editor:

This year has been especially rewarding for the Mount Emily Safe Center, the child abuse assessment center.

The safe center has seen many positive changes this past year, working to get the center to a more stable position. One major impact on the stability of the program was our collaboration with Oregon Health and Science Universitys rural health clinic in Union, the Union Family Health Center.

With our relocation to that facility, we are better able to serve our children and their families.

The Mount Emily Safe Center is the child-abuse assessment center for our region. At the safe center, we see children who are suspected of being abused, or children who indicate they have been abused. During the assessment process, we do a head-to-toe medical examination and a forensic interview of the child. Through this process we are most always able to find out what really happened to the child and, if necessary, help play a part in getting the abuse stopped.

We continue to look for ways to better serve our abused children. Working with children of abuse, you recognize early on the true meaning of the word victim.

Children have no one but adults to turn to for help, and we are glad we are here for them.

United Way of Union County helps fund our program, and this in turn allows us to continue to do the work we do in helping the children. We realize without their support, we could not do what we are doing.

No one can ever make it right for a victim. However, we can help to ease the pain and begin the healing process.

L. Sue Arnoldus, executive director

Mount Emily Safe Center


Flag defacement wrong

To the Editor:

I felt outrage and disbelief when I saw the defacement of the American flag billboard on Island Avenue on Oct. 12.

That was also the day of remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole and the day of the synchronized Pledge of Allegiance across America.

As Americans we have freedom of speech and the right to express our feelings, but no one has the right to exercise that freedom on our flag. Whether paper, cloth or plastic, covering a casket or attached to a car antenna, the American flag is symbolic of our country and freedom.

Our freedom wasnt handed to us. It was earned through the blood, sweat and tears of Americans who fought and died for it. To deface our flag is to dishonor not only their supreme sacrifice but their memory as well. To this day Americans continue to pay that price.

Millions mourn the thousands of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our homeland. Weve all seen the images of horror and heard the stories of the heroes who gave their own lives to save others.

America will never forget those who lost their lives in the attacks that day. Never forget the brave souls on United Airlines flight 93 that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The passengers who, after a prayer and the words, Lets roll, fought back. Their actions that day saved an untold number of lives and embodied the very spirit of America.

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Martha Bailey

La Grande

Reason why we prosper

To the Editor:

I have been trying to make sense of what happened on Sept. 11.

Knowing that God allowed it to happen was very unsettling to say the least. I believe that God is allowing this to happen to warn the world of his coming, to make us aware of the fact that this country began because we wanted religious freedom. It continues because we still have liberty to write and go to church and vote for responsible people, to disagree and not be punished, even to try to put into power people who agree with us spiritually.

It does not allow us, however, to kill or physically hurt someone who disagrees with us. We have the 10 Commandments that are followed by most of our nation. They are why we will not follow the lead of the terrorists and attack our enemies even if we disagree violently with them.

I believe we have to defend and protect ourselves. The Christians of old, in Luthers time, were persecuted because of their religious faith. God was not in this persecution but he allowed it.

Christians died for their faith and then came to this country and created a free country. This is why we have grown into such a glorious nation and we have prospered. We are free because we allow all to be free. We prosper if we will work and study and learn. We need to keep this in mind as we look at other nations.

Other people have come to this country because they wanted freedom to worship, grow and learn, but what they need to keep in mind is that we are prosperous because God has blessed us.

Now we have an honest president and I pray that he will keep God in mind and the reason why we prosper.

P. Shankel