November 19, 2001 11:00 pm

Church doing great job on field

To the Editor:

I hope that others have noticed the emerging new park and future ball field on the property of the Nazarene Church, between 18th and 20th Streets near Gekeler Lane. I am a resident on the nearby Century Loop.

The acres of new lawn have taken root this fall, and the green site has already become an attractive addition to our neighborhood. Rick Stanton deserves recognition for his tireless efforts and determination in coordinating the development of the field over the past year. Youth and adults of the church congregation were observed picking up rocks and helping to level and seed the field.

The Union County GRAY group contributed equipment, materials, thousands of dollars and lots of labor. Many months and hours of work were required for planning and design, for weed control, and for leveling the pasture, installing a backstop, and installing a sprinkler system. We must assume there are numerous, nameless others who contributed money, talent and support.

How generous of the Nazarene Church congregation and leadership to support and make available their land for use as a park for ball teams when the grounds are complete, hopefully next summer. What a positive addition to the church site and enhancement of our community.

Volunteerism and collaboration at its best.

Doyle Slater, city councilor

La Grande

Donated goods slipping away

To the Editor:

Donating to the Deseret Industries containers at the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 12th Street and Gekeler Lane, and the Salvation Army containers on Fir Street is a great way to recycle useful items for a worthwhile cause without having a garage sale or dumping good stuff.

It is a crime for anyone to remove any of these donations for whatever reason and offenders can be prosecuted, and have been.

But, thievery and other crimes seem to be flourishing in our community. Those who knowingly purchase stolen goods or provide good deals are not without guilt. Others should check their sources.

Some do their stealing in the dark, so locks were purchased and put on some of the containers at night. However, some work by day.

Who would steal a 55- to 60-year-old wringer washer that needed at least two or three people to move it quietly, without drawing attention or awakening occupants of the Country West Apartments?

I hauled that family heirloom from Seattle.

Then there were two pickup truckloads of older vintage items and luggage donated on a Saturday, gone by Monday morning, and other things lifted after that.

If you think nobody knows, remember there is someone more powerful than all and He sleepeth not, nor does He slumber. We need to fight the theft and destruction of the property of others. Watch out for your neighbors property as well as your own. Put away your tools and equipment and lock things up.

We do not have enough police for one-on-one to help retrieve what we did not take care of, or to be expected to do what we need to do for ourselves.

Loreen Mathias

La Grande

Funding important for safe center

To the Editor:

I have been one of the many individuals involved in the establishment of the Mount Emily Safe Center from its inception. I have witnessed our child-abuse assessment center progress from a Union County Multi-disciplinary Team project into an ever-growing regional, private, non-profit program.

United Way of Union County has been a consistent contributor to the funding of the center from the start.

Without this financial assistance, I fear the center would not be at its present level of functioning.

The center has been privileged to serve the Union, Wallowa and Baker communities by providing prompt, thorough and caring assessments of abused children. These assessments consist of a full medical examination, a forensic interview, followup recommendations and referrals to appropriate services.

The center believes in ensuring the best care not only of the child but of families seen at the program.

The forensic interviewer, medical practitioner, law enforcement officer and victim advocate work in conjunction with the family to achieve the best interests of the child and family unit before, during and after the assessment.

The recent collaboration with Oregon Health Science University at the Union Health Clinic has opened up accessibility for childrens evaluations due to the number of medical practitioners on staff.

In addition, the center has been able to craft comparable followup services for both familial and third-party cases referred to the program.

We hope to become even more involved in the communities we serve, not only in child protection, but to return to these communities the wonderful support they have extended to the center.

Suzanne Trepoy-McCarthy, board chair

Mount Emily Safe Center

Old Glory taken from porch

To the Editor:

On Saturday, Oct. 6, sometime during the night, my flag was taken from my front porch.

My flag was a very special possession. My parents, who are no longer alive, gave my husband and me that flag for a present when it changed from 48 stars to 50. My husband, who is also no longer alive, was a veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict.

We were very proud to have it. I have lived in this house since 1965 and have always displayed it in that exact same place from which it was taken. I never imagined that someone would have the gall to take it from me.

Nothing would take the sadness from me as would waking up one morning and seeing it hanging back in the same place. Wouldnt that be cool?

On the same night my next-door-neighbors flag was also stolen. They are a young couple with a 3-year-old. What kind of message is that for him? They hadnt even had their flag one week.

In the wake of Sept. 11, it is hard for me to picture what kind of person would do this. Whoever you are I would hope you could have the courage to replace it from where you took it. Are you the same person who has stolen other flags in our community and also damaged the beautiful flag billboard in Island City?

I dont want to see your face. Just replace my flag.

Joanne Strickler

La Grande

Sign asks: Do you feel safe

To the Editor:

I was in La Grande driving to Safeway and noticed a group of people in the little park across the street. As I drove closer, I began to try to figure out what message this particular group was trying to make with their cardboard signs on sticks.

The message I got from the signs was one that I didnt agree with and one sign really caught my attention. The sign read: Do you feel safe now?

My answer to this question is yes. I feel safe. I also feel proud and lucky. I live free in the greatest country on earth. Unfortunately we have been attacked and many of our citizens have been killed. As a result of this attack, we are retaliating against those who attacked us. It would be a mistake not to.

I feel safe knowing that we have the capability and willingness to protect this country in whatever way is deemed necessary. I feel safe looking around and seeing all the American flags being so proudly flown. The signs in cars, pickups, trucks, business windows and homes that read Proud to be an American also make me feel safe.

In fact, one of the only things that has made me feel unsafe is knowing that there are a select few of us out there who enjoy all the privileges this country gives us but choose to complain rather than support. That, however, is one of the things that makes this country so unique and great.

So, my response to the person holding the sign is that yes I feel safe. They should also feel safe because they are living in a country that gives them so much, including the right to march around carrying signs.

Greg Poor


Please dont disgrace us

To the Editor:

The first thing I want to say is, God bless America!

The second is that I am truly ashamed of the people who have the gall to stand on the corner by Max Square and put on an anti-war demonstration.

I observed a 13-, maybe 14-year-old boy holding the flag, shouting passivity. This really made me sick to my stomach.

I lost a friend in the World Trade Center. Why? Because he was a member of the New York Police Department saving other peoples lives before his own.

It was a shame he had to go, but I bet you my bottom dollar that he would not have it any other way. He was doing his job. God bless his soul.

As for the people who were on that corner Thursday night, how could you guys call yourselves Americans holding those flags high?

Think about what you are doing. People are dying because of these terrorists. Do you want to lose someone close to you before you change your thinking?

The only reason we are at war is to end all terrorism. If it werent for the brave men and women out there protecting our freedom, you guys standing out there protesting would be thrown in jail and persecuted for your beliefs.

Be grateful you guys are in America. Just dont disgrace us.

John Lannon

La Grande

Not many making profit

To the Editor:

Once again we are hearing complaints because the Forest Service timber operation costs money rather than making a profit.

How many government programs can be named that make a profit? How many Forest Service recreational, habitat and other programs make a profit?

Why should the timber operation be the only government program required to make a profit, or at least not cost money?

We spend a whole lot more than Forest Service timber costs subsidizing airlines and a host of other non-government operations that should be self-sustaining.

Is the Taxpayers for Common Sense group subsidized through tax exemptions, local to federal, for their operations?

Yet, no one asks those who complain to explain why the Forest Service should be the only government program required to be profitable.

There are legitimate reasons for not returning to some timber producing practices of the past. Forest Service profits is not one of them.

Dan Thompson


Sunny Hills not so safe

To the Editor:

One of our favorite qualities of La Grande is the sense that this is a safe community for children. But on Halloween night teen-agers cruising the Sunny Hills area assaulted my 11-year-old daughter and her friend, robbed them not just of their candy but of their sense of safety, and chased by the children bravely escaped in a white (possibly Windstar) van.

The police have a report of the incident, but it will require the active help of other witnesses and parents to establish accountability for this behavior.

Please help protect our valued safety for children in our community.

Norman Shrumm

La Grande

Children face contradictions

To the Editor:

The picture on the front page of the Oct. 30 Observer, Halloween humor, is illustrative of the difficulties our children face today.

The picture was cute. I laughed at it. Then Julie pointed something out to me. A kid in school could never get away with that.

So I asked the principal what would happen if a student created a similar decoration outside La Grande High School. He said that if anyone was offended, then the principal would make the student take it down. Fortunately, he didnt say the student would be punished. I respect the high school and their commitment to teaching values. We have graduated two children from LHS, children well prepared for their futures.

But the point here is that the contradictory pressures facing our children today are enormous. They are constantly trying to figure out, with limited cognitive skills, the subtle differences between the images they see in print, on television, on the Internet or hear in music, and what those in authority deem appropriate behavior.

When we were in school, parents taught children pretty much to do what they saw people around them doing, including on TV. Now parents struggle to convince their children not to do what they see in the media and around them.

So our request is simple. The next time you are tempted to criticize children because they seem to make mistakes a lot, look at what is bombarding them and ask yourself if you could have figured it out when you were young.

If you answer honestly, then I think you will come to a deeper appreciation of how talented these young people really are. With that awareness will come admiration and respect. And then, for the first time in our lives, we will begin to bridge the generation gap.

Dr. Thomas and Julie Geraci

La Grande

Valuable service in schools

To the Editor:

The Union County United Way definitely expresses its dedication to children in Union County.

Thanks to our local United Way, the five rural schools in Union County receive health and social services.

The United Way support helps fund the Health Network for Rural Schools, which places a nurse, a mental health counselor, a nurse practitioner, a health insurance outreach worker and a family resource center in each of the five outlying schools.

The HNRS staff collaborates with the Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing, local school districts, ESD and local medical providers in offering preventive health services to children and families of rural Union County.

The HNRS staff works closely with school personnel and families in identifying children with health needs and a plan of care is established for each child. The staff responds to a variety of needs, including locating resources for children with chronic health needs, assisting families in obtaining health insurance, facilitating increased self-esteem and in turn improving school attendance, and identifying and referring students with serious health concerns.

The HNRS also provides health screenings and health education along with some acute care throughout the school year. The unique diversity of the staff allows for an efficient, comprehensive, school-based approach to preventive care of Union Countys rural children and families.

Again, thanks to the our local United Way for making this valued service possible.

Selina Shaffer, R.N.


Questioned our patriotism

To the Editor:

For the past month a group of individuals has participated in a peace vigil at Max Square after work on Thursday evenings. We stand quietly with signs and flags.

It takes a certain amount of commitment to publicly espouse a message in opposition to current government policy. Standing with signs for peace is one way of questioning the direction our government is taking. Ones government and ones country are certainly not the same.

The country gives us rights, responsibilities and a process for governing. I dont feel I am questioning my country or its process. To the contrary, by demonstrating, I am evidence that the process is still functioning. I feel that thinking and speaking out between elections are every bit as important as voting in elections.

Last Thursday a small group of flag- waving hecklers arrived and disrupted our vigil with shouts and accusations. They directly questioned our patriotism for opposing our governments current direction.

The Constitution centers on checks and balances and popular participation for good reason. The framers of the Constitution recognized that centralized governments by nature represent a potential misuse of power.

They hoped that America could be held accountable through the democratic process they set up. Americans who interfere with or scorn people for exercising freedom of expression are actually interfering with and scorning a pivotal founding principle of our democracy.

Mary McCracken

La Grande

Get on board for recycling

To the Editor:

Recycling has been delayed long enough in Union County.

City Garbage Service has been operating the current recycling drop-off service for many years, often as a free community service, supporting it because they believe in recycling.

If recycling is put off any longer it will just mean that some more folks will delay getting on board. Union County could aid this process by putting money into education about reducing, recycling and reusing materials. This would go a long way toward improving recycling statistics.

As The Observer said in its Oct. 31 editorial, Recycling is an Earth-friendly activity.

I would say that it is an earth- and life-saving activity and we should be willing to put our money where our mouth is. Im in favor of paying extra, if thats what it takes, to protect our natural resources. Some communities offer financial incentives for recycling, such as credit on utility bills or reduction in waste charges. Others offer negative incentives by fining people who dont recycle according to the particular city ordinance. It will cost us more to recycle until more people are doing it.

When it becomes a larger part of our lifestyle, the market will be forced to create more ways to use recycled materials, demand will increase and prices will also, meaning that City Garbage will receive a better return on recycled materials from Union County.

If higher costs are expected down the road, it seems to me that it is wise now to get us all in the habit of recycling so we meet at least minimum goals before the landfill closes. If we dont do some future planning and practicing we are likely to end with a crisis down the road and wonder what happened and why we didnt know about it.

Mary Rose Nichols


I cast my vote for Mallard

To the Editor:

In response to Tuesdays guest column by Michael Wiens, I like Mallard Fillmore. Many of the people I know also like the cartoon.

Wiens is being hypocritical. He wants to eliminate Mallard Fillmore because he doesnt agree with its message. Just because he doesnt agree doesnt mean that everyone else should not be able to read it. Mallard has my vote.

Bryon Quebbeman

La Grande

Keep duck poking fun

To the Editor:

In reference to Michael Wiens column on Tuesday to paraphrase a well-known quotation, and Im embarrassed that Ive forgotten who said it, I disagree with what you say, but Ill defend until death your right to say it.

Another said that a difference of opinion is what makes a horse race.

I like Mallard Fillmore. He is a refreshing foil to the ultra-liberal Doonesbury who never met a Republican or conservative who did anything right.

Please, Mr. Editor, keep my favorite big flat-footed duck poking fun at the liberals.

Dwight Matthews


Fillmore must go

To the Editor:

Need I say more?

I am casting my vote to move out Mallard Fillmores cartoon.

Sandy Ryman

La Grande

Strip taken too seriously

To the Editor:

As an Observer subscriber and a frequent visitor to the comics page, I found Michael Wiens comments in The Observer Tuesday regarding the Mallard Fillmore strip surprising.

I was surprised that someone would take any comic strip as seriously as he did. I was also surprised he could find so much to be offended by.

I find the Mallard Fillmore strip to be well drawn and written and oftentimes pretty funny. Mind you, I agree with the topics less than half the time. However I do find myself laughing at the characterizations.

There are three or four comics I read regularly, in this order:

1. For Better or For Worse (Tops! By far the best.)

2. Doonesbury

3. Cathy

4. Mallard Fillmore

It is too bad that Michael has such trouble with another opinion regarding American politics and culture. He can always just not read that part of the comics rather than suggest that no one should read the Mallard comic by having it removed from The Observer.

Gary Moses

La Grande

Dont give our duck the ax

To the Editor:

This is to encourage you to resist Michael Wiens request on Tuesdays opinion page to retire Mallard Fillmore.

That the reader chose to use a kind and gentle word such as retire when he was actually suggesting you give our duck the ax, is indicative of the less than forthright subtext of the request.

Wiens in his guest column accuses Mallard of being heavy handed in expressing his ... dislike, distrust and derision of anyone ... that deviates from his vision.

Bunk! The duck calls em as he sees em. What is obvious to those who appreciate the straightforward approach of Mallard is the author of the letter may not be able to handle the unadulterated truth delivered in a satirical fashion or otherwise.

Many people feel we have had enough of politically correct extremism gussied up in a cant we all just get along mentality. Spin is in and the plain truth has now become a rare bird indeed.

The anti-Mallard reader proves the point by trying to disguise what is a blatant attempt to deprive me from reading what I prefer, by claiming that it would be better if we talked more about tolerance, diversity and solidarity than pointing out the differences between us.

Hey, tell that to Doonesbury.

Keep the Duck!

Mike Hansell

La Grande

Provide other point of view

To the Editor:

I like Mallard Fillmore!

I enjoy the ultra-conservative view presented by Mr. Tinsley. I often agree with his views of how one-sided the world has become.

As to the good old days theory, I agree that there were not really any good old days, but there was the myth that we were a nation founded on decency, truth, justice, morality and honor.

As children we were taught how great America was and why it was worth fighting for. Now my children are taught that nothing is worth fighting for and certainly not dying for.

Everything and everybody is all right, except for Bible-believing Christians and they are the root of all the problems in America. After all, they started the nation.

I suggest Mr. Wiens treat Mallard Fillmore as I have treated Doonesbury for more that 20 years. I dont read it.

I have felt it was a piece of un-American trash for more than two decades so I ignore it. Let those who embrace the dream of a decent America have their one small cartoon in a world full of if it feels good do it mentality. Its not hurting anyone to have access to the other point of view.

Julie M. Colton


Stay away from censorship

To the Editor:

Michael Wiens Nov. 6 column regarding his dislike for Mallard Fillmore was well-written but misguided. He should have vented his ire at Doonesbury, instead. The faults he found for Mallard are doubled in Doonesbury, yet liberals find that cartoon amusing.

Mallard is the only balance to Doonesbury in the national media that I know of, and hes enjoyed by many.

I find Doonesbury offensive, insensitive, bigoted and not funny. The Oregonian placed it on the OpEd page for years before their editorial board became the mouthpiece for liberalism on the West Coast and moved it the comics.

They had Mallard for a few months, but it was too conservative for them to continue, so they canceled it, as they did this year with B.C. I immediately canceled my subscription to The Oregonian and subscribed to The Observer where I dont get as much news, but it is more balanced and knows where Eastern Oregon is.

Newspapers are free to publish whatever they like, but to rob one part of our political culture of amusement because it offends another is part of censorship.

Mr. Wiens evidently believes, along with the liberals in Berkeley, Calif., that to be criticized is to be censored. His idea of canceling Mallard because the duck is critical of liberals is much closer to censorship. Mere criticism cannot be equated with censorship as many anti-war protesters are claiming every day.

They have the right to protest and criticize, and so do the rest of us.

Jim Laney