November 25, 2001 11:00 pm

Support troops; oppose war protesters

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor that appeared in the Nov. 3 Observer. I am 15 years old and was one of the people at Max Square Nov. 1.

My family, a friend and I were the ones with the American flags. We were there in opposition to the protesters. What I was shouting was, Down with passivity. Support our troops.

I assure you that we were there to support the United States in our battle against terrorism. We had signs that read, Down with passivity and Remember 9/11. We did not start the fire.

I think that John Lannon in his letter might have driven by us when it was getting dark and was not able to see the signs that my family and I were holding. How he mistook the phrase I was yelling at the top of my lungs, I do not know. I will say it again: We were the people holding American flags.

Dont you find it kind of funny that the people who were supporting America were the only ones holding American flags? Those people who wanted peace did not have even one American flag.

If you would like to join us, the people who support the United States, bring your flags, and signs if you want, to the sign in front of City Hall.

We will oppose the protesting every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m.

Remember what the terrorists did to us. Also, there is a time for war and there is a time for peace and now is not time for peace.

Phillip Achilles

La Grande

Actions breach ethics

To the Editor:

This letter is regarding the story in The Observer on Nov. 7 of two school board members who broke state and federal laws by reading confidential student records at La Grande High School.

It is our understanding that the board members unethical actions were an attempt to isolate information to discredit a foreign exchange program recently sanctioned by LHS.

One board member involved, Shari Bennett, is an area representative and advocate for a different foreign exchange program and has been openly opposed to LHSs acceptance of the additional exchange program at board meetings.

While we cannot comprehend the opposition of Ms. Bennett to the addition of an educational exchange program with an excellent 45-year history with objectives, operations and guidelines practically indistinguishable from the other programs, we can recognize a gross breach of ethics by elected representatives.

One member, new to the board, revealed her participation in the review of the foreign exchange students files to authorities once she fully realized the illegality of the act. She also cooperated with the disclosure of the act to the community through the interview with The Observer.

Ms. Bennett, however, a 12-year veteran of the board, gave us a complete stonewall job.

Ms. Bennett said it was a board issue and wouldnt comment to The Observer, leading us to believe that students, parents and concerned citizens of this school district dont have any right knowing whats going on with the school board we elected.

We believe that because the school board has acknowledged this despicable behavior by two members its time to do something about it.

Perhaps Shari Bennett should be asked to resign. Maybe 12 years with a will and a means to violate the rights and the privacy of others is enough.

Bruce and Catherine Parks

Island City

U.N. policing kills servicemen

To the Editor:

I cannot believe the misleading statements presented in the otherwise well-written editorial in The Observer of Nov. 3.

Great care was taken to avoid reference to the United Nations in an attempt to impress a naive public that our nation is the global policing agency, suggesting in a roundabout way, that Americans should meekly submit to the hardships and humiliating spectacle of participating in no-win policing engagements.

Lets unveil the truth: our young men have been illegally slaughtered in the service of the U.N.s violent, police-keeping efforts used as pawns along with troops donated by other U.N. members.

It was U.N. policing that killed so many of our brave American sons in Korea, Vietnam, Katanga, Rwanda and other rogue countries. After Somalia, Al Gore had the unfeeling gall to tell bereaved mothers that they should be proud their sons died serving the U.N.

The U.N. agreement with member states is that we fight pardon me, keep the peace under U.N. orders, wearing U.N. insignia, and retreating once the U.N.s objectives were satisfied. Small wonder that since Korea the American soldiers have never been privileged to stand victorious in a legitimate military conflict.

No, we are not the worlds police force and we have no business continuing to accept U.N. orders to sacrifice our sons in order to further its lust for world domination. Nor do we have a right to interfere with any other nations government.

If we must combat terrorism let us do so without U.N. stigma or its attempts to apply its control upon the scenario.

Our only sensible choice is to withdraw from the U.N. and let it do its own dirty work, while we, as a sovereign nation, fight a war that we can finally win.

Col. Jim Bovard (Ret.)


Delivery trucks running too late

To the Editor:

Have you noticed the new UPS delivery schedule? They are beginning at a later time, which means they are out in the rural areas after sunset.

After sunset on an unlit rural road is equivalent to total blackness, unless of course, there is a full moon to light the way.

In the good old days, which was about three weeks ago, the delivery would arrive close to 11:30 a.m., in other words, in day light. The delivery people, who I think are wonderful and who probably do not like this new schedule any better than I, would have their loads delivered, heading back to La Grande by 5 p.m.

I wonder what this new schedule will be like for the hard working UPS drivers. Think about horizontal snow, one foot or more of snow on the ground and a truck load of Christmas packages to deliver. Now think about doing this on rural roads in total blackness. What time will they arrive at their own homes?

Who is responsible for this unreasonable and inefficient change?

D. Dominguez


Another vote to retain Mallard

To the Editor:

Here is my vote for Mallard Fillmore, one of the main reasons I subscribe to your paper.

Just thinking about Doonesbury as a Twinkie makes me chuckle. Liberals need to lighten up, learn how to take a joke even at their expense. The cartoonist is witty and thought-provoking, and yes, funny!

Edna Roundy


Cut Doonesbury, not Mallard

To the Editor:

I feel as though I need to defend my favorite comic strip, Mallard Fillmore.

The Observer ran a lengthy guest column Nov. 6 by an individual who resents the strip because it doesnt fit his political ideas and attacks his icons. I think I can speak for thousands of people who do agree with the ideas and views represented in the comic strip, and I will only speak for myself when I say that I find it extremely humorous.

If you feel you have to discontinue a political comic strip, please consider Doonesbury.

Eric Arnoldus

La Grande

Replace Mallard with Rose

To the Editor:

In response to your question about the the so- called comic Mallard Filllmore, I would recommend dropping it. I read the comics regularly and find about two thirds of them fun but I omitted Mallard some time ago.

If you want a genuinely humorous comic to put in its place I would recommend Rose is Rose.

Camille Hawkins


Directors actions demand answers

To the Editor:

In reference to the lead article in The Observer Nov. 7, which reported a violation of the law by two La Grande School District board members and at least two ethics violations concerning a board member and a school superintendent, is this the whole story?

Some questions come to mind. How can a board member who confesses to a violation of both state and federal law continue to serve or be allowed to serve as a school board member? Does an ethics violation, like changing students grades without the knowledge or consent of a teacher or the school be settled with a grievance process?

Under what circumstances and for whom can access be gained to a teachers files in violation of a department policy? Are these the only violations of law and ethics committed? How can a board member refuse to answer questions on the basis of thats board business?

There may be more questions that will arise as these questions are answered, or not answered. For now the answers may be enlightening.

Dave Cunliffe

La Grande

Strip reflects Observers standards

To the Editor:

In response to Michael Weins letter on Mallard Fillmore, I share Mikes heartburn over this obnoxious strip.

However, after reflection on this subject with some of my friends, I vote for continuing Mallard in The Observer for several reasons.

One being that it seems representative of the editorial standards of The Observer in general and another, that the sometimes ridiculous conclusions that Mallard comes to does give the entire community of Observer readers an awareness of the limited thought process and understanding that many people use to form their opinions.

Wes and Katy Allen

La Grande

Two more for retiring Mallard

To the Editor:

I procrastinated in writing to you about Mallard Fillmore, but when your editorial stated that readers had voted in favor of the strip, I couldnt wait any longer.

Sure, the comic strips author has the right to voice his opinion, but when we pay over $100 a year for a subscription to the Observer, I believe we have the right to ask for an offensive comic strip to be removed from the paper. Especially in these times after Sept. 11, we do not need to see such hate-mongering.

I just asked my wife what she thinks of Mallard Fillmore. Its awful and a waste of space, she said. I cant stand it.

So you can add our two names to the Retire Mallard list. Whether from the political right, left, or center, such a vituperative comic strip needs to be dumped.

Michael and Evie Snider

La Grande

Keep flag etiquette rules in mind

To the Editor:

It is great to see so many American flags everywhere lately. Students are being taught the Pledge of Allegiance and proper ways to show respect for the flag.

However, I saw a picture of a college student with a flag draped around her. She obviously has not learned the proper rules of flag etiquette.

Flag rules were established by Congress in 1942, after having been observed rather loosely and by whim.

Following is a brief summary of some rules that we as citizens who wish to display the flag should follow:

1. Display from sunrise to sunset on a flagstaff. Fly the flag at night only in special places and when spotlighted.

2. Do not fly the flag in inclement weather.

3. If ripped, soiled or badly worn, destroy the flag, preferably by burning.

4. The flag should never be used for a receptacle or for wrapping, carrying or delivering anything.

5. It should never touch the ground.

6. When displayed in a flat position the star field should be at the top left.

7. In a parade, onlookers should stand with hand over heart facing the flag until it passes. Those in military uniform give the military salute.

The flag is the symbol of our country and the principles for which it stands. When we display the flag, we show our patriotism and love for our country and our desire to support the freedoms which we enjoy.

Elaine Livingston

La Grande

Coves library is privately run

To the Editor:

It seems Mr. Young has a dream shared by the county commissioners and Ms. Bonebrake of Baker City.

If Commissioner McClure cares to come to a city council meeting in Cove he might learn that the city does not now own, nor has it ever owned, nor the taxes funded a library.

The library in Cove is and always has been a private library and has proved to be sufficient for our patrons. It is owned by the Cove Improvement Club and is, according to Ms. Bonebrake, a beautifully run, all-

volunteer library.

There is and always has been a sufficient number of dedicated, community-minded women who along with their husbands do every job from being librarian to raising the money to support the librarys needs. We used to get our money almost exclusively through fund-raisers and also more recently through grants.

We strive to provide information to patrons not only from Union County but also far beyond. We can do so not only through our book collection but also through one of our three computers and the Pioneer Library System where we can get you almost anything you want to read.

We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Come and browse our great history collection always being updated by Alice Alexander who heads that committee.

We would seek to not lose any more of our autonomy by joining more well-meaning groups who have their own agenda for us, which serves mostly to dilute our little librarys activities.

Yvonne Oliver


If you dont like it, dont read it

To the Editor:

In reference to the guest column of Nov. 6 about the Mallard Fillmore comic:

Many people enjoy Fillmore. I suggest the ones who dont just quit reading it, as we dont read Doonesbury.

If you quit printing one you should drop them both.

Dona Elliott


Talk to children about their fears

To the Editor:

I am sure not all children talk about Sept. 11. Perhaps they think about it but dont express themselves to parents or anyone else.

When I was 11 years old the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. My mother never discussed it with me. I went to Ackerman grade school, and the only time I remember the war being discussed was when all the classes were called to the auditorium and we listened to the radio.

They were reporting that Wake Island had been captured. My best friends father was on Wake Island and he was sent to a concentration camp.

Still there was no discussion at home. I began having the same dream night after night, and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. It was how to escape.

I lived on Spring Avenue, and my dog Skeezix and I went down the alley to Penn, where the Christian Church is now. It was a vacant lot and there was a hole in the ground that was covered by wood. The boys in the neighborhood used it as a club house. I stayed there for a short time, then my dog and I started to climb Table Mountain. I felt so much fear, but kept going until we reached the top. We came to a river and I jumped in, the enemy was right behind us. I breathed through hollow reeds under the water.

That was the end of my dream, but it is as vivid today as it was when I was 11. Television keeps the war in front of us every day, and I am wondering how many children have been traumatized and wont know it until years later.

Laurel Roberts

La Grande

Clock ticks on Social Security

To the Editor:

I believe there is a real wake-up call to all seniors that our president has plans to reduce your Social Security income, according to C-Span.

For the president to cut taxes during war times is a lofty style to say the least, and then try to take from income that in many cases is far less than unemployment benefits.

I say if people want to invest in a stock market that is no better to win than the state-owned poker machines, let them. But let us get real. If anyone needs to take a cut in income it should be our overpaid president and Congress.

I have seen some of my friends struggle to pay high heating bills on Social Security income and it makes me sick. Just remember you will not be 50 forever. The clocks tick fast.

Letha Johns

La Grande

Dump Doones and duck

To the Editor:

I guess I will put my two cents worth in on the comics. For all I care you can get shed of the duck, also Doonesbury and Cathy.

I agree with Camille Hawkins in Union: Rose is Rose is a good one. I also like Beetle Bailey, Born Loser and Hagar the Horrible.

I truly enjoy The Observer and because I wouldnt have a clue how to run a newspaper, you folks do what you think is best.

Ted McKenzie


News of search goes overboard

To the Editor:

On Nov. 7, in a moment of totally inconsiderate news release, we were informed that a search was in progress in the Arabian Sea for a man who had fallen overboard from the USS Kittyhawk.

At that moment, the parents, wives, children and sweethearts of some 5,000 men serving on the Kittyhawk, and already a source for extreme concern, were hit with the one thought, Is it him? The thought would gnaw at them relentlessly for days until the Navy released the name of the victim, and the media, hopefully picked up on it and the proper survivors were notified.

Given the overall picture, this was totally reprehensible news dissemination.

Don Tuttle

La Grande

Keep Mallard on the payroll

To the Editor:

It seems to me that it was last May that in response to an area residents big complaint regarding the horrible growth and horrendous traffic being created by people moving into the La Grande and Union area, I suggested he move to where the wind blows free and the coyotes howl.

I am now compelled to suggest to Michael Wiens that because of his great dislike for the satirical presentation that the cartoon Mallard Fillmore gives to the actual political and educational performance put forth by the citizens of Berkeley, Calif., that the Wiens, post haste, move to Berkeley. Having had on-the-ground experience here, I can assure the Wiens they will be quite welcome.

The only other cure for his dilemma is not to read the funny papers, for once in a great while there is truly something funny in it.

I for one, among many, hope The Observer keeps Mallard Fillmore on the payroll. Perhaps he can cure our anthrax blues.

David Arnott


Ritalin is speed and deadly

To the editor:

Today (Nov. 12) CNN announces a medical study that shows long-term use of Ritalin on rats does the same permanent brain damage as amphetamines and cocaine.

What are the La Grande School District and our local medical professionals going to do to immediately stop the widespread use of Ritalin on our children in the elementary and grade schools of La Grande?

Anyone with any sense at all knows that Ritalin is a form of amphetamine, and like all of them, does brain damage. We have always known that. This new medical information is nothing new, only proof of what we have already known.

The idea that Ritalin is a good thing for our young school children has always been stupid and dangerous.

The only thing that we can do more stupid than believing the medical professionals and school board when they say that Ritalin is good for school children and must be used, is for us as parents to relent to their unconscionable persuasions and pressures and allow Ritalin to be given to our children.

Parents take heed! Ritalin IS Speed! Speed kills!

Nicholas Smith

La Grande

Preserve whats historic

To the Editor:

After reading the recent article in The Observer regarding the closure of Riveria, Willow and Island City schools, I just had to express my anger and frustration once again about the blatant lack of regard for anything historical in our little town.

The school that concerns me the most is Riveria. Aside from the fact that my grandmother, father, aunts and uncles and I went to that school, it is one of the last remaining buildings standing in this town that is old.

What do the powers that be have against anything old and historic? Were they not happy with tearing down the courthouse, old high school, Sacajawea Hotel, old Foley Hotel, etc. lets not forget the library.

Are they aware there are buildings 100 and 200 years old that are still standing all over the place in other areas of the country that have been made safe and usable and bring a sense of pride to the area?

I am so ashamed that whenever out-of-town guests ask about seeing the town I just hang my head and direct them to Union or Baker City to see their historic buildings. Please dont let this happen. Preserve the old buildings, seek grants or other programs to keep them standing and proud as reminders of our past.

The last thing we need is some ugly, nondescript glass and steel monstrosity. I would feel much more open to paying for upgrades as opposed to paying for a new school.

Rebecca Lester

La Grande

Elgin fans disappear

To the Editor:

I am upset with the quality of coaching that we have had lately in the Elgin School District. When I was growing up Elgin dominated our league. When you look in the trophy case you see the same coaches year after year and they were league champions.

The fans gave our teams such strong support and at the end of the game all the students gathered together and sang the victory song. The fans always cheered with the cheerleaders as well. It was a great atmosphere and it was fun to play in. The fans were awesome.

Since then the fans have just disappeared. Even the parents have disappeared. I think there were only about 30 people at the Enterprise football game. The cheerleaders tried to get them involved but nobody would cheer. Dont you think that it is disappointing to the kids when they look in the stands and see only a handful of people there?

I have seen talented kids sit on the bench so the coach can play his favorites or the ones whose parents complain the most. Coaches are supposed to teach that winning isnt everything. But winning is a lot more fun than losing again.

I was floored when I heard that a coach took two kids aside and told them they were wasting their time and wanted to know when they were going to quit. I cant even begin to imagine how those two athletes must have felt.

Basketball season is here. It is such an overwhelming feeling to look into the bleachers and see a packed house, not to mention the chills it sends through you when the crowd starts cheering you on.

So come on Elgin, lets get the pride back into our school.

Chris Jones


Directors apology questioned

To the Editor:

We are among the citizens concerned about the serious inaccuracies in the public statement made by an elected school board member printed in The Observer Nov 17.

Shari Bennett gave a statement that her examination of exchange students records was not illegal because she didnt actually read any of the confidential information they contained. The fact is that student files in their entirety are confidential and protected by law. That Ms. Bennett used her position as a board member to obtain access to the confidential files is both unethical and illegal.

On the grade change issue Ms. Bennett states that she was not responsible because it was the superintendent who actually allowed for the grade change. The fact is, for a board member to bring the issue of a grade change for her own child before the superintendent is a clear case of the misuse of her position for personal gain and therefore a violation of the code of ethics endorsed by the Oregon School Boards Association.

We are concerned that Ms. Bennetts published statement, while called an apology, clearly indicates that she is unable to admit or perhaps even recognize the unethical and illegal actions of a school board member. Ms. Bennetts statement indicates to us that she believes that she can act above the law and ignore the school boards code of ethics while performing as a La Grande school board member.

It is clear at meetings that this one members actions have severely disabled the ability of our school board to focus on school board business and function efficiently. We agree with those citizens of our community who believe that the resignation or the removal of Shari Bennett from the school board would benefit the school district and the community.

Bruce and Catherine Parks

La Grande

Military actions are warranted

To the Editor:

The terrorist attack of Sept. 11 is an escalation of terrorist attacks against the United States. In past years they have attacked our citizens and military numerous times, but until now the actions were overseas, not in the United States.

We were deliberately attacked in a cowardly way. And this is as unacceptable as Pearl Harbor in World War II. We then declared war against the terrorists and any regime that harbors them. This is absolutely necessary, for these people are evil. If nothing were done they would consider us weak, and would redouble their attacks. They wish to destroy western civilization, and replace it with their version of government. The barbarians are at the gates.

Nothing justifies terrorism; nothing. Terrorism is the deliberate attack on innocent civilians. Terrorists do not unintentionally harm civilians. They deliberately murder, maim and menace civilians, as many as possible. No cause, no grievance, no apology can ever justify terrorism.

Terrorism against any people is all part of the same evil. It must be stamped out. All civilized nations must do their part. In order to stay civilized, they must protect their people.

Those who advocate peace at any price, would do better to support their armed forces, who are now fighting to preserve the freedoms they now enjoy. The young man who was trying to justify the hate of these people would do better to think about his own country, how would he feel if his family was killed by terrorism. The lady who was lecturing that this is not war, should explain why there are casualties if it isnt war.

Most of these countries who hate us because we have used our resources to better the life of our people, could better their people if they developed their oil and other mineral treasures. And they could use this money for the good of the people, instead of lining the pockets of some petty leader. Much of the problems of these countries is self-inflicted.

Warren Roe


Dont lash out at 15-year-old

To the Editor:

Mr. Cahill, you speak in your guest column (Nov. 15) as if you know Phillip Achilles well, when in reality you would have a problem picking him out in the school hallway. Mr. Cahill, you and like-minded public educators have only 2 2/3 years to complete your mobbing and channeling of Phillip. You will fail. He will graduate as an independent thinker, unchanged by your passive outlook on life and the pink floral goo you try to pack into the heads of publicly educated young students.

The next time you feel the urge to lash out at a 15-year-old student, first try to slither across your not-so-hallowed high school hall and meet this young person. Talk with him. Get to know him. You, Mr. Cahill, stand to learn many things from this particular young person named Phillip Achilles. There is a great possibility that he possesses the knowledge to correct you on American history.

Mr. Cahill, you seem to have forgotten that Phillip too has the constitutionally protected right to express his thoughts and beliefs. It is the same right as those with opposing views. He may also refuse to incorporate the watered- down version of political correctness into his thought process that you seem to value.

In closing I would like to share with you and the La Grande School Board an observation noted and acted upon by many family homes in America today. Because of the viewpoints and teachings of educators like you, enrollment numbers of public schools are on a decline. This is created by the mass pilgrimage to the sanctuary of home schooling, which in turn, decreases the size of the purse from which your paycheck is derived.

Kirk Achilles

La Grande