February 07, 2002 11:00 pm

The government is involved in an intensive program to rid the Umatilla Army Depot near Hermiston of chemical weapons that accumulated over many years.

As an incinerator fires up to rid the depot of its stockpiled chemicals, the public should not lose site of a neighbor 30 miles to the north that needs extensive cleanup as well: the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash.

Two experts on the Hanford cleanup effort will share information at a free Blue Mountain Forum at 7 p.m. Monday in room 309 of Eastern Oregon Universitys Hoke Hall.

The public is welcome.

Ken Niles, administrator of Oregons Nuclear Safety Division in Salem, and La Grandes own Shelley Cimon, chairwoman of the Oregon Hanford Waste Board, will discuss contaminants in the ground, the ground water and the Columbia River and what is being done or not being done to clean up the mess.

Cimon points out that cleanup at Hanford does not appear to be a high priority of the Bush Administrations 2003 energy budget. Homeland security is important to the administration, as well it should be, but the cleanup of nuclear waste also should be high on the priority list.

Americans today owe it to future generations to see to it that the nuclear waste left behind at Hanford from projects dating back to World War II be cleaned up and hauled away in an aggressive, systematic way, reflecting the highest level of responsibility and accountability.

Citizens of Northeast Oregon who want to become better informed about the Hanford cleanup program should attend Mondays forum. With some of that nuclear waste being transported along the Interstate 84 corridor through Union County, local residents need to know whats going on at Hanford and what impacts this has on the entire region.


Its too bad that legislators have to jump in and do what any conscientious school district should be doing anyway. Washington states House of Representatives this week passed a bill that requires the states 296 school districts to adopt or amend policies to stop classroom bullies.

The fact is that many children go to school under a blanket of fear that they will be harassed by a student who objects to the color of their hair, their height, weight, a birthmark or some other personal characteristic.

Intimidating behavior interferes with the mission of schools to create a wholesome, safe and positive atmosphere for education. School districts that do not already have an anti-bullying policy on the books should adopt an effective one with haste. Principals and teachers should see to it that no child is picked on by another student.