March 21, 2002 11:00 pm

Perform national anthem properly

To the Editor:

The rendition of our national anthem at the recent NBA All-Star game was utterly pathetic.

Never in my lifetime have I ever heard our anthem presented so poorly as it was at that game. This is my opinion of course, but I believe many fans who watched this disgusting performance will agree with me.

I cannot understand why so many people who perform the national anthem need to add so many dumb frills to this music. Its a disgrace to our anthem. Please do it right.

Bob Clegg


Points worth addressing

To the Editor:

Historically, every time someone speaks up for the rights of those who are considered less than in our culture, they are subjected to character assassination through name-calling and questioning of their sanity, followed by offers of help to go back wherever they came from. This is an attempt to stifle dissent and maintain the comfortable status quo.

It happened when people wrote about the abolition of slavery, rights for women, humane treatment of the Chinese and protection under the law for indigenous people. Between them, the gentlemen who responded to my first letter (published Feb. 9) managed to do all three of the above.

It is unfortunate that in spite of all the sound, fury and emotion expended by these gentlemen that none of them managed to address the points I raised. Perhaps they didnt read my letter at all.

They only raised two points that seem worth addressing. The first was Greg Stantons peculiarly American version of ethnic cleansing (letter, Feb. 18). Wouldnt it have been handy for the pro-slavery folks to be able to vote the abolitionists out of the South?

Personally, I think the founding fathers got it right when they tried to arrange it so everybody was entitled to express their opinion without fear of violent reprisal.

The second point I thought worth mentioning was the amazing feat of mental gymnastics that allowed the only person in this discussion who owns no guns and was calling for an end to the killing to be labeled a terrorist.

David Pickett

La Grande

Return dentist to practice

To the Editor:

As a former employee of Dr. Jeffrey D. Baxter, I would like to express my feelings in regards to the Oregon State Board of Dentistrys decision to revoke his license to practice dentistry.

I was employed by Dr. Baxter for three years and had personally never known or witnessed him practicing in a harmful, uncaring or unprofessional manner, nor in any way outside the laws or standards of his oath.

His professionalism, his quality of dentistry and quality of patient care given far exceeded a level that I have yet witnessed within any practice where I have been employed.

Baxter, who formerly practiced in La Grande, has built himself a reputation as a doctor who stands by his work and always aims for perfection. I was fortunate enough to be present after his absence at his Medford office to assist with his patient load. I witnessed on several occasions, testimony after testimony, patients who were sincerely sorry and disappointed to see him go.

Several of his patients have stated he is the best dentist they have ever had. Several of his patients have also stated, since being treated by Dr. Baxter, that they have overcome a fear of dentists, which is a great accomplishment. Yet, unfortunately, with the new change of ownership, there are several patients who will not be returning to the practice, especially those who have chosen to follow him throughout his dental career.

Dr. Baxter is well liked, not only by his patients, but his staff members, because of his kindness and consideration of others. He is also very dedicated to his family and devoted to his church.

I am one person out of many who feels there are numerous individuals in need of a great dentist like Dr. Baxter, and it would be a shame not to give them that opportunity.

Tracy A. Decker


Questions on pup give-away

To the Editor:

On Feb. 3 two or three little children were in the Wal-Mart parking lot giving away 5- or 6-week-old puppies. The children didnt know who they were giving them to and five or six weeks is too young to be taken from their mom. The weather was not good chilly, windy, trying to rain or snow plain cold. The children were told not to call home until all the pups were gone. How long was that?

Were there eating arrangements or any money? Were there warm clothes, hats or gloves? It is against the law to be inside the front doors to give anything away, etc.

It sounds like a perfect situation for a kidnapping or molestation. The puppies were cold and had no mom to nurse.

You tell me ... any thoughts or solutions?

Spay and neuter is part of the answer.

Carol Ransom

La Grande

Nurses amazed by cards

To the Editor:

I appreciate all the support, prayers, cards and gifts from the people of Wallowa County during my hospitalization in Boise. Most of all, I am thankful for all the care and love you have shown me and my husband, Gary.

Every day while in the hospital we received mail from you. The nurses said they had never seen that much mail before. But then, most of them had never been to Wallowa County. You have to live here to know how wonderful the people are.

You are the best.

Judy Fletcher,

kindergarten teacher


Teens can make right choices

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Charles Gillis guest column in the Feb. 14 Observer titled, Protect yourself. Gillis advocated condom use for sexually transmitted infection prevention. As a health care professional, I too, see the devastation sexually transmitted diseases cause. However, I respectfully disagree that prevention should focus on condom use.

Condoms are not 100 percent effective, unlike abstinence. According to the Centers for Disease Control Web site, the condom is only 85 percent effective in preventing pregnancy over the course of one year. I would not jump out of a plane if the parachute only worked 85 percent of the time.

Gillis mentions that venereal warts (caused by human papilloma virus HPV) and herpes often appear outside the area protected by a condom. HPV can cause cervical cancer, which kills more women in the United States than AIDS. The most deadly STD for women cant be prevented by a condom.

I do not think abstinence in our youth is an unrealistic ideal. We do not tell children, If you are going to smoke, use low tar cigarettes or dont inhale deeply. We dont give tips on safer smoking. We tell them not to smoke. A good parent will also give advice about how to resist peer pressure and how to avoid situations that may tempt one to start smoking.

So why should we treat sexual activity in teen-agers differently than other dangerous activities? People, including children, are not barnyard animals unable to control themselves. They have an intellect and a will and, with guidance and support, they can make the right choice.

Jodi Wagner, registered pharmacist


Walden needs compassion

To the Editor:

In recent years, your 2nd District U.S. representative, Greg Walden, voted against measures to prohibit steel-jaw leghold traps and neck snares on national wildlife refuges. Animals trapped by these devices suffer crushed bones, gangrene, starvation and sometimes chew off their own limbs in futile attempts at escape.

Walden opposed a dolphin-protection measure and other humane legislation. The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals recently released a legislative scorecard which ran from 100, the most favorable, to zero. Waldens score of 12.5 was considerably lower than any other U.S. representative or senator from Oregon, who all scored between 62.5 and 100.

Over 40 years ago, a U.S. senator from Oregon, Richard Neuberger, said in a congressional address, People often ask me why I spend so much time protecting the welfare of animals. Dr. Albert Schweitzer often said that one of the real symbols of a truly civilized person is whether he is kind to animals. I have always believed that cruelty to beasts is a black mark in heaven. I realize animals do not vote. They do not make campaign contributions to enrich the coffers of politicians. But I will be their friend. I imagine that he who spoke the Sermon on the Mount would want it that way too.

In the fall 2000 issue of The Animals Agenda, U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., urged all elected officials to befriend animals. Although, as a conservative Smith believes in limited government, he added that there is, of course, a role for government especially when it comes to protecting the least powerful in society.

Hopefully, when he votes on future animal protection issues, Walden will open up his heart and let some compassion in.

Joel Freedman

Canandaigua, N.Y.