April 24, 2002 11:00 pm

USFS timber supply inadequate

To the Editor:

Concerning the curtailment of Joseph Timber, to say that timber supply was not an issue shows a lack of understanding of the process. The 9 million feet of timber the U.S. Forest Service claims to be selling, is more like 6 million feet because their volumes are historically overstated by 30 percent.

The Wallowa Valley District has a proposed volume of 4 million feet for the year 2002. If these sales are not appealed and are actually sold, it will be less than half of the 2001 sales.

But more importantly, the small diameter log alone cannot be processed economically. Otherwise Joseph Timber would still be operating.

The two mills in the Wallowa Valley probably need 40 million board feet to operate. The harvest of the 20 million feet of dead timber each year would go a long way in providing enough timber to sustain two sawmills.

Additionally, the silvicultural practice of removing nothing but small understory trees is analogous to leaving all the ripe apples on a tree and picking the green ones, leaving the ripe ones to rot and fall to the ground. The forests of Eastern Oregon are of multiple age and species stands, and need to be treated as such. We are about to revisit the sins of the past, in reverse.

The local, private timber owners have done an excellent job managing their stands, and because of this they are able to provide a certain volume of logs annually. But this is not enough to support even one sawmill. Logs are being brought in from out of state, taking away jobs and tax revenue from the people of Wallowa County.

The timber growth-rate on the Wallowa-Whitman can provide enough timber to support what is left of our timber industry and still protect the environment and wildlife.

John Redfield, general manager

Jack Boyd, timber manager

Rick Hanson, forester

Wallowa Forest Products

Many assist with dental van

To the Editor:

The recent visit of the Northwest Medical Team's dental van was a great success due in part to several people who need to be thanked. The first are the rural health nurses in Union County and the La Grande School District's school nurse.

Without Michele Misener's help in the county and Meg Fiorito in La Grande, scheduling the students into the dental van would have been a nightmare. Those two spent hours going through the school dental screening forms and deciding who met the qualifications set by the medical team. The students' families were then called and offered appointments.

Misener should also be given credit for finding Dr. Cam Little from Corvallis to work in the dental van for two days.

Union County Head Start also was treated in the dental van with the help of Laura Hofheinz.

I also am grateful to the local dentists, dental assistants and dental hygienists who took the time to work in the dental van; Dr. Sean Benson who worked with Kim Mills; Dr. Pat Nearing with his assistant Kim Rose; Kris Cross and Susan Feasel who spent all day with Dr. Little; Dr. Joel Bender, who worked with Susan Feasel and me; and Dr. Cindy Morris who worked with Meg Moore.

Wednesday, while the dental van was in Union, Nellie Jean's restaurant was gracious enough to provide lunch to the three people in the van at no charge. Mike Trunkey the driver and coordinator of the dental van was wonderful.

Friday morning Dr. Jim McMahan, with his assistant Mattie Miller, was scheduled to be in the dental van. Dr. McMahan's plans changed when the La Grande boys basketball team went to state. It is wonderful to work for someone whose family comes first.

I'm grateful to everyone who made this a positive and rewarding week for all.

Darla Thompson


Appalled by Texas guilty verdict

To the Editor:

We are outraged by the guilty verdict of the Texas court in the Andrea Yates case. The woman is insane by any rational standard.

We have asked our senator to introduce a bill in Congress that would set national standards for definition of mental illness, and hopefully set standards for the treatment of mental illness.

Micki and Nick Smith

La Grande

County could take lead

To the Editor:

Sue Miller's letter in the March 8 Observer regarding energy independence raises some excellent points. In fact, she proved thought-provoking enough to unknowingly suggest a clear way for Union County and Eastern Oregon to put ourselves on the map as conservation models for our entire nation.

But let's not leave it with lobbying U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith for us to turn our backs on huge domestic oil reserves in the Arctic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Let's also pressure government to require changing gasoline content standards, no matter the cost, as California's wise Governor Gray Davis has done.

Let's de-emphasize our nation's greatest fuel source, coal, not because it can be burned efficiently with technology that leaves less pollution than do fuel cells, but because it has a dirty old-time reputation. It just doesn't sound right.

But best of all, why doesn't Union County get ahead of the politically correct curve and lead the way for Washington D.C.? Why mess around with a five-year wait? Why not set a local one-month deadline for compliance with new 25 mpg fuel economy standards?

Or better yet, make it retroactive. Let's fine car owners for the last 10 years of self-indulgent waste of resources.

Roadblocks could be employed to catch commuting moms, small business owners, hunters and church-going families who flaunt their wasteful lifestyles during this critical time. Noncompliance fines and tariffs could be used to help low-income folks with their federally required purchase of new tiny cars. Most important, that new revenue could be distributed to survivors of all those new victims of small-car wrecks.

By gosh, it's time to get ahead of the curve, increase governmental mandates and finally kiss any semblance of reality goodbye.

Lyle Schwarz

La Grande

Show some caution

To the Editor:

Oh yes, Ric Bailey of the Hells Canyon Preservation Council is at it again in his litigious manner. He is suing the U.S. Forest Service for cleaning out and repairing the road to Kirkwood Ranch.

I should think he would be rather cautious about suing after getting off so easy after cutting wood during the closed fire season, and not using his permits. I'm certain the powers that be would not have let anyone else off so easily.

His excuse was that there were no posted signs. Signs are never posted in these places. Prudent people know when wood cutting is not allowed during fire season.

It seems to me that the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, the Wilderness Society and all those other radical preservationist groups are very close to if not actual terrorists.

Webster's defines terrorism as "the act of terrorizing; the use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate and subjugate." Subjugate: "to bring under control or subjection; conquer."

Doug Tippett


Each one pays a little

To the Editor:

As citizens, it is our responsibility to fund education, whether our government will or not.

Due to recent budget shortfalls, the Enterprise School Board has cut programs such as shop, ag, sports, art, home ec, music and cheerleading.

These budget cuts were a direct result of the following things: unfunded mandated programs, Wallowa County's failing economy and the lack of jobs for young families which resulted in the loss of 150 students in the past five years, and increased fuel and utility costs.

The Enterprise Educational Foundation has a plan to fund the programs the board has cut. If 1,000 friends of the school would pledge as little as 82 cents a day, we can fund the programs that were cut.

These programs and our kids need our support. The programs that have been cut teach some of the most basic skills needed in everyday life such as child-rearing, cooking, mechanics, sportsmanship, teamwork, etc.

The Enterprise Education Foundation is a 501c.3 not-for-profit corporation. Contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible.

Come to Enterprise High School at 7 tonight and see a small community fight for its kids.

For information call 426-4264.

John Hillock, member

Enterprise Education Foundation


Welcome kids to library

To the Editor:

As an educator in the community I strongly endorse the idea that reading is a crucial element to any type of learning.

Therefore, I have incorporated use of the La Grande Public Library into my lessons — with children and their parents. I am very disappointed in the service I have received at the library.

I was there with my 2-year-old son during one visit. I was doing a search on the computer and he climbed into the chair next to me in front of another computer. The librarian was quick to approach my child and say, "Don't touch — the computers are for adults."

I was taken aback by her attempt to discipline my child when he hadn't done anything wrong. He hadn't touched the computer.

Today, I visited the library with my son, who enjoys books as much as I do. We were checking out our books and he was standing by me kicking in place, the way 2-year-olds do.

While he patiently waited, he accidentally kicked a small desk holding book bags. Before I could even react, the same librarian who reprimanded him from the previous visit said, "Don't kick."

I am offended by the fact that she took it upon herself to discipline my child, when it didn't need to be done. If it was necessary, I would have done so myself.

Secondly, I feel it is essential in her line of work to welcome children to the library, not make them feel afraid.

In my case, I want to go elsewhere, but where? I want my son to continue to love books, I want to use the public library.

What needs to be addressed is this type of customer service. There is no excuse for her rudeness and insensitivity.

Corrie Hopper

La Grande

Room for wells in park

To the Editor:

In response to the "Looking in wrong end of pipe" letter on March 8, let's take a look up that pipe.

One end connects with a pipe that comes into our homes; we cook our food with it, we warm our houses and businesses and use it to heat our water. Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative could be considered another pipeline, one that carries energy from scores of wires connecting with lines for many other purposes.

A gas pipeline brings us gas for our cars, trucks, and yes, recreational vehicles. It brings gas for planes, trains and other forms of public transportation, which could also be considered a pipeline in its own right.

All of these services are provided to us, the consumers, by businesses, utility companies, larger corporations, entrepreneurs, and investors, which many of us are, not to mention the workers, who make all of these services possible.

We would hope that all countries and nations were as free as this one is in trade and commerce. Then, instead of the United States using 25 percent of the oil, not only would energy consumption be even, but we would probably have a better, more efficient form of fuel.

I have a friend who went to a school where there was an oil well on the school property. Needless to say, there were no taxes for that school. It seems to me that if there is room for an oil well on school property, there should be room for a few wells and transfer stations in a huge national park that, for the most part, is inaccessible for most of the year, and few Americans have ever visited.

I agree with the writer of the letter that we should call our senators, congressmen and whoever else to keep our energy flowing.

John Petersen

La Grande

Fire expensive management tool

To the Editor:

Yet another front page story (March 19) about how the forest managers and loggers of yesteryear ruined our forests forever, at least according to environmentalist history revision. I for one would like to thank them for their actions.

They used the best science and economics of the time to manage a renewable resource, in the process producing family-wage jobs and the wood products that built our homes and communities.

The so-called undesirable conditions they left behind are the very forests being sacrificed now to insects, disease and catastrophic fires, as we study the forests to death and preservationist lawsuits halt any management that might be attempted.

Did they do everything right? No. But with world demand for wood products continually increasing, history may not judge the wasted forest resource of our time very favorable either. Fire is an expensive and clumsy management tool, and often uncontrollable.

With mechanical treatment, the forest manager has total control as to the residual forest, and the resource is utilized.

As a logger I have helped achieve these results on countless acres of private forestland.

Let's quit looking back trying to place false blame. Let's look ahead to what needs to be done, and get on with it.

Jerry Reed


What will come of Riveria?

To the Editor:

Much ado has been made lately about the closing of Riveria School and the savings to the school district by reducing maintenance costs.

I have neither read nor heard anything about what is to be done with the soon-to-be-vacated building.

Too often, removing a building from further public use becomes de facto abandonment.

In this case it's made more easy because voters on the north side are few in number and not of loud voice.

Should not the school district be held to account for the future of the building?

The current situation portends a public nuisance in the form of an abandoned hulk with plywood over the windows.

Before the school is closed, those responsible should be required to present a plan that includes specific disposition of the structure in a time certain or its removal.

Should the school board be allowed to create what has the likelihood of becoming an eye-sore and a public nuisance destined to become a burden to the police, the city, and taxpayers at large?

Why the studied silence on this issue, or is it just being ignored until it is a fait accompli?

Bruce Ferguson

La Grande

Set goals for forest restoration

To the Editor:

We need to set clear goals and build community support for forest restoration.

These goals need to consider the ecological conditions of the forests and the impacts of different strategies on the soil, wildlife and rivers.

We also need to recognize the long-term role of logging to our communities and our nation.

We will continue to cut down trees. We need to put the debate about use of the forest versus non-use behind us.

We need to focus on the methods and scales of use appropriate to our local conditions.

Global and domestic demand for wood products continues to grow. America is still the world's largest single consumer of wood. The 2000 Census revealed a large shortage of housing.

Wood production consumes the least energy of any alternative construction material. It is renewable and stores carbon. It connects people and communities to the land. We should show leadership in designing wood production systems with the least environmental cost and greatest community benefit. This is ground that is ripe for collaboration.

Nils D. Christoffersen,

field program manager

Wallowa Resources


Help plan Starkey 4x4 races

To the Editor:

The Starkey 4x4 Off-road Racing Club was formed approximately 27 years ago. We have been entertained with a variety of racing at Starkey. The main events have been 100-yard sand drags, obstacle course racing and most recently, a side by side mud pit.

The popularity of the races has come and gone over the years. The active members list has done the same.

We have been pleasantly surprised with the number of racers and spectators we have had at the races the last few years. With this increase in the number of people joining us for the race, we are asking that anyone with an interest in racing, whether you have a race car or not, to please join us. We meet at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at Denny's Restaurant. You can contact us at 437-0430. We will be having an election of officers and a membership drive.

Shelley Kennedy, secretary-treasurer

Starkey 4x4 Off-road Racing Club


Petition to get soldier home

To the Editor:

It has come to my attention that this government has known about a prisoner of war, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher, who was left behind alive in Iraq for the past nine years.

I must ask what if the soldier we left behind was my son, or my husband, or my father or my brother? Would I just stand by and do nothing

No, I would not.

I would do everything in my power to bring him home. He is an American soldier who was doing a job that we, the American people, sent him over to do and he was fighting for his country, for us and for the freedoms we have enjoyed for more than 200 years.

I have just read and signed the online petition, "For the return of Lt. Cmdr. Michael Speicher," hosted on the Web by PetitionOnline.com, a free online petition service. The Web address for Lt. Cmdr. Speicher is: www.PetitionOnline.com/Speicher.

I agree with what this petition says, and I pray you might agree, too. Please take a look, and consider signing yourself. It could have been your son, or brother, or father, or husband.

Speicher is no relation to me, nor do I even know him, other than he is an American who was left behind during the Gulf War and we must go back and bring him home.

We can do no less for this American soldier — a young man who put his life on the line for us, for our freedoms and for our country.

He has been waiting a very long time for us to come and get him. Let's not make the same mistakes we made in Vietnam, Korea, World War II and all the other wars we have fought.

Cathy Quistgard


Keep them out of communities

To the Editor:

Our ancient Amerindian tribal medicine men, in their inimical wisdom, defined those deceitful ones who betrayed their trust by performing evil acts while prevaricating with soothing words as those who spoke with forked tongues.

The United Nations may be described as such an evil entity as evidenced by its evilly, arrogant actions in opposition to its prevaricating verbal presentations.

In the past 30 years Arabic terrorists have maimed or murdered more than 12,000 innocent Americans in attempting to achieve religious or political goals, driven by their hatred for American freedom, power and prosperity.

Our government has officially labeled seven countries, wrongly omitting China and Saudi Arabia, and 28 foreign organizations as primary sources of global terrorism and placing 22 people on the Most Wanted terrorist list. The United Nations has held 12 conventions and passed 34 resolutions aimed at curbing international terrorism, which have proven dismally ineffective.

It is clear that the dictators in North Korea, Cuba and the Islamic nations such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and the allied African Islamic nations have no interest in curbing international terrorism. And obviously, neither does the United Nations, proven by its actions in classifying these rogue terroristic regimes as peace-loving U.N. members, but who actively seek to undermine and destroy democracies with their unprecedented and unrivaled terrorist attacks.

The United Nations hierarchy is infested and staffed with scoundrels who speak with forked tongues while condoning terrorist activity by its peace-loving members.

President Bush should make it plain that America will no longer supply safe haven for Islamic terrorists ensconced under the aegis of the United Nations membership protection, as we loyal, patriotic Americans must also condemn any United Nations presence and perfidy in our own sovereign communities. There is a way to keep them out of our communities.

How? Call me; I'm in the phone book.

Jim Bovard