April 24, 2002 11:00 pm

Delay dismantling tennis dome

To the Editor:

I am very disappointed by the apparent impending loss of the tennis bubble at Eastern Oregon University.

It is obvious that there is a lot of desire within the La Grande community to keep the dome in place. Eastern President Phil Creighton and I talked about the tennis bubble and its future several weeks ago and he told me that he was surprised at the number of people who had expressed the wish that the bubble remain.

I came away with the impression that the dome's demise was not a foregone conclusion, as Treasure Valley Community College had decided against taking it.

He told me he would be very open to some sort of university/public partnership to use and maintain the dome and that the idea of allowing the public to purchase tennis-only memberships (which would not compete with any private facilities) to finance repairs might be feasible.

He also told me that he liked the idea of a women's tennis team, which I told him I would be willing to coach. The bubble is not only used by tennis players but, at a minimum, by the football, baseball and softball teams and also by a basketball camp each summer.

EOU is a small school with limited facilities. While the bubble is far from perfect, I find it hard to understand why the university is so willing to quickly give up any facility without first looking to all means of retaining it. Yes, a new fieldhouse is on the drawing board, but that is at least several years away.

I have asked Creighton to delay the cranes and take a good look at what can be done to save the bubble by the people in this community that enjoy using it.

Tim Hoffnagle

La Grande

Travel agencies will survive

To the Editor:

On March 14, a very distressful event happened. Delta Airlines decided to not pay any commission to travel agencies that sell Delta tickets.

This commission cut applies only to agencies in the United States and Canada. Think about it, Americans just bailed out the airlines for millions of dollars. If we owned a travel agency in Costa Rica, Germany — anywhere but America or Canada — we would be receiving a commission on tickets that we sold using Delta Airlines.

There were many other businesses that suffered the financial consequences from the aftermath of Sept. 11. Hotels, car rental agencies, cruise lines, restaurants, stores selling travel accessories and travel agencies all have suffered financially.

As employees of the only store-front agency in La Grande, we are grateful to our loyal customers for utilizing the service that travel agencies provide. When you call here, you will talk to a live person, get professional advice from experienced agents, and have someone who really cares about you and your travel plans. It is our clients that Delta is burdening, financially or otherwise.

Agencies will be forced to pass a fee onto their clients when they want to fly with Delta Airlines. Otherwise the client will have to call the airlines themselves, or if they want to chance it, arrange their Delta travel over the Internet. Both of these endeavors are very time-consuming. Travel agents are glad to research the airlines for the best fares and save their clients the time and hassle of doing it themselves.

We believe travel agencies will survive this. Consumers love what travel agents do for them and will continue to use agents. Please join us in e-mailing to Delta Airlines at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cindy Schaures, Susan Kreutz, Missy Gore,

Toiresa Troyer, Verna Schwendemann

and Merry Montgomery

Alegre Travel

La Grande

Appalled by life sentence

To the Editor:

In response to the letter in The Observer March 18 by Micki and Nick Smith, "Appalled by Texas Verdict."

Well, I'm appalled too, because Andrea Yates wasn't given the death penalty. If you had watched the whole trial on Court TV as I did you would have seen a woman who showed no emotion. I don't care if she was on medication during the trial, when the prosecution showed pictures of the crime scene and paused for three minutes four times and nine minutes for the last child, who was the oldest and asked his mother while she was killing him if he was bad. That's 21 minutes.

I will give you this much: she was mentally ill. But if she had been found guilty by reason of insanity, after five or 10 years she would get out. Would you invite her to your house to babysit your kids or grandkids? Pause for 21 minutes and you tell me.

Les Brasure

La Grande

We could have used shelves

To the Editor:

As you drive by the old Safeway store do you wonder where the infrastructure went?

Well, I'll tell you. Much of it went to the dump. We saw beautiful sturdy shelves up at the city dump; piles of them. What a shameful waste.

Wouldn't it have been nice if they had been made available to the public? Who of us couldn't have used an extra couple of shelves in our home, shop or garage? We sure could have.

Seems like that would have promoted a lot of customer good will, and been a better thing to do with all those useful shelves and brackets.

God must be pretty unhappy with all the waste after blessing us here in this country with so much. People elsewhere would probably not believe what goes to the dumps in America, and even here in little La Grande.

Marge and Henry Woodford

La Grande

Justification for blackmail

To the Editor:

America is about money — a corporation.

I've been an American for 50 years. I've seen America good and evil. "In God We Trust" is our heritage. "In Gold We Trust'' is our reality.

It can be stated in many ways, but simply put, Americans are increasingly deceived.

I have a life-threatening disease — one of the results of my deception, and my work life has been severely impacted. Medical and financial records reflect that impact.

Although the record is clear, the American corporation does not accept these facts. The corporation understands the bottom line. And to that end, any means to increase it are considered justifiable.

Pretense and patriotism are groomed to disguise the evil means used by the corporation.

Many do believe the end justifies the means, but regardless, evil means are evil means.

Terrorism is a well-groomed American tool. The world is condemned for its use, but Americans just call it something patriotic.

My illness and my reduced capacity to work are a reality. It is also a reality that children need financial support.

I am divorced and I have a daughter I've not been allowed to see for five years. Child support is good, but achieving that end does not justify terrorism.

Blackmail is one form of terrorist activity, and America has used it in suspending my driver's license.

Driving and child support are unrelated, but removing one to gain the other is blackmail.

The DMV says it is a privilege to drive, and somehow calls this justification for blackmail.

As an American, I am very aware that taxation is a privilege as well. And a blackmailing corporation is not worthy of that privilege.

Therefore, taxation of this individual is hereby suspended.

Roy E. Mercer


Extend time for studded tires

To the Editor:

You can't put studded tires on and off like a raincoat as the weather and road conditions change.

ODOT should quickly provide an extended time for such tires that recognize the real world of Oregon outside the Willamette Valley. Absent that, our choices are to risk sliding into a ditch, if not something worse, or risk a $150 fine. Thank you, Sen. Gene Derfler, for requiring us to make that choice. May your family be safe and well.

The cost of studded tire wear is small, I suspect, to that spent protecting travelers from water and slide problems on the West side.

Dan Thompson


Debate small nukes proposal

To the Editor:

I commend The Observer for having the courage to print Molly Ivins' column on March 20. With the recent announcements of possible terrorist attacks and the news of our color-coded terror warning/status system, we are being kept at a constant state of low-level anxiety about our security.

The underlying message, of course, is don't criticize and don't ask too many questions. Ms. Ivins' piece, "Tiny nukes," raised some very important questions that we all need to be thinking about. And after thinking, we could have a much-needed debate.

The article criticized the Bush administration's plan to consider developing and using first-strike, offensive nuclear weapons.

Ms. Ivins' position is a rare thing in the media (let alone in the government) these days. She asks us to consider the implications of the sole-surviving super power threatening to use the very weapons that we've lived in dread of for the past 50 years. The rest of the world thinks we're nuts. But how many here in the United States even notice?

Even if you think this is a good idea, doesn't it seem strange that, in a land where we supposedly value freedom of speech, there has been little or no public discourse about this and other matters concerning the priorities and strategies set forth by the Bush administration in the name of protecting that very freedom?

I admit that I strongly question the wisdom of a war on terrorism that looks a lot like just another form of terror to much of the world. But what troubles me most is the scarcity of dissent and active involvement in the process of charting the course for this country and, very likely, the world of the future.

I hope we see more comments, whether pro or con, on this topic.

Peter Farnam


Mercy rescue effort begins for cats

To the Editor:

Off Island Avenue there is a cluster of buildings with a Del Monte sign. At this time it is up for sale. On these grounds live feral cats that are wild and not domesticated. The corporation that owns these buildings has requested they be removed or something.

I'm sure there are some animal lovers out there who would like to help these cats that can't help themselves. We need barns in the country for one thing. If you, or someone you know, are interested in this mercy rescue please call these numbers and find out the details: 963-5452 and 975-2018. Please give it some thought.

Carol Ransom and Lou Carpenter

La Grande

Thousands of dollars pass from county

To the Editor:

I am one citizen of Union County who does not believe in the Philly trip.

My concern is the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have left our county and state in the past few years. How many of these same children have seen Crater Lake, been to OMSI in Portland, our own Capitol in Salem, seen Maryhill Museum or even been to the underground tours in Pendleton to see where the Chinese lived?

There are many things in our own state to learn about, with a lot less cost.

The Philly group raises money all year long. There is only so much extra money people have to donate. I feel other groups such as FFA, FBLA, Little League, 4-H — and the list goes on — have more problems raising money because the general public and businesses can only donate so much.

These parents have children in school now and our school budgets are getting cut. We could be helping all our children with music and ag programs, more computers, etc. I don't think it is against the law to donate items or money to your school. Then all the children benefit, not just a few at a very high price.

If we put this same time and energy into our schools, imagine what we could do? I am a grandmother now, but I do care about the education my grandchildren and your children receive in today's world. They are our future. Think about it.

Cheryl Coe


Let others correct child

To the Editor:

I read with interest Corrie Hopper's March 20 letter. She mentions that our La Grande public librarians are rude and insensitive to children.

I have to differ with her opinion. My daughters and I have used the library for 13 years on a weekly basis, and we have found the librarians to be very helpful and polite.

I have been pleased with the services they provide for children. The library and librarians have been critically important in our homeschooling experience.

Concerning the use of the computers, there is a sign posted near the computers that says children may use the computers if they can read the screen. As a taxpayer, I appreciate that the librarians attempt to save money by protecting the computers.

In regards to the "kicking the table incident," I happened to be sitting nearby when that happened. I didn't think the librarian was being rude or insensitive at all.

The table was a little wobbly and could have fallen down on the child. She simply asked him to not kick it. I don't think this mother saw what her child was doing because she was checking out books and her back was turned to him.

In recent years we have heard it stated that it takes a village to raise a child. We cannot see all that our children do. It is sad when parents get so defensive of other people correcting their children. I believe these children may grow up with a lack of respect for others and a selfish "me, me, me" attitude.

Isn't that what's wrong with our society and why our juvenile facilities are so full? I hope that parents will see this problem we have and attempt to be more tolerant of others correcting their children.

Sherri Shelman

La Grande

Mom should discipline

To the Editor:

I am a senior citizen who has lived in La Grande since 1987. We have the same problem here in La Grande that I have seen in other cities — that is a librarian disciplining Corrie Hopper's 2-year-old son. (Observer letter, March 20)

Disciplining a child is a mother's job, so why didn't she do it?

The computer incident was up to Hopper to discipline her son, so why didn't she do it? Also the child kicking — that damages property, so again Hopper failed to do the job. She left it to the librarian to do it, to protect from damage the property that all people use.

Young mothers are lax in disciplining their children. They even sit in a meeting while their child yells or cries loud, disturbing everyone, yet the mother doesn't hear the noise.

Hopper should thank the librarian for doing her job. The mother was the thoughtless, rude, insensitive person, not the librarian.

Please keep your son away from the library and other businesses until you can teach him some manners.

Florence Palmer

La Grande