August 01, 2002 11:00 pm

No perfect drivers in world

To the Editor:

To the family and friends of the ones who died, I would like to express my deepest sympathy. There are no words that can ease your sorrow.

I hope there is comfort in knowing that in the time of their passing, they were doing an extraordinary thing in going to fight fires. My thoughts are with you all.

To Megan Helm, I want to say that I hope someday you'll be able to smile again, and not blame yourself.

There are no perfect drivers in this world and it is a travesty that Colorado has decided to charge you with careless driving.

We are all subject to momentary distractions: lighting a cigarette, adjusting the radio/stereo, talking on cell phones, taking a drink, eating a quick meal, talking to our passengers, playing "I Spy" with our kids, and waving at passersby.

My heart goes out to you, and I cannot imagine your pain, but please know that I am thinking of you and wish you nothing but the best.

Alishia G. Koller

La Grande

Coverage hinders families

To the Editor:

The media has become La Grande's worst enemy with all television stations, and unfortunately The Observer as well, converging upon our town.

Being insensitive to the families of Retha Shirley and the other firefighter heroes we have lost in the recent days, the media in all forms seemed to be more concerned about an article or adding readers for your newspaper, than to have the compassion and sensitivity that was needed at this time for the families of all of our firefighters.

The families of the young men and women who weren't injured are still as affected as those who have lost loved ones.

Grief isn't limited just to death — it is part of survival as well. Why not let families start to deal with all this devastation instead of hindering their ability to do so?

Let them grieve, and let them not see caskets on the front page to cause it to start all over again.

Please Observer, and all the media as well, start to understand the word compassion and come back to the "original" newspaper that you once were.

Karen Hopkins

La Grande

Helm's suffered enough

To the Editor:

The following was submitted to the Denver Post on June 28:

Megan Helm, the 21 year-old firefighter who was driving fellow firefighters from Oregon to help we Coloradans, is now facing six counts of careless driving charges in Colorado.

This is ridiculous! When will we learn that sometimes accidents just happen? Our priorities are all "out of whack" when we will prosecute a friend who was trying to help, while so often turning a blind eye to true injustices and criminals.

(How many driving while intoxicated drivers are still on the road?)

Can it possibly be right to ruin this young life? Does she need to be reformed? Is she a danger to society? From news accounts, one can see that she has always been a productive part of society, is hard working and eager to do her part.

Prosecuting Megan sends an awful message to our citizens: that we should not try to help each other because there might be an accident and we could be sued or face criminal charges.

In these times of terror and uncertainty, we need all the encouragement we can get to come together and help our fellow man.

Megan has suffered enough through this tragedy without having to face criminal charges in Colorado.

Let's back off, acknowledge the sadness of this occasion, and move on.

Scott Vanlandingham

Arvada, Colo.

Don't fool with 4th of July

To the Editor:

I am a proud, patriotic World War II veteran. I fought beside brave American sons, some of whom were heroic casualties that unselfishly proved their honor through heroism in battle to protect the freedom, historic independence and national sovereignty pledged for us by our founding forefathers during the birth of our wonderful nation.

I am heart-sickened by the crass, unpatriotic, disloyal decision by those uncaring La Grande perpetrators to sully and insult the memory of our nation's founders: to spurn the meaning of our flag; to ignore and demean the importance of the day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of our nation by arbitrarily changing the date of Independence Day from the Fourth of July to July 5, just as if the Fourth were only just another ho-hum day to be ignored for the sake of local civic or business convenience.

Who do they think they are?

Were the citizens of La Grande consulted about making such an historically important change?

Did anyone bother to ask any or our veterans who fought to preserve our independence if they would consent to this insult to their sacrifices to maintain our independence and the day which honors it?

Shame on you.

Jim Bovard


Common sense vanishes

To the Editor:

In response to a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance being declared unconstitutional: Why are we seeing a movement to downplay patriotism, love of god and unity thereof?

This is occurring at a time when America must be unified and strong now more than ever.

It could be observed that efforts to make patriotism and religious faith seem unfashionable existed long before Sept. 11. The sudden, unexpected resurgence of faith and patriotism is possibly making anti-patriot atheists frantic to stem the tide.

We cannot understand why anyone who finds something objectionable doesn't just refuse to participate, instead of forcing their minority opinion on all, liked or no.

What they say is objectionable is not only in keeping with American ideology but plain common sense, something we seem to have gotten away from especially in judicial proceedings, particularly in San Francisco, Calif., where if you can get your liberal-oriented case into court it's won before it is even heard.

The founders of the U.S. Constitution admitted that the weakest point was the unlimited power of the judicial system, but the system would always be presided over by honorable men. How do men and women who openly promote anti-patriotism and faith in God almighty define honor?

Ron Fischer


Provide access to river

To the Editor:

I enjoy floating on rivers and I would like to float on the Grande Ronde River through the valley but cannot find any available access to it from Pierce Lane to Imbler, and the same for Catherine Creek.

What few possible access points to the river through the valley are blocked off by fences.

What is needed is access every few miles so a person can put in and float for a few hours and enjoy the river.

It would not hurt for several farmers to give up a few acres so that people in this valley could enjoy the river.

Kenneth Smart

La Grande