LETTERS TO THE EDITOR FOR SEPTEMBER 2 - 7, 2002

September 16, 2002 12:00 am

Be responsible with alcohol

To the Editor:

As summer winds down and fall approaches, people stop thinking about vacations and recreation and focus again on work and school.

It's also a good time to focus on responsibility. On weekends and holidays, as everyone wraps up their backyard barbecues or picnics in the park, we encourage the people of Union County to make responsible choices, such as using designated drivers to keep our highways safe.

A nationwide survey of adults shows that 93 percent of the American public believe the use of designated drivers is a good way to reduce drunk-driving fatalities.

For more than two decades, Americans have made the term "designated driver" a part of their everyday language. One result? The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that Labor Day weekend drunk-driving fatalities dropped a whopping 28 percent between 1990 and 2000.

How can you help in the fight against drunk driving? Simply exercise personal responsibility while attending parties,picnics, barbecues, summertime sporting events or while relaxing in the back yard. That means drinking responsibly, designating a driver or calling a cab to help ensure that our roads and highways remain safe.

We all make a difference.

Joel and Gayle Knight

Snow-Cap Distributors

La Grande

Paying into my retirement

To the Editor:

In recent weeks I have been reading about some people being against the blowing of train whistles through La Grande. As a retired engineer I love it.

I want to say thanks to the working engineers out there who remind me in the middle of the night that they are out there paying into my retirement.

Every time I hear a train whistle, I wake up, smile, turn on the bed lamp, get out the calculator and add up my money.

Keep up the good work, guys and gals. Ol' Abe needs that traveling money. Someday you can enjoy the train whistles, too.

Whoops, gotta go now. There goes another train whistle.

Bernard Abell

LaGrande

Tournament was class act

To the Editor:

As chairman of the American Legion Class A baseball program in Oregon, I am grateful to the people of La Grande for undertaking the recently completed Northwest Regional Tournament.

A cooperative effort by numerous citizens provided the eight teams with an outstanding facility in which to compete. Led by Debbie and Dave Mellinger, Wes McAllaster and Gordon Royal, the many volunteers gave those in attendance five days of baseball that will be remembered as one of the best Class A regional tournaments.

The American Legion, an organization of men and women who have served in the military of the United States, appreciates what occurred. From the opening banquet at the Elks Lodge to the closing ceremonies at Optimist Field, this was a class act.

We salute the people of La Grande for helping to make American Legion Baseball a viable program for the youth of America.

George A. Matile

West Linn

Shriners step in when needed

To the Editor:

During my teens our family volunteered a number of years to work in the concession booths for the Shriners football game held in Baker City. The only thing I knew then about the Shriners was they were the older guys with the odd hats and that they somehow helped children — we were always told that our time was well spent to help children.

Many years later, I learned just what the Shriners were all about when my firstborn son was born with clubfeet, a congenital deformity.

We were sent to Doernbecher Children's Hospital when he was two weeks old and very quietly the physician told us that the best place for my son (even though we had double coverage with insurance) was at Shriners as they were specialists in this area.

Through the ensuing months of weekly and then biweekly cast changes (to stretch the feet), they helped us during those winter months by allowing us to stay, when possible, in one of their spare rooms on the top floor so as to allow us to drive during daylight hours, and later they were supportive of us going to a local orthopedist, Dr. James Kopp, as it was easier to pay the cost of cast changes than the travel expenses.

At the age of six months, my son had surgery at Shriners Hospital in Portland. He received the best possible care there, preoperatively, perioperatively and postoperatively.

Now, with my son approaching his sixth birthday, he will be having his second and hopefully final surgery at Shriners Hospital. I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to them for giving my son the opportunity for a normal life — running, skipping, hopping, and playing sports.

Now at parades, when the Shriners go by, we clap and shout our praise and encouragement hoping that they hear how they have touched our lives.

The next time you see a Shriner fund-raiser, stop for a minute and think someday how you or one of your loved ones might be in need of their services and support.

Support the Shriners.

Tamera Lannon

La Grande