November 03, 2002 11:00 pm

Ownership clarified

To the Editor:

I would like to offer the following correction and information to readers of The Observer.

While I have been instrumental in obtaining and restoring the antique fire engines in La Grande, I don't own them. The La Grande Fire Department owns the 1939 Seagrave and 1948 Mack. The La Grande Volunteer Fire Department owns the 1925 Stutz and the 1922 Ford Model TT, formerly at the Hot Lake Sanatorium.

I have enjoyed the support of the entire community for the past several years in obtaining and restoring these important engines from our past. Because of the continued support of the community they are continually shared with the public for their enjoyment.

Since the first of the year we have made 36 appearances at various events in Union County and as far as Boise. Without the support of the entire community and local government this would not be possible.

As many of you read in The Observer, the old fire station on Washington Avenue is slated to be the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum and Learning Center. Our preliminary plans are to be open May 15. Much work and additional support from the community will be needed to make this happen.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to join Rescue Hose Company No. 1. It will be the organization within the La Grande Volunteer Fire Department operating the fire museum. Anyone is eligible for membership to enjoy planning, funding, putting together and operating the fire museum.

Your ideas are needed.

Don Keeling

La Grande

Connect with youth

To the Editor:

Oct. 6-12 is National 4-H Week for the youth organization that just celebrated its 100th birthday. This organization was a vital part of my adolescent years, growing up in eastern Nebraska, as it was for our three children who were raised here in Union County.

In early 2001, I entered into the retirement stage of life after 44 years in the nursing profession, and began to help out with various 4-H projects as needed. Last winter when a call came requesting that I be a 4-H leader for a cooking club, I was glad to volunteer and again be associated with young people.

The 11 junior club members in fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade were a special group of kids, enthusiastic, energetic, noisy, sometimes messy cooks, but always hungry. I fell in love with all of them.

Seven of the Cooking Cats members involved themselves in the home economics activities at the county fair. Between them they earned two grand champions, two reserve champions, 30 blue and nine red ribbons. To see their smiles and excitement at their first-year cooking competition was a true high for me; to hear them tell about how much fun they were having in the process was a goal I had hoped to experience.

I'll bet my second year as a 4-H leader will be equally rewarding, with all of us in the club continuing to learn and grow together in this very positive endeavor. There is a real need for your expertise and willingness to share with these eager 4-H members, and I doubt you will be able to resist the vitality of this younger generation either.

Marge Addleman

La Grande

Leading 4-H enjoyable

To the Editor:

The new 4-H year is starting, so this is a great time for us all to take a look at what 4-H means to our community and ourselves. As a 4-H leader I have a lot to be thankful for.

This program has allowed me to share my skills with children who want to learn. These kids come unsure and intimidated by something they don't understand. It is amazing to watch them gain skills that they can use in real life, and to see the way they open up to the potential inside themselves.

Being a leader has definitely been a feel-good experience for me. Every time a member gets excited about something they have accomplished it just makes my heart swell.

I enjoy passing on home economics skills that are becoming a lost art. It makes me feel closer to my own mother and grandmother, who practiced these arts as a part of everyday life.

Another aspect I enjoy about being a leader is the satisfaction I get from giving time back to my community. My children enjoy many activities made possible by the time and effort donated by others. This is my chance to do the same. There is a quotation about it taking a village to raise a child. 4-H is a major participant in that village.

By being a leader I also set an example for my children, that they may also learn the importance and responsibility of becoming involved in their community.

I would encourage everyone to look at what they have to offer the children of our area. Be a leader, or just volunteer to help out on occasion. This is one of the best things I have ever done.

Robin Gerber

La Grande

Smith proves himself

To the Editor:

Grant County's small population has had little clout in the overall election process but when redistricting divided our county, it further diminished our voting power.

I believe we had a sincere spokesman with Greg Smith and it was disheartening to learn we would be losing him as our representative. He has proven his interest in and dedication to the people of Eastern Oregon. Greg listens.

He has traveled to our meetings and set up conferences with state agencies to discuss our concerns. This young man has shown us his desire to understand the problems we encounter and his willingness to act on behalf of those he represents.

He is experienced in management, understands the related problems of high unemployment, and is committed to improving the business climate to encourage more job opportunities.

I am sad to lose Greg Smith as my representative in our district but I know he will continue to be an outstanding spokesman for the entire area.

Eastern Oregon needs Greg Smith's honest, experienced and vigorous representation in Salem.

I urge you to vote for Greg Smith as your representative.

LaVelle Holmes


Retirees support John Howard

To the Editor:

While I was born in La Grande, I have traveled to many places around the world and have made friends with folks of different cultures.

I have studied political culture rather extensively and as an observer have attended many state legislative sessions.

Several years ago I became friends with John Howard and found that his political views not only nearly paralleled my own but that he wanted the most benefits for the people of his district while keeping in mind the importance of financial spending.

While I am a registered Republican, I helped him get elected as I recognized that here was a man who would help the folks in his district with no regard to political registration.

I read in the ads where his opposition is endorsed by retirees, so I visited with many other folks who, like myself, are retired. I have yet to talk with anyone who does not appreciate what Howard has done and that do not support him.

As a veteran with an honorable discharge and knowing Howard's opinions about many subjects, I certainly support him. And while his opposition may be very capable, I can't help but wonder what decisions or opinions he might have in the future with a background of a conscientious objector to military service.

We know what Howard can do, so for the good of all of us, let's keep him working for us.

Ernest R. Wells

La Grande

Wal-Mart should stay where it is

To the Editor:

As a former Island City resident, I would like to comment about Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart was never intended to be a superstore when it originally came into the community. Wal-Mart needs to stay where it is in Island City and forget about the grocery business.

Are they so greedy that there could be a risk of putting other grocery stores out of business? You know people working in these other stores shop at Wal-Mart, and people out of work are not spending money. Not only does this hurt Wal-Mart's business, but the whole community.

There's also a problem where Wal-Mart intends to build its superstore, across the railroad tracks. Do they have an emergency back-up route to evacuate customers and store employees in case there is an emergency — such as a derailment of toxic materials? I am not saying this might occur. But what if it did? Could this turn into a community disaster?

Wal-Mart, stay the way you are. The community does not need another grocery store.

Linda Pratt


Saddam comes off back burner

To the Editor:

A year ago, in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush declared war on Osama bin Laden and his terrorist stronghold in Afghanistan.

The mission was accomplished with the exception of bin Laden not only escaping but fading away in the national news with the emergence of Saddam Hussein from the United Nations' back burner.

During our military altercation with Afghanistan, the media back-paged a mild, several-world blurb on United Nations opinion. At that time I opined that it was the beginning of the U.N's move to insinuate itself into a take-over position on our war against terrorism with the aid of the national pro-U.N. media and some of our socialistic new-world-order senators and liberal cabinet members such as Colin Powell.

I was right. As the year progressed, the articles on the U.N. got larger and more strident, steadily migrating toward the media front pages with even President Bush currently talking about having permission from the U.N. to engage Iraq in the war on terrorism, which is our American issue, not the United Nations'.

So finally, we have a president who bravely declared a retributive war on our attackers, who now meekly approaches, hat in hand, the terrorist-harboring U.N. for permission to attack Iraq, making it plain that we would be subservient to the United Nations in what is plainly becoming just another U.N. police action.

Of course this blows a good opportunity to dump the anti-American U.N. — a big mistake by leaders lacking the ability to maintain our national sovereignty and integrity.

Again I say dump the United Nations while we still can.

Jim Bovard


Phone lawmakers to oppose war

To the Editor:

If you think war on Iraq is a bad idea, now is the time to act. A vote by Congress is pending that could authorize the use of military force against Iraq.

If Congress passes this resolution, the president will be able to launch a war against Iraq on a moment's notice. No more authority or congressional approval is needed. It permits him to wage war against Iraq indefinitely, and it doesn't require him to work within the dictates of the U.N. Security Council.

Some concessions have been made through political negotiations. The resolution no longer authorizes the president to use military force anywhere he pleases in the Middle East. It requires the president to report back frequently about the status of the conflict, the plan for reconstruction and the impact of a war on Iraq on the campaign against terrorism. Is this enough for you?

Truly, democracy depends on us and our willingness to stand up for what we believe. Our calls can cause our senators and representatives to think twice about the president's proposal. Please call your lawmakers right now at:

U.S. Sen. Gordon H. Smith

D.C. phone: 202-224-3753

Local Phone: 503-326-3386

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden

D.C. phone: 202-224-5244

Local Phone: 503-326-7525

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden

D.C. phone: 202-225-6730

Local Phone: 541-776-4646

Julie Farnam,

member of Pathways to Peace