January 07, 2003 11:00 pm

Look beyond immediate

To the Editor:

With respect to the budding controversy relative to the potential forthcoming presence of a Wal-Mart Supercenter and, should it come to pass, its effect upon the local economy, it may be well to look beyond the immediate.

If called upon to name the largest retail chain in America, most would quickly respond "Wal-Mart."

A growing trend is beginning to appear nationally by Home Depot, the second largest chain expanding by taking occupancy of buildings vacated by Wal-Mart.

Home Depot and Wal-Mart complement each other's markets and with minimal competition between them.

Home Depot sells appliances, computers, plumbing and electrical supplies, carpeting, tools and all manner of home building products. Its market reaches into just about every area of retail that Wal-Mart does not.

Home Depot merchandising techniques paralleled those of Wal-Mart and are of equal or greater impact upon local business.

Wal-Mart already has taken its toll on the La Grande small business community — with perhaps even more to come. The potential for Home Depot coming into La Grande would have as severe an impact as any already felt. Who could survive it? What would be left?

Small business is the heart and sinew of any community. It is worthy of protection and support by elected officials and local citizens. When considering the future, it may be well to look beyond the immediate. Who will come in if Wal-Mart moves up and do you really want it to happen?

A.B. Ferguson

La Grande

Making nation safer

To the Editor:

In the Dec. 28 Observer, a gentleman posted a letter to the editor titled, "Work to defend borders."

In his letter, he states that Homeland Security does nothing to protect our borders from "enemy aliens and terrorists" and that HR 4757 will put all Americans under a "budding police state," which he refers to as "Orwellian" in nature.

These statements intrigued me, so I did a little homework.

House Bill 4757 or "Our Lady of Peace Act" was drafted in response to the fatal shootings of two individuals in a New York church. It provides federal funding to help states computerize their criminal background databases.

These upgrades will help prevent criminals from purchasing firearms and will reduce delays for law-abiding gun owners. Some may view this as the creation of an "anti-freedom police state," but when viewed in the light of its true intent, this is hardly the case.

Also, after reviewing the "Homeland Security Act of 2002" (once called HR 5710), it is clear that the Department of Homeland Security has one paramount objective: protecting our borders.

It places the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Animal/Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service all under the umbrella of Home-land Security.

It is hoped that this consolidation will improve communication and make our borders safer.

I'm not exactly sure how one can confuse Homeland Defense with a New World Order, or how automating criminal database files means stomping out our constitutional rights. But one thing is certain: While some of us may not always agree with legislation that is passed in Washington, we have the obligation as citizens to stay as informed as possible.

In the end, our ability to make our nation safer will ensure that future generations will always live in a peaceful America.

Isaac Myhrum


All life unique, sacred

To the Editor:

Remember when miscegenation was evil, and illegal, and the products were mulattos and quadroons, without status and tainted by vile, filth, and evil, and possessed of supernatural seductive powers?

Do we really need to go there again?

Are we going to have to raise a Martin Luther King of Clones before we treat them with respect and dignity, and especially equality?

Let's think about what we're saying, and think about it right now!

All life is unique and sacred, and all human life is endowed by its Creator with certain inalienable rights.


Nicholas Smith

La Grande

Santa alive, well at truck stop

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter only because everyone needs to hear a happy story now and then to balance out all the bad and ugly news that is thrown at us every day.

I was working Christmas morning at the Flying J Restaurant when "Santa" stopped in to say "Merry Christmas." He didn't have a soft, fluffy red suit, a full white beard and gold-rimmed glasses. He didn't say, "Ho Ho Ho."

What he did say was, "Do you have hot chocolate?" I said, "You bet," so I went and filled his cup.

As I handed him his cup of hot chocolate, he said, "I'd like to pay for everyone's breakfast that's eating in here now."

I thought, I must not have heard him correctly and asked, "What was that?" He repeated, "I'd like to pay for everyone's breakfast that is eating." He continued, "I don't want anyone to know who has paid for everything. Just tell everyone to drive safely. The Spirit of Christmas is not dead."

I accepted his payment and with tears, I thanked him and wished him a very Merry Christmas. This fine gentleman's gesture made Wednesday, Dec. 25, into Christmas Day for me.

My dear "Santa," thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me that a happy Christmas isn't how many presents are under the tree, for there is no dollar value that can be put on what you gave this Christmas day. God bless you and thanks for being you.

Gwen Rogers