April 02, 2003 11:00 pm

Walk mile in teachers' shoes

To the Editor:

I hold the teaching profession in very high regard. As such, the letter to the editor in the March 13 Observer by Linda Caverly was extremely troubling.

I challenge anyone who holds these views to get into a classroom. Do you know what goes into the day-to-day schooling of our children? The immense challenges faced by the educators of our future?

Volunteer just for a day; talk to the teachers; get behind the scene to find out what really goes on.

As stated in the letter "We taxpayers are not even getting what we pay for now."

Indeed, we do not. We get so much more.

Kristina Hamann


Taxpayers held hostage

To the Editor:

Since the defeat of Ballot Measure 28 there has been a hue and cry in the media of not enough money for education.

It is interesting to note in The Observer that Eastern Oregon University has been forced to lay off teachers and curtail educational agenda for lack of funds but has no trouble finding a million and a quarter in cash to revamp a stadium.

On the other side of the coin many public employees and their administrators are doing their best to hold the taxpayer hostage for not heeding their cry about Measure 28.

As expressed in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, Oregon was going out of business if the taxpayer did not ante up on 28.

After years of experience in the teaching field and in private industry I have learned that the quickest way for an administrator to get an increase in pay is to increase his responsibility by having more underlings report to him and to be generous with the wage increases.

Always overspend your material budget lest the bean-counters cut your budget for the coming year. Be sure to go home and gripe that your property tax is too high.

Letters in the paper written by well-meaning people expound on the fact that teachers are an exemplary bunch that, as the most recent letter said "joined together with other public employees to spread the word" that if Measure 28 was defeated their union would not get all the perks they think they are worth.

We have yet to see these hard-working, economically abused people writing letters on how we could cut the needless expense to be able to afford their superlative services.

Anyone for a new stadium? The old one is a bit shabby?

David Arnott


Coach doing great job

To the Editor:

Ditto the comments made about Ken Kramer, the Imbler coach. His energy is equal to a man half his age. He devotes hours and hours of personal time coaching and chauffeuring, not to mention all the donations of uniforms, supplementing fees for kids to have the opportunity to attend summer camps, purchasing award plaques and yes, even volunteering his own wife to launder every load of uniforms after every game these last few years.

Kramer should be given credit for inspiring athletes in Imbler to excel. The 2A state playoffs pitted his team — from a school totaling only 95 students — against the west side schools numbering 290-300 students. Their benches literally held enough to supply an additional five fresh starters to the games.

Ken's kids sweated out the challenge, which was commendable considering they could have been so intimidated. Their hard work paid off when they brought the seventh-place award home this year.

Our thanks as parents go out to Ken Kramer for sharing his expertise, time and energy with our kids. We will forever be grateful for his direction and ability to instill confidence that will undoubtedly help create respectful and disciplined adults who contribute to society's future.

Louann Culbreth


Girls played their hearts out

To the Editor:

I feel sure that all of the region is very proud or all of our Eastern Oregon athletes from the university level to 1A.

We had winning wrestlers, winning football teams, winning volleyball teams and great basketball teams taking us to state, and of course great baseball teams

Now, not every team finished first, not every team made the playoffs and not every team went to state, but every team was a winner. They played hard, did their best, showed good sportsmanship and when they lost, they lost graciously.

Of course great teams are not just made of up great athletes. It takes dedicated men and women coaching these teams as well.

I was especially proud of the Imbler JV girls. The team had only five girls with one varsity girl on the bench for half a game and those girls played their hearts out and won every game they played.

Congratulations you beautiful young ladies.

Well done, young people, I am so proud of you.

Roy Hills

Island City

Rose-colored glasses removed

To the Editor:

My opinion on the matter of the rainy day fund is the legislators will be incapable of maintaining this fund.

If a rainy day fund is established, there will always be a need for the money. Therefore, there will never be a rainy day fund.

Even before the rain came some legislators were trying to keep the kicker because they perceived a need.

Oregon's financial mess has been created from a lack of prudence during boom times, much like the euphoric investor in the stock market.

The rose-colored glasses have been ripped off, and Oregon is getting a big dose of reality.

The money belongs to the taxpayer, not the government. We cannot tax ourselves out of poverty.

Ellen Hector

Island City

Toast to hoopsters

To the Editor:

I want to thank the La Grande High School boys' and girls' basketball teams, coaches and parents, and all others involved, for another great season.

Congratulations on your accomplishments on the court and in the classroom. I commend you seniors for your determination, wishing you well in your future plans.

The girls are the pride of La Grande for the courage required to perform so well in the absence of their all-state point guard, Lindsey Carmichael.

Anyone knowledgeable about the game understands that from day to day your game performance varies. The Tigers would win playing Madras again, just as they did in the Burns and Ontario series.

I became a fan four years ago because the kids leave it all on the floor every game. I appreciate and respect that.

Peter Rankin

La Grande

You call this peace?

To the Editor:

Something is wrong with this picture.

There are all these people rioting in the streets, damaging private property, stopping traffic in major cities, getting into physical confrontations with the police and the general public, being arrested by the police for these actions and now threatening to participate in covert actions for more retaliation.

All this is in the name of PEACE.

On the other hand there is another group of people who show their support for our troops in Iraq and our president in a much different manor.

They stand peacefully on the side of the roads and wave our American flag asking you to honk your horn showing your support.

The regime in Iraq has been building their arsenal of weapons of mass destruction for many years, plus the fact of all the murders they have committed against their own people. Now we hear about the Gestapo style of execution of our soldiers who were captured. This regime needs to be stopped and eliminated before more acts of terrorism and murder are committed.

Nobody wants war, but sometimes it is needed to eradicate a disease.

Johnny Arnold

La Grande

Project will relieve congestion

To the Editor:

I found the traffic barriers article of March 18 very informative but a bit confusing, too. It is obvious that Boise Cascade's chip and log trucks have a big problem entering and exiting on Highway 82, so the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Portland Street and Highway 82 (Island Avenue) seems like a viable solution.

The intersection of Highway 82 and Riddle Road also poses a challenge to safety, with many large vehicles trying to exit left and right and the train tracks to cross at the same time. Potential solutions are like a Rubic's cube for planners with so many options and interests to consider.

I feel the 26th Street intersection traffic consolidation and median project proposed by the state will greatly relieve congestion, much like the Walton Road and Highway 82 configuration has done. Time will tell if the small business owners will suffer from the change of traffic flow. I think not.

I hope business will be greatly improved in the long run due to less congestion, confusion and frustration for customers and employees.

I have found Steve Davis (ODOT project manager) and Steve McClure (Union County commissioner) very sensitive and supportive in meeting my needs and concerns. They negotiated with the railroad for a right-in access for Bearco Business Park, maintaining at least some access from Highway 82.

I feel this project is worthwhile and needs to happen in order for the Island City Strip to continue to develop as a safe and prosperous area.

Howard Butts, Bearco Business Park owner


Support Joseph's schools

To the Editor:

I've been a teacher for 27 years. I love my profession, but due to increasing budgetary constraints I realize that our Joseph School District needs more from me than just being an educator and a child advocate.

It needs my support and the support of many, many more of our district patrons as well if our school is to remain a viable center of our community.

I've attended the first two informational meetings which were held to organize and get accurate information out to our community. I've been impressed by the presentations given by Rich Graham, our superintendent, and from members of our school board.

I know our school board has been criticized by some for not favoring a merger. I sincerely believe that they made the right decision both for our taxpayers and our students. Figures show that a three-year levy now will be more timely and less costly over the long run to Joseph's property owners than a merger would be. Plan to attend the next levy meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Outlaw Restaurant in Joseph to get answers to your concerns or questions.

We provide quality education at our school and statistics confirm this. Our coaches as well as certified staff have voluntarily taken a cut in pay to help keep our school going. The classified staff already took a cut when we went to our four-day school week. We haven't adopted new texts for many years.

In many cases we've had to develop and purchase our own materials to keep subjects current.

Our state continues to make educational funding cuts. If we are to remain viable we need to step forward and support our schools.

Our children are our future. Please vote to maintain local pride and a caring atmosphere for our kids.

Juanita Waters

Sixth-grade classroom teacher


Giving comfort to enemy

To the Editor:

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of freedom of speech.

It does not, however, give anyone the right to impose their viewpoint forcefully on another who has a differing point of view, as many of the activists have been attempting to do in our cities lately.

The courts have been lenient and broad in their interpretation of the First Amendment, but the activists are not making a statement for freedom of speech.

The organizers and leaders, while not actually inciting to violence, are inciting to civil disobedience and sedition. Our military personnel are not conscripted. They are all voluntary and they are now doing what they expected they might possibly have to do when they volunteered for service.

The activists are giving comfort to the enemy by their opposition to the war and they are giving aid to the enemy in their demands to bring the troops home.

Such actions only solidify and strengthen the resistance of the enemy and will ultimately prolong the war and lead to more casualties for both the coalition and the enemy.

We are a nation at war and this is no time for fun and games. The leaders of the activists should be arrested and charged accordingly with treason and sedition, both of which carry stiff penalties, not a slap on the wrist.

David R. Larson

La Grande

Iraq war shakes my world

To the Editor:

Living outside of the United States, I see a different side to the war. For my generation this is a new experience. We did not live through the world wars and are too young to remember the Gulf War.

I have never before seen protesters walking the streets or experienced tear gas. But here it seems to be very common. I have never worried about the safety of my family or myself. Now I find myself praying everyday.

I am sure many other Americans, as well as others around the world, are doing the same for their loved ones.

I feel too young to have to experienced my country at war. I can only imagine how my two younger sisters back home in La Grande are responding.

For me personally this war has shaken my world. My father, Louis Gerber, whom I love very much, is headed overseas to the war.

I have heard the words before, "God bless our soldiers and their families." These words now hold a new meaning to me.

I was unable to be there before my father left. I was not there to hug and kiss him goodbye. I was not able to tell him how much I love him.

I am so proud of my father for going. I am very proud to say my hero is my father.

I love my family very much. I pray for them and our country every day.

Please be strong, and Daddy will be home soon. I wish I was there now. This is the time when families need each other the most.

Brigette Gerber

Quito, Ecuador