June 12, 2003 11:00 pm

Since the day Steve Rzonca decided to move to La Grande and build The Rock Bowling and Fun Center, he has done his homework and produced a product that has been a great asset to the community and the neighboring area.

It appears that Rzonca is doing his homework again; he gained approval this week for putting more "fun" in the current site.

The La Grande Planning Commission gave unanimous approval for expanding Rzonca's center to include a go-cart track, automatic baseball-pitching machine with batting cage and a miniature golf course.

The go-carts will include modern, Indy-type bodies and new-type motors and mufflers. According to Rzonca, the cars are specifically designed for small tracks.

To make sure he was creating a product that would be acceptable to those who live near The Rock, Rzonca spent a lot of time talking with the neighbors to assure them that the noise levels would be respectful of their needs.

"We have worked with the apartment managers," he told the commissioners. He even produced a video for the commission so they could hear what the sound levels would be and commissioner Mat Barber attended the sound test and reported back to the commission, "Most people were pretty satisfied."

Rzonca plans on putting up sound-proof berms and a soft wooden fence to absorb the sounds, along with landscaping that will help keep the noise to a minimum. Go-cart operating hours will be set up to allow people to enjoy quiet evenings.

We applaud Rzonca for his effort. His desire to create a workable environment, both for the neighbors and his business, show what can be done to assure that new ventures can produce quality entertainment for our area. The entire community should support the planning commission's decision and back this effort to bring a little more fun to this business at Albany Street and Cove Avenue.

Courageous effort

It's the Eastern Oregon way to not look aside when someone is in trouble.

That spirit was exhibited on Highway 244 west of Hilgard State Park Saturday when Eastern Oregon University students Melissa Aullman and Justin Bechaver jumped into the Grande Ronde River to try to rescue a man who was trapped in his car.

Aullman and Bechaver found it difficult to wrest Daniel K. Kendall, 44, of Ukiah, from the vehicle, which had overturned. Kendall died in the crash, but Aullman and Bechaver's efforts have not gone unnoticed. They did what they could to help the man. His family and friends will forever be appreciative.