June 16, 2003 11:00 pm

The economy is slow and people are concerned about finances. Businesses and individuals seem to be holding back on spending and are reducing the amount they can give to non-profit groups. One such group that is feeling the pinch right now is the Union County Fireworks Action Committee. Loss of a title sponsor has the committee's volunteers hanging their hopes on a raffle and donations.

The joy the Fourth of July fireworks display brings the community is worthy of support, even if some of us can't do what we did in years past.

The committee has organized a raffle with great prizes, including grocery and jewelry store shopping sprees. Community members can help the fireworks committee and a host of other non-profit groups by buying raffle tickets for $2 for one or $5 for three. And of course direct donations, such as family supporters and Patriot Club members, are needed and certainly welcome.

The committee's goal is to raise at least $10,000, but the loss of Charter Communications' $2,500 donation as title sponsor takes a chunk out of the fireworks fund.

The fact that larger donors might be scaling back means that more smaller donations will be needed if the community wants to see the kind of show it has grown accustomed to over the course of the past few years. If you haven't given in the past, consider a donation. Or buy some raffle tickets.

Everyone who has enjoyed the show in the past should do what they can to help it continue, whether that means $10, $5 or $1, or $50 to become a Patriots Club member. Every dollar helps. Contributions can be made or raffle tickets can be purchased at several locations including The Observer, the La Grande Fire Department, the Chamber of Commerce office, the Union County Senior Center or Pioneer Bank.

The fireworks show with its reminder of the hard-fought freedoms that our country enjoys, has been a source of pride in our community. Let's all chip in and help make up the difference so that the show will go on as planned.

Dedicated driver

Elgin lost a friend and The Observer lost one of its most dedicated and veteran motor route drivers with the death of LeVerne Horrell on Thursday. She will be missed.

Horrell wasn't someone who took her job as a contract driver lightly. Over the course of more than 20 years delivering the newspaper in Elgin, she got to know the people on her route and she kept an eye out for them. Her focus was on serving her customers, and for that The Observer is most thankful. A harder and more caring worker would be difficult to find.

Elgin, and The Observer, will miss LaVerne Horrell. The world needs more people like her.