June 29, 2003 11:00 pm

Don't restrict water access

To the Editor:

I have been maintaining the Elgin Little League fields for five or six years. It is my understanding the Little League was not to be charged for water under a gentleman's agreement with Boise.

On May 18 a dog show was held at the field and there was no water for the dogs or people. I checked the main water valve and found it turned off and padlocked shut.

A sewer line is scheduled to go through the baseball property to a parcel the city purchased for industrial purposes, and the district softball tournament is scheduled for this facility. Last year the city turned off the water for six weeks in the middle of summer, saying I was using too much water and threatened to put in a water meter and charge the Little League.

Because of this I've lost about a third of the grass on two fields and the weeds have thrived. The Elgin Little League does not have the money for this extra expense.

The year before last the city turned the water pressure down so that only about half of the fields ever got watered through the summer.

The year before that, end-plugs on the irrigation pipe kept mysteriously coming up missing.

In my opinion schools, park districts and Little League fields should not be charged for water because they are for the betterment of Elgin.

What I want is: the water to be turned on with no restrictions; help to secure a grant for an underground sprinkler system; the sewer project through the leased property delayed and the systematic harassment stopped.

If no one is proud of what they've got and doesn't care, then I have no choice but to quit and ride off into the sunset.

Dale Witherspoon


Kick in to help state

To the Editor:

We hear so much about the state's income tax "kicker" being bad and should be changed or eliminated. The concept of the kicker is not bad if administered correctly by the Legislature.

If administrated correctly, when the state collects too much tax they "kick it back" and when it does not collect enough to provide basic services, then the taxpayers should "kick in" some more.

It is a fair way to do it. The "kicker" should work both ways: "kick back" and "kick in." The Republican-controlled Legislature was really adamant a few years ago about kicking back the over-collected taxes, but now, when more money is needed, they are just as adamant about not raising taxes.

They want the "kick back" but not the "kick in." They want to balance the budget by borrowing and spending. Now, that same Republican-controlled Legislature seems bent on not wanting to pay for the services the citizens of Oregon need, like necessary health care, a good education for all of our children, keeping the environment healthy and providing for our disabled and elderly fellow citizens.

I say to the Legislature, "Let's administer this kicker correctly. Last time we got the ‘kicker.' Now is the time for us to kick in and provide the money to support necessary services at a responsible level. Referring another vote to the people is not appropriate. You should start accepting your responsibility and vote to raise taxes, stop many of those special tax credits and raise the minimum tax on corporations."

Lewis Currie

La Grande

Manager pushed aside

To the Editor:

This letter is in defense of the previous Union County Fair manager.

Christine Courtright did a very thorough, good job with what she felt the organization could afford. And what, pray tell, is wrong with tradition?

If the Fair Maids with their beautiful dresses, parasols and talent go by the wayside I will be disgusted. What is wrong with a bit of old-fashioned values and entertainment?

La Grande seems not to hold any feelings for anything of the historical order, and I think it is so sad. We want to tear down and do away with buildings and not restore anything. I think there is too much Cadillac taste on a Model T budget; also too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

Christine has worked very hard and is not hard to talk to. And she is being pushed aside and it is not very nice. When I think about it, it's typical La Grande behavior.

Union, Cove and Island City seem to work together but not La Grande.

Some may not agree with me, and that is OK. But that is my feelings and view.

Wilma Page

La Grande

Great event on beautiful night

To the Editor:

The temperature hovered near 75 degrees, a beautiful night to be alive. Lying on my back looking at the sky, the sounds of music drift over me, coming from nearby.

I am describing the scene of the Monday night concert at Eastern Oregon University. Everybody was having a wonderful time.

When standing in line for sundaes, a gentleman was telling me about the new science building, a lady recognized me from classes I had taught at Think Link, and the blending of faces old and new gave me a wonderful sense of community.

A pleasant stroll through campus admiring the trees, pocket garden and rhodys completed an evening I will long remember.

My hat is off to all who made this event possible.

What a beautiful valley we live in.

Sherry Olsen

Island City

Welcome immigrants

To the Editor:

Now we are at war with Mexico? Once again, Jim Bovard has managed to confuse the facts and be insulting to our neighbors. Printing his diatribe (June 4 letter) seems to me to be in poor taste, very poor taste, similar to continuing to run Mallard Filmore on the comics page.

Where would Grande Ronde Valley farmers and orchardists be if it weren't for Mexican laborers who arrive every year to do the intensive, back-breaking work of spraying and hoeing weeds, picking, harvesting, and the multitudinous other farm labor involved in feeding us?

Where would our resort areas be if they weren't able to count on undocumented workers doing the many labor-intensive service jobs that keep that industry operating?

It has been well documented that, without such farm and service industry laborers, primarily Mexican but also African and people from other countries, most employers are not able to fill those jobs from the U. S. workforce.

I, for one, am not interested in having my tax dollars support deploying our Army against immigrant populations.

Where would I be, for that matter, if my Irish immigrant ancestors had been met by our Army preventing their entry to the melting pot?

We need to have a longer historical vision of our roots. We need to rise up and welcome immigrants with all their gifts and spirit and diversity that make our nation so unique. We must continue to welcome otherness if we are not to stagnate in our own blind vision.

I love the cherries from the Grande Ronde Valley. I want to go on enjoying the sustenance provided by our farmers. I welcome our brothers and sisters from other countries to our land of opportunity for all.

Mary Rose Nichols


Sale to fund safety fair

To the Editor:

The Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC) of Union County is a program that coordinates agencies within the county that provide services for young children.

This council is a non-profit group of agency volunteers and parents that advise the Union-Baker Education Service District in their provision of Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education services for children with disabilities.

Last year the First Annual Health and Safety Fair was held to provide services which included free developmental screenings for children from birth through five years of age, immunizations for children of all ages, promotion of improved oral hygiene by disseminating toothbrushes and dental floss, Head Start registration, fingerprinting by the Union County Sheriff's Department and safety awareness training from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The second annual Health and Safety Fair will be held this year on Aug. 18-19. If you have a child age birth through five and are interested in learning more about how your child moves, plays, speaks, hears or sees, please call the Union-Baker Educational Service District at 963-4106 or stop by to sign your child up for this free public service. We are located at 10100 N. McAlister Road, Island City.

The LICC is accepting donations for a fund-raiser yard sale. All proceeds made will help fund the Health and Safety Fair. Items such as clothes, toys, home wares, etc. are gladly welcome.

Please call Nickole End at 963-4106/910-0711 or myself at 786-0641 to make delivery or pick-up arrangements. The yard sale will be held on Saturday, July 12.

Lori Hines, LICC chairperson

La Grande