November 09, 2003 11:00 pm

Official desires to respond

To the Editor:

It is my sincere desire to respond to any and all concerns about Oregon's Department of Human Services that are brought to my attention within Baker, Union and Wallowa counties.

An Oct. 7 letter to the editor may have caused some to believe that I have ignored concerns brought to me.

To remedy this, I would like people to know that my correct address is: Todd Siex, DHS Manager for Service Delivery Area 13, 1705 Main St., Suite 300, Baker City 97814.

Thank you for this opportunity to set the record straight.

Todd Siex

Baker City

Don't block progress

To the Editor:

I have read with interest the arguments pro and con of a Wal-Mart super store. To my way of thinking, everything should be on a positive note.

Go to the existing Wal-Mart and watch the number of people who are shopping there. It already is a super store, located in a building that is way too small for the services it provides. The aisles are piled with merchandise and customers are overloaded.

My wife and I made a trip to the Tri-Cities and traveled through three cities that have Wal-Mart super stores, and things that certain people are concerned about never happened. Drive down main street in La Grande and count the small stores it could hurt. I say to our city council and land-use plan, the super Wal-Mart store is called progress and we should all be in favor of it.

We need the jobs it will provide and the money that is spent will have a domino effect on the city.

N.E. Punches

La Grande

Law benefits truckers

To the Editor:

Recently the governor signed into law legislation allowing increased speeds of autos to 70 mph and trucks to 65 mph on some sections of the interstates.

On the same date that item appeared in the paper there appeared on page 6A the collision of two semis on Highway 26 that killed both drivers.

This speed bill was bad legislation. There was no regard for thinned budgets for highway maintenance or state police enforcement in patrolling the highways. This law really benefits mostly the truck driver who gets paid for miles traveled. Few truck drivers adhere to the present 55 mph and often crank up to 65 mph or more to make a grade.

In Eastern Oregon there are many circumstances that enhance truck accidents: wind conditions that topple semi-trailers and stop all truck traffic in those areas of Interstate 84; low visibility during blizzards and dust storms west of Pendleton. There are snow and ice conditions on curvy grades of 6 percent. There are three such grades within 50 miles not including the Burnt River Gorge and Farewell Bend. In an emergency even chains may not stop the jackknifing of a truck.

On Sept. 30 there was an article in The Observer regarding ODOT having not decided where the new speed law would apply. The ODOT spokesman, Pat Cooley, said that the first area of study would be east of The Dalles on Interstate 84 with few curves, good visibility and sparse traffic. How incredible. Obviously there are some in ODOT who do not understand about I-84 east of The Dalles.

The density of traffic doesn't make much difference when 100 tons of jackknifed truck comes at you like a derailed freight train at 65 mph. If the trucks can't handle the Terwilliger curves on I-5 at 55 mph, then please don't send them on I-84 at 65 mph in Eastern Oregon.

Cecil E. Mecham


Imbler voters should say no

To the Editor:

I respect the Imbler School Board but I have some problems with a $4 million tax levy over 20 years.

With the school district losing students, it's not a good time to ask the taxpayers to take up the slack.

I see my Avista bill going up 9.9 percent each month. OPEC is cutting oil output, which means higher fuel prices. The City of Imbler will be required to have a sewer within the next 20 years and those of us on a fixed income are in a world of hurt.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requirements are part of the repair and maintenance program for every school and public building. Fix these problems, and not at the inflated prices the board is suggesting.

Imbler music students have done well in a small building east of the high school. Placing them in the same building with students who are studying would be distracting.

Consolidation is a subject that needs to be addressed. Look at John Day, Mount Vernon, Weston and Athena. Their sports programs and school budgets are thriving because of consolidations.

The problems with the lmbler school building did not occur overnight. Where were the maintenance and repair people when they discovered dry rot and mold under Wade Hall? Why didn't they fix the rotted, broken roof beam and the crack in the foundation on the southeast side of the red building?

These should have been repaired when they were found. Why were these problems not taken care of and the repair work done as the damage was discovered?

No, the Imbler School Board is out of line trying to push this tax. It's time for the voters in the Imbler School District to say no. Vote no on the Imbler School Bond Levy.

Duane Berry


Input leads to proposal

To the Editor:

Building a new elementary school is the board of directors' proposal set before the Imbler School District voters by a bond levy election. This proposal came about after two years of research, work and study.

In the initial phase, input from the community began with a survey. The results gave the board a focus for their efforts.

Last winter the board formed a building committee. Many public meetings were held. Brochures were sent. Open houses and tours were conducted. Open dialogue continues as we focus our vision for our children in the 21st century.

Our schools are the heart of the community. They serve us all. In these days of big government, keeping local control over our community's facilities is a freedom we still embrace.

The Imbler School District has an excellent reputation. We point with pride to our students. They continue to garner awards and honors as student citizens. They continue to receive honors and positions of leadership in the broader world in careers of their choosing. They build families and support communities.

These citizens, once Imbler students, represent the results of our investment in schools. They are what America is all about.

Many people, mostly strangers, believed enough in the value of schools and education to buy those things for me with their taxes — and I was a Depression baby.

Supporting my local schools and young people with my taxes is my way of thanking those hundreds of people who supported me. It is my legacy as a great-grandmother on a fixed income to the young people and families of my community.

What little control we do have over governing ourselves today lies in our community schools. Local control is our lifeblood.

Please vote yes for our students, schools, community.

Edwina Botzau


Farm scene enjoyable

To the Editor:

What a nice format for the Northeast Oregon TV Guide in its first issue, with the serene beauty of a farm, barn and farmland in Eastern Oregon.

With so many of the old barns disappearing and the oldwooden fences, too, the photo adds a bucolic beauty thatmay soon disappear in time. So it was good to still see some standing.

Then, I am wondering if that is a wheat field where the man on the tractor is going around the sides, either to stop fires or to keep from getting dry weeds in his wheat or barley.

Then, the hay bales all ready to put in the barn for feeding next winter to the cattle and horses and perhaps some more baling as it looks like green alfalfa. Maybe it is all done since the picture was taken.

All in all, it makes a pretty early fall picture on the farm, and a very nice format for the new cover of The Observer's TV guide.

Fleta L. McCoy

Island City