December 07, 2003 11:00 pm

Ask fan about cross country

To the Editor:

Thanks for the great job of coverage of the recent state championships in Eugene. All of the kids deserve a tremendous amount of praise for a tough job well done. With the eighth team championship and 14th consecutive appearance at the state meet for the Bobcat cross country girls, that team steps out as the most successful program in the entire state.

You noted that the runners in this area had done well. If you made a team of the girls from our district against those from the others, District 7 (primarily Northeast Oregon 2A schools) won the state meet again this year. Hayley Oveson, second overall, and Krista Stangel leading Enterprise to its first state trophy were a major part of that effort. Add in the third-place finish of Baker High School girls in 3A, and the Hermiston girls fourth-place finish in 4A, and Kirsten Johnson's top-10 individual in 3A and it makes quite a show.

I would like to invite everyone to find the time next September or October to stop by a local cross country meet. Between the local high schools and Eastern Oregon University's fine teams, you should be able to find one. It is a unique sport with often rabid fans.

Don't hesitate to ask a fan how it all works. Most of them are very happy to tell you about the sport. You may have to run along with them to the nearest spot to watch the action, however.

Keep up the good work.

Dan Sharratt, fan


Yet another tin-cup letter

To the Editor:

Ah, yes 'tis the season. The leaves are falling from the trees and the tin-cup letters are flowing into mail boxes in an unprecedented volume.

Not only has the flow increased but what was once "Please send $5" has changed to a demand for $50, $250 or $500.

Now I realize that there are many worthwhile charities that I favor without question. But when I do, they pass my name along to others I have never heard of and have no interest in.

This week I have requests from 12 different veterans' organizations.

Each one of these tin-cup letters is signed by a seemingly self-appointed director, CEO or president whom, I am sure, exacts his pound of flesh.

Now I have thought of a way to reduce unemployment and make me rich. All I have to do is start an organization: Save the Carpenter Ants, with me as president.

A tin-cup letter could say the faster these ants eat up houses, the more carpenters will be needed, as well as building materials. The unemployment lines will disappear, the economy will be robust and, above all, I will be rich.

You got a better idea?

Now all funning aside, I am a nobody and my take of tin-cup letters has gone from five per day to 10.

This volume increases the post office debt since mailers get a reduced rate and the volume slows first class mail, which is earning the title of snail mail.

David S. Arnott


Rural families enjoy racing

To the Editor:

I found Cheryl Lawhead-Yoder's letter of Nov. 3 very interesting.

Wouldn't she do better to pay attention to her driving rather than checking to see if her neighbor's land meets her idea of what's right and what's not? After all, it's his land.

Perhaps if she offered to pay his property taxes it would free up his money so he could put in some of the beautiful improvements she thinks he needs on his land.

As for the noise from the races, maybe she could share with us the testing she did in order to come to that conclusion.

She is correct that gasoline engines do pollute the air, so if she will quit driving, she can show her neighbors she really cares about the environment.

One of the first things Rod Terry did was to contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and make sure there wasn't a problem with the wildlife on and around his land. The statement about the beer cans and trash implies that anyone going to races must be drunken pigs.

As to "the great lie" that families doing things together ruins the environment, well it may not be politically correct. It is, however, what we rural people like to do.

Having written financial impact statements on local economies from auto races, I can only say that it does help any town they are held in.

Mr. Terry and the racing clubs are trying to help our environment by building a socially responsible facility for our young people to test their driving abilities in a structured environment, not in the fields of our national forests or farm lands or streets.

So it seems to me that they care about the environment and she is politically correct and very short-sighted.

J. R. Kauffman

La Grande

Flags sprout up in window

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the old man who seems to be tired of seeing American flags. I have two in my front window that I am quite proud of.

If he feels this way, then maybe he should go to a country that doesn't have the freedom that we have.

If you ask me, I'm tired of people who are always running this country into the ground.

Maureen O'Connell

La Grande

New song for MacLeod

To the Editor:

In answer to the Oct. 31 letter to The Observer by Al "Too Loud" MacLeod, I feel compelled to respond.

I dug up an old Bob Dylan underground song, "John Birch Society Blues," and decided to honor MacLeod with a new song he can sing in his bathroom.

Well, I was feelin' sad and feelin' blue, I didn't know what in the world I was gonna do; liberals, they wus comin' around, they wus in the air, they wus on the ground. They wouldn't gimme no peace.

So I run down most hurriedly and joined up with the Limbaugh Society. I got me a secret membership card and started off a-walkin' down the road. Yee-hoo, I'm a real right winger now! Look out you liberals.

Well, I wus lookin' everywhere for them gol-darned liberals. I got up in the mornin' 'n' looked under my bed, looked in the sink, behind the door, looked in the glove compartment of my car. Couldn't find 'em.

I wus lookin' high an' low for them liberals everywhere, I wus lookin' in the sink an' underneath the chair. I looked way up my chimney hole, I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl. They got away.

Well, I wus sittin' home alone an' started to sweat, figured they wus in my TV set. Peeked behind the picture frame, got a shock from my feet, hittin' right up in the brain. Them liberals caused it. I know they did — them hard-core ones. ...

Well, I investigated all the books in the library, ninety percent of 'em gotta be burned away. I investigated all the people that I knowed. Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go. The other two percent are fellow right wingers just like me.

Brian Cantwell

La Grande

Thankful for U.S. flag

To the Editor:

Would you like to know what makes these radical Muslims so filled with hate? Then read the last third of the Koran. There it states that every Jew should be killed, anyone who supports the Jew should be killed, and anyone else that doesn't convert to the Moslem faith should be a slave. This doctrine is taught by most Moslem komenies and clerics around the world.

Have you considered where ship captains procured slaves? If you will check, you will see that men of the Moslem faith, usually of the same race and color, usually controlled them.

For more examples of radical Moslemism, look what was done in Afghanistan. A woman was shot in the back of the head in a soccer field in front of a crowd; women are forced to wear burkas, covered from head to toe, endure public beatings, and there is no schooling allowed for girls. The list goes on and on.

As followers of Christ and the Christian doctrine, we are commanded by God to love these people and at the same time to oppose their atrocities, wrong actions and beliefs, even to the extreme of giving our own lives in that opposition.

Our president is a born-again Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, and the leader of this great country, which was founded on Christian principles. It is a privilege and honor to be a part of this great nation and under a president who claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and I will continue to support this nation and its president.

I am thankful every time I see an American flag, a positive bumper sticker or banner, and I am proud of everyone who expresses their convictions in support of this great country.

John Petersen

La Grande

Good to honor veterans

To the Editor:

It is a good thing that a day has been set aside for the purpose of honoring our veterans. I have often heard it said during various holidays that we should all be thinking of this cause or that year-round, and not just on a special day. Of course that's true, but it always helps to have a distinctive time to focus on certain things that are important in our lives.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans of the armed services. Because of them, freedom abounds in this country and others around the world.

I cherish and value the freedoms afforded me in the United States of America as one of my most precious possessions. I would like to thank those who have gone before me and who now serve in harm's way to protect those freedoms I now enjoy — freedoms won by the blood of those willing to sacrifice their all for others' benefit.

Our veterans have given perhaps the most selfless service one can give. Let us be mindful of the price that many have paid in order for us to enjoy the lives we do today.

Brett Baxter


Homosexuality wrong

To the Editor:

I'm sure Ted Kramer has received many responses to his Nov. 7 column on gay ministers, as was probably his intention. Still, I am compelled to respond to attempt to edify him on the subject of homosexuality and the ministry.

In I Kings 14:24, homosexuality is called an abomination. In Leviticus 18:22, it is strictly forbidden. In the entire first chapter of Romans, Paul is speaking of the sin of same-sex unions. You should take particular heed to Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

In addition, I Corinthians 7:2 states that every man should have his own wife and every woman her own husband.

I Timothy Chapter 3 gives the attributes one must possess to serve as an officer in the church. This chapter, along with the understanding of God's outlook on homosexuality (he completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) should enlighten you to why a church shouldn't have a minister that is openly practicing and living in a same-sex relationship.

We don't hate or judge the sinner, but we do hate the sin, and pray for the salvation of that person who is living that sinful life. Certainly, we cannot have a person openly living a lifestyle contrary to the commandments of God leading the children of God.

Finally, read II Timothy 2:15,16: "Study to show thyself approved unto God... rightly dividing the word of truth! Shun profane and vain babblings for they will increase unto more ungodliness," which is exactly what his editorial is doing! Romans 1:18 adds: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

I will keep you and minister Karen Dammann in my prayers.

Thomas Anderson

La Grande

Newcomers raise questions

To the Editor:

My wife and I recently moved to La Grande from a larger West Coast city. We have always loved to fish and hunt and decided that

La Grande seemed to have what we wanted for our new lifestyle.

We love the small town atmosphere, the laid back style of the citizenry, and the wonderful lakes and rivers and mountains in the area.

Now, after being here a few months, we are asking, "Is it really 2003 in La Grande, Ore.?"

We are wondering if the good folks in La Grande deserve all this?

We are finding ourselves asking some pretty basic questions:

Where are all the AM radio stations? During the recent power outage we scoured the airwaves listening for details, and found no local news coverage.

Why no radio coverage for the Oregon Ducks/the Oregon State Beavers or the Trail Blazers?

Why is the price of gas in La Grande tied with the highest price in the nation, (currently San Francisco) when just four hours to the west it is 30 cents a gallon cheaper? (Is there separate ownership of gasoline stations to help promote competition?)

Why no mainstream department stores in La Grande (excluding Wal-Mart)?

Why is it that employers will only pay minimum wage?

What is going on with the utility companies in town? Service, what service?

Are there any good restaurants in town?

Again we ask: "Is it really 2003 in La Grande?"

William Green

La Grande

Media parrots abortion myths

To the Editor:

The Nov. 8 column, "Partial Birth Abortion," by Janet Stevens puts her on the extreme fringe of the pro-abortion movement. Not surprisingly she distorted, misrepresented or just left out facts in order to justify her support of this horrific practice.

The media are some of the worst at parroting myths and fabrications about abortion.

Polls show that most doctors and nurses support the ban on partial-birth abortions. And the percentage goes up for those most familiar with the procedure, obstetricians and gynecologists. Recently, the head of an organization of abortion providers acknowledged that partial-birth abortions are more common than previously reported, numbering in the thousands, and that most are elective, and not done because of any acute health problem or to save the life of the mother.

Recent testimony and new information from doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists — scientists — have persuaded Congress that this procedure is unnecessary, except in extremely rare cases to preserve the mother's life. And the recently passed legislation reflects that.

Ironically, Ms. Stevens trivializes the political process. Politics, in the form of five or six robed non-scientists, is the only reason abortion on demand and partial-birth abortions remain legal. Now that the pendulum may be swinging, politics needs to be left out.

Oregonians are smart enough not to confuse this issue with fish or trees, and see that there is no good news in partial-birth abortion. The only good news will be when an unborn child is safe in the warmth of her mother's womb, protected from disease, poor nutrition, alcohol, drugs, abusive boyfriends and fathers, some doctors and political movements.

Stephen J. Boe

La Grande

Weather unforgiving for pilots

To the Editor:

This letter is directed to all citizens and elected officials wherever you may be.

Are you aware that the Baker-Union Educational Services District has leased a single-engine, limited-performance, fabric-covered aircraft?

Are you aware that the annual expenses to lease and maintain this aircraft will far exceed $20,000 a year?

Are you aware that this aircraft is intended to be used to fly to all corners of the state on official business? Are you aware it is to be flown by two employees of the ESD who are very low-time, inexperienced, private pilots?

It has been proven through the years that using a limited-performance aircraft on official business with non-professional pilots is a very bad idea. The weather in Oregon is very unforgiving.

I urge someone with authority to act upon this poorly conceived plan.

John C. Burgess

Baker City

Terry's land right for track

To the Editor:

In response to the Nov. 3 letter, "Rural should stay rural," by Cheryl Lawhead-Yoder, I live almost directly across the road from where the dirt track will be built. I am one of the three closest neighbors.

Lawhead-Yoder said the noise from the track will travel a long way. I don't think it will be near as bad a log truck Jake-braking down the hill past my place, which doesn't bother me at all.

Lawhead-Yoder wrote about the pollution that the gasoline engines would omit. There are only six dirt track races and one drag race a year.In my opinion I don't think they will create anywhere near as much pollution as she does driving to La Grande to work all year long. If she is really sincere about stopping pollution, she should ride a bike or a horse to work.

As for the wildlife, at one of the races in Elgin a deer ran across the racetrack during a race, so they can't be too afraid of the noise or the people. As far as the beer cans and trash she says will be thrown out of the windows of cars, I don't think she should judge all race fans that way.

I have lived in this area for 35 years and resent people trying to tell us what to do who move into here from some asphalt jungle where the cars are bumper-to- bumper and the houses are stacked one upon another.

I implore the Union County Planning Commission to approve Rod Terry's land for the racetrack. We really need one in this area and what better place than Mr. Terry's land.

Ralph Simonson

72382 Palmer Junction Road


Methodists agree with God's laws

To the Editor:

I enjoy Ted Kramer's articles in the paper, and I respect his opinion, although I did not agree with his Nov. 7 column, "Everyone matters." He quoted the Methodist Church Book of Discipline, opposing homosexuals serving in the church. This is biblical.

Homosexuality, according to the Bible, is an abomination to God. One example is in Leviticus 20:13.

Although the Methodist denomination is very liberal in many of its laws and covenants, it does agree with the basic laws of the Bible.

If a church or denomination does not use the Bible as a guide, it becomes an organization of man's rules. We are free to make all the rules we want in these organizations, but in God's church He establishes the rules. The Bible was given to us as a guide as to what God expects from His church, meaning the people of the Christian faith.

His quotes from the Bible, i.e.: "God loves all people," "Thou shalt love thy neighbor," "Do unto others," and "Jesus loves me" are all good and true. The question that I have for him is, what does God do if we do not follow the laws that He has established in the Bible?

I thank God that He forgives us when we repent. Although His laws do not change, we can ask forgiveness for not understanding them or abiding by them.

God loves us, each and every one, but He hates our sin, or actions that He commands us not to commit. Hebrews 12:6-7 in the New Testament tells us not only that God loves us, but because He loves us, He chastens us. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their sin, one of which was homosexuality — the modern name for what God abhors (Genesis 19).

Jan Petersen

La Grande

Grass will still burn

To the Editor:

My wife, Cheryl, and I are grateful to the

La Grande Rural Fire Department in Island City, the Union County Sheriff's Department and our friends and neighbors for their help with the grass fire at our home.

Their quick response and the efficiency and professionalism of the crews prevented any injuries or loss to property.

I have learned a valuable lesson that will remain with me forever. Even if it has rained all night, the ground is saturated and there is standing water in places, given enough wind, grass will still burn.

Remember, no matter what the weather outside, you need to call for a burning permit 365 days a year.

Bob Mason

62501 Rock Ridge Drive

Rescue Gracie from death row

To the Editor:

Two weeks ago my husband and I were in the Starkey area on a camping trip.

While we were there, we found a beautiful gray calico cat. At first sighting I thought I was seeing a small wild animal, because it was so far from anyone's home.

Before we left I decided to check the spot where I first saw the cat. Sure enough the cat was still there lying quietly in the grass. When my husband approached, it made no attempt to run away. The cat had a collar on but no ID. However, it had clearly been someone's pet.

We could not leave her there to be eaten by a wild animal. And since we live in Ephrata, Wash., we could not take her with us. We put her in our camper and drove to La Grande and found the animal shelter.

After making a donation, we left the cat with them to be put up for adoption. I asked them not to put the cat to sleep without calling me.

Yesterday (Nov. 7) I received a phone call from the shelter saying the cat had not been adopted and its time had run out. I know we can't save them all, but don't tell Gracie that. (I named her Gracie because she was saved by grace the day we found her).

This letter is a plea to your readers.

Please, someone, go to the shelter and adopt her. She is beautiful and she deserves better than to die because someone got tired of her and left her in the wild to fend for herself. We spend thousands of dollars to save whales and other deserving animals. Please, I will pay the adoption fee if you will just take her home and love her.

Thanks for caring.

Kay Keyser

Ephrata, Wash.

Letter meant for Republicans

To the Editor:

To Al MacLeod, regarding your Oct. 31 letter.

Please go back and read my Oct. 27 letter to the editor.

I never used your name.

I wrote to Republicans, plural. The Observer staff understood what I was saying when they titled my letter, "Republicans, gather and talk."

I did suggest some subjects to talk about. In your personal frustration with me, you badly misquoted me more than once. I'm sorry. This does not lead to good argumentation.

Bill Oberteuffer

Island City

Enjoys Saturday magazine

To the Editor:

We did enjoy the first American Profile magazine, and are happy to see it will be in each Saturday's paper.

The R.W. Hagans