January 25, 2004 11:00 pm

Truth will come to light

To the Editor:

I am a junior at Eastern Oregon University. I am doing my part to become a productive member of the community. But recently my mother has come under attack from that very community for trying to voice her opinions.

Councilor Gary Graham's comment in the The Observer on Dec. 22 was an assault upon her character. He made some points for his case that I believe are valid, but a fog of abhorrence surrounded these points.

Graham attacked every person who disagrees with him about the city administrator. He referred to this group of people as the vocal minority. This minority consists of hundreds of citizens of the city of Union.

Graham appeared at the Dec. 14 meeting at the Union Athletic-Complex held by the members of TOTAL, where he attempted to discredit my mother and bully her into agreeing with his point of view.

Graham likes to point out that my mother seems to have no evidence to support her claims against Bill Searles. My parents are rational and intelligent people who practice tolerance and fairness. I can assure you that my mom has done her homework concerning Mr. Searles, and when the time is right the truth will come to light.

My question for Graham is if Bill Searles is proven to be in the wrong, will you be willing to apologize to my mother and all of the people you have offended?

Why don't you put more effort into investigating her claims than discrediting them?

Show the voters of the city of Union that they have a reason to keep you around. Show them that they shouldn't have to remain silent for fear of being attacked.

And show them that you remember they voted for you to represent them, not Bill Searles.

Roger Clark Jr.


Not feeding ruminants?

To the Editor:

Regarding the mad cow disease article in the Dec. 29 edition of The Observer, "North Powder cattleman tries to allay producers' fears:"

John Wilson, a partner in Wilson Cattle Company, states that "we've never fed (cattle) any of these banned ruminants."

I want to know what is ruminants? I guess it means parts of other cows. I would like him to say that they do not feed their beef cows any animal protein whatsoever including fish protein.

Kim Murphy

La Grande

Editor's note: Webster's New World Dictionary defines a ruminant as "any of a group of cud-chewing mammals, as cattle, deer, camels, etc."

Local beef best, safe

To the Editor:

Sharon Beck, a local producer and past president of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, sat down to Christmas prime rib beef with utmost confidence (The Observer, Dec. 26). I'm guessing she raised that animal as well as its parents and grandparents, had it slaughtered and butchered locally for their freezer. I'm having a hard time equating that meat with anything purchased from a supermarket or restaurant.

The cow diagnosed in Washington was apparently exhibiting some alarming behavior. I'm impressed that it was selected for inspection and that the results were released. The fact that the diseased cow was suspect and yet was sent around the world for human consumption before results were in is most alarming.

After reading about mad cow disease, I feel it is a symptom of corporate agriculture practices where cows are kept in close quarters and fed products that they were never intended to eat. Once again, short-term profit overriding general good.

Sadly, local meat producers could be facing disaster unless they quickly develop sales strategies other than allowing their high quality beef to become tainted in America's corporate meat grinder. My reaction to mad cow was to find an animal for my freezer that has been locally grown by people I trust, under conditions that promote health, slaughtered and butchered by local people. This seems to be the right health choice for me, and my money will stay in the valley.

Currently, to buy locally grown meat, you must purchase an entire animal or find folks to share one with, as I did. It can then be slaughtered and butchered without USDA approval. That works for people with a large freezer and who can get money ahead for such a purchase. For many people it would be far better to buy locally grown meat by the pound.

The most critical needs for sustaining local meat producers at this time is a USDA-approved slaughter and butcher facility and a butcher shop for sales.

In recent years various people have tried to establish a USDA facility, but there was not enough local support by producers or consumers. Perhaps this situation will bring people together.

Mary McCracken

La Grande

Friendly gesture

To the Editor:

After staying indoors for a couple of days watching the snow fall and not wanting to brave the roads, I headed out to take care of business. First stop was the post office. I was checking my tire chains before leaving when a fellow approached me to ask if my vehicle was dripping oil.

Oh, boy, was it ever! I thanked him for the heads up and drove straight to the dealership in Island City to have it checked.

As I proceeded I noticed in the rear view mirror that he seemed to be going the same way I was. It

didn't take long to realize he was making sure I arrived at my destination safely.

He followed me into the dealership, then without stopping continued on his way. I didn't get a chance to thank him. I want to tell the good Samaritan who took the time to help that his kindness is


Linda Elliott

La Grande

Back Measure 30

To the Editor:

I am in agreement with an editorial in The Observer of Dec. 26 that calls on Sen. Smith to provide leadership in support of Measure 30, which would have a major impact on Oregonians.

It is true, as the editorial indicates, Sen. Smith's position is to represent Oregon at the federal level. However, I also agree that the respect and support from the senator would enhance the passing of this important bill for schools, police and services for senior citizens.

The bill, HB 2192, basically restores funding for schools to a similar level of funding during the 2002-03 year. The amount does not account for increases in the cost of living, increased insurance costs and raises. At an average cost of $38 to taxpayers, the bill would provide needed funding for Union County schools to prevent teacher reduction, reduced programs and larger classes.

We must maintain quality schools to attract businesses and investment within the state and county.

Gerald Hopkins


Grinch stole Christmas

To the Editor:

I live in a neighborhood known as Stonewood Community, a trailer court on 26th Street.

Although we are on disability and I am homebound, we decided to decorate the exterior of our home for the holiday season. We bought an oversized wreath and decorated it with mauve poinsettias and clear, white lights. That night my mother hung it on the end of our home and lit it for all to enjoy.

The next morning we arose to find our wreath missing. Someone actually crept up to my house in the middle of the night to purposely steal my Christmas wreath. Needless to say, I felt violated and unsafe in what we know to be a friendly community.

I replaced the missing wreath with a lit sign that I designed originally to hang in the center of the missing wreath. My mother took scrap wood, drilled holes and spelled out the name Jesus with red lights. Funny thing happened — no one stole that sign.

I hope that person reads this, or if you know of someone with a huge wreath with pink poinsettias, please show this to them. I forgive you for stealing my wreath. Had you asked, I would have gladly given the wreath to you for free.

In addition, if they would like my Jesus sign, it's free too — and they won't have to sneak up at night for it either.

Kathleen Quinn

La Grande

Slam to race enthusiasts

To the Editor:

I and about 30 others attended the last planning commission meeting in support of building a race track on the Terry Ranch north of Elgin.

The Yoders didn't even know what kind of racing they were opposing, so how could the people signing their petition know what they were protesting?

We have tried to make this a family-oriented sport. A bicycle racecourse for the kids has been discussed.

Noise can't be the problem, since they live over seven miles north of the Terry Ranch. We have done the decibel check and were well within the limit.

The property value issue is only being looked at from one side. I'm sure there are people who would pay more for property with close access to a race facility. The people who are worried about property values are apparently not going to be long-time residents or the value wouldn't concern them

The remark made by the Yoders about undesirable elements and lawlessness among racers and fans was very irritating. They dont know the racers or the fans so what makes them think they are qualified to make a statement like that? Most of the racers and fans are steady, hard-working, law-abiding people, but as with any large gathering of people there will always be a few undesirables.

Unfortunely you can't screen the public before letting them in. All you can do is handle it when it happens as they do at rodeos, ball games, concerts, etc.

I will repeat what has already been said. Get your ducks in a row before you start protesting something you know nothing about.

I think the turnout of racers and spectators at Starkey over the years shows there is a demand for this sport in our area.

Dave Kennedy


Raceway provides control

To the Editor:

I agree with our freedom to race.

I am a mother of three boys, and I stand by the Elgin raceway Outlaws' track. I believe in the freedom that the track grants the citizens of Elgin and people who visit from other towns.

There is a great meaning to those who participate in the racing activity. I for one believe that it is better for racing to occur on a designated track than it is for races to take place as they were done when I was younger, on the main stretch of open road where all were at risk of an accident.

The raceway offers a controlled environment where races go without lawless and drunken acts of possible danger.

I had a great friend who lived for racing on the Outlaw racing track. I believe he had found a goal in his life; one that he felt was worth all he had. I love to race and I love to watch the races, and I would only hope and pray that there be a track for my children to race on when they are old enough to race.

I think all the goals and dreams that the race track has fulfilled should be held close to the heart of Elgin's pride, and the spirit of each race shared with all who wish to be there. I had rather share the pride in each race than the reputation of the one who is attacking our family sport.

In the Bible it says, "Judge not for you will be judged." The judgments that were made by Mr. And Mrs. Yoder should be retracted with the offer of an apology followed by a vacation to the Outlaws' racetrack on a mid-summer, dusty Saturday night.

Rainy Stafford


Pool TV storm coverage

To the Editor:

Enough already with the storm coverage in Portland on ALL the TV stations.

I am tired of being the forgotten part of the state here in Eastern Oregon, and then to be bombarded with their weather woes 24 hours a day, for days on end is more than I can handle.

Isn't there some way to keep it all on one channel only for all those junkies who need the blow by blow snowflake count.

The rest of us, particularly in the eastern part of Oregon, could care less about it.

Come on people, unite!

Rebecca Lester

La Grande