April 11, 2004 11:00 pm

Good Samaritans

To the Editor:

I live on Spruce Street, near the freeway overpass. In the past two years that I have lived there, my two sons, as well as several neighborhood children, have played on the hill that leads up to the overpass countless times.

On March 14 my 4-year-old son stumbled down the hill and severely cut the side of his head on a piece of a broken beer bottle that a careless motorist had tossed out.

If it weren't for the help of three teenage girls who were walking by my son might not have fared as well as he did. These girls heard my calls for help and selflessly came to our aid. I do not know who they are or where they live, I only know that they helped a stranger in need.

I don't know how I would have gotten as far as I did without their help. Those three young women are truly the definition of the Good Samaritan and their efforts are very much appreciated.

DeeDee Wise

La Grande

What's next?

To the Editor:

President Bush told what I consider to be lies to get us into the Iraq war. He hasn't been straightforward about what he knew before Sept. 11. And look what he's done for education, the economy, jobs and the elderly.

He has most of the world angry with us — not afraid as he would like to think. He has given back taxes, mostly to the wealthy, that our children will be paying for later. Our kids will also have to deal with the environmental issues that the president is ignoring.

This is all with the understanding that he has to be on his best behavior so that he can win that second term. If he does, what will happen next?

Linda Densmore

La Grande

Don't discredit Gibson

To the Editor:

I saw in a store one of the scandal papers such as The Star or The Enquirer.

On its face was a picture of Mel Gibson, the producer of the film "The Passion of the Christ." The headline was about Mr. Gibson's alcohol and drug addiction, as though that was some news, which it was not.

Anyone who had seen Mel Gibson on TV, especially on Fox news and Bill O'Reilly's program, would have heard Mr. Gibson tell of his nightmare life with alcohol and drugs, and that it was while coming out of one of these drug stupors that he fell on his knees and prayed: God help me I can't live like this any longer.

God did help him and he became a Christian. It was then that God delivered him from his nightmare life. He began a study of the New Testament and reading the Scriptures of the last day of the Lord's life, and he knew he had to make the film.

The scandal sheet was just trying to discredit Gibson to throw discredit on the film.

The liberal media and the courts of this country seem bent on destroying Christianity in the United States.

Roy Hills

Island City

Don't blame other guy

To the Editor:

Gary Poole's letter — "Here's what Dems Believe,'' March 20 Observer) — and the piece to which he responded — "Double Standards?'' — are examples of what's wrong with political discourse in our country. It has degenerated into divisive name-calling and knee-jerking that preclude critical thinking.

As a good Democrat, I suggest considering a few of these flip sides:

• Federal funding won't fix AIDS, but could it help provide public awareness, education and treatment?

• The NRA used to be about sportsmen. Do citizens really need AK-47s?

• Shouldn't our government take pride in our rich artistic heritage and help promote artistic expression?

• How has science fallen so far that it has become influenced by politics? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

• Who should decide who lives and who dies?

• Is homosexuality a matter of choice? Let's ask gay and lesbian people what they think about that.

• Do some rich American businesses hurt us by headquartering offshore and not paying taxes, and by shipping jobs overseas?

• Should those with the top few percent of our country's wealth be patriotic and pay more in taxes than the rest of us? It would help maintain this country's system which allows them to accumulate such riches.

• History is still being made. Should modern movers/shakers be ignored due to viewpoints or gender?

• Shouldn't education be part of "equal opportunity'' for all?

• "Very nice'' and "normal''? Relative terms! One person's Hillary is another person's Dubya.

• Does suppressing political ads that present views different than those of Mr. Bush make for a well-informed public?

Before we allow ourselves to be blindly led by the nose, let's ask questions about why things are the way they are. Let's look inside ourselves. Blaming it all on the other guy is the easy way out.

John Evans Jr.

La Grande

Horse riders should wear helmets

To the Editor:

The March 18 issue carried an article and photo on Page 8B outlining children's summer camps. Good article, good picture.

Something's glaringly wrong with the picture, though. The girl in the photo is riding horseback wearing athletic shoes, sans safety helmet. The article stressed the importance of safety in choosing camps.

Riding in shoes that don't have a well-defined heel invites disaster. Add the fact that the rider in the photo isn't wearing a helmet and you have a gourmet recipe for disaster. Sure, if you wear a helmet you can still break your back or your arms or legs, but head injuries are far more likely in a horse-related accident, especially with children being more top-heavy than adults.

When my daughter joined a 4-H club she was required to wear a helmet while riding or driving her horse. So I went out and bought her one. I've owned horses and have ridden for 37 years and I had never worn a helmet up to that point. But my daughter informed me: "If I gotta do it, Mom, you gotta do it too." So I started wearing a helmet and have ever since.

The new helmets are lightweight and cool, and don't make you look like a bubble-head. Wearing one while riding or driving a horse is far less painful than peering out at the world from the confines of a body cast or a wheelchair.

Sure, this is Northeast Oregon, where hardly anyone wears a helmet. But Northeast Oregonians are included in the alarming statistics of those suffering injuries or death because they didn't stop to put on a properly fitted safety helmet or a pair of good riding shoes or boots before they climbed on a horse.

Heads up, parents! Please don't dice with danger. Dare to be different and implement certified helmets and proper footwear in horse activities. The brain you save may be your own — or your child's.

Barbara Doern


Work on understanding

To the Editor:

As fellow Methodists, we write to express our approval of the recent acquittal of the Rev. Karen Dammann as a result of her trial on charges of violating the church's code of discipline regarding the practice of homosexuality as a minister.

As divisive as this matter is between Methodists, and Christians in general, it has reached a point where we can no longer avoid carefully dealing with it with all of the good will and understanding we can muster.

If we do not make the effort to stop punishing people for harmless behavior that we do not understand, we have cast the first stone, even though we ourselves are not free of sin.

Sexual exploitation, abuse and adultery are, we understand, to be discouraged in terms of our values. But sexual behavior between consenting adults is not something that we can interfere with without doing more harm than good.

Legalism was not something that Jesus encouraged.

Let's keep working on understanding each other better, to "make all things new."

Katy Allen, Wesley Allen M.D.,

and Donna R. Sands

La Grande

Taking issue to people

To the Editor:

I read Ms. Ables letter and was saddened. Apparently, certain people read through the names on the strong-mayor petition and have since boycotted their businesses — if they were a business owner — or otherwise snubbed the petition signers.

I have heard that various city workers have canceled business services with those petition signers as well.

I cannot speak for others who gathered signatures on the petition/referendum. However, a few of the people who signed the petition I circulated said they had not made up their minds, but thought it should go to a vote of the people. That's why they signed it. Since they were treated rudely in the aftermath of the petition's passing, they've definitely made up their minds.

The purpose of these petitions is to exercises the free rights of every citizen in Union, by taking the issues to its people for a vote. That in itself reflects well upon the community.

Getting angry with those who sign reflects poorly upon those who act in that manner.

Dean Muchow


Pointing fingers

To the Editor:

I was appalled by the letter from Barbara Gray in the Oct. 19 Observer. People in this country have the right to disagree with their city government. That doesn't make them bad people, and it is very wrong for her to make value judgments on other human beings based on her involvement with CISU.

She insinuated that we are name-calling and spreading gossip. I would like Ms. Gray to tell me when she has heard our group do either. She declared that we are "disseminating false and misleading information.'' The fact that someone disagrees with you does not make them a liar. We are proposing a change in city government that will benefit everyone except our city administrator. All we ask is that the voters have a chance to decide for themselves, based on the facts. We have all been criticized and reviled by the city council and by city employees. Several city employees are staging a boycott of businesses that signed our strong-mayor petition. We would not put ourselves on the line like this for a lie.

Our city recorder, our city administrator and several city councilors are all members of CISU. Has it not occurred to Ms. Gray that they might provide her with information that only supports their point of view?

I have been attending city council meetings for the past two years, and have never seen Ms. Gray there until very recently. I have never seen her at a TOTAL meeting, yet she claims to have all the facts and to know what is going on.

I think it is shameful behavior for a member of the city council to declare in the newspaper that she is absolutely opposed to a large group of citizens and that she does not have the capacity to listen to the facts and make an objective decision.

She claimed she wants to "heal" Union. She doesn't seem any more inclined to sit down and discuss the situation than our past councilors have been. She is pointing fingers at TOTAL, not proposing any solutions.

Debbie Clark