July 29, 2001 11:00 pm

Cheeseburgers, dunk tanks, llamas, great art and music, and midway rides with names like Gut Wrencher all are part of the fairs coming soon to Union and Wallowa counties.

These rites of summer offer people one way to get involved with their community and have fun at the same time. Events are starting at the Union County Fairgrounds today with the fair officially under way Wednesday through Saturday. The Wallowa County Fair runs Aug. 5-11 with the 4-H dog and horse show, the 4-H and FFA livestock show and much more.

Whichever fair you attend, the event provides a great microcosm of the best of our communities. Show your support for the youth who have been working on projects all year long by coming out and giving them some words of encouragement. You can also check out whats new in business at the many booths set up to introduce customers to the great variety of goods and services available.

From sewing to canning to oil painting to the singing of the Union County Fair Maids, the fair is about bringing neighbors together and keeping traditions alive. Its a chance to celebrate the lazy, hazy days of summer and all the good products that harvest brings.

And while were at it, heres a salute to all the intrepid volunteers who help put on the fairs and lead the clubs that give the kids a myriad of opportunities. It shows the capacity of individuals putting their skills together to make a difference in the community.


The old joke goes, Oregon has two seasons; winter and road construction. But what happens in highway construction zones is no joke for the workers. The number of people killed in highway work zones reached an all-time high in 1999 in the United States, with 868 killed. Most of these were motorists, but about 16 percent were construction workers.

Drivers get frustrated when they encounter construction zones and slower speed limits. But they need to calm down and think about the road workers 4 feet away as the car goes by at 55 miles per hour, or 70, as the case may be.

Almost every state has at least 100 work zones in progress at any one time. A congressional subcommittee is looking into what can be done to reduce deaths and make work safer in highway construction zones. Many ideas are already being tried: doubling fines for speeding; requiring more work to be done at night; installing more warning signs.

Its time to put an end to this period of declining civility and pedal-to-the-metal driving. Drivers need to their part to slow down and give construction zone workers a brake.