Letters and comments for November 18, 2011

By Observer Upload November 18, 2011 08:45 pm
Letters and comments for November 18, 2011

Stop child abuse

To the Editor:

Once again, child sexual abuse allegations have people everywhere shaking their heads in disbelief. Anger and frustration fill the airwaves, news columns and blogs with questions like “How did this happen?” and “How did it go unreported for so long?”

“Stranger danger” has often been overemphasized by those who would keep children safe from predators. While studies have shown that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the age of 18, the sad truth is that 90 percent of victims know the offenders well. They are relatives, friends, neighbors and, as alleged in the Penn State case, coaches.

Understanding what keeps child victims of sexual abuse silent is easy. They fear that revealing the abuse will bring harm to them or those they love; loss of affection; and punishment. Child sexual abuse is a crime that thrives in a climate of silence, secrecy and shame. Fear is what offenders count on as they groom their victims.

What is not so easily explained is the silence of adult witnesses to such crimes. But if the problem is a lack of information about how to report such abuse and what will happen as a result, we must make sure that information is more widely known and understood.

When a report of child sexual abuse is made to the police or the Department of Human Services in La Grande, there is a partnership in place to ensure the abuse ends, that the child has a safe place to talk about what happened, and that the child and his or her family get all the services they need to start healing.

The Mount Emily Safe Center, a non-profit child intervention center that responds to allegations of abuse, is part of that partnership. It is easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed in the face of the headlines. It is harder to turn our anger and frustration into positive action for victimized children.

Here is one positive action we can all agree on. Raise your right hand and repeat after me: “If I see, hear, suspect or in anyway become aware that a child is being abused, I will not keep silent. I will have the courage to help that child break free of the silence, secrecy and shame that should never define a child’s life.”

Kathy Sewell

executive director, Mount Emily Safe Center

La Grande

Wind power not clean

To the Editor:

As time passes, we are learning more about industrial wind farms and their failure to be of any significant benefit to our environment and economy.

We found the amount of power that a utility in the area of a wind project must provide to merely maintain a tower when it’s not operating or operating at a speed less than 12 mph is astounding. A dependable source of power is essential for each wind tower to keep the hundreds of gallons of oil warm and the hydraulic pumps fully operational 24/7.

Vesta’s websites have comprehensive information about their wind turbines. For example, the 1.8 megawatt model has a 20-megawatt hydraulic motor that runs continuously. The power consumption of this wind turbine is at least 1.1 percent of its capacity. Using these calculations, with wind speeds under 12 mph, the power produced by the wind tower is less than the alternate power (coal, gas or hydro) being fed to the tower. Even with the exaggerated wind production claimed by wind developers, 70 percent of the time, alternate sources of power are being consumed by wind farms.

Public utility districts in the Heppner and The Dalles area are concerned about the extra power they have to supply these massive wind factories. “In the winter, each turbine uses more electricity than an average-sized home,” stated Jerry Healy, manager of Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative, in the September 2011 Oregon Trail Electric Ruralite. This has put them over the cost-break threshold so the kilowatt-hours are more expensive to purchase. Is it fair to Oregon consumers to be forced to pay increased power rates so California can claim to be green?

With this increase of alternate consumption of power for maintaining wind farms, even more CO2 emissions are being released into our environment. Wind power is not clean or economical.

Dennis Wilkinson

La Grande

Breed can be rehabbed

To the Editor:

In light of all the pit bull bashing, I feel it is important to point out that all the surviving pits rescued from Michael Vick were all rehabilitated and are now living good lives with a variety of dog lovers, many whom have small children.

It goes to show that any breed, no matter the reputation, can be rehabbed and live happy lives as pets even after being trained to be killing machines.

Rebecca Lester

La Grande


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