Letters and comments for May 8, 2012

By Observer Upload May 08, 2012 03:29 pm
Letters and comments for May 8, 2012


Vote for Davidson 


To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Mark Davidson in his bid for Union County commissioner.

As a business owner, I believe that the perspective Mark has gained while operating his own business combined with the experience gleaned during his current term as our county commissioner make him the most qualified candidate for the position.

Mark’s attention to detail and ability to seize opportunities and solve problems have been demonstrated as he has worked successfully as a county commissioner to retire $2.1 million of Wallowa Union Railroad debt; obtain a grant for construction of the Elgin Railroad Depot; and help to recruit a private railroad contractor to operate the Wallowa Union freight and excursion trains.

Mark is a common sense Oregon native who is comfortable in a leadership role. 

He understands economic development and natural resource issues in our area and how important they are to the future of Union County.

Please join me in voting for Mark Davidson, Union County commissioner.

Julie Hickerson

La Grande 





Fund vector control 


To the Editor:

Voters of Union County are being asked to decide whether or not to continue funding the vector control levy we have been operating under since 2004. 

When the program was established in the ’60s, it was funded at an extremely low rate ($0.02/$1,000 of property value).

That tax rate generates a little over $30,000 annually — hardly enough to keep a building and vehicles running. In order to maintain a high level of service, you are being asked to continue to provide $0.16 in addition to our fixed rate of $0.02, which brings the overall rate to $.18/$1,000 of property value. The state average tax rate for vector control is $0.45/$1,000.

In my 10 years of working for the program, we have identified hundreds of areas throughout the county that produce mosquitoes and each year we find more. 

As we find new sources, we can treat those areas and provide a better service to the public. Although our main focus is on targeting the mosquitoes in their larval stage, we do conduct an adult control program when needed.

Over the years, this work has prevented an outbreak of West Nile Virus in Union County and allowed many to enjoy the outside during the spring and summer.

Regulations have changed dramatically since 2004. We are now required to develop treatment plans for three separate regulatory agencies (DEQ, DHS and ODFW), and obtain licensing through the Department of Agriculture. All rules and regulations are adhered to in program implementation and operations.

Hiring a single person to just go out and spray is not an option anymore. Without this additional funding, it is likely that the mosquito program will cease to exist.

We have a comprehensive program — we provide public education, test for mosquito-borne viruses and spray larval and adult mosquitoes. When needed, we’ll even spray your yard with a barrier control.

All services are provided at no additional charge other then what you pay through your taxes. We pride ourselves on using sound science to determine methods of treatments that will produce very low or no effect on the environment.

Kelly Beehler

La Grande 




No vector control levy 


To the Editor:

Union County can have very adequate vector control without an annual $219,763 bonanza from the Vector Control Local Option now on our primary ballot.

In 2008, Union County voters supported a four-year initiative which allocated $0.16/$1,000 in property tax assessments or about $220,000 annually for vector control. Union County gives an additional $35,238 from general funds plus $14,500 from wind farm taxes for a total of nearly $270,000 per year to Fight the Bite. 

Over the past four years, we have had a full-time vector control employee and have purchased a number of new pickup trucks and equipment for dispersing chemicals.

Time to reassess. Without the local option, the annual budget for the next four years including vector control’s current $150,000 cash on hand would be about $87,500, or about $22,000 a month for the five months of mosquito activity.

If we pass the current local option, vector control funding would be about $307,000 annually or $61,000 monthly for the five months of treatments. $22,000 per month or $61,000 per month?

You decide.

I urge voting no on Union County Vector Control District’s 31-82 four-year Local Option Operating Levy. 

Mary McCracken

La Grande 


Heroes keep giving


To the Editor:

Memorial Day is fast approaching. I want to share a moment in time (March 7, 2012) when we realized our heroes just keep on giving.

My husband and I were on our way home from a doctor’s appointment in Walla Walla. We had chosen to take the Tollgate highway, when the road surface was packed with snow and melting from the occasional sun peaking through. We collided with a trailer carrying two large snowmobiles. Our car was totaled, but we climbed out with minor injuries, shaken and disoriented.

Three people from the first vehicle to arrive on the scene approached us. They confirmed we were OK, then set about establishing safety at each end of the curve, making sure oncoming traffic was aware of the accident, thereby preventing further accidents.

The first woman insisted I sit in her truck when she noticed I was trembling. The second woman sat with me to watch for any symptoms of shock. The man stationed himself at the east end of the curve to add to the safety on the blind curve. My husband, who had been in the driver’s seat and had taken the strongest impact from the crash, insisted in staying with the crash scene and helping in any way he could.

Through all the shaking and trembling, I was acutely aware of the expertise of these individuals. They were ex-military personnel, on their way to a veterans meeting over the mountain. They had called ahead to arrange for someone to take over their duties there so they could stay with us until we were out of danger. The police arrived, as did the tow truck. The scene was cleared and all of us left.

My mind stayed on the ex-military personnel, my husband included. Their excellent military training carried them through with dignity and determination. 

The United States of America has the best military force in the world and when these people are discharged, they take that training with them. Scattered throughout the USA, they continue to serve the people. We will be eternally grateful for these ex-military personnel, Holly, Cathy and Bud, and their compassionate hearts. 

Yes, our heroes just keep on giving. 

Marilyn Winburn

La Grande


Letters From Readers

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