Letters to the editor for February 4, 2013

By Observer Upload February 04, 2013 09:35 am



Sheriff does good job responding to concerns

To the Editor:

Oregon sheriffs run law enforcement agencies, often on a shoestring budget with less than cutting-edge equipment and do a good job with what they have to work with.

Oregon sheriffs and their deputies interpret and enforce the law of the land as best they understand it. They don’t have months to debate points of law, like say, U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Oregon sheriffs effect day-to-day implementation of the law. They adhere to the mandates of the U.S. Constitution that they took an oath to protect.

Ever write a politician in Washington? Did you get a reply that didn’t have to do with some sort of campaign support or a direct answer? How much do we as taxpayers spend to fund say, the FBI, IRS, DEA or ATF? How much return have you received on those investments?

I think we are fortunate to have Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen. That’s why I vote for him. I’ve gone in to see him when I had concerns or called his office. He made time to both see me and he returns my phone calls.

He is our sheriff. The guy behind the desk or the wheel of a four-wheel-drive pickup with the badge that says Union County Sheriff is accessible to me and my neighbors. He addresses local law enforcement issues. When we need help in the middle of the night, we call the sheriff, not the FBI and certainly not the U.S. Supreme Court.

I attended the presentation Tuesday at the Blue Mountain Conference Center. The comments of the speakers were on point. I saw lots of my neighbors there. It pleases me to have them as neighbors. We are smart to have voted Boyd as our sheriff. He serves the law enforcement needs of this county logically, legally, morally and with regard for the concerns of the people that live here. 

Michael A. Gove

La Grande





Bullying people who are gay is unacceptable

To the Editor:

The recent outcome of bullying in our town is unfathomable. As the story unfolded, I was heartbroken to hear that this was the result of people not being able to accept a courageous young man as being gay. We have to do something as a community to prevent this from ever happening again.

I am a gay woman living in La Grande. I moved here two years ago and quickly realized that this was not an accepting community. It was difficult to find openly gay people and so I became a recluse. Slowly, I did find a small group of accepting people and was able to share that part of myself with them. Even as an adult this has been an extremely difficult process. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through this as a teenager.

Parents, take a good look at yourselves. Realize that passing down anti-gay views, whether passive or outspoken, can have devastating effects. Our schools and community have to address this issue as well. It is imperative that our youth feel safe and accepted in the environments that they are forced into daily.

If you or your child are struggling with being gay (or perhaps more accurately other people’s acceptance of you being gay) there are resources available. The university has a Gay Straight Alliance, and our community has a PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) group that meets monthly. All are welcome and it is a great place to get the support that you might be otherwise lacking.

Let’s face it. It’s hard being different. Being gay in a largely homophobic community can be crushing to your spirit. As an adult, I know that my value is not based on the antiquated views that some people still have. It’s not as easy dealing with this when you are young. I assure you that there are other youth out there right now struggling with the same issues. Now is the time to make changes.

Melissa White

La Grande





Let’s move our feet to give our neighbors heat

To the Editor:

The Fifth Annual Union County Walk for Warmth is coming soon — Feb. 16. I would like to encourage your readers to support this worthy cause. My friends and I have walked as a team every year and it’s rewarding to know that we have played a small role in helping out our neighbors when they are facing heating emergencies. I know of one family that was helped this past year and I’d like to share their story.  

Clare and Roger Combs (names changed) and their three children have been struggling to get their house weatherized for some time. They hoped that by insulating, it would reduce their high heating bills. Once they started putting in the insulation, they discovered that the wiring was bad, and they had to rewire their entire upstairs to keep their family safe. This was a huge and unanticipated expense that put their finances in a serious crunch, eventually forcing them to make difficult choices between essentials. Desperate, they sought out Community Connection of Northeast Oregon only to discover they were just a little over the income guidelines for LIHEAP (federal heating assistance) and therefore did not qualify. But the story doesn’t end there. Because Community Connection also administers the Walk for Warmth Fund, specifically designed to help families just like the Combs, who would otherwise have “fallen through the cracks,” a $280 payment to OTEC helped them through their difficult time. 

You might ask, “Why didn’t the Combs Family just go to their neighbors, church, family or friends to help them out. Well, in reality, they did. I hope you will join my friends and me as we walk once again for all our neighbors throughout the county.

If you’d like to pledge or form a walking team, the links below will get you the information you need.

For pledge forms go to www.w4wno.drupalgardens.com, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 541-805-8823. On Feb. 16, “let’s all move our feet to give our county neighbors heat.” 

Vicki Kerr