Letters to the editor for February 13, 2013

By Observer Upload February 13, 2013 10:29 am



Prayers are with Bell family

To the Editor:

My heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to Jadin Bell’s family. Bullying in our schools needs to be addressed. Any student found bullying another student needs to be put on a community service program to learn to be kind in helping others and learn to love one another as our Heavenly Father instructs us in his Word.

May our Heavenly Father be with the Bell family and give them his love, compassion and peace. May he give them comfort with his promise, that they will see their son again in God’s eternal Kingdom, is my prayer.

Janice Roberts

La Grande





We reap what we sow; it’s not guns, it’s people

To the Editor:

My name is Mike Voss. My wife and I own Ruff N Rustic Mercantile here in La Grande. I would like to say we 100 percent back and support Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen for having our backs regarding our Second Amendment rights.

I attended the gun rights meeting and much to my surprise Sheriff Rasmussen went the extra step and introduced God back into a public meeting by having the chaplain from the sheriff’s department say a prayer before addressing the matter at hand. Not only a prayer but also the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Good job, sheriff.

Everybody wants to blame guns for the problems, but do we really know how this all got started? I think it started when Madeline Murray O’Hare complained she didn’t want any prayer in our schools. And we said “OK.”

Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says “Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors as yourself.” And we said “OK.”

Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, “An expert should know what he’s talking about so we won’t spank them anymore.”

Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave, because we don’t want any bad publicity and we surely don’t want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning.

And the entertainment industry said, Let’s make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex. And let’s record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide and Satanic themes. And we said, “It’s just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.”

I guess the answer is we reap what we sow. Think about it: It’s not guns. It’s people.

Mike Voss

La Grande





Politics will fail our schools

To the Editor:

Like many Americans, I have listened closely to our nation’s leaders in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I am part of a growing minority who are unwilling to sit back and allow our politicians to turn this critical situation into a political debate about guns. An assault weapons ban is not the answer.

If a deranged individual can forcibly gain access to a school with an ax, sword, grenade or even a single-shot rifle, we must be prepared to stop them. It is now completely unacceptable for our nation’s leaders to respond in half measures.

In the aftermath of 9-11, we responded with force and purpose. The Homeland Security Administration was funded and enabled to protect the flying public. Part of that response instituted the Federal Air Marshal Program. These were professionals, armed and specifically trained to combat terrorist threats aboard the crowded and uniquely delicate aircraft environments in which they patrolled. Frankly, this is exactly the kind of response I was expecting from our nation’s leaders today. Is it time for the “School Marshal Program?”

We can continue to watch the political games, or we can demand real change. What if we demanded change that would result in measures that really protect our kids? In response to 9/11, we redesigned the doors accessing our aircraft cockpit areas. Does the greatest nation on earth have the capacity to engineer better security into our classrooms also? What if Adam Lanza had found the classroom doors at Sandy Hook Elementary secured to the point of preventing his entrance?

Should we really focus on new laws that limit magazine capacity such that someone can kill only 10 of our kids at a time, or shall we respond intelligently without political motive?

Dean A. Varney




Insulted by letter claiming collaboration with judge

To the Editor:

I am deeply hurt and insulted by Mr. Clark’s recent letter claiming that I worked hand-in-hand with former Judge Mendiguren. Anyone who knew the two of us while we were both in office could assure your readers that it never happened.      

And by the way, the district attorney doesn’t issue arrests warrants or tell the police and sheriff what to do.

Martin J. Birnbaum

Former district attorney

La Grande





Offending classmates have learned hard lesson

To the Editor:

I am a 74-year-old woman living in Billings, Mont. I was born and raised in La Grande, living there until I was 19 and then transferring to the Oregon Health Sciences Center to continue my education.

I am writing this letter in horror and sadness that a young gay man was so harassed by schoolmates that he hung himself. This bigotry is not what I remember about my hometown. I do remember La Grande being rather conservative — but intolerant, that I don’t recall.

I trust the offending classmates have learned a very hard lesson: we are who we are. We are all God’s children, and may She have mercy on all their souls.

Dr. Janice Ward Buehler

Billings, Mont.



Youth at Riverbend give back to community

To the Editor:

The Oregon Youth Authority Program in La Grande provides a positive environment for youth to change the outcome of their future. Many of the youth at Riverbend and in the OYA system have faced challenges that most adults have never faced. At the facility, staff helps troubled youth gain new skills, and other elements essential to successfully transitioning them to adulthood and becoming a positive contributor to the commu-nity.  

The program offers many opportunities for community service, work crews and skill building so that when the youth transition they have employable skills to help them be successful in the community.

Through this program of community service, Riverbend has been an amazing asset to the community in helping every month with food bank warehouse sorting, pallet building, picking orders, clean up, snow shoveling and much more. They have put in countless hours, and the youth that come to our facility are very well mannered. They are respectful and hard workers. They have been volunteering for us for the last four years and have put in more than 3,000 hours of volunteer time moving just less than 5 million pounds of food to our four-county service area. 

Our program would be crippled without the help of these young men. They want to give back to the community and find it a privilege to come and help us help others. Many times the OYA is really underappreciated for all the hard work and dedication that the staff does to help the youth of Oregon. Many of the kids who graduate from OYA become valued members of society. We truly appreciate all the hard work they do to help these kids. 

Community Connection as well as all the families that we serve through the food bank program want to sincerely thank them for everything they do. These kids have come a long way, and we appreciate them giving back to the community.

Carmen Gentry

Food Bank manager

Community Connection of  Northeast Oregon, Inc.

La Grande