Letters to the editor for June 7, 2013

By Observer Upload June 07, 2013 10:37 am
Letters to the editor for June 7, 2013

Bike ride should have been canceled 

To the Editor:

A 22-mile bike ride is a long way. Asking 10-year-olds to do it in one day is quite a stretch. To do it in horrible, cold weather is asking too much.

On May 24, both fourth-grade classes from Greenwood Elementary embarked on a 22-mile round trip bike ride along the Oregon Trail. It had rained all night previous, was cloudy that morning and more rain was forecasted. When my student was dropped off at school that morning, it was sprinkling, windy and less than 40 degrees. At work, I observed strong winds and heavy rain (more on than off) all morning. I was thinking that the school wouldn’t send the kids out in that weather to ride, but when I called at 11:30 a.m., my co-workers and I were stunned to hear they had.  

Horrified, I left work and raced out to pick up my student. By then, it was only 42 degrees and still raining. 

When my student saw me, she was crying because she was soaked and could not feel her hands, feet or face. I was told by an aide that it was “sunny” when they left. The sun trying to peek out from behind the clouds does not constitute “sunny.”

Why was it this ride could not be canceled? Wasn’t there a contingency plan?  

On top of all this, the ride takes place along Foothill Road, a narrow, winding road with blind corners and little to no shoulders. Then, I find out the children were being “bribed” to make it all the way without riding in a support vehicle, by being offered $50 in “classroom money” for an in-class auction.  

I was informed the next day that they have done this ride in worse weather. Really? Where did common sense go? Is a child’s health worth less than a bike ride?  

The message I sent to the school board about this event has not been acknowledged, though it has been a week since I sent it. I want to express my appreciation to The Observer for responding quickly with interest. I hope that parents of upcoming fourth-graders see this letter and are forewarned that no matter what the conditions, this long, long bike ride will take place.

Christine Mowery

La Grande    

Anti-socialist dogma is short-sighted

To the Editor:

In the 19th century, firefighting was a subscription service. If your house was ablaze, the fire engine would arrive and the subscription list was checked. If your subscription was paid up, they would put out the fire. If not, they would let your house burn.

In the 1960s, there was a new thing called Medicare. At that time, the old folks in my family were in their 60s. A few were older. Devout anti-socialists at the time said that this would destroy our society. That Medicare would bankrupt us into a new stone age. It did not and both my mother-in-law and my mother lived to be 90.

I recently crossed Adams Avenue in La Grande near Willow Street. For no charge at all, I pressed the button and, in a little while, I got a walk signal and safely crossed the road. I guess my tax dollars paid for this free service. Socialism has crept into public safety. A truly devout anti-socialist would probably want to put a coin slot in to pay for the traffic signal.

When society finds resources to help individuals with fire protection, public safety and health issues, those individuals benefit. They are then healthy and happy contributors to our economy. It is very short-sighted to oppose such benefits on the grounds of anti-socialist dogma.

Ira Mark Cohen