Letters to the editor for Sept. 9, 2013

September 09, 2013 01:21 pm

Mason column on former head coach hits the mark

To The Editor:

I cannot improve on the words or sentiment of my old colleague Dick Mason regarding the quality of gentleman that was Doc Savage, but I do wish to add my thoughts on a great coach and a wonderful man. 

In the early 1980s, I was the sports editor at The Observer, and like Dick, I got to see Coach Savage during the best of times ... but never the worst of times. He was fiercely competitive, but he also understood the true role of high school sports. Whether the game was won or lost, it was always a learning opportunity for his players, and for himself. 

In 1984, I wrote a story on the 10-year anniversary of that state championship Tiger team. The respect the players carried for their coach resonated then, and undoubtedly has grown with each passing decade.

I was fortunate to work with a wide collection of Union and Wallowa county coaches during that era — Dick Quinn, Verl Miller, Tom Hayes, Skip Pereira, Larry Nice, Chuck Vogler, Chuck Corak and many others. Like Coach Savage, these coaches were teachers, role models and leaders. 

Thank you, all, and thank you, coach. 

John W. Pritchett 
Crescent City, Calif.

City should revive popular events from the past

To The Editor:

We heartily agree with many of the points in Joe Kauffman’s letter of Aug. 26. Reviving events such as the timber carnival, raft race and air show is a wonderful idea. While we’re at it, let’s not forget Crossing the Blues. Good music is always a big attraction.

We bet many of our friends and family from across the state would travel to La Grande for these kind of events. And, being from parts of Oregon that have real parking problems, they would not grumble about having to walk half a block to a downtown business. In fact they would get a chuckle out of the notion that some people in La Grande actually believe there is a parking problem.

We agree that once visitors are attracted to the area they would gravitate to downtown shops and restaurants. We just wish there were more good places downtown.

It might be a thought to give downtown La Grande a unique and notable identity by calling it the “Depot District.” After all, it was the arrival of the railroad that shifted the center of La Grande to this part of town in the first place. We know of at least two publications outside of Northeast Oregon that have commented on the vitality of Depot Street. Who knows, there is always the possibility that Amtrak service will someday return.

Once here, visitors will find La Grande to be a charmingly quaint town in a beautiful valley with plenty of convenient parking.

All they need are reasons to come in the first place.

Gary and Anne Olson
La Grande

Shooting cattle never an option for landowners

To The Editor:

The arrest of Dr. Joel Rice on 14 counts of criminal mischief (Observer, August 30) and animal abuse for killing livestock found on his property is good news. The citizens of Union County should be grateful the admission of the crime is in hand. We must now be vigilant in following the district attorney’s lead in this case to ensure he pursues the toughest prosecution possible for such an egregious act. 

Property owners should be familiar with the law and know that it is never an option to shoot cows, bulls, horses, sheep, goats or any other type of livestock. There are steps that can be made to solve a problem when straying animals enter private property and the first step is to contact the sheriff’s office if you cannot contact the owner of the animal. The sheriff will provide lawful help to solve the problem. 

Union County Cattlemen are adamant about prosecution and rendering punishment. Deliberately taking aim and killing and injuring seven cows is beyond anything Union County citizens can accept under any circumstance. Knowingly causing physical injury and willingly shooting livestock is a clear violation of the laws of Oregon and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. 

Dennis Murchison, Union County Cattlemen president
Pat Larson, Union County Cattlemen secretary
La Grande

Dr. Rice apology letter rings hollow

To The Editor:

I have a few problems with the apology letter (Observer, Sept. 4) regarding the shooting of cattle by Dr. Rice. 

Remorse is a good thing. However, I suspect the letter was either a condition of his release/plea, or an attempt for empathy from whomever may judge him for this fiasco as his case moves forward. 

Back in the day, killing another man’s livestock, thus depriving him of his ability to feed his family or earn a living, was a hanging offense. Has that changed? 

He “acted outside of compassion.” It would probably be more accurate to say that he acted inside of rage. He said he “dispatched them with the same regard for life that I show for game animals.”

Really? No responsible, respectful hunter will shoot game in the gut and then fail to track them down and finish the job humanely. He exhibited a complete disregard for the animals’ lives. He said he “acted in ignorance of the law.” Could a guy really have no idea that there might be a law against shooting his neighbors’ cattle for wandering onto his property? 

To suggest that this experience will improve his effectiveness in his work seems bizarre logic. These crimes were deliberate and cruel and should receive the full penalty of the law. This man’s behavior is, I hope and believe, totally out of character for our rural community. 

Thankfully, I think the vast majority of people who live in this area have respect for their neighbors, an understanding of the wandering ways of animals, and a commitment to keep the peace in our rural neighborhoods.


Signe Kaber