Welch: Pedestrian safety at Central School could be easily fixed

To the Editor:

When my husband and I watched the construction of our new beautiful Central Elementary last summer, one question kept coming up. Why isn’t there more sidewalk extending west along H Avenue up the block beyond the building? We looked at the half-circular “drop off” area and thought it looked like a potential disaster. Unfortunately, we were right. It is really sad that a student had to be struck in that area before the powers that be said, “Whoa, now we really need to do something about this mess.” Anyone who has been in the area of Central School at arrival and departure time knows what a complete circus it is and how dangerous it is for pedestrians.

It seems that some cooperation from the City of La Grande and some realistic planning from the school district could alleviate much of the problem with the construction of some more sidewalk along H Avenue. It would allow parents to pull up and drop off their children safely. Of course, this would also require that parents realize they don’t have to drop their children off directly at the front door of the school and that most kids are perfectly capable of walking a short distance to the school, provided it is safe for them to do so.

This also requires that people driving in the area actually slow down and have some patience. There is nowhere in La Grande that drivers can’t get to within five or 10 minutes, and slowing down to protect a child is far more important than getting to work on time. If this is a problem, try leaving home five minutes earlier.

It seems to me the problem could be helped with some simple sidewalks, a little more patience, and some common sense.

Talia Welch

La Grande

Goheen: War in Afghanistan has catastrophic effects

To the Editor:

Empires can be messy affairs, indeed, and our own American “empire” definitely is no exception. From Afghanistan to Ethiopia, and from Lebanon to Yemen, daily news headlines allude to the ferocious methods employed by our overseas “partners” in their continual struggle to maintain control. That our own governmental officials know exactly how brutal our allies can be in their suppression of opposition is beyond any doubt. That these methodologies will continue is also beyond any doubt.

Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents oftentimes are depicted as a pack of wild-eyed fanatics whose P.R. declarations can be safely ignored, but the manifesto “to the American people” they released recently contains some talking points that we would do well to ponder. This “longest war in U.S. history,” according to the Taliban, has had catastrophic effects on Afghanistan and will undoubtedly have catastrophic effects on the U.S. before it finally concludes. “We leave it up to the American people,” concludes the manifesto, “to judge whether their government’s actions in Afghanistan are just and proper.”

So it really is “up to the American people” to carefully ponder what it is we have done, are doing, and will be doing in Afghanistan. This conflict grinds on and on, with gruesome casualties and massive amounts of money spent. Things there include, to this point, thousands of civilians killed and a total of three million Afghan drug addicts from the spread of the heroin “industry.” It is virtually certain that the war will continue for years and years more, and even American officials more or less openly admit that a “victory” for “our” side is not really possible.

Yes, empires can be very messy.

Frank Goheen

Vancouver, Washington