Emery: Carnegie Library enhances Union community

To the Editor:

The Union Carnegie Public Library is a wonderful gift for the people of Union. Open its door and check out all the wonderful things inside.

Of course there are books! Books for children and adult, large-print and audio books — but that is just a part of this gift. Dig a little deeper and you will discover a meeting room, computers, 24/7 WiFi, movies, puzzles and games. There are also a number of wonderful services available to the community, including proctoring, faxing and photocopying, children’s story time and summer reading programs. If the library doesn’t have the book you are looking for, it can be brought in from 75 other Oregon libraries that belong to the Sage Library System. For the digital person there is the Library2Go program.

We need your yes vote in November on Union Library Levy No. 3195 to keep these things available for the community.

Ronda Emery

Chairperson, Friends of Union Carnegie Public Library


Warnock: Management of public lands is complicated

To the Editor:

A recent editorial, “Reviving a forest project” (Sept. 13, The Observer), states that environmental groups oppose the Sparta project and ones like it because they include commercial logging. Both statements are patently untrue.

The Greater Hells Canyon Council (formerly the Hells Canyon Preservation Council) did not oppose the Sparta project. In fact, we are actively working with industry, local communities and other interests in our local forest collaboratives and elsewhere to design projects that improve forest health and support local communities.

We have been able to do so on the East Face project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the Thomas Creek and Kahler projects on the Umatilla National Forest. These projects include significant amounts of commercial logging, but they are also designed with important protections for forests, wildlife and waters.

We did object to, and successfully litigate, the Snow Basin project because it removed commercial product from the woods at the expense of forest health, fire resiliency and wildlife. In that regard, the Sparta and Snow Basin projects are as different as night and day. The planning areas for both are located in the Eagle Creek drainage, but the parallels stop there.

Unlike Sparta, the Snow Basin project would have logged more than 40,000 large and old-growth trees and damaged elk habitat in remote high-elevation moist and cold forests. Sparta does not include any of these activities and in fact makes improvements to big-game habitat.

Stating that these projects are the same and environmental groups are opposed to both does a disservice to the public discourse around management of our public lands. If we want to solve the problems facing our forests, we need to stop pointing fingers and create space for respectful dialogue based on facts.

Veronica Warnock

Greater Hells Canyon Council, conservation director

La Grande

Hatlestad: Democracy is not a spectator sport

To the Editor:

In the most harmful effort yet, Senators Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, tried to lead the Republican Senate’s last-ditch charge to destroy Obamacare. If their legislation had passed, upward of 32 million people would be losing their health care. With the loss of affordable insurance, along with pre-existing conditions, it is projected that many will die, and many more will lose necessary care with the loss of Medicaid. Why should one person die or lose care, let alone the many?

Are these honest senators, when they deliberately created legislation to legally steal huge funds from needed health care programs to provide huge tax reductions to the billionaires? Or are they cowardly senators, when they bend to the likes of the Koch brothers’ threats to withhold campaign donations if Obamacare is not killed? Obviously, they are not concerned about serving you and me.

This potential national disaster hits home in District Two in Oregon. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, is a co-author of Trumpcare. Walden votes lock-step with the Trump agenda. Regarding the Graham-Cassidy bill, Speaker Paul Ryan had promised the Senate: “You pass it. We pass it.” I have no doubt Walden’s vote once again would have demonstrated he does not care about his constituents’ health and welfare. It is time we vote him out of the House in 2018.

To everyone in my senior village, insurance is the most important issue. In my case, I am 85 years old and have had three recent aneurysm operations. With this pre-existing condition, it feels like I’m in front of a Republican firing squad and nobody gives a damn.

It is time we got mad. It is time we understood that democracy is a “hands on” sport, not a spectator sport. It is time we understood the problem in Congress is solved only by us getting off the couch and into positive action — not just during a crisis, but every day.

Leif Hatlestad

Rogue River