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Letters to the Editor

The Observer welcomes letters to the editor. Letters are limited to 350 words and must be signed and carry the author’s address and phone number (for verification purposes only).

We edit letters for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We will not publish poetry, consumer complaints against businesses or personal attacks against private individuals. Thank-you letters are discouraged.

Letter writers are limited to one letter every two weeks.

Email your letters to news@lagrandeobserver.com or mail them to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850.

My Voice

My Voice columns should be 500 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.

We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere.

Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to acutler@lagrandeobserver.com .

McDonald: Incidents in Walmart parking lot

To the Editor:

On a recent evening as my daughter and I were exiting the local Walmart we saw a dog hanging off the side of a pickup. A stockperson came out and took the information to page the vehicle’s owner. No one appeared after two pages. Luckily, a young couple and the stockperson came to the aid of the dog and managed to eventually get him back into the pickup.

Dispatch was called but they did not appear by the time the owners had come out of the store, appearing oblivious to what had occurred. Defenseless animals deserve more kindness than these type of owners demonstrated.

Another issue with Walmart’s parking lot is the lack of visibility when large vehicles park next to compact ones, blocking visibility. The idea of “compact” car parking areas and “oversized” vehicles parking areas might alleviate some accidents.

Fredia McDonald

La Grande

Dickinson: Rural hospices need your help

To the Editor:

My name is Kandice Dickinson and I wish to express my sincere support of a new bill in Congress that is particularly important to our community. The Rural Access to Hospice Act helps address the needs of underserved rural and urban communities, specifically with regard to access to critically important end-of-life care.

Rural health centers provide primary care in more than 4,000 communities across the country. Federally Qualified Health Centers promote primary care service delivery in underserved urban and rural communities. More than 21 million Americans were served at 9,000 FQHC sites in 2013. For some patients, RHCs and FQHCs are their only source of primary care.

Unfortunately, a glitch in current law prevents RHCs and FQHCs from serving as attending physicians for hospice patients. So if patients at an RHC choose hospice, they have to give up their family doctor. This is a barrier to care and puts an unnecessary burden on mostly rural hospice patients at an already difficult time.

The Rural Access to Hospice Act would correct this problem and allow RHCs and FQHCs to act as attending physicians for their patients in hospice care. This bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, and in the House by Reps. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, and Ron Kind, D-Wisconsin.

I hope our community will rally around this important legislation and stand up for quality end-of-life care for all Americans. YOU can help! Go to www.goHOSPICE.com/blog and click on the links to call and email Congress.

Kandice Dickinson

Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care

La Grande

Gilbert: ODE and siting council want total control

To the Editor:

The Oregon Department of Energy is making changes to its amendment rules for contested cases and is taking comment until Sept. 29. For those of you not following the changes being made, here are a few highlights:

• Area can be added to a site without having to complete an amendment to a site certificate.

• The Department of Energy will decide whether to allow a change without an amendment, to process an amendment as expedited, to use a short or a long process.

• Notice and involvement of agencies and special advisory committees will be up to the discretion of the Department of Energy.

• The public will not be allowed to participate until after the Draft Proposed Order is issued.

• In expedited cases, the public, other agencies and special advisory groups will not be allowed to participate in the process until after a temporary site certificate allowing the developer to proceed with the action has already been approved.

• A contested case opportunity will only occur in one amendment process.

• In one process with no contested case opportunity, the public will not be able to appeal decisions to the Oregon Supreme Court unless they comment about the specific issue they plan to appeal during the ODOE process.

• The public will be allowed to appeal only decisions based upon Divisions 22, 23 and 24, which doesn’t include things like what process amendments are funneled into or whether an application is complete, or whether the decision not to allow a contested case was made correctly, or any of the rules changed.

• The Energy Facility Siting Council decides who gets to have a contested case, and they issue the final contested case order when the public is challenging the decisions they have made.

Every effort has been made to confuse the public, exclude them from virtually all decisions, remove opportunities to access a contested case process and move all control over decisions into the hands of the Department of Energy and the Energy Facility Siting Council.

Irene Gilbert

Co-Chair, Stop B2H Coalition and Legal Research Analyst, Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley

La Grande