Shick: Community collaboration helped Eastern Oregon singers get to Italy

To the Editor:

I have been heartened by the the dozens of people who participated in fundraising for the three EOU music students selected to go to Italy to study this summer. Without them, this trip would never have been possible. By supporting these three deserving young people — Jessica Durfee-Grove, Avalon Bloodgood and Miguel Vasquez — they have supported the performing arts in our communities.

The intrepid travelers performed six concerts and numerous other, less-charming fundraising projects, from busking to cashing in cans. As Avalon Bloodgood’s grandmother, I saw the Bloodgood family throw their considerable and varied personal expertise into getting their sister to Italy. If love is manifest in deeds, this family is exemplary.

The funds raised were split among the fellow travelers, who were committed to participating in the activities. These kids didn’t simply ask for money. They earned it. They worked like crazy providing value for every dollar they were given. Even GoFundMe donations at every level bore rewards performed by the recipients. In only three months, $8,000 was raised for each singer, and they are now in Italy.

Foremost among the people most willing to make dreams come true were Mary McCracken, Lanetta Paul, Jamie Jacobsen, Terry Hale and family, Gary Anger, Robert Bolster, Nancy Buck and Mario Nunez. Many others donated goods to be sold at the silent auction and yard sale. Spring Roberts of Le Bebe Cakes extended a wonderful rate for the Wine, Hors d’oeuvres and Music event: beautiful decorations, food, wine and cocktail service, wait staff and moral support. Also invaluable were The Observer for start-to-finish coverage and the Presbyterian and First Methodist churches for performance venues. What a work of community collaboration. What an incredible success! Where but in America can kids from families of modest means take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this?

Lyndall Shick


Moyal: Legalization of marijuana should be up to the voters

To the Editor:

On June 6, the democratic process in the City of La Grande was sandbagged by its own city council. In April, after several work sessions and extensive public input, the council voted 5-2 to put the legality of marijuana production, processing and sales in the city to a public vote. The council’s decision was accompanied by lots of verbiage to the effect that “the people’s voice should be heard.” The city manager crafted an ordinance to appear on the November ballot. In May, the council heard the first reading of that ordinance. There was almost no public comment at that meeting.

In June, inexplicably, the council changed its mind and voted down the ordinance on its second reading, 6-1. By doing this, the council decided that the voters of La Grande don’t have the wisdom, maturity or intelligence to make up their own minds on this important issue. Perhaps not coincidentally, the council also left those citizens who would like to see a public debate and vote on this issue with very little time to get it on the November ballot.

Nonetheless, an initiative effort is under way, and papers have been filed with the city. If you are concerned about the city council taking away your right to vote on this matter, check our Facebook page: Our Valley, Our Voice, Our Vote. If you like us on Facebook, you will get updates on the process and on actions you can take.

We’re not saying that legal marijuana is right or wrong. But on a matter this complex, with large amounts of tax revenue and potentially many jobs at stake, the people need to listen to both sides and decide for themselves.

We urge you to support the democratic process in La Grande and to support our initiative to put legalization on the ballot this November by signing our petition sheets. You’ll find us at the La Grande Farmers Market on Saturdays and Tuesdays; other places will be listed on our Facebook page.

David Moyal

La Grande

Berry: Run-down buildings are eyesores

To the Editor:

It was good to see that the right-of-way on Highway 82 from Island City to Elgin has been mowed. Thanks to ODOT, the Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad and the individual farmers, this stage of the road has been vastly improved.

On the other hand, the old run-down buildings at Conley and the abandoned, dilapidated schoolhouse on the western side of the highway in Imbler are real eyesores. Whoever owns these structures should be ashamed to have let them get to such disrepair.

Duane Berry