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Heading off Oregon beer tax proposal

We’re mystified as to why certain Oregon legislators believe it’s a reasonable proposition to make up for 32 years of inactivity with a single bill.

A tax increase of 1,900 percent?

That legislation is destined to fail no matter what’s being taxed and what the money would be used for.

A valuable lesson

Let’s be clear about one thing: The only true villain in the Dean Barnes case is Dean Barnes.

Barnes, a 34-year-old Baker City man, sexually abused two 16-year-old girls last year.

He pleaded guilty to three felonies last week in Baker County Circuit Court.

Judge Greg Baxter sentenced Barnes to at least 15‡ years in prison. That’s an appropriate punishment.

We applaud Judge Baxter for ordering Barnes to serve the two mandatory minimum sentences of 75 months — the penalty for first-degree sex abuse — one after the other.

A better option

The Baker School District’s Facility Efficiency Committee came up with a couple of suitable ways to trim the district’s costs.

This unfortunate task seems inevitable.

The state, which supplies about 56 percent of the district’s dollars, announced Friday that its budget deficit is getting bigger.

District officials estimate that the district’s share of state revenue will plunge by $869,000 for the fiscal year that ends June 30. That’s more than double the $365,000 shortfall the district had projected.

As a result, the school board is confronted with the likelihood of needing to close two schools in Baker City rather than one.

Thanks, taxpayers

We don’t as a rule congratulate people for doing something they’re legally obligated to do.

But Baker County property owners deserve to be lauded for their dedication to fulfilling one of the fundamental duties of an American.

They pay their property taxes.

Well, almost everyone does.

Change chimp law

Sometimes it takes a chimpanzee nearly killing a woman to make you think.

Travis, the 200-pound chimp that Sandra Herold of Connecticut had raised since it was an infant, attacked Herold’s friend, Charla Nash, on Monday.

Nash suffered severe injuries to her hands and her face. Police shot and killed the chimp.

Thanks, union workers

Oregon’s largest public employees union deserves a pat on its collective back.

The 23,000 state workers who belong to the Service Employees International Union showed last week that they understand the state’s economy is in the doldrums.

But more important, the union members proved that they’re willing to share in the sacrifices the recession has brought about.

Careful on cap/trade

Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Oregon Legislature need to tread carefully as they try to shrink the state’s carbon footprint.

Their goal is admirable.

Carbon emissions pollute the atmosphere and contribute to global climate change.

Less carbon is better.

Nonetheless, we urge the governor and his supporters to consider a couple of salient points related to the potential costs and benefits of Kulongoski’s cap-and-trade proposal.

A long-needed look at the state’s books

Amid the onslaught of legislation that has inundated Salem since lawmakers convened there in early January, one bill is conspicuous.

It is House Bill 2500.

Or, as we’ve taken to calling it, the bill that would let Oregonians take a look at the state’s checkbook whenever they want.

Good luck, YMCA

The Baker County Family YMCA seems to have found the right Baker City building for its proposed community and fitness center.

Now it just needs to find the money to buy and renovate the place.

We hope the organization succeeds.

A tragedy, and a lesson

The tragic death of two-month-old Mia Roe can never be undone.

And nothing, save the passage of time, can lessen the pain which those who loved Mia are enduring.

Yet it may well be that because Mia died, other infants will be spared the same irreversible fate.

That’s because Mia’s death prompted St. Elizabeth Health Services to introduce a program designed to help parents safely deal with the stress of caring for a newborn who cries and can’t be consoled.

The program is called “The Period of PURPLE Crying.” PURPLE is an acronym, each letter representing one of the symptoms of the uncontrollable crying episodes that some babies exhibit.

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