KTVB is a public safety issue
To the editor:
I read with interest Mel Cross’ letter to the editor on the issue of Charter Cable and KTVB Channel 7. I would like to point out a public safety issue that needs to be considered. Charter has indicated that our area gets the same information provided by the Portland affiliate. This is untrue.
KTVB 7 provides severe weather reports, wildfire reports, road
conditions, flooding, and other emergency information. I have seen
multiple occasions when KTVB 7 provided accurate and immediate
information that protected lives and property in our county. Just
before the channel was taken off the air there were continuing updates
on road conditions. The Portland affiliate does not provide these
reports in any kind of timely manner. Portland does provide metro,
Willamette Valley, and surrounding county updates but Eastern Oregon is
typically an afterthought on the 11 o’clock news broadcast.
Since our closest major medical needs are provided in Boise, our major
regional shopping is provided by Boise, and the major airport is in
Boise, there is a critical need for immediate updates when
transportation to Boise is affected. KTVB covers the surrounding areas
as well. I have occasion to travel to Malheur, Grant, Harney, Union and
Payette counties on a regular basis. I can count on accurate and timely
reports on road conditions to those areas. I can tell if there is a
fire in the area.
My cynical side makes me wonder if there is a certain amount of
gamesmanship being played by Charter. Perhaps an attempt to wrest some
kind of negotiating advantage from Baker City as the new contract is
being negotiated. Charter obviously doesn’t care about contracts (see
the lack of a current office in Baker City as required by
contract). Perhaps there is some way that the city can use this public
safety issue in their negotiations. My cynical side also wonders just
how much a large corporation cares about a small segment of society
tucked into the Baker Valley.
I hope that this issue will truly be considered and that KTVB 7 will be
returned. After all, there is no cost to Charter, but I don’t really
think that makes any difference.
Civil compromise not proper in sex abuse cases
To the editor:
In response to your editorial “Law needs fixing,” I completely agree. I
have asked the Oregon District Attorneys’ Association to begin a
legislative proposal that precludes civil compromises in sexual abuse
cases. I believe it is bad public policy to allow individuals charged
with sexual offenses against minors to, in essence, “pay them off.”
Although the decision to grant or deny a civil compromise is a
discretionary one, I was shocked that a judge would allow a civil
compromise in the sexual abuse case involving Brian Cole and a victim
who was a minor at the time of the incident. In 16 years as a
prosecutor, I have never been involved in or even heard of a case in
which a circuit court judge has allowed a civil compromise in a sex
abuse case over a prosecutor’s objection.
This type of resolution completely ignores the importance of
accountability for the offender as well as community notification
including sex offender registration. Moreover, a victim of sexual abuse
has a separate civil remedy regardless of the outcome of the criminal
In a recent letter to the editor, Bob Moon stated that civil
compromises can be good for victims. In cases of sexual abuse, I
disagree. Having worked closely with victims of sex abuse for many
years, I have never even contemplated recommending to a teenage girl
that she take money in exchange for dismissal of the case against her
offender. The reason for this is simple. The primary tools that sex
offenders use are grooming techniques playing on the power position
that the offender has over the victim. This often includes the use of
money or gifts to manipulate the victim. Simply put, paying money to a
victim to allow a case to be dismissed, in my opinion, repeats some of
the very same behavior that allowed the sexual abuse to occur in the
Baker County District Attorney
(Editor’s note: Shirtcliff turned the Brian Cole case over to the state
Department of Justice to avoid a conflict of interest, as Cole is a
former chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners. Shirtcliff
was not involved in the prosecution or settlement of the charges.)
Local soldiers count on your support
To the editor:
Dec. 8 marked a new milestone for our service members of Eastern
Oregon’s Own, 3rd Battalion 116th Cavalry Regiment. The 3rd Battalion
completed the Transfer of Authority from 3-156 Infantry Regiment,
Louisiana National Guard and formally assumed control of the convoy
security mission in northern Iraq.
Our soldiers and leaders are highly motivated and extremely
professional. Convoy security is a mission we willfully accept and look
forward to accomplishing with tenacity and ardent professionalism. This
is the beginning of a new chapter in our unit’s long lineage that
stretches back to the day of the pioneers in 1846.
Much like it was then, the 3rd Battalion was responsible for providing
security to settlers in the Eastern Oregon region. Today we just happen
to be riding a different kind of horse and providing security half a
Family and friends of our service men and women, you should be
extremely proud of your soldiers and the job they are performing.
During this time of separation they will continue to count on you and
your enduring support as they focus on the mission at hand.
Rest assured that we have the best equipment your tax dollars have been
able to secure, all of it battle-tested under extremely hostile
conditions. Our soldiers are superbly trained and well prepared to use
this state-of-the-art equipment and we will continue to take advantage
of any new technologies that become available to us during the
As we continue through this holiday season we’d ask you for your
prayers and wishes. Though we all miss our loved ones, duty has called
us away; know that if we could, we would like nothing more than to
celebrate the season’s festivities with you.
On behalf of your 3-116 Cavalry Troopers we’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
LTC Phillip E. Appleton
Commander, 3-116 Cavalry.
See us on Facebook: 3-116 CAB (CAV)
School employees deserve better
To the editor:
Baker School District classified employees are the cooks, bus drivers,
custodians, para/educational assistants, library techs and interpreter,
secretaries, computer lab specialist, production techs, mechanics,
warehouseman, youth transition specialists, and maintenance workers. In
our time OSEA (Oregon School Employee Association) has agreed to make
many sacrifices when things got tough, including last year when we gave
the District management five days of pay, as a loan, with the
understanding that if they had a cash carryover they would not use it
and we would get it back. Management used our money and kept over
$300,000 in cash carryover. They say they respect us but this is how
they pay us back.
The District has hired a new business manager who has decided to run
our school district like a corporation and he plans to save money on
the backs of the workers who can least afford it. In addition to
cutting more days from classified, this year the district intends to
implement a prorated benefit process that will cost us more every time
they cut hours. So we lose both pay and benefits at their whim. For
every dollar we lose in pay the Baker economic community loses $5. They
say they respect us but this is how they pay us back.
Our union has cooperated throughout the years but can no longer quietly
accept these drastic cuts. We have already offered to accept no pay
raises and asked only that our five days be rolled into our insurance,
and those currently employed be kept in the current insurance. We were
willing to agree to prorate new employees, as they will be aware of it
when hired and can plan accordingly. We are asking for your support to
allow our families to continue to have access to insurance without
proration. They say they respect us but this is how they pay us back.
Please contact your School Board member or the district and let them
know you support classified employees, and think we deserve to be
insured at the current level. Thank you for your help.
Baker School District 5-J
Cindy Johansen, President
Ruth Woodworth, Vice President
Tracey Warner, Secretary
Janet Baker, Treasurer)
Charter doesn’t listen to us
To the editor:
When I was in Boise last week, I called KTVB and they gave me the
number to call to talk to Charter Communications. It was
1-888-438-2427. I find that this is the only number to get them and it
is the only number that answers all the calls for Charter.
They are in some other state and said that this had to be handled by
our local office, which is in La Grande. KTVB says that they want our
area to carry their Channel 7, but they can’t do anything about it. It
is up to Charter. They suggested that as many people as possible call
Charter and if you are in La Grande, go into their office and talk to
them in person.
Also, Charter now has a place at Wilson’s Market that you can go in and
pay your bill. This means some people have to find a way to get there
and the senior bus is $2 out and $2 back and then Charter adds another
$1 on the bill for paying it there. What a rip-off for the customers
that want to pay in cash.
I don’t think Charter cares about their customers at all or they would
try to listen to us. They said that we didn’t need two NBC channels,
and now both 7 and 8 are NBC and carry the same programs from Portland.
Why not leave us the other three channels from Portland, and take off channel 8 and give us channel 7? Makes more sense to me.