Letters to the Editor for Sept. 28, 2011
Helicopter biz a good neighbor
To the editor:
This letter is on behalf of Dave McCarty and Columbia Basin Helicopters regarding the county commissioners filing an injunction to prevent the operation of this business located off of Ben Dier Road.
This business has been in operation from this location for close to a decade. Now a select few who live in the area feel that the few times he flies in and out of his business takes away from their rural living experience. I have lived within a mile of this location for over 20 years. I and several other old-timers in this neighborhood feel that at no time has our safety been compromised or the sound of an occasional helicopter affected our quality of life. In fact, I see his birds go by more often on a trailer to and from jobs than I do flying in or out.
This property that houses Columbia Basin Helicopters is a well-maintained facility. The county has been willing to accept the building permit fees for him to construct his hangar, a shop, and his home located on the property. The county has also been willing to accept his property tax payments. What about the 25 people that work for Dave on a full- or part-time basis? Has anyone on the county commission thought of this? In a county with over 10 percent unemployment, maybe we should think about creating jobs and encouraging those businesses that provide jobs rather than eliminating them.
As far as the noise issue, Baker County has a gravel crusher in the area that runs with more frequency than Dave flies in and out. Let’s also mention the noise and speed of the trucks from this gravel pit or the farm vehicles running back and forth on a regular basis.
Columbia Basin Helicopters also supports several local activities with contributions of equipment and financial support as well. Why is it that all the neighbors to this business were not notified or asked for input on this issue before an injunction was filed? Columbia Basin Helicopters is a good neighbor!
Bill and Colleen Taylor
Business owner frustrated by county’s approach
To the editor:
As the owner of Columbia Basin Helicopters, Inc., I am frustrated by the article entitled “County seeks to move helicopters.” Columbia Basin Helicopters, Inc. is a longstanding respected member of the community. We infuse over a half a million dollars into the local economy per year. The FAA has inspected our facilities; our operation is compliant with all federal and state regulations.
In 2010, County Commissioner Fred Warner visited our facility with the intent of discussing county issues/concerns and amicably resolving them. In an effort to be a good neighbor, we agreed to restrict our flights. We also said we would consider moving to the Baker City Airport if we were on a level and equal playing field with all aviation companies currently at the airport. Unfortunately, Baker City will not give us equal terms and conditions and the county will not honor their previous agreement.
It is disheartening to have elected officials who discourage business development in our community.
ATV riders benefit economy, more
To the editor:
ATV rider not only stimulate Oregon’s economy, they benefit federal and state agencies by keeping trails and roads cleared and open for recreation and safety. They provide assistance in fire control, search and rescue, law enforcement, and are also genuine stewards of public lands.
There are currently 167,973 ATVs permitted in Oregon. That equates to $1,679,730 biannually in permit fees. If every ATV-riding family of three owns two ATVs and takes three trips per year of four days or more, they would spend approximately $2,916 per year. These same families take approximately 10 one-day outings each year. That totals about $1,000 per year. This is not small change. Oregon ATV-riding families put over $328.8 million into Oregon’s economy annually.
As far as keeping roads and trails open, there is not only federal, state or other agency that has the personnel, budget or interest in keeping all the roads and trails accessible. It is the recreationist — ATV riders, hunters, horseback riders, hikers, berry pickers, sightseers and others who spend the time cutting brush and clearing that keep these trails open for all to enjoy.
Imagine closed roads and trails overgrown and there is a plane crash, fire or an injured hiker. It could be a matter of life or death for those involved. It takes precious time to reopen roads or clear roads to get equipment in. How about law enforcement trying to apprehend a marijuana grow operation and having to negotiate a great distance through dense brush, and the be on their best performance when exhausted? It has only been in the past few months that ATV riders assisted in the rescue of a lady in Nevada who had been missing for several weeks and was near death.
The federal agencies don’t need to close any roads or trails to any type of access. They need to apply common sense type rules concerning off-highway use of all public lands, and cite those who break the rules. The courts need to take a firm stand and convict the offenders to the full extent of the law to make an example of them.
Gun-free zone helps criminalsTo the editor:
The Baker School Board and Superintendent Walt Wegener seem to have found a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist anywhere but in their own imagination.
I commend board member Kyle Knight for having common sense and a knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. I hope he runs for City Council and eventually even for a higher office. School Board member Mark Henderson is on the right track, but needs to stick to his guns (for lack of a better term).
The supposed problem that was reported to be at the root of the controversy was classified by the Police Department as a non-problem in one school. An irate parent happened to have a knife on his belt, and some teachers felt intimidated. I have a feeling they would have been intimidated anyway, but since there was a knife present, naturally there is a call for gun control! The fact that the knife was never an issue or a threat, doesn’t seem to matter.
The idea of a “gun-free zone” sounds great until you really think about it. When someone enters a school to bring violence to the people there, and the criminal knows without a doubt that an area is gun-free, they have every reason to believe their violent behavior will go unchecked. As much as we would hope city police officers could drop everything to respond to a problem at a school, they cannot be everywhere they are needed at a moment’s notice.
The Superintendent claims this new policy is aimed at stopping menacing, harassment, intimidation, bullying and assault. Those all sound like good things to remove from schools and life in general. Unfortunately, this gun control scheme is not the best way to go about it.
To disarm me and other law-abiding citizens who will never be a danger to society, because of a belief that a “gun-free zone” will protect anybody, ever, is beyond foolish; it’s criminal. It gives criminals a “resistance-free zone” and nothing else. It will not save any lives, but it might put some in danger.