Backcountry travelers need to know about avalanches
In response to the article about “Locals escape avalanche scare” that appeared in The Observer and Baker City Herald on Friday, Jan. 17:
Yes, they are lucky to be alive. I wasn’t there, but in reading the article the only training it suggested that the group had was many years of snowmobiling riding and that all were backcountry winter users.
All backcountry users need to attend avalanche awareness presentations, or Avalanche training Level I, II, or III courses which are given by many organizations.
These presentations and training provides the following information:
• Safe travel routes
• Snowpack evaluations
• Social habits and make up of groups
• Avalanche beacons and use
• Avalanche shovels and use
• Avalanche probe poles and use
• Shovel technique for rescue
• Self rescue in an avalanche
Each individual backcountry traveler, whether it is by snowmobile, backcountry skis or snowshoes, should carry beacons, shovels, and probe poles and have the training to know how to use them.
A backcountry traveler should be trained to identify the dangers of avalanche and how to self rescue and be safe. No matter how you travel in the backcountry in the winter you need the right equipment to take care of you and your partners.
There are many organizations that can provide avalanche training and awareness. A few of those organizations are American Avalanche Association, National Ski Patrol, and Wallowa Mountains Avalanche Center.
Please be safe when traveling in the backcountry. Remember, each individual in a backcountry party must have the training and proper equipment to rescue each other when an avalanche occurs.
Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol member, and Level II avalanche instructor
Letter writer questioned, didn’t condemn, homosexuals
In recent letters from Jay Boyd and then Gary Dielman about homosexuality, Mr. Dielman chastises Mrs. Boyd for writing that homosexuality is against natural law. Mr. Dielman continues that natural law is nowhere written down. There follows a long list of wonderfully gifted people who were homosexual and in his last paragraph writes that Mrs. Boyd should not condemn them with her natural law. From what I recall of Mrs. Boyd’s letter, she was saying homosexuals shouldn’t be surprised that people think homosexuality is unnatural. I could not conclude that Mrs. Boyd was condemning them or hating them. Since homosexuals are clamoring for normalcy, isn’t it a social question to be thought about by society in general?
It was Mr. Dielman’s use of the words “violate the Natural Law” in his beginning and the word “condemn” in the last paragraph that caught my attention. Mr. Dielman, are you asking me to conclude that gifted people have no faults — or if they do have faults, they are not to be held accountable for them because they are gifted? May we not examine whether homosexuality is natural? May we not think about the why of marriage in the first place as Pete Sundin’s letter of Jan. 13 so thoughtfully puts forth?
As to a written source for natural law, it is mentioned in Romans 1:27 in those instructions we call the Bible. There is a long list of faults. All end in death. It would be eternal death for all of us if Jesus hadn’t loved us before we repented — loved us to the point of satisfying justice by dying for us; at the same time making it a sin to hate any guilty person. Whether one accepts that as “truth” is another question.
Natural Law exists in the heart, not on a piece of paper
In a recent letter to the editor, I wrote that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law. Gary Dielman responded that he wonders where he can get a copy of that Natural Law. To clarify: the Natural Law is not a man-made document which we may photocopy and distribute. The Natural Law (not quite the same as the law of nature) is written in the human heart and mind. It explains why virtually all cultures have a moral code that essentially reflects the Ten Commandments.
The Natural Law says that objects have an intended purpose. For example, a kitchen table is intended to serve as a place on which to set food, plates, and utensils in order to enjoy a meal. If a person sits on the table, using it for a chair, the natural purpose of the table has been violated. No big deal: people sit on things intended for other purposes all the time. There are very few natural consequences for this “violation” of Natural Law.
It’s a bigger deal when the Natural Law is violated with regard to the human body and human interaction. The human stomach is meant to digest particular types of food; ingesting steel ball bearings violates the natural purpose of the stomach, and the consequences will be felt in an unpleasant way. Similarly, human reproductive organs have a specific purpose, and we all know what that purpose is. Violating the end purpose of the human sexual parts and the human sexual act is a violation of the Natural Law. The homosexualist agenda would like us to believe there are no significant physical consequences, but that is simply not the case. Homosexual acts between men eventually lead to some very serious physical health problems that are not discussed in any pro-homosexual lifestyle propaganda, and which are generally not considered by “straight” people. Space does not allow me to address them here. Nevertheless, these serious problems do exist, and are evidence that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law.
Want a copy of the Natural Law? Look into your heart, think critically, and use your common sense..
Marriage not necessary for homosexuals’ legal rights
Advocates of homosexual marriage present the issue as a matter of civil rights. This is misleading. Marriage is not a right granted by the government; it is an institution found in cultures all over the world and throughout history. For the most part, marriage has been understood as a man and a woman binding their lives together in a lifelong union, creating a home in which they will raise the children which they jointly produce. Some cultures allow other forms of marriage, most commonly polygamy, but the traditional form of marriage is by far the most common.
One reason for the universality of traditional marriage is that it provides the best environment for the raising of children. Other things being equal, children do best when they grow up with their biological mother and father. There are instances where this is not the case, but these are exceptions to the general rule.
Unfortunately, over the past few decades our society has increasingly shifted to an alternative form: marriage as an emotional attachment between two people, which lasts only as long as the attachment does. When that ends, so does the marriage, regardless of the consequences to the family which has been formed. The impact on our society from this alternative to traditional marriage has been far from good. Individuals have gained some freedom, but the children of divorce are deprived of the benefits of having both biological parents in their home, and so suffer.
Homosexual marriage takes us further down this road, for it is again an emotional attachment between two people, not the creation of a home where children are raised by both of their biological parents. It is a further weakening of the American family.
Homosexual couples have some valid concerns: hospital visitations, wills, insurance benefits, etc. But they share these concerns with other people who may be living together without a sexual connection, such as two sisters, or a mother and her son. These concerns may be met through appropriate legislation, rather than doing further violence to the institution of marriage as it has traditionally been understood.
Foes of homosexuality should mind their own business
In a recent letter to the editor, Jay Boyd insists that “homosexual acts violate the Natural Law.” But Boyd does not cite where one might find a copy of that law.
Well, if there were such a law, then following are some of the people that Boyd’s letter, by implication, accuses of being lawbreakers. The names are just a few selected from hundreds on an internet list, chronological by birth, of famous male homosexuals. (http://www.ranker.com/list/famous-gay-men-list-of-gay-men-throughout-history/)
Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, E. M. Forster, Cole Porter, Thornton Wilder, Noel Coward, Aaron Copland, Vladimir Horowitz, John Gielgud, Christian Dior, Laurence Olivier, Cesar Romero, Tennessee Williams, Alec Guinness, Leonard Bernstein, Montgomery Clift, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Rock Hudson, Andy Warhol, Edward Albee, Stephen Sondheim, James Dean, Tab Hunter, Anthony Perkins, Richard Chamberlain, Van Cliburn, Johnny Mathis, Yves Saint-Laurent and Rudolf Nureyev.
My advice to Boyd and others who condemn homosexuality: Keep your noses out of other people’s bedrooms.
Oh, yes. I’d really like to see a copy of that Natural Law.
City, county should block marijuana dispensaries
Both the Baker City Council and Baker County Board of Commissioners are deliberating whether to allow “medical marijuana” dispensaries within city and/or county limits. I strongly encourage both bodies to exercise the authority they have under the law to prohibit the establishment of such businesses. Medical marijuana, perhaps well-intended when it was initiated in this state, has proven to be greatly abused. Medical experts estimate that less than 2,000 people in Oregon legitimately suffer the ailments the law was designed to address by providing pain relief through marijuana use.
As opposed to the several thousand who may have a real and legally permitted need for marijuana there are over 27,000 people in this state who currently hold medical marijuana cards. Even some medical professionals who support the limited need for medical marijuana acknowledge it has evolved into a major scam. From my law enforcement experience elsewhere I can tell you that the quality of life in Baker City/County will deteriorate quickly if marijuana dispensaries are allowed to open. Those truly sick with a need for the drug already have ways to obtain it. They do not need a store front operation which attracts abusers for that purpose. The negative impacts on businesses and residences adjacent to such dispensaries will be great and our elected officials will rue the day if they are foolish enough to approve such “business” operations.
Gay activists demand acceptance, not tolerance
Whether you call Phil Robertson’s censure by A&E a “free speech” issue or a bad business decision, it’s important to note that it is the “gay-rights” group GLAAD who is behind it, pushing their own agenda. But most people recognize that Robertson is being censored and bullied in a way homosexualists themselves object to, simply for saying something that is recognized as truth by a large majority of the citizens of this country.
Continue to close your eyes to the homosexualist political agenda if you wish, but the fact is that “gay rights” issues are not about tolerance; they are about forcing people to not only tolerate, but to fully accept the “legitimacy” of the homosexual lifestyle to the point where no one is allowed to speak against this disordered lifestyle.
The “gay rights” agenda is not about ending discrimination against same-sex couples; it’s about “normalizing” homosexual behavior – ignoring the fact that homosexual acts violate the Natural Law, are physiologically unhealthy, and they are correlated with a number of socio-emotional problems! “Hate speech” laws are one way to accomplish this “normalization”; censoring a celebrity for speaking against homosexual behavior is another. Another tactic – being pursued in Canada – is to forbid homeschooling parents to teach their children that homosexual acts are immoral; for public school children there has been pro-“gay” agenda at work in the schools for years. And recently, in California, “gay conversion therapy” was banned, so that parents may not seek treatment for their sexually disordered children. We are also beginning to see the courts rule against private businesses, such as the bakery owner who declined to accept a wedding cake order from a homosexual couple.
Whether you call the Robertson imbroglio a “free speech” violation or a bad business decision, the ultimate goal is to make it illegal to say (or even think!) that homosexual behavior is immoral, unhealthy, or disordered. The blatant propaganda that promotes the homosexual lifestyle is full of lies, and is damaging to the very fabric of society.
Ban smoking? How about no traffic fumes, either
Let’s keep all traffic, especially diesel, from around parks, it is proven to cause death if too much inhaled. Hell, let’s make it illegal in all of town.
Makes as much since as no smoking in parks. Same as violation of Second Amendment rights. Not privileges. I’m an ex-smoker, hoping for intelligent life in this town that I was born in.
Cancer survivor urges support for St. Luke’s van
As a cancer survivor who depended on and appreciated the St. Luke’s van last winter, I am writing this letter to encourage others who have utilized the van to write letters of support and gratitude to St. Luke’s. It’s up to us to keep the van running. I don’t believe I could have survived seven months of treatment — some of it going to Fruitland every day for weeks — without the van. Each of you that I had the privilege of riding with became true blessings to me and I know we helped each other through those challenging times of treatment. Wasn’t the van our bubble of support and peace? Please take a minute and send your thoughts to:
Mark Parkinson, administrator
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
And don’t forget to put in a good wood for our driver, Don McClure. He’s a treasure!
Future cancer patients and their families will be ever grateful to you. Thank you all. Forever thankful.
Story behind Wallowa Co.’s 2nd Amendment ordinance
The 2nd Amendment Preservation Ordinance passed by Wallowa County on Dec. 16 was compiled by Leo Castillo of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon over the course of the last year; with help from attorneys, similar ordinances around the nation, and input from organizations such as the Second Amendment Foundation.
The concerns expressed by Wallowa County legal counsel were forwarded for comment to a constitutional attorney who has been working with us. His response was received on the morning of the 16th. Its contents were considered, added, reviewed and the final product printed just prior to the meeting that evening.
Comments of this attorney were read aloud with the changes that had been made to the ordinance. Copies were given to each of the commissioners.
It was this version of the ordinance in its entirety that the commissioners passed. They did so with the approval of those present. The statement in the Dec. 18 story of the Baker City Herald on page 5A that states “Castillo’s version differed from the version that was ultimately passed” is not true.
Wallowa County legal counsel and the Goldwater Institute attorney had similar suggestions regarding the “religious” sounding part of the ordinance, and Chad Nash from Stewards of the Wallowas had a brilliant suggestion: citing our Declaration of Independence instead, which mentions our Creator in the same context as the ordinance. We applied it.
Wallowa County’s legal counsel did her job in giving her professional opinion to the commissioners regarding the ordinance. The commissioners were not “dragging their feet” at all in the matter, but were committed to passing an ordinance that could survive the test of time, and uphold our common heritage, which is where the real victory is.
Wallowa County citizens and elected officials should be commended. I believe the general spirit should be one of gratitude; a fine example of what unity and courage can produce.
My partner and co-founder of Lightmasters of Eastern Oregon is deathly ill and in the hospital. His name is Mike. He has worked tirelessly on the webpage for the last year. Please keep him in your prayers.
Christmas event outgrows Rachel Center
The Rachel Pregnancy Cancer would like to thank everyone who volunteered or provided items for the annual Christmas Extravaganza at the old Blockbuster building in Baker City. We’d also like to thank the Hinsdale family for donating use of their building.
The success of this event over the years has allowed us to help many families fulfill their Christmas wishes. Community donations of toys, clothing and other items have continued to grow year after year. Our dedicated group of volunteer organizers and the helpers who process donations, set up and run the event are to be especially commended. God bless you all.
Growth, however, is a double-edged sword. This event has outgrown the abilities of the Rachel Pregnancy Center. As a small nonprofit dedicated to preventing abortions through Christian counseling and day-to-day support of families in our community, we find that the Christmas event, by virtue of its success, has begun to impede our primary focus.
We are looking for a community organization or private group to continue to improve this popular event in the years to come. The Rachel Center will provide support in this transition, offering contacts and organizational advice, and forwarding donated items to “seed” next year’s event.
Interested parties can contact me at the Rachel Pregnancy Center at 541-523-5357 for more information.
Director, Rachel Center
Park smoking ban not smart or fair
Latest survey says over 64 percent of people over 21 years old smoke. We pay taxes to support our parks, and banning the majority of people is not smart or fair. Move a few tables to the corners and a few “butt” cans for those who smoke. Guys chew tobacco and spit, people cough and sneeze and dogs peeing and poopin’. We (you) haven’t ousted them, yet.
And, I want all the money the city has taken from me, approximately $400 over the years, so I can buy more medical insurance to pay the hospital or for my cremation when I fall. You printed a picture last year of one of the worse sidewalks, and nothing has been done to fix it.
We the people voted the city council members in because we thought they would do the right thing for all of us. We have the power to vote them out, too.
P.S. Dear Santa: Please give our council the brains and common sense to work for all of us. Yes, I’ve been good!
President doesn’t make laws; that’s Congress’ job
Just read the letter in today’s paper from Pete Sundin. Two things struck me. Mr Sundin, the president and his “administration” do not make laws. Congress makes laws. The president either signs the congressional bills into law or vetoes them. That is his only power re: laws.
The second thing is business owners are not being forced to provide birth control to their employees; they are being told to provide insurance or get into one of the state exchanges and thus choose the insurance they want. Which part of that insurance the employees choose is none of anyone’s business. It’s really quite simple; please don’t make it any harder for yourself.
Early learning helps ease income inequality
We owe it to our community to expand early childhood education and offer it to all our children. Mack Augenfeld’s op-ed of Dec. 4 offered a persuasive argument, telling us of the great value of preschool and full-time kindergarten for those who can afford it. He said, “Early childhood is the most critical period to enhance an individual’s cognitive and social development.”
That very same day, President Barack Obama echoed those thoughts during a major speech on economic inequality in our country, including a road map for “making sure our economy works for every working American.” (His speech is available at whitehouse.gov.)
Obama argued: “The gap in test scores between poor kids and wealthy kids is now nearly twice what it is between white kids and black kids ... We should make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. We know that kids in these programs grow up likelier to get more education, earn higher wages, form more stable families of their own. It starts a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one. And we should invest in that. We should give all of our children that chance.”
For background, President Obama described our loss of good-paying jobs over the past 35 years, due to automation, off-shoring, and union-busting, and told how this has led to a lack of opportunity that is bad for our economy and our democracy. And then, “As a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthiest, while investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed to wither.” Many of us became much poorer.
I can imagine how parents who are working long hours for low wages would have little time for enriching their children’s early learning.
I say to all those wishing to strengthen our community that we should work together to reverse the rising inequality of wealth, to bolster family incomes, and to provide greatly enhanced early childhood education and early learning hubs. These would be vital steps toward better educational outcomes and attracting, supporting, and retaining healthy, young families right here in Baker County.
Where do leaders stand on the Second Amendment?
I was surprised to read Tim Kerns’ comments on the Second Amendment. You would think that after close association with Republicans over the years Kerns would be immune to Democratic talking points. It even seems like the Feinstein flu has even spread over to the Unity country. Mr. Bennett seems to be infected.
Whenever the Second Amendment and hunting are mentioned in the same paragraph you know the speaker has been bitten by the banning bug. Recovery is a long process usually involving trying to find the words “hunting,” “musket,” “National Guard,” “police,” “military type weapon,” “assault weapon,” “permit,” “England,” “Australia” or “gun deaths” in the Second Amendment.
If treatment is successful the patient can come to understand that the Second Amendment is about a barrier to tyranny. The reason the “people” are to remain armed with weapons as good as the military and police is because the military and police have them. The Founders did not trust power. They didn’t want a standing army because the military has been a traditional gateway to tyranny. Therefore they had a civilian commander in chief. They had a Bill of Rights and written Constitution and a Supreme Court sworn to uphold the Constitution as are all public servants, even though a good percentage have forgotten that.
The great paradox is this: There is no reason to be a “well-armed militia” until the government tells you that you can’t be “well armed.” When it does you know that you are on the road to tyranny and you need to start buying ammunition. It is important to know where our leaders stand. They need to lead, not put a finger into the wind and see “where the constituents stand” because many of those “constituents” lie dead in a thousand cemeteries around the world. The county commission opens meeting with a pledge of allegiance to the flag and Constitution. I think maybe they should reflect on those words.
There will be elections next year. Ask all candidates for a clear and concise statement as to their views on the Second Amendment. Elect the right people. Ballots are preferable to bullets.
Mason Dam fish mitigation a form of blackmail
Mason Dam was never intended to have a fish ladder. One of the problems, if one was put in, is that it would only be used during the irrigation period as this was and still is the main purpose of the dam. The irrigation period lasts about five months. There are no anadromous fish runs in the Powder River.
To make Baker County hold to the ODFW proposal to waive fish passage at the dam for placing culverts at McCully Fork and Silver Creek, which are above Mason Dam is going to cost the taxpayers of Baker County thousands of dollars; even though the county proposed using their own equipment for these projects to try and save money.
If ODFW wants these fish passages upstream improved, they should get money through grants or fishing licenses and not make Baker County taxpayers pay for it. Since the fish passage through Mason Dam would be non-effective anyway. Also, after all this is done, based on how agencies work, the county would then go through the Environmental Impact Statement process, which involves every agency in the country to have a say.
The USFW, ODFW, EPA, DSL, DEQ, USFA, BLM, environmentalists and the tribes and who knows what others will put in their two cents’ worth; what’s going to happen is delay, delay and delay for just a simple little generator in Mason Dam that will only run for about five months a year. We do not need any mitigation proposals; it is just a form of blackmail, and only the taxpayers of Baker County will suffer by paying the bill.
We should be saying no to fish passage at Mason Dam as not necessary and no to the ODFW proposal to require mitigating enhancement of streams upstream of the dam instead. We are talking about a dam that does not allow fish passage now. There is no changing of the basic operation of the dam, just the addition of making power during the time of irrigation (a source of clean energy to be sold to the power grid).
Tiedemann’s golf course plan the right approach for city
I read with interest the Baker City Herald editorial dated Dec. 4 and letters to the editor dated Dec. 6 referencing Quail Ridge Golf Course (QRGC). Clearly, there are some facts not known to the writers.
Mr. Tiedemann did not propose an entrepreneurial approach to managing QRGC. His proposal is designed to provide a business plan, a disciplined budgetary process, a board of directors and financial transparency to the city. This is entirely new regarding the golf course.
Tiedemann’s 2014 budget does not include the course being “subsidized” by the city with the exception of the annual “debt retirement” for construction of the back nine. The decision of debt commitment was made some 15 years ago and is a long-term debt of the city. Unless revenues fall short of 2012 totals and historical expense reporting is grossly understated, there should be no city subsidy required beyond the long-term debt commitment.
The proposal includes a $75,000 management fee for Tiedemann not a guaranteed “profit.” There is no upside for Tiedemann above this fee; in fact there is a provision in place to protect Baker City. That provision deducts $10,000 from Tiedemann’s fee if the course operates below a board-approved annual budget.
The proposal provides that all net income or “profit” from the course be reinvested in QRGC through a capital improvement fund that will be administered by the board.
Prior operators of QRGC, whether city employees or contractors, were compensated for their management.
Without funding from the general fund, Baker City would have a far different looking park system, cemetery, pathway system, streets, airport, swimming pool, golf course, ambulances and police vehicles. All have required general fund dollars.
The reason only one proposal was submitted to Baker City for operating QRGC is the historical approach to managing the course. Tiedemann’s business model will provide full transparency and an opportunity to move toward forming a nonprofit entity similar to Anthony Lakes should Baker City decide at the conclusion of Tiedemann’s three-year contract. As well as a “continued positive economic impact” for Baker City.
It’s time to try a new approach.