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Letters to the Editor for Dec. 27, 2013

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.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 24, 2013

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.

Jay Boyd

Baker City

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.

Carl Koontz

Baker City

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

MSTI Administration

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.

Carla Anderson

Baker City

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.

Leo Castillo

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 23, 2013

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.

Alberta Darlington

Director, Rachel Center

Baker City

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!

Shirley Schurman

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 13, 2013

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.

Iva Mace

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 11, 2013

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.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

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.

Steve Culley


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).

Edwin Hardt

Guy Michael

Baker City

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.

Randy Daugherty

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 6, 2013

Don’t use tax dollars to subsidize golf course

 I would like to congratulate the editorial board for Wednesday’s editorial. I agree with you 100 percent that the city shouldn’t use general fund dollars to subsidize the golf course. I cannot visualize any circumstances that would require the use of public tax dollars to subsidize a private business by giving Mr. Tiedemann a guaranteed amount of profit. If our city manager Mr. Kee agrees to the terms Mr. Tiedemann is requesting then I would make a further request of Mr. Kee.

I as a former business owner in Baker City have been approached many times by good citizens to have my wife and myself open another restaurant. This is expensive to do, but if the city adopts the new policy as requested by Mr. Tiedemann, then I want the following:

1. The city to purchase a vacant building downtown for my new restaurant.

2. To fully equip the property with all new equipment (stoves, refrigeration, tables and chairs etc.)

3. Do not charge me any rent.

4. Guarantee me $75,000 income per year. Of course I have no incentive to ever show a profit higher than that, otherwise the city may want me to start paying rent, should I do such a foolish thing.

Now I know this sounds ridiculous, but in all honesty this is what Mr. Tiedemann is asking the city to do for him.

I worked at the golf course for five years under the Seven-Iron ownership. My job was to take money for memberships, equipment and fees for playing by non-members. I can guarantee you there is enough income generated at the golf course for any competent businessman to make a living. If Mr. Tiedemann feels he needs a guarantee by the city, then perhaps he should think of another venture. I don’t want my tax dollars subsidizing a private business.

Bill Ward

Baker City

Golf course proposal is best one for the city

At least when I write a letter to the editor, I have to give my name and address.

If the “editor” had attended any meetings, the “editor” might have an educated idea of where Mr. Tiedemann was trying to steer the golf course.

If Mr. Tiedemann would not have put in a proposal, the city would have had to come up with some way to keep this operation going and bringing people to the area to spend money in our “little city.”

In Mr. Tiedemann’s proposal, he wants to run the golf course and make it make a profit — he is not in this to get rich.

His proposal was to pattern the city golf course after the Anthony Lakes program and within the next three years, make this a nonprofit organization and turn it over to a board of directors to run.

The city really didn’t have many options. They could accept Mr. Tiedemann’s proposal or they could run the golf course themselves. They would still have to purchase equipment, as all the equipment at the golf course belongs to Seven Iron

I was in attendance at both of the meetings in which Mr. Tiedemann outlined his proposal, and of the 7-person board that reviewed the proposal and voted 7 to nothing in favor of accepting the proposal to send to the city council. At the city council meeting, it was moved and seconded and voted on by 6 members of the council and they were all in favor. If you have lived here for any length of time maybe you can remember the last time the city council voted unanimously on anything, I can’t.

The one paragraph that really sticks in my craw is that Mr. Kee should hammer out a contract with Mr. Tiedemann that takes the risk off of the city and puts it on Mr. Tiedemann’s shoulders. I think we should go back and look at who owns the golf course, it is a city entity. 

I believe that Mr. Tiedemann’s proposal was very much in order and I know how much homework he did before making that proposal.

Larry Smith

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 4, 2013

Preschool should be voluntary

With reference to Suzan Ellis Jones’ recent letter, I agree that establishing Early Learning Hubs in Baker is undesirable. As one of the few registered Libertarians around, I consider education — as well as healthcare — part of a belief system (religion) and as such protected under the First Amendment from federal intrusion. I consider compulsory education basically wrong. On the other hand, as someone once involved in founding a Montessori preschool when the concept was new in America and who is currently helping to send his grandchildren through preschool, I would like to promote the concept of modern preschool education which is voluntary and under parental direction.

Professional preschool education for children between the ages of 2 and 5 largely developed from the theories of European psychologists, particularly Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori. The general idea is:

1. Preschool children go through stages in development that vary widely in individual cases but follow in sequence, and are best addressed in a mixed age classroom;

2. Education is an active process in which the child is playing and adults are there to help them by providing play materials and options;

3. That there are two kinds of learning going on, social and individual:

• On the social side, language and morality is learned naturally through interaction, rather than by what we may try to instill

• On the individual side, while children cannot be taught abstract math and science directly at first, they are prepared for later learning through practicing motor skills encouraged by special learning materials provided

4. That early childhood is the most critical period to enhance an individual’s cognitive and social development.

What is happening now, for those who are fortunate to be able to afford it, is that these concepts are leading, seamlessly, into grade school and even high school education, usually under the rubric “Montessori.” 

The individual is driving his own education in his own direction after getting an early start. I think it more that anecdotal that the CEO’s of Google and Amazon.com received a Montessori education and didn’t feel the need to get a college degree. I also think that professional preschool facilities are largely lacking in Baker, and perhaps the county commissioners didn’t want to look a $50,000 gift horse in the mouth. 

The important thing is making preschool education based on the principles outlined above a priority in the overall budget. Full-day kindergarten can also be a vital step in that direction. 

Those who want to opt out of such programs for their children should be eligible for reimbursement or vouchers, to keep it entirely voluntary.

R. Mack Augenfeld is a Baker City resident. 


Early learning hubs all about feds supplanting parents

A notorious local liberal boasted in a recent letter to the editor that in “just a few minutes” he researched and rebutted the Oregon Republican Party’s stance on early learning by clicking just one link online. I’m not sure I’d brag about that. 

By contrast, the Baker County Republicans drafted and overwhelmingly voted for a resolution to join in the fight against early learning hubs, not on a whim, but after extensive research that included information from our State Attorney General, Rep. Cliff Bentz and other elected officials.

Early learning proponents don’t want parents to realize these hubs are Obamacare-spawned and designed as part of an enormous federal sweep to “bridge the gap between healthcare and education.” These hubs are far from innocuous one-stop-shops to help cut through government red tape, as seems to be the liberal talking point.

Hidden inside the “Affordable” Care Act is funding for these hubs. Obama wants several in every state. Funds are laundered through multiple agencies until their origin is obscured, but as with all federal dollars, these come with nasty strings attached, including the government “targeting all children” and visiting your home to analyze your child’s educational well-being. They include recommended hub placement of all children at infancy, and adherence to teaching methods for which parents and local instructors have little input, much like the big-government disaster that is Common Core. As for the money, the potential $50,000 grant wouldn’t even be managed in Baker County! And, the feds would have control of the thousands of match-funding tax dollars we’d be required to cough up locally.

I could list all the laws and departments that parents should research, but they’re too numerous to fit in this letter. Parents can go to www.BakerCountyRepublicans.com. In the news section, there is a full flow chart showing how everything ties together to make these hubs happen. Bigger government and increased socialism have no place inside our family units. It’s high time parents and our county commissioners not only “balked,” but fought hard, because the local hub issue is far from over.

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Nov. 27, 2013

Early Learning Hub warnings a scare tactic

In reading Suzan Ellis Jones’ guest opinion in local newspapers last week, I’m reminded of the fairy tale that includes the warning, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”  So, what is the impending calamity?  Our children, Jones claims, are about to be ruined by Early Learning Hubs. 

It would be “irresponsible,” writes Jones, “to sell out our babies for a $50,000 grant” that would subject the little children to state interference “from birth to kindergarten.” Somewhere she read — she doesn’t say where — that early involvement has had a negative effect on kiddies’ lives in Russia, China, Germany, Austria, and Cuba. “Talk to anyone who experienced early learning in these countries and they will tell you it changed the family unit.” Yet Jones quotes not one person she’s talked to.

Jones boasts that the Baker County Republican Central Committee, of which she is chairperson, has “researched this issue for months.” 

Well, it took me just a few minutes online to discover that Oregon’s Compulsory School Attendance law does not require school attendance of any child under the age of eight (ORS 339.010). So, even if Baker County had an Early Learning Hub offering free services to children from birth to kindergarten, the state has no authority to require parents to use the services.  Even kindergarten attendance is not mandatory in Oregon.

Jones will say her committee already knows all that, but shouts out another “the sky is falling” warning. Obama wants to make ELH’s “mandatory.” Yet she cites not one authority for that statement.

Nor does Jones tell the reader anything about the services ELH’s would provide. Nevertheless, she admonishes that ELH’s would “interfere with the bonding of the child with their (sic) family,” which would screw up “family custom and culture.” That scare tactic was used years ago by opponents of kindergartens. Well, we all know how empty that “sky is falling” warning was. In School District 5J, which offers non-compulsory kindergarten, there is almost 100 percent voluntary participation on the part of families with kindergarten-age children.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

A president’s death, and an uncertain future

Thank you for the commemorative issue on Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Surprisingly, I read very little of it, since I was a college sophomore at the time, and don’t recall that 1963 date so much as an event but rather as part of an era.

My generation was the one where grade and middle schoolers were exposed to the “duck and cover” ads as a means of surviving a nuclear attack. We witnessed, via TV, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the table at the UN and announcing that “We will bury you!” We saw the much touted American Vanguard missile, set to launch the first artificial satellite into orbit topple over on its launch pad, and a little later watched the Soviet Sputnik orbit high above our heads.

Then Kennedy defeated Nixon, everything seemed brighter and the world loved our First Lady.

The Bay of Pigs. The Cuban Missile Crisis. Strange news and unfamiliar names showing up on newspaper front pages.  Names like Madame Nhu, Viet Cong, Hanoi, Saigon.

We young college men, all of draft age, grew increasingly nervous. Loveless marriages were entered to avoid the draft.  The draft was universal back then and unless we were missing an arm or a leg and could prove it to the draft board,  or get a deferment, we would soon be marching, saluting and...dying.

Against this backdrop came Nov. 22, 1963. The first rumor I heard was that Bobby and Jackie Kennedy had been shot, but the truth finally emerged.  The president was dead.

Classrooms sat empty that afternoon and the next day’s finals cancelled.  It was standing room only in places with a television as we sorted through the seemingly unending reports from Cronkite, Rather, Huntley and Brinkley, and many more. We watched the funeral parade, witnessed the quiet dignity of Mrs. Kennedy, smiled at John-John’s salute to his father, as we fought back our tears.

We had a new president now, and we braced ourselves for a future we had not before envisioned.

John Sublett

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 20, 2013

Early Learning Hubs: County, newspaper downplay threat 

The Baker City Herald’s editorial board has made the same mistake as Commissioner Fred Warner in thinking Early Learning Hubs (ELH) are a repackaged program with a new name and more money. They are not. These hubs do not replace existing services, nor do they replace the funds needed to run existing services. ELHs are a brand new layer of educational bureaucracy.

But then, the distribution of false information is how these hubs were sold to Commissioners Warner, Kerns and Stiff last March.

To set the record straight and correct Friday’s misguided opinion piece:

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 15, 2013

Don’t want health clinic in a grocery store

Upon reading the article in Monday’s paper that St. Alphonsus is opening an Express Care clinic within an Albertson’s supermarket, I feel this is the most ridiculous action that the store could have taken. They are inviting people that are sick with contagious conditions to enter the supermarket through the main entrance, and make their way through customers to get to this clinic. If that’s not enough, in the clinic if the patient has a wait to see the physician they are going to issue them a pager to do shopping while waiting.

Now I’m not naive enough to believe that there aren’t ill people in the grocery stores every day, but to invite them in to be treated for such conditions as the flu, strep throat, sore throat, lice, cold sores and many other contagious conditions. And then encourage them to shop while waiting to be examined, handling groceries, produce, meat, baked goods and other consumables that the public is expected to purchase, take home and feed to their families, is wrong.

In this day of MRSA and other such highly contagious conditions that are hard to treat, it’s bad enough having accidental exposure at medical facilities without having intentional exposure at the grocery store. I see this as nothing more than St. Alphonsus attempting to expose the whole community to contagious conditions as a means of increasing its revenues.

Therefore my family and I will no longer shop at Albertsons, intentionally exposing ourselves to every communicable disease that comes along through the purchase of intentionally contaminated grocery items.

This would have been a better situation if the store had installed an isolated entrance and exit to this clinic thus minimizing the number of contagious patients entering the grocery area and handling groceries.

Bruce Morrison

Baker City

Worried about putting more sick people in enclosed space

While I laud the reason for a clinic in Albertson’s I don’t like the practicality of it. I have a strong background in public health and the thought of pulling more folks into the store who are there only because of illness is a dangerous and potentially hazardous practice. I realize we meet up with ill folks all over the city and in any travels we may take, but this will be a purposeful increase in an enclosed space AND they will be given coupons so they may shop in “my space” while they wait to be seen.

Yes we meet them in clinics too but we are usually in a clinic because we too are ill. That may be great for Albertson’s but not so great for my health. I will shop at Safeway. 

Iva Mace

Baker City

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