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Letters to the Editor for March 15, 2013

A bicyclist who likes streets the way they are

I agree with Judy Stultz’s letter to the editor. Leave Broadway and Tenth streets four lane.

Bicycle lanes are not needed. This is not a metropolis requiring special accommodations for bicycles. If fact, biking on Baker’s side streets, which have virtually no traffic, is much safer than joining the busy flow of traffic on Broadway and Tenth. 

As Stultz points out, cars have to cross bike lanes to turn right. Portland’s experiences with cars striking bicyclists while turning right should warn us against creating more opportunities for dangerous turns. 

I ride my bicycle a lot in good weather, which is only about half the year. I have no trouble getting around town safely.  

Why spend money to change what ain’t broke?

One more point. Visitors to Baker City love our wide streets. Bicycle lanes and angle parking — proposed for Main and Resort streets — are no improvement over the visionary planning of our town’s founding fathers 150 years ago.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Remembering Easter sunrise services past

 Easter sunrise services are a tradition in Baker City.  Citizens of all denominations gather at specified location early Easter morning, to await the sun’s rising in the eastern sky.  The significance symbolizes Christ’s rising from the grave.  

I’m reminded of a former Easter sunrise gathering years ago, held at Geiser Park. The service was most impressive, as local vocalist LaJeanne (Carpenter) Everson presented a solo from the stage of the Bandshell.  The song she chose was  “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,” an apropos selection for the occasion.  

Another year,  the Easter sunrise service was held at the city reservoir. Former teacher Myrtle Lee led the gathering, with renditions from her accordion. 

A memorable Easter sunrise service, 1967,  was held at Mount Hope Cemetery. Many youth attended that gathering. Springtime rain had dampened the ground . Mud clung willingly to the shoes of attendees, especially to high heel shoes worn by teenage girls. 

 This year’s March 31 Easter sunrise services are scheduled at 6 a.m. at Flagstaff Hill, in the stadium area of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Everyone is welcome.   

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Mirror could be simple solution for Dewey-Myrtle

I have lived on Myrtle Street for 35 years. We raised our family there. I use the Myrtle  to Dewey passage almost every day. 

When I first moved there, I had a conversation with the city about the Myrtle-Dewey intersection. My suggestion at that time was to mount (so it would be visible from the stop sign at Myrtle) a non-glass, convex mirror on the west side of the underpass (there is a guardrail there that could be used for mounting) so that drivers could see Dewey traffic coming from the south. This would make the right turn onto Dewey much safer for both drivers exiting Myrtle and north-bound traffic on Dewey.

At that time I was told that Dewey was a state highway and the city could do nothing about my suggestion. The intersection was closed to foot traffic — the foot bridge was to be used — and no left hand turns were permitted.

Maybe it’s time to involve the state to see if such a convex mirror could be installed.

 It seems like such a simple solution as opposed to an expensive construction project that limits the flow of travel on Myrtle Street.

Carol Martin

Baker City

Higher taxes are needed on wealthiest 1 percent

The Community Comment in the Herald on March 11 deserves our close attention and skillful response. It’s a remarkable letter signed by 28 Oregon mayors, from Haines to Portland, pleading for additional school funding to preserve our communities. They call the current funding a “standing crisis,” and they say, “Enough!”

What would our skillful response look like? It would recognize that this is a national problem, and it would most certainly include higher taxes for the 1 percent most wealthy Americans. 

This elite group is now taking home about 24 percent of our total income, almost triple the level of 30 years ago, and they now possess 40 percent of our total wealth.  (The YouTube video titled “Wealth Inequality in America” offers important details.)

How did this happen? Primarily because off-shoring jobs, computer and robotic automation, and union-busting have greatly reduced the number of good-paying jobs, and allowed increased profits to flow to the few in control. And the wealthy have been able to unduly influence the political system, so they pay low taxes and are less and less regulated, as exemplified by the just-released Ryan House Republican budget which cuts the top marginal tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent.

How would we accomplish meaningful reform? A significant shift in how some view our government would be a big help.  An accompanying letter to the editor on March 11 reveals the anti-government paranoia that cripples our political debate, referring to higher taxes as leading to increased “government control.” During Rep. Greg Walden’s visit to Baker City in February, he seemed apologetic for his “fiscal cliff” vote for a (modest) rise in income taxes for the well-to-do. And he also advocated additional spending cuts, since “we’re broke.” Not so! Trillions of dollars are available.

Our middle class has been drained of resources. We must see through the smokescreen of fear and misinformation that unnecessarily and unjustifiably protects spectacular wealth. And we must follow the lead of the Oregon mayors and come together to preserve and enhance our community’s vital infrastructure.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 13, 2013

Small car drivers a casualty of global warming war

An insurance company has been running commercials showing several cars getting crunched one way or another. The most dramatic of these is of a small white car parked between two trucks; the truck in front begins to back up, and the little car buckles and crumples as if it were made of cardboard, not steel. My first thought was that anyone buying one of those bitty cars should be required to watch a video of that commercial, as they will need to become extra cautious drivers since their vehicle will give them virtually no protection during a collision.

But one of those tiny cars may become a part of your future. The federal government has mandated that in a few years, the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency for auto makers will rise to 55 mpg. Auto manufacturers will only meet that standard when most Americans are driving tiny little cars like the one in the commercial.

The trouble is that small cars are inherently less safe than larger ones are. A few years ago, a Harvard University study showed that in the United States, around 2,000 small car passengers die each year in collisions who probably would have survived had they been riding in a standard sized automobile. That’s a population the size of Baker City’s wiped out every five years.

 Now that is a statistic you don’t see bandied about much. Environmentalists don’t like to admit that one of their pet projects is getting people killed. They won’t tell you that when you buy a small, “fuel-efficient” car, you are volunteering to become a casualty in the war on global warming. If you don’t believe this is so, just watch the commercial and picture yourself in that little white car as it is being crushed between those two trucks. 

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Back bill requiring health insurance comparison study

Our health care system is broken. We all know individuals and families without adequate health insurance, and without adequate health care. How can we provide health care to everyone at a cost we can afford?

House Bill 3260 would require the Oregon Health Authority to conduct a study comparing the costs of providing health care to all Oregonians under (1) the existing system; (2) a single payer insurance system; (3) a combination of patient chosen public and private health insurance; and (4) one or more additional options designed by the researchers. The first hearing on this bill is scheduled for April 5.

You can find the actual language of the bill at: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/HB3260/

I urge everyone to contact their state legislators now. Ask them to support and vote for this bill. It’s easy to make contact using the state’s on-line tool: http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/

The state representative in District 60 is Rep. Cliff Bentz, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (503) 986-1460. The state senator in District 30 is Sen. Ted Ferrioli, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , (503) 986-1950.

Fuji Kreider

La Grande

Not all Oregon rivers are wild and scenic

Oregon is diverse so why put the same designation on even more waterways in our state to be “wild and scenic?” Stop Senate Bill 401! The folks that wrote the bill don’t  have a clue what’s on the ground for all the listed waterways covered under this bill, including the North Fork of the Burnt River in southwestern Baker County.

Don’t be ignorant and support a bill you don’t have a clue about. Worse yet, this is another underhanded attempt to stop federally authorized mining and regulate private land use in Oregon. 

For the North Fork, smaller tributaries add additional flow during normal years, yet late summer finds water flows have subsided considerably to show more river bed than water. 

This dried up rocky riverbed is visible driving along through the Wallowa-Whitman along the North Fork Burnt River Road (Whitney Road). This narrow and windy gravel road, maintained by Baker County, not the cash-strapped FS, is a mere 100 feet from the so-called “wild and scenic” river. 

Several dispersed campgrounds litter the forest for several miles along its timber shady length, inside the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These generations-old campsites provide a popular getaway from summer’s sweltering heat of the lower Treasure Valley as well as during fall’s deer and elk hunting seasons. The mentioned area is far from being a recreational mecca as the nearest public services are miles away.

As far as fish, there are no steelhead and salmon living in this river. The occasional bull trout and rainbow are safe. Suction dredging does not suck up eggs and smolt as Oregon DEQ already regulates this with season of use restrictions to mitigate such an occurrence.

If this bill does get so far as to pass the Senate and reach the House of Representatives’ agenda, please be wise enough to know what each river has to offer before slating them all as “wild and scenic” thus taking additional jobs from fellow Oregonians in a continued attempt to exclude mining, timber and range management on public lands as well as controlling those same uses on private lands.

Betty E. Duncan


We feel fortunate to have Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic

The Billie Ruth Bootsma Clinic at our local St. Alphonsus Hospital is a tremendous asset to the residents of Baker County and Eastern Oregon. It is a lovely, comforting, well-designed upscale facility. It is far nicer than some of the other clinics where we have been.

The staff is very professional and competent. They do everything possible to put their patients at ease. They have become our good friends.

The oncologist, Dr. Bronstein, comes once a week. He is also very professional and current in the new research and developments in the treatment of cancer and various health care problems. We feel very fortunate to have the Billie Ruth Clinic and its staff in Baker City.

John Burgess

Frances Burgess

Baker City

I won’t be intimidated by bullying tactics

Last December, 5J superintendent Wegener and board members Burroughs, Henderson and Bryan made quite a stink about wanting to sue me after the recall effort. They consulted an expensive attorney who, as I understand it, advised they would likely lose that suit. Her response should have stopped their childish vendetta. It didn’t.

Burroughs, who spent thousands during her anti-recall efforts, filed a civil complaint with the Secretary of State (SoS) questioning the few hundred dollars spent on the effort against her. The SoS’s staff spent hours handling her complaint. The only infraction found was a clerical error — a form was accidentally filed late.

Still unable to exact revenge, these folks took things another step. On Christmas Eve (yes, you read that right), the SoS received a criminal complaint against me signed by Burroughs’ personal friend and 5J Budget Committee member Rusty Munn. The purpose of a complaint under the law Munn cited is to persuade the SoS to turn a citizen over to the Attorney General for felony prosecution, which includes jail time if convicted. The SoS’s office was again forced by law to investigate over two months, spending countless staff hours and taxpayer dollars. As everyone remembers, Munn and Burroughs included “what’s best for the children” and “not wasting taxpayer money” as their objections to our recall effort. Yet attempting to throw the mother of two young children in jail and spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on a personal vendetta posed no apparent issue for them. I believe those 5J patrons who weren’t sure of the collective character of this group, will surely see it now.

Last week I received a letter from the SoS informing me they’d found no election law violation on my part, no evidence our ballot statement was false — and they consider the issue closed. They informed Munn they wouldn’t pursue his complaints further. If Munn and Burroughs believe their bully tactics will silence me or prevent other parents in the community from exercising their rights and holding 5J accountable, they’re wrong. I’m looking forward to the May election!

Kerry McQuisten

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 11, 2013

Sequester cuts pretense for raising taxes

Your March 6 editorial, “Exaggerated Fiscal Crisis,” was correct. The rather miniscule budget reductions resulting from sequester shouldn’t result in any decline in essential services.  Your position, however, is based upon logic and reason. The author of the sequester, it must be remembered, is Mr. Obama whose track record is anything but logical and reasonable. Instead, Obama operates based upon an agenda.

Sequestration, which leaked White House emails make clear are intended to inflict public pain, is but another opportunity to use a crisis (real or manufactured — in this case the latter) for political purposes. Obama’s agenda is to increase government control and to do so requires increased taxation.  The sequester is the crisis Obama hopes will create support for increased taxation.

For anyone who engages in a serious study of Obama, his philosophy, and his game plan a reading of the Little Red Book and the works of Alinsky are essential. God save our republic.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Don’t change Broadway and Tenth streets

Leave Broadway and Tenth streets as they are.

Where has common sense gone? In the current economy monies are tight and scarce. The existing funds could be better spent repairing city streets and state highways we already have.

Automobile drivers pay a gas tax to maintain our streets and highways — bicycles don’t pay that tax. We aren’t Portland, quit trying to copy them!

The only time there is an abundance of bicycles on the streets of Baker City is during the summer bicycle tours/rallies, when streets in Baker City are closed to everyone but those bicycles. Our weather in Baker City isn’t conducive to bicycle use year ’round.

Maybe they are trying to create turning lanes to hold those snow berms each winter!

Judy Stultz

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 8, 2013

Baker City puts on a great basketball tourney

Most recently, having enjoyed attending the 1A basketball championships in Baker City, I feel the urge to express my appreciation for the outstanding display of friendly, efficient and professional manner displayed by those responsible within your community, as well as those assisting in the tournament — such as the security personnel and volunteers.

The deputy that I had occasion to speak with is a credit to his profession and to your community. He knows who he is, and hopefully reads this letter.

Fully recognizing that it is easier to be so positive in this communication when my son, David, was able to lead the girls from Damascus Christian School to a state championship win with my two granddaughters, Val and Ana, playing on the team; I still truly express my thanks to your community for such a rewarding experience. 

Jim Wakefield


Baker County is on the motorcycling map

I am writing to express my thanks and appreciation to all the residents of Baker County and supporters of the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. Thank you for opening your homes to riders who need a place to stay. A friendly smile and place to rest. Baker City has been discovered. All over the USA, people are searching for adventure, discovery, and the real American experience. It’s right here. Baker County, Hells Canyon, the Geiser Grand Hotel, Main Street, Sumpter, Halfway, Elkhorn Mountains, Eagle Cap and the Oregon Trail.

I have to say it has not been easy, but it has been worthwhile, working to get this event recognized by the motorcycle community. Riders are discovering this great place. July 12, Baker City will take it’ place in American history as motorcyclists ride to the heart of America and find out what it’s all about. It’s a big deal. Veterans, Patriot Guard Riders, Christian Motorcyclist Association, and many more. We respect you. 

It’s an honor to be welcomed into one of the greatest places on earth.

Eric Folkestad

Camas, Wash.

Waterboarding will be used on Americans

Waterboarding prisoners has recently been discussed again because it was the subject in one of the movies up for one of the Academy Awards.  Some people think that it is torture and others think not. I think that it is torture and that it will not bring up any more information than a dose of sodium amytal before an interrogation.

The important fact is that the Americans apparently approve of waterboarding and so we can expect our enemies will feel free to waterboard any American they take as a prisoner.  They will feel free to torture them.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 1, 2013

Thanks to volunteers who work in Special Olympics

I would like to give a big shout out to all the folks that work with the special people from the Special Olympics in the winter sports program.

That includes my daughter, Stephanie Tweit, and her husband, Bryan. Bryan took this task on about 20 years ago and Stephanie joined the program about nine years ago. They spend tireless hours teaching on the Anthony Lakes slopes every Saturday for a couple of months and then join them and lead the skiers in the Special Olympics program called SOOR — Special Olympics Oregon — at Mount Bachelor in Bend every year.

One of their students, Jamie McClaughry, recently competed in South Korea and returned with two gold medals in cross-country and finished sixth overall, and is riding a high from his accomplishments.

Stephanie has since set up a table for him downtown and invited folks to participate in an autograph signing. Can’t you just feel his excitement?

This is all accomplished with donated money from businesses and individuals from all over Oregon and volunteer instructors like Bryan and Stephanie.

Hats off to the volunteers. Nice job.

Mel Cross

Baker City

Budget cuts will be costly to many Oregonians

The impact of sequestration on Oregon this year along will result in a loss of over $10 million in funding for our primary and secondary schools; loss of funds for the education of children with disabilities; less aid for work-study jobs which help students to finance the costs of college; loss of funding for protections of clean air and water; furloughs for Department of Defense employees and less funding for Oregon Army base operations; loss of Justice Assistance grants; loss of funding for job search assistance; lost access to child care assistance; reduced funding for child vaccines; loss of funds to help prevent and treat substance abuse and fewer HIV tests; loss of funds to provide services to victims of domestic violence; and, a loss of funds for providing meals to seniors.

And then there will be the years to come. It gets worse.

What are our representatives arguing about? It’s simple. The administration wants spending cuts (other than from Medicare and Social Security) and wants to increase revenue by closing tax loopholes that favor corporate America. That position is supported by a majority of Americans.

Rep. Greg Walden and his party want spending cuts only, including to Medicare and Social Security.

What do we want? Is Rep. Walden representing you and Oregon by doing what is best for our state, its residents, or is this all about politics?

Carolyn Hill


Letters to the Editor for Feb. 27, 2013

Now we know what’s killing all the honeybees

Now we know, at least, what is killing them. All across America honeybees are dying. They are down about 90 percent. And Albert Einstein, more famed for other things, several years ago said that when honeybees go extinct we will soon follow.

For a number of years their declining numbers remained a mystery. Viruses, fungal infections, pesticides and even signals from cell phone towers were investigated. All inconclusively. But now we know positively, and specifically. (In These Times magazine, March issue, has the article I cite here.)

It is neonicotinoid (neonics, for short) pesticides that are exterminating them and other primary pollinators. You would think this discovery, by means of which we can know how to save ourselves from extinction, might be front page news, but it isn’t.

These neonics, which are systemic pesticides chemically related to nicotine, are applied to seeds (of corn, sugar beets, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers and many other crops). Being systemic means the treated crops then carry the neonics not on, but in their pollen and nectar and, indeed, in every fiber of each plant. This neonic stuff is deadly poison to honeybees as well as other bugs. If it is so toxic to bugs it surely can’t be healthy for humans. And it’s in all the corn syrup and other corn products that we consume in almost all our store-bought food. Poisoned corn syrup sweetens all those soft drinks we drink instead of plain water. Could it be that our kids who have so many allergies these days are allergic not to the corn products but to the poison in the corn products?

One-hundred and forty-three million acres, in the U.S. alone, are planted with these treated seeds each year so it’s no wonder the bees are being exterminated. Germany, where the Bayer company which makes this stuff is located, prohibits its use there. And also France, which evidently appreciates what honeybees mean to us. But here in the USA the EPA, which was created to protect us, has granted an unconditional permit for its use here, and continues to vigorously defend its sale and use.

Dan Martin

Baker City

Let’s build on our local history, not erase it

Having read with interest the recent letters of Phyllis Badgley and Joyce Badgley Hunsaker, I want to add my voice of support to their voices of concern regarding the proposed name change of our airport.

Our first/early settlers and businesspeople in this valley continue to be due the honor and respect of having their names not removed, but remembered and even taught in local history classes. Time should not diminish their memory and contributions. History is to be built upon, not replaced.

The Baldock Slough is named for my great-grand-grandfather, William Henry Baldock. Though the Baldock name has died out, there are hundreds of us who live and work here still, who are direct descendants of those brave, sacrificing, and original homesteaders. Their legacy lives on, and their contribution continues to filter into our lives yet today, 150 years later.

Campbell Street is named for my great-great-great-uncle, John Jackson Campbell. There was a move several years ago to rename Campbell Street to Adler Boulevard. I will forever be grateful to the late Baker City historian, Pearl Jones, for her wise, strong and successful intervention to save the name of Campbell Street.

Remembering is important. Let’s not erase the past to honor the present. There are many other options.

Linda Wunder Wall

Baker City

Why did GOP senators vote against this bill?

In the recent vote on U.S. Senate Bill 1925, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the bill passed 68-31. Some 14 Republican senators joined the Democratic senators to pass this bill. However, 31 Republican senators voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Here is a list of senators who voted against the bill:

Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Blunt, R-Mo.; Boozman, R-Ark.; Burr, R-N.C.; Chambliss, R-Ga.; Coburn, R-Okla.; Cochran, R-Texas; Cornyn, R-Texas; DeMint, R-S.C.; Enzi, R-Wyo.; Graham, R-S.C.; Grassley, R-Iowa; Hatch, R-Utah; Inhofe, R-Okla.; Isakson, R-Ga.; Johanns, R-Neb.; Johnson, R-Wis.; Kyl, R-Ariz.; Lee, R-Utah; Lugar, R-Ind.; McConnell, R-Ken.; Moran, R-Kan.; Paul, R-Ky.; Risch, R-Idaho; Roberts, R-Kan.; Rubio, R-Fla.; Sessions, R-Ala.; Shelby, R-Ala.; Thune, R-S.D.; Toomey, R-Pa.; Wicker, R-Miss.

Ladies, be careful who you vote for!

Bruce Raffety

Baker City

Where are our representatives on travel management?

Over the last year I have actively pursued local and state representatives of Northeastern Oregon on the matter of Travel Management. Wallowa County has been exceptional in returning correspondence. Very little to no correspondence has come from anyone else.

Baker County Commissioner Fred Warner Jr. attempted on two occasions to answer, but quickly faded away, with one exchange from Tim Kerns’ wife over his work email and no correspondence back from Carl Stiff at all. Mark Davidson wrote a very short response April of 2012 that they were working on the issue, but no response since, with nothing from the other two. And, well Grant County just flat out does not respond.

Our state representatives have been all but derelict in their duties from what I can see. I do have to give Rep. Cliff Bentz some recognition as I do know he contacted Ms. Schwalbach on the matter in the summer of 2012, but that’s about all I’ve heard. Neither Mr. Ferrioli, Smith, Nelson nor Jensen have returned any emails in the matter and seem to be intentionally avoiding the discussion with the public.

What are they doing? Where is the voice of our representatives in the matter? Representing from a desk is non-representation, plain and simple. We need men and a woman willing to do the hard work of contacting forest leadership to ask what is going on, and then report to the public on a regular basis.

Representatives, where are you and what are you doing to protect our individual liberties? As one Forest Service employee told me last summer, people shouldn’t be so selfish about travel management; you can’t always have what you want. She’s right, we can’t, but we do expect to keep our God-given rights to Life, Liberty (freedom), and Happiness.

John D. George


Letters to the Editor for Feb. 25, 2013

Harry Reid doesn’t deserve to be a U.S. senator

I attended Congressman Greg Walden’s town hall meeting and was favorably impressed with some of the bills that the existing House has passed. However, it appears that most of them are being ignored by the Senate and therefore just sit with no action taken.

Obviously it is Senator Harry Reid who is dictating this refusal to bring these bills up before the Senate. The following information about Senator Reid is compiled from the February 2013 Judicial Watch publication. Senator Reid has been the Chinese ENN Energy Group’s most prominent advocate. His son Rory Reid is a principal in a Las Vegas law firm that represents ENN. He helped locate a 9,000-acre desert site in Clark County where Rory formerly chaired the county commission. Rory then put together a purchase for ENN that good old Harry brought to town. Purchase price $4.5 million. Two separate appraisals were for $29.6 million and the other for $38.6 million! However, this project seems stalled because there is no current market in Nevada for the green energy ENN claims it could produce.

 However, this is nothing new for the Reid family. The Senate majority leader secured $21.5 million to build a bridge over the Colorado River to connect Laughlin, Nev., with Bullhead City, Ariz., where Reid owns 160 acres of land. Senator Harry Reid has sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefited one of his sons, Key Reid, who either lobbies for or is affiliated with these various organizations.

Whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, when is this political corruption going to stop? It is an absolute disgrace that one of the highest elected officials has all this power and continually flaunts it. Facts are facts.

He does not deserve to be a United States senator.

Gary McManus

Baker City

Letter to the Editor Feb. 22, 2013

Eighth-graders at BHS poses too great a risk

I read the Feb. 13 editorial in the Baker City Herald applauding Judge Greg Baxter, D.A. Matt Shirtcliff and me for raising awareness about the legal difficulties that could occur if a 16- to 19-year-old “has sex” with a 13-year-old eighth-grader. Allow me to further raise this awareness.

On Aug. 15, 2012, a Grant County grand jury indicted a man on a Measure 11 offense — sexual abuse in the first degree — for kissing a girl under the age of 14. Sexual abuse in the first degree is a crime that would require a person, if convicted, to register as a sex offender for life and go to prison for 75 months without early release for any reason. A colleague of mine is currently defending a man on a sexual abuse in the first degree charge for touching the knee of a 13-year-old. I frankly don’t know whether these charges will “stick,” but the fact that a prosecutor got a grand jury to indict a citizen on the charge is enough for me to want to further clarify that it does not require “sex” to face ghastly Measure 11 consequences and of the legal perils older high school students may face if we put eighth-graders in BHS.

The editorial points out that teenagers don’t restrict their socialization to school. While it may be true that relationships can develop anywhere — not just at school – I am pretty sure the vast majority of teen relationships start when the two meet at school.

Kids mature much quicker these days than when I grew up. If you don’t believe me, pay the Middle School a visit at take a look at the eighth-graders. Putting them in the same corridors where perhaps a third of the students they see are more than three years older than they are (and thus can be charged with Measure 11 offenses if they so much as kiss) is too great a risk.

J. Robert Moon

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2013

Don’t devalue sacrifice, but keep airport’s name

Thank you, Baker City Council, for delaying a decision on the name change of our local airport.

The bravery in battle, and the ensuing loss of Mabry J. Anders, touched us all, and I do not devalue in any way his sacrifice.

However, I prefer the name of Heilner Field to remain as is. Those of us that knew the Heilner family recall their donation of land and monetary assistance to develop this historic entity. Let’s keep the honor bestowed earlier.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Superintendent puts personal spin on school proposal

The governor’s plan states that by 2025, Oregon will ensure that: (1) 40 percent of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; (2) 40 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential; and (3) 20 percent of adults will have earned a high school diploma, modified high school diploma or the equivalent. Which means Salem will “ensure” 80 percent of Baker County residents will have a college degree by 2025, and 100 percent with a high school diploma. This requires an annual compact agreement from each of Oregon’s 197 school districts, 17 community colleges, and 19 education service districts. The compact is a nonbinding agreement with the state regarding our plans to accomplish the 40-40-20, and would carry no financial rewards or penalties.

I personally feel this plan has good intentions, but unrealistic goals. Oregon would have to send about 650,000 Oregonians back to school to reach 40-40-20 by 2025. Be advised the 40-40-20 plan is not funded or set in stone.

Sending eighth-graders to the high school for advanced high school credit is the superintendent’s plan, not the governor’s plan. Exploiting parents by encouraging them to send eighth-graders to the high school is completely spinning the 40-40-20 plan. Wegener saying “it’s part of the governor’s plan to reform education in Oregon” is spinning the truth. Eighth graders’ taking high school credit is not required by law, it is allowed by law. Sending numerous amounts of eighth-graders to the high school for advanced credit is unwise, unsafe, and unrealistic.

Our primary focus in the 40-40-20 should be 100 percent graduation from high school, not graduating high school with a college degree. Setting quotas and pressuring unprepared students to take college credits may be “financially” rewarding to the district, but damaging to the student.

The superintendent’s attitude in relation to these changes is disheartening, recently stating “I have a personal spin, of course, about cause, effect and results.” The community deserves honest information, not a personal agenda. I encourage the community to research the 40-40-20 plan, and not rely on biased information from the school district.

Kyle Knight

Baker School Board member

Baker City

Choose another local site to honor Mabry Anders

A proposal may come before the Baker City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to rename Heilner Field (Baker City Municipal Airport)  to honor US Army Spc. Mabry J. Anders, who was killed last August while on active duty in Afghanistan. 

Baker County has had many soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom, including U.S. Army Cpl. Jessica Ellis in Iraq in 2008, and Medal of Honor winner U.S. Army Sergeant John Noble Holcomb during the Vietnam War. There are many others, as evidenced in the listing of war dead at the Baker County Courthouse and in our local cemeteries.

I wish in no way to diminish the sacrifice of Spc. Anders.  But I feel it would be more appropriate for our City Council to designate a currently unnamed street, grove of trees, or other site after Spc. Anders than to override the Heilner name which has deep ties in our community and our local heritage. 

Joyce Badgley Hunsaker

Baker City

Letter to the Editor Feb. 18, 2012

Letter writer attacks messenger, not the message

When I was in college, we were taught that when you are in a debate with someone, you should pay attention to your opponent’s points and show that what he is saying is incorrect. Recently I wrote a letter to the editor, discussing some of the inherent difficulties wind-generated electricity has to deal with. One fellow disagreed with me strongly enough to write his own letter. However, he did not use the above debating tactic.

My letter began with the statement, “Electricity from wind farms costs around four times as much as that produced by conventional electrical generators.” Now is this statement true or false? My critic never says.

A second statement was, “…once the towers are in place, their fuel is both free and inexhaustible.” My critic claims that I said, “once … the windmills are churning, the power is free.” He has misquoted me.

Another statement was that the wind is variable; sometimes it does not blow, and when it is blowing, it has both gusts and lulls. Anyone doubt that this statement is true?

My fourth point was that because the wind is inconsistent, a wind farm must be paired with a set of conventional generators. Again, my critic doesn’t say if that statement is true or not.

He does offer the example of acquaintances that depend upon wind and solar power. These “doughty pioneers” use batteries to smooth out their uneven generation of electricity. And this technique does work quite well for individual households. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for wind farms, as there is no practical way to store large amounts of electricity.

And so on.

The tactic my critic does use is ancient: If you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger. His letter is filled with unflattering comments about me. But how accurate are his statements? He claims, for example, that I own a rundown deli. Now my wife did operate a successful deli for a number of years, but it was sold when we retired in 2006. The building now is home to Canyon Creek Candle Company.

’Nuff said.        

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Cell tower could deface area, affect pilot safety

Coyote Peak has a cement foundation on it that is left over from a beacon that was secured upon it. This beacon is long since gone.

It lined up with the main runway No. 30 at the Baker Airport. Depending on how planes leave or approach the landing strip, any structure could affect their safety.

From this high point is one of the best views of Baker Valley that is easily accessed by car. This was/is old Baisley Elkhorn mine property.

Most important, the people of Haines and surrounding area should not have their area defaced by anything, let alone 199 feet of tower.

Keith Best

Baker City

Soroptimists say thank you to assistance programs

Regarding the article printed Jan. 30, 2013, we would like to say “hats off” to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program offered by the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center and Andy Micka. Those involved, including Baker County Parole and Probation officers, MayDay, and the Compassion Center have helped those struggling with outside influences, salvaging their lives.

As Soroptimist International of Baker County strongly endorses and supports these efforts, we would like to say thank you to the volunteers and supporters and all others involved who are not ever mentioned. You do so much for our little community.

Thank you all.

Holly McKim

President, Soroptimist International of Baker County

Honor heroes in a way other than renaming airport

I think renaming Heilner Field is a bad idea. He represents quite a large community of Jewish citizens and merchants from our past. If we remove all the reminders of them (with the exception, of course, of Leo Adler) I fear people will forget their history here, which would be a shame. I dealt with a good number of them and was always treated fairly and warmly. I’m sorry they are no longer a part of our community. I miss them and feel we should never fail to honor their contribution to our city.

 I suggest instead, that we name a school or park for our fallen heroes.  A school, in particular, would give teachers an opportunity to tell the children about them and what they contributed to our lives. There could be an annual “recognition day” to name several of our servicemen and women who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Their names are all posted on the memorial in front of the Baker County Courthouse. This could give a real chance to honor our heroes in a meaningful way.

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

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