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Letters to the Editor for Sept. 16, 2011

Grass courts are a Baker City jewel
To the editor:
I was disappointed in the Sept. 7 editorial implying Don McClure would be a “good neighbor” by self-imposing limitations on social play at his grass tennis courts. Living with the grass courts in my backyard gives my family the pleasure of seeing all ages, shapes and sizes having fun outdoors, pleasure in seeing a local family take meticulous care of their property, and pleasure in a beautiful view.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 14, 2011

Your editorial of Sept. 7, 2011, would leave one with the impression that Baker City’s one-of-a-kind grass courts are the genesis of controversy that has been continuing over more than a decade. Because the rules have changed considerably since the courts were first built, let’s look at the current issues surrounding the controversy.

Letters to the Editor for Sept. 9, 2011

Do neighbors dislike lights?
To the editor:
I wonder if people living near Wade Williams Park or Leo Adler Field complain about the lights at night?
Chuck Peterson
Baker City


Letters to the Editor for Sept. 7, 2011

Sports is full, but news lacking
To the editor:
I couldn’t help but notice today’s newspaper was sadly lacking in the news department, but not in the sports department. Today’s paper, Monday Sept. 5, 2011, has two sections to it. Section A consisting of 12 pages including the classifieds, and funnies has three articles with reporters bylines. One by Terri Harber, and two by Lisa Britton. Section B, the sports section, consist of 10 pages with 15 bylines all by Gerry Steele. Now as I see it I count 18 total by-lines and Gerry is responsible for 15 of them.
Does anyone else work besides Gerry? I hope he is the highest paid employee at the paper, because it is obvious news reporters other than sports don’t contribute their fair share to the body of the paper. I recently read your parent company filed for Chapter 11, well you certainly can’t blame Gerry for it.
Bill Ward
Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 29, 2011


Letters to the Editor for Aug. 26, 2011


Drivers ignoring cell phone law
To the editor:
Is it just me or does it seem like everywhere we drive we see folks still talking on their phones in their cars? Is this against the laws of Oregon or not?



Letters to the Editor for Aug. 24, 2011

Look back for brighter future
To the editor:
I’m writing to applaud and second your confidence in American ingenuity to solve our major problems (your op-ed on “Political Ambivalence,” Aug. 12). In my experience, we can achieve excellent results if we challenge ourselves to spend the time and effort to arrive at solutions which meet everyone’s needs. We are that good!

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 22, 2011


Train whistles
blow for safety

To the editor:
This letter is in response to the recent run of complaints pertaining to the excessive horn use at railroad crossings in Baker City at late hours.
As a Union Pacific employee, I would like to clarify national railroad crossing policy. We are mandated by the Department of Transportation document number FRA-2007-27285, established by the Federal Railway Administration, to provide ample warning for public safety.



Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17, 2011

Silence is golden to sleepers

To the editor:

I agree with the writer of a recent letter to the editor concerning loud, disruptive horns from trains passing through Baker City.


Alleged cheating doesn’t fit ‘typical definitions’

By Walt Wegener

To publicly accuse students of cheating with support from the schools is intolerable. We take this complaint seriously and we are investigating thoroughly.
The report in the Herald is both premature and not aligned with typical definitions of cheating. Atlanta cheated: 44 school staffs actually changed student records and test papers to help the performance reports. We are told the anonymous complaint contends that the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills did not predict student performance well enough to accurately place students in classes so the OAKS results must be false. The OAKS is not a strong diagnostic tool.
The OAKS is a pass/fail test. Students either meet or do not meet a level. The questions are randomly generated so predicting them to “cheat” is improbable.
When a district publicly reports OAKS scores we report a number of students who succeeded using percentage. All the schools and districts in the state use the same format. Thus, 73 percent of 140 are 102 students passed, formally “Met Standard.” Which also means 38 students did not pass, or formally “Did Not Meet Standard”. These are single numbers not averages.
Reporting of cheating in the Herald was potentially a violation of federal law because (FERPA, (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99), “easily identifiable” student records) were published. The Baker School District did not provide the data. The Herald reports the Department of Education did not release the data. The law makes it clear that information about groups of less than 42 students is protected if students would potentially be “easily identifiable.”
There is no “lack of transparency” by use of “averages.” Each family knows their scores. Who else needs to know?
We are dealing with students. They are bored with testing. They see no advantage in the testing. Some blow the test off. These required tests are of limited value.
Our staffs work hard to increase literacy skills in the schools. We are successful. Our teachers have built relationships with children so that most of the children will try. When they make the effort our children do well. The paper reported the evidence that effort matters but spun it negatively.
Currently there is no evidence of any tampering with questions or tests. We do think we may have some minor issues to fix and additional training to tighten up the process.
No cheating in the sense of Atlanta, D.C., Baltimore or Pennsylvania.

Walt Wegener is superintendent Baker School District.

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