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Letter to the Editor for Dec. 14, 2015

I’d like to see more coverage of all sports teams

I like to read the sports page because it is one place in the paper more recent news is available. I am sure most people that follow sports, especially local news, would like to see a little more information about all the teams. The coverage seems to concentrate on middle school and high school varsity games with very little if any mention of the JV teams.

In recent years the JV teams have fared better than the varsity and I for one would like to see more than just the score regarding their games. The girls and boys on the JV teams work, play and practice just as hard as the varsity and middle school players.

The recent JV girls game against Emmett was amazing. The amount of energy these girls brought to the game was great.

I also notice the Herald’s reporter was at all the games and the information should be readily available. Come on, Herald, let’s give these young players some recognition for their efforts.

Richard Erwin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 11, 2015

Four rules regarding guns and gun control

A quick study: The four rules of gun control:

1. There will always be guns.

2. Criminals will always have guns.

3. The way to stop criminals is for law-abiding citizens to have guns.

 4.  You can’t change the first three rules.

Joe Bailey

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 9, 2015

To solve gun violence, we must work together

In a rare front-page editorial last Saturday, the New York Times decried the widespread availability of brutal weapons of war in our society, terming it “a moral outrage and a national disgrace.”

We are being warned in the strongest terms that as a paranoid nation, armed to the teeth, we make a mockery of the phrase “well-regulated militia” prescribed by the Second Amendment.  We need not accept the legality of semi-automatic guns with detachable magazines that can be reloaded in seconds, producing virtually unlimited mayhem in the hands of the misguided and the insane.  

Clearly, we must come together to demand common-sense solutions to gun violence and provide the money to pay for them.  We must face and surmount the fear and misinformation that allow intolerable gun violence to persist -- as well as other major threats such as needless, grinding poverty and an over-heating planet.

Pope Francis informs us that: “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.”  There is great strength in unity.  Let us heal our separations.  Let us reaffirm our allegiance to “one nation, under God, indivisible” and exemplify our motto: “E pluribus unum “ — “Out of many, one.”  We’re all in this together, and together we shall prevail.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 7, 2015

2nd Amendment is designed for our protection

Another mass shooting and another opportunity for the powers that be to try and pry another finger off our firearms. The guns are once again to blame, not disturbed radical zealots, the mentally unstable or the just plain evil — the focus never changes, it’s the guns.

I have never owned a gun, possibly because growing up my father never owned one, he wasn’t a hunter and times seemed a lot saner. I’ve thought about getting a gun many times but somehow have never got around to it. I thought about it hard as I watched the meth head drive off in my truck at 2 o’clock one morning. I made it to the front porch just as he fishtailed out of the driveway! If I would have had a gun and been a good aim I would most likely be writing this from prison because that’s the way the world works these days. Sorry, sidetracked once again.

That I have yet to own a firearm doesn’t change the fact that our 2nd Amendment was put there with great thought and purpose. My personal interpretation, and/or belief; Not only did our forefathers wish to reinforce our military with citizen backup, when needed, but also provide the populace with legal protection when, if ever, our government or military becomes oppressively corrupt. I firmly believe the intent was that any weapon in the hands of our military should be allowed in the hands of its law abiding citizens, although my affinity for a heatseeking missile launcher may seem a bit much I still feel it is my right to have one (acquiring one would be the hard part.)

In an age where your whole life can be snatched away by someone in Nigeria with a computer keyboard I daresay that attempting to keep guns from the crazies with paperwork, regulation, background check after background check ... seems to be a moot point — the sickos will always get a gun. Our only protection is our 2nd Amendment. Infringement on our constitutional rights is a bad idea, our forefathers would agree.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Gen. Pershing had a solution for jihadists

Before World War I, John J. “Black Jack” Pershing was the commanding general of the U.S. Forces in the Philippines. Islamic jihadists were on a killing rampage. The general learned that the Islamic terrorists believed pork was unclean and if they died while exposed to pigs or pig parts they would be defiled in heaven. 

The general buried terrorists in graves with pigs or pig body parts. The jihadists backed off and the uprising was controlled.

As you learned from recent news articles there should be plenty of bodies to bury with some pigs or pig parts. If no bodies are available, put a live jihadist in a cell with pig parts.

This might solve our problem with the Islamic jihadists.  Unfortunately, at the present time our administration contains enough people in favor of Islam that this would not be practical.

Carl Kostol

Baker City

Raise tax credit but not the minimum wage

I am writing this letter in support of our Oregon House Representative, Cliff Bentz, and his desire to increase the earned income tax credit here in Oregon as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. I would also encourage him to push for an income raise in our tax brackets, giving everyone, especially the lower income worker, a tax break.

Of course, this must be paid for. We can do this by raising corporate tax rates, especially the corporate minimum. I’m sure Mr. Bentz would part ways with me here. I am a Democrat, though, and see no problem getting more money in the hands of workers which ultimately helps the businesses being taxed.  

I also favor heading off a large increase in the statewide minimum wage. We need jobs here in Baker County more than a raise in the minimum wage. But the Portland metro area needs a much higher minimum and they should be able to do so. Let’s allow the counties to raise it as fits their cost of living. A higher labor cost there may even encourage businesses to locate here.

No one party has a monopoly on what needs to be done to help make our working class stronger. Democrats and Republicans can work together if we can over come knee jerk ideological thinking. Only by seeing the in-between can we find the best solutions.

Peter Hall


Had to rely on neighbors to deal with dead deer

Recently a deer died in my yard. I had no way to dispose of it, and everybody said “Call Fish and Wildlife.” I called them twice, got voice mail, left details both times about three or four hours apart. When talking to a neighbor about it I was told that in Baker County “you are on your own” about dead wildlife. If I lived in Union County, we heard that Fish and Wildlife would come and dispose of it. Fortunately, I have kind neighbors with a truck who came, picked up the body and took it to the Fish and Wildlife office — which seemed totally appropriate to me.  Neither of my phone calls to F&W was returned.  Because so many people told me to “call Fish and Wildlife” I don’t think their local policy is widely known and hope the paper will print this letter for the common good.

Julianne Williams

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Dec. 2, 2015

Why I support Owyhee Canyonlands protection

As a fifth-generation Eastern Oregonian (my great-great-grandparents came to the Burnt River Valley in 1863), I’m a strong supporter of the Owyhee Canyonlands proposal. Here are a few reasons why:

1. As supposed stewards of this planet, with the wherewithal to destroy/reserve it as host to its many forms of life, we humans simply can no longer engage in practices that threaten to destroy habitat.

2. In light of global warming, and the serious consequences that come with that warming, we simply must change our treatment of the planet in drastic and immediate ways. Protecting and preserving natural habitats must be at the top of every list of options, re: future uses of the land on which we depend. Any use with the potential to degrade our environment should be eliminated from consideration.

3. Decisions such as these will have very long-term effects. Do we, as humans with the capabilities available to us, have the right to negatively impact the lives of so many forms of life, including but definitely not limited to our own grandkids and great-grandkids? Permanent protection for the Canyonlands would help ensure that future damaging actions (mining, increased grazing and roading) would be eliminated.

4. The Owyhee Canyonlands is a beautiful, unspoiled landscape with an abundance of wildlife from native fish to the large herd of bighorn sheep (perhaps the largest in our nation). Mule deer, chukar and elk are three other species that depend on the Canyonlands habitat for continued life.

5. Studies from throughout the West have shown that protected public lands enhance local economies through increased recreation in the area and enhanced livability for us folks who choose to live here. As an example, the Eagle Cap Wilderness/Hells Canyon Wilderness has provided a recreational experience for folks over 40 years and the economic benefits resulting from its increased use continue for the local communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. For those of us who enjoy the beauty and the tranquility of the ECW/HCA on a daily basis, the benefits are immeasurable and we give thanks for the foresight of those decision-makers so many years ago.

Mike Higgins


Letter to the Editor for Nov. 30, 2015

It’s about greed and not about what’s good for us, environment

In reference to the recent article in the Herald about the FDA approval of genetically engineered salmon for our consumption … as if the FDA really knew, or even cares what is good for us or the environment. It reminds me of our government allowing farm raised salmon to be raised in Alaskan waters in crowded pens, poured full of antibodies to keep them from getting diseased in such conditions, and then dumping the fish in our markets. I’m sure the FDA approved of this also. Not only are the farm raised fish not healthy looking in the market, they don’t taste anywhere near as good as fresh, wild-caught salmon. Also, allowing them to be raised in pens in open waters has been known to cause huge problems with wild salmon runs that have to travel through waters polluted by farm- raised fish on their way to spawning grounds. Oh yeah, we can be sure that the government agencies are looking out for us. It’s all about money and greed here folks, not about us or the environment!

Peter Claflin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 25, 2015

Border security our best move to thwart ISIS

As we head toward the future, which looks like some kind of war, I’m reminded of the Vietnam era. One of the conventional sayings was, “If we don’t fight them over there we will have to fight them over here.” I’m hearing it again. Sounds profound and wise, but is it?

A little geography might be appropriate here. The U.S.A has a big ocean on both sides, a weak southern neighbor and an ally on the north. Last time I checked ISIS was lacking a Navy and an Air Force. So how would it be that we would have to “fight them over here?” Well, they have to get here and it seems like the way they travel is by air on commercial airlines that land at an airport. It would seem logical that before they get on that airplane they would be vetted and when they landed at one of our airports we should check them out again and keep track of where they went and if they overstayed their welcome. If they can’t come we don’t have to worry about them fighting over here. If we control our borders we don’t have to fight them over here. If we start restricting the numbers coming over here the less we have to worry about fighting them over here.

We should hold off on the boots on the ground push because they are over there and they are changing the way the leftist governments of Europe think. They might have to fight them over there and might just decide to drop the disarmament of their populations. Possibly those coalitions to fight radical Islam might actually end up being coalitions instead of America and some tokens.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 23, 2015

‘Odor patrol’ another infringement on our freedoms

Lilacs... the harbingers of spring, how I love their sweet, sweet perfume. I have many lilacs in my yard. So if this odor ordinance passes, when someone doesn’t like their smell or are allergic to their buds, will I be ordered by the “odor patrol” to cut them down? The cottonwood trees are very odorous and wreak havoc on allergy and asthma sufferers. Can the city be held responsible for maintaining so many of these trees along the river?

Most people diagnosed with allergies are allergic to many different pollens, dusts and danders. So those complaining of specific marijuana allergies, are you quite sure? Have you had a medical “scratch test” to verify your claim? Or are you simply harassing your neighbor because you do not agree with him? The people of Oregon have voted on this issue. Because the vote did not go your way, does not give you the right to disrespect the rights of those who are following the law.

It was suggested by Al Free that Police Chief Wyn Lohner has a “personal vendetta against marijuana.” It appears to me to be much deeper that. Wasn’t Lohner the author of rodeo cowboys and beer don’t mix related to the Beer Garden? In another article in the newspaper, Lohner suggested that postal and utility workers could peek into people’s backyards and report on vicious dogs, how they are controlled and who knows what else? See a trend here?

There is a solution for those of you who are above the law and the demands of the voters — you can comply like we all do or you can all get together and secede from Oregon. It could then be called “Lohner’s People’s Republic of Baker City.” This is not meant to be funny, it is dead serious. Our Constitutional rights are slowly being chipped away and our God-given freedoms are being disrespected daily. We need to wake up and be vigilant against those who would change our way of life to fit their own personal beliefs and agendas.

Patti Hanley

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Nov. 20, 2015

Pot odor ordinance too subjective to be fair

I have thought almost endlessly for days about the idea of an ordinance against marijuana odor.  I have also researched what other communitieshave done in response to a few complaining citizens.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be ridiculous.

I sympathize with the handful of residents that may be allergic to marijuana pollen. However, there are many residents allergic to a myriad of substances we frequently have in our air — cottonwood, lilacs, wood smoke, roses and grass clippings just to name a few. We don’t find ourselves discussing at length as a community how to handle these irritants. We don’t threaten to force people to remove trees, or bushes, or lawns for that matter because the neighbor has a health problem. We leave it up to the individual to either obtain allergy medication, stay indoors, or move away from the problem. Why would we treat marijuana any differently? Why the vendetta against a single plant? Like it or not, marijuana is legal to produce (excepting a couple of age and quantity related limitations) and should be treated as such. 

I am concerned that if a code is enacted it will be too subjective. I found Pendleton’s way of handling it (amending an existing public nuisance ordinance) to be very unreasonable. It’s only directed toward marijuana; the level of odor is not quantitatively measured. It is simply left up to whichever officer responds to decide on case-by-case basis whether or not it’s too odoriferous. How is this fair?  

In regard to the idea of mandating only indoor grows to control the spread of odor, there are already concerns about the ability of our power grid to handle it. I also discovered much evidence that covering a crop or moving it indoors simply condenses the scent, making it stronger than if the plants were raised in open air. 

I urge you not to open this proverbial “can of worms.” It should not be the business of legislators or law enforcement agents to manage. It teeters on the verge of a civil rights violation and will likely cause more trouble than it is worth!

Sarah Heiner

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 11, 2015

History lessons, memorabilia from bygone Veterans Days

Viewing an envelope of November 1917 origin, I note the Return Address, “Oregon Red Cross War Fund.” I’m reminded that the Red Cross continues today, to aid people in wartime as well as peaceful settings. I note the 3-cent stamp. Sufficient to send an envelope then, now requires considerable additional postage, to send today’s voluntary contribution.  

 Formerly called Armistice Day, referred to signing the official document to cease World War I, 11th month, 11th day, 11th hour. Now known as Veterans Day, we honor all who have served. History tells us that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed WWI, being fought, as “the War to end all Wars.” 

That edict, as we know, was not fulfilled.

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Reporting error led to inaccurate crime statistics

Baker County Consolidated Dispatch has looked into the 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report.  

The FBI uses the OUCRs (Oregon Unified Crime Reports) that are submitted to the state from the dispatch center to create its report.  After reviewing the 2014 data, there was a reporting error that would change the results to match the numbers that Police Chief Wyn Lohner stated (11 reports of aggravated assaults rather than the 56 reported in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report).

 We contacted the state to update the numbers, which it was willing to do, but the state informed us that it would not change the 2014 report as the FBI would not use the updated data. 

Changes have been made to ensure the accuracy of the Oregon Unified Crime Reports that are submitted to the state for future reports. 

In the future, the dispatch center will be double checking its figures internally before submitting the reports to the state.

We would like to apologize for any confusion this may have caused.  

Jason Yencopal

Baker County Consolidated

 9-1-1 Dispatch

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