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The case against the mosquito is getting stronger

I have a new reason to endorse the eradication of the mosquito.

I didn’t need a new reason, of course.

The list of these bloodsucking insects’ transgressions against society in general, and against me specifically, is one of great length and so hardly requires embellishment.


Dengue fever.

West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes spread those nasty diseases, along with a host of other potentially fatal ailments which I can neither spell nor pronounce even though I poked around for a while on the CDC website.

Letter to the Editor for Feb. 5, 2016

B2H plan makes my head itch

In order to help us expedite putting up unwanted power lines through your landscape, Large Idaho Corperate Energy Syndicate (LICES) asks you to take a moment and fill out our survey. Check one:

When were you first aware of LICES in your area?

• Run over by LICES truck. 

• House bulldozed without warning. Replaced with a pylon.

• Dammed Snake River then reneged on contract to provide fish ladders.

• Garbage was tipped over.

• Daughter became pregnant.

• Tourists stopped coming to store because power lines ruined view of Oregon Trail.

• Offered large sum of money for power line to run through my property.

In what manner did you receive your “gift?”

• Hundreds in paper bag

• Hundreds in plastic bag

• I was only given fifties. What’s the deal?

• I would have preferred a new truck.

• I was only given a Frisbee

Your occupation

• Governor 

• BLM mediator 

• Ex-governor

• U.S. Senator

• BLM mediator

• Large absentee landowner

• BLM mediator

• Unemployed due to fall in tourism

What movie best describes your encounter with LICES?

• “Nightmare on Elm Street”

• “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”

• “Little Miss Sunshine”

• “Dirty Dancing”

• “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

• “Frankenstein”

• “Myra Breckenridge” 

• “It’s a Wonderful Life”

• All the above

Which strong-arm tactic do you most admire about LICES?

• The way we wait until Christmas holidays to unveil our scheme, knowing that people won’t notice what we are doing. 

• The way we plan to string power lines through the Baker County that can be seen from outer space while ignoring local laws and regulations i.e. Oregon’s land-use planning that keeps the land from being subdivided and farmlands protected.

• How we run our power lines through five Oregon counties while sacrificing only one of our counties in Idaho

• Our refusal to admit that EMFs really exist.

• With our power lines, our insistence to destroy the viewscape of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, the “crown jewel” of the Oregon Trail historical sites while ruining Baker’s tourism industry.

• Give Baker nothing in return.

• Invent false needs to build power line.

When you think of LICES which song comes closest to your feelings? 

• “Feelings” — Morris Albert

• “My Way” — Frank Sinatra

• “Muskrat Love” — Captain and Tennille

• “Big Eyed Beans from Venus” — Captain Beefheart

• “Crazy” — Julio Iglesias

• “Hooked On a Feeling” — David Hasselhoff

• Theme song to Scooby Doo

• “More than a Woman” —Bee Gees

• “It’s a Small Small World” —Disneyland Children’s Chorus

• Piano Concerto #5 in B flat minor Adigio ma non troppo, un poco maestoso/Sergi Rachmaninov

• “Dancing Queen” — ABBA

• “Spirit in the Sky” — Norman Greenbaum

Thank you for your time. Your comments are important to us, well, sort of important to us — at least we’d like to make you think they are important to us. No, actually, they’re not important to us at all. We certainly don’t read them. Do you have any idea how much it costs to throw these questionnaires and all your letters away?

Whit Deschner is a Baker City resident. 

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 3, 2016

Baker schools need to reconsider 4-day week

The school district is proposing “extra help” on Fridays for students. This indicates the 4-day school week is not effective. We owe it to our children to rethink the model of education that we provide. On the 5-day model, did students attend on Saturday? Is it fair to ask a struggling student to be excluded from their peers on Friday by extending their week: 4 extra long days of work (7:20 to 3:00 – add a bus ride). How does the child react to this? Are we looking at the physical well-being and social-emotional growth of students?

 Every child learns at a different rate and pace, therefore, ALL students’ needs should be met within a regular school day. Many students benefit from working individually or in small groups. We already have small group leveled reading times, push-in support for students who need it, reading interventions — as well as innovative activities designed by teachers happening every day! Did anyone consider smaller class sizes by downsizing administrators and increasing teacher numbers? The 5-day school week for all students needs to be reconsidered because as a community we need to do what is best for all of our children. To say the parents and community have “adjusted” makes one think that the parents and community are adjusting to the needs of the school district and not the school district “adjusting” to the needs of the parents, community — and children!

Baker schools have a high dropout rate; a large number of students are being homeschooled — why is that? On Jan. 27, 2016, Baker City Herald reported 21 percent or more 8th graders drank alcohol; 10 percent of the 8th graders “binge” drank and 9 percent of the 8th graders have used marijuana and it goes on — what are our kids doing on Fridays with no school in session? 

“Our children should not be working to reach an arbitrary bar of learning set by the state; rather, they should be allowed to shoot for the moon.  Even if they miss, they will land among the stars.”

— Les Brown

Colleen Collier

Retired teacher

Baker City

Large minimum wage hike hurts some with few skills

Governor Brown wants Oregon’s Legislature to raise the minimum wage so that “no one who works full time has to live in poverty.” The mental picture here is of the poor struggling mom trying to keep bread on the table for her kids. But few minimum wage workers fit this picture. For one thing, two-thirds of them work only part time.

 25.7 percent of minimum wage workers do come from households with less than $20,000 annual income. But even more such workers, 29.4 percent, come from households with an annual income greater than $60,000, and 11.8 percent have household income of more than $100,000. How can this be? Such people come from households where there are two or more employed, someone whose spouse has a good-paying job, for instance, or college students living at home with their parents. Minimum wage workers’ household income is scattered up and down the entire distribution.

Employers facing a large increase in the minimum wage will compensate by reducing the cost of employees. Some workers will have their hours reduced; others will be laid off, their income reduced to zero. It seems a bit much to have some poor people lose their jobs so that other poor people can make more money. But should some poor people lose their jobs so other well-to-do people can earn more? (Remember those 29.4 percent whose annual household income is over $60,000.) Come on, now!

Minimum wage jobs can be the bottom rung of the ladder to success for people with few job skills. But a large minimum wage prices such people out of the job market. If an employer has to pay someone $13 to $14.50 an hour, (Governor Brown’s proposal) who do you think will be hired? A college student or a high school drop-out? A high minimum wage slams the door of opportunity in the faces of those with few job skills.

Those advocating a high minimum wage despite all of the above want you to have a warm, fuzzy feeling about yourself; you are in favor of a program that will help that poor struggling mother, even though it really doesn’t.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Based on evolution, why worry about climate change?

Of the many questions regarding climate change (global warming) I’ll bring up just one. In the U.S. every year we spend millions of dollars educating our children in public schools. For biology, the only acceptable theory is evolution, the concept that all living matter changes over time to adapt to the environment. It is my understanding that teachers are not allowed to mention creation or even a generic big-bang term, only evolution. If we’re spending so much promoting the idea that all life forms adapt to their environment, why is there any cause for worry if the earth changes? If evolution were true, climate change wouldn’t matter, everything would evolve to the changed conditions. Logically we shouldn’t be spending time and money promoting the theories of evolution and climate change, they are mutually exclusive. People who argue for evolution and express fear over climate change shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways.

Jim Carnahan

Baker City

Trader Joe’s could help solve Baker’s grocery problem

Baker City and Baker County citizens, arise!

You are probably tired of having only one major grocery outlet here in Baker. I have found a possible solution to this problem, but it will take the inputs of all of us to bring it about.

Ever hear of small grocery stores called Trader Joe’s? There are a few in the Portland area and one in Boise. These grocery stores are reasonably priced, well-stocked, clean and operated by people who are friendly and courteous. In national ratings, Trader Joe’s was voted number one for the last two years.

I have talked to the manager of the one in Boise and he told me that the company’s headquarters responds best to letters or emails from customers encouraging the opening of new stores. (This was a major factor in opening the one in Boise.) The address is Trader Joe’s, 800 S. Shamrock, Monrovia, CA 91016, attn: planning department. The website is TraderJoe’s.com/contactus.

If you have shopped at a Trader Joe’s and agree with my assessment, send them a letter asking them to come to Baker. Or, you can go to one in Portland or the one in Boise and see for yourselves.

Let’s all sit at our writing desks or computers and solve our grocery problem!

Robert L. Heriza

Baker City

Meeting prayer issue need not divide us

I have been waging a battle in my mind over Mr. Gary Dielman’s prayer issues. I have decided to pray for Mr. Dielman as I don’t think he truly realizes what he is doing.

I am very proud to be a Christian. I’m not perfect, but I’m better than I used to be. I serve a true and loving God, but he is a jealous God and I would think it is unwise to turn your back on God, not praise God and be disruptive in meetings. If Mr. Dielman would like to come to meetings a few minutes late, every one will be glad he did and no one will be upset. Please don’t continue to water the poison tree.

I will pray for grace, which is God’s unmerited favor. We all need it. When you turn your life over to Christ it is the most wonderful, liberating feeling in the world. It is a free gift offer to everyone of us if we accept it.

Please continue to pray. Pray for our families, friends, community, for our country, for the elderly and the poor, the sick and dying, for our politicians and for the beautiful town we live in. Let us put all of this silly behavior aside and pray this issue is solved once and for all.

We are all so blessed.

Rocky Morris

Baker City

Talking quiet zone

After more than a decade of relative silence, the issue of train whistles has returned to Baker City.

So far it’s more a whimper than a wail.

But we think the City Council was wise to take advantage of a free analysis by state and federal officials that will help councilors understand how much it would cost for the city to potentially qualify to silence whistles on Union Pacific trains passing through town.

OSP: Let us see video

We the public know more about the fatal shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum by Oregon State Police troopers because the FBI on Thursday released a video, taken by aircraft, of the Tuesday incident.

But we don’t know as much as we could.

Or, more to the point, as much as we should.

Snow and fog — and NE Oregon sweeps awards

The snow fell steadily for much of the day, but it was not the gentle, silent snow beloved of poets and skiers.

These flakes came fast and hard and so dense with moisture that they made a soft liquid plop, rather as raindrops make, when they struck a metal fender or a glass window.

Along about dusk the snow stopped and the fog settled in, that soggy wraith which sometimes steals in after a storm has chilled and saturated the ground and the air.

This transition happened with a suddenness more typical of a summer thunderstorm.

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 29, 2016

Harvey’s handling of county business is common sense

This missive is in direct response to Mr. Gary Dielman’s diatribe dated Jan. 25, 2016.

Mr. Jacobson correctly states that the manmade climate change is a hoax being perpetrated by the liberal elites in the old Chicken Little adage, the sky is falling. How can we as mere mortals think that we can effectively change the climate? The late George Carlin stated that man is arrogant to believe that man can achieve this goal.  

The scientists that gathered are in large part the huge liberal elitists who think that they know so much. Former President Ronald Reagan once opined, it is not that our liberal friends are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so. 

Mr. Dielman goes on by saying that a short prayer in asking for guidance and wisdom from God is offensive. May I remind Mr. Dielman that the framers of our great nation and constitution were in large part based on Judeo-Christian principles. That by giving an invocation such as starts the commission meeting is practicing what the founders had intended.

If this short prayer offends Mr. Dielman may I suggest that he show up to the meeting a little late thereby avoiding what he perceives as such offensive behavior.  

The framers of our Constitution were very concerned that the federal government would have too much power over that states and the constitution was written to avoid what has happened today. The federal government has grown into such a leviathan that every legal means possible should be taken in order to avoid “big brother” from deciding on states issues. An article 5 convention of the states would rein in some of the federal powers that have been stolen from the states. 

In conclusion I would like to suggest that Mr. Dielman’s earlier recommendations to Mr. Harvey be construed, as a liberal view of utopia and that in large part should be ignored. 

May Mr. Harvey continue to show the leadership, common sense approach in handling Baker County business.

Roy Hutchings

Baker City

We deserve balanced reporting on Harney County situation

I’m concerned by the one-sided accounts of the armed occupation in Harney County appearing in the Baker City Herald. In essence, they infer that Dwight and Steven Hammond are martyrs to unfair and unjust sentencing, thus inflaming the already contentious discussion of rancher/government relations.

Whether it is the Herald’s own reporting or the printed articles and op-eds by the Wall Street Journal, Rep. Greg Walden, or The Oregonian, only the Hammonds’ assertion is presented — that the arsons were merely the accidental spread of fires they set to control noxious weeds. 

In striking contrast, the Record-Courier printed a lengthy statement by Billy J. Williams, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, citing sworn court testimony that the Hammonds set the 2001 range fire to destroy evidence of an illegal slaughter of a deer herd. At least seven deer were shot with others limping or running from the scene. This is hardly a model of responsible land stewardship.  ( https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2660399/Statement-USattorney.pdf )

I believe we are entitled to comprehensive reporting on matters that affect our community deeply, especially when opposing views and facts are so readily available.

Similarly, I believe that alleged threats and intimidation by the armed occupiers deserve to be reported. According to the New York Times (Jan. 12): “..death threats have been made against federal employees, and a judge’s wife has taken up her pistol, fearful of a gunfight in town..  Unfamiliar people have been stalking refuge employees, idling outside their homes and questioning them at grocery stores in Burns...”

In a well-reasoned op-ed in the Record-Courier titled “Ammon Bundy Please Go Home,” Harney County rancher Mary Kerns charged that he threatened her friends and family members, and demanded that he “LEAVE NOW.”

Combined with the illegal armed occupation, personal threats and intimidation endanger the very Constitutional rule of law that the intruders claim to protect, and they make a mockery of the “well-regulated militia” provision in the Second Amendment.

We must not be ruled by fear or ignorance.  We must come together to strongly condemn this threat to our democracy and to insist on balanced reporting.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

An unfortunate result in Harney

Some of the issues raised during the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge this month are important.

But none was worth a person’s life.

The occupiers committed no crimes for which death is an appropriate outcome.

The video the FBI released during a press conference Thursday evening in Burns, although lacking in detail because it was taken from an aircraft rather than the ground, at least shows that Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the 54-year-old Arizona man who was fatally shot by Oregon State Police troopers,  put himelf in a perilous situation.

Letter to the Editor for Jan. 27, 2016

Land line phone numbers are vital for businesses

Just a note to remind Baker City business people that I cannot call you on the phone if you do not have a land line phone that is listed and easy to find in the Baker City phone book. Businesses need customers, and customers need to be able to contact businesses. To those who care, thank you.

Mardelle Ebell

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Jan. 27, 2016

Land line phone numbers are vital for businesses

Just a note to remind Baker City business people that I cannot call you on the phone if you do not have a land line phone that is listed and easy to find in the Baker City phone book. Businesses need customers, and customers need to be able to contact businesses. To those who care, thank you.

Mardelle Ebell

Baker City

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