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Cautious optimism for forests


There’s no shortage of talk about how Northeastern Oregon’s forests are ailing, and how the remedy requires an increase in logging.

Trouble is, it’s easy to hear all these conversations because the chain saws aren’t drowning out all the words.

This needs to change.


Regional Theatre revives radio, but on the stage


The Internet hasn’t ruined radio but it has robbed the airwaves of much of their mystique.

Including the static.

Which for some listeners is no great loss, I suppose.

Except static is part of the personality of radio — an annoying part, perhaps, but an element which gives radio a sort of organic richness that distinguishes the medium from the robotic coldness of the microprocessor.

An actual radio, as opposed to one of the Internet radio services, requires a subtle, human touch that computers, in general, do not.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 29, 2014


Avoid partisanship, register as an independent

Although I favor full disclosure on foodstuffs, and not modifying Nature’s perfection, I cannot support this GMO measure. Let’s get it right, and continue to grow our own, and buy local. 

While I support the decriminalization and availability of the herb Cannabis sativa, this measure is not fully thought out enough. If Oregon wants revenue from taxation then the question of income tax versus sales tax should be addressed again. As a society, let us not threaten the lives of young people.

When in doubt, I personally am voting for a woman since they tend to “do the right thing,” and for the contender who took the time to come to my door and let me hear his voice and see his eyes.

I favor Measures 89, 90, and the continued support of the Pine-Eagle Health District. State constitutions should rarely be amended, and Oregon should avoid debt.

Did you know? Some young people of voting age do not register because they don’t feel ready to be called to serve on a jury. I hadn’t thought of that. Anyone who has served (or attended a juror’s orientation) can understand the moral weight of serving. I find myself less critical of these individuals.

I recommend that ALL thinking voters consider registering as an independent, so the persistent us/them syndrome of partisanship can fall to the wayside, and allow the issue at hand, and person of choice, be what matters.

Linda Bergeron

Halfway

Discouraged by trash on public, private lands

My husband and I own a small acreage in Baker County we drive six miles up a county road through U.S. Forest Service lands to get to. It is so discouraging to see the trash, cans and bottles thrown out along that route and other Forest Service roads in the area. Most recently I found on our property a heap consisting of 82 beer cans, two half-gallon empty vodka bottles and a red plastic cup. What does that tell you?

Woodcutters, campers, hunters or those who simply enjoy a drive in the forest, please show respect for our public lands (and private property) and pack out your cans and bottles to recycle (Baker City has a great recycling center) and your trash to throw out at home. Let’s all work together to keep our forests not only “green” but “clean” as well.

Marilyn Rowe

Ontario

Election is choice between people, corporations

Global warming (aka climate change) is every person’s most important problem, whether they realize it or not. But even so, other and much less important problems must be dealt with along the way while this big, increasingly sinister one cooks along. Lesser problems such as this year’s mid-term election which is so critically important this time to those bent on giving total control of the federal government to the GOP, which means to the 1-percenters and greedy corporatists.

The beneficiaries (and I don’t mean the dummies trying to make it happen) of this possibly coming electoral catastrophe care naught for the majority class of people (that’s us, including those trying too hard to bring it about) nor for their well-being. And even less for democracy, which constitutes a threat to their primacy. So maybe you can guess what is in store for us, if they win this election.

It would be nice to have another U.S. golden era that we lowercase Demos dream of, where human well-being once more trumped corporate greed. At least for a little while before global warming destroys us all. But it sure won’t happen unless a few of those people who sit on their brains discover the brains in their other end and vote accordingly so that we may retain that sometime possibility.

And in case you haven’t thought of it yet you will find that it is much easier to vote away our democracy than it is to vote it back.

Dan Martin

Baker City

Warner has shown lack of leadership

People tend to forget things over time, but unfortunately this has stuck in my craw for years. What I mention here would mean immediate dismissal for anyone working for private business on Main Street.

First, while local people struggled to pay for gas, food and clothes in 2004, Fred Warner Jr., apparently enjoying the government gravy wagon, handed out $126,000 as a Christmas bonus to county employees who continue to receive raise after raise in lucrative pay and benefits, greatly outstripping the private sector in this county.

On one occasion one richly paid county employee could not even spell the word “assessor” to whose office she was sending me in the courthouse. Another such richly paid employee stole money undetected for 11 months in the Justice Court office in 2011.

Second, a couple years ago there were three instances reported in which Baker County funds, well over $24,000, had to be returned because of negligent and incompetent double-dipping. It was also discovered that county officials failed to properly authorize cash transfers to the tune of $302,236. What kind of management skill and oversight responsibility does Mr. Warner and his department heads demonstrate? I wonder if any steps have been taken to set higher standards of performance and honesty for county employees.

Third, as previously reported, Mr. Fred Warner Jr. has developed close ties with much of the political, socialistic and hypocritical nonsense on the west side of Oregon and which stretches all the way to D.C. Contrary to what Mr. Warner believes, I find these socialistic connections compromising, abhorrent and ultimately destructive to the best interests of men, women and children living in Baker County. It’s time for a dismissal, as the voters have already determined in May.

Peggy Anderson-Iler

New Bridge


Protecting kids: Talk, don’t text


Protecting your children from online sexual predators is a tougher task than it used to be.

The key word is mobility.

A decade ago, in most cases the only portal through which these Internet cretins could get access to your kids was a desktop or laptop computer.

These devices are easier to monitor than the smartphones and tablets that are teens’ preferred communication tools today.


Letter: District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff urges "no" vote on legalizing marijuana


On Nov. 4, voters in Baker County will have the opportunity to vote on whether marijuana should be legalized in the state of Oregon. As your district attorney, I would encourage Baker County voters to vote NO.

I make this recommendation for two primary reasons. First, Measure 91 is flawed and full of loopholes. Second, legalizing marijuana will have the effect of putting more children at risk.

This measure would allow a person previously convicted of felony drug crimes to get a license to grow, distribute and sell marijuana in a retail shop.  There is nothing in the law to limit how many retail shops a felon can operate.  

This measure makes no established driving rules for marijuana impairment and creates a substantial risk of increased driving fatalities relating to marijuana-impaired driving.  Traffic fatalities involving marijuana use have increased in the state of Washington since legalization.


Letter to the Editor for Oct. 27, 2014


Vote, and Americans will thank you

Every eligible voter must vote and vote informed or we are on the road to becoming something other than free Americans. Right now we are on the verge of losing our right to self-protection, losing access to our countryside, losing our choice of where we live and among others, how we educate our kids. Everybody will thank you for being one of our Americans that has utilized their right, and voted.

And I’ll be one of those that thanks you.

Rush Long

Baker County


Schools panic alarm needs work


The Baker School District’s emergency alarm system is a great addition to local schools, one with the potential to save lives should someone threaten a school.

But as is the case with much new technology, the system has been plagued by glitches.

Specifically, a pair of accidental activations of the system — one on Sept. 24, one on Oct. 23 — at Brooklyn Primary School brought a full contingent of police and other emergency responders to the school, which houses about 450 kids from kindergarten through third grade.

Practice drills are worthwhile, of course, but neither of the events at Brooklyn was planned.


If Kitzhaber isn’t vulnerable, is any D in Oregon?


The Oregon governor’s race, previously as dull as a “Golden Girls” marathon, has been jolted to life by scandal.

I’m certainly more curious than I was a month ago.

This isn’t because I think incumbent John Kitzhaber will lose.

I believe Oregonians will give Kitzhaber, a Democrat, an unprecedented fourth term.


Letters to the Editor for Oct. 24, 2014


Measure 90 would reduce voters’ freedom

I just finished reading through the pros and cons in my Voters Guide regarding Proposition 90 (I know, I know, I should have done it sooner) and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  This is not a good thing, folks, for any of us, regardless of your political leanings.  It takes away those freedoms that our forefathers worked so hard to include into the Bill of Rights and the Constitution — the balance of power, the inclusion of all our opinions and beliefs, the governing of the people, by the people. 

The makers of Prop 90 meant well.  At first, I thought it might be a good idea. However, after looking at all the possibilities, such as having only one party to vote on in the general election, I realized the inherent dangers. We must continue to have a choice of not just two parties, but the alternatives as well. We must continue to hear all sides of the question and to work to find the balances that will insure a fair and democratic solution to all the problems of governing an excitingly diverse, argumentative, but extremely livable community.  Let’s keep it that way! Vote No on Proposition 90!  Thanks for listening.

Roxanna Swann

Baker City

Ferrioli urges all voters to cast their ballots

Over many election cycles, I’ve listened to conservatives who didn’t cast a ballot complain “My vote doesn’t count so why bother?”

 Here’s why:

 Four years ago, Chris Dudley lost the election to John Kitzhaber by less than 23,000 votes. The margin was less than 2 percent! 

Think of how different Oregon would be without the failures of the past four years! 

According to the Secretary of State, in that election cycle, 135,000 registered Republicans who received their ballots in the mail, did not vote. 

Perhaps they were discouraged, or didn’t believe their candidate could win, or maybe they just couldn’t find a stamp.

 For whatever reason, some rural conservatives are content to sit on the sidelines while Portland liberals call the tune. 

This election is being conducted while our National Guard units are scattered all over the world, fighting for our freedom, our liberty, and our precious right to vote. They will never surrender. 

But by not voting we will surrender the Oregon we love and where we raised our families. 

There is no excuse for any Oregonian to fail the duty of citizenship when the cost of voting is the price of a stamp.  

Please change Oregon for the better! Cast your ballot and mail it today. Let no Oregon ballot go unvoted! 

Ted Ferrioli

State Senator, District 30

John Day


Election ’14: Our choices


The Nov. 4 election ballot is a lengthy one, and we’ve published our endorsements for several races and measures over the past month or so.

Our preferences:

• Dennis Richardson for Oregon governor

• Monica Wehby for U.S. Senate

• Greg Walden for U.S. House of Representatives

• Cliff Bentz for Oregon House of Representatives

• Measure 88 (drivers cards without requiring proof of legal residence in Oregon): NO

• Measure 90 (top two candidates, regardless of party, advance from primary election to general election): NO

• Measure 91 (legalizing recreational use of marijuana for ages 21 and over): NO

• Measure 92 (labeling foods containing GMOs): YES

• Baker City measures 1-59 and 1-60 (authorizing sale of two forest parcels near Salmon Creek): YES on both


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