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Teaching vital skills

The question belongs to that category of queries so common that they’ve become clichés.

“What are you going to do after high school?"

Letter to the Editor for July 10, 2015

Meth: A national emergency

Recently there was an article about my son and his meth addiction and suicide in the Baker City Herald. I would like to follow up.

Summerís real arrival; and the Popeís big coup

I don’t wish to quarrel with the calendar or with the weather, but for me summer arrived neither on the solstice nor on the first day when even the shade failed to soothe.

The season barged in Monday afternoon while I was driving west on Auburn toward my house.

Letís start saving our water

Baker City, in this year of severe drought, is fortunate compared with many towns in the West.

We have a watershed in the nearby Elkhorn Mountains that not only has reliably delivered copious amounts of water for more than a century, but has done so through the elegantly simple means of gravity.

But we’re not immune to nature.

Copycatting California? On vaccines, we should

The Oregon Legislature hasn’t completly failed to address the state’s dangerously low childhood vaccination rate.

But almost.

Our lawmakers’ lack of gumption seems especially galling when compared with our neighbors in California.

Potís quiet debut; and flags dominate the news

Day 3 of Oregon’s great marijuana experiment has arrived and I have yet to detect a miasma of patchouli wafting over Baker City, or a cacophony of the Grateful Dead reverberating through the streets.

I’m not surprised that this legal milestone has thus far been marked by mellowness.

Pot tends to induce a certain placidity in most people, after all, unless there’s a platter of burritos nearby.

Kudos to the county

For more than a decade the specter of the sage grouse has loomed over Baker County.

Concern about this bird has focused on the potential restrictions on livestock grazing, recreation and mining that could result from the federal government conferring threatened or endangered status on the species.

Letters to the Editor for July 1, 2015

Pope Francis’ inspiring call to action on climate change

“We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.”

There are many profound teachings in Pope Francis’ newly-issued, wide-ranging Encyclical on climate change, inequality, and justice. It is a truly majestic document. It’s lengthy, but I urge everyone to read it in its entirety with both mind and heart, and to go well beyond the words to the spiritual meaning they convey.  (A link may be found here:  http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Franc/index.htm)

State lets down students

Here’s the new excuse for Oregon students:

“I did my homework, but Gov. Kate Brown vetoed it.”

Last week Brown signed House Bill 2655. This legislation, on which proponents bestowed the egregiously misleading name “Student Assessment Bill of Rights,” allows parents to exempt their kids from standardized testing starting next spring.

And they don’t have to give any reason for skipping the tests, which are given to students in third through eighth grade, as well as 11th grade.

That’s a substantial change from current practice.

A peak glimpse; and Baker voters mix on pot

Grand mountains crowd Baker City, and I can scarcely imagine the place without these looming masses of stone that quicken the sunset and stay the sunrise by more than half an hour depending on the season.

But sometimes the peaks, rather than dominating the scene, insert themselves with rather more subtlety.

This approach sacrifices grandeur for surprise — a fair enough trade as anyone knows who has had a loved one’s face appear in an unexpected place.

Of the two ranges that dominate the view from Baker Valley, the Elkhorns, by virtue of proximity, are more imposing than the Wallowas, which are taller but more than twice as distant.

But there is a particular place in town, a spot I walk past a couple times each week, that always delights me even though it affords a brief glimpse of just a smidgen of the Wallowas.

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