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Letter to the Editor for Jan. 27, 2014


Government taking away our freedoms

Blatant disregard and prejudice for smokers and 2nd Amendment defenders by city, state, federal agencies, blatant disregard for drinkers and other so-called sinners and so-called alarmists that believe in Constitutional rights, not privileges. The city is using prejudice to pass bans on freedoms in parks, outdoors. Already have non-constitutional areas of town, making them downright dangerous for all who visit those areas, including our children. Still takes time for cop to run from one side of building to other even if in same building. All that time, more potential casualties, minimum 10 minutes for backup.

Wake up. All parts of the Constitution have to do with freedom, just as relevant today as when it was written. Possibly more relevant now. Everyone seems to forget freedom of speech and religion, or lack thereof. Want all religious symbols destroyed. Get over it. All monuments in Washington, D.C., would have to be destroyed, all have at least one Bible in foundation. Check facts out yourself.

While you’re at it, re-read the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Especially those that swore to uphold the Constitution. Not everyone wants others to help save everyone from everyone. We prefer to think for ourselves. All states that have tough gun controls also have huge crime rates.

All government land is supposed to be accessible to all citizens, not just when money is available. Forest Service roads over 100 years old are supposed to be left open, forever, even in so-called roadless areas, which are inaccessible to all disabled people. To any person not gifted with perfect help.

Part of freedom is being thick-skinned enough to let others not only believe whatever, but to use their own brain to make their own decisions.         

Carl Koontz

Baker City


The GOP challenge


Baker County Republicans had a great chance Wednesday to talk with five people who will be seeking their vote in the May primary, and it was heartening to see a meeting room at the Sunridge Inn filled.

The county’s Republican Party put together the forum that brought to Baker City the five candidates who want to replace Democrat Jeff Merkley as U.S. senator. Although only registered Republicans will get to decide which of the five will challenge Merkley in the general election — Jason Conger, Tim Crawley, Mark Callahan, Monica Wehby and Jo Rae Perkins — the event was a valuable chance for all residents to hear from the group, one of whom might be representing us at the Capitol a year from now.


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 24, 2014


Backcountry travelers need to know about avalanches

In response to the article about “Locals escape avalanche scare” that appeared in The Observer and Baker City Herald on Friday, Jan. 17:

Yes, they are lucky to be alive. I wasn’t there, but in reading the article the only training it suggested that the group had was many years of snowmobiling riding and that all were backcountry winter users.  

All backcountry users need to attend avalanche awareness presentations, or Avalanche training Level I, II, or III courses which are given by many organizations. 

These presentations and training provides the following information:

• Safe travel routes

• Snowpack evaluations

• Social habits and make up of groups

• Avalanche beacons and use

• Avalanche shovels and use

• Avalanche probe poles and use

• Shovel technique for rescue

• Self rescue in an avalanche

Each individual backcountry traveler, whether it is by snowmobile, backcountry skis or snowshoes, should carry beacons, shovels, and probe poles and have the training to know how to use them. 

A backcountry traveler should be trained to identify the dangers of avalanche and how to self rescue and be safe. No matter how you travel in the backcountry in the winter you need the right equipment to take care of you and your partners. 

There are many organizations that can provide avalanche training and awareness. A few of those organizations are American Avalanche Association, National Ski Patrol, and Wallowa Mountains Avalanche Center.

Please be safe when traveling in the backcountry. Remember, each individual in a backcountry party must have the training and proper equipment to rescue each other when an avalanche occurs. 

Mike Gooderham

La Grande

Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol member, and Level II avalanche instructor


City staff is sufficient


The Baker City Council last week revived a debate that councilors started last spring.

The issue is whether the city has enough employees to do all the tasks residents expect.

Councilor Mike Downing contends the city workforce is too small. 

He believes the city needs more firefighters, police officers and public works employees.

Mayor Richard Langrell and Councilor Roger Coles disagree.


Bicycle and beer bottle caps: All a boy needs


When I was a kid the ingredients for a perfect day were a bicycle, a Hardy Boys book and some bottle caps.

Although I could get by with just the bike and the book.

The bottle caps were sort of a bonus — akin to getting two hits in a Little League game and then heading straight to Dairy Queen for a butterscotch sundae.

(As a light-hitting infielder, such a feat was about as rare for me as a Willamette Valley blizzard.)

The era of the bottle cap, at least as an attraction for a kid with time to burn, ended so far as I can tell somewhere around the Reagan administration, but whether its demise was gradual or sudden I can’t say.

I am writing here specifically of beer bottle caps.


Consider open primaries


A Union County group thinks all voters in that county should be able to choose among county commission candidates in primary elections.

This is an idea worth considering in Baker County as well.

Both Baker and Union counties are among a minority of Oregon counties — 16 of 36 — where county commissioners are partisan offices.

We don’t mind that, per se.


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 17, 2014

Letter writer questioned, didn’t condemn, homosexuals

In recent letters from Jay Boyd and then Gary Dielman about homosexuality, Mr. Dielman chastises Mrs. Boyd for writing that homosexuality is against natural law. Mr. Dielman continues that natural law is nowhere written down. There follows a long list of wonderfully gifted people who were homosexual and in his last paragraph writes that Mrs. Boyd should not condemn them with her natural law. From what I recall of Mrs. Boyd’s letter, she was saying homosexuals shouldn’t be surprised that people think homosexuality is unnatural. I could not conclude that Mrs. Boyd was condemning them or hating them. Since homosexuals are clamoring for normalcy, isn’t it a social question to be thought about by society in general?

It was Mr. Dielman’s use of the words “violate the Natural Law” in his beginning and the word “condemn” in the last paragraph that caught my attention. Mr. Dielman, are you asking me to conclude that gifted people have no faults — or if they do have faults, they are not to be held accountable for them because they are gifted? May we not examine whether homosexuality is natural? May we not think about the why of marriage in the first place as Pete Sundin’s letter of Jan. 13 so thoughtfully puts forth?

As to a written source for natural law, it is mentioned in Romans 1:27 in those instructions we call the Bible. There is a long list of faults. All end in death. It would be eternal death for all of us if Jesus hadn’t loved us before we repented — loved us to the point of satisfying justice by dying for us; at the same time making it a sin to hate any guilty person. Whether one accepts that as “truth” is another question.

Suzanne Kahle

Baker City



A mechanical klutz, afraid of his dishwasher


The list of skills I wish I had is longer than many novels, and at its top are the ability to build things and to fix stuff that gets busted or stops working.

I don’t mean complicated things, like brains or nuclear reactors or jet aircraft.

I know how modest my limits are.

But aside from the occasional triumph of swapping a car’s starter, or assembling a stone wall that’s still standing after several years, my attempts at building and fixing even relatively simple items usually end with profanity and, frequently, a minor but painful flesh wound.

(Fortunately to my own flesh, most generally.)

I’m sufficiently self-aware, though, to realize that even my successful exploits, besides being rare, mainly result either from dumb luck or from the task being so simple that most fifth-graders could pull it off.

(And I mean no disrespect to fifth-graders.)


Letter to the Editor for Jan. 15, 2014


Natural Law exists in the heart, not on a piece of paper

In a recent letter to the editor, I wrote that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law. Gary Dielman responded that he wonders where he can get a copy of that Natural Law. To clarify: the Natural Law is not a man-made document which we may photocopy and distribute. The Natural Law (not quite the same as the law of nature) is written in the human heart and mind. It explains why virtually all cultures have a moral code that essentially reflects the Ten Commandments.

The Natural Law says that objects have an intended purpose. For example, a kitchen table is intended to serve as a place on which to set food, plates, and utensils in order to enjoy a meal. If a person sits on the table, using it for a chair, the natural purpose of the table has been violated. No big deal: people sit on things intended for other purposes all the time.  There are very few natural consequences for this “violation” of Natural Law.

It’s a bigger deal when the Natural Law is violated with regard to the human body and human interaction. The human stomach is meant to digest particular types of food; ingesting  steel ball bearings violates the natural purpose of the stomach, and the consequences will be felt in an unpleasant way. Similarly, human reproductive organs have a specific purpose, and we all know what that purpose is. Violating the end purpose of the human sexual parts and the human sexual act is a violation of the Natural Law. The homosexualist agenda would like us to believe there are no significant physical consequences, but that is simply not the case. Homosexual acts between men eventually lead to some very serious physical health problems that are not discussed in any pro-homosexual lifestyle propaganda, and which are generally not considered by “straight” people.  Space does not allow me to address them here. Nevertheless, these serious problems do exist, and are evidence that homosexual behavior violates the Natural Law.  

Want a copy of the Natural Law? Look into your heart, think critically, and use your common sense..

Jay Boyd

Baker City


Events should continue


It would seem at first glance that it’s been a tough run these past several months for Baker City events.

Last August the Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer sponsor Miners Jubilee.

And now Historic Baker City Inc., which puts on the Taste of Baker, the Christmas parlor tour and the Christmas parade, is set to lose about half of its revenue through the downtown Economic Improvement District.

Yet we remain confident that there are those among Baker’s business community and volunteers who are numerous and energetic enough to ensure that those events which residents truly value will continue to happen, even if the names of the organizers and sponsors change.


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