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Work still to do on the fire

Baker County’s biggest wildfire hasn’t completely cooled, but it’s not too early to start healing the damage.

The soil, in particular, is vulnerable in the aftermath of the 103,791-acre Cornet/Windy Ridge fire, lacking roots to keep it in place on steep slopes and vegetation above to absorb and deflect raindrops.

Bakerís been wise with water

The good news is that Baker City’s water supply seems to have stabilized, and residents and businesses have curtailed their consumption during this summer of drought.

The bad news is that we need to keep conserving.

And probably for at least a couple more months.

County made a reasonable plea

Postponing hunting season is, we’ll admit, an extreme request.

But not as extreme as the fires that have burned 150,000 acres in Baker County this month.

Baker County Commissioners Bill Harvey, Mark Bennett and Tim L. Kerns made a reasonable request in asking Gov. Kate Brown to delay the archery season, which starts Saturday, and the grouse and mourning dove seasons that begin Sept. 1.

Unforgettable: The Baker County fires of 2015

Fifty years from now, when the 21st century is on the wane and the black scars have long since healed to green, we’ll still talk around here about the great fires of 2015.

Over backyard fences and over plates of pancakes at the cafe, we’ll remember the August afternoons when acrid smoke draped over the valleys like a Dickensian London fog, and the dusks when the sun set as if in blood.

We’ll recount the heroic tales of people who stayed to protect their homes and their land and the animals.

We’ll recall when we first learned how a Level 1 evacuation notice differs from a Level 3.

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 26, 2015

10th Street isn’t broke; fix other things that need fixing

This is about fixing 10th Street. I didn’t know it was broke, so don’t fix it.

You screwed up Campbell Street and Resort with shutting of Court Street and your diagonal parking all the way down. That diagonal parking is dangerous.

Enough for now. Let’s hear from anyone who agrees with me. Why not fix roads and etc. that need fixing.

Jean Hulick

Baker City

Veterans are lucky to have Rick Gloria in our service

We have been in contact with Rick Gloria since he was appointed to the position of Baker County Veteran Services Officer on many occasions.

The care and treatment we have received has been efficient, expedient and courteous.  He calls back with the information we were waiting for in a timely manner. When he has information and it is after working hours he will still call and update us.  He does not waste time in calling when there is nothing to report. His computer skills are superb.

Baker County is fortunate to have Rick as an employee. He is extremely knowledgeable in his position, which helps get the veteran the end result that he is waiting for. He goes out of his way to find the information that is requested.

Veterans, we are very lucky to have Rick in our community to help with our needs.

Gene and Patricia Reed

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for August 24, 2015

Recall the Sumpter mayor; our town can do better

After reading the mayor’s letter to the editor, I really feel I need to comment. 

She talks about gossip, she talks about cronyism and she talks unending about anger issues. Well I have questions for the mayor who shut the last council meeting down because she didn’t want to take questions. 

I believe that if she had let people ask their questions people wouldn’t have taken to the streets so to speak. She is a newcomer here and she doesn’t know most of the people nor does she appear to want to.

She plopped right down into the midst of a handful of angry malcontents who are responsible for all the lawsuits. So I would respectfully ask, if by your own admission you hate this town, you have never met anyone here yet that you would even invite into your home, why do you want to be the mayor?

Not one of those people that you support do anything constructive for this city. It would appear that you along with your band of merry malcontents want to bankrupt the city into nonexistence. 

You have maligned the current council and former mayor. It is a stretch of the imagination to say that the whole council and former mayor were dishonest. That is an outright lie.

I love Sumpter and most of the people that live here. I say recall. We can do better.

Michelle Lee DeFord


Guest Editorial: Forest legal brawls can be avoided

Editorial from The (Bend) Bulletin:

Forest collaboratives are a bid by the Forest Service to keep whatever it does in the forest from becoming a legal brawl.

But some environmental groups, including the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project from Fossil, have already declared they have had enough and won’t be a part of them. They wrote pages of criticisms, summarizing by saying, “In essence, collaborative groups are backroom decision-making processes disguised as feel-good endeavors which aid agency decision-makers.”

Economics: Pie charts, booze and video poker

The economists have had a go at gauging Oregon’s commerce, and they’ve examined the usual entrails of tax revenues and workforce trends and seasonally adjusted jobless rates.

The daunting columns of statistics that define the science of economics are well enough for its practitioners.

But I think the layman gets a sharper sense of how things are going in our state by looking at data that are more, well, organic.

How many gallons of Fireball cinnamon whisky Oregonians are downing, for instance.

Enough to incapacitate a city of modest size, as it turns out.

The spiced spirit was Oregon’s favorite tipple in 2014, accounting for about $13 million in gross sales and barely edging out Jack Daniel’s, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).

(My theory about Jack’s runner-up finish is that fewer heavy metal bands made tour stops in Oregon last year than is typical, but I haven’t had a chance to test this hypothesis with anything approaching rigor.)

All told, booze brought in better than half a billion dollars to Oregon last year, which was 4.3 percent more than in 2013.

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 21, 2015

Many Sumpter people are kind and caring volunteers

With all the negative publicity Sumpter has received on the front page of the local newspapers of late, I am compelled to tell you my story of living in Sumpter.

Many people have asked me my impressions of Sumpter after eight years of being retired here. I always tell them that we have met more kind, caring people here than anyplace else we have ever lived. 

We have many, many positive-thinking friends who have enriched our lives and the lives of others around them. Many of these people are, for example, volunteers who have helped to build our beautiful Volunteer Park, which was constructed entirely with free labor provided by the supportive citizens of Sumpter. Other examples of people giving of their time and resources in order to make our small town an even better place to live are too numerous to list.

On the downside, I also tell people that we have met some of the most negative, vindictive people here that I can ever remember meeting. They never step up to help with projects that benefit the community, yet they are the first to criticize and complain about the people who do. 

We have all known people like that during our lifetime. They are less than 10 percent of the population, but, because of their inclination to sue people with whom they disagree, they still are quite successful at making life uncomfortable for folks who just want to live in peace with their neighbors.

Please do not let the opinions of a few “bad apples” spoil your opinion of Sumpter. The vast majority of us are very decent, down-to-earth, honest folks that you would love to be around.

Lila Young


Letters to the Editor for August 19, 2015

Opposition’s tactics go    ‘well beyond the pale’

We are truly blessed in this country that there is no penalty for ignorance or being uninformed. Otherwise our jails would be full. 

Of late there have been letters and blogs bombarding the citizens of Sumpter. Uninformed individuals choose to take worn-out gossip as gospel, instead of attending meetings. Many of these letters and blogs are being written by people who have never attended Council, Planning Commission or workshop meetings since I have been mayor. All they can rely on is the gossip distributed by their cronies. 

Last Tuesday’s (Aug. 11) Council meeting was attended by a group of people, including an employee of the City, wearing matching T-shirts with assault rifles imprinted on the back with “tight knit redneck group” written below. These 10 or so individuals came to harass and threaten those they disagree with. Shameful when our own City employees participate in this type of mob mentality and write on Facebook how they wish they could have smashed in some teeth. 

I don’t dispute anyone’s right to attempt a recall or have free speech, but to blatantly lie to those from whom you are attempting to gain signatures is disgusting. There are even rumors that some are trying to gain votes against me by offering financial gain. That goes well beyond the pale.

There is much misinformation surrounding the lawsuit. If the lawsuit causes the City to go broke, we will deal with the aftermath — with a new and better Council! And by the way, if too many of the Council are recalled to make a quorum, the County will appoint one (or more) councilors to form a quorum, and the Council can then fill the other vacancies by appointment. Don’t let the rumors frighten you. Baker County is not going to take us over.

I want only one thing, and many of you have never experienced it in Sumpter ... honesty in our City government. Please vote NO on my recall and YES to recall Oakley and Myers-Woolf. Together we can do what needs to be done. 

Melissa Findley

Mayor of Sumpter

Sumpter residents should be working to improve the town

Citizens of Sumpter,

Our town is in disgrace. Brawling in the streets, pulling out pipes to (beat up) those that oppose your way of thinking. 

This mess the city is in is escalating. Is this really the picture you want our visitors to the city to see? Are the upcoming articles in the papers really what you want people to read about Sumpter and its citizens. 

Hatred, anger, and childish gang shirt related images. Many of you blame those that started the lawsuit against the city, but the trouble here started long before their decision to file charges. 

Melissa was brave enough to run for mayor when this town desperately needed some adult guidance. She has been ridiculed, harassed and ignored. Citizens of the town, including a past mayor, have interfered with meetings and made it difficult for her. 

He would not have stood for the behavior he either sat and listened to or joined in. Can’t we all just work together to make a better Sumpter, to dig ourselves out of the hole this city is in? 

 There should not be two groups fighting in the streets, disrupting council meetings so business cannot get done and ridiculing letters being written and mailed with accusations being made without substantial evidence on both sides. Haven’t you all had enough of this?

Beverly Hale


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