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Letters to the Editor for March 23, 2009

Bill would hurt miners, others

To the editor:

Instead of protecting property rights of ranchers who are surface owners on split estate lands, House Bill 3453 in the Oregon Legislature actually weakens Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) regulations, and adds a second state agency, Department of State Lands, to administer mining. This situation will work to confuse the regulations currently in place, and leave the surface owners more vulnerable, not less, to impacts from mining. HB 3453 is not necessary, would be costly to taxpayers, and it is not legal.

Don’t wait, Congress

We expect Oregon’s congressional delegation to bicker occasionally.

But we figured there was universal agreement among them about the federal county payments program.

We are so naive.

County payments, which Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden helped create in 2000, are supposed to help counties, including Baker, that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly when the amount of logging on federal land plummeted starting in the early 1990s.

We have what we need for great schools

The closing of a school is, with rare exceptions, a sad occasion.

This is due, it seems to me, to the unique nature of schools.

No building seems as empty as a shuttered school, for the simple reason that no building seems so full as one occupied by children who are learning to add fractions and to subtract superfluous adverbs from their sentences.

Playgrounds look particularly forlorn when deprived of kids. The sight of a ball field with basepaths overrun by dandelions rather than sneakers is a dismal one indeed.

Those ‘stupid’ security measures

So Oregon congressman Peter DeFazio thinks random checks of airline passengers’ carry-on bags are “really stupid.”

Well, we’ll take really stupid over a hijacking every time.

Fortunately, we haven’t had one of those in this country for 7fi years.

The interesting thing here is that DeFazio, a 12-term Democrat from Springfield whose district covers most of Oregon’s southwest quarter, told the (Eugene) Register-Guard newspaper that he considers himself an expert on airport security.

Keep watching the water legislation

There’s scarcely a better way for the Oregon Legislature to scare farmers and ranchers than to debate bills that mention water rights.

People in the ag business pay particular attention to such legislation.

Their scrutiny isn’t prompted by paranoia, either.

It’s awfully hard, after all, to run a farm or ranch without an ample supply of water.

For most producers in Baker County some of that water — most of it, in many cases — comes from rivers and streams.

Sticking around

Jobs are scarce in most places these days, but Baker County soon will have four pretty good ones available.

All are with the county’s road department.

In a confluence of retirements rare for the sheer durations involved, four road department workers either have retired, or intend to do so by May 28.

Snowpack might not set records, but you can still get stuck

This winter has gotten a reputation, around here anyway, as something of a skinflint. This allegation, whatever its meteorological merits, sounds like the cruelest sort of lie when you’re stuck up to your armpits in a drift.

Nor does it add to the tale’s plausibility that your forearms have to endure their frigid submersion with nothing but skin for protection.

And skin gives up a lot, insulation-wise, to wool.

Kickstand this one

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