The proposed merger of the two Baker County organizations that help residents deal with mental health and substance abuse problems could benefit those who need such assistance.
Officials from Mountain Valley Mental Health Inc. and New Directions Northwest Inc. are considering combining their agencies.
This merger makes sense.
Starting Aug. 1, money for patients covered by the Oregon Health Plan and Medicaid will be distributed to local or regional groups called Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs).
Having a single entity providing these crucial treatments should be more efficient — and more importantly, cheaper — than dividing those responsibilities. Ideally, the cost savings will make it possible for the new, merged agency to help more residents than are eligible now for government assistance.
Baker County commissioners heard last week from local residents who have struggled to get help for addictions and other problems, in part because agencies have a full caseload.
We urge the boards of directors from both Mountain Valley and New Directions to continue their negotiations toward a merger.
Look at president’s deeds, not his words
Ever hear of John Wolfe? Don’t feel bad; not many people have. He is one of those obscure people who somehow get their name on the ballot and wind up with a few votes. But this year, this six-time loser from Tennessee ran in the Arkansas Democratic presidential primary against President Obama and got 40 percent of the vote!
What about Keith Judd? The name doesn’t ring a bell? He’s a convicted felon serving his sentence in a Texas prison. He ran in the West Virginia Democratic primary against the president and got 41 percent of the vote.
In Kentucky, an astonishing 42 percent of Democratic voters went for an “uncommitted” slate of delegates rather than vote for Barack Obama.
When four out of 10 Democratic voters in these states vote for an unknown, a jailbird and nobody in particular, respectively, rather than for the sitting president from their own party, they are sending a strong message: the nation is on the wrong track and has been for the past 3½ years.
At best, the recovery from the Great Recession has been anemic. Gasoline prices remain high. The administration has not made a dent in the high rate of joblessness among Americans. The budgets which President Obama has been submitting to Congress add a trillion dollars to the national debt each year. The Democratic-led Senate has failed to vote on any of these budgets since Barack Obama has been in office. The list of Democratic failures is long.
President Obama is running for re-election, so pay no attention to anything he might say. Instead, pay attention to what he had done while in office, and at what he has failed to do. Then you will see why so many moderate Democrats are expressing their discontent with the man by refusing to vote for him.
The improvements in Baker County’s job market during April are modest, statistically speaking.
But considering the economic doldrums that have beset much of the state and nation over the past three years, even modest improvements loom rather large.
In April, 9.8 percent of the Baker County workforce was without a job.
That’s the lowest rate since November 2011.
The greater reason for optimism, though, comes from comparing this April to last.
This April’s 9.8-percent rate is 0.6 percent below April 2011. That’s the biggest reduction, month-to-month, since May 2010.
That’s the sort of cut we can sink our teeth into.
I saw more seagulls while I was driving through Bowen Valley the other afternoon than I saw in three recent days at the Oregon Coast.
And Bowen Valley hasn’t been within the reach of the tides for something like 200 million years.
This is the sort of avian discrepancy that can happen because the weather at the shore is better suited to filming an episode of “Deadliest Catch” than to letting a toddler get sand in his hair for the first time.
I have no doubt that gulls, which seem unperturbed by the nastiest of gales, were as ubiquitous as ever during our beach trip.
Suggestions for voters
As a member of the Election Board and before we vote in another election in November, I would like to make some suggestions to my fellow voters.
The job of the Election Board is to prepare the ballots to be sent out to the voters and when the time comes and they are back, we make sure that they are readable and correct so they can be counted and everything comes out right. It takes time to count all the ballots and we are dedicated to do the best job for the voters.
When you sit down to vote your ballot, it would help if you make sure that you read it carefully and vote the correct number of choices in each voting area. Also, do you realize that each write-in name has to be counted by hand? This means that when you write in Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Pluto, we have to sit down and count every name. It takes at least eight people to hand-count write-ins. Since you, the taxpayers, are the ones that pay for this, I am sure you would like to make it as easy as possible for the Election Board.
The Election Board is a dedicated, responsible group and when the November election comes around, I hope we can all be dedicated and responsible voters.
Mayce Day No. 4 a success
Baker City, you did it again! The 4th-annual Mayce Day-Drink Pink was held on Friday, June 1, and wow, what a success. With each new year of Mayce Day-Drink Pink there also comes a time of sweet and sorrowful reflection. A time to consider all that has been done within our amazing community, all that has been fulfilled and all the ways we’ve made a difference in Mayce Collard’s memory.
Please take a moment to reflect on the wonderful opportunities we have been able to assist with through the J. Mayce Memorial Scholarship, which honors students not for how many touchdowns they make or their SAT scores but for their character, for who they are when no one is looking. Students are nominated by teachers who personify many of Mayce’s best qualities: a positive attitude, volunteer experience, and acceptance of others. We feel with Mayce leading the way we have found the perfect niche to fund the “inside” and not the obvious.
Thank you again for keeping Mayce in your thoughts and for your steadfast support throughout the past four years of Mayce Day-Drink Pink. We all are eternally grateful and continue to be in awe of the community support of the J. Mayce Memorial Scholarship Fund; it is a worthwhile endeavor.
On behalf of the Collard family and the BHS Learning Center’s Bulldog Blender, our hearts are filled with gratitude.
For more information or to make a donation to Mayce Day-Drink Pink, please contact Amy Powell at 541-524-2634.
There’s plenty of conspiracy theories based on the notion that the government has a voracious appetite and that its favorite meal is made up of our individual freedoms.
Most of these theories stretch our credulity to its limits; many are obviously the products of paranoia.
Yet once in a while some elected or appointed public official conceives a campaign which, though it doesn’t render the more fanatical theories any more plausible, at least makes a general distrust of the government’s motives seem reasonable.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s current offensive against high-volume, high-sugar drinks — think Big Gulps — exemplifies this sort of effort.
Crowded out at graduation
My husband and I were at the graduation last Sunday to see a few of our friends graduate.
We were seated in the wheelchair area of the stadium because of our disabilities. The ceremony started, and I rolled my walker closer to get a good photo of one of our friends graduating. By this time everyone coming in decided to make the wheelchair area their home. We couldn’t move and we couldn’t see because they were standing all around. I yelled, “everyone that is not wheelchair please leave.” Some took the hint One guy had a wheelchair mom there and was going to leave. I said, “no, you’re with her.” Asked these other people if they had family there and they said, out on the field, they were graduating. I asked them to leave and find a seat elsewhere and they refused and were quite obstinate about it. They were not going to leave at all. It ruined our day there and my husband came home with a terrible backache because he had to stand the entire introduction of the graduates. We never got to see the graduation, we left early and felt violated by these people. Part of me wants them to experience the same grief they caused us, but another part of me hopes no one would put them through being violated as we were.
I do think that the school should have someone to regulate the area seating so it’s fair for everyone.
Nice gesture at cemetery
I want to express my thanks to who ever placed the small bouquets of baby breath on each small grave in the Baby Hearts at the cemetery. How thoughtful and caring.
We hope Baker City officials learn something from the debacle over a pair of water tanks that serves fewer than a dozen homes at the city’s hilly southwest corner.
Unfortunately, it seems that any wisdom gained will come too late to save the city the estimated $150,000 bill to fix the problem.
Here’s what happened:
The Monday, June 4 issue of the Baker City Herald will be put together by the same team of reporters, photographers, ad designers and editors who assembled the edition you’re reading right now.
But Monday’s paper will look different.
And, we think you’ll agree with us, quite a lot better.
Clearing up issue in story
To the editor:
I would like to clear up one point on the article on my family tree research (in the May 30 issue). I may have misspoken or been misunderstood, but what I meant to say was that one branch of my family tree has been researched to the “Time of Christ” not to Christ himself.
I in no way intended to presume Christ is in my family tree.
Working to wreck an industry
To the editor:
I hope everyone noticed a couple weeks ago the letter to the editor written by Loren Hughes advocating more forest road closures and further federal takeover of the land.
I just want to make sure that everyone realizes who Hughes is so that we can all recognize the damage he has single-handedly caused during the past 40 years to the people of this region. Hughes was given the nickname “Mr. Fifteen Center” several decades ago during the spotted owl controversy after he wrote a letter addressed with one fifteen-cent stamp to the Forest Service. His letter effectively shut down several large FS timber sales and helped deal a fatal blow to the timber industry. Hughes also has a long association with extreme environmental groups such as the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in La Grande.
So, I want to make sure and pay Hughes his due. First, Mr. Fifteen Center, thanks for killing an industry that will never return during my lifetime. Thanks for changing the median age in Wallowa County from a vibrant 32 years old in 1982 to the current 50 years old today. And, because of your agenda, nowadays we harvest people’s lives with the prison industry instead of putting them to work harvesting the earth’s bounty. So, really thanks for that too, because that is the consequence of your life work.
And also, thanks Mr. Hughes for providing an example of a person who is willing to sell the economic stability of the region he calls home so that he can fulfill some theoretical environmental preservation agenda. Or, maybe Hughes has his sights on bigger fish. Maybe his environmental concerns are simply a front for a more clandestine agenda. Maybe he is actually interested in changing our form of government. Or is it just a coincidence that the work of his life has resulted in a weakening of fundamental American ideals such as freedom, liberty, and private property rights? Maybe.