Thanks to volunteers who work in Special Olympics
I would like to give a big shout out to all the folks that work with the special people from the Special Olympics in the winter sports program.
That includes my daughter, Stephanie Tweit, and her husband, Bryan. Bryan took this task on about 20 years ago and Stephanie joined the program about nine years ago. They spend tireless hours teaching on the Anthony Lakes slopes every Saturday for a couple of months and then join them and lead the skiers in the Special Olympics program called SOOR — Special Olympics Oregon — at Mount Bachelor in Bend every year.
One of their students, Jamie McClaughry, recently competed in South Korea and returned with two gold medals in cross-country and finished sixth overall, and is riding a high from his accomplishments.
Stephanie has since set up a table for him downtown and invited folks to participate in an autograph signing. Can’t you just feel his excitement?
This is all accomplished with donated money from businesses and individuals from all over Oregon and volunteer instructors like Bryan and Stephanie.
Hats off to the volunteers. Nice job.
Budget cuts will be costly to many Oregonians
The impact of sequestration on Oregon this year along will result in a loss of over $10 million in funding for our primary and secondary schools; loss of funds for the education of children with disabilities; less aid for work-study jobs which help students to finance the costs of college; loss of funding for protections of clean air and water; furloughs for Department of Defense employees and less funding for Oregon Army base operations; loss of Justice Assistance grants; loss of funding for job search assistance; lost access to child care assistance; reduced funding for child vaccines; loss of funds to help prevent and treat substance abuse and fewer HIV tests; loss of funds to provide services to victims of domestic violence; and, a loss of funds for providing meals to seniors.
And then there will be the years to come. It gets worse.
What are our representatives arguing about? It’s simple. The administration wants spending cuts (other than from Medicare and Social Security) and wants to increase revenue by closing tax loopholes that favor corporate America. That position is supported by a majority of Americans.
Rep. Greg Walden and his party want spending cuts only, including to Medicare and Social Security.
What do we want? Is Rep. Walden representing you and Oregon by doing what is best for our state, its residents, or is this all about politics?
Now we know what’s killing all the honeybees
Now we know, at least, what is killing them. All across America honeybees are dying. They are down about 90 percent. And Albert Einstein, more famed for other things, several years ago said that when honeybees go extinct we will soon follow.
For a number of years their declining numbers remained a mystery. Viruses, fungal infections, pesticides and even signals from cell phone towers were investigated. All inconclusively. But now we know positively, and specifically. (In These Times magazine, March issue, has the article I cite here.)
It is neonicotinoid (neonics, for short) pesticides that are exterminating them and other primary pollinators. You would think this discovery, by means of which we can know how to save ourselves from extinction, might be front page news, but it isn’t.
These neonics, which are systemic pesticides chemically related to nicotine, are applied to seeds (of corn, sugar beets, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers and many other crops). Being systemic means the treated crops then carry the neonics not on, but in their pollen and nectar and, indeed, in every fiber of each plant. This neonic stuff is deadly poison to honeybees as well as other bugs. If it is so toxic to bugs it surely can’t be healthy for humans. And it’s in all the corn syrup and other corn products that we consume in almost all our store-bought food. Poisoned corn syrup sweetens all those soft drinks we drink instead of plain water. Could it be that our kids who have so many allergies these days are allergic not to the corn products but to the poison in the corn products?
One-hundred and forty-three million acres, in the U.S. alone, are planted with these treated seeds each year so it’s no wonder the bees are being exterminated. Germany, where the Bayer company which makes this stuff is located, prohibits its use there. And also France, which evidently appreciates what honeybees mean to us. But here in the USA the EPA, which was created to protect us, has granted an unconditional permit for its use here, and continues to vigorously defend its sale and use.
Let’s build on our local history, not erase it
Having read with interest the recent letters of Phyllis Badgley and Joyce Badgley Hunsaker, I want to add my voice of support to their voices of concern regarding the proposed name change of our airport.
Our first/early settlers and businesspeople in this valley continue to be due the honor and respect of having their names not removed, but remembered and even taught in local history classes. Time should not diminish their memory and contributions. History is to be built upon, not replaced.
The Baldock Slough is named for my great-grand-grandfather, William Henry Baldock. Though the Baldock name has died out, there are hundreds of us who live and work here still, who are direct descendants of those brave, sacrificing, and original homesteaders. Their legacy lives on, and their contribution continues to filter into our lives yet today, 150 years later.
Campbell Street is named for my great-great-great-uncle, John Jackson Campbell. There was a move several years ago to rename Campbell Street to Adler Boulevard. I will forever be grateful to the late Baker City historian, Pearl Jones, for her wise, strong and successful intervention to save the name of Campbell Street.
Remembering is important. Let’s not erase the past to honor the present. There are many other options.
Linda Wunder Wall
Why did GOP senators vote against this bill?
In the recent vote on U.S. Senate Bill 1925, to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the bill passed 68-31. Some 14 Republican senators joined the Democratic senators to pass this bill. However, 31 Republican senators voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Here is a list of senators who voted against the bill:
Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Blunt, R-Mo.; Boozman, R-Ark.; Burr, R-N.C.; Chambliss, R-Ga.; Coburn, R-Okla.; Cochran, R-Texas; Cornyn, R-Texas; DeMint, R-S.C.; Enzi, R-Wyo.; Graham, R-S.C.; Grassley, R-Iowa; Hatch, R-Utah; Inhofe, R-Okla.; Isakson, R-Ga.; Johanns, R-Neb.; Johnson, R-Wis.; Kyl, R-Ariz.; Lee, R-Utah; Lugar, R-Ind.; McConnell, R-Ken.; Moran, R-Kan.; Paul, R-Ky.; Risch, R-Idaho; Roberts, R-Kan.; Rubio, R-Fla.; Sessions, R-Ala.; Shelby, R-Ala.; Thune, R-S.D.; Toomey, R-Pa.; Wicker, R-Miss.
Ladies, be careful who you vote for!
Where are our representatives on travel management?
Over the last year I have actively pursued local and state representatives of Northeastern Oregon on the matter of Travel Management. Wallowa County has been exceptional in returning correspondence. Very little to no correspondence has come from anyone else.
Baker County Commissioner Fred Warner Jr. attempted on two occasions to answer, but quickly faded away, with one exchange from Tim Kerns’ wife over his work email and no correspondence back from Carl Stiff at all. Mark Davidson wrote a very short response April of 2012 that they were working on the issue, but no response since, with nothing from the other two. And, well Grant County just flat out does not respond.
Our state representatives have been all but derelict in their duties from what I can see. I do have to give Rep. Cliff Bentz some recognition as I do know he contacted Ms. Schwalbach on the matter in the summer of 2012, but that’s about all I’ve heard. Neither Mr. Ferrioli, Smith, Nelson nor Jensen have returned any emails in the matter and seem to be intentionally avoiding the discussion with the public.
What are they doing? Where is the voice of our representatives in the matter? Representing from a desk is non-representation, plain and simple. We need men and a woman willing to do the hard work of contacting forest leadership to ask what is going on, and then report to the public on a regular basis.
Representatives, where are you and what are you doing to protect our individual liberties? As one Forest Service employee told me last summer, people shouldn’t be so selfish about travel management; you can’t always have what you want. She’s right, we can’t, but we do expect to keep our God-given rights to Life, Liberty (freedom), and Happiness.
John D. George
We applaud the Baker City Airport Commission for making a difficult decision.
And, more importantly, the right decision.
Last week commissioners withdrew their recent request to the City Council to rename the city-owned airport from Heilner Field to Mabry J. Anders Field, to honor the 21-year-old Baker City soldier who was killed last August in Afghanistan.
The commission changed course after several local residents, including some city councilors, suggested that renaming the airport for Anders would either diminish the legacy of the late Joseph Heilner, for whom the airport was named, or would leave out the many other residents who, like Anders, sacrificed everything in the service of his country.
We’re certain the commissioners never intended to do either.
And indeed we believe that it’s possible to commemorate Anders without demeaning anyone else who is equally deserving.
But we also recognize that the commission’s proposal was certain to provoke emotional responses.
The airport has borne Heilner’s name for many decades, for one thing.
And for another, the issue of honoring members of the military killed in action is an intensely personal matter, so the likelihood is high that feelings will be hurt when a single soldier is slated for a particular honor, even when, as in Anders’ case, no such slight was intended.
The airport commission’s proposal to rename the airport for Anders was reasonable.
But of course that isn’t the only way to pay tribute to the man. We wholeheartedly support the new plan, which is to build a memorial to Anders at the airport through donations.
We urge the City Council to work with the commission and other supporters of the project to find a suitable place on the property for the memorial.
Ultimately, we hope this situation, rather than sowing a single seed of resentment, instead reminds us that we should never forget Anders and all those who died while trying to protect us.
Harry Reid doesn’t deserve to be a U.S. senator
I attended Congressman Greg Walden’s town hall meeting and was favorably impressed with some of the bills that the existing House has passed. However, it appears that most of them are being ignored by the Senate and therefore just sit with no action taken.
Obviously it is Senator Harry Reid who is dictating this refusal to bring these bills up before the Senate. The following information about Senator Reid is compiled from the February 2013 Judicial Watch publication. Senator Reid has been the Chinese ENN Energy Group’s most prominent advocate. His son Rory Reid is a principal in a Las Vegas law firm that represents ENN. He helped locate a 9,000-acre desert site in Clark County where Rory formerly chaired the county commission. Rory then put together a purchase for ENN that good old Harry brought to town. Purchase price $4.5 million. Two separate appraisals were for $29.6 million and the other for $38.6 million! However, this project seems stalled because there is no current market in Nevada for the green energy ENN claims it could produce.
However, this is nothing new for the Reid family. The Senate majority leader secured $21.5 million to build a bridge over the Colorado River to connect Laughlin, Nev., with Bullhead City, Ariz., where Reid owns 160 acres of land. Senator Harry Reid has sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefited one of his sons, Key Reid, who either lobbies for or is affiliated with these various organizations.
Whether one is a Democrat or a Republican, when is this political corruption going to stop? It is an absolute disgrace that one of the highest elected officials has all this power and continually flaunts it. Facts are facts.
He does not deserve to be a United States senator.
By Jayson Jacoby
Baker City Herald Editor
I learned recently that a meteorite landed in Baker County during the Great Depression.
Or maybe it didn’t.
The surviving records on the matter fall somewhat short of conclusive.
Nonetheless, the lack of certainty about this possible extraterrestrial incident in no way detracts from the value of the digital treasure trove of which the meteorite story is but one glittering fragment.
I credit a couple of recent articles with leading me to this historical cornucopia.
Although to be honest, given that I have more than a passing interest in both history and geology I ought to have stumbled long ago across the online archives of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).
I was looking for background first for a story about the new exhibit for the gold display at U.S. Bank’s Baker City branch, and later for an article about “Ghost Mine,” the Syfy channel series filmed last summer near Sumpter.
I didn’t dig up much that aided either story.
But I didn’t mind, because DOGAMI’s database is so rich in compelling detail that I could easily have dawdled half a day away poking around in photocopies of decades-old documents, some rendered in the rough scrawl of a long-dead geologist.
The website, by the way, is www.oregongeology.org/sub/milo/index-miningrecords.htm.
There’s a separate index for each county.
(Well, almost. Two of Oregon’s 36 counties — Benton and Clatsop — aren’t represented.)
Baker County boasts one of longer lists of documents, as you’d expect given the area’s extensive mining legacy.
One item caught my eye right off, in part because its title seemed to have little if anything to do with mining: “Baker Meteor Impact Crater Report.”
The one-page, typewritten report, dated April 23, 1968, bears the name of N.S. Wagner. That’s Norman Wagner, a DOGAMI geologist who was for many years in charge of the agency’s office in Baker City.
According to Wagner’s report, a meteorite supposedly landed during the winter of either 1933 or 1934 on a placer mining claim along Wilson Creek, about 10 miles southwest of Baker City.
The owners of the claim found the alleged impact crater when they arrived in the spring to start mining for the season. Wagner, going off the miners’ story, describes the crater as a “trough some 10 feet wide by 15 feet long,”
The miners also noticed that a large branch had been snapped off a tree beside the trough, and “chunks of frozen ground were reportedly nested in the branches of some small trees located adjacent to the end of the trough.”
Wagner mentions a photograph of the scene that a friend of the miners supposedly had, but if the geologist obtained the photo, or learned anything more about the incident, it seems that no record of his findings survives.
Beyond the obvious lure of this tale — meteorites are pretty rare, after all — I was fascinated by a brief passage from Wagner’s report that seems to me a poignant, if unconventional, anecdote about why the Great Depression of the 1930s acquired its capital letter designation.
The miners, Wagner writes, were initially intrigued by the possibility that a chunk of interstellar stone had crashed into their placer claim.
But rather than devote their summer to digging around for strange-looking rocks, the miners apparently got back to business. Wagner wrote: “they didn’t do very much digging because of the need of offsetting the prevailing Depression conditions by getting hard cash from the mine.”
In other words, times are tough, bud, so get the stars out of your eyes and find some gold.
Gold, of course, is the metal that lured miners in their thousands to plumb Baker County’s placers and lodes. And DOGAMI’s records for the county are dominated by reports and newspaper clippings dealing with the search for, and extraction of, gold.
But the voluminous written history also includes a few unusual nuggets.
“John Hunter Coal Mine,” for instance.
I was no more aware of the presence of coal in Baker County than I was of a purported meteorite impact crater.
And as it turns out, the county never came close to becoming the Pennsylvania of the West.
But there is some coal out there.
The Hunter mine was discovered in 1937, according to a report written the following year by John Eliot Allen, another eminent Oregon geologist.
Allen, who died in 1996, joined DOGAMI in 1937 and later started the geology department at Portland State University. He wrote a geology column for The Oregonian in the 1980s and later co-authored “Hiking Oregon’s Geology” with Ellen Morris Bishop. Allen’s autobiography, “Bin Rock and Dump Rock: Recollections of a Geologist,” was published posthumously in 1997.
The Hunter coal deposit, according to Allen’s report, is about 500 feet south of the Powder River near Boulder Gorge, about midway between Baker City and Sumpter.
After confirming by map that the site is on public land, I figured I’d strap on snowshoes and try to find the place and see if any remnants remained. Allen mentioned in his report a “blacksmith shop, mine car, and track, small hoist, a good cabin on property.”
It is purely coincidental that the date of my hike, Jan. 19, was just three days short of 74 years from the day Allen collected ore samples from the 200-foot-long tunnel that had been dug (presumably by Hunter and his associates) into the surrounding basalt.
Allen makes no mention of how he got to the prospect.
But at least he made it, which is more than I can say for myself.
The biggest problem is the river.
Or, rather, the lack of a bridge.
I distrust the solidity of river ice, even in the midst of a long cold snap, so I drove to the nearest public bridge, which is about two miles upriver at the Powder River Recreation Area.
My topographic map implied a straightforward route, but I’m forever falling for its promises, like a oft-jilted lover, or a man who can’t resist the siren call of the roulette wheel.
Anyway, once I had slogged through the sugary, thigh-deep snow — even with my Sasquatch-like appendages I was plunging clear through to the ground — to a point I thought was pretty close to the old prospect, there was a 100-foot gorge in the way and it was getting near to lunch time so I turned back.
I suspect Allen was more determined than I am. Besides which he had a coal sample to hack out of the tunnel.
Of course miners, often as not, didn’t find what they were looking for either.
The haphazard nature of their enterprise is captured quite nicely in a report for the Tom Paine Mine, an operation in the Elkhorns west of Baker City.
In a letter dated April 30, 1938, Albert V. Quine, a mining geologist at DOGAMI’s Baker City office, describes the digging going on at the Tom Paine as being “in the same manner as one would consult a ouija board — it wanders all over the country here and there....”
In a separate report, dated three days earlier, Quine wrote that work at the Tom Paine “seems to start nowhere and evidently heading for the same place.”
Quine’s analysis of the miners’ methods is a trifle harsh, I suppose.
But it’s also refreshingly straightforward, a quality that has not distinguished government documents in the ensuing decades.
Eighth-graders at BHS poses too great a risk
I read the Feb. 13 editorial in the Baker City Herald applauding Judge Greg Baxter, D.A. Matt Shirtcliff and me for raising awareness about the legal difficulties that could occur if a 16- to 19-year-old “has sex” with a 13-year-old eighth-grader. Allow me to further raise this awareness.
On Aug. 15, 2012, a Grant County grand jury indicted a man on a Measure 11 offense — sexual abuse in the first degree — for kissing a girl under the age of 14. Sexual abuse in the first degree is a crime that would require a person, if convicted, to register as a sex offender for life and go to prison for 75 months without early release for any reason. A colleague of mine is currently defending a man on a sexual abuse in the first degree charge for touching the knee of a 13-year-old. I frankly don’t know whether these charges will “stick,” but the fact that a prosecutor got a grand jury to indict a citizen on the charge is enough for me to want to further clarify that it does not require “sex” to face ghastly Measure 11 consequences and of the legal perils older high school students may face if we put eighth-graders in BHS.
The editorial points out that teenagers don’t restrict their socialization to school. While it may be true that relationships can develop anywhere — not just at school – I am pretty sure the vast majority of teen relationships start when the two meet at school.
Kids mature much quicker these days than when I grew up. If you don’t believe me, pay the Middle School a visit at take a look at the eighth-graders. Putting them in the same corridors where perhaps a third of the students they see are more than three years older than they are (and thus can be charged with Measure 11 offenses if they so much as kiss) is too great a risk.
J. Robert Moon
Don’t devalue sacrifice, but keep airport’s name
Thank you, Baker City Council, for delaying a decision on the name change of our local airport.
The bravery in battle, and the ensuing loss of Mabry J. Anders, touched us all, and I do not devalue in any way his sacrifice.
However, I prefer the name of Heilner Field to remain as is. Those of us that knew the Heilner family recall their donation of land and monetary assistance to develop this historic entity. Let’s keep the honor bestowed earlier.
Superintendent puts personal spin on school proposal
The governor’s plan states that by 2025, Oregon will ensure that: (1) 40 percent of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; (2) 40 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential; and (3) 20 percent of adults will have earned a high school diploma, modified high school diploma or the equivalent. Which means Salem will “ensure” 80 percent of Baker County residents will have a college degree by 2025, and 100 percent with a high school diploma. This requires an annual compact agreement from each of Oregon’s 197 school districts, 17 community colleges, and 19 education service districts. The compact is a nonbinding agreement with the state regarding our plans to accomplish the 40-40-20, and would carry no financial rewards or penalties.
I personally feel this plan has good intentions, but unrealistic goals. Oregon would have to send about 650,000 Oregonians back to school to reach 40-40-20 by 2025. Be advised the 40-40-20 plan is not funded or set in stone.
Sending eighth-graders to the high school for advanced high school credit is the superintendent’s plan, not the governor’s plan. Exploiting parents by encouraging them to send eighth-graders to the high school is completely spinning the 40-40-20 plan. Wegener saying “it’s part of the governor’s plan to reform education in Oregon” is spinning the truth. Eighth graders’ taking high school credit is not required by law, it is allowed by law. Sending numerous amounts of eighth-graders to the high school for advanced credit is unwise, unsafe, and unrealistic.
Our primary focus in the 40-40-20 should be 100 percent graduation from high school, not graduating high school with a college degree. Setting quotas and pressuring unprepared students to take college credits may be “financially” rewarding to the district, but damaging to the student.
The superintendent’s attitude in relation to these changes is disheartening, recently stating “I have a personal spin, of course, about cause, effect and results.” The community deserves honest information, not a personal agenda. I encourage the community to research the 40-40-20 plan, and not rely on biased information from the school district.
Baker School Board member
Choose another local site to honor Mabry Anders
A proposal may come before the Baker City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 26, to rename Heilner Field (Baker City Municipal Airport) to honor US Army Spc. Mabry J. Anders, who was killed last August while on active duty in Afghanistan.
Baker County has had many soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom, including U.S. Army Cpl. Jessica Ellis in Iraq in 2008, and Medal of Honor winner U.S. Army Sergeant John Noble Holcomb during the Vietnam War. There are many others, as evidenced in the listing of war dead at the Baker County Courthouse and in our local cemeteries.
I wish in no way to diminish the sacrifice of Spc. Anders. But I feel it would be more appropriate for our City Council to designate a currently unnamed street, grove of trees, or other site after Spc. Anders than to override the Heilner name which has deep ties in our community and our local heritage.
Joyce Badgley Hunsaker
So who’s the bigger road hazard, the driver who just guzzled a six-pack of beer, or the driver who’s high on legal, synthetic “bath salts?”
The answer, of course, is neither.
Or, rather, both.
Oregon’s goal should be to keep all intoxicated people from driving; the substance that causes the intoxication isn’t relevant.
Except it is, under current state law.
Oregon is one of five states that limits the substances that can be considered in a case when a driver is suspected of driving while intoxicated.
House Bill 2115, which the Legislature is considering this session, would broaden the current definitions, which include alcohol, controlled substances and inhalants, to include any drug, including prescriptions, “that adversely affects a person’s physical or mental faculties to a noticeable or perceptible degree.”
We urge lawmakers to pass the bill, and to join the 45 states which recognize that a variety of substances can render a person unfit to drive a motor vehicle.
Critics contend the bill is too broadly written.
But the legislation does allow drivers accused of being intoxicated to claim, as a defense, that they properly used a medication and that it caused a reaction that “could not reasonably be contemplated.”
The bottom line for us is that when an impaired driver veers across the dotted line and collides with another car, it’s of no consequence whether the driver at fault was drunk, or groggy from cold medicine.
The purpose of the law should be to discourage people in either condition from getting behind the wheel.
Letter writer attacks messenger, not the message
When I was in college, we were taught that when you are in a debate with someone, you should pay attention to your opponent’s points and show that what he is saying is incorrect. Recently I wrote a letter to the editor, discussing some of the inherent difficulties wind-generated electricity has to deal with. One fellow disagreed with me strongly enough to write his own letter. However, he did not use the above debating tactic.
My letter began with the statement, “Electricity from wind farms costs around four times as much as that produced by conventional electrical generators.” Now is this statement true or false? My critic never says.
A second statement was, “…once the towers are in place, their fuel is both free and inexhaustible.” My critic claims that I said, “once … the windmills are churning, the power is free.” He has misquoted me.
Another statement was that the wind is variable; sometimes it does not blow, and when it is blowing, it has both gusts and lulls. Anyone doubt that this statement is true?
My fourth point was that because the wind is inconsistent, a wind farm must be paired with a set of conventional generators. Again, my critic doesn’t say if that statement is true or not.
He does offer the example of acquaintances that depend upon wind and solar power. These “doughty pioneers” use batteries to smooth out their uneven generation of electricity. And this technique does work quite well for individual households. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for wind farms, as there is no practical way to store large amounts of electricity.
And so on.
The tactic my critic does use is ancient: If you don’t like the message, shoot the messenger. His letter is filled with unflattering comments about me. But how accurate are his statements? He claims, for example, that I own a rundown deli. Now my wife did operate a successful deli for a number of years, but it was sold when we retired in 2006. The building now is home to Canyon Creek Candle Company.
Cell tower could deface area, affect pilot safety
Coyote Peak has a cement foundation on it that is left over from a beacon that was secured upon it. This beacon is long since gone.
It lined up with the main runway No. 30 at the Baker Airport. Depending on how planes leave or approach the landing strip, any structure could affect their safety.
From this high point is one of the best views of Baker Valley that is easily accessed by car. This was/is old Baisley Elkhorn mine property.
Most important, the people of Haines and surrounding area should not have their area defaced by anything, let alone 199 feet of tower.
Soroptimists say thank you to assistance programs
Regarding the article printed Jan. 30, 2013, we would like to say “hats off” to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program offered by the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center and Andy Micka. Those involved, including Baker County Parole and Probation officers, MayDay, and the Compassion Center have helped those struggling with outside influences, salvaging their lives.
As Soroptimist International of Baker County strongly endorses and supports these efforts, we would like to say thank you to the volunteers and supporters and all others involved who are not ever mentioned. You do so much for our little community.
Thank you all.
President, Soroptimist International of Baker County
Honor heroes in a way other than renaming airport
I think renaming Heilner Field is a bad idea. He represents quite a large community of Jewish citizens and merchants from our past. If we remove all the reminders of them (with the exception, of course, of Leo Adler) I fear people will forget their history here, which would be a shame. I dealt with a good number of them and was always treated fairly and warmly. I’m sorry they are no longer a part of our community. I miss them and feel we should never fail to honor their contribution to our city.
I suggest instead, that we name a school or park for our fallen heroes. A school, in particular, would give teachers an opportunity to tell the children about them and what they contributed to our lives. There could be an annual “recognition day” to name several of our servicemen and women who have made the supreme sacrifice for their country. Their names are all posted on the memorial in front of the Baker County Courthouse. This could give a real chance to honor our heroes in a meaningful way.
Editorial from The (La Grande) Observer:
From hell somewhere, Adam Lanza is having the last grotesque laugh.
Lanza, as everybody knows, was the craven individual who used an assault rifle in December to kill 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., all after he shot and killed his own mother.
Going in, he had his mind made up to take as many lives as he could, then die by his own hand. Though sane people may never completely understand why a person like him thinks an act like that is worth it, he thought it was. He set a goal, no matter how evil, and achieved it. For him, it was mission accomplished.
But Lanza’s victory, if victory it can be called, is larger than that. It extends far beyond the city limits of Newtown, or the borders of Connecticut. It’s doubtful he thought much about it when he was planning his deed, but in addition to the carnage he caused he has managed to polarize the nation. It’s easy to imagine him laughing out loud in the afterlife.
Fanning flames of gun control debate
We’ve seen debate and controversy over gun control before, but never quite like this. In Washington, D.C., there is talk about a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Some people, most especially those affected by gun violence, agree. In many other places, including Union County, hot-blooded patriots are crying out that a ban is a trampling of our right to keep and bear arms.
Lanza has inspired fear and distrust and anger among us. He has turned us against each other and made a bad situation infinitely worse. The moment the gun control debate ignited, there was a general stampede to gun stores by people convinced that sometime soon they will not be permitted to buy weapons, magazines or ammunition.
We’re that much more armed than before, and at the same time, many of us are viewing our government — and our neighbors who think differently from us — with hostility.
As the debate continues, we need to remember that Sandy Hook is no one’s fault but Adam Lanza’s. We need to adhere to our own beliefs whatever they are, and speak out accordingly so democracy can take its course. But we also need to remember that law-abiding people, in government and out, gun control advocates and gun control opponents, involved in the debate care deeply about the future of the country and are indeed our fellow Americans.
Unlike Adam Lanza and his kind, they’re not out to get us. Each in their own way is searching for something that will make our country a better, safer place to live.
The less angry our talk and the more carefully we listen to one another, the better chance we have to come to solutions that work. And if someday we solve the problem of blind hatred and evil in our society, we and not Adam Lanza have the last laugh.