Ban any guns with detachable magazines
The blood-splattered classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary and the 26 photos of the now-dead children and teachers call us to use our utmost creative intelligence, both mental and spiritual, to solve a seemingly intractable problem.
Intellectually, we’re asked to take a closer look at which weapons of war we allow in our community, while still observing the Second Amendment. Obviously, our modern weapons are many times more lethal than they were when the Bill of Rights was ratified, and today we prohibit civilian possession of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, for example, without violating anyone’s constitutional rights.
NRA President David Keene warns us that detachable ammunition magazines in, say, our Bushmaster AR-15s and our Glock 19s take only seconds to change, thus greatly multiplying their killing potential. The profane tragedy in Connecticut provides a ghastly demonstration. It seems reasonable to conclude that we must now prohibit any guns with detachable magazines of any capacity.
By comparison, “The Guns that Won the West,” the Winchester rifles and Colt revolvers, had fixed magazines. If we limit ourselves to modern guns with fixed magazines holding about six cartridges, we will surely go a long way toward protecting ourselves from mass slaughter. A generous buy-back program could fund the transition.
We can also reduce the number and accessibility of guns in our neighborhoods and insist on adequate storage safety. The late Nancy Lanza had seven guns. Eight guns were recovered from two recent residential burglaries in Baker City. We need to ensure wise and competent gun ownership.
Spiritually, I believe we’re asked to gently heal the obsessive fear and harsh condemnation that blocks reasoned debate, obscures our shared humanity, and spurs us to become what we hate. Texas Governor Rick Perry tells us to pray for guidance. I agree.
In addition to the Second Amendment, our Constitution promises to insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare — which means our well-being: health, happiness, and prosperity. I urge us all to search our hearts and minds to discern the full intent and meaning of all the provisions and protections of our marvelous Constitution.
Fight to protect our Second Amendment rights
During my 91 years as an American, I have watched the slow deterioration of our individual rights and freedoms. God bless our Oregon sheriffs and those in so many states across the U.S. for their guts in refusing to carry out any orders that would infringe upon our Second Amendment rights. I’ve long admired Sheriff Arapaio of Arizona for bucking the federal government, including both our president and Congress who fail to enforce border security, which is a duty of our government stated in the Constitution. Our government “walked” 2,000 guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels who used them to kill 300 or more people, including Americans, while our own border patrol guards were only allowed beanbag rounds with which to defend themselves. On top of these failures, Obama now wants to begin stripping Americans of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms while at the same time pushing for the Small Arms Treaty with the U.N. which would give the U.N. the power to police Americans, thereby giving up our national sovereignty. Obama just took his second oath to uphold the Constitution. Words are easy, but how unconstitutional his actions are!
Taking away our gun rights makes as much sense as trying to stop drunk driving deaths by making it harder for sober drivers to buy cars. We need to fight for our Second Amendment rights. That amendment was put in place for good reason — and that reason was not about hunting. That amendment allows Americans to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Do our elected officials demonstrate the epitome of morality, ethics, character, common sense, integrity or self-restraint? Absolutely not. All the more reason to make sure the inalienable rights in our Constitution are preserved.
Ann E. Racey
Don't put 8th-graders at BHS
We are writing you to warn of some of the legal dangers that lurk if eighth-grade students are placed at the high school. Because this is one of the options being proposed with our current overcrowding issue, we are publicly warning about the dangers of this choice.
We understand that the school board has many difficult decisions to make due to our continuing challenging economic circumstances, but we urge you most strongly to think very carefully before placing adolescents between the ages of 13 years to 19 years together in the same school building. Your decision will be in place for many years, long after many of us are no longer in our current positions of service to the community.
Under Oregon law, youth under the age of 18 years cannot consent to sexual relations.
Yet the Legislature recognizes that some youth engage in sexual relations voluntarily. Because of this, the Legislature created a defense if the victims’ lack of consent was due solely to incapacity due to age. The defense only applies if the actor is less than three years older than the victim at the time of the alleged offense.
Under current Oregon law, all citizens 15 years of age or older are subject to Oregon Revised Statute 137.700, which is known as Ballot Measure 11. This statute requires mandatory prison sentences when a person is convicted of specific crimes. Four of these crimes apply when the victim is under 14 years of age. These crimes are Rape in the Second Degree, Sodomy in the Second Degree, Unlawful Sexual Penetration in the Second Degree, and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.
Why our concern? For many years we have prosecuted, defended, or judged cases in Baker County and have dealt with these types of cases. We are very aware that our concerns probably don’t apply to the vast majority of the students at the high school. However, we have seen some good kids let passions get out of control or use poor judgment regarding relationships.
Many eighth-grade students are 13 years of age for all or most of that school year. To put these immature youth under the age of 14 years with older, more sophisticated youth may be a recipe for a life-altering disaster. The results of these actions, whether done with bad intent or not, will then be catastrophic for all involved. Should a 16, 17, 18, or 19-year-old youth become involved sexually with a 13-year-old eighth-grader and be convicted, the result is a mandatory 75-month sentence in a youth correctional facility or prison. This cost to society does not count the emotional price paid by the victim, community, and others.
When we say become involved sexually, we want people to understand this includes a touch over clothing upon the private parts of another for a sexual purpose.
Anecdotally we have asked many adult women what age boys they were most interested in when they entered high school. The answer is almost universally, “the older boys.” When they are asked if they think their interest in older boys would be different if they were eighth- graders at a high school, the vast majority still felt they would be interested in older boys.
We choose not to paint the picture any further. We are sure you are well aware of the foibles of adolescence. We would rather see parents help their teenagers through these difficult years. Please consider the non-economic price paid by society and, specifically, the youth if these acts should occur. Placing eighth-grade students at the high school increases the risk of such a price being paid by youth making dumb choices.
Judge Greg Baxter presidents over the Baker County Circuit Court.
J. Robert Moon Jr. is a Baker City defense attorney.
Matthew B. Shirtcliff is Baker County district attorney.
Speaking of ‘United States’ should include ‘Of America’
On Sunday, I cringed as I watched Barack Obama take the oath to be president of the “United States.” Which “United States?”
For me, it should have been president of the “United States of America.” Isn’t that what we say when we salute the flag? “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the ‘United States of America.’ ” After all, there are “united states” in other countries in the world, aren’t there? Of what country is Obama going to be the president? Well, in utilizing my faithful computer and referencing the Preamble and the Constitution itself, somewhere I found one referral to the words “United States” as the “informal” name of our country. Whatever. For me, I am a citizen of the “United States of America.”
I’d be happy to help put up flags on King’s day
On Monday, the 21st of January, the weather was quite cold but it was not raining nor was it snowing and the wind was not even blowing but there was something missing on Main Street in Baker City. It was a federal holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and it was also Inauguration Day. Where were the American flags? If I recall, I have never seen them displayed on Martin Luther King Day here in Baker City. I am sure that putting out the flags in our community is a volunteer job. If the people who do this have headed south for a warmer climate, in January, or are unable to tend to it, I would be happy to volunteer to put the flags out on Martin Luther King Day and I am sure that I would not be alone.
Where were the American flags on a double holiday?
I was in town today (Monday) and was surprised at the lack of the American flags on display. I thought maybe I was mistaken so tonight I researched online. The premier experts are from http://americanflagfoundation.org. I was right. Flags were supposed to be flown today both for the inauguration and Martin Luther King’s birthday. So what happened? Somebody asleep?
A recent article in the Baker City Herald describes criminal charges filed against men who were involved with the Baker Web Academy three years ago. I’ve been a BWA board member for almost a year. In that time I’ve been privy to audit details, I’ve met stellar educators, and I’ve come to know dedicated board members who serve the best interests of our children.
My kids have been BWA students for almost three years. My eldest Sarah is a BWA junior enrolled in the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree program. She is simultaneously earning a high school diploma and an associate’s degree that will fulfill all lower division requirements at any four-year college in the Oregon University System. If she enrolls in an Oregon university, it will be as a junior classman. Sarah participates in extracurricular athletic programs at Baker High School, and has been permitted to enroll in a class at BHS when space was available. Her teachers will tell you she is a good student. I will tell you that Baker City is fortunate to have community-minded school administrators who provide flexibility and excellent choices in education.
My son Ben was a BWA student until two months ago, at which time he transferred to BHS as a freshman. Although his sister prospers in the online environment, we discovered that at age 14, Ben seemed better suited to a traditional classroom setting. The BWA and BHS staffs were extremely helpful in achieving a seamless transition, and his teachers will tell you that he arrived well-equipped to perform.
My youngest, Katie, spent her kindergarten year in the 5J school and is now a first-grader enrolled at BWA. In addition to our preference for a “home school” environment for Katie, we also like the flexibility, the attention from staff (by telephone), and the excellent selection of available curricula.
The Herald article referred to BWA as “a public relations dilemma,” propagating a regional perception of the school that is unfounded. The academy has received attention for low achievement test scores, but the majority of BWA students who failed to meet minimum test benchmarks were enrolled at the school less than one academic year at the time they were tested. Those scores are not attributable solely to BWA, but rather at least equally to the school districts where the students obtained the preponderance of their education.
In past years, many of the academy’s new enrollments were transfer students who were failing in other public school programs. BWA was becoming a revolving door for a large number of students who enrolled not because they were attracted by the opportunities, but rather because they had no other choice. The quality of education at BWA is excellent, but the challenging curriculum and work requirements are infrequently a good fit for a student who lacks the desire to excel in academics.
This year BWA has initiated enrollment counseling and student learning programs to change that revolving door dynamic, and has also worked with 5J officials to develop community-wide perspectives on addressing the needs of all types of students.
Baker City does have kids who need the services BWA can provide, and my kids are at the front of that list. The men described in the Herald article who were accused of misuse of education funds are past history. We are years past those events, and give them no thought in our daily operation of an excellent K-12 school.
David Spaugh is a Baker City resident.
Statistically speaking, being afraid to fly on a commercial airliner has never been a rational reaction.
That cloying cliché — “you’re more likely to die in a car wreck while driving to the airport than in a plane crash” — happens to be true.
And today it’s even more true.
Last year was the safest for commercial aviation since 1945, when record-keeping began.
Flying is especially safe in the United States and other developed nations, where deadly crashes are as uncommon as cellular phones with retractable antennas and new cars with roll up windows.
Even during the infancy of the jet age, when engineers and pilots and air traffic controllers and airport designers struggled with the immense difficulties of dealing with planes that carried so many more people, at such higher speeds, than the piston-engined planes of the past, crashes were rare.
But when the big jets did go down, hundreds of lives could be lost in, almost literally, an instant. The inevitable torrent of publicity that followed each crash was guaranteed to contribute to the aura of dread and black humor associated with traveling by air.
This anxiety is understandable, of course, even if it’s not altogether rational.
Despite the indisputable data regarding car crashes, people feel that, when they’re driving, they are at least in control of their fate.
Besides which, driving a car is, for most people, an activity so common as to be routine, and the routine, unless you’re, say, a soldier, rarely is frightening.
Flying, by contrast, is for most of us an unusual, even glamorous, event. Few of us are pilots, so there’s an element of mystery to the endeavor that breeds distrust and, for some, fear.
Specifically, the notion of being belted inside an aluminum tube, utterly helpless while hurtling toward the ground at 600 mph, fosters a level of horror that a highway collision, no matter that it’s much more likely, simply can’t match.
That such disasters have nearly been eliminated from the major U.S. airlines over the past decade or so seems to me high on the list of technological achievements in human history.
From 1962 to 1971, a period that included the launching of the Boeing 747, the first “jumbo” jet, the death rate for airlines in this country was 133 out of every 100 million passengers.
Pretty good odds, those.
The rate for the last 10 years: 2 of 100 million.
During that span, four years passed when not a single passenger died.
This amazes me.
That airlines can haul 700 million passengers per year and not lose a single one of them (insert luggage joke here), despite operating in all weathers and with machines that, for all their immense complexity, can be brought down by a flock of geese or a wind gust invisible to the most sophisticated radar, strikes me in fact as very nearly miraculous.
I remember, while growing up during the 1970s and ’80s, that no year passed without an awful crash happening somewhere in the U.S., with its attendant death toll measured in the dozens or hundreds.
It is, I think, testament to the persistent power of irrational fears that although the last tragedy on that scale happened here more than 11 years ago — American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed just after takeoff in New York on Nov. 12, 2001, killing all 260 aboard and five people on the ground — the “person who hates to fly” remains a popular character in our culture.
It’s been almost that long since I last flew on a jet — at the end of December 2001, from Boise to Phoenix to watch the Oregon Ducks beat the Colorado Buffaloes in the Fiesta Bowl.
But I had occasion to ponder the matter this past weekend when my older daughter, Rheann, flew from Boise to Seattle to visit a friend.
And although I’m as powerless as any parent to be completely sanguine when it comes to the safety of a child, the only nagging worry I had while Rheann was gone was that she might be accosted by some creep in downtown Seattle.
That she was flying was, if anything, a relief. Better that, I figured, than her driving across Snoqualmie Pass during a cold snap.
Bill Ward, one of Baker’s inveterate watchers of wildlife, sent me an interesting email the other day.
He had seen a robin perched in his cherry tree on New Year’s Day.
“I had to take a picture of it to prove it was here this early in January,” Bill wrote. “I don’t know if it doesn’t have a calendar or global warming is responsible, but I do know it is earlier than we have ever seen a robin in my yard.”
I can’t answer Bill’s question.
But I too have seen a robin — several of them, in fact — in my yard this winter.
Which is nothing compared to what’s going on at my office.
The crabapple trees that border the Herald’s parking lot — specifically, the north side of Court Street between First and Second — are absolutely lousy with robins.
Their presence, though pleasant if you’re an avian aficionado, is rather less so for my unfortunate colleagues whose parking spaces are next to the trees.
The robins, after gorging themselves on the desiccated fruits, must, of biological and aeronautical necessity, rid themselves of excess ballast.
And the inconsiderable birds are ridding themselves all over hoods and fenders.
Which is unpleasant in any season.
But it’s especially troublesome during this chilliest January in more than 20 years.
Who among us is willing to head out to the driveway, clutching a bucket of sudsy water in one hand and a sponge in the other?
Although you might be able to sell your story to one of the medical journals.
Hypothermia tests can be fascinating.
Jayson Jacoby is editor
of the Baker City Herald.
Ignoring the warnings about the real fiscal cliff
The writer of a recent letter to the editor claims that the current economic travails of Greece somehow validate Keynesian economics. Actually the reverse is true. Keynesian economics — governmental spending, spending, spending, spending — has brought fiscal ruin to that nation. The Greek government would now be bankrupt had it not been bailed out by more affluent European governments.
The United States has already progressed far down that same road. In 2011, the federal government paid out more for entitlements than the taxes it took in. Even if all nonentitlement spending had been reduced to absolute zero — education, transportation, defense, etc. — the government would still have run an annual deficit. Yet in the recent negotiations to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, President Obama and congressional Democrats adamantly refused to consider any sort of entitlement reform. Our entitlements are fiscally healthy, they assure us. But as things currently stand, our fiscal situation will only get worse as the huge Baby Boom generation retires.
When the Soviet Union disintegrated, Americans gave a sigh of relief. An enemy which had the capacity to obliterate us with nuclear weapons no longer existed. We relaxed, even as another implacable enemy was gearing up to make war on us. The first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 was one forewarning. During the 1990s, our embassies in East Africa were bombed, our naval ships were attacked, and still we didn’t worry. After all, “it can’t happen here” … but then it did, and 3,000 people died.
We’ve had warnings about our precarious fiscal situation. The Chinese government has wondered out loud just how solid are the U. S. bonds it holds. The federal government recently lost its coveted AAA bond rating, and was downgraded to AA. We have the examples of Greece and the other so-called PIIGS which have overspent on entitlements.
Cassandra is a tragic figure in Greek mythology. She correctly prophesied to the Trojans that comprehensive doom was headed their way, but her warnings were ignored. We have been ignoring our current fiscal Cassandras as well. After all, it can’t happen here.
Give me Secret Service, and then I’ll give up my gun
Once again, Americans are debating gun control; and, once again, the opposing argument lacks logic. Each time some nut-job goes on a killing spree, socialists push for abolishing the Second Amendment. Nothing is more frustrating than debating with a person who has not thought out the theory of their position.
First, the Constitution was enacted to protect America and her citizens. The right to bear arms was given to protect self, family, business and country. Who will protect the individual from the evils of society if not themselves; the Government? They won’t protect our borders. Dependency on Government is a fool’s bet.
Secondly, gun control only controls the lawful — not the lawless. Socialists and Marxists will never have the power to prevent killers from obtaining guns. If anything, they will only empower the lawless, and turn decent citizens into criminals. What is more, it’s hard to control guns when those whose job it is to enforce gun control (Justice Department) are literally handing guns to drug cartels.
Thirdly, previous amendments to gun rights have proven ineffective in eradicating violence. If indeed these amendments worked (background checks, three-day waiting periods, limiting ammunition sales), the recent mass shootings in Colorado, Portland, Sandy Hook, and Wisconsin could not have happened. The fact is, gun control is impossible to enforce. There will always be black markets where criminals can purchase or barter for firearms. What are needed are stronger deterrents and sentences for those who commit violent acts.
Knives, bows and arrows, automobiles, alcohol, sports, some foods, and a plethora of other things kill people; shall we ban those items as well? Guns are no different. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people — you can’t control that!
Gun control is an egotistical attempt from the left to falsely pacify the fears of the ignorant and simple-minded. The day Obama stations the Secret Service in front of my property, is the very day I will consider relinquishing my firearm. Until then, security to this American is knowing if a robber, rapist, or murderer breaks in my home, I have a .44-mag to welcome them!
Stephanie Ann Kinzel
Using First Amendment to destroy the Second
Is this a great country or what? Where else in the world could a foreigner use my citizen rights under the First Amendment to destroy the Second? CNN’s Peirs Morgan is on a rampage and he has been effective in convincing the left that the Second Amendment has something to do with hunting. He’s a tabloid journalist who was extolling the virtues of British royalty one day and the next was trying to sell British and Australian gun control to the American people. He backs up his position by having guests from Australia and Ariana Huffington with her thick foreign accent telling me how bad I am because I believe the Second Amendment guarantees the nine other Bill of Rights. A great country or what? Nowhere else could people who were freed from Nazi and Japanese, Chinese and Russian threats with American guns be allowed to do their best to ban them.
The attack is well-orchestrated. The timing is perfect. Football season is on, and not enough gun owners are putting pressure on their congressmen. They could wake up after the Super Bowl to a brave new world. I wrote Ron Wyden and his response was less than encouraging. They don’t call the Willamette Valley the left coast for nothing. Biden’s commission will report in time for the president to use the State of the Union address bully pulpit to push his agenda and Fox News’ owner, Rupert Murdoch, has sided with the banners and Bill O’Reilly talks about AR 47s and AK 15s. Who could be so gun dumb as not to have heard about Mr. Kalashnikov’s rifle?
All might not be lost if pro-gun Republicans and a few Democrats in the house will stand their ground. If they do we might have an executive order banning guns. Then we will see what happens when Caesar crosses the Rubicon.
The parameters of the coming debate over PERS, Oregon’s budget-busting retirement system for state workers and many local government and school employees, are beginning to clarify.
And it looks to us increasingly likely that Oregonians will at long last find out whether Gov. John Kitzhaber truly is committed to reforming this system, or whether his pledges were mere posturing.
We hope it’s the former.
If the Oregon Legislature lacks the political courage to deal with PERS, then the retirement system will continue to force school districts to lay off teachers, and cities, counties and the state to pare services, all to ensure that retired public employees, who are the beneficiaries of one of the most generous pension plans in the country, don’t lose so much as a penny from their compensation.
On average, starting July 1, about $1 in every $5 that public agencies spend will go toward PERS. That average is higher still — 26.7 percent — for school districts.
In his proposed budget, Kitzhaber suggests a pair of changes to PERS that could save hundreds of millions of dollars:
• Stop compensating PERS retirees who live outside Oregon for Oregon income taxes they don’t even pay because they don’t live here.
• Allow cost-of-living adjustments for only the first $24,000 of retirees’ annual income.
Those amendments wouldn’t fix PERS — too many elements of the system, and in particular certain benefits which accrue only to Tier 1 employees, those hired before 1996, are locked in by contractual obligations.
But Kitzhaber believes that both of his proposals are in play, legally speaking.
But at least one of the state’s two big public employees unions begs to differ with the governor.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents about 24,000 workers (the Service Employees International Union represents a similar number of public employees in the state), opposes both of Kitzhaber’s ideas.
Ken Allen, executive director of Oregon AFSCME Council 75, told the editorial board of The Oregonian that he believes the cap on cost-of-living raises would be overturned in court.
Put simply, it appears probable that public employee unions, who are major supporters of Kitzhaber and other Democratic candidates, will contest any PERS reforms that cut into their members’ (or, more accurately, retired former members’) monthly pension checks.
We would hardly expect a different reaction from the unions, of course; they’re supposed to look out for their members.
But we’re far more concerned with keeping Oregon’s public schools and other vital services intact.
And protecting those government services will require meaningful action on reforming PERS, rather than empty rhetoric, from Kitzhaber and the Democrats who are in charge in Salem.
It comes as no surprise to local residents that the stretch of Interstate 84 between Meacham and Pendleton can be slippery during winter.
Of course this is equally true for the entire 165-mile section of the freeway between Pendleton and the Idaho border, as well as for every other street, county road and state highway in Baker County.
That being the case, the recent spate of publicity regarding the tragic bus crash on I-84 that killed nine passengers on Dec. 30, though understandable and potentially worthwhile as a warning to the public, also seems to us riddled with exaggerations about the lethality of certain parts of the freeway.
There is nothing uniquely hazardous about the place where the Canadian tour bus careened off the freeway.
Although many news reports have focused on the 6-percent grade and curves of Cabbage Hill, which is nearby, the bus driver, who according to an eyewitness was driving much too fast for the icy and foggy conditions, lost control on a section that’s essentially flat and straight.
But even when the pavement is dry a seemingly innocuous section of road can be dangerous if the driver is careless.
Media accounts have emphasized the treacherous conditions not only on Cabbage Hill, but also through the Ladd Canyon pass that separates the North Powder and Grande Ronde valleys, about 30 miles north of Baker City.
Indeed, both places can be tricky to negotiate in winter.
We wonder, though, whether these dramatic descriptions, connected to a terrible accident that in fact didn’t happen in either place, might mislead travelers into believing the freeway is to be avoided.
The truth, as any longtime local could tell you, is that similar conditions prevail at times every winter on secondary roads throughout the region.
The main difference between the interstate and, say, Highway 245 over Dooley Mountain, Highway 86 over the Halfway Grade, or Highway 203 through Medical Springs, is that those state routes are lightly traveled, which means help, should you need it, might be some time in arriving.
The best advice, of course, is to be prepared for trouble regardless of your route, and to drive with particular caution whenever wintry weather is possible.
These preparations pertain not only to vehicles — properly inflated tires, traction devices and the like — but to the driver as well. Driver fatigue might have been a factor in the deadly Dec. 30 crash.
I have lived at 1005 Park St. for 50 years. My husband, Tim, suffered a massive stroke seven years ago. He is at Meadowbrook care facility. I live here alone with my dogs. When I go to Meadowbrook, my “dangerous” dogs take turns going with me. The residents’ eyes light up when they pet and talk to them. It makes me feel good to create some joy.
This mess started first of August. I’d been working in the front yard, I went across the street and my dogs started barking at me. I quickly went back so they would stop. Greg Brown caught up with me outside my fence. He said you need to get rid of those dogs. With all the commotion, three of my corgis got into a fight. I jumped over the fence to pull them apart and saw that Greg was videoing us. I screamed at him and Sandy Zemmer to get away from my fence and the dogs would stop.
I went in and called the police to talk to an officer. Shannon Regan came out. I wanted to find out if it was legal to video a person without their knowledge. I found it’s not illegal. Shannon asked me if I had my kennel license and discovered I had overlooked it. Not intentionally — this year it seems everything bad was happening, death, illness, my husband was changing mentally and physically. So Regan wrote me a ticket. I went to Justice Court and was told just go get your license and come back in two weeks. Police Chief Wyn Lohner and Officer Davidson were supposed to be the only ones who could sign the license. Easy? Wrong.
I asked Lohner if my license was signed. No, he said, but we just want to make sure you have no dangerous dogs. I asked who is “we,” and he avoided the question.
Later, Lohner shows up with Officer Davidson to inform me we decided you can only keep four dogs. I said I’m getting a lawyer, I’m not losing my dogs. I live on Social Security and with expenses of Meadowbrook, things are tight. But loving my precious dogs is a priority. By going to the lawyer I found that I shouldn’t have to pay kennel license and I live in a low level zone where there are no restrictions on small animals.
My vet had even written a letter for me stating that he had been to my home several times, there are no dangerous dogs and they are well-cared for. I keep my yard clean and in the past two years have planted 17 shrubs and trees and built an eight-foot deck at my front door.
When the weather will let me I’ll put steel panels a couple feet inside my fence so a dog can’t get near the fence. My dogs don’t bark all the time; they get excited when I’m leaving, cleaning the yard or go to the garbage can.
I finally found some dog collars that vibrate and I ordered some. I don’t believe in shock collars. I’m protecting my dogs from the people, not people from dogs.
I just need the city to sign the kennel license. My husband is in the hospital and I can’t take any more of this hassle.
Editor’s Note: A story about neighborhood complaints regarding Robinson’s dogs was published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Herald.
The berms have returned.
These icy vertebrae of Baker City streets, along with their slushy cousins, the white monoliths that loom over certain intersections, are of course nuisances.
And potentially dangerous ones, capable of concealing any of several models of subcompact car.
Not to mention a person of average height.
So it goes without saying: Slow down out there. No errand is so pressing that it’s worth showing up to it with a Ford Fiesta dangling from your front bumper like an eviscerated yellowjacket.
Yet these frozen eminences represent something else for me, something welcome. They are tangible evidence that this winter, at least temporarily, is the genuine article.
Occasionally a winter passes around here when snow is so scarce that the city’s public works crews never need to scrape off the streets.
Last winter was notably niggardly in this respect.
Which is a boon for the city’s budget, to be sure.
And for fenders.
But I’m invariably disappointed when the season fails to get up to the sorts of inclement dickens of which it’s capable.
That goes for all seasons, actually.
I feel similarly bereaved when, for instance, summer spawns not a single decent lightning show, or autumn goes by without a series of those 20-degree mornings when the atmosphere is so crystalline that the Wallowas seem to have moved 10 miles nearer during the night.
(Which would be nice, making for a shorter drive to Eagle Cap Wilderness trailheads. But alas, plate tectonics operates at a pace that makes that archetypal slacker, the tortoise, seem like Usain Bolt. Or the international space station.)
To put it another way, I’m not satisfied with having four distinct seasons — I want four distinctly dramatic seasons.
My affinity for arctic weather is influenced largely by my growing up in the Willamette Valley, where winter rain is prevalent but snow is rare, and sub-zero temperatures almost unknown.
I never learned, in my coddled youth, to hate the snow shovel. We never owned one, so far as I can remember, so it would have been strange anyway for me to take a dislike to the implement. My dad, whose ability to acquire tools is formidable, certainly would have had a snow shovel had he been able to make even a flimsy case to my mom that one was necessary.
It’s too early, of course, to yet brand this winter. The January thaw could intrude, and Februarys tend toward the dry and climatically banal.
But the season’s timing was at least fortuitous.
A heavy snow began to fall on Christmas morning and it continued through much of the day, creating the sorts of scenes Currier and Ives cashed in on.
The cold settled in on the holiday, too. The temperature didn’t go above freezing for the next 15 days, the longest such stretch in more than seven years.
(There was a 16-day spell, Dec. 4-19, in 2005.)
The chill kept the Christmas snow from going stale, as it were, from turning into the unpleasant slush of the city, marred by dirt and boots and the droppings of dogs.
The more scientifically inclined prefer the yardstick but I’ve long measured snow by way of the two steps that lead to the lawn on the north side of my house.
When the snow reaches a respectable depth — probably around 7 inches — the individual steps are no longer recognizable as such.
That’s what it looked like out there after Monday’s storm — a smooth white expanse, as yet unsullied by feline paws or mule deer hooves.
Nothing so pristine can last long, of course. If the animals don’t get to it the infuriating warm front surely will.
But it was, in that moment, perfect.
Which you can’t really say about those berms.
Working together, we can solve nation’s problems
In looking back at 2012, I feel relieved and fairly optimistic. Despite ongoing political tensions, enough of us are now coming together to recognize and solve the true problems we face as a community and a nation.
Locally, in June our Baker City Council joined 300 other U.S. cities and seven states in unanimously passing a resolution calling for an end to the corruptive power of money in politics. And last fall, we turned aside an assault on our District 5J public schools by anti-government forces.
Nationally, we re-elected President Barack Obama, despite conventional wisdom that told us he was doomed by slow economic growth. We demonstrated that democracy can really work. We embodied our national motto: “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One.” We moved toward a unified identity. We can’t do it alone. We’re all in this together.
Looking forward, We the People can build on this emerging reality, armed with facts to analyze our problems, develop meaningful alternatives, and take action. Yes, a few powerful extremists and their propaganda outlets will continue to spread false information and confusion in attempts to cripple our government, but we can move beyond that. We have the amazing Internet. We can research answers that other countries have developed. We can benefit from their solutions to global warming, lack of good jobs, gun violence, and affordable health care.
One major anti-government, mis-information campaign is the persistent Republican mantra that ignores our historically low income-tax rates and proclaims, “We have a spending problem.” In fact, our non-military government spending relative to the size of our economy is actually smaller than any other rich nation.
Their calls for spending cuts within our fragile economy violate proven Keynesian economics and disregard the ample evidence now provided by European countries like Greece. Austerity measures are bound to produce a downward spiral, feeding ever-deeper recession and endangering our shared security and vital support.
Again, I urge my fellow readers to read up on critically important issues, and then participate constructively in the national debate. Informed and working together, we can solve the major problems that confront us.
Gun restrictions give more power to criminals
Free kill zones keep good law-abiding citizens unarmed, and killers who do not read signs or care to be law-abiding, free to unload until empty, before worrying about someone with badge and gun to extinguish threat. And possibly still face charges from DA for extinguishing threat. Free kill zones only tell threats, no worries about other people, until they want to.
For instance, it takes 15 minutes to go across town, X single shot can be reloaded in approx 10-15 seconds = mega amounts of potential death, before any kind of help to extinguish threat. Gun owners are citizens, non-owners are subjects to be dealt with. Adolf Hitler, another lover, of gun control. Semi auto is one shot per trigger pull. Full auto — which is almost impossible to get, takes around one year of background checks to get — IS multiple shots per trigger pull. Cosmetics is only thing that civilians can get, without one-year background, and absurd tax that is paid for each. Civilian grade is cosmetics only, semi auto or bolt action only, multiple calibers.
Something to think about: Everything has been military at some time in history, even rope, knife, hands, feet, brain, sticks, on and on. Hope attorney seeking to sue Connecticut for $100 million on behalf of student that survived, wins. Lawful carry would have kept deaths to minimum. Over 90 percent of security, and some cops, trust badge to keep killers from killing them. Also signs to be obeyed by lawless. Like moving, animal crossing signs, and expecting animals to change habits to match signs.
Police present makes a parent feel safer
I would like to thank the Baker City Police Department for making a presence at our local schools. As a parent it makes me feel safe and secure knowing that each day we have a police presence making sure our kids are safe. Winter has made the roads icy and slick, and seeing a police care has made more parents aware of the need to slow down and be safe. Living in Baker City makes me feel proud that our community values youth and their protection.
I would like to say thank you to Chief Lohner and staff for making a difference.