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Letter to the Editor for March 16, 2015

New gift turns me into a gold panner

I received a gift in the mail the other day — a brand new gold panning kit. It came from one of my old ironworking chums that I had left behind in the Portland / Vancouver area. Vaughn must have figured I needed more things to keep me busy. Feeling somewhat obligated, my wife and I made plans to try it out.

Back home you couldn’t look crosswise at a river or stream without some sort of permit, license or pamphlet so I set out to cover our bases. It was all about the fish in Vancouver so my first stop was with Fish and Wildlife. They had no problem but referred me to BLM. BLM shrugged their shoulders, as if I had interrupted their extremely important day with a stupid question, warning me to stay away from other people’s claims. The National Forest people had no problem as long as we weren’t bringing in heavy equipment. So with no more knowledge, than before, we headed into the woods. Long story short — no gold, wet feet and sore backs. 

While recovering I remembered a recent newspaper article by Jayson Jacoby. It had touched on some gold history of this area so I shot him an e-mail asking if he had any information steering us in a gold finding direction. He instantly responded with an informative article from a past issue of the Herald. The article pushed me towards the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). Jayson had referenced them in the recent article also but it had escaped my attention (oldtimer’s disease).

Barb and I took the short walk to the courthouse and the DOGAMI office. This is where we met Jason McClaughry (Eastern Oregon regional geologist). There is not enough words to express how thoughtful and helpful this gentleman was. He answered every one of our gold panning questions and when I mentioned our interest in rockhounding he came alive. He freely shared his valuable knowledge, sending us on a future full of travel and discovery.  A huge thank you to both Jayson and Jason for making us feel we matter.  

Mike Meyer

Baker City

5J deal overly complicated

We’ve known since last October that the Baker School District would need to hire a superintendent to replace Walt Wegener, who is retiring June 30.

What we didn’t expect is that the school board would end up paying three people, one of whom is Wegener, for the final 3 months of his tenure.

This seems an unnecessary jumbling of jobs, and an extra expense to the district, which is at the same time lobbying the Oregon Legislature, and with good reason, to allocate more money for public schools.

Letter to the Editor for March 13, 2015

John Hoopes the right choice for county sheriff

I would like to express my vote of confidence in John Hoopes to be chosen as sheriff of Baker County.

I have known John since he was a young boy. I have watched him grow to become a hard-working, honest person. I have seen him in all phases of his life. I know him to be a person of trust. He has been a great help to many people.

He has given his time, energy and knowledge to a stranded person, a stranger or a friend in their time of need.

He is one to take his job seriously and to learn and implement that knowledge to not only help others but to teach them the things he has experienced and done. He would be a great leader to those in the department.

He joined the Marine Corps to serve his country in times of turmoil. Anyone that has been in the armed forces knows the pressure of basic training and also the many hours of intense training to handle yourself and others in your specialty assignment. He served overseas and in this country.

The Corps had enough faith in him to make an example of what the Marine Corps could do for an individual. They gave him the responsibility to be a recruiter. He traveled around the country talking of the advantages that would be theirs if they joined the Corps.

I know that John is one who understands, can instruct others, give assignments, listen and make decisions. His objective is for each officer to be dedicated, cooperate with each other, and feel good about their jobs.

He has had 15 years with the department and has knowledge of what will be required as a sheriff. He wants for each of us to feel that where there is a need, someone will be there to help us all to be safe in any circumstance we find ourselves in.

Bob Harris

Baker City

Spring arrives, but this year who really noticed?

I stepped onto my back porch at noon of a recent day and instantly regretted that I had donned my down jacket.

This reliable garment, my faithful companion and protector during Baker County’s generally chilly and occasionally arctic winters, was suddenly superfluous.

At least it seemed sudden to me.

Just an hour or so before, when I got home for lunch, the early March sunshine brought only the weak warmth customary of the season.

Yet now that sun, at its daily zenith, jolted me ahead clear through the balmy spring and into torrid July.

Clean fuel, dirty deal

By the time you read this it’s likely that Gov. Kate Brown will have signed a law that will take money from every Oregonian’s wallet.

What we’ll get in return — a reduction in the state’s carbon emissions — might be tolerable if it were significant enough to have a measurable effect on the potentially harmful climatic changes that atmospheric carbon is contributing to.

But it’s not even close.

Not really a burning problem

The government’s campaign against woodstoves continues.

But the latest missive might have the unusual effect of uniting people in Portland with their counterparts in Baker County and other rural sections of Oregon.

A fitting tribute to Mabry

There is no sufficient way to honor Mabry Anders, the 21-year-old soldier from Baker City who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012.

But erecting a highway sign where visitors can hear the music of the Powder River, at the place Mabry liked to fish for trout, is a meaningful and worthwhile attempt.

We would expect the legislation designating Milepost 36 on Highway 7, between Baker City and Sumpter, as Mabry Anders Memorial Highway will meet no opposition in the Oregon Legislature.

Portland buildings wearing Baker County faces

I learned recently that quite a number of Portland buildings have Baker County faces, as it were.

I’m referring here to stone faces.

Specifically I’m referring to something geologists call “rhyolite breccia” but most everyone else, whose tongues are not familiar with words such as “breccia,” probably knows as “moon rock."

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 18, 2015

B2H power line threatens county’s crown jewel

 I admire Whit Deschner’s letter to the editor of Feb. 4 about his opinion of the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission line. I agree with him.

I live in Bend and read what I can on your paper, but am not a subscriber. I am an avid Oregon Trail supporter and also a fan of the Interpretive Center on Flagstaff Hill.

It is my opinion that this power line will have a very negative effect on the Center and Baker City and its tourism in general. I have not seen much about the power line in the newspaper other an announcements of meeting, etc. This is the crown jewel of Baker County, I would hope the newspaper would get behind a public outcry against the power line.

Gail Carbiener


Kitzhaber accomplished much during his long career

John Kitzhaber got a lot more right during his distinguished 35-year political career than your editorial of Feb. 16 allows. Once the dust settles from the current upheaval, I trust that we will be able to look back with gratitude at his efforts on our behalf.  

On Feb. 15, the conservative editorial board of The Oregonian published a balanced assessment of Kitzhaber. I would like to quote their summary of his accomplishments as an example of a worthy tribute to a progressive and dedicated public servant:

“This is a regrettable moment in Oregon history. Kitzhaber’s imprint on Oregon shows vision and leadership. He advocated for policies to save salmon and other native species, helping the state balance economic development and energy needs with its extraordinary natural bounty. He conceived and guided implementation of the Oregon Health Plan, offering health insurance to hundreds of thousands of needy Oregonians. He conceived and led the state’s health care transformation, with an eye to pushing medical costs down — potentially a national model for health care delivery. And he steadfastly championed efforts to expand early literacy programs as the key to successful public education.”

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 4, 2015

Unborn children remain second-class citizens

In the 19th century, Native Americans were severely mistreated. To the government, they were an obnoxious impediment to the settlement of the continent, and so should be removed by any means fair or foul. They were herded onto lands which nobody else wanted. Indian treaties were routinely broken. Whites often murdered Indians with impunity, but let a couple of bucks seek revenge, and the cavalry was called out.

However, from William Penn on, the Quakers treated Indians fairly and with honor. To them, all mankind, including Indians, were created in the image of God and so worthy of respect. Quakers became advocates for the Indians and sought to get Americans to recognize our common humanity. Attitudes did change over the years, and nobody today believes that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Black slavery ended in the 19th century, but African-Americans remained second-class citizens far into the 20th century. Blacks were denied the right to vote, sometimes violently. They were regarded as an inferior race, and “kept in their place” through segregation. Blacks were often lynched.

Rev. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders reminded Americans that our founding documents state that all men are created equal, and that we all are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Their educational efforts paid off, and today we have a black president, something unthinkable not that many years ago.

Another group of human beings remains second-class citizens today, our unborn children. The Constitution promises us all the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet our unborn children are often denied the right to life, and without that, the other two are meaningless. In the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, a child’s father had the absolute right of life or death for his children. He decided whether a newborn would be welcomed into the family or abandoned on a hillside to die of exposure. All we have done is to change from the father to the mother which parent has the power to choose life or death for their children. Some progress!

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Baker vs. Idaho Power: A fixed game from the start

Recently, I obtained tickets for the B2H bowl held in the Baker County Courthouse. Attendance was minimal, since little — if any — notice was given about the game. Due to price caps the home team, the Bakerites, were poorly represented, but did their best against a professional, well-practiced, Idaho Power visiting team who, unrestricted by price caps, played an extremely physically political game quickly wearing out Baker. 

Questionable rule interpretations seriously marred the match-up since the BLM, reffing, began the game by letting Idaho Power have the ball with no coin toss. Immediately Idaho Power went long, using a, “divided they fall,” alternatives play, splitting the Bakerite defense by proposing various minor adjustments where to run the line within the county.

Baker locals finally got the ball deep in its own territory and gallantly tried to run the ball but unfortunately, the rain began and the b.s. used to fertilize the field, became extremely slick.  A fumble ensued and Idaho Power insisting that they recovered, quickly scored with a “we don’t care play.”

On their next possession, the Bakerites, trying to point out that Idaho Power was running the power line through five Oregon counties while only using one of its own, lost yards and punted.

Bakerites countered with a “we get nothing” offensive and a brilliant, “statue of: it will ruin our tourism trade if the power line goes in,” play. They might have reached the end zone but their runner was blatantly faced-masked down by Idaho Power and the infraction was not called by the BLM referee. 

Once again,  Baker was forced to punt.

Idaho then scored with a “we pay local taxes double reverse,” and then continued to run up the score by using the old and deceiving, “there really is an imaginary need for the power line” play.

The game was called and the BLM referee pronounced there would probably not be an extension of the season and that, unless the Bakerites really started protesting, the season would end March 19. Nevertheless, Baker has vowed a comeback. For the sake of fair play, let’s hope they do. 

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Don’t discount the risks of vaccinations

As I read through the waiver before signing it, I gulped at the possible things that could happen to my baby as a result of the vaccinations. I pushed the nagging fears aside as unreasonable and signed it. Done. I’ve been a “responsible” parent.

But that troubling feeling didn’t go away, so I began to look more closely into the safety of vaccinations. 

That was 22 years ago. Since then my research on the so-called “safety” of vaccinations has filled my file. And I’ve come to a better understanding of what it means to be a good and responsible parent: Knowing vaccine risks and failures and weighing those against the benefits.

Risks? Some of the more serious ones:  convulsion/seizure, high fever, high-pitched screaming (“purple crying”?), collapse/shock, brain inflammation. $3 billion in federal vaccine injury compensation has been awarded to vaccine victims in America. (Nat’l Vaccine Injury Comp. Program Statistics Report — July 1, 2014).  The Institute of Medicine has published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury AND DEATH!! (As referenced in the article “Back-to-school Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures” on the National Vaccine Info. Center web-site NVIC.org). 

Let’s look at a bit of the history of medicine.  There were many practices that were initially embraced that were eventually shown to be in error and thrown out. One example is the practice of bleeding a sick person to get rid of the “bad blood.” George Washington was bled to death. We don’t do that anymore.

Let’s not make the same mistake with vaccinations. Know the risks and failures, and don’t discount those who have done their research (even though they might not have a medical degree) and have chosen not to vaccinate based on what they found. 

Mary Andersen

Baker City

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