By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
HAINES If Mayor Mary Jane Rose needs any help running her city, she knows just where to turn: The Haines School, where about 45 potential mayoral advisors were apparently just waiting to be asked.
Rose asked students to complete an essay entitled, If I Were the Mayor of Haines... Students in grades kindergarten through five supplied their mayor with ideas, programs and new facilities that Rose presented to the city council last week.
Big mistake, her honor admits.
I should have known not to give the council the students ideas while we still had a few items left on the agenda, she said. After they got those essays, we didnt get a lot more work done that evening.
Students ideas ranged from the practical to the in your dreams category, but each essay was valuable to Rose, she said, because each one gave her some insight into her youngest constituents thought process.
Fourth and fifth graders weigh in
Colleen Strommer told her mayor that shed leave almost everything the way it is, because their are many friendly people here. When you meet up with a friend, other friends meet up with you, and youre not a stranger. Also, the friendly people make beautiful yummy food.
I love Haines Steak House (mmm...mmm...good.) What I dont like is that Haines doesnt have a playground.... Another thing I dont like is the litter. Its disgusting! I like Haines, but when my mom drops me off at a certain spot, I walk past cigarette butts, cans and paper.
Sarah Johnson suggested Rose grant students a day off, so they could have fun on their day off.
Shed also opt for blue school buses, so kids could ride in something blue and cool.
Jon Burton advised Rose to keep things status quo.
I like Haines because it is small and everybody is friendly, he wrote. Haines has most of the things that people need. It has a school, store, churches, restaurants, post office, gas station and a library.... Its easy to get arond. It doesnt take long to get anywhere in town!
Theres a saying that says, If it aint broke, dont fix it. I like Haines just the way it is.
Mariah Aldrich suggested that Rose add a soccer field so the big kids can stay out of trouble.
Kelsey Day recommended construction of a skate park with rentable boards and skates to ride on. People could have competitions, and people could win 24 (karat) gold tropheys.
Rose really ought to look into constructing a hospital in her community, several students advised.
If you get hurt you will have to drive, or worse, walk all the way to Baker, wrote Greg Herman, who added his community could use a pet store because it would just be simpler finding someone who sells the pet you want. What if you wanted a snake, a gerbil, or even bugs and spiders?
Usually residents want city officials to erect more signs, but Gus Hansen thinks Rose ought to take one down.
First, I would take out the population sign when you enter Haines, he wrote. A lot of people make fun of it and mess it up. And Id put in a small hardware store. Some people need extra tools.
Jeffrey Williams has a way to make his town grow: build more houses.
I think there should be more houses, because Haines is small. I think there should be a bank in Haines, he wrote. So you dont have to drive all the way to Baker.
Jessica Carnell had three suggestions for making her community a more livable place.
Put in an Old Navy so we can have a clothes store, she wrote in her essay. I would also add miniature golf so we can have something new to play. I would also add a movie theatre that only cost $1.00 to get in.
2nd, 3rd graders add two cents
The 17 second and third graders also had an abundance of advice for their mayor.
Make the unfinished roads into roads, said Shan Bruland. Make a horse race stadium between Anthony Lake Highway and the dump road, and make it play The Star Spangeld Banner before the race starts.
Hazel Hansen thinks the city might be better off it it had both a ski lodge and a circus.
Tanner OGrady had seven things to tell you about, including snow plow drivers that go too fast, a suggestion for a go cart track in an empty lot somewhere, and a Chinese restaurant for people to eat and work in.
Truly, he concluded, we need all of this stuff.
Cameron Kerns, who called himself your next mayor in the signature portion of his essay, told Rose that Haines needs another store and a water park.
All in all, he assured Rose, if you dont do it, I will when I am mayor.
Ashley Aldrich advised the mayor to keep an eye on spilled burn barrels and garbage cans.
It makes our homes dirty and we get mad, she said.
Kate Sizer promised her administration would be marked with a garbage pick-up day at the pond. Shed also build more schools, because many children are having to do home school.
Last, she said, shed try to make less people sell drugs and cigarettes. Lots of people are dying from using drugs and cigarettes. Thats definitely why I want to be a mayor!!!!!
Dan Sizer took a Rudolph Giuliani-like approach in his essay.
I am mayor and Im going to tell you some things that Im going to do, he wrote Rose. First of all, Im going to change that Stop sign to a Yield sing. Its on the road that goes west out of Haines, on the corner. If we are going towards the sign, from the west it wont be facing us, but thats the one.
The next thing is that I want a kid art thing after school in Haines. Like just a ... maybe a 30 minute thing, just really short.
OK, heres one I really want. I want more Sunday schools in churches!! I also want more potlucks, more off and on.
So now you know what Im going to do!!
Stephen Brock had six ideas for his community, including more ranches for cowboys, better snow removal so trucks and cars wont get stuck in the snow, the installation of recycle bins around the city, longer library hours and more supplies for students.
Jordan Davis wants her ideas adopted so Haines will look fabulous. One my last but the best reason is to turn the building near the Haines store into something.
Doug Jackson thinks Haines should have a really big senior citizen building and more open hours at the library.
Then, he asserted, I could get more books!
Tia Hancock thought the mayor ought to have a little more influence in the classroom.
If I were mayor, I would tell schools not to give out so much homework, she wrote. If we, as students, dont have three sheets of homework, we would have a lot of time to visit with our parents.
Lauren Hart thinks shell be elected mayor when she grows up, and already she has a four-point program.
Theyre reasonable, so I will do them, she wrote Rose.
Her plan includes a strict law to keep dogs on chains ... because I have almost gotten bitten 10 times.
Shed also make everyone stop at all stop signs.
Youngest students illustrate theirs
The schools youngest students those in kindergarten and first grade embellished their essays with illustrations.
If I were Miss Mayor, I would help the parks stay open, Emily Miller wrote, beneath a picture of happy children swinging and zipping down a slide.
Ivan Hansen had just one suggestion.
I would make a cave, he told Rose.
I would watch people, wrote Alyssa Griffin, illustrating hers with a very nice drawing of a wide-eyed mayor.
Kayla Kirby promised shed save a dog out of a fire, and drew a person approaching a burning house.
Alicea Davey drew a picture of an office building and a single person.
I would stay in the office, she promised the current mayor.
A drawing by Chris Todd depicted a happy-looking feline.
I would train a tiger, he said of his mayoral plans.
Pamela Neske promised to make sure the city power was good. Anthony Valdez said hed help the city get money.
For her part, the real mayor said the students essays were outstanding and right on point.
These kids are very intuitive about the issues that were working on, she said.
Second and third grade teacher Brenda Payton said that the essays are part of the schools effort to help students believe they can make a difference in their community.
Students brainstormed the essays together, she said, and were inspired in some cases by real-life events, and not just talk around the supper table.
Periodically, she said, students take a three-block hike from the school to the Haines library. Right in front of their school, they sometimes witness motorists running right through a stop sign.
And many students now pause to pick up whatever litter they find, she said.
I think all of this has been a real eye-opener for the students, she said. Theyve learned that they can make a difference just by offering up their voices.