A fast track for the new middle school

To the editor:

I have wanted to write for a long time and share some of my reasons for supporting a new junior high school building.

My father, Fred M. Carlson, taught at the present junior high buildings for about 10 years before any asbestos abatement or contamination happened. He died a painful death caused by asbestos exposure at age 65, before he had a chance to retire and enjoy what he had worked for so hard. Too young!

Granted, there is no way to say definitively that he died from the exposure at the junior high, but the exposure happened there also. Time will tell if my sisters had enough exposure after attending BJHS to affect their later lives. And then there are my own children what will show up in their lives as they get older?

I have worked as a substitute teacher in both buildings for the past 25 years, and have witnessed the continual decline of these facilities despite ongoing repairs and remodel. Some of my fellow teachers are ill a lot of the year, only to get better in the summer, when there are not in those buildings.

We have an increasing number of students who are challenged enough that attendance in the classrooms, with their fellow students, is not possible in our present buildings. Are we going back to andquot;segregationandquot; for some students, again, like we had in the 1960s?

I toured both buildings last year and was impressed with the state of degradation there. We could do massive improvements and upgrades, but would only have about 25 years of use for all our expenditure and we would still have two old buildings!

I am not rich, and I'm looking at retirement sometime soon, so that will not improve, but I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. I want a new facility, and will vote andquot;yesandquot; on the November ballot to pursue that end.

Let's get this project on the fast track and get it done. Maybe my grandchildren can attend the new junior high school in Baker City!

Cherrie Carlson-Conklin

Baker City

This is economic development?

To the editor:

It seems to me that the entities that govern the direction of our city have put a lot of effort into the closing of our movie theater. I have to wonder what the motivation was, or who is going to benefit from its closing. For the only things that I see it has accomplished are: No. 1, my family and I have one less place to spend our money in Baker City; and No. 2, seven people who will most likely look to the State of Oregon to help them out until they can find more work.

So it has been very nice to see the progress that our elected officials have made in the success of our local economic development. So let's take a look at what they have accomplished for our city in the last week. No. 1, they have done a tremendous service for the economic development of La Grande for its restaurant and theater business. No. 2, they have added some job security to our state employees by so generously causing our unemployment rate to go up.

I wonder what kind of progress our elected officials could make with our park you know, the one where the young people hang out. Need I say any more on that one? How about some effort cleaning up Boys Jungle you know that place, where young people drink, have sex and God knows what else. Let's not forget that place on the end of Baker Street. It is called the skate park. I do not think I need to say too much about that fine place, either.

So in closing, I would like to thank The Powers at Large for their well- thought-out economic plan for our city. I am sure my wife and our children will do nothing but excel with the opportunity that our elected officials have granted to us with their economic development plan.

I hope people are paying attention. Let's take caution over who we elect next.

Ed Chance

Baker City

Road closures in forest concern me

To the editor:

Closure of more roads in the South Fork of the Burnt River alarms me greatly. Access to 162 miles of roads is already in effect. We've given up enough. In the past we've returned to hunt, fish, picnic, camp, and cut firewood, only to find access blocked. Blocking roads has been going on for years, insidiously chipping away access to public lands. All who enjoy public domain are well aware of unfettered blocking. If anything, we need to reverse the closure trend.

The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is shackled with 609,000 acres of designated wilderness, plus an additional 438,000 acres for the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. That's 44 percent folks! Just how much is enough?

Squeezing more people into less area will not decrease degradation of the land degradation a big term. I would apply this term to many sights in the forest, but can hardly use it for the wheel track of an ATV, or a single-track cow trail. We see what we choose to.

I'm hoping local outdoor enthusiasts will speak up, attend meetings, and write letters. The Burnt River closure merely represents one small step down the path toward more road closures and designated wilderness areas. This is not a time for apathy.

Wanda Ballard

Baker City

Recall is called for

To the editor:

The only reason the (Eltrym) (T)heatre is closed is because our city council is made up of bullies working with a city manager that refuses to understand historic building codes.

The fire alarms and emergency exits at the theatre work well. In fact, it was following the safe evacuation of the Eltrym that the city decided to change the rules. After five years of operating in compliance with historic building codes, the city went on a mission to close our only theatre and put eight people out of work.

The owner of the property has invested a great deal in our community. Anyone who has worked to maintain buildings in our National Historic District will tell you it takes a lot of money and even more blind faith about the cultural value of preserving our past.

His investment gave us three screens and a clean, bright and (if you ever saw the old projector, you'd agree) much safer place to be entertained. Jobs were created for teens and most of us have really appreciated having more entertainment options.

The theater has struggled to stay open with the unfounded threats of safety thrown about by city councilors, even those who continued to let their own children attend such a andquot;death trap.andquot;

State code for historic buildings is that they be andquot;No More Dangerousandquot; following a renovation. That code allows our beautiful but andquot;oldandquot; buildings to be viable and continue to contribute to our community. Anyone who has been able to travel to Boston, Chicago or Philadelphia knows how much of our nations history is told by the buildings that are still actively used.

Sprinklers have not been required in recently renovated, multi-story apartments buildings on the same street as the Eltrym. People actually sleep there. I wonder if the exit/alarm systems in those buildings are as effective as what is currently in place at the theatre?

It is never too late to recall a city council that tolerates childish tirades and school-yard bullying of our citizens, taxpayers and employers.

Beverly Calder

Baker City

Sad about Eltrym

To the editor:

It saddens me a great deal to see the Eltrym close, and it is very unfortunate that Mr. Rudyard Coltman was not assisted by the city to save a historic landmark. But you better believe that our historic downtown had every bit of support from them.

It seems, to me that is, that anytime an outsider comes and tries to do something that betters the community, it is shoved right back into his/her face. Why is it that our great city could not have assisted Mr. Coltman in this matter? I think the satisfaction and happiness of Baker City's citizens is something very important to the development of our little paradise.

Now we have to pay $3.09 a gallon and travel 44 or 76 miles to enjoy a good movie. I, being a minimum wage worker, find this nearly impossible, and it makes me slightly perturbed that the powers that be could not have saved the theater. I hope that the city council thinks long and hard about what this decision has done to myself, my children and the other nine-something thousand people here.

Daniel Gately Jr.

Baker City

Road rage

To the editor:

Road rage has many faces, one of which can be a red car sitting at a stoplight waiting for the light to change to green, and a white van sitting at the same light waiting to make a left turn from the opposite direction.

As the light changes, the lady in the red car does not notice it. Since the white van cannot see the red car's light, she goes on the green light, pausing for a moment for any traffic movement. As the white van starts through her left turn the lady in the red car decides to get her car as close to the van as possible and shout obscenities out the window telling the white van she was a bad driver.

Time or seconds in this life are not so precious as to threaten a person with a car, gun or shouts of obscenities to another human being. Are not people more precious than time, money or possessions?

Think twice or even three times before acting on an act of violence. Here is something to think about: That very person could be the one to save your life someday.

Let's keep the violence out of our lives, and if there were any children in the car, let's protect them from random acts of violence from their parents to others on this Earth. We need to share this world with each other; we only have one.

Tammy Marie

Baker City

Theater tragedy

To the editor:

Closure of the the Eltrym Theatre is a tragedy for the residents of Baker County. With gas prices being what they are and continuing to raise, it is unafforadable for many familys in Baker County to travel to LaGrande or Ontario to attend a movie. The theatre and the bowling alley are the only two public places where young couples can have a date in the City, and it's been that way as long as I can remember. I for one, would willingly pay more to attend the movie, to enable the owners to put in sprinklers, or perhaps a fund could be established. Something really needs to be done, by the residents of Baker County who would like to keep our kids from traveling the highways late at night to simply see a movie.

Judy Chastain

Baker City