Close torture school

To the editor:

It is time for Americans to rise to the responsibility of living by our stated principles. Close the school of torture in Fort Benning, Georgia. Relieve the world of the imposition of an illegal and inhumane detention center at Guantanamo.

For our country to maintain any level of self respect or world respect, we must live up to our own principles of democracy, freedom, and human rights. We have no claim to virtue by ugly force.

Pete Martin


No more remodeling

To the editor:

I read with interest John Burgess' opinion in the Baker City Herald about a month ago. I worked maintenance for the 5J School District for 20 years. I don't have an ax to grind either way. I retired from the district about a year ago, and I'll call it as I see it. So after crawling through these buildings for 20 years, this is what I think.

Fact One: The Helen M. Stack Middle School has been remodeled and remodeled until we couldn't find any more space to be converted for classrooms. I helped remodel the stage and made it into a computer room 20 years ago. I helped convert the balcony into classroom in the gym.

Fact Two: Why this building hasn't burned down is a wonder. It has double walls with old dumbwaiter shafts that go from the basement to the top floor.

Fact Three: As many years as I worked there we fought leaking roofs each winter. Even when we replaced the roofs we still had problems.

Fact Four: Under wired, bad plumbing, high ceilings, single-pane windows lead to high heat bills in the winter and sweltering heat in the summer. That goes for all the elementary buildings also.

Fact Five: Access for the handicapped would have to be addressed with an elevator, if I'm not mistaken, in either end of the building. In case of emergency, handicapped access must be addressed from top to bottom. At present there is a handicapped access at only one end of the building and limited to the first floor.

Fact Six: Did I mention asbestos buried in the walls, floors and in the boiler room?

Fact Seven: Around the top of the building, parapet blocks, weighing several hundred pounds, are lying loose. Only gravity holds them in place. We have tried to secure the worst of the worse. There's never enough money to fix the problem right, just enough money to try to buy time. To fix the problems in these old buildings, you need to tear it out and replace it new. We have never had that kind of money in maintenance to do the jobs right, just maintain.

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Teaming up with

a famous bear

To the editor:

I want to know why the Oregon Department of Transportation continues to spray poison on our roadsides. I have yet to talk to one person who agrees with it.

On July 17 driving from Sumpter to Baker City on Highway 7, the evidence of the spraying was obvious. Not only was the natural green foliage on our scenic byways destroyed, but now the dry brown leaves are a serious fire hazard.

Everyone knows how difficult it is to burn green leaves. The remains of the spraying are a real eyesore on our beautiful highways.

Smokey Bear says andquot;thanks for keeping Oregon green.andquot; He and I are willing to start a petition to ask ODOT to please stop all spraying along Oregon's scenic highway system.

James Smereglio


Good Samaritan

To the editor:

The letter about the Good Samaritan is truly a story of how fate works.

It was my son who was killed that day, and his friend who was sitting on the roadside with whom I call andquot;one of God's true angels on Earth.andquot; I would like to let everyone know about her.

This woman had just left work at 2 p.m. and had gone home to get her husband to come to town to see her father-in-law in the hospital when she happened upon the accident.

How do I know this? I was her relief that day at work. She is a caregiver, and I just happen to work with her. She has a heart of gold, and truly gives 100 percent to our elderly here in Baker City. If we had more people like her, this would be a wonderful world.

I so want to thank her and her husband for the part they played that day in our lives. I will be forever grateful for this angel and am blessed to have her as a coworker. Jeremy thanks you too for knowing his friend was comforted!

God has blessed us.

Patricia Bates

Baker City