Neglecting school maintenance

To the editor:

I am appalled by the overwhelming neglect of our middle school as outlined by (Baker Middle School Principal) Mindi Vaughan in your interview published Friday, Dec. 8. The dereliction of duty by our sworn board and school administrators reeks of criminal negligence and the willful endangering of the health and well-being of our school children.

It really does not take much in the way of education to know that taking care of problems the minute that they appear is the way to go before they have the opportunity to create far more damage. If you have not had the foresight to put together a maintenance crew, once you learn to read and operate a telephone, you can look in the Yellow Pages. There you will find plumbers, electricians, furnace repairmen, roofers and all other needs listed. These people are also your taxpayers.

I am 84 years old and have my senior moments, but even I know that you must clean downspouts, rain gutters and air vents at least once a year.

The group in charge of this maintenance is also the group asking for an additional $19.8 million of our tax money. I see nothing encouraging in this performance.

Margaret Brown

Baker City

Take the BMS tour and see for yourself

To the editor:

OK, the November vote is over and Measure 33 (5J bond issue) did not pass, by a small margin. Let's move on to the May vote and see if we can get this project going. I suspect that those who were most loudly campaigning against building a new Junior High School have not been on a tour and seen what the school district is talking about in the old buildings. I'm really tired of people saying the district should have been doing more to keep the buildings in good condition. The district has continuously done as much as it could with the funds that the voters gave them. No one can foresee a boiler going bad, a roof losing its ability to shed rain and snow, a building burning down, and those items have to be paid for now. That takes dollars out of the building maintenance fund and means less desperate items are moved down the list until more funds become available. I for one believe the district has done a great job with what they have been allotted.

After having worked in, had kids in and the taken the tour myself, if there is ever a fire in either building, people will die, unable to escape our antiquated and dangerous facilities! And do not even equate the movie theater with our schools we have a choice of whether we go into the movie theater, our children do not have a choice of going into their schools, it's a law!

I challenge any of you andquot;naysayersandquot; to go on the tour any Thursday evening at 6 p.m. (or call and we will arrange a more convenient time) and I will come and go with you. My number is 523-7213 any takers? Please do the tour, ask questions and see if you can still vote against a new Junior High School.

Cherrie Carlson-Conklin

Baker City

Got a beef?

To the editor:

It seems as though everyone has a beef about something these days.

Here a while back, it seemed as though various things were happening on a daily basis and some would call it bad hair days, with no relief for smooth sailing.

Some of the issues were taken care of since then and new ones keep coming up. Then during that same time we had a sales representative stop in one night to try to sell us some of his beef.

It all looked fine and good to me, but what I saw from the van itself, and with a freezer in the van I wasn't too sure if that was even the way to do things.

I didn't like what I saw, and never saw him before. His van looked dark and weird-looking. Come to find out he paid a little scenic side trip to a friend of mine and we both concurred that we didn't like the appearance of the van or him. The beef looked OK and was pretty tempting to me at the time, but I told him I couldn't afford to take any more of his beef.

Now, with all the hustle and bustle of Christmas season, it was great to notice the lights having a nice reflection from the city park, and the one even down further on Campbell Street off Tenth who continue to put their manger scene of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.

I hope they continue to put it out each year, not to mention the lovely scene at First Lutheran Church.

The members of the church put a lot of time into making it real looking as they do. Bless you all for doing this each year.

Now is the time to go underground for the season. I wasn't one to like English and school all that well, so I guess that makes up for those Wonder Years. Whatever happened to that show? Hmm! Happy holidays to all and to all a good night.

Brenda Dickison

Baker City

Thank a veteran

To the editor:

As I wake every morning, with the sun shining through our front window, I look out at the red, white and blue still flying in the morning breeze.

I then begin to think just how thankful I am for my brothers and sisters in uniform who sacrificed with their spilled blood on foreign soil, protecting our great country and it's citizens day and night in unforgiving weather conditions and brutal war. Thank you is not enough to say.

You will always be remembered and never forgotten, our warriors of peace and freedom.

Friends, if you know or see a veteran, embrace him or her and look into their eyes and tell them you will never forget!

Manny Gutierrez Sr.

Baker City

Why close Eltrym but not school?

To the editor:

Why is middle school not shut down like Eltrym Theatre? Supposedly extreme fire hazard, worse than theater by long shot! Why isn't middle school shut down and classes temporarily at Churchill School? Either local government is exaggerating things as usual or placing kids in extreme danger to get what they want.

All government is taught to spend 10 percent more than they receive in order to have extra money the next year, which is BS.

Makes as much sense as having to hit number on the telephone to listen to English. This is America. I was in Germany and was expected to at least try to speak German, even though it is mandatory in schools in Germany to learn English.

Carl Koontz

Baker City

Restore old schools

To the editor:

The 22nd annual Historic Baker City Parlor Tour was just fantastic nine beautiful, functional homes built from 1876 to 1941. We thank all the owners for being so hospitable and allowing us to see the quality of craftsmanship and the architectural details of these historic residences.

It proved to me again that historical buildings can be utilized for many years. The Central Building, the former Baker High School, built in 1916, has 60,000 square feet. It and Helen M. Stack have great potential even though they have been disastrously remodeled and poorly maintained. These buildings should be restored.

Frances Burgess

Baker City

Reese is way off

To the editor:

Charley Reese as a columnist has always left a lot to be desired. Maybe a liberal arts degree in journalism would help. A perfect example of this vacuum is in his recent column, andquot;Pope's visit a waste of Turkey's time.andquot; In each of Reese's 10 paragraphs there were glaring inaccurate facts and contentions. For example:

1. Turkey never substantiated Reese's contention that the pope wasted his time or their time.

2. The high price of security! Security was financed by both the Turks and the Vatican; also by the Patriarch of Istanbul.

3. Christianity on the decline? Statistics in U.S. have shown Evangelicals, Catholics, Methodists and others are on the rise (Fox News).

4. Christianity is polytheistic? Wrong. Christianity is monotheistic. Analogy: Reese is probably a columnist, husband and dad, but still one man; or by his definition, polyhomosapien.

5. Missed defining ecumenism, the sharing of similar values among sects for the purpose of peace, etc. Not a method of conversion. Conversion is in God's realm.

6. andquot;No room for compromise.andquot; Only if head and body are buried in the Sahara. Please!

7. He introduces the Protestants. They were not in Turkey. Is he fomenting division?

8. He brings in the Jews. They were not in Turkey, either. More fomenting division?

9. He tells the pope to go to D.C. and London, then says not to meddle. Make up your mind!

10. He writes a job description for the pope shoulda, coulda, woulda but don't meddle.

11. He talks about courtesy, respect and arguing. Is he promoting manners? These heads of religions seem more interested in the two major commandments.

12. And last but not least, andquot;nothing in that part of the world is a threat ...andquot; remember 9/11!

I'll put Jayson Jacoby and Lisa Britton up against Charley Reese any time for an award-winning column.

Barbara Haytas

Baker City

The legacy lives on

To the editor:

The great legacy of community in Baker was reinforced once again in Hillsboro at the football state championship semi-final. More than 200 people showed their love and support for your young men as they represented this community in a great contest. Businesses donated food and treats for the trip, the Quarterback Club was at its usual fine efforts and the parents were awesome. People in the community organized a rooter bus that was the real signature of the community support. Several individuals came forward and financially made it possible for some to attend the game. The players put their best foot forward as did the community, once again making a statement about the premier rural living experience that exists here in Baker.

As we all stood on the field after the game, the strong sense of being connected to the Baker City family was phenomenal. Win or lose, the community relationships forged Saturday will last forever. Those who continue to have a great vision for our home here in Baker would be proud. The legacy lives on. Go Dawgs!

David Johnson

Baker High School football coach

Solar solutions are needed

To the editor:

Thanks for your article on John Patterson and the highly efficient solar water heating system he has developed (Dec 6). John came to our home the day after his presentation at Community Connection, and we found out that solar hot water can also help heat our home as well as our water. Combined, that accounts for 75 percent of our home energy use.

We plan to invest in this system, both to save on our utility bills and to help save the planet from global warming. If we can get a local company to install John's solar kit, we can help our local economy, too.

The state and federal governments offer tax credits for installing these systems. With these credits and the reduced utility bills each month, and with increasing energy costs, we'll get 5 to 9 percent return on our money. That's better than investing in stocks and bonds, and makes us feel good about helping our planet as well.

Some still believe that our current global warming is part of a natural cycle. But, according to data from ice core drilling samples from Antarctica, the concentration of greenhouse-causing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now about 40 percent greater than at any time in the past 600,000 years. This period of time covers six ice age cycles, so the current heating is far from natural. The current growth in carbon dioxide has outstripped the earth's self-regulating mechanisms and will reach 150 percent of past highs in only 45 years. This is serious. It's time for us humans to step in and do the regulating.

We just saw the movie andquot;An Inconvenient Truth,andquot; which provides a compelling picture of the causes, consequences, and solutions for global warming. The Mother Earth News October/November issue summarizes the movie and tells the many things we can do to help (

I urge everyone to become informed and to act on this vital issue. Solar hot water reduces carbon emissions by about 1,000 pounds each year. That's a good start.

Donna Landon

Baker City

Don't dishonor Leo

To the editor:

I knew Leo Adler because he enjoyed my Afghan hound. They let me participate. Once when I entered his business for a specialty subscription, he asked to take Clown into the back room. Suddenly a shriek shattered the stillness of group concentration near me. I tore back to find Leo standing alongside a pale women clutching her desk. But a minute of tail wagging unfolded the woman's hands, turning white knuckles pink. Was she a bit less afraid of dogs afterward?

This man would not condone upsetting even one homeowner with the remotest threat of unnecessary condemnation. Let us adopt Leo's ethics.

If we do, the present council will not spend $43,000 to avoid placing park decisions in the hands of the new electees who represent us voter/taxpayers.

Leo, the gentleman. Today's actions should not dishonor his standards.

Betsey McCullough

Baker City