Fire good for forest

To the editor:

The in regard to prescribed fires hopefully gave the public insight into forest dynamics important for future healthy forests. Fire is an essential part of Eastern Oregon forests in order to keep our forests vibrant. Fire has been part of the natural functions and processes for thousands of years and will continue to be important. Natural fire has been suppressed for the last 50 years on public lands so prescribed fire is a needed substitute to keep our forests healthy.

The myth that logging keeps our forests healthy without fire has been widely discredited by sound science. Logging impacts are quite different than wildfire impacts and are not interchangeable. The biggest difference between the two is the removal of woody debris. Trees killed by fire remain a resource for decades. Snags provide homes for wildlife, beetles and fungi.

Fire also produces ash, a natural fertilizer, and releases nutrients into the soil for new growth.

To learn more about fire ecology, the public is invited to a presentation on the effects of fire on our forests in La Grande on May 16. More information about this event will be forthcoming.

Larry McLaud

La Grande

Letter from 5J to state is distressing

To the editor:

I have read the Baker City Herald . I have also read sent to the state fire marshal and ten other state agencies which prompted this inspection. The letter was sent by Superintendent Don Ulrey and 5J chair John Boyer.

To summarize the letter, Mr. Ulrey and Mr. Boyer request the state fire marshal to educate our fire department. The Building Codes Department should educate our community on appropriate codes. The DEQ is to report on potential toxins, molds and mildew. The Department of Education is requested to use Baker as an example of what is wrong with infrastructure funding. The governor's presence in Baker was requested to offer his support. And last but certainly not least, the Department of Fish and Wildlife was implored to send an urgent plan on how to remove pigeon feces from the school's roof to avoid clogging the drains. I kid you not!

It is unbelievable how pathetic and helpless their letter sounds. But the true insult is that these two have rejected completely the will of the voters and are apparently intent on getting the state to condemn the present middle school in an attempt to force the community to accept the very proposal that was defeated.

Mr. Ulrey and Mr. Boyer should focus their energy on developing a middle school plan that is acceptable to the voters and stop this apparent end-run around the electorate. Their actions are deceitful and designed to subvert the will of the community.

It is appalling that these two people would imply to every governmental agency in Oregon that our community is incapable of building a school and must be forced into accepting the defeated proposal.

Baker City will have a new middle school. Of that I am confident. A well-thought out practical proposal will pass, and the school will be built.

And finally, it is distressing that the braintrust empowered to lead us through this arduous task is seemingly incapable of removing pigeon dung from a school roof.

Neal Jacobson

Baker City

We've said 'No' to a new school

To the editor:

About 30 years ago there was an ugly clash between the taxpayers and the Baker superintendent and school board. Good friends became enemies overnight, teachers split apart and fought co-workers. Harsh words and insults became common place, the teachers went on strike and substitutes were brought in. Those teachers who remained on the job were persecuted from all sides. The end results were damaging to the community, the district and to many individual lives. The community said then, andquot;We will never let that happen again.andquot; Perhaps it's now time to reaffirm that.

We again have in our school community some unpredictable people who have told us that we must pass a $20 million bond for a new middle school. We have rejected twice their attempts to make us accept their decision that the middle school cannot be adequately repaired: First we said no to a survey, then no to the bond issue.

Lately, there have been some strange developments. They have sold Churchill School for a paltry $205,000. We need to keep that sturdy old school; we may need it again in the next few years, and we certainly do not want to have to build a new elementary school.

Next we were perplexed to hear that Central School had been put up for sale. Central School is being used by our middle school students!

In a call to the Oregon School Boards Association, I was informed that surplus school materials like computers and desks may be sold by the district. A building of high-dollar value must be handled carefully and certainly in open meetings enabling taxpayers adequate input. This did not happen.

The school board condoned a citizen's panel recommended by John Burgess, who from the beginning of this problem has said the middle school can be repaired repairs the district should have been doing for the last 10 years!

I feel that we should all turn to Burgess and lend our help and support. We want Churchill School taken off the market; we want open board meetings; and we want these people to realize that the schools belong to the taxpayers.

Dixie Reynolds Ferguson

Baker City

Who are your heroes?

To the editor:

I am writing to add some information that was left out of the community news article regarding the Eastern Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross' up-coming Heroes Breakfast. First off, the nomination form will be available as an insert in the Baker City Herald on Wednesday. Because this is an inaugural event we are making every effort to find and nominate all of the everyday heroes of Baker and Union counties.

Therefore, we are asking everyone to remember all the heroes of the past three years and please, use the form from tomorrow's paper or the Internet connection at to let everyone know we have these everyday heroes among us.

I have spent several days taking the form around to the different police agencies, fire departments, and public safety departments and speaking to people about them. But we can't find our special heroes without your help. Did your cat wake you up in the middle of the night because there was a fire in your house? Did a police officer go beyond the call of duty to help, risking his job or even his life for you? Did someone administer CPR to a friend after climbing a hill instead of standing by and wringing their hands?

Come on Baker County. I know there are heroes out there. Get the word out, we need these forms by Feb. 5. You can bring them by our office at 2020 Church St. between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (closed for the noon hour), or mail them to the Chapter at P.O. Box 1024, Baker City, OR 97814.

We will be contacting members of the business community and the public about financially supporting this effort to honor these wonderful people, but we can't reach all of you so if you are interested in our effort to support everyday heroes with first aid, CPR, work safety and water safety training by our certified instructors, please contact the local office at 523-2231 during business hours. Remember the Heroes Breakfast is March 21 at 7 a.m. in La Grande. Let's show the world that we are proud of our heroes in Baker County.

Christina Wood

Baker City

Local hospital best of five I've been in

To the editor:

I would like to thank all of the nurses and staff at St. Elizabeth Health Services. I have been in five different hospitals in the past few years. I have never received as good of care at any place as I did at St. Elizabeth. They are very concerned about your care and pain level. Keep up the good work.

Also I would like to thank the druggist. He came to my room and discussed with me my pain level and which pain medicines worked the best for me. They were going to run out of it before they could get a new supply. So he took his car and went to Boise and got a supply of what I needed. How many people would do this? So here's a great big thanks to him.

Also I would like to thank Dr. Randy Alanko for his great care and concern for my health. I'm a very satisfied patient.

Bill Weber

Baker City

Hold a clean election for mayor

To the editor:

What is that odor coming from City Hall? It smells pretty fishy to me.

Did City Manager David Fine really encourage a secret vote for the position of mayor? Secrecy stinks. I thought the only ones still dealing in secrecy were in Dick Cheney's office or worked for Alberto Gonzalez or the Bush Administration. Haven't we had enough of that yet?

Now, City Manager Fine thinks it is okay for the City Council to simply andquot;confirmandquot; that the illegal vote is okay and that we here in Baker don't mind sneaky, behind the scenes dealing or double dealing or whatever. So what if the City Council broke the law? Who cares?

The secret vote was illegal. To do anything that is less than to void that election and, in essence, to start all over is not acceptable.

We should have a good clean election so that the new mayor doesn't start out under a cloud. I don't think that Jeff Petry would like to be known as the illegally elected mayor of Baker City. How could he ever live that down?

Or maybe Petry should step aside as mayor and let someone else take it. I seem to recall that Petry claimed all along that he didn't want to be mayor.

Let's hope the fishy smell goes away.

Richard Harris

Baker City

'Facing the Giants' is for families

To the editor:

I didn't see you there!

I went to see the movie andquot;Facing the Giantsandquot; at the Nazarene Church last Sunday night. This film is so moving, humorous, powerful and heartwarming. It will give you a feeling of hope where hope is lost and a new way to see our lives.

Parents, take your teens to see this show. It's about them! How they grow and learn. And it has a lot of good football. Yea!

Seriously, you need to see this show. It airs again next Sunday, Jan. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Nazarene Church, and it's free.

P.S.: Eltrym, thank you for closing. God has given us a better way.

Tammy Marie

Baker City

I'm writing what I'm living

To the editor:

As some of you are aware, I have been diagnosed with cancer once again and the battle is on full-scale. I want to express my deepest gratitude for the individuals of this community who have been so supportive of me battling with this dreaded opponent. Lots of people can talk about getting support, but I can tell you that this community is very supportive of individuals who are going through hard times. I have come to an understanding of the challenges and how to overcome them from both sides of the stethoscope.

I'm saying to get the facts and seek professional help because we have to believe in dealing with reality. If the situation is bad, say it's bad. But then ask, how can we make it the best it can be for what it is?

I have found out that we don't have to be a andquot;stay positive at all costsandquot; type. The feelings of pessimism, hopelessness, anger and sadness have all played roles in my fight to find happiness through cancer. I'm writing what I'm living. It's not like happiness is natural and that if we can get rid of all our problems, we'll be happy. Happiness is a lot of work, and it is an active process. I truly believe that happiness comes through prayer and faith in God and the promise that we can be healed from all sickness and wrongdoing.

There is no right path to healthy survivorship. There is a best answer for each person, and our job is to educate ourselves on the tools available to find the best path by using our own experiences.

This is a new era for cancer survivors. We shouldn't feel compelled to jump for joy for being alive. Nor should we feel that if we do not enjoy every waking moment we are guilty of an unforgivable sin.

Turning the shame of traumatic experience into an accomplishment is a long, hard battle, but it is a winnable one. The cancer survivor population is growing every day, and that is not a sad story. It is a triumph.

I am most grateful for the gift of life and for sharing it with people of unique inner and outer beauty. Let's challenge our own daily lives with prayer, fun and personal record, and let's make new friends. If we do these things, we have accomplished a blessed day. Always remember to ask God, trust God and expect His blessings.

Ray Uriarte

Baker City