Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Relay for Life: Behind the numbersTo the editor:

Now that the 2010 Relay for Life season has officially ended, here are some numbers to ponder:

17: the number of Relay teams that raised over $1,000 each;

7: the number of Relay teams that raised over $2,500 each;

4: the number of Relay teams that raised over $5,000 each;

10: the number of individuals Relay participates who alone raised over $1,000 each (known as the "Grand Club");

71,638.03: dollars raised at the 2010 Baker City Relay For Life to fight cancer;

And finally, 400,000: dollars raised in our effort to end cancer through Relay For Life events in Baker County since 2005.

Our Relay For Life teams and committee worked incredibly hard all spring and summer. We sold everything we could think of that wasn't nailed down - or isn't illegal or immoral. We held events in the community including coffee hours, a high tea, the Father/Daughter Dance, Ladies' Night Out, Bowl For Life, Dog Days of Summer, the pub challenge, car washes, rummage sales, pop can drives, a bike ride, book sales, flower sales, photo-op with Buzz and Woody at the movie opening, etc., etc, etc. . . all to do our part in this quest .... to end cancer as a major health concern. And we had a heck of a good time doing it!

But more than that, at our Relay For Life event, we gave our friends in this community an opportunity to celebrate our local cancer survivors, we provided an opportunity to remember and grieve those lost to cancer, and in all of this, we are taking a stand to fight back and not be beat. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of this effort and success and I am incredibly proud to live in Baker City because we are a community taking up the fight! Every day new things are happening to make cancer a less-deadly disease. . . just look to Carmen Ott for a wonderful example of early detection and rapid treatment. If you are interested in becoming more involved in the Relay for Life movement, please call me any time at 541-519-4026. I would be glad to visit with you about how rewarding this experience is. Thank you.

Kelly Hardy

2010 Event Chair, Relay for Life

Baker City

Amazed by Baker County's generosity

To the editor:

We are always amazed of the generosity of Baker County. The recent event by the Baker City Bikers was another fine example. The inaugural Poker Run was a well-organized, fun event. Every stop was exciting to see how the cards would play out. The ride alone was worth the trip and a good reminder of how fortunate we all are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. We actually drove the trip in our car as we are not "bikers," and are planning already for next year to include more friends. It would be something to put on your calendar too. For BCB to have put together such a fun event and bring people to Baker was great for the entire county. But to donate the profits to CASA was a blessing for the organization. The donations of toys and gift cards made by the participants will go a long way this Christmas for the children that are in foster care. The financial donations will be very helpful in keeping this organization running. The timing of the event also allowed us to join in the fun of the Fall Festival. What a great day! What a great place we live.

Michelle Paoletti

Lori Stewart

Baker City

Wrong time to raise state salaries

To the editor:

My husband is state-employed and we have been put on edge frequently about losing his job to cuts. He has taken a cut in pay and mandatory furlough days. I am the first one to say this is the fair thing to do so that all can keep their jobs not just a few. My complaint is they are now talking about giving pay raises to state workers which would include my husband. You wouldn't think I would complain about this but for the fact the state can't afford it.

We continually hear how bad the recession is for the state of Oregon and how more money needs to be trimmed from the budget. Politicians continually threaten to close the prison here in Baker. We just got off the chopping block a few months back and are now being threatened with it again. Why are they even talking about raises for the state workers if they may need to close some prisons?

Don't get me wrong: I would love to see a raise but at the same time it is not fair for men and women who still have a good job to be getting a raise now when so many non-state workers are barely getting by and most with no jobs. I am tired of the "all about me" attitude. If the state of Oregon can afford to give state workers a raise then there should not be talk of shutting any prisons down because of needed budget cuts. We need new people running Oregon, and soon!

Sheryl Smith

Baker City

Walden should debate Segers

To the editor:

I was pleased to read your editorial encouraging a debate between the candidates for U.S. Congress in our district ("Let's set a debate," Sept. 13). As you note, incumbent Representative Greg Walden doesn't need to debate Joyce Segers, the Democratic challenger. After all, he has the name recognition and the lead in registered voters - 41 percent of our district's voters are registered Republicans, compared to 33 percent registered as Democrats. Walden has the edge. A debate could hurt him. But, as you also note, debates are a vital part of our political system.

Why won't Walden debate? Here's what I think: A debate would do more than give Joyce Segers increased visibility. It would also let us see that Mr. Walden has little to offer the average voter. It would let us see his lockstep support for the wealthy and for powerful interest groups on important national bread-and-butter issues, like the economy and jobs. While trumpeting his interest in some narrow, local issues, he's leaving most of us out in the cold on the big-ticket items.

The wealthy have been siphoning off larger and larger chunks of our national income for the past 30 years, while the middle class has been in decline. Greg Walden has been meeting with his supporters in fancy restaurants, but Joyce Segers has been out talking with, and listening to, the rest of us. As a result, Segers could ask Walden how cutting government spending in the near term would help the tepid economic recovery we're now enduring. How else will we prime the economic pump? She could ask him why he's against increased taxes for the wealthy, the new health insurance protections, global warming regulation, and regulation of the financial industry. These are major issues. We deserve to hear his answers.

I urge my fellow readers to join with me and the Baker City Herald and call on Representative Walden to debate Joyce Segers.

Marshall McComb

Baker City