Letters to the Editor for Sept. 28, 2011

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

Helicopter biz a good neighbor

To the editor:

This letter is on behalf of Dave McCarty and Columbia Basin Helicopters regarding the county commissioners filing an injunction to prevent the operation of this business located off of Ben Dier Road.

This business has been in operation from this location for close to a

decade. Now a select few who live in the area feel that the few times

he flies in and out of his business takes away from their rural living

experience. I have lived within a mile of this location for over 20

years. I and several other old-timers in this neighborhood feel that at

no time has our safety been compromised or the sound of an occasional

helicopter affected our quality of life. In fact, I see his birds go by

more often on a trailer to and from jobs than I do flying in or out.

This property that houses Columbia Basin Helicopters is a

well-maintained facility. The county has been willing to accept the

building permit fees for him to construct his hangar, a shop, and his

home located on the property. The county has also been willing to

accept his property tax payments. What about the 25 people that work

for Dave on a full- or part-time basis? Has anyone on the county

commission thought of this? In a county with over 10 percent

unemployment, maybe we should think about creating jobs and encouraging

those businesses that provide jobs rather than eliminating them.

As far as the noise issue, Baker County has a gravel crusher in the

area that runs with more frequency than Dave flies in and out. Let's

also mention the noise and speed of the trucks from this gravel pit or

the farm vehicles running back and forth on a regular basis.

Columbia Basin Helicopters also supports several local activities with

contributions of equipment and financial support as well. Why is it

that all the neighbors to this business were not notified or asked for

input on this issue before an injunction was filed? Columbia Basin

Helicopters is a good neighbor!

Bill and Colleen Taylor

Pocahontas Road

Business owner frustrated by county's approach

To the editor:

As the owner of Columbia Basin Helicopters, Inc., I am frustrated by

the article entitled "County seeks to move helicopters."Columbia Basin

Helicopters, Inc. is a longstanding respected member of the community.

We infuse over a half a million dollars into the local economy per

year. The FAA has inspected our facilities; our operation is compliant

with all federal and state regulations.

In 2010, County Commissioner Fred Warner visited our facility with the

intent of discussing county issues/concerns and amicably resolving

them. In an effort to be a good neighbor, we agreed to restrict our

flights. We also said we would consider moving to the Baker City

Airport if we were on a level and equal playing field with all aviation

companies currently at the airport. Unfortunately, Baker City will not

give us equal terms and conditions and the county will not honor their

previous agreement.

It is disheartening to have elected officials who discourage business development in our community.

David McCarty

Baker County

ATV riders benefit economy, more

To the editor:

ATV rider not only stimulate Oregon's economy, they benefit federal and

state agencies by keeping trails and roads cleared and open for

recreation and safety. They provide assistance in fire control, search

and rescue, law enforcement, and are also genuine stewards of public


There are currently 167,973 ATVs permitted in Oregon. That equates to

$1,679,730 biannually in permit fees. If every ATV-riding family of

three owns two ATVs and takes three trips per year of four days or

more, they would spend approximately $2,916 per year. These same

families take approximately 10 one-day outings each year. That totals

about $1,000 per year. This is not small change. Oregon ATV-riding

families put over $328.8 million into Oregon's economy annually.

As far as keeping roads and trails open, there is not only federal,

state or other agency that has the personnel, budget or interest in

keeping all the roads and trails accessible. It is the recreationist -

ATV riders, hunters, horseback riders, hikers, berry pickers,

sightseers and others who spend the time cutting brush and clearing

that keep these trails open for all to enjoy.

Imagine closed roads and trails overgrown and there is a plane crash,

fire or an injured hiker. It could be a matter of life or death for

those involved. It takes precious time to reopen roads or clear roads

to get equipment in. How about law enforcement trying to apprehend a

marijuana grow operation and having to negotiate a great distance

through dense brush, and the be on their best performance when

exhausted? It has only been in the past few months that ATV riders

assisted in the rescue of a lady in Nevada who had been missing for

several weeks and was near death.

The federal agencies don't need to close any roads or trails to any

type of access. They need to apply common sense type rules concerning

off-highway use of all public lands, and cite those who break the

rules. The courts need to take a firm stand and convict the offenders

to the full extent of the law to make an example of them.

Bruce Morrison

Baker City

Gun-free zone helps criminals

To the editor:

The Baker School Board and Superintendent Walt Wegener seem to have

found a solution to a problem that doesn't exist anywhere but in their

own imagination.

I commend board member Kyle Knight for having common sense and a

knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. I hope he runs for City Council and

eventually even for a higher office. School Board member Mark Henderson

is on the right track, but needs to stick to his guns (for lack of a

better term).

The supposed problem that was reported to be at the root of the

controversy was classified by the Police Department as a non-problem in

one school. An irate parent happened to have a knife on his belt, and

some teachers felt intimidated. I have a feeling they would have been

intimidated anyway, but since there was a knife present, naturally

there is a call for gun control! The fact that the knife was never an

issue or a threat, doesn't seem to matter.

The idea of a "gun-free zone" sounds great until you really think about

it. When someone enters a school to bring violence to the people there,

and the criminal knows without a doubt that an area is gun-free, they

have every reason to believe their violent behavior will go unchecked.

As much as we would hope city police officers could drop everything to

respond to a problem at a school, they cannot be everywhere they are

needed at a moment's notice.

The Superintendent claims this new policy is aimed at stopping

menacing, harassment, intimidation, bullying and assault. Those all

sound like good things to remove from schools and life in general.

Unfortunately, this gun control scheme is not the best way to go about


To disarm me and other law-abiding citizens who will never be a danger

to society, because of a belief that a "gun-free zone" will protect

anybody, ever, is beyond foolish; it's criminal. It gives criminals a

"resistance-free zone" and nothing else. It will not save any lives,

but it might put some in danger.

Jim Thomas

Baker City

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