Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Board misses teachers' reception

To the editor:

May 6, 2012, Sunday at Crossroads Art Center, was a time set aside to honor seven retiring 5J school teachers. Their combined experience must surely exceed 125 years. It was a lovely reception. The attributes and contributions of each teacher were highlighted and appreciated.

The missing component to this celebration was a representative of the 5J School Board. There was no person, no letter, no note, no message from the Board delivered during this gathering. As I sat there among the retiring educators I wondered what could be more important than a thank you to the teachers for their decades of service.

Did you forget to mark your calendar?

Susan Castles

Baker City

We must preserve pristine views

To the editor:

Way back when, electric power and telephones were introduced to us. Those were exciting conveniences that everyone wanted to have and use. The power and telephone poles were the basically choice-less first plantings of modern technology to our surrounding hilltops, what I refer to today as our "viewshed."

I doubt that many thought much about these additions to our hills. Today, we see the consequences of our newest modern conveniences - wireless communications. Cell towers and support equipment have tripled in the past 40 years in the U.S. Now that number is projected to triple again, in just five more years.

Again, today, we have a much different situation regarding the necessary equipment to bring our even more modern technology to us. We have choices about where they will be placed, negatively impacting our viewshed for us and the generations that follow ... or preserving it.

Spring Garden Hill is part of our viewshed. There are now two cell towers on that hill. Verizon, in 2007, which is the ugliest but least visible from town. Then, the new T-Mobile tower/support building in 2011, which is completely visible, sticking up/out like a sore thumb. Now we have the current application for a local independent Internet company in 2012. Our own small town shows the trend of how the telecommunications burgeoning appetite for land is a reality.

Our mostly pristine natural beauty surrounding this valley is one of our most valuable assets. Do we exploit it because we can? Who will care if we don't? Do we just spend our assets with little thought about the future, or do we try to use them wisely and preserve them? Neglecting stewardship of our viewshed is inexcusable. We know better.

The ends do not justify the means in this case. I urge careful consideration of any applications and their long-term changes to our viewshed.

Currently we are nominated as the most beautiful small town in a contest sponsored by Rand McNally and USA Today. That includes our views as well as our historic restorations. We have the responsibility to keep it ALL beautiful.

Linda Wunder Wall

Baker City