Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Buying a Fire Med policy makes a lot of sense

Baker City Fire Med is currently accepting enrollments as noted by articles and ads published in the Herald. That is a program which, for a reasonable annual fee, insures affordable ground and/or (depending on which package one subscribes to) air ambulance transportation in time of medical need. Over the past 10 years our family has utilized this service twice. One involved a horseback riding injury to a family member and the second involved a family member being injured in an accident in Union County. In both cases the patient was transported to a local hospital by ambulance for treatment.

My family and I are blessed with good medical insurance. Yet, in both cases, had it not been for Fire-Med membership our out of pocket expense for ambulance services above and beyond what our insurance paid would have been substantial. Fire-Med prevented what could have been a serious financial burden by accepting what our insurance paid and it billed us not one penny more than that.

It is important to recognize also that a Baker City Fire-Med subscription covers a geographic region, not just the boundaries of Baker City or Baker County. A member injured in a nearby county is covered just as if the event occurred here in Baker. I cannot recommend Fire-Med membership too strongly.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City

Museum helped me track down my family's history

I have often wondered about my ancestors, especially those who my father told me were indigenous people of the Northwest. Recently, a friend used a skeletal four generation family tree of mine to help me find who and where I came from. One thing she found is that my great great grandmother's parents were full-blooded Native Americans from the Northern California Mendocino Valley. With this information I soon found a photograph of Mary Ford (1856-1916) from the website of the Baker Heritage Museum. I also found that my great-great grandmother married and had at least five children with Richard Bruer Markle (1819-1890) and that both Mary and Richard are buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery.

It's hard to describe how I felt as I sat looking at the photograph of my grandmother's grandmother sitting wide-eyed in a chair with her white hair pulled back in a bun wearing a high collared long-sleeved black blouse, a butterfly brooch and a long patterned skirt while holding what looked like a thick scrap book. Without the Baker Heritage Museum and their generations of volunteer and paid staff, I would never have had the opportunity to have known what this ancestor of mine looked like, and neither would my niece and nephews, and the children who will come after them.

Although I still have many questions about my living relatives, as well as those who have come and gone before me, I am incredibly appreciative of the people of your community who have made it possible for me to put some of the pieces of my family history together.

Danny Wilson Smith

Son of Ralph Vasco Smith (1930-1984)

Grandson of Ralph's mother Jessie Williams Smith (1891-1984)

Great-grandson of Jessie's mother Louleolio "Lulu" Markle Williams (1870-1929)

Great-great-grandson of Lulu's mother Mary Ford Markle (1856-1916)

Still concerned about Kyle Knight's motivations

Your recent editorial, "After the recall," (Dec. 14) implies that Kyle Knight had a compelling reason and performed a useful service when he forwarded the confidential email about the Srack affair to the media. In fact, one could infer that you think the rest of the Baker School Board might have joined with him, had they held an executive session that Knight asked for.

So, may I ask what purpose Knight's email to the media prematurely publicizing a criminal investigation might have served? Why did he send it, and why might the rest of the School Board have concurred? If you or Mr. Knight have an answer, it would be helpful to learn what it is.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but, until I learn otherwise, I'm going to continue to conclude that Knight's action was part of an ongoing strategy to undermine and belittle the school system on behalf of anti-government ideology promoted by the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity, and the Western Liberty Network. I see it as part of a pattern of deliberate disruption that includes his premature disclosure of a police investigation of gang activity, his complaints to at least four state agencies, the recall campaign, and the lawsuit.

In an Oregonian interview on Oct. 16, Knight declared, "When it has to do with the taxpayers' money, it's not confidential." To me, that clearly demonstrates unreasoned, absolutist thought and action that can only serve to harm the functioning of a well-run, public institution.

We deserve better. I believe that our government of, by, and for the people has a central role in using the common wealth for the common good. Ours is a good school system that can always be improved, but I find nothing in Mr. Knight's words or behavior contributing to that improvement. I believe it's time for open and thorough discussion and review of this subversive political force operating in our community.

Marshall McComb

Baker City

I was lucky to share in Baker County's generosity

In the past I have read letters of those sharing the generosity of folks in Baker City/Baker County. This last Tuesday, I had the privilege of experiencing this also. While shopping at Bi-Mart, I became very ill. I was sitting on the steps going up to the break room where they had a sofa. I was able to get up the steps with help from my husband as well as assistance from Royce, from the pharmacy. Royce was kind enough to stay with me for a while, and later the assistant manager, Aaron, was there to be with me. These folks and others shared their generosity, caring, and compassion I will not soon forget.

When I thought I could manage getting down the steps, my husband, Aaron, and another Bi-Mart employee (I did not get her name) assisted me down the steps where they had a wheelchair waiting for me. I was wheeled out and was placed in the car.

Yes, Baker County is a great place to live. I pray for a blessed Christmas and holiday season to those who helped me as well as the other Bi-Mart employees.

Patty Shumway


To stop the killing we must turn away from sin

As a Christian man, my heart is broken for the victims of recent shootings.

We obviously have a problem. Not a gun problem, but a heart problem. Guns don't kill people. People using (fill in blank) kill people. Guns don't pull their own triggers.

Jesus, my Lord, tells me the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. He offered me a heart transplant and I took it. Until we turn from sin, murder will be more and more common, whether it be by bombs, guns, knives, rocks or sticks.

I have been changed and I caution all other Christian brothers who love to kill animals or video game opponents.

Jesus, my Lord, said the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy, but I have come to see that you may have life and have it to the full.

Joe Painter