Letters to the editor for the week of Sept. 19 to Sept. 23, 2005

September 23, 2005 12:00 am

I left New Orleans just before storm

To the editor:

My hometown of Baker City looked especially good to me when I arrived home from New Orleans on Aug 28, just a day ahead of Hurricane Katrina!

I've been asked why I was there. I accompanied my daughter Joyce Hunsaker as she presented her Sacagawea performance aboard the American Queen Riverboat. The tour up Mississippi River began and ended in New Orleans. Extra time in that city gave us time to explore French Quarter, and other points of interest (before the tragedy). We have pictures of pre-storm sights, whose beauty is now changed.

When time came to get to the airport for return trip home, our taxi encountered much delay in traffic. It seemed that the whole city was attempting to evacuate using the same route. We witnessed businesses putting up plywood to windows. We passed by the Dome that TV tells was used as a storm shelter. We were fortunate indeed that our flight reservations were honored at the airport, for later flights were cancelled as Katrina's wrath hit.

I have a thankful heart that I am safe in Baker City, yet feel humble when I know of the plight of others.

The long-range rebuilding program will take much resolve, but the people there in true Southern fashion will "overcome." Three words on their state flag emphasize that statement. The words are Unity, Justice, and Confidence.

Phyllis Badgely

Baker City

Help available for returning Guard

To the editor:

I applaud Jim Thomas, Post Commander Anthony Lakes VFW #3048 for the excellent article (Local veteran groups need new and younger members . . .) published in the Baker City Herald on Sept. 16. Commander Thomas emphasized the importance partners play within a small community.

Veteran and community-based service organizations should work together to help ensure our community honors the obligations owed to our veterans, military personnel — those serving active and inactive duty, and to each of us within the community. As Americans, we are all in this together. Now, more than ever, National Guard and Reserve troops deployed overseas are paying the price for our freedom. They are us.

At a Resource Identification Meeting in La Grande on Sept. 1, the Oregon National Guard Reintegration Team indicated of the 483 Oregon Soldiers due to demobilize in November, 165 are unemployed or underemployed. Overall, there is a 25 percent unemployment rate for returning troops.

Although we were not listed as a partner in Commander Thomas' article, all staff of WorkSource Oregon Employment Department in Baker City are available and eager to provide service to veterans within our community.

As Local Veteran Employment Representative for Baker and Grant Counties, I look forward to the opportunity to work with our returning military members to help them obtain employment and access support services to aid their transition back into civilian life. You can reach us at 1575 Dewey Avenue or by calling 523-6331.

Roy Morris

Baker City

Is the MOU even a binding contract?

To the editor:

It has been 36 years since I graduated from law school, and I have never practiced law, but it appears to me that our "city fathers" should determine whether the entered into by the city and Sidway Investment Corp. meets the criteria for a binding contract before they "panic" and reallocate the funds currently given to Baker County Unlimited.

John Heriza

Baker City

Politicians must be loving Katrina

To the editor:

Hurricane Katrina was a politician's dream. The public's attention has been diverted from trade imbalances with China and the rising military threat. The border issue has gone away. Gordon Smith came to Baker City on Monday, Aug. 8, and fibbed about border security. The Baker City Herald quoted him as saying "thousands of new border protection agents have been hired." Actually, the Bush administration has hired less than 200. A week or so later Ron Wyden came to town and recycled the Reagan administration's amnesty plan and fibbed. He said he wasn't offering amnesty. The Baker City Herald sent an intern to cover Wyden and the weekly Record Courier didn't bother to cover the senator. Small town newspapers, if they are a watchdog of freedom, are sleeping under the porch and the big newspapers, like The Oregonian, aren't likely to cover local lies by politicians. Truth can be tailored to location. The borders, trade imbalances, the Chinese military threat, the war in Iraq, the H5N1 threat — all blown away by a disaster that gets non-stop coverage.

On the state level, Oregon's land-use laws, cougars, gay marriage, gun control initiatives, education shortfalls and illegal immigrants who set up growing operations who are deported, only to return for the next season, and Mexican meth all are lost in a hurricane's fog. Efforts to pass legislation to verify identity of voters will stall. Now a new herd of governor candidates can select a few issues of their own choosing and know that the people are not going to pay attention. Football season will soon be in full swing.

The politicians must surely be saying, "Thank you, God, for Katrina."

Steve Culley

Baker City

Library Web site will be appreciated

To the editor:

Thank you for the excellent story regarding the I immediately downloaded a couple of excellent pictures in. The reproduction was great, and it will be fun to include pictures in stories that I'm doing about my family.

The work accomplished by the many volunteers will be appreciated for years to come. Everything is presented in such a comprehensive style. If you haven't visited the site yet, don't miss it! It's magnificent.

Dan Peters

Baker City