Letters to the Editor for the week of Jan. 12 to Jan. 19

January 19, 2007 12:00 am

Focus on solutions for middle school

To the editor:

The purpose of this letter is to focus on the solutions to problems. While questions just keep coming, it is important to keep all of you informed. Using a question-and-answer format, I will be frank and direct in my responses.

1. How many architects and engineers have studied the two middle school buildings? Two firms have provided professional reports about the condition of the Helen Stack and Central Building. of Payette and Boise sent an architect and electrical engineer to inspect both buildings. sent two architects to inspect both buildings.

2. What did architects recommend we should or should not do? Both architecture firms stated "life safety" concerns in both buildings, i.e., dead-end corridors, handicap access, narrow stairwells, fire safety concerns, asbestos, streets separating the buildings and inadequate fields, just to list some of the safety issues. The architects and engineer recommended, "It is not worth renovating. Baker should start anew." The architects had nothing to gain because one did not submit a bid and the other was not chosen to do the project.

3. How long has the Facility Task Force researched and studied the complex problem of providing a safe and secure school for all students? They have worked 2 1/2 years. The 20-plus volunteers on the Task Force represent educators, businessmen, ranchers, parents, bankers, farm credit staff, and BLM staff. Meanwhile, construction costs have escalated 30 percent over the last 30 months.

4. Will two new architecture firms with advice from commercial contractors and engineers analyze the condition of the two middle schools one more time? Yes, and a community forum will be scheduled to report their findings in February.

5. What have the previous three architects and one engineer and now two new architects have in common/agreement about remodeling? Both school buildings must be stripped to the studs or down to a shell and all of the international building codes must be met if an extensive remodel is done. The District would have to vacate the buildings, strip them down to bare bones before a bond estimate could be done. Students will need to be housed elsewhere for approximately 18 months.

I will answer five more questions in 30 days.

Don Ulrey

Superintendent, Baker School District

Why not sign editorials?

Dear Editor:

As I have just read the Herald's editorials on Jan. 9 and 10, I find myself agreeing on some points and disagreeing on others. What really concerns me though, is that I don't know with whom I am agreeing or disagreeing.

I think it's been a couple of years now since the weekly Record-Courier instituted a new policy of signing (initialing) its editorials. I find this very refreshing. It doesn't make me agree with them more often, but it does let me know whose opinion is being stated.

Yet as I read the Herald's editorials, they are signed only as the "Editorial Board." Who might that be? Is it Ms. Borgen, Mr. Furman or a combination of the two? Are any of the staff writers included? Who actually wrote the editorial? Every other author on the op/ed page is identified, from the letters to the syndicated columnists.

I have also noticed that you are very insistent on the public's right to know about local government's doings. This would seem to cry out for an openness concerning who participates in and writes your editorials.

How about it Herald? Who is behind the "editorial board" and who writes each editorial?

Rick J. Rembold

Baker City

How quickly life can turn

To the editor:

Is there help around? Trouble at Mountain Valley Mental Health is bad news for us all. None of us knows what tragedy lies ahead in our lives. We might give some thought to how quickly a life can turn sour.

Our gifted teenager can die in a car crash or at a party.

A toddler can dart into danger or might drown in a bucket. A husband strays. A grieving wife becomes bitter, bent on revenge.

"Sin," says the preacher. "Pray!"

A farm machine wounds and the doctor wants pay while the hay goes sour.

With our family impaired and scattered, our friends busy, bored and tired, we might hope to be lifted from a pit of despair by the ablest and nearest counselor around.

Yet perhaps we best suffer on. Something seems wrong at Mountain Valley Mental Health. The many who say so can hardly be wrong.

Joane Martell

Baker City

Christian country

To the editor:

After watching the funeral ceremony for President Gerald Ford, attended by every living President past or present, and virtually every important national political figure; and hearing the beautiful Christian hymns played and sung by the Armed Services Choir and the Marine Orchestra, and listening to the various speakers and commentators, I could not help but wonder how those in our community who oppose opening Baker City Council meetings in Christian prayer, could possibly consider it to be inappropriate.

This is a Christian country. We have a Christian government. It is now, and always has been.

The so called "separation of Church and State" issue was clearly never intended to keep religion out of government, but to keep government out of religion.

Dick McClarin

Baker City

Bush ignoring advice on Iraq

To the editor:

Bush has once again chosen a course that ignores the best advice of seasoned advisers outside his inner circle of delusional advisers. They have been wrong from the beginning — and they are wrong again with this plan to escalate the occupation of Iraq. Bush is totally ignoring the advice of the Baker Commission. The problems of Iraq and the surrounding region cannot be solved with military force alone. Diplomacy and multinational support will be required. Bush must be forced to recognize this. This is why I urge you to support the Kennedy Resolution.

Creag Hayes

Baker City

A special concert

To the editor:

I don't know how many of you had the privilege of attending the honor band/choir concert at the high school on Nov. 7, but if you missed it, you missed something very special. I do find it a real privilege to be able to hear such professional quality talent here in our small town.

These were 100 kids from 19 local schools who put on such a fantastic performance.

I personally find it refreshing to still be able to go to a school function and listen to music about our Lord Jesus Christ, especially as we celebrate his birth. Keep it up, Mr. Sizer and Mr. Isaacson! I'm glad we don't have to hide "the real reason for the season!"

Debbie DeMastus

Baker City

Tale of the cuckoo clock

To the editor:

I know I said I was going underground for the season, but this was really irresistible to write again. This has a little different character to it all by itself. Also any ideas would be welcomed. Rest assured as it is. I do know we have an Endangered Species Act for birds that are protected but all is well with this issue.

Here recently we purchased a particular clock which had a different character to it. We thought we had everything figured out to make the bird do its thing on the hour by the hour. My grandmother had cuckoo clocks and I really enjoyed listening to them etc. I was telling a friend of mine what this dumb bird was doing here a while back. I thought it had lost its cuckoo, so to speak. It has never been able to tell me the exact time and still does its thing no matter what. I was told this clock would have unique character to it.

Well, when I got home from a job I was working on one day, and my husband was home, he informed me that after the seventh time or so, he had shut that dumb bird off, let alone put him out of his misery. I knew I had went too far this time. He found himself counting the number of times beyond the bird's call of duty. Patience kind of got the best of him.

I counted 18 times one time myself, and thought no wonder, so can anybody help solve this problem other than shutting him off, let alone make adjustments for his livelihood and whatever else may come his way?

So much for my idea or ideology, of cuckoo clocks and their destination! I do know that birds go south, and that spring hasn't sprung yet, but this one can do neither.

Brenda Dickison

Baker City