Letters to the Editor for March 7, 2014

Written by Baker City Herald readers March 07, 2014 09:20 am

Evidence of global warming obvious to anyone

In a letter to the editor, Chuck Chase poo poos the danger signs of global warming. Chase calls it “voodoo science.” 

Yet even grade-schoolers can understand the signs. 

Melting of the earth’s ice caps — Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica — are canaries in the coal mine that world leaders are ignoring at mankind’s peril, and in favor of corporate profit and unsustainable materialism.

Check out this NASA website showing 97 percent agreement among scientists: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

School board members explains vote on modulars

I felt the need to explain my opposition and criticism of buying modulars based on these points. 

Utilization of district space

The North Baker Education Center could have accommodated kindergarten, including full day if funding became available. The North Baker Education Center is a functioning building with plenty of classroom space, along with a gym, a cafeteria, and playground equipment. I could not support spending district funds to accommodate modulars for classrooms, music and cafeteria space when this kind of space is readily available at the North Baker Education Center.

Budget Concerns

Looking over the past year I have never been more concerned with the district spending. The district hired an administrator for the North Baker Education Center to serve around 50 students in a building that is still basically empty. Then the district increased wages for teachers and district staff with some receiving up to a 6 percent increase. Based on budget projections and enrollment estimates I felt that this was an unwise risk for yet another expensive move that would have little to no impact on education. 

Modular Safety Concerns

I had concerns regarding security accessibility of modulars, seeing as they would be separated from the main building. Having the modulars separated also allowed the district to bypass safety requirements that would have not been possible if the modulars were attached to the building itself. The lack of a fire suppression system puts students and employees at an unnecessary increased risk if there was ever a fire.

Best Practice 

While I researched other districts with similar isolated kindergarten configurations I found it very common in districts across the state. The La Grande school district reopened Willow Elementary which now houses kindergarten and the district office. The kindergarten being housed in the Baker High school over the past six years hasn’t had an impact that would call for such a rash action of purchasing modulars which still isolates the students from the main building. The district should be investing in and utilizing schools we already have instead letting them turn into another Central  or Churchill building situation. 

Kyle Knight

Baker 5J School Board member

Baker City

Predators are a big problem for sage grouse

Many articles fail to mention a major concern in the sage grouse saga. That concern is predators. Sage grouse numbers have decreased as predator numbers have increased. Use your computer to do a Google search under “sage grouse predation” and read the articles for yourself. Red fox predation is a major factor limiting recovery of sage grouse. Many breeding age birds are being killed and red foxes are the major concern. In addition, red foxes eat sage grouse eggs and chicks. Reducing red fox numbers in areas where sage grouse are breeding, nesting and brood-rearing will have a positive influence on sage grouse population. Anyone who has ever had a red fox enter their chicken house can tell you what happened to their chickens.

In addition to foxes, coyotes, badgers, skunks, raccoons, bobcats, ground squirrels, weasels, snakes and a host of birds including ravens, hawks, owls, eagles and falcons eat sage hen eggs and chicks. An article in the Outdoorsman which shows up on the Google search of “sage grouse predation” states that raven numbers have increased at least 600 percent in Nevada in the last 20 years, and more than 1,500 percent in some places.

In spite of the increased predation of sage grouse, many say that all we need to do is adopt the BLM management plan designed to protect sage grouse. Adopting the plan may not even protect sagebrush, let alone sage grouse. The following statement appears in the strategic plan for conservation of greater sage grouse in Nevada. Sage grouse could benefit from high numbers of sheep concentrated in winter areas. Proper grazing in the winter has the effect of rejuvenating sagebrush. Proper grazing anytime can also help control noxious weeds which are invading our range land.

When you read articles listed under “Sage grouse predation” using Google, you may conclude, as I have, that we need to keep properly grazing range land and use our time and money to stop sage grouse predation.

Ray Field

Baker City

Treat marijuana the way we do alcohol

Marijuana is not going anywhere; pot sales have continued almost unhampered since its recreational use was first prohibited by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Those who disagree should consult their local law enforcement agents who will testify to the widespread use of marijuana. Thus, the choice is not if we ban dispensaries, we can restrict and reduce consumption. Rather it is — marijuana will be sold regardless, do we want the black market to thrive with unregulated and illegal sales? The former choice has been shown to be ineffective while the latter leads us to the more reasonable course of action, which is to treat marijuana much the same way we do alcohol.  

Most importantly, has any member of the Baker City Council read the peer-reviewed scientific literature regarding the human health benefits of cannabinoids? If they did, they would see that these compounds are miraculous — they destroy or otherwise prevent the growth of at least 12 different types of cancer cells. These studies have been done with cultured human cells, which is significant in the scientific community. On a related note, over 70 percent of drugs in use today were cultivated from plants, so marijuana is no different than say, a willow or yew tree. There are many compounds in the cannabis plant and only one is psychotropic; the rest alleviate a variety of serious health ailments. Also, the majority of medicinal marijuana card holders are more interested in the relief of their symptoms than they are in getting “stoned.”   

Finally, both Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use this year and so far, the zombie apocalypse has yet to occur. What is happening for the first time in US history is that the majority of our population has finally realized that pot is harmless for adults, especially when regulated and controlled. Colorado alone is on track to collect over $180 million in added tax revenue. Regulating and controlling distribution through state-certified dispensaries is the only sensible option at this point.

Jeremy Riggle

La Grande