Peace vigils held in Baker City, Halfway


Of the Baker City Herald

As President Bush was setting a Monday deadline for an end to diplomatic efforts to avert war with Iraq, 57 area residents gathered Sunday night at the Baker County Courthouse for a candlelight peace vigil.

Members of the crowd lighted candles and walked to the Crossroads Arts Center, where they read poems written by children from around the world and discussed their visions for peace even as the nation appeared on the brink of war.

Peace vigils were also held Sunday night in Halfway, La Grande and Enterprise. In all, beginning at 7 p.m. local time in New Zealand and occurring every hour after that around the world, 6,826 vigils were staged in 140 countries, according to the group Win Without War.

The worldwide vigils were coordinated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Rev. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; and Win Without War. Photographs of the events were being posted Monday on the group's Web site,

Suzanne Moses, who together with Roxanna Swann organized the Baker City event, said she wanted to bring the vigil to Baker City because nothing like it had ever happened before.

andquot;I'm very pleased with the turnout,andquot; she said. andquot;We had no idea there would be so many people. I think these vigils are having some effect. They might be one reason war hasn't happened yet.

andquot;And whether or not war comes about, tonight has been our community coming together, doing what needs to be done. I feel that they are way out ahead of our political leaders,andquot; she said, gesturing to the crowd. andquot;It's our prayer that world leaders will listen to us.andquot;

Swann said she wasn't sure the president was listening to those who seek peace, but that she was andquot;happy to see all the people who are committed to peaceful solutions.andquot;

andquot;We have to trust our country's leadership, and we trust that George Bush is trying to do the right thing. This event wasn't designed to put anybody down. It's simply to focus on the idea of peace as a way of life.andquot;

In Halfway, 22 people gathered the day after that community's third monthly peace walk, which occurred Saturday.

Marchers Sunday sang andquot;Amazing Graceandquot; and andquot;Shima,andquot; a Hopi song about love.

Worshippers at the Presbyterian Church in Halfway interrupted their evening service to join the vigil; in return, some vigil participants joined the worship service, according to Sharon Nickerson, one of the organizers of the Halfway event.

andquot;The turnout was wondrous, and what the group felt was gratitude and hopefulness, despite the news,andquot; she said. andquot;Love, warmth and compassion were at the very center of our desire to change the outcome.andquot;

Local Gulf War veteran to appear on MSNBC


Of the Baker City Herald

Eric Colton of Baker City is scheduled to appear on television this afternoon, sharing his opinion about Saddam Hussein and possible war in the Middle East.

Colton, whose life and Gulf War experiences were featured on the CBS morning show several years ago, was contacted last Tuesday by a production assistant for the MSNBC show, andquot;Countdown Iraq with Lester Holt,andquot; and asked to appear on the show.

andquot;This guy had seen the CBS thing and knew that Eric was a Gulf War veteran,andquot; said Darcy Colton, Eric's wife. Colton was unavailable this morning.

The Coltons traveled to Boise today, where his interview was pre-taped at KTVB Channel 7.

andquot;Countdown Iraqandquot; begins at 4 p.m. (PST) on MSNBC, cable channel 4.

andquot;He's got some pretty strong views about all this,andquot; Darcy said. andquot;He'd go again in a heartbeat.andquot;

Campaign has distributed more than 400 yellow ribbons


Of the Baker City Herald

Members of Baker County's military family support group have started a andquot;yellow ribbon campaign,andquot; encouraging everyone who supports the United States military to display a yellow ribbon.

The free ribbons are available at Laurel's Handmade Gifts and Charlie's Ice Cream Parlor in Basche Sage Place; from Kathy Petrucci; or from Baker Middle School students Cassie Petrucci and Jolene Anderson.

So far they've given away more than 400 yellow ribbons since March 5.

andquot;It's for anybody who wants to support the troops,andquot; Kathy Petrucci said.

The campaign is sponsored by parents and spouses of those in the U.S. military.

The military family support group meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at Basche Sage Place, at 6 p.m. Their next meeting is Tuesday.

andquot;Almost all our kids who are in the military have been deployed,andquot; Petrucci said, who has one son in Kuwait and one son in Okinawa, Japan.

For more information about the yellow ribbon campaign or the support group, call Laurel Olmsted at 523-1150.