Carbon limit legislation would cost a lot, do little

The cap and trade legislation efforts to reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is a major mistake.

If you were able to marshal all of man’s work on the planet to this cause, the result would be minimal compared to what nature does every year. For example, the volcano in Iceland has put out more pollution in four days than we have been able to reduce in five years. It is still spewing. A few years back a mountain in the Philippines called Mount Pinatubo spewed out more pollution than all the human race has in all its years on earth.

Just think, there are about 200 volcanoes spewing lava, ash or fumes somewhere on Earth at any time.

If that isn’t enough, think about the forest fires that rage around the Earth. Some calculations were made a couple years ago that the fires in Australia and the U.S. put out more carbon dioxide than all your efforts to reduce for more than three years.

Let’s stop this nonsense. It will cost everyone a lot of money, and will change the situation very little.

Ken Anderson

Baker City

Chronic nuisance ordinance an unfair attack on the poor

Every decade or so, a few anti-poor, intolerant citizens, work themselves into a hate-filled frenzy in order to get a new property maintenance type ordinance passed that hurts the most vulnerable in our community. They are doing it again.

Many of them these days are new folks coming to our town. They write letters to the editor telling the homeless to move along or suggest we try some medieval enforcement technique that violates a person’s most basic rights. They want ordinances to put the neighbor they moved in next to out of their home.

A person can live here for 35 or more years, but some folks that have recently moved in with their retirement money and highfalutin values can form a lynch mob and get Council to write a law to put the fellow out of his home. They can do it by misleading the Council and all of Baker on unproven testimony that has never been carefully examined because the accused can’t afford a lawyer. In a recent case, items of value were taken from a property without compensation.

The Chronic Neighborhood Nuisance Ordinance:

• appears to be excessively punitive and intrusive

• will affect the lives of people who don’t have the capacity to comply (disabled, indigent, elderly, troubled, etc.)

• will increase the number of homeless

• requires proof of “adequate” services without “adequate” being defined and prior to any problem being identified

• will make many feel like they live in the old Soviet Union,

• and is probably unconstitutional as it appears to violate the due process and equal protection rights of citizens.

The Oregon legal community recently published “Barriers to Justice,” which shows that 84 percent of people with civil legal problems didn’t “receive legal help of any kind.” That includes most low-income people in Baker. When Council writes laws that can put you out of your home, lack of access to a lawyer is just wrong, and you could be next.

Baker is better than that.

Christopher Christie

Baker City

A team effort to rescue snowmobilers

Baker County is a wonderful place to live, where people are willing to help random strangers at the drop of a hat. In my position as Baker County Sheriff, I continually witness selfless acts of kindness, compassion and care by residents and public service agencies.

This past Friday night a call for help came into the Baker County Sheriff’s Office from a visiting snowmobile recreationist in Halfway. Two snowmobile riders were stranded in rugged terrain above Cornucopia.

Undersheriff Van Arsdall and I, along with a two-person snowmobile rescue team, were on scene in a matter of hours. Taylor Kerns of Haines and Clay McCarty of Baker City are not official members of the Baker County Search and Rescue team. Yet when they received a call in the night, did not hesitate leaving their warm beds to help strangers in need.

We responded to Halfway and both Taylor and Clay ventured into the night in search of the two strangers, identified as Scott Weaver and Mike Webb from Washington State. Taylor and Clay travelled by GPS through unfamiliar territory in a brave attempt to reach the stranded party. With the temperature well below freezing, the entire team was shivering. The first attempt at locating the lost party was unsuccessful, and we decided to wait until daylight for a second search. I overheard Clay say, “If it was me, I would want someone to come looking.”

After about an hour of sleep in the front seat of our pickups, I made a phone call to the Main Place in Halfway. The call resulted in the restaurant’s doors swinging open early and a quick, warm breakfast. With a well-nourished team, we headed out for a second search of the area.

I contacted additional SAR members, as well as Ron Still of the Halfway Snowmobile Club. After hearing the situation, Ron got busy making phone calls and quickly recruited several more snowmobile searchers to assist in locating the two stranded individuals.

SAR responded to the scene with a command vehicle, operated by Jason Yencopal of the Emergency Management Division and Corinna Jacobs of SAR and Dispatch. SAR Coordinator Brent Kerns responded from Baker City with five members ready to ski and snowshoe into the mountainous terrain if needed in the rescue operation.

North Powder Fire responded to the area hauling a snow cat, snowmobiles and personnel. Dustin Stephens of Baker Aircraft offered the use of a helicopter. Both were responding to the scene, but were turned around when Weaver and Webb were located.

While all of the responders were travelling to our staging location, Taylor and Clay launched the second search attempt and made radio contact with the lost party using FRS radios. They learned the lost people were not injured, but they were extremely cold. They were in a canyon but unsure where it was located.

About this same time, several members of the Halfway Snowmobile Club, along with their avid snowmobile friends and family, arrived at ou r command post. These individuals had left their paying jobs and changed their plans for the day to help search for Weaver and Webb. The new riders were put into three search teams, given a quick lesson on police radio usage, fitted with GPS tracking devices and launched to join the initial team of Clay and Taylor.

All told, there were 10 snowmobilers who deployed and located Weaver and Webb. The two had traveled down the Trail Creek drainage and got their machines stuck in an area where most people do not ride. They spent the night in a tree well, using the heat of the engines and exhausts on the snowmobiles for warmth. The rescuers were able to get the two snowmobiles unstuck and assist the lost subjects back to our command post.

Without this team of selfless volunteers, a fun winter outing for Weaver and Webb could have ended in tragedy. I am extremely thankful to the responders. On behalf of the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to personally thank the following individuals and businesses for their eagerness to help in this search:Taylor Kerns (Haines), Clay McCarty (Baker City), Lucas Thomas (Richland), Dustin Traw (Halfway), Ray Denig (Halfway), Jeff Bond (Baker City), David Bond (Baker City), Toby Gangler (Bates), Jess Goin (Halfway), Ron Still (Halfway), Duane Miles (Halfway), Jon Miles (Baker), Dustin Stevens and Baker Aircraft (Baker City), Colby Thompson and North Powder Fire (North Powder), the staff at the Main Place (Halfway), Brent and Logan Kerns (Haines), Zach Downing (Baker City), Jason Yencopal (Baker City), Corinna Jacobs (Baker City), Sean Lee (Baker City), Kim Corn (Baker City), Levi Bunch (Durkee), Chris Galiszewski (Baker City) and the entire Baker County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.

This list of people initially responded to the scene after answering phone calls made starting around 5 a.m. I have no doubt the list would have grown exponentially, had the search progressed. Selfless acts of kindness and the willingness to help others in need make this a great place to live. I am proud to say that I am from Baker County and am forever grateful to be a part of our amazing community.

Travis Ash

Baker County Sheriff

Kids put on a great and funny play

Last week my husband and I were privileged to attend the Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre’s children’s rendition of “Puss in Boots” We had a wonderful time! The children did a fine job, the script was funny and they even incorporated audience participation. It really was fun!

The night we were there, little Maliyah Culp acted in the starring role of the infamous Boots. She did an amazing job! Memorizing all those lines was quite something for a first-grader, but she did very well. And the “dwarf ogre” was hilarious!

Lisa Ensworth, director for the play, certainly did a fabulous job getting the children to speak up, memorize their lines, and honing their acting skills. Her hard work certainly paid off. It was well worth attending and, though that play ended this weekend, I hope others will come out and support future plays at the regional theater. I think they will be pleasantly surprised.

Pam Sundean

Baker City

A great chance for all-abilities playground

Hello, my name is David Kassien. I am the co-owner of D&J Taco Shop here in Baker City. I truly believe Baker City should have the playground for all abilities. I personally raised a daughter with cerebral palsy. Although I would never change a thing ab out her it wasn’t always easy for her growing up. She always wanted to do what the other kids did and she was determined. Having someplace where she could go play and feel included and feel like she could do everything just like the other kids would have been amazing. I always taught her to rise above and keep moving forward despite her disability. She has grown into a very independent and strong-willed young woman. Having this park in our community is an amazing opportunity for so many of our kids with disabilities as well as the ones without. Thank you.

David Kassien

Baker City

Baker goes all in for playground contest

Baker, you leave me speechless. Which is hard to do (ask my husband). I’m not sure I can accurately express my gratitude to our little community for being “all in” in regards the Moda Assist All-Abilities Playground Grant opportunity. But I’m sure going to try.

As of 7 a.m. on March 5, we were leading by over 8,000 votes. Every single time I check social media, someone new has shared a post asking their friends and family to vote. Every single business we approached about posting signs and flyers, or covering their tables with table tents, or handing out voting cards, without hesitation, said “we’re in!” And meant it.

The thing is, we need this. Big time. But we needed it whether or not Baker was ever nominated for the playground grant. The conversations that are taking place right now are like shouting from the rooftops that YOU want to create a place where children who experience disability can play, because they deserve to play with their peers, but also because you want them here! Engaged in community. Not just accepted. But invited in, and ca red for. And you are willing to fight for that.

And that is huge.

We are ahead right now, but please don’t assume that can’t change. Keep voting! Every single day. Ask everyone you know to do the same. And when voting is over, we will celebrate no matter what happens. Because Baker, you are awesome!

Vote here:

Cassi LeTourneau

Baker City