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home : letters : letters July 22, 2014


6/25/2013 11:57:00 AM
Letters to the Editor 06/26/2013

To the Editor:

Parents and taxpayers in the Sisters School District should know about the decision to eliminate all library staff from our school libraries starting next year.

This past year, one media manger (thank you Marie Phillips!) was split between the middle and grade schools, with no staff at the high school "library." With Marie's retirement, it has been decided to not fill the position.

Most, if not all, the middle school staff want the libraries staffed and (Superintendent Jim) Golden shot them down, again. Mr. Golden boasts that next year will be the first in five years we have a full teaching-day calendar - no cut days.

I agree this is a good goal. However, at what cost? The staff should be given the resources necessary to do their job well rather than giving the kids more days at a mediocre school. Filling our calendar with school days without proper resources is like filling up on starches rather than having a balanced diet. It fills you up and can make you fat, but you won't be healthy.

Why, you may ask, in the Internet age do we need libraries? A qualified librarian and program is a critical resource for teachers, saving hundreds of hours of teaching time and improving the quality of all teaching hours. Checking out/in textbooks and lit books, hunting down missing/damaged books from students, these are all huge time-sinks that take teachers away from our students.

A librarian can also help staff and students locate better reference material for projects and reports than are currently available from Google (which is becoming the norm in the absence of library staff).

Looking longterm, if our students remain ignorant of the value of a library, how will they vote as adults on taxes for public library support?

I urge parents, students and taxpayers to contact school board members and the superintendent with your views. You can find their email addresses at www.sisters.k12.or.us.

Mary Kay Ferwalt

•••

To the Editor:

I oppose the targeted trail closures in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness areas. I am a Back Country Horsemen member and put many hours of volunteer work into keeping trails clear for all uses. We were up there this past weekend and it is a very lovely place to ride and one of the only places to get to the Pacific Crest Trail.

You are not giving enough time to arrange options and once this trail is closed, it is doubtful it would ever be opened again. It will set a pretense that can allow more and more trails to disappear. Is this what you really want to do? Keeping people in the wilderness creates an educational, insightful and spectacular way to understand why the outdoors is important.

Do not close these trails!

Kay Gidley

•••

To the Editor:

I would like to clarify some specifics appearing in last week's letters column regarding the Sisters-Black Butte Ranch paved trail.

Widening the highway shoulders will not accomplish safety for bicycle riders. When the highway is redone in a year or two, there will be even more traffic along the road. The slightest error on the part of a driver or rider will have terrible consequences. The new trail will avoid such problems.

The "marketing dream" is not a goal of the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) or Forest Service. STA conducted a small study last August, which amazed everyone as to the amount of money people riding the Peterson Ridge Trail contributed to the local economy. It was somewhere in the nature of $1,500 per hour. What a boon for the town's merchants. It was simply a by-product of building a first-class mountain bike and hiking trail. The equestrians also have a separate trail on the ridge.

STA, the local, all-volunteer trails group, has accepted responsibility for maintenance on the new trail. It will not cost local taxpayers anything. Please understand that this trail will use existing FS roads, nothing more will be disturbed.

Phyllis Lewis

•••

To the Editor:

Years ago when I was a skinny red-headed kid, I never dreamed that one day I would own my own business. Well ... the red hair is gone, and so is the skinny for that matter, and after 34 years, I am announcing the closing of Sisters Mercantile.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many loyal customers who have continued to patronize my store. A good many of you have become close friends and acquaintances, and I am grateful for your support. In addition, I want to express my admiration for my fellow business owners. I know the determination, discipline, and tenacity it requires to stay open. It is challenging at best, and at the same time gratifying. I wish you all continued success.

Lastly, my heartfelt thanks to Pam Creason, who has been with me for nearly 30 years and has always been steadfast, upbeat and positive. In my absence, she has effectively become the "face" of The Mercantile and has never wavered from her commitment to keep the business afloat. The store represents half of my lifetime and half of hers as well, and she is a big part of the success we have enjoyed over the years.

Thank you, Pam!

We will be closed beginning today and reopening on Friday, June 28.

I will always think of my years in Sisters with great fondness with many, many happy memories. It was a wonderful place to raise our children, and having the opportunity to live and work here was simply the best!

Kay McLaren

•••

To the Editor:

Nugget page 1: "Concussion bill passes Legislature."

Nugget page 3: Photo of kid flying through air over concrete without head protection.

Is it just me, or does anybody else see a problem here?

Who pays the medical expenses and who gets sued when some yahoo cracks their unprotected noggin at this public facility?

"Can't happen to me cuz I'm so athletic?"

Go ask Jenna.

Kris Calvin

•••

To the Editor:

It's great Sisters has a wonderful skate park but not wearing protective gear like the guy in the picture? Completely stupid and careless! Don't parents care if their child gets a concussion or worse? Doing stunts on a skateboard over that concrete is a fairly risky endeavor, so why don't they at least protect their head? And why doesn't Sisters require those that use the facility to wear protective headgear?

Suzi Sheward

Editor's note: Oregon law mandates that "any youth under age 16 riding on skateboards, scooters, and in-line skates in any public place (streets, roads, sidewalks, parks, etc.) must wear a safety helmet." A youth of 16 or older may choose not to wear a helmet.

•••

To the Editor:

The current "State of Affairs in Sisters" reading the letters to the editor would indicate that we have been invaded by the folks from the "Valley."

The back-in parking would be one indication that the bikers have undue influence of the valley folks. What a financial mess, let alone the inconvenience for motorist and the commercial community.

Now we have the issue, among others, with the Cyrus Family and their attempts to make a financial success of Aspen Lakes. This area has a number of destination resorts, and they should be allowed to pursue that business model. The facilities at Aspen Lakes are top-rate, and folks should applaud their efforts to increase the Sisters attraction.

Let's not forget that the predominate business model for this community is tourism. There is nothing second-class about the development to date.

I suspect that most of the opposition is from outsiders that have relocated to Sisters and have no history with the community and only bring their opposition based on their previous experience in locations that foster this type of debate.

I have seen no opposition to the airport expansion, which I have no problem with, in these columns.

Makes one wonder who is behind the scenes pulling the strings about the Cyrus's proposal.

Bottom line is, I am a fourth-generation Oregonian and I resent the newbies' attack on our values. If you don't like Sisters, find another location to change or that meets your needs, do not try to reform those of us that have spent years in defense of keeping Oregon as our ancestors found the locale and things other than blatant opposition to everything that is not in their political agenda.

Those that would bring forth Deschutes County as the keeper of our values only have to come to our neighborhood to see what outside money can buy that has nothing to do with the values of the community.

In the case of Aspen Lakes, the approval can only assist the community and keep the endeavors of the family afloat.

Clifford W. Steele

•••

To the Editor:

I was eager to read the article in the last Nugget about the Pole Creek Fire tours. I wasn't able to attend the tours, and I hoped the article would describe current wildfire conditions and realities on the ground.

However, I was dismayed to see that your coverage left out any mention of a primary driving force behind the recent increase in catastrophic fires in Central Oregon and throughout the West.

While the article rightly explained that fire suppression is a factor in recent catastrophic wildfires, it was silent about the other major factor. I can only hope that this omission was yours, and that the forest scientists leading the tours were more honest.

The link between climate change and larger, more intense wildfires is well-known and thoroughly documented. A 2012 analysis of 40 years of Forest Service records showed that western states have experienced a huge surge in wildfires in the last decade, linked to dramatic warming and earlier snowmelt. On average, fire season is now two-and-a-half months longer than it was 40 years ago, and wildfires burn twice as much land each year.

In the Sisters Ranger District, an extraordinary 43 percent of the district has burned just in the last 10 years.

I understand that it takes courage to speak truthfully about climate change when there are those that will attack you for it. However, it is irresponsible and increasingly absurd to be silent about something that is re-shaping our world and increasingly threatening our safety so profoundly. I urge you to cover the facts - all of them - truthfully in the future.

Carla Wise

Sisters and Corvallis

•••

To the Editor:

Judging from the letters in The Nugget concerning a proposed paved trail from Sisters to Black Butte Ranch, it looks like Sisters-area residents are finally recognizing the full impact of what has been proposed.

The Environmental Assessment's Alternative 2 describes the trail as a 7.6-mile paved non-motorized multi-use trail with predominant uses being biking and walking/hiking. Just how "multi-use" would this trail be? The trail is non-motorized by definition, so no motorized use would be allowed. The EA states "No horseback riding would be allowed," eliminating that use.

As a long-distance hiker, I cannot see any major use of this proposed trail by walkers/hikers wanting to walk or hike 7.6 miles on a paved trail on flat ground with limited opportunities for enjoying scenic vistas that are much more available in many other local scenic trails.

In my view, only bicycle riders will be the users of the proposed trail. Clearly, this is not a Sisters Community Trails Project, but actually a bicycle rider's dream project.

There is a lack of demonstrated widespread need for this project except that expressed by a small vocal group of supporters.

And the project would have too great an impact on other uses and benefits of these public forests. The estimated cost of this project extended on to Camp Sherman of $1 million is too exorbitant no matter what the funding source might be, federal, state, private, or other. Who would maintain it in the future? Probably the Forest Service would be left with that task. Finally, our typical weather pattern would make this trail unusable for four to six months a year.

Since the Sisters Trails Alliance operates under the umbrella of the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD), what public input did SPRD solicit before allowing this proposal to move forward and what position does SPRD have on this proposed project?

All of these factors lead to a logical decision to adopt the "No Action Alternative" identified in the EA.

Jim Fisher

Sisters Country Weddings


Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Article comment by: Phyllis Lewis

I would like to respond to Mr. Fisher's letter in last week's Nugget.

STA has been working on paved trails to compliment the existing mountain bike and road biking trails since 2009. The proposed trails have been the result of public input at meetings including the annual STA meeting over the past two years The proposals have been met with excited discussion and support.

From the City of Sisters, SPRD, BBR, Tollgate HOA Board, etc. have come letters of support.

As for 'no horseback riding allowed' two members of the STA Advisory Board are equestrains. They design and maintain their own trails with the help of all STA members since horses do not ride on asphalt.

The proposed trail is designed to give riders, walkers, joggers, and handicapped folks with walkers or wheelchairs indeed the opportunity 'to enjoy going through the woods' rather than along the highway.

The STA has already pledged to maintain the new trails. What other communities have experienced in winter time when snow covers the trails is a skiing and snow shoeing use. It will be up to the community of trail users to work with STA to determine if that is a viable use in winter. If not, the trails will be kept cleared.

The public comment period closed on June 2nd, more than a month ago.

It leaves then only the question of cost. While we all have our own opinions regarding monetary value, enough of the public has weighed in with the opinion that this money will bring a valued asset to our community and improve the quality of life.

Phyllis Lewis,


Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: John Adams

Paved Bike path.I have lived here for 36 years Im sorry Phyllis Lewis.I say NO to the Paved path.I have seen the Forest Service close down alot of logging roads.They say damage.well I dont agree with that. Your sitting there saying nothing well be disturbed.you are wrong on that part,I have been out there hunting for years they already have trees marked to cutt down.So you tell me how there well be no damage,It takes Equipment to do the work Second you People have enough Bike,& hiking paths.As for as for bike saftey on the highway there is alot of new laws coming for that.Also 1 Million Dollars comes from somewhere.So I say No again to the paved path waste of money



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