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home : letters : letters May 26, 2018

4/17/2018 1:34:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 04/18/2018

To the Editor:

These past few months we've had information provided to us from the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire and most recently Paul Hessburg on living with wildfire.

Both of these have a common thread, which is to be responsible to protect our homes and community by creating a safe environment around us from wildfire. I've been on a mission to do just that since late last fall.

Our development and one other on Wilt Road backs to some private property that has had hundreds of trees that were cut down by a local fire-suppression company. The company was hired by a private landowner, who acquired a grant to clear trees. The permit was issued by the state forestry department, allowing the clearing.

To date, there has been little activity to clean this up. The permit expired December 2017, with no follow-up from the state. I started trying to get something done by talking to our local fire chief a couple of times, the state forestry department five times over a period of time, along with state and federal representatives with no assistance in resolving this fire potential.

The most help I received was from Patrick Davenport, our community development director, who provided me with some names and possible avenues to explore.

We receive a lot of talk on the expense of firefighting from state and federal government officials, but no support when fire potential is identified.

I'm disappointed. We are encouraged to take action to prevent fires around our homes and community since the firefighters can't do it all. Clearly, in this instance there is no support. I hope we don't have another year of lost revenue by our local businesses, evacuations of homeowners, and the poor air quality. With fire season quickly approaching, it is a BIG concern.

Vivian Buelt


To the Editor:

Sisters schools are the pride of our town.

We support the renewal of the local option school levy. The levy has been in place since 2000. Still, Sisters residents are paying the lowest total educational tax and are the best district in Central Oregon. Our school has the highest graduation rates in Central Oregon.

The local option provides salaries for 12 teachers and maintains our low class sizes.

What better investment could the community make than to support our youth receiving an outstanding education? Please join us in voting YES to renew the local option, Measure 9-121.

Jim & Debbie Barnes


To the Editor:

I heard for eight years that Obama was going to take our guns. Never happened. In 1994, President Clinton banned assault rifles, and our country did not collapse. The idea that stricter controls and better, more thorough background checks, along with the removal of military-grade weaponry, will not destroy our nation.

You are not allowed to have grenades, claymore mines, or LAW rockets. I also don't hear anyone complaining about the restrictions on magazines and rounds for hunting in this state.

I am tired of hearing the notion of the "good guy with a gun" argument. The Violence Policy Center, in 2015, released an analysis of federal crime that explores how often potential victims actually turned the tables. In 2012, the center counted 259 justifiable gun-related homicides, or incidents in which authorities ruled that killings occurred in self-defense. "In a nation in which there are some 300 million firearms, there were 1.2 million violent crimes, defined as murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Or, put another way, 1.2 million scenarios in which there was potential for someone to kill in self-defense. The notion that a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun is a romanticized vision of the nature of violent crime. And that the sea of guns in which we live causes exponentially more danger and harm than good."

The other issue that I find appalling is the adult response, of those touting the second amendment, while demeaning the young men and women who have survived the school shootings of recent. Either you have more love for your guns than compassion for the children in our schools, or you are afraid of teenagers who just want to go to school without flack-jackets.

Police were on scene, at Parkland. Trained, armed individuals who hid in the face of danger. Two teachers, the week after, brought guns to school and bumbled with them, injuring a student and discharging in the classroom. And we are supposed to believe arming teachers is a better solution. Some states have found money in their budgets to arm teachers. Florida put up $4 million to do so. Where was that money before, as teachers have been asking for more counselors and supplies so they can actually do their jobs, helping those in need before tragedy?

Michael Valoppi


To the Editor:

I am writing to ask and encourage the voters of Sisters School District to VOTE YES on Measure 9-121 on the May ballot.

This vote is a renewal of the current local option levy and is not a new or additional tax.

It is important for the Sisters School District because these funds can be used for the operational budget for our schools, which helps keep our class sizes small and provides important programs and electives. This keeps our schools strong and improves the lives of the children who live here.

Sisters is growing, but we are still a small community who care for each other and support one another. I see evidence of this in all aspects of life here. We are all invested here in the success of our community and the renewal will help in many ways. I urge anyone with questions to visit the renewfor website, there is a wealth of information there in support of this measure.

Thank you!

Jennifer King


To the Editor:

I thought that Terry Weygandt had an interesting idea for gun control in last week's letters. While I appreciate anyone looking to make suggestions, I found the argument for a "complete and unequivocal ban on large-capacity magazines" to be unclear and unsupported. First, limiting magazine capacity to five rounds, as suggested by Weygandt, would render virtually all semi-automatic handguns useless as even the micro .380 caliber handguns generally hold at least six rounds. Although not mentioned by Weygandt, this proposed limit on magazine capacity would effectively eliminate handguns, which happen to be the most popular and effective choice for self-defense.

Secondly, it seems that attempting to ban large-capacity magazines is really just a backdoor effort to ban AR-15-style weapons.

The question we should be attempting to answer is whether an AR-15 ban would be an effective way to prevent murder. We should be asking if it is even necessary in the first place to ban AR-15 rifles. Is there such an obscene amount of murder by AR-15s that a ban is the only humane choice we have? Could a ban actually be carried out and if it could be, would it be an effective solution? Are we willing to turn thousands of law-abiding citizens into felons?

According to the Uniform Crime Report compiled by the FBI there were 15,070 murders committed in 2016. Of these 15,070 murders, only 374 were committed with rifles. 7,105 were committed with handguns. So I have yet to understand why there is such outrage over the AR-15 rifle when it accounts for such a small percentage of the total deaths. I don't see any student marches to ban handguns even though approximately 19 people die from handguns for every person killed with a rifle. To put that in shocking perspective, for the 17 people killed in Parkland by an AR-15 rifle, 323 people are killed with handguns.

It seems to me that people are either ignorant of the facts or have ulterior motives. If we are truly interested in saving lives I suggest we start with reducing the 472 murders by blunt objects -they account for approximately 20 percent more murders than rifles. So carpenters, turn in your framing hammers.

Jensen Newton


To the Editor:

Like many families in this remarkable community, my family moved here for the Sisters School District. Over the past 12 years Sisters School District has not disappointed us. Our children have received nothing short of superior educational services. Furthermore, as a former teacher and principal, I know first-hand the significance of continuing school support in order to maintain these services, retain our gifted teachers and sustain Sisters' reputation for educational excellence.

I appeal to you to support our children with the passage of Measure 9-121. Your support will not cost you additional taxes and will assure the quality educational programs that make Sisters schools truly exceptional.

Becky Lukens


To the Editor:

Commissioner Tammy Baney deserves your vote in the upcoming primary election. She has served tirelessly for the citizens of Deschutes County since 2007. Her experience with the County is invaluable during this time of unparalleled growth in Central Oregon.

Tammy's long history in the Sisters area (her daughter attended Sisters High School and was an Americana Project participant) makes her a great advocate for Sisters and Sisters Country. Whenever I need help with projects in Sisters, whether it be affordable housing, jobs, or support for arts and culture - I can always count on Tammy. She consistently maintains an open line of communication with her constituents, listens and acts.

I think it's important that our County Commissioners understand the values of the communities they represent... this position should not be one of partisanship but of overall advocacy.

Vote for Tammy Baney for County Commission in the May primary.

Kathy Deggendorfer


To the Editor:

We are ninth-grade biology students at Sisters High School. We have been tasked with limiting the amount of plastic that is released into our environment. We have done research to see what the best way to accomplish this is, and we have decided to write to political leaders and talk to them about imposing a plastic-bag tax.

In 2014, California posed a ban on plastic bags, and so far they are the only state to do so. However, many cities in other states have followed suit including Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a few others. Some cities have elected to impose a plastic-bag fee such as Boulder, Colorado; Portland, Maine, and Washington, DC. Chicago, Illinois posted a ban on the use of thin plastic bags. Some stores then reverted to thicker plastic bags; therefore the ban was considered a failure.

This year, Chicago decided to impose a tax on the bags. The tax, which is seven cents, has already made quite the difference. Within the first month, the amount of plastic and paper bags had dropped 42 percent. That alone can help the environment tremendously. As of right now the plastic from these bags is ending up in places where it should not be. It's becoming normal for some cities to see bags in trees. Some call them leaves because of how many there are. Those that don't end up on land end up in the oceans. They are then carried to the gyres, where the ocean currents carry the debris that ends up in the ocean. There are five major gyres in our oceans. Not only are these gyres a place for debris, but they are also home to many nutrients. This attracts marine life. The marine life is then injured or hurt because of the debris in these places. This may seem trivial but for the continued success of our world it is deeply important.

If we don't act now our oceans, marine life, and humans will suffer the consequences.

Natalie Sitz, Emilie Turpen, Olivia Bertagna, Austen Heuberger


To the Editor:

Craig Rullman's latest column (The Bunkhouse Chronicle: The Stormy Daniels Upper, The Nugget, April 11, page 13) went too far. After Malheur, I'm leery of armed white men laying down ultimatums like, "You don't get my guns. None of them. Ever. And I mean that most sincerely."

This sort of rhetoric strikes me as disrespectful. It's especially inappropriate from a regular columnist (as opposed to a letter to the editor or guest columnist.) Shouldn't a writer sanctioned by our community paper adhere to the Citizens4Community guidelines? If you're not going to act neighborly, why should you get so many column inches to push your agenda?

I would like to see a constructive community discussion about gun violence. I sincerely wish that gun advocates would choose to be part of the solution and come up with rational, reasonable proposals. Raging against the existence of IP 43 is rather pointless. IP 43 is part of a democratic process. Do you have a problem with that? If you don't like IP 43, develop your own ballot proposal.

Democracy at its best is teamwork. In Sisters Country, if you're not willing to engage constructively, you should get off the soapbox. Let's abandon the bullying tactics and get to work.

Lauren Davis


To the Editor:

Mr. Rullman has given us a column that, while it may have rambled aimlessly about for many paragraphs, did finally drive home a concrete point: "Nobody gets my guns. None of them. Ever. And I mean that sincerely."

Uh, OK Craig. Did you think we were going to question your sincerity? Combined with the imagery he set the piece up with at the beginning, sitting around polishing his AR-15s, it's a pretty powerful message.

I found the tone of Mr. Rullman's piece to be offensive, inflammatory, and divisive. In my opinion, completely inappropriate for a small-town newspaper that serves a community of diverse political persuasions. Fine for a letter to the editor. Maybe acceptable for a guest column (that carries the editorial disclaimer at the bottom). But not for a regular weekly contributor that clearly represents the paper itself.

I don't begrudge the paper its editorial opinions. Mr. Cornelius has already given us a relatively measured editorial regarding his views on IP 43. But I believe the paper has an important responsibility to modulate the tone of the rhetoric. That's what Sisters Country has been talking about and working on for months. How can we remain civil, locally, especially in light of the divisive atmosphere nationally? I believe the paper plays an important role in establishing that atmosphere of civility, and that the tone of Mr. Rullman's piece does not contribute to it.

Stuart Scofield


To the Editor:

With the local option vote coming upon the horizon, I am writing as a student that went through the Sisters School District for 12 years of schooling. As a college student at the University of Oregon, after my first two terms, I realized I was more prepared for college than I thought I was.

Going into college, I was told that lectures would be intense and would move fast, and the workload would increase exponentially. The workload did increase, and lectures can be intense, but I didn't feel like a fish out of water. I felt as if I could keep up, and that is credited to the experience I had as a student in the Sisters School District.

Taking classes such as AP Government with Gail Greaney and AP English with Samra Spear shaped the way I take notes, the way I analyze literature and have academic discussions and debates. My Writing 121 class my senior year with Matthew Bradley taught me not only HOW to write, but WHY we write and HOW we can write to make a difference. Three years of Spanish with Janis Quiros allowed me to enter into a higher-level class at college.

With these classes, I was shaped by the teachers at the front of the classroom guiding me in how to take notes and the best way to conduct myself as a student. When I got to my first classes at the U of O, I felt prepared to successfully interact with professors. I was told that professors wouldn't interact with students like teachers did in high school. However, that has not been the case for me. In high school, I was encouraged to speak with my teachers and administrators like an adult.

Being the editor of the yearbook my senior year taught me a lot about how to conduct myself around professionals and adults which helped me tremendously in interacting with professors and other academic individuals in the college setting.

If it weren't for the schooling experience I had in Sisters, teachers that taught me how to be a successful student, and doing projects that required me to conduct myself as an adult, I would not be the successful student in college that I am today.

The local option bond will keep funding in the school district so students feel that they are getting a well-rounded educational experience in Sisters.

Ceili Cornelius

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Article comment by: Michael Oneal

After reading the Davis and Scofield letters in the April 18 Nugget in regards to a column by Craig Rullman, and detecting a bit of collaboration on the part of the letter authors if not directly at least in content, I was compelled to find and read the Rullman piece.

I was astonished in that I did not find the raving, “divisive”, rambling account as described.

What I did find was a humorous and somewhat cynical social commentary. It was a serious commentary conveyed through humor and wild hyperbole. The underlying observations are accurate but perhaps lost on the authors who do not recognize what our civilization has become beyond the unrelenting division between blue and red. And by the way, total diversity is total absence of unity. We need more of the latter.

But divisive? Banning guns is a divisive issue. One is either for it or against it. Mr. Rullman clearly took a stand against it and should not be banished for that. The authors are really making a not-so-subtle plea to Mr. Rullman’s employer to fire him for his beliefs. This is another all too common failure of our intolerant society.

Taking a stand is not a problem. What is problematic for our nation is taking a position without accurate, honest and sufficient knowledge of an issue. Another problem is the attempt to persuade public opinion by subterfuge.

I could suppose the authors, in their quest to avoid offensiveness and divisiveness, will vote neither for nor against the initiative. Does anyone believe that?

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