To the Editor:

As a lifelong educator, I read your recent letters to the editor with great concern.  I am referring specifically about the alleged abuse and pending litigation regarding coaches’ behavior in Sisters SD.

I understand that we are living in a small town, and rumors can become rampant quickly, but it was surprising to see such a one-sided story and no actual follow-up or investigation. One of the “guest commentaries” was even printed without a related news story; something I have not seen professional news sources do. As we are such a small community, there will always be opportunities for people to share private information or share uncorroborated information easily. Some of the writers are affiliated with the SD offices, or with law enforcement. Some have outside relationships with coaches, or our children have outside relationships with the coaches. This breeds cronyism and favoritism that is hard to avoid, but it seems no effort was made to avoid this pitfall.

Furthermore, it is absolutely baffling that these persons, some mandatory reporters, were not clear on how and when outsiders speak on pending child abuse or endangerment claims. The protocol is clear and mandatory, and appears to have been violated. I actually understand that restriction, so will not be speaking in specific terms, but will share my concerns in a more general way.

Children are to be believed. They are to be believed when they report abuse. They are to be believed when they report being afraid. Not only is this the right and moral thing to do, it is also the legal thing to do. We are not in the business of determining true or false claims. We are required to report immediately to those who are responsible, even if we don’t like what is being reported. No wiggle room, no excuses, no exceptions. Many of the children involved have been part of the community and the athletic programs for years. The coaches have been a part of the SSD family for mere months, and have not yet earned the right to be unsupervised in their behaviors and coaching methods.

It is also my understanding that the young female athletes in question were interviewed inappropriately and given inappropriate direction for “solving” the problem. Like so much of the country, older men, presenting as white, using their significant privilege are making decisions about how to treat young women and people of color. This is not acceptable. It is a much bigger problem than the related published commentary, but it is certainly sad to see that our little town doesn’t behave better.

In returning to the specific topic, did The Nugget interview the parents who are concerned about the extreme coaching behaviors? Did those who wrote their letters reach out to them to hear both sides, or is this just an opportunity to stir up trouble without real investigation or commitment to children and their safety? Who will supply the missing information and share a balanced perspective?

Elizabeth Burns

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To the Editor:

My name is Hallie Schwartz and I am writing this letter in regards to the girls basketball coaches of 2018-2019. I know that there has been some drama in relation to their coaching style over the year and that three families have altering opinions on the matter.

I was on the team this year, both the varsity and JV end, as I was a swing player. The coaches, especially Brittaney (Niebergall-Brown), showed an immense amount of care toward the girls on our team, and it was shown in every practice and game we had. They had the type of intensity that was needed in order to improve and better our team. I saw a major improvement, not only in our ability/skill but also with our togetherness as a team.

I had more fun in this year of basketball then I ever had the past 11 years, and that was because of my coaches. They were intense and honest about what we needed to do, but always with words of encouragement and reasons as to how we could improve. That’s what I appreciated most about them. I knew that what they were telling me was going to be honest, so I was able to trust their words on how I could better my abilities.

I feel like some girls on my team weren’t able to understand that the coaches cared about us enough to be honest, and that sometimes the truth isn’t always sugarcoated to their liking. I don’t believe that any of their coaching was too extreme or rude, and that they were purposely trying to bring us down.

Needless to say, all three coaches did their jobs in teaching us the game of basketball and improving our team in a kind and caring way, with a passion for team togetherness. It would be unfair to see them go, as the majority of the team enjoyed the coaches, not only for how they taught but how they were as people. I genuinely hope to see them back with us again next year.

Hallie Schwartz

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To the Editor:

On May 9, at the Sisters Library, Jamie McLeod-Skinner came for the fourth time at the behest of Indivisible Sisters to share a review of the past campaign, what is important now, and what’s in the future. We deeply appreciated her visit and open communications.

For her past campaign, there was good and bad news. The latter first — she lost.  Here’s the good news: Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District is open to change. Jamie bridged the political divide with her message of working together to fix what’s broken. She won Deschutes County and won Representative Greg Walden’s home of Hood River County by a 2:1 margin. She was able to raise $1.3 million for her campaign, sans corporate PAC contributions, and built a district-wide network that engaged over 2,600 volunteers in the political process.

Representative Greg Walden had the smallest win of his congressional career (the spread from his last race dropped by 27 percent) and he was forced to use nearly all of his $5 million war chest on our District. After the election, Representative Walden is now holding town halls again and votes more centrist rather than straight party line.

Jamie shared that what is important now is to engage within our communities. Vote in all elections. Be involved as citizens as frequently as our schedules allow. Contact our federal, state, and local representatives — by phone, email, post card or letter – to let them know what we think about upcoming legislation.  Run for local offices and support those that do.  Most importantly, make it a point to talk with those who do not agree with you politically. It will require listening more while trying to understand their point of view rather than trying to convince them of anything. We noted and encouraged participation in Let’s Talk events, a branch of www.CitizensforCommunity.com  (C4C) in Sisters, that attempts such communications work monthly.

Jamie was recently appointed to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), nominated by Governor Brown and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. She is being encouraged to run again against Walden and to run for Secretary of State. She asked for our thoughts, and how she can be of most help to our region. Some wanted her to run again against Walden to assure we have better representation in 2020. Others thought Secretary of State could maintain fair elections and manage fair re-districting after the 2020 Census. Jamie noted her deep connection to rural Oregon as part of her identity and a desire to ensure that rural Oregonians are well represented, in Congress and in statewide office.

Susan Cobb

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To the Editor:

From a former skidder operator — hard hats off, and a big thumbs up to Goss Logging for the excellent job they have done on the tree removal project on Highway 20.

I’ve driven the road many times just to observe the progress. There’s nothing like seeing a well-oiled crew working the woods. The cleanup on this high-visibility project is second to none. Good job.

Yes, it is unfortunate the many circumstances that led to this. To those who are “heartbroken” and “devastated”: GET OVER IT.

Kris Nirenberg

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To the Editor:

I just wanted to speak up about a matter that is starting to seriously frustrate me. For the past several nights, I have been repeatedly tailed by police while driving into Sisters. This has been happening so extremely often lately that it feels like it truly is starting to get out of hand.

I am very often out late and come back into town during late hours. I do not believe that I should be tailed for this reason alone. I am also completely sober but it is extremely nerve-wracking to have a police officer tail you when you are already so tired and just trying to get home to go to sleep.

I understand they are looking for intoxicated drivers but I do not feel like it is fair for every late-night driver to get the short end of the stick just for simply being out late. I have already gotten pulled over for “going under the speed limit.” Personally I do not think this is a reason to pull someone over. And neither is “ weaving a little in your lane.” As long as a driver is staying in their lane and going under the speed limit, they should not be pulled over.

This is starting to head in the direction of the conservative police state, which I left, where there was extremely strict night patrols and anyone could get pulled over for almost nothing. I hate to see this small town that I truly love and care about heading in that direction.

I am by no means anti-police and think it is nice that they have patrols around town sometimes. But I do not like the frequency at which I am seeing them all the time now and the amount of times I am being tailed. And good lord, the amount of undercover vehicles I have seen lately has also been astonishing. This all just seems a bit overboard and this reaffirms to me that the idea of this small town having an entire police department is ludicrous. Do we really want every car that comes into Sisters at night to be tailed? And do we, as residents, want to feel like we are inches away from a ticket at all times? My vote is no, absolutely not! Let’s keep things reasonable, please.

Sam Davenport

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To the Editor:

In response to the letter in your May 15 issue in which the writer wrote, in part, “I have never known of a fire started by a bullet,” I feel it is important for people to know the proven fact that bullets have caused multiple wildfires.

Just Google a term such as “fires started by gunfire” and one will find articles such as: “Multiple BLM fires caused by target shooting”; “BLM: Target shooting caused 10 fires so far in our area”; “Guns blamed for sparking some wildfires in West”; “Gunfire caused California wildfire that destroyed 63 homes”; “Fire in the barrel: How shooting causes wildfires.”

I could go on and on and on but I believe I have proved the point that gunfire can, has, and, sadly probably will continue to, cause wildfires.

Rodney Gregson

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To The Editor:

There was a misprint in The Nugget recently.

Kate Aspen / Cowgirls and Indians Resale is not accepting donations for medical expenses.

Kate Aspen