To the Editor:

The August 29 edition of The Nugget carried an insightful article by Dr. Robert Collins on science education in Sisters, citing the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). He rightfully pointed out that science education in Sisters is strong and that it is well supported by the Sisters community. I would like to point out that the Sisters community has also shown tremendous support for its students who wish to pursue STEM education after they graduate from Sisters High School.

Sisters Graduate Resource Organization (Sisters GRO) offers several STEM scholarships for SHS graduates. The physical therapists, high-tech retirees, scientists, dentists, doctors, and others have established scholarships specific for those wanting to study STEM-related fields. This is in addition to the dozens of scholarships that do not specify a field of study but can be used to further an SHS graduate's STEM studies.

Additionally, through the generosity of the Roundhouse Foundation, Sisters GRO administers grants for elementary, middle and high school students in various fields, which include science and math camps and medical/technology experiences.

None of these would be possible without the tremendous support this community offers its students and graduates. We are fortunate to have a generous, caring community that funds these avenues of study (as well as many others). It is our hope that all Sisters students will avail themselves of the many opportunities this community presents.

Tim Ross

Sisters GRO Chair

SistersGRO.org

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To the Editor:

I found the recent letters stating that campfires are a major cause of forest fires interesting, so I did some research. Turns out that while 84 percent of wildfires are human caused, only 5 percent come from campfires (Smithsonian 2017). Debris burning, arson, and equipment are all much higher up the list than campfires.

Periodic fires are nature's way of cleansing and restoring the health of a forest. As these fires are detrimental to human safety, health and our outdoor economy, we need to adopt a policy that mitigates their impact. We know that proper stewardship of our forests that includes thinning and cleaning the forest floor allows for fires to burn quickly without killing the trees. The forest can then rebound quickly. For fires that burn a forest into ashes, we need a forest policy that allows us to harvest the dead trees to pay for reforestation. If we don't do that we will be surrounded by dead forests for a generation. Replanting can get our forests back in our lifetime.

The House of Representatives has passed a Farm Bill that permits this type of thinning and reforestation, but the Senate has not. A good use of letter-writing would be to ask Senators Wyden and Merkley what they are doing to get this policy through the Senate. Our forests, our economy, and our health may depend on it.

Carey Tosello

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To the Editor:

Columnist Craig Rullman's suggestion that city council seriously consider the significant expense of establishing its own police force is sound advice ("The Bunkhouse Chronicle: Community Policing," The Nugget, August 29). 

Indeed such undertaking involves significant costs both apparent and hidden. The apparent costs, as outlined by Mr. Rullman, include hiring and training of professional officers and support staff and purchase and maintenance of patrol cars and other equipment. These apparent costs, considerable though they are, can certainly be estimated and thus budgeted.

But there are also hidden costs which are much harder to estimate. One significant hidden cost is that of liability. Any police force is constantly exposed to law suit. For a police force frequently confronts persons unhappy about the encounter. Some will choose to bring suit against the police force and the government to which the police force reports. Yes, the city might protect itself against such suit by purchasing insurance. Still there is the administrative cost of dealing with such law suits. Regarding administrative cost, consider the time and effort required for council and staff to deal with managing a policing operation.

I would suggest that Sisters City Council learn from Sheriff Nelson. Ask him about his cost of hiring and training, and of purchasing and maintaining autos and other patrol equipment. Also about administrative costs related to his Patrol Division. Lastly, ask about legal liability and associated financial risk.

I'd suggest that Sisters City Council next chat with two or more smaller community's council and ask these same questions. This to get a feel for these smaller communities' costs, risks and administrative requirements of operating a police force.

(Full disclosure: I'm a member of Sheriff Nelson's Citizen's Advisory Panel.)

Bill Birnbaum