To the Editor:

As a current college student and graduate of Sisters High School, I would like to express my support for the renewal of the local option levy. I have profited greatly from the personalized education that our school district provides, and I hope that current students will have access to the same benefits I enjoyed.

Having attended school in both Bend and Sisters, I know that our school district is extraordinary. The classes are smaller, students receive more individual attention, and the instruction is more effective. Students who are struggling do not fall through the cracks, but are targeted and given the help they need. The advantages of this attention are evidenced by the remarkably low dropout rate in our district.

During the time I spent as a student at Sisters High School, I was treated to a truly remarkable education. I received consistent and valuable feedback on my work, and I always knew that I could get help if I was struggling. In larger classes, this would not be possible.

Having attended overcrowded schools before coming to Sisters, I can personally attest to how much more enriching and valuable education is in a small classroom than in an overcrowded one. If the funding from the bond measure is dropped, the current students will undoubtedly suffer by being put into a more impersonal setting.

Our community has always been extremely supportive of the local schools, and I hope that this support is continued. The money that has gone to our schools through this bond measure has been well spent. My future has been brightened by the unique quality of this school district, and it would be a shame if our current students were denied these same opportunities. I urge the people of Sisters to make a wise investment in the futures of our students, and renew this levy.

Brian Greaney

Sisters High School Class of 2008

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To the Editor:

Sisters schools benefit greatly from many volunteers and organizations in the community.

Here is a sample of some of the people who work hard for our schools as volunteers: school board members; mentors at the high school; classroom volunteers at all three schools; superintendent search committee; Sisters Schools Foundation; Starry Nights concerts; budget committee; elementary school playground equipment group; school site councils; long-term facilities task force.

The numbers of people involved must be in the hundreds.

Coming up in the November election, all of us will have a chance to be a volunteer by voting yes for the extension of the local option tax. This is not a new tax but the continuation of one that has been in place for the past eight years.

The tax rate will not increase and all money stays in Sisters and benefits our students.

Our schools here in Sisters are among the best in the state and the academic achievement levels are outstanding as well as the extracurricular activities.

We have a school system to be proud of and we need everyone to be a volunteer to help keep up that standard.

Please join me in voting yes on the Sisters School District Local Option. It is one of the best investments we can make.

Don Hendrick

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To the Editor:

The Sisters School Board Chair, Christine Jones, wants the Local Option tax renewed, but has she really done all she could to reduce operating costs, which are spent primarily on staff?

How about the cost of the employees' health plan? How much would be saved if, instead of a $50 deductible and 100 percent coverage after that, the employees had a $500 deductible and 80 percent coverage?

Are we talking hundreds of thousands of dollars?

The $500/80 percent is what most employees get in the real world.

The Crook County School District also has budget problems, but they are serious about addressing them. They realize that cuts are going to have to come from the people. Both the contracts with the teachers and classified employees are going to be renegotiated.

Has Sisters even thought of this as an option?

Jan Hus

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To the Editor:

I work with many of the children in our community all day long, teaching at the high school and then teaching piano and voice lessons many hours a week.

My husband and I have devoted much of our lives to raising and nurturing children - ours and many others. I am writing to ask you to join me and my husband Dave in voting yes on the Sisters School District Local Option.

With this option in place for the past eight years, I have seen firsthand the benefits of this school funding. The benefits include smaller class size (yes, that matters, even at high school) allowing teachers and staff to give students the needed time and attention to ensure learning occurs. If money is too tight, teachers and staff are not able to focus on teaching and the students. They spend time scrambling for much-needed resources.

I would hate to see our student-teacher ratio increase and our wonderful sports programs, clubs and activities go away. This is part of what makes our school district so special. In addition to higher quality education, our local option provides many activities that keep our kids engaged, part of teams, occupied and focused.

Like so many, Dave and I are worried about our economy. However, we have decided this isn't our time to reduce our commitment to our students and our district.

This, more than ever, is the time to make the best investment of all. Education always pays the best dividends.

Want a big dividend? Vote Yes on the local option.

Donna Moyer

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To the Editor:

Life seems to be all about making important choices.

Who will best represent our values in the Presidency? What should be done to repair our country's financial institutions? Where is my money safe? How will I vote on important tax issues such as funding our schools?

Added to the mix, as if we didn't already have enough to think about, is the question: How and how fast do we want our community to grow and evolve?

Folks, this last question strikes a cord in my heart. I moved my family to Sisters many years ago because of the small town environment which appealed to Ginger and me as we were raising our two children. We have a deep history in Sisters and our kids (now grown) have expressed the desire to one day return and raise their families here.

What will Sisters look like for them? Will it be just another pass-through town that greets visitors with strip malls and a struggling downtown, or will we maintain a quaint and vibrant community with a downtown core that encourages visitors and residents alike to meander, enjoy a meal, sip coffee, shop and take a stroll in the natural beauty of our town? Not a tough choice at all.

I have come to know our Mayor, Brad Boyd, over the years by discussing the serious issues that will determine what Sisters will look like in the future. Working side by side with Brad on the Transportation System Plan, I have seen first hand that his vision is not just wrapped up in words and sound bites, instead he takes a proactive approach by dedicating his time and energies to help forge a better Sisters.

At least this choice isn't tough at all. Please re-elect Brad.

Bob Shaw

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To the Editor:

We're a group of parents active in the Sisters Parent Teacher Community (SPTC) volunteer organization.

Sisters has outstanding schools thanks to community involvement, parental support, excellent staff, and - yes! - our local option. Our community has chosen, for the past eight years, to support a local option that makes our schools not just good, but remarkable. By many measures, our district stands out in the state of Oregon. We have high test scores, high matriculation rates, and low dropout rates.

We think that our educational success is made possible thanks to class sizes that are smaller than the state average, the breadth of our curricular and extra-curricular offerings, and our ability to keep pace with technological advances for instruction and hands-on learning; all of which are supported by the local option that provides 9% of our school district budget.

We're not asking for more money. We know times are hard. Passing the local option will not increase our taxes. We're just asking our friends and neighbors to continue their current commitment to education in Sisters.

We know the local option is making a difference when a teacher can spend one-on-one time with students, when classrooms have necessary supplies, and when teachers can focus on teaching and building the foundation for the next level of learning for our students. Successful students will someday be successful citizens.

Please vote yes for Sisters' Local Option on November 4, 2008.

SPTC Steering Committee

Elaine Avery, Daiya Dillman-Owen, Laura Gentry, Peyton Griffin, Dave Huni, Julia Huni, Winter Lewis, Miki McFadden, Melanie Petterson, Cheryl Stewart

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To the Editor:

My husband and I moved to Sisters two years ago because of its exceptional schools. It was an easy choice. We wanted schools that expected high student achievement (Sisters students exceed state reading, math and writing standards). We wanted a high school that focused on college preparation (77 percent of graduates attend college). And, we wanted a community that embraced and supported its exceptional schools.

We have not been disappointed with the schools or with the community support for the schools. We are a community that understands our hopes and dreams for our children begin with a strong education.

We have the opportunity to sustain the exceptional qualities of our schools. Local Option is up for renewal November 4. Local Option supplements the state funding each district receives per student. Local Option monies are used for instructional programs and operations.

Currently, the Local Option provides approximately 9 percent of the District's budget. A yes vote for Measure 9-67 will help the District continue to provide programs and services exceeding what could be provided with state funding alone. A yes vote for the measure would continue the current property tax rate of 75 cents per $1000 of assessed value. The local option is a small component of your property tax bill.

The money has allowed our district to fund vital building blocks for student success by offering smaller class sizes and important academic programs. The community of Sisters has voted repeatedly to approve a local option to augment state funding. The renewal is not an increase but a continuation of our history of support. I can't imagine the devastation to our entire community if we reject measure 9-67.

Supporting education is a privilege, an obligation and a wise investment. Please join me by voting yes for Measure 9-67, Sisters Local Option.

Shawn Marie Mate

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To the Editor:

The election of mayor and council members is as important to the greater Sisters area as it is to the city. The historic Western character of the town, the area's fantastic natural resources and the health of the environment are what attract both new business and visitors.

Let's not shoot the goose that laid the golden egg!

Brad Boyd has proven that he is a champion for the public interest within the City of Sisters and the surrounding area. His support for improvements in Whychus Creek, his leadership on the Sisters Trail System and his opposition to sprawl development, including destination resorts in the Metolius and Whychus basins, are all important to maintaining and improving our quality of life.

We need to re-elect Brad Boyd and not let the city be taken over by moneyed interests, represented by the Developer Three signage around town.

Linda Davis

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To the Editor:

Welcome to the age of fear and smear politics. What is it? It's a tactic where you pick a word and then demonize the word with negative sound bites creating a label. This label now becomes a trigger for your mantra of fears and doubts. Finally, you pin the label on candidates and dare them to defend themselves. Once you've pinned the label they are no longer individuals with values, ideas and issues, they're "one of them." We have come to expect this on a national level, but not here in Sisters.

The label I'm referring to is "Developer." Heaven help Sisters if a "slate of developers" is elected to the city council, or so some want us to believe. They don't want us to consider the individuals' accomplishments, ideas and concerns. They're just developers, and you know what developers do. Oh, really?

I've known Lon Kellstrom for over 40 years. He's a contractor and has built about eight houses in Sisters over the last 15 years. More importantly, he's a concerned citizen who has made a commitment to Sisters over the years, serving on the school budget committee and city council. He's a strong advocate of fiscal responsibility and works tirelessly to control spending. You may not always agree with him, but you will always know where he stands on the issues.

Jerry Bogart is a general contractor and designer. He built my house in Black Butte Ranch five years ago and is a fellow Rotarian. I admire Jerry's creativity, energy and commitment to quality. I think his common sense, can-do attitude will serve Sisters well.

I don't live in Sisters, so I cannot vote for council candidates. However, I work in Sisters and have watched it evolve over the past 12 years. Sisters has changed and as they say, "you ain't seen nothing, yet." The problem isn't the "developers," it's a lack of a clear vision for Sisters and leadership.

Did I hear someone mention "Hope and Change?"

Phil Gerber

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To the Editor:

We have three new candidates running for city council this fall, in addition to incumbents Boyd and Kellstrom. One new candidate, Wendy Holzman, stands above the crowd in her readiness and qualifications to serve Sisters.

Wendy has involved herself in city affairs because she cares about Sisters, not because she has some financial stake in a particular issue. She is "just an ordinary citizen" who has made her home here. She represents so many of us who moved here because we like it, who simply love this area and want to see it grow in ways that enhance rather than detract from our quality of life.

But unlike most of us, Wendy has done something about it. She got involved in the Sisters vision process, helping to articulate the vision statement and participating in the resulting leadership committee. She was instrumental to that committee's accomplishments, which included leadership training programs for Sisters citizens.

Wendy is a charter member and now chairperson of the Sisters Committee for Citizen Involvement, a committee that provides a voice for Sisters area residents in city decisions. In this role and others, Wendy has worked with the City Council on a regular basis. She has attended nearly every council meeting and work session for the past year, thus gaining a familiarity with city affairs that few can boast.

As a result of her dedication to civic affairs, Wendy knows the issues, knows the players, and knows how city government works. Compared to the other new candidates, Wendy is the one who has demonstrated a consistent commitment of time and effort, the one who has already prepared herself to serve on the City Council.

Wendy's independent perspective and thorough understanding of local issues make her the ideal new candidate to represent Sisters residents at City Hall.

Eva Eagle

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To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Lon Kellstrom, Pat Thompson, and Jerry Bogart.

Much of the talk suggesting that these three men would try to help make this city a more a development-friendly environment is true.

However, the notion that these three men are anything other than honorable and that they would change things expressly to benefit the businesses they own and run is not true.

I know Lon and Pat personally and have met Jerry. They are good and honest men. They are trying to provide for their families and make a living. They own land in the city, they make their lives here, and they pay taxes here.

They are not running for city council to change the system for their own benefit; they are running for the city council for all of our benefit.

Development is what brings new people to live, new customers to shop, and new businesses to open. Most importantly, development brings new tax revenues to the city. This pays for all of the services that the city provides.

Without development, there would be no new theater, no new brew pub, no new restaurants, no new jobs, no new housing, no new roads, no new sidewalks, no new city hall and no new schools. Without development, there would be no new bike trails such as the mayor espouses.

My family and I have recently bought one of the new Hayden Homes, a new development. I am grateful that there was this new housing available to my family.

There are more people moving here after us. You may as well get used to that idea. Are we going to follow the mayor and his continued plan of discouraging new growth and new business? Do you want more of the same? I do not.

I am voting for all three of these men and I encourage you to do the same.

Michael Preedin

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To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Wendy Holzman's bid to be elected to the city council.

For the past year I have worked with Holzman on the Sisters Committee for Citizen Involvement. Holzman serves as chair of the committee and its representative at regular city council meetings.

Through work on the committee I have come to know Wendy as a tireless advocate for Sisters. She is committed to maintaining the livability and small-town character of this community. She has also demonstrated a commitment to making Sisters an economically viable community we can live and work in.

Holzman has been very active in city government and knows what the councilor job takes, and what it takes to get things done.

She has attended virtually all city council meetings and workshops during the past year, including those held by the TSP and Project Advisory Committee.

Being an effective city councilor - a volunteer position - requires an enormous commitment of time, energy and ability.

Through her past record, Holzman has demonstrated that she will bring that commitment to the job and the community.

Holzman may not have big money behind her to pay for weekly campaign ads and to put up signs around town, but she has a passion for our community that will translate into putting Sisters interests first and a record of stepping up to the plate to get the job done.

Just as importantly, she has no ties to any special interests and has no personal financial interests that would be affected by decisions she would make as a councilor.

I urge you to support Wendy Holzman for Sisters City Council.

Lorie Hancock

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To the Editor:

This is incredible. How has Bruce Forbes gotten away with not finishing the bridge (over Whychus Creek for the Timber Creek subdivision)? He spent something like $750,000 to build it and now he won't spend $10,000 to finish it. Huh? Why isn't he in jail? Why are there any houses in Timber Creek? Why are there any city employees in management that haven't been fired?

This is the only question I want to ask of the City Council candidates: "How are you going to get the Forbes bridge finished?" The proper answer is to put liens on every piece of property he owns and charge him for the job and lawyer fees. He is in breach of contract.

I know what Curt Kallberg's solution is. My guess is that the rest of the Citizens for Sisters agree. When will someone step up to the plate? Mr. Dolson, are you willing?

Bruce Berryhill

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To the Editor:

A mixture of interests and backgrounds in city council members will better represent the city of Sisters at large. As a property and business owner in the city, soon to be resident, and having been involved in the community for 34 years I would like to give my support to Brad Boyd and Lon Kellstrom.

Having served on the transportation update committee with Brad Boyd I found him to be well informed on the bigger picture, open to options, willing to do the homework necessary to develop a workable plan for Sisters. I like his informed, professional approach to decision making not only on this issue but others that the council has faced. When he was elected I had my doubts about him, but I have been pleasantly surprised at his dedication to the job.

I feel both Brad Boyd and Lon Kellstrom are strong, smart, experienced leaders and have the best interests of the citizens of Sisters at heart.

Jean Wells Keenan

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To the Editor:

As an attentive observer of local politics for the past decade, I believe that I have as clear a perspective as anyone on what qualities a candidate must bring to the office of City Councilor if the community is going to be guided with integrity, impartiality, wisdom and vision.

Of all the candidates standing for this year's election, incumbent and newcomer alike, no one represents these qualities better than Lon Kellstrom. In my own interaction with the city (the issue was an illegal easement the city ostensibly held on property owned by me), Lon acted with complete integrity and reasonableness, as opposed to the egregious and disingenuous maneuvering of other council members and city staff. By so doing, he, along with Maggie Hughes, saved both me and the city thousands of dollars of legal fees serving no purpose other than to reach a foregone conclusion.

In the most recent case, Lon was the one who stood alone for what was right for the community and voted against the takeover of the trash collection service by an outside vendor. It may not turn out to be a terribly important issue in the future, but I respect Lon's wisdom and business experience regarding the financial aspects of this "outsourcing" decision by city staff.

To me, his position represented not only sound financial conclusions, but showed his desire to maintain as much of the community spirit and participation in the affairs of Sisters as possible. That's what makes Sisters such a great place to live and work and Lon again reinforced the respect that I have gained for him over his many years of service to the community.

I urge your overwhelming support for Lon Kellstrom in the upcoming election.

Bob Wilson

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To the Editor:

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District needs to know how we are doing as your emergency fire and medical services provider. As a part of our Strategic Plan update, we are asking for public feedback regarding your priorities for our service delivery and how we can improve our service delivery.

Based on your input, we will adjust our plan to ensure we meet the needs of the community we serve.

Please take a few minutes to fill out our online survey on our Web site at www.sistersfire.com. Simply click on the link on the front page titled "Public Survey: Strategic Plan." This will take you to our easy to fill out survey. If you do not have access to a computer, we are happy to mail a survey to you. Please call the fire station at 541-549-0771 and ask for a strategic plan survey. We will send one to you right away.

Thank you for taking the time to advise us on your priorities and for providing feedback on how you perceive our service delivery. We value you as a citizen of the fire district and our goal is to provide you and your family with the very best fire and emergency medical services possible.

Tay Robertson, Fire Chief

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To the Editor:

Re: "New transportation plan due soon," The Nugget, September 24, page 3:

The committee should permanently reject the Hood/Main couplet. The only fully predictable effect of the couplet would be that the same amount of traffic would go through town, only faster.

The long-run objective should be a full bypass, but the alternate Locust/Barclay route would be a good shorter term approach. It already works, and could be improved with little risk. Traffic circles with appropriate dimensions would be a good solution to the three connecting points.

With this said, there is a real danger to either bypass route that deserves emphasis. Development along either the alternate or bypass routes must be strictly limited or the existing downtown - one of the real strengths of Sisters - will shrivel. This is the consistent experience with town bypass routes everywhere, and we don't need to repeat it in Sisters.

Lou Thompson

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To the Editor:

At the September 8 public forum on the proposed solid waste franchise with High Country Disposal (HCD), a comment was made in support of the franchisee whose yard debris disposal system containers would replace the existing "unsightly" piles of debris at curbside awaiting pick up.

Let's examine "unsightly" more closely.

As I walk and bicycle throughout Sisters neighborhoods, I am struck by how many garbage receptacles sit in yards or even remain at curbside in between collection days. A large number of residences have no garages or have garages too small to accommodate a single garbage receptacle, let alone the three cans residents will now have with the new HCD system.

Now that's "unsightly"!

Another question raised at the meeting was why the city had not gone out to bid. Mayor Boyd quickly and defensively responded that the city didn't have to because they already had an agreement with HCD for other services.

I am unaware of any government entity that would not be violating its own rules of ethics by not obtaining bids for peaches just because they have a contract with a company for apples!

If the City of Sisters does not have such rules of ethics in place, shame on them. If they have and chose to violate them, shame on them. Such actions and defensive posturing only serve to reinforce the perception of many Sisters citizens that city council members operate in secrecy and do not really consider citizen interests, but rather prioritize their own interests and agendas.

Carmen Hull