Opinion, Analysis, Discussion
Beware of HB 2995 and 2596
A March 10 News-Review article informed readers about Rep. Wayne Krieger’s proposal of two bills, HB 2995 and 2596. One would create a felony charge of interference with state forestland management and the other would permit logging companies to sue protesters for lost income. Rep. Krieger claimed it was a response to a “reign of terror by [protesters who have] no respect for the rights of others.” While giving lip service to free speech and mouthing respect for civil disobedience, he then presented a laundry list of acts of civil disobedience that this bill would criminalize, specifically protestors chaining themselves to trees and equipment or using their own bodies to block roads.Learn more »
Time to raise bottle return
It is time, prices being what they are and with so many desperate people on the fringes nowadays, to raise the bottle deposit to 25 cents.Learn more »
Scouts vote on anti-gay policy
On May 23, Boy Scout Councils across the country will vote on a proposal to drop the ban on gay youth and leaders participating in the Boy Scouts. Clearly, this is a change that is long overdue and a policy that never should have existed in the first place.Learn more »
Patriotism can’t be forced
Representative Esquivel of Medford is sponsoring a bill to require a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in all Oregon public K-12 schools. On the surface, it appears to be a patriotic measure intended to foster positive citizenship. Below this noble veneer is a clouded personal agenda.Learn more »
Criminals won’t buy guns legally
Those adamant about gun control laws forget several things. First, there are already laws on the books that, if they were enforced, would stop crime. Second, background checks are already required. Be honest, criminals won’t buy a gun and go through a background check. Gun-free zones just invite shooters who can be assured no one will be able to fight back while they commit their crimes. Adam Lanza specifically chose a gun-free zone to fatally shoot 20 children and six adults.Learn more »
Vote ‘no’ on school levy
I’m voting “no” for the schools levy because I’m more worried about public safety. Every school has empty classrooms and yes, it’s sad to change schools. But I don’t want to live in a community like Eugene or Grants Pass where there are no consequences to committing a crime. They go to jail for one day, then are released due to lack of beds, including pedophiles!Learn more »
District 2 needs this leadership
I know nothing about firefighting or serving on a fire district’s board, but I do know Wes Melo, whom I would support for any elected position he sought. Here’s why:Learn more »
Carolyn Kellim’s home sits in a quiet Roseburg neighborhood and there is a wooden nativity scene outside her door that stands testimony to her Christian faith. The 84-year-old silver-haired native of Jefferson (14 miles or so south of Salem) greeted me at the door with an offer of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Her home was bright and sunny and there were fresh flowers in the kitchen. As soon as we finished our sandwiches, we adjourned to a back room filled from floor to ceiling with guns, rifles and enough ammunition to hold off a platoon.Learn more »
In addressing the future of the Oregon & California Railroad lands, some words won’t do anymore. Words such as “studies,” “timelines,” “frameworks,” “strategies” and “principles.”
It’s time to hear a four-letter word: “Bill.” There needs to be a bill to put into place a mechanism for increasing logging on O&C lands.Learn more »
Most of us can find numerous excuses not to exercise regularly. Not Roseburg’s Winifred Fiske. She makes it to the gym at least three times a week and also rides a stationary bike whenever possible.Learn more »
Carried papers in Yoncalla
I enjoyed reading the recent article “Paper boys of the past learned responsibility from routes.” I can relate to their stories, although I think that my experience delivering the News-Review was quite unique.Learn more »
No insurance for Driver Card
Regarding “Immigrant Driver’s Card bill passes;” give me a break. This great state has just passed a bill for immigrants and others who don’t have documents proving they are in the country lawfully, including elders and homeless people. They can apply for driver’s licenses, if they have lived in Oregon for at least a year and meet other requirements. These cards would be marked “Driver’s Card” and can’t be used to vote, board a plane, or purchase a firearm. How does a homeless person or illegal immigrant prove they have lived in Oregon for any period of time?Learn more »
The road back to our America
Predictably, the last Tea Party turnout was small in number, not like the first demonstrations. When the demonstrations started in 2009, people turned out all over America with their flags and signs. It was to impart a message: “We are here, we are America, we are ready to fight in the cause of freedom.”Learn more »
What happened to my America?
I have served two years in the U.S. Army, 14 months of that was in Korea. I have taught 36 years in public and private schools. I also wrote my own history book, “America, The First 500 Years.” In watching our nightly news, I don’t recognize the America I taught anymore.Learn more »
Don’t iron out the S curves
Why must life’s trips always be neat, tidy and in a direct line from points A to B? I don’t see any need for spending nearly $3 million to straighten S curves on Stewart Parkway. Are they a hazard? Have there been many accidents there?Learn more »
Gun business still thriving
I recently learned some interesting facts about the positive things going on in the firearms industry, one of the very few truly thriving businesses in this country since the economic collapse of 2008.Learn more »
Beginning next fall, the Sutherlin School District will require students to pass a drug test to play sports and participate in other extracurricular activities.
The adoption of this policy without visible opposition signals that times have changed. But what’s the bigger change — rampant drug abuse among youth or a disregard for constitutional principles among adults?Learn more »
Stop scaring us into more taxes
Well, here we go again, the widow and orphan scheme. Now we’re being asked to have our taxes raised yet again. This time it’s to provide books, computers and a more comfortable environment for our children. It seems that every time our elected officials want to raise taxes, they scare us into it by telling us if they don’t, our police and fire departments will have to be closed down, or our children will have to be taught in overcrowded classrooms with no air conditioning and they will be using out-dated equipment. I thought the lottery money was going to be used for schools. And how about the two measures that were passed not long ago? Wasn’t the money supposed to be earmarked for schools?Learn more »
With interest rates at historic lows and home prices well off their peak values, now may be the ideal time for prospective buyers to enter the real estate market. Although many banks have revised and tightened their lending criteria, that doesn’t mean home buyers can’t get loans. Of course, the environment is much different today than it was during the real estate market boom, and consumers are wise to spend some time thoroughly evaluating their financial footing in order to secure the best loan for their particular situation.
Tip 1: Understand your entire financial portfolio. Take stock of your complete financial situation to determine what you can afford. You’ll want an accurate picture of your income and expenses as well as any savings that you may want to tap for a down payment or closing costs. In general, home payments shouldn’t be more than a third of your monthly income, and it’s important to factor in other savings needs — for retirement, college and emergency funds, for example.Learn more »
Editor’s note: Following is Senator Jeff Kruse’s weekly newsletter from May 10.
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Letter: Good schools will help Douglas County economyMay 13, 2013 —
Letter: Is Congress caught in a Hale Bopp moment?May 13, 2013 —
Congress in Hale Bopp?
Remember the Heaven’s Gate cult? They were mostly educated bright people who thought they could attach themselves to a rocket that trailed the comet. Ridiculous, right? I call this our “Hale Bopp” side. We all have it. Yes, you do, too. It’s our ignorant side, a part of our brain that isn’t grounded in reality.
The mostly Republicans in Congress are having a Hale Bopp moment also clouded by racism and ultra conservative religious values. They don’t care about our country. They don’t care about you and me. They only care about how they can craft and force our country into joining their ignorant partially racist radical religious agenda. It’s crazy, right? These are the lowlifes I have mentioned before, including some Democrats.
Because of gerrymandering, the Republican Congress are forever in their jobs and never have to worry about the U.S.A. When the Republicans said their mission was to stop the president in any way they could, well, good job Republicans. You have stopped a lot: jobs, safety for workers, unions, women’s and minority rights. The list goes on. What a bunch of Hale Bopp-like people are running this Congress.
Once again, as I have said before, I have written to the President, Congress and Senators many times but no one responds to my question. Why isn’t there a law making it a criminal offense for any elected official to knowingly lie to its constituency? That would change our county dramatically in a very profound way. Am I right, or is this one of my Hale Bopp areas?
Letter: Now is the time to build the Tri City fire stationMay 13, 2013 —
Now is the time to build
There will be another requested bond measure for a new fire station for the residents of Tri City on the May ballot. Last November the $2.5 million measure was voted down, probably for several reasons. The main reasons were the weak economy coupled with the proposed tax for $1 per thousand added to our property tax bill.
This election will offer a scaled down project with an overall cost of $1.233 million, an addition of 63 cents per $1,000 on our property tax. The revised plan will still be able to meet the needs of a new fire hall and disaster center well into the future. The previously planned Community Center and required parking for the Center will be set aside. Once the new hall is operational, the old building will be sold and all funds will be used to defray the overall cost of the project.
Our existing fire hall was assembled in the 1950s as a military-style Quonset hut. In the 1970s, the community and volunteers remodeled the building into its present configuration. Since that time, the population of Tri City has more than doubled and the equipment necessary to provide adequate fire protection has increased to the point where our fire hall is simply bursting at the seams.
The question we’re faced with isn’t one of need, we certainly need it, it’s cost. Costs will never be lower than they are right now, with contractors struggling to find work and the interest rate is the lowest it’s been in many years. If we don’t build now, the costs will escalate. Tri City has always taken care of its own and the volunteers who make up our fire department are asking for your help this time.
Publisher’s Notebook: Down a chicken, but prospects still good for eggsMay 12, 2013 —
Always the romantic, I thought Mother’s Day would be a good time to provide an update on my chickens.
It seems like forever ago that I brought nine new chicks home from the feed store and stuck them in my sunroom, where they would be warm and cozy under a red heat lamp until they got old enough to put into the chicken coop that came with the house.
There are eight left and I’ll get to that tragic event in a minute. First, I wanted to review what I’ve learned about raising chickens in my first two months on the job.
For starters, chickens grow fast. Seems like just yesterday they were cute and fluffy as they scampered about the plastic box I’d previously used to store tennis balls, rackets and other stuff we never use. We got a couple of water feeders, metal chick-food feeders and three or four heat lamps with extension cords. The chicken classes taught us the difference between chick “starter” food and regular chicken food and that the water must be clean enough for humans to drink, or the chicks will get sick and die.
For the record, I never drank from the chick feeder because it had chick doo-doo all over it because … well … chickens like to poop where they drink and I don’t. So I just had to assume that the water I gave them was clean enough for humans.
It should be noted that chickens poop a lot, which is not good because before you know it your sunroom stinks so bad it makes your eyes water.
It should also be noted that The News-Review came in very handy during the chick-raising period, so if you have a mind to raise your own, I can get delivery started as soon as you’d like. It’s not a good idea to line your chick box with an iPad or laptop. Some things just don’t work like an old-fashioned newspaper.
Since it’s likely that at least one of your new chicks won’t make it to chickenhood, it’s not a good idea to name them. It creates an emotional attachment too painful when the time comes to eat one, or when one falls victim to predators, which includes most of the Animal Kingdom. Let’s be honest, there aren’t many things that can’t kick a chicken’s butt.
Unfortunately, that’s the first thing my wife and daughter did when I brought the nine chicks home.
“Your turn, Daddy!” they cried. “You get to name three of them!”
“How about chick one, two and three?” I asked, looking to bail, but not wanting to curb their enthusiasm.
After almost three weeks in the sunroom it was time to move the nine chicks into the coop. They were making me gag and they were no longer as cute. They could also fly and my tennis racket container wasn’t large enough to keep them contained.
As it turns out, it was a brilliant move. The chicken coop is a great place to keep chickens, so long as the predators can’t get in at night and eat them. They had plenty of room and the heat lamps kept them warm through April. At least the eight that made it through April.
One day my wife (Happy Mother’s Day, honey!) was replacing the water and food feeders inside the coop when our Lab, Ben, darted in and grabbed one of the chickens by the neck, killing it instantly. I’m not sure which one it was because all the chickens look alike (except for the two Americanas) and I’m not the one who named them. All I know is that I got a text at work saying that something terrible had happened at home and that I should call right away.
This is a good time to pause. I know we live in a digital world, but it’s not a good idea to send a text like that. Some very bad thoughts raced through my head and none of them included a dead chicken. The list included wrecked cars, burned-down houses, an IRS audit, major water leak, or surprise family visit.
By the time I got home they’d already had the funeral for the chicken. She’s buried in the garden so the dogs can’t dig her up. Think compost on steroids.
I later learned that the best way to teach your dog not to kill your chickens is to tie a dead one around his neck and leave it there for a week or so. “He’ll never kill another chicken,” they promised.
That sounded logical to me. I can say with relative certainty that I’d never eat chicken again if they tied a dead one around my neck for a week. The same goes for a cow or pig.
The remaining eight chickens (we have since learned that one of them is a rooster) seem to be loving life in and out of the coop. I enjoy going out there in the mornings and evenings to check on them because they owe me some eggs after all this work and I want to make sure they stay safe and healthy.
And in an effort to somehow tie this chicken update into a sweet Mother’s Day message, all I can come up with is this: Raising chickens is much like raising children. You feed them, put a roof over their heads and, if you’re lucky, they don’t poop on your shoes when they grow up.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial: Plenty of reasons to pass Roseburg schools bond levyMay 12, 2013 —
Undoubtedly the biggest issue facing Douglas County voters in the May 21 election is the Roseburg School District’s five-year, $6 million bond levy.
Roseburg is the most populous school district in our county, and its high school is among the largest in the state.
Approximately half of our readers reside in the district and must decide how they will mark their ballots, if they haven’t done so already.
We urge a yes vote for the children who attend Roseburg schools, for the community and for our future.
We acknowledge there are serious issues with the Public Employees Retirement System taking away needed funds from the classroom. That’s a complex problem that must be corrected fairly at the state level.
It’s not a reason, however, to defeat the levy and put our students at a disadvantage.
We know that if the levy doesn’t pass, Rose Elementary School will close and nearly 350 elementary students will have to attend a different school next year. That alone is not a reason to vote “yes.” Those children will switch schools at least twice more before they graduate. They are resilient and will survive, if not thrive.
Voters should approve the levy:
• To allow for the purchase of new curriculum and textbooks. When there aren’t enough textbooks to go around, children who need extra time to learn and study can’t take them home. And when curriculum is outdated, students aren’t receiving the high-quality education they deserve.
• To provide updated computers and other technology for students. Effectively using computers is a must in today’s world, whether students are entering college or the work force upon graduation. We must give them the tools to succeed after leaving high school. District officials are also concerned that the existing computers are becoming too old to support the software necessary for students to take state-mandated tests required for graduation.
• To protect the investment taxpayers have already put into the school buildings. The district has clearly laid out a five-year plan of priorities for replacing and repairing roofs, floors, heating systems, a septic system and the like. Proper maintenance is the key to extending the life of the existing buildings, so this is a wise and necessary use of funds.
• To show students that this community believes in the value of education. We believe education can help families move out of poverty, live healthier lives and become inspired to give back to the community that supported them along the way.
The levy is a reasonable amount. Taxpayers would pay an estimated 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That amounts to about $5 per month for the average homeowner. And the request comes after the district has cut $10 million from its budget over the past five years.
Voters across the state are being asked to approve more expensive levies. It would be good to report on May 22 that Roseburg students were on the winning side of the results.
Letter: What are the odds on safety?May 10, 2013 —
What are the odds on safety?
Reading the Scientific American Mind magazine, I came across an article titled “Deranged and Dangerous?” The article stated sociologist Henry J. Steadman found about one in three of severely mentally ill patients with drug abuse problems engaged in one or more violent acts in the year after they left the hospital, whereas only one in five without drug issues were violent.
The article concluded that most severely mentally ill patients released were not dangerous.
By this reasoning, the old Russian roulette gun game sounds quite safe.
I believe there is something wrong with this picture, but not being a trained professional, I’m obviously not qualified to be judgmental.
Letter: Our Roseburg students deserve betterMay 10, 2013 —
Our students deserve better
Over the last couple months I’ve heard every excuse imaginable. The federal government taking away our O&C dollars is why we can’t fund our schools. It’s the school board’s fault that our Roseburg schools are in this mess. This predicament was caused by an inept administration. It’s the state’s fault we don’t have enough money for our schools. It’s the teachers’ union’s fault we don’t have enough money for curriculum, computers/technology and building maintenance. It’s the parents’ lack of involvement that is to blame for our schools failures.
Which one do you believe? Maybe it’s all of them. In my humble opinion, everyone needs to take a share of the blame, but no matter whom we blame, our students are paying the price.
One thing is certain, it is not our students’ fault their schools don’t have updated curriculum, current computers/technology and proper maintenance. Yet they are the ones receiving the substandard education.
We can blame a lot of people for a deteriorating school system, and many times we may be right, but pointing fingers does not fix the problem. All it does is shift the blame to someone else and leave our children holding the bag.
Stop listing the excuses and start coming up with solutions. This bond levy ensures Roseburg money goes to Roseburg schools for very specific purposes. Let’s give our kids the curriculum, computers/technology and safe schools they deserve with a “yes” vote on the May 21 bond levy. After we have given our kids the tools they need to succeed, we can decide whether we want to keep pointing fingers, or work together to fix the problem.
Letter: Re-elect Wes Melo to Fire District 2 in Douglas CountyMay 10, 2013 —
Re-elect Melo to Fire Dist. 2
Wes Melo has served Douglas County Fire District No. 2 as a volunteer firefighter, a budget committee member, and for the last four years, as a board member. Wes has spent much of his life volunteering in the fire service and has a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Wes also brings a lifetime of business experience to the board. His business career includes several management positions concluding with his recent retirement from Ingram Book as Vice President of Operations.
Wes has the knowledge, commitment and background Fire District 2 needs to continue to provide quality fire protection and emergency medical service to our citizens.
Please join me and re-elect Wes Melo.
Letter: Create a zone of respect in downtown RoseburgMay 10, 2013 —
Create respect, not separation
A recent police log entry in The News-Review included the arrest of a transient for stepping out into traffic. I saw two teenagers on their way to the mall committing this offence only yesterday. Time to call the police!
Come on, Roseburg, you are better than this.
A lot of the downtown merchants are concerned that the transient population is having a negative effect on their business, and there is talk of creating an “exclusion zone” in response to this.
Instead of a barrier, why not create a bridge? Maybe the city council members and the downtown merchants could try something really radical: the lost art of conversation.
Talk to these people that you want to “exclude.” Ask them if they would be willing to help you create a solution that works for everyone. Ask them how they are doing, how their day is going, if you could help them in return for them being willing to help you.
Instead of a zone of fear and separation, why not create one of mutual respect and goodwill? People aren’t a disease to be quarantined from. They are your fellow human beings.
Elizabeth Cosslett Myers
Letter: Candidate apathy doesn’t help Douglas County votersMay 10, 2013 —
Apathy won’t help our county
Voter apathy? How about candidate apathy?
Election day is just around the corner and I’ve received my ballot. When I opened it and realized there were no candidate statements enclosed, I called Douglas County Elections. They told me they no longer do that, but I could review the candidates’ submissions on their website. So, to be a better informed voter, off I went to www.co.douglas.or.us.
All I had to do was scan down to the individual races occurring in my area, click on the candidates and review their qualifications, education, and hopefully, a candidate’s statement.
Now keep in mind that on the candidates form, certain areas are marked “required.” That didn’t stop some candidates from just leaving a field, or in some instances, all of the required fields blank! No current employment, past employment or educational fields were filled in at all on some of them. Or how about “public employee, retired” as work experience? I mean, come on, were they the dog catcher or the county auditor?
Not only does this make it impossible to pick a qualified candidate for a position, but in essence, the candidates are thumbing their collective noses at the electorate saying, “I don’t have to fill out this stuff.”
Of course, it doesn’t make the choice any easier when they are the only candidate for a given position. We’ll be lucky to poll 25 percent of the registered voters in this election; we don’t need candidate apathy to contribute to the general malaise.