Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Editorial: Food stamp fraud case highlights need for reform

September 2, 2014 — 

From the Corvallis Gazette-Times

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Letter: Candidate Gary Leif has the skills to be a Douglas County Commissioner

September 2, 2014 — 

Leif will get the job done

Gary Leif tops the field of candidates for Douglas County Commissioner. His proven leadership has been the defining point for success on many of the boards, commissions and community projects he has served on during the last 30 years. He has been a successful business owner for 38 years and strives for his customers to have full satisfaction and excels at customer service.

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Letter: The office follows a president wherever he goes

September 2, 2014 — 

Presidents not far from the job

I read with a touch of amusement The News-Review publisher’s folksy, overlong critique of the President’s golfing in the face of our current crises. In fact, his is an argument that has been going on for as far back as there have been presidents. The opposite party has screamed about Eisenhower’s golfing, Reagan’s brush clearing, Bush II’s golfing, (there is a news clip of Bush looking earnest while declaiming in his inimitable style on terrorism, and then saying we should watch his golf swing.)

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Letter: Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center upper management has not shown good leadership traits

September 2, 2014 — 

Leaders care for their troops

The News Review’s recent editorial on VA upper management bonuses was revealing and forthright, calling for an end to so-called performance awards. Bonuses should be given to those who deserve them: the employees who do the work!

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Publisher’s Notebook: If you have to fight cancer, Roseburg is the place to do it

August 31, 2014 — 

As a member of the Umpqua Community College Foundation and Roseburg Community Cancer Center boards, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy talking about health care.

And those thoughts and discussions don’t end when I get home at night.

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Editorial: Umpqua Community College and our community’s health needs your contribution

August 31, 2014 — 

While it’s unlikely that Douglas County’s timber industry will ever return to its “glory days,” the Ford Family Foundation once again reminded us how that industry continues to influence our quality of life.

With a mission dedicated to “successful citizens and vital rural communities,” the Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation last week pledged $1.5 million to Umpqua Community College to build a $17 million Health, Nursing and Science Center.

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Letter: We could do a lot in Oregon with $26 million: pay 520 teachers or perform 175 elective surgeries

August 29, 2014 — 

Prioritize use of Oregon money

The Oregon Medicaid program, better known as the Oregon Health Plan, recently decided that Oregon taxpayers should spend more than $26 million a year to try to change people’s genders. This is an outrage! The Aug. 15 article downplayed just how much money would be spent on this elective procedure when it phrased it as $150,000 each for 175 Medicaid patients.

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Letter: Riddle juror saw no remorse in convicted killer, Jesse Fanus

August 29, 2014 — 

Death row time fits the crime

This letter is in response to the lawsuit of convicted killer and death row inmate Jesse Fanus.

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Letter: Is Canyonville city councilor a liability?

August 29, 2014 — 

Canyonville liability?

On July 21 during the regularly scheduled Canyonville City Council meeting, one of the elected counselors, Buddy Kovachy, became so enraged with the testimony and comments of a local resident that Kovachy shoved his way through the crowd, into the parking lot, and needed to be physically restrained from doing bodily harm to the individual who had just provided public input on a Pioneer Day issue.

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Editorial: Roses & thorns

August 29, 2014 — 

ROSE

Farewell and thank you

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Letter: International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31

August 28, 2014 — 

Informed about overdose issues

I just became aware that August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. My son-in-law’s 20-year-old son died of a heroin overdose three years ago. Evidently most overdose deaths happen to heroin addicts, with prescription drug addicts coming in a distant second.

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Letter: Roseburg’s Music on the Half Shell needs better seating control

August 27, 2014 — 

Leave space for others, too

Before I go any further into this letter, let me emphasize that I think the Music on the Half Shell is an awesome event. What I have an objection to is allowing people to save their area with blankets.

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Letter: Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center needs a director whose first concern is to serve the veterans

August 27, 2014 — 

Call to remove Dir. Bogedain

The Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center has had different directors over the years, but Carol Bogedain is one of a kind. She has her own agenda and it is all about her. There’s no room in her world for the veterans she is supposed to serve.

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Letter: Roseburg Marine Corps veteran speaks up for local VA service, offers suggestion to fill staffing shortages

August 26, 2014 — 

Find solutions instead of fault

Although I try as a standard practice to comment on positive performance as often as on negative performance, I’ve been remiss with respect to the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. An August 10 letter to the editor was a reminder.

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Letter: Term limits for Douglas County Commissioners?

August 25, 2014 — 

Don’t waste experience

Why do we need term limits? If the candidates aren’t doing a good enough job to suit the people in their district, don’t vote for them again. They can be impeached.

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Letter: Tell Senator Wyden our tax code should treat all sectors of the economy fairly

August 25, 2014 — 

It’s time for tax reform

Articles have appeared recently suggesting that President Obama may take steps to stop U.S. companies from moving their operations overseas, a practice known as corporate inversions. I think the Administration is losing sight of the bigger picture: the need for comprehensive tax reform.

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Letter: Candidate Gary Leif shows qualities needed for Douglas County Commissioner

August 25, 2014 — 

Endorsing Leif for our county

While I was at the fair, I noticed that only one candidate running for Douglas County Commissioner Position 3 had his own informational booth. I am not familiar with any of the people running for commissioner and was surprised that all the candidates did not have their own space, so I stopped at that one booth. The candidate’s name is Gary Leif and he is a long-time business owner in the county.

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Publisher’s Notebook: It’s time to put leadership before your golf game, Commander in Chief

August 24, 2014 — 

Journalists are being beheaded by religious primitives, 18,000 Russian soldiers are ready to march on Ukraine, Hamas is lobbing rockets on Israel, immigrants are pouring across our southern borders, an American city is under what appears to be martial law and our commander in chief is playing golf — lots and lots of golf.

For the record, I enjoy a good golf game. I haven’t actually played a good golf game in years, but I do enjoy getting out on the course and whacking that little dimpled ball everywhere but the fairway.

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Editorial: Bonuses for VA executives must come to an end

August 24, 2014 — 

Bonuses for senior executives in the Department of Veterans Affairs should end forever, not just for 2014.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The News-Review learned that top administrators at the Roseburg VA Medical Center reaped more than $80,000 in bonuses over the past five years. It’s possible the figures are even higher. We asked for the amount awarded in bonuses. The VA responded that it doesn’t give bonuses, but rather “performance awards,” but the federal agency provided those figures.

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Letter: Senior animals in Douglas County need homes, too

August 22, 2014 — 

Lucky family and lucky dog

It’s difficult to view the sad faces of helpless animals turned in daily to Saving Grace, but it seems the partnership of Saving Grace and The News-Review gives them hope.

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Letter: First Lady’s efforts to establish portion control program may have unexpected consequences

August 22, 2014 — 

Fixing obesity, or feeding it?

Our first lady has asked our food industry to help stop the horrible plague of obesity and it promised to help, using portion control.

I was somewhat curious as to how that would work, having grown up in a large family where everything was purchased in the large economy size. Now I have seen how it works.

I usually purchase white chicken meat; a 12-ounce can would make me three meals at $2.49 per can. A few months ago, I noticed the can had dropped to a 10-ounce size for the same price, so I figured it was a small price to pay to be as skinny as Michelle Obama.

Recently at the local supermarket, I noticed the price had dropped to $2.45 per can — hooray! Sadly, the can is now only 5 ounces, so mostly can, not food. For those of you on a limited budget, I recommend McDonald’s Value Meals. Thanks, Michelle.

Terry Stafford

Riddle

Guest column: Help your child avoid illegal drugs, alcohol

August 22, 2014 — 

Soon, school bells will be ringing. As parents, we can help our children learn successfully by setting aside time for homework and providing time for the family to get together.

We should also consider ways to support our children when they are exposed to peer pressure and temptations. Some of those stresses increase when they return to school.

Parents may worry about their children’s safety. They worry with good reason:

Alcohol is the leading drug problem of today’s youth. It kills more young people than cocaine, heroin, and every other illegal drug combined, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It has been estimated that over 3 million teenagers are out-and-out alcoholics. Several million more have a serious drinking problem that they cannot manage on their own. The sooner they begin drinking, the more likely they are to have a dependence on alcohol.

Half of high school students have tried marijuana by the time they graduate, according to Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Methamphetamines and steroids are tempting to youth who want to escape stress, be part of the crowd or improve their sports performance.

It’s reassuring to know that parents can combat these scary facts. How? By avoiding denial or panic.

Support your child. It’s likely that your child will go to parties and that one or two could get out of hand. Provide an agreed-upon code word that, if used in a call or text from them to you, will result in a message from you about a “family emergency” that requires them to come home immediately. Certainly, you’ll want to learn more about your child’s lapse in judgment; however, the immediate goal is to be a reliable resource.

Consequences are part of consistency; just be sure they are reasonable and help your child learn.

Be tough but fair. Make your expectations clear and do not accept excuses. At the same time, control your emotions so you don’t react in a way that encourages your child to lie. For example, lecturing and browbeating won’t make them want to talk to you. Ask your children open-ended questions that require more than “yes” or “no” answers. Try to be an active listener.

Tell them the truth about drugs and alcohol — that substances can create an altered world and, at first, it can seem fun and feel good.

Be sure to add that the many problems and potential consequences of drinking and using are not worth the temporary pleasure. Children tend not to believe they could harm themselves by using steroids or that they might become addicted to a substance. Cut through the disbelief by saying that you are going to watch out for their best interests.

Explain that you will be alert for signs and symptoms of use and abuse. You may be accused of not trusting your child; your parental job, though, is to verify in addition to trusting.

Even if you have experimented with drugs, your role is to tell your children that you made a mistake and you want better for them.

Ultimately, the goal is to help your children learn to cope with life’s stresses without artificial assistance.

As children get older, they still need their parents to be involved in their lives. A teenager may protest, but parental consistency is part of what helps the child move safely and smartly through those years.

Working to counter peer pressure and temptations lets the child concentrate on school work and activities. It’s a gift parents can give their children — and themselves.

Randy Anderson is the manager of Serenity Lane’s Roseburg facility. Serenity Lane is a private, not-for-profit treatment center for alcohol and other drug dependences. More resources and tips are at www.serenitylane.org/blog.

Editorial: Roses & thorns

August 22, 2014 — 

ROSE

Let’s have a cheer

Congratulations to Taylor Krussow of Douglas High School in Winston for earning All-American status at a National Cheerleaders Association camp in July at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Winning the honor shows the talent the 16-year-old possesses. Cheerleading is no longer an activity relegated to pumping up a crowd and getting it to echo familiar chants. It requires some acrobatics, along with a sunny personality and strong voice.

Krussow had to stand out among her peers to get recognized at camp.

Now she’d like to see a dream come true: to cheer in a parade at Disney World. She’d hoped to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but registration is already full.

If you’d like to see this hard-working varsity squad captain make her trip, watch for her fundraising events, which include a can drive and raffle, or donate through www.gofundme.com/cfru7c.

THORN

Stupid stunt

We would hope the Roseburg Police Department is well on its way to tracking down the person who phoned and said there was a bomb at Mercy Medical Center Monday morning — a threat that proved to be false.

Prosecuting this perpetrator is as important as most crimes the department is investigating.

It cannot appear to those with criminal tendencies, or even those who are simply mischievous, that such a stunt is easy to pull off.

The hospital had to go into lockdown for two hours and increase security throughout the building. Visitor access to the hospital was limited to the north entrance for more than 24 hours.

While the hospital reported patient care was unimpeded, the incident stirred plenty of worries. In this era of instant communication, plenty of people learned of the bomb threat immediately.

Family members of patients and employees were concerned about their loved ones’ well-being. Uneasiness heightened during the lockdown.

To the perpetrator, we say, “get a life.” No one was amused by your stunt and you won’t think it’s so funny when you’re arrested and convicted.

ROSE

Ag brag rights

Fruits and veggies harvested from the Paw Patch won’t be filling students’ plates in the Glide Elementary School next year. Still, produce from the school garden will be showing up for the first time in the cafeteria, come the fall term that’s right around the corner.

That’s just one of the Paw Patch perks germinating this growing season. Thanks to organizers who secured a grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe, the garden now has a paid part-time assistant who is able to coordinate volunteers and oversee its website. Substitute teacher Kelli Long, who grew up on a farm and studied agriculture in college, will receive $5,000 to complete those tasks.

We’ve written many times of the value of introducing young children and their families to hands-on lessons about the fundamentals of food. Anybody exposed to garden culture is going to come away with an appreciation for not only the origins of what we eat but also the benefits of soil therapy. Maybe it’s a small step, but it’s an important one toward boosting the health of Douglas County adults and kids.

Letter: Wilderness exhibits in Roseburg mark golden anniversary of passing of the Wilderness Act

August 21, 2014 — 

Celebration of our wilderness

2014 marks the 50th year since Congress enacted the Wilderness Act. Some of the grandest landscapes of America were given protection so future generations of Americans could experience them. Cities and countryside alike, Americans across the nation are celebrating this golden anniversary. Here in our precious Umpqua, there have been events in honor of the Wilderness Act. Coming up are two exhibits of artwork that focus on wilderness.

The first exhibit will be open Sept. 3 to Nov. 5 at the Douglas County Museum and is titled “Wild Impressions: Art on the Legacy of Wilderness.” Seven artists have produced works of art inspired from wilderness areas in the Pacific Northwest.

The second is a state-wide traveling exhibit, “Art of the Wild Exhibition,” It will be open at the Umpqua Valley Arts Association from Oct. 31 through Dec. 19.

Events celebrating the Wilderness Act provide attendees an opportunity to learn about the act. Water quality and quantity is the highest in areas that have wilderness. Fisheries thrive, and wilderness provides some of the highest quality wildlife habitat.

But for all these important reasons, the main reason a wilderness bill was enacted in 1964 was for humanity — to bring these landscape areas unmolested by human exploitation and impact, into the future for generations to enjoy and experience.

Susan Applegate

Yoncalla

Letter: Give veterans an insurance card redeemable at any health care facility

August 20, 2014 — 

Money won’t fix our VA system

I worked as a registered nurse at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center for 28 years. I worked long term care, acute care, the Intensive Care Unit, ambulatory care and home telehealth.

More money for the VA won’t fix the culture aptly described as toxic. Roseburg has lost many competent doctors, surgeons, nurse practitioners and therapists. They don’t leave because it’s a small town. They leave the Roseburg VA due to frustration with a system that places administration above, and in the way, of providing health care.

When a veteran retires or is discharged from active duty, give them an insurance card redeemable at any medical facility or health care practitioner they want to see.

For veterans, the ‘90s were the best years to receive care at the Roseburg VA. It was a great environment, with an ICU that cared for acutely ill veterans with unstable coronary syndrome, sepsis, respiratory distress and stroke. The surgical service provided state of the art care for major and minor operative procedures. Mental health and long term care helped more veterans and families than I can begin to describe.

If your medical/surgical floor averages less than 10 patients, you don’t have a medical/surgical floor. If you don’t have an ICU, you don’t have a medical center or a hospital. If you have to call 911 to send a veteran suffering respiratory failure to Mercy Medical Center and you’re making that call from the Emergency Department at the Roseburg VA, what’s wrong with this picture?

Rocky Stevenson

Roseburg

Letter: Douglas County Commissioners’ closure of county health departments handled poorly

August 19, 2014 — 

Proxy message lacked respect

I’ve been employed by the Douglas County Health Department for 11 years.

The decision of the county commissioners to relieve themselves of Mental Health and Public Health was a shock to everyone. Employees were not consulted or met with to be a part of it.

That is just one part of their insensitive approach to this whole mess. The other part is that like cowards, they did not offer to meet with the employees of the health department to announce their plan. They couldn’t at least meet with us as a group to tell us in person? They couldn’t be here to empathize with our job losses?

Instead, we were told by an administrative assistant, who went office to office during our workday to let us know. This “informer” had no more information than “We are to be out of here by Oct. 1st.” That’s how these so-called public representatives, our county commissioners, chose to break the news to employees? It’s not only absurd, but it’s heartless, cold and lacks total dignity and respect for those of us who are public servants every day at work.

The weeks following that announcement have been chaotic and even our supervisors are still being kept in the dark. Other than receiving our “pink slips,” as of the date of this writing, our supervisors are still saying, “We don’t know anything.”

As county employees, we’re supposed to be diverse, treat all with respect, no matter their walk of life, etc. Then the commissioners inform us by having someone run around and tell us that we’re done on Sept. 30th? The way this was handled was so unprofessional and disrespectful. But why should the county commissioners care? They’re still going to be on the payroll after Oct. 1st.

Sharon Wright

Glide

Letter: Perspective on Obama’s platform

August 18, 2014 — 

Hope, Change: they’re a Croc

Obama unloosed a pair of evil crocodiles with the contrived names of Hope and Change. The final outcome of this deception will be his demise —eat him they will!

Sherm Talbot

Elkton

Letter: Douglas County Commissioners shouldn’t rush to transfer our public health services

August 18, 2014 — 

Reconsider the health services

While I was happy to finally see an article in The News-Review regarding the transfer of public health services to the state, I was distressed to read that neither the county nor the state has a plan in place. In fact, I question the necessity of this transfer until further facts are known.

When the Resolution was passed on June 11, Commissioner Morgan stated the transfer would result in better health outcomes for Douglas County citizens. She referred to Senate Bill 1580, which created Community Care Organizations throughout the state. The CCO in Douglas County is the Umpqua Health Alliance. I disagree with Commissioner Morgan that the goals of the CCOs are consistent with the goals of Douglas County Public Health.

As stated on the website, the goal of the Umpqua Health Alliance is “to improve health care and make it more affordable for the population being served through the Oregon Health Plan.” The goals of Douglas County Public Health are much broader and affect all Douglas County citizens (control of preventable diseases, communicable disease investigations, tuberculosis case management, tobacco prevention and education, immunizations, and many more).

I was also surprised to see no mention of the State Task Force on the Future of Public Health Services, which has been meeting for the past several months to discuss the future of public health services in Oregon. One of the goals of this task force is to make recommendations to: “allow for appropriate partnerships with regional health care service providers and community organizations,” which seems to be one of Commissioner Morgan’s goals.

I have no idea why October 1 was chosen to complete this transfer, but it seems prudent for the commissioners to take a step back, review the recommendations of the task force and delay the transfer.

Regina Galleher

Sutherlin

Letter: Despite Obama, America is the place to be

August 18, 2014 — 

Current policies creating chaos

The president, in my opinion, has committed a traitorous act. By his actions, he is allowing access on our southern border by all comers, including terrorists, drug dealers, gang members, and countless unsponsored men, women and children.

His foreign policy is just as anti-American, by allowing Iran ample time to successfully build an atomic bomb that would put every country, including ours, at the risk of total annihilation.

Along with his misrepresentations pertaining to the Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, Benghazi and ObamaCare, impeaching Obama is really not enough punishment for the chaos he has caused.

But in spite of Obama, I still believe America is the best example of people exercising God’s living rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Raymond A. Cota

Canyonville

Publisher’s Notebook: So, there was this time I was at the Denver airport ...

August 17, 2014 — 

As agents for the Transportation Security Administration were profiling me last week at the Denver Airport — which appears to be staffed, incidentally, by the Taliban — I thought a bit about how far we’ve come since 9/11.

“Are we safer today than we were that September day in 2001, when 19 lunatics changed airport travel forever?”

I don’t think so.

The good news is that if you are old and bald you no longer have to take your shoes and belt off in the security line. The last several times I’ve flown my boarding pass has been stamped with “TSA Pre,” which is a special line for people with money and old people with or without money.

“This is pretty cool,” I told the guy in front of me the first time I was directed to the TSA Pre line. “This must be my lucky day.”

“Don’t get too excited,” the guy said. “They picked you because you are old.”

“Oh,” I said, not feeling so special after all.

I’ve traveled several times since then and have been “randomly” selected for TSA Pre each time.

I’m not complaining, mind you. It takes me an hour to take my shoes and belt off and on and I’m not the guy you want to be behind if you are late for your flight.

I used to require three or four of those plastic containers they slide through the X-ray machine; one for my laptop, one for my belt and shoes, and one for all the stuff in my pockets and my watch.

And even then I set off the alarms.

For the last two years I’ve flown out of Eugene and mostly to Denver. My flights generally leave at 5:45 in the morning, which means I leave my house at 2:30, which means it’s generally an all-nighter.

Senior citizens are not as good at all-nighters as we used to be. It takes about a year to recover and maybe two years if there is a time zone change involved.

The return flight from Denver has usually been the last plane to land that night and it’s 1:30 or 2 in the morning by the time I climb into my Roseburg bed.

It could be just bad luck, but my flights on United Airlines have most always been late, or canceled altogether.

And they really don’t seem too worried about that, from the sound of their top-notch customer service people.

“Do you know when the plane will be leaving?”

“It all depends.”

“On what?”

“On whether it’s able to leave.”

“What about my connecting flight out of San Francisco?”

“It left.”

“So how do I get to Denver?”

“Beats me.”

Before I forget, here’s a tip. United charges you $25 to check a bag, but if you try to just bring it on the plane they will tag it and store it for free.

Kind of like the difference between coming to the U.S. legally and illegally. It doesn’t pay to do the right thing anymore.

Last week I got to the Denver Airport at 4:30, in plenty of time to catch the 6:30 flight back, with a stop in San Francisco.

I tried to check in through a kiosk, but it said there was no record of my flight, so I waited for the United Airlines representative.

“Looks like that flight was canceled and that we have you on the 10 p.m. flight to Eugene instead,” she smiled.

“Yeah, but it’s only 4:30,” I told her, turning my watch so she could see for herself.

“I know,” she said, doing her best sad-face impersonation. “But here’s a food voucher.”

I was able to breeze through the security checkpoint with my randomly selected TSA Pre boarding pass and headed for the bar.

Then I noticed that the food voucher was for $7.

If you’ve ever been to an airport you know there isn’t much you can buy for $7 and certainly nothing that resembles food.

My “double” vodka and orange juice cost $13 and the food voucher was no good at the bar, so I used it to buy some small fries at the McDonald’s stand.

I sat with my fries at the end of the terminal (Gate 80 is located down where they transport farm animals and research monkeys) and watched people.

Airports are great for people watching and I happened to be sitting where the airport employees gather to complain about their bosses and passengers.

It could just be a Denver thing, but most of the employees weren’t speaking English. I could just have easily been sitting at an airport in Bangladesh or maybe Libya.

The ethnic contrast between the Denver passengers and Denver Airport workforce could not have been more pronounced. An older, Caucasian American would certainly stand out at an employee barbecue.

They may not be profiling passengers, but they sure as hell seem to be profiling employees.

Some point to the fact that we haven’t had another hijacking since 9/11 as evidence that our airport security efforts are working.

I suspect it’s more a matter of would-be terrorists moving on to other devious measures. It seems to be easier to get a job at an airport than to actually get through one, so the next major incident will likely involve three Taliban wheelchair transporters who hate America as much as they hate their boss.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or jackerman@nrtoday.com.

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