Opinion, Analysis, Discussion
I believe in hand-ups, not handouts. “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” as a Chinese proverb goes.
A few years ago a buddy and I went to San Francisco for the weekend. I was pretty much raised there, but anyone who has visited that City by the Bay in the last few years will tell you it has become a city of beggars and bums (and, yes, there is a difference between a bum and someone who lost his home and is on the streets). You can’t walk 10 feet without someone hitting you up for money.Learn more »
Umpqua Watersheds should be applauded for withdrawing its appeal to the Loafer timber sale in the Diamond Lake District of the Umpqua National Forest.
The move by the Roseburg-based conservation group backs up its claim that it’s not opposed to all timber harvests. It would be helpful if Umpqua Watersheds had some pull with Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, because those two groups have filed a lawsuit against the forest over the sale.Learn more »
Call for aid to the Philippines
The destruction and suffering caused by the typhoon in the Philippines has touched the hearts of many around the world. In this spirit, on behalf of myself and seven other board members of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition, I urge those in our community to donate to the charity of their choice to help the victims of this tragedy. Each individual board member has committed to doing so. While we recognize it is difficult to tie any one weather event to global warming, we understand that climate change will only increase the intensity and destructive power of these storms. Please consider helping those in the Philippines who are struggling to survive and build their lives anew.Learn more »
Remember Measure 39
There are many reasons I oppose the Pacific Connector Pipeline project. None is more obvious than that it would allow the government taking of private lands for the interest of a private entity. We as a nation would be asking our neighbors to have their property taken and bisected and given for the profit of a private corporation.Learn more »
Support your local library
I was lucky enough to have dinner with three of my favorite writers recently—Ivan Doig, Jane Kirkpatrick, and Barry Lopez. I should mention that it was not just the four of us, as there were about 300 other people dining at this Portland book event.Learn more »
Plan budget to include charity
The News-Review’s Nov. 24 Douglas County Moms column on budgeting by Marla Smart was very timely and inspiring. However, there were a couple of items missing and they are: “giving to church” and “charity.”Learn more »
Forester’s view of park issue
“To ignore the wealth of renewable natural riches and opportunities in our own backyard is to deny the cornerstone of Douglas County’s past and the entrepreneurs who built it. To reject real, active forest management for the benefit of all is to deny the citizens of Douglas County the bright future which they have the right to pursue.” — Debbie Fromdahl, president of Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, The News-Review Chamber Corner, Nov. 18.Learn more »
Not surprisingly, one of the state’s most active conservation groups, Oregon Wild, strongly opposes U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s Western Oregon timber plan.
While the senator was panned by a good share of the timber industry as too vague and too timid, Oregon Wild recoiled at Wyden agreeing that logging on federal forests should be increased.Learn more »
What does the future hold?
History will record that President Obama and the Democratic party were willing to risk wrecking our country to enable their mandatory socialist scam, ObamaCare. The media reports blamed the Republicans and other parties because they would not risk our system of government, the one they had promised to serve and protect.Learn more »
Halloween is not for them
I really admire the sophomore teen from the Oct. 28 “Truth of Youth” panel who gave her feelings on Halloween celebrations. I, too, did some research and found her comments to be accurate and credible. In my search, I found that Halloween has horrible roots. It has pagan origins and is deeply rooted in ancestor and Satanic worship, witchcraft, and supposedly, contacting spirits of the dead.Learn more »
The Butterfly Effect is a metaphor, which, loosely translated, means the existence of seemingly insignificant moments can alter history and shape destinies. Initially unrecognized, these moments create connections of cause and effect that in retrospect have clearly changed the course of a human life or triggered a momentous event to occur.
In terms of the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline and Jordon Cove energy project, any decision by the Douglas County Planning Commission to allow the export of natural gas has the potential to devastatingly alter the lives of Douglas County residents, harm our country’s natural resources, and damage our fragile indigenous environment. Granting a Canadian corporation permission to export natural gas to other foreign and competing interests may be perceived as seemingly insignificant. However, it has the very real potential to detrimentally affect the global economic future of the United States in unimaginable ways over the long term.Learn more »
Statistics fly thick and fast at every point on the calendar, picking up speed as an old year wanes and a new one draws nearer. Plenty of them are a source of outrage or chagrin. One that surfaced last week ought to make everybody sit up and ask one question: How could this happen?
The information in question came from a report released Nov. 21 — exactly a week before Thanksgiving — by the Oregon Department of Education. State officials say that about 300 Douglas County students were homeless at some point during the 2012-13 school year. Statewide, that number is 18,165.Learn more »
In its 21st year, the Festival of Lights may be one of our area’s finest achievements.
What began with a $150,000 loan by the Rotary Club of Roseburg has become one of the most spectacular Christmas light displays in the West, featuring more than 500,000 bulbs on nearly 100 eye-popping displays.Learn more »
Disagreement without hatred
My heart aches when I see all the nasty, hateful letters regarding President Obama and ObamaCare. There are bound to be glitches when everything is changing for millions of people. It takes time to get all the details to work right. We need to be patient. President Obama didn’t “lie.” Something unexpected was bound to happen, which he couldn’t foresee.Learn more »
A community is compassionate
As I listened to the comments by the City Council and the mayor of Roseburg, I was horrified and discouraged to have them represent our town. This is not what a community is about and to have the audacity to call upon the homeless as “not desperate enough” to have expensive tents is beyond reprehensible. All of this stems from just requesting support for a safe, drug- and alcohol-free space for a few people to sleep over the winter? This is a very meager request to help give a little stability and safety for someone.Learn more »
Obama agenda questioned
Is the most powerful man on earth incompetent or a liar? President Obama recently claimed he was unaware that the website for his signature health care law was not ready for rollout. This is the most important accomplishment of his administration. Yet he had no idea of the condition of the key component before its debut? Is he inept or lying?Learn more »
Freeman for commissioner
Thanksgiving is a great time to pause and express gratitude to those we love or who have impacted our lives. Sometimes though, there are people who are overlooked. We want to take a moment to express our thanks to someone who works hard for our community — State Rep. Tim Freeman.Learn more »
Restore public access to info
Less than a week after tax bills were sent out to Douglas County property owners — many of which had grossly inflated values — County Assessor Susan Acree ordered the public access terminals to be removed from the assessor’s office after being available for more than 10 years. Acree ordered the removal of the two public access terminals to allegedly ease congestion in the hallway. There were no visitors in the office except myself.Learn more »
Local church is not a cult
Because the Umpqua Unitarian Universalist Church had a psychic fair at the church near Halloween, some folks think we’re a cult. The 3U Church has served the liberal community in Douglas County since 1957.Learn more »
Editorial: Long-awaited Wyden timber plan disappointingDecember 1, 2013 —
The long-awaited forest management plan has arrived from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
It’s too bad it’s taken almost the entire year since Wyden became chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee before producing a bill, because it doesn’t look favorable for Douglas County. And there’s little time left to reconcile the bill with similar House-passed legislation before Wyden is expected to move on to the Senate Finance Committee next year.
While the Oregon & California Land Grant Act of 2013, introduced two days before Thanksgiving, still needs extensive analysis, Wyden repeated enough sound bites to make us leery.
Wyden emphasized that he introduced a “jobs bill” that would create good-paying jobs and provide certainty for the timber industry, county government, employers and families in the 18 Western Oregon counties that would be affected by the legislation.
But if we use the timber industry’s estimator for the number of jobs created per million board feet of timber cut, we find “doubling the harvest” would add just 92 jobs annually per county.
It’s difficult to imagine that 92 jobs in Douglas County’s woods and mills — where wages and benefits have declined over the years — are going to “offer an alternative to the grinding unemployment that has hit Oregon so hard,” as Wyden said. We realize there’s a multiplier effect and some jobs are better than none. But if Wyden isn’t going to aim higher for Oregon, who else in the Senate will?
Wyden’s bill calls for an average timber harvest of 300 million to 350 million board feet annually on O&C lands. That’s a disappointment in comparison to the House bill that targets 500 million board feet off lands that produce 1.2 billion board feet yearly.
It would also create intense competition among Oregon’s smaller mills that rely on federal timber, likely forcing some out of business.
And it remains unclear how Wyden’s bill would lead to that level of harvest while relying on the “ecological forestry” approach that is only now being tested in pilot projects — and one of those sales near Myrtle Creek has been appealed and is occupied by tree sitters.
Wyden’s bill also falls short of providing adequate funding for crucial county services such as public safety, health and veterans services.
Instead, Wyden eventually plans to introduce a new safety net — legislation addressing compensation for all natural-resource-dependent counties nationwide that have large tracts of federal lands within their borders.
To limit appeals on individual timber sales, Wyden proposes a single environmental impact statement that would govern forest management for 10 years, unless something exceptional occurs. We expect an exception will arise, further reducing the likelihood of certainty with this plan.
We realize Wyden’s goal was to introduce legislation that could pass the Senate. We had hoped it would provide more glimpses to prosperity for Douglas County residents.
Publisher’s Notebook: No where to hide, food will find you this time of yearDecember 1, 2013 —
Editor’s Note: The bottom of this column was inadvertently cut off when it was originally posted to the website on Dec. 1. It’s now available in its entirety.
There is good and bad news on the fat front … or fat back, depending on where your holiday food eventually settles.
Researchers have learned that we will gain an average of a little more than a pound this week, which is far better than the 5 pounds of weight some had assumed Americans would average during the holiday week.
When last we “spoke,” The Ackerman Clan was preparing a Thanksgiving feast, and I’m happy to report that it went according to plan. We spent most of the day preparing the meal and maybe an hour eating it.
And while we were preparing the feast, we snacked.
I assume most of you had the same experience, which is where the average pound of fat comes from.
The other bit of bad news is that we’ll gain 500 percent more weight this week than what we’ll average in the remaining 51 weeks. Unfortunately, unless we lose weight during at least one of those 51 weeks, we’ll gain a pound a year the rest of our lives.
I know, most of us will have a week where we’ll lose at least a pound, even if we don’t go to the gym.
It’s called the flu, and it’s not the best weight-loss program in the world because, well, you could die.
It’s tough to avoid food this time of year. Enablers surround us, trying to shove food down our throats every time we turn around.
If I got locked inside The News-Review building I could survive for at least a month on the cookies, pie, chicken and doughnuts scattered throughout the building. And that doesn’t even include the stuff in the snack machines and refrigerator.
Someone once said temptation resisted is the truest sign of character. If that’s true, I’m in trouble. I can’t resist a snack. If there is a cookie or tortilla chip lying around, there’s a great chance it’s going in my mouth.
I run a few miles on the treadmill three or four times a week, but I may as well run with a feedbag attached to my head, for all the good it does. I get home from the gym and go straight to the cookie or chip cabinet. It’s an automated response similar to one of Pavlov’s dogs.
I blame daylight saving time for some of the problems. As soon as it gets dark at 5, all I want to do after work is go home and eat.
And it doesn’t help that I surround myself with people who like snacks just as much as I do. It’s kind of like a crack addict who keeps going to a crack house and wonders why he can’t kick the habit.
“Hi, my name is Jeff and I love Oreos.”
“Hi, Jeff! We love Oreos, too! Welcome!”
Many of the same researchers who determined that we “only” gain an average of a pound this week also debunked the notion that turkey makes us sleepy.
As you probably know by now, turkey meat includes what is called tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps create serotonin, a brain chemical that can create a feeling of well-being and that the body can subsequently convert into melatonin, a brain chemical that regulates sleep cycles.
But in order for the turkey meat to actually make you sleepy, you’d have had to eat it on an empty stomach, according to researchers. And most of us probably don’t do that.
What really makes us sleepy on Thanksgiving is the booze and desserts. It’s kind of like going to Mexico on vacation, drinking 10 shots of tequila and then blaming the water for your bellyache the next morning.
“I’m feeling a little tired,” says Uncle Bill, crushing the last of six beer cans he’s consumed over the previous two hours.
“Must be the tryptophan in the turkey,” says Aunt Martha, while the rest of the table solemnly nods in agreement.
“Damned tryptophan,” says Uncle Bill. “Think I’ll go take a nap on the couch.”
“I told him to slow down on the turkey,” Aunt Martha says, picking up the beer cans.
As we know, this is just the beginning. There’s a long way to go between now and New Year’s Day and thousands of cookies in between.
I’m looking straight in the eyes of a pound a week for the next four to five weeks unless I learn a little self-discipline.
Let’s give it a shot.
“Would you like a cookie?”
“You sure? Just one?”
“No, really. I’m good.”
“Come on! Just have one. My wife made them by hand!”
“OK. Just one then.”
See? Easier said than done. I just don’t see any way around it. I’ll just have to suck it up (every crumb) and work it off when this holiday season blows over.
Crank up the treadmill and lock the kitchen cabinet doors. Daddy is on his way home.
• Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or email@example.com.
Letter: Roseburg area homeless issues get statewide news coverageNovember 29, 2013 —
Homelessness hits the news
The Roseburg City Council’s hostility to creating a safe, legal camp space for those without housing has made news across the state, appearing in newspapers in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, Ashland, Astoria, and Klamath Falls, among other places. The news has even crossed state borders, having been reported in newspapers in Washington, California, and Indiana.
Critics regularly suggest that offering even meager services to those in need will attract homeless individuals to our community, as if a reputation for kindness and generosity were something to be feared. In fact, just the opposite is happening. The City Council has acted in such a way so as to give our community a reputation for being mean-spirited and cold-hearted. Our refusal to help our neighbors is what people are reading about us.
A small handful of people on the City Council have burdened and embarrassed our community by sending out this negative image of who we are. I know for a fact that residents of Roseburg are kinder than what current headlines across the state suggest.
I have worked alongside many people who have been incredibly generous with their time, their money, and in countless other ways to make sure that our homeless friends and neighbors can simply survive.
I hope residents of other communities do not judge us by the actions of our elected officials.
I hope that homeless advocates who have made repeated appeals to politicians use this experience to better discern who is and isn’t on their side.
Editorial: Roses & thornsNovember 29, 2013 —
Adobo and pancit and platters of lumpia. These were a few of the favorite things found Sunday at the Roseburg YMCA at a dinner prepared by the Douglas County Filipino-American Association. The dishes no doubt were tasty, accompanied by jasmine rice and several desserts. There just weren’t enough of them.
Association members were ready for 250 diners at the meal that served as a fundraiser for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which walloped the Philippines earlier this month. More than 300 people dropped by, however, pocketbooks poised to fork over $8 per plate.
It’s too bad that so many were not able to dig into a full meal as they’d hoped. Still, it’s heartening to know that so many Douglas County residents were willing to expand their culinary horizons in an effort to bring relief to those who are suffering overseas. Association members said they planned to send the proceeds to the Catholic parish in the Tacloban region, one of those taking the brunt of the mega-storm.
“We did not expect so much support,” said Icel Lohbeck, whose village on the island of Leyte has been awash with evacuees.
Thanks to all who brought good will to the table.
Center of warmth
When the nights get cold, the Douglas County Housing and Homeless Coalition steps up with food and a warm place to sleep for the people who are tops on its priority list.
The coalition has arranged with Faith Lutheran Church of Roseburg to open a warming shelter on the coldest nights of the year. When Roseburg reached near-record colds last week, the coalition went into high gear to ensure some measure of comfort for homeless people.
The coalition served lasagna and green beans on its opening night, a welcoming meal for the 18 people who warmed their tummies and toes at the shelter at 820 W. Kenwood Street, off Harvard Avenue.
This is the third year the coalition has made an arrangement with a local church to provide a cozy place to sleep for those who would otherwise be under a bridge or somewhere out in the cold. We applaud the efforts of all of the volunteers, who obviously have warm hearts.
We mention this effort today to help spread the word that there are warm places for the homeless when the mercury drops below freezing in Douglas County.
Winning streak to remember
The number 39 will go down in Douglas County high school football history.
Camas Valley High’s streak reached that lofty figure. The Hornets, unfortunately, lost 66-44 to Lowell on Saturday in a Class 1A semifinal game in Cottage Grove.
Camas Valley had one of the longest active winning streaks in the entire country — in the top 10, according to Maxsports.com.
It was the longest current undefeated streak in Oregon. Sherwood now has that honor. It’s won 25 straight games.
Camas Valley’s winning streak included three state championships.
Among major college teams, Oklahoma set the standard with 47 straight wins between 1953-57.
The second-longest streak was set by the University of Washington between 1908-14. The Huskies were finally tied 0-0 by Oregon State University, ending the streak at 39 games.
Editorial: Bright spots small and large illuminate a tough year in Douglas CountyNovember 28, 2013 —
Gratitude is a common theme in late November, and its effects can last a lot longer than the tryptophan sedative from today’s turkey.
That’s important, because we as humans have a tendency to fret.
There’s no question that many Douglas County residents are struggling. It’s easy to toss off a chipper “Count your blessings!” when the speaker has plenty of them. Let’s look instead at examples of people here who embody the spirit of Thanksgiving, as well as some of the events of the past year that have made life a little better in our neighborhoods.
Retired Roseburg dentist Larry Durst marked a milestone in June when he gave a ride to his 5,000th Young Eagle in his 1065 Cessna 182. With administrative assistance from his wife, Maxine, Durst offers his time through an Experimental Aircraft Association program that gives free rides to children eager to explore the wild blue yonder by private plane.
In July, a concert at Pyrenees Vineyard arranged by Musicians for Mobility raised enough money — $10,000-plus — to finance a service dog for Kierra Grace Thompson of Green, who had suffered thousands of seizures in her 8 years of life due to a rare disease.
Another resident of Green, passionate health advocate Amalia Hill, spent several of her Sundays giving free classes in vegetarian and vegan cooking at her home.
Travel between Tri City and Interstate 5 became swifter this summer with the completion of an 825-foot-long bridge over the South Umpqua River. At $17.3 million, $7 million under the projected cost, the bridge and extension of Weaver Road was the biggest county road project in the past decade.
It took a generous village to help the Roseburg-based Family Development Center open a satellite center in September at Myrtle Creek Elementary School. State funds and foundation grants contributed $170,000 to give assistance to 24 children at the South County center.
Generosity also filtered through Myrtle Creek and Tri City with the establishment of cash mobs. Groups of customers with a shop-local attitude burst in on small businesses, pledging to spend at least $10 each to provide a small shot in the till.
Last month, the South Umpqua High School gymnasium opened its doors to reveal a brand-new gym floor, a $120,000 project spearheaded by the high school booster club, South Umpqua Schools Foundation and Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe.
Around the same time, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute unveiled a new wine tasting room, adding another dimension to UCC’s viticulture and enology programs.
August’s Rotary Duck Race sent nearly 10,700 floating tokens of good will into the Umpqua River system, raising $106,300 to combat child abuse and neglect. That represented 1,500 more tickets than were sold last year.
The Days Creek volleyball team this month earned its second Class 2A championship trophy in the past three years.
A dinner planned by Filipino Americans Sunday at the YMCA to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan victims got such a large turnout there wasn’t enough food to go around.
The list is far from complete. There isn’t enough space to name but a fraction. Did you find something missing? That could be a cue to take a few moments and reflect on how many good eggs fill the county’s communal basket.
Guest column: Goodbye Roseburg: Experiencing Thanksgiving in a new locationNovember 28, 2013 —
I want to wish all my faithful readers, and the ones who disagreed with my liberal intentions through the 12 years I resided in Roseburg, a wonderful Thanksgiving and a very merry holiday season.
Having moved from the West Coast where I spent the last 37 years of my life to a suburb some 35 miles northwest of Chicago, I find it takes a bit of getting used to the bustling life filled with road delays due to construction and heavy traffic. There are many more stores and more restaurants. I almost feel, sometimes, that I never left New York or Los Angeles, two cities I know only too well. Yes, life has changed, but not altogether.
Though I miss small town America, I love the mixture of peoples I come across every day. Traversing the aisles of a food market, I’ve come upon a shopping cart being steered by a Muslim woman in a full burka with only her dark eyes visible. On the next aisle two Indian women in gorgeous silk saris are discussing which canned goods to buy. Thinking the lady on the bread aisle is speaking Chinese, I ask her where she is from, and she answers, “Canton.” When I tell her I was there and Canton has the best food in all of China, she bursts out in a smile and hugs me. At the checkout counter a young lady with a heavy Latino accent and sparkling eyes asks me if I have found all that I needed. I guess it’s the mix of humanity I missed most of all.
Surprisingly, most people are extremely friendly here. Most all have dogs that have to be walked. When they are, the walker usually has a plastic bag in his or her free hand.
Another surprise: The suburbs are much more rural than I ever imagined. Cornfields and apple orchards for miles, divided by forest preserves that lend a rural atmosphere to an immense population of Canadian geese, birds and squirrels. Each morning as I draw open the bedroom drapes, I look out at six geese perched on my lawn, a squirrel drinking from a dish on the patio and numerous passenger pigeons digging for food.
I left Roseburg with a feeling of trepidation, aware I would miss the rural atmosphere of beautiful Oregon. But luckily, I found it again. However, I must admit, I do miss feasting my eyes on the glittering Pacific and catching my breath at the sight of the snow-covered Cascades.
Now that I am settled, I will attend my first political get-together at a pizza restaurant this week and only hope that the participants are as savvy and intuitive as the beloved friends I left behind in Roseburg. I will also attend, for the first time in 12 years, a Thanksgiving dinner with my family.
Like the title of my second published book, “The Trade-Off,” life is a trade-off, and that’s a good thing.
Sheila Lawrence is a published author who recently relocated from Roseburg to Chicago. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter: LNG pipeline unlikely to produce any benefits to OregoniansNovember 27, 2013 —
It’s a quality of life issue
Alex Loznak’s Nov. 15 guest column concerning the bad idea of a liquefied natural gas pipeline being rammed down the throats of Oregon citizens was tremendously impressive.
He gets the message from this LNG pipeline fight, in that it is a quality of life matter over a corporate greed matter.
It is also looking like graft is involved, since someone will get rich over this pipeline and it will not be anyone who must give up their land for it. It will also not be Oregon taxpayers who will pay for the infrastructure, who will have to deal with environmental disasters, and who will pay out liability claims.
The consistent argument from the big corporations trying to win the pipeline battle is that Oregon needs the jobs. However, whenever anyone tries to pin them down on what kinds of jobs will be available, what they pay, what qualifications are required, and how long the jobs will be needed, the companies change the number of jobs needed – without listing specific jobs. They have yet to truly answer this critical question. And they seem to forget that this pipeline will eliminate other Oregon jobs. So any job loss could easily be greater than any job gain.
Kudos to Alex Loznak for his involvement in this very important matter that once approved by our elected officials will be hard to put right again. Oregon deserves better than to have our beautiful land scarred by this eyesore and to be taken for suckers.
Letter: Supports background checks, but not mandatory registrationNovember 27, 2013 —
Another view of NRA leadership
I’d like to comment on a Nov. 15 letter concerning the National Rife Association leadership and its stand about universal background checks on gun buyers.
The reason the NRA is vehemently opposed to universal background checks is because gun-haters keep putting in mandatory registration as part of the law. The NRA does not oppose background checks, but has forever opposed registration of guns, which will eventually lead to confiscation. No gun owner wants confiscation. The NRA leadership is only doing its job for the membership that elects them. I called the NRA and asked about background checks. The representative said they group has always supported them.
The letter writer said he’s a lifelong gun owner, progressive Democrat, supports his president, and supports the main views of the membership, but not the leadership of the NRA. I’m a 40-year member of the NRA. We members vote the leadership into office.
Guest column: Gratitude might lead Roseburg to become an exquisite townNovember 27, 2013 —
Two things happened to get me to write this op-ed. First, a good Portland friend passed through our city of Roseburg filled with the thrill of the beauty that is part of our topography.
Secondly, I was standing in line to pick up a prescription and a word hit me: “exquisite.” As an artist, I find paintings and beauty are well in the realm of creating the fullness of this human experience.
What, I ask, can Roseburg ever find in itself to become an exquisite town? What would that even be or entail? That is what Thanksgiving can be for our citizens.
Gratitude for what is good and just is a step to getting our fair city to a transformative environment. At Thanksgiving we take a breath and give ourselves to the gratitude of our lives. With that, there is plenty for Roseburg to be grateful for.
For instance, have we noticed the gradual change to our downtown? How about all those expensive new cars being driven in our town, a town where wealth hasn’t been part of our identity?
We have large chain stores finding their places in our mall. These executives put their stores here for a reason. They know our demographics like the back of their hands. They wouldn’t have built their stores unless the money is here in our population to purchase the goods they sell.
However, money isn’t part of exquisiteness, beauty is. And where beauty corresponds with a deep intent to be better, we’re thrown into the height of what humans can be — a place of love, kindness and charity.
Without a doubt, we have these aspects to our population.
Of course, we have a lot to do to get to where we are a supportive community for all citizens. Once again, we can be grateful for the mere aspect of a desire toward this ideal.
I’m not seeking utopia, which of course has been proven disastrous for our evolution as humans. Real beauty is as much the dying tree amongst the grove of thriving trees. The fact is, that dying tree is respected for what it offered to nature when it was alive.
We talk of economic diversity, programs to help the poor become an integral part of our economic base. There was a joke I found online about being poor. It goes like this: You know you are poor when the SWAT team ends up at your neighbor’s house. That is reality for the poor: drugs, alcoholism, violence and lack of education.
When I attended Roseburg High School several of my classmates ended up at Ivy League schools. For our small town we had excellent, dedicated teachers. This was before the loss of tax money to fund our schools.
How sad that art or physical education had to be cut because of budgetary restraints.
My son was at my home and noticed how I had all his art up on the wall. (I’m a typical mother who can’t give away my child’s early years). He said, “I was good at art. It is too bad they had to quit letting us have art.”
Art is part of exquisiteness. A painting is as good as the person who views it. If she isn’t engaged in the piece, the art is just something to match furniture.
Our arts center is great in bringing art to its citizens. Kudos. We can be grateful for this. This puts us in the path of an even deeper sense for us, in propagating a wonderful natural part of our human nature, that of feeling beauty and knowing beauty.
There you go, my Portland friend, finding our city absolutely beautiful.
Happy Thanksgiving for and to Roseburg and Douglas County.
Lorelei O’Connor is a painter and poet who has a degree in finance from the University of Oregon and did graduate studies at Marylhurst University. She graduated from Roseburg High School in the mid-1970s and recently returned to the area. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Other voices: Enforce tobacco laws to reduce illegal smokingNovember 27, 2013 —
Fifteen percent of 11th graders in Lane County are smokers. Eighteen percent of adults smoke. Those figures strongly suggest that most smokers become addicted before it’s legal for them to buy tobacco. That points to a simple strategy for reducing smoking’s terrible toll: Enforce the law.
Enforcing tobacco laws may seem like a roundabout way of reducing fetal and infant mortality, but in fact the connection is direct. Twenty percent of premature births in Lane County are connected to tobacco use. Seventeen percent of pregnant women in Lane County are smokers, and most of them started before they could legally buy cigarettes. Enforcing the law would curtail underage smoking, which would reduce infant mortality.
That’s only one of many connections between underage smoking and public health. Tobacco is linked to seven times as many deaths in Lane County each year as alcohol, and 35 times as many as illegal drugs. If that many people were dying every year because of heroin or cocaine, the county would declare a state of emergency. But people are dying every day of cancer or heart disease caused by tobacco — a product to which most users became addicted before they could purchase it legally.
Yet the laws against underage smoking are enforced lightly. In sting operations conducted by the state police, 16-year-olds succeed in attempts to buy cigarettes 20 percent of the time in Oregon. The average success rate in 34 other states is 10 percent.
It’s relatively easy for young people to buy cigarettes in Oregon because selling them is a low-risk proposition. The state fine is $100, no matter how many violations occur. The state levies fines against individual clerks, not the stores that train and employ them.
Lane County public health officials are contemplating proposing a county license for tobacco retailers, with the revenue being used to pay for an enforcement program.
A robust state enforcement program — supported by license revenues, tobacco taxes or both — would be preferable to a county program. But the state’s efforts to combat underage smoking are manifestly inadequate.
The owners of retail outlets where illegal tobacco sales occur should face some sanction — lazy or overworked clerks may be to blame in some cases, but their employers are the ones who must adopt strict policies. Fines should escalate with each repeat violation. Chronic violations should result in the loss of a retailer’s license to sell tobacco.
The cost of licenses, compliance and fines would fall upon retailers, who would warn of increases in their prices. Any increase should be reflected in the price of tobacco, rather than being spread across all products. Improved enforcement and higher prices would be a powerful combination; ready availability of tobacco at an affordable price are the conditions that allow many teenagers to acquire the habit.
The county licensing idea is a long way from taking shape. But the target of a licensing program is one that deserves to be squarely in the county’s sights. Underage smoking lies at the root of the county’s worst and most preventable health problems — and it’s already illegal.
The Associated Press provided access to this editorial.