Opinion, Analysis, Discussion
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.
Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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.Learn more »
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!Learn more »
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.
Editorial: Roses & thornsMay 10, 2013 —
A couple of Winston men did more than just notice something that bothered them on a spur-of-the moment stroll through the town’s Civil Bend Pioneer Cemetery. The put some elbow grease into a solution.
Michael Liles, 26, and 22-year-old Raymond Malone followed a whim by searching for the cemetery’s oldest grave some time back. It was probably harder than they thought. Moss-encrusted headstones and wayward foliage made it difficult to identify the plots. Many people would have considered it a shame and moved on. Liles and Malone, however, grabbed gloves, scrub brushes and weeding tools and set to work. The two figure they’ve cleaned up 60 to 100 graves as a way of paying respect to veterans. Malone said he salutes each grave after cleaning it and says a prayer for the occupant.
Sadly, the board overseeing the cemetery was less than enthusiastic about the cleanup. A board member cited concerns about liability if a volunteer should have a mishap on the grounds. Given that a fair number of the 2,286 graves no longer have links to family members to keep up appearances, we think Malone and Liles are on a meritorious mission. They deserve thanks and appreciation for their practical methods of paying respect to long-gone servicemen and women.
Only you can prevent forest fires
It’s worrisome to have a wildfire cut through 206 acres of forestland in south Douglas County so early in the year.
With the dry conditions, unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of rainfall, one wonders how frequently smoke will be a familiar visitor in our skies as spring stretches into summer. Or how many trees we might lose in our overgrown forests where plenty of fuels on the ground can feed fires.
We don’t even want to think about the threat to homes sitting on the edge of our forests.
Fortunately, Sunday’s thunderstorm helped firefighters knock down the Shively Creek fire in four days, limiting the damage. Still, the fire burned through a clear-cut area of recently planted Douglas fir trees. Those trees, an estimated 400 to 450 per acre, and the work to plant them is lost.
All we can take from the fire, suspected to be human caused, is the warning to be extra vigilant around fires and fuels. There can be no carelessly tossed matches or cigarettes. Backyard fires must be carefully tended. And be sure your home isn’t vulnerable to fire — remove any flammable substances nearby.
As the saying goes, let’s be careful out there.
One student’s influence
Yoncalla High School senior Taryn Lowes gets high marks for organizing a campaign to stamp out the R-word, a slur directed at the developmentally disabled.
Her sensitivity stemmed from her involvement in raising money for Special Olympics. The Oregon State University-bound Lowes asked fellow students not to use the derogatory term.
The campaign became her senior project, and it grew. She collected 450 pledges this year in Douglas County, making a powerful statement against a thoughtless and cruel smear.
She also used her organizing ability to help plan the Eugene Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics. She assembled a team of students and teachers to take the cold dive.
Lowes said she’s been inspired by meeting Special Olympics athletes. She’s also a source of inspiration.
Lowes graduates next month. She will be the class valedictorian and will leave a legacy of giving. Yoncalla High School Principal Brian Berry said he will be sorry to see Lowes go, but excited for the world to meet her.
Other voices: Campaign contributions should be more transparentMay 9, 2013 —
Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have delivered on their promise to propose legislation that requires fuller disclosure of campaign contributions — the sole recourse for those seeking campaign finance sanity in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections.
In a December 2012 column in The Washington Post, Wyden and Murkowski outlined their proposal to draw back the curtains on anonymous donors. “At minimum, the American people deserve to know before they cast their ballots who is behind massive spending, who is funding people and organizations, and what their agendas are,” they wrote.
Last month the senators formally introduced their Follow the Money Act, which would require any organization spending $10,000 or more on electoral activity to register and disclose contributions above $1,000. The proposal would raise the threshold for disclosure by individual contributors to $1,000 from $200 for all political committees, including those of candidates and political parties.
The bill also would put in place a system of real-time disclosure, require independent groups to adhere to Stand By Your Ad provisions (including the identification of their three biggest donors), require federal candidates to file campaign reports electronically, and require tax-exempt 527 groups to file disclosure reports with the Federal Elections Commission. And it would direct the FEC and Internal Revenue Service to jointly craft and enforce regulations that plug the legal loopholes that have allowed dark-money campaign operations to quickly gain a formidable foothold on the elections landscape.
The need for such legislation stems from the Supreme Court’s noxious Citizens United decision, which triggered an avalanche of campaign spending in the 2012 elections. Great rivers of cash flowed to dark-money groups established for the sole and cynical purpose of concealing the identities of fat-cat donors.
Wyden is a longtime champion of campaign finance reform, but Murkowski is a newcomer. In 2010 and again in 2012, she voted to block the Disclose Act, a campaign reform bill that would have required nonprofit groups, unions, corporations and super-PACs to report major donors.
Murkowski’s change of heart can be traced to 2010 when independent conservative groups, given the green light by the Citizens United decision, helped defeat her in a GOP Senate primary. (Despite opposition from the same groups, Murkowski successfully ran as a write-in candidate in the general election.)
Murkowski and Wyden deserve credit for putting forward a bipartisan proposal, but they face an uphill climb. Their proposal already has come under fire by opponents of campaign finance regulation.
Cleta Mitchell, chairwoman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, said in a statement: “When liberals talk about ‘transparency,’ that isn’t what they mean. What they really want and what this bill provides is a target list of conservatives who have the temerity to contribute their after-tax dollars to support candidates and issues the left hates.”
No, what Murkowski — who no one could reasonably call a liberal — and Wyden want is transparency that reveals the growing mob of unrestricted and unidentified donors who underwrite virulent attack ads and other secretive tactics that make cruel mockery of American politics.
The Associated Press provided access to this editorial.
Editorial: Animal control should be everyone’s responsibilityMay 8, 2013 —
Oregonians like sharing their homes with critters.
The American Veterinary Medical Association reported this year that the Beaver State ranks fourth nationwide in pet ownership, with nearly two-thirds of our households featuring at least one animal in the family roster.
It’s understandable if Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Bartholomew feels as though he’s taken a call about each and every one of them.
There was a time when the county’s Animal Control division staffed five deputies. That time is past, leaving Bartholomew the lone animal control deputy in the state’s fifth-largest county in land mass. Bartholomew’s territory is 5,134 square miles. A typical shift finds him driving 250 miles.
Not only that, but he’s usually driving to or from a problem. Some are deadly. Others are heartbreaking.
Should an elderly woman be found with 52 cats in an excreta-filled home, Bartholomew will be sent there. If a wayward Australian shepherd rips out the throats of a herd of ewes and lambs, Bartholomew is going to be called. When an emaciated horse is discovered staggering and near death in a remote field, Bartholomew is likely to be the first on the scene.
The department’s funding and staffing decreases have coincided with a spike in the number of animal-related problems. More dogs are attacking people and each other. As more people get pets, more homes are likely to harbor animals lacking the necessary licensing and vaccinations. Less money is available for livestock claims.
County residents need no reminders that budget cuts have carved out a new world, one in which workers in the public and private sectors are compelled to do more than ever on fewer resources within memory. Life is tough and we all have to be tougher.
The beastly part is that so many of these calls should never have to be made.
Americans don’t like to be told how to live their lives. They’re not too fond of what they regard as infringement of their rights.
No law requires a human to pass a test or seek government permission before adopting a pet. From the viewpoint of an abandoned dog or stray cat, a less-than-ideal home is better than the shelter or a euthanasia needle in the foreleg. And for the ill or lonely, an animal can offer comfort that may offer purpose and solace for the first time in years.
Yet while there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits anyone from pet ownership, there is also that old killjoy called accountability.
Lee Bartholomew can’t be everywhere, and he shouldn’t have to be.
Caring for an animal means looking out for a dependent in a way that not only looks after its best interests, but also those of neighbors and fellow taxpayers.
Dogs that are trained and monitored will not go on killing rampages. Cats that are kept out of next-door flower beds will not be shot by irate gardeners. People who educate themselves about animal behavior will be able to avoid placing their pets in situations in which they may bite. At the least they should keep anxious animals away from others and out of situations that can be dangerous, even fatal.
Those who take pleasure in the companionship of pets must take responsibility to keep them out of hairy situations.
Letter: U.S. doesn’t need House Bill 3506May 8, 2013 —
U.S. doesn’t need HB 3506
I just read a bill (House Bill 3506) is being heard to require printing ballots in a language other than English. It is my understanding to vote you must be a citizen and to be a citizen you must read, write, and speak English.
Therefore, my question is: Why in the world would you need to print ballots in some other language? If you are a citizen, you darn well should be speaking the language.
This is just another example of our country being turned over to the illegals and their sympathizers. Please let your representatives know this is not acceptable.
Letter: Grandparents, Roseburg children need youMay 8, 2013 —
Grandparents: kids need you
Someone told me the other day that the Roseburg school bond levy wouldn’t pass because we would never get the support of our “older” generation. I was surprised by this comment.
Our older generation includes some of the most generous people I know. I personally know several who compassionately volunteer their time and money to good causes. They are grandparents, teachers and community leaders. They care about our kids just as much as anyone else in our district.
They want to know their money is being spent wisely. There is nothing wrong with that. They are no different than the rest of us; we all feel the same way.
As long as they have the facts about the bond levy, I have no doubt they will be some of our strongest supporters. It benefits our entire community, every school (K-12) and every student.
This bond levy is for curriculum, computer technology and major school maintenance — core areas to education. The bond was intentionally written so that 100 percent of the levy proceeds the Roseburg School District receives goes to support our Roseburg schools and the funds cannot be reallocated to other areas.
The cost for the average household is less than $5 per month. Low cost, high return. I think every generation can support that.
I agree we cannot do this without their support. I believe we have it! Please vote “yes” on the Roseburg schools bond levy.
Letter: Sad to see historic Days Creek barn slated for demolitionMay 8, 2013 —
Sad for loss of historic barn
The April 25 edition of The News-Review carried an interesting piece about an historic barn in the Days Creek area. The article included a marvelous photo of the building, the surrounding area of fences, the hillside, and the beautiful afternoon sky.
But the article was not about anything lovely or pleasing to the soul. It concerned the owner’s desire for permission to have that grand structure demolished.
The very reason that permission was necessary, in many ways, explains why it shouldn’t be granted. The barn, which was built in 1888, is on the National Historic Register. According to The News-Review, the barn was built entirely by hand.
The nails — all made in a blacksmith shop — were used only in the door frames and roofing. Everything else was fitted together.
Recently in the Smithsonian Magazine, I read about the Battle of Bunker Hill, which most people consider the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Nowadays it is impossible to identify exactly where Bunker Hill actually was, due to the many fill-ins of waterways and tearing away of hills over the years.
All were accomplished perhaps to create more space for the new generations; however, they are the very ones who never got a chance to see the true Bunker Hill. That situation so reminds me, in a local way, of the blight of the Days Creek barn.
When I read in The News-Review on April 28 that permission has been given for demolition of the barn, I was shocked and extremely saddened. Losing the building is not simply getting rid of an old object in the way. The materials, the workmanship, the architecture — all are from a bygone era, one of which most of us will never see, or know.
Kari A. Clark
Letter: Rest in peace forgotten heroes of West, TexasMay 8, 2013 —
Forgotten heroes, RIP
I am a 20-year veteran volunteer firefighter from a small town. Our fire department is about the same size as the fire department in West, Texas. My heart grieves for the loss of those brave souls who loved their community so much they dared to defuse a burning 270-ton bomb to save lives.
Their heroic loss is now being buried under the constant coverage of the more titillating story of terrorist brothers and their small pressure-cooker bombs. Last year there were 17 people in our country killed by terrorism. Compare that to the almost 5,000 who died from workplace “accidents.” Texas Governor Perry has already asked for federal money to help clean up this latest “accident.”
The Boston bombers will continue to fill up the news, while the heroic heroes of West, Texas, are buried — along with any real justice for their needless sacrifice. Rest in peace, my fellow fighters.
Michael T. Hinojosa
Editorial: Art Robinson’s lawsuit/Political advertising no place to seek the truthMay 8, 2013 —
Republican Art Robinson’s defamation lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio was doomed from the start. Robinson wanted DeFazio to be punished for deceptive political advertising.
That’s like demanding Dale Ernhardt Jr. be ticketed for speeding at the Daytona 500.
As Josephine County Circuit Court Judge Pat Wolke ruled last month in dismissing the suit, omissions and misstatements are more offensive when they don’t occur during a political campaign.
Political ads have a low threshold to be considered truthful, more or less. Positive ads ooze less sincerity than a late-night infomercial. Attack ads poke fun, highlight foibles and lampoon positions. This is what DeFazio did, and Robinson didn’t like it.
Two weeks before Election Day, Robinson filed the $1 million suit in his home county, claiming DeFazio made him look like a nut.
Robinson cited an Internet cartoon and roadside billboards, including ones in Roseburg and Sutherlin, that blared out Robinson’s purported dislike for public education, Social Security and Oregon State University.
DeFazio and Robinson, of course, disagree on whether the billboards and cartoon were truthful. DeFazio submitted documentation to support his claims. Robinson said his words were twisted and that he presented his true views in his campaign book, “Common Sense.”
Judge Wolke found the messages could have been clearer, but they weren’t “so inconsistent with Mr. Robinson’s political positions or beliefs that he is likely to recover any economic damages ...”
Accuracy was a secondary issue anyway.
Robinson’s main beef was that voters were hoodwinked into thinking he was batty enough to advertise unpopular positions.
The billboards included Robinson’s face, but three failed to include a disclaimer letting voters know DeFazio bought the ad, not Robinson. He argued, understandably, that motorists assumed they were his billboards.
In a court filing, DeFazio blamed the mistakes on a billboard company and campaign vendor. But Robinson saw it as part of a scheme by DeFazio to make him look like a nut job.
“In the world of politics, voters generally disbelieve what a candidate says about the opposing candidate.
However, if a candidate can convince voters that the opposing candidate says or portrays things about himself in a manner that voters find offensive, many voters will change their votes,” Robinson wrote in a court filing.
In the end, Wolke decided last month to not let the suit go forward and consume any more time. He ruled that Robinson and DeFazio were public figures, federal election laws pre-empt state courts and, of course, it was a political campaign.
The big lesson here is an old lesson — voter beware.
Letter: Re-elect Wes Melo for Fire District 2 Board in Douglas CountyMay 8, 2013 —
Wes Melo for Fire Dist. No. 2
I have served with Wes Melo for the past four years on the Fire Board. He brings a wealth of experience, having served as a volunteer fire fighter for multiple organizations and as a fire chief for five years. He also brings a wealth of business experience from the private sector, having served in senior management positions from human resources to operations. Wes is balanced and fair in his approach to problem solving.
Wes is focused on ensuring that the services, finances, and infrastructure of Fire District #2 are of high quality and on a sound financial footing so that the district can meet the needs of the people it serves, both today and into the future. Fire District #2 has the same financial challenges of all publicly funded organizations. Costs for utilities, fuel, health insurance, and PERS are rising faster than resources. Wes supports common sense changes that address these cost issues in a balanced and fair way. His goal is to ensure that our communities have the services they rely on, both today and in the future. He understands that the Fire District was formed to serve its patrons.
The next few years are critical, as the only way fire and emergency medical services can remain on solid financial footing is by controlling costs. Wes is a good man with the best interests of the pubic and fire/EMS personnel at heart. Please join me in re-electing him to serve you!