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home : letters : letters December 11, 2017

11/28/2017 1:02:00 PM
Letters to the Editor 11/29/2017

To the Editor:

Knowing we have a special election in January but not sure of exactly why we are being asked to vote on this measure, I searched the Internet for some answers. I wish to share and encourage others to find the information as I did. We might be receiving a voter's pamphlet but it is also available on line at the Secretary of State's office for Oregon.

Current law, passed by the Oregon legislature this past session, which goes into effect this coming year, provides an extension of an already existing tax on hospitals, an increase of 0.07 from previous level, and a new 1.5 percent tax on managed health care, some healthcare insurance plans, and the PEBB.

Because of the budget shortfall, this two-year tax was passed by the legislature and signed into law, to ensure that all Oregon children would continue to have healthcare, that 95 percent of Oregonians will continue to have healthcare, and that 210,000 Oregonians will see lower premiums. There is a 1.5 percent limit on how much health insurance premiums can be raised in Oregon.

If it fails, the state would lose an estimated $630,000-$960,000 in matching federal funds.

If we vote no, the measure would remove this temporary tax. From what I read, it appears that nearly 25 percent of Oregonians have a disability, and veterans are approximately 17 percent of that group, and would stand to lose medical care under the OHP.

Until recently women were charged higher healthcare premiums for having pre-existing conditions whether domestic abuse issues, or cancer such as breast, ovarian, or cervical. A yes vote would insure continued access to healthcare under the new law.

A session of the legislature was already planned to begin in February 2018, thus the desire to have the vote before it begins, in case the legislature needs to come up with another form of funding to keep the OHP functioning and to qualify for matching federal funds.

Please inform yourself before we have to vote.

Phyllis Lewis


To the Editor:

I am so disappointed at the dismissal of Charlotte Nitcher, a 20-year and very popular and helpful employee of Deschutes County Library in Sisters. After she suffered severe injury requiring major surgery to her shoulder, Nitcher was refused return to her job with any restrictions after months of necessary recovery time.

Sisters' library has been a central part of this community for so many years. This seems to be changing in a library system that does not demonstrate any compassion for employees. There are so many volunteers (20 or so a week) who could have covered the areas that Nitcher was unable to do for awhile.

Twenty Sisters residents were at a hearing to support Nitcher, with much testimony of support. The district library board unanimously upheld her firing despite the obvious support for her. I stated that the restrictions she had were some that even a building contractor would find tolerable to getting an employee back to work. It's a library. It is not driving heavy equipment nor hammering nails.

My disappointment is echoed by so many, including members of Friends of the Library. I suspect our library will suffer consequences, especially in fundraising as a result. This action does not reflect the community spirit of which we in Sisters are so proud.

Bonnie Malone


To the Editor:

We are writing to appeal the decision being made to build the new bus barn facility for the Sisters School District on the Sisters High School campus parking lot.

As it is now, the parking lot gets very crowded, and when attending Sisters events (school or public related) such as dances, the veteran memorial events, concerts, student art shows, SALI, SOAR/SPRD basketball events, football games and even the Quilt Show classes, there is never enough parking.

Even on a regular school day, this can be the case. We believe that the Quilt Show actually operates their shuttle out of the parking lot, don't they?

This idea sounds like an accident waiting to happen. With student drivers (and student driving lessons) busses coming in and out, folks using the facilities and SPRD/SOAR parking needs and then students possibly having to walk to the bus barn for technical classes, it sounds like something could accidently happen.

Is the unexpected grant money being used for this or the bond funds? We have heard a rumor that they will not be replacing leaks in the school's roof, but will be patching them. You would think that the funds would be better spent on those items.

Please, let's be more transparent with the monies for our schools, especially if it is money that we agreed to pay in the bond that had specifics listed, of which we do not recall a new bus barn, not saying that one may not be needed.

Henry & Kerry Zenich


To the Editor:

I would like to offer my appreciation for the excellent writings of both Jim Cornelius and Craig Rullman (The Bunkhouse Chronicle).

With thoughtful wit, keenness and a kind intelligence one would expect to find on a national if not international level, I feel honored and fortunate that they both find their pen and paper meeting in our beautiful community of Sisters.

Erin Borsch

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 4, 2017
Article comment by: Jane Poss

I second the praise for Nugget writers Jim Cornelius and Craig Rullman posted by letter-writer Erin Borsch. The originality and caliber of much of their writing is astonishing for a small community publication. I was a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper and worked alongside several award-winning, nationally syndicated columnists. Cornelius and Rullman are a boon to Sisters.

Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017
Article comment by: Edie Jones

Bonnie Malone's letter on 11/29/17 could have been written by a number of people in Sisters who frequent the library and always looked forward to finding Charlotte Nichter present. What a loss to the library and the community that she was not only allowed back but welcomed back. Having an employee loyal for over two decades to a job she carried out well is hard to come by and should be celebrated instead of dismissed. Even if her limitations kept her from doing 100% of what she use to do continuing her on as an employee would have been the right thing to do.

Posted: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Article comment by: Kerry Zenich

RE: Charlotte Nitcher Dismissal

I did not realize that Charlotte had been in an accident, let alone been 'fired' from our library. I thank Bonnie Malone for her letter to the editor, and Sue Edgerton for her comment. I, too, am disappointed to hear this! It does not even sound legal! Aren't their laws to protect injured workers from just this type of thing?!
As Bonnie said, "This action does not reflect the community spirit of which we in Sisters are so proud." Will they be replacing her position with an all volunteer staff!? Was she still the current volunteer coordinator? I would like to hear WHY this took place, the "other side" of the story. Was she employed by Sisters or the County? WHO is to blame for such an 'awkward' decision? I read on the Oregon State Site regarding returning to work needing accommodations, "As long as you employ six or more persons, you have an obligation to reemploy the worker to the most suitable vacant position available."
"NOTE: Under state and federal discrimination statutes, you may also have an obligation to reasonably accommodate a worker if disabled." I do hope if she is up to fighting this, she can. Maybe Deschutes County has an overriding law!?

Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Article comment by: Sue Edgerton

I totally agree with Bonnie Malone's letter regarding Charlotte Nichter and am very disappointed in the Deschutes Library Board in their unanimous vote to "fire" Charlotte. Am especially disappointed in the Board member who is also on the Friends of Sisters Library and my neighbor.

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