News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 01/15/2020

To the Editor:

Before Mr. Trump took office, Iran was abiding by agreements made about weapons of mass destruction. International inspectors certified that this was true. Our two countries were at peace, more or less. Three years into Trump’s administration, we are closer to war with Iran than we have ever been.

Trump slowly but surely eroded our shaky peace with Iran first by upping his rhetoric, then by imposing sanctions, next by upping the rhetoric even more, and now by killing one of their leaders. Who can blame Iran for reacting? Our country would do the same thing.

The American Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war, not the president. Congress has let this authority slip from its hands over the years, and look at the result. And yes, most countries would see a drone strike killing an important leader of another country as an act of war. We certainly would.

Do we really want another war in the Middle East? How many thousands of people would die, most of them decent people just trying to live their lives as best they can? How many billions of dollars would we have to borrow from China to finance this war?

Making war is distracting us from the most important battle of our time —fighting climate change. This should be the only issue on the table in every country of our world.

Paula Surmann

To the Editor:

On Monday, January 6, over 85 people gathered at FivePine Lodge to learn about a new PAC called Strengthening Central Oregon Political Action Committee (SCOPAC). SCOPAC is a new volunteer-run, bipartisan organization being formed to support pragmatic problem-solvers with a common-sense agenda in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties. I want to thank everyone who attended and extend an invitation to others to learn more.

At a time when our national politics have become so divisive, it is inspiring to see how our community strives to work together. This new PAC will provide training, funding, and practical support like childcare and meals to candidates so that more women and others from underrepresented communities might run to give us better representation of all voices in our community. To learn more, go to

On behalf of SCOPAC and the whole host committee, thank you again to all those who came to learn more, show their support, and donate to support more pragmatic problem-solvers in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook county public offices.

Vanessa Wilkins

To the Editor:

I was disgusted to learn how badly Ray’s Food Place in Sisters has consistently scored on the state’s health inspections (See story page 9.)

The Oregonian recently published this health violations report:

The grocery store’s most recent inspection showed 10 high-risk violations and six repeat issues including mouse droppings near the sandwich prep table, meat at unsafe temperatures and lack of hand-washing. Ray’s ranked 13 out of 21 stores with the worst ratings in Oregon (out of more than 1,100 stores statewide).

A “heavy buildup of brown/black sludge-type material” inside fountain drink nozzles does not happen due to one missed cleaning. In addition, “brown slime buildup” on produce baskets containing green onions and “considerable buildup of milk solids” on the dairy case floor and racks demonstrate long-term inattention to health and safety.

The Sisters community deserves to know if Ray’s will finally take these ongoing health violations seriously and act to address them. Also, we need to know the company’s plans to make safety a higher priority in the future – it is disturbing to see a pattern of sanitation violations in past years. These plans must include continuing employee education because inspectors have frequently found lack-of-knowledge of proper food handling. In the most recent inspection, inspectors observed an employee sticking an unsanitized thermometer in chicken and another using a knife that had dropped on the floor without cleaning it first.

Ray’s talks about its “community values” but instead allows dirty conditions to continue that increase the risk of food poisoning. Why is Ray’s not dealing with safety violations it has been aware of for years?

Susan Springer

To the Editor:

I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable holiday season!

Enrollment in the school district grew by 30 students over the past month, putting our enrollment at its highest point of the last 5 years! I would like to thank the School District staff — they are working hard to find ways to support and meet the needs of all students.

This fall, Niche ranked Sisters School District as the No. 1 district in Deschutes County and the ninth best in the state. Additionally, the Portland Business Journal also listed the Sisters School District as the 9th best in the state in its December publication.

A couple examples of the outstanding work in the District was highlighted at this month’s school board meeting. Rima Givot’s ninth-grade biology students presented their 10th year of research on the Trout Creek Conservation Area, a 161-acre parcel owned by the School District that sits between the high school and the Tollgate community. They shared how they collected their data, the data collected on different plant and animal life observed, and discussed environmental issues related to the TCCA.

Additionally, Jeff Schiedler, Sisters Middle School teacher, informed the board that the computer science class at SMS entered the annual Samsung Solve For Tomorrow challenge, and the group is moving on to the next round! Their proposed STEM solution to icy road conditions is to create road signs that flash when the temperature and moisture level indicate icy conditions. They are one of two schools in Oregon to move forward and could potentially win up to $100,000 in technology for the District!

As we prepare for the implementation of the Student Success Act, we will continue to look at ways to support our Belong, Prepare and Inspire goals that we heard from our community through our Mission/Vision process and stakeholder feedback.

Also, since January is School Board Appreciation month, I’d like to extend a special “thank-you” to our volunteer board members who dedicate a great deal of time and energy to our District. If you see any of our board members out and about, please thank them for their services to our schools.

Curt Scholl, SSD Superintendent


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