News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor, 4/29/2020

To the Editor:

As the district continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, I want to give an update from our last school board meeting.

Sisters School District grew by 8 students as reported in the April board meeting. Bond work continues as our new transportation center construction moves forward and the walls are starting to go up. Additionally, the board approved the 2020-2021 school calendar with some modifications. As soon as those modifications are completed, we will post the calendar on the district webpage and send it out. Additionally, you can access my messages and those of our building principals from our district website,

The district submitted the Student Investment Account application to the Oregon Department of Education and we had our first official budget meeting. With the uncertainty of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the Sisters School District is especially grateful for our community’s continued support of our local option.

We continue to support students with grab-and-go breakfast and lunches that can be picked up at Sisters Elementary School. We are now serving both breakfast and lunch from 10:30-11:30 a.m. daily. We will be sending out information this week as we look at supporting our students with some community drop-off points for food and other educational needs.

In times of crisis, we need to fall back on our core values for focus. In our Strategic Plan, our core values focus on:

1. Investing in relationships that support every student’s growth and sense of belonging.

2. Create extraordinary learning experiences that make learning real.

3. Empower and support students and staff to become the best versions of themselves.

4. Prepare students to be courageous individuals, effective communicators, critical thinkers and problem solvers for life.

These core values will continue to drive our efforts as a district as we work through these challenging times. Every day provides us with another opportunity to get better. Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Please take the time to take care of yourselves and those that you love. Your efforts around social distancing are making a difference. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of the medical providers and their families.

Stay safe,

Curt Scholl

Superintendent Sisters School District

To the Editor:

Just sharing with other citizens of Oregon, in case there is anyone left out there who does not know, that Jamie McLeod Skinner is running for Secretary of State in the primary election on May 19.

Many of you met her a few times in Sisters as she went everywhere in District (over 40,000 miles) to drum up support for her run for U.S. House Representative two years ago.

Boy-oh-boy did District 2 Oregonians give Representative Greg Walden a run for his war chest. You all should be proud.

Jamie thought long and hard about whether to run for U.S. House or Secretary of State and reached out to many others to garner input on the pros and cons of either choice. She had meetings with Governor Brown, the current Secretary of State on down to discussions with citizens, including members of Indivisible Sisters. I was one of many who urged her to run again for Walden’s seat. It became obvious to her that the position in which she could do the most good for Oregon would be as Secretary of State.

Her reasoning is clear in her statements on I will only add, Jamie is very qualified, smart, honest, ethical, works hard and is effective in any endeavor. She is the leader we need to assure the forthcoming redistricting is equitable to all parties and fair to all voters in Oregon. If you are unfamiliar with her, please do check out the website noted above. I have no doubt you will find her an excellent choice for Secretary of State.

Susan Cobb

To the Editor:

This global disaster of the Coronavirus requires universal cooperation from multiple agencies to control and devise an extermination plan. Decisions have to be made; will those decisions be made for political reasons or because it’s what’s best for its people?

The immensity and mysteriousness of this virus is beyond belief. The decisions that need to be made to control and eliminate this virus will have to cover a vast diversity of its people. “One size does not fit all.” The pending rules and restrictions were derived from thousands of conference calls and meetings throughout the world. There is no shortness of opinions as to medical advice. Subsequent to obtaining this vast amount of medical knowledge, our president, governors and mayors went to their constituents and mandated what they can and cannot do. The President says this, the Governor says that and the Mayor says, “we’re going to do it this way.”

The people have become confused and have simply drawn a line between the government’s mandates and their own needs. Their decision is based on the least amount of interruption to the norm of their lives. The Governor of Michigan is facing 10,000-plus citizens rallying in the streets against her stringent stay-at-home orders; she is clearly “caught between a rock and a hard spot.”

While I watch this I have no idea who’s right or wrong; all I can think is, I’m glad, I don’t have to make these life and death decisions. We are a republic, having a democratic process to elect our leaders. We choose those leaders; let them lead or try to lead. If you don’t respect their decision at least respect the fact they had the balls to make it. You’ll have a choice at your next election whether it is for mayor, governor or president — it’s your choice, you’ve made your decision.

Terry Coultas

To the Editor:

There has been little leadership coming out of the Governor’s office since the COVID-19 outbreak. A leader should be uplifting, offer a message of hope, and have a clear plan for Oregonians to get back to work. (Some Oregon counties have no reported cases of COVID-19 or have very few cases.) A leader should show her constituents that she cares about them. Every briefing that is held by the Governor’s office is vague, uninspiring, and does not have an outline for a clear and defined mission. The mission should be get Oregon back to work.

My father managed a small business in Portland. He managed to keep the business running through three labor strikes, three recessions, and a terminal illness. He had a clear contingency plan during the times of recession, strike, and downturn of the economy. I do not see any business contingency plan coming out of the Governor’s office to get Oregon’s economy running.

Governor Brown has tied Oregon with California and Washington State. Her briefings are similar to California Governor Newsom’s. We don’t share power with California and Washington State. Oregon has a different economy than Washington State and California. Both Washington State and California have diverse economies. Oregon was dependent upon the lumber industry until the government shut the forests. Oregon has never recovered and does not have a diverse economy.

Oregon business won’t recover if businesses are shuttered and not able to resume business soon. State Senator Findley and State Representative Owens have a viable rural pilot project that was sent to Governor Brown on April 17, 2020 for the Governor’s approval. Their plan follows CDC guidelines, lays out the main areas that the governor said that needed to address before Oregon could open, as well as, following CDC guidelines on social distancing. They have a clear and defined plan for opening restaurants, barbers, gyms, and boutique shops.

Governor Brown needs to adopt Senator Findley and Representative Owens pilot project for rural Oregon and make a phase plan for opening up large metro areas. She needs to meet with Oregon business and resort leaders to work on a plan for opening recreation areas for the summer months. She should meet with rural Oregon healthcare providers and open up healthcare.

Governor Brown needs to collaborate with school districts to improve distance learning and establish funding for summer school. (I would encourage all school districts to set a date for senior day so that Oregon seniors could say goodbye to their teachers and classmates as well as establish a commencement date). The economic downturn has made it difficult for college students to find internships. The Governor needs to step up with Oregon companies to establish internship programs for Oregon college students.

Oregonians need to hear a message of hope and have something to look for in the immediate future. Instead Oregonians hear the same vague message that mirrors Gov. Newsom of California.

Laurie Kimmell, MSgt, USAF (Ret.)

To the Editor:

Michael Wells letter (April 22) venting his disapproval of Tom Donohue’s opinions regarding the COVID-19 virus was justifiable to a certain point. The latter’s attitude was unhelpful and opposite the general consensus and best expert advice.

After making his point, however, Mr. Wells declared that those opinions represented the general views of 33 to 50 percent of the population. On what basis he concluded this, he didn’t say nor could he provide any substantiation. Calling such attitudes “right-wing talking points” is, in fact, a left-wing talking point. To vilify a large segment of the population who hold conservative beliefs in this way is unfair and extreme.

Conservative values are community values: promotion of individual liberty, protection of constitutional rights, benefits of a free-market economy, limitation of intrusive government; these are values all citizens should support regardless of political affiliation. Then Mr. Wells then resorts to “virtue signaling” to show how he exemplifies the better angels of our society in contrast to those “others.” Attacking a large portion of the electorate by identifying them with one individual is illogical and unhelpful. This is a tired tactic and should be avoided. We’re all in this together.

Dale Streeter


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