News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 9/23/2020

To the Editor:

I started my career as a licensed helicopter mechanic in the early 1970s. I worked heavy-lift helicopter for the good part of 46 years.

We pioneered a real environmental-friendly way to yard timber-helicopter logging. All through the seventies and most of the eighties we were able to log year round with no issues. Then the Forest Service adopted a new policy, save the top-soil scheme. So all the years we logged the units and then YUM (yard unmerchantable timber) we left the timber sale looking better than we found it. Under the new policy logs were left to rot to enhance the topsoil. In the new era of “let it be” — let the natural fires go, it’s turning out to be a big mistake.

I personally watched Yellowstone National Park burn to the ground in 1988 while the different government agencies, ie: Forest Service, BLM, and National Park Service argued over whose fire it was and how to handle it.

In the years after 1987, our forests have become a wasteland of fallen trees and rotting wood all very flammable fuel for wildfires. Sure, there have been years of drought and cycles in nature but leaving fuel everywhere and mismanaging highway weed control have left our national forests a wasteland.

In my opinion, the private logging companies on their own land do a much better job managing their timber holds than the Forest Service.

Kelly Dodge

To the Editor:

I prefer to deal in facts. In my former job, facts were what made a successful case. Sadly, the letters to the editor reflect personal bias toward the President rather than an analysis, based on facts of his successes or failures.

Case in point, the last letter (from Bill Kemp, The Nugget, September 9 edition) talked about the President referring to military personnel as “losers and suckers.” The author of that letter failed to mention that The Atlantic Magazine retracted the validity of their anonymous “source.” This follows on the failed Russia hoax, the failed impeachment, the failed rumor of bounties placed on our servicemen’s heads and numerous other hoaxes perpetrated by the left and now the “losers and suckers” hoax.

Here are promises made and kept to our veterans by President Trump:

• 2018 Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act: Allows the VA to fire failing employees and establishes safeguards to protect whistleblowers. This resulted in 4,300 VA employees being removed, demoted or suspended for failing to provide adequately for our vets.

• 2017 Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act: Stream lines the process for our Vets to appeal their disability claims with the VA.

• 2017 President Trump signed the Veterans Educational Assistance Act – funded educational benefits to Vets, service members, and their families including tuition, fees, books, housing and additional costs. a post-9/11 GI Bill.

• 2017 VA Choice Program — an additional 2.1 billion authorized by President Trump. Provides training in the private sector and training in the VA reciprocally for the private sector.

• 2017 President Trump created a new White House VA Hotline dedicated to answer the needs of our Vets, Since May 2019 it has surpassed 250,000 calls.

• 2018 President Trump signed the VA Mission Act, providing choices for our vets whether within the VA or within our community.

• 2018 Anywhere to Anywhere Veterans Health Care allows VA providers to use telehealth technology no matter where the vet or provider are located. They can connect by video across the country.

This doesn’t sound like a President who doesn’t care about our vets. Quite the opposite. President Trump promised to take care of our vets and he is doing just that. Are there failures in the system? Yes, but they are outnumbered by the successes.

Again, if you are going to write to the editor, please set your personal prejudices aside and deal in facts. I, for one, am tired of your vitriol.

D.S. Findlay

To the Editor:

I am against the plan to rezone and to develop the 31 acre property previously owned by the Forest Service.

Traffic on Highway 20 and the connecting side roads, McKinney Butte and Barclay through the roundabout is already congested to the point of vehicles stopped waiting for traffic to ease through downtown and those using Barclay as an alternate route. Adding up to 300 homes x 2 to 3 cars per home will only increase the already clogged highway. Previous traffic studies that were completed for the McKenzie Meadows development with the expert stating “we need to preserve our roundabout” and the report of the future commercial development around Takodas and Bi-Mart are a joke. What about future developments? What are the plans for traffic flows?

It is stated in the article “Zone change a major step for development,” The Nugget September 9, page 1) that they will preserve somewhere around 200 trees. How many trees are on that site? Whatever happened to the “City of Trees?”

“Planning for the future.” What is the present citation with the water, sewage system and garbage service capacity and roads for the City of Sisters? This development of 300 homes and with the 200 homes presently being built by Hayden Homes at the McKenzie Meadows Village Development and the future continued development of another possible 600 homes directly behind that development, with an average of two cars per household.

Affordability? People working service jobs and for companies that already provide jobs in the City of Sisters will not be able to afford 1,900-square-foot homes making minimum wages. There are 380-square-foot studio homes on McKinney Butte that rent for $1,200. Home developers are in it to make money. The City can not subsidize homeowners and renters.

The City should do a survey of homes and apartments under construction and being sold presently to see who is buying and living in Sisters. Are they the average local workers, people working out of town or retired? What is the vacancy rate of the apartments that we presently have and looking forward to the five-apartment units under construction in the last phase of the Village at Cold Springs South?

Marvin Inman

To the Editor:

As expected the Sisters Planning Commission approved the rezoning of the 30-acre parcel on the northwestern edge of town as the first step in conceding to the owners’ desire to develop the property.

Acting as the de facto agents of the owners, led by the CEO of Laird, the Commission glossed over or simply ignored the consequences of adding 250-300 houses to the city, increasing the population by some 30 percent at one stroke.

The primary objection to this housing is that it is unnecessary and will permanently alter the nature of Sisters. The CEO of Laird claims, on highly dubious grounds, that the housing is needed for his workers. But if that is true, it’s Laird’s problem, not Sisters’. The city is under no obligation to provide housing for Laird’s workers, much less make the said CEO a multi-millionaire in the process.

Try to imagine 600 more cars on the streets, plus increased pressure on the schools, public safety, and water resources, not to mention the inevitable increase in property taxes. And once the population reaches a certain threshold, the big box stores will come. All part of the Commission’s “Vision?”

So, what is to be done? Three positions on the City Council are up for election. Vote for candidates who will work for the city and not special interests or speculators. Contact the city and tell the Council what you think of the Laird development. Demand that the City revise its zoning laws to give it more leverage over housing and industry. And demand that it join other cities and work with representatives in Salem to change State land-use laws in their favor, not those of special interests.

Finally, demand a popular vote, if possible, on whether to allow the Laird development to destroy Sisters “Country.”

Gary Leiser

To the Editor:

In the September 16 edition of The Nugget, two letters to the editor that, when taken together, reminded me of a process used to resolve complex issues as an engineer at Intel. Define what you think the problem is, collect data to validate, isolate the root cause, formulate a corrective action plan.

Problem definition: Jean Nave reminded us that “the last president who was pilloried and lied about by Democrats as much as President Trump was President Lincoln;” and that “anger and hate is tearing this country apart.”

Data collection: Even before the inauguration of President Trump data proves that plans for overturning the election were in full swing. For four years our nation had to endure a Russian hoax, the attempted destruction of a Supreme Court Judge, a fabricated impeachment, and nonstop propaganda and hate from the mainstream media. We are still waiting for the data Adam Schiff claims to have in his possession proving Trump was working with the Russians.

Root cause: After review of extensive data it is obvious beyond all doubt that Democrats and the mainstream press working hand in hand are the root cause behind the anger and hate tearing our country apart.

Corrective Action: Jensen Newton has laid out an amazing corrective action plan, which I believe is clearly the path for the redemption of our great nation. First, like Jensen has done, all of us — including the intense haters of Trump — should take the time to give thanks for the many blessing we have living in America. Second be “thankful to have an eternal hope in Jesus that no fire can destroy, no mask can hide, and no looter can steal.” Be “thankful to belong to an eternal kingdom whose king is not up for election.”

I would hope that out of this process alluded to by Jean and Jensen our nation would remain “One Nation Under God” and not dissolve into a Marxist/socialist path of destruction.

Personally, I have two additional things I’m thankful for: 1. President Trump and all the accomplishments achieved by his administration to make America great (rarely covered on mainstream media or acknowledged by Democrats); 2. The voices of honest journalists based on facts and investigation; FOX News and Epoch Times newspaper.

Jeff Mackey

To the Editor:

On September 10, Indivisible Sisters (IS) was pleased to host a Zoom meeting with Deschutes County Commissioner position 2 candidate, Phil Chang.

We found him to be fully engaged with our various county concerns, and we appreciated his in-depth responses to our questions. In addition, Phil Chang is a gentleman, and one could not help but appreciate his forthrightness and kind demeanor (visit his website at

Phil sees the commissioners in Deschutes County as having five main areas of concern:

1. Addressing rapid population growth to manage and preserve open spaces while also working to mitigate traffic congestion.

2. Taking action to address COVID-19, mental health, and other health services issues such as substance abuse and suicide prevention.

3. Maintaining and improving local roads.

4. Advocating that we follow existing land-use laws of Oregon to assure sustainability (for example: solid waste and landfill services).

5. Maintaining public safety and “restorative” justice by monitoring the budgets of Sheriff, Courts and District Attorney’s offices.

He let us know he will amicably work with staff, seek solutions and agreements with his peers and will be a good steward of the budget. Indivisible Sisters has fully endorsed Phil Chang, as has Senator Merkley and Bend’s Vocal Seniority.

Announcements for future Indivisible Sisters events can be found on The Nugget’s Announcements page (Carina Miller, September 24, Arlene Burns, October 8, Candidates for Sisters City Council, October 22). These Zoom events are held on Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Linda Weick

To the Editor:

I would like to thank two of our local columnists who touched on the negative effects of social media last week (“What a great year,” by T. Lee Brown and “Challenging confirmation bias,” by Audry van Houweling).

I watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix and immediately deleted my social media accounts afterward, being horrified at what I learned. These platforms are effecting our kids (it specifically mentions how teen suicide rates have skyrocketed since Facebook launched) and have already destroyed basic conversation and disagreement. We are so quick to delete a friend, or “cancel” a family member, than sit down and discuss our differences. We are more divided than ever, social media is partly responsible, and they know it.

Their algorithms only show you what you want to see, and they spread hate and fake news (which they admit they can’t control because of the scale), all without any regulation. Everyone should watch this documentary and educate themselves on how these platforms are doing more harm than good.

It’s time to bring back face-to-face conversation and disagreement so we can begin to mend the divide.

Mandee Seeley

To the Editor:

After 27 years on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets no respect from Mitch McConnell. Her body wasn’t even cold yet when he started talking about her replacement. In fact, it was less than two hours after news of her death broke. If he had any decency at all, he would have waited until after her funeral.

Does anyone working with Trump know the meaning of the words respect or decency?

Paula Surmann

To the Editor:

Heartfelt Sisters thank you!

It has been nearly two months since the passing of my partner and husband of 27 years, Scott Peterson. As is the case for all that have lost a loved one, the transition is often a long, lonely journey. Many questions, few answers.

But I’m sending this note to all the amazing folks of Sisters who have reached out to me with help and support. During a very difficult time, family can offer great comfort for a time and I am eternally grateful. But ultimately they need to return to their own lives, especially in these uncertain times.

So fast forward to my Sisters community. Thank you friends, neighbors, and local businesses who have come forward to offer assistance in so many ways. There are too many to name, lest I forget someone, but you know who you are. My family and I are truly thankful for your love and support and are fortunate to live in such a special place.

Thank you, R.T.

Toni Ramsey


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