News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor - 8/18/2021

That small-town feeling

To the Editor:

Having lived in the Sisters Country for nearly two decades. I, like many, have seen much growth. We often don’t see as many familiar faces as we used to.

The local music and charity event this week at the Community Garden made me feel at home again with a happy, small crowd of all ages enjoying fellowship amongst the beautiful sunset mountain views and amazing musical artistry.

Thank you Sisters Community Garden members for hosting this event and helping me find our little town of Sisters once again in my heart.

Patti Janego

Tensions at School Board meeting

To the Editor:

I have never written a letter to the editor before, but after reading the article in The Nugget (August 11) about the August 4 Sisters School Board meeting, I feel compelled to share positive experiences about mask wearing in schools.

My daughter is a student in the Sisters School District. Comprehensive Distance Learning was quite challenging for her. It was isolating and confusing. When she was able to return to school, even wearing a mask, she became happier, more confident, and engaged in the learning process. She never complained about wearing a mask and was willing to make the sacrifice needed. I am really proud of her.

Besides having the parent perspective of mask wearing, I am also a teacher in a local school district. Luckily, our students and staff were able to do in-person learning, either hybrid or full time, for the entire 2020-21 year (except for a four-week distance-learning break around the holidays). We wore masks the whole time. Was it hard? Yes, it really was at times ... AND ... it was a great opportunity to teach our students that we can all do hard things. That we can persevere through adversity and make sacrifices for others. Did our students learn and grow last year? Absolutely!

It was a year full of challenges and laughter, math and fun. And we did it ALL with our masks on.

Shawn Steele

To the Editor:

Thank you for the careful, extensive reporting on the recent School Board meeting. We have such a need, in these trying times, for clear and clean journalism, free of spin or propaganda.

I was saddened to hear of this eruption of hateful, arrogant, belligerent bullying and badgering. This has become a common attitude among a certain crowd, but remains a shocking affront to responsible civil behavior. My condolences to the board members, taking a beating while dealing as best they can with a complicated and challenging pandemic. How does this end, all the yelling and screaming and fighting? Can’t we do better than this?

John Rahm

To the Editor:

I cut out the “Tensions over masking at school board meeting” report in last Wednesday’s edition. I taped the article to my refrigerator. I don’t think it will age well. The shrill rhetoric and bombastic threats from anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers were, as usual, over the top. Most impressive was the inclusion of plenty of right-wing code words in their attacks on Board members: CRT, communism, Marxism, BLM, transgender.

However, there was one indisputable fact missing: The virus doesn’t care about your politics, your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, or your age. What needed to be discussed was the rapid deterioration of our healthcare system in the face of the delta variant of COVID-19. I trust that the unvaccinated will stay home when they contract the “hoax.” Our hospitals are reaching capacity. Nine out of ten COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, therefore the coming crisis could have been prevented.

Dean Billing

To the Editor:

After reading the report of a recent Sisters School Board meeting, I was motivated to express my view regarding the mask mandate for K-12 students.

I am guided by public health experts in this matter. I write to support School Superintendent Curt Scholl and elected members of the Sisters School Board. They are obeying the law and trying to provide a safe environment for children and youth to attend school in person.

To protect myself and others, I obtained the vaccine at the earliest opportunity. Most reasonable people would agree that it’s irresponsible for people to drive while drunk. Innocent people can be harmed. Likewise, when citizens decline the vaccine or decline to wear a mask in public, indoor spaces, they can harm innocent people by spreading the virus.

Carolyn Gabrielson

To the Editor:

Reading the August 11 articles by Mr. Kanzig, Bartlett, and Editor Cornelius regarding the negative resistance to mask-wearing indoors, as ordered by our governor, disappointments me!

Mr. Kanzig quoted nine people, even a Redmond resident who had no business taking our School Board’s time, railing against masks for unsupported reasons. They used excuses like “torturing kids, mental and physical health dangers, no dead kids from summer school, oxygen deprivation” and accusations that the School Board had not done research. Then Mr. Bartlett emphasized the “frustration” of mask-fatigue and the “confusion” of changing CDC recommendations, again quoting negative remarks to cast doubt.

However neither of these authors acknowledged the virulent nature of this evolving virus that even science cannot fully predict, nor how few loud, negative voices are really resisting what the medical and scientific experts urge us to understand. Neither reinforced the high rate of transmission of the delta variant that is now hitting young children across the U.S., the benefits of masks that prevent the aerosol droplets from breathing, talking, and laughing from spreading, the risk unvaccinated people pose for others, and the fact that vaccinated folks can carry and spread the virus without having symptoms themselves.

How about some reasons why the Governor is trying to keep us safe? How about the fact that Oregon had lower rates of infection through the months BECAUSE of her mandates.

Then Editor Cornelius fanned the flames by using inflammatory language like “pushing masks” and “causing people to doubt the vaccine,” when he too could have supported the lean toward safety for all instead of pandering to the naysayers!

How about recognizing that less than a dozen voices rudely disrupted the Board meeting and many of the same 20 people rallied on Sunday to protest masks? How about interviewing the hundreds or maybe thousands of folks in Sisters Country who dislike masks but care enough about others to willingly wear them again. How about my 3-year-old granddaughter who has worn a mask since age 2 with no complaints? How about a headline stating, SISTERS COUNTRY SUPPORTS MASKS, quoting only people who understand the need for and value of masks. I can rattle off dozens of names without even trying, and maybe the hospital directors and health

workers would like a word!

This virus is far more deadly than the flu, can result in long-term disabilities, is fast spreading, and has moved down to younger ages. If you can’t teach your children to endure some discomfort now, how will they ever cope with the realities of life ahead? There are children on ventilators at St.?Charles, if you want to talk about discomfort! This is prime time to help kids learn to think of others, and maybe some parents.

Wendie Vermillion

Apologies to McDonald’s

To the Editor:

To be clear, mine was NOT the Facebook post that started the story of McDonald’s refusing to serve firefighters (it turns out they did no such thing), but I did post kudos to Chops and shame on McDonald’s after seeing the story on our local TV news.

I was SO proud of Chops for taking such good care of our firefighters, to whom we owe so much, and was utterly dismayed at the thought of any restaurant refusing service to them. As someone who does not believe all that is said on TV news, I thought at least our local channel got it right — but they did not.

I will be even more skeptical of TV news from now on and apologize to McDonald’s staff for believing what I heard on the news. I am grateful to The Nugget for getting the story right! The news did get the Chops info right, so I again thank the owners of Chops for taking care of our firefighters.

Terry Hardin

Hospital crisis

To the Editor:

We are told that 95 percent of people hospitalized for COVID-19 now are not vaccinated. That tells us vaccines ARE effective. We are told St. Charles Hospital is in crisis, overloaded with COVID-19 patients and understaffed; basically overwhelmed because some egocentric people are saying they have the right to decline vaccination, which is true.

As a result people who need hospitalization for matters beyond their control find “no room in the inn.”

OK, those people who have avoided their responsibility to society should not expect society to look after them. They should not be admitted to the hospital for treatment of a disease that they could have avoided contracting. When resources are limited triage is necessary. It is time for “societal triage.” You make your bed, you sleep in it!

Donald Harner

Sad over state of America

To the Editor:

As I watch all the negative things happening in our country, it makes me terribly sad.

My wife lived in Venezuela when it was the best country in South America; now it is the worst with Marxism!

The ruling party in America with 19 RINOS are trying to take our country in the same direction and are succeeding rapidly.

I grew up (in) a racist family, but over my 77 years I’ve seen 95 percent of it erased. But the Marxists are again using race and COVID-19 to divide the country.

I’m seeing people and friends yelling at each other over COVID.

I’m sad that even the churches in America aren’t talking and praying for the country as a whole.

Chet Davis

There is no monster under the rug

To the Editor:

Do other Nugget readers tire of ANOTHER Jeff Mackey diatribe cloaked as his weekly windmill in need of one more of his seemingly endless written jousts?

Somehow it seems that Mr. Mackey all too often inserts Karl Marx (or some other communist baddie) as the hidden agenda behind his latest nemesis. In Jeff’s August 4 latest edition of “The World According to Mackey,” he chose Critical Race Theory as his latest punching bag. Does Jeff actually believe that when students are exposed to open discussions of how race and law have intersected in our history as a nation that there might just be a Marxist looming in the background? And here I thought Joe McCarthy had died in the 1950s. Good grief!

Does Jeff actually believe what he writes? And, as he states, is his source of educational enrichment in this case, that font of truth, knowledge and objectivity… YouTube? Really?

Well, I have been deeply involved in all levels of public education for more than 50 years (the last 19 as a volunteer at Sisters High School), and I have yet to detect any right- or left-wing conspiracy reaching out its icy tentacles to ensnare our students. Rather, I have witnessed an open system of education led by highly-educated, underpaid folks dedicated to enriching our children’s lives. And they don’t appear to be in need of being second-guessed by internet theorists.

There is no conspiracy. There is no monster under the rug.

Rather than accuse, I suggest that Mr. Mackey stop by Sisters schools and observe. Volunteer. Be supportive.

Steve Mathews, Ed.D.


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