Letters to the Editor 8/03/2022


Last updated 8/2/2022 at Noon

Vaccine Safety

To the Editor:

A new vaccine is promised for the fall that targets recent, highly transmissible Omnicron variants, warranting a frank discussion of vaccine safety.

But recent submissions to The Nugget by Dr. Wayne B. Schmotzer and Charles Stephens, meant to convince readers that COVID-19 vaccines are not only unsafe, but will make them sicker, perhaps even kill them, have added little of value to the discussion.

Dr. Wayne Schmotzer, DVM in his letter to the editor (July 22) cited a study whose results, he said, proved that COVID vaccination will make an individual significantly more susceptible to infection and reinfection. An alert reader refuted this claim.

In his guest editorial in The Nugget (July 29), Charles Stephens claimed that “The CDC’s own VAERS reporting system has recorded hundreds of thousands of deaths and serious injuries from the shots.”

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is a website co-sponsored by the CDC and the FDA that provides a mechanism for alerting clinicians to possible rare side-effects caused by any type of vaccination.

Entries into the VAERS system can be made by anyone, but must later be verified — “CDC and FDA clinicians review reports of death to VAERS, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records.”

According to the CDC website, “More than 601 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 20, 2022. During this time, VAERS received 15,605 preliminary reports of death (0.0026 percent) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Continued monitoring has identified nine deaths causally associated with J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination.”

By now, readers of The Nugget have most likely hardened their position regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots. The audience of readers who remain receptive to Dr. Schmotzer and Charles Stephens’ warnings against COVID-19 vaccination is probably small.

Nevertheless, if Schmotzer and Stephens intend to sway even a handful of readers against vaccination for COVID-19, they should offer them “legitimate” evidence to support their claims because the consequences for readers who follow their advice could be dire.

Brown University has estimated that nearly 319,000 American lives could have been spared had everyone received a COVID-19 vaccination when they became available. In Oregon, preventable deaths from COVID infection were estimated to be 3,798.


The primary source for “Inoculating children against conspiracy theories,” which appeared in The Nugget July 12, 2022, was: “Belief in conspiracy theories: Basic principles of an emerging research domain,” European Journal of Social Psychology, 2018 Dec; 48(7): 897–908.

Mitchell Luftig

SB 762 Wildfire

To the Editor:

The fire risk assessment/assignment map mandated by SB 762 and put out by ODF and OSU assigns a fire risk (low, moderate, high, extreme) to every tax parcel in the state. One’s initial response is to see if the risk designation is reasonable and, if not, how one can effect a change.

The risk categories are based on satellite images that show the amount and type of vegetation in a given area. They have no relationship to conditions on the ground! (Possibly, if your area was burned over, you may be in a lower risk area now? No news there.)

Who knows what the true purpose of the study might be, but it is obvious that you do not need satellite images to indicate areas at risk of fires (forests, scrub land, grassland). Those areas are obvious. Nor do you need the images to categorize them by presumed degree of risk. Risk is risk, period. An actual fire will depend upon the random occurrence of lightning, human negligence or arson and weather conditions. Creating a “risk map” will not prevent or deter a fire.

So this whole effort is a waste of time, money and resources to no real benefit. Not only that, insurance companies are now starting to raise rates or decline to renew policies based on the risk designations in the map.

Yes, we should all appeal the faulty risk assignments but, more importantly, we should demand REPEAL of SB 762. Email Senator Tim Knopp at [email protected]

Every locale and property owner should do whatever is necessary to reduce fuel. Keep the State and its meddlesome politicians out of the picture if that is the best they can do.

I suggest one watch the video of the hearing in Medford: youtu.be/ExXOWx7_xdY

Donald Harner

Wildfire Risk Classification

To the Editor:

In regards to the recently released wildfire risk classification of our properties, thank you, Sue Stafford, for your article in last week’s paper on this subject! There will be an informational meeting on Wednesday, August 10 at 7 p.m. at the Deschutes Fairgrounds. In addition, there is a recording of the meeting that was held in Medford on July 27 on YouTube. It most likely will be a similar presentation. The link is https://youtu.be/ExX0Wx7_xdY.

I’m finding it odd that there are properties that definitely should be rated “High Risk”, but are only “Moderate Risk.” One alarming property is the 22-acre stretch owned by the Oregon Parks and Recreation that is vacant, full of vegetation/debris and runs parallel along the highly-trafficked Highway 126 just east of Highway 20. Why is this stretch rated “Moderate”? There is the potential of a spark from a car or truck or a lit cigarette thrown out of a car, which could be disastrous for the neighboring homes.

Just doesn’t make sense and I question the risk assessment as a result.

Cheryl Pellerin

Be Good Stewards of Creek

To the Editor:

Hot summer days are the perfect time to cool off in Whychus Creek as it meanders through town. Enjoy it, but please be respectful of this natural treasure we are fortunate to have in our midst.

Time was, the creek would dry up in the summer for lack of sufficient water after the surrounding farms and ranches siphoned off creek water for necessary irrigation. Through a partnership of many local and regional organizations like the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Deschutes Land Trust, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Portland General Electric, City of Sisters, farmers and ranchers, and other groups and individuals, water has been restored to the creek to keep it running year-round. A concerted effort, involving millions of dollars and years of work, has brought Whychus Creek back to the point where it can begin to sustain the return of salmon and trout.

It is fun to play in the creek, but it is very important to leave it in the same condition in which you found it. Parents, talk with your children about the importance of taking care of the creek. Making dams is a natural childhood activity but please, remove them before you leave the creek. Adults, don’t look to the creek bed for landscaping materials — plants, rocks, logs. Be kind to the banks of the creek and the vegetation growing there.

The creek belongs to all of us. Please take care of this gift of nature.

Sue Stafford

Fraudulent Election

To the Editor:

This is a letter of response to the letter “Not Stolen,” July 27, printed in the Letters to the Editor by Mr. Cliff Brush.

Hello, Mr. Cliff Brush, I appreciate and respect your points of view shared in your Letter to the Editor, titled “Not Stolen.” Thank you.

I also have a point of view in regards to the 2020 presidential election. The election was FRAUDULENT! I hold this point of view based upon a lot of factual evidence. The most accurate evidence of where I hold my point of view, the documentary “2,000 Mules,” Dinesh D’Souza. Please examine the facts from this documentary for yourself.

Warren D. Snyder


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