Letters to the Editor 4/26/2023


Last updated 4/25/2023 at 12:27pm

STA speaking up on Green Ridge

To the Editor:

The relationship between wildfires in the West and responsible forest management is a highly debated topic, and one that’s been written about extensively. For Sisters Trails Alliance, the debate illuminates a need for greater transparency from the Forest Service and for public understanding of all sides of this complex topic, especially because it impacts our wildlife, ecosystems, and recreational experiences in Sisters Country. Timber harvest projects disguised as “ecosystem restoration” raises many questions, including who is ultimately benefiting? Is it the public or commercial interests?

For nearly a decade, the wisdom of extracting 5.25 million board feet on Green Ridge has been questioned by experts including, but not limited to, Central Oregon Land Watch, Oregon Wild, and Blue Mountain Biodiversity Project, reputable organizations who care deeply about this relatively intact and wild ecosystem. They’re concerned about the negative impacts of commercial logging on the watershed and wildlife, including the northern spotted owls who’ve made Green Ridge their home. Additionally, it’s known that commercial logging makes forest drier, hotter, and reduces the important carbon sequestration that large trees provide.

Sisters Trails Alliance’s work is planning, building, and maintaining our trails, but the reason we do this work is our deep connection to our wildlands and wildlife. As trail stewards, it’s our responsibility to protect and preserve the outdoor experience.

Sisters Trails Alliance recently learned more about the Green Ridge logging project, and is alarmed by its breadth, and the negative impact it will have on our outdoor experience. We have witnessed in just a few years declining wildlife, extreme heat, and constant threats to the local watershed. We’re compelled to use our voice to bring more public attention to the Green Ridge Project and others like it close to home. We have joined voices with the nearly half dozen objectors to the Green Ridge logging project and have asked the Forest Service to vacate the “restoration” work. Additionally, STA and its members have expressed deep concern over the use of words like “thinning” and “restoration” to describe the Green Ridge Commercial logging project, because they do not accurately reflect reality.

The fate of Green Ridge’s northern spotted owl, imperiled gray wolf, elk, deer, cougar, and black bear hangs in the balance until the Final Decision is released. If you’re concerned about the future of Green Ridge, please write the Forest Service ([email protected]) and ask that they vacate the project immediately. We still have time to save Green Ridge if we speak up now.

Scott Penzarella

Executive Director, Sisters Trails Alliance

Vote for Jeff Smith

To the Editor:

Jeff Smith is the operant definition of a dedicated and knowledgeable Sisters School Board member.

He brings a level of history and expertise no one else on the current Board can match. Jeff has seen the Sisters School District through multiple budget challenges and bonds during his tenure. His education and knowledge as a professor of governmental finance and public policy analysis is a skill set unmatched by any of his fellow directors or current School Board candidates. We cannot afford to lose Jeff’s expertise.

Jeff has impacted our Sisters students via other avenues as well. His involvement with the Sisters Folk Festival and as a mentor for Circle of Friends have benefited our community at large but especially the students these nonprofits work so hard to serve. Jeff has been to the top of Strawberry Mountain, guiding middle schoolers in the ECoS program. He’s taken high school students in the IEE program onto Collier Glacier (between North and Middle Sister).

Jeff doesn’t just talk about what’s good for children. He walks the walk. Because in the end, it’s what you do, not what you say. Vote Jeff Smith. That’s what I am going to do.

Kay Grady

Smith and Sarver for school board

To the Editor:

As the Chair of the Sisters School Board, I have had the opportunity to work closely with board members Jeff Smith and Asa Sarver. They have brought their experience and unique perspective to bear as we have worked through many challenges and issues surrounding our schools and the educational experience of young people here in Sisters.

I have found them both to be engaging and thoughtful as we have addressed issues ranging from the recent pandemic, with its profound implications regarding the educational system, to difficult budgetary decisions and district policies. We have had the chance to be involved with the new elementary school planning as well as discussion of future master plan concepts with a University of Oregon graduate program. I have appreciated their input, curiosity, and team approach.

Jeff has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience, with over 20 years of service on the School Board as well as time spent coaching and mentoring Sisters students. He brings relevant history to bear with obvious wisdom as we work to tackle new problems. He has been a great help during my tenure as chair, always willing to listen and be a sounding board for thoughts and ideas.

Asa, our newest school board member, has been an energetic, driven, and involved board member from the start. He is the sort of person that is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and jump right in to help work through specific problems. With young children in the district, he brings a perspective from a parent viewpoint that is important to recognize. I have been appreciative of his commitment to board organization and function. Recently, he has stepped into a leadership role with the local option PAC. He shows dedication to the Sisters schools, working hard to assure that the future brings additional opportunities and options for our students.

I am proud to support both Jeff and Asa in their re-election bid for the Sisters School Board.

David Thorsett

Sisters School Board Chair

To the Editor:

The Sisters School Board election has drawn one opponent (Karissa Bilderback) to Position 3 incumbent Jeff Smith and two opponents (Hilary Saunders and Jayne Simmons) to Position 4 incumbent Asa Sarver.

Opponent Simmons didn’t appear at the recent League of Women Voters of Deschutes County candidate forum so it’s hard to tell what her candidacy is about. Opponent Bilderback appeared and spoke of her concern about “classroom behaviors.” There was no mention of that in The Nugget article about the forum.

All of the opponents seem to have a generally positive opinion of the current Sisters School District so it’s difficult to determine why they are running. I agree we have a fine education system here in Sisters, so I will be voting for incumbents Jeff Smith and Asa Sarver.

As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Roger Detweiler

Sarver for school board

To the Editor:

In 2020 the state of Alaska voted to approve ranked choice voting for federal and state elections. This logical system played a significant role in helping prevent populist candidates that were wholly unfit for office “win” the election by voters splitting their support between other more qualified candidates.

Unfortunately, Oregon has yet to adopt rank choice voting, so the possibility remains that an extremist candidate could win an election without anywhere close to a majority of voter support.

More locally, the Sisters School District needs board members who are experienced, competent, inclusive-minded, evidence-based thinkers. Asa Sarver handily meets all these qualifications. Please don’t split the vote. I strongly encourage you to support Asa for Sisters School Board.

Kris Calvin

Saunders, Bilderback for school board

To the Editor:

I am writing to share my enthusiastic support for Karissa Bilderback and Hilary Hedemark Saunders for the Sisters School Board.

I have known these young women since they were high school students when I was principal at Sisters High School. The Sisters community is fortunate to have candidates of their caliber and dedication willing to serve. Both Karissa and Hilary have children in our school district, but their commitment to Sisters public schools goes far beyond the interests of their own children; they care deeply about the quality of education for all students, and they will advocate fairly and passionately for students, families, teachers, and administrators, whether it is reexamining the school calendar and early release days, addressing new curriculum requirements and changes, reviewing the co-curricular program and bussing situation, or maintaining our schools’ educational excellence under a strict fiscal regimen.

After graduating from Sisters High School these young women have gone on to become an educator and an attorney. Their experiences will serve the School District well for years to come. Both young ladies are running against incumbents who have served the School District well. But, as with all boards, change is good, especially when the candidates are people who care passionately about the education of their children, and all the children in the School District.

I encourage all registered voters in the Sisters School District to elect Karissa and Hilary to the Sisters School Board.

Dennis Dempsey

Support schools

To the Editor:

I have been a proud Outlaw for 18 years and have been blessed to bring my two kids up in the Sisters School District. With our community-supported levy over the past 20-plus years, students have had access to field trips learning about the Oregon Trail. Outdoor hiking and nature connection activities at the Metolius River. Walking to, and learning about, sustainable farming by planting, composting, and harvesting at nearby Seed to Table farm.

Alongside our academics that excel in reading and math, our schools value physical activity, sports, music, and art. Students learn hands-on skills in woodshop, construction, jewelry making, pottery. Our amazing Outlaws can become songwriters, chefs, engineers, pilots, or poets.

When we choose to support our local option, we can ensure our class sizes stay small so our students can feel supported and encouraged to question and grow. Measure 9-161 is a renewal of the commitment to our students and future Sisters community. Please join me in voting yes for our schools!

Angela Buller

Perusing the April 12 Issue

To the Editor:

Perusing the April 12 issue of The Nugget, I was struck with the many ways the spirit of our small town was on display. Brenda Smith’s commentary, “A rescue and a return,” brought tears to my eyes, as did Sue Stafford’s comments on why she loves Sisters. Like Sue, I remember how in 1991 one of the Reed brothers came to the curbside to hand my husband keys to an office we had rented. What a welcoming welcome.

That was the spirit then, when the population of Sisters was 810. It is still the spirit of Sisters with a population of over 3,000. Yes, we have grown; however, that spirit lives on.

And it will live on as we vote to renew Measure 9-161, to continue the local option tax. From 2000 it has helped to make Sisters School District one of the most outstanding districts in our state. A vote for the local option is an investment in the future of Sisters and our kids.

As a school board member, I am increasingly impressed with what our district offers, and what we offer is directly related to the local option. Without it, 10 percent of our funding will go away. What that represents are small classroom size and 16 teaching positions. Also, the many unique opportunities our kids have in IEE (Interdisciplinary Environmental Education), woodworking, culinary classes, and aviation.

We hear over and over again that young families move to Sisters because of the schools. Not renewing Measure 9-161 would negate that.

Even with the local option, Sisters has the lowest tax rate in the area, of $6.10 per $1,000 assessed property value. Voting for Measure 9-161 will not increase your taxes.

You may be thinking — we just passed a bond issue. What about that? The bond issue can only be used to fund the building of our new elementary school and related expenses. The local option covers people and programs—salaries of the dedicated people who teach our kids.

We can all be proud that our students are thriving. It is because we have renewed the local option every time it has been put to a vote. Our kids outperform other districts on state tests and we graduate more students on time. I hate to think what this would look like without the local option, let alone the decisions I and other school board members would have to make.

Edie Jones

Support SPRD

To the Editor:

As a family with two children living in Sisters, we fully support the renewal of the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) local option levy, Measure 9-106. This local option levy is a renewal request designed to maintain and enhance the vital services that SPRD already provides our community. It continues the current rate of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, so taxes will not increase if you vote in support of this measure.

We truly appreciate the wide range of programs, events, and activities that SPRD offers, including yoga, ukulele, and table tennis. Currently, our 4-year-old loves attending SPRD’s excellent preschool program, while our 13-year-old really enjoys the soccer camps, clinics, and recreational teams. In the years to come, we hope to continue taking advantage of SPRD’s classes and programs.

Please join us in supporting this vital resource and vote yes on Measure 9-160.

Erik Benton and Carrie Uffindell

Sisters Park and Recreation District

To the Editor:

For the past 25 years, the Sisters Park & Recreation District has efficiently and effectively made available outstanding park and recreation services for all district residents, especially the youth of our community. In 2018 voters passed a “local option” property tax levy to increase support for SPRD for five years. I am writing to encourage Nugget readers to support the continuation of that levy at its current level for another five years.

The proposed levy, Measure 9-160, will allow the District to maintain and enhance existing services. Perhaps more importantly, passage of this levy would allow SPRD to partner with the Sisters School District to transform the existing elementary school into a community recreation center.

This idea has been supported and driven by the community. The development of a community center was identified as a primary strategy for “A Connected Sisters” in the 2019 Sisters Country Vision Plan. It was further supported during the “2021-22 Future Uses of the Sisters Elementary School” public input process that was initiated by the Sisters School District and facilitated by C4C (Citizens4Community). During that process the community’s highest priority for use of the school was as a community center. Passage of the levy will move the community one step closer to making that vision a reality.

Visionary leaders, like Tom Coffield, Bonnie Malone, and Bill and Jan Reed, understood the importance of providing recreation programs and facilities for our children and families. As a community you believed in the importance of investing in our children and families by approving the formation of the District on May 19, 1998. It is now our turn to continue the investment in recreation programs and facilities that help make Sisters a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Please vote yes on Measure 9-160. Thank you!

Bob Keefer, Treasurer

Board of Directors

Sisters Park & Recreation District

Prayer for the nation

To the Editor:

Sisters friends: come one, come all. We are holding a community prayer vigil for our nation Thursday, May 4, from noon to 1 p.m. No food, no speakers, no cost! Simply come when you can to Sisters Community Church; follow the signs to the Fireside Room.

Pray for the children. Pray for our leaders. Pray for each other. See you there.

Cindy Bell

Earth Day

To the Editor:

Crossroads Property Association held an Earth Day Highway 242 cleanup on April 22, arranged by Activities Committee member Joanne Anttila.

Crossroads has “adopted” mile post 88 to milepost 90 for over 30 years. As a member of the Board, I wish to thank my wife, Joanne, Jeff Tryens, and Patricia Cusick for their help picking up seven yellow ODOT bags full of trash from that section of the highway in record time, one hour and 45 minutes.

We made an awesome four-team.

Bill Anttila

HOA Board Member


To the Editor:

I wonder if these abortion activists ever stop to think that for the love of their mothers they wouldn’t be here to spread all their hate.

Something to pray about.

Pat Farr

Forest science

To the Editor:

In his story “Scientists’ debate may impact local forest projects,” it’s worth asking if Bill Bartlett attempted to contact Dr. James Johnston of Oregon State University, who has a very different opinion from Chad Hanson.

Johnston recently led a letter cosigned by 11 ecologists disputing research by Hanson et. al. The letter was submitted in an amicus brief related to litigation over the Eastside Screens on eastside national forests. Adding that perspective would (have) better served readers.

Nick Smith


Reader Comments(0)


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Https://www.nuggetnews.com/home/cms Data/dfault/images/masthead 260x100
Sisters Oregon Guide
Spirit Of Central Oregon
Spirit Youtube
Nugget Youtube

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024