Letters to the Editor 5/31/2023


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:32pm

Sisters Community Garden

To the Editor:

I remember her words like yesterday: “Fertilize, fertilize, fertilize. And stop planting so tightly.”

Her name was Donna Parker and, for a number of years, this elderly matriarch of the Sisters Community Garden was a constantly cheerful expert to us clueless gardeners. Ask her a question about her life’s journey or anything regarding plants, gardening, and, yes, organic fertilizer (aka poop), and you would gain such insight and, yes, wonder at producing a harvest in Central Oregon. Yes. I miss her. Cancer was the last weed in this precious woman’s life.

Then there was Marvin Benson. Another soldier against cancer who lives now in eternity. (Planting heaven with sunflowers, I am sure.) Because of his and his dear wife, Trina’s, love of gardening, the Sisters Community Garden was made possible 12 years ago, planted right next to the Sisters Airport.

You just had to love the guy. Marvin was an amazing steward of life. Come to the Garden at the end of the day, when the birds and chipmunks had run of the place, singing and thanking unsuspecting gardeners for feeding them with tiny, delicious seedlings, and you would always find Marvin checking on the greenhouse, pulling weeds, and, yes, encouraging the four-legged invaders to find their dinner elsewhere.

Then I think of the annual Quilts in the Garden. Or when The Anvil Blasters played and we all enjoyed an evening of music and flowers. And the strangers, such as brilliant Mr. Fix-It Bob Lawton, now moved to other parts of the world, who became friends while weeding, watering and wondering when the next frost might hit.

Sometimes generosity deserves recognition and the Benson Family, including and especially Benny and Julie Benson, deserve it. They not only let us be on their land but also provided a greenhouse that other community gardens would salivate over. When I think of the abundance that my plot has produced for me and the “oh wow” grateful response of recipients who have received my garden’s overflow, so much thanks go to the Benson family, who have served our community, and me, in such a quiet, unassuming way.

For those with eyes to see, the Sisters Community Garden is much more than plants. It is yet another pocket of life in the town we call home. Although some might not know it yet, the Sisters Community Garden is embarking on a new adventure of finding another location. And that’s okay. It is a terrific time for those of us who love gardening (and turning more strangers into friends) to invite others into the wonder of turning seeds into abundance.

We are confident that our new home will materialize because Sisters is alive with generous people like the Bensons. Should you be one of them, please let us know. We are so expectant of what lies ahead given the kindness of the past. Until then, may you not plant too close, and fertilize, fertilize, and fertilize your garden and life itself.

Eileen Chambers

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To the Editor:

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”—G. K. Chesterton.

Wednesday night, May 24, was one of the most life-giving, encouraging, and hope-filled nights I have had in a long time. It was the 15th annual night of the Sisters GRO (Graduate Resource Organization) scholarship distribution event. It was a time of joy, celebration, and radical generosity.

As a first-time parent of a senior I had no context for what was about to happen. The amount of money was stunning ($275,000 given away), the heart of the donors was on display, the chance for the students to look at those who have gone before them, relationally connect with the generous donors and hear words of encouragement, words of commissioning to these young adults as they step into their next chapter of deeper education, vocational training and calling. It was pure joy.

I contrast this scene with so many of the negative messages our world casts today: “Youth are just a problem” or “We’ll never bridge the generational gap” or “Old people and young people just can’t connect.” Really? That’s not even close to what I saw or experienced.

As a parent, local church pastor, and vested community member, I want to publicly thank Sisters GRO, the board, the staff, and the donors. I also want to thank Rick Kroytz, Steve Stancliffe, and the SHS staff for investing so thoughtfully and tactfully into our graduates.

I don’t know if our students are fully aware of the blessing that this kind of investment is, but I am confident that as they progress into adulthood, begin to feel the real pressures of life, and reflect back on their adolescence, many will know with great confidence that they have mentors, teachers, and heroes who sacrificed greatly so they could win.

Simply put, I am grateful for what all of our kids have been given. It’s a profoundly generous deposit they’ve been entrusted with. May each one see the gift, receive it with joy, and become a blessing with what they’ve been given.

Ryan Moffat

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Dog danger

To the Editor:

For the safety of others, I need to share my terrifying experience when riding my horse in the forest bordering Pine Street May 24.

I was riding with a friend when we were charged by an extremely aggressive female gray pit bull dog that was unleashed outside a trailer camp. She began charging our horses, and the owner had no control, and appeared to be afraid to pull her away from the attack scene. Perhaps his dog would have bitten him?

There were four men present, but (it) appeared too dangerous for anyone to help me. When the dog began attacking, my horse became very frightened, finally bucking me off and racing into the forest with the dog biting his heels. Luckily my injuries were mild. I will soon be 81 years old.

We finally found my horse with the help of others at the scene. My horse had outrun the pit bull. I later heard that this dog has a history of being dangerously violent towards animals. I am a retired veterinarian and saw many red flags on this dog’s behavior. I think if not properly confined, she could seriously injure or kill an animal, person, or child.

I am disappointed there are no resources or laws to properly confine a dangerous dog living in the woods who has a history. Being proactive would make sense to me. My final message is to be careful out there with your children, pets, pups, goats, horses, etc., and carry some method of defense.

Meanwhile enjoy all the nice, friendly dogs, accompanied by their owners, when you go out in the forest.

Sharon Sharpnack, DVM


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