Letters to the Editor 8/2/2023
Last updated 8/1/2023 at 9:53am
To the Editor:
As an avid user of our trail system, I have seen my fair share of wildlife — coyotes; bobcats; a herd of elk, etc. — but this sighting was unique for me.
On a run with my dog I hear some rustling off-trail and stop to see a huge bull staring at me from 50 yards away. My first thought was “This is not normal.” He stared at me for a minute and then went on his way.
Finishing the run later, the story became clear as I came upon several cowboys on horseback searching for an escaped bull from the nearby rodeo grounds. I assume they found him, but to me he certainly looked happy with his temporary freedom.
To the Editor:
I must take issue with a recent Letter to the Editor stating that “anyone using profanity does not have a very large vocabulary.” I have an excellent vocabulary and would make the case that sometimes a well-placed profanity is the perfect choice!
Questions on shelter
To the Editor:
Reasonable questions about the proposed shelter:
How many homeless/houseless will actually choose to utilize the facility?
Will those using drugs/alcohol be required to forfeit their habits?
Will some or all be required to undergo treatment, rehab/treatment, counseling?
What skills does a noncertified counselor possess as opposed to a certified counselor?
Once the building is purchased, alterations made, and four to five salaries paid, where will funds come from to continue the operation the second year?
How does the chosen location mitigate concerns of relocating houseless people away from residential areas when there are or will soon be hundreds of homes within a couple of blocks?
It will be beneficial to all to learn more about the intentions, mission, and plans for the proposed shelter.
To the Editor:
The proposed Sisters Shelter and Resource Center has been approved for funding by Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC). Our city should be proud that we are the benefactors of an amazing gift to solidify the operations of an entity that has been assisting the most vulnerable in our community. This body of volunteers has given so much of themselves over the years, caring and walking alongside individuals who could be you or me.
Sisters Cold Weather Shelter began operations in 2017 and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2020. We started with guidance and support from seasoned shelter providers like Shepherd’s House, NeighborImpact, Bethlehem Inn. The shelter is well-versed in running a healthy, safe, and respectful operation.
Current plans call for an overnight emergency shelter for our unhoused community members in the winter months, November through March. We will also be available to open in the summer during times of extreme heat or substantial smoke for not only the unhoused but housed members of the Sisters community. Our facility was approved by fire marshals for up to 40 beds, but historically we’ve had a dozen or less.
In addition, our shelter will be open year-round as a resource center. The vision is a place where individuals can access services and connections to help keep them safe and make strides toward more stable housing solutions. The Resource Center’s knowledgeable staff and volunteers will create meaningful connections while providing lifesaving and life-changing support. We currently have a coordinator who is helping to connect individuals and services. With the help of the COIC grant we expect to hire additional staff in the coming months.
As always, the shelter will expect the cooperation of the guests we serve to adhere to a code of conduct ensuring mutual respect and safety for our neighbors and each other. Experienced staff will strictly enforce the agreed-upon code and take swift action if there is a violation.
We hope the building on Barclay can serve as a location for other service providers to broaden their services in the community. We have begun discussions with Deschutes County Behavioral Health and Family Kitchen and are open to other possibilities as well.
We are grateful for the support and collaboration of local and regional leaders who made it possible to secure grant funding to make this much-needed resource available for our community. It is heartwarming to see people coming together to assist and overcome obstacles. I am very proud of the positive overtones and desire to be a part of this operation. It is a blessing to be part of our caring community.
To find out about volunteering with the shelter, email [email protected].
Board President, Sisters Cold Weather Shelter
As I write this letter to the editor, I am breathing unhealthy air caused by a “human-caused” fire in the Bedrock Campground in the Willamette National Forest. We are all suffering from this avoidable incident and yet fires are still allowed in Forest Service campgrounds in our own backyard. This seems totally crazy to me, and what’s even crazier is many retail outlets in Sisters are still selling firewood to all comers without even a notice regarding the campfire restrictions that are currently in place. While the Forest Service deserves kudos for posting notices at many informal campsites, more needs to be done. No open fires, nowhere. This is the time for local businesses and our public officials to step up before it’s too late.
Rep. needs town hall
To the Editor:
Our Congresswoman, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, claims that “without opinions from constituents, [she] would not be able [to] represent Oregon’s 5th Congressional District best.”
Yet she has turned a deaf ear to repeated requests that she hold in-person, unscripted town halls throughout the District.
In May, a group of constituents visited Chavez-DeRemer’s Redmond office to present a letter signed by 46 voters in CD5 asking for in-person, unscripted town halls. We received no response.
A number of us have renewed our calls for this kind of open exchange, which is utilized by both Senators Wyden and Merkley in their many town halls throughout the state. We have asked Chavez-DeRemer to schedule such town halls during the August recess.
Chavez-DeRemer’s office has now informed us that she is planning to hold a “tele-town hall” in September. This response is completely at odds with our repeated requests because the format will deprive her constituents of the ability to interact with her in person. Judging from past events, we also expect that it will feature pre-screened questions.
Now we are wondering, why is our representative so unwilling to meet with her constituents in person and listen to our concerns in an unscripted manner?
Preventing the eve of destruction
To the Editor:
It’s late July, this old man’s fancy heavily turns to thoughts of Bikini. Unfortunately, not the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie, yellow polka-dot kind. I am talking about the July 25 anniversary of bomb tests on the Bikini Atoll. With the airing of “Oppenheimer,” and my own studies of odd-shaped clouds in “thermally perturbed atmospheres,” I give my testimony to those sirens singing praises to the almighty STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
Do not get me wrong, I love and enjoy the wonder and practice of mathematics and science. My Polish-style training turned mathematics into a drinking game, full of excitement and ecstasy. Many young scientists and engineers know this joy of discovery. It is cultivated and can lead to the desire to understand and make our world better. Remember better living through chemistry?
Its promise of a stronger, richer America makes a powerful argument for spending a disproportionate amount of our tax dollars on STEM while neglecting the humanities and arts. This is dangerous!
Do not forget how easily fervor, fear, and greed can be misled by unethical leaders.
Consider this quick list of disasters resulting from brilliant STEM-educated minds being stirred by either fear or the invisible hand.
• Those lazy, hazy days of nuclear winter,
• Vietnam’s McNamara’s fallacy,
• The 2008 fiscal crisis and an Asian contagion, and
• ChatGPT’s generative artificial intelligence.
It seems we are on a merry-go-around of tragedy. Since the assassination in Sarajevo (1914), we have forgotten “the cause does not justify the means.”
We watch mesmerized as our humanity is dive-bombed from Guernica to Odessa, and as civil and corporate Caesar-wannabes shatter our institutions in pursuit of personal power and unshared wealth. Have we forgotten the necessity of ethical leadership, personal accountability, and a system of checks and balances?
These are the bedrock of the country proposed by our founding parents. What did they have that we lack?
Personal values, openness to debate, and a moral compass learned through a balanced, classical education.
Their concept of democracy and personal liberty was founded on their understanding of the classics and the writings of the Enlightenment philosophers. They understood that the sciences / STEM must be balanced by a grounding in philosophy, rhetoric, and history. Without these we have no footing and so easily will be swept away by fallacy and demagoguery, to the delight of the rich and a chosen powerful few.
Today, our educational system shies away from the teaching of ethics and values in the name of cultural tolerance. This ignores the overlap of universal truths. A core set of principles for living a good life is widely shared across the globe. Thus, nothing stops us from developing a canon appropriate to our evolving culture. We can expand our children’s understanding by enriching the Western canon with the Gita, the Koran, Sequoyah, and Chinua Achebe. This is what good pedagogy does.
To prevent our eve of destruction, we need to have the will to empower our educators and support them in producing a more balanced, ethical and thoughtful next generation.