News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 1/31/2024

Wildlife corridor

To the Editor:

As members of the Bend to Suttle Lake Wildlife Passage Initiative (B2S), we appreciate the recent article highlighting our locally driven effort, published in The Nugget on January 16 (“Initiative seeks to mitigate wildlife collisions,” page 4).

Highway 20 between Bend and Suttle Lake crosses several important wildlife movement corridors for mule deer, elk and other wildlife. This section of highway sees one of the highest rates of deer and elk wildlife-vehicle collisions in Oregon. The goal of B2S is to construct safe wildlife crossings for the benefit of motorists and wildlife along this 35-mile stretch of highway here in our own backyard.

To address the growing safety concern for both wildlife and motorists along Highway 20, state and federal agencies, nonprofits, landowners, and institutions formed B2S, a broad partnership that brings together the expertise, relationships, and regulatory authority essential to success.

B2S is currently working on a feasibility study to identify and prioritize potential wildlife crossing sites. The goal is to see projects on the ground within three to five years.

In 2020, the Oregon legislature passed legislation directing the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to coordinate efforts to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and has since then allocated $12 million to support wildlife crossing initiatives across the state.

More support is needed and right now there is another important opportunity to build upon this work during the upcoming legislative session. Led by Representative Ken Helm (Democrat, District 27), House Bill 4148 takes important steps toward establishing a permanent, dedicated funding source for improving the safety of motorists and wildlife in Oregon. It is expected to be heard in the House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources, and Water soon, and we urge members of the committee and all legislators to support HB 4148, and make our roads safer for drivers and wildlife alike.

Jeremy Austin

Wild Lands & Water Program Director for Central Oregon LandWatch

Michael O’Casey, Deputy Director, Forest Policy and Pacific Northwest Programs for Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Cold Weather Shelter

To the Editor:

In the front page of The Nugget on January 17 there was an article about an emergency shelter in Sisters. The Sisters City Council had approved a staff-prepared resolution that would authorize the rapid deployment of a temporary shelter in an unoccupied building in downtown Sisters. Sisters Cold Weather Shelter (SCWS) was contacted, and they “rushed” to set up the shelter. I spoke with Diane at SCSW to ask about volunteering at the shelter, and I learned the shelter was being closed (after three nights) because it was now too warm (in the 30s). SCSW had to pack up everything and leave the building.

I reviewed Resolution No. 2024-01 that authorized the temporary shelter and was stunned to learn the resolution stated that a temporary shelter “may be necessary only when the temperature is 25 degrees or lower…” I wonder, would you like to sleep in a tent at night when the temps outside are in the mid 20s or 30s? I do not understand a City Council resolution like this one. I am hoping they will address this issue, and help the homeless in a more humane manner.

Rosemary Vasquez

Wildfire and insurance

To the Editor:

Important new wildfire-related consumer protections for home insurance are now law.

As your State Representative in House District 53, I know that preventing wildfire from reaching homes and communities is our first line of defense. Sadly, the heartbreaking reality is that catastrophic wildfire in Oregon has caused billions of dollars of losses in recent years, including thousands of destroyed residences.

Home insurance is an important safety net should damage or loss take place. But getting or maintaining home insurance can be difficult. Adding to the frustration, homeowners have received notices about the discontinuation of their home insurance or notices of increased premiums that lack any reasoning. In the Oregon Legislature’s 2023 session, we passed Senate Bill 82, which just became law on January 1. Senate Bill 82 aims to make it easier for homeowners to obtain and maintain home insurance.

Senate Bill 82 requires insurers to provide notice about any decision to terminate or raise premiums on home insurance that is due to wildfire risk, including important details like how the insurer determined wildfire risk, the details of the property that informed the determination of risk, and suggestions for changes that would make the property easier to insure.

This new law also extends the amount of time for rebuilding or repairing a home after wildfires (given an emergency declaration) and also disallows an insurance company from using a state wildfire risk map as reason to cancel, non-renew, or increase premiums for home insurance.

Also, insurers need to provide information to the public about how they take into account wildfire risk mitigation actions. By taking into consideration wildfire risk mitigation actions such as defensible space and home hardening, or participation in community risk reduction like Firewise, insurers can know that a property has lower risk and price premiums accordingly.

Emerson Levy

Free Gaza from Hamas

To the Editor:

I found it curious in Micaela Verbitsky’s recent letter entitled, “Free Palestine,” there was no mention of the October 7 murder, rape, torture and abduction of Jews, including guest workers, Americans and Muslims, who were living in kibbutz close to the Gaza border. The massacre was carried out by both Hamas terrorists and ordinary Gaza civilians, who gleefully posted their heinous atrocities online and some even sent the videos to the victims’ families.

So, my question is this, does she condemn Hamas and the slaughter that occurred, without equivocation or justification? If so, there are points that can be debated. If not, there is no point in a discussion.

Free Gaza from Hamas!

Deborah Halsten

Family-friendly restrooms

To the Editor:

The Family-Friendly Restroom Team would like to extend our gratitude to Bill Bartlett and The Nugget for your recent coverage of our project installing free diaper changing stations for Sisters Country businesses. Since publication we have received several donations, five new inquiries from local stores and restaurants, and an offer to sponsor all installation services (thank you, Re:Vive Construction)!

We’d also like to say thank you to Age-Friendly Sisters Country (AFSC) for incubating our project. Their support and fiscal sponsorship helped us turn an idea into a nonprofit initiative with real-world impact. We encourage anyone with community building dreams to reach out to them and explore starting your own “Action Team.”

We sincerely appreciate the support from so many local individuals, organizations, and businesses as we work to help young kids and their caregivers feel seen and sanitary in our community. The surge in interest means we’re now fundraising for more changing tables; you can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting agefriendlysisters.com/donate. And if you see a local business with a changing table in the restroom, please thank them!

Kellen Klein and Jane Cartwright, Family-Friendly Restroom Team co-founders

Who’s dangerous?

To the Editor:

Regarding Thomas Nitcher’s letter of January 24: Wow! Being a life long Democrat, I was shocked to hear that I’m such a dangerous person. I’ve always considered myself a thoughtful considerate person, but apparently I’ve been busy wrecking energy independence and plotting with ANTIFA.

I think comparing the post-Civil War Democratic Party with the one of today is like comparing the Grand Old Republican Party with the MAGA cult of today. The Democrats went through a sea change in the mid-1960s, when President Johnson signed the civil rights bill, and then the voting rights bill into law. The southern Democrats almost to the man (or woman) changed over to the Republican Party. So, in a nutshell, all those absolute blemishes to our country’s history such as the KKK and Jim Crow were inherited by the modern Republican Party.

Basic American history. No wonder so many of the southern states are trying to change or ban history books. The Democratic Party disappoints me all the time, but the alternative is out of the question. Maybe someday we’ll have a multi-party system that fits all our needs.

A quick note: ANTIFA stands for anti-fascist, so, if you’re not anti-fascist then you are pro-fascist. There’s no in between. It would be difficult, as a Democrat, to be behind ANTIFA when there doesn’t seem to be such an organization, although I’m definitely anti-fascist.

I’m constantly amazed by the sheer volume of disinformation and misinformation that’s out there these days. You’d think more people would take the time to find out the truth of things. If Walter Cronkite told them that Trump was a con-man and lost the 2020 election fair and square, they wouldn’t believe him.

Bruce Campbell

Let freedom write

To the Editor:

In response to Jim Cornelius editorial, January 24 (“The stormy season,” The Nugget, page 2):

Jim made a great persuasion for those wishing to express their views in The Nugget. If we hadn’t witnessed the greatest drive to suppress free speech/thoughts in American history during the past eight years I’d tend to agree. Free speech means free; preserved by the blood of those who paid the ultimate price and more since our founding. We humans, created in the image of God, are ‘emotional’ creatures that react to that which is seen and heard. It is literally impossible to un-see what is happening at the border, while hearing Mayorkas claim otherwise before Congress.

I say it’s time to “let freedom write” in The Nugget. Do you see and hear what is happening to our young children’s education? What’s up with Harvard? Their initial motto at founding was “Truth for Christ and the Church” now replaced with hate and anti-Semitism.

Concerning bias, I’d say for Sisters patriotism and love for our military is one bias that still brings us together every year on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. If you ever visit Washington DC, tour the memorials and then Arlington National Cemetery; you will be moved ‘emotionally’! Every war fought by those who perished or came home maimed in combat had confronted evil forms of tyranny; those seeking absolute power by any means possible.

To honor our fallen we the people must now fight for and protect the freedoms paid with the blood of our brave. We’ve witnessed President Biden’s leadership methods and failures; seemingly expressed in the past by the tyrannical monster Lenin: “We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth…We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

Jeff Mackey

 

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