Letters to the Editor 3/20/2024


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 10:28am

Thank you to community

To the Editor:

To the amazing Sisters community...

 We are the family that lost our house to the fire on Valentine’s Day. Since then, the love and support shown by our whole community have truly blown us away. 

We’d especially like to thank the excellent first responders from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department and Black Butte Ranch Fire Department. Although our house was beyond saving by the time the fire department was called, firefighters were able to protect surrounding buildings, and contain the damage. In addition, the professionalism and kindness demonstrated by all of the first responders when they reached out to us was greatly appreciated. We were traveling when the fire happened and felt supported and cared for, even on the other side of the country. 

Our friends and neighbors have been incredible. We can’t thank you enough for all the love and kindness! Beyond that, people we don’t even know have stopped us in town to share their condolences and best wishes. This kindness and connection is part of what makes Sisters so special. Thank you!

We are grateful every day that no human or pet was home, that the fire was contained to our property, and that we have good insurance. But most of all, we are grateful for this amazing community! 

Jay and Vanessa Wilkins

Supportive community

To the Editor:

The School Board Meeting on March 6, began with a presentation from our long-standing partner Seed to Table. Audrey Tehan, from the organization, presented the partnership that Seed to Table has with the Sisters School District, which is currently in its 11th year of collaboration. Seed to Table offers over 900 student visits to the farm each year and comes to visit the schools twice a year (winter and spring). Over the years, Seed to Table has established a close collaboration with the teachers and students, including staff workshops and greenhouse experiments, as well as a highly impactful relationship with the life skill students at the high school and middle school. Learning opportunities range from gaining a better understanding of biology, plant ecosystems, planting and harvesting, to nutrition and fresh foods, preparation of healthy meals, and taste testing.

The presentation was followed by the usual updates, including enrollment, which is currently flattening, a rather typical trend for this time of year. The new elementary school construction is still on track for a move in at the end of the school year. We would again like to thank our community for passing the bond, which has allowed this much needed facility to become a reality.

As all have surely seen, the roundabout construction has begun, which is causing a new route for the elementary school pick-up and drop-off. Collaborations with different organizations, including Parks & Recreation and Treehouse Therapies, are moving forward with lease agreements at the current elementary school. Discussions are also underway for a potential agreement with a 0-3 year-old child care service. And finally, the workforce housing project is in the final stages of approval for two candidates.

The call was launched again for the recruitment of Budget Committee Members and a Sisters representative on the High Desert Education Service District (HDESD) School Board Committee. Any community member interested in either position should reach out rapidly to the District Office for more information.

We are thankful every day to live in such a supportive community, where the education of our children is revered as a primary community value. I wish everyone a pleasant end of March and a wonderful Spring Break to staff, students and families!

Curt Scholl


Civic Leadership Academy

To the Editor:

We’d like to thank the residents of Sisters Country for their commitment to civic engagement.

Last week was the application deadline for the inaugural Sisters Civic Leadership Academy. We received 25 applications, wildly exceeding our expectations! For context, the City of Hillsboro – with a population over 100k – struggled to get 12 applicants their first year offering an Academy.

Applicants ranged in age from 22 to 79; hailed from Camp Sherman in the west to Plainview in the east; and have resided in Sisters Country from as little as one month to over 30 years. We received applications from local business owners, nonprofit volunteers, corporate employees, students, retirees, parents, non-native English speakers, historically underrepresented groups, and people holding a rich array of lived experiences. Needless to say, it made for many difficult decisions for the Selection Committee (composed of representatives from Citizens4Community, City of Sisters staff, and Sisters City Council).

We’ve now chosen 12 applicants for our inaugural cohort, and move into the next phase of Academy preparation knowing that many more community members are “waiting in the wings,” eager to find ways to get involved in local leadership and decision making. This is a great sign for the future of our community, and we’re excited to build new pathways for citizens passionate about civic engagement.

A hearty congrats to our inaugural Academy cohort, and a sincere thank you to all the applicants. Those interested in staying updated about Academy progress — and next year’s application timeline — can subscribe to C4C’s newsletter at citizens4community.com/subscribe. And if you’re looking for nearer-term leadership opportunities, consider applying for open seats on the City’s volunteer boards, commissions, and committees. The process opens October 2; you can learn more at ci.sisters.or.us/bc.

Kellen Klein


City of Sisters

Dark Skies

To the Editor

2.5 million acres of Lake County have now received Dark Sky certification. This is the largest, continuous Dark Sky zone in the United States. The goal of Phase 2 will be to expand this area to 11.4 million acres. This is great news not only for stargazers but for the plants and wildlife that depend on the cycle of light and dark for their survival.

The City of Sisters has also opened an application to become a Dark Sky community. We love our mountains, rivers, lakes, trails, etc. Our night skies are just another part of our natural world that each of us and the businesses in town can help protect. Consider using amber-colored lights, shielding your lights so that they point down, and installing motion-detector lights. We don’t have fireflies but we do have starry skies. Let’s save our starry nights by turning off our outdoor lights.

International Dark Sky Week is coming up, April 2-8. More information can be found at http://www.darksky.org.

Paul Bennett


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