News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 5/8/2024

4th of July event

To the Editor:

I am not sure that having the 4th of July event at The Village Green Park is a good idea.

There are limited areas to park. The homeowners most likely will have issues with people parking in front of their houses. Just too congested.

For all the school tax money that is paid by the residents of the City of Sisters and those in the surrounding school district area why not work with the school district and use the high school grounds for this event? There is the large grass field behind the school that would accommodate the event, plus ample parking. The City and District working together with the organizers could make it work.

Marvin Inman

Why I won’t vote for Phil Chang

To the Editor:

Phil Chang tried twice to raise property taxes. Once during a year the County had both a surplus and a reserve. Another year when the choice was between property tax or transient occupancy tax. He recently voted against correcting a mistake by Deschutes County on placement of serious-offense parolees in a neighborhood without full notification of neighbors.

In May of 2022, the county engineer targeted our property county road frontage regarding the placement of medium-sized decorative landscape rocks adjacent to the paved surface. This resulted in a seven-page letter with photos threatening legal action. The county road serves seven total residences.

Three letters appealing this action were sent to the Board of County Commissioners without response from them. County staff response gave the clear impression they were preventing the appeals from reaching the Board.

I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Chang by appointment by phone on February 17, 2023. I described the issue, the appeal letters, and the apparent shielding from the Board of the appeals by County staff. During the 45-minute conversation I was able to describe the rock placement, their 8-to-9-year existence in place and other details. I indicated the county engineer ignored numerous other similar encroachment conditions in the area. This included irrigation district canal headwalls within inches of the paved surface. He directly refused to assist getting the appeal to the Board. Near the end of the discussion, he said: “If you don’t like this you can run against me in the next election.”

He failed in this instance at constituent service!

Norm Ploss

An overlooked benefit of defensible space

To the Editor:

Not all of us appreciate the call for creating a defensible space around our homes. Our thoughts tend to be personalized which may mask important values.

Maybe a change in our thinking might help: Think of our first responders. Let’s get together as a community to show a sense of compassion for these incredibly dedicated professionals and volunteers by creating a defensible space to help protect them as well as our homes. A defensible space will help to mitigate the very real threat of injury or worse to our first responders. They deserve our compassionate support. Their compassion for us and dedication to our community goes above and beyond on a daily basis.

Ralph Salisbury

School update

To the Editor,

May is quite a full month for the School Board as we typically have several back-to-back meetings. During this last session the school board met with the budget committee to discuss the 2024-2025 Sisters School District budget. The budget was approved by all members and will be formally presented for adoption in the budget hearing on June 5.

Following the budget meeting was the regular school board meeting where the elementary school principal, Joan Warburg, shared that the process for selecting a new math curriculum at the middle school was nearly complete. She mentioned that the objective is to select a tool that is aligned with today’s standards, and to enable teachers to best support students following specifically defined criteria.

After an in-depth selection process, two publishers were chosen and then piloted by middle school math teachers. The selected curriculum will be available for public review from May 13 through June 4 at the District Office. It is targeted to be adopted in June, so that it will be in place for the start of the new school year. Joan also mentioned the integration of the Seal of Biliteracy, which five students are currently pursuing, as well as four students that have successfully passed the English Language Proficiency Exam.

Middle school principal, Tim Roth, presented the data from the Ds and Fs performance target report, in which there has been an overall decrease in the number of Ds and Fs in the second trimester at the middle school. Some of the positive contributing factors are individual student goal-setting exercises, intervention classes, after-school homework sessions, and high yield AVID trainings for staff.

Once again, enrollment is slightly up. Move-in to the new elementary school is still planned for June 24, with the keys actually being turned over on July 15. Sisters Park and Recreation District is set to move into the current elementary school over summer. Due to the timing of all of the transitions, the location of summer school is still being discussed.

And finally, we were pleased to meet and approve Emily Stukel as the Sisters School District representative on the High Desert ESD School Board. Emily Stukel will be replacing Edie Jones, who has served on the board for several years. With an extensive background in education, Emily is passionate about serving students and her community, and looks forward to an opportunity to serve on the HDESD school board, and we look forward to having her represent our district.

The final school board meeting of this school year will be held on June 5th, which will also incorporate the Budget Hearing. We are getting close to the end of the school year and are excited for all of the upcoming events that will be ongoing throughout the months of May and June. We greatly appreciate the community support during all of these memorable moments for our students.

Curt Scholl


I was wrong

To the Editor:

Susan Cobb is correct. I used misinformation from AI to claim that Jamie McLeod-Skinner had been fired from her city manager position in Talent. Interestingly, AI has corrected itself in the meantime; now stating that Skinner was not fired from her Talent position. For that I apologize.

I wish the writer would have acknowledged her error in misrepresenting former Congressman Kurt Shrader’s actions regarding Skinner’s candidacy. I can find no source showing he ever urged his supporters to vote for the Republican candidate.

And I don’t need AI to tell me that the writer’s claim that Skinner’s discovery of malfeasance by the City of Phoenix was the cause for her firing has been totally discredited. Here’s a story from the Columbia Gorge News: “The mayor of Phoenix, Oregon is on a mission to ‘set the record straight regarding false information’ being disseminated by Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a candidate for Oregon’s Second Congressional District, about her being fired as city manager in March 2017. [Mayor] Luz said after McLeod was let go, the city hired a certified public accounting firm, and then asked interim manager Dave Kanner, who had 30 years of experience in government, to separately review financial records. No evidence of malfeasance or misappropriation of funds was found during either investigation noted Kanner in a report to the council.”

Skinner is a highly controversial, three-time election loser who has already lost once to Representative Chavez-DeRemer. Voters in District 5 have a better option — Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum.

Jeff Tryens

Avid reader

To the Editor:

A note of appreciation for excellence in writing to two recent columns.

I’ve often admired the high quality of the regular correspondents and occasional columnists in The Nugget. Craig Rullman’s contribution, “Consider the lion” gave me pleasure, and pause at his range of thought and evocative expression. I’ve only heard a mountain lion scream once, but its unmistakable quality of power and beauty and terror leads the mind to many other places and back again.

Then, just a page later, I loved the T. Lee Brown column “What I saw” also beautiful, and taking you to all those places she brought forth with her language and feeling.

I look forward to reading more from them both in the future, and must confess to reading The Nugget front to back avidly every week.

Laura West


To the Editor:

I can hardly wait to see the new postcards: Sisters, Oregon. Home of America’s largest roundabout.

Jim Cline

Biden policies bad for America

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to a guest opinion article written by Ms. Hodgson entitled “Country deserves better than Trump” published in the May 1 Nugget. I am quite certain that President Biden may be a pleasant older gentleman to share an ice cream and swap some stories, although many of those stories may lack the truth. That being said he is not a world leader. The following facts from the past three-plus years will support my opinion.

Mr. Biden has failed to uphold his constitutional duty to secure our borders. America currently has the weakest border in modern history. There have been in excess of 10 million illegal immigrants whom have entered our country and the Biden Administration has failed to properly vet or document these individuals. This does not count the “got aways”! America has suffered from a massive increase of fentanyl traffic and sadly a significant increase in fentanyl deaths. Then there are the horror stories related to human trafficking that he does not want to recognize. Lastly, due to the current border/immigration crisis we have reduced services to our veterans and other legal citizens deserving of assistance.

President Biden’s policies have lead to spiraling and constant inflation. An inflation rate of 30-plus percent relative to cost of living is equivalent to a 30-plus percent tax! He and he alone is responsible for this and he has yet to own it.

Mr. Biden has continuously lied and deceived the American people. He has weaponized the DOJ to prevent proper investigations into his son, family members, possibly himself, and members of his administration for possible illegal activities. And yet, his DOJ has become involved in election interference. President Biden has significantly harmed the ideal of American sovereignty and is destroying two modern pillars of modern society, faith and family.

Mr. Biden released the sanctions and provided mass amounts of money to Iran. As a result he is responsible for funding and emboldening terrorist groups and attacks around the world, including the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel and the loss of American service members on his watch. His foreign policy has led to the weakened state of America and its allies, while at the same time strengthening China and our adversaries. Additionally, President Biden has managed to recently alienate two of our strongest allies, Israel and Japan.

Mr. Biden and his administration constantly fluctuate on policy or opinion based on the perceived votes available at the time. Aaron Tippin, a country singer, once sang “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” It would appear a country music lesson might be in order.

At this time in America’s history it has never been more important to vote policy over personality. As I stated earlier, Mr. Biden may be a likable older gentleman, but his policies along with his inability to lead are destroying our great country.

I’ll close by simply asking Ms. Hodgson this question: What in the world did America do to deserve President Biden?

Tom Braun


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