We hear from people, with concerns, who have come to our little town of Falls City to buy homes. Many came here to retire.
Some came with their children feeling a smaller school offered better educational advantages.
Some came here because of the beauty of the area. Some moved here just to get away from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.
In the past few years, many people who bought homes here, stayed for a while and then a for sale sign went up in front of their places.
Many vacant houses have sat for long months now with no takers. Some who have stayed have given up on trying to improve community ills. Some are even bitter, feeling the town was misrepresented by people hoping to sell homes to prospective buyers.
Many residents simply go to work, come home or shut their doors and don't look at the problems facing our town.
How this has come about is that the town is literally lawless.
Drug dealing is silent. Speeding cars driven by drug users aren't. Drug houses do not improve quiet residential areas. Unsightly junk cars are left on city property and city streets.
Unsupervised children, "hanging out" on the streets is not a sight conducive to selling houses. Children who are induced into selling and using drugs are bent on a form of self-destruction.
Adults pandering to children for the purpose of selling illicit goods, for them, are vile. Children need to be informed that these people are only self-serving.
This trickles down to areas in town that are not pleasant places to live. Even we folks who have lived here for all or most of our lives, raising our families, supporting our schools and city, now feel uncomfortable with the criminal element in town.
We've watched until we, collectively, realized we would have to do something about the problems ourselves. Luckily some of the new people in town have felt the need to help and have joined our crusade.
The ones of us who truly care about kids have watched hopelessly and feel the pain for our youth of town who are the "walking wounded."
This is a war on "terrorism" that is taking over our nation. Watching our perfectly healthy children becoming walking zombies is devastating to a family.
Young parents don't tend to believe their children are at risk because of their pre-teen status. This is when the educating of children should begin.
This is also when the younger parents in town need to get involved in the community business of getting our town back into a law-abiding place to live.
Our children deserve to be able to walk to the store or school or through the park without fear of being accosted by the criminal element.
Please take time to attend city council and Coalition Against Drugs meetings to find out what is being done in your city.
Make Falls City a town to be proud of. Not a drug pest-hole where some people are polluting our young peoples minds by peddling their poison.
The time is now to come together and do something positive about cleaning up our town.
I would like to thank the Polk County Sheriff's Office for responding to my complaints as per my letter to the editor in the Jan. 16 Itemizer-Observer edition.
Thank you kindly, I do appreciate it greatly.
To State Rep. Lane Shetterly:
I will first compliment you. As in true politician style, you dodged the main part of Mr. Tanksly's question. I will restate it.
If I remember correctly, he wanted to know why you thought you should run for re-election of a fourth term. I did note that you called it "filing for election," not re-election. Very nice touch.
In my opinion, when the majority of Oregonians vote for a measure and it passes, it shouldn't be your objective to find a way to get around it for your own personal agenda.
Personally, I am up in the air about the subject. Like so many other laws, there are times when it works for the good and at times for the bad.
But frankly I am up to my ears with the people of this state making a decision and having politicians, judges, etc. find ways to do end runs around it. It's pathetic and shows the true lack of respect our government has for "The People" -- whether it's land use, tax or voting laws.
I do have one suggestion for you if you are going to run for re-election.
While your filing for re-election, why don't you change your affiliation to Democrat instead of Republican. Your voting record and opinion clearly show what side of the fence your on.
That's your right as an American. However, it is somewhat deceptive. But in a district that has more "Rs" than "Ds," I guess it's a good strategy.
Greetings from sunny Florida. I enjoy bringing up your paper on the Internet.
I grew up in Dallas. I lived in Dallas from 1943 until 1955. My father, Ben Reimer, owned and operated Dallas Block and Supply during the 1940s until 1955.
I have been living in Central Florida since 1962, but still visit Dallas often. I still have relatives and friends in Dallas. When living in Dallas, I was a member of the Mennonite Brethern Church.
I moved to Salem after spending three years in the U.S. Marine Corp.
As a former county resident, an avid follower of the Itemizer Observer's letters to the editor via the web, I feel compelled to weigh in on the various pressing controversies that beset your communities.
It is my belief that the Founding Fathers were all Hare Krishnas. People only think they were Christians because they liked to get together and perform elaborate musical productions about Jesus in public places.
Furthermore, Benjamin Franklin was not a legal resident of the United States when he served as the first postmaster general. He owned a house in Belgium and commuted to work.
He spent most of his time in office writing stories about a bespectacled little waif in training to become a sorcerer. Franklin thought such stories would be instrumental in attracting children into the "Unholy Legion of the Night" he planned to use to overthrow Napoleon.
After leaving office, he opened a grocery store on Main Street in Philadelphia. Well, it was actually a health food store, but it still offered the same kind of food you can get at a grocery store. Only it was all made out of bean sprouts.
He paid taxes on his store, but not on his home in Belgium which he wrote off as a Hare Krishna Reading Room. Somehow this all ties in to Lane Shetterly.
Just remember what the Bible tells us in Titus 3:12: "When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend winter there." I think there's a lesson there for all of us.
OK, citizens, now that we've settled all this, can you all go back to your lives and find some real problems to fuss about?
It was encouraging to read that Dallas is planning for a pedestrian/bike trail along the creek, as reported this past week.
As a follow-up, I would like to suggest that the county consider doing the same for that stretch of Clow Corner Road/Monmouth Cutoff that runs between Highway 99W and ends next to the Forest River plant.
Realizing there is a bike trail along Orrs Corner from the highway, I still believe this route needs serious consideration as it seems to be the major route used by commuters between Monmouth and Dallas.
Additionally I have witnessed many children and adults who live along this road near Tyco trying to walk or bicycle on the very narrow shoulder, with fast traffic including log trucks zooming by.
Aside from the safety issue, this can only serve to enhance the growing network of bicycle trails in Polk County that help encourage healthy, environmentally friendly commuter habits and build our reputation as a cycling destination.
Wineries in the area are already capitalizing on this idea with this summer's winery/bicycle tour -- here's another opportunity to build a segment of tourism in our county.
Input from local government and citizens on this idea would be greatly appreciated.
It's interesting to me how many people are complaining about Gov. Kitzhaber not attending when when President Bush came to Portland.
I agree it was very disrespectful for him not to attend but, who cares.
His excuse was that the Bush administration was sending money to help the children of Afganastan while we have so many going to bed hungry every night in Oregon.
If Mr. Kitzhaber is attempting to appear compasionate, he is way to late.
If you need a reminder of how he feels about the children of Oregon, this is the same man who refused to let the Oregon Health plan help fund a heart/lung transplant for teenage Oregon girl and yet at the same time authorized the Oregon Department of Corrections to pay thousands of dollars for a bone marrow transplant for a prison inmate who is an illegal immigrant serving time for child sexual abuse.
I'm glad he wasn't there. He was way outclassed by the attendees who really do care about the children "all of them."
I am long overdue in writing this email to your fine newspaper.
My husband and I lived in Polk County for eight years, and unfortunately have had to recently move to the Salem area.
During those years, we always enjoyed your professional, informative and entertaining paper. We still do.
I would like to call particular attention to the always outstanding photography of Daniel Hurst.
He has such a wonderful ability to catch the mood and energy of an event -- such a wonderful eye for framing a picture invitingly.
I think your paper is most fortunate to have a photographer of his ability and talent.
Good luck in the future.
Since the devastating attacks on our country last September, there has been an outpouring of patriotism. There have also been many conversations about heroes and what makes a person a hero.
Well, my father is a hero in ways very personal to me. The entire community should also appreciate him, because he is a veteran.
Coming from a religious background that encouraged young men to choose conscientious objector status, he nevertheless stepped up to serve in World War II as part of the "greatest generation." I believe he also served for a time during the Korean War.
In recent years, my father has also miraculously survived an aortal aneurysm which typically kills most people within moments. After a long recovery, he has given up his home and now is in an assisted living situation.
Although he now has some mobility limitations, he can drive a bit locally and enjoys getting out. I thank God for my sister who remains in the area and helps him as well, on almost a daily basis.
I know that he is well-cared for and much loved, but there is one thing that breaks my heart in addition to the fact that I am now too far away to visit him daily.
It is something that affects other veterans as well -- something I believe is wrong and something I believe the community of Dallas could easily fix.
One of the most precious things to anyone is a sense of connection to others. For someone like my Dad, being able to meet with his VFW group used to be very important, and he would still attend in a moment if he could.
Unfortunately, however, their official meeting room is upstairs in the Armory and anyone with mobility limitations cannot attend.
Even before their meeting room was upstairs, the vets who were mostly seniors were required to move all the heavy tables and chairs for their meeting down the stairs and then put them away upstairs afterward.
This expectation strikes me as insensitive at best and outrageous from a less-kind viewpoint.
There must be other vets who are also unable to attend VFW meetings because of the simple problem of lack of disabled access.
I would like to ask a local church or business to consider whether they could provide a safe and accessible alternate location, so that all veterans who wish to could meeting together on a regular basis.
This seems like such a small thing to do to honor those who defended our country in previous times.
I have come to believe that the boredom that often accompanies health challenges can be at least as devastating as the health issues themselves.
I would encourage your readers to take a moment today to consider how to show your appreciation for those who fought for us, perhaps even before some of your readers were born. And, if you want to drop him a note or give him a call, my hero/father is Wilford "Bill" Sharp at 503-623-3721.
Dear local community businesses:
The LaCreole Wrestling Team wishes to thank Abby's Pizza, American Family Video, Cooley's Furniture, The Decorated Wall, Figaro's Pizza, Guy's True Value Hardware, H.I.T.S. Martial Arts Academy, Itemizer-Observer, Les Schwab, Domino's, Murphy's Grill, Out of Gravity Massage, Safeway and Starlite Lanes for their generous donations toward our fundraiser held at our district wrestling meet on Saturday, Jan. 19.
The moneys raised will be used toward our goal to take all wrestlers to the national wrestling tournament in Reno, Nev.
Thank you again.
and the LaCreole Wrestlers
Central does not need a name change or more money. They need some common sense.
Central was given that name because it was central between Monmouth and Independence.
It still is, unless those cities have moved.
Everybody in the area knows where it is. It has been Central for 50 years.
Where is the logic in this change?
Will a name change or more money make better teachers?
Wake up, this is nonsense.
No wonder nobody wants to vote for their budget proposals.
In an appalling lack of leadership and objectivity, Mayor Paul Evans, Rena Hoover, Patrick Moser and Stan Peterson opened the door for my uncle in Colorado to become a city councilor in Monmouth.
I suggested that my uncle visit during election just to keep within the "rules" set forth by this odd majority. The councilors voting in the majority may reopen the issue surrounding the residency requirements and Rena Hoover, the absent councilor, for discussion.
I'm a little torn on the issue. My uncle would make a great councilor...maybe mayor!
Then there's that aunt in Canada. Is there anything about a United States resident in the charter?
A big thank you to the HITS AKEA School of Self Defense for their recent demonstration at LaCreole Middle School.
To conclude a tumbling unit, Kevin McFadden and Brandon Pelky, instructors at the school, spent a whole day teaching the girls' P.E. classes some basic escape moves.
The presentation was professionally done and the information was both relevant and interesting.
Thanks for the time, energy and new ideas, gentlemen. We appreciated your investment and interest in today's youth.
Susie Buckingham and Carol Houy
LaCreole Middle School
As a fan and supporter of the Dallas High School swimming team, it has been painful and frustrating to see the Dragon swimmers come out on the short end of their Pac-9 Conference meets, this season.
Especially so, since Dallas has, arguably, one of the finest community swimming pool complexes in the State of Oregon -- or anywhere else for that matter.
Our swimmers give their best, but having only 13 swimmers (when everyone is healthy and available to compete) puts Dallas at a district disadvantage, when competing against teams which number from 25 to 60 or more swimmers.
Eight of the nine Pac-9 high school swim teams practice right after school for a minimum to two hours each day.
The ninth Pac-9 school, Dallas, has the following practice schedule: three nights per week, including Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and two afternoons from 4 to 5 p.m.
Could the practice schedule account for some of the discrepancy in numbers between the Dallas High School swim team and the other Pac-9 schools?
Dallas swimming coach Dennis Fritz said that his team will be allowed to practice from 3 to 5 p.m. for the 2002-2003 season. With school getting out at 3:15 p.m., even the most efficient members of the swim team won't be able to get in the water until 3:45 p.m.
Best case scenario under these conditions is for 1 1/4 hours of daily practice time. Hardly the recipe for successful competition with teams that practice for two hours or more on a daily basis.
Dallas High School's football, wrestling and girls' tennis teams have been particularly successful in recent years.
Would any of these teams have had the competitive success that it did, had it practiced for only 1 1/4 hours per day? And would the Dallas community have accepted such a practice regimen for any of these teams?
Is the competition for pool use any less at the other Pac-9 schools?
No. Each of the other Pac-9 communities has groups, including age-group swim teams, that demand adequate pool time for their programs.
It would seem that Dallas Aquatic Center with its therapy and leisure pools, as well as a lap pool, might be in a better position to accommodate its high school swimmers than most of the other Pac-9 swimming venues.
At least five Pac-9 schools have water polo teams that are able to practice for two hours a day immediately after school during the water polo season.
How is every pool that is used by a Pac-9 school able to find time in its very busy schedule to accommodate its high school swimming and water polo teams, except Dallas.
Seven Pac-9 schools are not charged for pool use. In most cases, the school district and the city realize that there is a reasonable tradeoff between school gymnasium and playing field-use by the city and pool-use by the high school teams.
In Silverton Union High School's case, the high school swimming team is practicing in an outdoor pool operated during the summer months by the local YMCA. This pool is ordinarily closed during the high school swimming season.
Most communities realize that a strong high school swimming program in conjunction with a viable age-group swimming program helps to enhance the quality of life in the community.
City-supported swimming programs help to encourage and promote pool-use at times other than just when the swim teams practice.
The City of Dallas should join the other Pac-9 communities in support of competitive age-group and high school swimming.
In regards to comments on upgrades to Highway 51 and Monmouth Street at the Independence-Monmouth border:
As the cities did grow, a standard was born
Of gifts back to the earth creating the rebirth of life.
So what then does happen when expansion hits home
The growing of the children whose birth made it whole.
Along with the children the seedlings still grew
And what once was small, frail, now stands quite strong.
Now men come from children, and the gift too had matured
Now the two cities forge together and the gift is now in the way.
So how do you stop the folks with their tools
I fear for the brown and green gift. I know what tools can do.
The humans will come, and chop the trees at the knees
They'll scoop out the young roots. Then put back what they please.
This writ was inspired as I thought of how "We the People" could ask that the cities of Monmouth and Independence replant, and not destroy, the Monmouth Woods across form POlk County Fire District No. 1 during upgrades to Highway 51.
David L. Hall
I was rather disturbed that Theresa LaFortune resorted to sarcasm and name calling to respond to V. Frerichs's letter to the editor.
In light of the trials that our country is going through, and the fact that our leaders are calling for acceptance toward those with different religions, I am appalled at the lack of tolerance that her letter exhibits. Whether we agree with it or not, everyone has a right to his or her own opinion without having to deal with hate-filled derision whether it be racially or religiously motivated.
Therese LaFortune of Dallas responded to Vonda Frerichs' "Harry Potter" letter to the editor with sarcasm and childish name-calling while trying to make a point of how "Harry Potter" should be accepted.
She also said that is was uncalled for to be so explicit in stating the facts surrounding "throwing in with Satan and company."
Would she have us stick our heads in the sand instead?
I, for one, would much rather have all the facts in making a decision for or against something my child was exposed to.
The proposal for allowing the gravel pit to be put in, off of Highway 51, here in Polk County, would damage the water system for so many people, we can not imagine this even being a consideration.
Where are the laws protecting this to be allowed? With all the rules that protect the simplest danger of any kind, to land or the people, where is the logic in this?
Most of us think the decision has already been made, and this opposition is of no value anyway.
R.R and Vera Simmons