From our readers


Young Ms. Melina Lawson's litany of the wrongs done to her generation of school children was depressing and largely true.

Sadly, Dallas must have already eliminated the civics courses that teach how our state government works.

Budget bills must originate in the House. The anger and sarcasm directed at the governor is therefore misplaced.

Instead of blasting the governor, you should blame the Legislature. It is they who have consistently refused to provide adequate funding for the education you demand.

And, ultimately, you should blame the taxpayers who voted for Measures 5 and 50 and for this Legislature because the message of those votes is clear: Lower taxes are more important than kids like Melina Lawson.

The governor did not create the problem, no more than he can fix it all by himself. Wishful thinking, Enron accounting and borrowing from the future are no longer viable options.

Lee Peterson


Sept. 11

I would like to thank everyone who took time to remember those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

I was unable to take more than a moment myself to reflect on the impact of those events and the changes that have followed.

I was particularly moved when I saw the Polk County firefighters paying their respects in a quiet and simple ceremony in front of Station 91.

When I came home that evening, there was one simple candle burning in front of our house. I would like to thank my wife for her thoughtfulness and compassion.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who directly or indirectly was involved in the events of last September.

We all appreciate what you do for us in times of need and for your efforts in the quite times to maintain our freedom and our way of life.

Greg Showell

Polk County


We are very proud to offer our support to Larry Dalton for Mayor of Monmouth.

We have known Larry for more than 40 years.

He has proven himself to be a good husband, father, businessman, neighbor and friend.

His roots are deep in the Monmouth community as he has lived here for 28 years, graduated from Central High School in 1969, is a member of Central Baptist Church and is a business owner in the community.

Larry's experience includes eight years as a member of the Monmouth City Council, four years on the Monmouth Planning Commission, two years on the Polk County Planning Commission, director of Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce and president of the Polk County Board of Realtors.

One of his main concerns is reviving the Monmouth downtown core.

His strength of character and self-confidence will help him to help us move Monmouth forward.

Davie and Cheryl Piper



On Ellendale Avenue in Dallas, across from Polk Veterinary Clinic, there is an old, metal, broken-down, ramshackle building that is an eyesore.

On the way into Dallas, it is one of the first things you see.

What a first impression of our town!

Can nothing be done to get rid of it?

Bill Morris


Creek Clean Up

The Rickreall Watershed Council would like to extend a special thanks to all the people that helped make the Celebrate the Creek Day a success and to the public for its participation.

The Fishing Derby would not have happened if not for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife donating the fish, the City of Dallas letting us use the old swimming pool, the Dallas Sportsman Club manning the pool and Northwest Steelhead Association providing the poles and bait.

An enormous thanks to Ron Krebs, Kenn Stoller and Kenn Carter, for going beyond the call of duty and assisting with the whole program.

We would like to recognize and express thanks to all the sponsors; Dallas IGA, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Dallas Feed and Seed, Starlight Lanes, Guys Hardware, Abby's Pizza, Design Tops Inc, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, City of Dallas, Les Schwab Tires and Dallas Disposal for taking care of all the trash that was removed from Rickreall Creek and the bank.

We look forward to doing this again next year.

Jackie Hastings,


Rickreall Watershed Council


A few months ago the newspaper ran an insert titled Explore Polk County.

While many of the articles were very informative and well researched I have wondered about the title and some information in the article on Spirit Mountain Casino.

The headline stated: "Casino: Oregon's No. 1 Tourist Attraction" and this was restated in the article as well.

I have several concerns about headlining with that statement: First, where did that statistic come from? Did the Itemizer-Observer base that on factual numbers or is the paper just copying a press release from the casino?

Secondly, how could that statistic possibly be true?

If one thinks about the many tourist attractions in our state, there is no possible way to determine which one is singularly the most appealing.

There are no ticket takers along the hundreds of miles of our beautiful coastline, no one keeps track of how many people travel along the awesome Columbia Gorge.

There is no admission to all the amazing places on Mount Hood or in Central Oregon. Even the thousands of people who attend the annual Rose Festival Parade is only an estimate.

In my opinion, Spirit Mountain Casino is not a tourist attraction. It is an entertainment business that attracts large numbers of customers so I can not swallow the headline that you put with that article.

Oregon has far too many natural (and free) attractions that will always overshadow this one business.

Thank you.

Karen Gratreak


(EDITOR'S NOTE: The statistic comes from the Oregon Department of Tourism. The casino attracts about 3 million visitors annually. Oregon's second largest tourist attraction is Multnomah Falls.)


In our politically correct culture, it's often tough to call a spade a spade.

This is evident in much of what we read about Islam. Many readers may be wondering "will the true Islam please stand up".

In the Sept. 11 issue, Janet Overholser and Daniel Pipes offered a Point/Counterpoint on the subject "Is Islam Evil?"

Overholser quoted several passages from the Koran, confirming clear teaching regarding Islam's violent intentions toward "infidels" or non-Muslims.

A world-view, be it Islam, Christianity or any other should be judged by the clear teachings that it embraces.

If Muslims don't practice what their holy book clearly teaches, are they really practicing Muslims?

It seems that true Muslims can show their loyalty to the Koran by violently subjugating and killing non-Muslims. In fact, this appears to be a way to guarantee reward in paradise.

Pipes does not deny Overholser's claims. Pipes states that many "moderate" Muslims do not practice violence toward non-Muslims. They should be asked, why not?

Don't they believe the clear instructions found in the Koran? Are these true practicing Muslims?

I am not wanting to condemn Muslim people, but I do believe their holy book teaches unwarranted and hateful violence. I also think we non-Muslim Americans need to understand this.

As a Christian, I accept the New Testament teaching that all people are of value and matter to God and that they should matter to me too.

This individual worth includes Muslims.

However, I reject the really silly notion that all world views and ideas are equal.

Rejecting inaccurate, hateful ideas is not being narrow minded, but rather is being discriminating in a good way.

We had better get over this mushy-headed thinking that teaches we have to respect everyone's ideas, including dangerous world views.

If good and evil exist as objective, moral categories, then moral truth also exists. I find that almost everyone, when confronted with the evidence for the existence of good and evil, cannot deny their existence.

Since it is evident that moral that moral truth exists, it is our job as thinking people to discern truth from non-truth. If we lack truth, we are either ignorant or deceived. Either of these is dangerous.

Monte Wiens



Several weeks ago, we had a garage sale to help benefit Kelly Sage, a young woman here in Dallas who needs a double lung transplant.

We just wanted to say thanks to all the people who donated items to be sold and thank those of you who called to offer a donation even though we weren't able to get back to all of you.

We were overwhelmed with all the donations we received and apologize for not returning some of your phone calls.

We would like to especially thank Gary Foster from Fosters Furniture for his large donation and Dr. Bill and Elizabeth Payne of Salem for their large donation also.

Without the help of two other very special people, Ellen Myers and Donna Faxon, I am not sure we could have gotten everything out and marked in time. Thanks so much for your help and donations also.

The sale went great.

We raised $508 for Kelly's medical fund. I would like to encourage people that want to help out to consider just a one day sale and do as we did.

Ask for donations and you will be surprised to see how many generous people are willing to donate to a good cause and help out.

If you don't have the energy or time for such an event, you can drop off a donation at any Bank of America where a medical fund is set up for Kelly Sage. Any donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.

Kevin and Sherry Sailors



President Bush and Vice President Cheney are working furiously to drag our country into another war.

These two men evaded service in Vietnam where they would have learned how horrible war is.

We know that if we invade Iraq, our young, innocent men will serve, thinking they are serving a just cause. But, is "oil" a just cause?

We know that development of our alternative fuels would cost only a fraction of fighting more and more wars over oil.

We could develop something, making our world a cleaner and safer place to live.

Our administration is ignoring this fact in their rush to fight.

The unilateralism of the Bush White House is an affront to the rest of the world, which almost unanimously opposes such action.

Even our Democrats are now joining the national debate of this mad scheme.

Yes, I am a World War II veteran who spent 16 months in a Nazi prison camp and I am resolved to try to stop this madness.

I love my country, but my patriotism makes me want to make our country better.

This invasion is dead wrong, wrong, wrong!

Citizens with civic courage should challenge a policy that poses a clear and present danger to our country's best interests.

George Gordon


Box tops

As you know, our school budgets are tighter than ever before, and as we try to find innovative ways to help our schools, one answer comes to mind.

Box Tops for Education.

This year, Oakdale Heights Elementary School is raising money to purchase playground equipment and school supplies.

We are asking community members to help our school earn cash through a fund-raising program from General Mills called Box Tops for Education.

This successful program has already contributed nearly $70 million to America's schools since the launch of the program in 1998. Here are three easy ways to earn cash for our school!

1. Clip box tops coupons from hundreds of participating General Mills and Pillsbury products and send them to our school.

Participating products include General Mills Big G cereals, Betty Crocker products, Pillsbury frozen and refrigerated products, Green Giant products and many others. For a full list, see:


Our school gets 10 cents for each Box Top we redeem. The more we redeem the more we earn -- up to $20,000 per year. Send your box tops to our school.

2. Shop at more than 100 online stores through the Box Tops for Education Marketplace.

Start at the Box Tops Web site before making online purchases at your favorite stores. Up to 10 percent of your qualifying purchase will go to our school-- at no cost to you when you sign up and designate Oakdale Heights Elementary School.

3. Charge with the new Box Tops for Education Visa card.

This is an amazing way for our school to earn extra cash. A full 1 percent of anything you charge on the Box Tops Visa card will be donated to our school.

There's no annual fee, a low APR and you can use the Box Tops Visa to buy gas, groceries and more at more than 20 million locations worldwide.

When everyone helps, even a little, it can all add to up. Our school can earn up to$60,000 when you clip, shop and charge with Box Tops for Education.

Thank you for supporting our school and making a difference for the children in our community.

Sherri Douville


Sept. 11

I wish to express my appreciation for the outstanding program that were arranged for our community Sept. 11.

As well move forward from the tragic events happened to our country Sept. 11, 2001, we have an opportunity to reflect on the many changes these events have had on all of our lives.

There were beautiful ceremonies that allowed us to honor those who perished one year ago and to remember those families and friends who continue to suffer their loss.

In particular,r I want to thank the students and staff of Dallas High who stepped up and took part in making this day very special for our community.

They, along with the Dallas Ministerial Association, Bollman Funeral Home, the staff of the City of Dallas and others did an outstanding job in putting on the programs at the Rotary stage at noon and the high school's Gallaspy Stadium in the evening.

The people who missed their lunch hour or came directly from work to attend the evening events appreciated having the concessions available.

The entire day was so special with the flags, the beautiful music, the speeches, the honor that was shown to our local heroes and the celebration of our undaunted American spirit.

It is always a pleasure to me to have the youth of our community be active participants in events that are so important in our lives. Thank you, Dallas High School students.

Alice Propes



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