Upon returning from a recent trip to the Bay Area in California, as good as it was to see old friends, I wanted to kiss the ground on returning to Oregon.
After almost 25 years of living in either Monmouth or Independence, and serving on various commissions, volunteer projects and other historical groups, I've come to feel this is my home.
The reason for this letter is to send out another plea for some balance in the way our communities are going to grow.
We are already experiencing unexpected waits to cross the streets through downtown. The side streets off of the University have become race tracks, and people are searching for alternative routes just to cross 99W.
If the S-curve fills up and the corner of 99W becomes another monolithic box store, then what? If we have another place to buy aspirin and underwear, and can sit in our vehicles to buy drugs and coffee, will we be better off for it?
There has been, I think, a lot of lip service paid to quality of life and the value of living in a small town. The ones who generally profit are not of the community. What happened to the Hometown Pride banners, especially the one across from the Colonel's Bucket? Are they now going to say Hometown Fried? Or how about new signs for the city that say: Welcome to Lancaster Real -- Monmouth, Califoregon.
I would suggest that if we are to think outside of the box, then we should not invite them to set up shop in our town.
After chemeketa vacated the Academy building and eliminated our more than 23-year Fitness Class, a small flurry of disappointed and disillusioned students lashed out at the injustice of the situation.
Those same individuals took it upon themselves to follow a "where there's a will there's a way" pilgrimmage to get back what Chemeketa had taken away.
That pilgrimmage led us first to the Dallas county Commissioners and finally, to Dallas Community Schools. The County Commissioners made it possible for our class to return to the Academy Gym (our home since 1989). They have generously provided equipment storage space and custodian/maintenance support, affording us the freedom to offer a thorough and versatile fitness program.
Dallas Community Schools stepped up with their full support to sponsor the class at an affordable cost. As the instructor of this long-term class I would like to thank the County Commissioners and their support and custodian staff for all their efforts on our behalf.
I would like to thank the Dallas Community Schools, supported by the Dallas School District, for their willingness to recognize the need for and to sponsor an adult personal enrichment program like this class.
Finally, I would like to thank my dedicated students who have supported this class throughout the years. I especially wish to thank Sandy Quiring and Susan Lang for their very active roles in bringing this class back to life in Dallas. I am happy to report that moe than 30 students registered for the first 8-week session.
A new 8-week session begins Monday, April 4th and we hope to see our enrollment continue to grow. To all of my students over the 23 years, I say congratulations for choosing to make your health a priority. Many of my students have moved on to dedicate themselves to Karate, Yoga, running, biking, walking, body-building or other physical activities. Whatever the choice, I'm proud of every student and what they were and are able to achieve. Thank you for making my fitness teaching experience one of the most important facets of my life. May each of you reap the rewards of your efforts and dedication to fitness!
We need leadership on the School Board. The old-fashioned, business-as-usual approach is broken. Suffering in silence about the school's funding crisis does a disservice to the youngsters, teachers, and our community.
We need a pro-active school board that will work with the unions, will work with the teachers, will work with the parents, the grandparents, the seniors, the service clubs, the churches -- wherever we can find concerned citizens.
We need the kind of board leaders who will find the time to hold old-fashioned town meetings. We need to create forums where we who live here can ask questions and get straight answers.
From these meetings we can form a citizens coalition, and let them put together recommendations to help sell the community on their solutions to this crisis.
The current school board appears overwhelmed by the school revenue shortfall crisis. With the limited time some members have available to work through this crisis, it is more often easier to balance the budget by making cuts than by finding money. The result is that the kids suffer, teachers have low morale, city economy is impacted.
The state's economy is improving slowly, and the Legislature is working to undo some of the financial damage Prop 5 did when local funding was removed from our school district. Our school funding is tied to the Oregon economy rather than property taxes.
We must act now before this funding crisis kills the historic concept of local control over our public schools. In small communities a school system is more than a place where our youngsters get an education. It is the fabric of the local community; it defines Dallas and who we are.
Our mutual objective as residents must be to participate in future town meetings and let you voices be heard as we restore our local public schools to a place of prominence, so we can all say, "I am proud to live in Dallas."
County Engineer, retired
Thanks to many
The General Federation of Women's Clubs in Independence/Polk County would like to thank Connie and Glenn Harmison of Dallas, owners of C & G Disposable Cameras, for their generous donation of 60 cameras to be sent overseas to our armed forces personel of Polk County.
We would also like to thank Spirit Mountain Casino for the gift of a case of playing cards, (144 decks), and Billy Kay Herril of Taylor's Fountain & Gifts store in Independence for presenting 40 pounds of hard candy to be sent to soldiers.
Heather Knight Thomas gathered all cameras, cards and candy and boxed them up for mailing. She also provided the money to mail these heavy packages to our troops in Iraq.
We are grateful to these patriotic generous people.
Thank you one and all for your time, efforts, and your love for our troops.
This is why
In response "Wondering Why,' I am going to go out on a limb and bet that the land owner bought his property way before the we decided that everyone else's property was "our" business. Perhaps you may stop, think and answer the simple questions yourself, before you ask the question.
I would like to bring to the public's attention what is happening in our school regarding the girl's junior varsity softball team.
Being a parent with a daughter on the team, I find myself concerned about the fact that each child is charged a fee to be on the team and yet may not even get a chance to participate in the game. That fee cost the parents $150 per child.
This is high school, not a professional team. Each child should be given a chance to play in the game. They pay, they play ... that is what I say.
I know of a few parents who are upset regarding how the school is handling this matter. One student was in tears, and another parent pulled his daughter off the team.
It seems like we have lost the real purpose of the game, which is teaching our children to be team players and to enjoy becoming involved in activities in the community. It concerns me that the students are quitting.
We try to teach our children to hang in there, do a good job, and be positive. So, what is the problem with this softball team?