1/09 Letters to the editor

*Fire siren has important role*Point well made on global warming *Counties need federal funds*Real estate office thanks donors*Clothing drive again a success*Water issues not sheriff

Fire siren has

important role

The fire siren in Dallas has a long tradition in the community.

While firefighters today are alerted primarily by electronic pagers, the siren still serves as an important backup when technology fails - which does happen.

To address community concerns, the volume of the siren has been reduced and it is activated only for house fires and motor vehicle accidents. We want to be sure that we will be there when you need us. And while somewhat old-fashioned, the siren still serves an important role.

Last week the siren became stuck after the fire department was alerted of a call. The issue was resolved in a matter of minutes, but we know that many of you wondered what was taking place in town so late in the evening.

We apologize to our neighbors and all others in the community who were awakened by this incident.

--Eriks Gabliks, President

Dallas Volunteer Firefighters Association

* * *

Point well made

on global warming

I am writing concerning the letter which appeared in your Jan. 2 issue regarding global warming. I couldn't agree more with the writer.

Considering the millions of years that the planet Earth has been in existence, plus the centuries of constant, sometimes violent climatic change as evidenced by geological proof, it is presumptuous on our part to think that the human race in our short span of existence can influence anything this inevitable.

In the "big picture," we are just a raindrop in the ocean in comparison.

--Chuck Fitch


* * *

Counties need

federal funds

There's a whole lot of privatization going on in this country of the military, schools, prisons, even Social Security if "George, the Privatizer" had his way.

Given Congress' recent failure to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act, it shouldn't be long before we hear the call to get federal lands into private hands.

It will be argued that developed land will bring in the property taxes necessary to save local schools, roads, other services and jobs. And, if Congress ultimately fails to live up to its decades-old promise to compensate the more than 700 counties that receive such funding (including our own Polk County), and the various states don't replace that money, that argument will be well nigh irresistible.

Congress was able to find money for King George's war, yet it cannot find money to enable this nation to continue to give grants to those parts of our country that hold land in trust for the people of America.

Moreover, it would be a pretty safe bet that most, maybe even all, of those who voted against extending funding for the County Payments Act protected their own "pork."

It seems to me that each of us has to make a decision. Either we stop caring about things like recreation, environmental benefits, wildlife habitat and clean water, or we wake up and contact our senators and representatives. Since I can't stop caring, I'm doing the latter.

Forget the "Decider-Privatizer" and the "Shooter-Privateer." They're both off in "good vs. evil land" figuring out how to justify an attack on Iran even though the CIA says it has no nuclear weapons program.

Is this a great country or what!

--Thomas P. Augustyn


* * *

Real estate office

thanks donors

Windermere Real Estate is pleased to say that the Dallas, Monmouth and Independence areas were much in the spirit of giving this holiday season.

The Dallas office collected two carloads of coats and blankets for local charities. The Monmouth office received more than 30 donations, with a portion distributed to the Ellen Curran Food Bank in Independence and the Union Gospel Mission in Salem.

Both offices held drawings for those who donated coats and blankets to warm others this season.

The winners were Carole Spencer in Dallas and Pat Salas in Monmouth. In each of their names, $100 was donated to organizations to help children and families.

Thank you to all who made the effort to help.

--Mary Sage

Windermere Real Estate

* * *

Clothing drive

again a success

We would like to express our thanks for all the donations we received for our "warm and fuzzy clothing drive."

This clothing drive has been going strong for more than 20 years and every year it is better than the year before. Many people in Polk County were served by the kindness of others.

An extra thanks to Mr. Faxon for letting Starlight Lanes of Dallas again be our drop site. Thanks also to the Rickreall Grange for all the hats and wraps, and to the Dallas Senior Center for the nice donations of warm clothing.

From our family, thanks to all of you who made this year's drive successful.

--Deb Darr


* * *

Water issues not

sheriff's venue

It appears we are living in a time when too many people can't seem to take care of their own problems, believing it's always someone else's job.

A recent letter writer provided a good example. It is mind-boggling to think that she actually expected a sheriff's deputy to take time away from enforcing the law and protecting the citizens of Polk County to wake someone up who runs her water district.

Not only did she expect it, but was angry that her problem was not taken care of by someone else. There goes that mind-set again: my problem is now your problem. If, as the letter said, some 299 other water users could possibly be affected by the situation, is there a good reason one of them could not have done what was expected of the deputy?

The writer states that "out in the rural areas we are just plain out of luck," when it comes to an emergency contact number for the water district. Does it fall on the sheriff's office to have that information?

U.S. Department of Labor guidelines define the duties of a sheriff's deputy or police officer as: To maintain order, enforce laws and ordinances, and protect life and property in an assigned patrol district. To patrol a specific area on foot or in a vehicle; direct traffic; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents; apprehend and arrest suspects; and serve legal processes of courts.

While we all want a high level of "public service" for our taxes, there is a limit of what should be expected of any police officer, deputy, or any other public servant, for that matter. It's time that citizens learn to handle problems themselves and let law enforcement officers do their jobs.

--Margaret Turner


* * *

Heartfelt thanks

to church family

We sincerely thank our parish family for their generous donations of time, food, money and gifts that helped make our 16th annual Christmas Day Dinner a success.

We also thank those in the community who came to help set up, serve and clean up.

An extra special thanks to Bert's Family Restaurant, Dallas Select, Miramar Mexican Restaurant, St. Philip's Knights of Columbus, Safeway Food and Drug, and St. Anne's Altar Society for their generous donations that helped make it possible to serve so many.

We served 590 meals, which included Meals On Wheels, Christmas Eve Food Boxes, Christmas Day Food Boxes, in-house guest takeout, Sable House, Union Gospel Mission and workers and guests.

Our toy room gave out 316 gifts to children attending the dinner.

We thank the Itemizer-Observer, and KPIE and KWIP radio for helping us with publicity.

This traditional community meal is a blessing to all involved as we feel the love, joy, and gratitude of those who may have spent the day alone or without a meal.

Thank you and God bless you.

Connie DeHaan

--St. Philip Catholic Church


* * *

Many help with

Christmas Cheer

This year Christmas Cheer fed a record number of families (200) and also experienced a record in terms of those who stepped up to help. As we write this letter and attempt to recall the many blessings, we continue to be in awe of this community.

We wish to thank the businesses and service groups that once again stepped up. Please look for our "Thank You" ad in next week's I-O. We simply would not be able to feed this many families without the canned food drives our grade and middle schools did for us.

Thanks to those who help through cash donations so we can purchase the meat, produce and dairy products for the boxes. This year the Dallas High School leadership group raised a generous amount of money, as did Whitworth's coin drive.

Christmas Cheer had to find a new location and LaCreole Middle School provided an excellent place for the many volunteers to sort, shop, and pack and deliver the boxes.

To all the volunteers, familiar faces and new faces, we thank you for your great attitudes and smiling faces that make this event happen and achieve great success every year. We hope you received as big a blessing as those who received the food boxes.

To those who donated money in the memory of Mark Irick and Curt Lamb, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. These donations help their commitment to the community live on.

As coordinators, we hope this letter provides a snapshot of what it takes to feed these families and expresses our sincere appreciation for those who continue to support this program.

--Warren and Sue Lamb


* * *

Strangers' acts

show kindness

On the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 28, I parked my car at Safeway, took a brisk walk up the hill to Reed Lane and back, dashed into Safeway, and arrived back at my car to find I had no keys.

I was utterly surprised and dismayed and, of course, tore apart my purse and the car to no avail. I had no idea where my keys could be.

I checked with Safeway and Goodwill twice on Friday and again Saturday morning. On Saturday an employee of Goodwill told me she was pretty sure no keys had been turned in because there was no note up front, but that she would double check the back room for me.

She came back with my keys in hand and a big smile on her face. I cried. I am sure I would not have checked back a fourth time and would have had to undergo a fair amount of work and worry not knowing where my keys had ended up.

I feel indebted to the unknown person, wherever you are, who took the time to bring my lost keys into the store. I am very grateful to the employee who double checked just to make sure. My husband, Dave, too, gets kudos for bringing the spare key and joining me in retracing my steps up the hill in the dark.

I am grateful to each of you, and wish you each an abundance of blessings in 2008.

--Vicki Bailey



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