1/16 Letters to the editor

*Place restrictions on all smokers*Students step up, show character*Firefighters go above, beyond call*Volunteers key to event's success*Residents enjoy holiday lights*Historical societ

Place restrictions

on all smokers

People should have the right to smoke.

My reasoning? There are no laws against being stupid.

Smokers shouldn't have to pay so-called "sin taxes" either. If tobacco products are legal, they should be taxed the same as anything else.

However, all smokers should be required to register with local, county, state and national law enforcement agencies, where police will explain that smokers forfeit certain rights pertaining to medical health plans. All physical ailments that can result from smoking will not be covered by medical insurance.

Furthermore, police officials will explain that smokers have no right sharing their smoke with others. That means they can't smoke outdoors, or in a house or car with the windows or vents open.

The tobacco industry can develop a filter system for homes and vehicles that absorbs all smoke before it escapes to the outdoors. Until they develop such a filtering system, smokers can stay indoors until all their smoke is absorbed into their lungs and bloodstream. Only then can they step outside.

Any violation of the above restrictions will result in immediate and meaningful jail time (plus enough of a fine to pay for all the extra jails and jailers we'll need).

What about children who smoke? Same thing. Fifty years ago hardly any children smoked. That was because our parents said "No" and we obeyed. Maybe it's time today's parents introduced their children to the word "obey" (it's in the dictionary somewhere between "listen" and "or else").

Why am I so strident about all this? Because people's right to breathe non-smoky air takes precedence over other people's right to smoke.

Is that too difficult a concept to understand?

--Charles Ellsworth


* * *

Students step up,

show character

For anyone concerned about this latest crop of teenagers and what they mean to the future of our country, put your mind at ease. On a recent weekend this month, I got a grandstand view of what sort of mettle resides within two of our Central High School students.

A small group of us here in Independence serve as OPFOR for the Oregon National Guard on drill weekends. We act as either civilians on the battlefield, or insurgents in order to help prepare the men for their upcoming overseas deployment.

Two Central High students, Taylor Marks and Gaelen Bradley, joined us on this particular weekend. At 5:45 a.m. on Jan. 5, we drove to Eugene and joined Alpha Company, 2-162, Infantry for their close quarters combat exercise.

Gaelen and Taylor ended up face down in icy puddles as they were zip-cuffed and searched over and over again. This went on for eight hours straight in the rain and snow. Both students ended the day soaked to the skin and shivering in the cold.

That night, we drove to Camp Withycombe to join Charlie Company, 2-162, in a night ambush exercise. Armed with professionally upgraded airsoft rifles, Taylor and Gaelen dug firing positions in the subfreezing weather. Long waits interspersed with sudden action soon followed as we executed our assigned ambushes. At 3 that morning, after 21 hours of nonstop work, we headed home.

Gaelen and Taylor's commitment to these Guardsmen demonstrated considerable character. They gave up their weekend to sit in muddy holes to help better prepare our soldiers for combat. Both students deserve high praise for their endurance and dedication, and I'd like to personally thank them for their willingness to be there with us.

--John Bruning


* * *

Firefighters go

above, beyond call

I am quite sure that most people in Dallas are aware that our fire department is made up of mostly volunteers - people who faithfully wear their pagers and listen for that whistle and respond at all hours of the day and night to protect our city and its citizens.

As if this is not enough to thank these dedicated men and women for, I was the recent recipient of the kindness and care they exhibit to so many people in this wonderful city above and beyond the hours they put in for drills, rescue and firefighting.

A large number of firefighters showed up at my house recently to help with house repairs and cleaning during this time that I am going through cancer and treatment. I will be forever indebted to all of them, and they are always in my prayers.

God bless and protect you all.

--Lorna Shodin


* * *

Volunteers key to

event's success

The Central High School wrestling coaching staff would like to thank all of those who helped make the Central Wrestling Invitational on Dec. 22 a great tournament.

We could not have run the tournament without the help of our dedicated group of volunteers. Go Panthers!

--Van Holstad


* * *

Residents enjoy

holiday lights

We want to say how much we have enjoyed the lighted snowflakes on Main Street in Dallas. We also enjoyed the new ones that cross Academy Street. Thanks for the beautiful displays.

--Ron and Roberta Mehl


* * *

Historical society

appreciates grant

The Polk County Historical Society wishes to thank the U.S. Bancorp Foundation for its recent gift of $1,000 toward our operating funds.

The volunteers who work with the great many textiles displayed and stored in our museum have ordered preservation boxes, which the many military uniforms of past wars that have been lovingly donated by Polk County families can be safely stored. These are displayed on a rotation basis so that visitors to our museum can enjoy them and reminisce.

Our volunteers, JoAnn King and Georgia Wildfang, spend a great many hours each week on these displays and we are all delighted to be able to have the preservation boxes in which these items can be safely stored.

As PCHS grant coordinators, we invite the public to our newly painted building and to enjoy the many displays. You will find many interesting items of historical significance to Polk County.

--Morris and Rita Montgomery


* * *

Cub Scouts benefit

from helping hand

I would like to thank Dallas Les Schwab, Dallas Arctic Circle and Dallas Safeway for their generous donations to this year's Pack 24 Cub Scout Pinewood Derby concession stand. Thanks also to LaCreole Middle School for letting us use their popcorn popper.

Due to the generosity of these local businesses, our concession stand profited and was able to put money into our pack's general fund. This fund helps support activities for our scouts and local community service projects.

I would also like to thank Pam Dalton, Nina Zamudio, Denise Wilson, Jessica Malo and Marsha Hobson for their work behind the scenes - planning, preparing and running the stand - to make sure everything went smoothly.

Thanks to the help of local businesses and community members, the Cub Scouts is able to create great memories and instill positive values that will stay with these young men throughout their lives.

--John Kennedy


* * *

Community must

unite against drugs

I am concerned about the revolving door system we seem to have for habitual drug offenders here in Polk County. These people are getting slapped on the wrist and not paying a high enough price for their crimes - crimes which result from their addiction to meth.

They lie and steal and have a sense of entitlement to do whatever whenever they please. The community continues to pay for their addiction, their behaviors and their crimes.

The sad thing is that they know even when they are caught, they will be released in no time. Most times they are not even actually held accountable for their behaviors and actions. They actually sit around laughing and joking about our justice system, comparing notes and ideas on how to scam and sham.

I feel it's not right to give them control of my life and home. There are more of us then there are of them. We need to unite together.

I love Dallas and I think this town is worth taking back. I look at the inmates in custody frequently, and I recognize many of them who are in and out of the system. Almost daily we see news reports of what they have done to vandalize and steal - and think of what we don't hear.

Come on folks, let's do this together.

--Peni Calvin


* * *

Dallas church

is like a family

Dallas Church ... more than just a church. When we began looking for a church in Dallas, and decided to try the new Dallas Church, we had no idea what a family we would be gaining.

Shortly after our first attendance, our family was stricken with a sudden and unexpected death. It was early in the morning, we were gathered at the hospital, and knew only a small handful of people to call to pray over our loved one. Within minutes of a phone call, we were blessed with not one, but two pastors praying over the hospital bed.

Although it was a sad day, the days to follow taught our family more about what a church family is than we had ever known. There were constant phone calls asking how we were doing, offerings of support in every way, and even help with the funeral services.

Our hearts are with Pastor Ben, Outreach Pastor Mike and their families as they continue to give Dallas the opportunity for the best church family anyone could ever imagine.

Thank you, and God bless you.

--Karen Klumpp


* * *

Group calls off

annual dinner

The Ballston Community Club regrets to announce that the annual turkey dinner has been officially terminated. This decision is due to increasingly stringent county health codes which pertain to the handling of meat and of home-baked goods.

We could have continued to have the dinner using canned turkey and store-bought baked goods, but we felt that this diminished the very aspects of the event we have all come to enjoy.

The Ballston Community Club still intends to have some sort of fundraising meal in the future, perhaps a pancake feed or something of that nature. Details will be announced.

The hall is still available for rent. Please call 503-843-3641 for reservations.

--Nathan Wright


Choir thanked

for performance

A big thank you to Lyle Elementary School's fourth- and fifth-grade choir and choir instructor Ellen Yeager for a fantastic performance on Dec. 18 for the elderly and disabled residents of La Creole Manor.

They provided a wonderful Christmas music concert for our residents with limited resources.

Thanks for caring.

--Linda Jennings



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