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9/30 Letters To The Editor

*Local animal shelter needs your support*Health care for all a worthy cause*Thanks to folks who stepped up*Students benefit from donations*Bush war years put U.S. in debt*Money makes U.S. health care

Local animal shelter

needs your support

In July of this year, the Itemizer-Observer ran a story about the city of Dallas' deplorable conditions for the Dallas pound.

At that time, donations were requested to help offset the costs of updating and repairing the kennel by Dallas Animal Control Officer Todd Pendley. I made a donation and recently inquired as to the status of the plans for the kennel. I was disappointed to hear that few donations have come in -- $720 total -- with little interest from the community.

As a former resident of the area and a current volunteer at my local animal shelter here in Michigan, I urge residents of Dallas, Falls City, Monmouth and Independence to band together to get this project off the ground.

In these difficult times, more and more animals are being abandoned or relinquished because families can no longer afford to care for them. Pets are not throwaway items; they deserve to be in a forever home. If families cannot care for their pets, these pets deserve to be kept in a clean and safe environment until such time as, hopefully, another family comes along to adopt them.

I hope that you will consider making a donation to this worthy cause. While not every animal can be saved, the citizens of Polk County should work together to make sure that those animals that can be spared have a clean and safe shelter.

Patricia Whitener

Okemos, Mich.

Health care for all

a worthy cause

Just the other day, while working as a hospital discharge planning nurse, one of my cases caught my interest. It was a gentleman in his 80s who lived alone in a small home.

His friends brought him in to the hospital when he stopped eating and could not get out of bed. He was successfully treated for pneumonia and a heart ailment.

Now he needed a brief stay in a skilled nursing facility to gain his strength. His insurance, a government and private for-profit plan combination, denied the service.

As our country grapples with our many health care issues, I hope you will remember this story. Maybe you'll wonder what happened? Is he still in the hospital? Did he ransom his home to pay for the stay in the skilled nursing facility his doctor recommended? Did he go home to risk a fall, a broken hip and re-hospitalization?

In a Judeo-Christian context, what is our responsibility to the millions of citizens who struggle each day without a secure financial safety net if illness should strike? To help me, I reread the Bible story beginning in Luke 10, which at its heart is the definition of "neighbor" in the great commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself." Christ teaches the "neighbor" is the Samaritan, unwanted by the acceptable people of the time.

The easy way to deal with this difficult national conversation is to use language to divide and fail -- the X plan or the Y plan. Through all this fiery debate, I want to remember I am one of Christ's representatives here and His instructions in the Biblical parable are clear.

We are a nation of brilliant people. We can do better. Let's get started.

Barbara McGuffey

Dallas

Thanks to folks

who stepped up

I would like to recognize and thank several Dallas-area businesses for their support in a recent charity golf tournament.

Mid-Valley Rehabilitation Inc. is a nonprofit organization supporting developmentally disabled adults with vocational and residential programs. The 40-plus clients who work, train, and are supported in a community inclusion program here in Dallas are part of a larger group of 204 clients being served by the organization in the mid-valley area.

The Mid-Valley Open raises funds to provide for scholarships for disabled adults who have lost their funding from the state of Oregon, or are on a "wait list" for services.

This year, several local businesses answered the call when asked to provide sponsorships or donations for the tournament. The local golf courses, Dallas Golf Club, Cross Creek and Oak Knoll, all donated gift certificates. Van Well Building Supply and North Dallas Bar and Grill were very generous with donations and sponsorship. Again this year, special recognition and thanks go to Eola Hills Winery and its employees. They provided wine tasting at a par-3 hole and challenged the teams to get on the green to win a brunch certificate.

The money collected in the challenge ($320) was given to Mid-Valley Rehabilitation Inc. to support the cause of the fundraiser. In addition, the organization entered a team in the event.

I am very proud of these local businesses and would ask that our community support them in return. These folks believe in community involvement and giving back to those who are less fortunate. On behalf of our organization and our clients, a big thanks and pat on the back to all of them.

Lynn A. Hurt

Dallas

Students benefit

from donations

Thank you from the Dallas Resource Center to everyone who donated school supplies for our local students.

A special thanks to Knights of Columbus, Altrusa Sorority, Service Integration teams of Falls City, Dallas and Independence, Salvation Army, and the Dallas Rotary Club.

Dallas Resource Center was able to give school supplies to more than 350 children in our community so they would be equipped to learn.

Katherine Wenos

Dallas

Bush war years

put U.S. in debt

I want to thank Fred Brown for stating clearly in his Sept. 23 Letter to the Editor ("President Obama victim of racism") the real reason for the federal debt being so high.

With $10 billion going to the war effort per month, since 2003 through the use of invisible "supplemental spending" bills, it is no wonder we have such concerns regarding our national debt.

I wonder, however, if the Iraq war was really necessary as the entire assumption was concocted by the previous administration so as to secure future oil supplies from the Saudis. Saddam Hussein was a thorn in the Saudis side and the previous administration, having been "buddies" in the oil business, agreed to use our armed forces (the Saudis having none of their own) to oust Hussein in exchange for the continued flow of oil.

While we, the American public, slept, the real culprits took our freedoms away (the Patriot Act I & II, etc.)

Instead of listening to uneducated, overpaid millionaire radio and TV talkshow hosts, how about asking the right questions of Congress, get the facts and then act appropriately?

Win Priest

Dallas

Money makes U.S.

health care tops

Two reasons why Americans spend more money on health care than everyone else in the world:

* First, Americans have more money to spend.

Between 1875 and 1995, the share of family income spent on food, clothing and shelter declined from 87 percent to 30 percent, despite the fact that we eat more food, own more clothes, and have better and larger homes.

That means spending on non-basic items rose from 13 percent of income in 1875 to 70 percent in 1995. That is a fivefold increase. Some of it went to entertainment, some to taxes, and some to health care. So we have more money to spend on health care.

* The second reason we spend more is because spending more money on health care works.

Advances in both surgical and drug therapies have reduced the prevalence and severity of chronic conditions. Many of the surgical procedures are expensive, and the cost of the new and more effective drugs is expensive.

The United States, overall, has both the most expensive and the best health care in the world.

The socialist argument that somehow spending more on health care makes our health system inferior is absurd. This argument is based on life expectancy tables. But life expectancy has many factors, including average weight, homicide rates, suicide rates, genetics and traffic fatalities.

The emphasis in America is on saving lives, not money. In every socialist country the opposite is true. The only way to save money on health care is to ration it.

Remember that 14,802 people died in France in August 2003 because of the French health system. There was a heat wave, and instead of calling doctors back from their month-long vacations to tend those people, the French government decided to save money. Adjusted for population, that would be like 70,000 deaths in America, or roughly 35 Hurricane Katrinas.

Steve Carter

Dallas

Board is ignoring

those who know

I know from firsthand experience that the members of the Central School Board are well-intentioned individuals. Their response to the vote of no confidence, however, has been abysmal.

More than 90 percent of teachers and classified staff in the district say they have no confidence in the leadership abilities of Superintendent Joseph Hunter. In news reports, board members said they were "surprised," "don't understand," and vow to "support the superintendent 100 percent." How could they be surprised when they had a prepared statement ready?

If they don't understand, why don't they ask questions? To automatically dismiss the concerns of more than 90 percent of district staff shows a profound disrespect for them as educational professionals. This may not be the attitude they intended to project, but it is true nonetheless.

The board was elected to represent the community, not the superintendent. It is time for the board to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution.

Kathleen Stanley

Monmouth

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