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7/6 Letters To The Editor

*Sign phrase sends wrong message*Athletes, boosters benefit from event*Baskett Slough losing its luster*Forest Capital LLC praised for reunion*Polk needs more public arts events*Shopping locally worth

Businesses step up

for Project ACHIEVE

I'd like to thank several businesses that provided vocational training opportunities this past school year to students in Project ACHIEVE, Dallas High School's post high program.

Our students received on-the-job training while doing a variety of work tasks. This training is invaluable to our students in preparing them for work once they finish school.

Thanks to Dallas Retirement Village, Future Image, Dallas School District Printing and Morrison School.

Betsy Seth

Dallas

Shopping locally

worth the effort

Here's yet another reason to shop locally.

I recently was in need of a gift for my niece. I was intent on finding her a pair of baby earrings with screw-on backings, since she had just lost yet another pair of regular earrings.

Not relishing the thought of trying to run to Salem (at least an hour round trip, not including the hike through the mall), I thought I'd first stop at Sandy's Jewelry in Independence.

To my surprise, they not only had the item I was looking for, but also a good selection to choose from. And then to top it off they offered to gift wrap the earrings for me. I don't remember the last time a retailer has done that.

Needless to say, my niece was thrilled at her gift, wrapped in beautiful shimmery pink paper with a tiny bow.

Thank you, Sandy's.

Terry Alvarez

Independence

Athletes, boosters

benefit from event

The Dallas High School Booster Club would like to thank local practitioners who took time out of a busy summer weekend to provide medical and physical screenings to the athletes of our community on June 25.

This is the third year in a row this group of community members and booster club volunteers have come together to put on the event, raising funds for the club and providing the service to the kids.

Oregon Family Health physicians Billy Peffley and Will Lucas provided medical screenings, as well as their office space. Brent Darrington from Dallas Physical Therapy, Andi Gilbertson from Pinnacle Physical Therapy and Troy Hattan from West Valley Hospital Rehabilitation provided physical screenings. Thank you also to Joe from Dutch Bros. for providing coffee and drinks to the crew at the early hour.

To everyone involved, awesome job ... and Go Dragons!

Dyan Tallon, president

Dallas Booster Club

Dallas

Baskett Slough

losing its luster

Since moving to Dallas, I've made several visits per month to Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. There was always something interesting going on: herons and egrets fishing, sandpiper-like shorebirds probing the pond edges, several different species of diving ducks, plus hundreds of butts-up ducks and several hundred geese at a time in winter on the water.

The edges of the dirt road were a scenic enhancement to my enjoyment. The great variety of low-growing plants and grasses provided habitat for dozens of small birds that nested, perched and fed there.

About three years ago, things at the refuge changed:

* The smaller pond was drained to kill all the fish.

* That horrible "weed-whacker thing" went down the edges of the dirt road and tore the bushes and grass off at the ground. All the habitat for small birds was destroyed.

* Twice a year the "weed whacker" comes and destroys all new plant life. It has been three years since any small birds have nested along the edges of the road. Twice a year the small islands are scraped down to the dirt, also eliminating habitat.

* All the fish-eating birds have gone elsewhere and are seldom seen.

* Even in winter, I seldom see more than a couple dozen ducks.

In short, as a frequent visitor to Baskett Slough and a great appreciator of nature and watching wildlife, the place has been ruined.

And I am not alone with this reaction. I frequently ask others if they've noticed the changes. The regulars have, and they are no happier about it than I am.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department takes care of Baskett Slough for all of us. I think they're doing a lousy job.

Charlie Ellsworth

Dallas

Polk needs more

public arts events

Come Aug. 13, Salem will celebrate its first major public art in well over a decade, its youth-inspired Peace Mosaic. Full information can be found at www.salempeacemosaic.org.

Let's hope this can inspire an infusion of public art around Polk County, much like that found in Silverton. And perhaps an annual festivity marking the Dec. 4 birthday of our namesake, President James Knox Polk.

Can we just gaze out at the audience, all clad in polka-dot-laden attire and dance to a polka beat? Sure would be fun for all concerned.

B. Lee Coyne

West Salem

Forest Capital LLC

praised for reunion

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Forest Capital LLC for allowing the Valsetz Going Home reunion to occur June 24-26.

They were open to our plan and assisted in every way they could to make this event memorable to around 350 to 400 people from all over the country. Some attendees came from Montana, California, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii, to name a few places.

The friendships that were previously established and then lost in 1984 were rekindled in just a few short moments. People were crying while embracing each other for the first time in more than 27 years. I saw many people's unknowingly suppressed emotions come rushing forward to be released once and for all. I can honestly say it did my heart good to see this happening.

Ronan Feely's documentary on Valsetz gives people who did not live there an opportunity to experience a glimpse of the memories and people who once lived in a company town and learn why it will always be a special place to all those who lived and worked there.

People later came up to us to express their sincere thanks to the workgroup for making this event happen. People told me they healed in the very place they were torn from 27 years ago.

All this was made possible because Forest Capital LLC showed compassion to a small group of people whose lives are still effected by Valsetz, a place in the forest we still call home.

Thank you again for your support, generosity and kindness.

Ken Jeske

Monmouth

Sign phrase sends

wrong message

I am a citizen of Dallas. I work and live in this community and have yet to be given a reason to be ashamed of those facts.

However, I was recently walking my dog down a busy Dallas street and much to my surprise saw something that honestly disgusted me: A local business sign stating "if you are too open minded your brains will fall out."

Now, is that really the message we wish to send to the youth of this community. Better yet, what does a statement like that clearly posted outside one of our local businesses say about our community in general?

Maybe those should be among the things considered when finding a business slogan.

Shantelle Randall

Dallas

Support lacking

for U14 soccer

When a U14 league for soccer was brought up in the fall of 2010 it was accepted with open arms.

It offered lower cost, local fun for our kids that fall under the age bracket to be able to play soccer from sixth through eighth grade and get them ready for high school soccer.

With that said, fall soccer season is upon us and there was no advertisement or instructions on the local website for parents that wanted to take part in this.

I feel we were told "go for it" just to be put on the back-burner. Looks like no soccer for these kids this year.

This affects my family in part because my son has such drive and passion for soccer. There are three of us that have coached a good majority of the same kids for four years and they have a great love for the sport, but not to be able to continue is a disappointment. Are they going to have that same love for soccer in three years when they enter high school?

Where is the support?

Anastasia Houston

Dallas

Sales tax could

pay for education

Almost every day the newspapers have a story about frustrated, well-meaning people who struggle with their school funding. They're trying to find dollars that don't exist.

It is apparent that we have to match up with current financial conditions that exist. Funding from property owners is not working out; many property owners are feeling the same financial strain.

We all know getting a good education for the next generation means a lot for our state and country. Any way you cut it, education costs a lot of money.

A fair way to spread the costs across our state would be a sales tax. Times and available money have changed. We should match up with the current times.

If 50 percent of the sales tax income went to education it would come from places and people who pay little if any tax. Let the politicians fight over the other 50 percent. The tax bill would need some boilerplate measures to protect the education share -- we have all seen how the system feeds on available money. The sales tax should not apply to food stuffs, medical costs or home sales.

The current way we educate our students has not changed that much with marginal results at a high cost. We need educators with innovative ideas that meet the current economic and world challenges for the graduating students. Industries like manufacturing that are surviving have found ways to automate and cut costs and still be competitive. Our high-tech companies have a strong share of the world market. They grow with change. It should be the same with education.

Don Basey

Dallas

Extension program

receives kudos

Did anyone notice all the children at Dallas City Park this last week?

They were part of a camp called "Junior Master Gardener's Camp," a collaboration between Polk County Extension Master Gardeners and 4-H. What a fantastic sight seeing these K-5th grade students learning about plants, critters and water, and seeing older kids being camp counselors and learning leadership skills, all under the watchful and experienced guidance of local leaders.

If this is what the Extension tax base is about -- wonderful. But I really have to wonder as I hear rumblings of part-time staffing and plans to cut the two areas that I see as being the most beneficial to all of Polk County -- 4-H staffing and Master Gardeners. I expected more.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Marie Vinson

Dallas

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