Sale of public lands not answer

On March 26, the U.S. Senate passed Senate Amendment 838, a budget amendment enabling the sale and transfer of federal public lands, in a 51-49 vote.

The reasoning behind this effort is that the land is mismanaged by the Feds, that some land is “excess,” and that the sale could be used to pay off the national debt.

With an outdoor industry that generates $6 billion annually and supports 6.1 million jobs, this is an absurd way to reduce the debt, as any business owner can tell you that you don’t sell off the tools of your trade in order to pay your rent. Not if you want to stay in business.

As an outdoorsman, I’d hope that the unique American legacy of protecting wild places for the enjoyment and education of its citizens would continue in perpetuity, and I am simply horrified at this narrow and short-sighted proposal.

In a society where very little is available for free, access to public land remains a birthright and refuge that anyone can enjoy, regardless of income level. It isn’t difficult to imagine who would benefit the most from such sales and transfers (sponsors include folks with close ties to oil and mining interests), but it is clear to me that once enacted, we will never get those lands back.

The problems that are mentioned in the proposals have a basis in reality, but the principle of land being held for the benefit of all is not the problem, and selling it out from under the public is clearly not the solution.

Please let your representative know that you oppose such irreversible measures to alleviate temporary problems.

Matthew Grady


Honor veterans at Avenue of Flags

The Avenue of Flags was started in 1991 by our Dallas veteran organizations.

It turned out to be a tremendous project and one with great emotional impact.

We started with about 70 flags, each with the name of a deceased veteran on a small plaque. It kept growing until last year, 2014, when we put up well over 600 flags.

On Memorial Day, they flew proudly in the breeze on the hill of our Dallas Cemetery.

Veterans and their families volunteer their time to work at setting up the display.

It took some physical doing and planning by a group of men and women who gave the community a gift that expresses the feelings of the whole community toward those who have given so much.

So if you know any of the men and women who work hard to put up the flags, tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

They include members of the American Legion Post 20, American Legion Auxiliary unit 20, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3203, as well as some citizens who have stepped forward and volunteered.

Please come out and join us in remembering the Dallas veterans who are no longer with us on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Dallas Cemetery.

Beth A. Lillibridge


A walk down memory lane

I worked at the Blue Garden for Keith and Laverne Sanders for many years during its heyday. I have so many memories of it.

I remember the big table out front with all of the Main Street businessmen drinking coffee and solving the world’s problems every morning.

One night the electricity went out — it was darker than a cave in the bar.

We got a lot of candles, pushed the piano out on the dance floor, and Jerry Mason played and sang for hours. We served cold sandwiches, free poured drinks, and everyone had a great time.

The band Cascade Sweethearts, with Joe and Judy Keener, and brother Dean on the drums, played every weekend, and the place was packed.

How about James Gardener’s movie, “The Promise,” which had several scenes, in front of and in the bar.

I first met my husband there (he was one of the customers), and several years later I met him for coffee in front of the Blue Garden and the rest is history. Could I come in and serve coffee during the grand opening?

I know where everything is.

Billie Labonte


Support for troops appreciated

I am writing this letter to thank the people of Polk County, specifically Upsilon Master, for their great support to Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan during the last year of deployment.

The ladies of Upsilon Master provided wonderful reminders of home during Thanksgiving and Christmas, including nearly a hundred stockings that were stuffed with donations from individuals and businesses in Polk County.

There were also several individuals, Karen Humelbaugh, Jen Vonderahe, Jacque Ford and Karen Horner, who sent packages and mail to the team here.

This support is yet another reason that I am proud to be from Monmouth, as the support for personnel deployed was amazing.

Many of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines were the beneficiaries of donations from people who they don’t know and likely will never meet.

However, I am truly blessed to know these people, and the communities they represent, and wanted to thank them and the entire Polk County community for its support.

Greg Ford

Kapolei, Hawaii

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