Lights of Hope will still shine

Every American has faced uncertain and challenging times through the pandemic. For the Oregonians diagnosed with cancer this year, the stakes have been even higher.

Cancer patients, their families and their caregivers need to know we’re still here for them — that the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and its volunteers haven’t stopped advocating for critical research funds and access to health care. I am proud to have had a visible way to raise awareness for cancer, as a volunteer for the past 17 years, and to bring hope as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.

ACS CAN’s annual Lights of Hope ceremony is usually held in Washington, D.C., where thousands of lit bags line the Lincoln Memorial, decorated with the names of cancer survivors and those lost to the disease. Because of the pandemic, we won’t be traveling to D.C. Instead, we’ll display lights of hope bags on our front porches, kitchen tables and front lawns as we bring HOPE home to communities around the nation. I look forward to displaying Lights of Hope bags honoring survivors and remembering those lost to cancer in Salem. To view the display featured on Facebook live at on Sept.18 starting at 7 p.m.

If you would like to get a Lights of Hope bag, please contact me: 503-623-5495 or order at

Kay Graven


In support of Ben Gorman

Recently, as I wandered through Waremart looking for Easy Cheese--I still can’t seem to find things since the reconfiguration--a parent said something to me about my colleague Ben Gorman, English teacher at Central High School.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Gorman is out there making you guys look bad. He’s supposed to be a teacher, not a politician.”

At the time, I wasn’t sure how to respond, and shortly afterward, I felt bad because I didn’t defend my colleague immediately. (As much as some of my colleagues may doubt me on this, I often spend a lot of time thinking about issues that bug me and then not communicate about them. I would like to change that.)

OK, I’m getting to the points, three of them:

Point 1: You are right, Ben does make me look bad. He is an active participant in our democracy, and I am a passive one.

Point 2: We are all political. That includes an English teacher like Ben Gorman and a math teacher like me. It also includes the clown who guns his truck--and sometimes lacking appropriate verbal skills raises his arm and flies a one-finger flag--as he goes through the intersection where fellow citizens are expressing support for those targeted by racism.

Point 3: It seems to me that a lot of the flag boys need to talk to a Boy Scout about how to treat the Stars and Stripes. Shame on you.

Scott McCannell


COVID precautions prevent illness, death

Now we are back to semi-isolation. Many thoughts flow through a lonely brain. Let me share three.

First: To those of you that have been fully vaccinated, thank you. Data from the Oregon Health Authority and many other sources strongly suggest that you, and the others who have been vaccinated, have collectively prevented a large amount of suffering and more than a few deaths.

Second: I remember my military days (more than 35 years ago). There were a lot of required shots, especially if you were on the world-wide deployment list. I was, and most of the people under my command were. No one complained; everyone got the required shots.

Third: To those of you that have not been fully vaccinated (and those that object to wearing a mask), what if you are wrong? What will be the consequences? (And what makes you think you know better than the medical professionals?)

Thanks for reading this. I’ll close with a quote from Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. “(When in a dogfight) a good fighter pilot constantly reevaluates the situation.”

Don Ellingson


Letters policy

Letters to the editor are limited to 300 words. Longer letters will be edited. Election-related letters of all types are limited to 100 words. Writers are limited to one election-related letter per election season. Election letters from writers outside of Polk County are not accepted. Each writer is restricted to one letter per four-week period. Letters that are libelous, obscene or in bad taste will not be printed. Attacks by name on businesses or individuals will not be printed. Letters to the editor that are obvious promotions for a business, products or services will not be printed. Itemizer-Observer does not guarantee the accuracy of facts presented by letter writers; dissenters are welcome to respond. Letter writers who disagree with other published letter writers should maintain a civil discourse and address the subject, not the author. Letters that quote facts or use quotes from third-party sources must include the original source in the letter. These original sources might not be printed, so might not count against the overall word count (100 for election related letters, 300 for other letters), but will be required so the news room may double check claims made in letters. Letters, like all editorial material submitted to the newspaper, are edited for length, grammar and content. Letters must include the author’s name, address and telephone number. This includes letters submitted via the I-O’s website. Names and cities of residence are published; street addresses and telephone numbers are used for verification purposes only. Letters must be submitted from individuals, not organizations, and must be original submissions to the I-O, not copies of letters sent to other media. Letters of thanks to businesses, individuals and organizations are limited to 10 names. The deadline for letters to the editor is 10 a.m. Monday. Letters submitted may not be retractable after this deadline. — Reach us at: Mail: Editor, Polk County Itemizer-Observer, P.O. Box 108, Dallas, OR 97338. Fax: 503-623-2395. Email: Office: 147 SE Court St., Dallas.

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