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Opinion - Letters - June 6, 2018

Old Glory flying high again thanks to help

You may have noticed over the past several months that the flag displayed at the Idaho County Courthouse was lacking something. Several citizens called to express their dismay that the one property in town that should be setting the example was falling way short. There were a series of challenges and several temporary fixes were employed in an attempt to get Old Glory flying high again. Thanks much to Avista Utilities and Nick Slichter for helping us get the intel we needed to get the right parts and for then making another trip to the top of the flagpole to make the repair. Your service to our community is greatly appreciated!

Kathy M. Ackerman Idaho County Clerk

Bird freed

Inmates say we all deserve prison, but not all have been caught. In 1944, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer languished in prison. His incarceration was, from the standpoint of Nazis, justified: Bonhoeffer had criticized Hitler and disobeyed restrictions placed on ministry, including training Confessing Church seminary students whose confession advocated allegiance to Christ alone. What his captors did not know—yet—was hopelessly condemning: their pacifist prisoner had, prior to arrest, taken part in a pending plot to blow up Hitler.

As Bonhoeffer took pen in hand, he asked an introspective question which we all, regardless of the nature of our own prisons—terrible past, tormenting present, terrifying future—must ask ourselves: “Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a Squire from his country house. Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders freely and friendly and clearly, as though it were mine to command. Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune equably, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win. Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds, thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, tossing in expectation of great events, powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, faint, and ready to say farewell to it all? Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person to-day and to-morrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!”

On April 9, 1945, Bonhoeffer was hanged.

Gary Altman Grangeville

Big land deals gone bad

With public opinion running 100 to 1 against the old Lochsa Land Exchange, the matter was quietly withdrawn in the summer of 2017.

After years of public meetings, extended comment periods and even a town hall meeting by a sitting US Senator, public opinion was summarily dumped in the trash by the Forest Service and Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert.

A final disposition of their own Environmental Impact Statement was a bridge too far for US Forest Service and now it’s apparent why.

Idaho Department of Lands(IDL) stands ready to rescue Western Pacific Timber from the hellish purgatory of big-land-deals-gone-bad.

With zero public input, public lands have already been “selected” for swapping according to IDL maps and Harpster, Blacktail, Fish Creek and other front country lands are still on the chopping block.

Through bureaucratic shell games the tone has been set and it’s now just a matter of time before the court date is set.

Joel Anderson Grangeville

‘Clearcuts are clearcuts’

The Nez Perce/Clearwater NF’s forest supervisor Cheryl Probert just won’t abandon her efforts to dispose of national forest land owned by 324 million Americans. The public outreach efforts generated near unanimous opposition to the Lochsa Land Exchange in 2013.

She then asked Idaho’s Senator Risch to legislate the exchange. After receiving public comments Senator Risch wrote a letter to USFS Chief Tidwell in 2016 telling him he would not pursue a legislated exchange because the exchange is “not on the best interest of the citizens of Idaho.”

Now she proposes to trade away national forest land to the Idaho Department of Lands for them to clearcut. Clearcuts are clearcuts. It makes no difference whether IDL or Western Pacific Timber LLC creates them.

Supervisor Probert obviously does not care about how the public feels.

We pay her salary. Shouldn’t she listen to her supervisors? Now we must resurrect our opposition letters we sent in the past and send them again.

What motivates her to backhand the public? What’s in it for her? What isn’t she telling us?

More information on what IDL calls the Central Idaho Land Exchange is available at their website:

Dick Artley Grangeville

Some facts on MVSD

Imagine my surprise when at the May school board meeting I learned this board had implemented new procedures basically discontinuing any public dialogue with patrons at their monthly business meetings. The runaround treatment Mr. Warford was subjected to at this meeting is inexcusable. This is not acceptable. Why are they shutting us out? I checked with four other local school districts and was informed they not only maintain an open dialogue with their patrons, but encourage it.

Time for some real facts. The board informed us last year that after much debate during negotiations, they settled on a salary increase of $972 for all teachers. Omitted, however, was that all returning teachers would receive an additional stipend of $972 for a total salary increase of $1,944. At the February informational meeting earlier this year, Mrs. McKinney gave an impassionate speech on how she often buys school supplies using her personal money and that she does not even get paid for spring, summer or Christmas breaks. Wrong. She not only received paychecks for those periods, but her summer salary was quite lucrative. I question why trustees Dominquez and Warden and District Manager Hogg, who were all present at this meeting, made no attempt to correct Mrs. McKinney, knowing full well she had made an untruthful statement.

It is truly a sad day for District 244. They seem to have discarded the values of honesty and integrity in their quest for the almighty dollar.

Mary Ann Blees Clearwater

EMS meeting: ‘Our lives may depend on it’

Recently it was National EMS week — that time of year when we honor the many men and women across the country who take time out of their daily lives to stand in the breech during the hour of our greatest need. When trauma or illness strikes in our lives, we call upon the first responders, EMTs and paramedics to drop whatever they are doing and come to our aid.

In much of the nation, and especially here in rural Idaho, most of these responders are volunteers. They might be your friends, your neighbors or your co-workers, people who have decided to help make the world a safer place by giving of their time and effort to serve their communities.

Unfortunately, in this era of increasing demands on individuals and families, people are finding it more and more difficult to allot the time necessary to perform this rewarding job. Across the nation, and especially around our county, personnel shortages are threatening to shut down ambulance and quick response units. Several units have rosters so small that the loss of one or two people will cause them to lose their state operating certification. Even if they do manage to hang on, their short roster makes them feel like they can’t ever take time for themselves, but must remain available 24/7, 365 days per year.

Such a situation is a recipe for disaster. Families are strained, individuals get burned out and leave and then when an emergency occurs, the community is left wondering, “What happened? Where’s our ambulance? Why aren’t they here to take care of me?”

There are no easy answers. Too many people have the idea that EMS is something that the “government” is supposed to provide, little realizing that our rural population base can’t support such a program. Rural Idaho has a reputation of taking care of ourselves, but in order for this to happen we must once again step up to the plate and make ourselves available to help our neighbors – even if it’s only for a few hours a week or a month.

On June 11, at 7 p.m., in the Grangeville Senior Center, the Idaho EMS Bureau will hold a town hall meeting to address these issues in our area. It is important for people to attend this meeting, even if you aren’t involved in EMS, because the survival of EMS in rural Idaho County depends on your input. We must find a way to keep our EMS program viable – our lives may depend on it.

Jerry Haaland Grangeville

‘Constructive meaning’

“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” - Aristotle

As one of the founders of Western Civilization, he laid the basis for morals and ethics. Yet we hear of White Privilege and the constant harangue against all things Western. Civilization and the benefits we enjoy come from the West. Illegal migrants come and make demands. When you cannot create success, you demand retribution.

All dogs are not equal. We are not a melting pot but a chamber pot, and we call this diversity. There is no true diversity, just inequality where our pc progressives try to make unequal things equal.

Social constructs are engineered through transformation whose models destroy our culture: from families to men. Without fathers we lack meaningful masculine influence in the lives of our lost young males.

Yet we demand aggressive social change that provides no constructive meaning. Become role models. Demand Identity.

Alfred Holden White Bird

Dredgers: Follow rules

Finally, the new suction dredging season is upon us! Permits are being accepted.

To get these permits, dredgers must agree to follow a myriad of anti-degradation and anti-pollution rules/conditions. The permits can be revoked by Idaho Dept. of Water Resources if each condition is not adhered to.

There is some concern about how the dredges might be getting refueled while in the water. Last summer a dredger was seen swimming out to his dredge with a small gas can being held in the air.

The rules/conditions, as best management practices, are very clear.

Certified containers are to be stored outside of the stream/river channels. No equipment is allowed in the channels that may leak and spill kits must be on hand just in case. Spillproof spouts must be used with absorbent material placed around the fuel tank opening when transferring fuel.

Although the dredger’s action was not against the rules/conditions, Tim Luke, IDWR’s Water Compliance Bureau Chief, recently stated in an e-mail response to me, “Conditions can’t necessarily cover every situation or scenario. There are perhaps several ways to move fuel from a good storage spot above the water to a dredge on the water. I think we can all probably agree that swimming with a gas can, even if the can is out of water, is perhaps not the best way to transport the fuel. If I saw someone doing this, and I doubt that I would, I would conclude that they are either a very good swimmer, not very careful, or maybe both. I would advise that person to implement a safer procedure.”

If you are a dredger who is refueling in deeper or rough waters, please, consider ways that will guarantee the small gas container doesn’t actually get in the water. Perhaps it could be placed in a larger watertight container. Using a small boat is always a good option and one that agencies usually approve of.

I hope that all of our dives will be safely accomplished and very rewarding.

Don Smith Riggins


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