Letters to the Editor - June 20, 2014

Unraveling of moral fabric

We read with interest the three opinions on the problem of loitering in downtown McMinnville (News-Register, Viewpoints, May 30).

There is no easy solution, but we all have indirectly contributed to the problem. The unraveling of the moral fabric of this nation has been taking place for years and, in turn, has fostered the disintegration of the family unit. An absence of any kind of work ethic in our youth today is a direct result of government regulation and interference, as well as a failure of our education system to instill such an ethic in our children.

A culture of dependency was promoted with Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and sustained by public policies over the past 50 years. The product of these policies is evidenced by those who loiter and/or are homeless either by choice or due to unfortunate circumstances. Communities encourage this behavior by providing infrastructure in the form of places to “camp,” restroom facilities, free food and donated clothing.

We’re reminded of the slogan on the back of a birdseed bag: “Feed them and they will come.” It’s true for birds and true for a certain faction of the homeless population. Perhaps it’s time to shrink some of these free services or require a “work for food and benefits” credit program.

The Downtown Association and the citizens of McMinnville have worked hard to create a very desirable place for people to visit, whether they are tourists or locals. If people are unwilling to work to keep McMinnville a desirable place to be or respect the work that others have done, we don’t want them here.

Steve and Anita Sommerfeld



Thanks for school bond efforts

I would like to recognize the Strong Schools = Strong Community bond committee for all of their hard work this past school year.

Their effort started last summer, sponsoring and promoting a $5 million Willamina School District bond defeated in the November 2013 election. The committee regrouped and came back to promote a $2 million bond proposal. Yes, all their hard work paid off, and we are now putting together plans for all the projects.

A second group to be recognized are the 594 who voted yes on this bond measure. We would like to thank them for recognizing the importance of updating facilities, thereby increasing and promoting continued educational opportunities for our students. We need to keep our facilities updated and maintained.

We are in the process of re-roofing our elementary and high school, and have, within the past six years, completed an extensive energy upgrade.

From our board, administrative team and staff, I would like to pass on heartfelt thanks to patrons who voted yes on Ballot Measure No. 36-162.

Gus Forster, superintendent

Willamina School District


Feel free to proclaim faith

These days, it is frequently considered out of step to proclaim one’s faith. It is a blessing for people of faith to recognize two Yamhill community leaders who fear not to express their faith.

Retiring McMinnville Police Chief Ron Noble proclaimed his faith by telling News-Register readers he teaches at and is a member of the Nazarene Church on the Hill. Also, Yamhill County Commissioner Allen Springer, recently elected chair of the Board of Commissioners, announced that commission meetings will begin with prayer.

These announcements are a breath of fresh air, with two community leaders unabashedly proclaiming, in print, a practice of their faith in God.

Many political, film and other figures seemingly are fearful of proclaiming their faith to the entire world. These announcements say, at least to me, that a living faith in God is not dead but rather quite alive, thank you.

The Northwest, at least in Christian circles, is not known for its profession of a faith system, be it Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any other faith proclaiming one God.

Church memberships are decreasing in significant numbers. Is the decline because we don’t see community leaders professing their faith in God? Those of us with faith in God need to let others know. Saying one is a member of a household of faith is not a negative; rather, it is a victory to proclaim one’s faith in God.

Look at our coinage and our paper money, and you will find the words, “In God We Trust.” Don’t be hesitant to proclaim your faith. Some community leaders are willing to do so. Are you?

The Rev. Don Shaeffer, retired



Society filled with violence

The June 13 letter by Preston Henry included the following: “Yet, again. Another act of senseless violence. Sad, tragic, unbelievable? We must condemn gun violence and those who call for unrestricted access to all firearms, who call out for cutting taxes and programs providing resources for mental health, early childhood development and public education.”

I agree. I also point out in the United Sates more than one million babies are aborted each year — more than 2,750 a day.

We live in a violent society where, for many, life doesn’t seem to have much value. In the U.S., Conner’s Law and Unborn Victims of Violence Act say that life begins in the womb. Therefore, if I cause the death of a child by an act of violence, I should be charged with murder. Yet we pay abortionists to take the life of that unborn baby. The womb, which should be the safest and most secure place on earth has become the most violent and dangerous place on earth.

Our movies and TV shows are filled with violence and death daily through explosives, bombs, guns, etc. I think we need to look at these aspects of society as well and include these in the problem list.

Byron Shenk




David Bates

Rev. Shaeffer, there is a crucial distinction between Noble and Springer.

Ron Noble merely mentioned in an interview that, in his personal life, one of the things that is important to him is his faith and church activity. Commissioner Springer, on the other hand, is injecting his personal religious views and practice into the operations of county government in such a way that citizens are expected to either make a show of their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. The latter is outrageous.

My message to Mr. Noble is: "Congratulations on your retirement, and I'm glad to see that you're staying in the community, and best of luck to you over at Linfield."

My message to Commissioner Springer is: Knock it off.




We could simply kill all the poor and non-religious. Would that work?


I agree with Mr. Bates.

Freedom of religion in America is a great thing, but it also means that freedom from religion is an equally valid choice. When our government adopts a religious invocation, for whatever reason, it is impinging upon a basic right.



"When our government adopts a religious invocation, for whatever reason, it is impinging upon a basic right." How so? As you stated, "freedom from religion is an equally valid choice." I understand your freedom in making this choice, but attending a public meeting where a prayer is offered is not necessarily "impinging upon a basic right." I understand how you might feel about public prayer, but I'm not seeing the legal infringement of your rights.

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