Letters to the Editor: October 20, 2017

You go, girls

Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that starting next year they will allow girls to join and be able to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. The motivation for the change came from two nationwide surveys that indicated parents wanted their daughters to have the same opportunities as boys.

It seems to suggest that Girl Scouts of America is an inferior organization. As a Girl Scout, this is frustrating. Members of both organizations are limited only by their imagination and motivation. Both organizations foster responsibility to yourself and your fellow Scouts.  Both organizations encourage citizenship and community service. Both organizations provide the opportunity to explore the world around us.

Badges and ranks are the milestones of achievement in both organizations. Most people know the highest rank in Boy Scouts is the Eagle Scout. I wonder how many people know the highest rank in Girls Scouts. It is called the Gold Award, and it takes several years of planning and hundreds of hours of community service as well as evaluation and approval by the Girl Scout Council.

I want your readers to know that Girl Scouts across the country don’t just sell cookies. We do just as much as Boy Scouts. When there are problems, we try to fix them.  We are very girl-led, and if we want to do something, we will find a way to do it.

I am working on my Silver Award, and my project is helping reduce diaper need in Yamhill County.  I am working with A Family Place and Yamhill County banks. The Banks for the Banks Diaper Drive goes until Oct. 25.  Please donate diapers at local banks.

Zorissa James



Local schools wonderful

One of the things I love most about my job as secretary of education is getting to meet incredible educators across the country who are finding creative and innovate ways to make learning exciting for their students. Last week at McMinnville High School, I was able to do just that. Superintendent Maryalice Russell and Principal Tony Vicknair have created a culture at McMinnville High where students and teachers alike are challenged every day to be better than the day before. From Erin Brisbin’s AP U.S. history class to Matt Brisbin’s AP literature and Darcy Houston’s AVID classes, I saw students engaged in their learning and teachers passionate about their work.

I would dare to say that’s in large part driven by weekly teacher workshops held at the school. I got to see first hand how these dedicated educators come together every Wednesday to share teaching techniques and best practices. They encourage each other, and they learn from each other. They focus on what’s best for their students. The results of those efforts have been phenomenal. McMinnville has proven there are no excuses. When adults focus on individual students, all students, regardless of background or ZIP code, can learn, achieve and thrive. I’d like to thank the students, teachers and administrators of McMinnville High School and the entire community for showing me what is great about their school. They are truly a fine example of what education can achieve when we put students first.

Betsy DeVos

Washington, D.C.

(Betsy DeVos is the U.S. secretary of education)


Words ring hollow

As a teacher and president of the McMinnville Education Association, I had a wide array of emotions when I heard the U.S. secretary of education was coming to our very own McMinnville High School. I was honored that Secretary DeVos chose my high school and yet worried about how her policies would affect my students.

During the visit, I was happy to see that DeVos chose to meet with Mac students and educators. I believed having this dialogue could help shape the nation’s top education officer.

The students that DeVos met with explained the importance of having one-to-one attention from their teacher and how smaller class sizes make a huge difference in their education. The only way to accomplish this is to fund education the way it should be so all students have equal opportunities in school.
The teachers explained to DeVos that successful schools are made by positive teacher trainings and good teaching practices. They explained that good teaching practices involve teacher-led instructional training, and that it takes time to collaborate on a professional level.

I hoped these conversations would show DeVos how great things can happen inside public schools. I hoped she would see how important it is to invest in teacher development programs. I hoped she would see that diverting public money into private school vouchers would hurt communities like McMinnville. I hoped that she would truly listen to the wonderful staff at Mac and hear what makes our school so successful.

But as I listened to her at the end of her visit, it became clear this visit was just for show. Even before leaving the school, she was back to her usual lines about school vouchers. It felt like she did not hear anything the teachers or students told her.

If DeVos really wanted to help students improve, she would look at schools like McMinnville and invest in educational practices that make a difference.

Joe Crafton


(Crafton is the president of the McMinnville Education Association.)


These drugs are crazy

Mind-altering psychiatric drugs present a clear and present danger to the human race and should be banned immediately, without exception.

There is absolutely no doubt that certain mind-altering drugs cause some people to become suicidal, homicidal and psychotic. That is well-documented and has been for decades. Does it happen in every case? Probably not. Does it happen in most cases? Again, probably not.

But the fact that it happens is beyond question. Even if these cases represent only a tiny percentage of the number of people taking these drugs, it presents a danger not just in terms of something like the Las Vegas massacre, but on an enormous scale, as in the entire planet being destroyed.

The rate of nuclear weapon proliferation on this planet is alarming. Put aside the possibility that such weapons may already be in the hands of one or more lunatics. All it would take is for the leader of one country possessing nuclear weapons to be taking a psychiatric drug for whatever reason.

If that leader became the unlucky individual to go psycho from the drug (like the Las Vegas massacre murderer), that could well spell the end of civilization. Yes, I am talking about nuclear Armageddon. That is why mind-altering psychiatric drugs are dangerous. They should be banned, and their use should be criminalized.

The truly insane on this planet are those who understand what I have just written, see the truth in it, yet still sanction the manufacture, prescription and use of psychosis-inducing drugs.

Bob Lippmann



Just say no 

Ballots are being mailed today for the Lafayette fire hall/city hall building.

Before you vote, consider all information provided from proponents and opponents of this measure. Know city officials requested only one option for a building (for one dollar amount) and pursued no other funding other than us.

If you are a renter (or rent the space under your home) and think this isn’t your problem, it is. Will your landlord cover your portion, or will they pass that on to you?

Also know the information being provided by those that want a yes vote, doesn’t have to state the truth. The facts they state aren’t facts at all. They can lie and make things up.

Just because you say no to this building at this cost doesn’t mean you are saying no to services. What you are saying is send us something that shows some respect for how hard we work.

Keep in mind the mayor has already signed an agreement (without voter approval) that is going to affect our utility rates. How much more can you absorb?

Angela Flood



Well, that’s ugly

Every time I drive by Alpine Street near the Granary District, I admire the work that the city is doing to beautify that area — the nice sculpture, attractive landscaping, pretty flowers and right in front of it all (drum roll) the two monolithic, butt-ugly, shiny black electrical boxes.

What were they thinking? Surely there’s a better way to house that equipment. In many cities, they have artists paint electrical boxes with eye-catching public art.

A local artist could be commissioned to improve the look of these eyesores. Think of the wonderful job John Stromme did on the side of the old brick Cline Chevrolet building, turning an ugly wall into an historic landmark. Come on, city planners, I challenge you to get creative.

Phyllice Bradner



Re-do the math

If Trump’s 306 to 232 win in the electoral college was decisive, the number of counties Trump won was spectacular. Trump won 2,600 counties to Clinton’s 500. By geographic area, Trump won 84 percent to Clinton’s 16 percent. 

In Michigan Trump won 75 counties to Clinton’s eight, and Michigan’s 16 electoral votes, but only won the popular vote by 47.6 percent to Clinton’s 47.3 percent, or 10,704 votes. How could the popular vote be so close with such a wide gap in terms of counties? Well, in populous Detroit, Clinton won 95 percent of the vote.

Here in Oregon, Trump won 28 counties to Clinton’s eight, but Clinton won the popular vote and our seven electoral votes. In West Virginia, Trump won 55 counties to Clinton’s zero, and West Virginia’s five electoral votes.  In Washington, D.C., Clinton won 92.8 percent of the popular vote, and Washington D.C.’s three electoral votes.

Talk about a bad marriage.

I therefore propose one vote per county, based on that county’s popular vote. The single votes, one from each county, are tallied, and the winner gets all of that state’s electoral votes. Then the electoral college is applied as usual, with one exception, for the national result. The exception is that, for consistency with Washington, D.C.’s lack of voting representation in Congress, the 13th Amendment is repealed, stripping the District of its three electoral votes.

An important benefit of this system would be greater robustness in the face of irregularities in the popular vote. Recall that Clinton won 95 percent of the vote in Detroit. According to the Dec. 13 Detroit News, “The problems were the worst in Detroit, where discrepancies meant officials couldn’t recount votes in 392 precincts, or nearly 60 percent. And two-thirds of those precincts had too many votes.” No matter, regardless of 51 percent or 100 percent, Clinton would have gotten all Wayne County had to give: one vote.

Dan Katz



Where the sidewalk ends

Construction on the Ford Street sidewalk has come to a halt. The sidewalk is beautiful but unfinished. There are two sections with a long drop off the side and no railing or fence. The drop is eight feet in places and on to jagged rocks. It’s only a matter of time until someone falls and gets hurt. The whole idea for the new walk was to make the journey to town.

Kenneth Carlton




I agree with Dan a voter who lives in a county with a large population doesn't deserve the same voting power as someone living in a county with a few residence. Those people who choose to live in urban areas just don't deserve the same vote and representation as those voters who are spread out across the land. Democracy really should be about geography. The idea of a democracy of equal representation, of each person's vote counts is out dated. Some would say 'sad' just to think about.


Check out the number of sex abuse cases, pending and settled, connected with the BSA over the years. The amount of settlements paid out. The repeat offenders.
Stick with the GSA, girls.

Don Dix

Mr. Crafton is worried -- but he needn't -- the majority of the lawmakers of this state are in bed with the OEA (Crafton's MEA parent) so deep it's blatant bribery. And there is no way the Ds in the legislature would upset that 'never-ending cash cow'!


So Multnomah county Pop 800,000 and Washington county Pop 580,000 would have the same effect on Oregon's electoral votes as say Gilliam, Sherman and Wheeler counties that all have a population of less than 5000?.....That makes sense to you?


Gosh Lulu....using your logic we might not want our kids going to church either....


Google the Catholic Church, tagup.




Go back to sleep.


Dear Ms. DeVos, Thank you for visiting our community. We appreciate the service you give to our country. Your positive attitude is contagious! Best wishes in your future service as our Secretary of Education.

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