Who to blame

Those darned out-of-state ecofreaks are at it again. We had a bad fire up at Cape Ferrelo and Carpenterville Road. There was lots of uncut forest up there because everybody knows tree-huggers won’t let any trees be cut, trees being more valuable than people.

If it hadn’t been for the actions of our local fire departments Brookings would have gone the way of Paradise, California, as the fire roared through town. We’ve got to get rid of all those pesky regulations that stop us from cutting down trees in national forests and prevent fires from natural causes.

What’d you say … what? It was a negligent crew, from a local timber company, on privately-owned land? Oh, that’s different.

Michael Pitts-Campbell

Brookings

Willing to speak up

Wednesday, the Pilot ran an article on a county volunteer “suing 4 individuals for defamation, accusing them of falsely saying she was being hypocritical for pushing…a travel policy last year while having spent county funds to travel herself.”

The article included the lawsuit’s thorough explanation of how her travel expenses were actually paid by state and federal grants, and not by the county, but just run through the county accounts since grants do not have bank accounts. Article also quoted her as saying, “In this county people repeatedly express that they are afraid to speak up … because of retribution.”

I have one comment: I have seen no shortage of people completely willing to speak up in Curry County.

Plus, I have three questions:

1. Why did the volunteer not simply provide that thorough explanation, with back-up documents, to all interested parties, or to the Pilot for publication, and thereby simply and quickly clear her name and quiet all accusations?

2. Since the accusers did not have complete information, is it not rational and authentic (while speaking and/or working for the taxpayers) for them to question her expenses, and given her stance on a travel policy, to also ask (freedom of speech) if she wasn’t being hypocritical?

3. Since she chose to file a lawsuit against four people rather than simply to provide all the information, is it not reasonable to assume that she is choosing retribution, at the taxpayers’ expense, since at least two were working for the county, instead of explanation and documentation to correct the misunderstanding, and therefore, in another way, is again being hypocritical?

Marian Kron

Brookings

through hoops

First, it was an increase in Medicare copays for PTSD-care appointments.

Now, it’s come to having to file a complaint with the Oregon DOJ, after an eye care professional has refused refund, after dispensing incorrect RX eyewear. What was produced did not match written prescription. Board of Optometry says no evidence of optometric error. Fee dispute only; they referred me to DOJ.

Medicare no help and the lab denies it’s their fault.

Come on Americans, is this any way to treat a 64-year-old widow of a Vietnam Navy vet, who’s been disabled for 22 years? I’m out $1,078.25. I can’t afford that. No eating for five months, I guess.

Should I really have to jump through all these hoops, when I did nothing wrong but for using insurance that cost me more than it would to go elsewhere?

Corinne D. Bell

Brookings

Dangerous situation

As the assistant fire chief of Cape Ferrelo Volunteer Rural Protection District, I’m concerned that we, as a fire department have no control over when burn restrictions are lifted in our fire district.

Coos Forest Protection Association prematurely removed the fire ban and when the weather turned unsuitable for safe burning, they have not reinstated it.

It has not rained for more than two weeks and the humidity has been as low as 19 percent, with winds in excess of 23 mph.

This is extremely dangerous fire weather.

Different geographic locations within the county have different weather and fire risks that need to be addressed separately.

Just because it is “legal” to burn does not make it a good idea.

Unfortunately we live among people deficient of common sense who have matches but no water.

Let’s not forget about the dead oaks and overgrown underbrush.

Many of my neighbors are out of water from such a dry summer, which adds to the danger.

We were lucky the wind gave us a break on the Nov. 11 fire on Carpenterville Road, and a great team effort by many was able to stop its progress towards Brookings.

The city of Brookings has an ordinance that the fire department can instigate a burning ban, however the county presently does not.

I would like to ask the Curry County commissioners to work on an ordinance that would give the different fire departments control over when the burn season starts and finishes in their respective districts.

Hill Duchar

Cape Ferrelo Fire

Rude language

An unfortunate trend in recent letters to this paper has been the incredibly rude, patronizing, and dehumanizing language used by the submitters concerning homeless people. Some direct quotes include: “blights on humanity,” “low-life parasites,” “bums,” and other toxic and utterly unhelpful language and “advice.”

Homeless people deserve respect just as much as anyone else, and a handful of bad actors should not turn a community away from those in need of support and caring. The people who used such horrific language ought to be ashamed of themselves for how they spoke about their fellow human beings. Instead, they should be digging deeper into the facts and stories of the people that they speak so ill of to achieve a better understanding of the problem.

A quick rundown of facts about homelessness: one in four of the total homeless population are children, one in five of the homeless suffers from untreated mental illness beyond their control, domestic violence is a leading contributor to homelessness among women, and of the more than 600,000 homeless each night, 57,000 are veterans.

This hopefully adds a little context to the complicated story of homelessness, but everyone should do their own research.

Certainly, public safety is a priority. However, we should not use safety as a justification for systematically abusing those who are down on their luck, often due to a medical or financial emergency, a divorce or domestic abuse, a lack of stable family support many of us take for granted, a sudden job loss, or another form of personal upheaval. Instead, we ought to come together as a community to think about how critical services like affordable and effective mental healthcare, affordable housing, job training and job opportunities, and other programs could better our community while helping those in need.

Brian Wagenaar

Brookings

First play at theater

On Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., “A Christmas Carol” will debut on the new Brookings Harbor Community Theater stage. BHCT was founded by Dori Randall to bring her vision of theater to life. She often skipped sleep and meals to paint, sew, direct, clean, and dream. She loved this community deeply and built up BHCT as an opportunity to serve the actors, crew, and volunteers as well to give the entire community the opportunity to enjoy the plays that were the fruits of her love.

In her wake, she drew others inspired by her vision who worked together to make magic happen for many people, young and old alike. For many of us, life will never be the same without her. But in love to her and this community, the effort to continue her legacy marches forward. The setback of losing the building that housed BHCT has become only a stumbling block.

I am writing to express my heartfelt gratitude to the board of BHCT and the community volunteers who have worked tirelessly to fundraise, design, move, and renovate the new home of BHCT at 15542 U.S. 101 south in Harbor. You all are amazing. You have kept Dori’s vision alive. Thank you.

So, to the Brookings-Harbor community and surrounding areas, please come celebrate this remarkable effort. Come be a part of this continued dream. The work isn’t over yet, but this opening is certainly a momentous event for our community.

Tiffany VanMaren

Brookings

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