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Keep Madras sports complex project developments transparent and public; school funding at the state level needs to increase; and writer challenges climate change

Don't make sports complex decision behind closed doors

In December 2018, the Pioneer ran a front page spread on a proposed 125,000-square-foot sports complex to be built in the middle of Juniper Hills (county) Park. The article spoke of current MAC Director Mr. Weyermann negotiating with an anonymous donor for the $40 million this project would cost.

The public was told that they would soon be told who the donor was and would be kept apprised of the planning process. As a person who loves the outdoor nature of Juniper Hills Park, I was disturbed by the proposal to build this facility in the park. I am not against the idea of the sports complex, but feel that Juniper Hills is not an appropriate location. Many people I have spoken with have expressed the same sentiment.

Upon reading the Jan. 16 Pioneer article "Sports complex nears milestone," I was encouraged to hear that according to Mr. Weyermann, other sites were being considered for the facility. Since that article was published, no more information has been forthcoming.

In an attempt to find out the current status of the proposed project, I have attended two county commisioner meetings where I asked for information. On March 4, I was told by the county commissioners that they had not received any more information regarding the project. I attended the March 11 meeting of the MAC Recreation District Board and requested information from them regarding the current status of the project and was told that they had no current information. They told me that the Bean Foundation was now handling the project.

As a public lands advocate, I am disturbed that the public is not being kept in the loop. Planning this project behind closed doors is unacceptable and undemocratic. Juniper Hills Park belongs to all citizens of Jefferson County and the public has a right to know what is going on and should be given every opportunity to be involved in the process.

I would greatly appreciate the Pioneer running a follow-up article to keep the citizens of Jefferson County up-to-date on the current status of this project.

Chris Scranton

Madras

Oregon must increase school funding

Funding isn't the only factor when it comes to students' success in public schools, but it is a critical one. Unfortunately, Oregon schools have been underfunded for almost 30 years. The state school fund is $2 billion behind the national average. We battle some of the largest class sizes and lowest graduation rates in the nation.

Oregon schools have made significant gains in recent years to make better use of data, and better approaches to learning to help raise student success and close gaps in achievement.

But they can only stretch resources so far, and the truth is that Oregon schools have operated for decades at a funding level significantly below that recommended by the state models for providing a quality education.

Oregon's public education system is the cornerstone of providing the grounding for a productive workforce and informed citizenry. All of us, no matter our profession or station in life, benefit from strong public schools.

I urge our legislative leaders to share with voters their commitment to fully fund our schools and specific plans for how to meet that commitment. Unless we show our elected leaders that we expect them to step up, I worry deeply about our ability to sustain and expand on the improvement we've seen in student achievement.

Please visit https://actnow.io/iADDpOW to send a quick and easy email to your legislator. Ask them to fund our students now!

Jamie Hurd

509-J Board member

'Climate change' blown our of proportion

Mr. C.T. Casberg wrote a letter published in the Pioneer March 13, concerning global warming. According to his own resume, he appears to be quite knowledgeable about politics, economics, science, rhetoric, agriculture, and religion. However, he is quite lacking in perspective.

I was in college back in the mid-'50s and the same genre of gloom and doom "scientists" were warning us of the dire consequences of a coming ice age if we didn't curb our use of (believe it or not) "fossil fuels"! You don't believe me? Go to the archives and read page 86 of the June 24 issue of Time Magazine. That was the last "ice age" I recall reading about.

From there, it was overpopulation and we would all starve by 2000! Which seemed somewhat reasonable since we have been paving cities into our best farmland for 50 years. Then they came up with global warming! They needed a short interlude between freezing and baking or even the kids would catch on!

In 2007, the United States Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave a frightening report on manmade global warming. The earth was finished! Global warming was going to destroy life as we know it! How many scientists made this prediction? Two thousand, five hundred. How many were climate scientists? According to Fred Singer — an atmospheric physicist from George Mason University — about 100. They didn't even poll them to see if they agreed with the final report.

I think the weather is a little warmer than it was during the last ice age — 1999 — but it's pretty prideful to think we had anything to do with it.

The same crowd who want to take away my pickup truck would sue you in a minute if you tried to harvest trees in such a way as to eliminate forest fires that put more pollutants in the air than all internal combustion engines put together.

The weatherman on my phone gets the next four days right about half the time. So who are these prophets who can predict the climate 30 years from now? Most of them are computer geeks who read tea leaves with their computer models. They need to learn the meaning of "garbage in, garbage out" and get a real job.

William Hoff

Madras


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