Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Careful about 'scope of work' budgeting for work at the MAC; runaway population at the root of climate change

Houts a great choice

I was really pleased to see that they chose Helen Houts for fair parade. She was my boss with Bill when they had the pub; she was always lending a hand wherever was needed They were great people to work for. (I've) never seen (such) a hard worker, so she definitely deserves this title. Can't wait to wave at her in the parade.

Becky Maitland


Watch 'scope of work' project

After making comments at the recent budget meeting for the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District, my comments were summarized as "Reed advised the board to borrow enough to cover the cost should the damage inside the walls turn out to be worse than expected."

Actually, I cautioned the board about the "scope of work" for the repairs to the dressing rooms. It has been my experience that the "scope of work" for commercial, public, and residential projects get inflated right from the beginning of the project. The thought process is that as long as we have the capital money, items outside the scope of repairs to the dressing rooms get added because they think they will be cheaper during the project.

As an example, these items might include painting hallways, remodeling offices, or adding furniture. So now the "scope of work" has been bloated by the nonessential items. I think nearly everyone agrees that there is damage in the walls, but of course, nobody will know the extent of the damage until the walls are removed. By including the nonessential items, the project is much more likely to be overbudget at the end of the project.

The alternative is to write a very defined "scope of work" that only includes what's absolutely necessary to complete the repairs. This leaves more budget available for the unknown cost of repairing damage behind the walls and reduces the likelihood of going over budget. The other "nonessential" items can be listed as alternates and still bid by the contractor. At the end of the project, any extra money could be returned to reduce the payments, or any of the alternate bids could be selected based on their priority and cost.

Steve Read


Population growth and climate change

The role of human population growth is rarely discussed in the climate change debate.

Al Gore, to his credit, discussed population growth in his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" ... but only for about 20 or 30 seconds, as I recall. He did show a good graph, but no substantive discussion.

The real truth is barring significant technological improvements in energy, also agriculture and forestation, it does little for humanity to cut greenhouse gas emissions by, say 50%, then double the population. Bottom line: At some point, either the birth rate goes down ... or the death rate goes up. Take your pick.

Also, note the USA has maintained replacement level fertility since 1973, when U.S. population was 200 million! Indeed, if immigration since 1973 had remained at historic levels of around 200,000 per year, U.S. population would already have leveled off at 235 million. Instead, immigration — legal and illegal — has ballooned tenfold to 2 million per year. Now U.S. population is about 340 million and growing steadily. (For reference, when the U.S. fought World War II, our population was 125 million.)

I would argue the people of this country, through their combined natural wisdom, have sent a clear message, the USA is at carrying capacity; 200 to 235 million is "enough," 340 (going to one-half billion) is "too much."

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe something is in the air ... or water, perhaps the food, in Washington, that makes busybodies and know-it-alls there so much smarter than the rest of us. You decide.

Detailed reporting on this subject is available at

Bill Atherton


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