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About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 3, 2018)
January 3, 2018
Wallowa County Chieftain
do it now
WAHL TO WALL
Welcome to 2018. If you’re
like most people, there are several
things you are looking forward to
in the coming year.
Maybe it’s a long-planned
vacation or a special anniversary.
Perhaps you’re expecting a first
grandchild in the new year.
I have several things I’m look-
ing forward to this coming year.
In July, I will become the pres-
ident of the Rotary Club of Wal-
lowa County. It’s an exciting chal-
lenge. The group is a fantastic
collection of individuals who have
made me feel at-home in a new
I look forward to taking the
helm and guiding Rotary through a
terrific year of community service.
Speaking of Rotary, mark your
calendars for Feb. 9. That’s the
night the club will be sponsoring
a Valentine’s night out with lots of
food and fun. including the oppor-
tunity to have your photo taken.
It’s not a fundraiser, it’s a friend-
raiser. Stay tuned for details.
I AM looking forward to my
one-year anniversary as editor
of the Chieftain. The first year at
any newspaper is always a steep
learning curve. You let out a big
sigh of relief when you reach that
Suddenly, things are a lot more
familiar, and you’re not experienc-
ing everything for the first time.
I was warned about summers
in Wallowa County being a busy
period. I was in no way prepared
for it. Next year, I will be better
We didn’t experience one event
last summer that we didn’t enjoy.
Chief Joseph Days Rodeo was one
highlight. We’ve attended many
rodeos over the years, big and
small. This rodeo is among the
best in so many categories.
You have to wonder how the
rodeo committee is going to top
last year’s event? The bar has been
set mighty high.
I AM looking forward to the
vote on the proposed library dis-
trict in 2018. That will come in
A lot has been said and printed
on the topic, and there’s more to
come as a stalwart group of folks
work to convince taxpayers there
is efficacy in publicly-funded
As a newspaper editor, I put
a high priority on literacy. No
readers, no newspapers. Liter-
acy is a huge part of what the new
library district would attempt to
If you haven’t educated your-
self on the topic, please take time
in these early weeks of the new
year to seek out information.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about
this as the new year dawns.
I AM looking forward to
spending time at Wallowa Lake
Park. Yeah, I know, it’s not
exactly a “get-away,” but we hav-
en’t found anywhere else near or
far that is as enjoyable a place to
Whether it’s an evening walk-
ing the trails or a full-blown camp-
ing weekend, it’s all spectacular ––
fun and relaxing.
We’re already looking at dates
for camping reservations. You
have to plan and act early for the
If you’re among those who
believe a camping trip means
driving three or more hours in
one particular direction, I would
encourage you to spend a week-
end at Wallowa Lake. I guaran-
tee you will enjoy it. Maybe you
could camp next to us. We always
have plenty of marshmallows to
It’s such a cell phone thing
If I were to calculate the cost of
my lost time looking for misplaced
items, the amount would near a
million dollars. I’m sure of it.
In early September, I misplaced
my cell phone. Perhaps it’s an
internal message to “slow down”
or “pay attention,” but my angst in
looking for it makes my concentra-
tion worse, not better.
Based on my history of finding
lost items, I searched in my shoes,
in the refrigerator and scoured my
car. I suspected my pup Petey, but
he took the fifth. I even raised the
bed linens, careful not to disturb
Mosie the cat, but did not see it.
My friends generously offered
suggestions, most of which I had
already examined. Nada. At 30
days, I surrendered and shopped for
a new cell phone.
“I’d like one just like the one I
lost,” I told the sale representative.
The roll of her eyes communi-
cated her disdain while, with great
effort of politeness, she explained
how outdated my old one was. This
concerned me because that first
smart phone was a great techno-
logical improvement from the flip
phone I had used for years.
Side story: I lost that flip phone
while hiking along Upper Imnaha.
My new phone anticipates
what I’m going to say and lit-
erally inserts words into my
communication that are not
I was texting a mutual
that I would not be
attending a pot luck at Vick-
ey’s. Just as I hit send, I
Ten months later, a representa-
tive texted me on my new (at the noticed, “Can’t make it to Buck-
time) phone asking if I had lost a et’s.” Immediately I sent a sec-
ond text with correction trying to
explain what the phone was doing.
“Phone toes for me.” Another
“I have it here in Pasco.”
quick fix. “Talks not toes.”
“How’d you get it?”
In preparing for the Veter-
“A lady found it last summer
while hiking and just turned it in.” ans Day chili feed, I was texting a
And that was it. No effort to friend about sponsors who donated
return it to me. No further explana- food and saw the phone interjected
tion ... I am left baffled at the odd “good” donations. Exasperated, I
things that happen.
sent off the correction, “Food not
So, this past October, I pur- good.”
chased another smart phone. (Smart
“Why are you telling me the
phone is a misnomer, for they leave food is not good?” she responded.
me feeling anything but.)
This led to an audio phone
The next day while changing call to clarify, which was difficult
the sheets (I had to make Mosie because I was laughing so hard.
move), there was the missing
Right now, two tin cans with a
phone. She had been resting on it string connecting them looks quite
all the time. My friends who know appealing.
Mosie agreed that was just like her
to do that -- watch me fret over
Katherine Stickroth is a free-
such a thing and not say a word to lance writer who blogs at awallow-
help. So cat.
They urge a ‘yes’ on Measure 101
More than one in 10
Wallowa County resi-
dents has health insur-
ance because of Medic-
These are working
people –– ranchers and
farmers, store clerks
and contractors –– who
cannot otherwise afford health care
These are the people whose
access to health care, and whose
health itself, could be severely
impacted if Measure 101 fails.
A “yes” vote on Measure 101
supports the assessment of a fee
on large hospitals and health
insurers in the state and brings in
three times that amount in federal
funds. It is a way to maintain the
state’s Medicaid program at its
current level for two years, giving
the legislature time to work out a
Here in Wallowa County, pro-
viders will continue to care for our
families, friends and neighbors
regardless of the outcome on Mea-
However, a “no” vote may
require cuts in services currently
offered by local health care provid-
ers, including the hos-
pital and the full range
of medical, dental and
mental health clinics in
Our local providers,
due in part to Medicaid
expansion, are work-
ing together to provide
some of the most innovative health
care in Oregon. A “yes” on Mea-
sure 101 continues that good work.
Please vote “yes” on Measure
101 so that hard-working folks
in Wallowa County can continue
to access essential healthcare for
themselves and their families.
Lunde is board chairman, Wal-
lowa County Healthcare District;
and Powers is a family physician
with Winding Waters Community
Kudos for WHS girls
There is something very great
about the Wallowa High School
etters to the Editor are subject to editing and
should be limited to 275 words.
Writers should also include a phone number
with their signature so we can call to verify iden-
tity. The Chieftain does not run anonymous letters.
In terms of content, writers should refrain from
personal attacks. It’s acceptable, however, to attack
(or support) another party’s ideas.
We do not routinely run thank-you letters, a pol-
girls’ basketball team.
It doesn’t have anything to do
with scores or win-loss records or
whether the stands are crowded
It’s about excellence –– and
expressing it in what you do.
This is high school. When
there’s plenty of homework, who
would go out for basketball when
you know your school has had a
losing record for years? Who? The
girls of Wallowa.
At this writing, Wallowa stands
at 2 wins, 9 losses on the season.
Joseph is 7-2 and Enterprise 8-2.
But I’ve watched the Wallowa
girls, 11 strong, at many games this
No matter what happens, they
play the game. Hard. They’re never
Wallowa girls jump for the
rebound. They race down the court.
They shoot when there’s an open-
ing, no matter whether the last shot
They never give up.
And that’s what basketball ––
and the life they will face –– is all
icy we’ll consider waiving only in unusual situa-
tions where reason compels the exception.
You can submit a letter to the Wallowa County
Chieftain in person; by mail to P.O. Box 338, Enter-
prise, OR 97828; by email to editor@wallowa.
com; or via the submission form at the newspaper’s
website, located at wallowa.com. (Drop down the
“Opinion” menu on the navigation bar to see the
Jeff Merkley represents Oregon in the
Wallowa County’s Newspaper Since 1884
M eMber O regOn n ewspaper p ublishers a ssOciatiOn
Published every Wednesday by: EO Media Group
This year has been one of stark par-
tisanship, with rhetoric from both sides
of the aisle seeking to stress differ-
ences between Democrats and Repub-
licans. But one thing I thought we all
could agree on is that we need to do
everything we can to look out for our
I see our responsibility and mission
as legislators — and the core purpose
of our Constitution — as ensuring chil-
dren have safe spaces, full bellies and
That’s why I am outraged that the
majority in Congress has refused to act
to renew the Children’s Health Insur-
ance Program, commonly referred to as
CHIP. For 20 years the program, with
strong bipartisan support, has ensured
that no children fall through the cracks
of our health care system.
It provides states with funding to
cover health care expenses for children
whose families have incomes too high
to qualify for Medicaid but too low to
afford expensive private coverage.
Oregon’s CHIP program, called Ore-
gon Healthy Kids, last year helped more
than 140,000 Oregon children access
health care. Thanks to CHIP, 198 chil-
dren from Wallowa County — that’s 14
percent of children in the county — this
year have been able to access check-
ups, immunizations, dental care, doc-
tors’ visits, and other important health
Funding for CHIP expired Sept. 30.
Every single state in America — 50 out
of 50 states — has a CHIP program.
Oregon, along with five other states,
will run out of CHIP money this month.
Another 25 states will run out of CHIP
money in the first three months of 2018.
It is completely unacceptable that the
Congressional majority allowed CHIP
to expire — and it’s even more outra-
geous that they’ve waited 82 days and
counting to reauthorize it.
Right now there is a bipartisan bill
ready and waiting to be brought to
the Senate floor. It would extend the
Children’s Health Insurance Program
through 2022. It was passed by the
Finance Committee with unanimous
The Senate could take up that bill
right now and pass it. So what’s the
holdup? Why is health care for our chil-
dren being disrupted?
The answer makes my blood boil: It
is a pawn in cynical political machina-
tions. The majority leadership in Con-
gress is using the health and well-be-
ing of hundreds of children in Wallowa
County and 9 million children across the
country as a bargaining chip.
Instead of taking up this biparti-
san bill, they’re holding it hostage to
try to win concessions in budget nego-
tiations. The most the majority is will-
ing to give our children is a paltry three-
month extension of the program that
was included in a continuing appropria-
tions bill. Three months is unacceptable;
we need to create stability and reliabil-
ity for our children by reauthorizing this
program for years to come.
The holidays are around the corner,
and no parents should have to worry at
this time of year that an illness or injury
could endanger their child’s life or fam-
ily’s finances. I am urging my Senate
colleagues on both sides of the aisle to
urgently prioritize issues that are essen-
tial to working folks — like ensuring
the children who rely on CHIP can keep
getting the care they need.
There is no reason I can see that we
shouldn’t be able to agree that protect-
ing health care for 9 million children
across the country is an absolute top pri-
ority. That is our responsibility. That
should be our mission. We must get it
done. Nine million American children
USPS No. 665-100
P.O. Box 338 • Enterprise, OR 97828
Office: 209 NW First St., Enterprise, Ore.
Phone: 541-426-4567 • Fax: 541-426-3921
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