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About Wallowa County chieftain. (Enterprise, Wallowa County, Or.) 1943-current | View This Issue
September 19, 2018
Wallowa County Chieftain
winter is coming
e woke up last Thursday morning, looked out the
window and beheld snow on the mountains around
Wallowa County. I call it the first sure sign that
winter will come again.
After the 100-degree plus days of August, I welcome win-
ter. I function at optimal output when the daytime high is
around 50 degrees. So I’m headed into one of my most prom-
ising biorhythm cycles.
For most people, a new year begins Jan. 1. My “new year”
begins right about now. Suddenly, my desire to get things
done and start new projects blossoms.
This cycle is a bit out of sync with the natural flow of
things here in Wallowa County. Summer is extremely busy.
But covering those events is a chore in the heat.
Then when the weather cools enough for me to have real
energy, drive and creativity, the busy season fades, the events
end and people begin to hunker down for the winter.
Some even bug out for warmer climates, particularly Ari-
zona. We spent a week in Mesa in the middle of winter a cou-
ple years ago. I
thought it was
–– well above
County’s winters are by most comparisons mild, cool enough
to feel like winter yet not so cold and snowy that you want to
hibernate on the couch for six months.
Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us this
winter. She’s always one for surprises.
WAHL TO WALL
WE ORDERED propane for our tank that runs our gas
fireplace insert and pulled the studded snow tires from the
back of the storage shed to the front.
If you’re on the fence regarding studded snow tires, I can’t
recommend them enough. We traveled a fair amount last win-
ter and when other cars were slipping and sliding into the
ditches, we were safe and secure.
We drove back from Boise around Christmas in a full-
blown blizzard and never missed a beat, passed everything on
the road. I sometimes get frustrated with people who drive 20
miles an hour on snowy highways. When you finally get to
go around them, you realize why. Their tires are bald.
That would have to make for a wretched winter
FALL IS my favorite time for a vacation as well, and in a
couple weeks, we will be heading out for a week on the Ore-
gon coast. Second to Wallowa County, it’s our favorite place
to travel –– summer or winter.
This year, our plan is to explore south of Lincoln City as
far as Coos Bay. If you have any must-see recommendations
for that part of the coast, be sure to share them.
We’re always up for new adventures.
DON’T FORGET Oregon’s Alpenfest, that celebration of
all things Swiss and Bavarian is coming Sept. 27-30.
This is the 40th year for the event, and a number of special
activities are planned. Even the bratwursts are new this year,
and the early reviews speak highly of their taste and quality.
Even if your heritage isn’t Swiss or Bavarian, you will
enjoy the music, food and fun of Oregon’s Alpenfest.
See you there.
WHERE TO WRITE
The White House, 1600
Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20500;
1111; Switchboard: 202-456-
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D
— 516 Hart Senate Office
Building, Washington D.C.
20510. Phone: 202-224-5244.
senate.gov Web site: http://
wyden.senate.gov Fax: 202-
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley,
D — 313 Hart Senate Office
Building, Washington D.C.
20510. Phone: 202-224-3753.
senate.gov. Fax: 202-228-
Oregon offices include One
World Trade Center, 121
S.W. Salmon St., Suite 1250,
Portland, OR 97204; and 310
S.E. Second St., Suite 105,
Pendleton, OR 97801. Phone:
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden,
R (Second District) —
1404 Longworth Building,
Washington D.C. 20515.
No direct e-mail because
of spam. Web site: www.
walden.house.gov Fax: 202-
225-5774. Medford office:
14 North Central, Suite 112,
Medford, OR 97501. Phone:
541-776-4646. Fax: 541-779-
Pending Bills: For
information on bills in
Congress, Phone: 202-225-
Gov. Kate Brown, D — 160
State Capitol, Salem 97310.
Phone: 503-378-4582. Fax:
503-378-8970. Web site:
Oregon Legislature — State
Capitol, Salem, 97310. Phone:
(503) 986-1180. Web site:
www. leg.state.or.us (includes
Oregon Constitution and
Oregon Revised Statutes).
State Rep. Greg Barreto,
R-Cove (District 58) —
Room H-384, State Capitol,
900 Court St. N.E., Salem OR
97301. Phone: 503-986-1458.
or.us. Web site: http://www.
State Sen. Bill Hansell,
R (District 29) — Room
S-423, State Capitol, Salem
97301. Phone: 503-986-1729.
state.or.us. Web site: www.
Information — (For updates
on bills, services, capitol or
messages for legislators) —
Health care can be economic development
ealth care eats up more and more
of our thought, political debate,
money and time.
Maybe its because medical technology
has advanced so rapidly, or because the
cost of health care keeps rising; maybe we
are getting older and need more health ser-
vices; maybe because of birth control ––
we no longer have six, eight or 11 children,
and we are naturally insistent that the one
or two we have are very well taken care of.
In Wallowa County, there has been an
absolute revolution in health care services
in the past 30 years. No criticism here ––
it was part of the times –– but sometime in
the early ‘70s Wallowa Memorial Hospi-
tal Director Lester Palmer bragged to me
that we had the lowest hospital room rates
in the state.
From 1971, when I moved here, until
sometime in the ‘80s, we had at least
four active doctors (all men, by the way;
another sign of the times). But in the ‘80s,
doctors and many others joined the parade
of people dancing disco in cities and sub-
urbs. “Yuppie” stood for “young urban
Dr. Scott Siebe and Dr. Lowell Euhus
practiced herculean medicine here in the
‘80s, the twosome covering all clinic calls
and all ER visits. Scott says it meant 110-
120 hour weeks.
But this is not a column about how we
got to where we are now: a new hospital
with multiple E-rooms and oncology sta-
tions; several family physicians (many of
them women), a full-time surgeon and fre-
quent cardiologist visits and more.
What I would like to do instead is take
a lesson from my long-ago experience as a
Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey and see
if we can make a case for making Wallowa
County a model for a different kind of
medical and demographic policy in Amer-
ica. Let’s not talk about present-day Tur-
key –– the past decade or so has seen the
growth of autocracy and religious influence
on what was a secular and mostly demo-
cratic state when I was there 1965-70.
My Peace Corps group arrived just 27
years after Ataturk, the founder of mod-
ern Turkey, died. Ataturk had rescued a
defeated Ottoman Empire from the ashes
of WW I and fashioned a modern Europe-
an-style nation-state out of the ashes.
When Mustafa Kemal, later named
Ataturk, or “Father of the Turks,” pushed
the European powers intent on dividing
Turkey up to the seas, he carefully crafted
the new nation on principles of division of
powers, egalitarianism, empowerment of
women, and, maybe most importantly, the
dispersion of services broadly across the
Istanbul was the major metropolis; Atat-
urk chose a Central Anatolian village as his
capitol, Ankara. He then built sugar and
cement factories and educational institutes
across the rural landscape of Turkey and
began building roads to connect them.
The lesson here, I think, is in putting
important industry and service in rural
places. (It’s what we did in America with
the Land Grant College program.) And I
think Wallowa County’s booming health
See, you really can learn mathematics
ooray for Pastor Tim Barton’s
essay in last week’s Chieftain on
how perseverance and hard work
brought him success in his studies of
It is surprising that mathematics is
such an emotional subject. In school,
one student may feel the joy of success
and another may feel the pain of failure
in their encounters with the subject, and
this happens K-12.
It is not easy to understand why this
is so, but we can see how it affects a per-
son’s attitude about their own ability to
In the light of the current studies in
which infant human beings exhibit logic
and number sense, I am suspicious of
the claims that some people can’t learn
mathematics. The simple-minded notion
ascribing math skills vs artistic skills to
the discredited left-right brain mythol-
ogy is misleading.
Let us take a look at the way mathe-
matics is taught. In your first 20 years,
you have developed a definite almost
unshakeable, attitude of what you can
do in art or science. This clearly defines
your preferences for one path or another
in your life.
Undoubtedly, the decision you have
made about your talents are genuine and
provide you with your “comfort zone.”
Whether you would want to read a book
that has the word mathematics in its title
would be determined by this personal
vision of yourself.
But is this vision accurate? Are you
just being prejudiced against your own
ability? I have known cases in which a
student’s angst about their own ability
to do mathematics is totally unfounded,
a consequence of having an extremely
unmindful teacher who was either too
good or too bad at mathematics.
If they were too good, then they
might not acknowledge that a problem
is difficult. A less trained or less secure
teacher may impart some of his or her
own feelings of inadequacy to students.
Fortunately, mathematics teachers do
not fall into these two categories; they
are usually competent and empathetic.
One difficulty I sometimes see in teach-
ing secondary school and higher math-
ematics is the requirement of cramming
too much material into a course.
It is the “depth vs. breadth” argument.
I opt for more depth and less breadth.
We try to teach 3000 years of mathemat-
ics in one or two semesters; how dumb
In my opinion, the best way to teach
mathematics is to let the students have
a stake in the learning. If the students
themselves present solutions in the class-
Wallowa County’s Newspaper Since 1884
M eMber O regOn n ewspaper p ublishers a ssOciatiOn
Published every Wednesday by: EO Media Group
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
Contents copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Reproduction without permission is prohibited.
care system can be a model for dispens-
ing health care, for changing the demo-
graphics that are creating unaffordable cit-
ies in some areas and leaving others behind
and for creating vital rural areas across the
Our new hospital opened in 2007. We
had advanced from two docs in the in
part because Dr. Euhus went to a regional
health care meeting to tell people that rural
health docs and health care were dying.
The head of family medicine at Oregon
Health Sciences said he could fix that:
from that day forward, a family practice
residency would include a rural rotation
and he would start with Enterprise.
Thank Euhus and Siebe for keeping
us alive in dark times, and Larry Davy for
having the new hospital vision. Although
Larry skipped a few years as hospital direc-
tor, he was there with the vision before it
happened and is back presiding over the
And we now have nine family docs, a
general surgeon and an emergency room
director/physician along with a passel of
specialists making regular visits. We have
fine birthing suits and physical therapy
facilities and an oncology outpatient treat-
ment set-up that keeps local patients local.
Health Care is our new wheat ranch or
lumber mill, and it makes the survival of
agriculture and lumbering possible.
The cost of the new hospital was $23
million. Not much in big government dol-
lars. What if we spotted new rural hospi-
tals in Dufur and Toledo and Lake County?
What if there were new good hospitals in
dozens of towns and counties with fewer
than 10,000 residents across the country?
Build it and they will come.
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room, other students can see how a per-
son struggles with a problem, tries and
re-tries various approaches before finally
And the presenter is learning even
more. This slower approach might mean
that the teacher cannot “cover all of the
material.” But, you have to ask yourself,
“Who has covered it?” Only the teacher.
I have taught mathematics to African
children in both rural and urban Zimba-
bwe, and I taught a college credit mathe-
matics class at Wallowa High School.
In the city school in Zimbabwe, I was
asked, “Can those pupils out in rural dis-
tricts learn mathematics?” Then, back in
the USA I have been asked, “Can those
African kids learn mathematics?”
Here in Wallowa, I have heard peo-
ple ignorantly ask, “Can those farm kids
you taught at Wallowa High really learn
In my nearly 60 years of teaching
mathematics, I have been asked, “Can
girls learn mathematics?”
The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes.
I would love to get society to abandon
its ignorance about the ability of human
beings everywhere to learn mathematics.
I am also hoping you all, of any age,
will abandon your own prejudicial opin-
ion that you cannot learn mathematics.
Thanks, Pastor Barton.
Clem Falbo of Joseph is a Mathemat-
ics Professor Emeritus at Sonoma State
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