The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, June 02, 2021, Page 4, Image 4

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
is in our hands
regon lawmakers
made a good move to-
ward greater transpar-
ency in government when they
passed two bills connected to
higher education.
House Bill 2542, which
requires public universities
and colleges to prominently
display the fees they charge
students, and House Bill 2919,
which stipulates higher edu-
cations facilities clearly dis-
play the costs of course mate-
rials when students register for
class, secured passage.
On the face, both bills may
not seem altogether earth shat-
tering, but they are important
when placed in the context of
transparency in government.
Transparency in govern-
ment is a crucial pillar of a
democracy. Sadly, over the
past few decades that notion
— and goal — of transparency
has gradually been eroded.
That is not good for our
form of government. When
government agencies that are
funded through public dollars
step away from transparency,
everyone loses. Yet, it occurs
more often than the average
person probably knows.
When government dis-
regards transparency — or
worse, acts like it is being
transparent when it is not — it
means it is no longer account-
able to the people.
Millions in public funds
are funneled into various state
agencies every year in Oregon.
That money is not the govern-
ment’s, it’s yours. That means
the people who work in gov-
ernment are accountable to
you, the voter.
Oregon is lucky in a sense
because of its public records
laws, which provide a gate-
way into government when it
refuses to hold itself account-
able to the people. The public
records laws are robust — to
a point — but are constantly
under siege by those who wish
to restrict oversight.
Independent organizations,
such as newspapers, are also
an important tool to hold gov-
ernment accountable. Often,
newspapers use public records
laws to dig out information
government agencies and offi -
cials do not want the public to
In a democracy, there
should not be any type of
restrictions — barring top
secret military projects or per-
sonal health records — that
hamper a voter’s access to
While newspapers and
news organizations fi ll a cru-
cial role in ensuring greater
transparency, in the end the
voter must play a key role as
That means paying atten-
tion to what is going on
in places such as the Ore-
gon Legislature and asking
good, thoughtful questions of
There never has been any-
thing wrong about asking
questions in democracy.
Government tends to
block access to information,
and sometimes appointed or
elected offi cials will decide
they know better than the
voter about what information
should be released.
They do not.
• Grant County Courthouse — 201 S.
Humbolt St., Suite 280, Canyon City 97820.
Phone: 541-575-0059. Fax: 541-575-2248.
• Canyon City — P.O. Box 276, Canyon City
97820. Phone: 541-575-0509. Fax: 541-575-
0515. Email:
• Dayville — P.O. Box 321, Dayville 97825.
Phone: 541-987-2188. Fax: 541-987-2187.
• John Day — 450 E. Main St, John Day,
97845. Phone: 541-575-0028. Fax: 541-575-
1721. Email:
• Long Creek — P.O. Box 489, Long Creek
97856. Phone: 541-421-3601. Fax: 541-421-
3075. Email: info@cityofl
• Monument — P.O. Box 426, Monument
97864. Phone and fax: 541-934-2025.
• Mt. Vernon — P.O. Box 647, Mt. Vernon
97865. Phone: 541-932-4688. Fax: 541-932-
4222. Email:
• Prairie City — P.O. Box 370, Prairie City
97869. Phone: 541-820-3605. Fax: 820-
3566. Email:
• Seneca — P.O. Box 208, Seneca 97873.
Phone and fax: 541-542-2161. Email:
• Gov. Kate Brown, D — 254 State Capitol,
Salem 97310. Phone: 503-378-3111. Fax:
503-378-6827. Website: governor.state.
• Oregon Legislature — State Capitol,
Salem, 97310. Phone: 503-986-1180.
Website: (includes Oregon
Constitution and Oregon Revised
• Oregon Legislative Information —
(For updates on bills, services, capitol or
messages for legislators) — 800-332-2313,
• Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale — 900 Court
St. NE, S-301, Salem 97301. Phone: 503-
986-1730. Website: oregonlegislature.
gov/fi ndley. Email: sen.lynnfi ndley@
• Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane — 900 Court
St. NE, H-475, Salem 97301. Phone: 503-986-
1460. District address: 258 S. Oregon St.,
Ontario OR 97914. District phone: 541-889-
8866. Website: ndley.
Email: rep.markowens@oregonlegislature.
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20500; Phone-
comments: 202-456-1111; Switchboard:
• U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D — 516 Hart Senate
Offi ce Building, Washington D.C. 20510.
Phone: 202-224-5244. Email: wayne_kinney@ Website: http://wyden. Fax: 202-228-2717.
Blue Mountain
Published every
Wednesday by
Differing opinions
n response to Robin Roberts’ com-
ment May 26, fi rst of all, I would
like to thank you for your service
to our country as you stated that you
are a veteran.
It is quite apparent that you and I
have diff ering opinions on the current
state of aff airs. I am terribly sorry
that you did not attend our commu-
nity town hall meeting. We made
an attempt to notify every citizen of
Grant County. We sent out postcards
addressed to local postal customers
that were hand delivered to each post
offi ce in Grant County with instruc-
tions that they were to go in every
box. Posters were put up in every
community in Grant County. It was
also announced by Logan Bagett on
KJDY as a public announcement.
I attended a Grant County com-
missioners meeting on April 28, and
our Grant County Judge Scott Myers
informed everyone present that if
we didn’t go along with the state
and federal mandates that the county
would lose funding for roads, hospi-
tals and schools. That is called extor-
tion. This meeting was streamed live
on Blue Mountain Eagle’s Face-
book page, and you can still listen
to it there. In separate conversations
with our education district person-
nel, who will remain nameless out
of respect to their jobs, they stated
the exact same thing. I spoke with
administration at the hospital, trying
to get someone to come to our town
hall meeting to speak. I also spoke
with county health services, and none
would come and speak.
The media and most of our gov-
ernments, worldwide, are creat-
ing a fear factor, for whatever rea-
sons, that is totally ridiculous. I also
stated in the Coff ee Time interview
that through a link to the National
Highway Safety Institute, it shows
Never forget fallen heroes
or the second year in a row,
Memorial Day observances
in communities, organizations
and even within family groups looked
very diff erent because of the COVID
The parades, large ceremonies and
other occasions, which I and so many
others in the Oregon veteran commu-
nity have always found moving and
meaningful, have not yet been able to
safely return in many places.
Yet, the importance of this day —
and the emotions and memories that it
brings — have not changed.
For countless families across
our communities, our state and our
nation, Memorial Day is a stark, and
often painful, reminder of those loved
ones who went to serve their country
and never came home.
Whether they volunteered during
a time of war, stood guard over our
peace or never expected to wear the
uniform until their draft card arrived
— their service and selfl ess sacrifi ce
represent the best and highest ideals
that America has to off er.
We continue to feel their loss
In recent months, and particularly
as we have approached this year’s
Memorial Day holiday, I have found
myself refl ecting on the themes of
unity and strength in diversity.
It was just before the Korean War,
in 1948, that President Harry S. Tru-
man issued Executive Order 9981 —
abolishing discrimination based on
race, color, religion or national origin
in the United States Armed Forces.
When war broke out in 1950, our
country entered the fray with a fully
integrated and desegregated military.
I believe those who have served
our nation in uniform know the mean-
ing — and the value — of unity more
than almost anyone else. We were
trained to protect those on our right
and those on our left — and to trust
that they would do the same for us.
Every day in service, all that mat-
tered was that someone had your six,
and was there to off er a hand when
you stumbled. Their color, nation of
origin, religion or sexual orientation
were not part of the equation.
After service, the diversity of our
veteran community is a source of
immense pride and strength. We are
Black, White, Latinx, Asian American
and Pacifi c Islander, men, women,
transgender and
non-binary, young
and old, urban and
rural, of every race,
religion and creed
— unifi ed through
our shared service
and sacrifi ce.
The honored
ranks of the fallen
include Sgt. John Noble Holcomb,
who was born in Baker City. John
was awarded the Medal of Honor
posthumously for his extraordinary
courage and sacrifi ce during the Viet-
nam War — where he singlehandedly
forced an enemy retreat, despite being
mortally wounded, saving many
American lives.
They include Erin McLyman,
from Eugene, who proudly enlisted
in the United States Air Force after
recovering from a severe, years-long
addiction to drugs and alcohol that
began when she was in just her fi rst
year in high school. She later enlisted
in the Oregon National Guard, and
was eager to deploy to Iraq. She died
March 13, 2010, in an enemy mor-
tar attack.
They include the 100th Infantry
Battalion — which became known
unoffi cially as the “Purple Heart Bat-
talion.” The unit was one of only two
combat units during World War II
that was comprised of second-gen-
eration Japanese-Americans (known
as “Nisei”) who had briefl y had their
rifl es stripped away due to prejudice
following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
They would go on to fi ght bravely
in Europe, even as their families
remained in internment camps back
in the United States. The men of the
100th Infantry Battalion earned recog-
nition as the most decorated American
unit of its size and length of service.
The 18,000 men who served earned
nearly 9,500 Purple Hearts, 21 Medals
of Honor and an unprecedented seven
Presidential Unit Citations.
And the honored ranks of the fallen
include Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn
Cashe, who was the fi rst Black ser-
vice member to receive the Medal of
Honor for service in Iraq or Afghani-
stan for the heroism he displayed after
his Bradley struck a roadside bomb.
The explosion ruptured the Brad-
ley’s fuel cell, engulfi ng both the vehi-
cle and its occupants in fl ames. Enemy
fi re soon rained down on their posi-
Grant County’s Weekly Newspaper
(including online access)
Editor & General Manager ...............Sean Hart,
One year ..................................................$51
Monthly autopay .............................. $4.25
Outside Continental U.S. ....................$60
Reporter ...................................................Rudy Diaz,
Reporter ...................................................... Steven Mitchell,
Multimedia ............................................................. Alex Wittwer,
Subscriptions must be paid
prior to delivery
Marketing Rep .......................................Kim Kell,
Phone: 541-575-0710
tion. But none of that stopped Sgt.
Cashe from acting quickly to save his
Drenched in fuel, he pulled the
driver and fi ve other soldiers from the
burning vehicle — saving their lives,
while suff ering second- and third-de-
gree burns over 72% of his own body.
Despite this, he insisted on being the
last person on a medical evacuation
Alwyn exhibited incredible cour-
age during that attack. Despite the fact
that both the vehicle and its occupants
were engulfed in fl ames, and amid
unrelenting enemy fi re, Sgt. Cashe
acted quickly to save his soldiers.
Sgt. Cashe died 22 days later — on
Nov. 8, 2005. He was only 35.
It is impossible to know exactly
what was going through the minds of
Sgt. Cashe, Sgt. Holcomb, Pvt. McLy-
man, the members of the 100th Infan-
try Battalion and so many other heroes
as they made the ultimate sacrifi ce.
But we who have served know they
were motivated by the rare courage
and devotion that is common to those
who have borne the battle — to protect
our nation, our loved ones back home
and our fellow servicemembers.
The harsh reality of war and con-
fl ict is that not everyone will make it
home. Let us honor the memory of
heroes no longer with us — not just
on Memorial Day, but every day. And
let us strive to live up to the incredible
example they have set for all of us.
May we never forget our fallen
heroes. They were the best our coun-
try had to off er, and their memory
inspires us to be better. Their courage
moves us. The world is a better place
because of them, because they lived
and because they served.
May we never forget what they
sacrifi ced, and what their loved ones
have lost.
On behalf of the Oregon Depart-
ment of Veterans’ Aff airs, I wish you
and your loved ones a safe, reverent
and meaningful Memorial Day.
Kelly Fitzpatrick is the director of
the Oregon Department of Veterans’
Aff airs and Gov. Kate Brown’s pol-
icy advisor on veterans’ issues. She
is a retired Army offi cer. Her military
awards and decorations include mul-
tiple awards of the Meritorious Ser-
vice Medal, the Southwest Asia Ser-
vice Medal and the Army Parachutist
Periodicals Postage Paid
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mailing offi ces.
send address changes to:
Blue Mountain Eagle
195 N. Canyon Blvd.
John Day, OR 97845-1187
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Offi ce Assistant .....................................Alixandra Hand, offi
that your, mine or anyone’s chance
of dying in a car accident is 1 in 103.
Are you going to stop driving your
car and walk to town for your gro-
ceries? The true data is being tamped
down by all of the major main-
stream media sources, and any voice
of opposition is being silenced in any
way possible. The very freedoms and
liberties that you served our coun-
try to protect are being taken away
from us every day, right under your
nose. What freedoms are you going
to be willing to give up next? All that
I am saying is, if you want to wear a
mask and get vaccinated, that is your
choice to make, but it is not the Amer-
ican way to demand that everyone
do so. I personally feel that there is a
larger agenda behind all of this. It is a
shame, but the truth is, you are going
to have to look a little harder if you
want the true facts.
Bill Newman resides in Monument.
Copyright © 2021
Blue Mountain Eagle
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