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Let the competition begin!

This Thursday is the day of the Green Commute competition locally.

Participating organizations include the three hospitals, the three colleges, the Corps, the Washngton State Penitentiary, Baker-Boyer Bank, YMCA, Coffey Communications, the cities of Walla Walla and College Place and others - a pretty formidable field indeed.

Of course, the city of Walla Walla wants all the area's great institutions and businesses to be successful in their endeavors.

However, I believe everyone will discover on Thursday that though the people who keep your city operating may be generally mild-mannered public servants, when the competition begins we'll get out our bikes, walking shoes, car pools and bus schedules and leave everyone else in the dust!

Barbara Clark

Walla Walla

Let's take long-term view of salmon

The ongoing debate regarding the Lower Snake River is interesting, and it's good to periodically take a glance back at prior technical reports regarding fisheries in the Columbia River Basin.

One report I have contains chapter titles like "Inquiry Into the Decrease of the Food Fishes."

The same report contains quotes such as "fewer chinook salmon now make their appearance in the upper rivers."

And the same report contains water temperature data for the Columbia River at Clifton, Ore., located near Portland, which starts to exceed 68 degrees on July 19.

Any thoughts on the date of this report?

The above information was documented by the federal government in 1878. The water temperature data was collected from mid-May through mid-August of 1875.

This report was prepared about 100 years before the last Lower Snake project (Lower Granite) came on line.

This is why I still ponder how the removal of these projects will solve problems that were noted long before their construction.

Gene Spangrude

Walla Walla

Glenn Beck doesn't understand ‘social justice'

Recently, Fox News personality Glenn Beck made a statement that anyone attending a church that promotes "social justice" or has those words on the church's Web site, then the members should "run, run as fast as you can" from that congregation and find a different church or parish in which to worship.

Beck equates social justice with socialism or Nazism, which of course is a mistaken comparison, both philosophically and biblically.

Jesus taught that to follow him means we are concerned about a justice in our relationships and communities. A well known passage from the Gospel of Luke, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, illustrates this concern.

The parable emphasizes the need to care for those who are hurting and without means; those who are ignored by society in general, particularly the cultural elite, and then going the extra mile in providing for their needs (health care, transportation, shelter, respite and food).

Jesus taught the radical idea of lending to those who cannot repay; the Good Samaritan exemplifies that principle.

I would encourage anyone who takes Beck seriously to study the words of Jesus before abandoning their church, especially if that church is one that lives out the Gospel.

Daniel J. Willms,

pastor, Vineyard Free Methodist Church

Walla Walla

Nation's elite wrong about average Americans

It's good to know that things are peachy-keen for Mr. Schmaltz and all in Takoma Park, Md. However, I don't think the picture is quite so rosy out here in the heartland where the workin' folks live.

The morning after Mr. Schmaltz' letter appeared in the U-B it was reported there were another 18,000 new applications for jobless benefits. That follows three weeks of similar reports of new applications. Who knows the grand total of people without jobs?

And, on top of that, they reported another week of record home foreclosures. Not my idea of a booming economy in this greatest nation on God's Earth.

And then, he takes a cheap shot at the folks (Tea Partiers?) who would like to see some changes in our elected representatives in D.C.

That, of course is the typical attitude of the elite who think the average American is just too stupid to know what's best for 'em. Determined, naturally, by that very same elite.

I suspect the intelligence of the average American is grossly underestimated.

James Cline

Milton-Freewater

Area blessed to have caring firefighters

The citizens of Walla Walla are blessed with responsive and caring firefighters who put their lives in jeopardy on a daily basis.

Many of us probably tend to take their presence for granted - at least until we are the ones who need them. The owners and employees of Reiff Manufacturing are very appreciative of the firefighters of Fire District 4 and the city of Walla Walla for their response to the fire at our business on April 12.

Without their rapid response, the production portion of our company would have burned to the ground, leaving a significant number of people without employment. Steve and I also wish to express our gratitude to the Rev. Steven Woolley who accompanies these crews to their emergency locations and prays for their safety as they work.

We encourage the members of our community to take an opportunity when it presents itself to thank these men and women of our local firefighting crews for what they do to protect Walla Walla and its citizens. Truly, we are a blessed community.

Nancy Reiff

Walla Walla

Start drilling for more oil in Alaska

I read Michael E. Kraft's article April 11. I compliment him on his limited view of our nation's need for large quantities of oil. I share in his anger concerning the huge expenditure on imported oil.

This is absolutely unnecessary. The fact is: U.S. is sitting on an immense oil reserve in Alaska.

It is believed to be equal to Saudi Arabia's. To restrict off-shore drilling is inconceivable. When China moves into the Gulf of Mexico or just off shore on our West Coast and starts drilling, maybe then will the environmentalists relax and the Democrats carry a different tune.

In 2008 we bought $56 billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia. This represents one half our imports of oil from all countries! It is the huge transfer of funds between sovereign countries.

Much of this is on borrowed money. All countries consumed $472 billion. Our share was one-fourth of the world's production.

This is absolutely unnecessary! President Clinton took action to prohibit development.

It is a Democrat pet. They won't even talk about it.

I wrote to Sen. Patty Murray expressing my concerns. She answered me. She said she is a cheerleader for off-shore drilling. She also stated our need for conservation: not one word about the reserve in Alaska, which is her pet.

When we are cut off from the Middle East energy sources, and when gas and diesel become $10 or $20 per gallon - will this make a difference?

Now is the time to act. If drilling were started now it would take two or three years for production.

Why do things so vital to our commerce have to become so political? That is crazy!

Ralph Miller

Walla Walla

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