Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
April 25, 2012     The New Era Paper
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April 25, 2012

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Page 4 :1t - ra - April 25, 2012 COMMUNITY OPINION From Our Files Looking back on more than 80 years of coverage in east Linn County... April 26, 1962 A delegation of 93 students from Sweet Home Union High School took a trip for the open- ing of the Seattle World's Fair last weekend. This was the largest student group from Oregon to attend the World's Fair. The second annual Policeman's Ball will be held May 12. Music will be provided by a full orchestra, directed by Heck Harper. Funds raised will be used to as- sist police officers or other persons in need. Last year's funds went to food baskets. The Sweet Home Junior High Band, under the direction of Paul G. McLain, received the top ratings at the Junior High School Music Con- test, held last Saturday in Albany. April 29, 1987 Final plans for the closure of the Liberty Grade School, com- pleteting 132 years of history, are in place. Willamette Industries has agreed to underwrite Sweet Home High School's costs for the 1987 Tokyo summer student exchange, saving the program, according to School Superintendent William Hampton. The program began in 1982 and has involved the exchange of students during the school year and during summer. Regrettably, goo(l things in life cost money Nobody wants mole taxes, least of all me. But few things come free in life and sometimes, if we want benefits we can't afford to pay for individually, we have to pay for them collectively. That includes services such as water, sewer, pub- lic safety, a library, parks - and a swimming pool. Although I have a couple of family members who have been competitive swimmers in high school and one who'is a lifeguard and swim teacher, I personally am not an aquatics buff and my fam- ily doesn2t spend a lot of time at the pool. I vastly prefer running and biking over swimming, though I once managed to gut my way through half a mile of torture in a swimming pool during a triathlon. I don't love the pool, but some day, when my knees can't take the pounding on the pavement, I'll probably have to learn to. I say that because a swim- ming pool can have value to me as a resident, even if I don't use it personally. , In our day, when much of our Notes From The Newsroom Scott Swanson Publisher society seems to be increasingly fixated on what's good for us, to the exclusion 6f everyone else's interests, it's harder to see those benefits. The library is a good example of how such a publicly funded in- stitution can contribute to the com- munity. Though those of us who don't use the public library very much may chafe at being charged for it when we pay our taxes, we benefit from the services it pro- vides our community. In this day of computer games and satellite TV - and the Internet, it's easy to forget the value to soci- 00Era A locally owned newspaper founded Sept. 27, 1929 Scott and Miriam-Swanson, Co-Publishers www.sweethomenews.com Office: 1313 MainSt., Sweet Home, Oregon Mailing address: The New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, OR, 97386 Phone: (541) 367-2135 Fax: (541) 367-2137 WHO WE ARE Scott Swanson, Editor/Co-Publisher scott@sweethomenews.com Sean C. Morgan, Staff Writer sean@sweethomenews.com Miriam Swanson, Advertising Manager, Co-Publisher miriam@sweethomenevs.com Christy Keeney, Classified Ads classifieds@sweethomenews.com Firiel Severns, Advertising Sales firiel@sweethomenews.com The New Era (USPS 379-100)is published each Wednesday. Periodical postage paid at the Sweet Home, Ore., 97386 Post Office. Postmaster: Please send address changes to The New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, Oregon 97386 SUBSCRIPTIONS In Linn County: $32 Elsewhere: $40 Snowbird: $38. NEWS QUESTIONS/TIPS Call (541) 367-2135 or e-mail news@sweethomenews.com ety that reading provides - access to reliable information, something our forefathers, who founded a na- tion after throwing off the tyranny of a king who didf't do them good, clearly understood. Many of the originators of our nation realized the necessity of an educated citizenry and sfiw how access to literature furthered that end. Prominent capitalist An- drew Carnegie, the steel magnate, helped thousands of communities establish public libraries because he personally benefited from ac- cess to books as a youngster. It's easy to forget that now, surrounded as we are by smart phones and computers, and by the Internet, from which information is a button away. But libraries are a more stable form of that informa- tion, because books are a lot more trustworthy, as a rule, than Inter- net sites. In a book you can see who wrote it, who published it and what year it was published. Good to know and something that isn't clear on most Internet pages. If you believe that a free mar- ket-based society is the healthiest for its citizens, as I do - as long as that capitalism is tempered by a little graciousness and compassion - then you see the need for equal access to information so people can participate effectively in that economy. Libraries provide that opportunity. Similar principles hold true, for community swimming pools. I'm guessing that very few peo- ple under age 50, who grew up in Sweet Home, have not been in the local pool, because that was one of the main reasons why it was built in the 1950s - to provide a facility in which local residents could be taught to swim. It's not just the rich kids, whose parents can afford the time and money to take them to Leba- non or Albany to learn to swim, who master that skill. Our local pool provides every school kid in Sweet Home the chance to learn to swim well enough to save them- selves if they get too far out in the water in one of the local rivers or lakes. The pool also provides the community with other benefits. One is positive notoriety. We've had some great swimmers come out of Sweet Home (yours truly excluded) and the high school is known for its strength in that area. It's a positive reputation amid some of the more negative stuff = deserved or not - for which Sweet Home is known. Economically, that existence of a year-round pool and that repu- tation can help us as we try to at- tract investment - either financial or human - in or community. It's a well-known fact that when companies or investors Seek areas to locate in, they look for more than just land or a labor force. They want to see planning and development - evidence that the community is not stagnating, that's it's moving ahead - and they look for quality of life. Quality of life, especially in a small, isolated rural community like Sweet Home, includes recre- ation and, in our case, the oppor- tunities provided by a swimming WRITE A LETTER We encourage readers to express their opinions in letters to the editor on matters of public interest. Letters should be typed and may be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or in person at The New Era office. E-mailed letters may be sent to news@sweethomenews.com. Please include a telephone number in case we need to contact you. Also, we require that you include your name and city of residence or your letter will not be published. There is no length restriction, but letters may be edited for length and all letters will be edited for libelous content. We discourage letters that attack or complain about private citizens or businesses on a personal level. Also, letters containing comments on topics deemed by the editorial staff to have been exhausted in previous letters will be edited accordingly. pool. Yes, it is not pleasant to have to pay anywhere from about $20 a year (for lower-valued proper- ties) to upwards of $100 annually (for higher-value parcels) to keep our pool open. The good news is that funding the pool with this levy won't impact the Police De- partment budget at all (contrary to what was claimed on one Face- book post that showed up a couple of weeks ago). Though none of us really like the idea, think what life would be like without a pool. We'd lose those swimming lessons and we'd be right back where folks were in the 1940s, when kids drowned almost every summer. The only youngster who's drowned in our area in recent years was a visitor. We'd lose the open swim eve- nings for family recreation, the lap swims, the therapy and exercise sessions for elderly and disabled folks, the Swim Club and peren- nial state champion high school swimmers who represent our com- munity in a positive way. We'd lose that extra icing on the cake for folks who might be thinking of investing in our com- munity - which would provide jobs and get some money flowing through our local economy. Some have voiced concerns about whether the. money is be- ing spent wisely. It will be if they keep asking those questions, because scrutiny will be put on how it's being spent. These things tend to Work themselves out when the pubiic gets interested - and it should be. What we have to decide now is the question before us: Should we pay to keep the pool open? Yes, it can be hard to see value in yet another tax. Yes, I'm com- pletely committed to seeing our local government operate as ef- ficiently and cheaply as possible. Yes, I'd rather not be advocating for this one, but I'm not calling the shots that have led us to this pass, economically. I believe the benefits are enough to warrant that cost, at l_e_a st - (o_r_twp_ y_e ars: ...........