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Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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May 2, 2012     The New Era Paper
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May 2, 2012
 

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Page 10 Vcz Jl (").cmMI JNITV [  : - May 2, 2012 Cross-country cyclists, led by ex-cop, ride for pot By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era Three men riding bicycles across the country, from Newport -to Savannah. Ga., Passed through Sweet Home last week on a quest to promote adventure bicycling and the end of prohibition of marijuana. Their leader, retired police de- tective Howard "Cowboy" Wool- dridge, has crossed America twice on horseback, from Savannah to Newport in 2003 and Los Angeles to New York City in 2005, a total of 5,400 miles in the saddle. This time he is joined by his brother. Frosty Wooldridge, and friend Wayne Oberding. All are more than 60 years old. They passed through Sweet Home on April 23. "I spent the night in Sweet Home with a state trooper, whose wife I met at the edge of town," Howard Wooldridge said. She was intrigued by his T-shirt, which said, "Legalize Pot." "People reacted well to the horse," Wooldridge said of his pre- vious trips. He is one of about six people who has traveled coast to coast by horse in the 21st century, while thousands have done it on bi- cycle; and people invariably opened their doors to a cowboy. He and his horse stayed in barns and corrals. Sometimes. he was invited to stay in a house. "The horse being in a corral was good for the horse." Wool- dridge said. Traveling like that with a horse is much more difficult than bicycling because the horse must be fed, and the rider must think about shelter, water, shoes and injury. "Now I'm doing another Paul Revere ride," he said, the opposite way, with a bike. Why legalize pot? "We need to do a better job of protecting our children," he said. "We're missing pedophiles because they're flying around in helicopters looking for green plants." The black market in drugs gives a job option to youths that is danger- ous and kills them, Wooldridge said. That applies across the board. "At the end of the day, I would end all drug prohibition," Wool- dridge said. They all provide the dangerous job options to youths, and they take away from public safety. "I emphasize police should be involved with public safety not per- sonal safety," Wooldridge said. Like shopping or gambling problems, "if you have personal issues, that should be handled by family and friends." As a lobbyist with Law En- forcement Against Prohibition in Washington, D.C.. for the past six years, that's a message he repeats constantly, and he insists that drugs should be a 10th Amendment issue, meaning individual states should decide how to handle drugs rather than the federal government - "Let Oregon run Oregon." "We're going to start with mar- ijuana," he said. "It is demonstrably less dangerous than alcohol. Photo by Sean C. Morgan From left, Wayne Oberding, Frosty Wooldridge and Howard Wooldridge ride through Sweet Home on April 23. Below. from left, are Howard and Frosty Wooldridge and Oberding. "In 2003, the message was well-received with exceptions. So far, in Oregon, it's 100-percent posi- tive." National polls passed the 50-percent mark supporting legal- ization last year, he said. It's time to do it. The three are planning to travel about 60 miles per day, complet- ing their trip in two months, Wool- dridge said. Most nights, they sleep in a tent. About two nights a week, they splurge, stay in a hotel and get See Riders, page 13 Hamming it up for Hawthorne Referee Kevin Strong, otherwise the school district business manager, calls a technical foul on Hawthorne Principal Ryan Beck, above, during the annual PBIS basketball game between the sixth grade and Hawthorne staff held at Sweet Home Junior High Thursday. At right, J.J. Martin rolls on the ground after Beck fouls him. Below, at the instigation of a teacher, fourth- graders Lucas Victor and Shelby Goodwin blow bubbles during the game. Below right, sixth graders mob staffer Molly Tenbusch. The students won 49-48. The score was 48-48 when the clock stopped, with the entire teachers bench taking the floor in the last handful of seconds. Due to strange circum- stance (aka scorekeeper Scott Emmert), the students mysteriously scored one more point after the clock stopped to win the game. Photos by Sean C. Morgan