Gossipers- Beware

Pay-Back can be difficult! Especially when it is a surprise attack!

By T. Myers

I have always been involved with my community and believe that being a part of the whole is important for all of us. So I join organizations, I volunteer, I communicate about the happenings around town and I invest in a few places so that I can make a bigger difference in the town where I live. I believe in many organizations and I have high hopes for what is expected and delivered by them.

I guess it is time to get smacked upside the head again, because I thought that things were going okay. Apparently, not! I am not fooling myself that all the people I have dealings with like me. Sometimes I really need to stand up and see that things have changed, and other times, get in someone’s face and make changes so that a group of other people in the same situation are hurt less (more comfortable) by what is going on. Diplomacy is important, but being straight forward is often the better way for a person who thinks the way I do, to behave. Usually, I do my best to take others into consideration before I act.

I hope to never get into the mix unless there is reason for me to get involved. If it does directly affect me, that is different. If enough is said to me about something that is not fair, or if things go undone, especially when I see others being hurt, I am going to say something. I also get pretty picky when I am talked ‘around’ and people assume that I know things because I was close when things were discussed. If I know something is important, I will ask if I am supposed to listen. I will also ask if it is confidential when I am aware that it should be. I rarely take heed of what I think are ‘thoughts out loud’ or ‘private conversations’. I do not ‘keep’ what I overhear by mistake. It is not my business.

What is my business, I guard. With a vengeance! If I have a responsibility for something, I do my best to see to it. Am I clear about what I am supposed to do? I believe that I am, but I am not sure that others know what I am supposed to do. That is another story.

I can describe case after case of what I have perceived as situations that need mediation in different organizations, between people and organizations and with local leaders. Most of the time I have been able to ask questions and I get answers that are satisfying. When people and answers aren’t clear or forthcoming, it grates on my nerves.

Am I passionate? Yes. Do I have to be right? I like to be, but I don’t have to be.

So why am I addressing this issue? When you believe deeply in things, like I do, and invest yourself in them, there will be a point when they can turn on you, easily, when you least expect it. And now it is time to reconsider my support and time commitments so that others can handle what needs to be done in the way they choose to do it! That way I won’t hear about it, be part of it or worry that I am not doing right by it.

It is time for community leaders to take control of the “information” that is being ‘released’ by members in different organizations and make an effort to stop the rumor mill in our town. It is time for people to stop for a minute and ask if what is said is true and well founded.

The Pinecone Express is the oldest word of mouth institution in our area. It is fast and difficult to stop. It is just as difficult to keep the spread of information correct and correctly repeated. This is a natural process-because it is gossip at its best! And it is hard to make changes to what is overheard and retold from being overhear in part from the next booth at the local restaurant or from a conversation at a house party or even comments from an actual meeting.

There will always be other hills to climb and tales to tell. We love the juicy bits! But, with many things to be done to make it a better world to live in, Lord knows, everyone is expendable- even the ones who spread the gossip! So, beware you talkers, you spreaders of tales and you gossipers with your juicy tidbits designed to titillate the ears of others!

Go ahead, folks- talk it over and decide what you want, but make sure you can walk your talk. The ball is in your court!


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PayBack is difficult when you don’t know who you owe…

Pay-Back can be difficult! Especially when it is a surprise attack!

I have always been involved with my community and believe that being a part of the whole is important for all of us. So I join organizations, I volunteer, I communicate about the happenings around town and I invest in a few places so that I can make a bigger difference in the town where I live. I believe in many organizations and I have high hopes for what is expected and delivered by them.

I guess it is time to get smacked upside the head again, because I thought that things were going okay. Apparently, not! I am not fooling myself that all the people I have dealings with like me. Sometimes I really need to stand up and see that things have changed, and other times, get in someone’s face and make changes so that a group of other people in the same situation are hurt less (more comfortable) by what is going on. Diplomacy is important, but being straight forward is often the better way for a person who thinks the way I do, to behave. Usually, I do my best to take others into consideration before I act.

I hope to never get into the mix unless there is reason for me to get involved. If it does directly affect me, that is different. If enough is said to me about something that is not fair, or if things go undone, especially when I see others being hurt, I am going to say something. I also get pretty picky when I am talked ‘around’ and people assume that I know things because I was close when things were discussed. If I know something is important, I will ask if I am supposed to listen. I will also ask if it is confidential when I am aware that it should be. I rarely take heed of what I think are ‘thoughts out loud’ or ‘private conversations’. I do not ‘keep’ what I overhear by mistake. It is not my business.

What is my business, I guard. With a vengeance! If I have a responsibility for something, I do my best to see to it. Am I clear about what I am supposed to do? I believe that I am, but I am not sure that others know what I am supposed to do. That is another story.

I can describe case after case of what I have perceived as situations that need mediation at work, in different organizations, between people and organizations and with local leaders. Most of the time I have been able to ask questions and I get answers that are satisfying. When people and answers aren’t clear or forthcoming, it grates on my nerves.

Am I passionate? Yes. Do I have to be right? I like to be, but I don’t have to be.

So why am I addressing this issue? When you believe deeply in things, like I do, and invest yourself in them, there will be a point when they can turn on you easily when you least expect it. And now it is time to reconsider my support and time commitments so that others can handle what needs to be done in the way they choose to do it!

This is a natural process and it isn’t hard to make some changes. There are always other hills to climb and many things to be done to make it a better world to live in. Lord knows, everyone is expendable!

So, go ahead, folks- talk it over and decide what you want, but make sure you can walk your talk. The ball is in your court!


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Commentary on the recent denial of Kevin Urbanc’s business

When The Spotlight on Business is turned off…What next?

By T. Myers

During the past few months a local entrepreneur has been working to establish a new home based business for himself. When he started, he had the blessing of then City Manager, Steven Hasson, who seemed very excited about the idea of this little cottage industry opening in La Pine. As the calendar progressed and the prospective businessman sought to have the proper county inspections on said business, he ran up against the Permit Wall and shortly thereafter, the City Wall and what had been an exciting prospect, now was a serious problem.

Kevin Urbanc was working through the last months of culinary school for his certification. He volunteered to cook two days a week at the Community Kitchen and used his skill to provide exciting menus to the clients. He planned and put up a big event to raise money for the Kitchen with the help of the COCC Culinary staff and volunteers and he joined the Chamber to stay in the mix. He applied for permits to finish the work on the Sportsman’s Smokehouse home business and started to work through the list of changes he needed to make after the inspection from the County. When the City told him he could appeal the decision from the county when he did not pass, he was given a long list of things he had to comply with and then he was scheduled to appear at the City Council Meeting for a decision.

Urbanc did all of these things he could do to the best of his understanding. He also knew that the City can decide for themselves who can operate a business inside the City limits and he trusted that his good faith efforts to bring his building and his business up to snuff would be taken into consideration. When he appeared, he presented a reasonable case and did a good job with the information. The City Council did not ask him questions. They did not discuss the case at the meeting. Instead they immediately voted to follow the County’s recommendation of denial. Business over. End of story.

Or is it? La Pine is set to embark on a new phase of economic development. It is in the early stages. Yes the City still has to define who they are and what they want to represent about La Pine when looking for potential businesses, but they are at the gate, ready to begin the journey.

Urbanc’s business is really a hobby business that he works at. It is designed to help a few people process their game and it gives him a pleasurable outlet to create as a certified chef. Impact of a smoker is no different than the neighbors who are burning wood stoves and using the fireplaces in his neighborhood. Traffic is not impacted any more than the people who run back and forth on the road in front of his house to go to the corner store to buy…whatever!

When the City stops a business from opening for any reason, the reasons should be set in stone.

If the county still decides what is denied, then why is the City in the business of doing a hearing to consider what they are not willing to decide on in public?

Just saying… If La Pine is open for business, what are we prepared to do to help La Pine’s small business owners improve and expand their existing businesses or help new ones get started?


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A Hard look at Helping…La Pine needs to examine giving

A Hard Look at Helping

By T. Myers

After the release of annual figures of help offered to families in La Pine, there was a definite trend in the numbers- and curiously, the numbers seemed to mirror each other from one organization to the next. No one wants to see others suffer or go without food and basic items. No one.

But that does not mean that we can’t improve how we do things.

Over the past few years, the different social service agencies and community organizations have been scratching their heads about what they need to do for the folks located in the La Pine area who need help.

Different organizations have historically provided for the needy with the Christmas Basket Association giving out food for as many as 1450 individuals for Christmas Baskets. SCOOTR had been helping 700 plus individuals with Christmas presents for children every holiday season and more donations to children’s organizations and schools through-out the year. The La Pine Lions have been running a little Christmas Boutique with affordable little presents for any child who wants to shop for gifts every year during the first weekend of December. They also provide sight and hearing testing and help for glasses, examinations and hearing aids. The St. Vincent de Paul Social Services division with the help of the retail operations has provided for food boxes, clothing, medical, dental, gasoline, emergency housing and other services. Churches all over the area are doing the same. The Community Kitchen serves daily lunches, Christmas and Thanksgiving meals and also provides pantry services and clothes, blankets, tents and other needed items each month. The Central Oregon Veteran’s Outreach is yet another organization that gives the same things to vets in the area. The American Legion and the Moose Lodges also have Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners for anyone who needs a meal.

We do not want people to be hungry if they live here in La Pine. Especially the children and older folks.

But, this has become a bigger need and a bigger problem than any one organization- or in our case a whole slew of them- can deal with. We now have the homeless question of safe warm spaces and lots of need in that category to deal with. The cold weather is around the corner and La Pine is sitting on top of no place to go and lots of people needing places. What do we do? Where do we look for help? What decisions need to be made regarding this growing problem?

A few years ago I heard a City official explain that we needed to address this problem. At that time he wanted everyone to realize that by offering the abundant services we have in our community we were inviting more people who need help and ultimately we were setting up a problem for the future. And the future is here!

At a recent meeting of organizations who deal with homelessness and the problems of offering services to the homeless, we all learned that when there is no warming shelter or available rooms, the City needs to decide what we are going to do with the many people who are here when it gets cold. Bend has beds and housing. We do not. City Manager, Rick Allen, is all for creating some low cost housing- but that is, realistically, a few years away.

There is also another serious consideration for all of us to think about and maybe get a reality check about. We have been growing in our capacity to help with food handouts, meals for free and clothes and other household items for the needy and the numbers are meeting and exceeding our ability to serve.

There is also a big problem of second and third generation demand for these services- so that all of the givers realize that nothing is changing (we are not fixing anything by continuing to give give give…?) And, (Big and here) I have been told that there are not many thank yous, and no help offered by those that constantly receive services and food to do volunteer work to help the people they are receiving from. H-m-m-m-m-m!

When one of the Christmas Basket volunteers explained that after 15 years of serving the association she was noticing that the children that started getting baskets for Christmas Dinners years ago-  in the beginning- were now bringing their families in for food and baskets.

Not only that, but the amount of people served has risen from around 150-200 when they began the process of assisting families with the goods for making a single Christmas Dinner to serving more than 1400 people with dinner goods and other items to put in their pantry. Then SCOOTR steps in and provides Christmas gifts and needed clothing items to 719 plus children. The Community Kitchen makes food boxes available and so does St Vinnies and a few churches and so it goes on- and on. Add the services for emergency heating help in the winters, clothes and household goods, Dental van, medical help and some modest attempt to give emergency shelter when needed, this community is bent over backwards to help. We are at the point of being in a backbend all over the area and just how long can we stay in that position before we break?

The cost of these services and the double dipping that some families seem entitled to do at the different places- let alone when two or three families live in the same home and all of them are getting food stamps and food boxes, make these high costs for service and the way we do the business of helping almost impossible to control. And, folks, as much as we want to help our neighbors here- and La Pine is well known for that, we need to use common sense and take the reins of control back so that we are not going to break.

“Help like this is a stop-gap measure. It is not meant to be a way of life!” added an elected official when I interviewed her. She went on to say that the way that people begin to live ‘inside the gives’ and the feeling that they are entitled to the help is a real reason to think about not giving to the charities that continue to offer that help.

 

Another community activist with ties to several organizations who give help answered our question ‘What do you think?’ in this way: “People that don’t take advantage of all that there is to get may lose it because of the people who do take complete advantage of it.” She went on to say, “We need to be careful not to hurt the people and organizations that do this difficult work, but changes need to be made.”

After talking with many folks about their involvement it seemed that everyone is concerned about their neighbors, but they agreed that it is time to revamp La Pine Giving and make changes that will work for the community. If the various agencies got together to create a single registration site and furthermore, they concentrated on doing what they each do best, maybe there would be more of a handle on what has been developing into a serious problem for all of the giving agencies in La Pine.

Do we want to give a hand up or a hand out? It is time to decide what direction we want to take.


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Teri’s Thoughts

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have something to write about and think about. Watch this section for my Thought Spot Blog to give you my personal feelings about whatever takes my interest!


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Dying and Trying

 

I noticed that I did not see Mom one Saturday morning at 8:30 AM like I usually did looking from my house to hers. On Saturday I would go inside at noon after doing my weekly housework and get lunch and cleaning underway, but there was no sign of her. That was unusual. So I got dressed and went inside and the house was silent. I opened Mom’s bedroom door and found her unconscious. After reviving her, calling 911 and my sister, we all began a journey that would last for years.

The question to learn from? When reality crosses the boundaries of common sense you have to ask the question of how long should a person keep trying when dying?

During the past four years, my family has been wrapped up- or should I say enveloped- in a flurry of quality of life issues surrounding our mother, who at age 82, was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually took her life. At 86 she was still fighting the oncoming inevitable death with every fiber of her being. She lost her battle in December.

In the beginning, there was the three month plus hospital and nursing home stay around her initial surgeries and treatments for the January trip to the hospital to determine what was wrong. (Pneumonia, A-Fib and a mass in her colon) She was prodded, poked, manipulated, put on the operating table two different times, assigned to a nursing home, readmitted into the hospital because she had been released too soon for the first nursing home visit due to length of stay and Medicare paperwork. Then, after a couple more surgical procedures and “iffy” prognoses, she returned to rehabilitate at the same nursing home until she was returned to her own home in late spring.

By then, there was a great need for home health care and many personal changes about how to handle things in her home, the slack of which was taken up by us, her two daughters. I lived on sight behind the house in a small trailer, my sister had a home within twenty miles, so could be called when needed.

No longer able to walk on her own without the assistance of a walker, and no longer able do any strenuous housework, meal prep or personal hygiene without help, our mother decided that it was our turn to help her. This was, in many terms, a deadly prediction of what was to eventually come; the desire to die at home. My sister and I had differing perceptions of what this would mean to us, too.

Within a few months of rehabilitation at home, while she regained some of her strength, our mother started on the first of her many courses of chemo-therapy and experimental therapy for her cancer. Cancer counts would improve, she would stop, the counts would increase and she would start chemo again and so on. Each visit to the doctor or for chemo meant that one of us would drive her and stay for hours while she received her treatment. When it was time for her to consider her blood clotting issues, it meant more driving to a clinic to handle that, too. The treatments for cancer lasted another two and a half years. The extended family continued to visit, do what made our mother happy and generously adjust our own lives to accommodate the needs of our failing parent.

It was her home and it was to her specifications and her wishes that the situation progressed.

At the point of bringing in Hospice to help Mom with her final journey, the family saw that a commitment to have someone die at home was different for a parent than for a spouse with a husband or wife on site to help. It seems natural for a spouse to understand and adjust to the additional work of dying. For a family member from outside the home- when they have a home, a job, other responsibilities and a life to live, the dying becomes the focus of everyone’s life.

Hospice helps prepare the dying patient to die by discussing the idea of death, the steps of death and they handle some of the relief from pain that most hospice patients endure with their terminal diseases. They will check on the attitude of the patient, offer to counsel the patient and family members who don’t quite get it and then they will provide some additional services like a visit from the nurse, a bath aide, various pieces of equipment needed to make the patient more comfortable, (hospital bed, wheel chair, walker, oxygen, medications and supplies for hygiene) and they check on what needs the patient has as they take their final journey.

The Hospice experience….It is really important to know all of the things that you will need to know when you decide to have a family member avail themselves of this extraordinary end of life experience!

The patient’s needs and desires are the focus of the Hospice process. Families usually want to please the dying patient and go to extreme lengths to give a patient what they want. Hospice, on the other hand, uses a more common sense approach to giving a patient what they need. Want? Need? There is not a fine line between these two concepts. Pain management is a priority. As far as other, more superficial aspects of letting go of life and living, the social worker who is assigned to the patient should help with the transition of the physical to the ethereal. The people around the patient who are not professionals- yes I am speaking to family members and friends of the dying patient- need some training as to what to do and how to help their loved one.

As the body changes, the physical things that need to be taken care of are mostly about sustenance: providing food, timely medication, help with cleanliness, (clothes and clean linens, too), mobility issues and things outside the home like shopping and bill paying, etc. that are no longer possibilities for the patient.

As the patient gets closer to dying, the body changes more and there is a decreasing ability to handle toilet functions, bathing, eating and even drinking. Asking questions of the Hospice professionals about how to help with these things when the Hospice team is not in the house (hospice professionals are not in the home most of the time, so it is left to the family to pick up more and more of the time required to offer the patient help for the most basic things that need to be done) will be crucial for helping the patient.

When your parent took care of you when you were a baby, it was part of the natural order of things. It is not very natural for a child or adult child to handle things like bed pan use, diaper changing, washing and powdering a big bottom for your own parent. When you are dealing with a parent who is dying at home, you will need to handle these very things- or pay someone to come in and do them for you.

The other aspect of this is to realize that when you are old and dying, the last thing you want to do is relinquish control of your personal possessions, your ability to manage money or the fact that you are no longer able to handle a trip to the bathroom without help will often be overwhelming to the patient. When you are the son or daughter of a person who is giving up control, you will be on a roller coaster ride of emotions. There is a feeling of real serious loss in the mind of the patient that makes dying pale in comparison to the kinds of antics that will take place while the dying patient is trying to hang on to life’s vestiges of personal control! Be ready for it. It will be as hard as the dying is!

Another important part of going through the process of helping a dying loved one will be to find a support system for yourself and the patient. The Hospice team will help the patient. They will listen when you have things to say about the care of the patient, but they are not there for you. You will need to find people to talk to and ways to communicate through the process of loss, too. Friends and other family members who are invested in helping the patient and those who can be there for you as a caregiver, as well as a friend will be the way you will survive the experience.

It was a very natural thing in the past for people to die at home. It has only been the last couple of generations who have turned to hospitals or nursing homes for this final experience. Often at the end of life, old grandpa or grandma would take to their bed and with the help of family members; they would live out their last days in their bedrooms down the hall. This idea has changed, too. And it is a consideration. Setting up the patient in the middle of the living room or family room is not normal. Imagine the kinds of hygiene hijinks you will have to negotiate. Think about the people who still live there or will visit the dying patient. Make the patient’s room the center of attention and prepare to move them around for a view of the garden or a change of place, but be aware of the problems that exist when Dad or Mom sits on the pot in the living room! Just saying, it is a consideration to keep in mind as you make the journey.

Final thoughts? Yes, there are lots of things to think about. A diagnosis of terminal illness does not come with an end date. It can be fast. It can take a long time. Dying at home is not easy. Dying anywhere is not easy. Caretakers need to have support, too. The time you spend with your dying loved one can be a way to learn about life. It can also be full of heart-warming moments and heartache. Get lots of information by asking local Hospice providers, doctors, nurses and others who have experienced a time when their loved one was dying at home. Be sure that you are ready to ease the burden of your dying loved one without killing yourself. Good luck.


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Heros that Help when you Need it…

Local Heroes: Neighbors who come when you need them.

 

By: T. Myers

 

I am writing about this tragic and true event that occurred 1-14-10 on Meadow Lane in La Pine. This is about Sunny, short for registered name of Sunny Side Up, and the neighbors that came to his rescue.

 

When the Theresa Blanco’s south side neighbor, Ervin Oliver, heard the strange thumping sounds and realized that the horse was in trouble, he and his wife rushed over to see what had happened. Somehow the poor creature had rolled into the side of the building and was unable to get up. No one knew how long the horse had been caught up in the folly of an ill-timed roll in the mud, but it was now a serious situation made worse by the fact that the horse’s owner was away at work. The fast thinking neighbor tried to get the panicked horse to stand, but was unable to negotiate with the 1400 pounds of stressed out flesh. Finally, grabbing a garden hose, the neighbor wrapped it around the horse’s back legs so he could pull the animal away from the building far enough for it to get some purchase and get up. Ervin and his wife, Linda, successfully moved the horse.

 

The great brown gelding, Sunny, stood up and went down four or five times moving a little closer to his horse shed and the side yard on the opposite side of the house. Each time the horse went up on his feet and down, he seemed to be losing more strength. Sunny tried again and again. The Olivers were trying to help the horse and at the same time call Theresa on their cell phones. All to no avail.

 

Soon enough, I, the neighbor on Blanco’s north side saw unusual people and activity and came out to find the Sunny heaving and the Olivers struggling, each in their own way, to help right the downed animal. I went in and successfully reached the Theresa at work and told her to come home. And then I went to assist the poor animal, too.

 

By the time that I arrived eight minutes later, the neighbor down the street, Bill Jones, had come to help, too. Bill was next to the horse rubbing the horse’s neck and talking gently to the injured animal. Linda and I got horse blankets and coverings and tried to warm up the horse while Erv Oliver and Bill Jones continued to rub down the animal, all the while speaking to help soothe the poor horse with soft and encouraging words.  Everyone soon started to rub the horse, checking on the colic that made the horse’s belly swollen and painful. Every few minutes all of the neighbors would try to get the horse to his feet. By now it was clear that the horse was suffering terribly from his falls and the resulting colic. We all waited for thirty minutes and decided that they had to get the horse up. Pushing gently, the horse was coerced enough to try and suddenly the horse rolled and came to his feet once again. Linda, Erv and I tried to clear the blankets from under the horse’s feet and they leaned into the animal’s sides to help the horse stay up while Bill continued his soft words of hope. With no bridle to pull and encourage the horse forward, the horse stayed up for a few minutes and then went down again, this time his agonized breathing and guttural sounds added to the helplessness of all of the neighbors who cared about this gentle animal.

 

Each of us talked out loud about what we were feeling; about what the horse needed. All of us were saddened by our inability to relieve the animal’s agonizing pain. Each of us was hoping that the owner would appear soon and have the magic touch to make the horse get better.

 

The owner’s car finally pulled up to the gate and when the horse heard his mistress coming down the drive, he summoned up his strength and stood up, moving a few steps at time to get closer to where he usually greeted her.

 

When people say that an animal does not have strong feelings of love and trust for the humans they belong to, they need to see how this very afflicted animal was able to respond to the sound of his “Mother’s” car and voice.

 

Then the neighbors helped to get the horse moving. Theresa found Sunny’s bridle. Bill Jones and Ervin Oliver, who found the horse earlier, started walking the horse. Linda and I scurried to try to help the owner with what we could do to help. Linda Oliver went to get cooking oil so there would be enough to help the horse lubricate. By the time the Linda came back, Theresa, the owner, was having a hard time making connections to a big animal vet that could help her. It was obvious that Theresa was also dealing with her feelings of how she was personally reacting to the extreme seriousness of her Sunny’s condition. Linda went inside and got the owner a cup of tea and brought Bill Jones a cup of cocoa to drink while he walked back and forth with the gelding. It was getting colder and it was almost dark.

 

Soon there was another flurry of activity around getting the horse to take an oral syringe of pain and stress reliever, and lots more syringes of oil while Bill Jones kept the horse moving. After an hour or more with the horse continually moving Theresa connected to an equine vet. The doctor told the owner by phone that since the horse had moved his bowels to try some grass hay. Mr. Oliver also went and got water while Theresa gathered up a box of grass hay to get the horse to eat and start some belly movement. The horse’s droppings showed no dangerous elements. But, Sunny did not want water or hay.

 

Everyone started to relax a bit because it looked like the horse was doing better. Two horse trainers from Ghost Rock Ranch and horse stables came with an injection of pain killer for the horse, but when they checked the belly sounds and saw that the horse was moving and seemed to be stabilizing, they returned to their work.  There was another sigh of relief. Now it was getting very dark, too. The Olivers, who originally found the distressed horse that afternoon, had to leave. They told Theresa that they would be gone for an hour. Both offered to come back if she needed help when they got back. The horse continued to walk with Mr. Jones. Theresa continued on the phone checking to see what else she could do without the services of a large animal vet available in our area.

 

I saw that the horse was doing better, and hopeful, I left to go home and get dinner. About fifteen minutes later, I brought over some hot snacks and found that the horse seemed to better still. I returned home and called the owner to say I needed an hour and would be available right away if Theresa needed me. A little while after, Bill Jones left, too. Each one of them had done something good for Theresa and Sunny and, even though it had been terrible to see the poor horse go through what happened, they had tried to band together as a force to show their respect to their good neighbor and show their love of animals to her horse. It felt like a small victory and work well done.

 

When I looked over in the darkness at the house, I saw the cars come in and then leave in late evening, I felt sure that Theresa was splitting shifts with other friends. When I woke up in the middle of the night to let my dog out, the neighbor’s house was strangely dark. A hopeful feeling of “all must be well after all” came into my head, and I finally went back to sleep at about two am.

 

Some stories of heroism don’t work out like we dream they should. No one could have tried harder than that group of loving neighbors to save their friend and neighbor from the loss of her gentle gelding, but try as we did, the poor creature did not survive.

 

The horse had stress colic. He had fallen, been stuck and was so upset and scared by the time he was discovered that his internal systems had begun to shut down.  By the time everyone was back home thinking that the neighbor’s horse had a fighting chance to make it, the real fact was that the horse got sicker and Jones and the Olivers returned to help Theresa. When the vet finally arrived, there was nothing more to do. The horse had to be put down. By midnight, Sunny’s pain was finally relieved. Early in the morning, local businessman, Mike Shields, came over with a large piece of equipment and helped Theresa bury her much loved horse in the back pasture.

 

The memory of the dark house will forever be a reminder to me of what it is like to lose a battle against time and odds. All of us neighbors join together to express our sympathy to our friend, Theresa, for the loss of her special horse.

 

When a horse founders, it is always difficult to properly treat the belly swelling horse colic that occurs. It is extremely dangerous to the horse and can be lethal if not treated correctly or fast enough. The trouble is that there are many symptoms for colic and other than removing food and water, hosing down the animal around the belly to cool it and getting the horse moving, without a vet coming to help immediately, there are many things that can go wrong. Around here it is most common in the springtime because of new grass and other things that sprout up. (Go to HubPages.com for additional info on horse colic.)

 

I hope you will remember Sunny the horse and what he had to endure. Our community needs a big animal vet that is available to help us right away. It can make a difference to the horse’s chance of recovery.  Please call our local veterinary care givers and let them know that you think it is important, too.


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A Walk on the Beach- a poem for Becky

This is my eulogy for my college professor at University of Portland -Becky Houck. She was head of the BIOLOGY department and loved the ocean where she would take field trips and show us all why she concentrated her efforts on the sea:

 

 

A Walk on the Beach

Silhouetted against the sky, arms wide,

She spoke, “The Ocean brings us life. A wave,

A breeze, tides surging up in renewal…

And then retreating to the center of

The deepest darkest places on the planet…”

We listened to the things we heard and watched

Her bend to touch a shell the receding water

Left behind as a ‘treasure dear’ for us to

Find, in this perfect time, as we waded,

Walking along her favorite beach.

 

The sun rose high above the student group.

Their faces golden in the light of late

Afternoon. Houck’s hair, all tousled, wild and

Wispy, was angelic in appearance:

Enveloping her haloed head

With something we all knew to be pure love.

 

It came to me then. This woman was magic.

I thought back- the lecture hall on campus?

In class, her excitement lifted us

To a place where science began to be

More than her sweet passion! Catching

Our breath as we wrote notes before the bell?

No one wanting class with Houck to end.

 

Back on the beach as I stood, enthralled,

That instant when she pointed to a pool,

Taught more to me than words or books could prove

About one woman’s desire to reach our souls.

 

“A nudibranch,” she explained- a flash of

Neon colors glistening in the palm

Of her gentle hand. Then she slipped it back

Into the quiet pool around our feet.

We walked on further down the beach.

“Anemones right here”…. “ Bubbles from a

Clam who is trying to stay safe from harm.”

The list of varied specimens grew

Until attention turned to sea birds

And, finally, the sky and sunset.

 

The final moment on the beach seemed bittersweet.

We looked hard at the colors of the sunset.

Our faces reflected yellow-golds and corals.

Our eyes, once violet, green, blue and changed

As the softened sunlight glowed bright and dimmed.

We stayed as long as we could, watching the

Brilliant colors change to silver as

The sea blended into the disappearing sky.

 

The tide was in. Another cycle complete.

 

Our short time of hands-on experience

With the darkness descending around us

Was coming to a close. We left the beach-

Climbing into waiting cars, we drove off

To get a bite and get some needed sleep.

No one spoke. Our heads full of Ocean tales:

Of creatures come to life in hands and sight

But, mostly was our change of heart and sheer

Delight in what we saw and how we learned.

 

I looked over to where Houck was driving.

She smiled her smug little monkey-faced smile.

Eyes on the road, she beamed. She knew she had

Us ‘hooked’. No one who saw what she shared

That day could leave her class unchanged.

 

Tide going out?- a look at haloed

Excellence and love? To spend a single day

Touching nature until the tide came in

Under a glorious sky?

And given all she had to teach,

There would be nothing better than

This walk-

This time-

Together

On a beach.


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Getting Ready for the Probe…Colonoscopy Time!

Boomers Face the Big Test: Colonoscopy a go go!

By T. Myers

It was very disconcerting to have my physician refer me for a colonoscopy. It made perfect sense, but I was honestly not ready for my first anal probe- no matter what the South Park kids joked about! Knowing that my own mom had colon cancer didn’t make it any easier. The entire thing was scary and weird and I just did not want to go through with it.

What does a good reporter do when facing the unknown? I researched, talked to friends and tried to put myself in a more enlightened position to prepare myself for the actual procedure. Armed with my internet research, some horror stories from people who had already completed the test and my camera and notebook, I took on the experience as a way to teach others who were yet to succumb to the inevitable procedure and set out to make my colonoscopy a ‘pioneering adventure.’

I picked up a gallon jug full of special colonoscopy salts a few days before my test. Following the directions on the bottle and a few encouraging words from the local pharmacist, I mixed the appropriate amount of water into the big jug and prepared to drink several ounces of the lemony, salty liquid every ten minutes through most of the evening before my test. By the time I finished half the bottle, I was upchucking about half of what I was supposed to be drinking. (I am not used to having that much liquid- 3.5 liters- at one time.) I waited an hour and resumed the ritual until it was all gone. Then I went to sleep, waking up in time to go to work in the morning hours. A friend drove me into the clinic where I checked in at the counter an hour before the procedure. I told my friend to go shopping and to pick me up in a couple of hours. In the meantime, the admission ladies checked me in, making it official.

I was called into the pre-surgery area by a nice nurse and taken back to a curtained room. By this time I was pretty wound up from the idea of something scary and the fact that I was focused on taking chronicling the event. I was asked to change into a hospital gown and then a nurse, who told me she would be with me through the process, came and got my IV in. I was hooked up to a bag of fluids that equalized my electrolytes. They also brought me a hot blanket to wrap me up with warmth. I waited- alone and thinking for half an hour or more and I listened to the other nervous first timers around the holding area, as they visited with their nurses. When it was time for me to go into the surgery, I was wheeled in to a cool room and my surgeon, Dr. Buzzas and his tech assistant told me what they were going to do and my nurse administered the Propofol. (Yes, I was MILKED). I know that during the procedure, they insert a hose and blow air into the colon and then they work through the colon from bottom to top. If they find a polyp, the doctor removes it and cauterizes the site until everything has been examined. The polyps are sent to a lab for testing for cancer and then they become part of the report you get in your follow-up visit. I remember nothing, but, I woke up very quickly and was completely ready to go get lunch! My friend waited while I dressed. Two weeks later I got a good report and I was asked to come back in five years for the next one. Yippee!

Dr. G. Rodney Buzzas is a Bend surgeon who specializes in the colonoscopy and general surgical procedures. Buzzas works in Bend out- patient clinics and St Charles Hospital. Thanks to the people who helped me survive at Bend Surgery Center: Kandis Shockey and Paula Prince at check-in and admissions, Lori Hasson for taking me into the holding room to prepare for the procedure, Dr. Buzzas and his assistant, Mark McCready, the operating room Endoscopy Tech and the anonymous nurse who stayed on the Propofol drip while I was under!

 


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2013 Cerf Conference REPORT 2013 January

2013 Myers Report on the CERF Conference Brings New Economic Truths: Central Oregon is in for a better Economic Forecast this Year!

By T. Myers

One time a year we all have an opportunity to learn about the economic forecast from the top experts in America. This year’s theme: The Bottom Line featured Dr. Bill Watkins from the CLU Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, Dr. Knute Buehler, local surgeon and former candidate for Secretary of State in Oregon this past November, Katherine Klingensmith, Executive Director Economic and Political Strategist at UBS FS Wealth Management Research and keynote speaker, Dr. Craig Barrett, retired CEO and Chairman of the Board at Intel. The sponsor of the event for the past five years has been Rivera Wealth Management owner, Keith Rivera who serves as chairman for CERF. Sponsors for the event come from the banking, Insurance and Realtors in the area.

This year- after four dismal years of the truth the way the experts have seen it, was a positive takeaway for attendees. We will see a small growth for the nation economy and a better forecast for Central Oregon.

Dr. Knute Buehler, Bend Physician and former Candidate for Secretary of State, opened the conference with his talk called ‘Lessons from the Campaign’.

“People are deeply concerned about Oregon,” Beuhler started. “We have unmet potential and Oregon politics is broken! I believe in public service and wanted to give back, but as Lincoln once stated ‘We can’t escape the problems of tomorrow by avoiding it today!’ We have problems to solve.”

With that, Beuhler discussed our systemic entitlement programs like welfare, Medicare and Social Security. He addressed the fact that citizen involvement in elections is declining and a big factor now in elections is that 85% of our elections are not even contested and an average of only 39% voted in 2012 where 73% voted back in 1968.

Buehler said that neither party is contributing to the solutions to our many serious problems. “No one wants to be the bad guy!” He suggested that we reform the way we hold elections and the timelines for running the campaigns need to be shorter (resulting in a lower cost for campaigns, too). Redistricting has become very political with borders re-drawn so that candidates will win without difficulties. He also pointed out the attack ads that ran during the last two weeks of the general election. There was no way to contest them or time to do it before the ballots were cast.

Beuhler brought up our PERS budget, the declining American income and the increased need for services from education and law enforcement. Public awareness is the key to change. “Right now we have a 50% increase in the proposed state budget.” Then he asked, “What are we prepared to do?”

Beuhler finished by adding that we all need to be involved at all levels of State Government, focus on the demand side of energy businesses and offer tax credits to Oregonians who buy green.

The second speaker was long time Central Oregon Supporter, Dr. Bill Watkins, who is a real fan of Bend, Oregon and he loves La Pine, too (He told me personally!) Watkins looks at the National picture and the International impact and then he goes over the real story for the attendees.

“The recovery is weak” Watkins began. “We are fragile. Defense spending is down. Jobs are not increasing the way they should. We also need to make an adjustment on the inventory we have in retail and wholesale operations.”

Why doesn’t it feel like a recovery? “We have fewer jobs than when we went into the recession. Our incomes are down. Wealth is down across the board so people are actually poorer than before 2007. Retiring baby boomers are affecting the labor force in a big way.”

Then there is the deficit: “Entitlement payments are eating the budget and strangling what all of government does,” Watkins startled us. “We have a city like San Bernardino California going bankrupt and on the US list as number 2 in the rate of poverty to Detroit’s number 1. Everything has changed!”

Watkins went on to address why small business are not getting involved in the recovery. Big business gets the bailouts and small businesses get tax increases and no breaks. Small business also invests their assets into real estate and that has also hurt them badly.

Another conundrum is that young people are borrowing money to finance their education and for leisure. He has us note that as the population declines the young people will have less to consume than the parents did and that will impact the economy for years.

The US Forecast for 2013 is for less than the 3% average. Unemployment is dropping, but that also means that the labor force is getting smaller. How do we deal with this information? We increase legal immigration. As the boomers retire these immigrants will go to work and pay for the retirement due to the boomers. We need 5 million more per year to grow. Also- immigrants start businesses more than we do and they are happy to take the risks of being a new business.

  • The government needs to stop crowding out investment and raise the return flow of dollars coming back into the US in foreign trade.
  • We also need to get rid of bad regulations like the 900 page report called Dodd Frank that regulates banks, lending and investing.
  • By developing domestic energy we will have more money staying in America.
  • When it comes to taxes, how do we finance fiscal spending? The fiscal cliff was really insignificant, but the changes that we need to make to pay for what we do is crucial!
  • What can go wrong with International economy? The Euro zone is too big and they are covering for countries that should not be part of it (Greece?) It will eventually fall apart according to forecasters.
  • Oregon has an amazing Bi- Polar economy. We are second to North Dakota, but unlike N. Dak., we have no jobs!
  • Our Gross National Product is up
  • Our Jobs are down
  • Unemployment is down – People are quitting the job hunts
  • Make all of Oregon an Enterprise Zone to attract big investing companies who hire lots of people.
  • When it comes to educating our workforce, we need to have conversations between Educators and Businesses so schools prepare the labor force to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. The start the education of our children in k-12. Our Universities do not respond to market forces and they need to.
  • In Central Oregon we are looking for jobs, but traditional Economic Development activities around retention, creating businesses and attracting businesses needs to be revamped. (He mentioned that about 5% of adults telecommute. We need to create a different market for tourists and we need direct plane flights to the major centers and airports- especially LA.
  • When looking for businesses think: Anything that is done on a computer can be done anywhere! A CITY Wide Hot internet Zone would be a real attractor
  • Look at migrating retirees. They are younger, healthier and they have money to spend.
  • Home ownership rate of 65% is high. Not everyone should own a home, so have rentals.
  • Most markets are dependent on the local economy, but, some are not. They are dependent on the accumulated wealth of their residents who are still investing because the upper class workers are not affected by the past five year recession.

The next speaker was introduced as an International economist. Katie Klingensmith works out of the Bay Area, but she travels the world and consults with the top forecasters across the globe. Once she stepped on the stage we all took off to a new place!

She asked the tough questions and then she began to give the answers:

  1. Is US leadership a thing of the past? In 2000 we were #1. By 2012 we have dropped to #7
  2. Are we trusted? Trust in politicians is very low and we are ranked at 54th in the world.
  3. Why? We have an uncertain fiscal outlook and a lack of macroeconomic stability.
  4. Loss of manufacturing is a problem. In 1940 we had 38 million manufacturing jobs. In 2013 we are looking at 8 Million. The loss accelerated during the recession and manufacturing and construction is considered to be flat.
  5. Manufacturing jobs have changed considerably: It used to be common that a person would not need much education to do a manufacturing job. Now, we require higher education and degrees and that means that we need to pay higher salaries. (No longer does a car tech make 60K per year for putting a bolt- now he might have to program a line and that requires high level math and tech skills) Education also lies at the head of the UEC crisis. Higher education is related to people keeping their jobs for a longer period of time and the more education the less likely that they will lose their jobs.
  6. Gains in manufacturing have stagnated
  7. There is a huge trade imbalance with China: $300 billion in 2010 ($290 billion in 2011) and with China manipulating their exchange rate and subsidizing goods to keep costs down to customers, they control the competition and it keeps the trade imbalance higher.
  8. The US is experiencing a small manufacturing renaissance and we have seen the cost of Chines labor climb, so after 15 years where our costs to manufacture in china were flat, costs are escalating and we have an opportunity to bring it back home if the incentives are there.
  9. There is now a major opportunity for North American energy independence and we can lower the trade deficits with the OPEC nations by using our own energy resources.
  10. US companies continue to dominate the EQUITY companies and have 33% of global market capitalization. Whether the US will remain competitive will depend on research and development.
  11. The US is not alone in facing the overleveraged loans and assets. The public sector is at 111% and Japan is at 230% of value.

Klingensmith explained that the global issue at hand is one of cutting services or increasing taxes to pay for them and right now the richest countries have the highest percentage of debt. She also stated that the cost of servicing our debt will start going way up and we are barely meeting our ability to handle the interest on loans that we owe right now. Our national debt is going up exponentially. Americans are at an all-time high disapproval rate for Congress (14% approve and the rest do not). In 10 years we will have a 200% increase in the costs to pay our debt.

She addressed Medicare and interest payments as our highest priority: The fiscal problems are a mixed Bag. Some of the things are silly and the others are so serious they could stop us. On January 2nd we avoided the fiscal cliff with passage of taxpayer relief. On Feb. 15th we need to address the debt ceiling. (She describes it as a silly thing that is used by the minority party as a weapon and it has been raised 74 times since 1960).) On 3/2 is sequester where they have automatic straight across the board cuts in the budget expenses. And, on 3/27 Federal gov’t funding runs out and it affects 1/3 of the government agencies deemed non-essential so it will put 800K people out of work. With a drained economy where do we go? The debate won’t go away because we have an inability to function in our government.

Klingensmith says that the US economy will grow 2.3%: Housing is up. Jobs are starting to improve and if the two parties can agree to raise taxes to pay for services or cut services to save money, we will improve in government, too.

The final speaker at the conference was Dr. Craig Barrett, former CEO at Intel. He has visited 125 countries for business and ran 25 Intel sites in America and 75 outside of the US as a CEO.

Barrett started with a comment about how much the world economy has changed since the cold war. In the 20 years after China and India joined the world economy, Latin America and other emergent nations have given us all a different perspective of what it takes to compete in the world market- and the key is realize that even in La Pine- we are part of a world market.

Barrett’s comments about how we need to change in order to be able to function in the new economy struck home. We can no longer compare ourselves to the business down the street or in the next town; we need to look far beyond our local borders. For example he spoke to the troubles at the Post Office competing with the fast moving overnight services of their closest competitors, Kodak refusing to see the digital future of photos and the way cell phones have become the new PCs with I Phones and Samsung.

Big Point: YOU WIN MARKET SHARES WHEN THERE IS A TRANSITION and we are in the middle of the biggest technology transition in history. There will be winners and losers and you have to decide which you want to be.

There are 3 levels to stimulate growth of the economy for the long term:

  1. Education- Educating the workforce adds value to what it does and can achieve an elevated income for workers.
    1. Prior to 1990 the car industry used to command high dollars for jobs
    2. 21st century? Technological jobs will command the $.
    3. How do you get the ideas to make new ideas and products?
      1. You invest in research and Development to create new ideas
      2. Research Universities are the crown jewels in the world economy. They spin out most of the new products, jobs and service and the US Government is the primary funder behind R&D
      3. The Right environment to let smart people take these ideas to fruition.

The US education system used to have the best k-12 schools in the world and now we fall to the bottom of the list for science and math. Our universities are still at the top of the lists, but we educate foreign nationals in our schools and then we send them back home with no ability to keep them because of immigration laws. They go home and create there instead of here we need intelligent immigration to let them stay in the US and work here.

We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. We need incentives of a stable and lower tax rate, protection of Intellectual Property and the use of our substantial ‘good rule of law’ to bring businesses back from overseas. Without a tax break there will be no investment here, without a better Immigration policy there will continue to be a flow through of the most intelligent scholars to other nations.

Note: we still are not comparing ourselves to the WORLD. We are not one school district to the next one ion the next town. We are schools in the world and we are falling short.

He spoke about Intel not hiring people from Oregon. “We are not graduating the people with the right education to fit into Intel here- so we go elsewhere,” Barrett emphasized. “80% of Intel jobs are the result of competing with the best and we go where the talent is to find them.”

Barrett understands education falls short. There are 15 thousand districts here that need to consider:

  • Opening up education to competition- it is the only thing that will change education in America
  • Create liberal charter schools
  • Remove caps and restrictions
  • Open up to innovation
  • Open up to entrepreneurship
  • Pay teachers for performance

He ended with this thought: “Everywhere I go in the world I see people looking forward to the future. In the US we’re looking in our rearview mirrors.”

He shared that three fortune cookies he opened were thoughts that seemed to make the most sense to him

  • The world will always accept talent with open arms
  • You cannot win unless you choose to compete
  • A small deed done is better than a great deed planned.

With that the conference drew to a close. Four great and inspiring teachers shared the forecasting and commonsense advice that will see us through the rest of the year.

Until 2014, T. Myers signing off!


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