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Letters 9/14-9/21 

Photo by Kacie Bernhart. Follow her on Instagram @kaciebernhardt.

Photo by Kacie Bernhart. Follow her on Instagram @kaciebernhardt.

In response to "Scuba Dooba Do," (8/31):

I feel compelled to comment on the Scuba Dooba Do! article in the Sept. 1 issue of The Source Weekly. Sarah Clark, a Central Oregon Diving member, was quoted several times. One quote is troubling to me: "So when we certify people here, they have more tools and training because they've dived at altitude, so they can dive anywhere." This may instill a false sense of confidence in these divers. While freshwater diving at high altitude may present different challenges, certifying divers in these conditions doesn't necessarily transfer skills to open water ocean diving. I am a PADI certified Master Scuba Diver, with hundreds of dives logged over the past 30+ years in places across the globe, including those mentioned in the article (Belize, Palau, and Cozumel (near Cancun). My high altitude dives include Crater Lake and Lake Paulina. Some of the open ocean conditions I've encountered in my experience include practically zero visibility, strong currents, and the potential of hazardous marine life, among others. Generally, ocean conditions present a greater potential for injury, and the need to be cautious around marine life. I would say that if you've been diving in Tillamook Bay in December, you can dive practically anywhere.

—Alice Berntson Salem, Oregon

Proposed 120-ft Cell Tower

A 120-ft cell tower has been proposed off East Hwy 20, around 8 minutes from town that is owned by Central Oregon Irrigation District. Only residents 1,200 ft from the site were notified. The proposed place would be in the center of Rural Residential (homes with, mainly 5-10 acres.) Juniper trees in the area stand mostly at 20-30 feet, a few up to 40 feet.

Written testimony can be entered into the record up to Sept. 12. File #247-16-000081-CU.

According to the Telecommunications Act 1996, just health reasoning for not having the tower would not be considered relevant, since it passes FCC regulations, but do you think it would affect property values for any reason? Would you purchase a home by this type of tower? Would this affect the character and aesthetics of the area? Livability?

A possible solution could be more small cell towers in the general area and in areas that are having not very good cell service?

According to the Telcom Act it is the responsibility of the wireless provider to prove that there are not other, less intrusive solutions. Instead of a massive tower that would mar the area, which is just minutes from the Bad Lands.

This proposed tower the cell company would sublet to other cell providers, (a big benefit for the wireless provider), which is part of the reasoning for extreme size and an easy way for the provider to possibly improve cell coverage in some areas. Multiple small towers would be more precise. Also, collocation (they could connect to another cell tower already in place) then add other small towers. I hope some people won't just think, "As long as it doesn't happen by me." We all need to work together as an entire community to keep Bend beautiful and livable for us all.

— Julia Ohlson

In Response to "Fuel for the Fires, Inside and Out," (8/31):

Good story. There's actually a lot going on with biomass here in the region. It's hard to argue with utilizing material from nearby forest restoration projects that will otherwise be burned in piles with NO capture of energy and far worse particulate emissions.

—Scott Aycock via

In Response to "Fuel for the Fires, Inside and Out," (8/31):

Several commenters here and Jeffrey Morris quote studies that are fatally flawed and do not consider all the facts. First, CO2 is not all the same. Releasing CO2 from fossil fuel that was sequestered half a billion years ago does not have the same effect on the environment as CO2 released from bio-mass fuel that removed CO2 from the atmosphere recently. Fossil fuel use is responsible for the increase to 400 ppm in atmospheric CO2 seen since the industrial revolution.

Second, these studies do not consider the CO2 release and other harmful pollution from bio-mass that could have been used as a fuel but was not. Forests and agriculture by-products produce vast amounts of bio-mass that cause extreme air pollution during wildfires, field burning, slash pile burning, prescribed burns and decomposition. These releases of CO2, particulates, CO and other pollutants are not optional and will occur whether this bio-mass is used as a fuel or not. Fossil fuels can be left in the ground, but bio-mass will accumulate and revert to CO2. Using bio-mass will not increase the release of CO2 and can in fact reduce it by reducing wildfires and slash burning. The DOE has reconsidered their position on bio-mass fuel for these reasons, but the oil industry's myths continue to be passed on as truth.

—Mark Davis via

Say No to More National Food Chains

An article in the Bend Bulletin on Sept. 3, stated "Bend may get Cracker Barrel, Chick-fil-A. Both restaurants could be built on U.S. Highway 97 near Robal Road."

This city already has its share of fast-food chains. They dot the landscape throughout town, mostly on Third Street but pretty much all over town. Do we really need these two additional chains? And southern-based ones at that? Maybe you like southern food but I think these two would further deteriorate the Bend and hip vibe that we're already in danger of losing. If you want authentic southern and Cajun food, eat at Zydeco or another local establishment. I know Zydeco is light-years apart in terms of cuisine and service but you'd enjoy the local selections and experience way more than food dreamt up by corporate bigwigs who dream of deep-fat fryers. I suggest we protest the possible addition of these restaurants not by picketing but by simply not patronizing them. Hopefully the lack of business would make them shut down.

Bend successfully protested against Wal-Mart opening another store near the same location proposed for Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-A. We can do the same for these two totally unneeded and some would say unhealthy restaurants. Do we really want visitors seeing these restaurants as some of the first things they see when they drive down on 97 to enter Bend? Cracker Barrel also often utilizes very tall billboards and signage as well. Do we really want that? Do we really want our kids and families eating at these places so they grow up thinking of these places as good and healthy normal food?

There are lots of excellent restaurants in Bend. They run from inexpensive food carts to swanky high-end establishments. Bend—eat and drink local!

—Steven Segal, not the actor

Steven, it would have been super cool if we could have gotten the actor Steven Seagal in here to pick up his $5 from Palate and show off some ninja moves...but since I agree that Cracker Barrel's old-timey corporate kitsch wouldn't add much to our community, we're giving you, the non-actor, the letter of the week. Come get your gift card and enjoy a fall flavored latte! - Nicole Vulcan, Editor

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