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Time for more Rumblings and Grumblings ....

To Prineville:
   Congratulations to the 27 members of the Crook County High Schools drill team. To see the intensity these young people put into their effort is amazing ... but to first score high enough in the regional meets to be invited to compete at the national level is something else. And then to take fourth place national honors is truly something to brag about.
   Consider this: the team traveled across the nation, having raised the funds to do so through donations, which shows that the community supports them - competed against teams from 491 schools and then, out of a possible score of 300 points, earned 270 points - losing out of first place by just 30 of those points!
   If you've had the opportunity to watch a performance, you understand when their drill is "outstanding." The quality of leadership the local NJROTC is fortunate to have can be accredited with some of the success, but it's the kids themselves who actually deserve the applause.
   Crook County is proud of its young people, and for the most part, rightfully so. These 27 members of the local NJROTC group can stand tall for their splendiferous achievement.
   To US Senator Gordon Smith
   and the Forest Service:
   Now, let us take a look at another topic of recent interest: the Forest Service's proposal to move the headquarters of the Ochoco National Forest out of Prineville.
   Last week the Forest Supervisor of the Deschutes National Forest, Leslie Weldon, spoke to the weekly Kiwanis lunch crowd. She did a remarkable job and while not telling the listeners what they wanted to hear, she did so with clarity and understanding. Whether you agree with the direction and the rational for that direction the agency is taking, one had to admit the lady presented herself well.
   However, in a letter outlining his reaction to the economic problem that Prineville is facing with the loss of 50 or so top level employees, US Sen. Gordon Smith attempted to, in our view, waffle.
   The Forest Service must use our tax dollars wisely, he wrote in the letter to County Judge Cooper. If, however, he believes that if the Forest Service can prove that the relocation of headquarters personnel will allow for better service, then they should do so.
   All right. Forget the fact that there is a striking difference in the functions of the two forests. The Deschutes National Forest has a much more recreational focus, while the Ochoco has, in years past, provided timber first and recreational opportunities second or maybe third. No ski resorts, multitude of lakes and miles of hiking trails in the Ochocos. Management of the two calls for two different methods of thinking.
   Some might question how much cost cutting is involved when the agency moves offices out of one building and into another facility which has yet to be built on land that has yet to be bought. We are assured that the building that housed the Ochoco National Forest supervisor)s staff would not be closed and would remain fully utilized. Where are those extra people coming from? Are they going to step in where needed and fill vacancies on the school board or the city or county planning commission? Members of the headquarters staff did.
   Face it, the community is going to lose out once again to the Bend/Redmond side of the world. A staff member from Sen. Smith's office made it clear earlier, the communities of Bend, Redmond and Prineville comprise a region and the relocation of a facility from one community is not something the Senator wants to get in the middle of.
   Our other members of the Congressional delegation took a slightly different viewpoint ... they demanded a fair approach to determining where to put the new headquarters facility and asked for a full accounting of the agency's actions in this matter.
   Who is up for election next time?