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Question: Is the smoke that hung over Prineville Tuesday part of a trade by the US Forest Service -- you send us the top personnel from the Ochoco National Forest and we'll send you smoke from a prescribed burn in the Deschutes National Forest? For some time Prineville has decried the loss of as many as 50 members of the Ochoco National Forest's headquarters staff. The decision was made, some say unilaterally, to transfer those people to an undisclosed location: somewhere in Deschutes County. Is the smoke, which originated from a number of prescribed burns in the Deschutes National Forest, part of the compensation we get for our economic loss?
   Question: Talking about the Ochoco Mountains, have you taken a drive up that way lately? Take almost any side road and you'll find that things are turning green and alive. Our city officials and the local irrigation district folks are warning of possible drought conditions just around the corner, and that is something to consider. However, right now the little creeks and freshets are burbling along and the grasses in the meadows are lush with new green colors. The many kinds of birds apparently don't know about dry times ahead, they are busy doing whatever birds do about now. It is well worth the short drive just to get out of the valley and into the quiet springtime beauty that we have just a few miles away.
   Question: On the subject of trees and growing things, have you noticed the new planter strip on the street side of the courthouse parking lot? County Court Judge Scott Cooper's idea. He said he noticed how plain and bland the view out the back windows of the courthouse was. When nearly all the reserved signs on the parking lot were removed, he decided to make other changes, too. County crews took out a couple feet of asphalt and a line of trees and shrubs were planted. It'll take a while, but given time the view out over the parking lot will be filled with trees ... and there can never be too many of those lining our city's streets.
   In today's paper you'll find a Vision 2010 Community Survey on page one of the X-TRA Advertiser section. We encourage you to take a few minutes and answer the 20 questions and return to the Chamber of Commerce, Central Oregonian or the county library. The survey will help the Vision 2010 set goals for the next 10 years.
   Speaking of surveys - the Our Town committee of the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce will have a survey in the Thursday, May 17 Central Oregonian. The Our Town committee is working on a plan to create a brand and marketing image for Prineville and to help get the redevelopment efforts started again. Both surveys are extremely important to those committees and will give you the opportunity to put your 2 cents worth into the process in just a few minutes.
   Congratulations to the Klamath Bucket Brigade on the fantastic showing. About 13,000 people stood shoulder to shoulder to symbolically carry water from the now off-limits reservoir and pour it into a dry irrigation canal. Some people traveled hundreds of miles to protest the disastrous federal water policy, which stands to potentially bankrupt thousands of Klamath farmers. We know the bucket brigade won't solve the water problem, but it's a good start in what may be a long and bitter fight between the rights of people and the desire to protect endangered species. Perhaps the farmers should apply for endangered species status.
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