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Time for more Rumblings and Grumblings ..

Once again we look at making money, spending money and pedestrians vs motorists...
It's Roundup time
   When is it proper to designate an event as an annual activity? Next Saturday, as part of the overall Crooked River Roundup week, there will be a first time happening - the Keep the Ball Rolling Ball Race.
   This part of the day's action has the potential of being fun and, if you're lucky, put money in your pocket.
   The basic idea is simple. By spending $5 and "adopting" a ball, or five of the things for $20, you can possibly win $500. All your newest member of the family has to do is be one of the first five to pass the finish line. Of course, to make the event exciting, the ball's trip down Hudspeth Hill will have a few barriers and obstacles to overcome.
   The race is to benefit the Boys and Girls Club, Prineville branch. That means the money people like you and I spend on the ball will, after paying the winners, stay here to support the club. We all know what a good a job the Boys and Girls Club does, and this seems a fun, exciting and possibly enriching way to help finance some of the club's activities.
   But back to the question: Is it proper to label the coming ball race, the first of its kind, the first annual Keep the Ball Rolling Ball Race? Or do we have to wait until next year to put the word "annual" in the title? Does it matter?
   Stop by the Bank of the Cascades, Community First Bank, US Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Prineville Bagel or the Boys and Girls Club to put up your money and "adopt" one or more of the racing balls. Then show up on Hudspeth Road a bit before the 3 p.m. race to be sure of a good spot to watch from and join the excitement. The 1st Annual Keep the Ball Rolling Ball Race ... all part of the 2001 Crooked River Roundup.
   And on the subject of BIG money ...
   It has been reported in the national press that the federal government plans to spend $20 million to bail out farmers in the Klamath basin.
   At the same time, in another report, it was announced that the federal government would spend $40 million to move the sunken Japanese fishing boat that was struck by a US submarine off the Hawaiian coast so the missing people can be returned to their native homeland.
   That is good thinking and may help the international image of the United States. However, it makes one wonder if, to our government, dead people are more valuable than living farmers?
   Once again, pedistrians vs motorists
   A few weeks ago in this space, the subject of motorists who drive as if all pavement is reserved for vehicles was discussed. (Rumblings and Grumblings, May 17) Here is, as the man said, the rest of the story.
   Pedestrian safety is an ongoing subject for the state Department of Transportation. Recently, armed with a proclamation from Gov. Kitzhaber, nearly two dozen police departments across the state began conducting special safety enforcement operations, cracking down on motor vehicle violations. The operations consisted of plain-clothed police officers posing as pedestrians trying to cross a busy intersection and, further down the street, a waiting uniformed officer.
   When drivers don't obey the state law regulating pedestrian safety, they are pulled over and either given a warning or a $175 ticket. Although Prineville was not one of the communities receiving federal funds for this operation, Police Chief Jim Soules did send an officer to the required training.
   ODOT's Jennifer Shiprack explained that the training was a requirement. Along with the training, 75 cities in Oregon also received books and videos to further train departments on how to conduct pedestrian safety operations. She added that Prineville did get that material but when it came time to apply for the grant funds, Chief Soules decided he didn't have sufficient manpower to conduct the sting operations.
   Of the 22 that did receive funding, two went on afterwards to develop their own funding sources in order to continue the practice. Ashland has a strong tourist industry and wanted to maintain a walkable downtown area and Hillsboro, where a couple of recent pedestrian/vehicle deaths forced the issue. Both communities have found, Shiprack said, their own grants outside those offered by ODOT.
   But, even with the latest federal dollars spent, ODOT expects that more will be made available in the fall or early next year for the same purpose. We hope that it doesn't take a death for the people of Prineville to see the value of such operations.
   Ideally, Chief Soules will find the manpower and apply the next time the opportunity is presented. Remember, at $175 per ticket issued, local traffic conditions are such it wouldn)t take long before the Chief could afford new patrol cars and maybe even a new headquarters building.