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Wahl to Wall: Library ‘yes’ group needs your help

Paul Wahl is editor of the Wallowa County Chieftain.

Published on November 28, 2017 2:28PM

Here’s hoping all of our readers had a tremendous Thanksgiving Day and survived the turkey haze that followed.

You couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather. It was 64 degrees at our house early on Thursday morning and the sunshine was blinding. Ran fell later in the day, but it was still one of the most temperate Thanksgivings in some time.

In addition to our feast at home, we attended the community Thanksgiving dinner at the Enterprise Senior Center. It was heartwarming to watch the volunteers in action and visit with many of the 100 or so who came out for turkey and all the trimmings.

It was yet another tremendous example of the quality of life here in Wallowa County. Everyone who attended went home full of good cheer and great food. There is a feature page on the event elsewhere in this edition.

IF YOU MISSED the holiday bazaar in Joseph this past weekend, you’re in luck. It will be repeated again this coming Friday and Saturday. The Joseph Community Center was packed to capacity with vendors and as we understand it, a waiting list of artisans who weren’t able to get in.

Time to expand to an additional venue, I would say.

Having spent some time both Friday and Saturday in Joseph, it appeared shopping crowds were large, and an informal “bag survey” showed many on the streets with parcels large and small.

Sometimes amidst all the strife and bickering coming out of Washington we miss good news. The economy this year falls into that category. Nationally. the six leading economic indicators –– everything from unemployment rates to the stock market –– are trending upward this year.

Even the weather has been favorable for shopping and other outdoor pursuits thus far this winter.

Although the face of retail is changing somewhat, hometown shopping opportunities in businesses operated by folks you know –– such as those in Joseph and Enterprise and across Wallowa County –– can’t be duplicated online. You’ve got three weeks to take in the fun.

COMING UP next Tuesday, Dec. 5, will be the next organizing meeting of the YES for Libraries Campaign Committee at Building Healthy Families in Enterprise. The evening begins with a light dinner, followed by breakout groups for each of the committees the group hopes to form.

The May ballot on which the proposal for forming a library district will be here before you know it. This is your opportunity to get involved in the campaign.

We have devoted barrels of ink to this cause, and I’ll have to admit to being disappointed at the response. Like so many worthwhile endeavors, the 80-20 rule applies –– 20 percent do the work and too many coach from the sidelines.

If this campaign is going to be successful, it desperately needs the time, talent and voices of more than the dozen or so who have stepped forward to this point.

No one should be deluded into thinking that folks happily march the polls and vote to raise their taxes, even for the best of causes. If you’re one of those who’s thinking, “who would oppose funding for libraries,” think again.

The goal of the “vote yes” committee is to reach every voter in the county with the story about why libraries are important and deserve your tax-dollar support. An oligarchy isn’t what’s needed to accomplish that goal, an all-out full-court press involving everyone is the commitment needed.

Follow the YES for Libraries Campaign Committee on Facebook.

Ask not what your libraries can do for you, but what you can do for your libraries, to paraphrase JFK.

Here’s one I grew uphearing: If a task has once begun. Never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small. Do it well or not at all.

Having watched dozens of ballot initiatives come and go over 40 years in the newspaper business, I have deep concerns as to whether this one can be successful given the scant participation in the “vote Yes” movement thus far.

Let’s work to pack the Building Healthy Families Building to capacity on Dec. 5.


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