Now that I’ve officially been in Hermiston for a month, I am compelled to offer my critiques of things I have noticed in my short time as a Umatilla County resident. The Good: I am really impressed with the commitment to schools in this district. I had an opportunity to have lunch with interim Superintendent Wade Smith recently, and he told me the support for schools in Hermiston is second to none. After making my way to most parts of our fine city, I have to admit that we can be proud of the schools in Hermiston. Everyone I have met who is affiliated with the schools in Hermiston, from administration officials to teachers and coaches to volunteers, have all been top-notch. All of them seemed to have two things in common — a commitment to the students, and a love for their profession. As a person who has loved his chosen profession for the last 23+ years, I can appreciate it when I see it. In most professions, there are always individuals who truly love what they do. But to see such high numbers of people who have that kind of passion for their jobs in spite of the numerous obstacles and trials they must face on a daily basis really speaks volumes. That kind of loyalty comes from the top down. I tip my hat to Mr. Smith and all the other loyal school district employees. Another tip of the hat goes to Joseph Thornton, alternative class teacher at Hermiston High School, for giving me an opportunity to meet a great bunch of students who made me feel welcome in their classroom recently, even though they had to sit through a boring rendition of my career and where I’ve gone and who I’ve met as part of my job. To all Mr. Thornton’s students — thank you. The Bad: I have now had the opportunity to go to Hermiston School District buildings and classrooms three times in my short residency here, yet I could take my Ipad, or my Macbook and access the Internet in each location. Not so much at City Hall. I have been to a number of meetings at City Hall and though there is wireless Internet at the building, unless you have the password you are locked out of the city’s wireless network. When I asked about it, there didn’t seem to be a reason other than security. Wait a minute. The school district has open wireless networks on its campuses, but the City Hall doesn’t because of security? It seems to me that if any group of officials should be concerned about potential abusers of a wireless network it would be the school district. I am sure at least 95 percent of the students who attend Hermiston High School are far more technologically savvy than 95 percent of the people who visit City Hall. Let’s face it, my kids are far more tech savvy than I am and they have been out of school for a while now. The students in school now are exposed to a changing tech world and most of them keep up without blinking an eye. If the school district feels relatively secure in offering open wireless Internet with nearly 2,000 students who are more knowledgeable about computers and programming, why does City Hall feel the need to have a password-protected wireless network? I don’t get it. If our city leaders really want to promote themselves as business friendly, they should at least start keeping up with the trends in business. More and more business owners are conducting business with the use of smartphones and tablets of some kind or another. That’s just the way of doing business in today’s world. Now let’s say a new business wants to relocate to Hermiston and they come to City Hall with a business proposal on their iPad or other type of tablet to show City Hall officials. Unless they have their smartphone set up as a hot spot for their tablet, or laptop, they would have to go across the street to the library to get a wireless connection. How is that business friendly? It’s time our city leaders move into the 21st century. The Ugly: You may see me out and about town walking my dog. I do this for exercise for both myself and my dog, but on a number of occasions and in several neighborhoods, I have had to carefully walk my dog through or around broken glass on the sidewalk. Not just a piece of glass mind you. No this was evident that someone had deliberately thrown a bottle of some kind hard enough at the concrete sidewalk for the glass to explode and be scattered in a wide radius. Really? Shouldn’t we all care enough not to litter our streets and sidewalks, much less throwing bottles to the ground with such force it shatters glass in a 25-foot circle? There is no sound reason for anyone to do such a thing, unless they just don’t care about anything, or anyone but themselves. That is an attitude that is learned at home. We can and should be better than that. Randy Thompson can be reached at 541- 564-4533, or at

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