Bend needs pediatric psychiatrists

There is a dangerous situation brewing in Bend, and I’m writing to bring it to the community’s attention. The lack of child psychiatrists in Bend, and nationally, is nearing a crisis level, and it is only a matter of time before a pediatric psychiatric emergency becomes deadly again to one of our local children.

We have one practicing child psychiatrist prescribing medications, and his clinic is often closed to new patients due to a high patient load. Pediatricians are consulting with psychiatrists from afar, but many patients are unable to get immediate interventions when needed, particularly if they have complex mental health issues. The local hospital tried for some time to hire a child psychiatrist, but they were unable to fill the position. Various other specialists are filling the void, and we are grateful for their services, but for our most complex children, Bend is severely lacking in services.

The mental health of our children is crucial to the health of our community. When mental health issues are not addressed in childhood, society as a whole pays. Suicide rates cannot, and should not, be ignored. Perhaps if we bring attention to this important issue, we can begin to address it sooner rather than later.

Wendy Laakmann Ph.D.


Respect native plants

Native plants are those indigenous to an area and the ones you commonly see (like buckwheat, sagebrush and bunch grasses). Now is a good time to hug one during Native Plant Appreciation Week, the end of April. Native plants are wild; that is, they make it on their own without any help from people — no irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides. Native wildlife — from the smallest insect to the largest mammal — have evolved with them and depend on them for food, shelter, etc. Did you know that sage grouse and other birds eat sagebrush and will die without it?

Many people think native plants are boring and not important. Distracted with gadgets, people are losing their connection to nature. At epidemic levels is one malady called plant blindness, taking plants that provide so many services from feeding wildlife to preventing erosion to simply beautifying our world for granted. Worse, plant blindness can lead to unconscious plant murder as people tromp on them. Plants can take some abuse. But they’ll die when constantly trampled by bikes and people’s and dogs’ feet when off trail.

Show plants some respect. Stay on designated trails when hiking and biking. Keep your dog on the trail, as four legs can significantly harm plants, too. If we all did this, trails would stay the width they were designed and not get increasingly wider, even washing out when plants are no longer there to hold the soil. We’d have more beauty to enjoy instead of bare dirt.

Lynn Putnam


Murphy needs parkway exit

This past week there were two articles about developments on Country Club Road, a new high school and a 250-home development. One of the things not discussed was how these two developments would be accessed. Murphy Road would be the main feeder. But how do you get to Murphy Road?

I live in southeast Bend off China Hat Road. Your choices to get to Murphy Road are Third Street, Brookswood Boulevard or Parrell Road. To access any of these from the parkway you need Reed Market or Powers roads. Take a look at both of those during commute times.

Oregon Department of Transportation needs to add a Murphy Road exit ramp southbound from the Parkway. Those of us who already live in this area of town don’t understand why it wasn’t done when the overpass was built.

Tracie Layman


Troy Reinhart for Bend-La Pine School Board

I am writing in support of Troy Reinhart for the Bend-La Pine School Board. Reinhart has two children in the school district. He has a vested interest in the safety and quality of our school system. Reinhart is from a financial background. He knows the value of a dollar and would not rubber stamp any excessive school bond levies. He would make sound decisions that would benefit the entire school system. Reinhart has been on several boards, including the St. Francis school advisory committee. Reinhart has no prior government experience, so he is beholden to none. I suggest you vote for a strong, smart and frugal school board member in Troy Reinhart.

Andy West