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Long Tom calendar donation debated at board meeting.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

JUNCTION CITY - While the school board here did not take any formal action Monday on whether to accept money raised from the sale of a calendar featuring Grange members in the buff, it did applaud the fund-raising efforts of "The Men of the Long Tom Grange."

"The intent of the men was to do something to help the school. ... It was a worthy effort," board member Mike Brotherton said.

The board decided to form a subcommittee of four board members to examine how to spend money donated from the Long Tom Grange's calendar sales and other like contributions.

The Grange's calendar features 12 of its members, men ages 40 to 70, posing nude with their private parts hidden by tractors, banjos and horse saddles. The calendar has already raised $100,000 and organizers expect to double that amount during the busy holiday shopping season, with all the money going to the school district with the intent to restore cut programs.

But some community members have raised questions about accepting a donation tied to a nude calendar.

Board member Denise Pratt echoed Brotherton's sentiment about the Grange's effort yet was concerned that the furor surrounding the calendar's proceeds could prove hurtful.

"I hope we don't let this divide our community," Pratt said.

About 30 people crowded into the school district's board room to sound off on the calendar and the money it would bring the district.

During a public comment period at the meeting, some community members told board members that the calendar is "pornographic" and sets a bad example for youth, while others referred to the men as pillars in the community who only want to help raise money for cash-strapped schools.

Pamela Monroe said by accepting funds raised by the sale of the calendar the school district would be setting a double standard. She alluded to a Junction City school boy who mooned his classmates this year and was admonished.

Peggy Wintch, who has seven children in the school district, said the calendar sets a bad example for children.

"Our integrity is not for sale," she said.

Still others found the calendar humorous and didn't scoff at the fact that someone is providing the school district with a six-figure check.

Patsy Loera already bought a calendar and said she finds the pictures tasteful.

"There's not a lot showing in those pictures. ... If their wives don't care if they did it, I don't either," she said.

Robin Pfeiffer, Mr. March in the calendar and whose wife played a big role in its creation, said the intent of the project was to "focus state and national attention on the sorry state of education funding in Oregon."

Pfeiffer cautioned board members about questioning the source of school funding when schools also receive state money from the sale of tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

Brotherton agreed, and cited the district's history of donations. A list of contributions from service organizations such as the Rotary and donations from individuals in the community is read during each board meeting. No donation has been turned down, Brotherton said.

"We never, ever question the source of money and I don't see any reason we should now," Brotherton said. "If the Grange presented us with a check for $100,000, I see no reason why we wouldn't accept it."
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 25, 2003
Words:555
Previous Article:Downtown ordinance approved.
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