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Letters - May 11

Tree sale succeeded

Thanks to you, the Underwood Conservation District’s 2002 Tree Sales and Arbor Day programs were a huge success. During the past month and a half, we distributed about 75,000 low-cost tree seedlings to the public in the Mid-Columbia region. Our Arbor Day tree give away event of April 10 also resulted in the distribution of around 4,000 tree seedlings to the public, school groups, special events and others.

Thank you for all your aid to us in publicizing the events. We look forward to working with you next year.

Steve Stampfli

Underwood Conservation District

White Salmon

Not biggest ‘bang’

Recently in your (editorial) you referred to my bad choice of words — re: the library as a “pile of brick,” which has withstood a volcanic eruption, floods, many wars (including two world) and the patter of many little feet — a true test of time. Them bricks are well-mortared together.

Like the Mosier tunnels, I hate to see it raped. Your published drawing robs it of its great beauty. And what if (when they put shovel to ground) they uncover artifacts after the contract has been let?

The library, like the courthouse, (has had) its chief supporters. The library’s to the south, and the courthouse to the east (of the old building at Third and Oak). The minority will be the benefactors.

There is one fact that “we can all agree on,” the fact that we won’t be getting the biggest “bang” for our bucks, when an equal amount could build a better facility at a better location; serving the majority of the county, not city, residents.

What? Parking meters — I run in to pay a 10-cent overdue book fine and come out and discover a $10 overdue parking fine on my car!

I’m calling the Columbia Area Transit.

Alan Winans

Hood River

Heed air quality

In the Klamath Basin in 2000-2002 we destroyed, in the name of endangered species protection and environmentalism, an entire industry by denying it the life-giving water it needs for sustenance. By doing so we declared, in that area, the agricultural population itself endangered, if not extinct.

In our fruit-growing valley we allow that same agricultural population to pollute the air with impunity. The orchards pump every year not only tons of chemicals into the air, they pollute the air we have to breath with smoke-pots so that the eyes are burning and people with heart and lung problems have trouble to sustain life.

Why is it that we seem to be possessed by extremes, unable to find middle ground? Some progressive orchard operators (Berny Wertgen for one) are open to this question and willing to go the extra mile by experimenting with alternative means like clean propane gas to avoid the pollution problems during spring frost danger.

In one area we sacrifice human life for the benefit of a worthless fish. In the other, our valley, we ignore air-quality for the expediency of a small group of inflexible fruit-growers.

I urge our political candidates to take a stand on this important issue of air quality.

Peter von Oppel

Hood River

Learn about water

I doubt that anyone without an “ax” to grind would go to the trouble of checking out excerpts from various organizations concerning a matter that does not relate to them.

When you read an “excerpt” you are reading a portion of a report. This means that someone can pick and choose what you read. Were these excerpts selected for the reader or did she select them?

If I had questions concerning the water in Parkdale, then I would check with local plumbers who have worked on the lines. I could also call various Water Districts and ask their opinions.

When one uses generalities it usually means that they cannot give specific examples. Which businesses in Parkdale want a change? Name some specific individuals who have signed the petition.

I understand that the cost of water on this line is $24 per month. Ice Fountain charges about $36. Hood River: My last bill was around $60. The cost of a hookup is between four and six hundred dollars, and may vary some depending on how much line has to be put in. Ice Fountain is around $3,500 and Hood River ... check with the water district. I think that the people on this line are getting a bargain for their money.

I would urge all current customers to check things out before signing any petition. Contrary to popular opinion, some petitions have ulterior motives. Before signing something to “ditch” an operating system, make sure that there is an alternative.

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

York and Schock

As a property owner, former city planning commissioner and concerned citizen, I have looked to elected officials for leadership in addressing the challenges of economic dislocation, congestion, sprawl and a proposed casino.

As a resident of the county within the city’s Urban Growth Area, I have been dismayed at the county’s lack of action and reluctance to work with the city on the sign ordinance, traffic management and land use planning.

Therefore, I support Carol York as the County Commissioner who has been responsive to the public on the critical issues facing the county.

I support Rodger Schock as Commission Chair because he is refreshingly candid and because he is committed to the Comprehensive Plan. The county is facing major land use challenges; we need Rodger’s leadership and vision back on the County Commission.

Christine Knowles

Hood River

Killing the ‘Goose’

The Gorge and Hood River valleys have the history of being economically sustained by logging, mining, fruit orchards, and tourism. Currently, only tourism appears to be remain as the long term economic hope for the area. In the Gorge and Upper Valley we have been gifted with custodianship of a “Golden Goose” which we all can profit from.

Every day I pray we all keep asking ourselves “why” we live here, and “why” tourists with money to spend come to our area. Do they come to shop at Wal-Mart? No. Do they come to shop at Safeway? No. Do they come to get their oil changed? No. Do they come for industrial parks? No. Do they come for the lumber mill? No. Do they come for the gambling? No. Do they come for the great gas stations? No. Do they come to work in a factory? No.

The tourists come here because the Hood River area offers some of the best scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities close to a major metropolitan center in the world. We live in a very special place! The tourists come here to get away from where they live and it’s associated congestion, noise, dirty air, crowded shopping, fast pace, competition, and stress. If we no longer provide a respite from these things, the tourists will no longer come to spend their money.

To those who live in the Hood River area and complain about the lack of economic opportunities, I suggest you reassess why you live here. Maybe you should consider living in the city where jobs are more plentiful, but the scenery, clean air and water is not. Or, instead, maybe you should consider making friends with the Golden Goose.

Tourists will continue to come to the area as long as we provide the eggs of the Golden Goose: the scenery and clean air for viewing and hiking, and clean water for fishing, windsurfing and boating, the green grass for golfing, the pastures for grazing and riding, and the good looking “boutique” style downtown shopping area with its shops and restaurants, and the uncluttered views and uncrowded streets.

Please, let’s not kill our Golden Goose by letting outside interests take control of our community. Let us rather find ways to feed and strengthen the Golden Goose.

History and sound wisdom shows that it’s nearly impossible to have it both ways. So, which is more important to you? The Golden Goose? Or one stop shopping and gambling?

Mike Stroud

Hood River

Courts too lenient

A tip of the hat to our local police force for catching so many bad guys. And a raspberry to the court system that rotates these punks back onto the streets as soon as possible.

Last year a drunken young driver mowed down a long-standing member of the community, leaving him for dead and racing off into the night. He confessed his crime only when the cops tracked him down. This same so-called citizen had been arrested for drunk driving just days before this act of manslaughter. Nonetheless, he was given a jail sentence of only a few months’ duration.

Now we have a fellow who admits he raped a 14-year-old girl in Pine Grove. We’re not talking statutory rape here: he forced sex on her “despite her protests.” But by this time we should have expected the Hood River justice system to give our deviant a stiff incarceration of 150 days.

Lest we murmur the sentence was too light, the crusading “sex crimes prosecutor” stepped forward to explain that both the predator and his prey were victims of unfortunate circumstance: “this has been a nightmare for him as well ... a tragedy for everyone involved.” The fact this alleged prosecutor is female adds further incomprehensible paradox to a tale already stretched beyond the breaking point of plausibility. We’re told the man stopped the assault when the girl screamed in pain, but since he had the presence of mind to steal her cell phone, we can assume he’d likewise hesitate to possibly cause a physical injury as evidence of his actions. Without any other information, why should not the public draw dark conclusions? Coming on the heals of the hit-and-run debacle, perhaps the judge might have made an example of poor Mr. Tragedy. Instead he fined the rapist less than $3,000 and gave him five months in a comfy county jail.

Let’s just go ahead and advise all the creeps and killers in Oregon that the best place to stage a violent crime is right here in Hood River County.

Scott Bradshaw

Odell

Who to cut?

I read your editorial titled “Resiliency” in the Wednesday edition. It was well-written and I can’t disagree with a single thought you expressed. But in all of your wisdom about who the school district should keep (after the school board and budget committee have agonized over these issues for weeks) whom do you suggest they cut?

Fred Duckwall

Hood River

Car blight

This is the first time ever writing to this local paper. The time has come that someone in the community voices their opinion about Oak Street. Oak Street is out of control with used cars. There are more cars with “For Sale” signs in their windows on this street than at all of the local dealerships in town. Can you say “what a crime”?

Who can help?

Oak Street is littered with everyone and their mothers’ second and third vehicle. Is there anything that someone can do about this unfortunate situation? Friends that recently came to town for a visit laughed at the display of crap that lines our beautiful streets. I really enjoy everything about this town except for this ugly sight. I drive down this road every day to and from work.

I love the history behind the town, but driving down Hood River’s used car lane just ain’t happening anymore. So, “Mrs. Meter Lady,” drop a ticket or two behind the windshield wipers of these culprits.

Brian Charity

Hood River

Re-elect Arens

I would like to register my support for John Arens for county commissioner. As chairman of the board he is well qualified for the position as has been demonstrated with his past record.

John has integrity, fairness, and dedication.

We have received our ballots in the mail, and it is our privilege and responsibility to vote. In voting, I urge you to vote for John Arens.

Eva Swain

Hood River

CAT needed

In response to the “CAT service is great” letter in your May 4 edition, I want to set the record straight. The writer referred to my comments in “Another Voice,” dated April 17. Please understand that this was not a criticism of CAT. I agree wholeheartedly that it provides a much-needed service to the community.

My comments addressed John Arens’ claim that Mid-Columbia Council of Governments Area on Aging (AAA) was providing an additional $71,250 in funding to CAT and thereby increase its “ridership” opportunities. The AAA budget does not support this claim nor did anyone at CAT. Let me assure you that I would have been delighted if, for once, MCCOG had provided correct information.

Heidi Musgrave, Director

HR Valley Adult Center

Hood River

Supports Arens

Please join me in supporting and voting for John Arens for county commissioner. John brings to the office experience in government and private business. He has first hand experience with the evolving economy of the Hood River Valley.

Solutions to the problems we face are not black and white, and John understands the complexities of balancing preservation and growth. Let’s face it — the traditional businesses of the Hood River Valley are declining or already gone due mostly to outside forces. What replaces them is THE question facing our public officials. I believe John Arens in the candidate best qualified to lead us.

Dick Reed

Hood River

Mercury issue

Phil Jensen claims to be “terribly embarrassed” that his Luhr Jensen plant discharged 100 times the allowable limit of chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc into the wastewater plant on Dec. 26, 2001, and another excessive amount of heavy metal one week ago. More likely, he’s terribly embarrassed to have been caught.

Stretching credibility to the breaking point, he further claims that he was unaware of the December incident and the $8,000 fine levied against his company in February.

I’m further disappointed in the Hood River News for its lightweight coverage of these incidents. Where was the story in February? In the short story on the latest incident, for which Luhr Jensen was fined another $2,000, a full paragraph was given to Jensen’s high-minded but hollow words.

These words the Hood River News chose to quote almost make it sound as if Jensen had done something good.

The “moral issue” he suggests goes beyond deadly mercury in the river.

Sam Moses

White Salmon

Retain York

We would like to add our names to the long list of supporters for the re-election of Carol York as County Commissioner for District No. 1. We would also like to share a few thoughts for those who have not yet made their voting decision.

At this time, when our way of life is threatened by huge outside interests and our agricultural industry is reeling from the impact of foreign competition it’s vitally important to have an experienced commissioner who has proven her concern over these issues. We need the contacts and rapport she has created with other governmental agencies; the attention to detail she brings to her position; the courage she has shown in voting against “the big guys.” She has proven her ability to work with, and sometimes against, the other Commissioners with reason, good humor, and a well-considered grasp of the problems that beset our community.

We believe that a review of Carol York’s record of service for these last five years will convince any undecided voters that she should retain her position as Commissioner for District No. 1.

Boyd and Halla Graves

Hood River

Vote for Arens

The ballots have been mailed to the registered voters. This is the time to mark the ballot for John Arens, who is running for chairman of the County Commission.

John is a native of Hood River. He has devoted years of dedicated service to our county. He is honest. He is hard-working and he cares about the future of this county.

Please vote for John Arens.

Aileen Pobanz

Hood River

No leadership

In reading “Tomorrows Past” (Hood River News, May 1), a poignant sentence caught my eye: “This year (2002), Hanel Sawmill is still closed and in limbo under ownership by a southwest Washington owner.”

When the mill’s former owner went broke, the Hanel operation, by all accounts I’ve read, was still a solid moneymaker. But the bankruptcy closed it too, and threw about 140 local people out of work.

When there began to be talk about the sale of the mill, I suggested in this paper that the county buy it and put those 140 folks back to work turning county timber into higher value finished lumber.

I noted that the county had the money, $7 million recently received from a land deal with the federal government.

Under John Arens’ “leadership,” nothing was done and there was not even a public explanation of why the county would not buy the mill.

It was subsequently sold, at firesale prices, to that southwest Washington buyer who not only has not reopened it, but also owns another mill — shuttered even longer — which has not been reopened.

We all know Mr. Arens’ record on recent issues affecting local businesses: he dragged his feet on the “big box” ordinance until after a Super-Wal-Mart got a toe in the county’s door, and he favors a destination resort whose master plan includes shops which would lure more business away from downtown Hood River. Add the Hanel fiasco and the question must be asked: Can our county afford to continue Mr. Arens’ “leadership” after May 21?

George and Margo Earley

Mount Hood

Credit teachers

I would first like to say thank you for printing the article concerning the National Merit Finalists. The transition from our interview to the press was extremely prompt. However, while I understand that sometimes certain things get overlooked in the rush to print, it was not my intent to sound as if I believed my parents deserved full credit for my recent honor.

Although I love my parents dearly, much of my academic strength can be attributed to the teachers of the public school system. My parents just set the foundation. I have had some superb teachers, especially in the last four years, and I know that we are very lucky in Hood River to be so blessed.

Oliver Burton

Hood River

York helps CL

This letter from Cascade Locks is written in support of the re-election of Carol York as County Commissioner for west Hood River County.

We here in Cascade Locks have never had a representative from our end of the county who has demonstrated such a sincere interest in our well-being before. She has attended our council meetings with reports of county business that concerns us. She is a faithful member of our Action Committee which has charted a path for economic and civic enhancement. She attends our Business Association meetings and, more than that, she volunteers her time to sit in our booths, helps with our children’s Christmas program and, generally, is more than a warm body when we need her. She has been our champion in our effort to locate the Warm Springs casino in Cascade Locks.

She is a sensible voice in sometimes chaotic situations. If she has done this for us she surely has done it for all of Hood River County as well. We are Carol York land and we welcome immigrants and/or supporters

Jean McLean

CL Business Association

Cascade Locks

For Hunnicutt

It is important that voters know about the non-partisan race for Judge to the Court of Appeals. Dave Hunnicutt is a candidate for that position. He has been deeply involved in land-use issues in the courts, in the legislature and in the Land Conservation and Development Commission and other state agencies, and at the Metro, city and county levels of government. He has appeared and argued many times for the Land Use Board of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court and in district and circuit courts throughout the state. He has also been a speaker at numerous land use planning and legal seminars.

The politicization of the courts is undermining the integrity of the courts and has been devastating to private property rights in Oregon. Dave would make a great and fair judge.

He has tremendous respect for our state and its constitution. Dave is married and has four children.

I strongly urge you to vote for Dave Hunnicutt for Judge to the Court of Appeals.

Rita Swyers

Hood River

York’s effort

When I moved to Hood River a decade ago, Carol York was one of the first people I met in the community. I had this crazy idea of becoming an outdoor photographer and Carol went to work right away putting me in touch with the business community.

It was Carol’s personal touch that gave me the confidence I needed. Carol makes the extra effort to invest her time and energy into our individual and collective interests. What more could we ask of a county commissioner?

Peter Marbach

Hood River

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