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Letters - October 16

Sounds new

I never realized there was a new radio station until I read a letter to the editor (Oct. 6). Well, I think its great. I have been saying for years that the Gorge area needs a new radio station that plays other than teeny-bop and my-dog-died-country. It’s just what the area needed. Something new.

Andrew Darling

Parkdale

Caught eye

After reading so many letters to the editor on the pros and cons of the proposed Wal-Mart Superstore I have gotten into the habit of just skimming over the letters page, until this last edition I purchased on Oct. 9. The town of Othello, Wash., just sort of jumped off the page as I glanced at the latest testimonies for and against the giant. Why did Othello catch my eye? I lived in the rural area outside of Othello for many years. The family farm was 35 years old, and carved out of a once dry and roadless desert. Our family along with most others in the 25 to 30 mile radius of Othello used many business services from Othello. We did have some exclusions, groceries, buy only what you needed desperately until you could travel 50 miles to either the Tri-Cities or Moses Lake. Clothing, other than field clothes, thanks to the local Cenex store, because there was no place to purchase everyday women’s wear, children’s wear or menswear. The clothing stores that had been in Othello were so pricey they finally turned to selling seconds. Now if you wanted to pay $10 for a dress with a hole in it the size of a silver dollar then you had that choice. Most people, and it didn’t matter if they drove a new Benz or a 10-year-old vehicle, went to the north or south to make their purchases. This had been going on for years in Othello, even McDonald’s had to fight to build in that town. Not because the people didn’t want McDonald’s, but because one of the major business owners blocked every new venture to come up before the city fathers. He owned a grocery store and eateries. More people are shopping in Othello now. Wal-Mart saves the people money on items they use and need everyday. Now instead of traveling away from Othello the rural area surrounding this town shop in Othello. Does the city get taxes from these people shopping? I’m sure it does. If merchants are crying foul in Othello it’s not because Wal-Mart came to town, it’s because for years they had control on what to stock, what to sell and how much they could overcharge the public. Hood River is nothing like Othello. You have a large tourist industry, and volumes of traffic compared to Othello. Othello will survive otherwise Wal-Mart wouldn’t have made the decision to locate in that area. Sorry it wasn’t there when I lived 50 miles from sensibly price groceries and clothing for my family, I think of the fuel I could have saved.

Phyllis McLane

Hood River

Support education

Hood River County School District has 10 percent less money this year than last, and last year’s budget was not a fat budget. If you personally had 10 percent less income think of how dramatically it would affect your life.

This budget cut does not affect one individual. If affects thousands of kids at the most important stage in their life, preparing themselves for future productivity. This stage is not just important to each individual kid. It is important to our entire society that these kids be well educated in order to make the most of their capabilities, and be prepared to become contributing citizens to our society.

The Oregon economy is in a slump. There seems to be only one way to increase funding for schools and other vital services. That is increased taxation. Certainly no one joyfully pays taxes, but if we don’t all chip in through increased taxes there is little hope for our society.

I have toured our awesome federal courthouse in Portland several times. On the marble are inspiring inscriptions harkening to the ideals that make America great. I’d like to share with you one of the inscriptions that has stuck in my mind.

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

It seems to me that one of the things that has made the United States great is that we pitch in to get the right things done. Public education is a right thing.

Nancy Bright

Parkdale

Memorable week

Last week students at Hood River Valley High School experienced one of their most memorable high school moments: Homecoming Week. After seven long days packed with excitement, competition, and humor, many students and staff are now talking of last week as “their best Homecoming Week yet” and “positively improved since last year.” While many people at the high school are to thank for this we also feel that last week could not have been successful had it not been for the support and involvement of the community. Without your help our Homecoming Week would not be possible. Thank you for giving up your time and money to help create fond high school memories and learning experiences for us all. We appreciate all you have done and hope you continue to be as generous in the future.

Will Galvin

ASB President

and the ASB Officers

Hood River Valley High School

No on Measure 27

There is some confusion regarding the Tractor Coalition’s efforts in having our foods labeled as to country of origin and agriculture’s support or lack of support for Measure 27. We do not support Measure 27, which would require labeling of genetically engineered foods, for a variety of reasons.

Measure 27 is one of those ballot titles that sounds good at first glance, but becomes a regulatory and expensive nightmare as one learns more about it. Measure 27 is poorly written, would make it more difficult to get Oregon’s farm products on the supermarket shelf, could hurt our ability to export our products and would cost Oregon’s taxpayers an estimated $11.2 million a year (figures from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture).

Measure 27 would require every establishment that serves food to label all that it serves. That includes restaurants, schools, churches and any other group that serves food, including events such as our annual spaghetti feed benefiting scholarship programs. The Statesman Journal (Oct. 8, 2002) notes that mayonnaise would have to be labeled if it is made from an egg laid by a chicken that has eaten genetically engineered feed. Products would have to be labeled whether or not they actually contained genetically engineered ingredients in the final product offered to consumers. This makes no sense.

This month, consumers will see new labels on food that has been certified by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. This month consumers will also begin seeing country of origin labeling as part of the new regulations passed in the 2002 Farm Bill. This is not the time for Oregon to “go it alone” and establish a costly, complicated labeling system on every crop and every processed product in our food chain, which will provide little to no benefit to the consumer. It hurts farmers and does not help consumers. Please vote no on Measure 27.

Camille Hukari, President

Tractor Coalition

Hood River

Humility vs. hubris

This is not the letter to the editor I would have submitted a few weeks ago. That letter would have been filled with facts and arguments that questioned the Bush administrations’s approach to Iraq. Given the present congressional debate, I don’t think one more voice raising factual considerations would have changed anyone’s mind, let alone anyone’s heart. Rather this letter is about a very old-fashioned word — humility. It’s a word that comes from “humus” meaning “earth” and invites us to view ourselves in contact with and in relation to the Earth. Just because we are powerful does not mean that we are wise. As the nation that trained Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, we were not able to see a few years down the road how that support could turn against us. As the nation that continued to support Saddam Hussein while we knew he was using chemical weapons against thousands of innocent civilians, we were not wise enough to discern that this threat could eventually be directed at our own country.

A powerful but humble nation would recognize that we are not all wise and have made mistakes in the past. The truth is that we do not know what will be the result of our war against Iraq. Even if we topple Saddam Hussein and destroy weapons of mass destruction, I do not think we will be in a safer position regarding terrorism. We need the humility to recognize that our good intentions in the past did not always result in the outcome we had hoped. Winning is sometimes losing. Terrorism against the United States, it seems to me, is fueled by our determination to project power in a region of the world that resents our presence. If this is true, then even “winning” in Iraq will ultimately lead to an increase in terrorist recruits and may actually cause us to be less safe. I was once told, “Humility is truth.” Let’s all pray for wisdom and humility to discern the truth in this crisis.

Patrick Rawson

Hood River

Infant swimming

After reading the article on “Infant Swim” in the Oct. 5 newspaper, I felt compelled to write this letter. I am a certified specialist in sports physical therapy and a certified athletic trainer, and I frequently swim at Hood River Aquatic Center. I have been there to observe most of the infant swimming lessons that this article highlights. I commend the goal of teaching youngsters to be safe in and around the water. I do, however, feel that it is necessary to relay some observations about this particular method of teaching when trying to meet this goal. I observed some very radical teaching methods that induced extreme fear and distress in some of these very young participants. I fear that although the goal of “swimming” to the side of the pool may be met with these youngsters; damage to their trust of swimming instructors, the security of their parents and their fondness of the water may occur. Some of the participants responded well, but many had to be considerably soothed at poolside following a stressful session. Rare were the laughter, smiles and fun that I have seen in other aquatic youth programs.

I have observed and participated in other infant swimming experiences and do not recall nearly the negative emotion and fear observed in these sessions. There are other means of instructing water safety and swimming and I hope that this newspaper would highlight and inform the public of these programs as well. I also encourage any parent considering this radical approach to observe these sessions for yourself and then consider your youngster’s personality. Matching the personality of your child to the type of water instruction given is imperative to maintain a healthy relationship with the water instead of creating a phobia.

Again, I applaud the goal of teaching our youth to swim and be safe around the water. I will choose to teach my young daughter to swim but I will not choose this method because of the extreme, radical teaching methods employed that I sincerely feel would harm instead of help my daughter’s relationship with the water. I hope to foster the enjoyment, respect and fondness of the water in her that I have enjoyed throughout my youth and adulthood. I feel that the risk of damaging these things is too great with this method of instruction. Thank you for the attention given to this matter.

Teresa L. Schuemann

Hood River

More questions

Hood River County School District was put into a very precarious legal position by the unilateral actions of one man. His actions have transformed the lives of one family, caused distress to others working for him, possibly caused a school principal to leave town in a big hurry, opened the door to possible future legal financial obligations for this district, and he did all of this without consulting the board.

Jerry Sessions has stated the amount of $49,000 paid to Glenn Elliott was a severance package, and then changed his explanation regarding his actions as “heading off future legal consequences.”

There are numerous questions which still need to be answered. Did Mr. Sessions have a personal vendetta against the Elliott family dating back to his administration in LaGrande? Where was the school district’s controller when the check was cut? Who was the legal counsel who told Mr. Sessions to settle-up so the district won’t face further legal obligations. If both were involved, why didn’t they notify the board in a timely fashion? Did Ben Kolb leave town because he was tired of being Jerry’s hatchet man in the last episode of the Ben and Jerry show?

For board members to go into executive session and prepare a carefully crafted statement was wrong. The taxpayers deserve to have a public inquiry and have all of their questions answered now, up front and in the open. This issue needs to be laid out without a laundered opinion being written.

Jerry Sessions’ resignation was accepted as it should have been. However, if someone spent that sum of money in my business, without my authorization, they would be gone immediately; not eight months from now. In fact, I can’t even fathom how board member Sue McCarthy voted not to accept Mr. Sessions resignation at all.

If the largest school district in Oregon can operate without a superintendant, then a school district of our size should have no problem either. Jerry Sessions needs to leave, and he needs to leave now.

Mr. Sessions ... I ask you to do the right thing.

Daryn Fogle

Hood River

No ‘abuse pattern’

After reading Sen. Ted Ferrioli’s recent statements in the Oct. 5 Hood River News regarding the Gorge Commission and Friends of the Columbia Gorge, it is clear that he neglected to review all the facts on the issues he raised.

The Senator stated that Tim and Casey Heuker were being “targeted with malicious prosecution” by Friends of the Columbia Gorge. No one has challenged the rights of the Heukers to rebuild their home following a fire, in fact, their house is being built right now. Friends did insist that the Heukers landscape their new home and plant trees to screen its wide open, unobstructed view of Beacon Rock, a recreation area visited by thousands of people every year.

This interpretation of the management plan was not only upheld by the Gorge Commission, but has also been implemented by Hood River, Wasco and Skamania County planning offices since they adopted the management plan. This is not a “pattern of abuse” but rather sound policy to ensure the Gorge’s beauty for generations to come.

Approximately 97 percent of the applications in the National Scenic Area are approved without legal challenges. The remaining 3 percent are not cases of “malicious prosecution” but simply applications that did not follow the rules.

Kevin Gorman

Executive Director

Friends of the Columbia Gorge

Stop a resort

The simplest explanation for mysterious human behavior is usually the correct one. Dave Riley is probably not telling us what Meadows has in mind for Mt. Hood because we probably would not approve and he would fail utterly.

Mt. Hood Meadows is most likely lobbying hard at the state level to relax the Goal 8 provision of the Destination Resort criteria which states that destination resorts cannot be placed within three miles of high crop agricultural land.

Please write our own Senator Metsger (the guy who does not use mudslinging campaign tactics) and let him know how you feel. Writing the paper is good for educating voters but it is the actions of the elected that we need to manage. And if you are not a voter, please register and vote by mail. Just imagine the actual mudslinging that will happen on your mountain and in your watershed if we do not lend a hand to defeat Dave Riley and Mt. Hood Meadows.

Write or e-mail Senator Metsger here: senmetsger@aol.com

John Wood

Hood Rive

A welcome change

I would like to comment on the gentleman who wrote about the new radio station. I have lived in the Gorge all my life and I know for a fact that there has never been a classic rock station in the Gorge. I happen to be a fan of KMSW, I like the format and I support all five Columbia Gorge Broadcasting stations. I have nothing against KBOO, we just needed a change for the area.

Ron Dunn

Hood River

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