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Letters - October 23

Slow down

Two signs asking drivers not to speed were stolen from my mother’s house in Hood River yesterday afternoon. It isn’t the cost of the signs that is the problem. She lives on what used to be a dead end street which has recently been made a through street. There are children and pets living in the area, and speeding drivers have been an ongoing problem. These signs were not meant to offend anyone, but rather to promote the need for caution in the area.

My father was killed right in front of the house by a speeding driver about a year and a half ago, and a little decrease in speed, not to mention getting her signs put back where they were, would be very much appreciated by both her and myself. Thanks for listening.

Meghan Meyer

Columbia, Md.

Infant swim helps

After reading other letters to the editor regarding the infant/toddler Infant Swimming Research course that occurred at the Hood River Aquatic Center, I wanted to provide the perspective from a parent whose child participated in the course.

I am encouraged that the course has generated discussion and interest in parents throughout our community. However, I am concerned that the observations that have been noted in Teresa Schuemann’s letter (Oct. 16) do not accurately report the benefits of the course, the methodology used, or the positive results achieved.

While I also had my doubts prior to enrollment of my 2-year old son, I did thorough research and spoke to other parents whose children had participated. My husband and I made the decision to enroll our son for his survival. While he did cry (30 percent of the time), it was not because of a fear of the water, but instead because he was learning new skills that were challenging.

I want to address several inaccuracies or misperceptions that were included in the letter, in an attempt to educate other parents in their evaluation of water safety programs. The objective of the course is not to teach swimming, but provide your child with the skills necessary for water survival. The goal is to teach a child the skills necessary to float and swim back to safety (i.e. edge of pool, body of water) and to provide the parent/guardian the extra time needed to rescue a child before potential drowning. The teaching methods were neither extreme nor radical as mentioned in the other letter. The methods are the result of more than 30 years of research and development and are based upon operant conditioning theories pioneered by the late Harvard University psychologist, B.F. Skinner. The instructors are highly trained and must undergo strict recertification testing annually. Each instructor is academically trained and tested in areas such as child psychology, physiology and behavioral science.

The lessons are individualized, last no more than 10 minutes, and the instructor continually monitors the child for physiological signs of fatigue. More than 85,000 infants and young children have safely and effectively gone through the program. To date, Infant Swimming Research reports that 704 children have saved themselves from definite drowning situations and more than 1,306 have saved themselves from a probable drowning situation.

Apparently Ms. Schuemann missed the many lessons that my son attended. My son enjoyed the course, and has tremendous pride in his accomplishments. The time spent poolside following his lessons was not to soothe him as indicated in the letter, but to allow any excess air to pass (laying him on his left side) and wrapping him in a towel to keep warm while resting. The poolside time was an opportunity to recap his accomplishments and smile with him as he beamed with pride.

Our son continues to love the water following this course and enjoys practicing his newly acquired skills. Anyone who has seen him at the pool can attest that he has not been traumatized, but rather has benefited greatly. His mastery of this skill has also increased his self-confidence in other areas. I recommend that interested parents conduct their own research (www.infantswim.com) and speak to the families who participated in the course. I am confident in the decision we made to enroll our son and in providing him with the skills that could potentially make the difference one day in saving his life.

Megan Salmon

Hood River

Out of line

It was to be expected that four politicians, while in Cascade Locks, would all support keeping the local school open. But Bob Montgomery was out of line to imply that the school board had no money shortage because they found the money to give $49,000 to a severed employee. First, the District severed the employee because of a budget crunch. Second, Montgomery knows very well that the school board did not approve that payment and, in fact, has accepted the resignation of the administrator who authorized it. Irresponsible legislators can favor every expenditure and tax cut, never having to present a balanced budget. But they shouldn’t make it harder for those who do.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

School continuity

What an extremely unfortunate predicament our school district is currently in. Prior to the discovery of the superintendent’s misappropriation of funds, the school board was already putting in overtime on the school funding/budget crisis, and facing many difficult decisions.

We hope this community understands the extent of time and energy our school board members spend on these volunteer positions. We can’t help but be appreciative of their dedication — they seem to genuinely care about our schools altruistically. Resignations from any of the board members is the last thing we need during these hard times. In fact, it’s imperative that we maintain continuity on the school board in light of the recent and pending administrative transitions.

We encourage people to learn the facts. Then we hope they’ll realize the board has done all it is legally able to do at this time. We encourage the district to move beyond this disgraceful situation and get back into other important work at hand. You have our gratitude for your perseverance.

Paige and Rountree Rouse

Hood River

Give ‘em Wal-Mart

We are writing you today in support of the proposal of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter store to be built in the city of Hood River. As new Oregon residents as of August 2002, we were greatly disappointed when we discovered that in either Oregon or the state of Washington our favorite “Supercenter” was not to be found! We used to drive at least 45 minutes to shop at our favorite store; the nearest ones to us were located in the cities of Brandon, New Tampa, or Plant City. Our little town of Zephyrhills was also opposed to this big store, but decided to let them build. The store was guaranteed to create lots of new job opportunities for the community. When we left in August, the store was almost complete; we moved before its grand opening. We do all of our shopping at Wal-Mart — they have unbeatable low prices and provide an amazing convenience to the consumers. We got so tired of driving from store to store, weekly sale to sale; we know that if we shop at Wal-Mart we get the best deal no matter which day of the week we go! All I can say is that I like knowing that there is a store that has everyday low prices. I would be proud if I were a city, to have a great store that cares about my people and sells quality items which are made in America by Americans. If the supercenter won’t be built in Beautiful Hood River, then I am more than willing to drive to the city of Portland if we have to.

Keith and Heather Paasch

Cascade Locks

Signs are valuable

A note to the person who took the signs “Keep Kids Alive — Drive 25” and “No Need To Speed” from my yard on West Eugene Street on Oct. 17.

These signs were NOT free, I paid for them.

Since our dead end street was made into a thru-street, the amount of foot traffic (people jogging, walking with children and dogs, etc.) has increased along with the amount of vehicle traffic. If you were offended by the signs, you could have come to my door and told me. If you were interested in obtaining some signs for yourself, I would have gladly given you the address. If it was a joke — I don’t think it’s funny.

In closing, I hope you enjoy the signs I bought for you.

Penny Edwards

Hood River

Vote for Smith

In a time of unprecedented polarization on a host of issues: forest health, affordable housing, taxes (to name a few), a calm, friendly, and plainspoken voice often is worth far more in achieving acceptable compromise than the ideological battering rams to which the electorate has all too often been an audience of late. Rep. Patti Smith has been one such voice in the cacophony that Salem has offered us. Oddly, the political process is sometimes best served by a distinctly unpretentious non-political type which is what Patti is really all about. Even if you don’t agree with all of her votes, her continued presence in the House will serve her district and the entire State well. She should be returned for another term. We need some genuine and nice people down there.

Robert E. Repp

Welches

Fix the crossing

It seems now that ODOT has found the intertsection of Country Club and West Cascade unsafe, it must be fixed. Either Hood River or the Wal-Mart superstore must fix the problem. That means money. The land Wal-Mart wants to build on is mostly a catch basin for water and must be drained anyway, and that means more money. Wal-Mart will be good for the infrastructure of that whole end of Hood River, and looking at the upcoming tax situation, more stores currently downtown will be closing, so in order to keep Hood River from becoming a ghost town like many other small agricultural towns, we must welcome a Wal-Mart superstore at Frankton and Country Club.

Paul Nevin

Hood River

Help them do right

Anyone who thinks evolution didn’t happen should by the same divine logic work doubly hard to make sure it doesn’t.

Vote to require labeling of genetically modified food. The freeze-resistant gene of the flounder fish does not belong in the tomato plant any more than the fish wants to lie with the fruit. Think about it.

Conservatives do not embrace radical untested and extreme science that runs contrary to their religious beliefs like stem cell research, cloning, and genetically modifying food. Even the big companies know this at their conservative core, but they need you to help them do the right thing, otherwise they will act “in the interest of the shareholders.”

John Wood

Hood River

Behind Buckley

I was born and raised in the Hood River valley and now reside in Ashland. This election season marks my first real involvement in politics since the 1960s. What got me involved? Not the mediocre and self-serving politicians that represent the sad state of our union these days. I had the great fortune of hearing Peter Buckley, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress, speak in June. WOW! I was so inspired by his values and views that I immediately volunteered for his campaign, and I continue to be inspired every time I hear him speak.

As a result, I’ve discovered that this election will determine a great many things that will impact our state, our country and our world for better or worse. We are fortunate to have a number of candidates deserving of our support (Buckley, Bradbury and Kulongoski.) We can vote on measures that affect our shared interest, like measure 17 — lowering the minimum age requirement to serve in the state legislature from 21 to 18 years; measure 23 — healthcare for all; measure 27 — labeling genetically engineered food.

All that is required of us is participation, to exercise our civic responsibility, and we can stop the negative trends that threaten to undermine and overwhelm our common good. It seems that many in office would prefer that you not participate. They don’t want you to care. They don’t want you to vote. They don’t want you to have faith in our system of government. They want you to opt out so they can stay in control. They thrive on your cynicism, apathy, and ignorance. And they have been remarkably successful in discouraging participation. It is a sad fact that many of the people most affected by the policies of the Bush administration, and by the votes of Smith and Walden, do not exercise their civic responsibility. In the 2000 election, there were only 548 people registered to vote on the Southern Oregon University campus out of over 5000 students. And of those 548 people, only 9.1 percent voted. Yikes! Is it any wonder that our state is in the state that it’s in? Or that our nation is heading towards war while our economy is crumbling?

Don’t let anyone tell you different. This is an election that does matter, and your vote counts. Ask your friends and neighbors if they’re registered to vote. And when the ballots come, have a ballot party and discuss the issues and candidates together with friends. Let’s have fun and participate in the democratic process - and not take our democracy for granted.

If you want to know more about Peter Buckley, come to the Candidates’ Forum on Oct. 22, Hood River Middle School at 7 p.m. Peter will also be the guest speaker at the Hood River Rotary on Oct. 24 at noon. So come and check it out, and play a part in supporting someone who actually cares about the environment, who actually cares about our civil liberties, who actually cares about the widening gap between the rich and poor, who doesn’t accept corporate donations, who walks his talk. And check him out at:

www.buckleyforcongress.com.

Lindea Bowe Kirschner

Ashland

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