Letters - September 11

Clean the Whoopdi

I sent the following letter to the Gorge Games event management one month ago and have not received a reply. With the Games now being broadcast on network TV it seems an appropriate time to submit my letter in a more public forum in an effort to elicit some response:


I recently rode the Whoopdi Trail and was disappointed to find over a dozen Gu, Cliff Shot and assorted other wrappers strewn along the entire length of the trail. I’ve been riding the trail for 10 years and we’re fortunate that SDS lumber has been such a cooperative host and landowner over that time. Leaving litter all over their property after the 24-hour race does not indicate to them we appreciate their generousity. With the amount of revenue the Games generate I trust you will find an extra $100 to have someone sweep the trail after next year’s event so the locals don’t have to.

Don Stevens

Hood River

‘United We Stand’

My name is Erik S. Parks and I was born and raised in beautiful Hood River. I am currently enlisted in the United States Navy as an Interior Communications Electrician. At this moment I am deployed overseas to help fight the “War On Terrorism.” I am writing this letter in response to a recent letter published in the Aug. 14 edition of the Hood River News titled “Don’t attack Iraq.” Everyone being entitled to their own views and beliefs, it is now my turn to voice an opinion on the war from an insiders view point. I am very disgusted with some of my fellow citizens and their views on the war. I am over here fighting on the behalf of all American citizens, protecting not only my own freedoms but yours as well. I agree with the President, we should attack Iraq! We need to get rid of Saddam before he has the opportunity to strike on us. I know I would feel safer knowing that Saddam is gone. Tell me one thing is it going to take another September 11 terrorist attack to open your eyes, are you going to have to lose one of “your” loved ones for you to change your mind, I sure hope not! How would you feel if it were your son, daughter, husband, wife or anyone of your loved ones that were deployed over here serving our great country. I don’t know about you but I want my son to be able to grow up and feel safe and not to have to worry about more terrorist attacks. My ship just recently visited Turkey which borders Iraq. When we pulled in and docked and were finally allowed to have liberty, we could not wear anything that was related to the United States of America for our own safety. A couple of sailors got beaten up just because they were from the United States, bet none of you heard about that, now did you? These incidents happen far too often and are facts not just stories or innuendo. Civilians, such as yourselves, go on without hearing or having knowledge of the aforementioned incident and other incidents I am not at liberty to disclose. One thing that I want to make a clear is that most of you probably haven’t ever been or never will be overseas to see first hand how Americans are treated. Most people in Eastern Europe and the Middle East hate the United States guts and if they know that you are an American they will harass you and shout obscenities. These types of things happen everyday over here and unless you are on the inside and see first hand the daily events and happenings in Eastern Europe and the Middle East you absolutely have no room to talk. In closing I would like to say thank you to those of you in my hometown of Hood River and everywhere else in the United States of America who are in support of and pray for the safe return of all of the sailors and soldiers currently deployed overseas.

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Erik S. Parks

U.S. Navy

No choice but change

I’ve been heartened to hear two speakers from this week’s Common Ground talks say that on their visits to Iraq and India, the local people welcomed them fully and said they separate individual Americans from the bad feelings they have about the U.S. government.

It’s not surprising that there are bad feelings though. Cheney’s heartless warcrazy hype is enough to chill anyone. The continuing attempt by the U.S. government to manipulate people’s fears with such regularity would be laughable if it didn’t carry such high international stakes. There needs to be a national citizen’s debate on foreign policy. And a demand for a diplomatic approach.

Go to www.moveon.org to read and/or sign various citizen petitions on Iraq, Palestine, Enron, war profiteering, bill of rights, and other timely issues.

Unfortunately, foreign policy is bound to energy policy, especially with Iraq being the second largest oil reserve behind Saudi Arabia. For enlightened energy policies, see Rocky Mountain Institute’s website (Amory Lovins and others). The average American household of 2,200 square feet emits 26,000 pounds of CO2 per year! An essay at that website explains ways to cut that amount significantly for households, businesses and industries in a profitable manner. For current and increasingly urgent future international and environmental reasons, there is no choice but to change.

Tom Hons

Hood River

Don’t use ‘band-aid’

I find it hard to believe that our school district is cutting days in order to save money. I make this statement because this decision has been made arbitrarily. There has been no discussion with the staff involved. This is bound to result in a lack of trust.

This past year the decision was made to cut the high school librarian to half-time in order to save the district money. This savings was spent by hiring a half-time basketball coach. In effect, there was no savings. I am sure that this resulted in many questions concerning the validity of other statements.

At this time we anticipate further cuts in state funding. I think that it is time for all of us to contact our senator and representatives and let them know that we would like a long term solution. The time for a “band-aid” solution is past.

One possible solution would be a sales tax with a credit given to all Oregonions. This could result in passing most of the cost to tourists. This idea could at least be researched.

Leonard Hickman

Hood River

Cheer-ful ideas

My buddies and I got together to drink some beer, look at the sunset, and solve the world’s problems. We came up with these momentarily brilliant and simple ideas to help the local economy:

1) Put your money in a local bank. There’s really only one, but fortunately it’s a good one.

2) Patronize locally owned businesses, and learn to give the kind of positive input which will tailor them to your needs.

3) Pay locally owned businesses in cash or with a check. This helps keep a percentage from going to Atlanta or wherever. (Watching where your money travels when it leaves your hands is the unifying theme here.)

4) Learn to be a gracious host to our out of town guests, learn to give good directions, yield to pedestrians, give bicycles some extra room, and smile. If you have trouble with the last one just pretend that you live in a beautiful place other people would be grateful to be.

5) Make local fruit a significant part of your Christmas gift giving. This is a gift people elsewhere are happy to get. It tastes good, it’s good for you and it won’t sit in the basement waiting for the spring yard sale.

6) Drink Full Sail Ale. It’s great, it’s big time local, and my buddies swear that used in moderation it stimulates positive thoughts like no other beer.


Ben Seagraves

Hood River

You’ll still shop?

You’ll still shop at my store, right?

First they sold office supplies and greeting cards, and I didn’t speak out because I’m not a stationery store owner. Then they sold nails, screws and plumbing supplies, but I didn’t pay any attention because I don’t own a hardware store. Now they plan to open a grocery store, and I’m glad because I’m not a grocery store worker and I like to buy cheap. I hear they might sell homes and office buildings, but I’m not worried because I’m not a realtor and I’ll end up with more when I sell. When they offer checking and savings accounts, I’ll sign right up because I’m not a banker and I’m sure they’ll pay more interest. Besides, I know if they sell what I sell or do what I do, you’ll still shop at my store and buy my services, right? Right?

Cindy S. Morus

Hood River

Vote for Measure 20

I have worked in the health education field for over a decade. In the process I have learned a great deal about big tobacco companies’ lies in their quest for enormous profits at the cost of millions of dollars and lives. Totaling more than automobile accidents, homicide, suicide, drug overdose and AIDS combined, tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control estimates tobacco use costs Oregonians $1.76 billion each year with $7.58 the taxpayer cost per pack. Based on studies of past cost increases, an additional 15,000 kids in Oregon will be prevented from becoming addicted to tobacco in the next 20 years, saving one third from a premature death.

On a personal note, I have watched the suffering tobacco use inflicted as it took the lives of my father-in-law (heart attacks/lung cancer) and father (heart attacks/leukemia).

I am voting in favor of Measure 20 since it will reduce tobacco use and the premature death and suffering it causes.

Maija Yasui

Hood River

A speaker to hear

If you were watching “Now with Bill Moyers” on Friday night, Aug. 30, you would have seen Frances Moore Lappé featured in his report on the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Lappé is widely recognized as an international expert on food and hunger issues, and she’ll be speaking Wednesday night, Sept. 11, right here at the Hood River Middle School at 7 p.m. She’s a dynamic speaker with a great deal to offer all of us. Admission is free, and child care will be provided at no cost.

Hood River itself was just mentioned in a report headlined “United for Peace: More than 100 ‘Peace Events’ in 36 States Planned for Week of Sept 11.” The story appeared at a terrific Web site, commondreams.org, which noted that “The events are taking place from the big cities of New York and Los Angeles to the smaller towns of Boise, Idaho, and Hood River, Oregon.”

Mark Nykanen

Hood River

Kids can create

With the start of school I would like to raise the issue of student fundraising. Years ago, neighborhood children came to me with candles or other such items they had made and were selling. Now, the candles weren’t as fancy or cheap as those I could buy in stores, nor did they always burn as smoothly, but I bought and burned them proudly. I knew I was participating in a process that benefited the community and was a learning experience for the students involved.

The nature of student fundraising has dramatically changed over the years. Instead of students producing a product, they tend more and more to rely on magazine subscriptions and commercially produced goods, such as candy or wrapping paper, to raise money. I understand that these methods may require less time and energy to produce, but to what benefit?

Let youngsters participate in the choice of age appropriate projects that allow them to plan, implement and market a product to raise funds. This can be making candles or birdhouses, baking cookies, putting on a show or sponsoring a dinner. There are many creative ways that students can raise money while learning life skills that will benefit them as adults, other than how to be salespeople and consumers for commercial enterprises.

If there are not enough parents to help with these projects, perhaps a call for assistance will stimulate the many retirees and others in our community to step up and volunteer their skills and time. It does not have to be a huge commitment, but the willingness to work on one project may lead some to want to help more. There is never a better time than NOW to show that we care and support our children.

Sandee Burbank


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