Letters - February 12

A Marine writes

My name is James Fox, and I am writing to issue a correction about an article you printed about me (Feb. 8) in the Hood River News. In the article it said that I am part of Lima Company Third Battalion, Third Marine Regiment. What was printed was a mistake from the military Hometown News Release service. Actually I never served with Third Marine Regt. I was only on ship with Lima Co. for a few months last summer. For the past 18 months I have been a part of Third Intelligence Battalion Third Marine Expeditionary Force.

Currently I am attached to Marine Forces Korea serving at the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea. My military occupation specialty is Geospatial Intelligence, which is a jack of all trades encompassing terrain analysis, cartography, military GPS, and geodetic surveying. The absolute irony is that I told my geography teacher to his face that I would never have a use for the things he was trying to teach me.

You may ask why I would bother to write this letter. Every day I see young men and women serving our country feeling as if they are missing out on things back home. This is why I applaud the Hood River News for trying to stretch our community’s links across the globe. It is certainly appreciated by us overseas to know our community is thinking of us. However, it’s sometimes hard to keep up where servicemembers are currently at in today’s world. I’ve personally seen 10 countries in the past year, so the easiest way to keep track of us is to ask our families.

I graduated Hood River Valley High in the same class as Noah Smith, and I send my prayers out for him and his family. My parents are Dick and Lana Fox of Pine Grove.

Thank you for your appreciation.

Lt. Corporal James Fox,

United States Marine Corps

Age difference

RaeLynn Gill’s story about Duane Simonds was interesting, but you need to check your arithmetic. You say he is 71 years old. That means he was born in 1931 or 1932. If he joined the Army in 1943, as your story says, he was either 11 or 12 years old.

Could it be Mr. Simonds is 81 years old? I’m 71 and I know the Army would not have taken me in 1943, even if I had asked!

Hugh Garrabrant

Hood River

Editor’s Note: Duane Simonds is 81 years old.

Don’t start war

I object to Richard Lee (Feb. 8 letter) stating the reasons others of us object to pre-emptive war against Iraq. That’s called “setting up straw targets” for easy shooting. For me, the prime reason is that I am very reluctant to have our democracy initiate a war. I do not feel the Bush administration has made a compelling case at the U.N., particularly when they present what looked like undated, still photos to allege that the Iraqis are moving weapons just before the inspectors arrive. And now we have England circulating very misleading and exaggerated “intelligence,” just copied from the media. Unfortunately, even democracies lie to their people. See Ike and (pilot Gary) Powers’ U-2 incident. Why are we not near as concerned about North Korea, which has admitted to having weapons of mass destruction. Because they have no oil? And why are we so determined to make a much worse case than the inspectors have to date? Is Bush anxious to make up for his father’s failure to pursue Iraq’s army after we had run them out of Kuwait? These, concisely put, are my reasons. I know others who oppose an attack on other grounds. We are not chicken nor disloyal nor stupid. We supported our roles in Kuwait, Japan and Germany.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Let CL decide

Last week I was at work and a gentleman from Cascade Locks was talking about the casino issue. He mentioned he has lived in Cascade Locks for the past 13 years and when he first moved to Cascade Locks there were more businesses then what they have now.

He said he was in favor of a casino and then he told us why and I have to say I was very surpised at what he said. He said the people of Cascade Locks have no other option but to support a casino because there has been no other real interest from other companies to bring jobs to the area. He asked if we ever drive through Cascade Locks, and he said it’s depressing, there is nothing there. He told us that their kids go to school and graduate and leave and don’t want to come back to the area because there is no future for them and the last thing they want to do is come back to Cascade Locks.

He also stated things aren’t getting any better either with talk of possibly closing the school and with businesses in town struggling. He said that people in Cascade Locks are depressed because there has been no development there in the last 10 or so years that’s worth getting excited about.

Another good point he brought up was all the No Casino people and Friends of the Gorge don’t want a casino but why don’t they try to bring in some other employment. If they are so worried about the casino and the beauty of the Gorge then lure something else to Cascade Locks that they think would help to the community. I agree with him 100 percent; let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Cascade Locks residents. They live there, they know what it’s like. If there has been no progress in that town for the past 10 years and with no hopes of anything in the future, I probably wouldn’t want to let an opportunity pass by to get employment into the area. So I guess what I want to say is that if they want a casino in their town, who is the No Casino, who are the of people of Hood River, to say what they can and can’t have in Cascade Locks?

It is a city of its own and it’s like when people that don’t live in Hood River tell us what should and shouldn’t go in our town. Most people get mad and say “you don’t live here so you have no say in the matter.” The same goes for Hood River residents. I don’t think we should tell them what they can and can’t have in their town.

Sal Rivera

Hood River

‘A sentinel’

This letter was sent to the Planning Commissioners of Hood River County:

Mt. Hood. Wy’East.

A beacon. An Oregon landmark. A sentinel. For those of us who live here, a reminder of what is great about our state. A mountain to revere, to find solace in and tread upon respectfully.

The fact that I am called upon to write this letter in opposition to vacation homes, golf courses and swimming pools on such an important piece of the earth is sad beyond words. Yes, there is the staggering amount of water needed to maintain a golf course and resort. Not to mention the harsh ecological impact the growth, the people, the fertilizers, and the pesticides will have on the surrounding area and wildlife. And consider this: we are faced with yet another year of drought due to insignificant snowfall. Which is due to strange weather patterns which are directly related to global warming and which will not go away. And we want to put in another ski area? Another development?

Is it wise to put yet another strain on an already taxed environment?

Is it wise to build when what is already there is more beautiful and more useful than anything any man or woman could possibly conceive of?

We are privileged to enjoy the world for the short time we are allowed to visit here. Let’s leave the mountain the way we found it. For once, let’s not think about profit, or our second, or even third home, or our golf game. Let’s think bigger and broader and more responsibly than that. Let’s think of what it will mean to the generations to come, long after we’ve passed on, to have the same experiences we’ve had — to know the beauty and strength and mystery of Mt. Hood. To gaze upon it during an evening sunset and be awed, not met with lights of developments. To hike its trails in peace and wonder and listen to cascading mountain streams, not sprinklers. And to glimpse an untouched paradise and then to pass it on. Let us not degrade or cheapen this natural wonder.

Is nothing sacred?

It should be.

It can be.

It is. Right now.

And we can choose to keep it that way for everyone.

Jill Tomlinson


Act responsibly

To the Legislators of the State of Oregon:

The State of Oregon, like many government entities, has struggled with the financial woes of a declining economy. As a business owner, I fully appreciate the difficult decisions necessary to bring income in line with expenses. Yet my expenses only expand to the income generated by my business. I have been forced to make reductions, seek cost saving opportunities and frankly just struggle for survival.

It has become apparent to me that the legislature of the State of Oregon has performed poorly over the past six years in their vain attempts to deflect their duties (formulating a budget) to the people. It is unacceptable to solve the problem by raising taxes. We, the voters, keep telling you this. Multiple attempts to enact a sales tax have been rejected. Various incidental taxes and fees have been increased through your efforts. The latest attempt was to encourage the citizens to increase their income tax for the next three years. The voters are telling you to act responsibly with the substantial amounts of money at your disposal.

I am proud that we, the people, have not succumbed to your blackmail. It is deplorable to weaken the public “hot” issues (education, police and penal systems) as justification for the increased revenue ventures. I noted with interest the surcharge placed on student’s accounts before the Measure 28 vote announcing that it would be removed if voted in. This is criminal.

State government has grown at a faster rate than the business in Oregon. It is high time government responds to fiscal responsibility through prudent planning.

Should the legislature fail to provide a budget that is balanced for this year and the coming years, we (the people) should diligently fight for a new slate that will perform their duties as elected.

Our elected officials are paid a handsome salary to perform. It is time they review your duties, accomplish them and discontinue their political sidestepping to the public.

Charlie Vanden Heuvel

Hood River

Love, not fear

To Fear or Not to Fear...

At the Hood River Valley Adult Center Board of Directors’ meeting on Jan. 21, the thought that most impressed me was the suggested “fear of a lawsuit” if someone publicly wrote a blessing — i.e. God Bless — on a message board together with the menu for the Thanksgiving dinner.

Some of the definitions of fear in my dictionary are: an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, anxiousness or concern, and reason for alarm due to over-anticipation. Fears are manipulated by media, politicians and others with fear-producing experiences.

We often over-anticipate events and then panic (take action) over which we might be wrong. A fearful society builds barricades of false security. As an example, during WWII the U.S.A. (our country) incarcerated many of our neighbors and friends (the Japanese) in concentration camps because of a fear of their race.

It was fear that made so many Christians go underground in China, in Russia and in many other countries — fear of persecution.

Evil permeates our world and it is no wonder that people are often fearful. However, I fail to see why, in a free country, we need to be afraid of someone suing us for praising God, when this country was established for religious freedom. Something is terribly wrong in our U.S.A. when fear takes precedent over expressions of public praise and prayers.

To overcome fear, we must think more about love. Love for one’s neighbors and friends.

Mildred B. Goe


Games are needed

Thanks to Dave Leder for a timely update (Feb. 5) on the Gorge Games, and for reminding us that we all really care about keeping it alive. There are many reasons to care about the Games. We build community with this gusto celebration of everything we play. We also create a national image for the Gorge, and this makes the Games a powerful tool for shaping our future. The Games are probably the best marketing vehicle the Gorge has to invite visitors and outdoor industry businesses to the Gorge.

As a new outdoor industry business owner in town, I can enthusiastically endorse Hood River and The Dalles as supporting communities for new companies. The support we have received from Columbia River Bank, local businesses, Hood River News, Mid Columbia Economic Development District, the Columbia Gorge Community College, and the local talent pool makes Hood River’s growing outdoor industry cluster a very attractive place for new businesses. Local businesses can proudly portray this image to the entire U.S. through their support of the Games, and help create economic opportunities that are consistent with local values.

TEVA will launch the Mountain Games in Vail, Colo., this June, inspired by the Gorge Games. The Town of Vail has jumped behind the event in ways we could probably learn from. And the lesson would be timely, since it is likely that Hood River will have to show its commitment to make the Games happen this year. Last year’s Games sponsors made big shifts in their support programs this year, and the Games were not the only event to suffer a pullout. This is our chance to show support for our local event.

The Games represent almost a decade of identity, tourism dollars for the local community, and marketing potential for the Gorge. We will be proud to join other local businesses and organizations in supporting the Games this year, and in future years, as the Gorge’s own unique celebration of the lifestyle we love.

Mark Flaming, Lava Gear

Hood River

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