Letters - Nov. 5

Homecoming kudos

The students of Hood River Valley High School enjoyed another highly successful Homecoming week this year.

Community members allow students to take part in important high school experiences. Without their help, the parade and other homecoming activities would not be possible.

The student body would like to thank the people of Hood River County for all of the help they provide HRVHS every year.

Alex Evans

Hood River

Numbers overstated

In his letter of Oct. 29, Mike Brink states that the U.S. casualties in Iraq “are minimal compared to deaths of police officers doing their job here,” and goes on to mention “the thousands of police officers who die every year in our own country doing their job.”

Mr. Brink’s statements are quite exaggerated. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, only 153 U.S. police officers died in the line of duty during 2004.

Guy Fenner


Stop Medicare caps

Unless Congress steps in and repeals legislation due to take effect Jan. 1, I am going to be a witness to real suffering among some of our frailest citizens, our elderly. This is when Medicare patients will come under a $1,700 cap on all speech-language pathology and physical therapy services combined.

As a health care professional, I serve older Americans with degenerative neurological diseases and disabilities stemming from strokes or head trauma. While many of them would simply like to carry on, attempting that is usually very difficult. The people I see have a hard time swallowing, talking, or communicating.

The return of the therapy cap will leave many elderly facing a cruel “talk or walk” choice – in order to stay under the cap, they will have to decide if they want to receive speech-language pathology or physical therapy services.

For our seniors under Medicare, this development will be senseless. The cap could easily force those who hit the financial limit to need more dependent and costly care, and likely hospitalization. None of this will happen, though, if Congress would end this arbitrary and irrational Medicare policy.

Congress can’t delay. Time is running out and we must avoid giving our elderly a choice that cuts them off from critical services.

They deserve so much better. We need to adopt health care measures that ultimately reap benefits for society instead of fostering indirect but significant costs that everyone will have to pay for years to come.

Michael Fleming

The Dalles

Confusing article

Why is everything so confusing? Front page article on Walden’s focus on salmon (Nov. 2) says, “But the Endangered Species Act doesn’t say that you can harvest a protected species except as an ‘incidental take.’”

Huh? What the heck does that mean? And then later in the article it says: “He said the discussion may broaden to include Canadian officials, since 27 percent of Snake River Fall Chinook are harvested by the neighboring country.”

How is it that Canadians are harvesting 27 percent of the Snake River Fall Chinook, when the Snake River never gets even close to Canada? Is there another Snake that doesn’t originate in Wyoming?

And 27 percent? Where does this figure come from? Then the next sentence continues: “That equals the amount of fish taken from the ocean by gill netters along Washington, Oregon and California.”

I can’t tell whether Mr Walden made this statement, or Hood River News made the statement, but whoever made it, it then becomes clear that 54 percent of the Snake River Fall Chinook have been accounted for, leaving only 46 percent remaining for “roving seals and sea lions,” all other commercial and sport fishers, and who knows how many percent actually get to reproduce.

The last time I wrote a letter to Rep Walden, I inquired about what was the reason for obtaining federal money to study the need for a parallel road/bridge over the Hood River, near I-84. I got a letter back from him saying “thank you for your inquiry about Medicare …” not a word about a road/bridge.

Paul Kollas

Hood River

A Wi-Fi win

Well, since Hood River County is not able to get all the free broadcast channels for television that other counties have; let’s get a Wi-Fi network of high speed wireless Internet for all. I hear Portland wants to do this — like many other cities in the world. Sounds like the installers will pay the costs. Win-win-win.

Paul Nevin

Hood River

Circle of thanks

As a Helping Hands board member, I want to thank the paper for the Oct. 26 editorial about the pie contest.

It really is a delightful community event, and is a great support and PR time for Helping Hands. I like the circle simile. It is through the support of the community that we are able to do the work we do.

Shannon Perry

Hood River

Exaggerated figures

I don’t know where Mike Brink got the statistics he used to compare the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq with the number of police officers killed in the line of duty in the U.S. (Our Readers Write, Oct. 29), but they seemed a little out of whack to me.

After a quick Internet search, I found the number of LOD deaths for police officers in America from 1993 through 2004 was 1,649, an average of 165 per year. I got these numbers from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Web site at www.nleomf.com, if anyone is interested in more details.

I am in no way detracting from the importance of the duties our law enforcement personnel perform, nor am I trying to draw any comparisons regarding the significance of one death over another. In my opinion, any death in the service of one’s country should be equally valued and honored, no matter the soil on which it occurs.

The point to be made is at an average of 165 deaths per year, it would take over 12 years to equal the 2,000 lives lost thus far in a war being fought under false pretenses. Mr. Brink’s numbers make for an emotional plea, but, like many assertions we hear regarding the war in Iraq, they are untrue.

Don Stevens

Hood River

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