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Letters to the Editor for August 24, 2011

August 24, 2011

Special people

I'm writing to say thanks to some terrific people who helped me after a serious bike accident I had two weekends ago on the Post Canyon trails.

We loved all of the riding we did in Hood River. It was the last day of a 12-day road trip before we headed home to Vancouver, British Columbia, and we thought we'd go for one last ride and then one last sail.

I misjudged my speed coming over a jump and fell over the handlebars and crashed into the dirt. I cracked my helmet in two places and broke my wrist and clavicle. Very quickly other local riders came to see how they could help.

We don't know everyone's last name but want to give special thank-yous to Drew, a local patroller, Zach, Ben, and Ben Meadows and his fiancé, Sarah. They helped get us and our bikes off the trail and organized a drive down to the ER. I'm not sure how this would have gone without your help - much more painfully I'm sure.

At Hood River ER we had terrific care. Cheryl Rutherford is a lovely and very gentle nurse, which means a lot when your collar bone is threatening to tear through your skin. Dr. Chadwick, not even on shift but just dropping by, was terrific and even drove Craig to our car at the trail base.

We headed back to Vancouver ASAP for surgery as soon as we picked up the pain med prescription. I had a pin put in my wrist and a plate and 10 screws put on my collar bone and things are healing quickly.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us a hand. This was my first time in Hood River but it is one of Craig's favorite places and I certainly see why. An outdoor mecca makes a place a destination but it's the people that really make it special.

I'd like to visit again as soon as possible. I can't even tell you how much we appreciate all the help we received. Thank you, thank you.

Jessica McLellan

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Mean town

Cascade Locks is a mean town. The same people have controlled it for years. They will not accept change. They do not want any newcomers upsetting their apple cart.

These same people are crying because they lost the middle and high schools. This town needs more children, but families have moved out of here. Also, they are crying about wanting new business in town. What a joke! New businesses would mean new people. Oh my, they might want to take over our town or join committees. We better let them know that they are outsiders and should go back where they came from.

This town, when you leave the main roads, is a mess. Anyone wanting to start a business in this town would drive around checking it out and would not give it a second thought. There is very little pride of ownership in this town. There is no place for newcomers to join in and perhaps have some new ideas for the town. Oh right, they don't want anyone else to speak up or have an idea.

Now there is a satellite group. They wormed their way into the hierarchy and are trying to overturn the present city council with one lie after another. A committee formed more than three years ago to investigate the city services is now being maligned. The committee has no power. It is merely an advisory and idea committee to help the council. They want to take over both. The question is why?

For one thing they are losing power. For another, they may not want their skullduggery to come to light. It is their way or the highway and they wonder why there is no economic development. Do they think people cannot read the paper?

Don't allow this group to undermine our town any more. Do not vote out a council that has worked very hard trying to straighten out the wrongs. They don't get paid and have families, jobs, etc. to take care of, but are donating their time to help this town. They have been maligned, insulted and called names by that precious few malcontents.

People outside this town think we are a joke. We are the laughingstock of this county. Wake up, Cascade Locks, and admit you are a mean town. Make some positive changes.

Think things have changed? Check out this link: http://aclu-or.org/content/bright-v-city-cascade-locks.

Carol Taylor

Cascade Locks

Retire/rehire saves money

I was dismayed to read Bob Danko's recent letter (Another Voice, Aug. 13) concerning rehiring retired school district employees. It is disappointing that he has decided to place his own personal political agenda above the needs of the Hood River County School District.

Since this is a political agenda, it's not surprising that he left out the half of the story that does not support his cause. However, it is unfortunate that the accompanying Hood River News article did nothing to fill in the gaps.

Had the entire story been included, we would have been informed that the district saves a significant amount of money for every employee taking this action. We would also have heard that there is really no effect to the PERS system. The only real risk taken is by the retiring employee who is betting that he or she is better off with money upfront rather than a greater amount later in retirement.

Why Mr. Danko is so upset about a practice that has almost certainly kept the district from making even greater cuts to its program and staff is a mystery to me and many others. Aside from the fact that he has been grinding this ax in board meeting after board meeting, this is truly a positive situation for the district.

If his intent was to divide the community to the detriment of the school district, he has accomplished just that - as evidenced by the responses in these pages.

Kelvin Calkins

President, Hood River

Education Association

Fund infrastructure

In response to "Blame spending" (Our Readers Write, Aug. 13) no doubt Mr. and Mrs. Brennan as "producers" are enjoying a nice pension, possibly even a government pension fund, from their years of work in our community.

I must point out that many of us do not happen to work in a profession with a guarantee of any pension. A lot of us do not make enough to incur the federal income tax! Does that make us "non-producers"? Think again, please.

Our work has contributed to the wealth of this community for 20 years. Our quality care for children allows their parents to work their jobs and pay their taxes. Most young families are not yet in a position to be able to fund any pensions. I guess we are stubborn, keeping the job we like, and are good at, when we might instead work at jobs considered important enough for business or government pensions. Perhaps then, we would be "real producers" and pay more taxes.

Federal tax is based on income. It should be based on wealth. The vast majority of wealth in this country is not earned, only accumulated, and then used to abuse our democracy. The true "non-producers" are the very rich who feel so "entitled" to the wealth this country showers upon them.

Tea Baggers' austerity programs are a far, far bigger squeeze on the public than the taxes they so knee-jerkingly complain about. The biggest squeeze of all is the bloated military budget. Would you honestly think it wise to spend 59 percent of your household budget on police protection? Fifty-nine-percent; let that sink in.

Our government would like us to believe that we are spending "only" 25 percent of our budget on "defense," with the rest on "entitlements." Not! Military spending is 59 percent if you put the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Nuclear Weapons Programs and various wars all in the same budget category as they should be. (Figures based on Obama's 2011 federal discretionary budget sent to congress in January 2010; see OneMinuteForPeace.org.)

Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined, if it were a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA?

We need far more "runaway spending" on the crumbling infrastructure of our country, providing jobs to people who need and want to be "productive," contributing to the common good. We are not arguing for less pensions, but for more. Cut the military, and, tax the wealth where it truly lies!

Karen and Keith Harding

Mount Hood

Fix CL situation

Cascade Locks started the new year with 20 volunteers and two awaiting training, and a highly regarded fire chief/paramedic.

Eight months later we find ourselves with a new interim chief and four volunteers, mutual aid agreements that will expire in days, and other volunteers who might also ask for a leave of absence.

What happened? The new council that assumed power exercised it poorly. They forced out our fire chief who now is a supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service; they insulted and demeaned the volunteers and their leadership. They put a chief in charge of the department who the volunteers had given a vote of no confidence, forcing the volunteers to put in for leaves of absence and resignations from the department in mass.

This affects more than the city of Cascade Locks; it affects public safety on I-84, containment of wildfires in the Gorge, and trail rescue in the Gorge; it puts strain on the surrounding agencies to respond to emergencies outside their normal coverage areas.

The volunteers had appointed three captains as interim chief to maintain our mutual aid agreements with other agencies; they were applauded in a letter from the Hood River County Defense Chief for taking this initiative.

For the good of the department and public safety I ask the city council of Cascade Locks, to appoint the three captains as chief of the department and find a permanent replacement for Chief Pricher or are recalled in the Sept. 20 election. Council, please correct the situation you've created.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

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