Cascade Locks is known as the "Heart of the Gorge" because of its location on the Columbia River. It is also known for its extreme weather.
More recently the city has been defined as "on the verge of bankruptcy" (Don Haight, councilman) and as a "small, impoverished city" (Randy Mislick) that does not need a paid fire chief or part-time paramedic.
I have lived in Cascade Locks for four years now and have been involved in many community activities. My observations of Cascade Locks are that the city is poised for economic development due to the foresight and planning of the past two city administrators and the port manager.
The city is small, with 1,000 or so citizens, yet is unlike most small cities in Oregon. Cascade Locks has an electric company, a CATV system; is an Internet provider; has a modern sewer system and treatment plant; and a water treatment facility. The city also can boast about its port and the huge draw of tourists for the Marine Park and Sternwheeler.
The port is working on new mountain bike trails, expanded sailing beach, and a kiteboard launch site. We are home to Bear Mountain and soon the port will have a site for new businesses to occupy.
Our fire department has become a model for other cities and is a selling point for business development and tourist activities. We have highly trained paramedics, trail rescuers, and state-of-the-art equipment (at little cost to the community) to provide mutual aid to surrounding communities. Our fire department is self-sufficient due in great part because of the medical services it provides.
Cascade Locks citizens are generous people who take care of each other, volunteer, work hard and extend a welcome to all those who pass through, whether they are coming off the Pacific Crest Trail, attend Sternwheeler Days or come for the fireworks.
It is my opinion that the people here in Cascade Locks are the reason the city is known as the "heart of the Gorge." The community has worked for more than 20 years to build a new fire station and is proud of its accomplishments.
I hope our new council members will consider the impact the fire/EMS services have on our community and its future.
Sarah J. Knight
It is time for the city council to put someone from the county on their council. Do you realize how many decisions they make affect everyone in this county? We in the county have no representation whatsoever.
They, the city, have someone on the county commission board to represent them. Maybe it is time to take a look at the State Constitution Article XI 2a.
House Republicans have put forth plans to cut domestic agency spending for the balance of 2011 by 9 percent. Their own congressional spending will be cut by only 2 percent. Based on a whole year the cuts amount to 16 percent and 3.8 percent.
The domestic agency cuts will add tens of thousands of federal employees to the unemployed list. In addition it will make big cuts in heating and housing subsidies for the poor, reduce grants to schools and law enforcement agencies and slash the IRS budget.
It appears the GOP congressmen and women love past congressional budget increases, i.e. their own federal spending, just fine. Slash every other federal agency spending but to their own make only token cuts.
This is not only congressional Republican NIMBY but also blatant hypocrisy.
Gary J. Fields
Kudos to Community Ed
I was happy to see the Kaleidoscope piece by Janet Cook (Feb. 16) on the tremendous efforts of Community Education. My hat is off to the staff for the support, encouragement, patience and flexibility they've shown me in putting together the Country Living Series, sponsored by the Rockford Grange.
I also want to give a shout out to all the instructors. The amount of time and energy they put into their classes is phenomenal.
There is an incredible pool of educated, talented, skilled community members who, mostly out of the goodness of their hearts and passion, share their knowledge with the rest of us and our children.
Just another part of our community that makes it strong and viable!
One of the costs of war is the deception sovereign nations use in inciting their citizens to take up arms. Deception can be intentional or unintentional, but always involves withholding relevant information from the public.
In his recent book "War is a Lie," researcher David Swanson documents hundreds of now-confirmed facts that were either hidden or distorted in their time, facts that led nations, including the U.S., into war. While not claiming these omissions and distortions to be the only cause of war, Swanson makes a strong case that most modern wars would not have been fought without public deception.
This should give us pause for reflection. What if all secret or "classified" information were publically available? I must admit that the recent publication of the "WikiLeaks" is troubling to me as it makes vulnerable Iraqi and Afghan citizens who have worked for and cooperated with U.S. Forces. We promised them that their identities would remain secret, and now they and their families may suffer as a result.
As the WikiLeak situation suggests, however, we are coming into a time when modern communication technology - Internet hacking, cell phone photos, spy satellites, drones, etc. - will be able to blow the cover on most national secrets, past and present.
Yet, I'm not sure that would be a bad thing, on balance. People will suffer, some innocently. A lot of us will have to face up to the sins of our past and present. But that's the price of the new state of transparency to come - a state not always of our own choosing!
As Jesus predicted, "Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and whatever you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops." (Luke 12:2-3)
What we are seeing now in the streets of Cairo, Tunisia, Yemen and Paris is probably the precursor of the next revolution. Not only a technological revolution, but hopefully a democratic one. The cost will be high, but we have no choice but to bear it.
David C. Duncombe
White Salmon, Wash.
Pay cuts not
I do not agree with Mr. Mellow (Our Readers Write, Feb. 12) that wage cuts for school district employees is the answer to our school budget shortfall. These are caring, dedicated people who work hard to help our children learn. They are not overpaid. It would probably be extremely difficult for most of them to survive on less money than they receive now.
My parents taught school, several of my friends are teachers and I volunteer in my grandchildren's elementary school classrooms. I can tell you firsthand that most teachers put in many, many more hours than they are paid for, including working on holidays and vacations. In addition, they often purchase materials for use in the classroom out of their own pockets.
Before we call on school district employees to take wage cuts, perhaps we should be willing to donate some of our own time and money to help our schools.
As a grandparent and a citizen of Hood River County, I appreciate all of the wonderful people who work so hard to educate our next generation. Thank you and God bless you!