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Letters to the editor for January 26, 2011

Jan. 26, 2011

Positive, passionate

I attended the Tuesday and Thursday night forums about budget cuts to Hood River School District.

I was impressed at both meetings by the thoughtful and creative solutions that were suggested by concerned members of the community. Even though times are tough and cuts must be made, the atmosphere in both meetings was positive and passionate, showing a sense of working together to make the most of a bad situation.

I am grateful to be living in a community where people come together to find solutions in a positive spirit.

Mary Hobbs

Hood River

Let's talk

Trying to peddle old carp for fresh fish? A seven-year-old administrative case and a slightly more recent complaint about a decision made on the advice of a lawyer, all this in the last 15 years?

Yes, Mr. Munkhoff, we've got trouble in river city. If you really wanted to talk to me, you saw me Friday at the council meeting; when we exchanged hellos you could have said something instead of playing this out in the newspaper. I've got a phone, and you see me around town; just ask Gary.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Equitable cuts

After attending last week's community forum at Hood River Middle School I wanted to offer this thought: Elementary is a stepping-stone into public education and if you haven't looked around lately the options in private schools here in our small rural community are growing. There is Horizon Christian, Mid-Columbia Adventist, New Vision up in Mt. Hood, and Little Oak across the river. Move to White Salmon with less taxes and you can put your child in school at Mill A or Trout Lake where the student to teacher ratio is something like 1:8 and 1:15 and still live five minutes from all the amenities Hood River has to offer.

Discussions about what we as parents value in education and how to best prepare our children for the future happens way, way, way before the dinner-table talk about affording college and applying for scholarships. Our conversations about where our daughter would take her first steps into education began at 6 months old. They continued as she played and was nurtured in pre-school, they still continue. Our decision to put her at May Street Elementary was a thoughtful, intentional choice based on the teachers, the community at May St. and what May St. was able to offer in an total educational experience.

With 58 percent of the 3.5 million in cuts coming out of the elementary schools I probably won't be the only parent questioning my daughter's future in public education here in Hood River. If you are at all worried about "losing" students to other schools I would not look at the middle school or high school students, I would head over to Jackson Park or Children's Park on a sunny day and check out the little kids playing there. It is their parents who are listening and waiting to see what we as a district and a community value in education. Please make the cuts equitable across the school district. Our children are all part of the same community. What we do now will impact their future.

Erika Rench

Hood River

Help for

Heroes Club

The Gorge Heroes Club would like to thank Ray Schultens Motors in The Dalles and Juanita's Fine Foods in Hood River for picking up the costs this month to ship care packages to our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was exciting for us to have realtor Rena Hunley issue the "Pay It Forward" challenge to other businesses last fall when she paid the bill for us to send holiday boxes to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Now we have been blessed with another month of support from the business community and we are hopeful the momentum will continue to build, since mailing expenses are the largest financial outlay that we face in our effort to keep morale high among the troops.

We are also very grateful for the continued and ongoing help from area residents who take the time to pick up snack and hygiene items while out shopping and drop them off at WAAAM in Hood River or The Dalles Armory so that we always have a lot of goodies to put in the boxes. We are able to fulfill our mission because so many people are doing their part to show our troops that they care. With 142 "military orphans" recently added to our roster, that support is doubly appreciated.

Thank you all for helping us take care of those on the front lines.

Terri Hansen

Gorge Heroes Club

Get on board

Relay for Life

Each July brings an opportunity to participate in an event that is dedicated to the fight against cancer. The 2011 American Cancer Society's Columbia Gorge Relay For Life (RFL) is being held July 16-17 at the Hood River County Fair Grounds.

Money raised during this event is used to fund research for cancer cures and treatment, as well as, assist patients and their families. One ceremony in the Relay is the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria. Some bags bear the name of someone who is a cancer survivor, while others help us honor and remember those lost. All represent someone who has been affected by cancer and the family and friends who continue to fight back in their honor.

RFL is an ongoing project that involves many local volunteers and sponsors in conjunction with an American Cancer Society coordinator. Some people may think that to be involved with RFL, one has to walk for long periods of time. In fact, there are many ways to participate without walking at all, such as joining the planning committee. So if you are unable or do not wish to walk, join the many great dedicated volunteers, as I have done, that plan and make this event such a success by becoming part of the planning committee.

You could also be a sponsor. There are several sponsorship levels and can consist of monetary or material donations. If sponsorship or committee roles do not appeal to you and you do not wish to be a team leader or member, please support the formed teams by making monetary donations to them.

RFL 2010 had 32 teams and raised $116,000! The goal for RFL 2011 is to have 36 teams and raise $120,000. Please help in the fight against cancer by supporting our community, friends, family and neighbors affected in one way or another by this horrible disease. The Columbia Gorge community can make a difference! The 2011 Relay For Life of The Columbia Gorge Kick-Off is Tuesday, Feb.8, from 6 to 8 p.m. It will be held at the Valley Christian Church, 975 Indian Creek Rd.

Sign your team up at or before Kick-Off and receive 50 percent off registration. There will be a spaghetti dinner, entertainment, guest speakers and door prizes! Join us for a great evening and learn more about how you can help make a difference in our community.

Online donations and team registration:

www.RelayForLive.org/columbiagorgeor

For sponsorship information contact:

Tony White, Sponsorship Chair

awhite@farmersagent.com or 541-386-1288

For more Information and to RSVP contact:

Veronica Moline, Team Development Chair

rjmoline@live.com or 541-490-1722

Robert D. Reeves, Sr.,

Media Chair

Hood River

Tragedy could be averted

I hope the gunman who caused all that tragedy in Arizona gets the death sentence. He has no business getting behind that gun and injuring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing all those innocent people, especially that little girl. Why didn't his parents see their son needed help and get the help he needed? Maybe this tragedy in Arizona wouldn't have happened and lives wouldn't have been taken.

Pam Smiley

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