I was reading an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (http://xrl.us/bihhue) and it mentioned that there are plans to cut funding for Community Action to help provide those budget cuts the Washington politicians have been advocating. If you have been helped by Community Action, as thousands of people in the area have, you should be upset about this cut.
Community Action has helped the disabled, seniors and low-income people in this area since the late 1960s and has provided home weatherization, food assistance for the hungry, energy assistance for those who can't afford to heat their homes, and guidance for people who simply do not know what else to do or who to ask for help.
For the people in this part of the country this budget cut will be devastating. It may be too late already, but now is a good time for you to write to your congressmen and senators about doing something to help the low-income, seniors and disabled people who are struggling to survive in this area.
Tell them about how having your home weatherized has saved you from a cold winter and saved you money on your heat. Tell them about how energy assistance has kept your heat on when you couldn't afford to pay the utility bills.
Tell them about how the food services provided by Community Action made it possible for you to eat. Tell them about how kids in daycare in the area have decent lunches because of the programs sponsored by Community Action.
I worked with Community Action for over 20 years. I can't begin to tell you all of the services they have provided over the years. There have been many occasions when I was stopped by someone the agency had helped and they thanked me with smiles and sometimes tears in their eyes for helping them. Sometimes I was not the one who actually helped them, so I passed on those thanks to the rest of the people who did help.
I lost count of the many people who have been helped over the years, but it was always nice to know that Community Action was doing something to help and was worthy of thanks from the people who needed that help at some time in their lives.
If you are one of the people who were helped by Community Action, or if you just believe that the work they do is worth the comparatively small cost government budgets for their help, do something.
Write to your congressmen and senators. Tell them not to cut the Community Action budget. Tell them that they really need to increase that budget because now is the time people need them most.
Thank local dentists
The Hood River News has always done a fantastic job covering Give Kids A Smile Day. Thank you!
I wanted to share with you that I have volunteered for the last four years at La Clinica treating over 300 children. Part of my job was to ensure we have ample supplies to provide free dental work to the children of Hood River county.
I visited every single dental office in our town and each dentist generously supplied toothbrushes, floss, fluoride and rinses to hand out to the children. We also received generous supply donations from Burkhart, a dental supplier.
Recognizing that it takes an entire dental community to provide care is important for readers to understand and I would like to personally acknowledge them. Without everyone's help, we would be limited on the number of children we serve.
Your Hood River dentist cares! Thank you.
Julia Gonzales, RDH
I hope to not belabor this issue too much further, but gun control is too important an issue to allow confused thinking to prevail.
I feel that I must rebut the Bests' comments (Letters, Feb. 9) about the recent tragic shooting in Arizona with the following: To Sen. Giffords, the fact that this deranged individual had a semi-automatic pistol is of NO consequence at all. To further debate the details of bullet numbers really only serves to cloud the true issue here, which is we must all be responsible for our own safety!
It breaks my heart that the senator's security staff was so lax as to allow this rampage to begin with her shooting; and further, that it was allowed to continue at all. The real truth is that we have become a nation that believes so strongly in comfort and the rule of law that we have become complacent to a fault.
If any of us believes that another shooting like this one - another Columbine or worse - can be averted by restricting access to certain types of firearms, we are kidding ourselves, folks! Anyone involved in law enforcement or in personal security will tell you that if someone has evil of this magnitude in their heart, it is terribly hard to stop them.
It is a certainty that placing ownership restrictions that will only be honored by law-abiding citizens on some firearms will serve nothing but a further erosion of our God-given rights. Ben Franklin was fond of saying "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Ralph Lane Jr.
I would like to address Bill Mellow's Feb. 12 letter regarding the school district's budget problems. He said "It is disingenuous" for school district employees to claim to be interested in doing what is best for children if we are not willing to forgo pay raises and accept pay cuts.
I hope Mr. Mellow realizes that the district employees have already contributed five days' pay to the last budget crisis. I hope he realizes that my last salary increase does not cover the cost of rising out-of-pocket health insurance, which in way, is a pay freeze and for some, a pay cut.
I don't know what Mr. Mellow does for a living but I hope he puts his money where his mouth is and volunteers his own pay cut and freeze for the cause.
I am greatly offended by Mr. Mellow's accusations of district employees "talking out of both sides of (our) mouths." I would like for him to know that I am a proud high school teacher who is in this business because kids ARE my first interest!
Caring and sharing
The Alpha Gamma Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, a local community service sorority, would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for all the community support received in our most recent fundraiser. We raised over $3,000 for the Patty Ludwig Foundation, and $500 for a HRVHS student scholarship.
Businesses in Hood River and The Dalles donated goods and services to supply our 2010 raffle baskets, and members of the local community generously supported our cause by buying tickets for a chance to win one of the baskets.
We were able to make other donations through the year to the Waterfront Park, the Heroes Club for the Troops, and the Families in the Park, by selling baked goods this last summer at the Families in the Park events.
We are blessed to live in a community of people who commit their time and resources to make this a better place to live. Thank you for caring and sharing!
Alpha Gamma Chapter,
Beta Sigma Phi
After reading the article "Planning in Progress for Barrett Park" in the Hood River News on Feb. 12, we at PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs Inc.) felt compelled to ask the county planning committee to set aside some of that property for an off-leash dog park.
This is an especially dog-friendly area and to have a bona fide dog park where people can take their family companions to meet and greet others of their kind would be most beneficial - a great release of energy and the opportunity for socializing with other canines and people.
In talking to owners through our organization and as a volunteer who also works at the Hukari Animal Shelter, I've heard this subject raised many times over the years.
Anyone who cares to advocate for an off-leash area within the 32-acre park is invited to attend a public meeting on April 5 at the Hood River Valley High School at 6:30 p.m.
Cleo Sterling, PROD president
Kudos to Pricher
We'd like to recognize a public official, our fire chief, Jeff Pricher, and offer our thanks for the service he's doing for our city and for the people finding themselves in emergency situations along I-84, and for those in need of rescue on the Gorge trails.
Chief Pricher has a long list of accomplishments. He has been the eyes and ears of the city during the construction of our new fire station.
Chief Pricher has also provided the department with new needed equipment. He's secured grants for a new truck, to replace a worn-out 1973 vintage truck. He's recently got another larger brush truck to add to the department's off-road response.
He's acquired the only mass-casualty medical unit in the Gorge. He's started a training program for his new recruits, all of whom are volunteers, and works with a metro area community college to give some of their students on-the-job training, thus giving us overnight coverage without paying wages to cover the time.
Chief Pricher also participates in trail rescue work throughout the Gorge and works as our paramedic/EMT. He also heads the ambulance response group.
His organization does volunteer work during the holidays to ensure there is plenty to eat for those who need a hand. He's nationally recognized for his work in emergency response and as a member of the national response unit within the Department of Homeland Security; he's been called out to work at Katrina and other national and international emergencies.
Cascade Locks volunteers display a professional demeanor and are probably the best-trained and well-respected emergency response staff in the Gorge. We would like to thank him and wish him and his volunteers success and safety in the new year.
Bob Foley, Sherilyn Foley, Calvin Peck, Mimi Morrisette, Mike Daves, Arni Kononen, Lynne Kononen, Nancy Renault, Joe
Renault, James Dean, Sharon Dean, Jessica Bennett, Anne Holmstrom, Randy Holmstrom, Mary Hanson, Mark Hanson,
Debora Lorang, Brad Lorang, John Johnson, Sarah Knight, Susan Freeman, Cindy Ferris, Steve Gast, Kerry Jo Osbourn, Lorraine Massey, Chase Lorang, Michelle Perkins, Jean McLean, Stephanie Morris, Steve Morris, Ralph Hesgard, Patricia Hesgard, Patrick Stuart, Deb Sharp,
Dan Sharp, Jordan Osborne, Melisa Martin, Kayla Carron,
Virginia Koperski, Jeannie Massey, Rob Brostoff
Lead by example
All federal, state and local elected and appointed officials please lead by example:
1. Take a pay cut. 2. Work more hours. 3. Pay for your own health insurance. 4. Reduce your pensions. 5. Pay taxes on all income and all political contributions. 6. Do not exempt yourselves from the laws and regulations you put in place.
It's not a lot to ask but we must start somewhere.