On Feb. 23, the school board voted unanimously to go forward with Supt. Charlie Beck's revised school budget reductions, and while I'm thrilled that our children get to keep full-day kindergarten, some music and some PE, I am very disappointed that the closure of Pine Grove Elementary is still planned.
At Supt. Beck's request, the school principal personally presented several options to him that would keep Pine Grove open with a modified K-5 program and a reduced budget. So where is the justification for closing the school now? I think the public deserves an explanation of why these options were dismissed.
How about reduced hours for the district offices? Furlough days? The students have a two-hour early release nearly every other week. Why not close the district offices on these days? Teachers, students and athletes are doing their part to trim costs, so it stands to reason the top should, as well.
Pine Grove supporters were an impressive presence at the community forums and were praised for their polite and respectful comments. Perhaps if we'd made a little more "noise" we would have been heard! I think our respect has been mistaken for complacency, and they feel we're taking this closure pretty well. Where are our voices now?
To quote our Fight Song: "When the moon comes up and the sun goes down, Pine Grove will shine." So, Pine Grove supporters, let's shine on ...
Cindy Wells Blachly
Re: Parking solution (Our Readers Write, March 5). John M. Nesbitt has my vote for any office he chooses to run for.
Sean M. Palmieri
HRV play is well-done
"Is He Dead?" is well-directed, well-acted and well-done. Thank you, HRVHS students and staff, for a fine, fun evening of lighthearted entertainment.
Proud and professional
Recently, we had the extreme pleasure of a personal tour of the Cascade Locks Fire Station. Our tour guide was none other than the fire chief himself - Jeff Pricher.
It was volunteers' night for more training. They were preparing and bringing in food to enjoy before class. They spend hundreds of unpaid hours learning to be the best they can be.
We observed young men who were happy, dedicated and professional. The chief has done a wonderful job of teaching our volunteers, volunteers from other fire departments and the Forest Service.
Just as important, he has instilled pride in their work and dedication to our city. Pride by making sure that they have the equipment needed to save lives and property. Furnishing uniforms to be worn with pride, bunker gear to keep them safe, hanging photos around the fire hall (picturing them working on fires, accidents, rescue, etc.) showing just how much they have not only learned, but how proud and appreciated they are.
The chief also put together a great video of the volunteers doing their job - again instilling pride in a job well done.
So many supplies and necessary equipment have been donated or obtained through government grants. The department received an emergency medical trailer equipped to treat 50 people. Our fire chief is respected throughout the fire and rescue community. He is at the top of his game as fire chief, paramedic and fire marshal.
Why anyone would want to get rid of this dedicated individual is unbelievable. We should be immensely proud to have someone of his caliber in our city.
The entire fire department would be more than happy to show people around the station. Our safety depends on them and it is so important to support them. Thank you guys and gals for a job well done.
Carol Taylor and
CL, a service town
Last week there was a letter from a Portland commuter thanking Cascade Locks EMS for their help when she wrecked on Interstate 84. I would like to add a few thoughts of my own to the letter.
Cascade Locks Fire and EMS helps hundreds of travelers yearly, as do other departments in the Gorge.
Cascade Locks was founded as a service town. This is where pioneers had to portage around the rapids with the help from local portage camps. Then there was the building of the locks to help people get through the rapids; next came the Bridge of the Gods. The gas stations, restaurants and motels here primarily make their livings from travelers and tourists.
I once read an article in the Ford Institute Quarterly that talked about why they gave grants to rural communities. Quoting: "Some take for granted the value of rural communities to travelers. If a traveler has an accident or emergency on the vast majority of highways in Oregon, the first responder will likely be a trained volunteer with the local fire department.
"The same is true for those who visit and recreate in rural areas. Even small towns themselves can be a refuge for travelers when weather is bad, such as Cascade Locks on the I-84 in Hood River County."
I agree with the Ford Foundation; Cascade Locks is a refuge for weary travelers, especially in the past week. I know I can speak for the volunteers and their chief, by saying that they are proud to serve and help those in trouble on the freeway, trails, locally, or through mutual aid in the Gorge.
This is the way it should be; rural communities need to be responsible for helping commuters, travelers and recreationists, as well as their own communities!
Let women lead
Considering the chaos that exists in Egypt, Libya, the Middle East and (come to think of it) the entire world, I say it's time to replace our leaders with women (except for Sarah Palin). After millennia of raising children, women possess the perfect vocabulary to create and preserve world peace:
Go to your room and stay there!
I'm going to count to three. One, two…
I don't care who started it!
You need to learn to share.
I'll give you one more chance.
Let's all work together to clean this mess up.
Say "sorry" to your brother.
Let Mommy help.
Everyone has accidents.
Are you hungry?
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
See 'Is He Dead?'
I attended the play "Is He Dead?" by Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives this past weekend at the high school. The talent and choice of this play were extraordinary. There were 16 actors in the show and 25 in the crew and they all gave their heart and soul for this wonderful night of theatre.
Please don't miss the show this coming weekend at the Bowe Theatre at 7 p.m. It is about a painter faking his death to increase the value of his paintings.
Combining elements of burlesque, farce and social satire, the comedy relies on mistaken identities and romantic deceptions to tell its story. I guarantee you won't be sorry and you'll come away with a smile on your face.
Support our kids and the theater program.
Two recent letters expressed interest, re: auto transit and a related problem.
First from Jessica Mont-Eton (Jan. 29), titled "Share your ride," which had a tune (Mama sing base; Papa sing tenor) of encouragement from our local transit system.
Second, Mr. John M. Nesbitt (March 5) addressed the parking problem; an issue studied by "City Hall" in 2006 for a mere sum of $30,000. End result: zero.
The interest that these two residents expressed is needed of our Columbia Area Transit Board. Three of those positions are "up for grabs" right now and you must "throw your hat into the ring" soon.
I have visited their meetings (9 a.m., second Wednesday of each month or as noted in the legal column's fine print) at their new facility on Wasco Loop. Seating is limited.
In reviewing the board's minutes, I found a couple of interesting items on July 14, 2010. One: Director's request of permission to hire his wife for 30 hours to organize his filing system; then again in December of 2010 to "wrap things up." That's teamwork! Two: An approval to pay the bills which have already been paid. Does that fit into the category of an "oxymoron?"
This director may be the highest paid director in Hood River County and I haven't heard any of his board members make any suggestions toward transportation improvements. So get on board.
I encourage people to go check out the Hood River Valley High School theater department's production of Mark Twain's "new" play, Is He Dead? The play has a great young cast, ably directed by longtime teacher Rachel Harry, and beautiful costumes.
The show is a great mix of high-brow and low-brow humor, with some fantastic physical comedy. It's sure to be a reprieve from the late winter blahs and rain (and snow) that have plagued our valley.
The last two shows are Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, at 7 p.m. I know the Friday night show is going up against the Save Our Schools benefit, but why not show your support for a particular school program?
Or make it a two-fer weekend; Friday at the benefit and Saturday catch the closing night theatrics at the high school! Come check it out; you won't be disappointed!