I'd like to thank Hood River Valley High School's music and drama departments for giving us all such a singular gift of art - "Avalon: A Steampunk Musical."
An automaton canary, a wizard, pagan goddesses, steam-powered ambition, a fairy ballet and a whole lot of creative young people - what's NOT to love?
Did I mention the love story and the live music?
Home owners in Hood River County:
My friend's tax statement this year listed a real market value nearly identical to the previous year - as if the falling housing market of the last years never happened.
The county did assess the house value as dropping about half; then inexplicably increased the land value by more than double.
November 2010 - House: $150,000 and Land: $50,000 ($200,000 total); November 2011 - House: $90,000 and Land: $110,000 ($200,000 total).
Check your tax bill; if, like my friend and I, you find assessment values that appear to be hallucinations, then appeal your tax bill using the on-line BOPTA Form 2012.pdf.
Last Tuesday evening, I witnessed a wonderful random act of kindness at Hood River Valley High School. I watched a very exciting boys soccer play-off game.
The game was tied 2-2 and after double overtime, the game was decided by a very tense round of shootout goals in which Hood River lost after the opposing goalie stopped one of our player's well-placed shot.
Of course our player felt terrible as he walked back to the center of the field, knowing that we had lost our chance to advance in the state play-offs. Then one by one the rest of his team met him halfway back from the goal and hugged him.
I heard one fellow player say, "Hold your head up," letting him know that he had nothing to be ashamed of. It was a moment of pure kindness and compassion that I will always cherish.
We need new representative
Wanted: Someone to fill this job description for District 2, U.S. House of Representatives. Republican or Democrat or Independent, please apply.
This job requires someone with high integrity, personal fortitude and an open mind. Consensus-building skills are a "must."
Is there someone who connects the dangerous disintegration of family with poverty? Is there not someone with compassion and concern for the working person and the young adults struggling to find employment? Someone who actually has real experience of this much larger world beyond our borders? Someone dedicated to peace with strength and who believes in National Service for our youth - with forms of service other than the military?
We desperately need a Representative committed to leveling the playing field of opportunity for our growing mass of unemployed, underutilized, rural young, as well as for the rest of us.
Is there not someone who understands that care of this God-given earth is a moral issue for Christians and other people of faith and not mutually exclusive to economic progress and wellbeing? Someone who has a vision for our future other than ever-lower taxes, gutting our government and a less-diverse, more-polluted environment? Someone who can devise a way to put our forests back to health and production?
Rep. Walden has had 20 years in the House and it's evident he has come up short in all these categories.
We need someone who remembers Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower favored much higher taxes on the 5 percent top earners and that those taxes and a well-run government provided Middle America with many of the things we need most. If there is no middle class left, there will be no recovery - ever.
Make no mistake, Rep. Walden is a good, honest man, loves his family and loves Oregon, but his lock-step 99 percent voting record for Republican ideology and for our two most recent wars is leading us into a much bigger hole.
We can do better. Is there not someone credible to lead us forward?
Learn about suicide risk
Each day in the U.S. approximately 90 people take their own lives, leaving behind loved ones to struggle with the loss, grief and all of those questions that begin with "Why . . .?" In 2010 there were 675 deaths by suicide in Oregon alone. This is a significant increase from the annual average of 550.
Too often survivors of suicide loss believe the death of their loved one is somehow shameful or that they or their family are to blame. But research shows that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying, although not always diagnosed, psychiatric illness at the time of their death, most often depression.
The holiday season can be particularly difficult for survivors. To help, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's International Survivors of Suicide Day will be held Nov. 19 in more than 250 cities around the world, including here in Hood River, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital boardroom.
There will be a 90-minute DVD shown which includes a blend of information resources and question and answer panels with experienced survivors and mental health professionals. The program is also available online.
For more information visit www.afsp.org/survivorday.
'HR Has Talent'
Mark Steighner continues to amaze. His latest creation, "Avalon," is stunning.
The talent in the high school is impressive, but this play goes beyond that to local musicians for the orchestra, dancers of all ages for special scenes and a great group of backstage technicians to make it all work.
This one knocked me out! Don't miss it.
Prepare to tuck "Joy into your Heart!" The musical "Avalon," performed by the HRVHS performing arts, "Knocked my socks off" - it's sensational!
Thank you, Mark, cast, crew and orchestra! You're Awwwwwwwwwesome!
"Don't let the moment pass!" "Avalon" - "Heart be still!"
Don't miss 'Avalon'
Mark Steighner has written and also directs the musical, "Avalon." It is just superb: the music, costumes, set design and live orchestra. The student vocal talent in the play is beyond any expectation.
If you don't get to see it on the 18th or 19th, (the last weekend) you've missed a truly memorable experience.
The level of Mark Steighner's ability and the quality of his play is stunning. Best high school musical I've seen.
Vote no on expansion
That's right, vote no for the planned expansion at the current Hood River Walmart site. That's just what we need; vote no; no more competition.
How many of you are tired of going to the store and seeing the price of ground beef up to $5 a pound, the same with skinless chicken. Through the roof.
When you're on a limited income or just a working stiff trying to get by if the utilities don't get you then the markets are the next best place.
My family was born and raised here in Hood River; my parents lived on Sherman Street for 40-plus years. In blew the windsurfing with that tourism and Hood River has never been the same. Home prices skyrocketed; rent out-of-sight; nowhere for the working class to live.
I was raised that your handshake and your word was good enough for most everyone; not now. It used to be that when you started a game you didn't change the rules in the middle. Rezoning, I don't like Walmart! What about the people who shop there every week that should say something about Walmart.
Bottom line: Changing the rules in the middle of the game; shame on you. Just stifle more competition.
Herman Cain denies any sexual harassment against any of his accusers. He also says he believes that waterboarding is not torture. Therefore, I suggest that Herman Cain be waterboarded to determine if he is telling the truth or if he flip-flops like Mitt Romney!
Walden's ad is surprise
Congressman Greg Walden warns us in a large ad in the Oregonian that President Obama is going to "tax our Medicare benefits." I find this breathtaking in its hypocrisy.
Hood River's favorite son has voted to spend money on expensive and endless wars, to cut taxes for billionaires, and has sabotaged health care for all Americans, including children, so his warning comes as a surprise.
I will admit that my own congressman, in Washington state, isn't much better on the issues. Still.
White Salmon, Wash.