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Letters to the editor for Oct. 1, 2011

Kids triathlon a success, Heights beautifed, know facts about coal transports, more...

Cleanup costs

Dear Mt. Hood toilet users: $7,500 a month savings won't take care of the cleanup for a rest stop without toilets.

Please check with the state of New York. They have rest stops without bathrooms - lots of paths.

If you don't have an imagination, you won't get the picture.

Tom and Georgia Manfull

Hood River

Creating jobs

I read with interest the letter from Bill Caldwell about the placement of shopping carts. He is absolutely right. You should not leave carts on the sidewalk where someone could have trouble navigating around them. Thank you for the reminder.

However, I always make a point of leaving my shopping cart way out on the edge of the parking lot because they have to hire someone to round them up. When I drive away it makes me feel good to know that I just created more jobs than President Obama.

Mike Farmer

Hood River

Kids' triathlon a success

If there was any question what an amazing community the Hood River Valley is, there is no longer. The evidence can be found in the many pictures and stories from the first Gorge Kids Triathlon.

The triathlon was a collaborative fundraiser for May Street, Mid Valley, Parkdale and Westside Elementary PTOs to support fitness, health and nutrition for our kids. Members from each school put in many volunteer hours to make the triathlon a reality.

As always, local businesses stepped in with monetary and in-kind sponsorships. Parents and friends came out to volunteer, support and encourage the kids.

I can't thank these groups enough. It will be a long time before I forget the positive attitudes of the parents, the smiles on the kids' faces and the great scene down at the waterfront park that day. See you next year!

Chris Reitz

Hood River Heights beautified

Rosauers: Love the tree and new plantings in the parking area! The trees will make many a happy walker by providing great shade (eventually), beautiful color and aesthetics.

Nice work beautifying the Heights. I hope other businesses - new and old - follow suit.

Samantha Irwin

Hood River

Know facts of coal transport

Let's just say no to coal export terminals on the West Coast!

In a few years we can all look forward to cleaner air once the coal-fired electric plants at Boardman, Ore., and Chehalis, Wash., are retired. Do we truly want to negate the health benefits of these closures by accepting the transport of uncovered coal cars through our communities?

Ambre Energy and Peabody Energy expect that it will take 14-20 more coal trains per day to supply the start-up demands of their proposed export terminals. All these uncovered trains will run on the Washington BNSF tracks; approximately one an hour when combined with the current trains to Chehalis.

Currently trains, including the coal carriers, get sided for hours at a time with the diesel engines running; imagine how often this will happen if 14-20 more trains are running daily. The diesel fumes from the engines, combined with the coal dust, are a significant health risk; especially considering that this coal is from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

This coal is "extremely friable and will break down onto smaller particles independent of how it is handled," according to a technical article by Roderick J. Hosferd and Rock Hart. A 1993 study by Simpson Weather Associates on coal similar to PRB found there was a loss of "up to a pound of coal per car per mile throughout the entire transport," including "significant quantities from particles" emitted on the return of the empty cars.

Increased diesel fuel and coal dust pollution can cause an increase in the rates of asthma, COPD and chronic bronchitis among the communities along the rail lines. If you agree that coal transport is not a good choice for the residents of our communities, then please write to your respective governors and to Peter Goldmark, the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands.

Kathy Pierce

Dallesport, Wash.

No 'backyard operation'

This is in reference to Dan Baxter's letter in the Sept. 28 paper, "Shades of Reefer Madness."

Mr. Baxter, as a true supporter of our law enforcement I do not see your statements, as you put it, respectful of the police/sheriff's department. Dripping with sarcasm, you dismissed serious public safety issues.

I take exception to your outright flippancy when it comes to the safety of those sworn to protect your rights and the rights of all gardeners and reefers. Specific points were made that I would like to address:

Really, a thousand plants "may be the size of a suburban backyard" garden? A grower with a permit to grow medical marijuana in Oregon is allowed to have six mature plants for three legal patients plus six mature plants for him- or herself. That is only 24 mature plants in the backyard garden of a "legal" Oregon licensed grower.

If you are truly in support of law enforcement please report the details of the 1,000-plant garden in somebody's suburban backyard.

Oh, and about the last DTO operation in the county being eradicated in 2004: Did it ever occur to you that maybe the general public is not privy to everything law enforcement is investigating? Confidentiality ensures the integrity of the case.

Finally, NEVER, even in our liberal state, is it legal or acceptable in any way to pillage in the national forest by having a "backyard garden" on public lands. Critically dangerous incidents occur every year in the national forests of the Northwest.

The great lengths Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) go to in order to protect their multi-million dollar investments are real. The threat and economics of the problem are nothing short of domestic terrorism.

Usually officers do not know until they get into the garden how many plants, how many people or the sophistication of weapons that are involved. The drug traffickers are known to use covert methods and are regularly heavily armed. Every year brave officers are critically injured or killed in gardens just like this one.

Mr. Baxter, I hope you would not suggest the officers, you claim to support, go into the illicit garden without enough backup to ensure their own safety. Do you think they should go into a marijuana garden expecting only a pellet gun? Or should they be prepared for the unknown?

I am sure we can all agree the pellet gun located in this case was trivial, but how were they to know before going in that's all they would find? Having witnessed these incidents personally as a former narcotics detective, I pray my badge-carrying loved ones never take that kind of risk.

Tiffany Hicks

Hood River

Breastfeed discreetly

In regards to "Breastfeeding Not Offensive" (Our Readers Write, Sept. 28):

I agree that breastfeeding is not offensive. I understand that breastfeeding is a right and sometimes must be done in public.

With that said, the manager did not ask you to quit breastfeeding. He asked you to cover up. As the mother of a 10-year-old boy with a lot of innocent curiosity, I would prefer he not see your breast. Is it really that big of a deal for you to cover up?

When you become a parent you want to do what's best for your child and breastfeeding is, without argument, the best. I, too, want to do what's best for my child. That requires protecting him from exposure to a breast that he sees (thanks to outside influence) as a sexual organ and not as the healthiest food source for a baby.

Terina Neal

Hood River

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