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Letters to the Editor for February 4, 2012

Aaron civic minded, time for transition, Got truck?

Civic-minded

I would like to take this opportunity to let Hood River County know about a side of Brian Aaron that may not be apparent to most of you.

He is a very civic-minded man who has given up his time to speak to career education classes at the high school. He also allowed students to visit his office and follow him around to learn about his business and the law.

It may not seem like much, but it makes him a "standup" guy in the eyes of an educator and to the youth of our community. As District Attorney, I believe that he will continue to support our community to the best of his ability.

Evelyn Charity

Hood River

Time for transition

In mid-December, Steve Nybroten wrote that he was looking for a "shred of common sense" about fulfilling energy needs to power our world. He noted that a massive and growing world population would all like as good a standard of living as we now enjoy; that it is irresponsible to try to shut down all of the energy options, just because they are deemed bad for the environment.

Dam removal, closing coal plants, windmill objections, refusing coal trains, denying nuclear power, blocking natural gas projects are reckless reactions if there are not alternative, responsible solutions proposed and pursued.

This seems a reasonable position; what are we going to do? Here are a few suggestions:

First, realize that the cheap, easy oil we have burned for the last century has peaked. What is left is dirtier, ever more expensive environmentally, as well as economically, to get at and use.

An insurance industry report from Germany, Munich Re, claims natural disasters in 2011 generated $380 billion worldwide insured losses (only a third of which was paid by insurance companies). Hurricanes, tornados, flooding, drought and wildfires - 820 natural catastrophes, well above the three-decade-long average of 630. Sounds like advancing climate chaos to me.

Second, admit that American's per capita personal emissions are three times as high as Europeans, who yet live with comfortable lifestyles. We live in a country with big houses. Big cars, big commutes. Central Air. Big fridges and separate freezers. Clothes dryers. Disposable razors, diapers, cellphones, disposable you-name-it. Packaging that is mostly just big advertising. Big expectations.

Third, realize that most of the positive change is not coming from our politicians. We are the ones who have to shift the gears. The most comprehensive positive, proactive ideas I have encountered to improve our predicament are from Transition Towns.

Check out the local initiative that is getting under way for the Gorge at, transitioncolumbiagorge.weebly.com. It is not going to be easy. We are out of oil, out of climate balance, out of time. Let's adapt as gracefully as we can, as swiftly as we can.

Karen Harding

Mt. Hood

Winter storm

The snow-striped hills stand out sharply against a cobalt blue sky as the earth slowly turns her face away from the glowing sun, and night comes on.

It's winter here in the valley, and snow still lies in patches between the trees in the orchards, along the highways and the byways, against fences and in patches on the open ground. The sun and then the rain made inroads against our big winter storm that dumped snow for days on end, piling up on brittle tree branches like icing on a birthday cake. It was a lovely sight.

But then came freezing rain and sleet, turning the fluffy snow into ice. Many tree branches snapped under the strain, and many big trees were uprooted and fell down. Roadways were blocked and power lines gave way, leaving many people without light or heat.

I wonder how people here a hundred years ago made do in such a storm. I'm thankful for the workers who, while we were snug in bed, worked hard in freezing rain and snow to restore the power on which we now depend. May the sun shine bright upon them!

Anne Vance

Hood River

Got truck?

The Hood River Valley High School electric race car program is looking for a used diesel truck that can be converted to run on used vegetable oil.

Every year the team competes against other high schools in seven races throughout Oregon and Washington. The total distance to and from the races per year is about 1,700 miles. The truck is needed to pull the race trailer and is not used for transporting students.

If you have a good, old truck that you would like to donate to the program a letter of donation will be provided for your taxes and it sure would help out the students. Thank You for your support.

Jeff Blackman

Engineering teacher

Hood River Valley High School

Hood River

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