Letters to the Editor for Sept. 3

School time — slow down

Yes, it’s that time of year again, our children are about to start a new school year, many of our schools are located on busy thoroughfares and streets with cross streets and driveways. Cascade Locks elementary is on a state route, Mid Valley and Westside are on busy through streets and your middle school and May Street are on busy congested roads. Please slow down in and around school zones, young children can be impulsive and don’t always look before entering and crossing streets.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Perhaps a second forum

While I am pleased at the effort that Rep. Johnson made at convening the Education Forum for this Thursday, I am disappointed at the timing. By my reckoning, 1-2 p.m. on a workday afternoon puts this important discussion out of reach of all school district employees (teachers and support personnel) except Superintendent Goldman, all students (current constituents and future voters), and likely most parents, particularly those in the upper valley. These groups seem to be important stakeholders in any discussion regarding “education priorities” and “local implementation” and “outcomes.” Had this forum been scheduled even just last week, school district employees and students would have been able to attend. I understand that scheduling the various panel members must have been difficult, but I hope that Rep. Johnson can convene another forum that will be more accessible to the citizens of his district.

Jeff Lorenzen

Hood River

Why imported produce?

With all the fresh produce in the Hood River valley this time of year, why do our local markets feature apples from New Zealand, peaches from California and tomatoes from Mexico?

Jerry Giarraputo

Hood River

Labor Day observed

Google had a Doodle up on their homepage starting Sunday commemorating the Labor Day Holiday. I clicked on it to read about Labor Day’s history and found the truth to be very interesting.

The Labor Day holiday stems from the Pullman Strike which originated in Chicago at a rail passenger car manufacturing company in 1894. When the demand for new passenger railcars declined, Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages and jobs. That seems like the right thing to do. This made workers angry, so they organized a strike. It eventually became a strike which had far reaching consequences across twenty-seven states. Workers looted and damaged property worth roughly $80 million. Tensions were high between protestors and workers that the railroads hired to replace those then protesting. President Grover Cleveland sent in troops to put an end to the chaos so that the U.S. mail lines could function again. When it was all said and done, there were 30 dead and 57 injured through clashes between protestors and that of the military and U.S. Marshalls.

President Grover Cleveland and U.S. Congress designated Labor Day as a Federal Holiday in an attempt to appease the labor movement. It became such a holiday in just six days. So, what is the takeaway? Throw big enough of a temper tantrum, risk the lives of those around you as well as your own, and destroy the employer’s property, and you’ll get a holiday which is commercialized to no end and rakes in more money from shopping than all other holidays except Black Friday. That’s why we have Labor Day? Silly, don’t you think?

Kevin Herman

White Salmon

A dog days resolution

I am the President of Golden Bond Rescue (GBR), a golden retriever rescue group in Oregon and Washington. On Saturday, Aug.23, while setting up our equipment to participate in the NAISH Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge at the riverfront, one of our foster dogs, Chi-Chi, squeezed through a window opening in our car and ran off into downtown Hood River.

For the next four days, I and other GBR volunteers spent our daylight hours scouring Hood River and posting “lost dog” flyers in high traffic areas and parts of town where he was reported seen. Based on the most recent of the sightings, we set up a dog trap near the city’s waste water treatment facility, and he was, fortunately, trapped there on the morning of Tuesday the 26th.

The primary reason for my writing this letter is to thank all of the many, many people in Hood River who helped us by posting flyers in their businesses or on their property, and by calling in when they saw him. I especially want to thank the city employees who let us set the trap up and catch him.

We live near Portland which has a strong reputation as a “dog town,” but I must say that I was overwhelmed by the concern and cooperation of virtually everyone I approached in Hood River. From business owners to homeowners to folks “just visiting” (there were lots of them!), I can’t think of anyone who didn’t express concern and support. It’s an overused word, but “awesome” is what comes to my mind when I think of Hood River. Again, thank you so very, very much to everyone who we contacted, and especially to Barb, who lives in the Heights, Bob and Doug at the treatment plant, the manager of the UPS Store, and the gentleman who reported seeing Chi-Chi where we ultimately captured him.

Oh, by the way, “Cheech” is safe and sound with us again!

Jill Groves


Nystrom is the choice

A vote for Stephanie Nystrom is a vote for what works.

Stephanie Nystrom is challenging Mark Johnson for State Representative District 52. She supports programs that work. Mr. Johnson has consistently supported legislation that is off the mark and will not achieve desired objectives. Ms. Nystrom is a strong advocate for improving and funding public education.

Mr. Johnson takes campaign funding from, and appears to want to make Oregon more hospitable to, for-profit educators. A report published by a U.S. Senate committee last year showed that for-profit colleges received $32 billion from the U.S. government in the 2009-2010 academic year, while charging students much more than public colleges and spending less on student instruction. In 2008-9 the median length of study for a student at a for-profit university was just four months, showing that for profit universities are recruiting anyone who is eligible for Federal funds, but care little about education.

Mr. Johnson accepts campaign contributions from Walmart. Since 2000 the Walton Family has spent more than $24 million bankrolling politicians who are undermining public education and literally shortchanging students.

K12 Management Inc., a company that owns for-profit on-line charter schools, has donated money to Mark Johnson. As reported in the Huffington Post Online, cyber schools have been shown to have a lower than 50 percent graduation rate and are being sued for manipulating enrollment, attendance and performance data to maximize tax-subsidized per-pupil funding.

Mark Johnson’s record on support for education is dismal. Although he served on the Hood River County School Board, in 2013 he failed to be endorsed by teachers.

Stephanie wants to make college and job training programs more affordable and make our public schools the best they can be. A vote for Stephanie Nystrom is vote for what works.

Laurie Balmuth

Hood River

Waterfront irony

Pardon the cliché, but, “Oh the irony!”

Two front page articles juxtaposed one above the other. The large picture touts Hood River’s “front yard” on the waterfront ... quite nicely too. The other details the effort to add more clutter with an 88 room, 4 story, generic inn on the waterfront.

For the profit of one the rest have to see this commercial building from behind, on top, from the water, and from the shore. How is this even a discussion?

Dan Baxter

Hood River

VA vexation

What a novel idea, a bonus for doing your job, so I’ve been working for the wrong reason all these years. But yet here is another example of government waste being investigated by the kettle calling the kettle black. Will it ever stop?

Jim Burdick


Dream big for track

With fall in the air and kids heading back to school, it’s time to look back on one of the largest statewide accomplishments of the past summer: after years of preparation, we reached the finish line of the first IAAF World Junior Championships ever held on U.S. soil.

This historic track and field event will have a long-term impact felt for generations.

When we made our initial presentation to the International Association of Athletics Federations – the world’s governing body for the sport of track and field – we made some big promises.

We told them we would have excited and enthusiastic crowds; a statewide community that would embrace and welcome the 1,700 athletes representing 167 different countries from around the world; and a volunteer base determined to provide our visitors with the best experience possible.

Today, thanks to all of those efforts, we can proudly proclaim that we not only achieved those goals, we exceeded them.

To me, it was the state, county and local governments, the hundreds of volunteers and officials, and the support of Oregonians statewide, who all came together to make this a truly memorable event.

From the time the international athletes and team officials arrived, there were friendly smiles and gracious hospitality exhibited at every turn.

Everything I saw affirmed my belief in the statewide popularity of our next global event – the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.

All of which is a prelude to our most ambitious goal to date - the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

It will be the biggest sporting event in the world that year because there will be no World Cup and no Olympic Games.

Take a moment and imagine how exciting, and how transformational it would be for this state, this country, and for the sport of track and field, if we were to do something as big and audacious as bring the World Championships to Oregon in 2019.

It’s almost unthinkable, but with the unwavering support of the entire state, we can dare to dream big.

Vin Lananna, associate

athletic director,

University of Oregon


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