Letters to the Editor for June 14

Fairness for all

I walk nearly every morning and much of the time I walk past the Belmont Drive Baptist Church. More often than not, I cringe at the ugly and hateful messages posted on their reader board. I spend the remainder of my walk praying for this congregation — that their fears and hate might be replaced by love and peace.

I suggest that the vandalism of their reader board is not a crime against Christianity — the other Christian churches in town do not suffer this fate, nor do they have protests staged in front of their doors. Instead, I suggest it is an act against hate. Hate towards another religious group that this congregation openly and strongly opposes to the point of stating the world would be a better place if this group were eradicated.

Jesus reminded us there are two great Commandments — to love God and to love our neighbors. He ate with sinners, encouraged the poor, spoke to women (considered a crime at that time), included many from other religions/areas in his teachings and taught about the Good Samaritan (the equivalent of today’s Muslim) who loved his neighbor more than the Jews who ignored an injured man. Jesus modeled how to create God’s Kingdom here on Earth — a kingdom of love and fairness for ALL humans.

There is no place in Hood River for hate. If we are to be a shining city on the hill, we must work to love each other, regardless of differences. We must fight for equality and inclusion. We must reach out to those we do not know or understand and build bridges.

Walk humbly with your God, seek justice and mercy for God has commanded this of you. (Micah 6:8)

Kim Vogel

Hood River

Reconsider rezone

I would like the council to reconsider the Morrison Park change from park to low income housing.

Where is the green space that will replace that park?

Isn’t that park integral to developing the trail system? What will you replace that with?

Is it the city’s job to find low income housing? And it does the low-income housing need to be within the city limits of Hood River?

Linda Holloway

Hood River

Consider FireMed

I have worked as an ER physician in Hood River since 1990. A lot has changed. We used to be a sleepy, four-bed department. Now we have 10 beds, and most days could fill more. Our ER volume has been rising by double digit percentages over the last few years. I am very fortunate to work with a competent, dedicated medical community, but there are times when a patient’s needs exceed our capabilities here in the Gorge. In those situations, we must transfer patients to Portland. As our volume has increased, so has the number of transfers. In 2015, we transferred 214 patients. In 2016, that number was 284. Earlier this year, we had six transfers in one day. Very rarely does a transfer not require an ambulance or helicopter. Our three local transporting ground ambulances — Hood River Fire, Parkdale Fire and Cascade Locks Fire — provide this often life-saving service, but it does cost money. The Life Flight helicopter is an exceptionally useful resource in these situations, but it too costs money. I wish that all of this could be free, but that would be the topic of a much longer and more controversial letter.

I just called my insurance company and discovered that an ambulance or helicopter ride for me or a member of my family would be applied to our out of network deductible of $25,000. In other words, we would be responsible for the entire bill. For that reason, I am a member of FireMed Plus. For $125 per year, we are covered should life-saving transport be necessary. It covers the member, his or her spouse/ domestic partner, dependents claimed on tax returns, and elderly, disabled family members living in the same household. No deductibles and no extra co-pays are required. I encourage you to check with your insurance company and find out how your ambulance/helicopter rides would be reimbursed. If you are dissatisfied with your coverage, consider FireMed as a solution. For more information and to sign up, go to www.lifeflight.org.

Dr. Dick Virk

Hood River

Oil everywhere

June 7 newspaper front page picture shows hundreds protesting oil trains in Mosier. I ask, how did they get to the event? I don’t think any came by horse. Even bicycles use oil (tires). All the others were by car or bus. All use oil to run, some of the clothes, even the food at the event.

Paul Nevin

Hood River

The value of PE

This letter is in reply to Steve Kaplan’s June 7 letter, where he “thanks teachers for going to D.C. to support PE in our schools.” In his desire for “wittiness,” Mr. Kaplan’s short letter expressing “his desire” for our school district to “work just as vigorously to provide academic excellence in our classrooms” shows a very myopic understanding of the importance of PE in schools and child development.

Research after research has shown that physical activity peaks when a kid is about 11 or 12 years old. So if children aren’t physically active or aren’t learning to be active or being provided an opportunity to play, it predicts physical inactivity through adolescence and into adulthood.

Further, research has shown that as little as 10 minutes of activity can increase on-task behavior in the classroom by about 10 percent. And you know what that means, Mr. Kaplan? An increase in on-task behavior means that they’re more likely to learn.

So yes, Mr. Kaplan, we should thank those teachers who went to D.C. to support PE in school because they are supporting academic excellence in their classrooms. Further, they are supporting happy and healthy adults.

Maria Elena Castro

Hood River

Plea to Trump

My name is Everett-Ocean Clark Smith and I am nine years old. I have been told about climate change and how it affects the world. I think that the Paris Climate Agreement is important for our world and that we need it a lot or else our world will die and me and everyone in it. I want to be able to survive to be a man, but if the agreement isn’t there, then the world will die before I can grow to be one. This makes me very sad.

Please, President Trump, join with the rest of the world to save our earth.

Climate change IS real and has been scientifically proven and if we don’t work together to stop it, then we won’t last for long. I won’t be able to help save the planet as I plan to as I get older.

Everett-Ocean Clark Smith

Hood River

Drugs and donut holes

Richard Davis, Todd Dierker and Jennifer Ouzonian all wrote about the flim flam Greg Walden and the members of the House of Representatives are trying to pull — the destruction of health care for those in our rural communities and the elimination of other types of coverage. Many have written about the destruction of health care and the outrageous cost of prescription drugs. This new health care bill is really a tax bill as mentioned by others — it takes our health care monies and give it to the wealthy in the form of tax reform, by decreases in taxes for those with extremely high income.

One way to avoid some of this would be to insist that our senators and representatives push for a bill allowing us to buy drugs from Canada. Their drugs are modestly priced, come from many of the same sources as ours, and I’ve never heard of a problem in Canada with bad drugs. Can you call Greg Walden, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and ask for it before they slip the donut hole back into our health care system and our drug prices rise even more?

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

We need art

I am writing in support of Art Matters. I am a senior citizen and contributing artist in the Columbia Gorge area and rely on my art as a means of support, as well as an outlet for relieving stress and providing nourishment for my well-being.

Several of my close friends are also retired and rely on art outings and receptions as a means of release for daily stress and also as a social outing that contributes to everyone’s well-being.

Art programs that are provided for youth allow for their creativity to bloom. It promotes the freedom to express themselves in a positive way. Much joy and pleasure is derived from those of us who not only teach them, but also view their work and give positive reinforcement to them ... thus contributing to their self-esteem. When music, film, classwork, art receptions, etc. are provided in a community, there is a strong economic effect and let’s face it — money is made by many. I believe that our inner lives need respect and nourishment and all that encompasses art offers that relief and release that nourishes our souls.

Connie Gates

Goldendale, Wash.


As a local realtor, I take offense to Al Brown’s comment, “Could the city council, mayor, planning department and the newspaper be realtors and developers in their real lives?” Even though Al and I are neighbors and live just inside the urban growth boundary, we are both in agreement to slow down any kind of rezoning. Maybe Morrison Park could be the sacrificial lamb if this really is about affordable housing and then we wouldn’t have to sacrifice a cow.

Louise McCulloch

Hood River

Theater valued

I am pleased that our Columbia Center for the Arts will bring quality performances of The National Theater of London, England, to its theater screen this summer. This promises to be a rare treat for Hood River-area theater lovers. Seven special live-theater productions will be shown on the CCA screen soon, and more will be coming if we demonstrate our enthusiasm.

It is also noteworthy that CCA’s wonderful summer arts camp in Shakespeare performance is already full, showing that CCA values quality theater for children, youth, and adults.

Richard Schmuck

Hood River

No land shortage

I am a Hood River eastside resident highly concerned about the Westside Area Concept Plan tied to land use that will be voted on by the planning commission immediately followed by our mayor and city council members this summer. Merely a dozen or so individuals will decide our future fate, yet few citizens even know about it. It’s frightening. The plan’s proposed up-zoning of 450 acres includes 1,831 new housing units (approximately 5,000 more people and 5,300-plus cars) above what is already in our current, approved comprehensive 20-year growth plan. Regardless if you live on the eastside, westside, or surrounding Hood River County, this plan significantly affects you as it significantly impacts our public health, safety and welfare, our culture and quality of livability, including transportation, schools, recreation areas and more. The project’s goals were to address land use, affordable housing, streets, bike ways, pedestrian paths, parks, schools, utilities, and infrastructure funding, and the only guarantee is up-zoning with immediate residential development sold at market prices.

There is nothing mandating nor assuring that any of the parks, schools, police, fire, 911 dispatch, etc. will ever come to life due to lack of funding. Putting in significant development and growth without getting our core set is dangerous on every front. We don’t need to execute the Westside Plan at all. Our current, approved comprehensive 20-year land-use plan that represents years of effort and consensus by our citizens and officials about our future is strategically sound and in compliance with state requirements. Supporting data states there is no shortage of land to build needed housing under the present zoning for the next 20 years. The lack of widespread citizen awareness, involvement and input is of huge concern. Shouldn’t a growth plan of this magnitude include us more in the process? The time is NOW to get involved. Educate yourselves and voice your opinion now at www.hrwestsideplan.com. Contact the Hood River City Council members, the planning commission and the mayor. Attend city meetings: public comment is June 12 and 26; the next planning commission meeting June 28 all at City Council Chambers.

Kathryn Huhn

Hood River

Disappointed in CL

How does the City of Cascade Locks plan to spend $33,000 of our very limited tax dollars? Attorney fees to defend the water exchange between the City of Cascade Locks and ODFW that our out-of-touch mayor and city council (except Deanna Busdieker) hope will pave the way to an illegal activity in Hood River County — commercial bottled water production.

Cascade Locks residents — let the mayor and city council members know that we are alarmed and incredibly disappointed by the council’s ill-conceived plan. Our city is bustling and can and will do better if we focus our resources on existing and future economic development that make sense for the Gorge.

Aurora del Val

Cascade Locks

Outstanding resource

We are so fortunate to have The Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. It is an outstanding resource for the community. All kinds of events are happening in June, including a creative workshop for actors and National Theater Live from London showing “Amadeus” and music jam and summer art camp and custom jewelry demos. This is such a creative place. I urge everyone to experience the joy of the experience and participate in CCA.

Deborah Olson

White Salmon, Wash.

Eat at Adult Center

Mmm, it is the best! Do you like to eat good food? No lie, one of our fav things ... to have lunch at the pretty Hood River Valley Adult Center, all surrounded by (Bill chimes in, “We call our Senior Center ‘The Adult Center’ so old and young can experience a great lunch”), and fragrant, colorful roses too.

Why? There is a new chef who can’t be beat. Her name is Sophia and she knows how to put together more great dishes than you can shake a fork at! Kinds of food? Many. Boring? Never. I want to tell you of this chance to dine well, for it is too yum, too fun, too nice to miss. How ‘bout $5? Pretty good? For what? What do you want in a salad bar?

How’d you like greens and fruit and veg and maybe cottage cheese — say — take your pick — all nice and fresh. (And I like it that the dining room is large, and filled with sun. It is nice to have lots of room to move.)

Your main course will have something you’ll never have tasted just like this, I’ll bet! Sophia is a whiz at seasoning.

What veg do you like to eat with another veg? For me it’s fun to see, and taste, what’s next.

Fresh, hot rolls and butter are more than welcome if you are or are not used to bread that is not.

All done? “Hm Nn.“ My fav gal learned to make her desserts from the gourmet chef with whom she worked so long. This is a story I learned of when I first got excited about Sophia’s cakes, and had to ask about.

I can’t help it: come, and join us for lunch!

Plus, today I had a little “molten-filled” chocolate cupcake topped with good whipped cream.

Do we laugh a lot? We certainly do.

Donna J. Gray-Davis

Hood River

Rename the trail

Having spent the last 25 years in the Gorge advocating for mountain bike trails, teaching mountain bike classes at a local middle school, going to endless meetings working with shareholders of the Syncline Area in the CGSA, helping to create the trails at Columbia Hills State Park, and building/maintaining local trails, I feel vested in our local, incredible trail systems. However, recently I was told of a name which to insults many of us who use these trails. It is one of the well designed, newer connector trails in Post Canyon. This portion I’ve heard called both “Sisterwife” and “Sisters and Wives.” Either name is inappropriate. The first is a religious reference; the second infers that women need shorter loops. Even something like “Brothers/Sisters” would be a better name (still not great), but to single out one gender for a shorter loop is not. I have spent 25 years trying to teach teenage girls that they are strong and can ride anything they want. Let’s name trails that inspire people and the youth in our community, not degrade them! The name of a trail lasts far longer than the people who built them, so we need to make sure they are a tribute to our whole community!

Ann McDonald

White Salmon, Wash.

CCA immerses

This year marks 10 years since I became involved with Columbia Center for the Arts as a young teen. CCA, along with the theater program at HRVHS, made a huge difference in my adolescence by providing a nurturing home-base for my artistic inclinations.

CCA has evolved over the years and I’m proud to call CCA a home now for my professional life as a theater director and class instructor. With CCA’s June “Art Matters” campaign, they are continuing to expand their programming to provide a fascinating variety of daily opportunities for us all to engage with arts of many mediums. Though I primarily work with local kids and teens, arts opportunities invite community members of all ages to embrace connection with one’s impulses, senses, and awe — childlike traits that fall by the wayside as we preoccupy ourselves with the more practical aspects of adulthood. Let’s celebrate art together!

Let’s allow ourselves to be entertained, and immersed, and inspired!

Let’s share these experiences, so that our creative inner lives, too, can become part of our community.

Sullivan Mackintosh

Hood River

Flowers like foam

To all the Waucoma Park fans:

The mock orange bushes are in bloom. Give yourself a treat and go by and smell its grand flowers.

Also note the ocean spray bush (closer to the walnut tree). The flowers look just like foam crashing off an ocean swell.

Susan Hess

Hood River

Wash out

This last weekend, the Port of Hood River rented the Event site to an inspirational event called Outfound. Oddly, the port decided to lock the public bathrooms during the entire event! It’s like renting a stadium to a ball team, and then locking all the bathrooms. While the event organizers provided plenty of portapotties, many people like to wash their hands in running water.

Brian Carlstrom

Hood River

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