Letters to the Editor for Sept. 6 edition

Prevent suicide

Having lost my 21-year-old daughter to suicide seven years ago, I have been on a learning journey and healing path ever since. I passionately advocate talking openly and non-judgmentally about mental illness. Reducing the stigma around the identification and treatment of mental illness is critical to impacting the persistently high rate of suicide in our state, nation, and world. Thank you for your attention to my message.

More than five times as many people in Oregon die by suicide than by homicide. On average, one person dies by suicide every 12 hours in our state and suicide is Oregon’s eighth leading cause of death overall. Annually, September is designated National Suicide Prevention month. Each year over 44,000 Americans die by suicide with approximately one million Americans attempting suicide. Suicide and suicidal behavior affects individuals of all ages, genders, races, and religions across our planet. World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10.

Claiming over 800,000 lives worldwide every year, the risk factors remain essentially the same from country to country: Mental illness, substance abuse, previous suicide attempts, hopelessness, recent loss of loved ones, access to lethal means, unemployment, and vulnerability to self-harm are just a few examples of risk factors. Experts believe most suicidal individuals do not want to die, they just want to end the mental pain they are experiencing. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. Each of us can make a difference year around to reduce the number of these tragic deaths. Two websites you can access to find out some simple steps are “take5tosavelives.org” and “#BeThe1To.com.”

We are fortunate to have services available in our community for assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes. We also have caring community organizations promoting protective factors and offering educational and training opportunities.

Please join us in supporting suicide prevention. You can contact me at susanbgabay@ gmail.com or our local mental health agency serving Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman counties, Mid-Columbia Center for Living at 888-877-9147 for more information.

Susan Gabay


Drive safely

A new school year is starting, and young children will be out and about going to and from school, playing on school grounds, in the streets and in parks. Having served on our school boards several years back, I’m acutely aware of the speeding through school zones that occurs. I’ve watched drivers pass cars on the right through our school zone, and observed many speeding or driving through crosswalks when they are occupied.

Please give our kids a break. It only takes an extra couple of seconds to get through a school zone at the speed limit. I don’t know about the City of Hood River or the upper valley’s schools, but ours is occasionally patrolled by Sheriff English’s deputies. Tickets given out in school zones are expensive and will ruin your day.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Propping up Trump

What will it take to get Rep. Greg Walden to break from Trump and his toxic views and incompetent management?

Trump and his associates lead daily assaults on the basic standards of decency in public life. He has vastly diminished our country’s status on the international stage and sabotaged many of our own government’s vital functions and agencies. He has repeatedly shown a willingness to sacrifice the dignity and abuse power of the presidency to settle personal scores.

Trump’s presidency is normalizing persecution of minorities, assaults on reporters and any press he views as disloyal, political and personal corruption, and childish vulgarization of public debate.

These things are NOT normal, they are NOT acceptable, they are NOT representative of the country we are or want to be.

Every politician who props up this president, whether by active assent or by passive silence, is complicit in the undoing of decency and stability in America. We need Mr. Walden to break from Trump and present us constituents and all Americans a chance to recover our greatness.

Lara Dunn

Hood River

Unsafe portrayal

I am writing in regard to the article “Biking safely to school” in the “Protecting Our Children” insert in the Aug. 30 Hood River News.

If the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true, then the photo used with the article is counterproductive. The article stated it is important for children wear bicycle helmets. In the photo the young lady was not wearing a helmet. Also stated in the article was that riding facing traffic increases their risk of getting in an accident. The photo showed the rider riding facing traffic. Sadly, the photo doesn’t portray safe bicycle riding. Maybe parents could use the photo with their children asking them, “What is wrong with this photo?” and discuss safe bike riding practices.

Sarah Raab


January sky:

ashen tree dander

falling. Fall to bring

fresh air, to air: joy,

memory, compassion.

Eclipse sun up, and

we’re about. Grander!

Ted James

Hood River

The real Donald Trump

Donald Trump, throughout his campaign, and now from the White House, voiced and is voicing his sympathy, if not his approval, of violence and confrontation. He now has openly defended white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

He openly promoted racial profiling with his pardon of ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio. This was done even before sentence could by read, again showing his distaste for the American judicial system. Now he is promoting and enabling a police state. He cancelled the Obama administration’s halting military weapons and hardware going to police forces.

Apparently Trump feels the best way to handle ideology differences is with riot gear and full automatic weapons. Is all of this his vision for making America Great Again? Is this man even capable of recognizing the principles and hopes our founding fathers built into our constitution and what has been added with the Bill of Rights? I think not.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Tax cuts harm

Federal debt stands at $20 trillion and the CBO projects that we will add another nearly $10 trillion over the next 10 years. Add on increased defense spending, Hurricane Harvey Relief, an infrastructure plan and $3-6 trillion from Ryan/Trump tax plans and we’re starting to talk real money. Do we really want increased deficit spending before we even start to deal with the trillions in unfunded Medicare liabilities?

When the myth that “tax cuts pay for themselves” is once again proven to be a lie, where will the budget cuts come from? Medicare? Social Security? Veterans?

Why are we considering tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy but do so little to help struggling working families? Why are we considering eliminating the Estate Tax when wealth inequality has risen to levels not seen since the Gilded Age? Why do proposed budget savings always seem to come from programs benefiting the poor and working class or from cuts to Medicaid and Medicare?

President Trump talked a populist message of looking out for working families, but his Wall Street Cabinet picks and Paul Ryan’s policy agenda point in the opposite direction. President Trump was elected based on promises to preserve the social safety net and improve the lives of struggling Americans. As citizens, we need to hold the President and our elected officials, accountable for their choices.

Rick Davis

The Dalles

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