Letters to the Editor for Jan. 27 edition

Robotics success

It was exciting reading about the success of the Gorge FLL Robotics teams The Pink Fluffy Unicorns from Odell and Hood River’s Hero Robot Monkeys. Both won awards at state competition, and The Pink Fluffy Unicorns are now headed to Houston for worlds! You might ask yourself how such a small rural area such as Hood River and Odell can compete in a global competition such as First Robotics?

It all started about 10 years ago, with the gracious support of the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA), Google, Insitu and countless other local businesses. With their support, students in the Gorge have been given the opportunity to compete in First Robotics-FLL (First Lego League), FTC (First Technology Challenge) and FRC (First Robotics Challenge). The cost for this opportunity is daunting: every FLL team (over 50 teams in The Gorge) costs about $400; the 16 FTC teams are $1,500 each and this year for the first time HRVHS added an FRC robotics team. The entry fee alone was $10,800. Yes, technology is expensive and there is no way our schools can afford it. But due to generous local support, every kid in the Gorge can have an opportunity to compete on a global platform.

In addition to the financial cost, coaches, mentors, parents, teachers and students put in countless hours. A successful FTC team will log in more than 500 hours and an FRC team will have close to 1,000 hours into their robot.

If you want to see what it is all about, the GTA, along with Google and Insitu, is hosting the Mid-Columbia FTC Qualifying Tournament, with teams from The Dalles, White Salmon, Hood River and Dufur competing Saturday at HRVHS. Inspection and judging starts at 8 a.m. with competition rounds running from noon to 4 p.m. It is open to the public, and I would encourage you to come see the amazing work these local kids are doing.

Jeff Blackman

Hood River

Safety, please

I walk my dogs in the early morning, before getting ready for work. During this time of the year, it is still dark out. I wear a headlamp tilted down toward the road in front of me and the dogs (careful not to shine it in the eyes of drivers). I also wear a red flashing light on my back and the dogs have flashing lights on their collars or leashes. I wear white or light reflective clothes. In other words, I walk prepared for safety. Where possible, I walk within the white line at the side of the road.

I cannot understand why people drive so closely to me even when there is no one coming from the other direction. They could at least get over to the far side of their lane. I am not kidding when I say that car after car sped by me this morning, some so close that if I stretched out my leg it would strike their car. WHY? One car got over into the other lane after about four others sped past. I waved to say, “thank you!”

It is not funny. It is not a joke. It could very possibly be life or death.

I do everything in my power to walk safely. Please keep others’ safety in mind as you drive!

Stacey Methvin

Hood River

‘Meter’ thanks

I’d like to thank Jim Drake for the excellent article in the Jan. 17 issue of the Hood River News about the class I gave at the Hood River Library on multi-meters. I’d also like to thank the many attendees for their attention and patience in my first ever incarnation of the class.

Because of the turnout (and because I enjoyed the experience), I’ve agreed to do it again in March. Those in the community who would be interested should keep an eye out for the date.

I did want to make one minor correction. In the article, Jim states that “the electrical current can be thought of as the volume of the air.“ In actuality, it is the flow of air that can be thought of as the current.

I was covering these items rather quickly in the class, and they can be a little tricky to get them all sorted. I will make sure this distinction is clear in my next class.

Shannon Vance

Hood River

Support ID card

Dear Fellow Hood River County locals, A wonderful opportunity has arrived on our doorsteps! We could be the first community in the state to offer a Community Identification Card!

This card can be very beneficial to all of us who call this place home.

What is a community identification card? It is simply a way to legally prove that you are who you say you are and that you reside in this community. That’s it! It’s not a card that you can use to board an airplane or obtain a driver’s license.

What can you do with a Community Identification Card? You can flash it with pride to obtain discounts at local businesses. In communities that already have cards, business owners have found them to be a boost to local business … sort of like a coupon for locals that never expires.

For those without access to other forms of identification, it can allow you to do important things like open a bank account or obtain a library card. It can also be used as identification when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. That is why both the Hood River police and the county sheriff’s office support this opportunity.

Please join me is supporting this and let’s be the first in Oregon to have a community identification card. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Ann Harris

Hood River

Smoke and mirrors

It always amazes me when folks will vote for a tax when they think someone else is paying for it. We all pay for it when the dust settles.

Jerry Petricko

Hood River

Objectivity needed

It’s certainly a shame that left wing college professors don’t stress complete honesty and objectivity in their journalism classes. Then perhaps the media would gradually earn back America’s respect. I believe honesty and objectivity in reporting the news means thinking along these lines: “Darn it! Here’s some authentic and factual good news about the president … and although I hate the guy … I can’t in good conscience throw it in the circular file. That would be a form of censorship. Therefore, this story will be seen and heard everywhere.” Same goes for the suppressed bad news about Hillary.

Bill Davis

Hood River


Effects of Measure 101 defined: So went 10,000 Mexican dreamers along with President Trump’s Rebuild America’s dream, brings to mind the “The Little Red Riding Hood” story’s conclusion, “Oh Grandma, what big teeth you have.”

Alan Winans

Hood River

Support clean energy

As residents of Oregon Senate District 30 and House District 59, we want to urge our newly-appointed legislators, Senator Cliff Bentz and Representative Daniel Bonham, to support the Clean Energy Jobs Bill, SB 1507 in the Senate and HB 4001 in the House.

The start of the 2018 legislative session is fast approaching on Feb. 5. After work done in several legislative sessions and multiple hearings and public work groups, legislators who are concerned about climate pollution in Oregon can vote on a bill to create a limit on that pollution. A vote for the Clean Energy Jobs Bill will set a price on each ton of pollution emitted by the largest sources of pollution. The proceeds will be reinvested in clean energy solutions like solar and wind power, energy efficient homes and businesses, public transit, electric vehicles, and healthier communities.

This bill will raise roughly $700 million per year to benefit Oregon communities across the state. Transitioning Oregon away from polluting energy will help create good paying jobs in the clean energy economy for all kinds of Oregonians — like construction workers, engineers, designers, manufacturing workers, salespeople, secretaries and custodians. Jobs such as these are growing at an 11 percent annual rate in Oregon, faster than state employment.

A cap on climate pollution is a proven solution. Ten U.S. states and 39 other countries have systems to price carbon pollution either planned or in place. In states like California that have adopted the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), climate pollution is falling dramatically while economic growth is ahead of the national average.

Passage of SB 1507 and HB 4001 will benefit the entire state of Oregon, but, specifically, District 30, which is home to many of the large-scale wind and solar operations which are predicted to be the fastest growing in the U.S. in coming years.

It’s time for Oregon to take a major step forward on fighting the climate crisis by passing the Clean Energy Jobs bill. We look forward to seeing the names of Rep. Bonham and Sen. Bentz as sponsors and supporters of the bill.

William White


Need stricter control for STRs

I attended the County Planning Commission meeting concerning short term rentals (STRs) on Jan. 24 that was poorly publicized. Thank you Heather Staten for your Hood River News article calling our attention to this important meeting. With the exception of one attendee, there was unanimous community support for stricter controls on STRs. Specifically, STRs should only be permitted for permanent, full-time residents owning property in the county, capped at 100 total units or less, and limited to a specific number of nights per year. At the end of the meeting, despite the unanimous public position, one commissioner erroneously stated they felt that there wasn’t consensus in the community. Not sure what room this commissioner was in, but consensus couldn’t have been clearer or more eloquently outlined by those that spoke. In addition, concern was expressed regarding inadequate county resources to handle enforcement and potential appeals. We should not make important decisions on how we govern crucial matters based on resource allocation.

The simple solution to staffing on this issue would be an annual permit fee of $1,500 or more per year. With 100 STRs, that would equate to a minimum of $150K for staffing allocation. Please note there will be more meetings on this matter in the near future. I encourage more of the community to get involved in this important matter.

Greg Shepherd

Hood River

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