It was another banner year for letters to the editor. Records that were broken in 2017 were broken again in 2018, helped by the election cycle and general discontent on a number of issues.

To put it in perspective, last year we had 720 letters from 457 letter writers. This year, we had 759 letters … by the end of October.

Totals for this year: The Hood River News published 865 letters by 476 writers; some of those letters were co-signed. That’s an increase of 145 letters and 19 letter writers from 2017.

Our most prolific letter writer was Rob Brostoff with 40; he also took the top spot last year. In second was Steven Kaplan with 23, and in third, we had a three-way tie: Gary Fields, Bob Williams and Alan Winans all wrote 14. (See the full list on A5.)

We also kept track of how many letters were received by month: Our lowest was this December, with 32 (next lowest was April, with 51), and our highest was October, with 167 (not surprisingly, our Oct. 31 edition — the last one before the Nov. 6 general election — had 39 letters total, enough to fill five pages. Compare that with the two letters we received for our Dec. 5 issue).

In 2017, we started keeping track of topics covered in the letters we received, and we continued the practice for 2018. Politics was the most popular topic this year, with numerous letters both in favor and against various candidates and incumbents. Starting at the top: Donald Trump’s presidency prompted 61 unfavorable letters to nine in support of his policies, nominees and general representation of the American public.

Greg Walden prompted 17 letters in favor of his service as a congressperson and/or his voting record, and 42 that took issue with his representation of the whole of District 2 and/or his policies. Eight more letters asked him to speak up against the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, and there were 14 letters on legislation, including border wall funding, healthcare and gun control — none of them favorable.

The November general election saw 94 letters in support of Jamie McLeod-Skinner to 14 in support of Walden for the District 2 seat (with another four saying they would not vote for Walden) — not surprising, given that Hood River County voted in favor of McLeod-Skinner on Nov. 6, 63.44 to 33.95 percent.

On the local level, there were seven letters asking for votes for both Anna Williams (District 52) and Chrissy Reitz (District 26), another 15 in support of Williams to incumbent Rep. Jeff Helfrich’s nine, and 11 for Reitz to incumbent (and election winner) Sen. Chuck Thomsen’s seven. There was also one letter urging voters not to elect Reitz.

The Parkland, Fla., shootings at the beginning of the year prompted 28 letters in support of gun control. Eight wrote to say that guns aren’t a problem, but rather the people who use them.

For Hood River County School District, there were three letters in support of a student walkout in March and five in praise of Hood River Valley High School theater productions. The HEALTH Media club — mostly those in middle school — sent in 21 letters.

There were seven letters regarding the 2017 Eagle Creek fire — topics ranged from the impacts on the community to reconsidering the sale of fireworks.

Writers came out against the Mitchell Point Ridge Development proposal (five) and in favor of local housing (four). We received six more in favor of county short term rental enforcement. Additionally, eight letters were written against the sale of Morrison Park; three were in favor of affordable housing, just not at that location.

And yes, we keep track of letters specifically about the News. This year, we got two letters in favor of Editor Kirby Neumann-Rea’s Editors Notebook column on Israel (published May 16 and titled, “American embassy move is a dangerous slap in the face in the city of peace”) — and another two who really, really hated what he’d written. Another two extoled the virtues of our opinion page, two more were written on the importance of a local newspaper, and there were another two who took issue with photos we chose to publish, both online and in print. One person wrote to say our cartoon choices are terrible; another answered in support of the cartoons we choose to run.

(Incidentally, we subscribe to a cartoon service, where there have been zero pro-Trump cartoons. We can find pro-Republican and anti-Obama and Hilary Clinton, but nothing that expressly supports the president. So it’s not a matter of us choosing not to run favorable cartoons of Trump as it is that there are virtually none to choose from via our service.)

We also had 185 letters in the “other” category, which ranged from supporting wildfire planning in our community to supporting the Children’s Park rebuild project (three), from shopping locally (with cash!) to keeping dogs leashed, and from fear of war with North Korea to supporting local organizations like CASA and the warming shelter.

There were so many other topics covered — too many to list them all here — but we will again be keeping track of topics next year, as well as tabulate a list of those who write.

Keep ‘em coming.

2018 Our Readers Write: Letters written to the Hood River News, Dec. 30, 2017, through Dec. 29, 2018. An asterisk (*) indicates co-signed letters. The number following a name indicates total number of letters written.


Celia Acosta

Stephenie Adams

Cindy Allen 4

Hugh Amick 2

Carole Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson

Julie Anderson

Kristin D. Anderson

Jim Appleton 4

Dan Armstrong 3

Doug Arnell 3

Paul and Tom Ascher

Loran Ayles

Alan Bailey 5

Bridget Bailey

Belinda Ballah

Laurie Balmuth

Antonio Baptista 10

Mary Ellen Barrilotti

Jesus Becerra*

John Beckman

Otto Behrmann

Susan Bellinson 4

Graham Bergh 2

Ruth Berkowitz

Cal Bertram

Jessica Berty 2

Wendy and Richard Best 3

Richard Best

Wendy Best

Linda Bitter

Paul Blackburn

Jeff Blackman 2

Erma Blackwell

Heather Blaine 2

Mary Blankevoort

Virginia Bock

Wendy Boglioli

Jake Bolland

Tom Bottman

Ilea Bouse

Anna Bower

Al Brown

David Buoy

Monica Brink

Alfred Brock

Rob Brostoff 40

Becky Brun

Chuck Bugge

Diane Bungum

Kristi Bunting*

Sandi Burgress

Pennie Burns

Julie Byers

Michael Byrne


Barbara Cadwell

Mike Caldwell

Jane Camero

Daphne Campbell

Steve Carlstrom

Brian Carlstom 3

Dave Case 2

Pat Case

Jana Castañares

Tina Castañares 6

Lisbeth Castillo

Elaine Castles 2

Stephen Castles 2

Natalie Chairez

Kristi Chapman 2

Arthur Chenoweth 2

Debby Chenoweth 3

Laura Cheney

John F. Christensen

G.W. Cliver 2

Avi Cohn

Eric Cohn

Mike Collins 4

Greg Colt

Margaret Combs

Chris Connolly

Sarah Cordeiro*

Norma Cordy 2

Vivan Cortes

Tim Counihan*

Beth F. Coye

Greg Crafts

Larry Cramblett

Paul Crouch 3

Susan Crowley 3

Claire Culbertson

Stephen J. Curley 2

Billie Curry

Margrete Curtis

Skyler Cutshall*

Peter Dallman 3

Daniel Dancer

Bob Danko

Lynne Davidson

Bill Davis 10

Laird Davis 3

Richard Davis 6

Jon Davies

Linda Densmore 3

Joella Dethman

James Denton

Chip Dickinson

Zanna Diffin

Peggy Dills Kelter

Sam Doak

Georgia Donnelly

Jackson Dougan

Jim Drake

Sara Duckwall Snyder* 2

Lara Dunn 5

Ron Dunn

Richard Dzib


Ken Earle

Cynthia Ebi

Kenneth Ebi 9

David Edwards

Terry Egan

Karen Escobar

Lisa Evans

Polly Evans

Nicole Faaborg*

Sylvaine Farr

Molly Fauth* 2

Sam Fauth

Adrian Fields 2

Gary Fields 14

Michael Fifer 3

Nancy Finerty

Fran Finney 3

Beth Flake 4

Mary Ethel Foley

Sarah Fox

Daniel Fritz 3

Susan Froehlich

Susan Gabay 2

Bob Gales*

Sheila A. Gallagher 2

Anne Gehrig

Dennis Ghelfi

Jim Gilbertson

Christa Giordano

Jason Glaspey

Herb Glatter

Lori Golze

Greg Gottlieb, MD

Connie Graham

Trevor Gregson

Donna Gray-Davis 3

Roland and Adriana Grotte

Marg Guth 2


Jennifer Hackett 3

Nancy Haerchrel

Robert Haechrel

Sandra Haechrel 2

Jean Harmon

Ann Harris

Rachel Harry

Tom Hart

Beth Hartwell

Shawna Hasel-Helfrich

Dana Hayden

Chuck Haynie

Katie Haynie

Leighton Hazlehurst 2

Betsy Hege

Amy K.W. Heil

Peyton R. Helm

Mike Hendricks 2

Tama Hepner

Mary Jane Heppe 2

Dr. Stephen Heppe

Dorothy Herman

Virginia Hibbard

Dale Hill*

Lucy Hill

Patrick Hiller 2

John Hlavac 2

Mary Hobbs

Kraig Hoene

Bill Hoffer

Leanne Hogie 2

Myrna Holmes

Dee Holzman

Tom Hons

Tracie Hornung 6

Barb Hosford

Nancy Houfek Brown

Avery Hoyt 6

Haley Hughes

Kathryn Huhn

Lori Hukari 2

Russell Hurlbert 4

David Hupp 7

Jeff Hunter

John Ihle

Samantha Irwin


Larry Jacoby 2

Daisy James

Ted James 3

Deborah Jaques-Whiting

Felton Jenkins

Phil Jensen

Alighery Jimenez

Nancy Johanson Paul 5

Marty Johnson 2

Lawrence Jones 2

Judy Judd

Roy Justesen

Steve Kaplan 23

Tom Kaser 3

Sarah Kellems 3

Catherine Kelter

John Kelter Gehrig

Leslie Kerr

Louise Kimball Johnston

Sandy Kirkland

Mike Kitts 2

Jim Klaas

Christine Knowles 4

Tim Knowles

Joe Kochis

Nathan Koenig

Maria Kollas 4

Keely Kopetz 2

Tom Kosmalski

Robert Kovacich 2

Tresa l. Kowats

Steve Kowats

Rod Krehbiel 3

Connie Krummrich

Patricia Kubala

Kirk M. Lalor

Hannah N. Ladwig

Leslie Lamer

Anson Lane

Michael Lang

Susan Lannak 2

Teresa Langen

Jon and Debra Laraway

Pamela Larsen 2

Rick Larson

Jeff Larson

Rick Larson

Timothy Lee

Trish Leighton*

Therese Leon

Anne Lerch

Bob Level

Darryl Lloyd 2

Kerry Lucia

Jerry Luke

Bruce Lumper

Mark Lutz


Rich McBee 3

Kate McBride

Rich McBride

Kenneth McCarthy

Alison McDonald 2

Gary McFarlen 3

Amy McIlvenna

Gavin McIlvenna

Tassie Mack

Linda Maddox

Michon Mainwaring

Cary Mallon

Cliff Mansfield 3

Sara Marsden*

Nancy Matthisen*

Bob Mattila 2

Mimi Maduro

Christiana Mayer

Tim Mayer

Ed Medina

Debbie Medina

Bill Mellow

Stacey Methvin

John Metta 6

Maui Mayer

David Michalek 5

Al Miller

Ben Mitchell 3

Cynthia Elaine Mitchell

Jon Moch

Lucky Moller

Lee Montavon

John Morris

Gary Munkhoff

Sam Murillo

Kathy Mussi


Reese N.

Sharon Nelson-Deighan 4

Roger Neufeldt 2

Bonnie New 6

Pamela Newman*

John Newton Hickox

Heather Nielsen

John Nigbor

Suze Nigl

Kathy Nishimoto

Laura Noppenberger

Kiznaroxy Noria

Nan Noteboom

Vicki Nunenkamp 4

Steve Nybroten 5

Zitclali Ocampo

Carol Oji 2

John Olmstead

John Olson*

Gail O’Neill*

Lynn Orr

Maryfer Ortiz

Betty Osborne

Olivia O’Shea

Karen Ostrye*

Jennifer Ouzonian 4


Peggy Packer

Russ Paddock

Brooke Page

Vawter (Buck) Parker

Glen Patrizio 2

Nikki Paulson 3

Victor Pavlenko

Tom Penchoen

Mike Pendleton

MariRuth Petzing

Jerry Petricko 2

David Phelps

Diane Phelps

Laurent Picard 2

Ana Pille

Rick Porter and family

Dana Price

Sarah Raab

Regena Rafelson 2

Megan Ramey

Alexa Ramos

Becki Rawson

Nancy Rencken

Christie and Dick Reed

Jim Reid* 3

Bobbi Reisner 3

Chrissy Reitz

Erika Rench

Mark Reynolds 3

Tom Reynolds

Brian Robb

Victor Roberge*

Victor and Pamela Roberge

Lani Roberts 2

Darrell Roberts 3

Mike Rockwell

Allan Rodrick 2

Doug Roof 2

Laurel Roof

Melani Rosales

Donald Rose 10

Mary Rose

Christopher Rosevear

Erica Roulier 2

Mary Rowan

Miko Ruhlen

Rod Runyon

Tracy Rushing

David Russo*

Jessica Russo*


Anne Saxby

Gordy Sato

Becca Saunders

Scott Scrimshaw

Ben Seagraves

Barbara Seatter

Mike Schend

Vollie Scott

Mike Scroggs 2

Grace Skakel

Shelia Shearer 3

Greg Shepherd 3

Ben Sheppard

Benjamin Sheppard 3

Jean Sheppard

Beverly Sherrill 5

Dorothy Sherwood

Brian Shortt 2

Jennifer Schubert

Mark K. Shull 2

Gary Simpson

Johanna Siskar

Janette Skarda 2

Jeff Skye

Nathan Smith 4

Tim K. Smith

Steve Smithsted

Emily Spezia-Schwiff

Jack Sprague

John and Linda Sprague

Rhonda Starling 3

Heather Staten*

Janet Stauffer*

John Stevens

Michael Stevens

Bob Stewart

Michael Stroud 2

Lance S. Stryker

Katelin Stuart

Billy Sullivan*

Dick Swart 5


Guy Tauscher

Cal Taylor 2

Wanda Taylor

Barbara Thomas

Mark Thomas

Elaine Thompson

Paul Thompson

Makenzi Thurman

Pam Tindall 2

Jan Tommaso

Brian Towey

Walt Trandum

Julie Trantham

Tracy Triplett

Rich Truax 5

Rich and Svea Truax

Ruth Tsu

Rich Tuttle

Rev. Steve Tyson

Leticia Valle 2

Shannon Vance

Douglas Van Zandt

Richard Vetrone

Kim Vogel

Eric Voigt


Cindy Walbridge

Cherie Walter

David Warnock 5

Kathy Watson

Stu and Kathy Watson

Stu Watson

Drew Weerts

Robert Wellenstein 2

Nathan Welp 2

Rene Westbrook

Amy Wheeler 2

Robert White 3

William White

Trenton Whitecotton

Jerry and Deborah Whiting Jaques

Julie Wilcox

Kristine Wilhelm

Gary Wilhelms

Bob Williams 14

Judy Williams

Mitch Williams

Alan Winans 14

Richard Withers 3

John Wolf*

Holly and Tom Wood

Kevin and Jill Woodhouse

Paul Woolery

Ellen Wylde

Ron Yamashita 7

Tom Yates 7

Gary Young 3

Paul Zastrow 3

Jeff Zipfel 4

Debby Zoe Kelly 3

Colin and Jean Zylka*

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