Commit to mask use

It seems to me that if routine mask use halves the replication of infections when compared to using masks only if symptomatic, we really need to commit to mask use until we have a viable vaccine. It should be made mandatory for users of essential services like grocery stores, including grocers and shoppers. Currently I see maybe 50 percent mask use in the grocery store, so those at risk who must fetch groceries have no great protection. When the federal government mailed out $1,200 in relief funds, they might have included a couple N95 masks per person to allow those who are at highest risk some option for greater protection. That we can fight high-tech wars around the world and fly missions to space, including private commercial missions to space, but not manage to get the U.S. public a supply of protective gear, let alone those on the front lines, speaks volumes about our priorities. It seems to me testing does minimal good late in the game without addressing basic protections. That countries that committed to mask use early on faired much better than ours should be looked at objectively, and not with an eye for global political positioning. We are a world community in this pandemic; let us share the best of each others solutions.

Lisa Nevara

The Dalles

Thank you

Thank you to the hundreds of Wasco County endorsers, volunteers, contributors, and supporters who joined one of the biggest grassroots campaigns in Wasco County history! And thank you to the 3,725 voters who put your faith in me and our vision for Wasco County. While we fell just 353 votes short, we are so proud of the campaign and we are heartened by the community's response.

We didn't take a dime in direct cash contributions from a major political party or current Wasco County employees. We refused to spread false personal attacks or insult thousands of Wasco County residents based on where they came from. We focused on issues and we proposed commonsense solutions.

Nearly half of voters in Wasco County made it clear that they are ready for new ideas and new leadership. They want a more transparent and ethical government that puts petty personal conflicts aside, gives citizens a stronger voice in the process, and stops letting unelected bureaucrats make decisions behind closed doors with no accountability. They want our county to tackle the high cost of housing and keep our communities safe and healthy. They want positive change in our community by honoring our past while embracing our future. They want a welcoming community that that moves forward in a way that works for all Wasco County residents – whether their families have lived here for two years or two hundred.

The status quo isn’t working for families and taxpayers and they are paying attention. They deserve better. I look forward to returning to my small business where I will continue to fight for justice for small businesses, families, seniors, farmers, and taxpayers. I will stay deeply engaged in our community to ensure that citizens' voices are heard, and elected officials are held accountable at all levels. Thank you. And see you soon.

Marcus Swift

Former Candidate for Wasco County Commission

The Dalles

Disparities

President Trump has often compared the United States coronavirus testing numbers with those of South Korea. Here are some other numbers regarding the United States, South Korea and the coronavirus for the president to consider — almost 96,000 and around 1,700.

On May 23, 2020, the John Hopkins Coronavirus website reported the United States had a coronavirus death rate of 29.34 per 100 thousand people. South Korea was reported to have a death rate of .52 per 100 thousand people.

The United States’ death rate is, shockingly, 56 times higher than South Korea’s death rate.

If the United Sates, with a population of approximately 331 million, had a death rate of .52 deaths per 100 thousand people, the number of deaths in our country would not be almost 96,000. Instead, the number would be around 1,700.

Yes, part of the disparity between the numbers of deaths for each country may be explained by social, cultural, political and other differences. But these differences cannot be the entire explanation. The disparity is too large.

The president should consider the numbers 96,000 and 1,700.

So should the rest of us.

Mary-Ethel Foley

Hood River

Political move?

It is interesting to listen to Gov. Kate Brown explain her reluctance of ordering up the National Guard to help reduce the looting and violence in Portland. That part of her basis was really to not support President Trump's call to action. Leads me to think it is merely a political move on her part. Of course, what concern is there for the looting and property damage that is happening?

To be very clear, I am not talking about the peaceful protests. And the probably disregard of the fact that some of those businesses and property belong to minorities who now no longer have a business and livelihood. And certainly not to mention those protesters and looters were not keeping their social distance and washing their hands. But it is certainly okay to stomp down on that Salem business owner for trying to keep her business afloat, who is now facing thousands in fines.

Isn't something wrong with this picture? Don't you think it is time for a change?

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Songer wrong

“As sheriff, I will uphold our citizens’ constitutional rights and liberties and will not enforce Gov. Inslee’s COVID-19 Proclamation Orders on public gatherings and non-essential businesses. No crisis should ever violate a citizen’s liberty or God-given rights under our U.S. Constitution or Washington State Constitution.”

Interesting to note, the president declared the country in a state of emergency. So sad that the sheriff deems citizen’s liberty or God-given rights more important than the health and well being of the citizens of this county. There are many people that have compromised immunity ... I guess they are not important to Sheriff Songer.

As the state of Washington was the epicenter at the beginning of this state of emergency, our Governor has done a tremendous job in reigning in the epidemic in this state.

Diana Grotte

White Salmon

Unforgettable

My granddaughter Autumn was set to graduate from Hood River Valley High School this year. She was looking forward to all the senior activities: Prom, senior skip day, Lock In, all of it!

I was disappointed for the entire class of 2020 that they did not get to experience all the traditions of graduating seniors.

And then something amazing happened! Perhaps a new tradition. Graduating seniors and their parents and family assembled in their cars in front of the Cascade Locks School behind the Cascade Locks fire truck. Teachers and staff from the school came by each vehicle congratulating the seniors exuberantly!

At 2:30 p.m., the fire truck lead the procession through downtown Cascade Locks, sirens blaring horns honking. All the emergency vehicles at the Cascade Locks Fire/EMS Department were parked in front of the station lights and sirens going. At the Hood River exit the procession was met with much enthusiasm from passing motorists and pedestrians.

As we turned onto May Street towards the middle school, the entire sidewalk was filled with teachers, staff and well wishers waving banners and shouts of congratulations that was incredibly moving! All the way to the high school groups of people were along side the road waving signs shouting out and honking horns!

It was wonderful, it was emotional! It was a different sort of graduation made even more special because of the thoughtfulness and efforts of so many.

Thank you, Hood River County teachers and staff, Cascade Locks Fire Department and all those folks who stood along the road to cheer.

I will never forget this experience, ever!

Kari Goben

Cascade Locks

Vote Carolyn Long

Supporting Carolyn Long for southwest Washington State’s 3rd Congressional District is an easy choice for me. Already I have met Carolyn (last summer, face-to-face and recently via Zoom), asked questions, had questions answered and been inspired by her work. Carolyn Long has taught many subjects at WSU-Vancouver campus including how to have civil discussions that move us beyond rigid partisanship.

Could her skill set be the leadership we need to help us all grapple with divisive issues and to reach some unity to try interesting solutions? Check her out at electlong.com.

Krista Thie

White Salmon

Rename the plaza

I want to share this letter to Mayor Kate McBride of Hood River.

Mayor McBride,

I hope that the country is transforming and I believe that Hood River can be part of the progress that is occurring around us. I encourage you to follow Mayor Muriel Bowser (of Washington, D.C.) who has taken the lead in asserting that black lives matter. I have been encouraged to see the Hood River Police Department respect and protect peaceful protesters. Our next step should be to name our own Black Lives Matter Plaza. I would suggest that we designate and name the plaza at the base of the Second Street stairs as Black Lives Matter Plaza. This is an opportunity for Hood River to be a leader — hopefully other small towns throughout America will follow your lead.

Greg Gottlieb

Hood River

Student support

I wanted to thank the Education Foundations in both Hood River and White Salmon for supporting getting books to students. During this pandemic, they have generously donated to local schools to help get books to students. It is wonderful to live and work in communities that continually support education. With these funds, students are able to get books and continue to read throughout the school closures.

Thank you for caring!

Ann McDonald

White Salmon

Fearful event

In response to the Monday, June 1 city-wide alert of potential violent protests in Hood River, I commend our city leadership for taking any threats against our community seriously. I applaud them for alerting us and striving to protect us.

I am, however, deeply concerned that our leadership is not responding to or protecting us from the equally, if not more dangerous, threat of misinformation. That there has been no public announcement that the recent threats to our community (and other small, rural cities across the country) were discovered to be propaganda created by white supremacist groups posing as ANTIFA members on social media is extremely concerning and deeply unsettling.

This hoax created panic and while our city was locking down, the invisible yet very real consequences of the ruse were spreading: FEAR.

The fact that there has been no public statement or effort to tell our community what really happened allows the chaos, confusion and fear created drive our community, and humanity at large, apart.

Allowing people to continue believing that the threat of violence against our community was real aids and abets the epidemic levels of chaos and division already spreading throughout our country. Accurate information is one of the most important resources we have to work together to make our communities and world a better place, and our leaders must do more to wield it often and widely.

Carly Laws

Hood River

Demilitarize police

Our country is convulsing from the excessive use of force by law enforcement (the murder of George Floyd), while Trump is demanding that police use violent, warlike tactics and machinery to counter protesters. Unfortunately, police departments nationwide have been outfitted over the years as if their purpose was indeed to wage domestic warfare rather than to maintain the peace, and we’re seeing it being used.

In the 1990s, the Defense Department created a program to offload surplus military equipment and “aid” police departments during the war on drugs. The program was curtailed by President Obama in 2015 and reinstated by Trump in 2017. It has allowed the transfer of an incredible arsenal of military weaponry — bayonets, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, and tracked armored vehicles (“Army tanks”) — to police forces around the country.

With protests turning violent across the country, a bi-partisan collection of legislators in both the House and the Senate are planning hearings to address the use of excessive force by law enforcement, and are looking to include an amendment in the must-pass annual defense policy bill to shut down the weaponry transfer program.

We need to urge Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Rep. Greg Walden to get military weapons out of local police departments and turn off the spigot that put them there in the first place. We need neighborhoods, not war zones, and we need police forces that keep the peace, not attack their citizenry. We need our elected officials to stand up and make sure this happens.

Daniel Fritz

Mosier

Oppose racism

The Mt. View Grange 98 (White Salmon Grange) unequivocally opposes racism. The voices of grange members join those in sorrow for the lives lost to racist actions, for the divisions racism has created between us and for the inequality that racism has spawned across our nation. We have a deep commitment to freedom of speech, expression and protest enshrined in the constitution for all people and for those reasons we support the #blacklivesmatter movement and the essential cultural change it will bring. Mt. View Grange 98 members pledge to oppose prejudice and racism and strive to do better. We welcome all, creating an inclusive and diverse community.

#silenceisviolence #BLM

Mt. View Grange Board and members:

Amanda Kitchings, Bruce Bolme, Ruth Olin, Bill Hoffer, Lynn Mason, Gigi Pomerantz, Vern Thornburg, Krista Thie, Alice Strunk

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