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Letters - May 7

Fun in a Teacup

As the winter without snow winds down, I wanted to spread some exciting news. For us cross-country ski enthusiasts, the saving grace of this past winter was the Teacup Nordic Club. A grassroots nonprofit, Teacup is located just across Highway 35 from the lower Meadows entrance and grooms 20 kilometers of trail. All volunteer-run, Teacup provided the only groomed trails on Mount Hood this winter. They were able to groom three days a week for much of the winter, and there was some great skiing to be had, classical and skating. Teacup also supports high school nordic teams, Special Olympics, and has an active kids’ program.

Those interested in this sport — perhaps the finest of aerobic exercises — may wish to know of the current fund-raising effort to build a day-use lodge to replace a worn and tiny trailer. Contributions are tax-deductible and can be sent to: Teacup Building Fund, c/o Dawn Holt, 11261 SW Pintail Loop, Beaverton, OR 97007.

The club has raised over $64,000 and needs just $16,000 more by mid-May to begin construction; we could be in by next winter!

Teacup is the future of cross-country skiing in this community; please join us. Learn more at teacupnordic.org

Paul Blackburn

Hood River

Deep, deep sleep

Monday, May 2, 2005: Wow! What a news day! Every single corporate channel featured the gossipy stories of three women and ended their broadcasts with a big wet kiss to Laura Bush. Never mind the upsurge of bloody bombings and deaths in Iraq. Never mind the nearly daily revelations of rampant Wall Street corruption. Don’t even whisper about the thousands of retirees who are losing their company pensions and health plans.

What we need to hear is the latest dirt about Martha Stewart’s house arrest arrangements. She’s just having too much damn fun. What of “Kenny Boy” Lay and the dozens of other corporate crooks under investigation? Never mind. At least Martha’s out of commission.

Forget about well-documented cases of torture in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and other secret U.S. detaining centers. Don’t worry about outsourcing torture victims to countries with no qualms about “interrogation” techniques. No worries now, not when “learning disabled” Lyndie England has taken responsibility for the U.S. decision to ignore the Geneva Conventions. We need to see endless Terry Shiavo-style coverage of chipmunk-faced England coming and going from court rooms.

And oh, by the way, what happened to Lyndie’s baby? Fodder for this week’s news cycle no doubt.

Then the earth-shattering news of an anxious and perhaps emotionally unstable Jennifer Wilbanks and her dash from the altar. A bride with cold feet. Doesn’t America have any more pressing concerns?

The cherry topping off this frothy goo was some wonderfully happy-faced news: Laura Bush has great comedic timing! The nation chuckled together at her homey jokes about married life. “I’m a desperate housewife too,” quipped the sweet-faced first lady in one punch line. “Ha, Ha, Ha,” we all went.

That’s what America needs; titillating, amusing news.

So much more comforting than the alarming report that terrorist attacks around the world tripled last year — or that Republicans have nearly won a 50-plus-year fight to destroy Social Security? or that $10 billion has been cut from Medicaid funding.

Don’t fret and sleep well for that’s exactly what they need us to do? Stay in a deep, deep sleep.

Kelly Cooper

White Salmon

Caring driver

Last week my 10-year-old daughter wanted to ride her bike to her friend’s house, three blocks away, all by herself. She had to go down our street, turn left, then turn left again. She of course wore her helmet, and we reviewed left turn signals. I reminded her to use her rearview mirrors and to look, before turning. I felt confident of the numbers of times we had practiced this while riding together.

I stood in my driveway to watch her go all the way to the turn. Of course a car came along. It proceeded to follow her slowly, and did not pass her as she got close to the intersection, where she used her turn signal for one microsecond and turned directly in front of the car.

I want to personally, with all my heart, thank the kind, attentive, and very patient person in the red car who took a couple minutes longer to get to their destination to ensure my daughter’s safety. And parents, keep those safety reminders coming.

Laura Makepeace Gilliom

Hood River

Tour a success

The Columbia Gorge Earth Center and Gorge Rebuild-it Center would like to send a big, big thank-you to the home and business owners on this year’s Enviro-House Tour. We had 135 people register for the tour this year, which we know is a lot of people to have tromping through your house in a day, but it is also an impressive and encouraging turnout. We have received great feedback from tour-goers, many of whom are going to build or remodel their own houses soon and are excited to use the information they’ve learned from you. We cannot express enough how your homes, your dedication and your values have inspired us all.

You have helped CGEC and the Rebuild-it Center meet their educational goals, providing practical solutions for how local folks can minimize their impact on the environment. Surely, in time, your projects will prove to not only have reduced the environmental footprint of your own household, but of your entire community.

With sincere gratitude,

Tara Johnston

Gather Design/Build Studio

Hood River

War no answer

If you are a Bush supporter and display yellow ribbon magnets “Support the Troops” I perceive your ribbon’s meaning as warped and hypocritical. Bush and Company lied and sent our troops into an unjust, illegal war for control of oil resources and to feed America’s corporate greed. This war does not defend America, nor has it been effective. It has only created a killing ground and the rate of terrorist attacks worldwide has never been higher. Rumsfeld sent our troops to war in insufficient numbers necessary to win and keep the peace and without sufficient armor and materials.

The Bush administration is sanctioning torture of prisoners which has caused irreparable harm to America and placed our troops in grave danger. Veteran’s medical benefits and programs have been drastically cut when our troops are suffering extreme disabilities as never before. Our war dead receive no honor as the media are not allowed to film returning soldier’s caskets and even the wounded are landed under cover of darkness.

Over 1,589 soldiers have died in Iraq with no end in sight. The number of wounded soldiers is over 12,000 and they are not receiving sufficient medical and psychological treatment. Never has there been such a high rate of suicide among returning soldiers, and the mainstream media does not report on soldiers that disagree and are disillusioned by the war.

Before the election, Bush promised an all-volunteer Army. Why then the backdoor draft? If the armed forces continue to fall far below recruiting levels the draft will be reinstituted to feed the present administration’s ineffective war policies. True troop support is calling the Bush administration to task for its shameful treatment of America’s soldiers. Demand an effective exit strategy, and start bringing the troops home. War is not the answer.

Teresa Webb

Hood River

Lars and Cory

I understand there is soon to be a Port Election, and I want to encourage everyone to support Cory Roeseler and Lars Bergstrom. These two individuals represent change, and the Port obviously needs it. I’ve been coming to Hood River several times a year for over 25 years for vacations and visits with family. I typically spend $500-$1,000 in the area each time I visit Hood River.

The Port area is so unattractive; I can’t believe nothing has been done. The rest of Hood River is beautiful, and it strikes me as odd that the Port has kept the waterfront area so unfinished and bare. Do they think they are creating jobs with bare land?

The Port of Hood River needs a change. It needs Cory Roeseler and Lars Bergstrom to provide the leadership necessary to finish the waterfront and let it begin to bring in new jobs. I hope your community agrees. I hope Hood River voters have the wisdom to vote for change.

Molly Anderson

Seattle, Wash.

Docs v. 14-23

This community’s Measure 14-23 debate has come down to the “Pro-fluoride” group versus the “anti-fluoride” group. Nowhere in this measure is there a mention of the addition of fluoride to water. Even though we have gone to graduate school, we would not have understood the ramifications of this measure had it not been for the hard work of the group advocating for fluoridation.

We support fluoridating the water. Public health research supports fluoridating the water.

Vote no on Measure 14-23

Michele K. Beaman, M.D.

Pediatrician

Hood River

Jennifer Pflug, M.D.

Pediatrician

The Dalles

No on 14-23

I am voting no on Measure 14-23. It is bad local policymaking on many fronts. First of all, why do we need a measure to keep out industrial wastes in our drinking water? What city in its right mind would contaminate its water by adding industrial wastes? The second part of the measure, which prohibits adding anything that exceeds EPA’s MCLG health goals is, I’m sorry, completely unintelligible to anyone other than environmental professionals and those who wrote the measure. What does it mean? If we want to keep fluoride out of our water, let’s decide that’s what we want to do — but don’t ask me to vote for some cryptic, ominous change in our city charter to accomplish this. It’s confusing, deceptive and downright sneaky.

Ellen Clarke

Hood River

Nasty tactics

The same nasty tactics seen now in Hood River are being used across this country to force expensive fluoridation on communities. First the City Council is worked and if there is a lack of citizen input, the victory may be won there.

If not and it goes to the people, the dentists and selected doctors are organized to stand together for fluoride and the children. How can you oppose the children? Rather than scientific debate, attack tactics are next, along with citing associations and selected individuals who have at some time made a quote on fluoridation.

Columbia Riverkeeper has been attacked in door-to-door campaigns by local dentists. The ballot measure on drinking water protection from toxics is being attacked in a locally distributed mailer as “deceptive.”

Let’s stop the name-calling and have a debate. Interesting that the newspaper and a local Rotary member wanted to organize a debate and public forum. It was canceled because those opposing the measure have taken the position and tactics advised by well-funded fluoride activists. “Whatever you do, don’t get into a debate of the science,” they are advised.

One dentist responded to a personal invite from the Riverkeeper to attend the recent public forum or Continuing Education Class sponsored at the hospital with a real fluoride expert — a top researcher on preventative dentistry. Dr. Hardy Limeback is director of preventative dentistry at the University of Toronto and served on the National Academy of Science panel on Fluoride. Only a couple of dentists saw Dr. Limeback and they were there to find more grounds for attack. Do our health care professionals really think they have all of the facts and there is nothing more to be learned on the subject? The excuses made that they were going door to door or had other plans don’t fly with me. I am going to personally talk to my dentist and look for a health care professional who will gather all of the information possible before getting behind a rabid campaign that attacks our local conservation organization for trying to bring some light to the subject.

Stop the name-calling and step up to debate. Let the facts speak for themselves and read the language of the measure. It is remarkably simple. I am sure if you read what it says at www.columbiariverkeeper.org or on your ballot, you will vote “Yes”.

Cyndy deBruler, executive director

Columbia Riverkeeper

Fluoride: yes

I would like to thank the dentists and doctors who have backed the fluoride issue in Hood River. They are supporting the best practice as outlined by our state Health Division and the national Centers for Disease Control to improve dental health in the city. I hope this measure passes and that Crystal Springs will follow suit and add fluoride to the water at my house.

Joella Dethman

Hood River

For 14-23

I am a cardiologist in Southern Oregon where I have practiced for the past 28 years. Until recently, I had supported drinking water fluoridation believing that fluoridation was good for children’s teeth. Like many well-intentioned doctors and dentists, I believed fluoridating drinking water was a good idea without ever critically studying the medical studies and literature. When I did finally examine the scientific literature, however, I could not avoid the conclusion that adding fluoride chemicals to our drinking water was not medically justified.

Over the last decade there has been extensive medical research on a wide range of adverse health effects from fluoride that had never previously been considered, as well as, important studies that show the benefits of water fluoridation are far less than previously believed. One of the impacts never considered until recently is the health effects of heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic and mercury that often contaminate the fluoridation chemicals added to drinking water and are a particular threat to the very children fluoridation is intended to help.

There is no scientific dispute that the most common fluoridation chemicals contain serious neurotoxins, such as lead, and powerful carcinogens, such as arsenic. Some fluoridation proponents dismiss concerns about these toxics saying the concentrations are so small we should ignore them. This ignores, however, the extensive medical research showing we should do everything possible to reduce the levels of these toxics and certainly not knowingly add them to our drinking water. While I can only follow the measure to protect Hood River’s drinking water from afar, I can urge Hood River to vote Yes on Measure 14-23.

Nicholas Dienel, M.D.

Medford, Ore.

Fluoride claims

I note that the “Pro 14-23s” make statements of studies supporting their claims without citing the studies in a manner that an interested person could find and read them for her- or himself. “... recent medical studies suggest ...” certainly doesn’t cut it. The Anti’s don’t do much better: “(Brunelle 1990)” is not terribly helpful. Might I suggest that both groups offer the cited materials and claims to the Hood River County Library for voters to read there? They could also mark the cited sections, so that we are not just inundated with page upon page of data (we called that a “snow job” when I was in school). Perhaps they could be displayed in such a way as to connect the related claim in their brochures or Hood River News articles to the alleged data or other proof.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Corey for Port

I’m writing to support Cory Roeseler in his bid for a seat on the Port Commission. As a local businesswoman and a mother of three, I don’t always have time to keep up-to-date on all the “goings-on” at the Port of Hood River. I rely on the Hood River News and the word on the street to stay informed.

I appreciate and would like to see more coverage of all the candidates and the issues, including the Port’s plans for the waterfront. My kids and I spend a great deal of our recreating time there, with our local friends as well as our visiting friends and family.

I can tell you, first hand, about Cory Roeseler, because my oldest son and his oldest son have been best friends for nearly a decade. Cory’s firm, open and honest, yet good-natured personality are exactly what the Port needs. He will represent the citizens of Hood River and finally make the waterfront a sensible development with a big park and some mixed use to complement the downtown area.

Please join me in support of Cory Roeseler for Port Commission Position 2.

Heather Edwards

Hood River

Yes to 14-23

I am one of the Clean Water Protection Measure petitioners, whose intentions the pro-water fluoridationists suggest need to be questioned. We petitioners are your neighbors, trying to protect the superlative quality of our hometown drinking water. We have no concern other than keeping toxic additives out of our water, for now, and the future. The pro-water fluoridationists have resorted to misleading innuendo and blatantly untrue statements against us because the merits of their arguments are poor and outdated. As I chose to vote YES on our clean water initiative, I reflected on how very strange a time this is, when anyone would actually hesitate to choose keeping known toxins out of one’s drinking water. Respectfully, your neighbor,

Kimberly Folts

Hood River

No to 14-23

Your April 27 article, with its loaded headline, “From Bag to Bone,” and blatantly biased photo steers your readers down a path of unnecessary worry over the impact of fluoride on bone structure.

In 2002, President Bush declared 2002 to 2012 to be the “Decade of the Bone.” As part of this health issue focus, the U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona in October 2004 issued an exhaustive report about bone health and bone-related diseases, such as osteoporosis and arthritis. Nowhere in this entire study is there mention of health concerns resulting from fluoride accumulation in the bone, or the use of fluoridation as a risk to bone health.

The U.S. Office of the Surgeon General’s primary goal is to provide the American people with the best scientific information to improve health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. Its staff of research scientists takes a health issue, identifies relevant scientific data, rigorously evaluates, summarizes the evidence and determines the conclusions.

Who do you base your decisions about your health on, one individual like Dr. Hardy Limeback, a biochemist at the University of Toronto, or the U.S. Surgeon General? Vote No on Measure 14-23.

Camille Freeman

Hood River

Lars and Cory

With the Port elections upon us, voters are being asked to select commissioners who will take the city and the port of Hood River into the next four years. I feel that Lars Bergstrom and Cory Roeseler are excellent choices to do this. They will listen to citizens’ concerns and they will take action when needed. They are family men, concerned about family wage jobs and family values. They care about Hood River, balancing the creation of jobs with preserving and enhancing the quality of life in this area.

Please join me in voting for some fresh, down to earth faces who are ready to listen to the community. Lars Bergstrom and Cory Roeseler — thanks for your time and offer to serve our community. I support you and will vote for you!

Susan Froehlich

Hood River

Cory and Lars

I understand Lars Bergstrom and Cory Roeseler are running for election to the Hood River Port Commission, on a platform to change the way the Port does business. I understand they want to focus on public access to the waterfront and high-quality job growth.

I am currently running a start-up Internet business called PayScale, Inc. in the Seattle area, and during the course of early planning I had looked all over the Northwest for places to locate. One of them was Hood River.

Today, more and more high-tech businesses look at Hood River, The Dalles, Bingen, and other towns in the region to do business in a rewarding fashion: Actively participating in the lifestyle of the Gorge. PayScale’s wages are between $45,000 and $150,000 per year and we just hired our 15th employee.

Coming from someone who has done some looking into this area, if Lars Bergstrom and Cory Roeseler are elected, I think Hood River will enjoy a boost in job growth from private investment, plus tax revenues for the city. Further benefit would be attained if some of the port-owned land along I-84 were properly marketed and sold for private development — for projects that fit within the lifestyle goals of the gorge — in addition to the desirable restrictions to protect the views.

Joe Giordano

Bellevue, Wash.

‘We decide’

The yearning of this river town to reclaim its waterfront heritage just won’t let itself get stuffed into a garbage bag. Where else can the downtown expand except towards the river? We have an opportunity to move towards consensus on a waterfront plan. I urge you to vote for Kathy Watson, Dr. Lars Bergstrom and Cory Roeseler. They will work towards a vibrant, beautiful job-producing waterfront.

Regardless of which candidates win, long time antagonisms and polarization will still be with us. Isn’t it time for activists on all sides to come together? It’s not so complicated. Our community nearly accomplished this before in the late 1990s with volunteer planning efforts that were first supported then discarded by previous Port Commissions.

Imagine a broad tree-lined avenue with good pedestrian connection from the overpass to our new park-to-be. This makes both physical and visual connection from river to town. A cul-de-sac or loop road can connect to the sail park and cruise ship dock. Luhr Jensen stays grandfathered, of course.

Mixed use buildings rise over time along the promenade. Retail, restaurants, office uses, entertainment occupy first floors — all the things that make for a vibrant downtown and that we already know how to do. Offices, a mix of small townhouses and apartments occupy second floors. Consideration for views from downtown is given in allowable building height. Behind these buildings are alley roads for employees, resident parking and service entrances.

The nature of the sewer plant is to smell bad. The land between it and the mixed-use areas can be kept for light industrial buildings to make a block diverting the smell drift. Work, downtown commercial, living, and play can all fit well with the intelligent urban renewal we have already accomplished. Growth in this town is inevitable. We decide what it looks like.

Jeff Hunter

Hood River

What’s next?

Measure 14-23 seeks to establish that the City of Hood River doesn’t have or won’t have healthy, safe, clean water. How will this measure be implemented? It appears the City will be looking to someone to figure that out. Who will determine what “contaminant” means? What does a level of zero mean? Absolute zero? That is not measurable so is the current technology the limit?

If so, then what happens when technology advances? Do we then shut everything down until we can attain this “new” goal? At what level is anything safe and how will we test for it? Apparently the existing EPA guidelines are not trustworthy nor are those of the National Sanitation Foundation or the American Water Works Association, the independent groups that oversee all of America’s water systems, the largest and safest public water systems in the world. How will the City test for these “contaminants”? Will it be daily, weekly, monthly, yearly? What will be the course of action if a “contaminant” is found? Do we shut off the water, send out a notice. There has been a lot of talk about arsenic, lead and fluoride. These things are naturally in our water and even more so in all our foods in levels tens of thousands of times higher than in any approved additive. Do these need to be removed? How will the proponents of measure 14-23 address this? What is the cost? Where will the monies come from? Is this really about healthy safe, clean water or about not wanting fluoride? You can have fluoridated healthy, safe, clean water: vote no on Measure 14-23.

Kirsten Kleinsmith

Hood River

For Watson

I’ve known Kathy Watson since 2000 and have worked with her on several committees. She is straightforward, listens to all sides of issues, and works to unite people and build consensus. She will put in long hours and is working hard to find out what all the people of the Port district think. I urge you to vote for Kathy Watson for Port Commissioner. She is a great asset to Hood River County.

Kate McBride

Hood River

Don and Fred

“If it isn’t broken don’t fix it,” would certainly apply to the upcoming Port Commission election. I have known and worked with Don Hosford and Fred Duckwall on many community organizations and committees, including the Port of Hood River. They are capable, understanding, and knowledgeable about Hood River county and its good people.

They represent all voters of the Port of Hood River district, not just one segment, locale, or particular group. I read many comments concerning their inability to compromise on waterfront issues. The Port of Hood River commissioners, including Don and Fred, can be proud of their efforts to include the wishes of the recreational proponents in their planning and budgets.

Please exercise your voting rights, district-wide, and return Don Hosford and Fred Duckwall to Hood River County Port Commission.

Jim O’Banion

The Dalles

Yes on 14-23

You and I are the ones who will be paying for this the rest of our lives with money and our health! This is a toxic material that we do not need. The dentist and parents can use fluoridated toothpaste and spit it out so it does not harm that person’s health. I would not live in Hood River right now because of the water. That is why I am always looking for a place in the Ice Water Fountain area. So everyone vote YES ON 14-23. For safe water!

Bobbi Reisner

Hood River

Cory and Lars

As frequent visitors to Hood River, my friends and I were delighted to learn that Cory Roeseler and Lars Bergstrom are running for public office, to replace two of the port commissioners who have been keeping your wonderful community from being all that it can be. The fresh, new ideas articulated by Cory and Lars in their bid to represent you on the port commission will do much to further improve the quality of life.

Billy Roeseler

Seattle, Wash.

Makes you think

Your April 30 front page photo says it all to some folks: Bags of sodium fluorosilicate labeled TOXIC on a standard DOT hazmat tag headed for a water supply! Makes you think just a little bit.

Jack Sheppard

Hood River

‘Bias’ in reporting

I was glad to hear Sen. Rick Metsger, at last Saturday’s town meeting, agree that Measure 14-23 was deceptive. He said that the language about industrial waste was “over the top.”

He added that he was confident Hood River voters would be smart enough to see the measure for what it was and vote it down.

Once again, a Hood River News photo and caption speaks a thousand words about its bias in reporting on the fluoridation issue. This time the bias comes through by what it didn’t report. The caption under the photo of Sen. Metsger states he was undecided on the state mandatory fluoridation bill. But you omitted his position against Measure 14-23.

How are the voters supposed to make an informed decision on this measure with such a bias in your reporting?

Donna Schumacher

Hood River

Will of the voters

On Saturday, April 30 (“Walden Rebukes Wu”) regarding Congressman David Wu’s public opposition to locating an off-reservation gambling facility within the Columbia River National Scenic Area and Cascade Locks, the Hood River News quoted Representative Patti Smith (R-Corbett) as saying Congressman Wu’s comments were unfortunate because he did not, “ ... dialogu(e) with me or the many other elected officials who are directly involved and informed,” and that the casino project, “... is a good thing for the region and came after years of collaborative, bipartisan efforts between the tribe, Cascade Locks, Hood River County and the state of Oregon.”

In true form to those who support this project, and those government officials who are unwilling to listen to The People of Hood River regarding how they wish their waterfront to be developed, Rep. Smith cites no mention of the will of the voters in either community, but rather only the will of the members of their respective government bodies, who I suspect have much more to gain from either property’s development than do the general populations of the communities.

Here is one “fact” that Rep. Smith failed to cite in her statement. In Hood River, the voters, by referendum, stated what kind of development they desired for their waterfront.

Another fact is that there has been no public referendum regarding locating an off-reservation gambling casino smack dab in the middle of a National Scenic Area and in Cascade Locks.

Mike Stroud

Hood River

Vote no now

If anyone is undecided about Measure 14-23, this is the time to vote no — now. The community has been barraged with conflicting information about the risks and benefits of water fluoridation. And as noted in a recent HRN article, we only have to go to the Internet to get over 2.2 million hits on fluoride. Apparently you can have any opinion you want — no matter how bizarre — and find something to support it.

I certainly don’t have time to wade through all this information and judge its scientific credibility. Who I do trust are my friends and neighbors in the medical profession who have worked with these issues all their lives. They are trained to read the science and determine the best course of action from a health perspective. Believe me, I don’t give medical professionals a carte blanche — but I do know on this issue they will have to be accountable to this community for their advice — can people say that of what they read on the Internet?

Measure 14-23 closes off the option to fluoridate — vote no and buy yourself more time to decide who to believe.

Elaine Thompson

Hood River

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