Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Help locals shop locally
I agree with Maree Jo's (Kettenring, Feb. 5) letter on parking downtown. In these hard times we should do whatever we can to help locals shopping locally.
I propose a downtown parking pass for Hood River County residents to purchase. People would not be fumbling for change and having to deal with broken parking meters.
Re: Letters/Opinion, Feb. 5:
One: Thank you, Cliff Mansfield, for telling it like it was/is - for it seemed like our editor just couldn't print too many "Bush-bashing" letters. So many, in fact, that it stretched his letter policy.
But as you pointed out, when the "shoe is on the other foot," Obama's gang replies, "Oh! My! How could he print such unpatriotic stuff?"
Two: Meters - and employee parking. No problem for our county's employees, nor for our city's employees who make and enforce the parking rules. But I have to chuckle at their "No Employee Parking" holiday policy, since it doesn't affect them.
Three: Editorial, "Stepping up to Save Our Schools." Let's roll the clock back 40 years and grab a power saw, then head to the mountains covered with our God-given solution - TIMBER - Hood River County's natural resource.
Bad idea! Then let's declare wind, water and bicycle paths as its replacement; taxing with a license every personal device that uses any one of these three (except horses).
Isn't it the farming industry that has caused the burden (overpopulation) now faced by our schools?
Hood River County - a government of the farmers, for the farmers, by the farmers.
It was one of those days: Kids listening, then not listening, sibling squabbles, sometimes feeling like a good parent, other times feeling inept as a mother.
After a store run, my two kids and I stopped at Children's Park in Hood River to get the wiggles out and restore some sanity (for me). As I look at the play structures from the van, I notice graffiti. Graffiti in a children's park: absolutely appalling. My kids are beginning to fight, and I am feeling that point in which I might snap, so I let them out to play.
As I walk over to where they are, I am having an inner dialogue about some of my parenting issues, and I look up, and there scrawled in colorful chalk is "Be confident." I turn the corner and "Trust yourself" is the message. Another message to the left, "Tell him you are proud."
In fact, all around the playground, "Have courage," and "Give your kids strength," greeted me with the messages I needed to hear right at the moment.
Parenting is the scariest journey I have ever undergone, with doubt around every corner; joy yes, but the desire to create beautiful and active members of our tribe is so strong sometimes, and the challenges so large, that it makes me tremble.
In a moment when I needed a reminder, there it was, scrawled in colorful chalk on the Children's Park play structures to remind me that I am not alone, and that I can. Thank you to the person who placed it there.
But what's more, I was thinking, maybe we should all do that. Place post-its in the supermarket aisles on the shelves with "Breathe," or "This will pass," or "You are enough" right in the places where children lose it and parents need support.
Or at the gas station on the pump (where you stare at those high prices), post a message "Be in the moment," "Hug them." Maybe on a sign post next to the stoplights, we'll see "Laugh with your children."
Or in sidewalk chalk on Oak Street, or while you are shopping with your kids on your fourth errand: "Skip with your children and smile" will brighten your mood - small reminders that parents are not alone, and that they are supported by the universe.
Go out and get your post-its.
More fish is
a good thing
I read Andy von Flotow's letter about the removal of the Condit Dam with great interest but ultimately I found myself scratching my head in bewilderment. I don't understand his dam math or his dam logic.
He states that the electricity generated by the dam will be replaced by coal-generated electricity. Further he states that the amount of coal required would be the equivalent of 60 tons per fish.
If my math is right he assumes that 740 fish will return to migrate up the river each year for the next 90 years. I've found studies that estimate 700 steelhead will migrate up the river when the dam is removed, so I'm guessing Andy used a similar study.
But the same study also estimates more than 7,000 salmon would migrate back into the river. That would reduce the amount of coal per fish to 5 tons. That's 111 pounds per year.
Andy, really - coal? What the heck - we don't burn coal in the Northwest. Have you driven east on I-84 recently? The Northwest (and and most of the world) now get good-sized portion of their electricity from wind turbines. I'm guessing a few windmills in Rufus will replace the electricity from Condit Dam, Copper Dam and many other dams. No need for your dam coal.
Andy does bring up an interesting philosophical question: By removing the dam do we create more harm than good? If his whole argument against removal is predicated on the subsequent the burning of coal, then his argument doesn't hold water (unlike the dam).
Today, only 3 miles of the river is open and available to the adult spawning fish. The removal of the dam will open 33 miles of the upper river. The fish hatchery programs (and their carbon footprint) will be eliminated. The Department of Fish and Game has stated its intention to stop the stocking of fish.
Andy, are you a fisherman or a boater, or even a nature lover? The return of the river to its more natural state should have an overwhelming positive effect on our community, for humans and wildlife. More fish (dead and alive) will mean a more robust food chain for nature and humans. And that's for dam sure.
In response to Taryn Norton in Wednesday, Feb. 9 edition: I was one of the majority in the first vote on Measure 14-39 and the minority in the second vote on Measure 14-39.
Please understand that I am not against the library, reading or learning. We taught our children to read when they were both 3 years old with books that we purchased or traded with others. I want to be able to take my grandson to the library for story time. I am just as passionate about reading and I want him to enjoy reading as well.
I understand that to some it must be very simple: "Give up one latte a week, after all 17 cents a day is nothing." But it does add up when you add all the other cents per day from the city, county and state, to a limited budget.
The taxpayers have become the primary source of income and the answer for any and all lack of funds. That was not always the case, not too many years ago. Yes, some will say that it is a choice to own property. However, we cannot afford to rent!
I am not sure that people also realize that Oregon property taxes will be increasing 3 percent yearly no matter what due to Measure 50.
Another concern of mine is that there is no sunset on Measure 14-39. That means that we can potentially be paying forever on a library that may not be able to sustain itself and remain open. I was so very surprised that was not addressed in the Measure. I am so surprised people passed it without it.
Taryn, it saddens me that you did not thank the real people who will open the library, not just the ones who voted for it to open. I am talking about the taxpayers who are struggling to find that 17 extra cents per day for you.
Dean! Good to see you!
A short while ago I was in a Portland megastore trying my best to divine why I needed a smart phone; never mind buy one.
Given my previous residence (in Africa) I was in full-on stimulation overload: disoriented, queasy, wanting to flee. The sales guy told me, of course, that the discounted price would expire in a day so I dove in and got a smart phone knowing full well that I wouldn't be any smarter. OK, done - now get me outta here.
Heading for the exit I felt as if the whole experience had been on another planet. Then I saw Dean Reeves. Throughout my life Dean has been a touchstone for me and my family; keeping things in context and demanding that we appreciate him for who, not what, he is.
We have known him in numerous circumstances: I as his onetime physician, we as mutual friends, he as classmate of more than one of our kids, I as his swim coach in Special Olympics, he as a valued health care colleague at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, and more.
And it occurred to me as I went back to Bethany's home in Portland that Dean is what makes Hood River, well, Hood River.
I've often read in the letters to the editor about individuals lamenting that we no longer know each other; perhaps a product of growth and becoming a "destination" community.
I gave a presentation to some med students about global health and was impressed at how "connected" they were, but not in the present and not to each other. No nuanced conversation; just texting and heads in laptops.
Dean commands conversation as he has a lot to say. Texting him would miss his smile, his jokes, lightness of being, and, yes, his naiveté.
The "Deans" of most towns often are below the radar. Most are employed and live relatively independent lives. Not necessarily autonomous, but truly independent. Most have caring families who have helped maximize their capabilities.
Hopefully all live in a community that realizes the value of having human treasures like him. He reminds us of who we are and challenges us, perhaps more immediately, to contemplate our collective future.
So there he was waiting patiently as his folks were enduring "the line" at said megastore. He didn't recognize me immediately; it had been a while. Still, he greeted me with a smile and an enthusiasm that is ever-present.
I had moved away. Dean stayed in his community, one that cares for and is cared for by him.
Don't move Pine Grove
Pine Grove Elementary is everything a K-5 school should be. Students and staff are more like a family, and in this close-knit atmosphere children excel that may otherwise struggle in a large school.
Does closing Pine Grove really make sense? For a "savings" of $300,000 the district proposes to relocate 140 students, lose valuable teachers and an outstanding principal and shut the only K-5 school on the east side.
The district proposes moving Frankton's Early Intervention Program into Pine Grove despite the fact that it's not handicapped-accessible. What is the cost to retrofit the building to suit Frankton's needs? I know it's not factored into the $300,000 savings.
Early Intervention serves approximately 114 children, but not all at one time nor every day. How can they justify devoting an entire elementary school (heat, lights, space) for so few? If a move is necessary, maybe there is another site more appropriate for their size and needs.
It baffles/angers me that Dos Mundos is financially supported by the school district, being that it is an optional lottery-based charter school operating rent-free out of a public school (Westside). My taxes pay for this select program while my own children's school is threatened with closure!
Why don't Early Intervention and Dos Mundos swap locations, and the charter school can lease Frankton instead of mothballing it.
Closing Pine Grove is far too drastic a step. None of the proposed cuts are favorable, but please don't overlook the importance of keeping Pine Grove open as a K-5 school. It just doesn't make sense to end something that is working so beautifully. The true value of this school far exceeds $300,000.
Cindy Wells Blachly
CL Keystone council?
Cascade Locks Keystone council wowed the citizenry this week with its choice of a new replacement planner. After the last planner quit before this merry group of head hunters got the opportunity to fire him, they looked high and low and managed to find a new one at twice the rate of the last one, and approximately double the mileage charge. This is courtesy of our new council and their diligently slashing costs.
At the same time our merry band of Keystones decided not to hire part-time help for our fire and ambulance service, thereby demonstrating the importance of planning over public safety, another Keystone Kops decision: cut back on public safety and double our costs on planning.
Maybe there's someone out there who can understand the logic in this; I can't.
Honesty lives in HR
Last Sunday my husband and I walked to Walgreen's to register a new credit card at the pharmacy. As we walked back home along 12th Street picking up trash, I needed to blow my nose. Of course, I pulled out a hankie from the pocket where the card was. You can guess the rest.
I pulled out another item from my pocket when I got home. No card. We drove back to Buzz's Subaru repair, parked the car and walked the fence line on 12th again and back to Walgreens. No card. We went home and I canceled the new card immediately. No charges.
Monday morning I received a call from Lou DeSitter, who does good work with the St. Mary's Catholic Church. His puzzlement was "Jean, I found a credit card with your name on it in the Sacristy this morning." He had no idea who brought it in.
Honesty deserves a big thank you. I live here for many reasons. One of those is knowing we have wonderful people living here.
Thank you again to the unknown "finder" who was not a "keeper" who did his/her best to see that my card was returned unused.
Don't forget CAT service
I read the "Share your ride" letter in the Jan. 29 issue of the Hood River News and agreed with what was said, but would like to add a further suggestion. We do have public transportation in the CAT (Columbia Area Transit) buses.
By calling in and making an appointment, they come to your door to pick you up and bring you home. From Odell to Hood River is $3 round-trip (slightly more than Parkdale); less expensive than driving your own vehicle.
They are on the road five days a week, Monday through Friday. They are great for shopping, doctor, dentist, beauty shop appointments or wherever you want to go in the Hood River Valley and also make regular trips to The Dalles and scheduled trips to Portland.
You could not find better or more congenial drivers anywhere. I have taken the bus for a number of years now and really recommend them.
Want to save on energy, the environment and gas money? Call CAT at 541-386-4202. Best to call a day ahead.
Experience is needed
To the citizens of Cascade Locks: I don't understand why the mayor and some councilors are so set on dismantling parts of the fire and ambulance departments. Has the mayor or all the councilors spoken personally to the fire chief? As of the 5th of February the mayor had not spoken or communicated with the fire chief, except during council meetings.
The City of Cascade Locks was divided over the fire department 20 years ago and it is happening again now. We have a mayor with no governmental experience, and a council that micro-manages. What happened to Robert's Rules of Order? Aren't problems with personnel supposed to take place in private, not before the public?
There is a job description for the administrator stating what his job is in regards to personnel and many everyday duties. The council sets polices, approves the budget and expenses. There must be communication between the mayor and department heads and everyone should start working together for the betterment of Cascade Locks.
Rumors started before the mayor and new councilors took office that the first item on their agenda was to ask for the resignation of the city administrator, the city planner, fire chief and paramedic. Look at the knowledge lost when the city administrator and city planner resigned their positions.
Have the mayor or councilors asked anyone with prior experience of hiring an administrator for input regarding the procedures they used? We have a dedicated and knowledgeable fire chief and group of volunteers who don't deserve the criticism they receive.
I am asking the citizens to check out the fire station to learn for themselves what the fire chief and the department has done for the city. I'm sure they will then be able to show support.
I'm speaking as a Cascade Locks resident for 75 years; four years as mayor of Cascade Locks; six years on the city council; 1½ years on the planning commission.