Friday, January 14, 2011
Taizé in WS
Bethel Congregational Church in White Salmon is offering a different kind of worship experience on Friday afternoons: a Taizé prayer service. The week's ending service consists of prayers set to authentic recorded Taizé music, quiet scriptural reflection and periods of silence, enhanced by a darkened sanctuary lit with candles and scented with incense. The effect is to invite closer attention to God and a deepened contemplative mood. While perhaps new to residents of this area, Taizé (pronounced Ti-zay) services are known throughout the Christian world in 30 different countries. Originating in France some 80 years ago within an innovative monastic community of lay Protestants and Catholics, today some 100 Taizé brothers strive to be a presence of love and caring among the poor and suffering of the world. An important part of their ministry is this unique prayer service known for its melodic and rhythmical music - short songs repeating simple prayers as meditative chants - punctuated by periods of silence in which one can feel an inward stillness. Persons of all faiths seeking spiritual renewal are invited to these unique services on Friday afternoons from 5:30-6:15 p.m. Instrumental centering music begins at 5 p.m. Bethel Congregational Church is located just off Jewett Boulevard at 480 E. Jewett Blvd. in White Salmon. Phone 509-493-4991 for more information.
David C. Duncombe
White Salmon, Wash.
Help is appreciated
A huge thank-you to everyone who came to my fundraiser (Dec. 5), generously donated time, materials or money, or have otherwise been there for me over the last five months. One couldn't wish for a more loving, caring community to call home. Thank you.
The school board will soon begin to budget for the coming school year, and it is clearly going to be a difficult task given the budget constraints they will have. I hope they will take this opportunity to show the kind of leadership and creativity we all need to see this year. It will take a collaborative effort between the board, the administration and the district employees to come up with a plan that will not deprive students of an enriching and quality school experience. During the budget process, it is important that community members make it known as to how funds should prioritized, what programs are absolutely necessary and which programs' value is either minimal or can be absorbed by other means. When dollars become scarce, it is imperative that we get the best value for those dollars we do have. I would ask those who feel that this is important to submit thoughts to the board in an organized and factual manner. This has the potential to be a very contentious discussion, with few programs or people coming out unscathed, so the community would be well-served to be not just heard, but listened to. To all concerned (which is most of us), be concise, be understanding, and be constructive as the process unfolds.
To Mr. Jim Drennan Sr. of Odell: I do not normally feel this kind of shock when confronted by a statement from a person of your viewpoint, but comparing Barack Obama to an unintelligent groundhog offends. The irony of a State of the Union speech on Groundhog Day is enough bitter humor for me, thank you, sir.
No charges brought
Here in Cascade Locks we continually hear from one constituency about laws being broken by our elected officials and staff, Mr. Munkhoff infers that it has occurred in his last letter to the paper (Jan. 5). I've yet to hear of any investigations or any charges by the county attorney, the state's attorney general or the Secretary of State's office, or anyone else for that matter. If someone believes that crimes have been committed or that administrative rules have been broken they should contact the proper authorities. If people don't like their elected officials, they are free to change them at election time or hire new ones. Accusing or implying that something illegal has occurred is just slandering those that the accusation is aimed at, particularly if no charges are ever brought to the attention of officials charged with that task, or filed by those officials. I've lived in Cascade Locks for nearly 15 years and have yet to see anyone charged with anything. Officials can err or be given incorrect advice by attorneys just like anyone else; to call that illegal, immoral, or unethical is a stretch. As to Mr. Willoughby, he's doing just fine, thank you, down in Florence where he's highly regarded. If you make inquiries amongst current city administrators, you'll find that Mr. Seeger was and is well thought of by his peers. The county attorney is in Hood River; please take your charges there, Mr. Munkhoff - that's where they belong; not played in the paper.
Casino not wanted
I am writing to rebut some of the claims in the Hood River News Saturday editorial, Jan. 8, entitled "Memo to Gov. Kitzhaber," which advocated for a Gorge casino in Cascade Locks. The reason the Final Environmental Impact Statement showed "little negative impact" over siting a casino in Cascade Locks is because the study was bought and paid for by the Warm Springs Tribe. It was manipulated by them and "co-operating agencies" to get the end result they wanted. In truth, the Impact Statement is full of incomplete assertions, misleading information and gaping holes. There has never been a legitimate survey of Cascade Locks that proves the town wants the casino. However, in 2008 a professional polling firm found that 56 percent of Hood River County residents oppose the casino versus 22 percent in favor. Poll numbers for the state of Oregon show that two/thirds of Oregonians oppose a Gorge casino. You can view one of these polls and a news release on the other at: www.nogorgecasino.com under the issues and news tabs. You do not speak for the majority of people in Hood River County or Oregon when you advocate for a casino in the Gorge. In 2008 a $40,000 study was conducted to determine the likelihood of building a casino at the proposed site east of Hood River, next to the Historic Highway bike trail. It found many reasons why this is extremely unlikely; one of which is the remote location and steep slopes. The report estimated that freeway access and site preparation alone would exceed $200 million. You can read this report at www.nogorgecasino.com under the issues tab. John Kitzhaber has held firm in his opposition to a Gorge casino for years and he is not going to change now. The best place for this casino is on busy Highway 26 on the Warm Springs reservation where tribal members can fully benefit from casino employment and will not have to give away part of casino revenues to the State of Oregon.
Would you like to be empowered, inspired, awed and connected to something beyond yourself? If so, I highly recommend for you to experience the "Daughters of the Earth" exhibit at the Columbia Art Gallery. Take your time to take it all in and perhaps, like I, you will be moved to tears by the subjects and by the artists whose collective creative genius breathed life into each piece to allow us to interpret the works through our own experiences. Simply brilliant!
Time for gun control
Regarding the Giffords shooting: Neither one of us remembers being as upset about anything since the events of 9-11 and, before that, the assassination of JFK. What in the world was a person whose acquaintances later described as "a nutcase," "odd" and "deeply troubled" doing walking around downtown Tucson with a loaded semiautomatic? We say bring on the gun control! We don't think our forefathers who wrote the Constitution had semiautomatics in mind. They were thinking of average farmers (the majority of our population in 1776) who might want to shoot deer or rabbits for the table with a one-shot rifle. We applaud the brave statements of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who placed the blame for the Giffords tragedy squarely on the shoulders of political extremists who, during the fall campaign, portrayed "target" districts in the crosshairs of a gun sight, or shot off M-16 rifles at their fundraisers and encouraged others to participate. We think it's high time these pot-stirring politicians were held accountable for inflammatory statements or actions that could lead to actual violence in the general populace. We think it's time the federal government outlawed the sale and possession of semiautomatic firearms. We think it's time the Supreme Court repealed the law that allows big businesses to purchase their candidates of choice. But who are we? Just a couple of concerned citizens. Are there more of us? You bet there are! But we're not out shooting people. More than 30,000 people have died in Mexico because a small number opposes their government's crackdown on drug cartels. Is this where our country is headed? Are those who died on Saturday only the first six in a shooting war against responsible and representative government of the people, by the people, and for the people? God help us all!
Wendy and Dick Best
On Jan. 8, the Hood River News printed a letter that called the president of the United States "a creature of little intelligence, knowledge and ability." I find this offensive, disrespectful and anti-American. The Hood River News decides which letters to print. That letter should not have been printed. On the same day a man shot 20 people, killing six. His primary target was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Former Congressman Dave Obey responded by saying, "We are now reaping the whirlwind after years of wild anti-government, anti-politician, simplistic political vitriol. Over time, that vitriol can create a climate that makes it easier for unhinged and unbalanced individuals to go over the edge with tragic results for the innocent victims and the nation." There is now a debate over whether the shooting will be the first of similar events or a turning point. The Hood River News and citizens of Hood River can decide which direction they encourage.