Wednesday, December 4, 2002
Behind the ‘mask’
Recent news stories about the Wal-Mart Corporation are relevant to the issue of a proposed Supercenter here in Hood River. Therefore, I’d like to offer my summary of some of these reports (from The Oregonian):
Wal-Mart employees in 30 states allege in federal courts that managers forced them to punch out after an 8-hour workday and then to continue work for no pay. There are 39 class-action lawsuits nationwide, and Wal-Mart stores are being picketed in 100 U.S. cities.
The CEO of Wal-Mart was reported to have received more than $17 million in compensation in 2001 alone!
In Oregon, 400 former or current Wal-Mart workers from 24 stores are saying in federal court that they were pressured to work without pay. Apparently this practice is so common that some employees call themselves the “Over 40 Club,” and that they “feared getting fired.” According to the report, the starting pay is only $7 per hour compared to $10.50 per hour at Home Depot. Union organizing is “not tolerated.”
In Hillsboro, Ore., residents have gone to court to block a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter. As in Hood River, residents there argue that increased noise, traffic and lighting would significantly disturb the community. And they say the corporation would “take money out of the community and not give it back.”
In New England, widespread citizen opposition is making “rocky going” for the $230 billion company in its aggressive campaign to build new Supercenters.
All of this is clear evidence that Wal-Mart’s “warm and fuzzy” happy-face image is nothing but a mask. In my opinion, it conceals a monster that is destroying small towns across America.
A dream made real
I am writing to publicly thank Mark Steighner for all the time and effort he put into Les Misérables. I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for us. His work has made the dreams of kids like me become reality. Les Misérables is my favorite show of all time and I never thought I’d actually get a chance to be in it. But now I have, and I thank Mr. Steighner for making that possible. We truly appreciate you.
Sonja Noelle Decker
Gas prices too high
I would like to suggest a topic for an investigative report by your paper: Why the price of gasoline in Hood River is significantly more expensive than in other towns in this state. The current price of gasoline here in Hood River averages $1.59 per gallon for unleaded regular. The same gallon, at the same brand name stations, in Salem will cost $1.33.
I realize that supply and demand influences the price of goods, but how do you explain that the price of gasoline in The Dalles and even central Oregon, which is miles from the I-5 corridor, is less than in Hood River, a measly hour drive from downtown Portland?
I could accept a 10 cents a gallon difference or perhaps even 15 cents to cover the increased costs of delivering gasoline out here to the “boondocks,” but 26 cents a gallon is a bit much to handle. Perhaps I would be a little less angry if I simply knew why my local station has to charge so much.
In the meantime, I will continue to fill up along the freeway and save enough money to shop locally for other items which cost less here than in the “big city.”
Kim E. Vogel
Boost to theater
It has always been a pleasure to work with the staff of the Hood River News when I need to have something publicized for a CAST project.
Again, you have shown your support for community theater by giving great coverage for our upcoming play, and with the follow-on article about CAST. For that, to quote one of “A Christmas Carol” characters, I say, “Thank you. I am much obliged to you. I thank you fifty times. Bless you.” Special thanks to Janet Cook and Jim Semlor for their fine work.
I was also impressed with your coverage of the High School’s production of Les Misérables. No one can say that your paper has not done its best to keep community theater alive in our area.
Judy Yeo, director,
‘A Christmas Carol’
Cascade Cup? Why not have a “Myrtlewood Bowl”? (Regarding editorial of Nov. 20.) There could be a bowl in the figure of a Beaver and a Duck. The loser would have to display the winner’s bowl for a year. Or, perhaps, the winning bowl could be displayed in the State Capitol for a year. The losing bowl would be given to the winning coach and a new bowl constructed.
It’s all about Congregation.
Pilgrims assembled in 1674 with the Wampanoag, with their sachem Massasoit, and Squanto.
Webster’s first definition about Congregation is: “an assembly of persons. A Gathering; especially an assembly of persons met for worship.”
The Pilgrims and Native Americans wanted to worship together at one table — no killings, no betrayals, no differences. An assembly of equals. Our Declaration of Independence emphasizes this freedom of feeling equal 102 years later.
And here it is 2002. And we gather still at our bountiful tables, remembering all those before us who cherished the joy of assembly.
When we can gather, we are at peace.
When we are at peace, we can love.
It’s all about congregation.
Mary Jane Heppe
Just ask ‘no jakes’
Hello, My name is Dave Bullock, I am responding to The article “City brakes ordinance against truck ‘jakes’” (Nov. 27.)
I am a professional truck driver with a major food chain in the Portland area and having traveled along Interstate 84 through Hood River many of times I do not really see why truck drivers would have to utilize their jake brakes. I do understand the frustrations of Councilor Andrea Klaas and other residents. I have found in other communities with problems of this nature that a nice sign placed along the Interstate as you enter Hood River asking drivers to please not use their jake brakes may be very helpful. When I see these signs I try to be as quite and polite as I can and I am sure other drivers do too.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge