Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Leaving some trace
I have concerns about the impact of the Gorge Games on our local environment. The traffic jam that the Games created in Hood River was awful. It was not only a time-and-fuel-consuming inconvenience, but also a source of increased air pollution in our beautiful area. Could shuttles from the “Adventure Village” to downtown and to event sites be a possibility for next year? The week’s events were sponsored by Ford, so providing public transportation to alleviate a week-long, eye-burning gridlock may not be aligned with the SUV advertising strategy of the Games, but perhaps good planning could prevail on this issue. I found it more than ironic that “Leave No Trace” was a prominent sponsor of the Games because I could not find evidence that the Leave No Trace ethic was being taught or followed at all. The culture of the Games is more “Conquer the Outdoors” than “Respect Nature” and the “Adventure Village” is essentially an “Outdoor Industry” trade show.
At the “Village,” I could find no evidence that the SoBe company was asking people to recycle the thousands upon thousands of plastic cups that they were handing out all week. I am also saddened that pressure-treated, chemical-laden lumber was placed in the White Salmon River when it was used to build stairs and platforms at the event site in Husum. Will it remain there permanently? The Games provide a needed boost to our local economy, but we should not gain that economic boost at the expense of our environment. If we are going to invite an infinite number of people to this incredible place that we live, we need to have plans in place to deal with traffic and the impact on our rivers, air, and overall ecosystems.
I wrote something for this paper’s “Another Voice” segment that was entitled “Creationist claims need critical assessment” (July 6, 2002). The main point of my initial essay was this: It will require careful, honest, and patient reading of thousands of pages before a person can be properly equipped to render an adequately informed judgement about how complicated living things (like us) got here.
Don Rose, in a July 17 letter to the editor, politely invited me (or any other takers) to set up a debate with the creationist, Kent Hovind. Unless this can be a lengthy written set of exchanges between Mr. Hovind and me, published (without editing) for free public access on perhaps his or some other web site, I am not interested. By participating in a circus side show debate, I would be feeding the disease of superficiality rather than combating it. Besides entertainment value and the occasional fleeting good point, a verbal debate on a complex topic and before an insufficiently informed audience amounts to a display of rhetorical skills rather than careful and sustained argument. I will contact Mr. Hovind about engaging in a written debate with me, and Mr. Rose, if you would like to follow this higher quality debate, I would ask you to contact Mr. Hovind and request that he agree to such a debate. And if he is unwilling to debate in this more respectable format, ask him why.
Regardless of whether there will be a debate between Mr. Hovind and me, the REAL debate that interested souls should be following can be found in libraries, bookstores, and web sites. The following are some resources from a variety of perspectives on origins: The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins; Evolution: The History of an Idea, by Peter J. Bowler; Finding Darwin’s God, by Kenneth R. Miller; Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!, by Duane T. Gish; Darwin On Trial, by Philip E. Johnson; Darwin’s Black Box, by Michael J. Behe; www.talkorigins.org; www.talkorigins.org/origins/other-links.html#creationism.
Floating an idea
On my 50th birthday, which will be eight years ago this Sept. 2, I swam across the Mississippi River handcuffed behind my back and with my legs shackled. No, I was not escaping from the law. I was emulating Jack Lalanne. But I think I did him one better. I had to swim across the current while he probably came in with the tide.
I called the Hood River Chamber of Commerce and asked some guy there if I could swim handcuffed behind my back in the Roy Webster Memorial Cross Channel Swim. He chuckled and said he’d have to ask their insurance carrier. The insurance guy laughed out loud. So I guess I won’t be coming to the Swim. It breaks my heart too because I have a few friends there that I haven’t seen in forever.
But even though I won’t be there I wish you the best of luck in one of America’s finest swimming events.
John C. Anderson
Here’s something to beam about: Assassins, directed by Mark Steighner, is powerful and provocative. It’s also funny, which is quite a feat given its subject: the oddballs, maniacs, and politically dispossessed souls who have targeted our presidents, and often succeeded in assassinating them. And here’s another twist: it’s a musical!
Cast, crew, and director all deserve praise for providing us with this terrific show. Six performances to go at the CAST theatre downtown on Fourth Street just north of Oak.
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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