Letters - Dec. 25/Dec. 28

December 25

Changes can differ

Hello from Underwood. I am catching up on my reading. I would like to share a few thoughts that pertain to your “Stepping Aside” comments/opinion that appeared on Dec. 18. Joey Harrington is a professional athlete. Based on his and team doctor’s recommendations, he is taking a break from playing football.

This is the result of concerns over personal physical condition/health matters. I simply do not see how this fits with the moves being taken by Trent Lott, Cardinal Bernard Law, Jerry Sessions, Henry Kissinger, and others mentioned.

These individuals were/are elected or appointed officials who were asked/pressured to move on or resign because they mismanaged or violated public trust, had obvious conflicts of interests, or simply behaved in a manner not suited for their respective position.

Change and transition are a part of daily life. It is not relegated to a season and changes based on common sense decisions cannot be correlated to changes mandated by irresponsible choices or behavior.

Steven G. Berntsen

Underwood, Wash.

What errors?

Regarding my letter about Wal-Mart and its labor violations, Paul Nevin followed up by saying it “was full of errors.” What errors? I summarized factual information derived from reliable news sources. A Portland jury in federal court had the same facts. Last week in a unanimous verdict, the jury found Wal-Mart guilty of forcing employees at 18 Oregon stores to work overtime without pay from 1994 to 1999.

Wal-Mart is well known for locating their Supercenters on the outskirts of small towns, offering prices that locally-owned businesses “couldn’t dream of beating” (words from a recent Oregonian editorial.) The editorial goes on to say, “That’s gouging a town from two directions: Underpaying innocent people to drive other innocent people out of business.”

Darryl Lloyd

Hood River

The music man

Kudos to the Hood River High School Choirs and in particular Mark Steighner the music director. Having seen a few different music performances this season I have to say that the Hood River Valley High School choir really shines. The selections and arrangements were beautiful and moving and the talent so apparent. I think it is essencial for music to remain in the schools and Hood River is particularly blessed to have Mark Steighner.

P.S. Would love to see a community choir directed by Mark!

Pamela Hoke

Hood River

Story ‘biased’

Your recent story on new poll results showing divided opinion about a casino in Cascade Locks and opposition to a change in state policy on off-reservation casinos was extremely biased. The headline, the sub-head and the lead of the story all questioned or disparaged the survey before you even reported the survey results.

You were generous in quoting the opposition and allowed them to characterize the recent poll as biased and confusing while calling their polls official and scientific. Why is it if the Grand Ronde tribe commissions a poll it reported as biased but if the Warm Springs Tribes commission a poll it is reported as scientific?

Why do you allow the Cascade Locks city administrator to call his poll official and the Grand Ronde poll bogus? Why does his unofficial poll at a town meeting get equal billing to a poll conducted by a professional polling company?

It’s commonly known that poll results can be swayed by controlling what questions are asked but why do you allow one poll to be called official or scientific but another to be called bogus, biased and confusing? All the polls were conducted by professional polling companies. You offer no facts or other evidence that one poll is more accurate than another.

A news story is supposed to present a balanced and fair account of news and events. Your recent story on the new casino poll did not. In fact I would guess that the public relations folks working for the Warm Springs tribe are sitting around their office smiling and happy to have dodged an unfavorable bit of news. They couldn’t have spun the story any better themselves.

Warren Morgan

Hood River

December 28

Where’s the spirit?

Where is the Christmas spirit? Ever since I was a little girl I have ran to the window to watch the fire trucks parade down Methodist Road. I’m now an adult and a parent myself, and was greatly disappointed by the parade this year.

We’ve always had time to get on our coats, hats and shoes and run to the end of our driveway to see the parade. This year the fire trucks went by so fast, all we caught was a glimpse of their tail lights. My 3 1/2 year old son was crushed. The parade fills him with so much joy that usually he stands at our front window for a month after the parade, hoping to see the trucks again.

I’ve heard complaints from other residents of Hood River that the trucks went faster through every part of town. What is it that makes the fire fighters feel so rushed that they can’t slow down to share the Christmas joy they bring yearly with the residents of Methodist Road?

Lacey Matthews

Hood River

‘The Soldier’

Please post this letter in your newpaper, it came across the internet and I would like all in Hood River to read it:

The Soldier

I want you to close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family, surrounded by nothing but death and carnage of war. He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this ... I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people. It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who gives you the freedom of the press. It’s the soldier, not the poet, who gives you the freedom of speech. It’s the soldier, not the campus organizer, who allows you to demonstrate. It’s the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!

“Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.”

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan, and the ones facing deployment to Iraq at this very moment — AND all over this world.

Doti Miles

Yuma, Ariz.

No offense intended

I didn’t write this, but it sure is good! I got it in e-mail and thought it timely to pass on.

“Dear Friends, acquaintances, associates, neighbours, fellow citizens, former friends, childhood schoolmates, fellow alumni and anyone else who would be offended to not find themselves addressed by this greeting.

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non additive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice any religion at all. Have a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2003, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great without regard to the race, creed, religious or sexual preference of others.

Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wishes expressed to actually implement any of the wishes for themselves or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring.”

Dr. Dan Armstrong, Senior Pastor

Hood River Valley Christian Church

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Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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