Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Moments of peace
It was such a pleasure to attend the free concert on June 8 at the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, featuring Charles Suniga, a wonderful and very talented Portland area musician.
My afternoon was filled with some of the most beautiful and uplifting music I have experienced. Mr. Suniga played various selections from his “Moments of Peace” CD series.
What a generous musical treat sponsored by the Redeemer Lutheran Church. Those of you who missed the concert missed a very extraordinary and wonderfully musical afternoon.
I would like to send my appreciation to the individuals who sponsored this special event and am looking forward to what I understand will be additional events such as this to take place in the future.
On Friday, May 30, Mid-Columbia Council of Governments announced staff layoffs and reductions in hours affecting 12 current employees. This followed the cuts of five other full-time positions over the past six months, either through attrition or layoff. Combined, these reductions impact half of MCCOG’s total line staff as of this time last year.
As MCCOG employees, we feel that the communities we serve need to be informed as to how these cuts will affect them. Each year MCCOG provides quality employment, training, transportation, youth, and senior services to more than a thousand residents of the five county mid-Columbia region. With these staff reductions, programs and services will be either diminished or eliminated; both quantity and quality will suffer.
Last fall, MCCOG line staff began working together to organize a movement to join SEIU Local 503. On May 28 the union vote was certified, with 71 percent of MCCOG workers choosing to support the organizing effort. Employees had initiated this union campaign with the goal of working as partners with the MCCOG management and board to provide the highest quality human services possible to our communities.
Unfortunately, the recent reductions in staffing — coming just two days following the union certification — have caused us to have even greater concerns about the consequences these cuts will have on the people we serve.
As a newly formed union, we believe it is our right to work with the MCCOG administration to find the best solutions to managing budget shortfalls. We also believe it is our community members’ right to be fully informed regarding the appropriation of their tax dollars.
After reading the latest article in the Hood River News concerning the plans for the new, “rustic,” Wal-Mart super-store, I felt compelled to write this letter.
As a resident of Hood River for over 10 years and a former Wal-Mart shopper, I have come to believe that allowing Wal-Mart to open this 185,000 square foot behemoth is a real mistake. A mistake which will negatively affect this community for years to come.
Wal-Mart has recently lost a multi-million dollar, class action court case for its failure to pay overtime to employees. A recent Frontline revealed through testimony of former employees the company’s rabid anti-union practices, and virtual slave owner mentality when it comes to such issues as benefits, hours, and part-time workers.
I have come to believe that Wal-Mart represents all that is evil in corporate America, and will help lower the living standards of any rural community and its people where it is allowed to open.
Outside of the Walton family, and perhaps some other large stock holders, I see little benefit for any community that welcomes them in. Cheap goods, mostly made in China, and hidden behind claims of “Made in the U.S.A.” are not worth putting local small business people out of work.
Since their announcement of the plan for the “Big Box,” I have personally not spent one penny in a Wal-Mart store (prior to this they received thousands of my dollars for TVs, appliances, computers, kitchenware, clothing, and other goods). I have made a conscious decision to “vote with my pocketbook” and vote NO to the superstore. Those thousands now go to local small businesses including Franz Hardware, Rosauers, Hood River Stationers, Tum-A-Lum Lumber, and numerous other small to mid-sized businesses, which pay decent living wages and benefits to their employees and support a sustainable community here in Hood River.
I ask others in the community to join me in voicing your opinion through your wallet. If and when Wal-Mart makes the decision to be a more responsible member in this community, and drops this ridiculous, eyesore of a project, I will consider doing business with them; until then, I vote NO to this unnecessary expansion of their control over the commerce in this town.
I want to thank all the members of the community who made last week’s Mount Hood Cycling Classic such a rousing success. We had great support from the people of Hood River County, and many of the riders commented on the welcome they received.
Thanks must go to all our volunteers, to the crowds who cheered on the racers at the Saturday criterium, to the Forest Service, County Road Department, Oregon Department of Transportation, the Hood River Police Department, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, and, of course, all of our wonderful sponsors.
We had some outstanding performances from local riders, including Jim, Alice, and Luke Pennington, Mike Jones (who also designed the poster), Marty Burke, and Tre Hendrix.
Thanks again and we hope to see you next year!
All too often we complain about our Post Office. Not so today at our home.
On Friday we received a letter of great import to us although the post office box number was incorrect AND the zip code.
Thank you to each individual all along the way who brought this blessing to us.
Deane and Barbara Schenewark
Let people know
To Whom it Concerns:
Why don’t the elected county officials who make these so-called under-the-table decisions let the citizens of the county know what is going on, or what they are planning to do before it takes place, for law suits? People would like to know.
Clifford A. Lester
What could attract over 600 people to sit together and watch over 100 kids in a gym without air conditioning? When Wy’east musicians come to play and sing the community responds!
Last Thursday the steel drums started it out with the National Anthem. Then the chorus and band began. They sang and played classical, gospel, rock ’n roll (1950s), cha cha, and jazz! There were convincing vocal and instrumental soloists, including a few electric guitar, bass, and keyboard players. At the end, the kids swarmed their teacher with undeniable affection.
Music makes a party good, a dance great, marches us, graduates us, gives away the bride, salutes the troops, introduces the president and the unknown soldier, drives half-time, announces sharks and villains, expands worship, defines our alma maters, and accompanies our last goodbyes. These kids will keep up the tradition and rock us! Congratulations Wy’east musicians and their inspiration, Mr. Dennis Hillen.
A cinema treat
I just wanted to encourage readers of Hood River News not to miss the great film “Bend It Like Beckham” now showing at Hood River Cinema. I recently saw this movie at the Mack in McMinnville and it lived up to its billing as one of the best sports movies of the last decade.
It reminded me of the great bicycle racing movie of the 1970s “Breaking Away” in its wonderful blending of a passion for sports (in this movie, soccer) and a passionate exploration of different cultures and family life (in this case, in Britain). Please don’t miss this great movie. Believe it or not, it set records in Britain as the highest grossing film in British history. Thanks Andrew (McElderry) for bringing this great movie to town!
Please convey my thanks to all of the hard-working volunteers who worked on the “Gorge Fest” event in the Mosier area. I hope it was a safe and enjoyable event.
However, the event organizer needs to provide adequate toilet facilities so at least one volunteer does not have to use my fence line and mail box area for his.
I contacted the event organizer about this situation. I received little assurance that the situation would be taken care of.