Letters - Dec. 3

Buckle up

I was recently pulled over for failure to wear my seatbelt in Hood River.

I am unemployed and on food stamps and attended court with Judge Clark, where I was seeking other forms of payment for this mistake. Due to my financial situation he graciously granted me the opportunity to inform the citizens of Hood River of the importance of wearing seat belts all the time.

Seat belts were designed to save lives. Accidents can happen without warning. At the time of an accident, properly fastened safety belts distribute the forces of rapid deceleration over larger and stronger parts of the person’s body. The safety belt stretches slightly to slow your body down and to increase its stopping distance. A car collusion can cause the car to buckle and bend as it hits and comes to an abrupt stop.

This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second. Another type of accident that frequently occurs is the human collision, which happens as the car’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants still travel at the vehicle’s original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into anything in the interior strong enough to stop them.

Even after the occupant’s body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. These organs hit other organs or the skeletal system and often cause serious or fatal injuries.

The difference between the belted and unbelted person’s stopping distance is significant. It’s often the difference between life and death. The maximum $104 fine is a small consequence. Life gives no warnings, take the precaution, buckle up!

Rita Keating

White Salmon

Honor POWs

I ask for your support of the Honor our Fallen Prisoners of War Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Filner as HR 2369 and a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Boxer this 12th of December.

I, like the majority of veterans and the public, wrongly believe that those unfortunate members of our Armed Forces who are captured and WHO DIE while a Prisoner of War are awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Not so. These brave souls who suffered long and died a horrible death were not awarded the Purple Heart. There were many causes but the main causes of death were prolonged exposure, beriberi, freezing, diarrhea, pneumonia and starvation.

Since Dec. 7 1941, approximately 17,000 service members have died while in the custody of the enemy and their deaths have never been appropriately recognized.

HR 2369, Honor Our Fallen Prisoners Of War Act, and its to-be-introduced companion bill in the Senate, would change current regulations governing the award of the Purple Heart Medal to include all who die while in the custody of the enemy as a prisoner of war.

The next of kin of these people recognize the Purple Heart Medal as final closure. No other medal says it like a Purple Heart.

Because the implementation of the Fallen Prisoners of War Act does not require significant funding, I suggest that it be included in the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act which is now pending resolution in Joint Committee.

I again urge your support ... it is the right thing to do.

Anthony Whittley


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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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