Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Thank you for your recent article covering the latest hearings around the state of the Hanford clean-up along the Columbia River near Richland, Wash. (Hood River News, July 30).
It was rather timely, as the paper was waiting in my mailbox after returning from a weekend trip to the decommissioned Hanford B Reactor with a group from Columbia RiverKeeper. Prior to the trip, I had no sense of the sheer size and scope of the Hanford site - 586 square miles, nine decommissioned reactors, 53 million gallons of high-level radioactive and chemical waste stored in 177 huge underground tanks, $60 billion price tag on the clean-up.
The Department of Energy has hired Lockheed Martin, of all companies, to lead free tours of Hanford and the B Reactor. The 10,000 annual visitors receive a fascinating account of the events leading up to the completion of the nine reactors, which produced 67 metric tons of plutonium over 35 years. What's not talked about at all is the clean-up efforts.
Honestly. I've never given the Hanford situation all that much thought or much attention - in large part because it's out of sight, out of mind and because it's so vast and deep an issue that I've not known where to start.
As a member of Columbia RiverKeeper, I am hoping that I can in a very small way help ensure the Department of Energy is held accountable for completing a thorough and adequate clean-up. But I know it will take much more involvement on my part and the part of others to ensure this important work is done.
I urge others to support RiverKeeper in the important work they are doing to protect and restore the waters of the Columbia River.
Help Leos help nonprofits
Another bottle and can collection is right around the corner! The Leos will be in the Rosauers parking lot this Saturday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. collecting deposit bottles and cans. All money raised will be donated back to our community.
Thank you so much for your support these past two and a half years! We couldn't have done it without you.
Avoid the crowds and get there first. "To Kill a Mockingbird" will open this Thursday at the Columbia Center for the Arts and it has all the earmarks of a "not-to-be-missed" performance.
I had the pleasure of attending a preview of the play this past Saturday, where five people from the cast and the director offered selections from the Pulitzer-winning novel.
Sitting in our newly reopened library conference room listening to a handful of talented actors read excerpts from the novel, once again made me feel wonderfully grateful for the community I live in. The content and power of this play make it a classic in the world of theater and this performance will showcase some of Hood River's best.
Thanks for 'groms' help
I'd like to give a very sincere thank you the community for supporting Gorge Groms, a kids windsurfing club run by the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association.
Last week Mike and Shawna Caldwell, owners of Stonehedge Gardens, graciously hosted Pirates of the Columbia River, a fundraising dinner to benefit this program. Their family-friendly venue and delicious food, combined with live music from Jamba Marimba and raffle goodies made for a fun night for everyone.
To make a fun night even better, we raised $2,155 to buy new gear for Gorge Groms. Wow!
I feel very grateful and fortunate to live, work and play in such a compassionate community- we truly do take care of each other. Thank you all for supporting Gorge Groms and for helping kids get outside and build healthy friendships.
Executive director, Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association
Thanks to LaRayne Kayfes' letter (Our Readers Write, Aug. 3) regarding traffic along West Cascade. Walmart should have been required to pay for a signal system at Rand Road years ago. Now, as part of any approval of a grocery store extension, we'll probably need one at 20th, also.
Check out damage
Dear Mayor, Is anyone from the city council or planning commission going to walk the proposed Country Club alignment and look at the trees and ponds before they vote on this proposal?
Has anyone seen a plan? Is Key Development really going to finish their project? Or are they going to pull an Akin/Olmstead trick and walk away if the economy tanks, as many predict.
Can you require a large enough bond or insurance to complete the retaining walls, should Key vanish like the other developers did?
The town should be holding vigils in that canyon for the lost (stolen) trees, rocks and seasonal creek. Where's the environmental outrage? An improper cut will impact our water table and then trees on my terraces.
Please protect your citizens from greedy developers. They say they're going to pay $3 million and cover costs overruns. Really? If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Everyone needs to come look at what the other bozos did (and the city allowed) and then make sure it doesn't happen again.
Concerned parties: Meeting is on Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. at city offices. Please attend and urge the city to hold these developers accountable.
Need jobs bills
Now is not the time for deficit reduction. I know we have a huge deficit problem facing the U.S. government.
During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt decided to help employment and increase the GDP by getting a generous government stimulus program. The economy and the GDP increased steadily from 1932-1937.
In 1937 the Congress convinced Roosevelt that the government's debt was increasing and that debt reduction should be the primary concern. So congress passed a debt-reduction package and the president signed it.
You guessed it: The economy declined from 1937-1940 - because the stimulus was stopped before the Depression could reverse itself. Of course, we got out of the Depression because of the enormous government spending for World War II.
The Republicans in Congress are making a mistake in cutting back the government stimulus programs at this time. Look at what is happening now: stagnant jobs growth and the GDP is nil.
You don't cut spending during a recession. Yes, once the economy is OK, then look at debt reduction; not when the economy is tanking.
Think about it. And get with some JOBS BILLS.
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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