Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Don't cast stones
In reference to the Nov. 23 letter by Sam Dunlap: You were complaining about big business (Walmart); what you're forgetting is that there are other large businesses in Hood River that are doing things along the same lines as Walmart.
Such as corporate-owned service stations, where employees are making minimum wage and maybe getting 35 hours a week (with no chance at overtime hours to keep things under budget). Just enough to keep them off state assistance, but not enough to pay their bills and put food on the table.
They have to put up with - just because someone is having a bad day - name calling, rudeness, and people who need anger management classes.
Sometimes they have to be faster than the cars that are speeding through their stations. Ask some of the station attendants that you go to I'll bet they have some stories to tell you.
You know what; I'll also take a chance and tell you what, that they are happy just to have that job with our economy the way it is. I know because I'm 53 years old and am very glad to have just that kind of job; otherwise I would be out on the street with the rest of my family.
May be you need to be on the receiving end of your own comments before casting stones.
Every so often I just have to shake my head and wonder - is there a shred of common sense?
As recently noted, the world's population has hit 7 billion, and to my knowledge it is still rising. I suspect that the newly wrapped baby is going to want to have a good quality of life, as much as we enjoy. So that might suggest that the world's consumption of energy will grow and not remain static.
So I think about my little part of the world, the Northwest. Let's see - we blew the Condit Dam; that may be viewed as an experiment, (since?) we destroyed the 100-year ecosystem that was growing to re-establish the old one.
Eye for an eye, and as I look at the Hood River flood debris field, by the time the mud flat at the mouth of the White Salmon River disappears the salmon should be able to walk across the mud flat. How will that energy be replaced?
Well, the Boardman plant is shutting down; more energy lost. Of course Hanford is out. We know that Whistling Ridge may have some more challenges, and two dams in the Olympic peninsula are scheduled to be removed.
I have yet to hear suggestions for adding more energy. And our economy is so great that we shouldn't sell coal to China, and to stop the trains, look to the model for stopping the natural gas on the coast! Let the Chinese burn their dirtier coal and dam their rivers - it's not my backyard!
I suggest the narrow-viewed NIMBYs stop saying "no" to everything and view a wider picture and say, "How can it be done more responsibly?"
I would guess that all the "not here" folks have solar panels and are using our terrific mass transit - wait, we don't have effective mass transit in the Gorge, and Solarworld in Oregon is reporting a 14 percent loss in share price, with record losses (The Oregonian, Nov. 15) due to low demand and a poor economy, putting 1,000 jobs in Oregon at risk.
So instead of just hearing "stop," could we hear something a little more positive and proactive to improve the situation? Otherwise, it just sounds like the national politicians at the local level.
White Salmon, Wash.
Thank you to Phil Jensen, Hood River. Thank you to Sam Dunlap, Home Valley. Your paper is very lucky to have these two men as contributors and several more that I can mention.
I have never met them or any of the others who write you letters. Yet, each time Phil Jensen has written, I feel like I've been privileged to lift the curtain. For a brief moment in time, I'm allowed to glimpse Hood River before it got lost in big business.
Today's paper had several cool opinions, written not to inflame people but to share a newfound old-time friendliness. This has been lacking for too long in everyday business and the people of Hood River are beginning to recognize what they have been missing on a daily basis.
Both of these gentlemen are sharing memories and observations about everyday happenings. Sharing them makes the rest of us realize what we are not getting in terms of courtesy, friendly behavior or even a common "allow me" entering the market.
Having had the opportunity to speak with some others in town, I for one would rather cross paths with gentlemen of this caliber than ever cross paths with the puffed ideas of greatness in the likes of "Hood River" and Walmart. I know that these last two do serve a purpose. Hood River is working to change its attitude, but Walmart is just trying to bully a town into submission.
Thank you, Hood River News, for publishing Phil Jensen and Sam Dunlap. We need to be reminded that common courtesy and friendly behavior do come full circle.
Don't let the Walmarts and thoughtless people of today rob our children of a home where a child could go next door and not be taken or injured. Where a Phil Jensen will tip his hat and allow someone else in the door first.
My thanks to Phil Jensen and Sam Dunlap for stating so calmly and quietly that they DO or NOT approve of some of the dealings in Hood River.
On Thanksgiving Day our dog Mo was frightened at the Event Site and ran off. She was lost in town for over 24 hours. During that day we asked folks on the street if they had seen her, we called the sheriff, and we posted signs.
The good people of Hood River responded to all of these requests for help with many sighting reports. The last person to call us located her at the top of the long stairs which is where we found her, on Friday afternoon. One kind gentleman even called the next day just to find out if we had found her yet.
To all of you who helped us, thank you so much! To everyone in Hood River, you can be proud of creating a caring community. May you all have a happy holiday season.
No easy solution
I am torn about Walmart's proposed grocery store expansion in Hood River.
One side of me says that companies like Walmart hurt local economies because they can afford to lower prices more than their local competitors.
Another view: Having a cheaper grocery store in the Gorge might really help people who are struggling financially.
There isn't an easy solution. I feel that everyone, especially the poorer numbers of our community, should be able to feed themselves without breaking the bank.
Again, I'm torn about this planned grocery store. I propose more community dialogue about how to take care of every member of our community, maybe then we'll come up with some creative solutions that will last.
White Salmon, Wash.
Hood River attracts all kinds of people. Whether outdoor enthusiasts, fruit-loopers or folks wanting to get married in beautiful surrounds, there's something that speaks to our hearts here, and make us want to stay.
Living here, I've found my neighbors to be visual artists, web designers, orchardists, builders, construction workers, performance artists, business owners, library supporters, 99%'ers, stay-at-home parents, investors, realtors - well, you get the idea. There's just a lot of handy, creative types in Hood River!
With so much creativity and pride in our city it really surprises me to learn that we had to look to a design firm in Portland to decorate our downtown for the holidays. For $20,000 couldn't we have kept it local?
For 38 years my wife and I have been decorating our homes on the outside with lights and figures of Christmas. We have won awards for this, including two of the last three years that Hood River had the decorating contest. The following is still hard for us to understand that someone could be so cold or unhappy.
On Tuesday evening, Nov. 31, I opened my front door to two city policemen. I was informed by one of the officers that one of my neighbors on the street and called in a complaint about my decorations and lights.
The neighbor told them our lights are obscene and the music is too loud and played all night. (I have my lights hooked up to a music player and they blink to the music.) The person also stated that my house causes a traffic hazard on the street.
After asking the policeman four times if he was kidding, he stated without a smile that he was not. I just shook my head and told him that I turn the music on between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m. He said it would be a good idea if I shut them off by 10 p.m.
The officer then stepped off of my porch, looked at the house, said it was beautiful and that he was going to bring his family to see it. He also said the music was not that loud. I thanked them for their time being wasted chasing a criminal-decorated house.
We have on the average of 10-20 cars come by and stop and look at the lights. We have people roll their windows down and thank us and tell us how much their children enjoy our lights.
This incident caused us to consider taking all of the lights down, but after talking to four of our neighbors, they asked us not to because they enjoyed them and there was not a traffic problem.
Our only concerns regarding this incident are: one, our taxpayer money was spent on two city policemen responding to a "felony house light incident" and two, the person who complained does not have enough intestinal fortitude to talk to us.
Doug and Denise Schapp
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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