Friday, December 23, 2011
I would like to thank the city council for supporting the Walmart expansion. They do represent a majority of locals and seniors who cannot afford to shop much locally.
We may be a silent majority, but if anyone were courageous enough to put the expansion to a vote I'm sure it would pass. Maybe we need an organization with initials - that's always impressive.
I certainly agree with Scott Haanstad (Our Readers Write, Dec. 14) that open markets help consumers, but the open markets must be fair markets. With Walmart, although I'm impressed with Walmart's efficiencies in operations, they fail miserably on the fairness issue.
If Walmart's present exploited employee wage structure were somewhat comparable to that of Safeway and Rosauers, then they could qualify as more fair and competitive.
The second issue Scott Haanstad uses to support his position are businesses that are in growth areas where competition has the opportunity to increase consumer spending. At the grocery stores there will be no increase in spending.
People will not eat more (we probably should be eating less). Instead, the demand and profits will be distributed among three instead of two competitors. Even Odell and Parkdale grocery stores will be affected.
The Walmart grocery store addition will have a negative economic impact on the local economy.
There are two things that Hood River can be proud of: entertainment and talent packed with enthusiasm encouraged by volunteers from many "walks of life" and supported by parents.
Lucky is the man who has a wife that can drive and blessed are the kids that have a mom and dad at home, and a bigger blessing goes to the single parent for their expression of love by putting their kids first.
Thank you, Hood River News, for your "Happenings" column, so that we know what is happening and when.
I was well entertained recently by: HRVHS music program opening with "The Notables," an a cappella group (what a neat group of students) followed by a "no age limit," the Voci adult choir.
Next, I enjoyed "Scenes from The Nutcracker" ballet, consisting of dancers from age 4 to 40-plus. Their costumes and performances were beautiful as viewed by both sides of a head inches higher than my ears. (You don't know what your view will be until that empty saved seat fills).
Then comes this (wow!) event of scientists from fourth-eighth grade (with high schoolers assisting). These competitors came from Gresham, Glenwood, Wash., and all of the Hood River elementary schools, plus H.R. Middle School.
This event, Intel Oregon First Lego League Columbia Gorge Qualifying Tournament, sponsored by Insitu, Google, et al, was held at Wy'east Middle School (this school has changed a bit since 1954).
The exciting, gleeful expressions of accomplishments left me with a feeling of warmth and praise for the many folks that made this event possible for this group of 100 robotic kids.
My future car may be programmed by one of these computerized kids; then I can text message while riding.
The attitude of this program's participants can best be expressed by the following quote:
"FLL Core Values:
We do the work to find the solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
What we discover is more important that what we win.
We share our experiences with others.
We display gracious professionalism in everything we do.
We have fun!"
My concluding thoughts are: what great discipline, esprit de corps, and overall love that is required to make these events successful, with each participant having gained greater self-esteem.
Too many times now, I have heard a patently false statement; that Cascade Locks has 80 inches of rain a year. This time, a port commissioner said it during the joint City Council/Port of Cascade Locks meeting.
This number has been thrown about indiscriminately in both public and press the past couple of years. Most recently 90 inches was mentioned in a climbing blog on OregonLive.com.
For our government officials and fellow citizens to voice these exaggerated numbers does nothing for Cascade Locks' image; in fact it hurts it. So I offer you the true numbers.
I contacted the National Weather Service office based in Portland. They sent me information they have garnered from the weather station based at the Cascade Locks airfield. The station has been active since December 2004.
Our average rainfall is only 60-65 inches per year. Yes, there was one year, 2005, an unusually high year, that showed 89.00 inches. Yet during January 2005 the rainfall was 21.91 inches and November that year gave us 30.60 inches, but obviously not during the same season. The next-highest month was December 2010 with only 13.74 inches. Contrast that with 2008, which gave us only 41.36 inches.
Our total cumulative rainfall for this year is currently at 61.67. Just about average.
Continuing to voice an untruth in a type of reverse civic pride damages our town and our potential and I hope having the correct statistics will put a stop to this practice.
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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