Letters to the Editor for June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011

Schools should do better

Family ties are strong in our family I have taught the children of our future strength and morals that will teach them how to be and become good citizens. Hood River County is a beautiful county to live in; our family has been raising children here for several years.

We've had family raised in Dee as well as in Pine Grove and myself in Odell. I have for many years dreamed of raising the next generation here in Hood River as well, especially in the upper valley. Hood River County has always been the ideal valley to calm down and raise children: Meaningful beauty wrapped within great schools, and community splendor - a package deal great for a young family.

Lately we've had nothing but disappointment and regret; our package deal is but altogether been broken. Hood River County higher education within our middle schools and high school for public education is all, but a package with a red ribbon. Our family is fed up with staffing problems, teaching mistakes and verbal regrets, grade report discares and dishonors, miscommunication, budget cuts, bullying, clothing that is inappropriate and crude language.

Meanwhile, the staff hide behind a "sorry" or a "miscommunication" or an "I didn't realize that," or "you're dealing with teenagers." Our family has constantly cleaned up school nonsense that as a rule we shouldn't have to even worry about. Trusting the district is getting difficult and unworthy.

Damaging our family reputation is crucial. The Hood River School District needs to overhaul the system, take a pause and regroup. Furthermore the district has a summer vacation upcoming and changes are going to take effect; stop and think of those changes and reflect on the upcoming school year and hopefully 2011-12 school year will be one to remember.

We all have choices we all have abilities to overcome shortfalls and disappointments in our life's achievements. Don't ruin our next generation. Remember as citizens it's your duty to educate.

Remember, though, as parents our duty is to do all the above. We are raising good, clean, well, friendly teens that are great students that care about their individual grades and futures. We as parents and family want these bright young teenagers to graduate with achievements they can remember.

Come on, Hood River County, we can do better than this - as well as treat our children with respect.

Scott and JoAnn Rothe

Hood River

Memorial Day thanks

With honor we took on the largest project filled with much gratification and satisfaction since I have been here at Idlewilde Cemetery. Memorial Day 2011 will go down as a unique moment in our history in Hood River County, honoring those who have served their country and helping to heal the wounds of injustice which are still painful to some after seventy years.

Thank-yous need to go out to so many who made the Memorial Day service one to remember here at Idlewilde Cemetery. Congressman Greg Walden, Cody Standiford of Walden's office, Mark Steighner and the Hood River High School band, inspirational songs by Dana Branson and Dave Johnson, sound by Randy Bell and his son Andy;

Rita Byrd, wife of the late Howard Byrd, for her rendition of "Flanders Field," Niko Yasui and his story of Private Frank Hachiya, Maija Yasui and Kathy Nishimoto for all their help, Commander Roy Elliott and Dennis Leonard of the American Legion Post #22;

Linda Tamura for the reading of 140 monument names, Nick Kirby who did the "Ragged Old Flag," Cub Pack and Boy Scout Troop #378 for helping put out 1,000-plus veterans flags along with the help of Dennis Leonard, Max Linder, Wayne Perkins, Mike Tabor, Tammy Long and Shelly Leonard.

On Memorial Day, the Scouts and Dwight Hamada, Brian Steeves, Mark Adams, Kevin Bellus, Bob Losi, for placement of all the chairs and helping with cleanup.

The beautiful monument display was done by Linda Guertin and all of the Walk of Honor decorations were done by Anita Hasegawa, Louise Hoffman, Dorothy Odell, Ann Mays, Judy Osborn and grandson Ryan, and Mildred Woods.

The grounds were put in good shape with help from Ignacio Lara, Rene Gutieres and Augustin Lara. John Dorsey did days of pressure washing and cleaning.

Monetary donations from the following made the monument possible: Hood River County Historical Society, George and Sophia Imai, J.E.T. Orchards Inc., Tom and Kazue Sumoge, Kimiko Akiyama, George and Ruth Akiyama, Mark and Lily Namba, Michiko Kiyokawa, Kathleen and Rick Nishimoto, M. and Chiyoko Watanabe, Bessie Asai, Charles and Kinuko Akiyama, Linda Tamura, Lillian Kurahara, Hitoshi Imai, Taylor Tomita and Marie Asai Tstee.

With help of the Akiyama, Asai, Hamada, Imai, Kiyokawa, Nakamura, Sato, Sumoge, Tamura, Wakamatsu and Yasui/Emerson families, The History Museum of Hood River County and the Hood River County Historical Society, my dear friend Nellie J. Hjaltalin, and the book "Japanese Americans of the Mid-Columbia Area," written by Roy Higashi and Harry Inukai, our work task was easier to ascertain.

I tip my hat to all of you who helped, and my board of trustees for all your amazing efforts, your understanding and compassion to this project.

Once again, THANK YOU from all of us at Idlewilde Cemetery.

Bob Huskey

Sexton/manager

Idlewilde Cemetery

Hood River

Report the news in CL

The recent article in the Hood River News that covered the Cascade Locks council meeting on the future of our fire department was just one more lame attempt on your part to present your readers with the pertinent facts (as you see them) surrounding a very divisive issue that has been building in our town for years.

Our community would be better served with no coverage at all than with the printing of your very carefully selected articles that merely gloss over the real problems that we are trying to solve. In short, we are mad.

The city of Cascade Locks is sliding down the proverbial slippery slope of using questionable and often illegal methods in order to reach its goals. Exactly when or why our previous administrators and elected officials decided to conduct the affairs of our city without regard for state or local regulations is unclear.

What is clear is that at some time in the past, for whatever reason, that decision was made and thus began a long, tumultuous chain of events that divided our town and finally brought us to the lively budget process that is now playing out. A process that has brought forth a possible recall effort against certain members of the council and threats of mass resignation from our fire department.

We may not know just when our town started down this slippery slope of unacceptable behavior, but we do know exactly when the citizens of Cascade Locks decided that they had had enough of it: July 10, 2006. That's when the city council voted to sell the McCoy property to a developer for $300,000 in order to raise funds for building a new fire station.

That decision was made in spite of overwhelming objections by a room full of concerned citizens and precipitated a recall that removed Rob Brostoff and Lee Kitchens from our council. Our small town has been divided ever since, which is sad, really; because nobody was against the building of a new fire station, nor was anyone against property development.

People had had enough and decided to get together and do something about the way their town was being run. They filed an appeal against the McCoy property development and it was eventually stopped cold by the Land Use Board of Appeals for violating our local development code. A second proposal by the developer was also stopped by a citizen appeal at the city council level.

The project is now on track and will be built according to our code. John Morgan, who was our planner and guided the review process for the two failed attempts, resigned shortly after the voters elected a new council. The fire hall is completed, but serious financial issues relating to its construction remain unresolved.

Interestingly, our city administrator resigned shortly after the November 2010 election results were known and even before they took office.

The new budget committee made a valiant attempt to unravel the financial knots that they were faced with, but they were hampered by time limits, a poorly prepared proposed budget and a city staff that was caught off-guard. And yes, there are serious financial issues in other funds besides the fire department, so the budget committee will be meeting periodically throughout the year.

There are far too many additional details and issues to cover here, but you should be getting the picture by now. So if a citizen-led effort to clean up the way Cascade Locks runs its affairs is too controversial of an issue for your paper to cover thoroughly, so be it. That would be our loss as we could use some of that "Power of the Press" to keep our voters informed.

However, should you feel a newspaperman's obligation to cover the news responsibly, then we are more than willing to provide you with any and all relevant documents that you feel are necessary for you to present all of the facts to your readers.

Gary Munkhoff

Cascade Locks

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