Friday, July 22, 2011
It almost flew by me and maybe others will have missed the 40 percent increase in the cost of an ambulance from $900 to $1,500 that the Hood River City Council recently approved.
I find the amount of the increase rather extreme without any accounting as to just what justifies this type of increase for the fire department. The new building?
This is a good time to remind people that membership in the LifeFlight Network(www.lifeflight.org) for $60 per year; 800-574-9464. The membership covers any cost of air transport not paid for by Medicare or medical insurance.
LifeFlight helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are stationed at the Dallesport airport 24/7 for emergency air transport. LifeFlight is affiliated with Oregon Health & Science University, Providence and Legacy Emanuel.
The membership does not include ground transportation that has now increased 40 percent.
White Salmon, Wash.
Thanks to allotted funding, volunteers, and visionary local government staff, Hood River offers a top-notch skateboard park enjoyed by residents and out-of-town visitors.
On any given day, spectators thrill to the sight of talented riders zipping up and down hills, around corners, negotiating tricky maneuvers and stopping on a dime. Comfortable benches and picnic tables placed in shady areas provide a place to rest and enjoy these athletes in action. The park is one of which Hood River can be proud.
It is distressing, however, to encounter a steady supply of litter in this amazing area, especially when at least four garbage bins and one recycle container are provided within the park. On walks, I daily pick up water bottles, food wrappers, pop cans and other jettisoned items.
During these excursions, questions arise: Don't the skateboarders appreciate this facility? Why is no appreciation shown to this resource? Where's the sense of pride that would prompt keeping the area clean?
Come on, skateboarders! Show your pride by picking up and stashing your trash. Thanks.
To the mayor and city council of Cascade Locks:
Today (July 7) marks the end of my four-month contractual commitment to be the interim city administrator for the City of Cascade Locks. I started back on March 7.
I am glad to say that we accomplished the tasks you set out for me before my contract ended. In the last four months I helped you:
1. Adopt the 2011-12 budget, after an extended and often contentious process, with the result being that the city is more fiscally sound - understanding services are now more limited.
2. Start paying the principal and interest payments on almost $500,000 in debt.
3. Hire a new public works superintendent.
4. Hire a new city attorney to reflect their new duties.
5. Reclassify some of the public works staff.
6. Establish a city administrator recruitment process that has given you six solid candidates to interview and select from tonight.
7. Initiate discussions with the City of Hood River to provide short- and long-term emergency services after the fire chief resigned.
Cascade Locks is a unique place, both geological and historically. I have never worked in such a unique setting.
It is also an interesting place in terms of people who live there. It is quite a cast of characters. They all mean well and I have enjoyed talking and working with them.
I thank you for the opportunity the work for the citizens of Cascade Locks. I am sure the experience will find its way into my doctoral thesis on organizational development at Washington State University.
I have created a list of recommendations that I promised you. It is based on my experience as an organizational development consultant in the private sector.
I especially want to thank the city staff. They were very patient with me. They are very competent and professional. You need to take the time to thank them for their public service commitment.
Richard H. Carson
Brush Prairie, Wash.
Not much difference
In Jim Burdick's recent letter (June 25) about the spread of radioactive contamination to our health care workers from waste shipped through the Gorge he stated that "to say (contaminated first responders) would in turn infect hospital workers, then their families, then the local community is ludicrous. They have measures in place to handle that. That would be like saying I microwave a potato, take it out and stand it next to a raw potato and it in turn will get radiation."
Actually, that is precisely how much of the waste that would be shipped through our town got created in the first place. Here's a quote from the online Wikipedia on transuranic waste:
"In the U.S. it is a byproduct of weapons production, nuclear research and power production, and consists of protective gear, tools, residue, debris and other items contaminated with small amounts of radioactive elements (mainly plutonium)."
Here's another from the same page: "Because of the elements' longer half-lives, TRU is disposed of more cautiously than low-level waste and intermediate level waste."
So, Jim, the waste that we are asked to accept in our communities is going to be a little like that dog poop that we track across the lawn, then the steps, then the carpet, then the stairs, and so forth before we notice the problem.
After we notice it there is the flat-blade shovel, the cleanup, the dirty rags, the dedicated cycle of the washer, etc. Except that this waste kills people.
The U.S. Department of Energy expects 800 civilian deaths to occur in the communities along the shipping route as a result of the shipping of this waste. I can't speak for others, but I cannot think of 800 people I would sacrifice for the convenience of using the already-leaking containers at Hanford to "store" more waste until it, too, leaks into the rivers of the Northwest.
The only difference between "storing" waste at Hanford and a terrorist's dirty bomb is the few years it takes for the waste to spread by nature versus by a conventional explosion. The thousands of years that the contamination causes harm is the same. We all need to actively resist this type of domestic terror.
John M. Wood
Open letter to Obama
Dear Mr. President: You have been outmaneuvered by the opposition! You have let them distract you from solving our biggest problem, the economy, by focusing on the deficit. Their ploy to default on the national debt is just that - a ploy. They have their eye on the coming election. They want the presidency.
Put the people back to work! That will go a long way to fix the economy and the deficit. The taxes they pay will help bring down the deficit and their increased buying power will bring up the rest of the economy.
The unemployment rate is still too high, and will be higher yet when we start bringing soldiers home from the wars. If the private sector cannot provide jobs, then the government should.
President Roosevelt did it! He created the WPA and other programs to fight the Great Depression. He did not just hand out contracts to big companies; he put people back to work one by one. And it cost money, Federal money. Look at the charts. The public debt (the deficit) was the highest ever! But his policies turned things around; a long period of prosperity soon followed.
Now, let us get back to the opposition. Their plan is to distract you from the economy until the upcoming election campaign. Then they will point out, rightly, that you have not done enough to fix the economy (never mentioning, of course, that they have obstructed you every step of the way) and promise that they will.
And the people may well buy it! In desperation they will jump from the frying pan into the fire! Or, to put it another way, they will abandon what they consider a sinking ship in hopes of finding a life boat.
Heaven help us if the Republicans win! They already have one house and the power to hobble the other. And they own the judiciary. If they gain the presidency, they will have complete control, and our country will join the other Third World countries where the majority of the people will be enslaved by a few at the top!
What can you do? Declare your own agenda. Come out fighting! No more compromise! Put the people back to work. Insist that everyone, especially the corporations, pay their fair share in taxes. Talk to the people as only you can. Be the leader; do the right things and the people will back you.
I was really amazed at the community that really came together to support me at this time of difficulty. It really showed me and my family how a small community could join together with hearts reached out and really showed how much they care and appreciate what I've done and with their support I will finish my recovery.
It has been so nice to come here and have a lot of support to go back, put my head down and concentrate enough to finish what I've started and to take the delicious energy to drive me to the finish line. Thanks so much, 'cause you really touched my heart and helped my family understand why I loved this place besides the wind and great recreation!
Thank you very much!
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Memories of Ray
I read in the obituary column (July 2) that Ray Harper has passed on. I can remember the Saturday nights at my grandmother Mattie Mays' house on Avalon Way where Ray, my Uncle Lloyd Mays and Buddy Wilcox had a shindig at grandma's place. My aunt Bonnie Mays Cease was also there. This was in the late 1940s-early '50s and we had a ball as this was the Saturday night entertainment during those years.
I'm sure Ray will be remembered for years to come. Cheers,
South Morang, Victoria, Australia
I just saw the wonderful "Jesus Christ Superstar" at Columbia Center for the Arts and I hope you all see it too - what a delightful tonic to soothe summer!
It's hard to believe this great cast (of all ages) and crew are volunteering their time and talents for us all; it's the best $15 I've spent in a long time!
My thanks to each of them for this musical gift from my awesome community.
Once again our caring community has come together in support of its struggling members. This year's sixth-annual Community Baby Shower, organized by Soroptimist International of Hood River, brought in baby items valued at more than $1,500.
Thank you to all of you good neighbors who brought in baby gifts or made cash donations to help welcome our newest members into our community. This support goes a long way in helping young families who are expecting their first child while struggling with poverty and other life stressors.
And thank you, Soroptimists, for all the work and enthusiasm that goes into this wonderful event that supports New Parent Services and Families First, programs of The Next Door.
The Next Door Inc.
You want good government? It ain't free.
Start with paying your fair share. Now.
Follow the investment.
Make sure it does what you intended.
"Fair taxation," the call which inspired our Declaration of Independence, our Revolutionary War.
Fair taxation. An idea which yet* requires our vigilance, our action.
*235 years later, and still counting
Gloria Krantz of Dee
Toy Story 97014
The rising clamor for yet another recall of our city council reminds me of the times when, as a small child, my sister and I would get into a fight over a toy.
This was the early 1940s and they were hard times. Dad was fighting in the Pacific; food rationing was on; air raid drills occurred regularly; and there were shortages of just about everything.
Mom had plenty of real problems, so she didn't have much patience with our petty squabbles. Her solution was simple: Take the toy away from both of us. We both lost and there was no one to blame but ourselves.
Today the children of Cascade Locks are squabbling over their toys, but we no longer have "Mom" to settle our petty differences. However, even without a "Mom" the solution is the same as it was almost 70 years ago: Take away the toys.
So forget the recall; let's vote to disincorporate the city and combine the Port of Cascade Locks with the Port of Hood River. After 20-plus years of trying to build a healthy, vibrant community the results are in:
We the people of Cascade Locks are incapable of conducting our affairs as an incorporated city and a port district. We are unable to compromise; we refuse to set aside our personal egos and agendas; and none of us will accept any personal responsibility for the dismal failure that defines our city.
Our solution is and always has been to point fingers and blame others. Walt Kelly got it right when he declared, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Without our toys maybe we can learn to get along.
Great river day
I want to publicly acknowledge and thank all the people who worked to make a fantastic RiverFest Community Raft Day and Symposium this year. The day was more than picture perfect; it is now emblazoned into everyone's memory.
The river was superb and the rafting as exciting as ever. With the water still running over 3 feet we jetted over rapids and spectacular drops, especially Stairsteps and Rattlesnake. I'm just sorry I missed the earlier kayak competitions at BZ Falls and Rattlesnake; that would have been awesome.
By the time we got back the barbecue was really cookin', and soon enough the great symposium speakers gave us the fascinating low-down on dams in general and the impending take-out of Condit; carefully presenting both sides of a locally thorny subject.
In between there were many great raffle prizes given out to some very happy winners. I didn't stay for the films afterward but I'll bet they were as good as everything else on a perfectly wonderful Community Raft Day.
It was the river guides' way of giving thanks to the local community, and on behalf of that community I want to say thanks to the river guides and Wet Planet for a totally awesome day. You all ROCK to a river beat and the community loves to dance to your tunes.
President, Bingen-White Salmon Business Partners
White Salmon, Wash.
"Jesus Christ Superstar!"
Thank you so much, Mark, cast and crew!
If you or someone you know suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder related to combat or military service, please pass on this information:
This year, Veterans for Peace is having its national convention in Portland. One of the workshops, "Healing Journeys for Combat Vets and Their Families," will be conducted by Dr. Edward Tick, author of "War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," and founder of Soldier's Heart, an organization that helps veterans with PTDS.
Dr. Tick is a practicing psychotherapist specializing in veterans with PTSD. He will be holding this workshop on PTSD Thursday, Aug. 4, at 1:45 p.m. at the Portland State University campus in Portland.
For more information and to register visit www.vfpnationalconvention.org.
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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