Letters to the editor for July 16, 2011

July 16, 2011

Attn: PTSD sufferers

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.vfpnationalconven-tion.org.

Linda Short

Hood River

Lump-in-the-throat event

Bob Janes, Paul Thompson, John Winters and I want to thank Tom Yates and the Heights Business Association for the honor and privilege of having us serve as the grand marshals in the Hood River Fourth of July parade and to Julie Raefield-Gobbo for her article in the Hood River News.

A very special thank you to all the wonderful people for their warm welcome and thanks as we traveled the parade route. It was a "lump-in-the-throat" occasion for us as we were representing not just ourselves but all the women and men from all branches of the military who are serving, have served or will serve our country in time of war and peace. Thank you.

Nellie J. Hjaltalin

CDR SC USNR/Ret.

Hood River

Weakened foundation

Re: The Hood River News' July 2 editorial "July 4, Look for the solemn meaning…"

This article mentions the impetus (the ruling "big thumb" of Great Britain over our colonies) for the July 4, 1776, adoption of our Declaration of Independence, freeing America from this overzealous ruling country which attempted to govern America's worship.

This document was signed by 56 men, of whom 54 (quoting Dr. Stanley) believed in the one and only true God of Creation. (Could this be the reason as to why all U.S. currency contains the phrase, "In God We Trust"?) Therefore, it stands to reason why the First Amendment (ratified in 1791) to our Constitution protected religious worship from government involvement, the foundation of our great nation!

This past 60 years "termites" have been eating away at our foundation thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union and President Barack Hussein Obama's defense of "anything goes." They have made mockery of the First Amendment with the support of the news media with its play on words, e.g. faith, church, bible (Bible), religion and belief, not to mention Hell and sin.

President Obama is the only president who took the oath of office twice: First within view with his hand on the customary King James Bible (the same as President George Washington); the second was not in my view. His hand on (?). (I hope not the Koran.) He stumbled over "Hussein."

The strength of America's foundation lies in the bonds of God's coveted family units which can be likened to a single rain drop when joined with its "buddies" can float an Ark.

My point is, "a child without a mom or dad is likened to a ship without a rudder."

A nation can be no stronger than its weakest link. P.S. No document contains the phrase "Church and State."

Alan Winans

Hood River

'Running Ladders'

I was personally very excited to see the art installation of Running Ladders being set up along I-84 a week or so ago. Then suddenly it isn't there any longer? What's up?

Those ladders are very important to the history of the fruit industry in this area. The fact that someone took the time to gather those pieces of history and refurbish them was a bit of foresight. They would be forever forgotten by rotting away somewhere over time.

It warmed my heart to see the brightly colored ladders standing tall with the backdrop of the cherry orchards behind them. That is where they belong. Actually a bit of history should be added to this display. Possibly at the rest stop?

I was able to see them exhibited on Highway 35 up near the Pine Grove area last month and thought the pear and apple orchards were also a good backdrop. However, when I saw them on I-84, they were so much more impressive. The closeness of HWY 35 to the road made them kinda' disappear, but on the hill on I-84 was just the right spot to bring them to the public view.

Art is something that enhances the beauty of our surroundings. Working pieces of farm life that would otherwise not be seen by many people joined together with art was ingenious.

Too often people don't really know where their food comes from and having a visual reminder that the fruit we eat from this area was harvested with those three-legged ladders, makes you take stock of how the food is processed. So much more could be done with this exhibit and maybe there could be an installation at the rest stop with some placard or fruit bin, ladder, etc.

Well, there it is. I enjoyed the exhibit while it was up and I'd love to see it be returned.

Charlene Fort

Hood River

Hire local contractors

When driving through Hood River and the outskirts of town, I've noticed road and bridge construction jobs in full force to upgrade much-needed areas.

There have been numerous people suggesting "keep business local" for our merchants in their quaint little boutiques and shops, to our local grocery stores. The Chamber of Commerce and City of Hood River, both, want to keep business LOCAL.

So why are the construction jobs passed on to the contractors "out of town"? This process not only sends the money out of our town but also doesn't support our local contractors, who are being asked to keep THEIR money and business local.

James Grant

Hood River

Laid-off,

not retired

Thank you for the article about Parkdale Elementary and Pine Grove Elementary Schools receiving recognition from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for becoming healthier places for students and staff.

I would like to clarify one item: I was laid-off due to budget cutbacks rather than retiring. This is a quote from the letter I received from the Hood River County School District:

"… your position as Physical Education Teacher at Parkdale Elementary School will be eliminated. You will be laid-off effective June 30, 2011."

Sarah Raab

Parkdale

Budget distortions

I recently read your article "CL Council takes heat over fire budget." Where do I start with the inconsistencies?

First of all, when you wrote this article the Budget Committee had yet to approve the budget. Our budget process left the budget open to changes until Wednesday, June 15. Any statements made that the budget committee did this or that prior to June 15 is false.

You stated that Chief (Jeff) Pricher cut his own salary by one-third. That is incorrect; when you wrote this article prior to June 15, Pricher reduced his salary and benefits by $6,387 from $81,631. That is not one-third.

You also stated that the next Budget Committee meeting was June 15 and that it was open to public comment but no public comments would be accepted.

Wrong again; our next meeting was on June 14 with no public comment and the June 15 meeting actually was open to public comment. However, because of your article not many citizens showed up for public comment.

Your numbers are incorrect where you state that Pricher reduced his wages from $52,000 to $32,000. It was actually from $53,500 to $49,000.

You go on to say that Pricher proposed a balanced emergency services budget. Wrong. Pricher was $60,000 in the negative and this was not reflected in his proposed budget, therefore it was not a true balanced budget.

You also stated that staff had directed Pricher to cut another $60,000 from his budget. Once again, if you had waited until the budget was approved you would have known that this was a misinterpretation of a motion and was corrected at the next budget committee meeting before the budget was approved.

The $60,000 deficit was added to the emergency services budget as a place holder only to show that this department is in a deficit situation.

You quote Pricher as saying that emergency services does not have a steady revenue source like streets. However, 45 percent of our property tax goes to the emergency services fund along with all of the fire and ambulance service fees, contracted Multnomah County revenue and volunteer fire association revenue, etc., totaling $222,860.

The street department, on the other hand, only gets state gasoline apportionment of $60,000.

You go on to quote Pricher as saying "This budget deficit is nothing new. It has been here a long, long time. Council (past) has known about the problem and done nothing." Where is his part in this deficit problem? He is the department head who prepares his budget.

I realize as the editor of the Hood River News you would not intentionally make false statements to the citizens. I am urging you to correct the statements that you have made.

Darlene Sullenger

Cascade Locks Budget Committee member

Cascade Locks

Editor's note: Sullenger's figures are the correct ones. However, the salary reduction she cites, and the $60,000 department cut, were both verified at the June 6 meeting by then-interim city administrator Rich Carson.

Reverse this trajectory

As Pogo aptly said, "We have met the enemy and the enemy is us."

The environmental crisis is before us. It is one we humans have caused. The United States is a major culprit. Sustainability is not possible unless we change our ways.

Climate change is going on at a rapid pace. It is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide and methane. Basically this is due to the burning of fossil fuels.

The oceans are badly damaged due to warming, acidification, pollution and over-exploitation.

The sixth mass extinction is going on at a rate estimated to be 120,000 times the normal extinction rate.

Tropical forests are being systematically destroyed for lumber and to clear land.

Massive losses of arable soil are occurring due to drought, salinization and erosion.

Fresh water resources are reaching a crisis level at many places worldwide.

The Ehrlichs, Stanford demographers, have pointed out, "Our problems come from too many people wanting too much." The world population reaches 7 billion this year and growing.

As of now, the future for us and the world's people is very uncertain.

I am an older man. My wife and I may not see the collapse. But we have a wonderful surviving son, a great daughter-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. I suspect many of you readers have a similar situation. I wish for our family and yours to survive. I hope you are also concerned for their future.

Collectively we might be able to reverse this trajectory toward mutual destruction.

Carroll Davis

Hood River

Library relief

I just sat down today with my first book from the newly reopened library. It was like exhaling after holding my breath underwater, except that it was for a year instead of a minute.

What a relief! All at once I felt at home, at peace, and just a little bit more patriotic.

Granted, since last summer we haven't gone without books in our house; we always have tomes of mysterious origin hanging around that I haven't read, and favorites I've only read once.

Of course there was always the option of a trip to the bookstore, but it's not the same. Nothing replaces the triumph of coming across a book I wasn't even looking for that ends up changing my life - and I discovered it!

Remember too: One cannot take GED practice tests at a bookstore.

Call me a sap, but I get such a sense of community when I am at the library, and even when I am not. Just to know that it is there if I need it is a great comfort.

Thanks goes to everyone who voted to create the library district, and all those who have worked to make opening the library a reality (and early at that!). Now, back to the book...

Carrie Seros

Hood River

No response

It seemed like a simple request to the person who is representing you and me in Congress: "Where do you stand on the issue of healthcare in regards to national funding?"

I posed this question to Congressman Greg Walden on his official website this March in order to clarify his wishy-washy posted stance on the matter.

In the letter I described how I, a very healthy and physically fit constituent of his, had been denied access to health insurance due to a minor shoulder injury from a snowboarding crash and because I get sore muscles from working that require a $4 prescription approximately once a year.

Apparently the person our district has chosen to represent us is too busy with the incandescent light bulb debate and naming post offices across the country to be bothered to state his position clearly in one of the big issues our nation is facing.

This is particularly disturbing considering that I regularly write to and get responses from Sen. Wyden, who has not only a district to answer to, but a whole state.

Political stances aside, people who do not have the ear of their representatives are not fairly represented. Hopefully the Republicans of District 2 will think long and hard before running their de facto candidate in the next cycle.

Galin McMahon

The Dalles

Cascade Locks' struggle

I am very concerned about recent editorials I have been reading in the paper over the last month regarding issues in Cascade Locks. This is no small concern, what is happening to our community, with the excessive large cuts to our fire and emergency services department, which severely crippled that department.

As one citizen who addressed the city council stated, "First our fire/EMS, what next? Are we now going to have to round up a posse to go after law breakers?!"

And as funny and ludicrous as that is, we should not just laugh it off because there appears to be a purposeful dismantling of the City of Cascade Locks by the hands of a majority (not all) of the current council.

Recent letters suggesting "disincorporating the city" is a hint of the hidden intentions; and so with the recent major crippling of the fire/EMS, and the continuous loss of personnel, it appears the dismantling has already begun. So more and more citizens are becoming involved with the current issues in our city, whereas they were not prior.

There are those who hold a society back and those who propel it forward. Those taking part and currently speaking out, and who support possible recalls of some of the council members are not "kids arguing over a toy," but are individuals who believe in the advancement of a society.

Something of great concern is taking place in Cascade Locks.

Tina Tarani

Cascade Locks

Economy held hostage

Shortly after President Obama was inaugurated, Rush Limbaugh said, "I hope Obama fails" (doesn't that border on treason?). Soon thereafter, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the singular top priority of the Republican Party was to defeat Obama in 2012.

It is difficult to gauge how much the virulent opposition to Obama has been due to racism (the Southern Poverty Law Center documented a big spike in hate groups following Obama's election). But, in any case, it appears that the Republican Party is trying to hold the economy hostage. It calculates, probably correctly, that a weak economy and high unemployment gives it the best chance of winning in 2012.

That the Republicans care more about winning in 2012 than helping the country's economy and, in particular, are "blocking jobs," was being discussed in the Washington, D.C., newspapers recently. The Republicans' proposal of no tax increases and deep spending cuts must be behind their willingness to sacrifice the country's welfare for their own benefit - unless they are ignorant of past history.

Do they not know that a similar austerity program by President Hoover during the Great Depression only made it much worse?

Are they ignorant that it took huge income tax hikes, especially on the rich, and heavy government spending, particularly on government-created/funded jobs (e.g., the WPA, CCC, World War II, and business reform and encouragement), to recover from the Great Depression and get the private sector going; and that a large cut in spending in 1937 temporarily derailed the recovery?

Are they ignorant that, as recently as 1993, tax hikes that they claim are so harmful to growth turned out very much the opposite after President Clinton implemented them?

Adding to the problem is that the large corporations and banks seem to be in cahoots with Republicans in keeping unemployment high. Despite big profits, they are not adequately creating jobs; but rather wringing greater productivity out of their workers without commensurate wage increases.

Many CEOs are chafing over new regulations passed in July of 2010, even though those regulations may be inadequate to prevent another catastrophic 2008-type economic collapse. Those regulations do, however, represent first steps in reversing the previous 30 years of rampant deregulation that led to the collapse.

Norm Luther

Underwood, Wash.

Last blow

Well, this is an update of the ignorant moves done by the present council. Last month Chief Pricher was forced out of his fire chief position, from having his salary cut. When he left the city he said he would stay as a volunteer assistant fire chief and volunteer paramedic.

Today the mayor told Pricher to turn in his gear, keys and passwords within a week or there would be legal action against him. This leaves our town without a medical professional.

Pricher got $2.6 million in grants for the station, and lots of the gear and supplies; he has saved lives in this town has trained and professionally organized a great bunch of devoted volunteers. He also has set up a mass casualty disaster unit and is respected for his talents throughout the Gorge and Portland.

Firing a volunteer with these talents not only makes no sense, but is a final blow to our EMS department.

Deborah Lorang

Cascade Locks

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