Letters to the editor: June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011

Pine Grove

in our hearts

For over a century, the community of Pine Grove has maintained a profound and kindred relationship with this extraordinary school they could call their own. As the school's principal for the past five years, I have had the privilege of becoming a part of something distinctive and remarkable.

Pine Grove is not just a small school whose community is filled with pride and history; it is a school with an extraordinary staff, an exceptional record of academic performance, and both state and national recognition. And to those students, parents, and staff who have had the pleasure to be a part of Pine Grove, it holds an even greater, emotional place in our hearts.

Having had the opportunity to serve the children and families of current and proceeding generations of Pine Grove, it has become abundantly clear that Pine Grove School is a place that has had a profound impact on many lives.

I hope that each of us will strive to ensure that in some way Pine Grove School will continue to be a central part of this community and to carry on being a central part in the lives of children.

I would like to thank the students, parents, staff and Hood River County School District for giving me the gift of being a part of Pine Grove School!

Kelly P. Beard

Principal, Pine Grove

Elementary School

Hood River

Remark clarified

I'd like to thank Kirby Neumann-Rea for the great article he wrote on the Horizon Christian School graduation, including the small focus on our family. It's always fun seeing your name in the paper somewhere other than the police report or building permits.

Out of respect for my children, though, I feel the need to correct an error in the article. (I wish I could say that Kirby misquoted me, but the older I get the more I find that my mouth doesn't always say what my brain tells it to!)

In reference to the bittersweet nature of graduation, what I MEANT to say was that having been through the letting-go process so many times I've found that the sweet far outweighs the bitter as we see our children develop into the adults they eventually become. The statement was intended to be an affirmation of my children and an encouragement to those parents who are facing graduation for the first time, and perhaps struggling a bit.

Again, thanks, Kirby, for your excellent coverage of this local event.

Helen Stenberg

Hood River

Talented students

A memorable lunch in the bleachers: I don't think we write letters to the editor very often about the wonderful things that our children do in their schools and the staff that, budget cuts or not, make it happen.

At my lunch time today I attended the talent show at Westside Elementary. Honestly, I attended just because my daughter begged me to. I sat in the bleachers bracing myself to be surrounded by children and with the expectation that I was there to watch an elementary school show.

To my dismay I found out my daughter's act was set to be the last one. That meant I was going to sit and watch 15 acts, hopefully in one hour.

It was a little more than an hour; but I did not care. To my surprise, or better said my ignorance, I watched in awe all the talent that any parent wishes to see in their children at school. The acts were incredible - all of them. I can't remember names; I just remember the children and their crafts.

The show included Hungarian folk songs on the piano; F

r Elise perfectly executed in a keyboard by a girl that didn't play with her hands, but her feet. All the piano, guitar and ukulele players were amazing. We saw dancers, a hip hop routine that was first class; sisters dancing together to the rhythm of Lady Gaga without missing a beat.

All the singers were excellent and varied from a girl that wrote her own song to songs that we listen to every day. However, mostly they all sang about trying and trying harder, dreams may come true and there is beauty in the world.

About 500 children sat quietly listening to their schoolmates' art. That was remarkable.

Congratulations, Westside staff. The dedication and encouragement you provide to our children makes all of this possible. I thank you.

Maria Elena Castro

Hood River

Looking at

U.S. debt

Mike Farmer's letter of June 11 grossly exaggerates the U.S. debt as being in excess of $600,000 per family. Only if the average family size exceeds 14 people!

The more accurate and informational number is per individual, i.e., $46,188. And, while that doesn't sound so great, one should consider the value of all federal buildings, power systems, the interstate freeway system and military equipment, just as one does with personal debt against a home, furnishings and cars.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Created a monster

Frankenstein is alive and well and living near you!

We thought it was only science fiction that a human made monster could take over control of human beings, but we now live in a country where corporations have the rights of people. They have free-speech rights, and though they are not yet voters or citizens, they can work to influence political campaigns and write laws.

They have privacy rights; they have Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under the law and can thus prevent local communities from "discriminating" against them in favor of small, local businesses.

They can live forever. They can change identity in a day. They can cut off parts of themselves and from them grow new selves. They can own others of their own kind. They don't need fresh air or clean water and don't fear illness or death.

You might reply that the people working inside them do breathe, and fear illness and death, but who is in charge? Corporations are legal fictions created with the sole purpose of being a vehicle for the aggregation of wealth.

The result of this legal error has been the virtual takeover of our political and legal processes by corporations.

But some humans are working to take back government and return us to the intentions of this nation's Founders. The movement is to deny corporate personhood and restore human rights to humans.

You can find out more about this movement on Friday evening, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Community Church. David Cobb, chief spokesperson of Move to Amend.org, will give a presentation on ending corporate rule and legalizing democracy.

This growing nationwide movement needs nationwide citizen support to have a snowball's chance, and that is where you come in! Thank you for your support.

Karen Harding

Mt. Hood

The human condition

Fox and hens: Gee, this caught my attention. Thanks, Steve (Kaplan, Our Readers Write, June 8). Pretty good! … and Anne (Vance, June 11). I didn't see anything confusing about it. The "thought" simply speaks to the very human conditions of greed and "all about me."

Entrepreneurialism is a wonderful motivating force that drives the global economic dynamic and - yes - its singular driving force is greed. We want. We work (some harder than others). We get.

In our globally admired system (capitalism), we (the Western world) are envied by many if not most - pretty simple.

The tipping point is between altruism and "all about me." Ponder that question for a moment or two. This is the very big and very vexing question. What will it be?

It is an everlasting question that defines character - and the human condition.

Just thinking.

Phil Jensen

Hood River

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Latest video:

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

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