Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Support our children! We parents who started the Save Our Schools effort are guided by this principle.
We understand that all citizens of Hood River County are experiencing hard times. We know that trying to close a 9 percent, $3.5 million county school district budget shortfall is trying to put out a house fire with a squirt gun.
We are aware, sadly, that next year is likely to be as grim as this. We admit that, even if we can bring our community together in emergency support of the school district's day-to-day operations for the 2011-12 school year, we can't expect to ask for that sacrifice year after year.
But we are not going to do nothing. We will try to improve the education for our children. We are, all of us in Hood River County, in between a rock and a hard place.
Our longstanding Hood River County Education Foundation has for 20 years been enriching the education of our children through its wonderful support of special classroom projects and college scholarships for students. We support its efforts enthusiastically and we rest assured that it will continue its support for as long as there is a Hood River County School District.
Many education foundations in counties across Oregon and the United States provide similar enrichment for their children.
But everyone who has seen the potential budget reductions list from the school district knows that this year, the core of our children's education is threatened by the poor economy.
Save Our Schools is determined to respond by raising funds from the community, immediately, to supplement the school district core budget for the 2011-12 school year. We are willing to trust our district to use these funds wisely.
Who knows: We might save all-day kindergarten, or a single classroom teacher. We don't know how much we can achieve. But we know we have to try. As a community, we can make a difference for our children. Please join us!
I am asking our Hood River library district to resist the urge to be irresponsible with our tax dollars. Please remember the vote was passed to "reopen the library doors" - NOT to fund PERS retirement for library employees, which I understand is being considered.
Looking down the road, should the State of Oregon make a decision that would increase the cost of PERS, then the library district MUST bear the cost. (That's not debatable. Districts can't choose NOT to go along with state decisions). This would then rob the library district's operational funds and, once again, could impact their ability to keep the doors open.
Please also note, from OregonLive.com, Sept. 2010: "The PERS board unanimously approved rate increases to backfill the system's actuarial shortfall that will collectively add $1.1 billion in pension expenses to state and local budgets in 2011 - a time when they can least afford to pay it."
When the Hood River library district ballot measure was presented, I understood the purpose of the property tax increase was literally to "keep the lights on" at the library - NOT to fund PERS.
Fellow taxpayers: You may want to add your voice to mine. And if PERS is already a done deal, then shame on our library board.
Roadside aid appreciated
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the emergency personnel from Cascade Locks that assisted me Feb. 9 when I was involved in a single-car accident resulting from losing control of my car after hitting black ice.
Several bystanders, Adam, from the Army Corp of Engineers and an unknown woman, risked their own safety to make sure I was comfortable and safe until emergency crews arrived.
I drive this highway several times per month and work in the Hood River and The Dalles areas and know how treacherous I-84 can be. But even driving slowly and what I thought was safely, it still GOT ME.
I am fine, thank you - just bruised and banged up - but really appreciate all the good people who cared for me! Thanks again.
Yesterday the Hood River Valley LEOS Club made a substantial and greatly appreciated donation to the Hood River County Library Foundation.
At a recent bottle and can drive the LEOS sorted and counted more than 14,000 items; proceeds will go to the library early opening fund. The foundation is supporting the efforts of the new library district board to open our library this summer.
The foundation continues to accept contributions to this cause; our address is P.O. Box 1582, Hood River, OR 97031.
A special thanks to each of the LEOS and their advisor, Tom Schaefer; thanks, too, to the community for the donations of bottles and cans. It's wonderful how the community has rallied to support our library. Hood River County is a very special place to call home.
HRC Library Foundation
Attack not preventable
In an attempt to support his position against either gun or added-bullets control (Our Readers Write, Feb. 23) Mr. Lane alleges that Sen. Giffords' "security staff was so lax as to allow this rampage to begin … and … to continue at all."
In light of the fact that the senator's meeting was held outdoors in a democracy, I would be very interested to know what Mr. Lane thinks her security staff, specifically and legally, could and should have done.
Hoods like Hood River
We visited Hood River mainly as a place to sleep only on our travels but were wowed by what we experienced.
We stayed at the wonderful Columbia Gorge Hotel. When we asked where to eat, three of your fine citizens, including a policeman who kindly helped us out, recommended Stonehenge Restaurant. It truly was one of our best experiences on our month-long trip, wonderful food and an absolutely charming owner.
Lastly - we were treated wonderfully wherever we went in your town, from the little Sages restaurant to the friendly people on your streets. We will definitely recommend this charming town to all we meet. Thank you.
Gerry and Faye Hood (The name is just a coincidence!)
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Hope booze stickers help
The Health Media Club created stickers that would raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday. People die from drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday more than any other day of the year.
The stickers also let people know not to serve alcoholic beverages to minors.
Thirteen hundred and sixty stickers were tagged in various beer and alcoholic beverages at Safeway and Rosauers the Thursday before the Super Bowl.
I am a proud member of the Health Media Club which stands for Helping Educate, Advocate and Lead Toward Health and hope that those 1,360 stickers made a difference in someone's decision making on Super Bowl Sunday.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge