Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Looking at waste
Hood River has a great recycling system with reusable opportunities for most of the stuff we tend to claim as garbage.
The district of Hood River has various recycling stations for our waste giving us the opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle. The gorge of Hood River consists of many animal farms, orchards and vineyards that grow delicious fruits, which can all be affected if we don't recycle responsibly.
We are lucky to have a strong community that is willing to help us recycle, free of cost. By reducing the toxic waste we can increase the quality of our fruits and we can help our animals breathe fresh air and give them a cleaner environment.
Toxic waste affects the quality of our fruits in the Gorge because it is poisonous and dangerously chemically reactive. Toxic waste is often found in chemicals that often discard gases and create huge amounts of air pollution and land degradation to our fields. A way we can help decrease the toxic waste that goes into our environment is by taking the hazardous waste to our local garbage service area and there they can dispose of the toxic waste properly.
Hood River is a small community that consists of about 7,000 people. It is important for Hood River to produce less garbage because Hood River has many tourist attractions such as great railroads, the Columbia River, Mount Hood and many award-winning vineyards. Through the year there are many activities that go on, from our strong Gorge winds to our cold mountain and the beautiful blossom time.
Together we can all help save energy and take care of our environment by creating less garbage because we want to keep our Gorge in healthy conditions for our visitors, our children and ourselves.
It is important to save energy because the increase of carbon dioxide in our environment changes our climate locally. We can all help to save energy by choosing energy efficient products.
Using the recycling system can benefit all of us and is a great way to give back to the community by preventing toxic waste, and creating less garbage. The recycling system in Hood River is a practice that I challenge all of us to take part in and together we can build a strong and healthy community for our farms, orchards, vineyards, tourists and our children.
have it all
In the April 20 Hood River News, Myles Green was kind enough to let us know that his recent move to Waltham, Mass., had uncovered an extremely well-stocked public library, a "delight" he only hoped we might also enjoy some day. Realistically, I doubt that we'll be able to.
You see, according to the 2000 Census, Waltham is home to two great universities (Brandeis and Bentley), a population almost 10 times Hood River's and a median family income 82 percent higher! That allows their $2 million library budget.
But, having been raised in the Boston area myself, I can attest that we've got the better scenery, more space in our backyards and relaxed, varied lifestyles which usually makes for happier people.
And, a beautiful library building that's reopening soon!
Everyone uses oil
Concerned about the oil production protestors: Most drove to the protest; wear clothes that used oil to make; eat food that used oil to make. Cook that food using appliances that used oil to make and ship. Live in houses that use oil, etc.
Oil production has been shut down here in the U.S. so we depend on oil produced elsewhere. Even the wind generators use oil to make and transport to many sites.
What do the many wind techs use to get to the many sites? Electric cars that go 40 miles then spend 10 hours to recharge? Using batteries that used oil to make and transport, or the bikes that use oil to make or transport?
What is the answer? Then we could support them.
It bothers me that I am writing this from a negative point of view, but I feel quite strongly about the concepts of Earth Day and conservation in general. I am not sure if our intentions always match our actions.
My son came home from school with a beautiful green water bottle yesterday. It is silk-screened with an OSU Extension Service label as well as a statement that it was paid in part by Oregon SNAP. I believe SNAP stands for State Nutritional Action Program.
It was just a month ago that my wife and I recycled several plastic water bottles we had accrued over the past several years from the various job fairs, health fairs and school-related activities and educational opportunities one or more of us attended. All the while we were deciding how many bottles to get rid of, I thought long and hard about the energy wasted to fabricate and print the bottles, ship then to a destination and haul away and recycle the packing material necessary to deliver those bottles.
We all have short memories, so memories on water bottles may help to remind us why we should recycle. I wonder how that works for stacks of bottles in the back of a cabinet? We can't be the only family with a collection of bottles.
We don't bring drugs to school to show kids what they should not do and we don't bring a gun to teach them not to shoot anyone. Why must we repeatedly give our children plastic water bottles in our schools and at health fairs to show them what a water receptacle looks like?
I hope anyone reading this with the authority to turn down water bottles as a nice "give away" with a polite explanation will do so if given the chance. These people will be heroes to me because they are making a global change through the foresight in their decision.
I think of those who organize the local Thursday Farmers Market and local restaurants who feature local goods as heroes as well because of the large positive impact they have on the environment in which we live and breathe.
Thank you for reading and thinking about this.
This is in reference to your letter written on Wednesday, April 20, Mr. Garry W. Koop:
It's too bad that you felt like it was your responsibility to bring more attention to the two incidences that occurred in Hood River, or as you said "Top story?" Isn't it bad enough that innocent people had to live and deal with the issues stated? I really wonder how you would have felt if either one of those would have happened to you?
There is so much negativity going on in the world today; appreciate the positive that gets printed in the Hood River News.
Regarding Mr. Albiston's letter to the editor in Saturday's paper ("Why the silence?" April 23) and his accusation of hypocrisy, I think that many of us who protested for eight long years are no longer out there regularly because we now see the dysfunction in our political system.
We voted for change. As Mr. Albiston points out, Obama has continued the Bush policies of endless war, funneling money to the rich and pandering to the corporations who really control our country. If voting in someone who claimed to have different goals only brought more of the same, then obviously the political machine is worthless.
I find it more hypocritical to hear complaints from those who strongly supported Bush as he drastically increased our deficit and helped crash the economy. Why complain as Obama continues this work?
For those who were looking for change, many of us now work on the local level. We bring speakers to our communities to educate people on where our money is going. We stand up for union members who are being targeted as the cause of our economic problems. We speak in support of schools and libraries, local food, and our local economy. We're still out there, still working.
Keep trails open
There was a trail that was closed in Post Canyon. It was a popular trail for many mountain bikers. It was closed pending the sale of the land to a timber company. I ask, is that fair? I love to mountain bike and understand the frustration of these people when a favorite riding spot gets blocked for something not all that critical.
This lumber company is going to buy the land, take the trees and leave it bare, until they can replant some trees. But what is the point? By the time the trees that were replanted are grown they will be gone and replaced by another round of trees.
Why can't the lumber companies just buy their own plots of land without interfering with recreational trails, and then plant trees and harvest them and continue to do so in a cycle?
I think that lumber companies should not be permitted to buy land on property that serves a recreational purpose so then the land can remain pleasant for the bikers, hikers and runners. After all, we only have a few of our natural forest left, like the redwoods and sequoias in California; so shouldn't we preserve as much as we can?
White Salmon, Wash.
Superstore would help
Walmart has recently been approved for a 30,000-square-foot expansion, allowing more retail space. Expanding Walmart is great, but what about building a Super Walmart in Hood River?
I think residents in our area, and most likely residents from surrounding areas, would benefit from a super center. If a one-shop store opened in Hood River it would provide job openings to many unemployed. Along with a job offer, employees would be eligible for benefits, such as medical insurance.
As good as it might sound, I'm aware that not everybody approves it. The main concern about a Super Walmart in the area is the negative effect on small business. Rather than being threatened by Walmart's "everyday low prices," local business should get competitive. Lower prices would actually benefit us, the shopper.
I know there is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration in order for a new store to be built in the area, but I certainly think a super center in Hood River would benefit the community.
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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