Letters to the Editor for October 19, 2011

A family's thanks, tax proportion, Do the numbers on coal, more..

A family's thanks

I would first like to thank the community for their warm and caring prayers and condolences that I and my family have received in our time of grieving for the loss of our father, Cliff Smith.

The cards, letters and phone calls just keep coming. And even more thanks for supporting Cliff Smith Motors for over 26 years of business and to those who did business with us year after year.

I also would like to give a special thanks to the Hood River News for the wonderful story they put in the paper about Cliff's life; many, many thanks to Joe Deckard and all of Cliff's friends.

After coming back to Hood River for Cliff's service and looking out into the faces of friends and family, my wife and I truly realized that Hood River is and always will be home.

Thank you.

Joe and Lynette Smith

Eldorado Hills, Calif.

Tax proportion, please

Time magazine states that 20 percent of Americans own 85 percent of America's wealth. Why don't they pay 85 percent of America's taxes?

Gary Fields

Hood River

Placing blame

Ten years ago last week, we invaded Afghanistan in retaliation for the 9/11 attack and to get Osama bin Laden. Why has this tragically turned into the longest-running war in U.S. history? Why didn't Bush/Cheney get the job done?

As most military experts will say, the war in Iraq diverted our resources away from getting bin Laden. Here's a quote from a speech Former Defense Secretary William Gates gave at West Point saying how wrong the war in Iraq was:

"In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined' ..."

It's time we stop making excuses, put the blame on Bush and Cheney for the terrible decision to invade Iraq, for the thousands of lives lost, the tens of thousands injured and the trillions of dollars wasted. And shame on us for letting this happen!

If only Barack Obama had been president 10 years ago, the horrible wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could have been avoided.

Obama has said fighting terrorists should be accomplished NOT by invading countries but through surgical strikes at the al-Qaeda leaders. And his approach is working. Two weeks ago in Yemen, we killed American-born al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki. And of course it was under President Obama's leadership that we finally killed Osama bin Laden.

Although I'm not a Christian, I pray for the thousands of lives lost in these wasteful wars, the tens of thousands injured, the loss of reason and justice in this country and I especially pray that people NOT believe in the propaganda that the right wing spews about Barack Obama.

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

Don't 'Wait'

to see play

The latest CAST production at Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River is a must-see. There are three more productions of their scary family play - it is well done!

Kate Mills

Mount Hood

Do the numbers

Coal trains coming through the Gorge in large numbers? To ship more coal to China to burn? How ludicrous! No - how obscene!

We should not burn coal at all. Shipping it to China only transfers the problem. There is enough coal to fuel power plants for a few generations. But coal is nearly pure carbon and when it burns it produces carbon dioxide as its waste - the main cause of global warming of our climate. If we continue to choose that course we will raise atmospheric temperature by 4-18 degrees Fahrenheit - enough to damage all life on Earth.

The danger to the Columbia River Gorge and to us is all too real. The messages delivered by Heather Kryczka of the Sierra Club and numerous letters to the editor have pointed out the potential environmental and health damages that can come from huge releases of coal dust.

Let's do the numbers: 20 coal trains a day, 120 cars per train, each releasing 1 pound of coal per mile in the 80 miles of the Gorge, would distribute 192,000 pounds of coal dust per day (96 tons) or 70 million pounds (35,000 tons) of coal dust per year.

Since our winds mainly come from the west or northwest, we would have to live with coal dust covering every surface of our town, our valley, and our homes. You and I would be breathing coal dust, coughing up coal dust, and suffering the health effects. Yes! Breathe that in!

Carroll Davis

Hood River

'Bar' fly thanks

As a person who uses The Bar to Be Named Later on a regular basis, Stephen Schneider's "Bar No One" best describes the atmosphere and the spirit of that area. It also sends a great message to all those who visit Hood River, as well.

Oh, and by the way, a big thank-you to all the government entities who have worked so hard in developing our waterfront. It is great to see tax dollars used in such a positive way. My dog Ajax sends out a big thank-you, too!

Ed Fix

Hood River

Coal, horses and bikes

Let's take all reasonable environmental precautions, then export all the coal we can to China. In terms of our nation's "balance sheet" that is a very good direction for goods to flow, for a change!

I bike, while my wife bikes and rides horseback. We both agree there is plenty of room on the trails for both of these user groups in small, friendly Hood River. Letters like the one printed last week serve no purpose other than to irritate both groups toward each other.

Tom Kosmalski

Hood River

Latest stories

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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