Thursday, September 29, 2011
I liked Jack
Do you know Jack?
I knew him well. As a friend, a small venture partner and source of light-hearted wisdom. You will see his picture (along with mine) at the top of the donor board of our local hospital. I mean Jack Mills - and I knew him well.
Jack was a friend. A man one could talk to and share opinions - and always get a thoughtful answer (a rare and valued quality). Never derisive, always rational and fair. And very often sprinkled with his talent for cute humor and the ever present cute chuckle. I liked him!
Jack was a Christian - or Christ-like, for you nit-pickers. He came from a gentle (probably very "liberal") mother and a very successful businessman father (think Ainsworth that morphed into US Bank).
Jack was generous and always thinking of the betterment of his family, his community and mankind. You've seen his "credentials" on the front page of our (Sept. 17) Hood River News, so you already know that. But I knew him through personal dealings.
Jack was a good man! I hope someone will say that about me (or YOU) when we go to meet our maker.
So long, Jack - see ya in just a little while.
Not helping job situation
Regarding Anne Vance letter of Sept. 14: Of course any answer from the office of the President is only going to state the positives that they want you to believe. And you are correct in stating that "he has done quite a bit about the job situation."
Their reply would not tell you that the NLRB has told Boeing that they cannot open a new assembly plant in South Carolina, after spending somewhere around $800,000,000 to build it. That certainly does "quite a bit about the job situation."
And after the President stated in his recent address to the joint session of Congress that he wants to see "more things made in America," the NLRB decision only sends more business to Europe's Airbus factories if Boeing cannot open their plant. How can we be supportive of that?
Please get more of the facts, look at the full picture and think about it.
Need CL fire district
The outcome of the Sept. 20th recall should send a clear message to those seeking office and those remaining in office. The people have spoken. The people want their local fire and EMS protection. Perhaps now they will listen to the people.
We need elected officials who will truly represent the majority view of the people and not their own personal agendas or special interests.
The best way to solve the problem is to have a local fire district. Funding and authority would be controlled by the governing elected board of the fire district. The mayor and City Council would never again destroy our fire and emergency services if we had a fire district.
Chaplain (Maj.) Patrick Stuart, USAR (Retired)
Above it all
I, like W.H. Davis Jr. in the Sept. 21 edition, have been approached by the "Gorge Society for Exhausting Detail and Paragraphs Galore" to join their elite letter-writing fraternity, but like Mr. Davis I turned them down.
I also turned down the Mid-Columbia Sanctimoniously Better-Than-Thous, Library Tax Loving, Children Celebrating, White Bread Religions Exalting, Chamber of Commerce Shilling, Flag-Waving-Forevers, Cascade Locks Angry Society for Letters to the Hood River S'News because they have a 5,000-word limit. Thank you.
I am writing in response to Rep. Mark Johnson's description of the Dollar Lake fire as a "tragedy" and a "catastrophe." This hyperbole, which is so common amongst politicians, does nothing to advance a better understanding of forest health and ecosystems. It instead acts as a barrier to the long-range health we all want for our forests.
When was the last time Rep. Johnson hiked the Elk Cove Trail or Pinnacle Ridge Trail? Does he have a good understanding of the health, or lack thereof, of the forests on Mount Hood?
Has he seen the crowded, spindly trees packed too tightly next to one another? Is he aware of the deadfall crowding the forest floor? Does he believe that it was pristine, healthy forest that was burning?
The issues are complicated now, but I believe fire suppression over the last 100 years has played a significant role in where we are today. The forest-thinning projects he mentions will help. Allowing fires to burn so that the forest can do its best to "reset" will help. Having leaders who feed the fire of fear and misunderstanding will not.
Why is it that Rep. Johnson and other political leaders have not been advocating sustainable thinning projects on a regular basis in the Hood River News? If they are so concerned about forest health, why are they not showing us the way?
Given the lack of leadership and priority placed on this issue, should we welcome Rep. Johnson's call for more federal government involvement? A review of this fire shows no significant property damage and no lives lost. Does that still qualify as a tragedy and catastrophe?
In the end, my children and grandchildren will likely hike through a healthier, more pristine forest on Mount Hood's north side in the years to come. In our "me first, need-it-now" society it is hard to take this long-range view. But without it, the problem of forest health will not be solved.
We are blessed to live where we have abundant forests that can provide clean air, recreation and income for our communities. Those benefits come with the knowledge that fires are part of natural forest cycles. The sooner we accept that fact, the sooner we begin moving toward more sustainable views of our forest.
Rep. Johnson, you have a tough job, but you asked for it. As someone who voted for you I expect more.
Cost of inaction
There are many Hood River residents who are upset with the slow reaction to the Dollar Lake Fire and I am one of them.
It is no secret that the Forest Service took a "wait-and-see" approach, watching the fire for two days; 9-1-1 calls were made and assured by the Forest Service that the fire was small and not going anywhere.
The forecast was also not a secret and was forecasted for temperatures to go from highs in the mid- to upper 80s to highs in the upper 60s. Anyone who has lived in Hood River for more than a month knows that the wind is going to come up and blow hard when our forecast is like that.
I can't understand why a small crew could not have walked in to the fire and contained it (maybe, heaven forbid, spent the night) and worked on it for two days if that is what it takes. I understand that it would have been dangerous for a small crew in rough and rocky terrain to work on a one-acre fire. Sending 450-500 fire fighters into a fire out of control two days later takes the chance of getting many people injured.
My outrage is that the Forest Service learned nothing from the Gnarl Ridge Fire a few years ago when they watched the small fire for more than a week until the wind came up and sent it out of control. (Seems like a pattern here.)
It seems to me this is another example of a government entity not being responsible for its action - in this case the lack of action. I also understand the Forest Service has many chains of command. That's our problem.
No changes needed
Change and growth are inevitable; however, so are shortsightedness and greed. The Orchard Road and Country Club Road changes are two good examples.
In 1975, I witnessed a DC-3 take off from the shorter runway. These were civilian pilots, not good Navy pilots who are used to short take-offs. Do we need to change what works?
Country Club Road is the prime truck route now that trucks are supposed to be banned from town. The sweeping corner currently on I-84/Highway 30 and Country Club Road allows a tractor-trailer to negotiate the curve. If changed, there are two 90-degree corners, one on a hill - and with snow and traffic flow will make a double hazard for all.
Also, the people who live on the lower stretch are not considered as to their inconvenience.
Further, the city just got taken on the same scheme. How many times do we need to be fooled?
If the city has $500,000 to add to the pot, why not join with the state for a traffic light and lane addition for the eastbound I-84 turn? The current Country Club Road is fine. Corporations who want to come to Hood River can live with the existing infrastructure.
Fix challenged ballots
Citizens of Cascade Locks:
The majority of votes cast by you, the voters, have recalled Mayor Fischer and Councilors Benson, Pruit and Haight. Your votes have also stated you want to retain Councilor Lance Masters. Because of this, our city can soon begin to repair all the damage done these past nine months; and also bring back a functioning fire and emergency services department.
Those who have opposed this recall from the start have thrown another wrench in the turning wheel of progress and have challenged ballots that you have cast - in just another attempt to stop this recall. So please, if you are contacted by the county due to your ballot being questioned, please respond back as quickly as possible, for there is only a 10-day wait period from the county concerning any questionable ballots.
Endorse and support your own vote, as is your right.
Do not let your vote be taken away from you.
Five Alarm Recall
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Helicopter searches for hiker
BLACKHAWK helicopter flies over Mt. Hood National Forest near Laurance Lake on Friday, Aug. 21. The military aircraft was called in to help police seek a missing hiker from The Dalles. Enlarge