Letters to the Editor for Aug. 8, 2012

Bottled H2O testing needed

After reading a letter to the editor about the benefits of bottled water (Bottled water, July 28), I felt it was important to address the very critical regulatory deficiencies impacting this industry.

While it is unfortunate that West Portland’s water supply was contaminated with a strain of E. coli, Oregonians should feel very lucky to have a reliable system in place to test for incidences of contamination. Federal law regulates our municipal water systems and tests for impurities multiple times each day.

Safety testing for bottled water, on the other hand, is dangerously inadequate. Water bottling facilities are required to test their water only six times per month and are not required to submit reports on this information to the FDA.

Furthermore, these reports are not public, and corporations oftentimes refuse to release records despite Freedom of Information Act requests. As a result, contaminations such as E. coli are less likely to be detected and even if they are detected, it is not mandatory to make the public aware of potential hazards.

As Oregonians, we should be concerned over incidents of tap water contamination, but this should not present a reason to embrace bottled water. In fact, it should open our eyes to how important our mandatory public safety testing and notification system is in protecting us from potential health hazards.

It also serves as a wake-up call to the lack of comparable safeguards in corporate water bottlers’ “products.”

Alyssa Doom


Good work rewarded

Her name is Dr. Susan Wolff. She made several life-changing events come to fruition for all of us here in the Columbia Gorge. She supported change in lives on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river. The job promotion has been a pleasure to watch. It took days, months and years of real hard work. A good person has now finished first and has been rewarded.

I witnessed this good as her next-door neighbor. A month ago she showed true caring, professionalism and grace. The moving van was actively loading her belongings, the pressures to get to her new assignment clamored for her time and her attention.

Somehow, she made an amazing decision to stop and acknowledge another community member’s good deed (Tom Yates’ Independence Day Parade coordination work) by writing a letter to the editor espousing Tom’s years of efforts and dedication to that parade.

She was willing to give her precious time — and she did! I know the many hours, weeks and years she dedicated to the students, faculty and the community she served at Columbia Gorge Community College.

When you think of a local economy, she blessed many, many people’s lives in a selfless manner day after day. She proved one person can directly affect more lives, more futures, and opportunities than generally acknowledged.

How? She grew the college’s curriculum and degree specialization programs, and moved the college toward gaining independent accreditation. Part of her success was enlightening of both state and federal legislators to raise support for the upward improvement of individuals here in the Gorge.

Dr. Wolff is now the dean and CEO of Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology. They too, will be blessed to have her energy and vision focused on their community.

Cheers to you, Susan! Thanks for all you did for us and for the things we don’t know were given of yourself to this community.

Scott Haanstad

Hood River

See the play

You don’t need to go to London or New York. Our local CAST Theatre has done it again!

Do not miss “Of Mice and Men” still playing this coming weekend. Beautifully produced with stellar, heart-breaking performances.

Kudos to the cast and crew!

Paul Woolery

Hood River

President Romney

After listening to all the rhetoric, let’s look at the USA a year after Romney becomes president. There will be lots of changes so I’m going to make it easy and show you what you can expect.

First, after all the work to bring health care to millions of uninsured Americans and millions more unable to afford their monthly premiums, Romney will eliminate the health care act.

Yes, children who were covered under their parents’ insurance until the age of 26 will have to find their own insurance if they can. Pre-existing conditions will no longer be covered. So we will be back to square one on affordable health care.

We would also revert back to a time of having no government transparency. Romney has already demonstrated this with his denying the people of looking at his tax records. What is he hiding and what will his administration be hiding?

We also won’t know exactly what to expect from our government. As Romney has shown with his flip-flopping record on many issues, such as women’s right to choose. First he was for it before being against it.

With Romney, we can bet the environment will take a hit and we will get to see more drilling rigs off our beautiful shores. As much as our country is progressing, we will be held back as evidence by Romney’s stance against gay marriage, vetoing embryonic stem cell research and not fully supporting green job initiatives.

Besides this, one thing Americans should fear under his leadership is where all the jobs will go. Romney’s companies have a history of outsourcing and off-shoring jobs, putting millions of Americans out of work. He has a history of using the money he earns to invest in companies that are not in the USA.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that conducted a comprehensive look at Romney’ proposed tax plan, those making more than $200,000 will do well while the rest of us will be paying more taxes to help the rich with get their tax cuts.

So, Romney, year one: Can’t wait; looking forward to regressing.

Ron Yamashita

Hood River

Where will

they go?

Re: “Nichols landing argument heats up” (Aug. 4) — Thanks to Friends of the Hood River Waterfront, and additional informed and engaged public figures, the City and real estate moguls must follow the law, and produce actual analysis in site plans.

The fact that City officials approved commercial buildings to be built in the Columbia River (read: below the much-too-long-debated ordinary high water mark level) opens the door for other developments co-opting public waters and waterfront accessibility.

Who’s the authority, here? The “opposition” (Friends) is a group of local kayakers, SUPers, kiters, and fishermen who aren’t taking barking orders from a “friggin’” Portland developer — one who hasn’t guaranteed to create any local jobs.

Naito’s prospective “cable park” will also close off public access to one of the only protected bays on the Gorge’s Columbia River, spawning grounds for beginner windsurfers and SUPers and practice space for triathlete open-water swimmers. Where will they go?

A thriving local economy relies on diversity of recreation available “in the Hood.”

Corie Lahr

Hood River

Free speech abused

After I parked my car in front of the post office on First Friday, I was distressed to see a sign pointing to the spot that said “Park here to impeach Obama.” But I was more upset when I saw a poster in the booth showing President Obama with an Adolf Hitler-style mustache.

I believe in free speech, but with that comes responsibility. Hitler led a massive, ghastly genocide. The people who set up this booth are out to divide our community with hatred and mistrust.

Abigail Merickel

Hood River

Letter head

It was with a great sigh of relief I read the Hood River News article finally informing our community of the unethical business practices being conducted by Sue Collins of Cascade Travel (“Cascade Travel owner charged with theft,” July 25). Too many wonderful and hopeful travel dreams have been spoiled by this business.

In our case we were a group of 17 middle school students and five chaperones traveling to England as part of the Mosier Community School Explorers Club. We paid Cascade Travel over $30,000 for our airline tickets on Air Canada only to find out at midnight, the day of our trip, that Cascade Travel had taken our money, produced false travel documents and never paid Air Canada a dime.

Cascade Travel conjured up lie after lie about what had happened, claiming it was all the fault of Air Canada and that Air Canada was to issue a refund of our tickets; but finally, several weeks after our return, Cascade Travel admitted to the Hood River police that Air Canada was never paid.

To salvage a once-in-a-lifetime trip for the kids, some of whom had never been on an airplane and all of whom had conducted a year’s worth of fund-raising to help pay for their trip, we had to authorize Cascade Travel to use three personal credit cards for $40,000 to make last-minute ticket purchases within hours of our departure.

In the end we traveled as three separate groups with three separate routings, no seats together, and mostly middle seats. Upon our return we endured more false documentation regarding a supposed refund from Air Canada, check bouncing and continued lies about what had happened.

When we hired Cascade Travel we did it with the assumption that our travel arrangements would be seamless. In the end hours upon hours were spent trying to rectify our botched travel plans and even more hours spent in trying to recover our second payment of $40,000. We have since heard from many others that have had similar experiences as ours.

Should you chose to use Cascade Travel for your plans, make sure you get a ticket number and contact the airlines, hotels, etc., to ensure that you actually have paid travel arrangements that are real and confirmed. Otherwise, you may have the “trip of a lifetime,” but certainly not the one you were dreaming of.

Greg Shepherd

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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