Letters to the Editor for Aug. 18, 2012

Think outside box

Crfl wht U Cr8...... The plants I water and feed grow to produce fruit. Tending a garden is reflective of our lives. We see the fruits of our labor.

Scott Haanstad

Executive director,

Mount Hood Ministry

Hood River

Where is property?

While I was disappointed to hear that the Barrett Park project was denied, I was heartened to read that Fritz von Lubken is aware of “numerous places a park could go in the county.” I hope Mr. von Lubken is willing to share that valuable information with Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation, as they have struggled for years to find suitable property.

Jeff Lorenzen

Hood River

Ryan for VP?

It’s all over the news. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, is notorious for his controversial budget plans, which call for higher spending on the military, lower tax rates that benefit mainly the highest-income families, corporations and oil producers.

To pay for the tax cuts it would make draconian cuts to social programs. And it would convert Medicare to an inadequate voucher system.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that one version of Ryan’s plan, passed by the House last year, would increase retirees’ out-of-pocket medical costs by about $6,400 annually.

A new plan (endorsed by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden in collaboration with Ryan) is only a little better. It would, in the words of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, convert Medicare from a defined-benefit to a defined contribution program.

Instead of guaranteeing to pay for services as they are rendered, as fee-for-service Medicare does, the program would give beneficiaries a subsidy (“premium support” or voucher) to purchase coverage from one of multiple competing health plans. The competition would (the Institute asserts) give the insurance companies an incentive to cut premiums or other costs for recipients.

But there is no guarantee that this would happen. History teaches us quite the opposite. Insurance companies are like any other business whose primary concern is profit.

I strongly oppose Romney/Ryan. This is the team that will run the country for the benefit of just the top 1 percent.

Anne Vance

Hood River

No Trojan horse

I couldn’t disagree more with Jeff Hunter’s recent statement in a letter to the editor (Aug. 15) that a park is “an overwhelmingly urban use.” Parks belong anywhere there are people. The whole valley needs and uses parks, ball fields, picnic and play areas, open spaces, trails and gardens, not just the incorporated areas of Hood River and Cascade Locks.

By calling parks an urban use, Hunter creates what I believe is a false disparity between the nature of a park and “high-value farmland.” The Trojan horse analogy of a park beckoning other urban uses just doesn’t hold true. Toll Bridge Park and Tucker Park, both county parks in rural areas, have not led to increased urbanization or loss of farmland.

I am saddened that our county commissioners rejected the Barrett County Park. While I understand the need to preserve farmland, I hope that as we continue to grow, creative thinking and compromise will lead to a Hood River Valley with more park space per resident, not less.

Jennifer Ouzounian

Hood River

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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

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