Letters to the Editor for December 1, 2012



Attend coal meetings

Our community is threatened with coal dust, as coal companies in Montana and Wyoming increase their exports of coal to China. The Gorge is the planned route through the mountains, using both coal trains and coal barges.

Coal dust is a health problem. Anyone who had more asthma or allergy problems this summer during the fires knows firsthand how much their health can be affected by particulate pollutants.

It is estimated that each car of coal will lose a POUND of coal dust during transport. How much coal dust this means for the Gorge is unknown, but any amount seems too much for our neighbors and friends who have lung problems.

Why would we permit this to happen in our community? We have our first opportunity to speak out against coal trains and barges at these hearings:

DEQ hearing on Dec. 4 in Boardman

DEQ hearing on Dec. 6 in Portland

Washington EIS hearing on Dec. 12 in Vancouver

For more information, call Friends of the Gorge. There will be buses from the event site for those who are interested.

Linda De Sitter

Hood River

Learn more about coal

As I learn more about the proposal to strip mine coal and move it to China, I discover more and more reasons against the proposal.

From local effects to global effects, from human health to orcas’ health, from the mining to the burning, from the heaviest trains on the rail with copious exhaust and escaping coal dust to barges to some of the largest cargo ships in the world, from effects on so many waterfront and rail communities and wetlands on the transport path to the deleterious effects on the Chinese, it seems like a nightmare worthy of a Charles Dickens novel.

Australian based Ambre Energy is trying to foist a colossal mistake onto the region. For more info, see coalfreegorge.org, powerpastcoal.org, sanjuans.org and many, many other groups against the project.

Tom Hons

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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