Letters to the Editor for April 25

Parks need maintenance

Our local park in the Adams View Development (29th and Montello Court) is a vital space. The backyards in this neighborhood are very small and this park is used on daily basis (rain or shine) for basketball, swinging, kicking the soccer ball, playing tag, throwing the baseball, riding bikes, roller-skating, throwing the ball for dogs or sitting on the bench and enjoying the view. We hear the basketball bouncing and kids playing until dusk almost every night.

We recently realized that our park had not been mowed this spring and were saddened to find out that nine out of 12 parks in Hood River will not be maintained. It is disappointing that the small community parks won’t be maintained; they are truly gathering places in our neighborhoods.

Please join us in contacting the city council or attending a city council meeting to find out more about this issue.

Kate, Patrick and Waylon Getchis

Kyle, Kacie and Gwyneth Larsen

Hood River

Editor’s note: According to City Manager Bob Francis, the city will continue maintaining all parks, though on a reduced basis for the smaller “pocket” parks; playground equipment safety will remain a priority. Citizens who wish to assist in mowing or other upkeep may contact city Public Works.

Many are concerned

I will address an impression left by the opening lines of the April 13 story, “Groups sue over coal in Columbia.” The impression is that the battle against BNSF and the coal companies is one of strictly environmental concern. It is much more than that.

I am an environmental advocate and support the exceptional leadership shown by environmental organizations. However, the base of concern about the coal trains is much broader. The campaign against the coal train juggernaut is driven by the work of thousands of citizens living in dozens of communities in five states that would be directly harmed by the coal export proposals.

The first to challenge coal was a group of three dozen physicians practicing and living in the Bellingham, Wash., area, a city where the opposition is wide, deep and enduring. The Power Past Coal coalition embraces the solid effort of much more than a “handful of environmental organizations,” comprising more than a dozen well-established Northwest groups.

In addition, cities, counties, local agencies and Indian tribes spread along the rail route have expressed their formal concern or opposition; nearly 100 such in Oregon and Washington alone.

The coal giants and Warren Buffet (owner of BNSF railroad) control billions of dollars gained by their exploitation of taxpayer-subsidized coal. We have nothing but the energy of intelligent, persistent people whose concern is quite clear: These coal trains will hurt us in many ways that will not be compensated.

The Columbia River, its life and its communities will be harmed by the significant increase in toxic coal and diesel emissions and by the massive increase in train traffic. If the proposed coal export facilities are built and operated at capacity, we will see 60 trains, round trip, per day roaring through our wonderful national treasure and home, a 15-fold increase over the present coal train traffic.

Accompanying this huge increase will be harm to asthmatics, elders with respiratory diseases and children with vulnerable brains, along with fish and wildlife.

Just imagine what a coal spill will do to our Gorge. Recent BNSF history suggests strongly that a train wreck will happen. Who needs it?

David Hupp

Hood River

Boxed-up thinking

Thank you, Gary Fields, for “One simple solution” (Our readers write, April 17). My reaction was similar when I read the ODOT cost for the slip lane. Seriously, $520,000 for a couple of road signs? I guess that is why they created “the box,” to give such powerful thinkers some real boundaries to contain their minds.

I bet if a Salem official or ODOT employee lived up Country Club Road a simpler solution would have been found. Even more disappointing was the acceptance of such thinking by our local officials.

Greg Shepherd

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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