Letters to the Editor for Dec. 21

Room at the inn?

I would like to share my deep gratitude for all of those working hard to operate the Hood River Warming Shelter. I feel so fortunate to live in a caring community where people give of their time and resources to make sure that everyone has a safe, warm place to sleep.

It has been a great blessing for our church to serve as one of four rotating host sites where people can sleep on these cold winter nights. The adults and children staying in the shelter are indeed special guests who continue to touch our hearts.

As many of us prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I would like to invite other churches and communities of faith to open their doors to those who are homeless. We have several weeks this winter (including the week after Christmas) when the shelter itself is without a home. We do not want to close our doors and force people back outside.

If your church can help so that there is indeed “room at the inn,” please contact Rev. Linda Presley at 541-386-2608.

Rev. Vicky Stifter

Riverside Community Church,

United Church of Christ

Hood River

On freedoms

The writers of our U.S. Constitution were careful to ensure that the citizens’ freedoms would not be infringed upon by the government.

Many of these freedoms to make choices for ourselves have already been eroded by presidents and Congress in the guise of protecting ourselves from our decisions about the food we eat, the cars we drive, the type of gasoline we use, etc. Government officials who have taken away, or are attempting to take away, our freedoms of choice are defined as tyrants.

The latest government assault on our freedoms is the Affordable Health Care Act, which eliminates our freedom to choose what type of health care we want or need, or whether we choose to have any health care at all. Forcing everyone to give up their freedom of choice and buy health insurance they do not need or want is an act of tyranny.

Every president and Congressman has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the U.S. Too many have abandoned this vow and are infringing upon our freedoms of choice.

There are better ways to satisfy the health care needs of the needy without forcing everyone to give up their freedom of choice and join the AHC plan.

However, we still have the freedom of choice in electing our representatives in congress. If you cherish your freedoms to vote, you may need to give up your allegiance to a particular political party and vote for candidates who vow to uphold our constitutional rights to freedoms of choice and reject those who have tyrannical leanings. Once a freedom is lost it may be impossible to regain that freedom.

David Schneeberg

Hood River

Seventy percent

Let us, the People of the United States of America, set up a new grading system.

The educators grade our children and our employers rate our performance.

I suggest that We the People set up a new rating system such as: when at least 70 or 80 percent of the people are satisfied, any government employee or politician may get to keep their jobs because they are attaining an average score of “C.”

Think of the possibility that government employees would have to achieve a passing score from the public to earn their paycheck. An eBay rating system could be built for each government employee to hold poor performance accountable for failure to serve the people in a timely and courteous manner. No more passing grades and pay raises for sub-par performance.

Telling the truth will count as 45 percent of the score. Video and audio recordings of customer service calls and visits can then be emailed to the customer at the end of the transaction and the appropriate score issued upon further reflection of the experience.

Ask a realtor how much salary and benefits they get each month from their employer. Answer: Zero. They only get paid when their buyer gets the house and the seller gets their money for the house. I have observed, in most private sector jobs, second and third place results get paid zero, nada, nothing for failure to deliver. One exception: lawyers. They get paid whether they win or lose. Hmm. That’s a problem.

Maybe they would try harder and complete litigation quicker if they received nothing, zilch for losing.

There are a lot of good public service people and they should be compensated well for their great service. If fact, when you get above-average customer service from one of these individuals, give them a sincere compliment that is specific and relevant about the good service you received. Lifting their spirit will do more than we will ever know for many days in the coming year for them.

Scott Haanstad

Hood River

Manser restoration project

This is an open letter to all fans of artist Percy Manser (1886-1973), the beloved “Apple Shed Master” of Hood River, whose dry British humor and gentlemanly ways were adored by patrons of the arts throughout the Mid-Columbia. His works remain displayed in numerous public buildings and in many homes of our neighbors.

Five of his murals are housed in The Dalles High School Library, a triptych of Celilo Falls, one of Mount Hood, and an agricultural scene. The Celilo paintings were seriously damaged by water this past fall and I am happy to report the school district’s insurance is enabling us to restore these, contracting with Lucas Conservation Laboratory, the same expertise that allowed Wy’east Middle School Library to restore its three large oil paintings in 2001.

Troy Lucas will be restoring the Celilo murals the first week of January.

This is to alert those in Manser’s camp that the Education Foundation of North Wasco County School District is seeking funds to restore the other two murals, victims of some sun bleaching and 60 years of atmospheric grime.

Questions may be directed to me at home: 509-493-1035.

Jim Tindall

District Librarian

North Wasco County School District

The Dalles

Thank your teachers

In fifth grade I was fired. For a week, I spent the day riding with the principal from school to school as he was overseeing multiple schools.

He looked and acted like Jack Webb. He wore a gray suit, white shirt, solid sting tie, and a flattop. He drove me in a soild colored, unpretentious Ford. I wore my school clothes and rode a bike after school.

We really had little in common. I don’t remember much of what we talked about or what happened when I returned to class. When I asked a classmate at a reunion, she said: “We were all very embarrassed for you.”

I want to thank this fifth-grade teacher and every other teacher who spent their time on this earth to teach me how to think like a teacher — a gift for life.

In class they would ask a question, we would wiggle our hands up to get a chance to be the center of attention in front of friends. Sometimes a relevant answer, sometimes not.

Mine were mostly funny. I did not get called much, but when they heard my answer, I could see a little smile, as they pivoted to another wiggle hand for more clarity. The class would keep going asking and answering and getting deeper into the subject till it was time to have milk and cookies or recess.

In our western culture, this Socratic Method of teaching, exploring and learning by asking questions has been used since the 5th century BC. It is how a teacher thinks.

The next teacher you see, you can thank them by just showing them you can think. Don’t wiggle your hand, and a joke may get you smile. The gift they gave you and your children is priceless and it lasts a life time.

George Selleck

Odell

Local entertainment

I thoroughly enjoy readers’ letters printed in the “Our Readers Write” section of the Hood River News. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether occasional writers pen letters with serious thoughts or if they write tongue-in-cheek muses for purely entertainment value.

I nearly fell out of my chair reading Steve Kaplan’s most recent critique of a letter by Kevin Herman in the Dec. 11 installment of the News. The best part was the reference to President Obama’s successful (?) rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

You know, the part where Mr. Kaplan states “...he (Obama) would find a way to make healthcare more affordable and available to people with lower incomes or pre-existing medical issues …” further claiming “he in doing so, as his organization claimed on its website.”

The proof is in the pudding. An increasing percentage of those researching sign-up information in the new healthcare plan are opting for Medicaid instead due to higher than promised monthly payments and markedly increased deductibles.

Yes, there are some expansions of coverage, but Obama and his servants have vastly overstated and misled the American public as to the true advantages and costs of this new healthcare law. Even Obama himself has personally exempted supporting groups and “friends of the family” all of which are illegal without changes in the law by Congress.

The next 12 to 18 months will most likely determine the actual feasibility of the ACA. Let’s hope it develops into a truly better and less costly program than its current form suggests.

Roger Neufeldt

Parkdale

Log elsewhere

Hood River District Ranger Janeen Tervo is accepting public comments on the preliminary assessment for proposed Lava timber sale until Dec. 31. The sale will log 2.5 square miles 3 miles southwest of Parkdale.

The preliminary assessment is available hardcopy and online at http://bit.ly/1cG6yH9.

Since most businesses in the area are dependent on recreation dollars it might be productive for the citizens of the area to comment. Here is some important recreation-related information from the forest service PA:

n Recreation management may be secondary to commodity production. (Page 3-202)

n A wide range of management activities and uses, such as providing commercial wood products, may often take priority, and may result in substantially altered settings over much of the area. (Page 3-202)

n The new logging units are visible from the following trails: Vista Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge and Elk Cove. (Page 3-203)

n The new logging units are visible from Kinnickinnick campground and the south shore of Laurance Lake. (Page 3-205)

The new logging units can be seen from the Cloud Cap and Tilly Jane historical areas (Page 3-206)

Please tell Ranger Tervo to log another area to reach her yearly timber quota. The area around Hood River is too beautiful not to.

Dick Artley

Grangeville, Idaho

To be continued

I like how Don Olson just blindly assumes I get my information from Fox News (“The rest of the story,” Our Readers Write, Dec. 14). How would he know what Fox is up to unless he is watching it?

Most can win when it comes to arguing with a television because you can turn it off when you think you got your best last word in. There is a big hole in his part of the story but I would just rather ask an insurance specialist.

If I were to run around and discredit any news agency that has ever told a whopper or made any mistakes I wouldn’t have a television to argue with. And they lived happily ever after.

Ron Morgan

Parkdale

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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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