Letters to the Editor for Mar. 20

Learn by doing

This last Saturday Hood River Valley High School held its annual track and field clinic. This event was held for students in grades six to 12. There were professionals from all sports involved in track and field, between 380-400 athletes and coaches from every corner of the state, and many from Washington, as well.

The students who attended learned techniques and drills from some of the best track and field coaches in the Northwest. The sessions started in the classroom and moved out to the sunshine in the field.

You could hear encouraging coach comments and cheering from peers throughout the day. It was an amazing event for all who attended. I hope everyone will come and support track and field during the year and register for this event next year!

Ann Zuehlke

Hood River

Nonprofit users

Hospitals, prisons and now schools are being taken over by for-profit firms. Prisons are big business, and like any big business the first priority is profit. That’s why so many young people are thrown into jail for minor offenses: They increase the bed count and the profits of the prisons. And the profits come from our taxes.

And now charter schools are big business. According to Jonathan Turley big Wall Street bank executives, hedge fund managers and other wealthy Americans are funding charter school construction because they can almost double their investment in just seven years by using a little-known 39-percent tax credit.

Then they collect interest on the loans as well as rent payments. They rent the buildings to charter schools and often nearly double the rent after just one year. And all of this is paid for by the government because they call themselves nonprofit.

Here are three big ones:

Brighter Choice Foundation

Imagine Schools Inc.

White Hat Management

For more information read Jonathan Turley’s blog: “Charter Schools and the Profit Motive,” March 16, submitted by Elaine Magliaro, guest blogger (http://bit.ly/XX0EOV).

Anne Vance

Hood River

Warm thanks

Good folks of Hood River: On behalf of myself and some of the other “warming shelter guests,” I would like to thank — with a capital T — all the volunteers and kind people who made my partial winter survival possible.

Having arrived from the coast, after a traumatic homeless experience, I was able to find refuge and some great sandwiches, coffee and friendship.

I was blessed to sleep safely in the Riverside, Nazarene, Immanuel Lutheran and the Vineyard churches. So thanks from the bottom of my heart to all the volunteers, again. Happy trails.

Scott Felix

Hood River

Calling coal foul

Rail track ballasts are, as far as I can tell, fairly important. They are the layer of crushed rock or gravel upon which the railway is laid. In a Washington Energy Report, the U.S. Department of Transportation classified coal dust as a “pernicious ballast foulant” that can weaken and destabilize rail tracks (Google it).

Forget about the rail tracks! What do you think this “pernicious foulant” does to our children, our elderly, health compromised individuals, our water, our air, ourselves?

As the Oregon Department of State Lands thankfully recognizes the potential risks associated with supporting coal export terminals, barges and trains by delaying the decision on the dredging permit for Ambre Energy’s Morrow-Pacific project and requesting an area-wide Environmental Impact Statement that analyzes the impacts of the project, I call on my elected representatives to consider their impact on Oregonians by continuing to support an industry that will negatively, directly and permanently effect our state.

If your doctor told you that you had high blood pressure would you shrug him off and say, “What does he know?” Or would you accept the science and put on your big boy pants and get to work!

It is time to get off the tracks and invest your energy in statewide clean energy development that will benefit all Oregonians, not the large multi-national and often-foreign corporations of Big Oil.

Erika Rench

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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