Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Let’s not follow Mars
Recently, NASA released a series of computer-generated photos of Mars, looking as scientists believe it appeared some billion years ago. These images depict a lush, water-rich world with rugged mountains much like our Cascades; there were lakes, rivers, and abundant vegetation. We all know that the Mars of today is a lifeless, wind-swept desert possessing very little atmosphere.
What happened to bring about this dramatic transformation? Nobody knows as yet. Given time, our scientists will probably find out. Maybe, 30 or 40 feet below the sterile dust on Mars, there linger artifacts of an ancient civilization. Perhaps artists and writers flourished there. There were surely happy children and beings who loved each other.
But maybe there were also mega businesses that became obsessed with profit, or leaders who were obsessed with power. Maybe there were military establishments who became overly aggressive.
Maybe those ancient peoples failed to protect their planet’s environment adequately. Maybe a weapons test went wrong and blew away the atmosphere. Maybe the inhabitants on Mars grew too many and starved themselves to death.
It’s always possible, of course, that a natural disaster or an alien invasion put an end to all life on the planet.
I am 71 years old, and have become used to the concept of my own mortality. It’s not very important, in the grand scheme of things.
But the idea of the mortality of everything and everyone that I love on this planet really shakes me up. Just in case the tragic transformation of Mars could have been prevented, let’s do our part not to end up like our red neighbor. Beginning now!
Safe and sound
“Thank you America,” for all your help with the typhoon that hit Tacloban, Leyte, in the Philippine Islands. You have always been there, to help with disaster relief anywhere in the world! You liberated the Philippines during World War II, Manila and Leyte.
My father, Louis Borromeo, a music composer (Borromeo Lou was his stage name), studied music in the United States for several years and brought back to the Philippines jazz and vaudeville in the 1920s.
In 1941, when I was 10 years old, I shook hands with Gen. Douglas McArthur when he visited our home (he knew my father).
On a personal note, thank you friends who called or stopped me on the street, concerned about the typhoon. I checked with my cousin in Florida, Dr. Azael Borromeo, who said our relatives would be in Cebu, out of harm’s way. Love you guys.
White Salmon, Wash.
Have fun, help Owen
Our 12-year-old has a benign bone tumor (osteochondroma) that will most likely never turn malignant, but the constant required monitoring of it is enough to remind us that the direction of her life could change any day. When things are going well, it’s easy for us to forget that life-altering events can happen at all.
Then there’s Owen, a local 14-year-old boy who has osteosarcoma, a type of aggressive bone cancer which mostly targets teens going through a growth spurt; boys more than girls.
There is an upcoming benefit to help Owen and his family with the expenses they are incurring. On Saturday, Dec. 7, at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, blues legend The Lloyd Jones Struggle is playing from 8-11 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $20. Anyone who likes blues or just loves great music is guaranteed an excellent time.
A silent auction will be happening as well, with goods and services generously donated from local businesses.
I do not know Owen, but this boy’s story hits close to home for me, reminding me that on any given day our lives can turn on a dime. Please join me on Dec. 7 for a night out with good beer, great music and a cause no better than giving to the healthy future of our youth.
Trees and small-farm welfare
Email Reply to Greg Walden, re Greg Walden opposes expansion of Clean Water Act jurisdiction in letter to EPA.
Sir: Two important issues in our district: trees and welfare for small farmers.
Water comes from natural water runoff from Mount Hood. Time after time trees are cut on the mountain areas which has caused a very significant erosion into the Columbia.
Greg seems to like the cutting of trees and now in making sure the water will be sold to industry and soon we will need more purification plants as the chemicals leach into the flow down the Hood River. This is his home water supply and where he grew up. Just go and look.
Small family farms are in most cases extremely well off and are subsidized by most other home owners. Irrigation comes from the mountains. As the climate changes it will melt the 13 glaciers on Mount Hood and stop the ability to water the largest pear orchards in the world — Hood River Valley. Does he worry what our children will have if this continues?
For example, I own 2 acres of farm land with an assessment of 200K. My small farm neighbor has 29 acres and is assessed $400k.
They are subsidized by me and the other non-farming neighbors.
You are looking at one of the election issues he would be wise to get out in front of.
Leos donate bottle funds
It was with great pleasure that I read Trisha Walker’s feature on Caitlyn Fick (“A Slice of Local Life,” Nov. 16). Caitlyn is an outstanding example of what’s right with our community’s youth and I am very proud to know her.
However, either Caitlyn misspoke or Ms. Walker misquoted her about the distribution of funds from Leos bottle and can collections. The Hood River Valley Leos Club distributes all proceeds from bottles and cans to charities. In fact, 100 percent of money raised from the community is returned to the community.
Leos Club operational expenses are covered through the generous support of the local Lions Clubs, individual Lions members and some very special community members.
This year the Leos Club has already raised and distributed to charities more than $9,000. The Hood River Valley Leos Club is in its 20th year of service.
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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