Letters to the Editor for April 9

Do your part

“Kitten season” is here; the first litters have arrived much too early this year. This isn’t good news for our community.

Cats can reproduce as young as four-and-a-half to six months of age, are capable of breeding twice a year, and may average six kittens per litter. Therefore, a single pair of cats can create a population of over 2,000 in just two and a half years.

And there aren’t enough homes for them all. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 2 million cats are euthanized nationwide each year.

What can you do? If you have a pet cat or kitten that hasn’t been spayed or neutered, get it fixed as soon as possible. If you need financial assistance, call Home At Last in The Dalles (541-296-5189) or PROD (541-387-3647) in Hood River, which both provide discount services.

If you have homeless, stray or feral cats or kittens (not pets) hanging around, contact Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue at columbiagorgecat@gmail.com. CGCR provides low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for homeless cats.

Please help these hard-working groups who are trying to create better outcomes for both cats and people. Also, consider adopting a cat or kitten from one of these organizations. We all need to work together to solve the problem of cat overpopulation.

Tracie Hornung

Columbia Gorge Cat Rescue

Hood River

Beyond debate

This past Saturday, I helped judge the district-wide Speech and Debate Championships held at Hood River Valley High School. Students from Hermiston, Horizon, HRVHS, Ione, and Pine Eagle competed in many different events, each event showcasing the students’ ability to present themselves and their ideas to an audience.

Kudos to Jonathan Estey, speech and debate coach at HRVHS, for organizing and managing a terrific tournament and to the dozens of volunteers who set up, brought food, judged competitions, tabulated scores, awarded prizes, and cleaned up afterwards.

I left the tournament with two reactions. First: the amazing abilities of the students. My day started with brilliant young people debating whether India should put a greater priority on developing its economy or on protecting its environment. I don’t know about you, but that level of analysis was way beyond me when I was a teenager.

Next I watched incredibly talented young people act out their interpretations of parts of The Book of Awesome and Finding Nemo.

Although I had to maintain a neutral face, I really wanted to smile at their awesome performing abilities and laugh at their hilarious content.

I ended my day listening to enormously creative radio commentaries. This was different, since I had my back to the students and couldn’t see them — just hear them, as on a radio. I don’t think I’ve ever learned more in five minutes — about the surprising similarities between athletes and marching band members, the dangerous side effects of sleeping pills, and the pros and cons of the new CFL light bulbs.

After watching all this, my second reaction was: “Why isn’t EVERY student involved in speech and debate?”

Some people may think that virtual communication eliminates the need to present ourselves well in person, but they’re wrong. As long as humans have legs, we social animals will gather together, and when we do, those persons who can convey their ideas will be more successful.

Students, may I urge you to consider participating in these sorts of activities? Judging by the young adults I saw on Saturday, the benefits are beyond debate.

Mike Hendricks

Hood River

True teamwork

The Lions Follies, “Mayhem at the Madison,” deserves recognition beyond that of audience applause. The show is a delightful treat for the community (young and old). But more importantly it produces an act of teamwork which benefits real people of the neighborhood.

The incredible performances are not mere talent, but dedicated hours of practice and hard work. From the idea, to the script, production, direction, designing, musical adaptation and performing, it is a major task. The final musical number, “Brotherhood of Man,” sums up the meaning of it all. Teamwork of community.

Every member of the crew and cast merits accolades. It is another wonderful Lions Follies.

Sigrid Scully

and other Down Manor


Hood River

Not fair is right

I agree with Herb Freeland’s April 2 letter (“Not fair”). During last year’s Farmers Irrigation District board meetings which were attended by interested, residential representatives, we learned we had been “subsidized” for years. No logical explanation was given of the subsidy.

If the residential users were a financial burden to the system, why were we originally allowed into FID in an “unfair” basis? The “F” in FID is for “Farmers” and it is primarily for the benefit of our agricultural friends and neighbors.

I believe the intent of the regulation FID used is to be applied per acre of use. Despite the size of one’s lot, the current implementation subjects each covered homeowner to an account fee for one acre. The end result, as reflected by Mr. Freeland, is an account fee equivalent to 2,150 percent of the water fee.

ORS 545.381(1) states “each acre of irrigable land in the district shall be assessed and required to pay the same amount.” ORS 545.381(3) states “For operation, maintenance, and drainage, each irrigable acre in the district shall be assessed the same ...” All charges are required to be based on lot size — there is no provision in this ORS for Farmers Irrigation to charge a fee that is not based on lot size.

I call upon the appropriate city, county or state regulatory entity to confirm the propriety and conformity to regulation, of this increase.

As a residential user, the water I received from FID was an exceptional value. I am not averse to my water fee being raised from $9.30 per year to 2-5 times this amount, in consideration of the agricultural users. I believe my account fee should be apportioned to the percentage of one acre my lot occupies as per county records.

I have already remitted my payment for this year’s levy. I am hopeful that I and all similarly impacted residents will receive a rebate for this account fee overcharge. If not, I am sure FID will guarantee me adequate water pressure for my needs consistent with all other users throughout the season.

Gary McFarlen

Hood River

Too close for comfort

Kudos and appreciation to retired Dr. Allan Henderson, a physician who so ably served thousands of members of our community. I learned much more about him than I already knew, thanks to the great profile in the Hood River News recently.

Thanks also to editor Kirby for his op-ed piece about the “10-foot rule” for smokers outside public businesses. It is definitely too close for comfort. With adult-onset asthma, I sometimes have to forgo an errand just to avoid smoke at certain doorways.

I hope our local businesses and offices will take up Kirby’s recommendations. Here’s to health!

Tina Castañares


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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