Letters to the Editor for March 5

Amazing production

I wanted to thank Hood River News for the lovely write-up on the play “Does My Head Look Big in This?”, which I helped design the banners for; banners that represent the three major religions that originated in the Middle East: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I also wanted to let you know that there was a small error in the write-up: I was described as being of Muslim descent. While my heritage is half-Egyptian, half-Caucasian American, my Egyptian relatives are actually Coptic Christian. The Coptic Church is an ancient church in Egypt that existed before Islam in that country.

I was not raised with one particular religion in the home, but was encouraged to choose my own spiritual path. While I am not Muslim, I decided to support the play through my art because the play’s message of peace and unity resonated with me. I spent my childhood in the Middle East and much of adulthood in the U.S., so I can relate to the tensions between cultures in the play.

I attended the play on opening night with my daughter and found it profoundly moving, disturbing, and inspiring. Rachel Harry has put on an amazing production, and HRVHS is the first school to perform this play.

The cast is delightful, as well. I highly recommend attending! We will be going again!

Amirra Malak

Hood River

See winter play at HRV

I am the parent of a senior who has been acting in community theater and through school since she was 7 years old. My friends, family and coworkers are used to me plugging her various theater productions. This is my first time reaching out to the general public to promote a play.

This year’s Hood River Valley High School winter play, directed by Rachel Harry, is above and beyond in its quality. It by far is among the very best productions we have seen in the 12 years that we have lived in Hood River!

I guarantee you will laugh; you will cry; you will feel angry; and you will walk away thinking about the various aspects of this play.

The play is Muslim-themed drama called “Does My Head Look Big in This?” It was originally a book, based on a true story about an Australian young woman.

The play tells the story of a Muslim-American teenage girl, Amal, who has made the decision to wear a hijab (that’s the traditional Muslim head covering) full-time. She is a normal high school student who does typical activities such as hanging out with friends, going to the mall, striving to get good grades, trying out dating, and even going to parties.

And yet, she struggles to connect with faculty and student bodies that suddenly turn against her and her religion after she starts wearing the hijab. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

The set is simple, yet beautiful. There are three floor-to-ceiling banners that are decorated with geometric shapes that are representations of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The actors simply use black theater blocks to represent the classrooms, dining tables and school bus where the story takes place.

Opening night was this past Friday. Other performance days are March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are sold at Waucoma Bookstore and at the door at Bowe Theater for $5 for students and seniors and $7 for adults.

I hope to see you at the theater!

Sophie Whitehead

Hood River

Oppose coal transport

We all share this planet together. As a grandmother, I would like to see that we make the right choices for our future generations. Transporting dirty coal and oil through the Gorge is not one of them.

Please join me in urging Gov. Kitzhaber (503-378-4582) to oppose the transportation of coal and oil through the Gorge.

Sue Hartford

Hood River

Be informed

I read the “Social Security” letter to the editor in the Saturday, March 1, paper. I read it and got mad as hl, but then I went to Google and typed in “What is chained CPI,” which of course is the Consumer Price Index. What I found out was chained CPI would not cut our benefits but they would grow at a slower rate.

The current (CPI) measure used to index benefits and tax brackets over-states inflation. Chained CPI would not over-state inflation and this is why benefits would grow slower.

I would suggest that everyone Google “What is chained CPI” and see what it is about. I did and it helped my blood pressure come back down a little. I would suggest to the people in Washington, D.C., do not mess with senior citizens on a election year or any other year!

Jerry Petricko

Hood River

Teach how kids learn

For parents, Carrie Fuente’s letter (“Childhood is not refundable” Feb. 26) was a breath of fresh air. She questioned “attendance” as the biggest education issue, focusing instead upon the current model: inordinate testing, continuous structured lessons and hours of sitting, ultimately producing frustrated, stressed, uninspired kids.

Her writing reminded me of a quote: “Education shouldn’t be simply a pail to fill, but rather a spark to ignite.”

If you have a kid in school, chances are you’ve noticed a change: more homework, kids “hating” school, obsession with state scores, and “crazy math homework you can’t figure out. Welcome to “The Common Core” (CC).

Never heard of CC? Common Core was originally crafted in earnest in 2009 as a way to standardize K-12 education state to state. However, CC was insidiously sneaked in overnight with hidden “pork” tucked in.

Here are some facts about Common Core: CC was both written and lobbied for by corporations. One of the only educators drafting the Common Core math standards refused to sign off on the final standards. The efficacy of CC was never studied.

How did Common Core spread through our nation? CC was adopted by 46 states, without legislative approval (since funding would be withheld if a state refused adoption of CC). Parents and local school boards did not get a vote.

What is the value of Common Core? CC is inappropriate for early childhood learning (i.e. kindergartners are now supposed to know algebra!). CC’s random standards may not prepare kids for college/STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

Alarmingly, CC allows your child’s personal information to be sold to testing companies for profit.

What are the effects of Common Core? Students are stressed; school is no longer a learning facility, but a testing facility. Since teachers are now evaluated by new CC test results, they’re pressured to “teach to the test.”

Behind closed doors, most teachers don’t support Common Core, but value their jobs. Sadly, we are losing some who’ve chosen early retirement because of CC.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” After all, we need to protect the children, who really don’t have a voice in this matter.

Kristine Wilhelm

Hood River

Walden’s letter

Greg Walden’s letter of Feb. 17, 2014, arrived at our house last week. There are just too many personal opinions, unsubstantiated by any references, to address each and every one, but I must address several.

A good portion of his letter is about government spending. This ranges from costs of cabinet member oil paintings to the cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He claims, in bold type, that “big spenders in Washington, D.C., want to continue more and more wasteful spending.” He fails to mention the wasteful spending on military hardware the Army does not want.

He does not acknowledge his refusal to eliminate taxpayer-supported subsidies to the hugely profitable oil companies. He claims he is still fighting for a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. I think he would not vote for it.

A balanced budget has two equal parts, income and expenses. He is all for cutting expenses but adamantly opposed to increasing income. In a recent Hood River town hall meeting he stated he would never vote for a tax increase.

Another large portion of his letter attacks the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). He voted against it in 2010 when it passed and has voted over and over and over to underfund it, eliminate parts of it or repeal it all together.

His complaints are unfounded. It strengthens, not lessens, Medicare (Ref. AARP). It fills current gaps in for the poorest Americans (Ref. Medicaid.gov). It has provisions for cutting down on fraud, not just from individuals (that he singled out) but from doctors and healthcare providers as well (Ref. the PPACA).

Walden states the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act puts government bureaucrats between you and your healthcare provider, when in fact it helps you find and honest affordable one. If any bureaucrat is between you and your healthcare provider, it is Greg Walden. His votes show exactly how he hopes to do so.

For you own satisfaction about just who Greg Walden really is, please go online to votesmart.org. In the box labeled Find Your Elected Official, type in Greg Walden and select Walden’s voting record. Under Issues you can select any of about 50 topics and see his recorded votes from his first days in office. Please at least look at Health and Health Care. This man does not represent the people of his district or those of Oregon.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Learn lessons from the past

All through high school and college in the 1950s, I was told to be sure to remember the mistake of my parents’ generation; i.e. their failure to significantly involve our country in Europe’s problems with Hitler until it was almost too late and millions would die.

Now, I’m having a hard time seeing any difference between their mishandling of the invasion of Poland (and other countries later) and Russia’s current invasion of Crimea.

I’m not proposing feet on the ground and weapons in their hands right now. But, in all my 77 years, I’ve never met a bully that I thought would be stopped by a threat to not hold the annual neighborhood cookout in his back yard.

Dave Dockham

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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