Letters to the Editor for March 8

Honorable character

As an employee of Columbia Gorge Broadcasters and owners Greg and Mylene Walden from 1989 to 2006, I got to see honesty, integrity and some frivolity each day.

Greg never lectured us, never said anything nasty to anyone, even those who fiercely disagreed with his politics. He would just smile when liberal employees would start ranting about callous conservatives. They knew the Waldens would never ever let them go because of their opposing political views. Greg treated them with extreme respect just like the rest of us.

Did he ask us to take out the trash, vacuum the carpet, clean the bathroom, or wash the windows? Never. Greg Walden did it without drawing attention to the task. Honorable character by example. Walden bashers, please read this again.

Bill Davis

Hood River

Caring economics

As a clergy person and facilitator of the Emergency Voucher Program in our community, I want to thank my clergy colleagues and other community members who have helped to support two sisters who found their way to Hood River for a job that fell through.

These sisters were not good candidates for the Warming Shelter because of physical and emotional problems, and so faith leaders and community members rallied to support them with food and lodging. When one of the sisters found herself in the hospital needing emergency surgery, it meant a prolonged stay in Hood River because the doctor recommended that she not travel.

Again, the faith community and community members rallied to support the sisters. For this I am truly grateful and know that I live in a blessed community that is willing to go the extra mile to help.

While I am full of gratitude, I am also deeply troubled because for all the rallying that was done, it is but a bandaid to a much bigger problem that I believe is not only an economic one, but a spiritual and moral one.

How do rural communities support people in crisis who don’t always meet the guidelines of support services? How do we help them from falling through the cracks? How do we address the many complex and complicated issues of the homeless and working poor, not only in our local communities, but on a bigger, national scale?

What if instead of the broken system of economics that we currently participate in, we had a system that was based in caring economics — where there aren’t any cracks in the support systems, where there was economic support for individuals and institutions who practiced care giving in their communities, and where a living wage was available to all?

I’m probably a bit of an idealist, but I have Jesus to thank for that — he taught me to be mindful of the poor, the widow, the children and the outcast. Something to think about as we enter this season of Lent.

Anna Carmichael

Hood River

OBOB is spectator sport

The Dalles Middle School Commons will be the scene of literary drama Saturday morning March 15, and the community is invited to the Region 4 East Oregon Battle of the Books Tournament. It had been earlier reported that this event is happening at the high school, but it is, in fact, happening at the middle school, 1100 E. 12th St.

The event will open with comments from Oregon State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, who will be speaking at 8:30 a.m. Students in teams from Hood River, Sherman, and Wasco counties will be competing in three divisions: grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.

And by the way, we are still looking for a few timers. Contact me at 541-506-3449, ext. 4010, or tindallj@nwasco.k12.or.us .

Jim Tindall

OBOB regional manager

The Dalles

‘Experience’ matters

It is wonderful to see letters to the editor discussing what is important in education (Carrie Fuentes, Feb. 26, Kristine Wilhelm, March 5). As an educator for over 15 years, I have worked with different federally mandated educational standards, like Common Core.

I have noticed that these educational outlines never consider the students’ “experience” of school and learning. Is the atmosphere of the classroom important? How does the experience of school affect students’ learning?

There is now an abundance of research illustrating that students’ classroom experiences greatly impact their academic success. Educating our children is far more complicated than merely teaching information.

The Child Development Project (2006) was a program that strived to create caring communities within the classrooms. They stressed the importance of establishing trust, learning to empathize with others, as well as academic growth.

The program resulted in students who “possessed greater commitment to democratic values, conflict resolution skills, concern for others, trust in and respect for teachers ... positive interpersonal behavior, intrinsic pro-social and academic motivation, and [a] liking for school.” Academically they also performed highly.

Governmental mandates requiring high standardized tests scores often pressure teachers to cover all the material by a certain deadline and can prevent teachers from planning in-depth lessons that would capture students’ interest in a way that simpler lessons cannot. Classrooms often have a rather rushed atmosphere, as teachers try to “stay on schedule.” Teachers rarely have the time to even consider how to create an ideal environment for learning.

In education, we want to help students thrive. Merely ensuring they know a certain body of knowledge is not true education. We need to prioritize creating an environment conducive to learning and support our teachers in doing so.

Pamela Larsen

Hood River

(Far) left column

I usually don’t pay much attention to Gary Fields’ weekly rants against Congressman Greg Walden, but in his last letter’s closing (“Walden’s letter,” March 5), Mr. Fields stated “This man does not represent the people of his district or those of Oregon.”

Mr. Fields, please do not assume to know who represents me or my family; Congressman Walden represents us just fine. In fact, we wholeheartedly agree with the position taken by congressman Walden on federal budget issues and the Affordable Care Act, which was the focus of your letter.

Congressman Walden garnered 69 percent of the vote in the last election, and I will not be surprised if the fine people of Eastern Oregon support him in the same or greater fashion in the upcoming election.

Mr. Fields certainly has the right to continuously express his opinion against Congressman Walden in the Hood River News. Perhaps he should be given his own weekly column to express this opinion (in the far left column, of course). That way he or the editor won’t have to worry about violating the newspaper’s policy of 350 words or less (I counted 390 in his last letter).

Jon Laraway

Hood River

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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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