Saturday, May 27, 2017
Open spaces only
closed by dreams:
bread or roses,
bread and roses.
Choose division or decline
Some 30 years ago, during an unexpected snowstorm, I had the privilege of a long one-on-one conversation with late Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR). The depth of his curiosity, knowledge and compassion were spellbinding. His country-before-party attitude was firmly rooted and inspiring. His commitment to science, education, social justice and peace were steadfast.
Your country, Senator, misses your principled, consensus-building and visionary approach to government.
Major and unusual challenges face our people, our fundamental values, and the lands, air and water we share. There are at least two Americas, and they are not talking constructively to each other. Hatfield’s against-the-grain tolerance, optimism and dialogue come across as dated, quaint, and naïve concepts.
They shouldn’t: If we cannot bridge what divides us, we will soon decline sharply as a nation.
Consider this: Through their vision of science as an engine for the good of society, Hatfield and other transformative American politicians inspired scores of scientists to make this country into an unparalleled knowledge and technology powerhouse, to our collective benefit.
Simultaneously, those politicians inspired Americans to respect, support and use science.
Remember Kennedy’s “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely” 1961 challenge? We are still reaping the benefits of that vision, in every aspect of our lives: Medical and communication devices and services, satellite-enabled products (Google maps, driving directions, crop and forest assessments, weather forecasts, etc.) and so much more.
What would Kennedy and Hatfield think of a proposed 2018 president’s budget that slashes funding for science and core societal needs in almost unimaginable ways? Do we truly want to cut medical and environmental research, to the detriment of our health and the sustainability of critical natural resources? Or defund public education and health care for those in need?
If those who espouse drastically opposing political views would engage each other in Hatfield-style open, civil and constructive dialogue, the consensus answer might well be “No.”
Congress and the president must try such engagement, Mr. Walden. And so should we, the people who periodically elect those who serve in government.
Why did you walk away, Greg?
I am deeply concerned about Rep. Walden’s hand in developing and passing the AHCA and his inability to represent others and myself specifically with pre-existing conditions. This bill allows insurers to charge people with potentially anything on their medical record, from allergies to cancer. I am angry that my pre-existing conditions are at the disposal of insurers. I am a young person in the process of being diagnosed with a potential illness and I am nervous for the future of my health and the affordability of being able to care for myself in sustainable ways. If insurers raise premiums, then I will not be able to afford to take care of myself. Any semblance of agency I might have in this otherwise uncontrollable situation is being stripped away from me.
Rep. Walden — you introduced the H.R 1121 Pre-Existing Conditions Protections Act in the past. Why have you walked away from us?
I agree with Jim Reed in his May 20 letter regarding the need to look at housing alternatives other than paving over the entire west side of Hood River. Our west side development was built in 2008 to be affordable housing for Hood River residents. The nearby land is owned by orchardists or historical small family farms. Now, several proposed dense housing developments surround us with no master plan for parks, view sheds, permanent walking trails or any architectural standards.
I am concerned that the 450-acre Westside Concept Plan is being too quickly pushed by Hood River city and county planners. Many residents are only learning of this plan now. My neighborhood has learned the hard way: we have been told there will be five large town homes directly in our backyards on a narrow rectangle of land that blocks our views. The last four lots will be built with sprinklers, as the fire hose will not reach far enough into the 24 foot “driveway.”
Can’t we come up with more innovative ideas to develop the housing that is needed? We are not growth averse, but we want growth to be thoughtful, safe and designed well. Sensitivity to the environment and aesthetically pleasing guidelines for builders are sorely needed.
Otherwise, Hood River planning becomes reactive and “developer driven.”
In the words of my neighbor, visual artist Abigail Merickel: “What if we lived in a community that valued our agricultural heritage by preserving old barn buildings, making them structurally sound and converting them into a community shelter to be enjoyed by all in a park-like setting? What if we lived in a community that didn’t immediately acquiesce to the demands of the marketplace and allow every decision regarding development to be driven by the almighty dollar as if monetary value were the only yardstick?”
Hood River is a very environmentally conscious and unique place. We want housing solutions that value our creative community.
What do you choose?
Last week was National Prevention Week. Hood River Middle School HEALTH Media Club would like to alert the community about drug misuse, underage drinking, and suicide. We have made radio ads, public art and the “I choose” program. What do you choose?
Call to community
Recently Hood River Valley High School participated in Prevention Week. While the issue was brought to life, more participation would’ve been amazing! Such a complex issue cannot be combated only by high school students. HRVHS HEALTH Media Club is asking the citizens of Hood River to continue the conversation about the prevention of drugs, alcohol, and suicide. We are trying to promote positive mental health for our community and everyone in general! Let us work to create a county wide symbol so that all people can participate in the recognition of such an important and complex issue.
Spread the word
Last week was National Prevention Week. The Hood River Middle School HEALTH Media Club was trying to get the word out. Prevention week tells people about the harm of underage marijuana use and other drugs.
For this week, we made posters and put them up around school, made radio announcements, and drew warnings on the sidewalk. Please help spread the word about prevention week.
May 15-20 was National Prevention Week. We tackled tobacco, alcohol, drugs, marijuana, suicide and promoted positive mental health.
Instead of these hurtful substances, I choose to be happy and live life.
Educate your kids
Hello! My name is Max, from Hood River Middle School. Did you know that 443,000 people die from tobacco each year and an estimated 62,000 people die from alcohol poisoning each year (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Health)?
It’s sad and true. That’s why last week we wore different colors, such as white for suicide prevention and blue for mental health promotion.
What can you do? Learn more about these important topics, and educate your kids.
Life without drugs
Last week was National Prevention Week. Hood River Middle School HEALTH Media Club did many things to make people aware. We did sidewalk chalk, radio ads, and “I choose” signs. I choose to live life to its fullest without drugs.
Keep Electoral College
There was a vote in our state representatives to have the majority decide President of the United States instead of relying on the Electoral College. If this happens we will never have a say in who will be our president!
California and New York would be the ones electing our president from now on.
Call your senator and have them vote no. Read your U.S. Constitution! It will explain why they did what they did. You can put your name and address in at the Hood River Valley Adult Center to get a free copy. I will be leaving some there so you can pick one up. Let’s keep our freedom!
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Peter Marbach hurries to save his tent from the wind
Peter Marbach comes to the rescue of his wind blown tent. Enlarge