“False claims”

The claim that 20 percent of emigrants crossing our southern border are positive for COVID 19 are blatantly false. (Verify, a fact checking app.)

This claim has been concocted by a radical faction of southern border state sheriffs. Even a figure of 50 percent can be found on social media.

Not one of these claims have been backed by actual results of COVID-19 testing, they have just been made up. FEMA has found that less than 6 percent have tested positive (March 16, 2021).

This is vastly lower than the rate of unvaccinated people in every state in the U.S.

It is so sad people making radical claims in letters to editors and on social media do so without verifying that what they claim is true. It only generates disdain for the writers from readers of these untruths.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion and no one can say it is wrong.

But anyone reading these opinionated false claims has the right to dismiss them and the people who make them.

They also have the right to check the facts and publish the truth, as I am doing here.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Waiting to leave

There’s something I haven’t heard addressed by any news or commentary about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Why were there still so many people waiting to leave? Didn’t people start fleeing as soon as they announced that we were pulling out? If not, why not? If so, why was there such a rush at the end?

If the Columbia Gorge News could answer that, they may scoop national magazines and news papers.

How is Biden taking any criticism for a ‘sudden’ withdrawal? He delayed it three months, for crying out loud! He gave those people extra time to get out.

I saw a piece in the Sunday Oregonian about one fool who actually went to Afghanistan this spring.

That accounts for one person, but not for the mass we saw fleeing.

Adrian Fields

Hood River

Great dismay

I read with great dismay today the letter from Commissioner Christopher and signed by all three Klickitat County Commissioners. I want to say emphatically that this does not represent me or my views. As a Nurse Practitioner I have always focused on prevention as the primary way to health.

Vaccines are the first line of prevention. We have vaccines against diseases we barely see any more such as measles, rubella, mumps and chicken pox, just to list a few that are mandated to attend school, and also to work in health care.

In addition, Hepatitis B is mandated for any working in health care as well, even though that is not an airborne disease.

But all of these diseases, including COVID-19, kill people! You don’t hear about people dying from them because we mandate vaccines!

What you view as your freedom, could be my death knell. What gives you the right to go about without a mask and unvaccinated, putting so many others at risk?

Sure, we’ve heard about breakthrough infections. But very, very rarely do we hear of a breakthrough death. Vaccines protect lives.

How can we get it through people’s heads that in order to protect others, as well as yourself, you must practice public health. We require people who work in food service to wash their hands twice, and inspect food places for unclean situations. We require people to wear seatbelts to save lives. We require people to not drink and drive, or lose their license. Why? Because these practices save lives.

What about the cost of health care for those that don’t follow public health practices? What is the cost of one COVID-19 admission on a ventilator? Or the cost when someone is in a car accident but doesn’t die but is injured because of not wearing a seatbelt? What is the cost when people get sick from a restaurant that wasn’t following public health guidelines?

And who bears that cost? The public.

It is time to stop playing with our health. Get vaccinated! Wear a mask!

Stop the controversy about your liberty. What about mine?

Gigi Pomerantz

White Salmon

Public good

The Klickitat County Commissioners have greatly missed the mark judging their constituent’s concerns and thereby fail to protect our welfare.

They have been swayed by the most vocal and least community-minded of our citizens. They have given in to emotional polarization and overlooked the science.

Their recent letter to the governor uses the examples of healthcare workers, first responders and firefighters. I am all of those. They have it backwards. Lack of vaccinations, mask wearing and distancing is what threatens our capacity to respond.

Those who work or volunteer to care for others who have health issues including, but not limited to COVID-19, are dismayed and demoralized by the cavalier and science-denying attitudes of the KCBOCC, Sheriff Songer, and others who hold political symbolism above the safety of their fellow citizens.

The duty of elected officials is to safeguard the public health. That requires science-based decisions that do not cater to political leanings. That requires tough decisions that may impede, to a small degree, some minor individual freedoms for the benefit of the community as a whole.

That’s what government does. It creates a safe, secure, and fair system through laws and policies. Speed limits, building codes, theft and assault laws — these are good limits to our individual liberties that help keep our community safe.

Vaccinations and mask wearing are minor inconveniences that not only increase the individual’s safety, but more importantly keep the community safe. They keep hospital beds available for patients of every illness. They keep Lyle High School football games from being canceled due to COVID-19 quarantines. They keep your elderly health-challenged grandparents safe when they embrace their loved ones just back from a super-spreader street party or family reunion.

The “citizen animosity” you mention is just a whipped up angry mob scene from an old B-movie.

But this is people dying. Right here in Klickitat County. Imagine the families’ emotional loss. Imagine the cost, private and public, for ambulance, hospital, medical personnel, lost wages, disability, and the unknown future of long-COVID.

Vaccine mandates are our leaders taking their jobs seriously. Please do exactly that.

Jim Carley

Lyle

Nine lives

My cat was hit by a car this evening and it couldn’t be avoided. She ran across the road so fast that the driver, although tried to brake, it couldn’t make a difference. My reason for this letter is to thank this driver for stopping and trying to help. He apologized repeatedly and I so much appreciate his caring. Most who hit animals/pets do not stop. I don’t know his name, but my cat was hit in the evening on Country Club Road on 9/21. Although we are grieving, I can’t begin to say how much it means to have his concern and attempts to help.

P.S. I wanted to update my letter regarding my cat that was hit on 9/21. I want the driver to know that my cat is going to be ok! We couldn’t find her last night, but did this morning. She had some scrapes but is going to be fine.

I know how bad he felt so I wanted him to know this, and thank him again for stopping and offering support.

Karen Jones

Hood River

Stealing Flags

After reading Ellen Simonis’ letter about someone stealing flags from businesses placed there by the Scouts in Lion’s Club I had to respond.

My husband passed away a year ago and I have placed flags on his resting place at Idlewilde Cemetery in Hood River along with flowers. Twice now someone has stolen the flags placed there. The first time was in February when they took the red roses and the flag. The second time around Labor Day the two flags were ripped off the sticks and gone.

I respect other peoples’ opinions even when I do not agree with them, but unfortunately we have residents that think things should be their way only.

Marilyn Jordan

White Salmon

Water is life

People say that water is life, and that is certainly the case when it comes to our livelihood as the owners of pFriem Family Brewers. Clean water is one of the most critical components to brewing beer.

We believe we can do a better job of protecting clean water throughout Oregon. Fortunately Senator’s Wyden and Merkley have a bill to do just that — the River Democracy Act.

River activities and beer go hand-in-hand. After a day exploring the Gorge’s unparalleled rivers and natural areas, people stop by for a beer and reflect about their day.

That is just one reason why we support the River Democracy Act, which would protect rivers across the state as Wild and Scenic. The legislation included input from Oregonians all across the state — including us at pFriem. We are particularly excited to see protections proposed for key Hood River tributaries like the West Fork, Dog River and Cold Springs Creek, among others.

And we are not alone in our support for the River Democracy Act. Over 50 Oregon breweries sent a letter supporting the bill and its protections for clean water, wildlife, and outdoor recreation. The letter states:

“Craft brewing is one of Oregon’s great industries. According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, each year, the Oregon brewing industry supports more than 31,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and contributes $4.49 billion to the state’s economy… The numbers don’t lie, Oregon craft brewing companies lead the nation and that’s in part because we have a vital and healthy place to produce our beer. People choose to live in Oregon for the natural beauty of our rivers and outdoor spaces, and many build their livelihoods around the thriving beer industry.”

Safeguarding our rivers is good for business. We want to thank Senators Wyden and Merkley for their leadership on protecting our environment and bottom line. We are hoping that Congress follows their lead and passes the River Democracy Act.

Ken Whiteman

Hood River

Portland pie

Oregon’s Redistricting Committee drafted a new map which includes four of Oregon’s six US Congressional districts meeting in the middle of Portland like wedges converging in the middle of a pie.

Under this plan two-thirds of Oregon’s representatives would serve the interests of the Portland metro area, which includes less than half of our state’s population.

A five-minute bike ride from the Portland waterfront to OMSI would pass through half of Oregon’s Congressional districts under this plan.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, “PlanScore, a nonpartisan online tool that analyzes redistricting proposals for partisan bias, suggests the congressional map Democrats are hoping to pass is heavily favored in their party’s interests.” This is the definition of gerrymandering.

Hood River is not Portland. Neither is The Dalles nor Madras nor Grass Valley nor Bend. Neither is Gearhart, Vernonia, Astoria, Clatskanie, Amity, Mt. Angel, nor Tillamook.

The economic, social, and political interests of these areas differ markedly from those of metro Portland, and these voters deserve representation in Congress.

Under the gerrymandered map proposed in Salem right now, all these areas will have their voices drowned out by Portland voters with their pressing problems of crime, homelessness, drug abuse, traffic and fleeing industries, as managed by those representing the values of Portland voters.

True leadership in a state as diverse as Oregon requires consideration of the interests of all Oregonians, not just those in Portland.

True leadership requires the ability to work together across party lines. True leadership requires integrity in making and keeping agreements, even when to do so requires the hard work of careful listening, honest negotiation and willingness to compromise.

Oregonians need to see true leadership as the legislature makes decisions about redistricting to represent all Oregonians in this special session of the Oregon legislature.

I call on Speaker Tina Kotek and Rep. Anna Williams to reject gerrymandering which serves Portland and leaves much of the rest of Oregon voiceless in Washington DC.

Please exercise true leadership in redistricting that serves all Oregonians and ensures that every Oregonian has a voice representing them in the US Congress.

LaJuana Decker

Hood River

Extraordinary kindness

This was an extraordinary week for witnessing the kindness of neighbors. We suddenly were called away and had to leave our home of 16 years in Hood River. Unable to make the trip back from North Carolina to Oregon to clear out the house, clean it up and ready it for sale, our dear neighbors stepped in and recruited the other neighbors and within five days had the house ready to list …. amazing. Shout out to Cherry Trautwein, Chief Elf with Mary Brenneman and the Highline Elves: Becky Fry, Don Nunamaker Realtors; Toby Payne, Ellen and MacRae Wylde and John Brennan.

The best part was that Cherry donated the effects not sent to us in NC to happy folks in Odell.

Becky Fry was terrific as she explained all of the paperwork and sent the documents to us. Plus she pitched in to help get the house ready. Brad and his team at UPS boxed our goods taken to him by Cherry and shipped them to us in NC. And here we are six days into the effort.

Thank you to our dear, amazing neighbors and friends for your kindness and your time.

Rebecca and John Kirkland

Pittsboro, N.C.

Stop using Facebook

Please for the love of God, your country, humanity and the planet.

Stop using Facebook.

It’s the single simplest thing you can do to save us all.

Ben Seagraves

White Salmon

COVID-19 Kills

This is directed to the small crowd (including children!) outside the Hood River County School District offices Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 22, waving signs and making noise at passing cars. You were apparently protesting mask mandates.

You made your point. Now I’d like the courtesy of hearing mine. I’m not angry at you and I don’t want an argument. I respect you as a neighbor and friend.

There are essential facts that you may not be fully taking into account.

COVID is killing 2,000 Americans every day. That’s equivalent to the population of the City of Hood River every four days, or the population of the county every 12 days.

Cases and fatalities are getting younger and more severe. Children’s hospitals are often full beyond capacity with COVID patients.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The parts of our country which are hardest hit are where the least has been done to prevent infections. Right now Tennessee has the highest rate of infection relative to total population. There are no mask mandates and vaccination numbers are low in Tennessee.

In contrast, things are a lot better in Puerto Rico. Mask mandates are part of the reason, as is a high vaccination percentage.

For now Puerto Rico is a best case. Life is not completely back to normal, but close enough that their situation is likely what the rest of the U.S. would like to be in, likely you too if you look into it.

I don’t know why Puerto Ricans behave differently than Tennesseans. I suspect part of the reason is that many of them are less immersed in the echo chamber of poorly sourced information which underlies your protest.

Again, I’m not angry with you. I’m outraged at the flawed systems and circumstances which influenced you.

If you don’t now understand the urgency of what it takes to tame the pandemic — mainly vaccination and masking — you are sadly misguided and prolonging the dire situation which robs us all of the freedoms which inspire your protest.

Jim Appleton

Mosier

Union support

This letter is a call for support to all Union brothers and sisters, and all people of the gorge, to join Oregon Nurses Association represented Registered Nurses of Mid-Columbia Medical Center as we rally for contract ratification.

Under normal circumstances nursing is a stressful job, in the pandemic there is added uncertainty and danger. It can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. We are currently facing a serious nursing shortage in our community and we need a fair contract to retain our nurses!

Nursing is one of healthcares most critical roles, especially now, in this time of medical crisis. We are on the front line, and there is stress and burnout. We have already lost many veteran nurses. Come help us support our community, our hospital and our patients.

We are your nurses. We will always be here for you and your family. Be here for us now. Please join us for a rally in front of Fred Meyer in The Dalles, 5 - 6:30 p.m., on Oct. 7th.

Jeri Jablonski

White Salmon

Disappointing leadership

I was disappointed to hear about one of our Klickitat County commissioners behavior at a recent public hearing. Google Commissioner Dan Christopher to find out more information.

Good leadership requires a cool head when dealing with stressful situations. His behavior to me says that he is not ready for the responsibilities that he has been given by the voters, including myself, who voted for him in the last election.

Being in charge means you have to field opposing view points in a manner that allows for governing to carry on.

This is not federal politics, your actions here more directly affect the people you’ve been tasked to help govern.

Going forward I expect that you, Mr. Christopher, will continue to provide helpful collaborative solutions to all topics including mask mandates.

We all have to live together as neighbors regardless of what we might individually believe.

Avery Hoyt

White Salmon