American's Creed

You may not be aware of the American’s Creed. It was penned by William Tyler Page in 1918 and accepted by the U.S. House of Representative that same year. In Page’s own words, he said, "It is the summary of the fundamental principles of the American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions, and its greatest leaders." Part of that creed states, “I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.” As citizens of this great country, we should all strive to live by these words.

Displaying an American flag is a great way to show our love for our country. However, that act of patriotism can become disrespectful if you are unaware of or ignore an important set of rules. The U.S. Flag Code, established by Congress in 1942, establishes advisory rules for display and care of our national flag (Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq)). It is a U.S. federal law (Public Law 77-623; chapter 435).

According to the U.S. Flag Code, the American flag should never be displayed with the union down (blue portion with stars), except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. The wording, “Dire distress and extreme danger to life or property” should not be taken lightly. These instances do not include moments of personal dissatisfaction or times of protest. While it is legal to express yourself in whatever way you so choose, it is illegal to fly an American flag upside down unless you are in a life-or-death situation.

Every time I pass our national symbol of freedom being flown in this disrespectful manner, sadness and anger emerge. Please help our country start to heal and show love and respect to our country and one another.

Nancy Slagle


Free pass?

As I was looking forward to the opportunities after getting my second COVID shot, I was considering traveling overseas. Then I realized that even with the shot, I would have to have a negative test to re-enter the States.

That made me wonder about the illegal crossings on our southern border; I suspect they somehow lost their negative test results or accidentally handed it to the coyotes with the bundles of cash they gave them to get here. But not to worry, we don’t have a crisis yet. FEMA has been called in, which I thought they were only used in crisis situations? But then, Sen. Merkley has not rushed down there to view “cages like dog kennels” (June 4, 2018) built during the Obama/Biden presidency, where the kids are kept. There probably is not room for him since they are admittedly at over capacity (plus-729 percent of capacity at one Texas facility — March 17, 2021, Rolling Stone), with a pretty significant positive COVID test rate. No protests to respect social distancing, I am sure.

But maybe I am rushing things. Even though NBC News is reporting (March 17, 2021) that the administration is restricting reporter ride-alongs (Trump allowed them) and information disclosure by the boarder patrol and sector chiefs, I'm sure the “transparent” Biden will eventually let reporters into the housing and cargo container holding areas, after asking those who leaked photos of the current situation to take them down.

At minimum, as my mom would say, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Maybe President Biden gets a free pass because of his age? No, he is just a Democrat.

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Re-elect Nelson

There are many good folks in my hometown, The Dalles, who make things around them just a little better. And then there are a few John Nelsons — people who, after a life of public service (John was a school teacher for decades) then devote themselves to our community and continue to serve in many ways. John does so with kindness, perseverance, and an unshakable smile.

You may know John, too. Maybe you met him on The Dalles Planning Commission, where he volunteered as a citizen representative for many years, or from The Dalles Kiwanis Club, or during a community clean-up with the Beautification Committee, or perhaps from his service as a volunteer literacy tutor in our local schools and community college.

One of the most demanding roles John has played came unexpectedly, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit our community, for John is a member — the chairman — of the North Wasco County School Board. It has been a thankless job, helping to navigate schools through this past year. (And coordinating the hiring process for our new superintendent at the same time.)

Some people think this about COVID! Some, that! Go back to school full-speed ahead! Don’t even think of going back to school until it’s 100 percent safe!

Well, opinions are easy. Steady leadership is hard. John has spent many long hours balancing many peoples’ views, from the governor’s to random ones like mine. We need sound, thoughtful leadership during these uncertain times, and John brings that along with a lifetime of experience in schools.

Please re-elect John Nelson to the North Wasco County School Board.

Dan Richardson

The Dalles

Support for Nelson

I wholeheartedly recommend re-electing John Nelson to the North Wasco School Board.

I have known John and worked with him in several capacities over the years, and he is consistently even handed, dedicated, and open-minded. John has served well in his first terms, and given that we will have new a superintendent, it is important to give our district continuity and the wisdom of experience. Moreover, John was a classroom teacher for many years. He understands how important teachers are to their students and how important high quality schools are to their community.

Phil Brady

The Dalles

Republican uproar

Republicans, the people that rail against cancel culture the hardest, are in an uproar because Major League Baseball (MLB) had the audacity to move their All-Star game out of Atlanta.

Why would MLB do such a thing? In the words of commissioner Rob Manfred, “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Now why, you might ask, do Republicans feel the need to make it so much harder for people to get to the voting booth? It is because Republicans know that the more (dark skinned) people brought into the franchise, the less likely they will ever win another election. This is the reason they fight so hard against granting statehood to certain territories. Their ideas are unpopular, backward, retrograde and serve only the wealthiest individuals, who get the benefit of government bailouts while millions live in poverty.

Republicans want to degrade material conditions, widen wealth inequality, and disenfranchise citizens to the point where people rebel and riot, then condemn the riot and use it as an excuse to further militarize police who, along with a for-profit prison system, contribute to the further degradation of material conditions. Rinse. Repeat.

Or maybe not. I recall a certain bearded German economist who predicted all of this and offered some solutions. Look into it is all I’m saying.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Benjamin Sheppard is a social worker.

Rolling in The Deep

Here we go again, the murky depths of big government pulling our freedom under the surface. We are treading water while Congress chums the sea, tossing out socialist and costly ideas of a fake utopia to control every aspect of our lives, hook, line, and more taxes, upping the price we pay at every stroke of their oars, our state legislatures will have no control over the stormy seas, their compass broken.

Object, and they throw out corrupt nets with shouts of racism to divide our country as they pull us in to silence our voices. The nets are poorly made with non-partisan agendas, our cries for justice unravel large holes in their ideas, build back better rots in the holds. We escape, gathering the forgotten and lost in great schools to swim up the rivers of America, a wave of vaccinations washes over us, spawning hope and renewal.

Time to pull up the anchor of government overkill, stow away the nets of hate and division, set sail to the sunrise of truth and freedom on the horizon once again.

Sheilah Nelson

Hood River

Act on gun violence

I have called on my elected officials in Congress, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Cliff Bentz, to personally take responsibility for passing protective legislation in Congress against the gun violence. Gun violence threatens us in every venue of our lives — schools, shopping, church, movies, neighborhoods, and home. And now two more mass shootings in a week! Lives are snuffed out in an instant, and ripples of terror and grief spread out in ever-widening circles around them.

Enough is enough! We’ve said it before. Efforts at needed legislation have been made and thwarted. Thoughts and prayers are sprinkled by elected officials who don’t give a damn. I beg Wyden, Merkley, and Bentz and their Congressional colleagues to step up and give a damn.

We need true universal background checks, closure of loopholes in existing legislation (including Charleston and domestic partner loopholes), an outright ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and mandatory safe storage and trigger locks.

It is way past time to deliver on these long-needed protections. Our elected officials must act NOW. Legislators, don’t even think of “thoughts and prayers.” Only ACTION will do. Act on Gun Violence NOW.

Linda Densmore

Hood River

Nelson for D21 Board

John Nelson is a devoted community servant who has earned the right to be re-elected to the School District No. 21 Board.

John has chaired the school board for the last two years and has provided faithful and thoughtful leadership for a total of eight years. John’s experience is especially valuable now as a new superintendent joins the district.

John’s background as a city planner and as an elementary teacher gives him a broad perspective on the importance of public education. He is smart, kind and works collaboratively to seek the best outcomes possible for our schools.

We believe that The Dalles is on the cusp of building new and improved schools while making sure our district lives up to its goal statement: Motivate, Educate, Graduate. Our new superintendent deserves the best board we can provide her to make this come true. Please vote for John Nelson on May 18 for School Board Position No. 4.

Marolyn Wilks and Bruce Lumper

The Dalles

All Walks of Life

During this past winter, I experienced some time with the homeless community. In doing so I met and interacted with these people. Who come from all walks of life.

All we ever hear about the homeless community are negative aspects. But my experience was very humbling, an eye opener you could say. But positive. To hear the journeys they have walked, to feel the emotions, and to laugh with them touches ones heart.

But through the hard times, especially these times of a pandemic, they survive out there. Sure the bad reputation is out there for different reasons, but mistakes are made by all.

The mental illnesses, addictions, legal issues, and whatever the case may be, this community gets through it too.

Through the good and bad days, that step forward is taken. One person I met is one with the bad reputation. Yet this person fixes skateboards at the skate park and leaves them for the kids. Sweeps parking lots at night without being told to do it. Is the one who is called to give pointers to someone released from incarceration.

All who know this person says the same thing, he helps everybody no matter what. Now this person is in a wheelchair, was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 13. Talk about a traumatic ordeal to live with the rest of your life. To walk in those shoes, many different outcome journeys I would think. Yet this person, even with the bad reputation, with a good heart wakes up and rolls on. This person is Rudi.

I thank him for helping others like he does.

This is one journey of the people that come from all walks of life.

I feel that there is positive in the homeless community too. Not just negative. During these trying times we all need that positive.

I found my calling in life, I know what it is I am suppose to do and that is help others from all walks of life. Thanks again Rudi.

Samantha Bly-Brock


Anybody there?

Hello, anybody there? No reader so far has commented on David Hupp’s letter of March 17, reporting the theft of our Black Lives Matter lawn sign.

We discovered later that every Black Lives Matter sign was stolen from our neighborhood that night. We have driven all over Hood River, looking for Black Lives Matter signs, haven’t found any left in place.

How many of you have also had a Black Lives Matter sign stolen from your yards? Have you reported the theft to our local police? We did. We were blown off by “political signs always get stolen,” therefore justifying the theft. No. We’ve never had another lawn sign stolen in the last dozen years, only Black Lives Matter signs.

Even though Hood River is mostly a “white village,” many of us want to show our respect for Black lives, and what we are seeing on our televisions and reading in our newspapers.

What do we need to do to counteract the complacency concerning what looks like White Supremacists in Hood River? Maybe put our story on international news?

I love Hood River. It is disheartening to realize that racism may be deeply embedded here.

Lori King

Hood River


I’ve seen four miracles in the last 30 some years. Yes, true miracles. Four people that abandoned the ways of the world and entered into a worthy life style centered round a daily reading, studying and open discussion of “The Scriptures.” Yes a miracle. An amazing peculiar fact about these four people is that they were all casual evolutionists. Miracle.

Persuaded through intelligent commonsense reasonable suggestions they took the gamble to turn their backs on the politics of the world, the social ways of the world and of course the lie of the world…evolution. They choose to take on the very challenging task of discovering what is “the truth.”

It takes a lot of work to convince a person to abandon evolution and the great significant social battle of today. It takes information that has indisputable convincing value. It has to be good sound information to counter the great evolution lie. I have seen it.

I am not talking about church. Lord no. Churching is no different than evolution. Churching offers a false answer that is supposedly in the sky. Evolutioning offers a false answer that suggests it is under the ground deep in the dirt. The truth is that the answer is found here … right on top of the ground. “The Scriptures” informs us very plainly and clearly that the answers remain right on top of the ground. Life started on top of the ground. Life continues on top of the ground. Life, painless, peaceful life will be right here where you stand, on the ground.

The evolutionist wants to tell you that some important facts of life are found in the bones of dead animals. Foolish. There are no answers to life there. Evolution is all speculation about a past that is entirely irrelevant to contributing in solving any of our dire problems. Telling people that dead animal remains are where the answers are actually offers no solutions.

Pastor offers the same useless lie but they point towards the sky. The answers and solutions are in a personal reading and study of “The Books.” Sure some courage is needed.

Gary Fischer

The Dalles

Promise fulfilled

Just as you promised, the Columbia Gorge News has blossomed into a fine newspaper. I always look forward to Wednesdays when I receive it in the mail.

Thanks to your and your staff for the courage and determination to undertake this.

All the best for continued success.

Portia Masterson


Kindness and generosity

There is still kindness and generosity in the world, even during COVID-19.

While shopping at Bi-Mart this afternoon, the man just ahead of me said something to the clerk and continued to stay at the counter. Then the clerk rang up my purchases and this total stranger paid for all of mine. Wow!

I wish I knew his name. Hope he takes the paper and reads my thank you.

I am so grateful!

Donna Rhodes

The Dalles

Gratitude and appreciation

On behalf of our graduating high school senior, my family would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the teachers, staff, and school board in Trout Lake. Last fall, the school had a lot of difficult choices to make. Using guidance from the state and federal COVID guidelines, and with input from multiple surveys sent out to families, the school was able to hold in-person classes almost the entire year.

For my daughter and her peers, the half-days have been a high schooler’s dream. My daughter has been able to apply for college, participate in some new sports, and work a part-time job with a lot less stress than a full school day requires. The shorter days have also kept the classroom time more focused so the time spent on homework has been better balanced.

While there have certainly been many disappointments with dances, events, and trips canceled, I have also seen tighter and better friendships formed amongst her peers. These are memories that will last forever.

So, a big thank you to the Trout Lake School District, the community, the teachers, and the staff who have leaned into this year, adapted to the changes, and overcome the obstacles. To all teachers that embraced the year, we appreciate you!

Lisa Evans

White Salmon

Love and support

Why am I being judged for my disability because of almost losing my life a number of times, starting in Vietnam, Operation Giant Sling Shot as part of a Patrol Boat river detachment base in Ben Luc, South Vietnam?

The support that has been there for me has been my kids and mother.

The word family means parents and children. That is who has been there for me in the dark days.

As I cry writing this letter my support dog, Missy, lays next to my feet because of the tears she saw.

All of my family is my support, even my support dog, Missy.

We all need love and support, not judgment!

Steve Cochenour

The Dalles

Radical Democrats

Years ago, I wrote that the most important move that Obama did for America was to become the first man of color elected president. I still believe that to be true. It was one of the few facts about Obama's presidency I admired and cheered. Mercy me! Many of those that believed Obama to be a great president thought I was wrong and expressed those feelings vehemently or worse. Those that believed Obama to be a huge mistake expressed doubts about my sanity, or worse. That is American politics in a nutshell.

Obama, Biden and Kerry made a horrendous mistake with the Iranian decision and infantile agreements. I believe that the jury is still out on the Affordable Care Act. Dogged if I can think of anything of vast importance that Obama achieved besides the least transparent administration known in American politics.

Not much substance to 'ol Joe. Biden's grasp of unity is "my way or the highway." As more and more of his push for citizen control, liberalism and socialism becomes revealed it will become plain. Democratic leadership has done all be vilify Trump, make impotent virtually every progressive move Trump made and quash those that supported and voted for Trump. The old lies, innuendo of media and social media bashing has begun all over again. If Democratic anger and hate has its way, Trump will be erased from the cadre of ex-Presidents, even history itself.

I suspect Biden will reinstate every attitude and latitude that Obama promoted. Biden is now on a witch hunt to eliminate any radically conservative members of our armed forces. How un-American is that? How do Democrats define "radical?" Biden has banned words like "Chinese virus." Why? Biden may believe the virus came from outer space. Seems someone elected an emperor.

G. D. Summers

The Dalles

Thanks board members

Underwood Conservation District extends a big thank you to our board of supervisors, including the many who have served over the years since our formation in 1940! Without you we couldn't be where we are today.

For many years, Underwood Conservation District (UCD) operated with only our board members' volunteer service, without any paid staff at all. Established in 1940 by a group of orchardists and farmers from the Underwood area, UCD was formed to address concerns with forest productivity, soil erosion, irrigation, and water quality. At the time, the only technical staff were employees of the Soil Conservation Service, a federal agency which formed in response to the Dust Bowl era, now called the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Volunteer board members of the local conservation district, most of them private landowners and farmers, guided and planned projects to support agricultural operations and natural resources.

Now encompassing western Klickitat County and all of Skamania County and staffed by five full-time employees, UCD is still directed by five volunteers who serve as our valuable Board of Supervisors. Current UCD Board Supervisors include: current chair, Paul Newell serving nearly 20 years, vice-chair Barbara Bailey, Joyce Eastwick, Bengt Coffin, and Marie Perez.

With heartfelt thanks we bid farewell to Joyce Eastwick, who is retiring from UCD's Board of Supervisors after 11 years of outstanding service. Joyce has served as the board’s auditor, taking the lead on reviewing monthly and annual financial reports and representing the board during regular state audits. We’ve benefited from Joyce’s keen eye on the full range of issues the board oversees. Thank you, Joyce!

UCD as benefited for over 80 years now from the wealth of knowledge and experience provided by its Board of Supervisors. We owe our successes to these farmers, ranchers, foresters, and caring citizens.

Tova Tillinghast

District manager, Underwood Conservation District

Violence is nonpartisan

Violence and systemic oppression against Americans is not a partisan issue or rather it should not be a partisan issue. However, there seems to be a segment of society who choose to make it so. There are Americans who should be horrified by the ongoing violence and oppression but they are not, even when it is explained to them. Believe people of color when they tell you violence and oppression are systemic.

Many Americans suffer daily because of their gender, race or sexual identity. From the fact that every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (mostly women) to Derek Chauvin's knee on George Floyd's neck to (vulgar) ex-presidents. So, I did not find it surprising that men on The Dalles City Council objected to the original language of the recent Proclamation marking April as Sexual Assault Action Month. To acknowledge the fact of systemic violence and oppression makes them feel bad. Why? Because they know in their hearts that they have benefited from a system that is inherently unjust. It is an uncomfortable truth.

Men of all political persuasions are capable of heinous sexual crimes — Andrew Cuomo, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Matt Gaetz — the list goes on and on. Famous men who abuse their power at the expense of weaker Americans.

But in reality it's not the famous men who make life unbearable for so many Americans. It's the daily indignities; it's the heightened sense of danger, the ongoing challenges — am I too nice, too loud, too Black, too gay, too sexily dressed — it is exhausting! And it is the simple things like changing the Proclamation language so that the men don't feel uncomfortable.

It is especially galling when these type of micro-aggressions are done by "respectable" men.

Believe women when they tell you there is systemic violence and oppression.

I am not implying that all men are violent rapists or racist thugs. But if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Believe Americans when they tell you there is systemic violence and oppression.

Debra Lutje

The Dalles

Carter for parks

As a member of the City of The Dalles Beautification Committee, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Rachel Carter on Community Clean Ups. She is the driving force behind these events, and has an immensely generous spirit for community betterment. Charismatic and gifted with the knack for organizing effectively using volunteers, Rachel knows how to build partnerships and civic pride. She is a fountain of ideas for our parks — return regular music events; more activities for children and families; grow and improve dog parks. And more!

Vote Rachel Carter for Seat 1 No. Wasco County Park and Recreation!

Connie Krummrich

The Dalles