Port Vote for Litwer

Lach Litwer is doing his home work to become an excellent port commissioner.

He has congressional affairs experience that can support the bridge replacement and ideas for labor and housing solutions. Mr. Litwer has relevant business skills to guide the port's future, a strong sense of community and a supportive family. Please vote for Lach Litwer.

Brian Shortt, Past Port Commissioner

Hood River

No NORCOR

I'd like to suggest that the Columbia Gorge News stop publishing the list of people placed in NORCOR.

Those people have not been convicted of anything, and I'm certain the paper won't publish a notice if they've been cleared of the charges.

This has the possibility of damaging reputations in an unjust manner. Just because it's public information doesn't mean you need to publish it.

Dave Case

Hood River

Act on climate

I care deeply about our unfolding climate disaster, and about the fact that my generation has not taken the needed action to remedy it. Future generations are going to have to deal with the results of our negligence for many years to come. It’s time for us to insist that our lawmakers put time, money and energy into avoiding further damage.

I’m asking Senators Wyden and Merkley to vote in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 14, and Rep. Cliff Bentz to vote in favor of its companion in the House, HJ Res 34.

These resolutions will adopt critically-needed limits on methane emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and accounts for 25 percent of climate change effects today. Support for reducing oil and gas methane emissions is widespread and bipartisan — including the likes of Shell, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute.

We had sensible methane regulation that worked before Trump tried to wipe it all away. SJR 14 and HJR 34 invoke the Congressional Review Act and rescind the harmful methane policies adopted by the Trump administration. Trump broke it; we must fix it.

We are fully into a severe climate crisis. It can not be ignored, and all points of leverage in reversing it need to be activated.

Reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas industry is the single fastest, most cost-effective way to slow the rate of warming.

Our senators and representatives in Congress have to act now, boldly and quickly, to do all that can be done to fix climate change.

If they don’t, we need to find ones who will.

Beth Flake

Hood River

Vote for Swift

As a small business owner in downtown The Dalles, I’m supporting Marcus Swift for Port of the Dalles Commission. Marcus is a local small business founder and owner who spends his free time giving back to our local community.

I’m voting for Marcus Swift because he is passionate about revitalizing downtown The Dalles to create a vibrant area for families, shoppers, and tourists. Like me, Marcus Swift knows The Dalles' best days are still ahead of it. He loves this community and is invested in its success. He is committed to supporting and expanding local small businesses and attracting good paying new jobs.

Marcus knows what it takes to balance a budget and watch your bottom line. He will be fiscally responsible and he values transparency for taxpayers. He also knows what it takes to navigate complex land use issues, so he will be a vital asset on the port commission. Please join me — and over a dozen other Wasco County small businesses — in supporting Marcus Swift for Port of The Dalles in this May 2021 election.

Matthew Ryan Thompson

The Dalles

By the numbers

First some numbers* As of April 20, 2021:

• 12,889 total number of gun associated deaths

• 156 mass shootings (4 or more people injured or killed)

• 11 mass murders (4 or more people killed)

*per “Gun Violence Archive”

And now some questions that are by now clichéd: Anyone else outraged? Embarrassed? Numbed? How many more must die before legislators offer more than “thoughts and prayers” and begin to make gun ownership a right for which you must prove competence?

If the weapons used in this carnage were hair clippers, toasters, or butter knives I suspect our elected officials would be climbing over each other in their rush to regulate manufacture and distribution of these implements. Put another way, if the perpetrators of gun violence don’t have easy access to an instrument that can be so efficiently lethal (and from a distance), suicide and homicide, would inevitably decrease. Given the numbers above, how is this not an ongoing public health catastrophe?

It seems to me that the second amendment and its subsequent interpretations by the Supreme Court assure my right to own a gun, not the right to shoot it. Given that use of a firearm implies capability to do so wisely, shouldn’t I be mandated to pass a test proving I know how use it safely, and then carry proof of the same? You know, like my car, that thing I use more often than my gun.

Owning a gun doesn’t make me anything other than a gun owner, not a Second Amendment supporter. How this became an expression of liberty or individualism is lost on me.

Oh, and I should mention that I have no desire to come and take your gun. That trope and all the drama surrounding it plays into a convenient conspiracy narrative but is absurd at its core.

Good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun? Nope, again a convenient trope but if it has made any difference, it has been minimal.

So, what now? Perhaps some national legislative spine. Politically expensive? Maybe, but aren’t we out of options?

Mike Pendleton

Underwood

Improve bike path

Safe walk and bike paths are a great goal in Hood River. Post Canyon Drive from Frankton to Country Club has become a beautiful parade during the pandemic: Walkers with dogs, parents with strollers, parents with young kids learning to bike behind their parent!

When traffic picks up post pandemic this will no longer be a safe haven, But I have always dreamed of culverts on the south side of Post Canyon, in the ditch. Now water dribbles on and off, the grasses and blackberries grow rampant: a waste of space, not friendly at all. So use our new infrastructure monies to finally build a path on top of the culverts, maybe even with a divider from the traffic that can speed down this Post Canyon corridor.

We live on this corridor, lost a young dog to a speeding car. I fear for the safety of our young kids riding bikes, and as always the parents with babies in strollers. Let's build a proper walk and bike path!

Alison McDonald

Hood River

Support for Swift

I’m writing to share my strong support for Marcus Swift for Port of The Dalles in the May 2021 election. As a third generation Wasco County farmer, I support Marcus because he was born and raised in farm country and understands the challenges facing producers today. As port commissioner, he will work to support local agriculture by exploring opportunities for value-added ag production and continue to support the development of sustainable agriculture.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work directly alongside Marcus Swift on the Wasco County Planning Commission. In that role, I’ve seen firsthand the skills and dedication Marcus brings to understanding complex land use issues. He is a natural problem solver who values collaboration and transparency for taxpayers.

Last, but not least, as a fellow owner of a small business in the area, Marcus Swift knows what it takes to start and grow a small business from scratch. He knows the importance of fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. He is committed to supporting and growing our local small businesses by supporting start up opportunities and working to revitalize downtown The Dalles.

Please join me in voting for Marcus Swift for Port of The Dalles.

Chris Schanno

The Dalles

Vote Nelson for D21

Within the next week, registered voters in Wasco County should receive their ballots in the mail for the May 18 Special Districts election. Please take time to learn about the candidates and vote for those who will perform their duties with diligence and integrity, and will always have the best interests of our community in mind.

One such candidate is John Nelson for D-21 School Board, Zone 4. If you live in that zone, please join me in casting your vote for John for the following reasons:

Since 1993, when John and his wife first moved to The Dalles, John has been extremely active in volunteer service to our community, including serving on the Wasco County Forest Collaborative, The Dalles Beautification Committee, The Dalles Watershed Council, The Dalles Planning Commission, volunteer teaching assistant at CGCC’s GED program and Gorge Literacy program, SMART Reading Program for young readers, Urban Renewal Advisory Committee, just to name a few!

Before retiring in 2008, John worked as an educator for 39 years in a variety of capacities: as an elementary school teacher, running day care programs, and teaching on the Warm Springs Reservation. He understands the needs of a diverse population of students, and there is no one who has more compassion for helping them all achieve their dreams.

John has also served on the D-21 School Board for the past eight years, and as chairman for the past two years. His experience matters. He has participated in OSBA’s training for school board members; he has worked to improve existing policies and create new ones to better meet our students’ needs; he has been working toward the creation of community advisory committees that will help determine the future of our schools; he has worked with community leaders to move our school district in a direction that will help ensure all students have full and equitable access to a quality education.

Electing John Nelson will ensure that we have someone who will hit the ground running and will serve with thoughtful compassion, at a time when our students need it the most.

Debi Ferrer

The Dalles

School board candidate

Hello, My name is Heidi Parr, I am writing to introduce myself and announce that I am running for the At-Large position on the Hood River County School Board. I am running for many reasons, but mainly because I have a vested interest in helping make Hood River schools the best they can be. I value our public schools, our educators and the entire village that helps to raise our kids up and keep them safe. I'm proud to live in a county that values and supports public education. I'll work hard to represent all parts of the county on their school board.

I’ve lived in Hood River for 26 years. I met my husband while working on ski patrol at Mt. Hood Meadows many years ago, and we now have two boys in Hood River Middle School. I commute to the Vancouver Fire Department where I am a fire captain and was a paramedic for over 22 years. I love our community and the awesome array of activities we have access to in the Gorge. I feel pretty lucky to live here.

As an elected board member I will prioritize creating more transparency so parents can have confidence in what decisions are being made and how those decisions impact their families. As we emerge from the pandemic I believe we need to refocus on teaching core subjects and getting all our kids back on track. Every kid deserves excellence every day and the opportunity to reach their potential.

As a working mom in the fire service, I have seen first hand how vulnerable children have been trapped in horrible conditions, because they couldn't be in the classroom. Without schools, many of the children are facing hunger, neglect and abuse. We owe it to our kids and families to safely and fully open our schools, sports and activities.

Heidi Parr

Hood River

A vote for Held

I’m voting for Michael Held as board director for Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District, Position #1. I met Michael when he was working as a RARE (Resource Assistance for Rural Environment) worker in The Dalles.

At the time we were both board members of the Main Street Organization. Michael created the downtown Parklet program, which gave the Main Street Program the impetus to grow into one of the most successful Main Street programs in the state.

Michael now works for Business Oregon, the state’s economic development organization covering Wasco, Hood River, and Sherman counties. He knows how to bring people with diverse opinions together through collaboration and consensus building to get things done. These kinds of experiences make him uniquely qualified to work with other Park and Recreation board directors to plan the future direction of the district and improve and build on past successes.

Michael is an articulate, convincing spokesperson for all the work experiences he has been involved with.

That’s why I’m an avid supporter of his candidacy for NWCP&R District Position 1. Join me in voting for Michael Held. He does good work!

John Nelson

The Dalles

Vote Nelson for D21

John Nelson is running for re-election as board director, North Wasco County School District, Zone 4. John has experience with the educational system as both an educator and as a school board member. He also has a long track record of being an involved community volunteer. He is a thoughtful, kind, intelligent person who has the well-being of the community as his primary motivator. He strives for solutions to problems through finding common ground and with respect. He listens and he thinks. We believe he has earned and deserves your support in this upcoming election.

John and Kathy Schwartz

The Dalles

Dig safely

Spring is here! With the ground ready for planting, you might be gearing up to start an outdoor project that involves digging. Before you reach for that shovel, remember to call 811 before you dig.

April is National Safe Digging Month, a designation to remind us that our land has a complex underground infrastructure of pipelines, wires and cables. Striking an underground utility line while digging can cause harm to you or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood, and potentially result in fines and repair costs.

That’s why it’s important to call 811 or submit a request via our NW Natural Safety App at least two business days before digging, regardless of depth or familiarity with the property. It’s free and it’s the law.

Most importantly, no damage is too minor to report — even a small dent or scratch could weaken a pipeline. If while digging, you accidentally hit a gas line, report it immediately by calling 911 or NW Natural’s 24-hour emergency line at 800-882-3377. Also, always remember: Smell. Go. Let us know. If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately, then call us at 800-882-3377 and we will come over to check things out.

We hope you have a beautiful and safe spring. For more tips, visit nwnatural.com.

Tonya Brumley, NW Natural Community Affairs

The Dalles

Vote D21 Board

This past year has pushed the envelope of the school system — if you think about it, the educational service delivery model in public schools has been face-to-face since schooling began.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed that, and presented a separate and very difficult challenge for students, teachers, classified staff, administrators, coaches, parents, and school board members. I applaud all of the district staff for all the hard work they have done to keep students and schools safe while still endeavoring to fulfill their mission of educating our kiddos.

I have observed John Nelson and Rebecca Thistlethwaite in action on the D21 Board and can speak from personal experience that they have always acted with the students’ best interests in mind, all the while working on selecting our next superintendent and managing the regular board business.

Both John and Rebecca have exemplified civility, integrity, impartiality, professionalism, thoughtful consideration, and transparency in their work on the board. Brian Stevens embodies those same characteristics.

Because the work of the board is focused on policy, not politics, and puts students above everything else in the board work, I heartily endorse these three individuals for representation on the D21 Board.

Dawn Rasmussen

The Dalles

Elect Swift

In this May 2021 election, Marcus Swift is the clear choice for the Port of The Dalles Commission, Position 3. Marcus Swift loves our community and is invested in our residents — no matter what political party they belong to. I should know: Marcus personally helped me and my family during a difficult time. Throughout it all, he demonstrated the strategic thinking, tireless advocacy, and bold leadership that we need at the port.

Just like his opponent, Marcus is not originally from The Dalles. Many of us, including my family, aren’t. But you would hardly know it. He grew up in a very similar community and Marcus has invested his life savings to start a small business in our community. He and his partner have settled down here. He spends countless hours giving back to our citizens through free and low-cost legal work, volunteering with community groups, and serving on the Wasco County Planning Commission.

Marcus Swift will work to support and expand local small businesses, create new good paying jobs, and revitalize downtown The Dalles. And he will do it all with a commitment to transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. That’s why Marcus Swift is the clear choice for the Port of The Dalles Commission, Position 3, in this May 2021 Election.

Kevin & Ida Arbo

The Dalles

Elect Thistlethwaite

Our community sustainability depends on our ability to attract and keep well educated people in Wasco County, maintain security for our environment and our citizens, and provide the resources needed for a flourishing future. All of this depends on one vital element: a successful, thriving public school system. It is vital that elected school board officials are focused on real student needs.

We are very fortunate that we have such a person in Rebecca Thistlethwaite, who is willing to run for reelection, and understands the demands and responsibilities of the position. Rebecca understands that successful School Board Directors must work hard to research decisions, must enter the position with their minds free from personal preexisting assumptions about students, teachers and administration, and should focus on current realities and necessities to meet the needs of our students.

We are about to welcome a new Superintendent, and North Wasco County School District is at a point in its history where the physical state of our schools can no longer be put-off and ignored. After COVID, good decisions must be made, and our new administrative leadership will need to have support. That includes advice that is well-researched and based on rationale unfettered by political opinions. Often such fixed preconceptions are counterproductive to student learning and children’s future success within our community.

Unlike many other school board candidates, Rebecca possesses the qualities that can understand these complexities.

She is a hard-working working mother, with children in school within the district. She is well educated and understands the importance of research and keeping up to date. She has worked tirelessly to raise funds for areas in our district not supported by current public funding. She has experience on our school board and has a proven track record.

Rebecca understands that unless we can maintain a modern, successful education system our community cannot thrive; we need to attract sustainable resources to support young families.

Rebecca has high ethical standards, and works hard to understand the important issues facing our schools.

Stephen Jupe

The Dalles

Kelly for HR schools

Vote for Jen Kelly for Hood River School Board! Here's why (www.jenkellyforschoolboard.com):

1. Responsive: She’s not a fan of one way communication. Jen will ensure your perspective is considered during decision making.

2. Engaged: Jen has already been “at the table" with the district and school board more than any other member of the pubic that I know — for well over two years. She participates through extensive reading of policies, procedures, contracts, and all other documentation that is part of the public record, completion of district trainings, attendance at meetings, volunteering with sports programs and participation on numerous committees.

3. Genuine: Jen is upfront, open, honest and transparent.

4. Innovative: Jen is a solution oriented, outside the box thinker by nature.

5. Balancing all sides: Concerns and alternate perspectives won’t be ignored by Jen.

6. Focus: Keeping academic rigor at the forefront of K-12 education matters to Jen.

Please join me in voting for Jen Kelly for Hood River School Board Member at Large. As a community, we would be very lucky to have her in this role.

Becca Sanders

Hood River

Vote Hosford, Kelly, Parr

Our kids have had a tough year; trapped and isolated in their rooms. Early on, I supported schools reopening; however, I do not support the rushed reopening decision with only eight weeks remaining.

Afterall, our kids have adapted to the online format. Rates of COVID are increasing. Why reopen at the 11th hour? Wouldn’t it be prudent to wait until fall, when more are vaccinated and the virus dissipated? With these concerns, I contacted the principal, school board, and superintendent.

The only option was to switch to “Options Academy,” an alternative online curriculum. I expressed my safety concern returning 1000-plus to one building. The superintendent told me that “your children are safer here (in schools) than your own home.”

Schools reopened, and within two days, an outbreak sent 100-plus kids home. May Street sent the entire fifth grade class home.

So why were the schools reopened? Quite simply: Order from Biden and Kate Brown. A box to check, not for the benefit of children.

Irresponsibly reopening schools isn’t my only complaint. Online, I witnessed some teachers interjecting ideology into every subject. My child had a biology test question asking if “race” was biological or social. The correct answer was “social.” Billions of dollars are earmarked to introduce CRT or “Critical Race Theory” into the curriculum, which basically teaches white students to hate themselves and feel guilty for the color of their skin.

Now that schools are in session, just three to four hours a day, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on the three R’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic? Why take up critical classroom time with ideology?

Bottom line: Politics and ideology have no place in public schools. A child should never know a teacher’s political affiliation. Teachers should teach how to think, not what to think.

Schools have gone off the rails. On May 18, there’s an opportunity to vote in new school board members who are asking questions: Barb Hosford, Jennifer Kelly and Heidi Parr. Finally, it may be time to unseat the superintendent, who’s not made the best decisions for the safety and well being of our children.

Kris Wilhelm

Hood River

Teaching issues

Imagine visiting hundreds of different grade school math classes. Imagine in each class the teacher has a different definition or “interpretation” for the four foundation math signs?

Imagine this is acceptable. Imagine what the students learn. Imagine the teachers are math ignorant also but they are trusted since they teach with “love.” Imagine the students and parents are unaware of this ignorance because they have “blind faith” in the system. Why is each math teacher presenting a wrong and diverse “interpretation” to the symbols? They ignore the math book. They never look at the instruction manual. Teacher replaces valuable useful knowledge with insipid love.

Church pastor does this. They ignore the instruction manual of knowledge …The Scriptures. How is it possible that there are hundreds of different takes, spins, “interpretations” on the intentions, the purpose and goal the creator has presented? According to pastor it’s good for business. How does one church claim truth is blue, another it’s green and another it’s pink? Pastor ignores the manual. This is why people have contempt for the scriptures.

The church system appears silly, petty and ridiculous, not sacred, to the prudent. This is blamed on the books. Not right. Was it not possible for an intelligent divine being to write a set of books that presents one purpose and plan clear enough to avoid church competition? Pastor insults and mocks the creator by claiming that “religious freedom” allows for conflicting and opposing “interpretations” manufactured from the same set of divine books.

“Oh let us agree to disagree.” Those are the lazy words of the coward’s oath. I have little respect for someone who spouts that.

Work and discover the one truth for yourself. Stand up and defend truth. Use it as a tool to combat the insanity. The casual evolutionist is not aware of how pastor mocks and insults the mind of the creator. The books, which have the answers you vainly seek from your politics, are discarded because of the obnoxious pastor show you witness. You ignorantly believe the books are at fault but it is all on the “teacher.”

Gary Fischer

The Dalles