Good care

Thank you. My mom, June Baynes, fell and fractured her hip in late May. Being 90 years old with severe dementia and frail, it was, in medical terms, the perfect storm. She was transported to Skyline Hospital. There the emergency department took good care of her and admitted her to the hospital.

I would like to thank all the staff, floor RNs, techs, aids, PT, OT, doctors and discharge planners for their care in making her stay comfortable and pleasant. She was transported to Flagstone Memory care in The Dalles three weeks later.

I also would like to thank all the Flagstone staff involved in her care for their professionalism in this difficult situation.

Lastly I would like to mention Providence hospice and Deana Dahl NP for their help. She passed away peacefully three weeks later with Brian, her husband, holding her hand. Thank you to all involved for all of us; Baynes, Nigel Longland (son) and family.

Nigel Longland

Hood River

Ineffective response

The Wasco County Board of Commissioners’ proposal to poison birds at the county landfill and cherry orchards is a costly, ineffective response that eliminates the animal and will not eliminate the problem.

We encourage the board of commissioners to instead adapt solutions that create long-lasting, effective results. The Portland International Airport and cities like Seattle and Lancaster, Pa., have utilized humane solutions that are not only reducing their bird problems but are also protecting other bird species, such as bald eagles and red-tailed hawks.

We also request that the board of commissioners and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) prove how their plan to poison will not cause incidental poisoning to other birds that frequent the landfill — birds like eagles, owls, ravens, and turkey vultures — all who are protected under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, the Bald and Golden Eagle Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Poisoning crows is not supported by research or data. In fact, researchers argue that reducing bird populations by lethal methods is temporary, and the birds return within one year. Similarly, there are no studies that show a direct correlation between crows and salmonella outbreaks; salmonella can live dormant in an environment for years and can be carried by a myriad of animals other than birds (including mammals and amphibians).

Cherry orchards will not eradicate salmonella by killing crows.

Further, all non-lethal options have not been attempted. Although APHIS has permits to “mitigate” animals, we question why the first response is to exterminate the birds, rather than enact long-term solutions. The Code of Federal Regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that government employees must attempt non-lethal options before using lethal options. This includes “netting and flagging, the use of trained raptors, propane cannons, and recordings.”

The current plan to poison animals is inhumane, causing birds to suffer from epileptic seizures until they die. Killing healthy wildlife does not align with our mission at the Rowena Wildlife Clinic, nor should it align with the values of the people of Wasco County.

Readers can sign our petition at

Ash Harris

White Salmon

Editor’s note: Flagging, recordings and fireworks are among the various methods that have been used in the county in an attempt to reduce bird damage in the orchards.

Make it mandatory

Cases of COVID-19 are again surging. The reason is simple: The highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is widely circulating, and many Americans choose to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

That choice is leading to more unnecessary deaths, more strain on our healthcare and education systems and more economic hardship.

In view of these severe consequences, some of us struggle to understand why people continue to refuse a quick, simple, nearly painless, and scientifically sound procedure such as vaccination.

Polling results indicate that much vaccination resistance stems from people’s trust in the opinions of their friends and relatives — perhaps someone like their Uncle Bud. (Bud has no expertise in science or medicine, but he’s a wiz at repeating misinformation he finds online.)

Meanwhile, the data-backed advice of scientists, physicians, and government officials about the importance of COVID vaccination goes unheeded.

It’s time to put an end to this folly. Vaccination for a contagious, deadly disease such as COVID-19 should be mandatory for anyone who qualifies based on age and health status. Many colleges, universities, and large employers are already taking this step. The next step should be federal or state governments mandating vaccination for nearly everyone.

Governments have the responsibility to create mandates to protect their citizens from needless harm.

A familiar example is the mandate not to drive while intoxicated. Drunk driving might feel liberating to some people, but the danger it poses to other people is unacceptable. Similarly, rampant spreading of COVID-19 by unvaccinated people poses an unacceptable danger to other people and to our nation as a whole. Vaccination against COVID-19 is not an unbearable infringement on Americans’ liberties. Rather, it’s an affirmation of the value we place on human life.

Richard Iverson

Hood River

Recreational closures

The article in last week’s Columbia Gorge News described the recreational closures of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land in their southeast region, which includes Klickitat and Skamania counties.

What the article failed to point out was that although DNR has barred recreational entry to these local areas, they are nevertheless allowing commercial logging to continue. For what is supposed to be a closure due to high fire danger, this seems a bit of a disconnect.

After talking with several very courteous employees with DNR, the only justification I was given can be summed up as, “That’s how the rules are written and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Time to point out that both of these decisions rest entirely within the DNR administration, both the recreational closure and the IFPL levels which describe what can and cannot happen under certain conditions with regard to logging.

The southeast region is currently under IFPL Level 3, which allows logging with a few extra restrictions tacked on. So, the current system says fire danger is too great for hiking or biking, but commercial logging, i.e., pushing heavy equipment into dry brush and mechanically cutting down trees, etc., that’s safe.

OK, everyone gets that it’s been a horrible fire season already and that resources are thin. Fair enough. But the system in place unfairly discriminates against recreation, and therefore sounds more like a closure of convenience rather than safety. And lest someone attempts to trot out the well-worn excuse that statistically, recreators start more fires, let me point out that, last I checked, the subcontractors felling trees are just people like the rest of us, and also have the potential to be careless.

Let’s either punish everyone or no one for the foolishness of the few. Either allow recreation to resume, or close down logging.

That would be fair. What you have currently in place, DNR, is not.

Marion Fox

White Salmon

Feeling helpless

It’s such a helpless feeling to watch a containable disease continue to morph into less and less treatable variants when we could in all likelihood pretty much eradicate it before it evolves into a totally untreatable virus.

As fast as it’s changing, I’m very worried that is exactly what is going to happen unless each and every one of us take steps to stop it. Already, two less treatable variants have sprung up and been identified.

This virus doesn’t give a fig what political affiliation you have or who you voted for in the last election, it doesn’t care if you’ve tried to protect yourself by taking all the precautions we know can slow or halt it’s spread or if you have just continued to welcome the possibility that you can get sick yourself or, worse yet, sicken or kill someone you love.

Please, folks, remove the political equation from your consideration of what is truly the best action to take at this time.

I know it’s difficult to do, as emotional as our political climate has become in America, but look closely at what this virus is busy doing, think carefully about what or who you’re willing to endanger by aiding and abetting it’s evolution and join the fight to stop it before it has the ability to eradicate us all. Please, just get vaccinated.

Kathleen Evinger

Hood River

Political nightmares

I really truly understand why so many people wanted to be done with Trump and all the drama. They just wanted to return to a time when you could turn on the TV and not be confronted with the latest worst crisis that has ever happened. I would argue that much of the drama was generated by a media that has long since abandoned any pretense of objectivity.

The problem is we’re now dealing with the results of that successful push to replace Trump with someone “less polarizing.” Democrats needed a moderate face to put on their radical agenda, so we now have a “leader” in obvious cognitive decline, and in a mad rush to undue anything and everything Trump did, regardless of the consequences.

Canceling an American/Canadian pipeline while simultaneously approving a Russian pipeline, canceling oil leases and stopping development in ANWAR, has already produced results in higher gas prices, and will again make us dependent on foreign oil.

Throwing down the “welcome” mat at the Southern border, resulting in massive increases in unvaccinated/untested/infected [immigrants] from countries all over the world.

Staggering increases in deficit spending, leading to runaway inflation. Demonizing and defunding (“re-imagining”) police resulting in a tragic increase in violent crime. Promoting the radical LGBTQ agenda, forcing girls to share locker rooms and showers and compete with biological males. Teaching Black kids to feel aggrieved/oppressed and white kids to feel guilty over events that happened long before they were born, along with teaching every American that we are a horrible country with a horrible history. Abrupt abandonment of Afghanistan and all the people there who trusted us. And we haven’t even gotten to left wing “wish list” items like banning voter ID, packing the Supreme Court, and crippling the American economy with the “Green New Deal.”

We all know Biden is a one-term president, if that. The question is whether we can survive the next 3 ½ years under the governance of a political party so firmly dedicated to the ruination of this country.

Steve Hudson

The Dalles

Theories: CRT, Gravity

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is rather an unfortunate name to hand to a segment of the population unfamiliar with science and scientific method. Some apparently assume “theory” is merely someone’s wild-hair idea. Au contraire. CRT is a “theory” like the theory of gravity — started from an observation, and confirmed and reconfirmed over time by the work of experts in the field. Critical Race Theory is a theory conceived in the 1970s by legal scholars trying to understand why the civil rights legislation of the past 20 years had not eliminated racial inequality in America.

They argued that general racial biases were baked into American law so that efforts to protect individuals from discrimination did not really get at the heart of the issue.

While this theory focused on the law, it echoed the arguments historians have made — and proved — since the 1940s: Our economy, education, housing, medical care, and so on, have developed with racial biases. This is not actually controversial among scholars.

According to Heather Cox Richardson, “Republicans have turned this theory into the ideas that it attacks white Americans and that history teachers are indoctrinating schoolchildren to hate America. …Republicans are open about their hopes that pushing cultural issues, especially CRT, will win them control of Congress in 2022.”

She also wrote, “So why is Critical Race Theory such a flashpoint in today’s political world? Perhaps in part because it rejects the Republican insistence that an individual can create a prosperous life by will alone. It says that, no matter how talented someone might be, or how eager and dedicated, they cannot always contend against the societal forces stacked against them. It argues for the important weight of systems, established through time, rather than the idea that anyone can create a new reality.”

Appropriately recognizing the important weight of systems (eg economy, education, housing, and medical care) points out that we as a country have made grave and compounding errors in the past - and even more importantly, that we could choose to own them, fix them, and proceed differently.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Lost family heirloom

My late father’s Army-issue .45 M1911 handgun was recently stolen in a burglary in The Dalles, Hostetler Way area.

My Dad, who passed away in 2019, was career Army and a Korean War veteran. This was a family heirloom, and the gun had been in his possession for 70 years. It needs to come back to its family. It is a valued family keepsake. We are not sure of the exact day the gun was stolen, but the theft was discovered on July 27. Our family is appealing for it to be returned. Drop it off at an area gun dealer with a note or some similar approach. You can keep the other items that were taken.

We are offering a $300 reward for information leading to its recovery; call 971-217-0521

Douglas Burkhardt

White Salmon