Not in public interest

Pretending that sport and trophy hunting is “in the public interest” is dishonest. Dishonest people should not hold any office.

If a wild animal attacks someone, that animal needs to be handled: Move or kill. If a wild animal attacks livestock or pets, that’s just the cost of moving into the animal’s territory. Livestock put on their hunting grounds is stock offered to them. Count predation as part of the cost, and pass it on to us, the consumers. I can wait a few more days between NY steaks if they go up in price.

Coyotes are predators to be supported. Some fool around where I live has been shooting them, with the result that we have a plague of digger squirrels and other vermin. Coyotes are not vermin, they consume vermin. Anyone killing them is doing everyone a disservice.

If Klickitat County Sheriff Songer insists that potentially dangerous animals be put down, he should shoot any dog which is not on a leash or behind a fence.

Adrian Fields

Hood River

Support fair elections

Recently, my U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz responded to my letter in support of HR 1, the “For the People Act,” which seeks to promote free and fair elections in our country.

His letter assured me that, “Voting is the very foundation of republican self-government, and must be protected.” It mentioned several parts of the bill, such as voter registration in high schools and national automatic voter registration, changes proposed as ways to increase the number of registered voters in our country. It was not clear that Bentz supported these ideas.

He seemed to oppose a federal matching fund program for small donations, and a ban on voter ID laws which he said, “… would further undermine the American peoples’ faith in our election system.”

Bentz stated vaguely, “It is vitally important to approach the issue of voting in a bipartisan fashion….”

And yet he voted against HR1 in a partisan vote.

Also vaguely, he stated his no vote was because, “In my opinion, this legislation was not in the best interest of my district or the Nation.”

Hopefully, during the August congressional recess, Rep Bentz will hold a town hall for Wasco County. At that time, he can share with us whether he has participated in bipartisan discussions on protecting voting. Maybe he will be open to hearing from those of us who actually felt that HR 1 is in “the best interest of our district and the Nation. “

Mr. Bentz has constituents who hold differing political views about many things. Many of us believe that a ban on voter ID laws would strengthen, rather than undermine, our faith in our election system.

Right now, our country needs leaders who will help mend the partisan divisions that are tearing us apart by demonstrating the ability to listen. Until he is willing to hold town halls and listen to constituents from across the political spectrum, he really shouldn’t use the term “bipartisan.” Listening only to the people who agree with you does not strengthen our foundations.

Rep. Bentz, do your job!

Kristine Harter


Whose Rights?

Every week I hear stories about people citing personal rights and freedoms as rationale for fighting mask mandates and public health guidelines.

The level of hostility about wearing a mask in public if unvaccinated seems pretty irrational given the size, cost and weight of a mask. People have been verbally threatened and even physically attacked for speaking publicly about the benefits of mask use for community protection, or simply alerting shoppers to store policy.

It is becoming pretty clear to me that aggressive anti-maskers really mean to say “(Only my) personal rights matter.”

They certainly do not believe that the doctors and nurses in their local hospital have the right to see their children every day since they are working 16-hour shifts and 70-80 hours a week.

They don’t seem to care that their children’s teachers have a right to a safe work environment. I am not even sure they care if their neighbor will have an ICU bed in the same town or even the same state if they have a car accident right down the road.

The governors of Florida and Texas have spoken publicly on several occasions about the federal government not infringing upon their state’s right to self-regulate public health policy. But when some school districts in their respective states decided to mandate mask use in schools to protect their community members, each governor stepped in as Big Brother to tell the local districts what to do. The governors have threatened the jobs and pay of teachers and school board members, and even threatened to withhold funding to those districts who did not let “big government” at the state level tell them what to do. How ironic and hypocritical.

Even staunch Republican doctors wear masks when they perform surgery on die-hard conservatives. And COVID-19 still does not care how you vote.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Thank you

The family of Mary R. Wilson would like to express their gratitude to The Dalles Police Department and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue for their compassionate and professional handling of an emergency on July 22. A special thanks to Captain Jamie Carrico for his continued support in the aftermath of this family tragedy.

Mitch & Erika Wilson

The Dalles

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 from all of us; Brian Baynes, Nigel Longland (son) and family.

Nigel Longland

Hood River

Collateral damage: The arts

Besides being annoying, the recent mask mandate has collateral consequences. You cannot perform wearing a mask — singing, acting, playing an instrument.

As a result Cascade Singers and Serious Theater have had to suspend operations, which means that musical and theatrical performances also fall by the wayside.

The Cascade Singers’ “Fall Broadway Concert” will be rescheduled for next Spring (we hope) and Serious Theater’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” cannot start as planned at the end of August. Since there is no defined end to the mask mandate, we are unable to make any firm plans for the rest of the year.

We support the steps being taken to ensure the safety of everyone, but since we operate by donation we are at risk. Our operating budgets are small, but our expenses will continue.

We are asking you to please consider making a donation to either of these organizations so we can continue serving the public.

If you are able, please drop off your donation at Zion Lutheran Church (10th and Union) or mail to 101 W. 10th St., The Dalles, 97058.

Thank you for your continuing support and we hope to entertain you soon!

Garry Estep, artistic director Cascade Singers and Serious Theater

The Dalles

Talking dystopias

Let’s talk about dystopias. In the same week that Jeff Bezos spent $5 billion to ride a giant phallus to the edge of space for 11 minutes, Germany and China experienced unprecedented flooding, wildfires continue to rage across the west, heat records continue to be broken, glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, and the COVID pandemic continues unabated due to the ignorance of the anti-vaccination crowd.

Climate change is going to create a climate refugee crisis, which is only going to fuel the racism that this country already refuses to deal with, on top of our being primed for authoritarianism;

Elon Musk wants to launch a satellite into the sky for the purposes of advertising, so that not even the night sky will give us a reprieve from the grip of capitalism;

Tech start ups want to create their own cities, reminiscent of company towns, that can control every aspect of their employees lives.

No matter what seems to happen, the wealthy find a way to get wealthier, the middle class continues to get poor and the poorest citizens, the houseless, are evicted at gunpoint by the state. Inequality in the United States has now surpassed levels set during the gilded age, the most extreme disparity in the country‘s history.

Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, the worlds largest asset manager, said in an interview that Americans will have to work longer and make smart investments in order to retire. Young people now will never be able to retire on the same amount of work as their parents and grandparents.

Then there’s drought. We are running out of fresh water, and corporations like Nestlé are working at buying it all up. The water wars are on the horizon.

We are living in a dystopia. But at least the wealthy got theirs.

If you’re curious as to why socialism and communism are gaining in popularity, maybe consider the material conditions for the vast majority of people in this country and worldwide. Socialism is a response to the failures of capitalism, and boy has capitalism failed.

Benjamin Sheppard

Hood River

Editor’s note: This Benjamin Sheppard is employed as a social worker.