COVID leadership

To all Klickitat County Commissioners (outgoing and incoming) and Sheriff Bob Songer: Public health officials in nearby counties have been the victims of intimidation, physical threats, misinformation campaigns, dangerous social media posts, and in some cases have resigned their positions, because they are doing their jobs to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis.

I hope you can all send a unified, clear, and widely broadcast message to your constituents: Threatening or intimidating a public health official or any medical professional because they are doing their job following COVID-19 guidelines is absolutely unacceptable and any activity that crosses into criminal behavior will be investigated and prosecuted appropriately and aggressively.

Even tacit acceptance of this behavior is wrong and hazardous. I especially hope that you, Sheriff Songer, can spread this message, given your past statements on COVID-19 restrictions. No hint or suggestion should come from county (or any) leadership that a “resistance” is required against dedicated public servants who are simply working to protect all of us.

Joe Zendt

White Salmon

Barr joke

Two U.S. Presidents and an attorney general walk into a bar. The first president says, “I’m almost done here. I think I will preemptively pardon myself and my entire family before I leave even though I have done nothing wrong and everyone says I did the best job ever.”

The second president gets a sheepish grin on his face and uncomfortably mumbles to the attorney general, “Uh ... that sounds like something only a king or a dictator would consider.”

The attorney general pauses for a few seconds, shrugs his shoulders, and says, “I am going to the men’s room. I heard they give away free expensive cologne in there.”

Talk amongst yourselves.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

‘Freedom cafe’

Copied from the Ledger Dispatch (Almador, Calif). Original author: Kathony Jerauld, Former Public Health Administrator at CA Department of Public Health, because we all need to hear this message.

The Freedom Cafe

Welcome to the Freedom Café!

We trust you to make your own choices if you want to wear a face mask. And, in the same spirit of individual liberty, we allow our staff to make their own choices about the safety procedures they prefer to follow as they prepare and serve your food.

We encourage employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but understand that some people may be allergic to certain soaps or may simply prefer not to wash their hands. It is not our place to tell them what to do.

We understand that you may be used to chicken that has been cooked to 165 degrees. We do have to respect that some of our cooks may have seen a meme or a YouTube video saying that 100 degrees is fine and we do not want to encroach upon their beliefs.

Some servers may wish to touch your food as they serve it. There is no reason that a healthy person with clean hands can’t touch your food. We will take their word for it that they are healthy and clean.

Water temperature and detergent are highly personal choices, and we will allow our dishwashing team to decide how they’d prefer to wash the silverware you will put in your mouth.

Some of you may get sick, but almost everyone survives food poisoning. We think you’ll agree that it’s a small price to pay for the sweet freedom of no one ever being told what to do — and especially not for the silly reason of keeping strangers healthy.

Sara Whitner

Bingen

The ‘-isms’

The following definitions are mostly from the American Heritage Dictionary.

1. Socialism: “A social system in which the producers (workers) possess both the political power (votes) and the means of producing and distributing goods.”

2. Communism: “A system of government in which the state controls the means of production and a single, often authoritarian party holds power.”

3. Fascism: “A system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong central government usually headed by a dictator.” (Our last four years.)

4. Corporatism: “The organization of a society which advocates the organization of society by corporate groups with common interests,” i.e. businesses, political parties, the wealthy and powerful, etc.

5. Libertarianism: “The belief in and promotion of civil liberties, non-intervention, laissez-faire capitalism and limiting the size and scope of government.”

In my opinion, Trump, his cabinet, department heads, the Senate majority and his avid followers, prefer a combination of numbers four and five. If you can stand to, reflect on our last four years.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Protect cougars

My name is Rowan Mckenna, and I am a student at Wildwood Academy. We have been learning about the issues surrounding cougars in Oregon and Washington. I want to bring to your attention that (Klickitat County) Sheriff Bob Songer is hunting cougars regardless of whether they pose a threat.

Todd Jacobson, a Wildlife Conflict Biologist and cougar expert that spoke at our school, told us that more than 90 percent of conflicts between humans and cougars are perceived. Often they are just passing through as their territories are quite large. Despite claims to the contrary, cougar populations are not increasing. Todd told us more cougars are being spotted because more people are outside in traditional cougar territory, urban and rural boundaries are shifting, and doorbell and game cameras contribute to increased sightings.

According to Michelle, from the Mountain Lion Federation, cougars are a keystone species, meaning they hold the whole ecosystem together. Cougars prey on herbivores, which reduces overgrazing, provides habitat for birds and other small mammals, and generally creates more biodiversity. Cougars create “caches” from their kills which provide food for scavengers like coyotes, bears, and raccoons. Removing a keystone species, such as a cougar, leads to a downward spiral across the entire ecosystem.

In 2018, there were two documented cougar attacks, one in Oregon and one in Washington. These were the first two such encounters in our area in over 100 years. According to a Sept. 4, 2020, Columbia In-sight article, there have only been 27 fatal cougar attacks in 100 years across the entire United States.

Fear plays a role in most cougar sightings but knowledge can help manage this fear. If a cougar seems to be following you, make loud noises and look big and it will most likely go away. If you live in cougar territory, keep your livestock safe by penning your animals at night. WDFW can provide many resources. You can also send letters to your governor and spread cougar awareness. It’s our responsibility to know what to do and how to respond. We are the stewards for these keystone species. They cannot advocate for themselves.

Rowan Mckenna

Hood River

Border wall

It will become a wall to keep us in, not just to keep others out.

It will be the U.S. wall to match the Berlin wall. Their wall didn't work, to be torn down years later.

All this will not work with America. America is family and freedom, not a dictatorship.

Save America.

Steve Cochenour

The Dalles

Support in the cards

For those of us fortunate enough to still have employment, I am asking my neighbors in the Gorge to support our local businesses by purchasing gift cards for your holiday list. I love giving those on my list the “choose your favorite gift” option at our local bookstore, art cooperatives, gardening store, sports stores, restaurants, toy stores etc. It’s a double bonus as the gift recipient can choose what they want or need and it provides critically needed support to our local businesses.

Over many, many years, our local businesses have never said no when I’ve asked to support the high school project graduation, sports team support, and other initiatives or to post an important flyer.

More recently, many of them happily participated in offering discounts to our Hood River community ID program.

Our local businesses give without hesitation and now it’s our turn to give back in whatever way we can. Thanks for considering and may we all find brightness and hope through generosity in these challenging times.

Rebecca Rawson

Hood River

Fire parade thanks

It was a dark and unusually quiet Thursday evening in Cascade Locks, when all of a sudden there rose such a shrill noise that pierced the darkness, a melody of sirens and flashing lights! What was this commotion? Why it was Christmas come to Cascade Locks! A parade of brilliantly lite fire trucks, decorated to the max with Christmas cheer!

Thank you to all the Fire/EMS Departments in Hood River County for a lovely display of Christmas on a dark and otherwise uneventful Thursday night! You are awesome!

Kari Goben

Cascade Locks

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