Science plus capitalism

More of the details of the story are coming out. The record-setting pace at which this country developed a safe and effective vaccine was the result of an effective marriage of science and capitalism facilitated by our Federal Government. Who’d a thunk it?

The vocal Left doesn’t believe in capitalism and the vocal Right doesn’t believe in science. And yet, these two unbelievable forces combined to produce a near miracle. I think there’s a lesson here for me. Maybe for us.

Doug Roof

Hood River

‘Open thine hand’

SETTING: Another bitterly cold, gray winter with wind that cuts through thin coats and bones, saps strength, and shatters spirits.

SCENE ONE: Hungry, hopeless, helpless, and homeless humans struggle to stay warm or even alive.

SCENE TWO: Large, vacant public and private local buildings, including churches, are heated.

SCENE THREE: Compassionate hearts, minds, and hands match these abundant, unused warm spaces with needy people. It IS possible, humane, and the right thing to do. God says: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: Therefore, I command thee saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to the poor, and to the needy of the land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

“If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, ‘Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled;’ notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?” James 2:15 and 16

Karen Saunders

The Dalles


I was unsurprised, though deeply disappointed, to see our state senator Chuck Thomsen’s name atop the list of signatories in a letter asking Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to add Oregon to the Texas suit to overturn results from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He cites constitutional concerns because the voting laws of these states were changed this year to ensure that all voters had the opportunity to vote safely.

These votes were lawful; Joe Biden is the rightful winner of the 2020 election. Senator Thomsen’s support for the movement to deprive U.S. swing-state voters of their rights does not represent my viewpoint, nor any patriotic Oregonian’s.

However, since Thomsen is so concerned about changes to states’ voting laws for this election, I have every confidence that he is also working to overturn the votes in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia, all of whom also changed their laws regarding voting procedures prior to the Nov. 3 election.

No? Hmm. Perhaps conspiracy is above constitution for Thomsen after all.

Sullivan Mackintosh

Hood River

Sen. Thomsen responded: “I think the only way this gets settled is the Supreme Court, it can’t go any higher, and then we’re done with this. I am not giving credence to doubts but the only way to finally settle is at our highest level.” He added, “There was nothing mentioned to me on the phone about the mail-in stuff. I didn’t see that part, and my apologies go out to everyone who thinks I don’t believe in mail-in because I do."

Naïve spending

When funding was approved in The Dalles to put the homeless in motel rooms, it was such an act of irresponsibility that it bordered on being misappropriation of funds. The homeless are stealing from each other and they could have stopped it with the money they foolishly spent on motel rooms for the homeless.

The homeless ideally need cardboard on the ground, with a 16-by-16 foot tarp over that, then a 10-by-8 tent with a 16-by-16 tarp over the top of the tent, tied with paracord. Inside the tent, clothes on one side and food on the other, with at least three sleeping bags in the center. Two jugs of water and two flashlights, one of which is up against a jug of water to make a lamp when dark. Then an empty jug to pee into, and bags with no holes to poop into, and napkins or paper towels for toilet paper.

An extra pair of slip-on shoes in case you need to go outside quickly for whatever reason. Remember to take your boots off at night and stuff them with newspaper to soak up any moisture, later you can use that newspaper to clean with and finally burn. If your boots or shoes stink, put a half a bottle of rubbing alcohol into each and let air dry all night then stuff newspaper in the morning to soak up the rest all day; that should stop them from stinking, and cheaper than buying new.

The clothes I like to wear in winter are heavy socks, insulated snow boots, pants, t-shirt, hoodie, then long-sleeved shirt over top of the hoodie, then a coat and then another coat over top called a great coat because they are great when you need them, then water-proofed snow pants with suspenders large enough to fit over top of everything.

Also a neck warmer and a ball cap to keep the hoods out of your eyes, and a stocking cap and gloves. Other handy things are baby wipes, can opener, knife and spoon, These are the things that motel room money should have bought and it would have lasted all winter and stopped them from stealing from each other.

I wish you all well and God bless.

Larry Lauzon

The Dalles

To be ‘anti racist’

This summer I had an experience that was a racist enlightenment for me. During the summer, due to the pandemic, I’ve limited myself to two- or three-day motorcycle trips just within my home state of Oregon.

I was in Lakeview for the night in a motel I had used before. I was in my room. It was still daylight. Suddenly I heard a knock on my door. I went to see who was there but there was no one.

I stepped out of the room and a man popped around the corner and said he had made a mistake about which room it was and apologized. I assured him it wasn’t a problem. He went up the stairs.

I had never been directly exposed to the race issue. Growing up it was never discussed, there were no minorities where I lived. I attended a strictly white high school. In college I had known several minority peers and never really gave it a second or third thought. I was very close to a couple of Asian and Black friends. I believed, if you had asked me, that I was not racist.

After the fellow knocked on my door at the motel, I heard some guys on the second floor balcony above my room. They were having a good time, somewhat loud and boisterous. I began to wonder if I should go out and secure my bike, maybe move it closer to my door. You see, the guy that knocked on my door was Black. My paranoia was based on the racism I had no idea lurked within me. I was ashamed for my thoughts and I have revisited this shame often since then during this summer of discontent. I realized that the racist beliefs had snuck into my belief system through social osmosis.

I read a book this fall that gave me new insight to the issue. Its premise was that it’s not enough not to be racist. What is required is that I be “anti racist.” I have been trying to think and act within this paradigm.

David Bullock

The Dalles

Restrain Songer

Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer vows to stop state and federal officials from enforcing science-based rules and guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He claims that as a “constitutional sheriff,” he’s “upholding citizens’ constitutional rights and liberties.”

Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people are dead because of COVID-19. Outbreaks are plaguing Klickitat County. Across our region, hospitals are filling up. Medical personnel are severely stressed. They are pleading for us to wear masks, practice social distancing, and avoid crowds.

President Trump says we’re overreacting. Golly, if Trump says it’s a fake crisis, it must be! Medical professionals, reporters, and all those dead people must be part of a plot to hurt his presidency!

Trump is going to be Trump. Whatever he says, his followers will believe. Most Republican leaders are too cowed or obsequious to contradict him, but, fortunately, there have been enough conservative judges and Republican officials with the integrity to stop him from stealing the election.

So, too, is Songer going to be Songer. But where are the county Republican officials with the integrity to speak out against his reckless pronouncements? Our commissioners oversee the sheriff. Are we to infer that our commissioners support the flaunting of individual “liberties” of people to infect whoever they want to infect wherever and whenever they want to do so?

Rick George

White Salmon

Convention needed

Our Constitution of the United States of America has just withstood some 40 shots across the bow of Democracy. Fortunately, like its namesake, The USS Constitution, which in the War of 1812 defeated five British warships, our paper document, the Constitution, took some nasty hits yet survived. In this case, it took our “Rule of Law” Court System to hold the Ship of State together and kept Democracy afloat in 2020. We have now had fair warning that U.S. democracy can be subverted exactly the same way as democracies in Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Venezuela and other democratic nations have failed. The results of those failures are clear in their demagogic leaders: Mugabe, Military Juntas, Chavez/Maduro, etc. Leaders who would be rulers for life if we let them in the door. The holes in our voting system for presidents and other officials have been revealed in the recent flagrant attacks on democracy from within our own government. They need to be plugged immediately. Unless we shore up our 200-plus-year-old Constitution and democratic process so that it can deal with modern technology, and modern legal eagles, we are a stone’s throw away from descending into the same chaos of the countries we used to look down our noses at. Write to your congressional leaders. It’s time for a Constitutional Convention to patch up the holes before the legal and technological worms invade again as you can bet they will on or before 2024. This is not about political parties, it’s about preserving all of our voting rights and freedoms under the frailties of Democracy in a world where dictators will always lurk in the wings.

Richard McBee

Hood River

Protect canyonlands

As breweries serving locals and visitors alike in Hood River, we know that there is so much more to our community than just serving beer. From the coast to eastern Oregon, our great state is filled with vast treasures: From the many pristine rivers and streams like the Columbia to the spectacular Owyhee Canyonlands. We depend on these amazing outdoor treasures for a multitude of reasons. Rivers provide the clean water that is essential to our industry which supports more than 31,000 jobs directly and indirectly and contributes $4.49 billion to the state’s economy. Protected lands and rivers, including places like the Owyhee Canyonlands bring visitors to our state, driving tourism and recreation, and provide solace and escape for those of us exploring all corners of our great state. Our elected officials have a rare opportunity to protect a gem, the Owyhee Canyonlands, this year before heading home for the holiday recess.

After years of collaboration between ranchers, conservationists, recreationists and businesses, our senators introduced the Malheur Community Empowerment for Owyhee Act (S.2828), that protects the most important ecological, cultural and recreational public lands in Owyhee Canyonlands and provides economic development opportunities to Malheur County’s rural communities at a time when it’s needed most. Congress still has the chance to get this bill across the finish line. We implore our delegation to do everything possible to get these important protections passed this Congress. Bipartisanship is rare these days, but we know that above all, Oregonians tend to come together to protect our public lands and rivers and our economy, and this bill does just that.

Protecting our watersheds and public lands is critical to both keeping Oregon’s craft beer flowing and our health, community, and economy. We call Oregon home for a reason, and we want to make sure that these vast pristine landscapes are here for generations. Malheur County’s treasured Canyonlands need protection, and now is the time for Congress to get it done.

Josh Pfriem, pFriem Family Brewers & Matt Swihart, Double Mountain Brewery

Eviction protection

On Dec. 31 — just weeks from now — Oregon’s eviction moratorium will end. People who have been struggling during the COVID crisis could be evicted from their homes in the middle of winter because they are behind on rent through no fault of their own.

When the pandemic hit last spring, we did the right thing in Oregon by putting a moratorium on evictions so that people wouldn’t lose their homes if they were unable to pay rent. But COVID and its downstream impacts are lasting MUCH longer than we thought they would. In fact, the epidemic and economic losses are worsening.

The original moratorium will expire at the end of the year, and must be extended. Financial assistance to help individual landlords should be considered at the same time. In the absence of federal action, states must step in to help their citizens.

Concerned neighbors, please join me in signing this letter ( urging our Oregon legislators to take action to extend the eviction moratorium and provide rental assistance for people whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19.

Beth Flake

Hood River

Milestone response

While there have been changes to staffing recently, Flagstone is by no means understaffed. We are fully staffed and in accordance with the State of Oregon Department of Human Services Aging and People with Disabilities Oregon Administrative rules for staffing. In fact, state survey teams have visited the community, and we are in full compliance. Staff are wearing all PPE necessary to safeguard themselves and our residents and there is no shortage of PPE on the premise. Residents are receiving medication on time, and three housekeeping staff and two maintenance staff are employed to take care of residents and the community. In terms of ratio, we are well ahead of what is required with a current resident count of 59 individuals in our memory care and assisted living units and 50 staff members.

Flagstone Senior Living has proudly been serving The Dalles community for many years. As always, resident health, safety and wellbeing continue to be our top priorities and we are committed to providing quality care for seniors. We look forward to continuing to deliver excellence in the years ahead.

Stacia Kirby, principal

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