Delightful surprise

This is to thank the Christmas elf who placed the beautifully painted pebble in one of the boulders across from my White Salmon home.

The scene, with its green Christmas tree adorned with red ornaments set against a black background with falling snow, has given me such pleasure.

Thank you for your holiday thoughtfulness and generosity.

Happy New Year everyone especially elf “KBW”, whoever you are.

Lydie Boyer

White Salmon

Focus on solutions

Who gets to decide what’s true? Is it the winner of the presidential election? I think it should be something that we all can get behind. My vote is for the courts and science to be a baseline of truth in our society, which it has been for generations now. From these foundations, we have agreed on things such as driving on the same side of the road, the concept of time itself and our monthly calendar. There are countless things in our lives that we make collective agreements and sacrifices for, and that we all enjoy.

I agree that both sides have done things that have been upsetting. I have a long list of grievances that my opposing side, and for that matter my own side, has done that really upsets me. At a certain point though, political differences are not going to matter because the challenges facing our society will be too great. I don’t think we have officially arrived at that point completely though. However, this past year seemed pretty close. When social and economic challenges, domestic and foreign terrorism, cyber warfare, extreme fire seasons, rising sea levels, etc., become to great to ignore, we will be forced to act. We will need all sides working together to be as impactful as possible.

Personally I don’t have much patience for finger pointing and not taking responsibility for one’s own actions at all levels. We need leaders who encourage that type of behavior from us rather than working to divide and conquer. With a message of unity and personal responsibility as our north star, we should encourage our politicians and other people in power to have more constructive conversations around all the things that bring us together, rather than continually highlighting our differences.

Avery Hoyt

White Salmon

Brown’s courage

I was very disappointed reading the Jan. 27 letter “Value elders’ lives.” I found the letter to be disrespectful to the thousands of struggling working-age families in the state. It also makes the erroneous assumption that Governor Brown’s plan devalues the lives of older Oregonians.

For several months the compassionate Trump administration mismanaged every step of the pandemic, forcing both Governors Brown and Inslee to make difficult choices to keep residents alive. Conservatives complained about the school closures, gathering restrictions, and mask requirements, which we now know saved many lives.

A year later, the governor has used thoughtful leadership and rational decision-making in an attempt to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible. This is exactly what conservatives have wanted. Instead of gratitude, some want to use the Trump playbook to pit one group against another to the death. Gov. Brown’s decision to vaccinate teachers is the most effective way to satisfy the conservative agenda of stimulating our economy and healing our families. Her decision is based on the philosophical axiom, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few.” Our governor clearly realizes that far more Oregonians benefit from the entire state school system reopening than prioritizing our limited vaccine doses to retired people who can collect social security and access other monies from the comfort of their own home.

It was a lack of courage from the Trump administration which got us where we are today. Working families and educators deserve vaccine priority for many reasons, and I am grateful that Gov. Brown made this courageous decision which benefits far more struggling families.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Battle cry!

COVID is our war, unleashed by forces across the sea. What has happened to Americans during this time of crisis? Why do we hide in our bunkers while other brave Americans are standing up and fighting for us? We hide and wait for spoonfuls of rations from our government. We have a vaccine thanks to Operation Warp Speed — we still deny, hoard and throw it away or worse, fight over who gets it first. This is not the way to win this war. Time to jump out of our bunkers and meet the enemy straight on with masks, hand washing, and social distancing.

We cannot wait for our next spoonful of rations and politics from our leaders who are killing jobs, holding questionable impeachments, and climate over winning this war of the COVID.

Our battle cry, loud and clear. Open! Open! Open!

Sheila Nelson

Hood River

Skyline kudos

Kudos to the staff of Skyline Hospital for their efficiently run COVID shot clinic.

Janet Holen

White Salmon

Defend truth

I thought we’d seen it all, but I guess not. The Oregon Republican Party has just declared that “... there is growing evidence that the violence at the Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans ...” (If you don’t believe me, look at their official website). By “false flag,” they mean that the assault on the Capitol building was done by leftists, not by right-wing groups, even though all the evidence shows just the opposite.

This deliberate misinformation from the state-level GOP is obviously shameful. But it also gives our local Republican neighbors a golden opportunity to show that they defend the truth, as true conservatives always should. Hopefully the Republican party organizations in Hood River County and in Wasco County will publicly reject this dangerous, divisive falsehood (perhaps in a letter to the editor like this?). If they do, I will publicly congratulate them for taking a patriotic, constructive stance. Of course, if we hear only silence from our local Republican neighbors, then that says a lot, too, doesn’t it? Let’s see what happens in the next week or so.

Mike Hendricks

Hood River

Newhouse upholds

I first met Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse in his office about 15 years ago when he was my Washington State Representative and I was advocating for funding of after-school programs. Although I often disagreed with him, he always did his homework — he thoroughly read my emails prior to meeting with me. In this he stood out from my other Republican State Representative at the time. I still subscribe to Newhouse’s newsletter emails.

I always found Newhouse very well-informed, straightforward, principled, and honest. Thus I was not surprised by his decision to vote for impeachment of former President Trump. As argued by some of Newhouse’s unhappy constituents (Spokesman-Review, Jan. 26, 2021), U.S. Representatives do have an obligation to represent their constituents; however, they have a much higher obligation to follow the Constitution.

Our country needs a legitimate Republican Party willing to make fact-based and courageous actions such as the recent one by Newhouse. Otherwise, the Republican Party will either be destroyed or will remain vulnerable to any lying, bigoted, intimidating and aspiring dictator, as has characterized the behavior of most Congressional Republicans, including our state’s Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the past four years.

Norm Luther

Spokane

Campaign nears goal

On behalf of the Hood River Valley Adult Center, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to Phase One of the ongoing Capitol Funds Campaign. I am proud to report that $217,000 has been received from community donations since the campaign began on Nov. 12, 2020. Our goal is to raise a total of $250,000, and to have this amount doubled through matching grants. These funds will go towards the complete remodel of the kitchen at The Center. The kitchen at The Center is where congregate meals and Hood River County Meals on Wheels are prepared.

The Meals on Wheels staff prepares an average of 250 meals a day in the outdated kitchen at The Center. Space is tight, appliances are failing, and it simply cannot keep up with the demand that Hood River Valley residents are putting on it. In fact, the number of daily meals has recently increased due to COVID-19, and the need is expected to keep growing.

We are well on our way of seeing this new commercial kitchen become a reality thanks to your donations. We also thank Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital for their generosity in offering the skills of grant writer, Paul Lindberg, to this effort.

I urge you to consider a tax deductible donation to Phase One of the Hood River Valley Adult Center Capital Funds Campaign to help us reach our goal of a remodeled kitchen. For more information, and to donate to the Capital Funds Campaign, visit www.hrvac.org, or mail your check to HRVAC, 2010 Sterling Drive, Hood River, OR 97031. Your gift will serve our community for many years to come!

David Meriwether, Hood River Valley Adult Center Capital Funds Campaign Committee member

Open the schools

We are in a crisis situation with our children and schools being closed for nothing more than political reasons. Teachers unions and fear-driven COVID personnel are harming our children with the childish behavior of our left- and right politicians.

The suicide rate among children is climbing at a very high rate and yet the school boards and politicians hide behind “COVID and Children”! They are holding our children hostage for their own personal gains! The party of murdering unborn humans seems to be out to take out our teenage children also. My answer is open the schools now! Stop all this nonsense and put the children ahead of your personal wants and needs. I can no longer just sit by and watch my teenage grandchildren be so depressed and isolated! It’s breaking our hearts. We do what we can to keep them involved but you can see it in their eyes and their moods that being home for a year is taking its toll. So OPEN THE FREAKING SCHOOLS UP! I am sure there are a lot of teachers out their willing to go back to a classroom environment and those that don’t want to go back because they are “scared,” let them find new jobs elsewhere. Politicians are killing our children and small businesses and we just stand around and do nothing. The cure is now worse than the virus.

Don Morby

Mill A

Democrats respond

The Oregon Republican Party Executive Committee recently put forth a Resolution stating that the Jan. 6 violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists was a “false flag operation” carried out by opponents of President Trump, and that Republicans who voted for impeachment are “conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms ...”

We know that our Republican neighbors and friends here in Wasco County are reasonable people and are just as appalled by the events of Jan. 6 as we are. The rioters themselves provided more than enough evidence of their allegiance to President Trump with their photos, videos and social media posts, which makes the resolution put forth by the Oregon Republican Party that much more concerning.

The Dalles is a “purple” city: Donald Trump won The Dalles by 3 percent in 2016, but Joe Biden won it by 3 percent in 2020. In our community, we are represented by both Democrats and Republicans in our local government. We sincerely believe, as President Joe Biden said, that this country cannot be stopped when we work together.

Working together starts by agreeing on the truth.

Thus, we would like to thank all 23 Oregon House Republicans who have signed a statement disavowing their party’s “false flag” resolution, and our state senator, Lynn Findley, who has disavowed it in a personal statement as well. We call on our Congressman Cliff Bentz, who has been silent so far, to reject this resolution.

We call on all Republicans to denounce these dangerous falsehoods and stand in defense of our democracy.

Wasco County Democratic Party

Expel Rep. Nearman

I was shocked and livid to learn that an Oregon legislator, Rep. Mike Nearman (Republican, District 23, just west of Salem and Corvallis) aided the white nationalists and far-right extremists who attacked the Oregon State Capitol last month. Bad enough that it happened at all — but one of our elected officials HELPED them? Unbelievable! He must be expelled from the legislature immediately.

On Dec. 21, 2020, rioters with AR-style rifles, pitchforks, pepper spray, and Trump flags assaulted police officers and tried to force their way into the Capitol building. They broke windows, and tried to gain entry into the Capitol by using battering rams to beat down doors. While that was going on, others among them were able to get in through a back door — because Rep. Mike Nearman held it open for them.

This act was caught on video — Rep. Nearman holding the door open for armed rioters, and putting his colleagues, Capitol staff, and everyone inside the building in danger. His actions not only enabled violence and extremism, but posed a major risk to public safety and to our democracy.

A wide coalition of Oregon community organizations and elected officials is rightfully calling for Rep. Nearman to be expelled from the legislature.

To do so, at least 40 members of the Oregon House of Representatives must vote in favor of expelling.

I have urged my elected official, Rep. Anna Williams (503-986-1452; Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov), to vote to expel him. Rep. Nearman’s dangerous anti-democracy actions can not be tolerated. Join me in urging your State Representative to vote to expel Nearman from the Oregon legislature.

Cindy Allen

Hood River