Our Global Climate

This is in response to the “Not so hot” Opinion letter in the July 21 issue of our local paper. The author must be a very young person.

I was born a very long time ago in central Alaska; things have changed a lot in Alaska over all those years. In addition, both the North and South Poles have lost significant amounts of ice as global temperatures have become much warmer.

That ice has melted into the oceans over the last several years, leaving creatures like polar bears and Emperor penguins in much more challenging situations for their survival because their habitats have been melting.

Back in 1991, my husband and I traveled to the area where I had been born. Things had changed a lot over the years. We visited some of the places where my husband had fished in the early 1980’s, including an area where a glacier had already almost entirely melted since his earlier fishing days.

We saw ice chunks that had broken off and were floating in the lake beneath it. It seemed quite unusual to me, and was very hard to witness, and that was 30 years ago.

That glacier had retreated substantially, and is still retreating due to the warming climate. I continue to be grateful for all the people who have chosen to believe facts and science over fiction and denial.

Sonja McHale

The Dalles

Heartfelt Appreciation

I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to my community and patients for trusting me as your family doctor for the past 18 years. It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving my medical practice at MCMC as of August 2.

This community has been through many changes over the years. If I have learned one thing, it is we are resilient – we can get through even the darkest days if we lean on and help each other. You have inspired me with your ability to come together as a community and endure.

I am deeply grateful to have been part of your lives, even in a small way. I wish I were able to reach out to each of you personally about this transition. Since graduating from TDHS in 1991, I have been committed to giving back to my town, and I will remain here, working to improve opportunities for health and wellness however I am able.

In humble gratitude,

Judy Richardson, MD

The Dalles

Better Bottle Bill

I enjoyed the article recently in this paper about the the Bottle Bill turning 50. I am glad we have one and wish we had one nationwide.

The idea of the bill is great, but the implementation has problems. Do I just have really bad timing, or is it hard to return bottles? What is your experience? Mine has been that the lines are long, machines are often out of order, and with some stores one has to stand in line outside in the heat or the rain.

To be sure, there are some contributing factors: people may still be catching up from the closure of returns during COVID-19, and stores are struggling to find enough employees.

There is some good news for Hood River area shoppers at Safeway — they are planning a new bottle return area in their remodel and hope to have it available by late winter.

There is an alternative also — dropping cans off for Home At Last dog and cat shelter in The Dalles, in a shed at the left side of the building anytime. (They had to stop putting the trailers around The Dalles as they were getting vandalized.)

Here is something to know: stores are required to accept bottles and cans during all the hours the store is open. If they close the machines, then they are required to hand count.

The OLCC has a flyer that states this and might be handy to have in your hand if you are requesting this service (politely, hopefully) and meeting resistance.

The brochures is available by contacting https://www.oregon.gov/olcc/pages/bottle_bill.aspx.

I hope someday we have a bottle return situation that is truly efficient and a model for others to follow.

Joan Chantler

White Salmon

Constitutional sheriff

The County Sheriff is the last line of defense for upholding and defending the Constitution. Sheriffs are legally and morally obligated to protect and defend our rights. This does not exclude noncompliance with government officials.

When state or federal government make decisions or legislation contrary to our Constitution, the government no longer represents the people.

Emergency powers provisions do not permit overriding or circumventing the Constitution under any circumstance, including official edicts or executive orders. This has occurred on federal and state levels, during Covid and during 9/11, and our civil and human rights are violated. The sheriff is defending our rights by refusing to comply. This is to be applauded.

Further, Sheriff Songer is not alone in his assessment that political officials are acting in contradiction to our constitution. Currently there are over 1,900 of the 3,080 County Sheriffs, who have designated their counties as “Sanctuary Counties” in support of the constitution, because their legislatures are passing laws or making executive orders in opposition to the Constitution.

It is true that the courts have been chosen to determine constitutionality. However, there is seldom an independent organization or attorney allowed, available or willing to finance legal opposition to the courts. In most cases a single judge or handful of judges make this determination. Because most judges are elected, they have campaign donors. These donors can influence court decisions. If judges are appointed, then consider who made the appointments. So, judgeships are never completely exempt from political, donor, or constituent influence.

Once judges determine constitutionality, enforcement begins immediately. Meanwhile, legal challenges take months or years to be heard. Also, governments have unlimited funds to defend their decisions, while opponents do not. During this interval, these laws have major impacts to personal freedoms. The Patriot Act allows police detainment without charge for 2 days (previously, immediately) and an indefinite hold by applying the ever-expanding label of terrorist. This emergency no longer exists yet this law remains.

Please let’s start supporting our sheriff in these challenges to our constitution. Thank you.

Wayne Petersen

White Salmon