Too hot

Lower Snake River water temperature during the summer is too hot for salmon migration. For the last 20 years, over 64 percent of the time during the summer, water temperature is too hot and exceeds 68 degrees. Higher water temperatures during migration increases prespawning mortality and deplete energy reserves before fish reach spawning grounds, reducing the size and number of viable eggs. The Snake River does not have enough adult salmon returning to prevent extinction and hot water kills adult salmon migrating up the Snake River. The Snake River has the hottest temperature during the upstream migration of adult chinook and sockeye salmon.

The Snake River is hotter than the Columbia River upstream of the Snake River confluence. For the last 10 years, the Columbia River exceeds 68 degrees about 20 percent of the time each summer while the Snake River exceeds that temperature over 72 percent of the time.

While U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee pursue a joint federal-state process to establish a comprehensive solution for salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin, please include reducing water temperature in the Snake River during salmon migration. The solution could modify the Lower Snake River dams to reduce water temperature during adult migration. The other option is to implement Congressman Mike Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative to restore Idaho’s salmon and steelhead to abundance while ensuring Idaho and Northwest communities a prosperous future. Last, I urge everyone to work to reduce Lower Snake River water temperature during salmon migration.

Donald Vernon

Middleton, Idaho

Important communication

Today I did something that I believe more of us need to do to reduce the vitriol occurring in our country.

A couple weeks ago, after passing a home displaying conservative signage many times in the last 4 years and wondering about the people inside, I wrote them a letter asking for a meeting and left it on their front porch. I didn’t know them or how they would receive my invitation but I suspected that we shared a love of our country and viewed ourselves as patriots. I doubted we would share many beliefs or values but I believed we could find some common ground. Deeply concerned about the toxic conditions we find ourselves in and the precipice on which our democracy sits, I figured I would try.

I was more than slightly surprised that they were as enthusiastic as I about getting together. We did so today and immediately acknowledged our differences and agreed we would not be changing any minds, but rather we’d be seeking further understanding and respect for our differences.

I was relieved to know that they were less enamored of Trump than they were of his policies — his border wall and conservative court appointments.

We agreed that we have a very different set of “facts” that we each believe. They of course find scientists who will support their view on climate change (it doesn’t exist). For them, Jan. 6 was staged by “Antifa.” There was no convincing them otherwise.

I told them I was also “Antifa” (an anti-fascist) and most of us would agree we don’t want to lose our democracy.

The Bible guides their view of the world. I am agnostic. I am “pro-life” in a different way from them but I wish abortion wasn’t necessary. The two hours went by quickly. We had the most friendly and open discussion about all of this and much more. We saw each other as well-meaning human beings. We demonstrated love. And love is what is needed right now to heal our country.

It’s a long shot but we have to try.

Sarah C. Bellinson

Hood River

Engagement with civility

I have been shocked and distressed learning of the shouting, belligerence, threats and generally aggressive behavior at and around our local school board meetings in recent months. It’s not the opinions voiced or the occurrence of protest that bother me. It’s the utter lack of civility and the modeling of anti-social behavior for our children (and at the school board, no less!).

Everyone has a right to their opinion, and a right to comment publicly if they wish. But when, where and how we say our piece matters. It matters to civil society, and it definitely matters to children, who look up to us. Children learn what they see, and what is modeled for them by their elders.

Do we want them to learn to engage in public process? Yes. To air diverse opinions? Yes. To share the reasoning behind those opinions? Yes. To advocate for change? Yes.

Do we want them to learn to do the above with belligerence? No. With yelling? No. With hatred? No. With threats or other intimidation? No.

No one I’ve talked to feels the behavior we’ve seen recently at and around school board meetings represents the type of community we want to live in.

Let’s commit to modeling civility along with engagement, for our own sake and for our children’s.

Rhonda Starling

Mosier

Water deal

Regarding a potential water agreement between Google and the City of The Dalles:

The city’s current water system capacity is 9.9 million gallons per day. If the city fully expanded its ultimate limits, the water demand would be 17.5 million gallons per day. An environmental consultant suggested developing existing ground water resources and also acquiring water rights to aluminum smelter wells owned by Google, providing 3.8 million gallons per day.

The Columbia Gorge News article stated “The city is in a critical groundwater area so no brand new rights to water can be acquired.”

An important bit of information is: The water amount needed by Google is a trade secret.

I hope the color green ($) from Google is not going to sway the city council into causing a possible water shortage in The Dalles.

Patricia Ward

The Dalles

Unheroic?

I always believed volunteer firefighters were heroes among heroes. They willingly, and without hesitation, face great danger every day, responding to all kinds of hazards any one of us could be subject to. House fires, car wrecks, wildfires, train derailments, gas leaks and more are all possible situations they could be called upon to deal with. At any time of day or night, in any kind of weather, they go out willingly to protect their fellow citizens.

Now? I am wondering. Here in Skamania County, a group of volunteer firefighters in District 1 seem to be throwing a communal hissy fit, whining and stamping their feet like 2-year old toddlers.

They are refusing to get a safe and effective vaccine, one that helps protect against a deadly disease that has killed nearly 750,000 fellow Americans because, “We don’t wanna be told what to do. We don’t wanna have to listen to a red commie marxist socialist pinko (choose one or all from the list) librul governor telling us to get a vaccine that could save us, our families, and our communities from a highly infectious and potentially deadly disease. We don’t wanna help our cities, schools and businesses return to normal routines. We’ll show him-we’ll just quit!”

In their own words they openly declare how reduced responses will put us (the taxpayers who help fund these districts) at significantly greater risk of injury, property damage, or financial harm. So when our house or business burns, our car skids on black ice, or our child or elderly neighbor is injured, we are the ones who will pay the ultimate price, just so these former firefighters can say, “Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah,” to our governor. What heroes.

Johanna Roe

Willard, Wash.

Democracy

What is Democracy? What was the vision of our nation’s founders when they declared a government of, by and for the people? I’m sure it was nothing like our present system where half of the elected representatives are keeping the will of the people in check.

At least two thirds of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want the Federal Government to fight the ravages of Climate Change. They want to make education better and more accessible and are in favor of benefits that will ease the burden of raising a family and end childhood poverty. Expanding Medicare benefits and reducing drug costs is extremely popular and who doesn’t want the ultra-rich to pay a fair share of taxes?

All of these popular policies, and much more, are (were) in the Build Back Better bill that is being blocked by every Republican Senator and two sold-out Dems. Their obstruction is forcing a severe watering down of the bill with a slim ray of hope that at least some of it may pass. My guess is we’ll see none of it.

Those opposed to the bill are either playing a political game or are in the pockets of wealthy donors who stand to lose substantial profits or influence if these popular policies are enacted. Democrat Joe Manchin is in the coal business and his personal fortune is being threatened by green elements of the bill. Sadly there are likely a lot more like him. Whatever the reasons, their stubborn obstruction is denying a vast majority who support this legislation policies we can afford and deserve. It certainly isn’t democracy.

Michael Hustman

White Salmon