Fresh caught

I just received my Sept. 29 newspaper and there on the front page was an article entitled Fresh Caught Daily. There is a vendor unloading fresh-caught Steelhead. These fish were bought from Tribal fishermen who hoop net the fish up on the Klickitat River.

While this is all legal, it doesn’t make sense. Part of Drano Lake (handicap area) is closed to all fishing because the run of Steelhead is one of the lowest ever. Also any Steelhead caught by a sport fisherman has to be released, yet when they are caught in a Tribal hoop net they are killed and sold. It would be so easy to release the fish from the hoop net unharmed.

These same people are always saying we have to save the fish for our future generations. When are you going to step up and do your part? Let’s ALL work together for more fish, not just part of us. When we work together much can be accomplished.

James Anderson

White Salmon

Why Democrat?

Why do I choose to be a Democrat?

I know the Democratic party is far from perfect; after all, humans are involved and we each have our own agendas. People enter politics for many reasons, some because they want to help make our government better, some for their own selfish goals.

I choose being a Democrat because the values and tone of that party resonate with mine. I see climate change as an existential threat to life on Earth and Democrats have concrete plans for how to manage this rapidly-deteriorating situation, while Republicans are more often climate deniers who see protective regulations as an impediment to their freedom.

Democrats see regulation as a good thing that will protect communities from problems such as air and water pollution.

While I believe individual freedom is important, I see public health and focus on the greater good as a clearer path to survival.

Democrats are the true “pro-life” party, concerning themselves with what improves the lives of humans after they’re born, staying out of bedrooms.

I believe in treating everyone with dignity and respect, even when I don’t agree with them at all. I see angry conservatives disrupting what should be peaceful school board meetings with threats and violence, making it feel dangerous for opposing views to be heard.

I believe in equal rights for all people and that means good quality, affordable healthcare, women’s reproductive rights, access to healthy food, good education, a fair justice system, voting rights, housing, etc. All of this costs money and Republicans constantly block legislation that would make this country a more equitable and loving place to live, then blame Democrats for not getting things done.

If we would sit down together and really dig into the weeds on these things, I hope there would be common ground on these issues. There is always nuance and often we don’t stop to contemplate the depth of an issue. My biggest hope is that we will find ways to hear each other and understand our differences.

Someone wants us divided. Let’s together find out who and why.

Sarah Bellinson

Hood River

Support school board

My husband and I have lived in Hood River for 20 years and have raised three kids in Hood River County schools. I have been an active parent and volunteer for all of these years with the district. I consider many of the teachers, support staff and administrators to be personal friends.

The members of the current school board, elected volunteers, many of whom work full time jobs, do so to help each child in this community get the best education possible. Though everyone doesn’t agree on each issue, the school board meets twice a month to work together. Though not required, they allow a 30 minute public forum so that people may give input on issues.

It has usually been a civil process. I am horrified by the behavior at recent meetings where members of the public are using the forum to berate and intimidate school board members about political issues that will not be solved at a school board meeting. It is disrespectful and unproductive.

I support the school board taking any actions they feel necessary to get back to the business of running our school district in these already stressful times.

Theo Parkinson

Hood River


If healthy people won’t get an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine because they don’t trust science or the medical establishment, then they should also sign an affidavit stating that they have refused the vaccine and will not seek care from medical professionals if they get COVID-19.

People shouldn’t be able to badmouth medical science one minute and then hypocritically demand that it save their lives the next. Now that hospitals are overloaded, largely with people who have refused to be immunized, the vaccine naysayers’ choices are affecting everyone. It’s not just “your personal choice” if your subsequent COVID-19 hospitalization means a cancer patient’s surgery must be delayed or a heart attack victim is turned away.

When people choose to sneer at science instead of getting the free vaccine, it’s bizarre that the same people suddenly feel entitled to exhaust our hospitals’ resources if they catch COVID.

If you don’t want the vaccine because you’d rather listen to Facebook rumors instead of following your doctor’s advice regarding the vaccine, please do us all a favor: Stay home and don’t go to the hospital if you get COVID-19. After all, you know more than all those doctors, right?

Julie Hatfield

Hood River

America the angry

Are you angry because the government is handing out money to everyone but you? Do you feel powerless because those communist Democrats want to increase taxes and balloon the national debt? They lost the last election anyway — shouldn’t we take up arms to protect America by forcing the true outcome of the election?

Who are those people who want free healthcare, free college and more? How can America afford to throw away trillions on expensive clean energy and helping the unemployable?

Are you angry about those religious fanatics who hate Blacks and want whack-jobs to have guns? They stormed the U.S. capitol to interrupt our election processes — that’s an armed insurrection, so they should all go to jail, including their con-man leader.

I heard on the news that most of us are frustrated and they agree with me. What is going on?

Hmm. To what degree are our divisions, friction and chaos manufactured? Pandemics, unemployment and unrest are bad for business, so who is pushing this chaos? What about billionaires pulling their puppet strings in Congress? They got a trillion dollars from the first pandemic stimulus bill — but why do they need more money? To joy-ride into space? Their investments never “trickle down” to me.

Wait, what about the news media? Why do different news sources profess wildly different stories? They need news and the crazier the news, the more people read it. Are they just “conflict entrepreneurs” who thrive on continuous conflict? Social media use your attention to sell more advertisements. Do they purposely amplify debates to maximize attention?

If that’s true, then am I living in a manufactured media bubble of half-truths or worse? Who’s trying to lure me into their bubble? Is it really that complicated? How do I know who to believe? Am I angry at the right people? What if I’m wrong?

Anger is not good for the body, mind, or spirit. October is Gorge Happiness Month! Check out the daily habits and the educational sessions. A few good habits can quickly improve your happiness. And your perspectives.

Eric Strid

White Salmon

Unsafe photograph

“Yikes,” I said out loud when I saw the cover photo in the Columbia Gorge News October Home and Garden, Welcome Fall issue showing a person sitting on a blanket looking at the beautiful view of the Rowena Loops. Sitting on the wrong side of the wall. Did they not know the risks they were taking, I wondered? One slip of 12 inches and goodbye life, as their body would hurl 150 feet over the cliff. Too dramatic? I don’t think so.

When I checked the Overlook site that I’ve taken many photos from, there are no warning signs to not climb over the wall. I’m sure Oregon State Parks felt the wall would be enough of a deterrent …that’s an error on their part as evidenced by the photo. As a climber in my early years, I noticed there was no visible security belay rope on the model for safety. I’m sure the photographer gave instructions to the model to be careful; however, humans do make miss-steps and slips.

As a professional photographer, I’m often amazed at the risks people take to get that fantastic photo. To wit, people photographing buffalo 20-feet away in Yellowstone.

The photo sets an example that it’s OK for others to do the same thing. What about children who imitate adults and like to take risks. I hate to think of children on that narrow ledge.

Please state that this photo should not be imitated by anyone. It’s dangerous. Search and Rescue crews have too many times had to do a recovery operation of bodies that were the result of this type of dangerous behavior.

Jurgen Hess

Hood River

Trade secret

So Google wants to expand its facilities in The Dalles. The additional operations will require additional water, which will come from the city’s finite and diminishing water supply. But Google is unwilling to let residents of The Dalles know how much water it proposes to take, and officials who purport to represent residents of The Dalles have signed a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting them from revealing how much water Google plans to use.

At its heart, Google is not here to serve the interests of residents of The Dalles or the public good. It exists to make money, whether doing so is in the public’s interest — or not. If Google is unwilling to disclose critical information regarding its use of resources, it seems safe to assume that Google’s new plant is something an informed public wouldn’t want — why else really would Google be so resistant to letting the public know basic information needed to weigh the benefits and detriments of its proposal?

In the West, water is our most valuable essential resource. Any agreement regarding water will impact not only present residents, but future residents as well. If officials make a secret pact with Google, will residents of The Dalles ever know how much of this essential resource the company is using? Or will that information remain a closely guarded “trade secret” which residents are never allowed to know?

How will residents be able to determine whether the revenue generated offsets the value of the water that Google takes? How will residents know whether the decision is truly in the interest of local residents? Is the public really willing to let officials make such critical decisions in secret, on faith?

We elect officials to represent us and to make decisions in our interest. But we can only know if that’s happening if officials act openly and disclose the agreements they make. Residents of The Dalles would be crazy to allow a small handful of people make a secret agreement regarding its water, which residents are not permitted to know, but which will affect them now and their children in perpetuity.

Anne Morrison

La Grande

Why offensive?

I don’t get what is so offensive about a mandate to get vaccinated and wear a mask. There are all sorts of things we do because they are mandated, like wearing a seat belt, a bike helmet; being tested for TB and getting a Hep B shot in order to work in a hospital; getting a Yellow Fever shot in order to enter certain countries; buying auto insurance and on and on. As long as COVID-19 can continue getting into bodies, where it can replicate and mutate, it will be around for a very long time. So for heaven’s sake people, stop the anti-mask nonsense; get vaccinated and wear the darn mask.

Janet Holen

White Salmon

Dempsey support

I am writing in support of Pat Dempsey for White Salmon School Board member. My husband Jerry and I worked along side Pat in the 1980s and had the honor of teaching her son. I worked with Pat at Whitson on many committees and curriculum focus group, and was always appreciative of her curious mind, focus and deeply rooted pursuit of research and facts on every issue we pursued.

Pat has a measured approach to curriculum and instruction and she listens well. Her knowledge base and fairness are respected by all who work with her.

In 2013, Jerry and I relocated back to White Salmon where he was the director of curriculum and professional development. He shared an office with Pat and also shared her belief in equity for all White Salmon students. Her understanding of grants and the data to support them, and her ability to work on problems as a team enriched his professional life. Pat has a depth of knowledge and sharp wit. She is able to navigate change, while keeping a calm focus on the topic at hand, not personalities. She is versed in WSVSD’s journey and growth in educational improvement over the past 30 years.

I value her continued commitment to her community As we all face the new definitions of instruction and the ever-changing demands of delivering curriculum to all in creative ways, Pat’s wealth of knowledge and work ethic are such a fabulous resource for this community, She would bring so much ability and dedication to this position. I endorse her without hesitation.

Jan Miller, retired educator

Missoula, Mont.

Intolerable nonsense

I am not known for my genteel tolerance of nonsense. After reading about the several incidents at school board meetings and some personal experiences, I want to remind everyone that the Constitution does not give anyone blanket immunity to be a jackass! Words and actions have consequences. I always accept full responsibility for mine. Generally, I find that I am willing to express publicly what lots of others are thinking.

With that being said, I think I know the source of our labor shortage. There is a proliferation of Constitutional Scholars and Epidemiologists in America today. All the Googling and Facebooking, not to mention the protesting, it’s a wonder the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers have time for a job, let alone time to wipe their noses or their butts.

Please, for the love of humanity — get off the internet! You are being manipulated into believing lies and disinformation. You are being the sheeple! Instead of this disruptive nonsense, do something that benefits your communities. Like getting vaccinated!

I believe it’s time for the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers to stay home; they need to stop wandering around being disease vectors for the next variant. Let the rest of the responsible Americans get on with their lives. If they cannot be responsible citizens, then they have no business participating in civil society. They are not freedom fighters. They are behaving like spoiled toddlers and should be treated accordingly.

I am especially saddened and disheartened by the number of healthcare professionals, not the alternative type but doctors and nurses, people who should know better, that are continuing to resist vaccination. Shame on them that they would rather distress their communities than get a shot! Many of them vow to quit their jobs, leaving their communities vulnerable. This problem includes emergency responders, firefighters and police officers. It’s this appalling lack of concern for others that is especially frightening.

The Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to be walking, talking petri dishes. If you don’t want a shot or wear mask— stay home!

Debra Lutje

The Dalles

Draft outrage

I am writing today to express my outrage at the way the proposed expansion of the draft to women is being implemented. While I am totally in support of women’s ability to choose the military — the fact that this is being tucked into a deal without the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) being ratified is wholly unacceptable.

At one point, female draft was cited as a major reason some people opposed the ERA and now it is on the table as an option without any constitutional guarantee of equal legal rights for all.

This is not an argument of mothers’ and daughters’ abilities, willingness or patriotism. It is just another incarnation of a taxation without representation.

We really don’t need more lists of young people of any sex or gender as a resource to bleed for greed.

In addition to the USA having a disturbing history of sacrificing human life in wasteful ways under dishonest pretenses, maintaining the Selective Service is incredibly expensive. This move to exploit more of the living resources in our population is thinly disguised under a hollow banner of equality and national security.

Instead of expanding the ability to draft we should be moving towards eliminating it all together.

Please consider supporting Sen. Ron Wyden by supporting the bipartisan bill H.R.2509 — Selective Service Repeal Act.

As Rep. DeFazio stated, “The military draft registration system is an unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy which unconstitutionally violates Americans’ civil liberties and unfairly subjects individuals who fail to register for the draft to unnecessarily severe, lifelong penalties — penalties which disproportionately affect low-income Americans.”

Kelsi Stahl


Freedom’s quest

The successful quest for freedom in America depended on vaccinations and self-sacrifice.

In 1777, a smallpox outbreak was crippling George Washington’s army and its effort to defeat the British. Washington was wise enough to order smallpox vaccinations for his suffering, depleted troops. He issued his vaccination mandate despite the fact that vaccines were new and little-tested in those days.

Washington’s strategy worked. His troops complied with his order, smallpox cases plummeted and Washington’s reinvigorated army consequently was able to press onward with its campaign. As a result, a new and independent nation was born.

How times have changed. Now many Americans equate freedom with entitlement to carry out their personal agendas — not with any need for self-sacrifice for the common good.

Relative to the sacrifices made by those who established and preserved the freedom of our country, the sacrifices of wearing a mask in public places or getting a vaccination to reduce the spread of a deadly disease are minuscule, indeed.

Those who desire freedom should look inward before launching campaigns of vitriol or even violence directed at others who are making personal sacrifices while trying their best to work for the common good.

Is freedom really just about you and what you desire right now? Or does freedom have a larger meaning — a meaning that would be recognizable to the likes of George Washington and his troops?

Richard Iverson

Hood River

Political mess

This political mess is beyond disgusting it is becoming immoral. Attacking opposing party members for being stupid is predictably boring.

The amusing part of it all is that you both refuse to admit how dishonest it is. Both sides use made up material to promote their agenda. This is all about perfecting the art of deception. The best deceiver controls America?

One side has taken on the word science as their defense. Using the word science is completely different than recognizing true science. Trendy (Democrat) science and true science are not the same. There is a difference.

The other side has enlisted the Bible to declare their rules of life. The (Republican) Bible is very different than “The Hebrew Scriptures.” The Bible is a book that is never read by the religious party member. All the beliefs they use as weapons are made up material.

“The Hebrew Scriptures” is a set of books that is used by a brotherhood of men and women around the world to educate and enlighten the mind to the truths of life. There is a difference.

Both political camps are established on lies. One uses a book (the closed Bible) to claim where they stand and how they want everyone else to stand. How can they make this claim if they refuse to read it, discuss it or examine its contents?

The other demands that “science” decides how the world should live. Their science is evolution. Like the other group, this also is made up material not science. By evolution they stand or die. How does one stand upon evolution when you will not discuss it, study it or examine it? The two groups are identical. You are throwing rocks at one another made from stinking dirty slime. Can you not smell it yet?

I know these two groups. I have tried for 40 years to ask individuals from these two groups a question. Their response is instant frustration, anger and hostility not an answer. Asking questions begins the search for truth. Answered questions reveal “the truth.”

I know truth for I will answer your questions.

Gary Fischer

The Dalles

Board support

The Hood River Valley School District School Board were elected by a majority of the electorate of Hood River. They are doing an amazing job in tough times, and those of the majority who voted them in should now show our support.

Chair Reitz is an excellent chair — professional, calm and educated on the role of the board. The board also are educated on the role of the board.

I support you 100%.

Cindy Walbridge

Hood River

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