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Letters from readers

Clearly not just a neighborhood argument

The sad thing about this entire situation (See “Severed cattle heads concern Warren residents,” Jan. 31) is that the dead heads appear to be in retaliation for an elderly neighbor objecting to construction equipment — gravel piles, dump trucks, trailers, etc. — being stored on property clearly designated as “agricultural only.”

These heads, which were simply “put out for drying,” could just as easily have been put behind the wooden fence and not put on display to punish the “crappy” neighbors.

This clearly is not just a neighborhood argument.

Colleen DeShazer is on the board of the Port of St. Helens. This type of mentality is what is directing monumental decisions in our county and, frankly, that scares the hell out of me. I have no intention of getting out of the county as I have so aptly been invited to do by Ms. DeShazer.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

New country yard art

Regarding the article on Carleen DeShazer’s practice of hanging severed cattle heads on her fenceposts: This may in fact be a new form of “country-style” yard art. City folks may favor their plastic gnomes and pink flamingoes, but passersby of her property can be treated to a new dead-head fencepost gallery, especially if she chooses to add additional farm animals to the menagerie.

Marlane McInnis

Scappoose

Not buying the jail tale

A few years ago, the people of Columbia County agreed to be taxed in order to establish a hospital in the St. Helens area. To my knowledge, the county folks received nothing in return for their investment.

I read that, when the newly elected Columbia Health District board took office to finally shut off the flow of taxpayer funds and return the money to the taxpayers, the paper trail had disappeared. Even the auditor was unable to get supporting documentation to perform a decent audit of the 2010-2011 records.

Although they were asked to get involved, none of our elected county officials were willing to force the issue to establish whether the funds were even managed responsibly. They didn’t bother to respond to my request and I’ve never heard any of them explain their lack of action.

I thought certainly someone at the county level would jump on this issue, but no. In fact, if memory serves, we were told the remaining county funds collected were to be given to the city of St Helens.

Now the county wants more money and these same county commissioners are the ones asking for more money. The people have spoken many times on this jail funding issue and the heightened level of drama isn’t going to change my mind. Our commissioners might consider asking the city of St. Helens for the county funds to be returned and use it to remodel the jail in the basement of the county courthouse.

By the way, what is the cost to the county for all these special elections? Another prudent use of taxpayer funds?

Nancy Reed

Scappoose

[Editor’s note: The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is not currently pursuing an operating levy for the Columbia County Jail. Several residents concerned about a possible jail closure are gathering signatures to place an operating levy on the May ballot. Columbia County Commisioner Earl Fisher indicated the commissioners would be interested to place a levy initiative on the ballot if a significant showing of public support occurred via the signature-gathering campaign.]

Service significance

In the January 2014 State of the Union address, there was an honorable soldier attending as a guest of the present administration — he was recognized by the Commander in Chief of all U.S. Armed Forces and a standing ovation ensued for this soldier’s devotion and service to this nation.

The next day, while listening to political commentary and watching the clip, I had a thought that led to further investigation. The result: the three leaders on the podium have a total of eight weeks military service — that being in the defense of this nation while in uniform.

I was born in August 1949. The following are, and were, presidents of the United States of America since I was born:

Harry S. Truman (D) — 1945-53 — U.S. Army — WWI veteran

Dwight D Eisenhower (R) — 1953-61 — U.S. Army — WWII veteran

John F. Kennedy (D) —1961-63 — U.S. Navy — WWII veteran

Lyndon B. Johnson (D) — 1963-69 — U.S. Navy — WWII veteran

Richard Nixon (R) — 1969-74 — U.S. Navy — WWII veteran

Gerald Ford (R) — 1974-77 — U.S. Navy — WWII veteran

Jimmy Carter (D) — 1977-81 — U.S. Navy — 1943-53

Ronald Regan (R) —1981-89 — U.S. Army — 1937-45

George H. W. Bush (R) — 1989-93 — U.S. Navy — WWII veteran

William Clinton (D) —1993-01 (no military service)

George W. Bush (R) — 2001-09 — Texas Air Guard —1968-74

Barack Obama (D) — 2009-17 (no military service)

I am not naíve enough to disregard the fact that this country has vastly changed politically, socially and economically over the last 64 years. Expectations and standards were different over that span of time. These individuals — presidents — came from different political, social and economic aspects of the American life. But I think they learned from their military service with the purpose to work together as a unit and “to protect and defend the people of the United States of America.” They carried that with them into their civilian lives as politicians. They had learned that, in times of crisis, to put aside personal ambitions, personal bickering and “that there is no I in team” to address the issues of the time, and work together as a unit for solutions to the benefit of all the people of America.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

David E. Teuscher

Rainier

[Editor’s note: The six presidents prior to Harry S. Truman — (from earliest to most recent) Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt — did not formally serve in the military. Some did serve in assistant capacities, however. Also of interest, the nation’s second president, John Adams, did not formally serve in the military.]

There is help for jobseekers

I would like to let everyone know there is a wonderful community service in Columbia County now in its third year of successfully guiding people through the work search process.

Among those who have been helped with their explorations are: folks laid off from jobs; those returning to work after long absences; displaced homemakers; others who are working part time but want full time; and some who want to change careers. We also have helped retirees who find themselves wanting/needing to go back to work or who are looking for volunteer opportunities.

Participants have been finding jobs after attending sessions on topics such as: telephone interviews; staying motivated; finding those “hidden” jobs; dealing with rejection; networking for introverts; dealing with age issues; finding career direction; and other subjects as requested.

The Job Search Group is open to the general public and is offered free of charge. We have established positive working relationships with local resources and combine efforts by making mutual referrals.

If this sounds like a resource that could help you or someone you know please consider this an invitation to come and check us out. Sometimes a group can give a person more strength than he/she has as an individual.

We meet on Tuesdays from 10-11am in Room 201 at Warren Community Fellowship, 56523 Columbia River Highway, Warren, OR 97053.

Cynthia Dailey-Hewkin

St. Helens

Food bank support

On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and agencies of the Columbia Pacific Food Bank, I would like to thank the many individuals, organizations, local governments and businesses who supported us during the past year with financial and food donations.

Your support is greatly appreciated.

Our mission is to alleviate hunger by creating access to healthy food and resources.

We serve as the distribution point for more than 20 partner agencies in Columbia County.

In St. Helens, your donations benefitted the H.E.L.P. emergency food pantry, the St. Helens Senior Center, Community Meals and Brown Bag programs. In Scappoose, it aided the St. Vincent DePaul emergency food pantry, Scappoose Senior Center and the Scappoose Foursquare Church emergency food pantry.

Our projection for 2014 is that there will be an increased need for our services due to federal program reductions and other factors. With your continued support, we will be able to not only feed those in need, but also connect them with resources that will help lift them from their current situation.

Again, thank you for your support.

Casey Wheeler

Executive Director

Columbia Pacific Food Bank

The only thing we have to fear is...

Now the Democrats want to suspend rail shipments of oil.

OK, I got it: Because of a derailment in Canada, where 42 people died and five more are presumed dead — of course a pipeline would have solved the risk — out of fear we must stop shipments in Columbia County.

Out of fear of destroying the environment, a natural gas pipeline was stopped in Clatsop County. Out of fear of killing salmon we must stop coal trains — which have been operating for more than 100 years and no species have become extinct because of the trains.

Because of a ferry capsizing in India, then, must we close down the Westport ferry? Because planes crash, then out of fear must we close the Scappoose airport?

Because of fear that we may have an earthquake, should we then ban any structure over one story tall? Because of fear there may be another volcanic eruption, should we ban people from going to the mountains?

There was a day in America when we believed we could do things. Now, out of irrational fear, we believe we can’t do anything if there is even a smidgen of risk. It’s sad commentary and it does not bode well for any sustainable industry and economy.

So, what we really need to protect ourselves from is — fear. Fear is what kills innovation and positive risk-taking and from just doing the right thing in the face of fearful naysayers.

Dick Magnuson

Scappoose