Letters to the Editor - Nov. 28, 2014: Sept. 30, 2016

Don’t disturb Fox Ridge

For years many of us have enjoyed and valued Fox Ridge Road as a mile-long escape from urban stress. It’s a winding country road with wild turkey and deer crossings; a safe area, unhampered by busy traffic, for children training for cross country, walkers with their dogs, bicycle riders and senior citizens — weekly tours from local convalescent homes provide much anticipated relief from indoor confinement.

Now it appears that the Yamhill County Planning Commission is considering a request from a private heavy equipment excavating company to operate a business from a barn on exclusive farm use property located midway up this quiet road. We do not need to be worrying about daily heavy truck traffic in this residential neighborhood. This is unaccetable. 

Please attend the planning commission meeting on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. in room 32 of the courthouse, 535 E. Fifth Street in McMinnville, and give us your support. This is our town and our people count.

Joan Leonard



He cares for kids

Ken Moore is running to be our state representative, and I firmly believe he deserves your vote.

My wife, Liz, and I have known Ken for 25 years. Ken’s three children (now successful adults) were students of Liz’s music program at Yamhill-Carlton High School. Ken is a passionate believer that our success as a community rests on the energy, effort and smart decisions we make about the education of our community’s children.

In a world where too many people talk about education but do nothing to help, Moore has sat face-to-face with students as a Junior Achievement instructor and ASPIRE volunteer, helping teens develop skills and chart the direction of their educational and professional futures.

Moore supports healthy families — the all-important starting point of education. He believes that kids who get a good early start excel, and he knows that fewer kids in a classroom (especially in early grades) make it possible for good teachers to do their jobs better.

He is also an advocate for the return of career-technical education programs, so our schools are graduating students with the knowledge and skills to do the work that our local employers need.

At the core of education are real people -- parents and teachers working together to raise successful kids. Ken has talked to thousands of families across our district about their concerns and aspirations for their children. He will work to make sure that the state of Oregon supports our kids at a level that will ensure a bright future for all of us.

Peter Crockett



His record’s strong

It has been my privilege to know and work with Ron Noble as the chief of police in McMinnville.

We worked together for eight years to provide a high level of public safety to our McMinnville community. As chief, he showed leadership within his department, he worked hard to partner with fellow department heads and the city council, and he had a willingness to further educate himself in law enforcement.

We benefited from those traits and his strong sense of community. I’m excited to voice my support for Ron as he is running for State Representative. He is uniquely qualified to serve our community as state representative as one who understands the needs of people, who has shown a number of years of listening to citizens’ concerns and also as someone who has a record of solving problems.

I’m impressed with his honesty, integrity and leadership. Having worked at the city level, he understands how a smaller and effective government works and can bring that knowledge and experience to Salem. We need a man who will listen to our needs and represent us with a strong, committed, passionate and positive voice.

Scott Hill



Mercury vote applauded

I commend the Yamhill Community Care Organization for its unanimous vote to disclose an important policy of the Oregon Health Plan found in the state’s Medicaid program.

The Oregon Health Plan opened up its dental care policy to mercury-free dentistry, but appears to have told no one.

It is not uncommon for decisions made in Salem to stay in Salem, so we in Yamhill County must take additional steps to make sure that new state policies are known to and benefit the public.

Although it is composed 50 percent of mercury, dental amalgam was once the mainstay of dentistry.  No longer.  Technological improvements over the past decade have made nonpolluting, tooth-colored, minimally invasive alternatives available to all consumers.

Medicaid stayed stuck in the old system for too many years. Dentistry evolved such that roughly half of Oregon dentists no longer even offer amalgam, so certain are they that the alternatives are a more prudent option for patients.

Then along came the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which mandates every nation signatory (the United States signed it in 2013) start reducing the use of amalgam for environmental reasons.

YCCO’s board of directors has done its job, voting to tell Yamhill County families on Medicaid that they have the choice of mercury-free dentistry.

Now we will work with the staff and our community’s dentists to implement this important disclosure. 

Mary Starrett

Yamhill County Board of Commissioners


Democrat too partisan

I can’t remember another secretary of state race in Oregon where the two candidates were so far apart.

Brad Avakian is the commissioner of Labor and Industry and has gained notoriety for fining the Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham $135,000 because the owners wouldn’t bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

He not only imposed this staggering fine on a mom-and-pop business, but imposed a gag order on them to keep them from talking about the case. Avakian’s brutal treatment of this small business gives us a clue as to how he will operate if elected.

I attended a local forum before the primary election to hear the candidates speak.  Avakian’s main concern seemed to be how he could get the vagrants and street people to vote.  Currently you need an address to vote in Oregon, but he said this would be something to work on if he wins.

Dennis Richardson, on the other hand, has served six terms as a respected member of the House of Representatives. In his second term, he was elected by a unanimous vote of both Republicans and Democrats as speaker pro-tem. He has a deep respect for the law whether he personally agrees with it or not.

After Oregon’s one-man/one-woman marriage law was overturned by the courts, Richardson was asked what he would say to a newly married gay couple, and he replied, “I would say, ‘Congratulations.’”

Brad Avakian is emphasizing social issues such as abortion and  environmental rights and other social issues that are definitely not parts of the job.

Richardson has emphasized that if he is elected, he would audit  branches of state government to ensure our money is being spent as  authorized.  This is a legitimate secretary of state function that we sorely need.

Craig H. Pubols



Other trail an example

Thought I might add something to the discussion of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail consideration, based on my experience with the completion of the Banks-Vernonia Trail that runs between the two cities.

It was the first rail-trail in Oregon, the rail-trail concept being some 30 years old and using the rail bank concept whereby railroad right of way that is no longer needed is not abandoned, but rather “banked” for long-term interim use by an entity other than a railroad.

The B-V Trail started sometime around 1990 and made use of level railroad right of way and bridge trestles for the 21 miles between Banks and Vernonia.

A number of businesses exist in Banks and Vernonia  that would probably not exist in the same form if the trail did not exist.  The trail is a long-term entity, and economic development is essentially long-term as well.

While some Yamhelas Westsider Trail  proponents hope for rapid economic development, and some even envision quick results from having a trail nearby, slow and steady is generally the name of the game when enhancing economic development.

My advice to anyone contemplating the Yamhelas Westsider Trail concept is to join the discussion and become part of the large group of citizens working to enhance our community through quality infrastructure.

It has been estimated that infrastructure is fully 85 percent of economic development in any local government.  I hope everyone can join the effort for the long haul and remember that the longest journey starts with but one step, followed by many after that.

Jim Hough



Nuclear fantasy

Kathy Beckwith is living in a fantasy world of a lamb living in peace with three wolves and a coyote in her Sept. 16 letter.

The wolves (China, Russia and Islam) are battling to see who gets to eat the lamb, with North Korea yapping around the edge for the scraps.  The wolves break all their agreements, and the lamb destroys its ability to resist and meekly waits to see which wolf wins.

The lamb has currently given the edge to Islam.

Elmer M. Werth

Grand Ronde


Trail gains support

I began volunteering with the Friends of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail a few years ago because I’m concerned about the safety of bicyclists on Yamhill County roads.

I’m also excited about creating a connection between the communities along the path of the proposed trail, particularly Yamhill and Carlton, with their shared school district and other shared youth and family resources.

In the last three years, dedicated volunteers have staffed trail information booths at more than 30 local festivals, farmers markets and other community events. We have hosted seven public forums and open houses in the cities of Gaston, Yamhill, Carlton and McMinnville.

For the three largest of these events, invitations were mailed to all landowners adjacent to the trail using data obtained from the county assessor’s office. On numerous other occasions, board members of the Friends and county officials have met with individual property owners to address their concerns.

While raising awareness hasn’t been easy for our group, at our booths we’ve seen an amazing increase in the number of visitors enthusiastically familiar with this project. The excitement for this trail is spanning a broad range of ages and abilities.

Linda Cline



Trail important

Some opposed the Yamhelas Westsider trail at a recent public hearing have been making some pretty ugly insinuations about Commissioner Stan Primozich and his support for the trail.

I was Stan’s opponent in the last campaign.  I followed all of his public statements very closely during the campaign.  I do not believe that Stan changed his position on the issue.  It seemed to me that he expressed support for the trail in every public debate where the matter came up, once he had familiarized himself with it. And why not? Yamhill County needs more biking, walking and horse trails.  The first phase of the Yamhelas Westsider trail will connect Yamhill to Carlton,which, in addition to providing a great recreational opportunity for local residents, will be a nice boost for businesses in both communities.  More importantly, it will start getting bikes off Highway 47.   Anyone who has driven on our county roads knows that there is a serious safety issue with bikes on some of those roads.  That is especially true of Highway 47, which is too narrow for bikes to safely share space with cars, never mind with farming and logging trucks.

We have had at least two fatalities involving bicyclists and heavy farming or logging trucks on local roads in the last few years.  I know a local woman who was run off the road a few years ago and left injured in a ditch by a truck driver who probably never saw her.

The public transportation easement on the proposed route for that trail dates back more than a century. If we do not use these easements, they will eventually be lost and it will make it much harder in future years to develop some of the basic infrastructure that we need in our county.  We have already lost similar easements in the west valley.

I hope that opponents from the handful of neighboring properties that have legitimate objections will sit down with the proponents of the trail and figure out ways to mitigate whatever impacts may exist so that we can get some of these bikes off the roads and start giving Yamhill County residents more and better recreational opportunities than we have today.

Sal Peralta



Life before death?

It seems like there is always some special observance around the corner.

There is even a World Day for Farmed Animals. It’s observed fittingly on Oct. 2 (Mohandas Gandhi’s birthday). It’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food around the world.

Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, laying hens crowded into small wire cages, injured pigs killed by slamming their heads against the concrete floor and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.

As theologians debate whether there is life after death, I wondered whether these animals have a life before death and why I should subsidize these barbaric practices.

I wonder no more. I have now embraced a plant-based diet — green and yellow veggies, legumes, fruits, nuts and some grains. Occasionally, I indulge in nut-based cheese or ice cream. Although I was motivated by compassion for animals, I have since learned that my diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

Milo Nakamura



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