Letters to the Editor: April 28, 2017

Remembering a hero

My wife Carol and I recently saw the movie version of “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” a book she had read for a book club.

It is a superb drama about the horrifying reality the Nazis (Germans, really) brought to the Polish people and others in the attack on Poland in September, 1939. Jessica Chastain is superb in the role of the wife, Antonia Zabinski. But the movie seems not to have received the kinds of reviews it should. One wonders what someone like the late McMinnville resident John Jankowski would have thought of the film. He was the longtime owner of the Safari Motel and a former sergeant in the Polish army. John was captured first by the Soviets and put into a prisoner of war camp, then by the Germans when they savagely attacked Poland two days after his birthday.

After spending those long, horrible years avoiding death, John made it out of Europe to Canada and then to the United States. It was a remarkable story of fortitude by a remarkable man. I like to think that John would be pleased with the movie as it honors those of his native country who resisted tyranny and hatred, enabling people to survive who otherwise were destined for destruction. To those who are John’s progeny, know that he made a difference to many lives, including mine when he hired me to a part-time position at the restaurant. The job enabled me to earn additional money that my wife and I, as a young couple, needed to help her complete her economics degree.

I’ll always be grateful to him for this and will remember him with fondness for being the kind of person one aspires to be.

Scott Phoenix



High time for facts

The New-Register reported April 21 that neighbors of a marijuana farmer are opposing his application to process marijuana flowers into value-added products on his farm.

The opponents’ fears described in the article were not grounded in the facts, laws and regulations surrounding this burgeoning sector of Oregon agriculture. Neighbors need not fear that a marijuana farm will grow overwhelmingly huge. Oregon recreational marijuana is tightly regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which places a limit on potential farm size. An OLCC-licensed marijuana producer cannot cultivate more than an acre of outdoor-grown marijuana.
There is also no reason to think that being adjacent to a marijuana farm would jeopardize a vineyard’s biodynamic certification. In fact, Demeter offers biodynamic certification to marijuana farms in states where it is legal to grow the crop.

Additionally, OLCC-licensed producers, processors and retailers can only employ workers or volunteers who have obtained their Marijuana Worker Permit, which involves a criminal background check as well as a knowledge test of Oregon’s marijuana laws.

Now that marijuana is legal in Oregon, all parts of its production and processing must meet professional health and safety standards, and the OLCC closely monitors all its licensees to ensure they are compliant with every relevant law and regulation.

New things can be scary, especially with a product that has been maligned for decades in the United States. I also know that many people still don’t understand exactly how the marijuana regulations work.

I urge the News-Register to do what it can in all its coverage of the new industry to be mindful of facts so that its readership can replace prejudice with real knowledge.

Katie Kulla



Farmland shouldn’t go to pot

I strongly oppose the marijuana growing and processing facility proposed by Richard Wagner on Southwest Dusty Drive.

The most reasonable action is to rescind the approval to process marijuana on the property until the county is able to formulate appropriate safety, security and health measures.

It’s interesting that Wagner tried to start his operation elsewhere but ended up buying property in Yamhill County, the only county within 50 miles of Portland that does not have specific zoning and planning regulations for growing and processing marijuana.

Processing marijuana in an exclusive farm-use area was never contemplated when the zone was created. It is a highly dangerous, environmentally unfriendly, energy consuming and potentially polluting activity that belongs in manufacturing zones with strict fire, waste, security and safety controls.

Endangering rural residents, lowering their property values and causing potential untold damage to the county’s important grape and nut industries for one man’s profit seems like a very bad bet for the county.

Tom Vail



Let ICE do its job

With their bill to ban ICE agents from detaining illegal aliens at local courthouses, U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer show much more concern about the well-being of foreign citizens than of U.S. citizens.

They seem to think there’s something morally wrong and evil about enforcing immigration laws. They obsess about the poor illegal aliens and ignore costs to citizenry and quality of life in the United States. They claim to support a healthful natural environment, but vote for amnesties and increases in immigration, even though excessive immigration is the reason the United States is overpopulated, causing environmental degradation.

Immigration laws exist to protect the safety and well-being of citizens, and if these laws are not respected and enforced, the United States could swiftly be subsumed by the nearly 700 million people around the world who would like to emigrate. Amnesties and benefits to illegal aliens are harmful to citizens and to the nation. Legislators who don’t understand this or don’t care should not be holding office.

Aspiring immigrants can work to improve their own countries instead of fleeing them. The United States has been giving generous financial aid and technical assistance to poor countries continuously for more than 50 years. They need to do more to help themselves.

The U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (headed by revered former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan) concluded in a 1994 report: “The credibility of immigration policy can be measured by a simple yardstick. People who should get in do get in. People who should not get in are kept out. And people who are judged deportable are required to leave.”

Elizabeth Van Staaveren



The voice of experience

The school board election taking place during the next two weeks is critical to our students, teachers and school personnel.

In McMinnville, there is a candidate that the editors of the News-Register claimed did not have enough experience to serve on the school board. I beg to differ with them.

What better experience is there than to have gone through the school system for which one is hoping to serve? Not so long ago, Zach Dotson was a student at Memorial Elementary, Patton Middle School and McMinnville High School. Due to a challenging family life, Zach struggled throughout his school career, yet he persevered and obtained his GED from Chemeketa Community College.

Zach is an example of students in our school system who do not thrive in the traditional setting but have the aptitude,the courage and the determination to do whatever it takes to succeed. For a 23-year old, his knowledge, fortitude, wisdom and passion never cease to amaze me.

I have had the privilege to work with him over the past year and a half in a number of capacities. He serves on the boards of Community Rights, Action Together Oregon and Zero Waste. He even spearheaded a new organization, YC CAN (Yamhill County CommunityAdvocacy Network), which recently folded into the Yamhill Valley Chapter of Action Together Oregon.

He has engaged with Unidos Bridging Community and hopes to learn more from our Latino population. Zach has some very innovative ideas to help students succeed in the public-school system and is anxious to connect with all students and staff throughout the district.

His voice will be their voice.

Liz Marlia-Stein



Consider his résumé

Carson Benner has worked effectively with the McMinnville School District for more than 15 years. He brings excellent credentials to this position.

Carson was appointed to the school board last June. Since then, he has worked to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to succeed. Before his appointment to the board, Carson served many years on the McMinnville School District’s budget committee, and McMinnville Education Foundation’s board, as well as the Citizens for Good Education’s political action committee and the school district’s long-range facilities task force.

Beyond his public service, Carson is a good person. He is successful in business, committed to his family and to his community.

Jerry Hart



He cares for children

As a parent of a new child, I am increasingly interested in the long-term direction of our schools. Further, as a graduate of the McMinnville school system, I have a good idea on our past.

With this in mind, I eagerly and wholeheartedly support Carson Benner for school board. His commitment and hard work, day in and day out, to whatever he sets his mind to is unparalleled. This commitment is rivaled only by his passion for the education — both scholastic and vocational — of every single child in our community.

Carson has proven this time and again with his work on the McMinnville Education Foundation, school board’s long-range facilities task force, school board’s budget committee and his initial appointment to the school board.

Zack Geary




Elizabeth Van Staaveren - "Aspiring immigrants can work to improve their own countries instead of fleeing them."

Is that what your family did Ms. Van Staaveren?


There was nothing to improve in the Netherlands, a superior country.


Lulu - It wasn't so great in 1940.


That's funny Mudstump. In 1940 the collective known as the Axis didn't think the US was so great either!


Seabiscuit - What's your point? Sorry...I'm not getting it.

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable