Letters to the Editor: April 6, 2018

Need a better bus system

Friends of the Bus is perplexed by the administration of public transportation in Yamhill County.

The schedules are structured so the elderly, disabled and financially marginalized, who depend on the system for their independence, are ignored. This deprives them of access to groceries, pharmacies, banks and other vital elements of the outside world.

Customer feedback has documented the necessity of significant change in routes as well. This is particularly important for the 4,700 residents between Hill and Redmond Hill roads.

Routes to WinCo, Walmart, Albertsons, Roth’s and Bi-Mart are necessities. As a byproduct, that would mean more revenue for these local merchants.

First Transit has been given a two-year contract extension, but can’t recruit and retain drivers or maintain safe vehicles or routes. And it  refuses to provide a front door drop at the McMinnville Senior Center, even though it’s obvious dropping the elderly out on McDaniel isn’t going to work.

There are many other problems that need addressing as well, such as Dial-A-Ride.

Representatives of the county’s board of commissioners, transportation committee and transit district, please open your hearts and help us build a better transportation system for the residents of our fine community.

Martha O’Donnell



Keep it hands-on

While I commend the McMinnville School District’s efforts to provide pre-K classes to children in our community, I have to say, the district missed the mark on using developmentally appropriate practices.

As an early childhood educator for more than 30 years, I can tell you this: Young children do NOT learn best by filling out worksheets and undergoing testing.
It seemed the day was, in fact, peppered with some appropriate learning experiences. But an assessment process based on worksheets is not best practice for educating young children.

In a high-quality preschool, teachers collect work samples and use documented observation throughout the year to assess children’s growth and learning. The National Association for the Education of Young Children lists use of worksheets as a warning sign that the classroom may not be ideally set up for young children’s learning.

While I didn’t see the student-teacher ratio number, NAEYC recommends no more than 10-to-1 for optimal learning. That’s because children gain the most through hands-on experiences.

I think the district needs to rethink how young children learn best and implement optimal and appropriate environments allowing children to truly thrive in the educational setting.

Gayle Campbell



Sticking to nuts and grains

The April Fool’s Day we just celebrated should serve to remind us how the meat, egg and dairy industries play us for fools every day.

The meat industry has developed a whole dictionary designed to fool unwary consumers. The flesh of pigs is called “pork” or “bacon” to fool readers of Charlotte’s Web into eating it.

Killing of stunned animals for food is labeled “humane.” And cesspools of pig waste, spilling into our drinking water during hurricanes, are called “lagoons.”

The egg-laying industry is arguing with USDA over outdoor access for chickens laying organic eggs. But few seem to care that for each hen laying eggs, a male chick was ground up alive or suffocated in a plastic garbage bag because it doesn’t lay eggs. Or that laying hens themselves get to live less than one tenth of their natural lives.

Meanwhile, a number of states have enacted ag-gag laws that criminalize exposes of factory farm and slaughterhouse atrocities.

The meat, dairy, and egg industry’s days of fooling the public may be numbered, though. Many of us are seeing through the deception and replacing animal-based meat, milk, cheese and ice cream with kinder, healthier and more eco-friendly nut and grain-based products, widely available in supermarkets.

Melvin Nysser



Daffodil Fest always a hit

On March 24, some friends and I drove to Amity to attend the Daffodil Festival. This is the fourth year that I have attended.

I hope the community will continue to support this delightful and charming event. Along with looking through the variety of daffodils on display, I enjoyed the art submitted by young adults.

My mother had attended previous festivals with me, but could not this year because of her health. She is already looking forward to attending next year.
In the past, we would make a day of it by looking at the daffodils and the art, attending a talk by a plant breeder, purchasing some plants from local nurseries and enjoying a dinner hosted by the high school students. One year we also looked around Amity, sampling some wines and enjoying a pie from Blue Raeven.
This year, I was excited to see all the new shops in Amity. I purchased a couple of bunches of daffodils and picked up a Blue Raeven pie to take home and share with my mother.

If the community continues to host this charming festival, I will continue to make the trip.

Patrick McGee



Land of milk and honey

I am certain we all heard that a $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill was signed into law by our top contract negotiator, after which he hopped onto Air Force One to enjoy some recuperative time at his winter White House on the beach at Mar-a-Lago.

I was just completing my 2017 taxes, so was relieved to hear my tax payment was going to work for all those great projects. Let’s see, $760 billion and change for defense, $25 billion for a southern wall and the rest divvied up among all those other not-so-important projects, such as infrastructure improvement, opioid abuse prevention and a myriad others.

They were all included in a 2,000-page document that he so eloquently admitted neither he nor anyone else had read, even though he signed it into law. I wonder how much time was spent on how we’re going to pay for all this?

I’m certain about one thing: My tax share won’t get it done. Nor will it go to areas needing the most attention, such as affordable healthcare, DACA reform, education and other items most citizens feel are important in their lives.

Perhaps they are in a document yet to be read. Who knows?

Of course, as the great negotiator stated with strong conviction, “I will never sign another bill like this again.” In the meantime, Americans can begin using their historically enacted tax reform Christmas gift to cover increases in healthcare premiums, added gas taxes, higher prices for steel and aluminum products, such as automobiles, and debt repayment from this ridiculous spending bill.

At least we have the comfort of knowing we are building the most powerful weaponry, and stockpiling the biggest nuclear arsenal the world has ever seen. We can all sleep well knowing our tax dollars are at work!

Jim Frelka



Be an informed voter

Voters will be casting their ballots May 15 for two county commissioner seats. Voters who live in one of the county’s 10 cities may not take this election seriously, but they should.

Yamhill County has a 2018 budget of almost $137 million. The three commissioners make decisions regarding roads and bridges, fund the justice system and sheriff’s office, and make decisions that impact all of us — think the landfill and other zoning and land use issues.

Regrettably, there appear to be few opportunities for voters to learn about the candidates in time.

Incumbents Stan Primozich and Mary Starrett have websites, as does Primozich challenger Casey Kulla. Primozich challengers Jason Yates and Josh Rojas are using Facebook. Starrett challenger Chelsea Williams appears to be relying on a combination of YouTube and Facebook. Finally, Starrett challenger David Wall has a Gmail address listed in the Voter Guide.

One cautionary newsflash about YouTube and Facebook: Neither are entirely satisfactory venues. They can be fraught with problems.

As a conscientious voter, I like to assess the candidates in person, so I can ask direct questions. Therefore, I encourage all of the candidates to post schedules of public meetings, if they have them. I also encourage civic organizations to hold public forums where all the candidates can attend and discuss their positions.

Informed voting is the responsibility of every citizen. It is the commensurate responsibility of candidates to answer questions about themselves and their views in a public setting.

Margaret Cross



Save farmland for farming

I respect farmers seeking the freedom to do what they want with their own land. However, that land has been reserved for farming.

I was raised on small farms by a father who used the sun to heat water for our baths, embraced renewable resources, drove fuel-efficient vehicles and educated me from birth, 71 years ago, that rich soil, clear water and clean air are precious. He instilled in me that we need to protect them.

He grew beautiful veggies with no chemicals, feeding not only us, but also our neighbors when they were in need. He raised small crops for our few animals. He loved working the land we were lucky enough to own in the beautiful Northwest.

I’m thinking of him as I ponder the solar farm issue. Like me, I think he would be sick about it.

He watched as farmland kept getting rezoned, to the point where it got harder and harder for the average family to afford a decent piece. Developers spoke too loud. In his 70s, he ended up paying $18,000 for a piece in Alabama that would have cost more than $1 million here.

Now farmland is getting gobbled up by wineries. Sorry to say, but wine won’t make you healthy like veggies. And look what’s happening to rich farmland on Grand Island, with a rock quarry coming in.

Too much land is also going to housing, where you can almost spit into one another’s windows. They squeeze in as many as possible. Maybe we could mandate they be built with solar installed, and save our farmland for better uses.

If solar farms are still necessary for our energy efficiency, wouldn’t they do better on the east side of the state. Let’s keep the west side, where the soil is rich and the rain plentiful, under cultivation.

Alecia Juber



Youth inspires hope

I’m impressed by our youth, especially those participating in the marches held March 24.

Those who congregated in Washington, D.C., included youths from Parkland, Florida, were the most publicized. Their speeches were eloquent; they were not afraid to speak out against powerful groups like the NRA.

It’s sad, but many reigning politicians are too fearful of repercussions. Unfortunately, many of them no longer represent the people, rather the powerful NRA, which pads their pockets.

The internet provides information about how much politicians receive from the NRA. The NRA provided Trump with $11.4 million in campaign ads and $31.2 million in cash, and showered $3.3 million on Florida Sen. Mark Rubio.

And it’s reach is global, not just national.

“Hemispheric Reach,” published in the Spring 2013 edition of America’s Quarterly, reported: “The NRA’s impact on firearms policies extends far beyond U.S. borders. ... It has also worked to oppose international efforts to combat the illicit trade in firearms at forums such as the United Nations.” The quarterly went on to note: “When Canada announced plans to strengthen gun laws in the early 1990s, the NRA threatened ... to boycott hunting in Canada, a significant source of U.S. tourism dollars.” What’s more, “Russian Roulette,” a new book authored by a pair of journalists, recounts a high-ranking member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russian Party being accorded guest of honor status at an NRA national convention in Nashville.

The firearm most in need of restriction is the assault rifle, as its purpose is not the hunting of game, but the killing of humans — often the mass killing.

The young people who turned out for the marches seem to understand the dangers of gun culture and the NRA’s role in fostering it, internationally as well as nationally. May they rise above the temptations to which so many of our present leaders have succumbed.

Anita VanDatta


System needs an overhaul

Emma Nolan nailed it in her March 30 Viewpoints. Her well-written essay came from her heart as she described the American child welfare systems.
We hear this over and over, but no one solves the problem. Maybe people just don’t want to deal with it. 

Child Services is a puppet, and the puppeteer, pulling the strings to make the system dance, is the Legislature.Legislators haven’t any knowledge of what social workers do, so aren’t prepared to deal with social issues. They just deal with budget items in terms of dollars and cents.

Here’s a solution from one who worked in the system in another state for many years. It’s simple in theory, revolutionary in execution.

First, make child welfare a bottom-up organization. The future perfect world in my imagination is one where social workers inform legislators of their needs and legislators support them with dollars and cents. After all, legislators are supposed to work for the public, not the other way around.

Second, clean house. Get rid of all current social workers, supervisors, area managers and regional managers. Replace them with professionals instead of people off the street.

Make social work a profession, a desirable profession, and public respect will follow. Right now, social workers have zero credibility. And speaking from an inside perspective, that’s well-deserved.

Social workers are placed in an environment where they have no voice. Who would want to work in a system like that? It’s a simple solution, though unlikely to happen. Legislators will instead shed taking responsibility for their mess.

They’ll shift responsibility to private organizations like Lutheran and Catholic Community Services. Then they can point a finger at another failure and punish their new puppets by again withholding dollars and cents.

Sheila Hunter



District 23 deserves better

On March 15, state Rep. Mike Nearman sent an informational letter to his constituents. Toward the end, he mentioned, without any details whatsoever, a bill that allegedly “puts elderly people in jeopardy.”

By not explaining his concern, Mr. Nearman is engaging in rank fear-mongering. The people of House District 23 deserve better.

Alisa Owen




Gayle Campbell is absolutely correct. Apparently the school district wants to force pencils into their hands earlier than ever. Ridiculous. Worksheets teach nothing; they're generally busy work, time-fillers, convenient and worthless; repeated testing translates to terrible and needless anxiety for this age group. Maybe we could we force them to choose careers at the age of 4. Why is common sense so lacking in education. And don't answer "best practices." Simply smug jackass jargon that makes me want to gag.


@Melvin Nysser
"The meat industry has developed a whole dictionary designed to fool unwary consumers. The flesh of pigs is called “pork” or “bacon” to fool readers of Charlotte’s Web into eating it."

You're not helping your cause if you sound like a self-parody.
Don't tell me you weren't aware that these terms entered English in the Middle Ages from French, the culprit being the Norman invasion in 1066, not the meat industry.


Melvin--you and your little friend must be exhausted minding other people's business.

A New Generation

Dear Margaret Cross,
There are two such forums coming up, open to the public & both held at the Mac Senior Center(next to DMV), both on Tuesday nights starting @ 6:30.
Tuesday, April 17th ~ Board of Commissioner Candidates 6:30pm
Tuesday, April 24th ~ Judicial candidates 6:30pm
Hope to see you there! I have attended these in the past & find them very worthwhile.


"The young people who turned out for the marches seem to understand the dangers of gun culture and the NRA’s role in fostering it, internationally as well as nationally. May they rise above the temptations to which so many of our present leaders have succumbed." --
Anita VanDatta

No, Anita...they youth DO NOT understand a damn thing about the 2nd Amendment let alone the NRA being nothing more than an organization of individuals who support it just the same, whether or not they own a gun.

Like them you are equally ignorant of the 2nd Amendment, it's legislative history, it's intent and purpose. Moreover, none of you comprehend the fact of how it was written. It is timeless, the intent remains the same but arms change. Nevertheless, regardless of the arms, the government "shall not infringe" on that right. Period.

Even background checks are an unwarranted invasion into privacy (i.e. 4th Amendment) in their person, papers, etc. But that is irrelevant to me. It is a clear and present danger letting unknown person possess weapons of any kind. So I am good with background checks. It is one thing to look into one's person and their papers (i.e. medical and legal history) than it is to deny law abiding, honest, patriotic People their right to bear arms in protecting of themselves, their family and even others if and when necessary (hence, the concept of the militia should any "Red Dawn" scenario were ever to take place.

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