Letters to the editor: March 15, 2019

Bill threatens timber industry

An open letter to the Yamhill County commissioners:

My name is Jim LeTourneux, owner of Tripletree LLC, a family-owned timber farm in West County. I’m a silviculturalist who has been raising and harvesting timber on our 460-acre farm since 1964.

My wife and I do this full time, and over the past 41 years of meticulous recordkeeping, we have averaged 227,904 board feet of timber harvested annually. We are extremely proud of our environmental impact and the varied wildlife habitat we maintain, are striving to improve annually, and been honored to receive numerous environmental awards. 

Our timber harvest is but a small percentage of Yamhill County’s annual harvest, but even our harvest has a huge multiplier effect on jobs and job creation, especially in the economically depressed West County communities of Willamina, Sheridan and Grand Ronde, which are dependent on a constant supply of timber. But ill-conceived Oregon House Bill 2656 would, if passed, have a dire effect on all family and other private forestland, and its management.

Very simplistically, the bill seeks to restrict even-age management (clear-cut forestry), effectively killing this type of management. That would make building of forest roads very restrictive, which would have the effect of prohibiting new roads for forest operation on private land.

The bill would also ban forest chemical usage, or make it so restrictive as to eliminate that usage.

What I want from you, as my commissioners, is a resolution against HB 2656, pointing out that the huge negative economic impact and job-killing effect of this bill, which has no scientific evidence in support. It is a feel-good bill presented by some agenda-seeking politicians.

Jim LeTourneux



Cancer in our midst

When I saw the editorial headlined “Landfill’s time has come and gone” in the News-Register’s March 8 edition, I was both surprised and elated. Your decision to finally oppose further expansion of Riverbend is a breath of fresh air. It is one that is heartily welcomed by all of us who have actively opposed this expansion for more than a decade.

The editorial accurately described all the reasons that I, the Stop the Dump Coalition, Friends of Yamhill County and a vast number of Yamhill County citizens and organizations have not only opposed the expansion, but also advocated for closure of Riverbend.

Riverbend is a huge environmental cancer in our midst — one that threatens our farmers, farmland, economic viability, public health and quality of life. When it is eventually terminated, either by denial of the expansion application by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals or Yamhill Board of County Commissioners or by simply reaching capacity without an expansion permit, our community can then move on to a better overall quality of life. 

Susan Meredith



Protest political, not ethnic

We are hearing a great deal of objection to the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, as well as criticism of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent comments. We seem to be having a problem distinguishing anti-Semitism from opposition to Israeli government policies.

Last spring, protesters began demonstrating along the Gaza/Israel border, demanding Palestinian refugee families be allowed to return to land taken from them in 1948. Originally intended as a six-week campaign, it has continued to some extent to date.

During this period, at least 183 Palestinians have been killed and 9,204 wounded. It appears Israeli forces may be intentionally targeting children, the disabled, journalists and medical personnel.

In a recent report, a U.N. commission “found reasonable grounds to believe Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international human rights law.” These actions have been condemned by the U.N. General Assembly, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, B’Tselem and others.

The Gaza strip is an area of 365 square kilometers and a population of almost two million. It is often referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison.

More than 90 percent of the tap water isn’t drinkable, due to sewage contamination. Average electrical power availability is four hours a day. Unemployment runs about 44 percent.

The border is marked with a 10-foot barbed wire barrier and adjacent off-limits zone of 500 to 700 yards. It is in this area where the protests have been undertaken.

Most of the deaths and injuries stem from sniper fire into and beyond this zone. Medical personnel also appear to have been targeted.

This has been ignored by the mainstream press, but has been periodically covered by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, along with the Intercept and others.

How anyone can condone this kind of behavior is incomprehensible. It is also incomprehensible to consider objection to this behavior anti-Semitic.

Les Howsden



Vaccination only way to go

One again, an unlicensed doctor, a chiropractor, gives his opinion in an area in which he is not qualified to practice — real medicine. (“Vaccination also carries risk,” March 8)

Vaccinating students before they attend public school has been the norm for years in other states.

But in Oregon, there is an absentee attendance of more than 10 percent in schools, which is deplorable. Sorry, I would not want my children going to school where other parents take the thought of spreading disease so lightly.

I know. Just come in and get an adjustment or realignment and everything will be great.

But the truth is, vaccination to prevent disease is the only smart and safe way to go.

Robert Griffin



Only in America

The Willamette Valley is the home of an iconic symbol of the excellence of this country. Often considered more for its size than anything else, it is in fact a rare specimen like the erratic rock, sitting in our territory forever.

Where else could you see and touch a powerful symbol of the American entrepreneurship and financial risk, and conclude it’s possible to achieve anything in America? Where else could you view an expanse of canvas covering almost 100 degrees of peripheral vision from one side to the other? Where else can you  respectfully touch wood and feel history traveling from your fingers to your toes? Where else can you find an enormous investment in the beacon of the future, preserved in perpetuity?

I have the answer. Not in one of the multiple local wineries serving excellent pinot noir, but in the Aviation Hall of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville.

Every time I enter for my shift as a volunteer, I can’t avoid looking up at the HK-1, affectionately known as the Spruce Goose, and seeing it as a symbol of the amazing country in which we live. I look up and think, “Whoa, only in America.”

Stefano Perer



Idling motors pollute

McMinnville is a unique community of workers, students, professionals, artists, farmers and others who can’t be simplistically defined. What we all have in common is the air we breathe and our ability to make the quality of that vital resource better.

Some believe climate change is still a debate, but most know it is a reality and want to be part of the significant change that is needed. One thing we can do is so very easy: Turn off the engine when we are sitting in a drive-through line.

Most of us have been told it takes less gas to let our cars idle than it does to restart them.

This is only true for 10 seconds. After that, you are wasting gas and adding harmful emissions to the atmosphere as you wait for coffee, food or banking service. And when was the last time it took you less than 10 seconds to move forward at a drive-through?

Imagine simply shutting off our engines while waiting in the drive-through. Extrapolate the minutes we could devote to preventing unnecessary emissions, day after day.

Just here in town, that adds up to thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide that wouldn’t rise from our tailpipes each year. Imagine if every community across the country did this.

This action would have to be voluntary for now, but should be law. The corporations involved certainly aren’t going to initiate this on their own.

They could put up polite signs suggesting drivers cut their engines. Some conscientious folks would comply, but in reality, we wouldn’t be in a drive-through if we didn’t feel in a hurry. In that moment, saving the planet may be the last thing on our minds.

What if we changed our ways? What if we each did something that would substantially help?

Gail Krenecki



Loss of leadership

“Lamenting a big loss,” published Feb. 22, bemoans the departure from the McMinnville community of Dr. Michael Vessely, orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Willamette Valley Medical Center’s Joint Replacement Institute.

I am in a unique position to evaluate the quality of care provided by the institute because I have had three joint replacements in the past year, each performed by a different surgeon at a different hospital.

It doesn’t surprise me that the JRI received the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, which no other hospital in the state has been able to do. In comparison to my two other surgeries, the pre-op preparation, seamless coordination and quality in-hospital care at the JRI were unparalleled, as was Dr. Vessely’s concern for feedback on how his program could be improved.

In the “Along the Street” article in which the Gold Seal award was announced (“Hip/knee program earns top honors,” March 30, 2018), a hospital spokesperson said this achievement spoke to the “level of commitment to providing the highest quality care, investing in state of the art equipment and recruiting highly trained staff and surgeons.” So I was deeply disappointed to hear about the changes currently underway at the JRI and the accompanying loss of Dr. Vessely’s leadership.

I wonder. Will the JRI be able to hold onto its Gold Star rating in the future?

Kareen Sturgeon



The elusive Mr. Nearman

Every now and then, our alleged District 23 representative, Mike Nearman, emerges to attend a League of Women Voters meeting in Corvallis.

That venue, although out of the district, is about the only one he will visit. At least he is no longer bringing along a scruffy pair of gunslingers to provide security. In the most recent league gathering, he was asked to hold some town meetings in communities around his district. He responded by saying that Dallas was the only town in the district, making it “difficult to find places to hold public meetings.”

Gee! I’d like to throw out an apology to Alsea, Amity, Jefferson, Monroe, Philomath and other nice places in District 23 that he apparently doesn’t know about. The rest of us know you are there and appreciate the way you help make us a community.

Fred Brown



Rise of socialism

Mr. Groshong’s March 8 letter, “GOP has lost its way,” caught my eye because it reflects how I feel about the Democratic Party. Here is my interactive two-party response:

Being a fourth-generation Democrat, you must know how your party has changed over the years.

Democrats used to represent the blue-collar underdog while Republicans were considered the elite party of big money — a bum rap. My, how the parties have reversed.

I pay more attention to politics in Washington, D.C., than in Oregon. But as you have lost respect for Oregon Republicans, I have lost respect for Oregon Democrats, including the big three, Wyden, Merkley and Brown.

All Americans, regardless of party, should be alarmed at the rise of socialism.

I’m a registered Republican who is liberal on many social issues, but there is a difference between social issues and socialism. Socialism doesn’t represent “We the people,” rather “We the government.”

Think about it: Do you really want the government to handle all of your affairs? There’s a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And we may even have something more to worry about with Ilhan Omar. How is this woman a member of the U.S. Congress?

It’s not only that she is anti-Semitic and wears a hijab, which American women don’t. Does she also support Sharia law?

It’s not the fact she’s a Muslim that I don’t like her. It’s the fact that she doesn’t seem to have assimilated into American life.

Maybe that’s on purpose. I thus question her motive for becoming a member of our legislative branch.

Capitalism is what made this country great. If there are any more Jack Kemps out there, please step forward. Make American great again.

Judy Hromyko



Don Dix

Gail Krenecki -- FYI -- Car emissions: CO2 is dangerous to humans, if the concentration reaches 5000ppm (according to OHSA). However, CO (carbon monoxide) is deadly at just 35ppm. If running a fossil fuel engine in an enclosed area (or being too close to the exhaust), it's the CO that will kill you, not CO2.

You wrote, 'Some believe climate change is still a debate, but most know it is a reality and want to be part of the significant change that is needed.'

When it was proclaimed 'the debate is over, the science is settled', we certainly know that global warming was the subject (climate change was the substitute moniker when Mother Nature wouldn't cooperate). Fact: According to any true scientist, science is never settled!

That leads to one simple question -- Exactly when and where did that debate occur, and who were the participants?


Ms Hromyko-
You wonder how Ilhan Omar is a member of Congress?....probably because she received about 78% of the vote in her Minnesota district....
and women that wear head coverings as part of their belief system have not assimilated into American life?....Do you feel the same about Amish or Mennonite women as well?
The American way of life includes freedom of expression and religion.....maybe you should ask yourself if YOUR assumptions reflect the ideals of the America you value so highly...

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