Letters to the editor: March 26, 2020

All in this together

As we navigate these difficult days, let’s give a word of thanks not only to the dedicated and stressed health care professionals, but also to others helping our community.

Take a moment to thank the cashiers, stockers and delivery people in grocery stores there every day to help us. Many look tired and worried about the possible consequences of serving a panicked public, buying cartloads of groceries every day.

And try to support our local businesses as they struggle to survive without customers coming through their doors. Have books delivered to you, pick up some wine at the curb or winery, order a meal from a local restaurant offering drive-up service.

We’re all in this together. 

Mike Freeman



Old war horses

At the risk of being one of the “in my day” generation, I do believe we can explore solutions to shortages in medical supplies. If you want to see what our operating rooms and hospitals used effectively prior to the early ‘60s, the dawn of disposables, just watch some re-runs of MASH.

Cloth masks, gowns and head coverings were very effective. The hospital laundry or vendor washed and disinfected them.

This is not a debate about the efficacy of advances in disposable personal protective equipment. It is rather a reminder that we did contain transmission of diseases very effectively for 50-plus years using cloth.

We can certainly do better than asking our doctors and nurses to use bandanas and scarves, as was recently suggested. Observing safe practices, let us set up sewing teams in those hospital conference rooms.

I’m sure there are retirees, out-of-work folks or other volunteers who would help if asked. There are senior seamstresses in their homes who could help if the patterns and supplies were delivered to them.

We can learn from the past. So let’s get up on the war horses and charge into the battle of our lifetime.

Susan Tiffany



Don’t worry about me

Do not harm others on my account. I vote no on that score. I’m older. I’m in an age category of having probably a 2% chance of dying from the coronavirus. If there were no impacts to the lives of others, then OK. I’d welcome the help.

But there will be severe and longlasting impacts from what is being done to protect people like me. And other people’s lives matter, too. So do not do this extreme nationwide shutdown, and commit financial suicide, to maybe help me.

Entire states are now being locked down. Hundreds upon hundreds of thousands are now out of work.

Forced closure of restaurants and gathering places is OK with me for a short while, and maybe schools. Beyond that, I disagree. Losing their job and having to endure a limited social life will cause financial distress, depression, mental illness and marital hardship. People risk lashing out with frustration. For many, this will lead to lifelong issues. These people are innocent. Do not do this harm to them to maybe help me.

I speak only for myself. I hope others will speak up as well, though.

Bill Post



Patriotic or self-serving?

This morning, I watched in disgust as Bill Ford touted Ford Motor Company’s patriotic eagerness to step up and manufacture medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 virus. My heart swelled with pride.

But, wait! This from the company that snuggled up to the Hitler regime during WWII. According to The Nation magazine’s edition of Jan. 24, 2000: “The German Ford division served as an ‘arsenal of Nazism,’ with the consent of headquarters in Dearborn,” and reaped “huge revenues by producing war matériel for the Reich.”

Hitler praised Henry Ford, a rabid anti-semite, calling him “a great man” and awarding him the Grand Cross of the German Eagle in 1938. How many lives did this cost us?

The lame and late response from Trump has left us far behind. So we need all the help we can get.

But Bill Ford’s company has a lot to answer for. Color me cynical, but profit motive and self-congratulation reverberate in his voice and face.

As Bill Cosby said, “Ford wants to be your car company.”

Marilyn Higginson



Not that Elliott

On Feb. 28, a letter headlined “Dogmatic drivel” was printed in the News-Register. It was a critique of Peter Enticknap’s Viewpoints piece on climate change in which the writer sought a forum to reveal warming as a hoax. It was signed by a Larry Elliott of McMinnville.

I happen to have the same name and hometown. But I totally disagree with this letter, as it was self-righteous, snobby, and sarcastic in proclaiming the writer’s intelligence and superiority to scientific experts.

He claimed to be a critical thinker, but his letter was smug and snide. He provided no ideas, evidence or solutions that could work to benefit us all.

As I highly disagree with his view and tenor, I feel offended that it’s signed with a name identical to mine.

I want everyone to know it was not written by this Larry Elliott, who is devoted to our environment and all we can do to keep it in top condition, and true and real science.

I will not stand behind or beside this writer. He is on his own path.

Larry Elliott of Storey Street



Merchandising terror

There’s money to be made in merchandising terror, and people have been doing it for more than a century. However, in recent years, it’s been refined to a science.

Al Gore, hired scientists and some government officials have done very well advocating a shift to expensive, inefficient and unreliable power sources, allegedly to control climate.

But there is no evidence CO2 has any effect on climate. Besides, China and India add more of it each year than we do. 

CO2 is absolutely necessary for food plants and trees to grow. So idiots here would have us starve for lack of food.

The CO2 produced overseas is loaded with contaminants. Our plants have to scrub that out, which is a downer.

Alternate power doesn’t work when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. What’s more, this kind of power has to be stored is a DC battery pack.

To store enough for a large city, the rest of the state would have to be covered with batteries. But I doubt if enough resources exist for that.

Efficiently transmitting power long distance requires conversion to AC. That way, the energy can be sent by high voltage, avoiding heat loss.

The politicians slobbering in anticipation of levying a carbon tax on the peasants don’t care if we lose all our productive capacity. The letter by Steve Patterson (3/11/20) goes to the source of our problem, and to the only solution available to us.

Elmer Werth

Grand Ronde


Fighting the virus

Discerning the real from reactionary behavior amid COVID-19 responses is difficult. All media can be helpful if the right choice is made.

Responses from the president and New York’s governor are spot on. Gov. Brown, not so much. Her thinking may be thunking.

Shelter in place is good, so let’s do it. We may be halfway home.

The crisis is real. COVID-19 is three times more lethal, but we’re not ready to fight.

Gov. Brown is tardy, and that may prove our undoing. It may prevent us from making a strong fight.

We should consider shifting the school year entirely and start summer vacation now. You can’t go anywhere, so you can vacation at home.

Then there’s the hoarding. We need to make sure necessary supplies like toilet paper are ordered for school use when classes resume. When the fight has to be made against COVID-19, do it at the schools.

Shelter the homeless as well. In addition to schools, there are other venues that might be considered, including the fairgrounds.

Avoiding the parks has a positive benefit, trapping kids and parents to rediscover family.

Keep separation and wash your hands with lots of soap. And since the government is actually bankrupt, consider eliminating money. It carries COVID-19 anyway.

Doesn’t the Bible say love of money is the root of all evil? Hmm. Would that “Trump” God? Hmm.

New Eden?

Go ahead. You can smile at the suggestion. Smiles are still allowed.

Malcolm Koch



Hail those on front lines

I cannot pretend to speak for the community as a whole, but I hope I do when I give a deep and heartfelt thanks to our first responders in this pandemic crisis — the doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters and EMTs.

Let us also celebrate the contributions of those who never thought they would be on the front lines, and never asked to be: the grocery clerks and shelf-stockers at places such as Albertsons, Safeway, Roth’s and WinCo; the pharmacists at Rite Aid, Walgreens and other drugstores; those delivering food; and the families of those on the front lines, including elderly parents or other relatives isolated as a result of the quarantine.

It’s easy at this very fraught time to be anxious or angry. But we should all be able to share a sense of admiration and gratitude for those who are doing the dangerous heavy-lifting to see us through this crisis.

I hope I also speak on behalf of the community when I express a desire to see local merchants — with which, in the interest of disclosure, I have zero affiliation —  duly rewarded and compensated for displaying courage of showing up and stepping up. You might not always know who we are by our faces, but we will not forget yours, — or what your gracious actions and the service you are performing mean at this moment.

Steve Rutledge



On the front lines

A heartfelt thanks to families, friends and neighbors who are looking out for the individuals and families in our difficult world. And a heartfelt thanks to our first responders and medical personnel during this difficult time with the coronavirus COVID-19.

I am the daughter of a World War II veteran of the European Theater. I was able to write some letters on behalf of our soldiers, our veterans and their families — the ones who made freedom possible.

I am grateful to our military service organizations and veterans service organizations. They fight for all those who place their lives on the line for us.

Thanks to all of you.

Kathleen Harris



Why the hysteria?

Why is the coronavirus resulting in so much fear and hysteria? There have been many sickness outbreaks in the past and there’ll be others in the future.

Caution is optimum, but also raises some suspicion.

In times of catastrophe, including serious sickness outbreaks, we have lost some freedom. We have been put under more control.

Also, while manmade remedies have done much to benefit our health, why exclude natural remedies that also have proven beneficial?

There are natural remedies for viruses, bacteria and so forth that have proven themselves. Their use can prove to be beneficial and many lives can be saved.

Mary Novak



Smile on my face

There have been three instances in my lifetime when America has been caught off guard. The first was Pearl Harbor, the second 9/11 and now the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. 

Like many citizens, I was shocked to learn that a lot of our medications and antibiotics are made in China. This should scare the daylights out of all of us. It should serve as a wakeup call.

I get sick and tired of hearing about Russia, North Korea and Iran when China is the country we should fear.

I’m not talking about their citizenry, because the Chinese are good people. I’m talking about their corrupt government. But I have no doubt that our great president will fix this like he is fixing the problem of their stealing our intellectual property.

Our country will get through this. It won’t be because Trump-bashers like the guest writer who gave us a book report on a John Steinbeck novel or the professor whose expertise is in Greek mythology.

It will be because of the smart fellow Americans who were shopping at our local Albertsons one day recently. I’ve never seen that store so crowded.

Yes, several shelves were empty and all the checkout lines were 5 and 6 deep. But everyone was talking and laughing — making fun of ourselves and our panic mode. It was particularly funny when a tall gentleman yelled out, “Hey, everybody. Don’t forget the toilet paper.”

This virus is serious business. But it’s encouraging that we can still retain our sense of humor. I drove home with a smile on my face.

Judith Hromyko





I really enjoyed Judith's letter. Many conflate the Chinese people with the PRC Chinese government when, in fact, only a very small percent (a little over one) in China are even members of the communist party, they just control everything, a lesson I learned from a friend in grad school.

That style of government, combined with a lack of a free press, is part of the reason this virus escaped Wuhan. Who can forget local communist government police forcing Dr. Li Wenliang to sign a statement in early January that he and his medical colleagues were lying about the virus. A month later that fictional virus claimed his life.


Bill Post - I'm 62 and there is no way I'm going to throw myself on the sword for a warped value system that worships nothing but money. Your comments are offensive.

If I can offer some unsolicited advice...stop listening to Trump who is a sociopath incapable of human emotion. Trump's suggestion that there will be thousands of suicides due to financial loss says a lot about him and what he values most.


Bill. It is not just you. There is concern for the entire medical health and hospital system. If some 45 year old a heart attack or a woman has complications with a pregnancy and the system is dealing with C-19 they are also at risk. Not just you Bill. It is everyone who needs critical medical assistance, life and death assistance. True folks in the depression suffered, folks without work have a hard time, and the speed of this is difficult. But it is not just about you Bill.


Bill Post - I'll add that it is deeply immoral for Trump and Beck to suggest that as a country we should let several million people (those over 50) die to save the stock market. What it's really about is Trump trying to save his re-election. Trump, Beck and the Lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick are supposedly religious people.

When did they lose their morality and their concern for the sanctity of life. It seems it's only sacred if it doesn't interfere with the Dow Jones and their bottom line. This way of thinking is just astonishing and crazy. Yeah, let's kill off the greatest generation so investors don't lose money. Ugh.

Besides...you can't save anyone with this theory. Unbelievable.


Governor Cuomo is also discussing the issue of how we get the economy moving again. At some unknown point in time we have to claw ourselves back out of this. One thing is certain, the economic consequences of shutting our economy down are yet to be fully felt and will be devastating. I don't necessarily agree with Mr. Post but understand his point of view.



Rob - Everyone wants to get people back to work and the economy going, but we have to work together to pull out all the stops to get this virus under control. It's just ramping up and for anyone to suggest that we should loosen the lockdown now is just irresponsible.

Our grandparents made it through the Great Depression and we will get through this if we just keep out heads and don't listen to a leader that is incapable of thinking of anyone but himself.

Stay home and stay safe.


Mudstump - since you have such hatred and disdain for this President maybe you should completely ignore him and listen to maybe VP Pence when he outlines in great detail all that is being done on behalf of this country to combat this virus. Wonderful people all over this great country putting their lives at risk each and every day who are exhausted trying to protect and serve. Companies and corporations that have ramped up and changed direction to make the necessary supplies.

How come the media does not air all the great daily briefings of what is being done? This is not about worshiping money. My gosh, Pelosi just flew in and blew up negotiations to include more pork that is so unnecessary and unrelated to this virus. Adding another $2 trillion to the dept to try to stimulate the economy and help the millions that are now unemployed in just a short week or two. This is serious and tell me why she tries to include her usual abortion funding (sanctity of life you talked about -- she's a catholic!), NPR, Kennedy Center, illegal immigration, voter registrations, solar panel exemptions, airline emissions and all the other crap that gets negotiated in. This is our taxpayer money and these serious times. Like the democrats said in the past "can't let a god crisis go to waste".

Better hope we don't get Biden in the next election. He doesn't even know what day it is or what city he's in. Shameful.

I agree with Judith and also enjoyed her letter. These are serious times and I'm proud of the people out there tirelessly helping.


Finch - I do listen to Pence. He speaks in complete sentences and provides facts and some comfort to a nervous nation. Our three children and a daughter-in-law are working everyday on the front lines in hospitals here in Oregon. My son is a RN and he has been issued one mask. He's been instructed to fold it up carefully..never letting the outside touch the inside...at the end of his shift and use it again the next day....and the next and the next. He has to reuse a one-use disposable mask....gowns and shields are scarce too. You can save your indignation for someone who cares about your political rant. Where are the masks and gowns? The ventilators?...that Trump promised were coming. Where are they?

Trump wanting to reverse all the safety measures in place and the lockdowns so he can get the economy going is an insult to those of us who do have loved ones fighting to care for people while putting themselves at great risk. If Trump is such a Great War time leader? Why is he sending his soldiers into battle without a gun or a helmet?


I’ll add that at my son’s hospital they have put all personal protective equipment under lock and key. Nurses are issued one mask to be reused over and over.


Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation of your family members who I'm sure you and many others are extremely proud of and yet worried about on a daily basis. I know I would be and I do feel for you. What you're saying is extremely worrisome. Every day we hear about all the ventilators being manufactured and in fact in New Jersey evidently a stockpile was located so why aren't they being shipped out? I know that Mike Lindell has ramped up three of his east coast factories to make 40-50,000 masks per day. Other factories are making gowns and the list goes on.

I don't think anyone wants to unnecessarily put people at risk when they talk about trying to open up parts of the country. I think this is such an unknown and because of the number of cases, the massive amounts of unemployment in such a short period of time and the businesses that are affected they are dealing with a lot of moving targets. This is when local, city, county, state and federal have to all work together to combat this. We have the fear of the unknown and there's no date certain for when it will end.


Mudstump- it appears we went through our N95 mask stockpile with N1H1 in 2009 and didn't restock. Our factories are tooling up for those and other items but it looks like we're paying the price for offshoring production to China.

Finch - I think the $2.2T bill was a low point for congress. I can't believe it was held up for almost a week for frivolous spending (Money for Kennedy Center, Post Office, NASA, Sun screen FDA changes (not kidding), ect.) and political agendas (e.g. Green New Deal, Unions). The Democrat party had leverage because 5 Republican senators were in quarantine and they used it. That is the way our system works but this Independent was utterly appalled.



Finch - thank you for your kind response. I'm sorry if I came off harsh. I didn't mean to, but I get extremely frustrated when our kids tell us what they are having to deal with. I worry about them. If they fall ill...will I even be able to go to them to help?


I completely understand the anxiety of the situation we are all living in. I worry about my high risk parents out of state and luckily have a family member there to help.

There's no excuse for what the politicians do when they claim they want to help the people and businesses affected by this pandemic and then vote in funds for things that have absolutely nothing to do with the crisis. It's bad enough they've done it forever but they can't ever put their politics aside truly for the cause.

All we can do is try to follow the guidelines, stay safe and try to help those that can't get out during this isolation period.


Finch - I agree completely. I hope your parents stay safe. I have a 96 year old mother that is being taken care of by my sister in the midwest. They are hunkered down.

Politically, I'm extremely disappointed in what is going on by many on both sides. We are seeing disaster capitalism play out and just like 9/11 we will see them take this opportunity to further erode our rights.


Stay strong you two. I was a shut-in after a serious auto accident four years ago. At the rehabilitation center they trained us to make a checklist of things we'd like to accomplish that day/week. Before we were released from the program, they helped us personalize a template for use at home. It can have any type of goal(s) on it. In short, it really helped me break the monotony of the day and keep productive (I am currently finishing up my first fiction novel for publication!). Anything is possible!

Though no longer a shut-in, I should be used to this but even I am having difficulty adjusting to the current situation. I can't imagine what you two are going through.


I'm really sorry to hear what you went through Rob and hope over time you made a full recovery.

No matter how strong we all may be on certain issues we are humans with feelings, families, friends and acquaintances. A 96 year old mother is amazing. We all have a personal story and I know we truly care. We are all in this together.

Your suggestion Rob makes a lot of sense. Goals are important and that's great to hear you're working on a novel. Sounds like you are achieving one of those goals. I wish you the best.

I work around a lot of people and am now working from home. I also now live alone so it puts things in perspective about how long the days can be when activities around us are suddenly not available. Walks, exercise, yardwork and contact with friends and family helps us all.


Mudstump – “Stay home and stay safe.” Thought your earlier message was worth repeating. It seems that most folks are conforming to this simple sane guidance, which reinforces my hope that good old-fashioned American values are alive, a bit ragged around the edges perhaps, but still in force. I pray your courageous devoted medical family remains safe as they man the front lines. My godchild’s spouse is a Doc at Salem Hospital so I am painfully aware of the risks and realities you describe - and the anxiety that results.

I went to bed last night feeling unsettled by what I read here, but not quite ready to respond. I was relieved and gratified to log in today and see that the tone had shifted. We are all, as often observed, in this together. Citizen patriots are stepping up to meet the needs of the medical community, I anticipate this will continue and increase. While shopping I witnessed many expressions of genuine gratitude for the brave hard-working employees at the market who are instrumental in keeping us supplied with necessities. We read about random acts of kindness all over the country. We are a creative resourceful lot with big American hearts. Broken politics will not stop us from rising to the occasion!

Stay well everyone.


treefarmer - Thank you for your kind words of support. For me, this crisis has made it clear that all of the political bickering means nothing when we face an invisible enemy like this virus. If nothing else, I hope this changes the divisive rhetoric and anger many feel toward their fellow Americans. I truly believe if we would just drop our defensive posture when we talk to each other and really listen we will find that we actually share a lot in common. When you boil it all down most of us want the same thing. I'm working on my own behavior, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. We are all in this together.


Hey Mudstump, I am always happy to find a message from you. As we all face these challenges it becomes more apparent every day that our success will depend upon our ability to focus on just what you observed in you post. Our political frustrations are very real, emotions are justified. I confess that I was tempted to vent re some of what was published above. I composed, chewed on it for a while, and hit “delete.” You and I seem to be on the same page in many areas, I often log in to find that you have already spoken for me so I just add an “amen.”

Wishing the blessings of health and safety and peace of mind for you and yours – and for all of us. We can – we MUST – keep the faith!

Chris Chenoweth

I want to thank Bill Post for having the courage to make a case that conventional wisdom has walked away from. It took temerity to right that letter and send it in. I also agree with the sentiment expressed by "What if the cure is worse than the illness?". Many of the critics were quick to mock that without really considering the devastation that has been unleashed on the poorest among us. It is not a love of the almighty dollar that drove both Mr. Post and President Trump to make these observations. No it is looking at the long term consequences of our short term reaction. I think I lean more toward Mr. Post than I do toward those who are demanding "shelter in place". As people push the narrative that "Our parents survived the Great Depression" may I point out that millions did not. Only time will tell who was right as to which will cause the most pain and suffering COVID-19 or Economic Collapse 2020.

Chris Chenoweth

Let me make a correction to my response. I was wrong and should have used "write".


It makes absolutely no sense to resume business as usual until massive testing takes place. Without sufficient data on the spread of a virus, that kills people, opening the economy is gambling with peoples lives.
I just read that Yamill county has done a total of 384 tests....that tells me that we have no clue about the spread of the contagion..
People may not like Gov.Browns policies.....but the decision to shut down Oregon was a good one until more information is available....


Kudos to Gov. Brown for the 90 day moratorium announced today on commercial evictions. There is also one for residences. The federal government should consider suspending all affected rents/mortgages - pass government payments straight to the landlords et. al. until the pause is over. If we're going to throw trillions at this, might as well get the greatest bang for the buck. Otherwise, the permanent economic dislocations from our mitigation against this pandemic could be disastrous.


Thanks Finch. I'm a pretty lucky guy. I don't have nearly as much of an issue walking and talking as I did in the past though I sometimes have issues. You find out how nice people are when you have disabilities like mine.

For instance, about a month ago a young lady asked if I needed help putting my food on the table at a Subway. I was having a tough day with my mobility issues. A couple of years ago, a lady with her young daughter in a shopping cart offered to give me the cart at a Salem Walmart. I told her thanks but I can use my wife's when I find her (those places are big!).


Rob - I'm happy to hear you're doing well. I enjoy your comments. You seem like a really nice guy. Well wishes especially during this trying time. Stay well.