Letters to the editor: April 3, 2020

Checks to charity

With the arrival of assistance checks from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, comes an opportunity.

Many people in our county will need to put this money to immediate use, while others may still get by. Personally, I am taking this opportunity to pass my check along to those with pressing need.

Locally, I would recommend The Family Place and the Give A Little Foundation. Others may have their own choices, but whatever they may be, I urge that we all do what we can.

Stuart Gunness



Finding the positive

On March 27, The News-Register ran an editorial headlined, “Local news in jeopardy across U.S.” Looking across the page at your main editorial, I saw no balance to encourage us to “Please. Let us all pull together.”.

You question the motives of those on the moderate right in paragraph after paragraph, without any balance. For example, you had Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick exhorting older Americans to be willing to die for getting America back on its feet — to bolster stock prices. That is not true.

Appearing on Fox News, Patrick told Tucker Carlson, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ ... I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed … So my message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.”

There are positive non-political ways to editorialize. For example:

1. Fortune Magazine (April 2020, page 26) — Leading From the Heart, CEO MS Lujain Al Ubaid, on imbuing businesses with a culture of compassion.

2. Hillsdale.edu/story — The Great American Story, A Land of Hope, a free, unbiased, 26-lesson study of who we are.

3. Newsmax Magazine (April 2020, page 24) — Philanthropy and Sacrifice at Heart of our Great Nation, Nancy Brinker, former U.S. ambassador and a founder of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

I remember 50 years ago when your paper was actually relevant to a community of mixed political opinion.

Please. Let us all pull together.

Dennis Goecks



A loyal American

Marilyn Higginson roasted Henry Ford in a March 27 letter. She accused Henry of being anti-Semitic and helping Germany in World War II. 

Well, she was half right. Henry was openly anti-Semitic, but didn’t support the German cause.

Henry was a strong pacifist. He opposed World War I throughout and opposed World War II until the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Like many American manufacturers, Pearl Harbor convinced him to build equipment to help the allies fight the Germans and Japanese.

Many experts predicted Ford couldn’t build planes fast enough to help the cause. Henry proceeded to build the largest manufacturing plant in the world in 1941 at Willow Run. By the time the war ended, Ford had produced 86,865 B-24 Liberator bombers, turning out one every hour at peak production.

He converted production lines at existing plants to produce 57,851 airplane engines, 4,291 gliders and 277,896 tanks, armored cars and Jeeps. In those days, of course, manufacturers didn’t have to wait for steel to arrive from countries with terrible records on worker pay, environmental protection and human rights.

And what has greedy FoMoCo contributed since Word War II? It is still one of the top five employers of Americans — more than 170,000 with an average pay of $89,000 in 2018. Meanwhile, the Ford Foundation and Ford Fund have been two of the largest charitable organizations in America for more than 60 years.

Henry funded the Ford Foundation with 90% of Ford’s non-voting stock in 1938. The Ford Fund donated almost $70 million to charities in 2018, including $9.1 million in community grants, in which Colvin Ford participates locally.

I haven’t seen Toyota, VW or Hyundai step up in the COVID-19 pandemic, but American-based Ford, GM, Fiat/Chrysler and Tesla have. I am proud to say they are offering to help eliminate the shortage of ventilators, masks and medical supplies to American hospitals and citizens.

Mike Colvin



Suicidal aspect obvious

Yamhill County Commissioner Mary Starrett has been castigated for objecting to the News-Register reporting a self-inflicted gunshot wounding incident. It might have seemed newsworthy because the victim is a prominent member of the community.

Unfortunately, Commissioner Starrett has been falsely accused of revealing that the shooting was a failed suicide attempt. Actually, the News-Register revealed the shooting was almost certainly an attempted suicide, simply by reporting it.

The most conveniently​ available statistics reveal there are nearly 40,000 deaths from gunshot wounds each year. Approximately 15,000 are homicides.

In spite of the proliferation of guns in America, the number of accidental gunshot deaths has continued a century-long decline to approximately 500 per year. Although the U.S. has historically had one of the lowest suicide rates in the industrialized world, the vast majority of its annual gunshot deaths, about 24,000, are suicidal in nature.

The breakdown is comparable for non-fatal gunshot wounds. Given these statistics, anyone reading the article would make some very logical deductions.

Because the shooting was not reported as a criminal assault, it must have been either an accident or a suicide attempt. Since gun suicides are 50 times more common than accidental gunshot deaths, there is a 98% probability that this shooting was a suicide attempt.

The fact the victim was a mature citizen rather than a teenager or young adult increases the odds that the shooting was an attempted suicide to about one-hundred to one. The odds against a shooting being the result of a mature adult having an accident while cleaning their guns is thousands to one.

The News-Register might as well have run the story under the headline “Prominent citizen attempts suicide.” The only crime Commissioner Starrett is guilty of is presuming everyone could reach the abundantly obvious conclusion.

James Crawford



Let’s get back to work

Last week’s lead editorial was full of political bias and inaccuracy. Democrats always wanting to use a crisis to advance their agenda have editors like you carrying their water.

President Trump, Fox News and the political right were not late to the party. Trump was one of the first leaders to close the borders, and Fox News one of the first to consider the seriousness instead of belaboring the point that “Chinese virus” was racist!

Trying to maintain a positive attitude helps prevent panic. If that mindset had been carried by mainstream media, we might not have people hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Trump didn’t  trigger a “national run on Chloroquine” either. And the couple in Arizona ingested fish tank cleaner, not the prescription formulation. Finally, New York City’s “victims” aren’t actually victims until they die; they’ve just tested positive.

We survived the H1N1 Swine flu epidemic, but hardly remember it because it wasn’t labeled a pandemic. I could sink to your level and say that was because the press was trying to protect our first black president, but I won’t go there.

In its 2009-10 run, 57 million were sickened, 270,000 hospitalized and 11,690 killed. It wasn’t proclaimed a national emergency until the death toll topped 1,000, and even then, we didn’t shut down the country.

Consider this: From Oct. 1, 2019, to March 21, 2020, up to 54 million caught the flu, up to 730,000 required hospitalization and up to 62,000 died. Where’s your outrage about that?

A recent Wall Street Journal letter writer said, “You don’t burn down the house to get rid of the spiders.”

It’s time to encourage the elderly and immune-challenged to exercise caution, but also for us to get back to work to preserve this economy and way of life for future generations.

As you said, “Please. Let us all pull together.”

Steve Sommerfeld




Thank you, Mike Colvin, for your response to Marilyn Higginson’s hatchet job of the Ford Corporation. She had an agenda that ignored the bigger story. I appreciate your setting the record straight.


Ugh. Such a slathering of criticism this week - sorry I didn't send in a letter to balance the views. Even so, I CAN use my online voice to say thanks, N/R. I find your journalism to be highly professional and continue to support your valuable contributions to our community. (and I am confident I am in the majority.)


I appreciate the letters the week. Nice to have these opinions expressed.

Don Dix

Steve Sommerfeld -- Air travel from China (foreign nationals) was banned on Jan 31, 2020, and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Azar also said that he was declaring a public health emergency in the US.

Here is what NYC mayor and his health adviser said -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his top health official were telling citizens to take the subway and attend parades after President Donald Trump restricted travel to coronavirus-plagued China.

De Blasio and New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot took turns telling citizens in February and March that the virus was not as widespread as people thought.

On Feb. 24, Nancy Pelosi walked through Chinatown in SF and encouraged people to visit shops and restaurants -- saying it was 'very safe'.

And now, the Ds are blaming everything about the virus and it's spread totally on the administration. Only a highly-partisan fool would ignore these facts and believe no other leader (Senate/House/Governor/Mayor) has any responsibility for this situation.

Thank you Steve for recalling what was actually what!


Don - DeBlasio also was refusing to shut the schools down when other states already had. He maintained his defiant attitude and now has done a 180 and started his blame game.


This is actually Letters to the Editor for April 3rd (not March).


Steve I got vaccinated for the flu. Did you? The flu has been known for awhile and still as you point out it kills. We accept those deaths so our consumption and way of life can continue. Enter a new predator, one our human race does not know, a predator which spread very easily. If you asymptomatic just talking to some one can spread the virus, which is why they are recommending masks now. Masks do not protect us, they protect others in case we are infected. No vaccine, no natural defenses. It does not only attack us old folks it can attack all ages. It is mutating as we speak. It may find a taste for children like the Spanish Flu did. It seems you want to have us old folks take care of ourselves and let business get back to normal. I want that too. I don't blame the President. And I agree as you make it clear it our health has become a political issue. You seem to want to gamble with our health. You may be right. But what if you are wrong?

Don Dix

Mike Colvin -- Real facts reveal real truths. Apparently Mrs. Higginson had no hint of either. Your response was perfect, but there is a good chance that some are not likely to believe what is true if it doesn't fit the agenda. Thank you, my friend.

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