Letters to the editor: July 3, 2020

What’s in a name?

Now that the purge is on, there are some issues concerning the elimination of names and statues that strike close to home.

“Population schedules of the eighth census of the United States, 1860, Tennessee” shows McMinn county was home to slave-trading activities, and that most people in that area were involved with slavery one way or another.

The issue is that McMinnville, Oregon, is named after McMinnville, Tennessee. And like McMinn County, the city was named for three-time Tennessee governor Joseph McMinn.

All that means our McMinnville, to be right with this, needs to change its name. I suggest “Number 97128.”

Sheridan should do the same. And Dallas for sure.

What’s next? St. Helens or St. Paul? Are we really so bad that we need to burn it down to save it?

Dennis Carmody



Need for human connection

COVID has cost us dearly. Approximately 119,000 people have died in the U.S., out of more than 2 million confirmed cases, and our economy is in the tank.

But the potentially worst and longest-lasting cost is a social recession, because it weakens our social fabric. As a result, we are no longer a country with common ideals, but a collection of fractious factions.

A social recession is caused by physical distancing, which leads to social distancing, causing us to feel increasingly disconnected from other people in our lives.

This is confirmed by a recent survey by the University of Chicago, in which 50% of respondents said they had sometimes or often felt isolated in the past four weeks, more than double the number in 2018. This results in reduced health, reduced learning and reduced workplace productivity.

Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says, “Typically, in moments of stress, we reach out to people. We spend time with people we love. And now we’re being asked not to do that, at least in physical terms.”

He cites recent research from Wharton, “If we want our kids to do well, if we want workers to do better in the workplace, if we all want to be more fulfilled and healthy, … human connection is at the center of it all.” He encourages us “to build our lives around people, and to make the case for creating a people-centered society … putting ourselves on the path to creating a society that is healthier and stronger, but also more resilient, than before the pandemic began.”

This four-page conversation can be found at https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/avoiding-a-social-recession-a-conversation-with-vivek-murthy.

Let us unite to do this. We owe it to our children and their children.

Gary Langenwalter



Independence from meat

COVID-19 heralds some good news for this Independence Day. We won’t be facing heavy traffic and the scarcity of meat will keep our outdoor grills safe. Folks who grill hamburgers and hot dogs face a nasty choice. The U.S. Meat and Poultry Hotline advises grilling at high temperature to avoid food poisoning by E. coli and Salmonella bacteria. But the National Cancer Institute warns that high-temperature grilling of processed meats generates cancer-causing compounds. Fortunately, we no longer need to choose between food poisoning and cancer. A bunch of enterprising U.S. food processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a rich variety of convenient, healthful and delicious plant-based hot dogs, hamburgers and nuggets.

These products don’t harbor nasty bugs or cancer-causing compounds. They are missing the cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs, hormones and pesticides of their animal-based alternatives. And they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our favorite supermarket, along with nut-based ice creams and other dairy-free desserts. On this Independence Day, let’s declare our independence from the meat industry, which exposes its workers to COVID infection. Let’s stay away from both COVID and the barbecue bugs.

Milo Nakamura



Just say no to dump

The state’s Land Use Board of Appeals recently determined Waste Management had provided insufficient evidence to support the county’s 2016 approval of a proposed expansion of Riverbend Landfill.

Now Waste Management has come back to the county asking that it reconsider on very narrow terms, to the exclusion of broader testimony by adjacent property owners, other citizens of Yamhill County and other interested parties. And amazingly, the county has agreed. There are many other considerable negative impacts the expansion would create, including groundwater contamination, seismic failure, toxic pollution of the Yamhill River and the scattering of litter on adjoining farmland, damaging crops and requiring undue cleanup. As county citizens, we should have the opportunity to raise concerns about those impacts.

Better yet, the county should reject Waste Management’s request once and for all. Providing justification, local farmers, residents and businesses have been joined by Portland Metro and the city of McMinnville in testifying to the negative impacts the dump is already having and will have in the future.

There is no demonstrated need for this dump. The expansion needs to be stopped once and for all. I urge people who share these feelings to contact Ken Friday of the county planning department at fridayk@co.yamhill.or.us by 5 p.m. July 8.

Arnie Hollander



Violates fairness test

Water & Light is apparently intent on selling our precious water to Lafayette and others.

Several years ago, we taxpayers were asked to pay to have our reservoir enlarged in order to give us water for many more years to come.

We are not in favor of selling it to others. It is not fair to people who will need it someday.

But we are so lucky to have a newspaper as fair as this, and such a fine city, including our police and fire departments and our very fair court system. All in all, McMinnville is an outstanding place to live.

Truman & Sherry Drew



Do the right thing

Way back in the 1970s, lawmakers decided to make seatbelts mandatory for car passengers.

For a while, cars were designed not to start unless the seat belt was buckled. And some people buckled their belts, then pushed them down into the seat so they could sit on them and thus not be forced to use them.

Over time, common sense won out. Today, most people don’t think twice about buckling up.

It’s the same basic story with motorcycle helmets. They save lives.

That brings me to masks. 

Lots of people don’t like wearing them. They’re willing to take their chances.

Unfortunately, if they become infected, that makes it likely they will spread the virus to others. Unlike seatbelts and helmets, masks going unused in public indoor spaces puts plenty of other people at risk, in addition to the unmasked person himself.

If self-preservation doesn’t motivate you, how about avoiding the guilt you’d feel if you spread the virus to others and they took ill or worse?

Yes, this is a massive pain. But it’ll be over at some point. And knowing you did the right thing usually feels better in the end.

Fred Fawcett




To Milo and your tag-team partner: the major problem is all those "animal-based alternatives" you keep trying to shove down other people's throats is they look and taste like the dog's dinner. I don't believe eating and gagging are ideal companions.

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