Letters to the editor: Feb. 5, 2021

Seniors slighted

It’s so very confusing why Gov. Kate Brown decided to not distribute the COVID vaccine to our senior community as a priority.

For many months, we have listened to the governor tell us not to visit our elderly family and friends, as they are vulnerable, so COVID can have dire outcomes for them. And in fact, the majority of deaths are among the elderly.

Yet the governor chooses to not help keep them safe from COVID at this time. Her response is seniors will understand that children need to get back to the classroom as soon as possible.

I agree that they do. However, we are talking about deaths in our community.

Then, once she starts receiving backlash for this decision, she announces that COVID death details will no longer be published. So we will not know the senior deaths from COVID complications.

For the senior population in our community, I am sorry our governor doesn’t see the lack of logic in her decision.

Michele Reeves



Yes on the trail

I don’t understand the push-back on the Yamhelas Westsider Trail. It’s good for our county and members of our community. It’s also good for tourism.

Prior to moving to McMinnville 12 years ago, I lived in Corvallis, where cycling on the extensive trail system surrounding the city was part of my routine. It felt safe.

Now, at age 65 with compromised hearing, I don’t feel safe riding alongside cars on busy roads, especially when so many drivers are distracted by their phones.

The Yamhelas Trail is apparently what the overwhelming majority of people in Yamhill County want. An article in last week’s News-Register stated as much.

In this crazy world we live in, getting outdoors and exercising, whether it be walking, cycling or horseback riding, is key to good mental health. It’s what makes people and families thrive. It’s what makes communities thrive.

I was so pleased to see the Yamhelas Westsider Trail moving forward last year, through all the red tape and myriad planning, because it’s in the best interest of so many.

We live in such a beautiful part of Oregon. Why not make it more accessible to families and visitors? It’s the right thing to do.

Nothing good ever comes easy, and the Yamhelas Westsider Trail is truly a good thing. Let’s work together to create a safe and beautiful trail to share with our community and visitors.

Karen Willard



Curb the anxiety

In response to Bill Hall (“Where was the outrage over Portland violence?”), my thoughts and feelings run similarly, but it raises a different question with me. I wonder: Why were the lawbreakers among the otherwise peaceful not jailed? How could defunding the police department correct or otherwise improve its character? How could the mayor and governor allow this violent absurdity to continue?   However, the months of BLM and associated protests, in Portland and elsewhere, differed from those staged Jan. 6 in D.C.

When Mayor Ted Wheeler visited the front lines of the Portland protests, he was booed by the protesters and teargassed by uninvited federal forces, whereas, President Trump headlined a preparatory rally that then attempted to eviscerate the legislative branch of the United States.   There is something deeper running through all of this.

Somewhere between many and all Americans, of all stripes, sense something is not right. One of the results is a mistrust and rejection of our own authorities.

Blame and cause are assigned to a “them” or an “other.” Each group somehow sees other’s pursuits of dignity and freedom as threats to their own.

There is a fearful desire for a kind of security not available in the physical world, and attempts to establish it only make the anxiety worse. You may be walking away unarmed and outnumbered, but if your words and interactions have brought this desperation fully into a policeman’s line of sight, you might get shot. The I Ching correctly points out, “Hate is a form of subjective involvement which binds us to the hated object.” Release comes from loving self-esteem.

Appreciate the ultimate vulnerability in the “other.”

Your freedom comes from your own discipline. You know this.

Peter Dyrhaug



Do the work

What I hear — from both sides — is a lot of conjecture on who the trail will help and who it will hurt. No one is taking the concerns of the farmers lightly, and I’m sure they are concerned for neighbors who are small business people and stand to gain should the trail go through.

Instead of all this conjecture, let’s get to the facts. Let’s finish the master plan, as it’s already paid for, and complete an economic impact study. Let’s answer real questions and not sit around posting “what ifs.”

Some “what ifs” are real and should be addressed, but most amount to little more than hyperbole.

I’ve lived here in Yamhill County my entire life. I’m aggressively pro-business, thus not keen on onerous taxes and stupid regulations.

I’m disappointed by the trail conversation. People didn’t stand around complaining, in the Yamhill County I grew up in, about something that needed fixing. Neighbors worked together to actually fix things.

As a farmer friend of mine said, “Yep, mistakes were made. I’m sorry, I didn’t make them. I’m here to try to fix them. Please come to the table without an attitude and with an open mind.”

So let’s do the actual work.

Philip Higgins



No so true

Your Jan. 22 edition offered many opportunities for rebuttal. But Steve Rutledge’s op-ed, “Save us from an indifference to truth,” stood out.

It starts with his poor metaphor of Christ and Pontius Pilate. I would hardly call the event a “meeting” when a mob presented Christ as a prisoner to be executed.

Rutledge goes on to say a significant percentage of our population has suffered a “collapse in faith” concerning the media, academia and government. He’s assuming, of course, that conservatives hate the media.

So how does “collapse in faith” lead to “hatred?” Distrust is more accurate.

Meanwhile, the media’s very real  hatred for Donald Trump remains on parade every day. This visceral hatred has been front and center in The New York Times and Washington Post — masters at misleading the public through innuendo and omission.

The Post has a tagline, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” But I’ve seen little concern regarding censorship of ideas by big tech social media or suppression of opinions by the cancel culture crowd.

I find it interesting that Jeff Bezos of Amazon, facing a move to unionize his employees, is refusing to accept mail-in ballots for the vote. Why?

Now that Trump is in the rearview mirror, Rutledge is right that the next big push will be the climate cooling, warming, change, chaos agenda. And we are now supposed to accept everything the media have to say, as they have designated it as “fact.”

His closing statement, “Just as indifference to truth led to the death of five of our fellow Americans at the Capitol on Jan. 6,” is a case in point.

Only two deaths, those of the woman shot by police and the officer smashed with a fire extinguisher, came as a direct result of the riot. The other three had nothing to do with “indifference to truth.”

Steve Sommerfeld




The full page ad in Tuesday’s News-Register was misleading.

The trail isn’t opposed by special interest groups.

It is being questioned by farmers who don’t want a public path through their work area, and by others who see the problems it would create. We are concerned about vandalism, fire hazards, liability and litter. 

As far as negotiating on the trail, a trail is like being pregnant. It either is or it isn’t. And if it is, it creates consequences.

Nancy Thornton



Shoving seniors aside

Under the direction of Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority will no longer provide death summaries from new coronavirus cases because, “... it had become too onerous for state epidemiologists.”

As a result, it will no longer be possible, wthout difficulty, to determine how many seniors with COVID-19 subsequently die from the time the governor allowed teachers to get the vaccine ahead of seniors.

Gov. Brown seems uncaring. She shows absolutely no compassion for seniors who were once her greatest supporters.

We all know it is absolutely necessary to get teachers vaccinated and get children back in school. But why not allow seniors equal access? Why must we be so far behind other states in vaccinating our most vulnerable citizens?

Seniors will all remember Gov. Brown when she next needs senior support.

John Schindelar



Let’s try mediation

We support trying mediation between the county and landowners near the proposed Yamhelas Westsider Trail to find a way to address concerns on both sides. Yamhill County must pursue every possible option to proceed with construction of what would be a valuable recreational resource.

We ask our county commissioners not to throw away our chance to develop this trail by saying that trying to reach agreement with adjacent property owners would not likely work. How do we know if we don’t try?

Don’t waste this rare opportunity to develop this abandoned rail route as a trail that so many people can use and appreciate. Another chance like this is not likely to come around again.

The fact that this corridor still exists is a gift. We should step up and make the best use of it we can. Abandoned rail corridors have been developed into popular, multi-use trails throughout the state. In each case, there have been concerns and opposition from adjacent or nearby property owners.

Concerns were discussed, possible solutions negotiated and compromises worked out. As a result, many Oregon residents have multiple opportunities to recreate and travel between communities, many chances to explore new areas outdoors.

We need more areas here in Yamhill County that provide recreational opportunities for families, young people, seniors, walkers, bikers, hikers and tourists alike. Letting this chance go by without attempting every avenue possible would be inexcusable.

Funding is available for the project, and it has the support of the county’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. We don’t see any reason not to try mediation to settle concerns and get on with the business of developing what will surely be a very special and valuable asset.

Wanda Cochran & Candice Sanders



At cliff’s edge

The letters in the Jan. 15 News-Register were so disheartening and sad. Have we all been so manipulated and conditioned that we have abandoned all vigilance and suspicion, that we believe media and newsprint reports without checking for the truth?

Those seeking to control us are well skilled. Surely you remember President Bush’s “read my lips” pledge not to raise taxes?

You’re aghast at the Washington, D.C., rally, but it was really just a demonstration falsely labeled as an insurrection.

Please tell me why  the fires, property destruction and attacks on citizens in our cities were labeled peaceful demonstrations, but the president is vilified for trying to invoke law and order. Guest that was the thanks given to him for his accountability and concern for citizen safety, life and property.

It’s hard to comprehend how far down America has and is sliding. It seems anyone who tries to be accountable is vilified. Does everyone just accept what is told them by the news media and politicians?

How far this nation has slid and regressed. It is on the edge of a cliff. Shouldn’t we try to simmer down — agree to disagree, but start researching for the truth?

A powerful ally to our division is the virus. We’ve had other, more virulent viruses and survived, but with so much fear incited, we are willingly allowing the loss of rights and dismantling of the Constitution.

That is doubling the division. The only hope is to come together and resist these forces that are driving us apart.

Mary Novak



Shades of ’68

Letters addressing the large refunds Yamhill County will be responsible for if our commissioners cancel the Rails to Trails project reminded me how similar this is to the 1968 fiasco where a handful of farm families succeeded, with a big assist from two county commissioners, in preventing construction of a voter-approved bridge to connect I-5 to rural Dayton.

The bridge was the U.S. Department of Commerce’s idea. A study showed it would: 1) bring millions of dollars into the county annually; 2) move thousands of Portland-to-coast vehicles off 99W.

The $1.5 million federal share was actually in the bank. Marion and Yamhill counties were only responsible for $875,000 apiece, already approved by their respective voters.

So how did a small group of negative citizens and two county commissioners stop this project, which would have benefited 90% of Yamhill County citizens? They ran a “woe is me” negative campaign of dreamed-up damages, delaying things long enough for a suit to be filed. The suit tied up time and money to the point the federal government walked away.

I admit to only knowing the basics on the current Rails to Trails project. But I know the right of way is generating zero benefit and income to Yamhill County today, and that the trail would draw thousands of hikers and visitors, generating lots of tourist income.

That in turn would create county income in the form of room, property and commercial activity taxes. So shouldn’t our county commissioners logically be the strongest supporters? Instead, two of them seem to be leading the opposition.

I am an old, retired guy who will be minimally affected. My complaint is against politicians who pledge to represent the majority, then do just the opposite. Don’t allow them to stall and allow project costs to skyrocket. Let them know where the silent majority stands.

Mike Colvin



Plaguing our county

With civil unrest, a global pandemic, climate change and countless other important issues being covered ad nauseam, I want to bring up a subject that is plaguing our county but never mentioned in the news.

This problem has been growing like an avalanche, and I simply can’t stay silent any longer. If it persists without immediate action, the consequences will be huge.

We need businesses to turn off their open signs when they are, in fact, closed.

Is it laziness or apathy? Either way, it is a nuisance to our society. It not only wastes electricity, but also fools me into thinking a place is open when the staff has long since packed up and left.

I am not going to name the specific businesses. Just know that I am more than a little disappointed. You are better, so do better.

Scott Green



Labeling misses mark

Ever since Ronald Reagan warned in 1961 that Medicare would mean the end of freedom in our country, Republicans have been labeling their opponents “socialists” and accusing them of undermining democracy. So what is this dangerous and subversive ideology?

To me, “socialism” isn’t a dirty word, nor is it an all-or-nothing proposition. According to my Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, socialism is a system in which “the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and controlled collectively or by the government.” By this definition, most of us are probably part-time socialists!

Don’t we prefer the United States Army to competing, privately run militia groups? If our homes catch fire, wouldn’t we rather rely on a municipal fire department rather than thumb through the Yellow Pages to find advertisements for firemen?

And if we are all sometime socialists, so were our founders.

Benjamin Franklin pioneered the government-run U.S. Postal Service and became our first Postmaster General in 1775.

As treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton established the National Bank of the United States in 1791. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that such a bank gave the government too much power, but Washington sided with Hamilton, and that bank is considered the forerunner of the Federal Reserve system.

In 1817, Jefferson was assisted by Madison and James Monroe in founding the University of Virginia, with Madison becoming its first rector. Jefferson’s association with the creation of this state-run university is one of the three non-presidential accomplishments he was most proud of, and thus commissioned for his gravestone.

Most of us probably support public education, but don’t want government-run grocery or department stores. So let’s consider each program on its merits rather than tossing around negative slogans.

Jane Kristof



Letting liberty slip

I just read that Andy Ngo  has fled to London for his own safety. If you don’t remember, he was the conservative journalist pummeled during a clash between right and left wing protesters last summer in Portland.

The son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America for their safety has now fled to London for his safety. He alleges threats have been made to his life by antifa activists, and bringing those threats to police attention has produced no apparent response.

So now people are fleeing the anarchy in Portland for safety abroad. What has America come to?

I keep waiting for Portland Democrats to say enough is enough and stop re-electing leaders who put up with this, but so far have seen no reaction.

I am reminded of a quote by D. H. Lawrence: “Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”

Are we the generation that lets liberty slip away?

Craig Pubols



Little respect

I find County Commissioner Mary Starrett’s votes against the trail ones cast with very little thought.

The months of research and funding for the trail seem to mean little to her. It seems she is suddenly more concerned about neighboring farmers’ problems.

What about her previous votes to allow Waste Management to open up 25 acres for additional garbage dumping right along Highway 18? What about the damage the landfill has done to neighboring farmers for more than 25 years?

She is late and uninformed on both subjects. I have little respect for her opinions, let alone her votes, on either subject.

Shirley Venhaus



Judgment gone awry

Mark Twain had some words of wisdom that ought to be considered by today’s followers of movements like QAnon:

“You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.”

Fred Fawcett



A real president

I am very much relieved that we seem at last to have what I would call a real president.

But I don’t think the difficult times we have been through are over. As always, there will be hard decisions to make.

I do believe President Biden will provide direction. I believe we will be able to  move on and, most importantly, learn from past mistakes.

President Biden is rescinding some of former President Trump’s orders and addressing the Affordable Care Act. That’s good news for everyone.

Janet De With



Benefit to all

The Yamhelas Westsider Trail would be a boon to agro-tourism.

I entreat the landowners along the trail, and the county commissioners, to consider the opportunity this trail provides. Imagine visitors descending on the county, not to create problems but to solve some, such as injecting money into county coffers.

Imagine visitors staying at a local B&B, renting bikes, traveling the trail and stopping in Gaston or Carlton for food, ice cream or a wine tasting, all COVID-friendly. They could take the trail to a winery, an orchard, a farm stand, or the soon to be open Chehalem Ridge Park and Wapato Lake Wildllife Refuge, all COVID-friendly.

While they are visiting, an opportunity presents itself to inform them about rural issues, thus help reduce barriers to understanding each other along the urban/rural divide. Let’s share our beautiful county and benefit from it economically. 

Elaine Harris



See it through


I’m writing to urge each of you to vote to continue working toward realization of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail.

There is no legitimate reason to stop this trail from moving forward. The people of Yamhill County have and continue to make their voices heard. They want this trail and your duty to your constituents is paramount.

You have the opportunity to be seen as uplifting and reinforcing a vision for the future of our community that promises to leave a lasting positive legacy.

The trail has been bought and paid for through grants and private funds. See it through.

Alternatively, you can be seen as villains of the people. Any effort to sell off the trail to the people involved in the LUBA case,  and grass seed farmers who have been fined for pesticide violations, will be seen for exactly what it is — capitulation to special interests who have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to elect Commissioner Berschauer.

Kellie Peterson



Forward with trail

I am concerned that two of our county commissioners, Mary Starrett and Lindsey Berschauer, are not representing what the majority of their Yamhill County constituents want, which is that the Yamhelas Westsider Rail to Trail go forward. At last count, according to the News-Register, there were 16 letters in opposition to the trail and 131 in favor.  

Commissioners, please make a good faith effort at seeking win-win solutions with adjacent landowners. Mediation and conversation with landowners is the right way to go. Stopping all planning and progress is not. And please remember that you are representing all of your constituents, not just those who share your personal opinions and not just a favored minority.

Cheryl Nangeroni



Don Dix

Michele Reeves -- the gov. is, nor has ever been about logic -- it's all about the 'benjamims'!


Mr. Sommerfield’s letter is full of misinformation and merits correction: 1. Pilate meets with Jesus in John in the “praetorian” – so alone with an interpreter. He does not interview Jesus with the “mob”. 2. Attacking Bezos missed the larger point of the article; moreover Mr. Bezos’ Washington Post employs columnists such as Hugh Hewitt and Marc Thiessen who are avid supporters of the former president. 3. People who die while a crime is in progress in legal terms are often counted among the casualties of the crime, so five not two died in the process of the insurrection. The point of the article was precise adherence to the truth. The letter merely proves the column’s point.


Berschauer and Starrett are Republicans so she don't care what the majority think - they are too ignorant to appreciate that the revenue that could be brought in by the trail would be a public good - which the GOP hates.


Ooof, as someone who has actually, you know, um read the New Testament Sommerfield is way off here. As his former impeached president would say . . . SAD!

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