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Letters to the editor: Feb. 26, 2021

Arming up not answer

The push to create a gun sanctuary in Yamhill County isn’t as much about the Second Amendment as it is about the arming of America.

Our country is awash in guns. We are not running out and they are not wearing out.

People will always possess guns in this country. That is a fact. But the justification for personal arsenals built around high-powered, high-capacity weapons is weak.

More guns do not equal a safer society. We need to concentrate on building a safe, healthy society through measures proposed by the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association:

n Increased funding for mental health response and mobile crisis teams.

n Enhanced promotion of student wellness and efforts to prevent youth suicide.

n Increased funding for mental health services within communities.

n Creation of a statewide school safety and suicide prevention system, featuring multi­-disciplinary safety assessment teams and student support systems.

This would take commitment to the common good of the community, and it would be hard work, so wouldn’t happen overnight.

Lindsay Bershauer’s sanctuary plan does not support measures proven to promote the safety she envisions and is not in the best interests of Yamhill County. Rather than arming up and retreating into opposing camps, we should make a lasting change for greater safety through the multi-pronged, community-led approach recommended by the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association.

The Second Amendment will always be upheld. But it is continually being used as bait to fuel actions detrimental to democracy.

Stuart Gunness

Sheridan

 

Compassion and humanity

As we begin to reopen our schools, with long-awaited human contact, let us consider how we can “make schools more human,” as a recent New York Times opinion piece advised. In place of the same curriculum and expectations, let’s promote strategies that engage our students’ natural interests.

Various articles and professional opinions suggest the following:

n “Minimize one-size-fits-all curricula, especially when it links to standardized learning and assessment.” Let’s give our teachers the freedom to go beyond textbook learning and involve their students in activities and discussion that “build excitement, spark interest and promote collaboration.” A teacher cited in “Teaching Tolerance” that his students “thrive when they have been expected to connect, communicate, collaborate and act as a community.”

n Let’s endorse a team approach that gives all staff, parents and guardians a genuine voice in determining school programs. It’s teachers who should create appropriate assessments relevant to their students’ learning. It’s time to trust their expertise.

n Let’s re-imagine school through the eyes of our children. What motivates them to come to school? How can we bring relevance to their lives? They need activities that involve role play, team building and creativity to expand their learning.

When we reopen schools, let’s not bombard our students with the notion that they need to catch up and get back into the old routine of standardized learning. Let’s offer them time to celebrate being together again and focus on activities that bring joy and love of learning. Let’s build in a few minutes every hour for a short wellness activity or game, and bring parents and caregivers into the routine by raising discussion questions that include them.

Let us move forward where compassion and humanity are significant in every classroom.

Liz Marlia-Stein

McMinnville

 

Not progressive enough

Tom Vilsack’s nomination as secretary of agriculture does not fit with Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Vilsack has served as governor of Iowa, secretary of agriculture under President Obama and chief lobbyist for the dairy industry. His candidacy is opposed by a coalition of small and minority farmers, as well as consumer, labor and environmental advocates.

Here’s why:

n He presided over consolidation of Big Ag to take unfair advantage of small farmers.

n He failed to protect minority farmworkers and minority farmers and from exploitation by Big Ag.

n He supported location of highly polluting factory farms in minority communities.

n He promoted approval of numerous genetically modified food products.

n He allowed meatpacking employees to replace government food safety inspectors.

n He served an industry playing a significant role in the climate crisis.

n He failed to lead our nation’s transition from a meat- and fat-laden diet to a healthy, eco-friendly diet of vegetables, fruits and grains.

n And in crass political terms, he failed to deliver the Iowa caucuses to the Biden candidacy or the rural vote to the Biden presidency.

Our senators must oppose Tom Vilsack’s nomination as secretary of agriculture.

Milo Nakamura

McMinnville

 

Time for recall?

As a pacifist, I’m offended by the sanctuary ordinance proposed by Yamhill County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer.

I’m even more upset that she will not allow folks to have a biking and walking trail for those who enjoy fresh air and exercise. Yet she seems to think it’s acceptable to have her agenda pushed on others to allow free gun purchase and use.

She was not elected to push her own agenda, but to enact rules and laws for the majority of the people of Yamhill County. Maybe it’s time to recall her before she can cause more damage.

Kathleen Culbert

McMinnville

 

Heartless intruder

On a recent trip to the grocery store to get some staples, my daughter encountered a short, frail lady trying to reach a gallon of milk.

It was the last gallon of that type on the shelf. She was too short to reach it, but was trying to finagle her way.

As my daughter approached to help her, another woman came up, elbowed the little lady to move out of the way and reached for the same milk. She took it right from under the little elderly lady and walked off, never wavering from what she was up to.

To her, I say, I hope you enjoyed the milk you took from the lady who was trying to reach it. How dare you!

Judy Williamson

McMinnville

 

Still smiling

I was exiting Bi-Mart on Monday evening when I stopped to wait for a pickup truck to go by before crossing to the parking lot. The gentleman behind the wheel waved me on, and I waved back to thank him.

A few steps later I heard, “Excuse me,” and turned around to see who was talking. It was the driver of the pickup motioning me over.

He proceeded to hand me a beautiful bouquet of 12 long-stem roses, saying, “I just like to see people smile!” I was still masked, so responded, “I’m smiling. Thank you so much!”

How absolutely delightful to be the recipient of such kindness, especially in this world where the meaning of the word seems to have taken leave for many. Thank you, sir, for making my day — no, making my week!

Carolyn Stastny

McMinnville

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