Letters to the editor: June 4, 2021

Cans to Freddy’s

Brad Thompson’s guest commentary about the lack of sufficient bottle and can return locations missed a great local option — the BottleDrop redemption center next to Fred Meyer in Newberg.

Freddy’s was ahead of the curve several years ago when it built a separate returns building with hopper-fed can machines. Recently, it repurposed the building as one of the state’s independent BottleDrop centers.

An in-store kiosk is used as the user interface where customers can print bag labels and receive vouchers for return payments. And the in-store vouchers add a 20% bonus. I must admit, the system requires a computer kiosk, smart phone app and internet website all interfacing, and I struggled with that initially. However, when everything came together, I was able to start chipping away at my year-old mountain of returnables. However, please don’t all come to Newberg at once and overfill the returns building.

I know I’m not the only one with a garage full of returnables. Other county retailers should step up and become BottleDrop partners, helping us all get our deposit money back.

Steve Wozniak



County parks expendable?

Last week, as a member of the Yamhill County Parks Advisory Board, I had an uncomfortable but typical encounter with County Commissioner Lindsay Berschauer.

She’s supposed to attend our meetings but never has. She finally showed up last week, but unannounced and off topic.

She complained about Dayton Landing and how aggressively Newberg-based Chehalem Parks & Recreation pursues new property for public parks. She then suggested Yamhill County might have to reduce its own park holdings, as she doesn’t see how it can afford the funds to protect them.

Here’s part of the response I provided the next day:

“You seemed to suggest the county might cut back on its oversight of parks and natural resource areas. We know that Yamhill County parks are a mishmash of extra pieces of land donated to the county, but not a part of an integrally planned landscape.

“The parks Advisory Board hopes to see our base of important resource lands expanded not shrunken.

“Most of the board members you visited with last night are strong supporters of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, so we would like to hear more from you about your vision of a growing, healthy park system that meets the demands of a growing population. I look forward to having your help in the future as we attempt to solve problems that discourage use of the parks.”

Commissioner Berschauer never responded. This is how she advocates for parks in our county — simply ignoring the tough questions at hand when it comes to protecting your parks!

Steven Harloff



Where’s the enforcement?

Noise from non-standard car and truck exhaust systems has reached a staggeringly annoying level in McMinnville. Members of the local Nextdoor.com discussion group recently revealed the extent of the problem.

Complaints include children being traumatized by excessive and unexpected noise, citizens being awakened at all hours of the night, people suffering damage to their hearing and pets having to live in fear in their own yards. Comments came from differing neighborhoods, indicating the problem is widespread throughout McMinnville.

Yet, there are noise ordinances on the books intended to prevent the problem. But they are clearly not being enforced.

Below is a link to McMinnville’s ordinances. The noise section can be found on page 13: www.mcminnvilleoregon.gov/sites/default/files/fileattachments/police/page/849/mcm_chapter_8.10_nuisances.pdf

This problem needs to be addressed.

Meg Stanko



Heroes and villains

We owe a serious debt of gratitude to the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue District.

Early in the struggle to vaccinate Oregon citizens against COVID-19, this organization jumped into the breach, with no guarantee of reimbursement. Impelled by a cadre of passionate senior paramedics, the district has provided support for four separate weekly clinics in Washington, Clackamas and Yamhill counties.

For the past five months, in conjunction with Yamhill County Public Health and volunteers, TVF&R has staffed weekly mass-vaccination clinics at the high school or Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville. In total, the agency has facilitated more than 60,000 injections with very few reactions.

TVF&R paramedics have brought an unparalleled sense of professionalism, efficiency, competence and compassion to this mission of public service. Their dedication has saved lives and improved the health and well-being of Yamhill County citizens.

The public service provided by YCPH and TVF&R stands in stark contrast to the recent words and actions of Yamhill County Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer.

Their actions regarding vaccination policy and mask mandates have been obstructive. They have been counterproductive to efforts to save the lives and enhance the health of county residents.

As the mass-vaccination-clinics phase out, the focus will turn to private providers and Public Health’s weekly walk-in clinics. If you are still unvaccinated, please, for the sake of yourself, family and community, contact a local pharmacy or County Public Health.

Yamhill County remains at risk of another deadly surge as more contagious variants become dominant and our vaccination rate remains low. Scientists agree the major driver of our improved lifestyle over the last five months has been the success of vaccines.

I am thankful for the assistance provided by TVF&R in getting the ball rolling. We cannot stop before the job is finished.

Michael P. McCoy



Height of hyprocrisy

I watched the May 27 County Board of Commissioners meeting and was shocked by Commissioners Starrett and Berschauer’s behavior during the conversation from 2:30 to 2:45 regarding appointment of Philip Higgins to the Road Improvement Advisory Committee.

Commissioner Starrett said she could not approve Higgins despite the board’s recommendation. She wanted the process held open for another candidate.

That this is an incredibly hypocritical stance for her is obvious to anyone who was watching the board in April 2019, when Starrett very nearly managed to sneak then-citizen Lindsay Berschauer onto the County Budget Committee without the opening having even been announced to the public.

A few people noticed and presented enough public testimony, back when we could do that in person and it was harder to ignore opposing voices, to get the board to grant five days for additional applicants to come forward. Several qualified candidates did so, but Commissioners Starrett and Olson voted to appoint Berschauer anyway.

For Commissioners Starrett and Berschauer to now demand more time in an attempt to avoid seating Higgins, who has been publicly supportive of the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, is incredibly hypocritical. It’s hard not to read this as a purely political act to block an otherwise qualified candidate from public service simply because they don’t like his opinion on an unrelated issue.

Megan Corvus



What positive things?

News flash to Lindsay Beschauer! Your job is not “... to be pushing the boundaries ...”

You were elected to make sure services needed by county residents are being provided as efficiently and uniformly as possible. If you can’t handle that responsibility, move over to make room for someone else who can.

You seem to think you know more than the Yamhill County attorney and Yamhill County health director when it comes to what is legal or healthy. What law school did you graduate from? What medical degree do you hold? What are we taxpayers paying their salaries for if they don’t know what they were trained for?

It seems all you want to do is fight with the state. I suggest you invest in a civics course to learn about jurisdictional boundaries or go get elected to a state office.

By the way, what positive thing have you done for Yamhill County citizens since being elected? I for one am tired of you wasting taxpayers’ money and alienating county employees.

It’s a heck of a way to run a business! It’s time for you to be the one held accountable.

Mark Bierly



Lost in the fog

I must be having a nightmare. Masks, house arrests, mass restrictions and now calls for vaccine passes. How can this be allowed in America’s constitutional republic?

Isn’t this a violation? Aren’t we aware how many other violations have occurred? What is wrong with us?

Has the majority been so incited with climate and virus fears that it has dropped all suspicion and vigilance? Don’t we realize how subtly and cleverly these people manipulated, coerced and deceived us to gain their purpose?

This virus has been of great advantage to them. How easily we forget past viruses, not classified as a pandemic. And according to my research, COVID doesn’t meet the criteria anyway.

Let’s consider the HIV virus. It was tiny and very virulent. But we came through without the economic depression, without the restriction, masks and so forth. So why are we allowing this travesty?

The powers have succeeded not only in dividing this nation, but in pitting us one against another. Shouldn’t we get out of this fog, drop our biases and hate, meet with each other, compare notes and research for a freedom-loving consensus and give eviction orders to those who have overstepped their authority?

United we stand, divided we fall.

Hosea 4:1 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. John 8:23 tells us, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Mary Novak



A new focus

I was glad to see on the internet an article about what President Biden has proposed in his fiscal 2022 spending plan for the country.

It has been suggested that Biden’s agenda would make the federal fiscal system more progressive and promote domestic programs. In contrast, the past administration sought to defund domestic programs.

Investments are planned in the social services, the climate crisis, reduction of poverty and expansion of  housing.

It is suggested we have not had a spending push such as this since World War II. The NY Times reports that the proposal calls for $6 trillion in spending for the 2022 fiscal year.

I believe that focusing funding on an aging infrastructure system is of paramount importance at this time. It is very encouraging to me that the Biden administration seems to be addressing this long-ignored issue.

Janet De With



Lack of vision

Having stopped construction on the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, Yamhill County Commissioners Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer are compounding their errors by looting other county accounts to repay grants and have existing construction removed. Next they will no doubt want to dispose of the right-of-way that has been benefiting Yamhill County residents since the railroad was initially constructed.

This will likely spell permanent demise for any hope of constructing a multi-purpose trail between Yamhill and Carlton — a tragedy. That’s also true for a future where commuter rail begins supplanting the automobile — a further tragedy.

Rails to Trails is a huge asset to any community.

I have ridden the Pine Trail in Michigan, which is heavily used by bicyclists, joggers, walkers and families pushing baby carriages. If you visit Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, you will see miles of trails and multiple bicycle rental businesses. Here in Oregon, Champoeg State Park features a similar trail between the park and Butteville.

Apparently, what Michigan, South Carolina and other Oregon jurisdictions have done for hundreds of miles would be “disastrous” to farming practices in Yamhill County. Does this mean that growing our food is hazardous to our health?

Based on the actions of the two commissioners, these farming practices are “more dangerous” to bicyclists than the danger of riding a two lane county road or state highway just feet from those same farmer’s fields. Maybe, Yamhill County doesn’t want a tourism industry, or if it does, it doesn’t want one where children can safely ride their bikes to school or their parents can safely bike to shops and tasting rooms.

Please let our commissioners know their actions are unacceptable.

Leonard Rydell



Vote ‘em out

Hail the day when the headline reads: County pivots to COVID solutions!

Maybe that could happen if Mary Starrett and Mini-Mary Berschauer, our extreme, fringe, conspiracy-theory aficionados masquerading as county commissioners, would simply say nothing and do nothing related to solving pandemic issues. Then the rest of us could move on and get ‘er done.

How much air time have they gotten on the news lately over their misguided actions? And to what end? To bolster their own egos using our tax dollars?

Mark my words, they will continue to spin their fringe ideas and conspiracies for years to come, as they dither in their perceived seats of power, wasting our time and tax dollars.

The best thing ever would be to vote out Mary Starrett and her companion, Mini-Mary Berschauer, as soon as they next come up for election.

Judy Gerrard



Baseless scaremongering

As one who wishes for our county to return to normalcy with a collective effort pointed toward the safest, healthiest way possible, through vaccines as well as masks where needed, it baffles many how there can be such a push back to get back to freedom through safety.

The logic of listening to a county leader state on an official livestreamed board of commissioners meeting that the vaccines carry “chimpanzee DNA” is beyond the pale. Shouldn’t a public official adhere to true, scientific, peer-reviewed, medical journals and verified credible sources to enact any public policy?

Policy by fearing phony chimp DNA is no way to lead a county.

How can we take our commissioners seriously? As Tucker would say, “I’m just asking the question.”

Lisa McCracken




Where’s the enforcement? That is a good question ! More and more streets/lanes are used as race tracks with more and more of special noise tuned cars on our streets. How long have we to wait till we see the first fatal crash ?

Tom Hammer

Uninformed chatter quickly becomes phony outrage. Who will display their lack of knowledge next week?

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