Letters to the Editor: June 28, 2024

Fewer screens

My grandmother taught me years ago that friendships sustain us, and I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.

The youth of McMinnville need to make the real lasting friendships that so many of us value. This means fewer screens and more smiles.

I want to thank the McMinnville School Board and district principals for taking this timely issue so seriously.

Sinell Harney



Face to face best

I wanted to say how grateful I am that the McMinnville School District is entering into discussion about creating a more safe, interactive and community-based school culture, one element being removing access to phones during school hours.

At the June 24 school board work session, the high school dean of students and the two middle school principals met with the school board to confer on our children’s mental and emotional health. They discussed numerous benefits to removing a student’s access to phone during school hours, along with ways to support families on developmentally appropriate strategies at home, help with the possible change, and foster a childhood based on community, conversation and healthy socialization.

As a parent of two district students, I am in full support of any decision that leans towards giving students the opportunity to connect with their peers face-to-face in playful interactions, engage in non-phone based connections and engage in community-building within both our schools and culture at large.

Research on the impacts of phone use is just now coming out, and anyone advocating for our students’ future would be wise to look into it. For example, it is so telling that the engineers who design the programs on our phones do not let their own children use them any more than absolutely necessary.

As an early childhood educator myself, I highly value the many benefits that face-to-face, playful and interactive social engagement can have for all our children. There is no price too high when we are talking about our children’s health, and I am thankful to be part of the growth.

Heidi Hoskins



Death of print

I started in journalism in 1964 as a 19-year-old reporter/photographer with a daily newspaper in Texas. I have seen the industry change from hot lead, Linotype and ticker tape news services, much the same as in the previous decades, to computer production and online editions.

Now, sadly, I perhaps will live to see the death of newspaper journalism — at least, the print version.

KGW recently ran a story sharing the hope community newspapers can somehow survive, perhaps even thrive once again.

However, glaringly absent was the reality that an entire generation — if not several generations — no longer has any interest in paper communications. This growing dependence on and preference for online content, increasingly via cellphone, spells the end of an era.

The tragedy is that future generations will suffer for lack of local journalism, without really understanding the cause. They will miss the water, with no concept of the well it came from. And society will be the worse for it.

Ironically, I started my career as a cub reporter writing obituaries — and 60 years later, I am again writing an obituary.

Ken Dollinger



Sore loser

One of the most valuable lessons we can learn from participating in school athletics is how to win and lose gracefully.

The simple act of the losing team lining up to shake hands with their victorious opponents teaches sportsmanship, humility and respect. It reinforces the understanding that in any competition, there will be a winner and a loser - and that the outcome is to be accepted with dignity.

Sports also teaches us that predictions are often wrong. If we knew the result beforehand, there would be no purpose in holding the event at all.

History has many examples of presumed winners who faced surprising defeat, from Thomas Dewey’s failed presidential bid in 1948 to Hillary Clinton’s narrow loss in 2016. While disappointing for their supporters, Dewey and Clinton handled their losses with the poise and decorum we expect from seasoned public figures.

In stark contrast, we have witnessed the conduct of Donald Trump, who appears to have never learned the basic tenets of sportsmanship.

Rather than accept his 2020 election loss with grace, he has launched an unrelenting campaign to discredit the results and cast doubts on the integrity of American democracy itself. His refusal to concede, coupled with baseless allegations of widespread fraud, sets a dangerous precedent that is antithetical to our democratic values.

Trump’s scorched-earth reaction to his defeat does not merely constitute poor sportsmanship. It constitutes a threat to the peaceful transfer of power and the democratic process as a whole.

His stubborn unwillingness to accept losing is a disqualifying trait for any leader, let alone the president of the United States. One can only assume that Trump’s childhood was devoid of organized sports and the crucial lessons they impart.

Sportsmanship matters, not just on the playing field, but in life. We should expect our leaders to model this vital quality, to accept outcomes with humility and respect the will of the people.

Trump’s behavior in this regard reflects a profound failure of leadership serving as an embarrassment to our nation. He is simply not a role model we would want for our children, or anyone aspiring to uphold democratic ideals.

John Rickert



Nice the way it is

There’s a video on YouTube called The Ten Best Small Towns in Oregon. Number one on the list is Carlton.

Just read an article saying plans are being laid for a 72-room hotel in Carlton to attract tourists.

The curse of our times is businesses finding nice places and commercializing the niceness right out of them. It would seem less damaging to the quality of life if hotels remained in the bed and breakfast category, better fitting in with the area.

Life is nice here in Yamhill County — not overcrowded, not plagued with heavy traffic and not overrun with crime.

The benefits of this project will go primarily to the people behind it. The increased traffic and change to the character of the area will be the county residents’ share.

Fred Fawcett



Another view

Les (“Slaughter Gaza,” June 14):

The misinformation you propagated in your letter and social media posts in regard to the Israeli-Gaza conflict needs to be corrected.

Hamas uses women and children as martyrs.

It fires rockets from schools and hospitals. When Israel sends notice that it intends to react — being the only country to give warnings like this — Hamas gathers innocent bystanders to provide the basis for the civilian death claims it has been making.

Yes, this is awful and horrible. But it is Hamas to blame, not Israel.

Gaza was given its independence in 2005, and promptly elected Hamas to key leadership posts. Israel ceded the land at great cost, both economically and emotionally.

The monetary aid that flowed into Gaza from the rest of the world for infrastructure ended up in the hands of Hamas, which used the money to buy weapons, fund tunnel-building and erect mansions for its leaders in Qatar.

Israel is not an apartheid state. Resident Palestinians and Arabs enjoy full citizenship, ensuring them the right to vote and serve in government.

Israel is not guilty of colonialism, either.

It started buying back barren desert land from willing and even eager Arabs in the nineteenth century. Israel has turned that wasteland into a thriving garden over the last century, and now the sellers want it back.

“From the river to the sea” refers to total annihilation of a group of people. How can anyone miss the hatred and bias in that chant?

The signs we see protesting “75 years of occupation” are false. The land for a state was given to Israel by the United Nations.

Oct 7, 2023, should never be forgotten. Israel has the right to defend its people.

Tim Horrell



Phone scourge

One Thursday afternoon this spring, I compared screen time with the high school rugby players I coach before starting practice. I’d logged two hours so far that day, which I thought was a lot.

But one player had logged seven hours — at 4pm on a school day. And she was not an outlier.

I’d assumed that the main benefits of rugby for my players were the physical empowerment of a full contact sport and the emotional empowerment of being part of a team. But I’ve realized that the greatest gift I give them is two-hour blocks of time without their phones.

They know social media is toxic; that phones detract from their relationships and their studies; that it’s bad for their bodies and minds to be hunched over a phone all day. But they feel like they have no choice but to constantly check social media because everyone else is.

One player texted me during the lockdown at Yamhill-Carlton High School last fall from her classroom there, passing along what she was hearing from other students on their phones. The rumors — of three armed intruders, of a bank robbery nearby — all turned out to be false.

The rumors created more anxiety than there might have otherwise been. And had there been intruders, of course, their social media posts would have revealed where the students were hiding.

My own kids are in middle school. They complain about not having phones — not because they need them, but because their classmates are on their phones precisely during those in-between moments when friendships are made — for example, at a dress rehearsal or waiting for tennis to start.

I am thankful the McMinnville School Board is considering stronger phone restrictions. School is not the only place where phones are a problem, but it’s a good place to start exploring solutions.

Christine Bader




Web Design and Web Development by Buildable