Letters

From our readers



Sable House

Sable House would like to thank the generous donations of clothing, household items and toys we received in response to our request for maternity clothes.

Our storage space is brimming with these symbols of our community's caring spirit. In fact, we have begun turning donations away as they have outgrown our capacity to house them.

Once again, Polk County has demonstrated that the holiday spirit of giving is alive all year round.

Virginia Henderson

(on behalf of

Sable House)

Energy

This is an addition to Justin Carinci's column "There's no need for cars to pollute the air."

I recently returned from a sustainable development conference in Boulder, Colo., and one of the main topics discussed was alternative energy.

I learned much during this conference, including the fact that alternative energy exists and major companies such as Texaco, Chevron, Shell, and many others are taking advantage of the opportunity to be leaders in the field.

I met with representatives from Shell Solar and Texaco Ovonic Hydrogen Systems. The president of Texaco Ovonic presented the latest technology in hydrogen fuel and I was amazed at what they are doing.

They are powering trains and locomotives with hydrogen. They have created storage systems for hydrogen that fit right in the trunk of your car.

Because, as Justin mentions, fuel cells are a thing of the future and major automobile companies are definitely not ready for such a leap, Texaco Ovonic decided to work with what we have and are now powering internal combustion engines with hydrogen.

Hybrid cars are getting 300 miles on a tank and averaging 51 miles to the gallon for less than the cost of a tank of gas.

They are producing the hydrogen in house, storing it in cars and they have a plan for distribution to gas stations with minimal investment.

It's sad that this technology gets little or no media coverage but the bottom line is that the same leaders in the oil and traditional energy sectors will continue to be the leaders in new energy sectors.

But why change when there are still plenty of fossil fuels around? Change is costly and these companies will continue to milk the existing system as long as possible.

It is up to us to inform as many people as we can about the availability of alternative energy so we can stop harming our environment and depending on foreign countries for oil. I think the current situation in Iraq speaks for itself.

Please read more about Texaco Ovonic at:

www.txohydrogen.com

Shell Solar at:

www.shell.com/renewables

Spread the word.

Rob Anderson

Independence

Monmouth

I want to thank the Monmouth City Council for selecting me to fill the unexpired term of its vacant position.

I feel honored to have been chosen and consider it a privilege to serve the citizens of Monmouth.

As a council member, I will work to create a strong community where children and adults enjoy living, and where they can develop and thrive. I also want to help Monmouth city government be respected for its integrity and its ability to solve problems.

While I as one person can make a difference on the council, citizen involvement in Monmouth will also be critical in further developing the positive community we all want.

I look forward to working with the council and other Monmouth residents in this effort.

Kyle Jansson

Monmouth

Veterans

The Disabled American Veterans Chapter No. 6 of Salem wishes to express our appreciation to the people of the area for their generous donations during our annual For-Get-Me-Not drive.

The drive raises money for disabled veterans in Oregon.

The funds help support our van service which provides transportation to local veterans to get to the Veterans Administration hospital and to help the Veterans Home in The Dalles.

We would also like to thank BiMart in Monmouth and Safeway and WalMart in Dallas for their use of the stores as collection points.

Forest Bahler

Oregon State Commander

of the Disabled Veterans

Dallas

Football

Dallas High football players and supporters would like to thank the community for their support on our recent car raffle. It was a big success.

Special thanks to McMullin Chevrolet for the donation of the car, also to White's Collision Service and Dragon's Lair Auto Repair for the work on the car.

Dallas Select Market gave us a place to sell tickets during Summerfest in Dallas. Polk County Fairgrounds also donated an awesome space for the entire Polk County Fair.

North Dallas Bar & Grill jumped in with some gift certificates as consolation prizes. Many fantastic supporters of the team helped to man the ticket sales booth and Dan Rocha really got the ball rolling to start the whole endeavor.

Many thanks to all. It's great when the whole community gets together to support the team. Please support the businesses that support your kids and school.

Mark Scott

Rickreall

Tragedy

I was upset to read about Catherine Johnson being fatally injured after being hit by a car while on her scooter. I do not blame the driver.

It is the fault of Polk County. For years, county officials have not paid money toward senior transportation in this county. If they had done their part, transportation would be available to seniors to go shopping, to the beauty shop and to medical appointments in the local area.

Especially shopping!

It is difficult for seniors to get out to the grocery store. So when they don't have a ride, they try walking or driving scooters.

They are not very agile. Crossing the street is quite an effort for them. So this becomes a major danger for them and for drivers in their cars.

All county officials have to do is plan it in their budget. They could if they wanted to. They can do it if they try hard enough.

This has been a problem since the early '90s. There is a transportation service ready to transport them as long as WHEELS has funds to run the service.

It's called Dial-a-Ride.

It can get state and federal funding, but it needs county funds to make it go. Dial-a-Ride has been around since 1991. It goes on a yearly basis as long as the funds last for the year.

So Polk County, step up to the plate. Do what you should by giving money to transportation so the bus service can keep going so that we don't have more seniors hit by cars.

What's it going to take. Another senior being killed?

Brenda Jackson

Dallas

Hedlund

It is with real sadness that I heard of the passing of Wes Hedlund.

Wes was my insurance agent, at times my mentor, and more importantly, a member of my community who could always be called "friend."

The first time I met Wes I could not have been more than 5, when my parents were arranging for insurance. I still remember going to his first office in the old Ross Theater with my Mom, playing with the familiar square State Farm Insurance stickers on hs desk.

Several years later, when I reached driving age, Wes had my mother and my friend David Fountain's mother send us down for a "talking to" on the importance of responsible driving.

I still remember Dave and I sitting in the State Farm office, horse-power charged teenage boys, as Wes described his first introduction to and incident with driving, involving a Model A Ford and a couple of trees on a farm. Without lecturing, Wes got his point across.

It is a lesson I have never forgotten.

In more recent years, Wes always had kind words for my family and I enjoyed talking to him whenever we met. In early 2000, just prior to my transfer to Japan, Wes made a point to offer me some guiding personal advice that I will always treasure.

Wes was especially kind to my young kids and was always able to make them laugh, though I'm not sure that they really knew who "Mr. Hedlund" was, other than "Some old friend of Grandma, Grandpa and Dad."

I think that is actually a pretty good tribute.

My condolences to Wes' family, and to his friends, like my Mom and Dad, who will miss him, and the special place he had in the community.

Goodbye, friend.

Danny Jaffer

Japan

PERS

Kate Cooper Richardson, chief of staff for the Oregon State Treasury, tried in her guest opinion to correct some misconceptions about Measure 29.

As for me, it raised more questions such as the 8 percent that is being charged on the current unfunded liability. Who wrote the law that PERS should be authorized 8 percent interest rate of return on its unfunded liability?

Was it the Oregon Legislature or was it the PERS board of directors? I'd like to know.

I'd also like to know why the rate of return was not dropped to today's level as was stated in her letter somewhere around 5.75 percent.

If that were possible, there would be no point in selling bonds. Bottom line, it's a "no-brainer" paying 5.75 percent interest on debt rather than paying 8 percent.

Another point made in the letter, which was also made during the campaign to pass Measure 29, was that it is similar to a homeowner refinancing their home. If it is similar to a home mortgage, you pay some principal with each payment.

When it's paid in full, you own your home. What asset will the State of Oregon or Central School District have when the loan is repaid?

Worse yet, what if the bond is similar to a home equity loan that you only pay interest on and the principal is due at the end of the 15-, 20- or 30-year term?

Roll it over, refinance again, when the interest rates may not be as favorable? Where else will the money come from to repay the principal?

Her third point in the letter was service will not be "reduced proportionately." How in the world will service not be affected proportionately when the State of Oregon has to repay the principal debt of $2,300,000 for the bonds sold?

A question not addressed by John Dracon or Kate Cooper Richardson is what happens when PERS' stock market asset value increases in the future and the PERS unfunded liability decreases or disappears? Will PERS kick back funds to the State of Oregon and the Central School District employers or will pension accounts be increased?

Gary Whitaker

Monmouth

Taxes

How can one human being have 3,333 times the need for "basic needs" as another?

It takes 3,333 individuals, each making an annual income of $15,000, to equal one individual making $50,000,000 annually.

Taxes can only be paid out of income -- yours or someone elses -- so they are all income taxes.

People who are able to pay modest or greater taxes and have political and economic influence always do so on the backs of the less able to pay.

The worst tax of all is the tax on needs and not on ability to pay.

Oregon enjoys a tremendous volume of sales from residents of neighboring states who want to save sales tax. Tourists from "sales tax states" stay longer and spend more.

Everything about sales taxes is negative.

Howard Wildfang

Salem



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