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Letters to the Editor for Dec. 7

VT newsroom needs a dictionary

On page A7 of the Nov. 16 issue of the Valley Times you had a lengthy article on Mary Faltys who was celebrating her 100th birthday at Beaverton Hills Assisted Living, and the second paragraph of the article said, 'Residents and staff of the Beaverton Hills retirement community did just that Nov. 3, as they honored Centurion Mary Faltys.'

Historically speaking a centurion is a commander of a century in the ancient Rome army, and I assume you meant to say Mary Faltys as a centenarian, a person who has lived for 100 years and she has reached her 100th year.

I am a Beaverton Rotarian and we do countless number of good deeds for people on the international as well as local levels, and one of the projects we are just completing is the 'dictionary project' where we would have delivered almost 3,000 pocket-sized dictionaries to the fourth-graders in Beaverton elementary schools by the end of this month.

I would like to know whether you would like to have a dictionary from us? I would be happy to deliver a nice looking dictionary for your staff. As you well know newspapers are the most important learning medium for all sorts of ways for all of us, and spelling and correct usage of the English language would be two of them.

P.S. I like your paper and enjoy reading the local news!

ELIZABETH CHA SMITH

Beaverton

Oregon mental health system needs a fix

If we call the Oregon State Budget, 'the Titanic,' the iceberg will be Mental Health. Mental Health is the ghost of legislatures past. In every session, legislative leadership sends the problem to the 'next year' committee. The consequence of regularly ignoring any solution now is a problem so large that any answer is so extremely costly that any solution is completely out of sight.

Mental health problems now cost society more than cancer and aids combined. It takes up more beds than heart disease and AIDS. One only has to look at the Oregon State Hospital's physical condition and its many difficulties to get an inkling of the size and obstacles in just this one area. I know that there are plans in place to improve the hospital facilities statewide. When one looks at the building costs, one gets a feel for this huge problem.

It would be a grave mistake to build new buildings without taking into consideration the salary and working conditions of the staff and doctors. The key person involved in any patients' recovery is the psychiatric doctor who determines the patients' treatment and medication program. A doctor with the required skills can easily increase his income by 40 percent by taking his/her skills to private practice. Currently, the hospital is short eight of these important doctors. A person with the necessary skills to work as a staff member can easily find less demanding and better paying employment. So many of the problems one hears about in the hospital system can easily be traced to an underpaid and overworked staff.

During the recent political season no candidate even mentioned the Oregon mental health system problems. Mental health discussions will garner no votes, so the problem grows into a 20-ton gorilla. At least education has a golden paddle for its canoe. Mental health doesn't even have a canoe.

We know because we have a son who has been in every one of the state hospitals plus every mental facility in the area.

NICK and LINDA PARKER

Aloha