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Early time plan

I am a parent rep and chair on the Scappoose High School Site Council. I have three daughters in Scappoose High School and four more children that will follow. I feel the public has not been adequately informed on the following subject.

At the Jan. 14 school board work session, the Grant Watts Site Council presented the school board with a proposal to add time to the Grant Watts school day. Because of this idea the high school and our other schools are looking at an earlier start time. This change could be anywhere from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. At the conclusion of this work session Paul Peterson, superintendent, directed the principals to take their ideas of change back to their site councils to collect feedback regarding schedule changes. He then directed them to present these changes to the school board in the fall of 2008 with a possible change in September of 2009. The principals were directed to keep the public informed and gather their opinions.

I feel it is my responsibility to let the public know that these dates have now changed. I had a meeting with the superintendent and was told he gave the principals the following dates;

March 18 - Principals gave their plans of schedule change possibilities to him. It will then go to the Bus Barn to brainstorm these changes into a new bus/school schedule.

April 4 - The new plan will be put together by this date and available for public knowledge.

April 14 - The plan will be formally presented to the school board.

May 12 - The school board will vote on the plan.

These changes will be in place for September of 2008, not 2009.

I urge the public to find out the results on April 4. I also urge the public to research the sleep needs of teenagers. If you have any concerns please get involved. Contact your school board members, and show up at the school board meeting April 14. Please have your voice heard.

Kristie Flanagan

Scappoose

Vote explained

I feel I should let people know why I voted the way I did on approving the business license for the skate shop. Like many I was very supportive of our city managers original denial of the license based on the information provided on the application. I even sent Mr. Hanken an email stating that feeling. If no other information had come forward that changed the city manager's and police chief's position I would have voted 'no' without hesitation.

I trust our police chief. He is the top law enforcement official in our community. When he told us that he did not believe that this business represented a risk to the community I believed him. I have spent the most of the past decade vocalizing supporting our police department. I have continuously fought for more police, more resources for training of our officers and assuring that our officers have the equipment necessary to do the job. I even lobbied successful Wal-Mart for a $5,000 grant so one more of our police cars could have a camera. When we were paying our officers significantly less than other area departments I helped push through pay increases to help lessen the drain of us training officers just for them to go elsewhere. I will continue to do so.

To let people know. Mr. Harper testified that he would not be at the shop but rarely and that Mr. Morgan would be running the shop on a day-to-day basis. If at any time it appears that this is not the case, I will be the first to contact our city manager to demand that he invoke chapter 5.04.090 paragraph B section 2 (revocation or suspension of license) of our city code that states: 'The applicant has provided false or misleading material information, or has omitted disclosure of a material fact on the application, related materials, or license.' In my judgment he provided material information during our hearing that I intend to hold him to. My preference is not during business hours and if so less than one day per month. Mr. Morgan is the person responsible for the day-to-day operation and has a clean background with a family in town.

I try to make the best decisions possible with the information I have at hand. In this case I trusted our police chief and our city manager's recommendation. I hope you can trust them as well to continue to work to make Scappoose a safe place to live.

Mayor Scott Burge

Scappoose

More on corn

I enjoyed reading your dissertation concerning the ethanol plant near Clatskanie. I believe any discussion should begin with what are the immediate costs to produce the product now in use, and then determine if a new product will cost more or less to replace this product. Not reading what the cost of producing a gallon of gasoline going into your pickup fuel tank, and no comparable cost for the gallon of ethanol going into the same tank leaves the whole discussion in limbo.

My Nirvana story would go much differently. First, the production of the corn crop would be done using biodiesel produced using photocells, the train engines would use this biodiesel to bring the corn to the plant which used steam power produced by burning corn plant refuse, all delivery vehicles would use produced ethanol from the plant, and the cost would be no more than that of producing petroleum fuels. The end result would be less pollutants expelled, more jobs would be available, and best of all you could still drive your pickup.

Our country has gorged itself on petroleum fuels almost since time began, and it is time for a change. We can go back to walking, using the horse and buggy, riding bikes, public transportation, or efficient gutless vehicles. It is an individual choice of which method of travel you want to take. Right now, I can look out into the yard and see my big wonderful toy cruiser and the 1974 Bluebird converted bus with a great sounding Cat 3208 engine sitting there unused since 2002 due to the price of diesel. While we are getting above-average fuel economy driving the 2003 Element, and 1989 Civic wagon, the increasing price of fuel has motivated us to place an order for the Mercedes SmartForTwo car. Downsizing to a 71HP engine will extend the miles per gallon somewhat more than what the 1.5L Civic engine gives us. We choose to move into a gutless economy car than try to walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation back and forth to Portland and Longview.

When I run the bus diesel engine every three weeks, I just close my eyes and remember my trip to Kansas in 2002 knowing that more trips like that are out of the question at today's fuel prices.

I do hope you can keep driving your pickup before you also will only be able to run the engine at home in the yard every three weeks.

Richard Scherer

Scappoose

Good story

You did a good job, and my head is swelling with the kind things that you have written about me and the St. Helens Update.

A few minor points of fact. Read the story 'Gary was my friend' again. Years ago, in Los Angeles, we did chase police calls. Neither I, or any of the kids that I ran around with, ever put on police uniforms ... we wore suits and ties. A couple of my friends were arrested for playing this game, and the rest of us were smart enough to stop chasing police calls … we did safe things, like exploring storm drains and riding freight trains.

There was an episode of Dragnet that was based on our ridiculous misadventures.

People may not understand, but my playing the part of Catholic priest, revolutionary, Red Cross worker and mayor of San Jose' was all part of my role as a controller/reactor during one of a number of military exercises. This was all part of my military job in training people for the invasion of Panama. I did get a commendation from General Schwartzkoff for my work. I was in civil affairs, not Psychological Operations, although we worked closely with 'Psyops' (Both branches were under the U.S. Army Special Operations Command). I also got to teach civil affairs classes for JFK Special Warfare School. (If you have time read the stories 'A Doc Harry Xmas' and 'Doc Harry is Real.' The stories are both funny and true.)

I am not THE director, but I am a member of the board of directors for Kiwanis Doernbecher Children's Cancer program, as well as a member of the board of directors of the North West Oregon RC and D. I do not serve as secretary for them, but I do serve as a member of the board of directors and secretary for the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District. This is an elected position, and I do plan to run again this next November.

Good job, good story, and thank you ever so much for writing about the St. Helens Update.

Bill Eagle

St. Helens

Wake-up call

I want to express thanks and appreciation to Joe Gallagher for the heartfelt sympathy he expressed for the loss of our dog Aristotle, and for his wish that the person who killed him be caught and punished.

However, I also ask Mr. Gallagher to think a bit more deeply about the statements he made. In my letter I said the hunters of Columbia County needed to wake up, as some of their friends and relatives are criminals. That statement remains true. I don't condemn hunters that are responsible and caring citizens, and I know a number of them. It is exactly those folks that need to wake up, however. The damage that is being done is large, outrageous, and costly; if it continues, partly as a result of the 'good' hunters ignoring the bad, then all hunters will be restricted, not just the bad ones.

It does no one any good to pretend that a hunter that commits a crime suddenly becomes a nonhunter or 'poacher,' so all hunters are good guys. The facts say that this is not true, and that the hunters have not just one bad apple, but barrels full, with many hunters committing a variety of crimes. The distinction between criminals and hunters that Mr. Gallagher would like does not exist - it is similar to saying that as soon as a driver gets drunk and wreaks havoc, he is no longer a driver, so all drivers are 'good.' It was a hunter that killed our dog, and it is three hunters that were witnesses to the crime. These people are all criminals as well as hunters. To claim otherwise is an insult.

I would ask you to look genuinely at the forest and woods. Signs that are torn down or shot full of holes, trees used as target practice, glass bottles broken for target practice, deep ruts carved in the ground where 4x4s have gone off the road - that is hunters' work. Not to mention the fact that just about everyone that lives in or around the woods hears hunters firing hundreds of rounds just for the heck of it at all hours of the day.

I talked a few days ago with several new acquaintances in the area who also own and care for forest land. Every one of them was very angry at the lack of consciousness, responsibility, care for property rights, and just plain common sense by hunters in the area.

It's people like Mr. Gallagher that I am asking to pay attention to what is happening. If people of good will and responsibility stop ignoring the people who are not, then hunters will not end up in the fix that some areas of Europe are in, where hunters must hire a guide who tells them which animal they can shoot.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that this discussion has nothing to do with either gun ownership or hunting itself. It is about whether the hunters that give a darn can stop the damage done by those who don't.

Charles Bickford

Deer Island