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Natural gas promise

not just hot air

Deep in an article on cheap natural gas triggered by new drilling technologies (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 23) are two comments. One is by Peter Cella, CEO of Chevron Phillips, a leading chemical company: “We’ve convinced ourselves that this (cheap natural gas) is not a temporary thing. This is a real, durable phenomenon, a potential competitive advantage for the United States.”

A major fertilizer producer’s CEO, Steve Wilson of CF Industries, provided the other: “ It’s been a complete 180-degree change in our thought process.” They’re staging for a $2 billion expansion in U.S. production.

Glass, steel, aluminum, oil refining, chemical plants and plastics are among those industries thought to have just gained a decisive worldwide advantage due to the new mega quantities of natural gas.

Plants like the existing fertilizer facility north of Columbia City could be looking to expand. Industrial concepts based on the new equation may be just off stage.

With Columbia County’s infrastructure in place, it becomes a human endeavor. We will provide the attitude that says more than “yes we can.”

We are the community to build on.

Wayne Mayo


Coal article should hit home

I would like to compliment Brian Rosenthal on his very well-thought-out public opinion on the coal export issue in the Spotlight (“The bad economics of coal trains,” Oct. 17).

I was at the Portland demonstration this summer with Robert Kennedy Jr. At this time, there were three notable speakers:

One was a delegation of people from China saying that they do not want our exports of dirty coal to China as the country has a terrible smog problem and they are trying as a country to use renewable, nonpolluting energy. Friends who have visited China recently remarked on the number of house and businesses with solar water heaters. About two years ago, the NRDC had an interesting article about the mayor of one coastal town who wanted to make his city a green city. He unfortunately didn’t shut down the coal plant there. He moved it out of the city and required all new buildings to put solar water collectors on their roofs and had a new collector that could be purchased and was much smaller and inexpensive enough for large numbers of people and businesses to operate solar. China realizes all the illnesses and early deaths that are caused from coal burning and are trying to figure out ways to change this and still take care of the huge number of people that need jobs each year.

A speaker from Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility talked about the health risks for the people of China and us on both ends of transporting it through our towns and the gorge plus the polluted air coming back from China.

A grandmother from Vancouver, Wash., who said that she has to hose down her home, plants and car from coal dust plus (that) her grandson could not visit her because the coal dust aggravated his asthma so bad.

We should be able to locate better jobs for people in our county than exporting coal.

Marjorie Kundiger

St. Helens

Alarm bells are ringing

Are you a bit alarmed that, according to witnesses’ accounts, a bus load of cops, firemen and 911 dispatchers allowed a fellow officer to attempt to drive his car from a bus stop in Clatskanie to his home in Scappoose when several stated that he was visibly intoxicated? One woman said that she would not have ridden with him herself, but she was apparently comfortable to stand by silently as he drove off to endanger other unsuspecting motorists and their passengers. Additionally, a superior officer said that in retrospect he thought he should have talked with the officer about not driving drunk. Talked with? What?! If he thought the officer was impaired, he should have stopped him from driving, not tried to talk him out of it.

I’m not saying whether or not the statements reported in the article are accurate, but my guess is that at least some of the occupants of the bus were intoxicated and that some drove themselves home. Though I believe the .08 limit is unreasonably low, I in no way advocate driving while one is impaired.

I set the standard a bit higher when the impaired drivers are those entrusted with our safety. Law enforcement officers make claims of being more adept than the average person at recognizing signs of intoxication. It follows that they should readily recognize those signs in themselves as well as in fellow officers.

The district attorney’s report, along with other allegations that have appeared in the local newspapers don’t speak well for our officers. It appears there is one set of rules for law enforcement and a different set of rules for the rest of us.

Rosemary Lohrke


A time for swimming

“To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3).” Along the lines of that profound Biblical statement, I am thinking that there is, for the United States of America:

A time to borrow — and a time to pay for what we buy

A time to spend — and a time to refrain from spending

A time to enjoy things today that our children will pay for later — and a time to leave our children a better country than the one we were given

A time to attempt control of other countries — and a time to mind our own business

A time to run up debt — and a time to pay debt down

A time for trade policies that send our jobs to other countries — and a time for trade policies that bring them home again

A time to make lavish financial promises — and a time to cut up credit cards

A time to send out our troops — and a time to bring our troops home

A time to imagine that we do not need the help of Almighty God — and a time to seek His face.

A time to spend our future — and a time to save our present

A time to vote as we always have — and a time to vote in a way we never have before

A time to remember the sacrifices of Americans who have gone before — and a time to make sacrifices of our own.

Regarding my own personal bedrock, I must say that there can never, ever be a time to harm babies, but there is certainly a time to stop doing that.

It is not really necessary to say that substantial change is well under way in the fundamentals of how we govern ourselves in Oregon and in the nation at large. We all know that.

We cannot afford to prolong the life of policies that have lost their usefulness.

Mostly what we need is the courage to promote needed and new approaches to the affairs of government. I remember Bobby Dylan singing that “you’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times, they are a-changin’”. Well, I believe that Americans still have the will to live, but I also believe that we better “start swimming” very soon.

Bob Ekstrom


Help for an injured Scappoose man

On Oct. 10 a Scappoose man, Greg Forsythe, 45, was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash near Redmond. He suffered a shattered right wrist, displaced fracture of his left wrist, a fracture of his right leg and a lacerated spleen.

He was hospitalized at St. Charles Medical Center for 14 days, seven of those days in ICU. He underwent surgeries on both arms and his leg. He is not allowed to put weight on any of the three limbs and his arms are casted at 90 degrees. He is unable to feed himself or take care of himself in any way at this time.

The woman who caused the accident was cited for a “dangerous left turn.” She said, “I did not see him.”

Greg was driving south on 97 near Terrebone when “all of a sudden a car was cross wise in the highway right in front of me. I did not have time to put on the brakes. I said to myself ‘this is it, I know I’m going to hit.’” Greg was on his last road trip of the season to visit his aunt and uncle, before the weather changed. The accident occurred at 11:46 a.m. on a sunny day on a straight section of the highway.

Witnesses said Greg was going the speed limit and was clearly visible to them. He wore full textile motorcycle gear, a reflective vest and a helmet.

The aftermath of the accident has been devastating to the family. The family is urging everyone to check their insurance limits on their policies. So far, it seems, there is no help for people who are under insured or families waiting for the complicated result of insurance negotiations.

A perfect example of this occurred when it was believed Greg would need to go to a rehabilitation facility before going home. He was told that, because his medical insurance policy would only cover $50 a day, the facility needed to treat him as a private-pay client. Their estimated charge each day would be $400 per day.

They requested $7,500 up front before they would take him.

Right before discharge, it was determined that Greg could go home. Greg had to be transported home in a wheel chair in a medical van. Greg and Sherrie had to pay $500 for that service. They also have had to pay for the rental of a hospital bed and wheel chair. A bedside commode had to be purchased. Greg has five hours of home care per day.

The first bill from that agency will arrive this week.

Greg’s wife, Sherrie, has made numerous phone calls, filled out multiple forms and, at the same time, is taking care of Greg during the hours of the day when home care is not there. Greg plans on returning to work for the Red Lion as an airport shuttle driver, after his injuries heal.

In the meantime, Sherrie has set up a fund at the U.S. National Bank in order to help with all out-of -pocket costs for care until Greg becomes more mobile. Greg and Sherrie have insurance but are “under insured.” It is likely that the woman who caused the accident is also under insured.

It is anticipated that this will be tied up with the insurance companies for a long time. Any immediate help for them will be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made at any branch of the U.S. National Bank, to the Greg Forsythe Accident Medical Fund at U. S. National Bank.

The family also wishes to thank all of their friends for their kindness.

Darlene Melvin


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