Featured Stories


Letters published Feb. 19, 2016

For education in Columbia County, choose Tardif

You may know a high school senior who at times feels some desperation about what to do after graduation. I find myself assuming that a large number of those young people would like to go to college. But when I make that assumption, I assume, OK, they will “figure out” how to do that.

I thought our community had a vision and a plan to give a hand-up to every one of those young people for a better future through higher education. I assumed that, by now, we would be building a community college here in Columbia County, because the county has been collecting taxes for Portland Community College for many, many years.

For example, last year alone PCC received $1.9 million from Columbia County taxpayers. I don’t know who is willing and able to account for how much money has been collected, but I know we still lack a definitive plan for our community college and its scholastic program. So this year’s graduating class shares the same fate as the previous generation.

I look forward to this year’s county elections when we have an opportunity to elect a young man who can relate to these same concerns of our neighbors and graduates. Alex Tardif is a candidate for the Columbia County Board of Commissioners who will be a supporter of a stronger educational presence here, in Columbia County.

Paulette Lichatowich

Columbia City

Remember the ‘People’ in PUD

Let’s remember it’s the “Columbia River People’s Utility District,” the PUD, that is owned by the people.

Why is it that the people are just hearing about an investigation, paid for by them, that revealed the unethical behavior of one of their employees?

Why is it that they are learning of the investigation over a year after it occurred and only because the report was “leaked” to the Spotlight (see “Report: PUD interim manager spied, hid files,” Feb. 12)?

Regardless of whether or not PUD Director Craig Melton gets recalled, the board needs to reconsider Mr. John Nguyen’s continued employment. Per the report, he seems to have a serious lack of ethics that should cause pause in employing him in any position. He abused his position and the access it granted him on the PUD’s network, the report states. He had administrative root access to everything

on the network and abused that access for his own purposes.

Mr. Nguyen’s actions, uncovered during the investigation, are a serious breach of trust.

Since he had all access to

all things on the network, we have no idea what else he might have accessed, edited or deleted that went undiscovered.

The people should wonder if he has accessed personal account records and what other information he may have gathered and/or exploited for his own purposes.

Barbara Fail


Had it with hunters

Aristotle, Ulysses and I were a team on our forestland. Each would fight anyone or anything that attacked any of us. Today’s paper has a memorial to Aristotle. He was lured, clubbed, kidnapped, and taken into the woods to be

tortured to death in the obscene hunter ritual of coyote-baiting.

Let out as usual at 7:52 a.m., Ulysses returned in 20 minutes, Aristotle didn’t. I started calling, searching. There were five hunters illegally using our land. Tracks showed he was befriended and lured about a quarter-mile down the log road, then clubbed and carried to the other hunters to be forced to fight coyotes until he was torn to pieces while alive. Hunter-style dogfighting.

While searching, I heard shots. The criminals had killed him early in order to run.

Many folks have had their beloved dogs treated this way, or shot on sight. Coyotes eat the evidence, and your pet disappears. These are violent

felons — five years in prison, $100,000 fine, and $125,000

restitution. Many hunters

are accessories to these felonies.

I made a terrible mistake that no-one should make: I trusted hunters, since I have known hunters all my life. Hunting has changed and is not about safe, cost-effective food. It is about killing for entertainment, and it doesn’t matter what they kill.

I asked the sheriff to help and got a two-month goose chase. When able to contact the wildlife officer, he would not even take a report. Signs from Cornelius Pass to Longview. Wash., were torn down by hunters. I asked hunters to help, they helped the criminals. It took 11 days to find proof.

I had to identify a family member and best friend from pieces.

Among county hunters are many of the most rotten criminals in the county, and hunters have a code of silence. Just like a gang. Many of their crimes are non-hunting crimes, but are ignored by the sheriff. Crimes reported with or without the word “hunter” are treated very differently. Victims — your hunter neighbor won’t help — he will look you in the eye and lie. I have seen this with many hunters that are considered “good people:” a board member of a woodland group, a well-driller, a plumber, a worker in the plant business, the mother of the violent


With no law enforcement, I had no choice; as a high-tech researcher, I used those methods. Forensics is science. I succeeded and tried to talk with the crime family. Their response was, “how did you find us,” and vandalism. I had data on a violent felon and gave the data to the relevant sheriff person. He wanted to investigate but was not allowed to. A violent felon walks free. Serial killers often start out by enjoying dismembering, torturing and killing animals.

I talked with over 60 local hunters, and 250 non-hunters. These problems have a larger cause: a gang mentality. It has been disgusting to find what is believed by local hunters. Most beliefs are false, and much

told to the public about hunting is lies. Hunting cannot survive without lies. A hunter is

by definition armed and violent.

Scrutiny continues out of necessity. It is not whether hunting is good or bad. It is the old, strong, and deep relationship between local hunters and crime. Hunting crimes are not the same as crimes by hunters. The difference is ignored by the sheriff but used by criminals to escape. The community is harmed.

Thank you for being my friend, Aristotle. I am not done.

Charles Bickford

Deer Island