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Right reasons

Ordinarily I would not endorse a candidate in a local election. However, the May 20 Democratic primary in Columbia County is so important, I felt compelled to comment.

I strongly support Earl Fisher. I hope you will, too. Earl Fisher has a proven record of accomplishment in Columbia County. He's been a teacher and a member of a teacher union.

As the longtime Clatskanie School superintendent, Earl worked with parents, educators and the community to bring our children a brighter future.

Earl values and practices public service. He is the chair of the Clatskanie Fire District Board. He is on the St. John's Hospital Foundation board and serves as chair of the Columbia County Commission on Children and Families. He is an active member of Kiwanis and currently is the vice chair of the NW Regional Education Service District.

Earl is running for county commissioner for the right reasons. He'll be a full-time commissioner with a history of solving problems. Earl respects other people's points of view and tries to find the common ground, using an inclusive, collaborative approach to resolving complicated and sometimes controversial issues.

Earl has a vision for creating jobs and keeping Columbia County a great place to live.

Join me in supporting a candidate for positive change.

John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.

Governor of Oregon


Successful auction

Many respectful thanks to all the supportive families, friends and community members who attended the 12th Annual Grant Watts Parent Organization spring auction at Grant Watts School on Saturday, April 19.

The volunteer work force that supports the GWPO is amazing, with many parents giving above and beyond of themselves and their time to make Grant Watts School a wonderful place to be. Thank You to Dan Busch from Bartholomew Productions for your talents as both our master of ceremonies and our auctioneer - job well done! All of us are looking forward to your services again in 2009! Thank you to The Coffee Bar for catering a delicious and satisfying soup bar to the volunteers who stayed at the school on the Friday before the auction to set up all of our items. Thank you to the staff at Grant Watts School for allowing the parent group to take over the school during the weekend (and the week before) in order to host our largest event of the year. Your support of our volunteer work is a reward in itself! Thank you to all the local area businesses and community members who generously donated their products and services to help our event succeed. Thank you to all the parents for their tireless efforts and hard work to make the auction happen. Thank you to our kids, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and friends who gave us their support and understanding throughout the auction process. How lucky we are to live in a community where it still means something to try and make a difference. We look forward to many more years of success! GWPO will see you again for the 13th Annual Spring Auction on Saturday, April 18, 2009!

Lisa Masog, president

Grant Watts Parent Organization

No nonsense

It seems the longer I campaign for Gerry Simmons for Columbia County sheriff, the more fine people I meet who are willing to support him.

I suppose his long record of protecting the rights, property, and people of Columbia County have influenced more than a few. The fact that he has been undersheriff since 2000 is in his favor also. His humble, honesty, sincerity and dedication to law and order in Columbia County have undoubtedly influenced others as well. Fifteen years patrolling the highway and four years working for the BATF and E doesn't really qualify his opponent for the duties of the office of sheriff. I believe Gerry is definitely the better qualified no-nonsense candidate for the job.

Lawrence N. Derby


Unit trains

I have been reading and watching articles in your newspaper regarding proposed unit trains operating thru Scappoose.

All of this handwringing over unit trains, (by anyone who actually is wringing their hands) is silly and it is an unnecessary waste of time better spent on more important things, such as worrying how we are ever going to pay the mounting national debt.

A unit train is comprised of 110 or less cars, each car being approximately 52 feet in length. Total length: 5,720 feet.

On Federal Railroad Administration Class II railroad track, the allowable speed is 25 mph. 25 mph equals 37.5 feet per second. 5720 feet divided by 37.5 feet equals 153 seconds. This means that these 'supposedly dreaded' unit trains will pass over any of the crossings in town in less than three minutes. Far less delay than we often suffer now, at downtown traffic signals during rush hour. Unless, of course, some fool idiot in an automobile thinks he or she can beat the train to the crossing and, failing to do so, stops the train and ties up the whole town waiting for the coroner. These same fools however, occasionally cause wrecks on Highway 30, causing the state patrol to shut the entire highway down for hours.

Perhaps the handwringers would prefer MORE than 110 semi-trucks (railcars can hold more tonnage than trucks) coming thru town at a crack, each of them having to stop and start again at the various stoplights which never seem to fail to stop drivers on Highway 30 each time any other motorist, at any side road, wants to enter the arterial?

David Sprau



Thanks for the great endorsement. I am humbled by your confidence and determined to earn the trust your kind words will surely invoke in many of your readers.

As a matter of correction, I do want to point out some minor corrections/clarifications:

1. I do not plan on instituting 24/7 patrols in the near term. With only eight deputies it would be impossible to maintain. I do want to expand the hours of coverage from the current 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. shift by staggering start and stop times for deputies. Our callout program would also improve the coverage over the current system.

2. I was the ATF liaison for the state police, but not the FBI. I worked with the FBI, but we had a different detective assigned to that federal agency while I was attached to ATF.

Thank you so much for your kind words. I am truly honored by them and will do everything in my power to live up to them.

Jeff Dickerson


Dangerous plan

In the Oregon Primary Election Voters' Pamphlet, Jeff Dickerson said he plans to 'strengthen the volunteer base to cover for underfunded operations.'

Those are Mr. Dickerson's words. He intends to supersede the civil service and Sheriff's Association Union contracts if elected sheriff. Columbia County cannot afford the litigation that would ensue.

Beware when something sounds too good to be true. If it were that simple to expand patrols it would already be done. The Sheriff's Office needs realistic leadership, not promises that cannot be kept.

Elina Tilson


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