Headstone cleaning available upon request
We appreciate the letter to the editor from Jerry Smith about our work at the White Salmon Cemetery. We started as a community service, since we noticed as we were cleaning our family stones that the grass was really encroaching on a lot of stones. On some of them you can’t make out the names anymore.
We were told last week that there were complaints, that someone didn’t want their family headstones disturbed. We were told to only do our families’ stones and those of friends. So, we are only going to clean around headstones if people say it is OK.
If you would like us to do your family’s headstones, please call either Beth (493-1632) or Eula (395-2043).
Local cemetery looks as good as it ever has
Having attended the ceremony for MIA Pfc “Mike” Kight, I could not help but notice the condition of the cemetery. It was in the best shape I think it has ever been. Come to find out, it had a lot to do with the volunteer efforts of two local women, Eula Smith and Beth Yarnell. The two of you have not only done the cemetery a great service, but for the folks who reside there, I know they surely appreciate it as much as I do.
Skamania PUD public records case going to court
Having attended all but a handful of Skamania PUD Commission meetings in the last few years I’d like to make some currents events known.
PUD Commissioner Clyde Leach has refused a public records request submitted by Sherry Esch.
Case No. 132001090, filed in Superior Court on Aug. 7, 2013, documents threats made by Leach and PUD agents attempting to intimidate Sherry into revoking her request.
The complaint filed by attorney Brad Andersen chronicles the threats. “The PUD advised Ms. Esch that Commis-sioner Leach had threatened that if she did not “pull her” request, that there would be “lawsuits and blood on the floor.” The PUD attorneys communicated to Ms. Esch that her request could cause her and her husband to lose their home and “everything they owned.” The complaint indicates that the PUD attorneys were concerned about the potential discovery of damaging and potentially embarrassing evidence!
On Aug. 21, 2013, Andersen sent a letter to PUD attorney Woodrich attempting to resolve the conflict. In it Andersen documents their Aug. 20, 2013 meeting in which Woodrich wants to know what “Sherry Esch really seeks to accomplish in the above-entitled lawsuit.” Ander-sen responds, “Sherry simply wanted the PUD to timely provide the public records she requested.”
From everything that I have been able to discern, the PUD has no desire to resolve or provide the public records. When the PUD adjourns to executive session to discuss the Esch lawsuit, Commissioner Esch recuses himself since it involves his wife, but Commis-sioner Leach continues to be involved, even voting on applicable issues when he remains the primary problem. The solution is clear — provide the public records as required by law.
Meanwhile, PUD Attorney Woodrich racks up huge legal bills which will continue to grow since the PUD has engaged a second attorney.
What is in these public records that is damaging enough that the PUD would threaten to keep them hidden, spending your money to accomplish that? We saw what public records revealed in the recent Garvison case; do we have a repeat situation at the PUD?
Andersen, in the Aug. 21, 2013 letter, indicates the sooner they provide the documents the better. “As you know, some agencies have been hit for fines in excess of $300,000 for what I believe to be much less egregious violations than what is present in this case.”
I plan on attending the upcoming court appearance Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the Skamania County Courthouse.
Using shutdown as negotiating tactic is bad form
I just returned from a trip to the Lake Quinault area, next to Olympic Nation-al Park. Fortunately my lodge was outside of the park and still open, but many local people are out of work up there due to the government closure. Almost a million people are across the country.
But rather than just getting angry, we in the White Salmon area and around can do something. Our Congressional representative, Jamie Herrera Beutler, is a Republican who has always said that she is independent-minded. But she is among the nearly 200 Republicans who are letting 30 or so in her party dictate this government closure. And unlike a lot of those Republicans, she is in a swing district. If she continues to refuse to stand up to those who pushed this closure, she could lose to a strong moderate Democrat next year. And make no mistake, it is those Republicans who are doing this. The Democratic budget amount —what they want to spend next year — is already agreed to by Republicans.
Note that the Republicans in the House have already said that they will make up the pay for those government employees who are not working now.
What about contractors, or people who work at concessionaire workplaces in the national parks? And even if all are paid, they will be paid for doing no work — that’s going to make the deficit worse.
So whether or not you like Obamacare, if you think that using a government closure as a tactic to unfund Obamacare is bad, you need to let Rep. Beutler know. Her Web site has not closed and you can send her an e-mail. If you’re a swing voter, tell her that this could affect how you vote next year. If Republicans want to end Obamacare, they are going to have to win another election.
‘Gun free’ zones around schools would add clarity
In response to the letter to the editor in the Sept. 26 issue of The Enterprise written by Kevin Herman: I applaud the police and the person who notified them for their quick response. Only three hours earlier, I spent several hours in a school “lockdown” with my students in Hood River. We went into lockdown when there was an armed robbery in a nearby bank and the man escaped. For the safety of our students, we locked the school down appropriately. I heard police were stationed at the bridge, too, to make sure the assailant didn’t try to flee to Washing-ton. I was relieved when my daughter called to say they had seen a man with a gun by the school and had apprehended him. None of us knew at the time that these incidents were totally unrelated, but the safety of children took priority.
Thank you to the person who was legally carrying the firearm for understanding that it was the uncertainty of the robbery that most likely prompted the call. As a community, safety of children should always take priority.
To help avoid an incident like this again, the idea of a “gun free” zone would add clarity. Plus, people having a gun on a sidewalk outside a school could be scary to the children, if not dangerous, too.
Throughout history, we have added more stringent rules to protect children at school, so the precedent is there. It will be an interesting topic for our community to consider.