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Letters: Education; military museum; cell tower; Milwaukie history


As we all know, our children are our future. If they’re going to be prepared for it, we owe them nothing short of an affordable, world-class education. As the son of immigrant parents, I understand how important public education was in charting a course for my own future as a physician, business and community leader. I couldn’t have done it without a supportive and properly funded K-12 system.

That’s why the North Clackamas Education Foundation (NCEF) is bridging the funding gap to restore programs in art, music and supplemental learning activities to foster creativity, teamwork and leadership. I don’t know many CEOs who have never picked up a musical instrument, or doctors or nurses who didn’t attend outdoor school - these are valuable experiences that many of our children would otherwise be denied. During the 2012-2013 school year, NCEF made a difference with every student in North Clackamas schools. Here are a few highlights:

1. Provided funds to our middle schools for classroom supplies;

2. Increased teacher grant dollars for innovative classroom-based projects;

3. Awarded scholarships to graduating seniors;

n Paid for transportation to make sure every sixth grader could attend Outdoor School; and

4. Paid activity fees for students who couldn’t afford them.

This is a good start, but there’s more to be done. And we need your help. If you love our children enough to provide them the same opportunities you had in the public education system — then invest in NCEF to help bridge the funding gap for every North Clackamas student. Every dollar you donate will be put to work for the benefit of our students and their education. Remember your charitable donation to NCEF is tax deductible, and you can make your donation online at nc-foundation.org.

This isn’t only about our children’s future — it’s about ours. Please give generously. Our community is counting on you.

Dr. Shirish B. Patel

NCEF Board Chair

PS: Save the date for our Annual Gala Auction & Dinner on April 26, hosted by Willamette View.

Clackamas military museum to illuminate history

As a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, it was a natural fit in accepting the role of development director for the Historical Outreach Foundation (HOF). In addition to my continued service to our country, I now proudly represent an organization deeply committed to educational programs honoring our rich military history.

Founded in 2009, the HOF is a nonprofit organization that drives the funding for the new Brigadier James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum and provides educational outreach programs. Whether they are teaching the Lewis & Clark expedition, the Civil War, World War II, or events of the day, educators now have a variety of unique opportunities to bring their history lessons to life!

When the doors open at the Brig. Gen. James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum in Clackamas, interactive and dynamic exhibits will illuminate Oregon’s military history and inspire a respect for those who serve our country. Today, the Historical Outreach Foundation brings programs into schools to engage third through 12th graders with hands-on activities, connecting them to the events that have fashioned the world we live in.

Outside the classroom, the Veterans’ Legacies Project is collecting photos, video, and personal accounts of veterans from across the country. This populous database is accessible to all, because when we share our history, we keep it alive.

I’m grateful to the Historical Outreach Foundation for their commitment to keep history alive and to pay tribute to our military heritage; that’s why I am asking you to join me in support of their efforts in our community. As we welcome the New Year, please consider a charitable donation to the HOF to honor the men and women who have shaped our world through service to their country.

David Warden


Craft fair success

Thank you to the Milwaukie Community for their support of Milwaukie Presbyterian Church’s craft fair in November.

The event raised over $800 to support Backpack Buddies at a local school, and our Christmas Boxes program, which, in 2012, provided food for more than 60 local families.

We offer a special thanks to the 23 crafters who donated items for our door-prize drawings, and to the many attendees who entered the drawings for our gift baskets.

Kevin Bixby

MPC Outreach Committee

A Parable: Fairness

A residential subdivision was under construction and was being underwritten by a large corporation, when another large company approached and wanted to construct a cell-phone tower in the middle of that subdivision (“Proposed cell tower: Lightening rod of concern,” Dec. 18).

Several scenarios could happen:

Continue the construction and sell the lots as fast as possible before the cell-tower plans were available to buyers.

OR, Disclose to potential lot buyers the cell-phone company plans and probably take a loss on the cost of the infrastructure already completed.

OR, Convince the cell-phone-tower company that another site for the tower should be chosen.

The only fair solution would be for the cell-phone-tower company to select a more appropriate location.

Regarding the South New Era permit application by AT&T, the residents have already built and paid for the infrastructure and built and/or remodeled their homes, only to learn last month that a large corporation wants to build a 150-foot tower. Common sense says that many people don’t want to live or have families in close proximity to these towers. We need our Clackamas County government to select the only fair resolution to this issue.

Find another location.

Thank you.

James and Delores Saunders

Oregon City

Editor’s note: At the meeting last Thursday, the Clackamas County hearings officer decided to leave the record open for a month to allow more comments on AT&T’s proposal, and he is expected to make a decision in February.

Celebrate the Milwaukie way

“Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” - President Franklin Roosevelt.

The Milwaukie economy during the 1920s and ‘30s was based mainly on farming. The biggest crops were flowers, berries, and celery. In fact, in 1924 the celery industry, which included the Meeks Bros., Binn Bros., Takemoto and Watanabe Bros. cultivated and harvested 4 million plants a year.

What is the connection between these historical facts? It is the most heartfelt, community gift we as Milwaukians should be proud of.

Once America declared war on the Empire of Japan, Japanese, citizens or not of the United States, were directed to “internment” camps to ensure no information was being relayed to the Empire.

The Wantanbes of Milwaukie were one of those families. They took very little possessions and were carted off to the middle of Idaho for “internment.” Their celery business was done, all that they had worked for, their lives and legacy, swept away by actions not in their control.

But the citizens of Milwaukie made a promise to the Watanabes.

They would keep their celery farm working, so when the Watanabe family came back, the farm would be there for them. And when the Watanabes returned near the end of the war, their farm, their homes, and their lives were ready for them to enjoy and prosper.

I cannot think of a better holiday story than this one. One of helping your neighbors and friends when it is needed the most. So when serving your holiday dinners, have some celery.

For Milwaukie, it is the truest symbol of a Christmas gift a community can bestow for one of its citizens.

Greg Hemer

Design & Landmarks Committee

Leaders should ‘eat their own cookin’

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to this paper stating that, in my opinion, Milwaukie’s governmental system involving a strong city manager and a weak elected (volunteer) council was basically flawed and couldn’t possibly work.

Several people took that opinion as a direct slam at our present City Manager Bill Monahan, but that is far from the truth. I have known several Milwaukie city managers over the years and they’ve all been good guys, gentlemen. The difference is in individual management style, something found in every organization, public or private.

The problem with the present system is imbalance. The councilors, elected by the people, are virtually powerless to govern the city. All power, thus major decisions, are in the hands of the city manager, a person the electorate has no hand in hiring.

Many of the staff, planners for instance, have imbibed so much of Metro’s Kool-Aid over the years that they think “smart growth” and “density” are straight out of the Bible, and have the idea, and attitude that the public should just shut up, get out of their way, and let them do their jobs. It should be pointed out that they work for the citizens of this town and their attitude should more often reflect that. The problem is that they don’t live here: “don’t eat their own cookin’” so to speak.

Getting back to the powerlessness of the council, call one of them and ask about a question you’d like resolved — the answer will be quite enlightening.

This governing imbalance must be addressed — the people need their input to be heard and acted upon, their energies and vigor utilized to build a better, more vital city. If not, Milwaukie will remain in the doldrums for another 25 years.

Maybe the City Council’s planned study of our antiquated City Charter can bring about some sweeping positive changes to aim us in the right direction, give us a more solid base and open up the town for a brighter future.

Ed Zumwalt


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