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Topics include a high school theater production, vaccinations and recent high-profile suicides.

Hats off to school theatrical production

If you missed the Tigard High School Drama Department production of "The Drowsy Chaperone," you missed a fantastic performance.

It was way above what you would think a high school performance would be. The acting, choreography, set design, costumes, music, sound and lights were at such a high caliber, you forget it was a high school performance.

Thank you to the Tigard Drama Department and the entire cast, crew and orchestra for a great experience. Although "The Drowsy Chaperone" is finished, I encourage everyone to catch a performance at the high school, whether it be drama, band, orchestra, vocal or guitar. You will not be disappointed.

Rep. Margaret Doherty

Tigard

Exemption rates don't equal vaccination rates

I am writing to you after reading the article by one of your reporters on exemptions and vaccinations ("Statewide, more parents opt not to immunize children," June 7). Paris, whom I respect, wrote an article based on a very misinformed press release by the Oregon Health Authority who sent it out to release statewide and many other papers picking up the same "narrative."

What the Oregon Health Authority didn't want you to know is that half the exemptions stats are from children who are vaccinated, just not doing 23 vaccines or 52 doses. I only ever got three. If a parent opts out of one vaccine, they are counted in that exemption stat.

I asked OHA for clarification and they sent me a proper break down on those exemptions. Oregon has a vaccination rate of 94 percent statewide with majority of counties at 98 percent. Vaccination rates continue to go up per OHA. Exemptions are only a reflection of parents making educated decisions to opt out one or more of the CDC's ever-expanding vaccine schedule.

Is the Oregon Health Authority compromised by influence from pharmaceutical lobbyists and/or front groups? I think so.

Brittany Ruiz

McMinnville

Suicides last week bring back memories

Last week we lost Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. What a shock to their families, friends and fans. Mental health issues are becoming a real issue for our society. We are blessed to live in a country where you work hard, can be successful and live the American Dream. They had what we think the American Dream should be but sadly even they were not a peace with who they were as people living in our country.

I lost a co-worker in October of 2007. He shot himself. He was the most kind and generous person and would do anything to help another person. He was in a difficult relationship and I think it took a toll on his mental health. He was a good man and I remember spending his last Friday on Earth with him at work. He was asking me if I wanted some of his items. I said "Brian what are you doing?" Oh, I am just cleaning and want to get rid of some stuff. I remember to this day he wanted to give me a clock. I said "Geez, Brian, I don't need that." He insisted that I take it. I thanked him and we talked about his issues and I was trying to support him and give him some advice on what to do.

I had been going through some tough times because my brother-in-law died in August of that year from injuries from an accident. We were helping each other cope. That weekend came and went and when he did not come to work on Monday I called and left him a message to call me. I was concerned about him. I saw a women in the office who looked upset. I asked my boss if he was OK and he said he could not tell me but I could tell by the look on his face something was wrong.

He died the day before. He was gone and I was so upset that I did not see the signs of his sadness and depression. I still to this day think of him often.

If you see a co-worker, friend or family member who needs help please reach out to them and get them help. Sometimes it just takes a little time to stop and say you care and you will support them. Please also ask your legislators to help support funding for mental health in our communities and schools. We need support for people who need help.

Cherise Arthur

Beaverton

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