More than 84 inches of commentary originating from the Columbia County community. Political hopefuls have their fans and detractors out in force as the May 16 special districts election comes into focus.

FILE PHOTO - Letters to the editor published in the April 21 issue of the Spotlight.

Time for a change at the Port

The Spotlight's April 14 editorial (see "Port launches yet another bad PR campaign," A4) was spot on, particularly in conjunction with the letter from Patrick Trapp endorsing the re-election of Chris Iverson as Port commissioner Position 5 (see April 14 Letters, A4).

During Mr. Trapp's tenure as executive director of the Port of St. Helens, his attitude has been one of control. Control of the commissioners, control of the issues, and control of what information is relayed to the public. Hopefully Mr. Trapp will be replaced by someone who understands that transparency is the only solution to the constant rifts between the Port and the public.

Kudos to Commissioner Paulette Lichatowich who has been a vocal spokesperson for transparency. May she be joined by others on the commission who value her commitment to public trust.

Chris Iverson has towed the line for Mr. Trapp's vision for the Port for too long. Two other candidates are running for positions on the Port who should be elected: Melissa Bernert and Megan Kunkel-Hallstone. They are young, energetic, articulate, extremely bright and full of fresh ideas. And they are serious, which is not defined by age or gender.

And they have my vote.

Time for a change.

Cathy Pitkin


Cramming won't cut it

Everyone knows the pressure of preparing for a huge upcoming test, whether that be your driver's test or a calculus exam. You were told to study, but figured you knew enough about it already and didn't need to study. And when you get your score back, it's abysmal, right?

The average SAT score has dropped 10 points in the last three years, and 21 over the last 10. This is due to students who are trying to slide by and do the bare minimum that's required to pass. Students are claiming that they already spend too much time studying for standardized tests; however, their test scores do not support this claim. On average, a student who is preparing to take the SAT is falling short of the ideal 100+ hours of study time needed to do well on the test.

According to a study done by Samantha Lindsey, students should study an average of 100 hours to create an optimal outcome with their test. Most students are achieving A's in the classroom, but are failing to achieve a high score on the SAT, whereas there should be a positive correlation between the two.

The SAT is a large standardized test taken by many high schoolers every year. This test is used in many ways which means your SAT score is more important than ever. Universities use your SAT score when reviewing your application to their school, so if you do poorly, there is a greater chance that you will not get accepted. Most competitive colleges value the standardized tests now because over the last 25 years, high test scores have been the most effective way of evaluating students with disparate school records. College acceptances are becoming increasingly dependent on your SAT score. Someone with a higher SAT score and a B average is more likely to be accepted rather than an A average student with a poor SAT score.

Former President Barack Obama has claimed that students nowadays only need to spend less than 2 percent of their total class time studying for large important tests. However, 2 percent just won't cut the cheese. An average college student spends an upwards of 17 hours a week just on homework alone. If every kid took their high school study ethic to college, college grade averages would plummet at an alarming rate.

Students nowadays are not studying enough for standardized tests, rather they are attempting to get by with the minimal amount of effort needed; they believe that they do not need to do well on the test in order to be better off in life and have a successful future.

Nathyn Maller


Consider livability in Port vote

Ballots for the Port of St. Helens elections are coming out soon. Those of us in south county that value livability of our communities for our families should be concerned not to elect long-term Port Commissioners Robert Keyser and Chris Iverson, who have consistently supported the developments at Port Westward which have brought highly explosive petroleum and ethanol tank car trains through our communities and within one block of our schools with increasing traffic problems, and now propose to convert 800 acres of farmland at Port Westward to industrial uses, which will further increase train and truck traffic through south county with no benefit at all to us. And we're paying for it through our property taxes.

It's time to replace the "old boys" on the Port Commission.

My vote is for Melinda Bernert and Megan Kunkel.

Mike Sheehan


Brooks will listen with an open mind

This letter is in support of Tim Brooks who is running for a Scappoose School Board position.

Tim is a lifelong resident who has been involved in helping coach youth sports and staying active with not only his own children, but now his grandchildren. He is a fresh new face who will listen with an open mind to proposals, while being fiscally responsible to the tax burden of the citizens.

Being a lifelong resident gives him the background of knowing what has — and what has not — been beneficial for the children and citizens of Scappoose in regards to past decisions made by the school board

I hope you will consider voting for Tim Brooks.

Rosanne Strobel


Maloney needed on Scappoose School Board

I am writing in support of keeping Lisa Maloney on the Scappoose School District Board. The school board is designed to oversee the decisions that best provide and protect the educational system in our community.  Lisa has consistently sifted through the information before the board, asked the hard questions, and requested all the facts in order to make knowledgeable and appropriate decisions for our community. We need Lisa and her leadership on our board.

Alice Dunlap


You'll like Maloney

I met Lisa Maloney and her husband Jeff when they first moved to Scappoose in 1990 and we have been friends ever since. I've watched them raise four great children who have launched successfully into the academic and professional world.

Lisa has always been involved with kids in our community. She has served in the schools, her church and was with the Release-Time Chapel known as "Chapel on Wheels" program for 20 years. Lisa is straightforward, honest and sincere. She is a respected leader in our community and a small business owner. Her intent is to insure parents — and not the state — are the highest authority in their children's lives.

I'm voting and supporting Lisa Maloney for the school board. You'll like her.

Wayne Mayo 


Leader puts children first

I have known Donny Leader and his family for over seven years and know him to be involved, ethical and committed to our community. Donny is a very caring person and not afraid to state his opinion about matters that concern all of us, most importantly the welfare of our children and their families whose inherited legacy will be left to them by a fully engaged public school system.

There are several upcoming issues that will affect our Scappoose School District, not least of which are questions of new and expanded classrooms for our students, updated classroom teaching materials, student-athlete facilities upgrades, and fair compensation for our outstanding and professional teachers and administration. Scappoose High School's top graduation rate does not happen by accident, but through a dedicated staff and system that supports our students. Donny Leader knows this, and will work on behalf of our students in his position on the school board.

Donny Leader is honest and character-driven. When he says he will do something, he does it; and if he does not know the answer to something, he finds out the answer and gets back to you without any delay. Donny consistently looks for multiple ways of problem-solving and is not content to always "do things like we have always done before." His experience with budgeting and management in his professional life will give great support to the needs that our district is, and will be, facing.

Serious issues deserve a serious, integrity-filled candidate who will always advocate for our children with an eye to the future needs of our growing schools. Donny Leader is that person who will always put our children's future first through his commitment, dedication and experience.

Please join me in voting for Donny Leader for Scappoose School District.

Marty Baldwin


A stand-up guy

After moving to this community 26 years ago, I met Donny Leader who is currently running for school board. Donny Leader is a strong family man, a hard-worker, and the kind of person I would like to see leading the school district. With a son in the fifth grade, I have a personal interest in this May election.

When our local Boy Scout troop needed a leader, Donny Leader stepped up. When a youth sports program is short a coach, Donny Leader steps up. Whenever a friend or family member needs help with something, Donny Leader steps up. When the calls have come to volunteer time in our community, Donny Leader steps up. His dedication to making Scappoose better is overwhelmingly apparent in his actions and I like that about him. This is who I will be voting for this May election.

Heather Arnis


Bernert desperately needed at Port

The St. Helens Port Commission desperately needs the wisdom, insight and intelligence of longtime Columbia County resident, Melinda Bernert, who is running for Position 4. As the owner of a local small business, Melinda is a strong believer in job growth while maintaining Columbia County's quality of life. With Melinda on the Port Commission, citizens will regain political transparency and confidence in their commission. As an example, Melinda is the only candidate who has pledged to work toward a countywide master plan that will identify and control potential traffic problems. She supports suspending the Port tax and continuing access to Trestle Beach. I worked with Melinda for years in the media and can personally vouch for her honesty, integrity, intelligence and strong work ethic. She has been a part of our county for 25 years, volunteering as a Master Gardener, a 4-H leader and serving as president of two parent teacher organizations.We need a commissioner at the Port of St. Helens who has fresh ideas and will represent our voices. I strongly encourage a vote for Melinda Bernard, Position 4.

David Bryan Wilson


Bernert a great choice for Port

Melinda Bernert is an excellent candidate for Port Commissioner, Position 4. She comes with many years of business and journalism skills and a deep love for the county and the Columbia River. She has followed Port issues and is determined to make Port board operations more transparent. Melinda Bernert will be an agent of change on the Port board, change that is sorely needed after the fiascos of the past few years. Vote for Melinda Bernert.

Darrel Whipple


Support for Bradley on Scappoose

School Board

We want to express our enthusiastic support for Mike Bradley, a candidate for Scappoose School Board in the upcoming May election. We have known Mike for over 40 years and have always found him to be a man of steady character and integrity. He knows this community and cares deeply about the education of its youth. We worked with Mike in Scappoose Youth Football for over a decade, and we were always impressed with his decision-making skills. When faced with an issue or problem, Mike would listen to all sides before making a thoughtful decision. He has the right mindset — responsible and well-reasoned — to serve on a governing body so important to the well-being of our community. We ask that you join us in voting for Mike Bradley, an excellent choice for Scappoose School Board.

Jeff and Gwynn Klobes


Former Scappoose principal for Lager

I am writing to publicly support Phil Lager for his continuing service as an outstanding member of the school board for the Scappoose School District.As the former principal at Scappoose High School, I had the opportunity to work closely with the school board; with that in mind I can assure you that in an outstanding group of dedicated public servants, Phil Lager stands out as a man who is committed to doing all he can to secure the best education possible for all kids.I have always found Phil Lager to be a man of principle, a public servant who is interested in doing the right things for all of our children, a professional in his demeanor and work ethic, and above all a citizen and alumni of Scappoose who cares deeply about his community.

Simply put, Phil Lager is an excellent example of what it means to have "Tribe Pride." Please support him to continue his excellent service as a School Board Member.

Eric Clendenin


An economic development champion

Being a successful Port Commissioner requires more than just an interest in running for the position. It requires an understanding and a willingness to address local county needs — from Scappoose to Clatskanie. We have an outstanding candidate that has already proven the ability to do just that: Robert Keyser for Position 4. Robert, a Clatskanie resident, has been an obvious champion for Port Westward, but as a Port commissioner many are unaware of how influential he was in retaining and attracting business to the south county. Robert was instrumental in assisting not only one, but two Scappoose airport businesses from certain defeat during the economic downturn several years ago; he was the driver in keeping another Columbia City business intact for an additional 7 years; and he was key in attracting the only plastic bottling recycling plant in Oregon to St Helens. He will continue pursuing economic development districtwide.

Let's not make this a north vs. south election, nor one based on skewed information. Choose the candidate that has already proven he can recruit and retain Port-related business to Scappoose, St. Helens or Clatskanie.

Robert Keyser has my earnest and sincere vote.

Sandy Trapp

Deer Island

Enthusiastic support for Lager

This letter serves as our enthusiastic endorsement of Phil Lager for re-election to the Scappoose School Board. As a father of two, Phil serves as a committed parent to our district and is concerned about the future needs that are needed to keep it vibrant. With his confident business expertise, Phil has the aptitude and understanding of finance/budget needs necessary to make a positive impact. Phil is objective, rational and sincerely passionate about Scappoose.Please join us in supporting Phil Lager for school board, Zone 4.

Matt and Beth Wagenknecht


Pro Melton for CRFR board

I'm writing this letter in support of Ronda Melton as a candidate for Columbia River Fire and Rescue board of directors. Ronda is a close family friend, a past 4H leader, and someone I have always admired. I've known Ronda for almost 20 years and her hard work, dedication and strength have always stood out to me. She has the desire to serve her community and is not only knowledgeable in the fire and medical industry, but is financially frugal.Ronda is running to be able to assist

CRFR in providing safe, reliable and efficient emergency services to residents in the district. I have no doubt that the almost 30 years' experience serving with the Scappoose Fire District will aid her tremendously in this position. She has extensive knowledge of the inner-workings of the fire department and can use that to support the fire board.  And

not only that, she's a great person to work with, and to work for.

Please vote for Ronda Melton, Columbia River Fire and Rescue board of directors.

Heather Crawford


Fire knowledge, lifelong residency pluses for Melton

I am writing in support of Ronda Melton for Columbia River Fire and Rescue board. Ronda has a 28-year fire district history, including but not limited to district office manager, annual budget administrator, public information officer, and secretary to both the fire board and the budget committee. I believe the CRF&R board will greatly benefit from Ronda's vast fire knowledge along with her lifetime county residency.

On May 16 a vote for Ronda Melton will be a vote for honesty, integrity, knowledge and perseverance.

Angie Meres


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