A call for community help for Brenda Havlik; supports the Bakers following PUD fiascos; a first-hand opinion regarding the city of St. Helens

FILE PHOTO - Letters to the editor published June 16, 2017. A call for community action for Brenda Havlik; support for the Bakers following PUD fiasco; a straight-forward and first-hand assessment of the city of St. Helens.

A call for community help

Gary and Brenda Havlik were in a head-on collision near Rainier on Sunday, June 11.

Brenda was critically injured and suffered numerous broken bones, 10 broken ribs, a punctured lung, internal bleeding, has had one operation so far to reconstruct her shattered ankle, and has another surgery scheduled to repair her shoulder. She will be in a wheelchair for at least four months and will go through months and months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, and will most likely never be the same.

There is a fundraiser account set up to help with medical bills and funds needed to buy things like a bed, wheelchair, etc., so when she does come home, she will have some comfort. The account is in her name at the St. Helens Federal Credit Union branch in Scappoose.

Brenda was born and raised in this community and is known for her beautiful singing voice and great sense of humor. Anyone living in this area for a long time would know her and would probably want to help her and Gary out.

Any donations would be greatly appreciated. The driver that hit them was an uninsured motorist.

Tim Brooks


Support the Bakers

The letter to the editor in last week's paper from Rosemary Silen (see Letters, "PUD winners and losers," A4) expressed perfectly her views, as well as ours.

We support Dave and Riley Baker.

We are so blessed to live next door to Riley, Mindy and their adorable children. They are our dearest neighbors and friends. We think the world of them.

The Baker families are wonderful, honest, kind, considerate, caring and giving people. They are very supportive of our community. They are always there for others, lending a helping hand to those in need.

They have truly touched so many lives in a very positive way.

We hope and pray other people in our wonderful community will also write letters of support for the Bakers since their hearts have always been in the right place.

We appreciate Dave for his many years of dedicated service representing our district on the Columbia River People's Utility District board. Thank you.

Happy Retirement!

God bless the Baker families and everyone in our wonderful community.

Jennifer and Darril Clark


Creative accomplishments at Otto Petersen Elementary

Otto Petersen Elementary on June 21, from 6 to 8 p.m., will be hosting a schoolwide student art show, bake sale and unveiling of the collaborative student tile mural recently installed at the school's entrance. This evening will include 1,000 pieces of student art from a variety of media, musical performances by Otto Petersen students in coordination with the Band Mentors program led by Debbie Wheeler, and a bake sale fundraiser.

This year is the "Year of Art" for Otto Petersen Elementary, led by an arts committee that developed ideas resulting in the new mural project, visiting local artists, and the student art show. The Otto Petersen Parents Organization continues to be a major supporter of special events and projects like this, including the parent-volunteer-powered Art Literacy program, to bring opportunities to students.

Jennifer Hanson and Veronica Reeves (artists-in-residence) developed and guided the mural project that consists of 570 6-inch tiles. Together, they introduced the mural project to the students by requesting student design proposals. Hanson and Reeves stressed the theme of community and collaboration during the mural-making process, which required students, teachers and staff to work together in creating this representation of the Otto Petersen Elementary and Scappoose community spirit.

Please join us in supporting the creative accomplishments of the students and community of Otto Petersen Elementary.

Special thanks go out to those who donated funding for the mural: Cal Portland Santosh, Fultano's Pizza, Grace Christian Children's Center, Ixtapa, Jackpot Market, Kessi Construction, Mossbarger Photography, Otto Petersen Parents Organization, Pizza Vendor, Precision Engraving, Tinkertime Preschool, Sunsations Tanning & Boutique, Cindy Dietz, Dan and Jennifer Nelson, Whitney Hessong, Jennifer Hanson, Veronica Reeves, and Otto Petersen Elementary Staff.

Additional thanks to those who worked on this project with us: FinishLine Graphics, Geneva Flooring, and Willamette Print and Blue Printing.

Otto Peterson Elementary

Visual Arts Committee

First-hand account regarding the city of St. Helens

It's been awhile since I have had time to write, so I have plenty to talk about.

First of all, I had the chance to speak with a fellow who takes his boat and his dog for a run on the river nearly every day. Since this fellow has a problem with his back, he is unable to run on land with his dog. Therefore, he runs his boat up and down the river while the dog runs up and down Sand Island. They both seem to enjoy it immensely.

Anyway, this person told me we have homeless boaters living on Sand Island and, at one point, the city of St. Helens provided garbage cans for their use. That no longer occurs and it appears the boaters are instead dumping their garbage in the river.

No matter that poison, human waste, industrial waste, carcinogens and all manner of filth have been dumped in the Columbia for well over 100 years, how can a little more from Sand Island on the Columbia River near St. Helens, Oregon, possibly do any more harm?

The city of St. Helens manages the care of Sand Island, so I spoke with John Walsh, St. Helens city administrator. He told me that garbage cans had been provided for some time, but it was decided the cans were "receiving too much use" from boaters and campers, and picking up the cans was not a "good use of time" for city employees. And besides, wild animals tipped the garbage over when searching for food.

I wonder if the decision-makers have ever considered garbage can lids that cannot be opened by an animal.

Mr. Walsh also told me it was his understanding there was a five-day stay limit for a watercraft on Sand Island and that the boaters were "cleared out" every few days. I wonder if the same time limit is set for the 50-foot cruisers which line the docks behind the courthouse. You know, those who have access to garbage cans in the city park.

I also called the city shops because we and our neighbors were concerned that our street had not been swept for over three weeks. I was told by a woman at that phone number "more attention" is given to mowing grass in the sum-

mer rather than sweeping streets.

Considering both of these occurrences, I can only be led to believe the city of St. Helens is attempting to save money in order to develop businesses on the Old Mill property — not parks, businesses. Not swimming or fishing access to the Columbia for the people who paid for that property, but businesses.

If businesses wanted to open in St. Helens, they would be here. Just drive down Columbia Boulevard. Look at all the closed stores and empty buildings and many, many second-hand, antique and collectibles stores. I really enjoy browsing these stores and I find treasures, but I do not believe that is the answer either.

I love St. Helens and it breaks my heart to see it failing. However, sacrificing the Columbia River to businesses is, in my opinion, destroying our best attraction.

People call me to give me different bits of information from throughout the county and I really appreciate it. I always make some attempt to see if these "rumors" are authentic. Most of the time they are, but sometimes they are not.

Wouldn't it be a nice change of pace if the people of Columbia County could hear the truth, first-hand, from the city of St. Helens, the city of Scappoose, the Port of St. Helens, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners, etc.?

What would happen if these public entities did away with backroom deals and executive sessions? What if all the ideas and facts were put before the citizens before the decisions are made, the blueprints finished and the money spent?

I don't know what can save our city but, once again, I do know we have not been on the right track for many years.

I truly believe Boise Cascade should be paying for the disgusting lagoon which the citizens of St. Helens have been left to deal with, and for which we must eventually pay.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

Contract Publishing

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