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The Spotlight's penultimate 2021 mailbag includes criticism of Scappoose schools and St. Helens City Hall.

Scappoose has changed, and not for the better

My name is Ivy Freimuth. My husband and I have lived in Scappoose together since 2013. My husband is a born-and-raised Scappoose resident.

We have made the decision to leave the town of Scappoose. The town is not what it was in 2014, and surely not what is was during my husband's upbringing.

The schools have become so politically motivated that the safety and well-being of our children are not of the utmost importance. I approached the board with a well-thought-out letter months ago letting them know we would be pulling our children from the district due to the poor choices of the elected board, and not a single person followed up. It's as if they really just don't care.

The Scappoose school board has no desire to hear or act on any concerns coming from the very people who elected them. Have they forgotten they are elected to represent the people?

Scappoose schools are not a safe place for any of our children. So we had no choice. We listed our home and are moving to another town with more opportunities for a good education.

Shame on the Scappoose School District for failing our children. How many more will leave?

I encourage each of you who have kids in the district to pay attention to what is going on at the district level — it's pretty frightening.

Peace out, Scappoose. Hopefully in the future, with a new elected board, Scappoose can begin to put our children's education first.

Ivy Freimuth, Scappoose

St. Helens City Hall's irresponsible spending

I want the people of St. Helens to know what is becoming of their city.

Some years back, as a requirement of being issued a license to do business in St. Helens, Comcast was required to have a business office in the city. When Comcast no longer wanted that office here, St. Helens officials were offered $20,000 to permit Comcast to close said office. The "leaders" of St. Helens promptly accepted that offer — and bought fireworks. They figuratively blew up $20,000.

Furthermore, it is questionable whether the leadership of St. Helens can by law use money from the city coffers for city projects without approval from the voters, except moneys from the water department budget. In the opinion of our City Council, that money can be used any way our city "leaders" choose without prior notice to or approval from the voters.

For example, St. Helens now has two recreation centers funded from the water department budget. How many of you even know where those centers are located?

And yet another example — rather than put a ballot measure before the voters on the approximate $28 million proposal for the new facility to house the St. Helens Police Department, the decision has been made to charge this amount to the citizens in St. Helens who pay water bills within the city limits — over the next 30-plus years. The City Council approved this measure on Dec. 15. You will begin receiving an increased water bill in January.

According to the water department, there are approximately 5,000 water meters in the city. So, each of you 5,000 have now incurred a debt of $5,600. Would you like to put that on your debit card?

How does that make you feel seeing your water bill go higher and higher each summer — and to watch your gardens and lawns dry up because of the intemperate behind-the-door spending of our leaders?

Rumor has it that this questionable spending will be challenged in the courts.

Just wanted you all to know. Thanks for reading.

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

Poinsettia sales benefit real people

The P.E.O. Sisterhood, St. Helens Chapter BO would like to thank everyone who purchased poinsettias from us this year.

The proceeds from this annual fundraiser provides scholarships to local women pursuing their education.

This year, nine Columbia County women were given a total of $15,110 in local, state and international scholarships for the fall 2021 school year.

P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.

Again, thank you to our friends, family and local businesses who support our Poinsettia Sale, which makes these scholarships possible.  We are looking forward to selling poinsettias to you again in 2022.

Karen Van Winkle

P.E.O. Sisterhood, St. Helens Chapter BO


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