Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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The Columbia County Spotlight welcomes both, with that and more in this week's reader mailbag.

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

Column played fast and loose with truth

In his April 22, 2022, op-ed "Wildlife fauxtography," Ted Williams holds forth his opinion concerning truth in wildlife photography.

Mr. Williams is entitled to his opinion — but not to support his opinion with misleading, inaccurate and false information about Triple D Wildlife of Kalispell, Montana.

Read the column by Ted Williams, originally published April 18, 2022, online.

Mr. Williams' story of photographing animals at Triple D Wildlife is a contrary, misleading redux of an article he published in the March/April 2010 Audubon Magazine. In Audubon, Williams wrote of the owner of Triple D Wildlife, "Deist…is generally regarded as the best game-farm operator in the nation. When it comes to animal care, honest business practices, and obeying state and federal regulations, he does everything right." Williams gushed the animal "'models' …were beautiful and healthy" at Triple D Wildlife. As for properly captioning animal photographs, Williams explained, "Deist advocates 'full disclosure.'"

Now Williams falsely recounts me "angrily" declaring, "You couldn't have gotten those shots in the wild." No anger is attributed to my same statement in the Audubon article.

Williams falsely claims Triple D Wildlife was cited for declawing a tiger cub, misrepresents an animal welfare inspection and massages his Audubon article description of Triple D animal behavior.

CustomFacts.org indeed.

Lorney "Jay" Deist

Owner, Triple D Wildlife

[Ed.: The Spotlight reached out to Writers on the Range, the distributors of Williams' column. They stand by the column as written.]

NEXT is a win-win-win

As a future neighbor of the proposed NEXT Renewables renewable diesel facility, I want to share some of the reasons why I support it:

We need good jobs here. NEXT is working to establish apprenticeship opportunities and union-backed, green jobs for the site. This means you can earn quality wages while you learn on the job, and build your career.

We need to move away from fossil fuels. Renewable diesel that the facility produces will create an emissions saving of 7 million tons of CO2 annually — that's equivalent to removing more than 1 million cars from the road every year.

We need good corporate citizens. NEXT is working with our local school district to ensure that the wetland restoration piece of the project (creating nearly 500 acres of new habitat!) will provide hands-on learning experiences for our students.

Columbia County deserves good jobs. We deserve to be at the forefront of green fuel solutions and the emerging green fuels industry. We deserve industry partnerships that go beyond the bottom line and support our teachers and classrooms while also supporting a biodiverse environment. It's a clear triple win for our community.

We deserve this exciting new development. Let's rally behind it.

Fred Schondebare, Quincy

In support of letter-writer

Hurray for Charles Bickford.

You are not a "nasty person." You are a man who I think we all should emulate. You are setting a good positive example for our children and for the rest of humanity. You care about our planet and the people that inhabit it. It is apparent that you are taking positive steps to live in a way that shows your concern.

Read the letter to the editor from Charles Bickford originally published April 15, 2022.

Thank you for your letter. It was good, it was inspiring and it is a damn shame that more people don't follow your example.

Bill Eagle, St. Helens

St. Helens playing favorites with funding

Recently, I heard that the City of St. Helens decided to cut their youth librarian position at our public library. I understand they propose a 21% decrease in the library funding next year.

Libraries support citizens. Librarians educate, provide connections, and make our city a better place for those who live here. They are a core part of our infrastructure — worth fighting for and worth funding!

Our kids have had two hard years where they have gone without many of the normal life experiences that prepare them for school. A series of new studies show that roughly one-third of the youngest kids are behind in reading benchmarks. Now, instead of providing opportunities for our youth to overcome this setback, the City of St. Helens has chosen to make it worse.

Strengthening neighborhoods, fostering learners, and championing the cultural lives of communities are all big responsibilities. As a retired employee of the library and served as interim director, I saw this firsthand!

One thing I've always noted throughout my career was the disparity between city departments. The police department always seem to get new cars, new officers and what they claim to need. And this year is no different. In absence of a library director and a youth librarian, they have made proposed cuts to the library. It seems they are taking advantage of the situation.

I believe that the community thinks our parks and library are just as important as other departments. Please talk with your council member today!

We need all your voices to be sure to obtain a youth librarian in the St. Helens Public Library.

City officials need to recognize that public libraries are socially responsive institutions in the community and need to be funded

so that they can build a culture of health and a lifeline to our most vulnerable population.

Diane Barbee, St. Helens

Thanks to egg hunt supporters

On April 16, the Scappoose Kiwanis sponsored an Easter egg hunt at Grant Watts Elementary School. Over 13,000 eggs were distributed, and kids 0 through 12 filled their baskets to the brim.

Check out our coverage of the Easter egg hunt, published April 17, 2022, online.

There were many people who made this event possible. I would like to thank the Scappoose High School leadership students who filled eggs. Thank you to the volunteers who showed up early to set up.

The following businesses made this all possible by donating, so eggs and candy could be purchased. Without you, we would not have had the funds. Thank you to: Means Nursery, Kessi Construction, J&J Automotive, Scappoose Sand and Gravel, Crow Water, Pro Automotive, Fultano's Pizza, Dr. Kendal Liday, Columbia NW Heating, Scappoose Garden Club and the St. Helens Chronicle.

We feel fortunate to be able to have a local hunt for our community and appreciate all of the support.

Ronda Kienlen, Scappoose

Columbia City should support police

Have you ever heard the phrase, "I learned that from the bitter coin of experience?"

Today we have the advantage of not having to pay that price. After watching with dismay and disbelief the chaos and destruction of several major cities caused by defunding and throttling of their own police departments, we have the opportunity to avoid that catastrophic mistake.

I want to urge the voting residents of Columbia City to continue to support our police department by voting "yes" on the police levy that we have had for the last ten years.

In Columbia City, we are fortunate to have a dedicated and experienced police department that would be extremely difficult to replace. A recent newspaper article sited the almost-impossible task of recreating an experienced police presence on a timely basis. It mentioned a two-year period and thousands of dollars in expenses even before a rookie officer could work on his own.

These are troubling times, and it's hard to avoid not imagining that the evildoers in our neighboring cities may start looking for other "opportunities" close by. This is not the time to reduce our police department!

Please, vote "yes" for the Columbia City police levy on May 17.

Gordon Thistle

City Council President, Columbia City


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