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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (July 13, 2019)
THE ASTORIAN • SATuRdAy, July 13, 2019
JIM VAN NOSTRAND
Founded in 1873
JOHN D. BRUIJN
Positive examples of our America
eeking some positives, I found
them on Washington’s Long
Beach Peninsula, where I have
lived 21 years.
To start the day, I met the folks from
Peace of Mind of Pacific County hosting
a healthy beach-trail walk. America has
a mental health problem. Our go-go-go,
has a lot to answer for.
An enlightened nation
would focus resources
on mental health issues,
which should have the
same priority as treating
physical ailments with
America is a noble
experiment, but it sure
has some flaws. This country put a man
on the moon, for goodness sake, and has
the most scientific Nobel Prize winners.
Yet health care is not a human right
here. It is something you pay for, if you
can afford it. Some of my closest friends
Next I joined the Friends of the
Ilwaco and Ocean Park Libraries at their
annual meeting. They had booked the
Hilltop School auditorium in Ilwaco.
It seats a couple of hundred; 16 were
A guest speaker offered reassurances
that branch closures in the multiple-li-
brary network are not planned, as had
been feared, but opening hours may be
curtailed for budget reasons.
The Friends group raises money,
mainly through sales of donated books,
to pay for equipment and supplies that
the network fails to provide. It is an
organization that should not have to
exist; I am glad it does.
Not supporting libraries is such a
foolish step. Librarians rock — and
their campaigns for widespread free
access to information should be vigor-
ously supported. I enjoy Ilwaco’s fall
promotion of Banned Books Week,
although I would make that a year-
From my property taxes last year,
$112.31 went to the library. I got that
back in the value of loaned books in less
than two months. One year, when I was
conducting research, the value of library
materials I borrowed equalled my entire
annual property tax bill.
Libraries are all about lifelong learn-
ing, and cement formal education.
Two friends recently posted online
comments denigrating the value of
attending college. Both suggested uni-
versity folks are some sort of weakling
snowflakes, as if history and philosophy
are a waste of time.
I am inclined to think the failure to
study history — and learn from it —
contributes greatly to today’s malaise.
Colleges, like all schools, should teach
critical thinking to broaden viewpoints.
I earned credits for my two degrees in
journalism, business, statistics, Shake-
speare, religion and even counseling.
It does not make me an expert in any
topic, but studying stretched me. The
subject matter is only a part of the expe-
rience. And, like many college-educated
folks, I concede that “real life” has
taught me important lessons, too.
But children should be brought up to
question everything, especially the sta-
tus quo. It is the best lesson a teacher
can give them, hands down, or in this
case, hands up.
A popular effort promotes young
people training to be plumbers and elec-
tricians after high school rather than
college. I totally buy that; but it must
be an alternative rather than a replace-
ment. One terrific Long Beach com-
pany, Oman’s, helped this recently with
a remarkably generous donation of tools
to the shop class at Ilwaco High School.
Pacific County Peace of Mind leaders joined forces with supporters of two other community help groups for the 10th annual Mental
Wellness Walk in Long Beach in May. Left to right: Elly Rosaire, Nikki Fortuna and Nolan Carlson.
The Hilltop Auditorium in Ilwaco seats a couple of hundred, but there were only 16 present for the recent annual meeting of the Friends
of Ilwaco and Ocean Park Libraries.
All that jazz
Tristan Trudell plays the saxophone during a concert and dessert social staged by director
Rachel Lake and the Ilwaco High School jazz band.
Other nations put teachers on ped-
estals, reward them financially, and
value their contribution to society. It is
a puzzle we don’t do that in the United
States. Instead, we allow unqualified lay
people to interfere, limiting the curric-
ulum with their narrow views. Sad, and
Next I drove to the Chinook
School to hear the splendid sounds
of the Ilwaco High School jazz band.
The school is blessed with the skill
of dedicated teacher Rachel Lake,
who leads the music program and
finds time to direct and appear in
theatrical shows; she is a true dynamo.
It was a treat to watch parents like
Jennifer Carper and Jeff Chabot posi-
tively glow as they watched their tal-
ented children, Alexandrea and Bren-
dan, play solos in the saxophone
section. The musician seated with
them, Tristan Trudell, is likewise a
bright, polite, talented youngster.
This spring, the trio went to Germany
with the Astoria Sister City students
to broaden their education; I applaud
In May, Trudell was the alternate
on the relay team that earned a medal
at the state track championships. Can
you imagine that? Keeping yourself fit,
ready to step up if one of the other boys
was hurt, knowing that moment of tri-
umph was unlikely. As Milton wrote,
“They also serve who only stand and
Patrick Webb is the retired manag-
ing editor of The Astorian.
‘CHILDREN SHOULD BE BROUGHT UP TO QUESTION EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY THE STATUS QUO.’
WHERE TO WRITE
• State Rep. Tiffiny Mitchell (D): State Cap-
itol, 900 Court St. NE, H-285, Salem, OR 97301.
Phone: 503-986-1432. Email: rep.tiffinymitchell@
oregonlegislature.gov. Web: oregonlegislature.gov/
• State Rep. Brad Witt (D): State Capitol, 900
Court St. NE, H-374, Salem, OR 97301. Phone:
503-986-1431. Email: Rep.BradWitt@oregonlegis-
lature.gov. Web: oregonlegislature.gov/witt
• State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D): State Capitol,
900 Court St. NE, S-209, Salem, OR 97301. Phone:
503-986-1716. Email: sen.betsyjohnson@oregon-
legislature.gov. Web: oregonlegislature.gov/john-
son. District Office: P.O. Box R, Scappoose, OR
97056. Phone: 503-543-4046. Astoria office phone:
• U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D): 2231 Ray-
burn House Office Building, Washington, DC
20515. Phone: 202-225-0855. District office: 12725
SW Millikan Way, Suite 220, Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503-469-6010. Web: bonamici.house.gov
• U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D): 221 Dirksen Sen-
ate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Phone:
202-224-5244. Web: wyden.senate.gov
• U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D): 313 Hart Senate
Office Building, Washington, DC 20510. Phone:
202-224-3753. Web: merkley.senate.gov
• Port of Astoria: Executive Director, 10 Pier
1 Suite 308, Astoria, OR 97103. Phone: 503-741-
3300. Email: email@example.com
• Clatsop County Board of Commissioners:
C/O County Manager, 800 Exchange St., Suite 410,
Astoria, OR 97103. Phone: 503-325-1000.