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The INDEPENDENT, November 20, 2008
Published on the first and third Thursdays of each month by
The Independent, LLC, 725 Bridge St., Vernonia, OR 97064.
Publisher Clark McGaugh, email@example.com
Editor Rebecca McGaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentor Noni Andersen
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based dyes
It’s time to give thanks
Even though last year’s Thanksgiving piece in
this space was written before the flood, we decid-
ed it still says it all, so here it is again. In fact, it’s
even more true now, after the flood, than it was be-
Now is the time of year when we stop and take in-
ventory of the many reasons there are to be thankful.
Originally, Thanksgiving celebrated the generosity of
others who gave food to some early English settlers
who were starving on their own.
If you have food on your table, even if it’s much more
humble than a big turkey dinner, there is a reason to be
There has already been one power outage (2007)
and winter is still new. Electricity and all the conven-
iences it brings, such as hot water, refrigeration, heat
and lights are all more reasons to give thanks. It’s easy
in the world we live in to take such things for granted.
There are still many places in the world, undeveloped
and warring countries, for instance, where people live
without such niceties as safety, electricity, sanitation,
clean water, enough food. What a luxury, to have clean
water to drink, and even enough water to bathe in and
Got a dry, warm place to live? Be thankful your
house wasn’t the one that burned down in Vernonia, on
November 13 (2007). Got a job? Got a car? Got recre-
ational opportunities? Yes, most of us have lots, and
lots for which to be thankful.
How about the really important stuff? Got a family
and/or friends? This is a good time to tell someone you
love them, or at least, that you appreciate them.
Thank you to all volunteers. We won’t try to name
them all, lest we forget somebody like we did last year.
The amount of charity our community (and we mean
the whole area; Vernonia, Timber, Mist, Jewell, Elsie,
Birkenfeld, Buxton, Manning, and Banks) is capable of
showing during times of need is overwhelming. There
have been a number of injuries, deaths and fires this
year that have brought out amazing generosity and
support for the individuals and families involved. Peo-
ple helping people is what community really means,
and ours is a great community.
Finally, if all your basic needs have been met, please
consider finding a way to give to others. If you can’t
give lots, maybe just share what you have, whether it’s
time, money, food or love. And, take time to give
Out of My Mind…
by Noni Andersen
In a couple of weeks, it will be one year since
Mother Nature evicted hundreds of Nehalem
Valley residents from their homes. Many families
are still unable to go “home” and are living in oth-
er towns, in rentals here or elsewhere, with oth-
er family members, or in FEMA trailers. Still oth-
ers are back in their homes, whether or not the
homes are completely repaired.
Every time weather forecasters predict heavy
rains, “flood nerves” trigger great anxiety for
some people. Others dither (I’m in this category.)
about what to do next. Can my house be raised
or moved; should I buy the kind of replacement
furniture I really like, should I stick to furniture
with metal legs, or should I just stay with cheap
stuff; and so on. Too many of us know that it
takes more than a year to recover from the ef-
fects of a major disaster.
We have been reminded, again, that Nature is
in charge of weather. Unfortunately, we are in
charge of our economy, and to say that we have
done a poor job would be a gross understate-
ment. More jobs will be lost and more people will
lack adequate health care in this coming year.
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is next week and we
really do have much to be thankful for:
The flood caused physical, emotional and fi-
nancial damage, but there was no loss of life and
no one was seriously injured.
We were reminded, not just that we need
each other, but that our community steps up to
help fill that need.
We have been helped by many wonderful
people, not for money, but just because we
There have also been some governmental re-
sponses that are rather remarkable for a town as
small as Vernonia:
U.S. Geological Survey and National
Weather Service experts held a meeting here to
discuss weather and forecasting, and answer
Gov. Kulongoski sent an excellent Oregon
Solutions team to help with the schools, one of
our many major problems.
There are many other reasons to be thankful.
Here are a few we should all appreciate:
Smiles and friendly “hellos” from people on
Our many courteous and considerate teens.
Friendly greetings and good service in local
stores and offices.
The wonderful Vernonia Public Library.
Emergency medical services that are not
just good, but excellent, with well-trained profes-
sionals and volunteers.
A school district that continues to work to-
ward good conditions and good results in spite of
many remaining obstacles.
An electric co-op that plans ahead, while
working to keep our power on in all weather.
The local food bank and Senior Center.
Volunteer firefighters who drop whatever
they’re doing whenever they are needed.
And, on a personal note, I am thankful beyond
words for my wonderful family and friends.
I wish you all a warm, happy Thanksgiving.