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Letters to the Editor


Lawrence Studebaker, in a recent Letter to the Editor, claims, “thousands of accidental deaths,” but the Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2014, 461 people died from firearm accidents. Only 158 of those deaths were people younger than 24 years old. That number is generally continuing a half-century decline from previous highs.

He says “if a vaccine killed so many people to prevent a disease, the CDC would never permit its use.”

First, the CDC has almost no regulatory authority to permit anything; and second, two to three times as many people die annually from prescription drugs, and seven to 10 times as many die from medical malpractice in general as are killed by all uses of firearms.

Finally, among the best-selling point of any product is “it’s what the professionals use.” If you want the best defensive firearm, buy what the professional defender uses—“high-capacity” semi-automatics, which is exactly what he is claiming have no value for defense.

We already are “compromised,” but if people want discussions they have to use actual facts.

Kristin Guttormsen


(Editor’s note: According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 33,594 firearm-related deaths in the U.S. Of those, 461 were listed as unintentional, 21,386 were listed as suicide, 11,008 were listed as homicide, 275 were categorized as other and 464 were attributed to legal intervention/war.)

No to taxes

I see the signs “Vote for Kelso Schools.”

In 2016, the county raised my assessment by 30 percent. This means if you were paying rent of $700, the rent would now be $910. If you were paying $900, it would now be $1,170.

In 2017, it was raised again, this time by 12 percent. So, your rent would now be $1,019.20 or $1,310.40. Don’t the Kelso schools get some of that additional money?

And now they say the also need to raise the price of noxious weed control, since they’ve spent all their money on a big, fancy truck and don’t have enough to pay for the injury of an employee.

What happened to workers’ insurance?

Do you think I am going to vote for any more taxes? Are you?

Phyllis Makinster



By proclamation of the governor, January is School Board Recognition Month.

It is a great time to recognize our elected community members who selflessly give their time and energy in support of high-quality public schooling for our youth. School board members in Kalama School District No. 402 are entrusted by this community with the responsibility for an annual budget of $12,566,620, 1,027 students, 118 employees — including ESD employees — and 13 buildings.

School boards are charged with making decisions that can sometimes be quite difficult, or require sifting through a great deal of information.

They also bear responsibility for developing a vision that will guide the school district for years to come. Through collaboration as a team, and with school district staff, their governance and advocacy are building the future of education in Washington state.

This January, we are encouraging all members of the community to thank a board member.

Please thank them for volunteering their time and playing a critical civic role that helps form the bedrock of our democracy and public education.

As a crucial bridge between the local community and the school district, their efforts are instrumental in helping all of us realize the hopes and dreams we have for the children of our community

The men and women serving Kalama School District No. 402 and their years of service are: Ryan Cruser, 5; Wes Eader 12; Russ Ipock, 22; Amber Buck, 7; and Susan Dennis-Langham, newly elected.

For details about Kalama School District No. 402, visit

Eric Nerison

Superintendent, Kalama School District