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Temira

Headstones on the Sandbar

A friend called me Saturday morning. “Are those your headstones on the sandbar,” he asked. “Headstones? Not mine, but I’m on my way there,” I replied. Downtown already, I hopped on my bike and rode to Hood River’s new acreage. Headstones, indeed. Hundreds, no, thousands of white paper headstones stood in the sand, glowing in the early morning sunshine. A dozen or so shovel-bearing, forty-something war protesters, an efficient team, planted the symbolic Arlington Cemetery on the no-mans-land sandbar. Figuring that my four years of apathetic opposition needed to end, I joined in. This simple paper construction formed a poignant monument to the Americans who’ve lost their lives in the war.

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Temira Wagonfeld

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When Is Extreme Too Much?

Writer Temira Wagonfeld and fellow windsurfer Travis Ronk, both well known Gorge athletes, spent a bitter day on the Columbia some weeks ago. Below Temira considers the wisdom of “extreme.” Photos courtesy of Jon Malmberg Hood River serves as an outdoor sports Mecca for local and visiting extreme athletes. In many cases, resident athletes sport the muscles and VO2 max scores of professionals. As ultra-fit Americans, reveling in their superiority over the flab-covered masses, Gorge extreme sports enthusiasts tend to think of themselves as near immortal; In their minds, Mother Nature’s theoretical worst is no more troubling than the buzzing of a fly. The truth of the matter is this: there is such a thing as “too much.” Even extreme sports, where “too much” is almost part of the definition, have a safety threshold. Too often, though, extreme athletes think they’re exempt from nature’s limiting factors. Windsurfers try to sail in hurricane force winds. Kayakers paddle boats down flood-stage rivers. Mountain bikers ride at the edge of cliffs and launch themselves over huge jumps. Mountain climbers, including Brian Hall, Kelly James and Jerry Cooke, who lost their lives on Mt. Hood recently, climb in weather that’s too stormy or too conducive to avalanches. We, the residents of the Gorge, have a tendency to forget the “too” in the equation for our favorite sports. Too often we lose a talented local to a climbing accident, a mountain biking wreck, a kiteboarding crash or some other overindulgence in sport.

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Café Correspondent Reports–Topic: “Inversion”

Reporting from a downtown Hood River coffee shop, Temira Wagonfeld, wades through fact and fancy, leaving no innocent bystander un-harassed in her search for answers (and opinions) about the ‘Gorge Inversion.’ “If I give you a quote, can you make it go away? It’s so depressing,” whined Meredith Meskin when I asked her what she thought of Hood River’s winter weather phenomenon, the inversion layer. Meskin owns a hydroponic greenhouse in The Dalles. “Nothing grows under the inversion layer,” she complained. The inversion may be purely a weather phenomenon, but that doesn’t stop local residents from having their own theories. “It’s those damn cows in Boardman,” asserted a Hood River resident. “We didn’t have this inversion before they opened that 50,000 head ranch out there. All that methane causes this smog.” “It’s the dams,” said another...

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Windsurfers’ Bane or Gorge Jewel?

Guest Opinion by Temira Wagonfeld Sixty acres of bustling resort across the street from the Hatchery? A community for vacationing wealthy outdoor enthusiasts, where the average home is expected to sell for $392,000? I’m semi-professional sailor living at the poverty line. When the news of a huge new Gorge resort reached me, my first reaction was utter disgust. The Gorge, the Hatchery, these are temples. This land isn’t a tourist trap – it’s a place to pay homage to Mother Nature. My gut instinct tells me that we should fight this proposal with every weapon we can muster. However, we are probably fighting a losing battle. Outdoor enthusiasts may not like the Broughton Landing Master Plan, but it is not going to go away. It may even be a good idea. Abandoned buildings and swathes of concrete already blemish the site. This refuse is no more part of the National Scenic Area than is a discreet recreational resort. If development near the Hatchery can’t be stopped, the best course of action is to work with the developer...

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