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The Mid-county Memo is your newspaper. We want to hear from you. Discuss an important issue or address a concern you want to call to the attention of the community. We prefer e-mailed letters to the editor sent to Darlene Vinson at editor@midcountymemo.com. Please put “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. You may also mail your letter to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230 or fax it to 503-249-7672. Deadline for the July issue is Saturday, June 15.

Flags for first graders

At a school board meeting several months ago, a board member that belongs to a Lions Club outside the Parkrose School District asked why Parkrose Lions Club did not do Flags for First Graders. It is an international program.

I informed her that we had done this program in the Parkrose District as long as I had been a member and to my understanding as long as the program had existed, until we were told that any of us entering the buildings would have to have background checks.

Last year Sacramento requested we do it for them and we would be classified as visitors. I told the board if they wished I would check with the Parkrose Lions Club and see if they would be willing to restart this program. At the next meeting I reported that the Parkrose Lions had voted to resume the program. There were no objections from the board, only a thank you from the member who had asked.

Today, as I stopped at the schools to see what dates would work best I was shocked to learn that we would have to run this through the administration office to get superintendent approval. This is micro-management at its worst. If a principal at a school cannot make a simple decision about a date for a program that takes about 10 minutes per class room, and that has been requested by a member of the board, then we probably do not need principals. Let the main office handle it all.

Mark Gardner
Parkrose Lions Club, treasurer
Serving this community for 82 years

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Reader appreciates research, reporting

To the editor:

I just finished reading “Top Notch labor dispute,” (Mid-county Memo, May 2013) written by Tim Curran, and I want to commend you and the Mid-county Memo for your courage and conviction to research and report this story. My family and I are new to the Gateway area, and we stopped into Yaw's Top Notch after driving by a number of times. We immediately sensed that something was not quite right, but we couldn't put our fingers on it.

The food was okay enough and the staff was trying, but there was an element of fear or confusion that seemed to linger in the background.

Thanks for clearing up the mystery. While BOLI can assist the many employees and contractors that appear to have been exploited, they cannot effectively report this information to the wider community.

It is my opinion that people like Stephen Yaw want to treat their businesses as personal fiefdoms, and they count on the probability that nobody will connect all the dots. Thank you for connecting the dots with your well-documented and thorough report of the ongoing and chronic history of labor complaints and questionable operating procedures.

I support fair labor practices (those mandated by legal statute, and those that are voluntary and practical). Restaurant and business patronage is one way all of us can support justice and fairness in the workplace. However, we can only make informed decisions when we have the information.

Thank you for this comprehensive report. Keep up the good work.

Paul Knight
Hazelwood resident

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Yaw's article is 'eye opener'

To the editor:

I found that the article on Yaw's Top Notch to be very interesting and somewhat of a risk to a newspaper that relies on advertisers for some of its income.

That said, I had intended to patronize Yaw's with my family until I read this very eye-opening article. Friends have very strongly suggested going to Yaw's, since they were knowledgeable about the prior Yaw's operations and highly recommended the food. BUT I find that the article was an eye opener to someone (like myself) who has worked in the retail field for 28 years (23 plus years for the same employer, until the business was closed) and a person who believes in the concept that good customer service and the way that the employees are treated will bring in the customer.

To see the article on Yaws, I have to believe that the article was extremely factual and the article has set my mind to the point that I could not patronize a business that treats its employees the way that was described.

My previous employer (during a sit-down meeting with the employees) stated that he considered his stores to be the company's living room and that his employees were to treat the customers as the employee would treat anyone coming into their own living room.

I HAVE made it a point to avoid businesses where I have not experienced the type of customer service that makes me feel welcome in that business.

I do and will always commend an employee (to their supervisor) when that employee performs a commendable customer service.

I believe that there is saying “that a satisfied customer is worth $10,000 in advertising, but a dissatisfied customer could cost a business $100,000 in just advertising costs in order to correct and overcome the negative image.”

While I cannot influence others to avoid businesses that treat employees the way that this article has stated people were treated, I can take my business and money somewhere else.

I live in the Parkrose area near the I-84 off 122nd and receive the Memo as a postal mailing paper. I know the location of Yaw's Top Notch and I have seen it on Halsey as I go to the Fred Meyer Gateway store.

I think that your newspaper's article convinced me that businesses need to be honorable in their practices and Yaws misses the point of what customer service/customer relations, along with fair and equitable employee relations, is all about. The businesses I continue to patronize because of their commitment to the employee and to the customer are: Parkrose Hardware, Gateway Veterinary Hospital, Gateway Auto Repair (John Boline-owner), and BiMart (as a whole on the corporate level).

Sincerely
W.H. Irwin
Parkrose area resident

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Reader sad, but not surprised

To the editor:

So sad to read about the troubles at Yaw's and Steve Yaw, but not at all surprised.

While his father and my father were pillars in the Hollywood District for many years, as was his grandfather, Steve has continued to blame everyone else for his flaws in business, character, etc. He apparently has no class, no business ethics and relies on the good name of Yaw's to fly on.

So many people of my generation and older were so excited to see this wonderful place of our youth opening and really, I believe that for the most part have found it to be quite good, the same, etc. I am now just waiting for the doors to close, yet again, and the next two generations will not get to enjoy those wonderful burgers and French fries and gravy. It has been fun watching young families and teenagers enjoying the food each time I have visited (way too many visits).

So, to Steve Yaw, I can only say: You have had every opportunity to do this right and to make yourself, as well as your family, proud - but your idea that you know more and can do it better than the preceding generations is stupid as your failures and non-compliance with labor laws and assuming that you do not have to pay people for services have shown what an idiot you are! You cannot continue riding on the shirt tails of the successes that came before you without learning just what they did to succeed!!

Much too long a sentence but needed to say it.

Jean Farlow
Hazelwood resident

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Top Notch reporting

To the editor:

I just wanted to say what a great article on Yaw's Top Notch restaurant in the Mid-county Memo last issue. Tim Curran did a fabulous job on that. It was really informative and really shocking and surprising. We visited Yaw's on Halsey once just after it opened, and we really didn't have a good experience. We had not been back since. So, when we got your paper, we saw the front page and that sure was something. I just wanted to say great job, great article; proud of the Mid-county Memo and Tim Curran. Keep up the good work and we look forward to your next issue.

Ron O'Brien
Mid-county resident
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