Dale Hinman hangs up his coach's hat

For the last 21 years you could find a familiar face at the Hood River Little League ballfields. From the beginning in 1981 with his son Kirk, Dale Hinman has spent countless days and evenings coaching all levels of boys and girls.

In 1982, Dale began coaching a girls minors team when his daughter Jennifer was 8. Girls softball at this time had very little support or following in the community. Dale's time and committment to the sport and kids, helped develop the interest and skill level of the girls and gained an acceptance of parents and fans. As the team progressed through majors and seniors the next eight years they were to accomplish three trips to the state playoffs with the girls winning state, divisionals, and placing third in regionals in 1989.

From 1990-92 Dale helped coach girls softball with his brother, Hugh, along with helping two other teams at the same time. In 1993 and 94 he also coached ASA softball. In 1995 his younger daughter Talia also started in Minors at the age of eight. Once again Dale took the girls through the age groups and twice more winning districts and going to the state tournaments in 1997 and 1999.

This year, his final year of coaching would have been his 12th appearance in the Fourth of July championship game in Hood River Valley. Due to scheduling conflicts, this year's game wil not be played.

But his daughter Talia was able to give him one of many proud moments by hitting a grand slam home run out of the Hood River park in her final Senior at bat.

Even though softball was the focus for gathering kids together, he also taught them the meaning of sportsmanship, teamwork, and the accomlishment of personal goals. A child would never come off the field from practice or a game where a negative comment or lack of encouragement was given. The girls worked hard and the respect given to their coach was always present.

"Softball is just a game" he always says, but he uses that game to bring out the best in a child, whether it be in athletics or everyday life.

Through his years of coaching, Dale has always been a humble servant to his ballplayers. Time spent and lessons learned from hard work, discipline and committment have inspired many in this valley, and has made a lasting impression for many former players. One to redirect praise to players and other coaches, Dale will now be a spectator in a program that has touched the lives of many.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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