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A voice for Veterans

Although there is a tremendous backlog for medical appointments at the VA Hospitals, I strongly suggest all veterans' complete applications for enrollment. The VA offers a comprehensive plan of health care services with no monthly premiums. And, depending on your income, there may be no or a low co-payment. Medications prescribed and dispensed through the VA are at a greatly reduced rate. You may call the Application Toll-Free Hotline at 1-877-222-8387 and they will send you an application form. Forms and additional information are also available at my office. Please have a copy of your DD-214 (Discharge Papers) available for service verification purposes.

Volunteer Drivers Recognized

Transportation provided to the many veterans to and from the Portland and Vancouver Medical Centers has been in place for over a year. The program started with one volunteer driver and one vehicle. We now have four drivers and two vehicles. Thanks for the many hours, dedication and assistance given by volunteer drivers: John, Roark, Skip and Bill. You have made this greatly needed service possible.

Veterans Honored by France

Veterans who served on French soil during World War II and had applied to the French Government for the "Thank You America"certificate will be properly honored. The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs held a ceremony at the State Fairgrounds in Salem Thursday. Approximately 300 Oregon Veterans requested the certificate. Applications are still available at my office or on the French Embassy's website at Further ceremonies will be scheduled at later dates.

The Veterans Service Office is located at 600 E. Marina way (DMV Building). Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed noon to 1:30 p.m.) on Mondays and Thursdays, telephone 386-1080.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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