Olympic hopeful picks up new ride

It's not often that you wake up in the morning to find that you've been given a brand new car.

But that's just what happened to Hood River resident and U.S. Olympic Team hopeful Anton Pogue when he awoke Tuesday morning to a knock at his door.

The bleary-eyed snowboarder was greeted by Randy Deskin, general manager of Cliff Smith Motors, who surprised him with the news that he was being awarded a white 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

Pogue was wary at first, despite the presence of television and newspaper media, and asked who was behind the joke. Eventually, though, it sunk in that there was no funny business.

"What did I do to deserve this?" he asked. "This is great -- it's the fanciest thing I've ever had!"

Pogue was selected to receive the car -- along with 39 other Olympic hopefuls across the counÿtry -- as part of Chevrolet's Team Behind the Team promotion. The program is designed to relieve some of the financial burdens Olympic training can cause athÿletes and their families. Athletes are selected based on financial need, training and competition requirements, and qualification as an U.S. Olympic Team hopeful.

The advisory panel that selectÿed the lucky winners was comÿprised of some of America's greatÿest Olympians, including co-chairs Kristi Yamaguchi and Eveÿlyn Ashford, Bonnie Blair, Peggy Fleming, Dan Jansen and Phil Mahre.

Pogue, 33, is one of the counÿtry's most successful snowboardÿers, finishing third in the slalom at this year's world chamÿpionships. He has also won the U.S. title three times and is a gold medalist on the World Cup cirÿcuit.

Pogue wasn't dwelling on his accomplishments Tuesday mornÿing. He was too busy climbing in and out of the new vehicle, tuning the CD player to his favorite radio station, and stretching out in the pickup bed to assess its capacity. The Chevrolet replaces the rickeÿty van that Pogue had relied on for transportation, despite its troubles on the steep commute to Mt. Hood.

After his initial surprise wore off, Pogue posed with Deskin for some publicity photos. In one of them, Deskin was asked to toss the keys to Pogue. It proved diffiÿcult, however -- Pogue repeatedly dropped the keys as they were pitched to him, claiming "the sun was in my eyes."

"I'm a trained athlete, but I can't catch a set of keys!" he laughed.

Maybe the time he saves drivÿing to the mountain will allow Pogue a chance to work on his manual dexterity.

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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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