Fiesta marks Parkdale Head Start's 30th anniversary

PARKDALE -- The award came value-added at a festive, sun-soaked celebration Saturday.

"She is a great friend," a tearful Juanita Dominguez said of Helen Halliday. "She doesn't ask for anything in return." Dominguez and others hugged Halliday, now 90, one of the first volunteers with Parkdale Migrant Head Start program.

Both women received honors from the Oregon Child Development Coalition (OCDC) for their long-time work for the Parkdale program.

About 400 people gathered on the Community Center baseball field to mark OCDC's 30th anniversary. The first Migrant Head Start program in the state, the Parkdale program has served children of the upper valley since 1967. It came under the state wing in 1971. Besides day care, OCDC programs such as Parkdale's provide dental and medical assistance along with counseling and classes in English and driving.

The Dominguez family, owners of the successful Juanita's Tortilla Factory in Pine Grove, were honored for supporting employees' access to Head Start services for the past 15 years.

Also honored were orchardists Gene Euwer and Dorothy Aubert, for their support for day care outreach to the fields, long-time volunteer Lennie Mueller, and former county commissioner Jerry Routson.

Parkdale Head Start director Sally Packer-Akin called Halliday "the heart of the program," who was instrumental to starting it in 1967 and served in many ways ever since.

Saturday's event featured a copious lunch, a Mariachi band and other music, and a soccer tournament. Officials from throughout the state included Juanita Santana, director of the Wilsonville-based OCDC.

"In my 12 years with OCDC I have seen this program grow and improve so much," Santana said. "It is exciting to be here celebrating today. This program has for 30 years been serving our grandchildren in the state of Oregon."

OCDC is the largest child development and child care network in the state. Services are provided through a network of private and public organizations, in particular agricultural enterprises. It is funded primarily through the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services, which supports the Oregon Migrant Head Start Program.

At Saturday's event, OCDC board member Mitch Martinez, who is bilingual, opted for help from translator Linda Torres, saying, "I'm nervous enough about getting up to speak I don't think I could do it in two languages.

Martinez said he know from direct contact with programs around the state that families are grateful for the services provided by OCDC day cares.

Torres, who deftly handled both languages, drew laughter from the crowd when she twice "translated" in the language just spoken.

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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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