Annexation? Yes

This year, average resident undergraduate tuition and fees at four-year colleges in the Oregon University System range from $3,621 per year at Eastern Oregon University to $4,071 at the University of Oregon.

Now, compare that with the $2,025 cost (for three terms of 15 credits at $45 per credit) of tuition to attend Columbia Gorge Community College.

That's a huge savings, for someone taking the first two years of college close to home, or someone working toward a two-year degree.

Now imagine taking many of those classes in Hood River, instead of driving three to five days a week to The Dalles (if your car gets 22 mpg, that's at least $3.50 per trip, or up to $17.50 per week, for 12 weeks a term, or $630 a year extra in gas).

Imagine what your child would save in room and board costs, if they chose to stay at home the first two years of college.

Imagine the chance for local high school students to take college classes.

Image the targeted workforce development opportunities for local business.

Imagine the business recruitment opportunities tied to an expanded college classroom and instructional presence in Hood River County.

Imagine boosting state tax support from $48,588 now to about $1.2 million, if county voters support annexation to the Columbia Gorge Community College district.

Imagine having a representative voice in delivery of college services.

Imagine getting all that for no more than $27 a year (at most, per $100,000 of assessed property value).

Or, to put it another way, what would you give to lift Hood River County's average job wage from the fourth lowest of the state's 36 counties (1999)?

If you own a home valued at $200,000, would you give the equivalent (at most) of the cost of a cup of coffee every week for the next year?

To quote a sign from the movie "Animal House," "Knowledge is Good," and the more knowledge is better. When your ballot arrives for the Nov. 6 election, show how smart you are -- and how much smarter you would like us all to be -- by voting "yes" for Measure 33-35 -- annexation to the Columbia Gorge Community College District.

Stuart Watson

Hood River

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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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