Elliott makes final pitch to OSAA

Like any good coach, HRV Athletic Director Glenn Elliott had a game plan when he went to Portland Monday for the final meeting of the Oregon School Activities Association Classification and Districting Committee.

The OSAA would prefer to move Hood River Valley into the Intermountain Conference next fall. Elliott is doing everything he can to convince the committee that such a proposal would be far too detrimental to the school district’s budget and students' lives to work.

"This would be a short-term solution to a long-term problem, and frankly, it's not a decision everyone can live with," Elliott said.

Instead of poring over the same tired rhetoric the committee has been sifting through for the past seven months, Elliott, a former baseball coach at HRV, used logic to enhance his argument, asking the 10-member committee to examine three glaring issues before casting their votes:

1) Follow the criteria the committee set forth when it convened last April, which was to consider geography, league history, loss of class time, and financial impact before making a recommendation.

2) Listen to what other schools are saying about the proposed move that would send HRV into the Intermountain Conference, and move St. Mary's Academy from the Metro to the MHC.

3) Consider the long- and short-term implications such a decision may have on HRV and the IMC.

"Above all, we want the committee to reach a difficult decision that will stay made," Elliott said. "If we move to the IMC, there is no guarantee we will stay there. Who knows, we may be uninvited in a few years with the advent of a new high school in Central Oregon," he said.

No decisions were reached Monday, but Elliott and the other schools affected by similar redistricting proposals expect to know this week what will be recommended to the OSAA's executive board for its final decision Dec. 3.

"Our decision has by no means been made. Everything is still on the table," committee chairman Barry Rotrock said. "We will weigh all new testimony before making our recommendation."

Elliott believes there is considerable support on the committee and the executive board for HRV to remain in the MHC, and left Monday's meeting with the knowledge that any recommendation must still be voted upon by the OSAA board.

"We went through this four years ago, and the board backed us," he said. "But it would really help us to have that kind of support with the redistricting committee so our school doesn't keep coming up in these discussions."

Elliott argued that the committee didn't accomplish what it set out to do, which was to create balance within state athletic conferences after considering a list of criteria that included geography, league history, financial impact, impact on students, and more.

St. Mary's president Christina Friedhoff, whose all-girls school is faced with a move to the MHC if Hood River is relocated, sided with Elliott, saying the committee's criteria didn't match their recommendation.

"Since the start, we’ve been saying, 'Why St. Mary's?' And each time we ask the question, all we get is this proposal and no answer to our question," she said.

Friedhoff also talked about St. Mary's 33-year history in the Metro Conference and that it has support from the league’s nine other schools -- just as Hood River has the support of the eight other MHC schools.

"St. Mary's and the Metro Conference helped us out a lot today," Elliott said. "Metro wants to remain status quo just like the MHC."

MHC District Athletic Director Ron Berg agreed.

"Hood River is an integral part of our conference and has been for a long time in both boys and girls sports," he said. "St. Mary's doesn't offer the same competition in football, baseball and wrestling because of its all-girls status."

One of the IMC's arguments for adding an eighth team is that it would simplify playoff scheduling, but Berg cited that the MHC would have been presented with the same difficulty in football this season because one MHC school, Parkrose, opted to play an independent schedule. Without Hood River, the MHC would have been left with seven teams and no logical playoff format.

"Why should we correct a problem in one conference and then create a problem in another conference?" Berg asked.

Elliott agreed with Berg, and added that moving Hood River to the IMC is merely a partial solution to their problem.

"Both the Mt. Hood and IMC have inherent scheduling problems," he said. "This move might help solve the league issue for the IMC, but not the travel issue. They would still have to travel to Eugene and Roseburg for nonconference games.

"The IMC's main problem right now is scheduling, and we've shown over the years that we're willing to help by playing nonconference games with them.

"We've always been good neighbors and that doesn't have to change. We'd still like to compete with them, just not in a conference situation," he said.

Elliott went on to say that Pendleton and Hermiston -- two schools currently in the IMC -- could potentially come to the MHC easier than Hood River moving to the IMC, although the redistricting committee has yet to entertain that idea as an alternative.

"In the end, we should do what's right for the kids," Elliott said, "and with the loss of class time and family support, this is clearly not what's right."

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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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