A community seeks hope in a tragic time

"Closed Friday at 12:00 to Observe National Day of Mourning," read letters painted on the window at Home Town Paint & Design Center on Cascade Avenue.

Across the street at Print-It! one side of the marquee read, "Remember Our Nation's Loss." On the other side, "God Bless America."

Such were signs of the times in Hood River this week following Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the East Coast. In scenes like those playing out in small and large communities around the country, Hood Riverites were reacting to the attacks in a variety ways.

A hastily organized prayer vigil took place Tuesday night at Asbury United Methodist Church, a joint effort by Asbury, Riverside Community Church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Bethel Congregational Church in White Salmon. A regularly scheduled prayer meeting at First Baptist Church on Wednesday was devoted wholly to the tragedy.

Hood River County schools carried on with as much normalcy as possible. Ben Kolb, principal at Hood River Valley High School, said the school followed directives from the governor to "carry on activities as usual."

"We've had remembrances at most, if not all activities," he said. HRVHS teachers were told to apply their own discretion in using the attacks in their lesson plans and talking about the unfolding events in their classes.

"At this age group, it's important for the students to have as much factual information as possible," Kolb said.

Terri Vann, principal at Westside Elementary, said teachers and administrators at her school also tried to keep things "as normal as possible."

"We've made sure we answered questions and gave the students factual answers," she said.

Many of the schools held a "red-white-and-blue" day Friday, where students wore the colors of the flag and, in some cases, decorated halls and classrooms.

Sales of American flags, which flew in all sizes from porches and businesses in increasing numbers in the days after the attacks, were brisk at local stores. Both Hi-School Pharmacy and Wal-Mart had sold out of flags by Thursday.

Local hairdresser Tammy Pauley of The Parlour turned her shock at the attacks into a grassroots fundraising effort that began among local businesses and has spread throughout the community.

"I just wondered what I could do," Pauley said. "I kept thinking, 'Does my $50 help?'" She called another hairdresser in town and asked her if she would join Pauley in donating a day's pay to the relief efforts. Pretty soon, she had about 10 hairdressers committed to the idea and then began calling other business owners in town.

"The response has been fantastic," Pauley said. A fund called "Hood River Together Aids in America's Crisis" has been set up by Pauley at Columbia River Bank. She has designated Thursday, Sept. 27, as the day she and many other workers in town will donate their wages to the fund. But anyone who wants to contribute can do so at any time.

Pauley has asked Rep. Greg Walden to designate where the money will go. She plans to have a check to deliver to Walden on Sept. 28.

Area churches were gearing up for expected high attendance on Sunday.

"It's a difficult time," said the Rev. Susan Princehouse of Riverside Community Church. She said there had been many more people than usual stopping by the church during the week to pray or just sit in the chapel. "A large body of concern now is what is going to be the response of the country."

Princehouse said that, at least in her congregation, there was a "bundle of outrage" generated by the attacks, but also questions about the appropriate way to retaliate -- questions about responding to the attacks with even more violence and death.

"It's a great dilemma and a time of people searching," she said.

For more information on contributing to the "Hood River Together Aids in America's Crisis" fund, call Tammy Pauley at 386-6100 or Columbia River Bank at 387-2444.

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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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