A genuine display of patriotism

If concrete could wave like silk, it would at a homesite on Methodist Road.

In response to last week's East Coast tragedy, students in Jodi Wyatt's Hood River Middle School classes on Thursday painted a flag, measuring 26 by 50 feet, on a concrete pad.

Next month, the pad will support the home of Wyatt's grandmother, Vera Davis.

But Thursday it served as a rectangular, educational palette. The students measured the length and width of the stars and stripes and the 50 stars, and studied how they symbolize the original 13 colonies and the current 50 states. Many of the students are in both the English As Second Language and U.S. Culture classes taught by Wyatt, making it a combination math-history lesson.

She said, "They're learning a second culture as well as a second language, along with social cooperation and how to work together to make things better."

To Bernardo Zamora, "It's a way of paying respect to the people who died in the airplanes and the Twin Towers. We're making something historical, because it commemmorates the people who died," he said.

"It was pretty hard. We thought we would run out of paint," said Bernardo, 14. Supplies were donated by Morgan Paint, Tum-A-Lum Lumber, McIsaac's Store, and Wal-Mart.

Wyatt said the students directed themselves in the project. They figured out the dimensions of the flag, the logistics of creating stripes of two colors, and the division of labor in carrying out the project. The students worked together when paint overlapped or other "mistakes" were made.

"They had a very serious attitude," Wyatt said. "They were concerned about getting it done right."

That the flag will ultimately be covered was bittersweet for Wyatt and her students, but people are welcome to drive by 1100 Methodist Rd. and admire the flag before the house is installed.

"It makes for a great foundation for a house," said Mary Lou Bellis, Wyatt's grandmother, who helped on the project along with other family members and friends.

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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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