Library ‘vision’ goes to work

Last Wednesday’s groundbreaking marks start of $4 million renovation effort

Shovels poised, the adults were all about ceremony, but Elliot Arens went straight to work at Wednesday’s library groundbreaking.

Elliot, 12, immediately began stomping on his shovel while library and government officials posed for pictures at the official first dig next to the 88-year-old Carnegie Library building. The $4 million Hood River County Library expansion project gets going this week. Bigger shovels are scheduled to go into action, as work begins on transforming the historic fixture on State Street downtown. (Please see sidebar.)

“It’s another historical day in Hood River County,” said Elliot’s dad, Hood River County Commission Chairman John Arens, during Wednesday’s ceremony, attended by about 100 people. “The turnout today shows that it takes a community to build a library.”

Elliot said, “It felt good to be part of it. It’s nice to know all three generations were here.”

Besides the official groundbreaking photo, the entire assembly posed for a photo at the site, just as community members did in 1913 when the Carnegie Building was constructed.

Elliot Arens was not the only youngster in on the official groundbreaking. Library Foundation president Linda Rouches’ granddaughter, Courtney, kept an oversized hardhat balanced on her head during the ceremony.

“This is a continuation of nearly a century of library service,” said Mike Schend, Library Foundation member, in his introductory comments. “And this is also the beginning of a new era.”

Schend and Rouches said thanks for the new library becoming a reality primarily go to the voters of Hood River County, who two years ago approved $3 million in construction bonds to expand the library.

“The voters approved the bonds at a time when there was high unemployment and other economic difficulties,” Rouches said, “but in these tough economic times the community said, ‘we’re going to build a library.’”

“We thank the Hood River community for sharing this vision with all of the departments and all of the employees who will be working hard all this next year (on the expansion project.)

“It will be a huge undertaking, but in about a year we’ll all be able to say, ‘I helped build that library, and I’m really proud of it.’”

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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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