Visitor Information Center opens

A grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting will take place at the new Hood River Downtown Visitor Information Center located downtown, Friday at 5:15 p.m., in conjunction with the First Friday Event. Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort operates the new center with the support of a grant from the Hood River County Visitors Council.

Hood River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Craig Schmidt will represent the Chamber. Tom Bissell, Director of Resort Operations, will be on hand to represent Mt. Hood Meadows. The Hood River County Chamber Ambassadors is helping to organize the event. There will be raffle items such as two tickets to Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort and a beautiful gift basket donated by The Gift House valued at over $300. The drawing will be held Dec. 15. Tickets are $1 each and winners need not be present to win.

The new downtown location will allow visitors to pick up brochures about area attractions, lodging establishments, restaurants, and retailers. The center will promote attractions and businesses from one end of the Gorge to the other and from Mt. Hood to Mt. Adams, in an attempt to showcase the multitude of activities and points of interest in the area. The more visitors know about what to see and do in the area, the longer they will stay which will benefit all businesses throughout the region. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the summer. The schedule allows the new visitor center to be open weekends year around and into the evenings in the summer. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to operate the Hood River Visitor Center at the Expo Center location.

Deborah Ryan has been hired to operate the center and contact businesses about getting their brochures in the center. Brochure representation is fee based — and other customized opportunities for displaying goods and services are available. To arrange to display a brochure, contact Deborah Ryan at 541-386-3058 or e-mail her at

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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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