Preventing drunk driving

Cascade Locks kids attach warning labels to alcohol at local stores

CASCADE LOCKS — Shoppers buying alcohol for the holidays this week received a special warning not to drink and drive.

On Monday, high school students attached 600 notices depicting that message to bottles and shelves wherever liquor was sold.

For the second year, the members of Cascade Locks’ OSSOM — Operation Student Safety On the Move — participated in the statewide program to raise community awareness about the perils of driving while under the influence of intoxicants. In the special yellow bottle-tag, the 10 Cascade Locks OSSOM members listed the following grim statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

In 2000, 40 percent of all motor vehicle deaths, about 17,000, were alcohol-related.

More than 2,000 people were killed last year during the holiday season in alcohol-related collisions.

“We just want people to be safe over the holidays so they can be happy and joyful — because drinking and driving accidents tear that up,” said Julia Back, OSSOM president.

She and her fellow club members have dedicated themselves to promoting a safe, healthy and legal lifestyle, both for their peers and their community.

“Our basic message is, ‘if you’re going to drink just do it responsibly,’” said Rachel Hansen, OSSOM vice-president.

In late May, the OSSOM group enlisted the help of county and state law enforcement officials to stage a safe driving campaign that brought home the realities of drunk driving to many of their peers. The students wore special headgear that was designed to replicate either a .08 or .16 blood alcohol level. They were then put through a standard routine of field sobriety tests and drove donated golf carts through an obstacle course.

Although the program provided moments of hilarity, the “don’t drink and drive” message was brought home by the smashed hulk of a car sitting in front of the school.

The totaled vehicle was a visible reminder of the wreck which ended the life of 16-year-old Hood River Valley High School student Bismar Guadarrama in the spring of 2000.

“We hope people are more aware and pay more attention to what they are doing,” said OSSOM member Jamie Fischer.

OSSOM was founded in Oregon 17 years ago, to educate, train and support the state’s future leaders so they learned decision-making skills that focused on accountability and responsibility.

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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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