Bearing Fruit

Northern neighbors set an example

Something sweet for Washington farmers emerged from the Washington State Senate Thursday.

The state's Senate Bill 6471 passed unanimously, 46-0.

An SB 6471 would be a good idea for Oregon -- and something like it may very well be in the works.

Under SB 6471, stores and other businesses in Washington that offer fresh fruit and vegetables for retail sale must display a placard informing consumers if it was grown either in Washington or in the United States.

Sen. Jim Honeyford, the bill's prime sponsor, said the agricultural labeling measure helps both Washington farmers and consumers.

"First of all, this bill will promote Washington products," said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. "I think consumers will buy these products if they know they were grown in Washington. That in turn will help our farmers, who have faced tough economic times in recent years." (The bill now goes to the Washington House.)

Rep. Patti Smith, the Corbett Republican who serves Hood River County, is hard at work on "Buy Oregon" legislation that encourages schools, prisons, and other state-supported food purchasers to use Oregon and domestic products first.

Meanwhile, Washington's SB6471 is seen as a huge step in the right direction by Camille Hukari of Hood River's Tractor Coalition.

"It's absolutely fantastic, exactly what we want to have happen," said Hukari, who with other Oregon and Washington farmers have striven for the past year to encourage government-backed efforts, such as SB6471, to educate consumers about the availability of domestic produce.

Hukari called it "a step in the righ direction and wonderful because the Washington Senate has heard us, and recognizes there is a problem."

Consider it a nice birthday present for the coalition, which held its first parade, from Pine Grove to Hood River, in February 2001.

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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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