Tax will help

In the eight years of serving as the Executive Director for Mid-Columbia Center for Living (MCCFL) nothing has moved me to write as much as the article on the beer and wine tax and the front page picture of the bottles of beer on the production line. Our agency provides public addiction, mental health and developmental disability services to Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties. The Governor's proposed tax increase for beer and wine will NOT effect our local brewery. The budget passed in the special session translates into a $68,000 dollar cut for MCCFL's local outpatient substance abuse services. The budget did not cut Detox Services (of which we have none here). The plan as I read it is to not require the beer and wine industry to pay their fair share of the costs associated with their product. Keep open the Detox Centers so we have a place to allow persons who are extremely intoxicated to safely dry out. Reduce outpatient services which would allow persons to get the necessary treatment so they don't end up in Detox Services or endangering all of us on the road. Does this seem logical to you?

If it was ethical and it did not violate confidentiality laws I would like to submit the pictures of the seven-hundred and sixty nine (769) clients we served in our substance abuse program in FY 2001. Maybe we could also fit the pictures of the families, friends and employers that were adversely affected by their problems? Three hundred and forty six clients (346) were from Hood River. Of the total treated forty-eight percent (48 percent) were in our DUII education and treatment programs -- these persons where driving under the influence of intoxicants.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation alcohol continues to be the overwhelming contributing factor in impaired driving fatal and injury crashes.

Substance abuse is a disease process that if not treated during the early stages result in addiction. I would urge you to contact your representatives before the special session next Monday and advocate for no reduction in outpatient substance abuse treatment and an increase in the wine and beer tax to help pay for the costs of treatment. Your legislators believe that the public will not support an increase in wine and beer tax even though the public is paying now for state sponsored treatment programs through state income tax.

If you support an increase in the wine and beer tax -- please contact Rick Metsger at 503-668-4378, Patti Smith at 503-695-6385, and Greg Smith at 541-676-5154.

Or, go to the legislative website ( and leave an email.

Sharon Guidera, M.A.

Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Center for Living

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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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