Expensive cheapness

A letter to Hood River County Commissioner Les Perkins:

I am writing to let you know that I opposed big box stores in general and the proposed super Wal-Mart in particular. It has been my observation in other areas of the country that big box stores have a long history of damaging local economies and costing shoppers large amounts of time and money. Not only will a super Wal-Mart harm businesses in Hood River proper but also businesses in outlying communities, such as Cascade Locks, Odell and Parkdale. For myself McIsaac's Store is the most important business in the valley. I find items at McIsaac's to be reasonably priced and the store's location a mile from my house is invaluable. My family personally shops at McIsaac's about once a day. If McIsaac's were to lose additional business to a super Wal-Mart and be forced to close my family could expect to make an additional three to four trips to Hood River each week. At 30 miles for a round trip and 30 cents per mile that is $9 a trip, plus an hour of our time at $20 an hour for a total of $29 a trip. At three trips a week that would be $87 a week or $4,524 per year.

This is an astonishing amount of money that could never be offset by the small saving we could expect to see by shopping Wal-Mart. Even if it were possible to save $109 a week that would amount to only $520 per year so we would still be over $4,000 behind. It is my personal belief that the proposed super Wal-Mart constitutes an economic emergency for the Hood River Valley and I hope that you will do everything in your power to keep it from becoming a reality.

James T. Denton


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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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