Fighter ace daunted by parade ride

Staff writer

Hood River's flying fighter ace was applauded by more than one million people on New Year's Day, an experience he found to be "almost scary."

On Jan. 1, Ken Jernstedt and his guide dog, Driscoll, were special guests on a prize-winning float in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. That event was viewed by a television audience of more than 350 million people in 80 different countries.

But the highlight of Jernstedt's trip to California wasn't the parade notoriety -- that came with the opportunity to meet J. Frank Moore III, president of the International Lions Club, a service organization that Jernstedt has strongly supported for many years.

"He was a very nice fellow and I really enjoyed meeting him," said Jernstedt.

In spite of a broken axle that stalled the float midway through the parade and a long delay at the airport when he first arrived in Pasadena, Jernstedt, 84, said the experience is one he will savor -- but isn't likely to repeat.

"I'm getting a little old for that much action, but I wanted to help out Guide Dogs because it's a good organization," he said.

Guide Dogs for the Blind selected Jernstedt to ride on its first-ever Tournament of Roses float because of his distinguished military service in World War II and in the state legislature. Six years ago Jernstedt, who is legally blind, attended "dog college" in Boring and brought his yellow lab home after learning handling skills through Guide Dogs, the largest school of its kind in the United States.

Jernstedt has never allowed his sight impairment to slow him down and he and Driscoll are a familiar sight on Hood River streets.

The bond between the pair has grown so tight that Jernstedt recently said he would not take his eyesight back if it meant he would have to give up the canine.

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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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