Crews break ground at middle schools

The last outdoor basketball and tennis games have been played at the asphalt courts at Hood River Middle School.

The start of construction of the school's new addition has brought changes at the campus at May and 18th streets. Crews from two construction companies started work last week on expansion and remodeling projects at Wy'east and Hood River middle schools. Both projects are scheduled for completion this summer.

At Hood River, two trees were cut down in back of the existing multipurpose building to make room for an access road and loading dock. Trees will be planted to replace those cut down, and the trees in front of the school will remain.

Construction fencing is up around the perimeter of the Hood River campus, and while the basketball poles have been removed the asphalt surface will remain for another three weeks ago before excavation begins. That's to reduce the amount of water soaking into the soil underneath; the softness of the fill under the asphalt is a key consideration in the project, according to Superintendent Jerry Sessions.

Sessions said the district received some complaints from neighbors about the loss of the trees along 18th.

"We know that even though you put another tree in it's years away from what it was," he said.

The $2.5 million Hood River Middle School project will feature classrooms and a multipurpose room. Contractor is Skyward Construction of Vancouver, Wash.

At Wy'east, the $1 million project will bring four new classrooms a remodeled special education classroom, and other improvements.

Meanwhile, at Hood River Valley High School, the two-story addition is scheduled for completion Feb. 3, but the school will probably wait until Spring Break to move in, Sessions said. The addition holds classrooms, a multipurpose for use in part by athletic teams and physical education, and a community room.

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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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