Nafsinger named to ONPA Hall of Fame

Dick Nafsinger, who came to the Hood River News in 1962 as editor and publisher and retired last year as president and chief operating officer of Eagle Newspapers, was awarded the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame Award by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Friday at the ONPA convention in Tigard.

The award honors individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to Oregon newspaper journalism.

“It was an absolute shock,” Nafsinger said of receiving the award, considered the highest honor given to a person in the state’s newspaper industry. “I just didn’t have any idea.”

Nafsinger was 28 when he arrived at the News after serving as sports editor and then managing editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald. The News — then one of three newspapers in the Eagle chain — had 10 employees, including those who ran the hot-type press. The staff put out an eight-page paper once a week.

During the next three decades as publisher, Nafsinger implemented technological innovations ranging from offset printing to electric typewriters to computers.

“I always tried to have better equipment — more than we probably needed,” Nafsinger said. He strived constantly to put out the best quality newspaper possible with the technology of the day. The News went to twice-weekly in the 1980s, eventually averaging 50 pages a week.

During Nafsinger’s tenure, the News was named the top newspaper in both Oregon and the U.S. on several occasions, and received the coveted National Newspaper Association’s General Excellence award.

But it was more than awards that Nafsinger loved about his work.

“You can never get as closely involved in a community as you can as publisher of a community newspaper,” he said. “You get involved with everything.” His civic duties have included leadership positions on the school and hospital foundation boards and the Rotary Club and Foundation. He was closely involved in the creation of the Ray T. Yasui Dialysis Center at the hospital and has volunteered as a “lunch buddy” in Hood River schools.

In 1991 Nafsinger stepped down as publisher of the News to devote all of his time to serving as president and chief operating officer of Eagle Newspapers, which now includes 18 newspapers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. He retired last year but remains on the Eagle board.

Nafsinger has been an active member of ONPA since 1962, serving as its president in 1971-72. He has received several of its top awards to individuals over the years, including the President’s Award in 1973 and 1996. Last year, he became only the ninth person in ONPA’s history to be made an honorary life member of the association.

Nafsinger said if he had his career to do over, he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I’ve always been grateful that I got into the field that I did,” he said, adding that community newspapers “are extremely important in the fabric of communities” throughout the country.

“I think it’s important work, I think you can do a lot of good things and it’s just extremely rewarding,” he said.

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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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