Local gymnast wins third at state

It’s 5:30 p.m. Monday — a half-hour before even his coach has arrived at the gym — and 15-year-old Hans Decker has already broken a sweat.

Decker, who just won third place in the Level 5 state all-around gymnastics competition over the weekend, couldn’t wait to chalk up his hands and prepare for next year.

“Hans is the perfect example of the competitive drive more kids should have,” said coach Collin Godkin, who works with Decker two days a week at the Gorge Gymnastics center in Hood River.

“It’s a pretty unique situation because most kids his age are trying to do so much. But he loves it and he has the next three years all figured out for himself,” he said.

He’s off to a pretty good start, too, with Saturday’s performance at the Oregon Gymnastics Academy in Beaverton. Besides taking third in the all-around, he also took home a gold medal in the rings and a bronze in the parallel bars.

“I don’t have a favorite event,” said Decker, who scored a 9.2 to take the rings title. “I want to do well at them all. But I was especially happy with my performance on the rings at state. That showed me I could compete with the best.”

Godkin said Decker is very self-motivated, and despite having to train alone most of the time, he is driven to excel.

“I’ve never had a kid ask me so many questions,” he said. “He’s mostly interested in how he can improve in competition, and it shows that he really wants to be the best.”

Decker, a ninth-grade home-school student, said that it can be challenging at times to keep himself going since there aren’t many kids his age involved in competitive gymnastics.

“It would help to have some of the other top guys around to help motivate me,” he said. “That way I would always have a reminder about the level I’m trying to reach.”

Decker said his next goal is to compete at Junior Nationals and then try his hand at collegiate gymnastics.

“I’d like to find a school with a gymnastics program, but academics are just as important,” he said.

To prepare for the next step, Decker will continue to refine his skills every Tuesday and Thursday at the HR Sports Club.

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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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