`Travel Oregon' gives Hood River top billing

The Oregon Tourism Commission (OTC) unveiled the first issue of its new biannual magazine "Travel Oregon" this month, and Hood River County gets good billing.

The magazine is part of OTC's push to bolster tourism and increase awareness of the diverse beauty and attractions of Oregon, according to Tori Benson, communications manager at OTC.

"The new publication represents a major shift in the way the state presents travel information to potential visitors," Benson said. "The traditional travel guide is basically a book of lists -- names of places, hotels, restaurants and attractions. `Travel Oregon' takes an entirely different approach. It grabs the reader's imagination and takes them on a trip to some of Oregon's special places."

Not surprisingly, some of those places are in Hood River County. There's a spread on fruit pie which, naturally, includes photos and many references to the bounties of the Hood River Valley. There's even a photo of U-pickers at Kiyokawa Orchards as well as a recipe for pear tarts.

In a sidebar to an article on Central Oregon golf courses, Indian Creek gets billing as one of "Nine Other Great Oregon Courses."

And, in a catchy calendar listing that highlights just a few events statewide each month, Hood River County festivities get plenty of show. The Blossom Festival, April 20-21, is listed as "a gala springtime celebration." The May calendar finds the Pear and Wine Festival, May 17-19, smack in the middle. And July's listing features the Gorge Games, July 13-21.

The magazine is the latest initiative from OTC, which last fall unveiled a new in-state advertising campaign as part of its "Tourism Industry Recovery Plan" to address the impact of Sept. 11 events on the state's tourism industry. The campaign offers sample travel itineraries to encourage travel within the state. OTC also runs a national magazine ad campaign.

"Travel Oregon" is free and is offered at state welcome centers, visitors' centers and other select locations. It can also be ordered online at www.traveloregon.com.

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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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