HRVHS scholar turns page to new adventure in D.C.

Sophomore Graham Hay got sent to the principal’s office one day last week — to meet his congressman about his summer job.

Starting June 10, Hay will have the rare honor of working as a page in the United States House of Representatives.

Hay is probably the only high school student around with a Dennis Hastert autograph. The Hood River Valley High School sophomore learned of his selection via a letter signed by U.S. Speaker of the House Hastert (R-Ill.)

“It’s pretty amazing,” Hay said. “It’s going to be really exciting to be in the nation’s capital. It’s definitely going to be something that will help me in the future.”

Hay applied for the position, and was nominated by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the Second District congressman from Hood River. Walden considered an essay Hay wrote as well as his outstanding academic record and community involvement.

Walden said Hay is the first House page from the Second District since he entered Congress in 1998, and one of only 48 nationwide, based on the Republicans’ current allotment. Walden met Hay in principal Ben Kolb’s office Thursday to give him a preview of what to expect.

“You’ll be right in the middle of it,” Walden told him. “This will be a really heavy work period in Washington, D.C.”

Hay will be busy on the floor during some of the lawmakers’ most critical work: appropriations bills that must be completed before the August break.

“He’ll be all over the Hill, and rubbing elbows with the nation’s leaders,” Walden said. He won’t work for Walden, but for the full House.

Hay could even be chosen to directly assist the Speaker — meaning he could ring the bell that calls the representatives to vote. Pages chosen for the job are among the few people allowed access to the Speaker’s box in the House chambers.

Hay, the son of Mary Ann and Kevin Hay, will work in Washington, D.C., from June 10 to June 28 and perform duties for members of Congress and their staffs that typically include mail delivery, answering phones, and other administrative tasks. House pages are paid approximately $1,344 per month to cover the cost of the page dormitory, meals and additional expenses.

“They give us a place to live — and we have to keep it clean. They inspect it twice a day,” Hay said.

But he’s used to keeping his house in order. Hay ranks first in his class at Hood River Valley High School and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. He has maintained a place on his school’s Honor Roll since 1997. Graham is a member of Future Business Leaders of America and participates in cross-country and track and field.

“Serving as a congressional page is a tremendous honor, and it was a privilege for me to nominate such an impressive young man to take part in the program,” said Walden. “Graham is going to have the opportunity to get an inside look at the legislative process and see the inner workings of Congress up close. I have no doubt he’ll represent his state, community, school and family well in our nation’s capital.”

Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon. He is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee of Resources.

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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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