Ballot count lower than expected

Hood River County Elections Supervisor Lee Schissler said voter turnout for Tuesday’s General Election is much lower than expected so far.

As of press time on Friday, the Records and Assessment Office had received only 33 percent of the 10,478 ballots sent out to registered voters on Oct. 18.

“I thought people would have more ballots in by now, this is an indicator that there might be a pretty low turnout even with the governor’s race,” Schissler said.

He said state analysts had predicted a return rate for mail ballots of about 80 percent, especially with the heated gubernatorial race between Republican Kevin Mannix and Democrat Ted Kulongoski and contested federal races.

A media blitz is underway in the senatorial campaign between incumbent Republican Gordon Smith and Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who makes his home in Hood River, is also facing a challenge for the Second Congressional District office by Democrat Peter Buckley.

Hood River County voters are also making choices for representation in two state offices. Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, has been challenged in her re-election bid for House District 52 by Democrat Larry Cramblett of Cascade Locks. Republican Bob Montgomery, also of Cascade Locks, is seeking the District 26 seat currently held by Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches.

Schissler said all ballots must be returned to the courthouse by 8 p.m. on Tuesday; postmarks do not count, and a convenient drop box is available just inside the vestibule of the lower entrance. A drop box is also located at Cascade Locks City Hall.

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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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