Footsteps: Pine Grove kids find clean motivation

These pine trees are dedicated to the memory of those pioneer families who chose to make this community their home. They gave of themselves in order to create a wholesome environment in which to raise their families. May we follow in their footsteps.”

— Inscription on a stone in front of Pine Grove School.


Schools throughout Hood River County hold “Red Ribbon Week” anti-drug assemblies each fall, but few have the intimacy of Pine Grove Elementary, the county’s smallest school.

Last week’s Red Ribbon Week assembly matched the spirit of the inscription paying tribute to the community’s hardy pioneers.

When the speeches and skits were over at the Nov. 5 assembly, parents got into the act, joining an anti-drug song and march around the gymnasium.

High school students visited and spoke about the value of staying away from harmful substances. The smallness of the place made them seem even more nervous about speaking to a group.

“Drugs get in the way of what you want to do in your life,” Jacobe Krizman said, adding, “I’m not very good at this.” Several voices cried out, “Yes you are!”

“Drugs should not be in your schedule at any time,” was Eric Avila’s unusual approach. “Drugs are not cool; they are dumb.”

Luz Flores told the kids, “You all have somethng really good ahead of you. Drugs will not let you achieve your goals.” Armida Ramirez said, in Spanish and then translating to English, “Drugs are not going to help your problems. They will make it worse.”

But the real anti-drug message came from fifth graders, in presenting essays and staging brief skits on staying drug free and avoiding shoplifting and vandalism.

Generally, the youngsters concerned themselves with more practical matters than “staying with your goals,” or the running theme of “shoot for the stars, not drugs.”

Good principles to expose kids to, but not quite as compelling to a fourth-grader as, “Drugs make you lazy, stupid, and waste a lot of money,” as one student said.

Another said, “Your teeth are all yellow and your fingers have junk on them.”

One fifth-grader had the best advice of all:

“If you want to be fit, don’t do drugs,” he exhorted. “Instead, EAT TACOS!”

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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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