Chinese delegates tour Gorge

Sen. Rick Metsger introduces dignitaries to Hood River fruit and food

The scenic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge was so “exciting” to nine Chinese delegates that they were prompted to sing much of the way to Hood River on Tuesday.

“You preserve your environment and nature in such a wonderful way and we really admire this way, it is more in harmony with nature and we can learn from this,” said Cui Bo, delegation leader, in a translated statement.

The Chinese delegation also visited Bonneville Dam and an area fish hatchery and were equally amazed at the efforts to produce power while protecting endangered salmon runs.

“The many ways of preserving salmon is really impressive for us,” said Bo.

Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches, also introduced the dignitaries, their interpreters and American hosts to one of his favorite restaurants during the tour of Hood River.

The Asian visitors sat down at the Sixth Street Bistro to sample a variety of menu selections recommended by Metsger. The District 26 legislator discovered the eatery owned by Maui Meyer during his recent campaign for re-election and now is a regular customer.

“I thought they should have an opportunity to eat some of the best food in Oregon,” said Metsger.

During lunch, Metsger also briefed the dignitaries of the American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange about the financial plight of Hood River Valley farmers. He said there needed to be more equality in the import/export market for apples and pears to protect their livelihood.

“If we work in a cooperative manner it would be a good economic advantage that benefits both of us,” said Metsger.

Speaking through an interpreter, Bo explained to Metsger that while some American products, such as soy beans, were popular in China the apples were not so well received because they looked good and stored easily but did not have enough taste appeal.

“Well, they taste good in Hood River,” replied Metsger, who appealed to Bo and his constituents, all of whom were in government service, for help opening up Chinese markets to more American trade.

Fostering that type of public policy discussion is the purpose of the ACYPL program sponsored by the U.S. State Department, according to Jennifer Jones, membership director. She accompanied the entourage from its tour of Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Ill., to the final leg of their two-week journey in Oregon.

“Since Sept. 11 these programs are more important than ever before and we wanted to give these delegates a broad range of American experiences,” Jones said.

After enjoying their mid-day meal, the delegation was loaded into vans for a tour of the orchards at the Mid-Columbia Research and Experiment Station in the Heights. Jones said the ACYPL program is open in America to rising government leaders from the ages of 25-40. She said qualifying individuals are nominated by a state governor, federal official or alumni and selection for one of the yearly trip to more than 90 counties is made by a bi-partisan committee. The nonprofit organization was formed in 1966 as an educational exchange to allow young leaders to directly observe cultural differences in government management for increased understanding.

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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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