Kids, dogs and athletes rally together for S.O.

Special Olympics supporters from Portland to The Dalles showed up in numbers last Saturday for the second-annual Step-Up for Special Olympics fundraiser.

Aside from a steady arctic breeze, the weather cooperated for the 100-plus athletes and friends who made the trek to the old scenic highway (Mark O. Hatfield State Park) on the east end of Hood River.

Even a few four-legged supporters jumped at the chance to lend a paw to the Mid Columbia chapter, which is currently involved in swimming and bowling, and will soon start skiing and basketball.

Saturday’s event started with a 5K/10K run/walk, continued with Kids on Wheels, and concluded with the Doggie Dash. Cocker spaniels, bull mastiffs, Newfoundlands and even a chihuahua all helped do their part to support this valuable community organization.

“We were really pleased with the dog turnout, but we had hoped for a few more runners and walkers,” coordinator Carole Schmidt said. “But overall, it was good to see so many individuals and organizations get involved.”

More than 15 local sponsors donated money and supplies to the Step-Up event, which helped raise money for Special Olympics training programs, uniforms, transportation, as well as travel and hotel costs for qualifiers and state competitions.

Saturday’s Gold Sponsors ($200 and more) were Kerr-McGee Foundation Corporation of The Dalles, which contributed $350, and Glenn Taylor Real Estate, which donated $250. Silver Sponsors ($100) were Columbia River Bank, Brown Roofing and Siding, Betz Construction, Sprint, and the ARC of the Mid Columbia, an association that provides opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

In addition, Fruit Loop Pears contributed numerous boxes of pears while Gorge Dog donated plenty of dog bones to ensure that all participants left the park satisfied.

Schmidt said plans for next year’s Step-Up event are already in the works. For more information on the Mid Columbia chapter of the Special Olympics, please call 541-478-3716.


Special Olympics bowlers from Hood River and The Dalles will square off this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Orchard Lanes.

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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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