Smoke-free bowling offers breath of fresh air

New smoke-free policy at Orchard Lanes spares bowlers’ lungs

Orchard Lanes has scored a strike among many of its customers with its new no-smoking policy. The bowling alley officially went smoke-free in August, following what has become a trend in the bowling industry.

“I firmly believe this is the future,” said Orchard Lanes owner Jeff Olson. “It was sort of risky for us, but we decided this was the right thing to do.” Olson and his wife, Judy, have owned the bowling alley for nearly 10 years; their son, Pat, manages it.

Olson said they’d discussed going smoke-free several times in the past few years, but decided to finally make the move this year due, in part, to the increasing number of complaints they were getting from non-smokers.

“People who don’t smoke are very sensitive to it,” Olson said. The new policy has been welcomed by non-smokers, according to Olson. And even those who smoke have, for the most part, taken it in stride.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Paul Clement of Cascade Locks, who was bowling in the Senior League on Wednesday. Clement, a smoker, has bowled at Orchard Lanes for seven years and doesn’t plan on stopping because of the new policy.

The Olsons have tried to ease the transition by turning the old pro shop into a smoking room for league bowlers. A ventilation system was installed in the room, and the window looking out on the lanes allows bowlers to see when they’re up next. Smoking for league bowlers is also allowed in the video poker room; it, too, has a new air ventilation system.

Despite these concessions, Olson said they expected some league bowlers — which number about 400 — to quit because of the new policy. But so far, only one league bowler has announced that he won’t bowl at the lanes anymore.

“Overall, people have reacted pretty well,” Olson said.

Several bowlers in the Senior League said they were happy about the change.

“It’s about time,” said John Lyon of Klickitat, Wash. “I’m extremely pleased about it.” Not only is it more pleasant to be at the lanes, he said, but he no longer goes home “smelling like smoke” — which, he added, pleases his wife.

George Hall of White Salmon agreed. “I’m a non-smoker, so I really appreciate it,” he said.

Olson, who has been “a bowling nut” all his life, said he has watched smoking go “down, down, down” in bowling alleys.

“I can remember back in the 1960s,” he said. “You’d walk in and you couldn’t see the back end for all the smoke.” Those days are gone now — especially at Orchard Lanes.

“We didn’t want to offend anyone,” Olson said. “But we figured the transition is occurring. We wanted to be ahead of the curve.”

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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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