Tighten It Up

New speeding law a welcome move

This community saw two examples this week of people turning grief into action for the sake of public safety.

Earl and Sharon Mainwaring convinced the Hood River County Commission to adopt an ordinance authorizing immediate impoundment of vehicles used by street racing participants as well as spectators.

“Our greatest hope is that someone else doesn’t have to lose a loved one from an incident that never should have happened,” said Earl “Smokey” Mainwaring. The Mainwarings’ daughter, Trisha Ann Thornton, 19, was killed in January while riding in a car during a street race in Gresham. (Details on page A1).

The county’s prompt action came on the same day county officials attended the groundbreaking for the new Oregon Department of Transportation traffic light at Brookside and Eliot. Dollie Rasmussen responded to tragedy by launching a fundraising campaign after the deaths of her father-in-law, Lynn Rasmussen, and Viola Briggs, within one week of each other in a 12th Street crosswalk in May of 2000.

The Mainwarings formed Families Against Speeding Drivers and launched a campaign to get stiffer penalties not only for those racing but for those observing it.

The Mainwarings and Rasmussen deserve the community’s admiration for stepping forth for everyone’s sake at the same time they mourn loved ones. The 12th Street deaths happened in the heart of Hood River, while Trisha Ann Thornton’s death happened in the next county. It just shows the universality of hazard — the realization that this kind of tragedy can happen anywhere, to anyone. City administrator Dave Meriwether calls the new ordinance a “preventative measure to bring attention to what is a growing problem statewide.”

Now, the Hood River City Council should adopt the same type of law, in the interest of safety as well as uniformity.

It would be interesting to apply the same concept — holding spectators accountable — to another vehicle violation: why not fine the adult passengers, in addition to the driver, in a car carrying a child without a seat belt or safety seat? The passengers are going along with something they could stop.

If a friend, spouse or family member knew they would be held complicit it might mean far fewer kids sitting on laps, getting “buddy belted” or other infractions that threaten the kids’ safety.

Children riding without proper safety restraints remains a serious public health problem, right up there with speeding in its many forms. Children who are brought up to understand the need for such precautions are likely to become drivers who follow the rules.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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