New playground is ready for kids

The new playground equipment is up at Wilson Park and the construction barrier came down today so curious children could give it a try.

In less than two days, the ADA accessible metal and plastic structure was assembled by 27 workers who paid for hands-on training in the neighborhood park at the east end of May Street.

These individuals were guided by five instructors and joined by about nine volunteers and city public works employees for replacement of the aging equipment that had been installed during the late 1950s.

Mark Lago, director of the city’s public works/engineering department, and Lori Stirn, head of Hood River County Parks and Recreation District, supervised participants in the pilot program offered by the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association.

Although similar trainings have been held in the past at no charge, Stirn said people from across the state paid a $50 registration fee to learn assembly techniques under the guidance of Jerry Burgess, a supervisor for the state’s largest recreation district in Tualitan which maintains 214 parks. Burgess said the new state program allows cities like Hood River to save about 25 percent on playground equipment that is typically used to cover installation costs.

Michelle Bizek, owner of All About The Playground in Oregon City, said the two-day workshop taught her how to survey and she was surprised by the technical expertise the assembly job required.

“You just have to be so precise, you can’t just wing it and hope it turns out all right,” she said.

The equipment itself was purchased by the city from developer fees for about $15,000 from Creative Play Structures of Hood River, a business owned by David Jubitz. It is expected to have a life span of at least 20 years and provide much more interest for youngsters from age five through 12.

Lago and Stirn have partnered to bring similar ADA compliance upgrades to two other city parks. Equipment similar to that set up in Wilson Park will be installed at Pacific Heights. The two public agencies have also worked jointly to obtain a $138,000 state grant that will be used to build new restrooms and play structures at the heavily used Jackson Park by July of 2003.

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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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