‘Sweeping’ Challenge

The Dalles’ leaders pay off football bet

Hood River Mayor Paul Cummings expressed great empathy when his counterpart from The Dalles was late in paying off a bet on Monday.

“I understand why Mayor VanCleave is late, this has to be the most embarrassing day of his life,” said Cummings.

After The Dalles lost Friday’s football game with Hood River by a wide margin, 69-36, Robb VanCleave and his city manager, Nolan Young, were expected to sweep pavement at city hall by 9:15 a.m.

But when the pair pulled up outside of city hall about 30 minutes late, they each had a ready excuse for their tardiness.

“We had to plan,” explained Young, accepting coffee and fresh cranberry nutbread from Lynn Guenther, Hood River city manager.

VanCleave also enjoyed his repast while explaining that he and Young were delayed while their city attorney was busy reviewing gambling laws to find a loophole that would nullify the bet. However, unable to proceed with that legal dodge, The Dalles officials donned orange safety vests and packed up their leaf blower for the trip west.

“They haven’t even been here for three minutes and already they are on a coffee break,” groused Guenther.

While Cummings generously plugged the meter for The Dalles workforce, Guenther questioned whether it was “cheating” to use machinery in the sweeping challenge. However he was mollified by the presentation of a ceremonial broom from VanCleave that will be displayed at city hall.

“This should be the first of an annual tradition and we are looking forward to having it used in The Dalles next year,” VanCleave said.

Upon hearing that comment, Guenther paraded VanCleave and Young through the downtown streets, stopping frequently to ask business owners if they wanted their stoops swept.

At last the four officials ended up at Overlook Memorial Park where they were joined by a laughing Police Chief Tony Dirks.

“This is a great way to start the day,” said the city’s lead law enforcement officer, who agreed to participate next year so that he could supervise.

Although Guenther had originally planned to have The Dalles workers tackle 278 of the steps from Montello Avenue to State Streets, he decided to avoid liability from a probable injury and cut that number down to about 50. However Cummings did require VanCleave and Young to wear ear plugs as a precautionary safety measure.

“I knew our football team wouldn’t let us down,” said a pleased Cummings during a final inspection of the sparkling steps.

Last week, VanCleave initiated the contest by issuing a public challenge to Cummings and Guenther via a radio broadcast. The bet required the officials from the losing team of Friday’s game to sweep the winner’s city hall steps. Since the administration building in Hood River has no stoop, Cummings and Guenther came up with what they viewed as a fair alternative — in spite of VanCleave’s protest that The Dalles only had six steps at the entrance to its municipal offices.

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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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