Electric cars power up at HRVHS

The Hood River Valley High School parking lot was turned into a race course Saturday for an Electrathon America-sanctioned electric car race. Hosted by the HRVHS electric car program, the race attracted more than 36 teams from around Oregon and Washington.

Race organizer Jeff Blackman created a quarter-mile-long course, barricaded by orange cones and tires. Two hour-long races were held, with the winning cars completing the most laps in the designated time. Each car had to meet certain specifications, including battery and driver weight limits.

Hood River Valley High entered two cars in the race. One of them, driven by HRVHS senior Cory Olsen, completed the hour-long race with 69 laps — nine laps behind the winner, from Willamette High School. The other car, driven by HRVHS senior Tracy Snapp, ran out of battery power after 44 laps.

“We were very pleased with both of them,” Blackman said. “I thought they both did really good.”

The crowd of onlookers was treated to a wide variety of interesting-looking cars whizzing by — all of them hand-built by high school students. The cars ranged from a fully-enclosed “bat mobile” to open-air go-carts. By half-way through the first race, the 16 cars that had started had been pared down to 12. With 15 minutes left, many of the cars were beginning to slow down as batteries were drained. Some suffered mechanical break-downs or other malfunctions.

But it was all in the spirit of fun — and improvement.

“We’ve been doing steadily better each race,” Blackman said. This was the fourth race of the season out of a total of eight. The teams are working on modifications to their cars this week in preparation for next weekend’s race in Gresham. For information about the electric car program, contact Jeff Blackman at jblackman@hoodriver.k12.or.us.

Sponsors of the HRVHS electric car program are Franz Hardware, Napa Auto Parts, E & L Auto, D & S Auto Body, Discover Bicycles, Mountain View Bikes and Les Schwab Tire Center.

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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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