Commissioners take oath of office

In what he termed an “august” occasion, Hood River County Attorney Will Carey administered the oath of office to three elected officials on Monday evening.

The first person to take the pledge was County Commission Chair Rodger Schock, who beat out John Arens for a two-year at-large term. He was followed by Commissioners Carol York and Chuck Thomsen, who each won another four years in their respective District 1 and District 3 seats.

All three county board members vowed to uphold the United States and Oregon constitutions and administer their duties “faithfully and honorably.”

During the following public reception in the third floor courtroom, Schock took the microphone to praise department heads and staffers for their “impressive” abilities to keep operations running smoothly. He reiterated that their strong work ethic would play a key role in maintaining services during tough economic times.

“I will tell you for a fact that there’s no better group of people working for the state of Oregon than we’ve got here,” said Schock, who previously served on the county board from 1979-1986.

Creating more local family wage jobs will top York and Thomsen’s list of “to-do” priorities during their next term. Both officials are concerned about the dire state of Oregon’s economy and want to soften the blow of budget cuts within the county wherever possible.

“In addition to the major growth issues, there are an awful lot of other things that we need to pay attention to — not the least of which is the state budget crisis and its impact on our county residents and services,” said York, who beat out challenger Ladd Henderson in her second re-election bid.

Thomsen, a champion of volunteerism, plans to fill probable budget gaps by seeking out more community members to serve on vital committees and donate their time and talents. He said when “times get tough” county residents have already demonstrated their ability to overcome obstacles and he believes they will readily lend their support wherever it is needed.

“I’ve done this job now for eight years and I’m still excited about it, I still enjoy coming to the meetings and talking to people,” said Thomsen, who ran unopposed for his office.

York, who was first appointed to fill an unexpired term six years ago, said she also wanted to run again to provide “continuity” as the county ponders three major development possibilities, a giant retail outlet, destination resort and tribal casino — projects that will also place Thomsen, Schock and their peers, Les Perkins and Robert Hastings, in the path of controversy during the months and years to come.

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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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