‘Neighbor to Neighbor’

Cascade Locks residents from two neighborhoods plan block party

Residents from two Cascade Locks neighborhoods are meeting on March 19 to plan a summer block party and kickoff a new crime prevention program.

That meeting at 7 p.m. in the city administration building was arranged by Community Resource Officer Aaron Jubitz at the request of citizens who live south of Forest Lane in the vicinity of Lewis, Riverview and Walnut streets. Jubitz labeled those sectors as Zones 10 and 11 on a map that was drawn up last year to analyze crime trends within the city.

Within the two zones, Jubitz identified theft and car prowls as the two top problems. However, in those areas, and throughout the town, residents shared concerns at a series of meetings last summer about the high rate of drug usage among both adults and juveniles. According to state statistics, methamphetamine use among adults alone rose 500 percent between 1997 and 1999. In addition, a disproportionate number of youth from the rural town are showing up in the county’s teen court for first offenses involving alcohol or drugs.

“I want to empower the citizens because, ultimately, the responsibility falls on them to find solutions to challenges within their community,” Jubitz said.

Other concerns expressed by residents were the need for better traffic and nuisance ordinance enforcement, more healthy activities for youth and better surveillance of homes while commuters are away during the daytime hours.

The upcoming organizational meeting to find solutions for those challenges was scheduled after Jubitz was approached by residents from the two zones. They were interested in establishing the first Neighbor to Neighbor Program, an action Jubitz would like to see community members within all 16 Cascade Locks zones take to create a safer, more livable environment.

During the March 19 meeting, a guest speaker will also provide an overview of the nation’s new Homeland Security effort and how citizens can prepare their families for emergencies. That is only one of the many topics that Jubitz hopes are discussed in ongoing sessions. He said there is no end to the list of educational subjects that can be shared, including everything from lessons about land-use regulations to landscaping designs.

“Developing a Community Action Plan for Cascade Locks has been the highlight of my career,” said Jubitz.

He said the Neighbor to Neighbor Program allows residents to proactively build relationships by planning street cleanups, holiday gatherings, barbecues, and sporting competitions. Once acquainted with each other, Jubitz said citizens will be more likely to keep an eye on each others’ homes and communicate about suspicious activities.

Last year, Jubitz was hired to spend 10 hours per week working on Cascade Locks’ law enforcement issues. He has been paid for those services from a $400,000 Drug Free Communities Grant that was awarded to The Cascade Locks Interested in Kids Coalition (CLIK) in the spring of 2002.

That group of volunteers obtained the federal funding that will be disbursed over a four year period to battle against the growing use drugs and alcohol among both adults and teens. CLIK, which is headed by Lynae Hansen, a city employee and child advocate, is working to strengthen area families.

To date, the organization has arranged a variety of social outings for youth — including sternwheeler cruises — and set up regular anger management and parenting classes. The City Council also stepped forward in 2001 to send a clear message to drug traffickers that they were not going to tolerate these illicit activities. They declared the entire urban area a “Drug-Free Zone” and posted warning signs at both ends of town. The new code cuts off travel for 90 days within the municipality to any resident or visitor arrested on “probable cause” for use, sale or possession of illicit substances.

“The tireless efforts of the community at large have made this process a worthwhile and rewarding one,” said Jubitz.

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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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