‘Campaign For Future’ aims to help schools

Shortfalls created by Measure 28 defeat have citizens rallying for funds

A group of citizens is stepping into the funding gap facing Hood River County School District, and asking others to do the same.

The “Campaign for Hood River’s Future” began forming two months ago in the wake of Measure 28’s defeat, to raise money for the county’s schools, which have seen $852,000 in 2002-03 and face another $2 million in 2003-04.

“Schools are a worthwhile community charity,” said Paul Blackburn, one of the organizers of the campaign. “The more we share locally the less cutting we’ll have to make for the kids.”

Blackburn and his wife, Dr. Kristen Dillon, and several other couples, decided to create a program in which people give to the schools the amount of money they would have paid had Measure 28 passed. Donations will go into the district general fund for distribution.

The Jan. 28 measure had asked voters for a one percent income tax increase for three years, but failed statewide by a 56 to 44 percent margin.

Under the Campaign, citizens can make donations on a sliding schedule: $61 if the household income is $25,000; $111 if income is $35,000; $151 with $45,000 income; $311 with $75,000; and $485 with income $100,000 or higher.

The Campaign has no specific goal, nor has an ending date been determined, according to Blackburn. He can be reached by e-mail at paul@speedfish.com

“We’re pushing to raise as much money as possible before the budget process is done,” Blackburn said. That way, the district can factor the donations into the 2003-04 spending plan. He said any contribution of $250 or more will be matched, up to $5,000 in matching funds that were given anonymously.

Tax deductible donations can be designed for arts, music, athletics, core subjects, counseling services, “other,” and “where it is needed most.” They should be sent to Hood River County School District, P.O. Box 920, Hood River, OR 97031.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘what a great idea,’” Blackburn said. “People seem really into it.”

He stressed that the effort is voluntary, and that donations of any size are welcome.

“I’ll never convince everyone to support it,” Blackburn said. “What we are doing is making it easy for those who want to. We’re kind of paving the way.”

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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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