Sixth-grader wins News’ subscription campaign

Winning stayed in the family in the Hood River News’ subscription campaign that wrapped up March 15.

Shelby Vanek won the $600 top prize in the annual three-week newspaper campaign, earning 266,000 votes. Her older sister, Stephanie, won the contest in 2002, and this year the whole family helped Shelby, a sixth grader at Wy’east Middle School.

But the race was tight, and went right down to Saturday’s finish, according to Ray Edwards, campaign coordinator.

Joel Winters was second with 259,000 votes, edging Greg Swafford with 258,000. They won $500 and $400 prizes, respectively.

Kirsten Lane was fourth, earning 202,000 votes and $350. Ryan Sieverkropp was fifth with 125,00 votes, for a $300 prize. All 46 participants earned a percentage for every new subscription or renewal they sold.

“We had a lot of new recruits and everyone worked really hard,” Edwards said. “We gained a lot of new subscribers and it worked out really well.”

For Shelby Vanek, winning came down to hard work and cooperation. Her mother, Cindy Vanek, said Shelby was out of town for a weekend and sick for four days during the campaign, so the whole family including grandparents helped out.

“I worked really hard. And it was fun,” Shelby said. “We made a lot of phone calls. My parents took me everywhere, and my sister helped a lot.”

Shelby said she will use her winnings to buy goats and pigs to raise as part of her 4-H club, Valley Varmints.

“And I’ll save the rest,” she said.

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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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