No annexation, but Mosier school link has potential

HR News editorial

The decision was not as painful as deciding against adopting a needy child, but in the case of annexing Mosier School to Hood River County School District, the comparison has merit.

The School Board decided this week, after nearly two years’ discussion and research, not to pursue a plan at this time to consider annexing Mosier.

Wisely, the board left the door open to renewing the relationship later. The district showed real interest in looking at every angle to see if it would work, but decided that it would not serve Hood River County schools at this time. However, it could be that the adopted child could help the parent, given geographical proximity and the Mosier and Hood Rier communities’ shared dedication to high quality education.

The proposal and the reasons Hood River schools have declined to annex are basically these: Mosier community members faced closure of their beloved school by Chenoweth School District after the 2002-03 school year. They rallied and found a not-quite-permanent solution in forming a charter school this fall, Mosier Community School. The school must keep costs down and enrollment up to continue past this year. Parents then asked Hood River to consider annexing Mosier. The district spent extensive time and resources investigating whether enrollment numbers and tax base and Basic School Support revenue figures could justify annexation and indeed not prove a financial drain to Hood River schools, themselves looking at more and more budget cuts. A huge consideration, too, was the need for expensive capital investment in the aging school building.

Hood River assistant superintendent Rick Eggers and Marcia LaDuke, along with business manager Gwen Gardner, held many meetings and took several tours of the Mosier school and enrollment district during the 2002-03 school year, and district officials including superintendent Pat Evenson-Brady continued that inquiry this year.

The school board and administration agonized over what it generally regarded as a positive, but flawed, opportunity in annexing Mosier. It ties into another hard choice facing the Hood River district: the need to build a new school or schools to meet the needs of its record and rising student enrollment. A plan for construction should happen within three years, given the trend. Fortunately, a citizen-based facilities review committee is now being formed.

The course of review covers how to finance and where to build a school, and what ages and population the new facilities would serve. It should take into consideration the possibility of eventually adopting Mosier.

Educationally, Mosier Community School seems to be thriving, thanks to the flexibility allowed charter schools, and the dedication of Mosier staff, parents and community volunteers. The love of the school and the community’s will to make it succeed are encouraging signs for what might help Hood River and Mosier become a school family in the future.

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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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