HR advocate Yasui earns ‘Genius Award’

County prevention coordinator noted for work in community drug programs

Maija Yasui, prevention coordinator for Hood River County, was awarded a Public Health Genius Merit Award last week by the state-wide Community Health Partnership. Yasui, one of five Genius Award recipients, accepted the honor at an awards breakfast Thursday in Portland attended by more than 300 people.

Yasui was nominated for the award by the Oregon Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, a program run by Oregon Partnership which is a Portland-based non-profit organization dedicated to preventing substance abuse.

“Maija has a gift for communications, is exceptionally skilled in working with young people and has been successful in providing prevention services to minority youth, especially Latino, Hispanic and Japanese young people in Hood River County,” said Judy Cushing, president and CEO of Oregon Partnership. “As a nationally certified drug prevention specialist, Maija has provided countless educational opportunities for Hood River County and has proved to be a leader in prevention planning and strategy implementation.”

The Community Health Partnership sought nominees from throughout the state whose work has resulted in significant and lasting change in the field of public health. Yasui was was honored along with several medical providers, and was the only award recipient to be involved in prevention.

Yasui has been a tireless advocate for drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention among Hood River County youth, serving as prevention coordinator for the past six years. Before that she was director of Project SixTeen, a previous incarnation of the county’s youth drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention efforts.

Yasui has been a board member of the Oregon Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking for four years, and a board member of Oregon Partnership for a year.

Yasui says credit for the Genius Merit Award goes to the efforts of all Hood River County agencies that work together to support local families and youth.

“It’s Hood River — not Maija — and the way agencies work together,” Yasui said. “We’re large enough that we have many different social services, but small enough to know that if we lose one of those, we’re hurting. So we’re dependent on each other in a way that’s positive.” Yasui said Hood River has a reputation for being “family friendly,” with community members showing strong support for prevention efforts.

The Genius Merit Award came with a check for $500, which Yasui will share with the Gorge Community Foundation and the Columbia Gorge Center.

“It’s not about me,” Yasui said. “It’s about the community and the way it works together.”

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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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