German soccer player finds a home in HR


News intern

Fast. Aggressive. Dedicated. These words seem to come up often when talking about the recent European addition to the Hood River Valley High School boys soccer team.

Lukas Berg is a 16-year-old exchange student from Wissen, Germany, and he is spending this year as a senior at HRVHS. So, to make his stay all the more enjoyable, he has been playing defense and midfield for the playoff-bound Eagles this fall.

“It’s been fun,” he said, “and it helps me stay in shape.”

Although Berg uses other sports such as snowboarding and windsurfing to keep up his conditioning, soccer is his true love.

After coming to another country and having his daily routine completely shaken up, Berg found that playing soccer helped him adapt to his new lifestyle, and his new community.

“It helps to get involved,” said Berg, who is staying with the Sassara family in Hood River. “You get to know more people that way.”

And with that attitude, Berg has had no problem finding his comfort zone in Hood River.

“He’s broken himself in gently and is fitting in very well,” said HRV boys head coach Doug Beveridge. “At first he was kind of shy, but he’s gotten to the point now where he’s making jokes.”

On top of having to learn a new culture and improve his English, Berg has also had to adapt to a different way of playing soccer.

“When he first started, he didn’t play like us,” said junior sweeper Sean Rawson. “He used a lot of short passes like they do in Germany. But now he’s got the long balls down, and he has learned how to play with us.”

After his shake-down period was over, Berg became a valuable asset to the HRV team, both as a defender and as a midfielder. And with the playoffs only one week away, the team is happy to have another weapon on the field.

“He’s quite fast, and that is good,” said Rawson. “He’s aggressive and goes for the ball. Sometimes the rest of us will relax. But he just goes for it.”

However, despite an advanced skill set, Berg has only been playing soccer for a relatively short time.

“My parents didn’t want me to play when I was younger,” he said. “Then, about three or four years ago, my friends invited me to come play with them, so I did.”

After only a few years, Berg has learned not only how to play the game, but also how to be a part of a team.

“If I’m not paying attention, he’s there,” said Rawson. “He knows the game, and he’s not afraid to tell people what’s not working. It’s great.”

All in all, Berg has made a positive impression in Hood River, and those he has interacted with have only the nicest things to say.

“If he has nothing to do, he’ll help pick up balls or chip in doing something,” said Beveridge. “He’s a good solid person, a positive influence, and a fine young man.”

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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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