Soroptimists honor an active trio

Soroptimist International of Hood River presented its annual Women of Distinction awards at a luncheon Friday at the Hood River Inn. The awards are given each year in several categories to three local women who have accomplished outstanding service toward the betterment of the community.

Dollie Rasmussen won in the category of Economic and Social Development. In introducing Rasmussen, Jenny Copper noted that “her work and love for her community” can be felt in many realms of local life. Rasmussen is best known most recently for spearheading the “safety corridor” on Tucker Road which culminated in the installation of a traffic light at Tucker and Eliot Drive.

Rasmussen, a founding member of the Hood River County Fruit Loop, has also been instrumental in promoting the Loop around the region as a tourist destination.

Linda Rouches also won in the category of Economic and Social Development. Rouches was one of the first women to join the Hood River Rotary Club where she “immediately got involved in the club’s activities,” said Jon Laraway, past president of Rotary, in his introduction of Rouches.

Rouches started the popular Lunch Buddies program, where Rotarians “adopt” an elementary school student and have lunch with them periodically throughout the year. Rouches also organized and has helped sponsor the annual ATT/Rotary Golf Tournament which has become a major fundraiser for Rotary. She also has served as president of the club.

Laraway noted Rouches’ accomplishments as chair of the Hood River County Library Foundation during the critical fundraising period which resulted in the remodeled and enlarged library. Under her guidance, the foundation raised nearly $1 million. Rouches also has served on the Hood River City Council for six years, and is currently president of the council.

Bessie Asai won in the category of International Goodwill and Understanding “for all she’s done to continue the Japanese heritage in the valley and beyond,” said Raye Hukari in introducing her. Asai has been active in the Japanese American Citizens League since its inception in 1946. She worked closely with the Oregon Historical Society in assembling a traveling Issei exhibit in the 1980s, sharing artifacts, pictures and stories about the first generation of Japanese immigrants who came to Hood River. The exhibit traveled around the country, was featured at the Smithsonian Institute and is now on permanent display at the National Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles.

Asai also was a 4-H leader for 28 years — continuing her involvement in the organization for 19 years after her own children were grown. She served for 12 years on the hospital board and was on the board at Down Manor for eight years. She was one of the first to join the hospital’s volunteer group when it formed in 1990 and still volunteers once a week at the reception desk.

Hukari also noted Asai’s long-time involvement in her church and the schools. Last year, at the age of 80, Asai spent one day a week helping third graders with their reading. The Soroptimists have been giving the Women of Distinction awards annually since 1988.

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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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