Chamber limelight shines on Kathie Alley

January 17

The closest Greg Walden got to politics in a Hood River appearance Thursday night was a joke about having the same hairline as Vice President Dick Cheney.

Walden, the Hood River native and U.S. Congressman, emceed the Hood River Chamber of Commerce Installation Banquet, an event with a “Night at the Oscars” theme.

But the banquet was about people who serve the community out of the limelight. Politics and movie stars were far from the forefront in the event at Columbia Gorge Hotel.

The star of the night was Kathie Alley, named Chamber Member of the Year. Walden recounted Oscar Night history during the program, including some of the shortest acceptance speeches ever.

In that spirit, Alley said a brief “thank you,” and curtsied to the crowd of nearly 200 people.

The event rolled credits for the people who helped 2003 be among the most successful years ever for the Chamber, said outgoing president Pat Graham.

“We had more new members and more revenue than ever,” said Graham, costumed for the evening in, fittingly, “gaffer,” one of the background people in movie credits.

Jean Harmon, the 2002 Chamber Member of the Year, introduced Alley by describing her as “among the people you never hear about.”

“Our winner (Alley) is a long-time chamber member but she is not always in the spotlight, but always working hard.” Alley, who with her husband, John, owns Odell’s Mid-Valley Market, was heavily involved in Chamber business retention programs and has been a key organizer of the Chamber’s Harvest Fest for several years. Alley was the Chamber president in 2002.

Harmon said Alley has been integral to the annual Odell Fiesta event, a bicultural event held in September, and has been “a great help” in fostering the two-year-old Heights Business Association as well as the Upper Valley Business Association.

The banquet was a time to look backward at the year’s accomplishments and to recognize the work of new and retiring chamber directors, ambassadors, and Hood River County Visitors Council members.

Chris Strader was installed as 2004 president, and Blaire Carr was introduced as Ambassadors’ president. Alley is 2004 president-elect, Diane Rhodes is secretary-treasurer, and serving as vice presidents are Stu Watson, Ray Felton, and Joanie Thomson.

Graham said Strader is a “good guy to know because he has a connection to beer.” Strader is pub manager at Full Sail Brewery, and he and his wife, Julie, own Hood River Jewelers.

Strader, dressed in a tuxedo, used the brewing theme to craft his remarks: “like a good beer culture, the Chamber needs to be nurtured all year long.”

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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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