A time for blossoms, a time for pears

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

April 12

Hood River legislators have brought the pear one step closer to becoming Oregon’s official state fruit.

Last week Sen. Rick Metsger gained approval for top ranking of the pear by the Business and Economic Development Committee which he chairs. Rep. Patti Smith, chief sponsor of House Joint Resolution 8, has already gotten it passed by the House in March.

If Metsger, D-Mt. Hood, is successful at getting the pear endorsed by the full Senate later this week, it will await only the signature of Gov. Ted Kulongoski for full endorsement.

“I think elevating the pear as the state fruit provides endless opportunity to gain more market attention for the growers of the Hood River Valley,” said Metsger.

At last week’s hearing, the local high school Blossom Court spoke out about the nutritional benefits of pears. Smith, R-Corbett, also testified that, as Oregon’s number one tree fruit crop, the pear has earned its place as the official state fruit.

“I am very excited about what this can do for Oregon’s agriculture economy, especially Hood River County,” she said.

Smith and Metsger, who co-sponsored HJR8, armed themselves with facts before presenting their case to fellow legislators. They are optimistic the pear is the best choice for state fruit because it brings $72 million per year into the state, which is the third largest producer of pears in the nation.

The bipartisan team joins the Northwest Pear Bureau in the belief that designating the pear as the state fruit will help Oregon’s 370 pear growers in the Gorge and the Rogue River Valley.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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