Film and lecture series starts

August 3, 2005

The Columbia Gorge Earth Center continues its summer film and lecture series Thursday with the lecture “Biodiesel: Why and How.” Local expert Alex Yasbeck will explore the big picture of fuel options and explain the role and appeal of biodiesel, and why and how you can use biodiesel to meet your own home and transportation fuel needs. He will demonstrate how to make this “wonder fuel” from vegetable oil, and will bring his biodiesel car. Please help the CGEC foster the beginnings of a biodiesel co-op.

The films and lectures will be held Thursdays at 7 p.m. through September at the Gorge Rebuild-It Center, 995 Tucker Road, in Hood River. (Visit for information about the GRC.) There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information about the summer series, contact Tara Johnston at (541) 386-5562 or visit

Coming up next in the series:

Aug. 11 — Film: “The True Cost of Food.” The Organic Consumers Association put together this rallying film to educate consumers about how they can choose to not support the mass-agribusiness that is destroying our communities, soil, water, air, and health. It explores the true costs of the food we eat and the industry that supports its production. Come learn how to do your part in eating more “sustainably,” and how to buy local and organic. CGEC will provide resources of local Gorge growers and food processors to get you started.

Aug 18 — Film: “Permaculture in an Urban Setting.” Bill Mollison, the father of Permaculture, explores how to apply permaculture principles in what seems to be a challenging setting: the city. In this lighthearted and inspiring film series, “The Global Gardener,” Mollison walks the listener through the theories of permaculture and projects where those theories have been applied. Join in a lively discussion afterward, to help integrate permaculture into our own towns.

Aug. 25 — Lecture: “Passive Solar Sunspaces.” Mark Williams will lead the listener through the principles of passive solar design and how it can be integrated into new and existing homes.

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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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