Roberto trips on ‘t,’ takes 3rd at state

News staff writer

Hood River Middle School 8th grader Roberto Nunez returned from the state fair Sept. 3 with a $50 savings bond and a framed certificate naming him as third place winner in the Oregon State Spelling Contest.

Roberto, who has been to the state contest three times before, was one of 23 participants in his division (grades 6-8). They were each given 30 words to spell, then a 5-word tie-breaker.

“They don’t tell you who’s tied with whom,” Roberto said. “So I really didn’t know who I was up against.”

The last word he remembers spelling correctly is “efflux,” one of the five tie-breakers. The one he missed was “cetaceous.”

“I know how to spell it – but for some reason I put a ‘t’ in place of the second ‘c,’” he said.

The Oregon State Spelling Contest has been a part of the Oregon State Fair tradition for 29 years. Winners are chosen at school, district and county levels to participate in the contest. Roberto first entered in the third grade, but didn’t make it past the district level that year.

“But I won in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades,” he said. This was his first win at state.

“He just reads like crazy – he reads a lot, but he didn’t study,” said his dad, Roberto Nunez-Elisea. “I think it would be very boring to study words!”

Roberto favors books “full of science and adventure,” such as those written by Jules Verne, Christopher Paolini and Philip Pullman. But do those books really contain words like “avoirdupois,” “parquetry,” and “quinquagenarian” – the other three tie-breaker words?

This wasn’t part of the national spelling bee program, but Roberto said he’d enter one of those if he had the opportunity.

“I think I would lose, but I think I would enter, to learn some new words,” he said.

“The state fair was a good experience – you get to go to the fair for free, and you have a chance to win $200, which you don’t get until you’re 18, but by then it’s worth more than $200!”

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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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