Susan Hess wins national columnist society award


News editor

July 23, 2005

Susan Hess, Hood River News columnist, received an award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Hess, who began writing her “Second Story Views” column for the Hood River News four years ago, accepted the award on June 25 in Grapevine, Texas.

Hess won third place for General Interest columns for newspapers with circulations under 100,000. First and second places went to Bob Norman of the Broward-Palm Beach, Fla., New Times, and Michael Murphy of the Patriot Ledge in Massachusetts, respectively.

“I was thrilled,” said Hess, who had recently broken her leg in a bicycling accident. She was accompanied by her husband, Jurgen, to the Texas ceremony. Hess said she enjoyed hearing other columnists talk about their work, in particular author Pete Hamill, the Society’s’ 2005 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

When her name was called to receive her award and it became apparent she could not walk up onto the stage, another member of the audience rose and brought the award to her. It was Bob Welch of the Eugene Register-Guard.

“It was really nice. Bob said he wanted to get up so that I could receive it from a fellow Oregonian,” Hess said. She was not the only writer from the state to win an honor. Susan Nielsen of the Oregonian took first in the Humor category for newspapers over 100,000 circulation. At Hess’ dinner table were writers from the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and Denver Post.

Of Hess’ work, judges wrote, “With fervor for things green and clean in the Columbia River Gorge, Susan Hess offers vivid stories that tweak pallid consciences. She walks old logging roads by the side of a volunteer who describes his three houses, then makes sure he gets his free trail pass from the Forest Service at the end of the day. She shows Celilo Village and its residents living at or below the poverty line on a narrow sliver of land between basalt cliffs and the Union Pacific Railroad and Interstate 84 as windsurfers enjoy sailing nearby.”

Hess said of the Society honor, “it gives you courage enough to go out on some limbs, test yourself, and reach out and take stands.

“My goal is to talk about the things you care about and to entertain, but not to preach. And that’s really hard: to advocate without inspiring further violence in the world.”

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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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