Youth In Action Kansas City competition computes for Hood River student

Fountains are everywhere in Kansas City, reports

Jonathan Collins of Hood River, who put thumbs up

to the waters’ relief from the Midwest heat. Above, Jonathan and his mother, Laurie, relax during their busy week at SkillsUSA competition.

Submitted photos


News editor

July 20, 2005

Fireflies and computer bugs stood out for Jonathan Collins of Hood River, who recently competed in the National SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo.

Collins, a 2005 graduate of Hood River Valley High School, competed against 43 other students in the Computer Maintenance Technology category, placing 16th.

About 4,700 youths from 50 states and three territories competed in aircraft mechanics, cooking, construction, welding, public speaking, photography, firefighting, robotics, collision repair and more categories. Collins qualified by taking first at state SkillsUSA in Roseburg in May.

“It was awesome,” he said of his Kansas City experience. “I wish I could have stayed longer and looked around at the city.” The heat and humidity were oppressive, he said, but he enjoyed the architecture and the man-made — and natural — attractions of Kansas City.

“I saw fireflies for the first time. That was cool,” Collins said.

“Our schedule was busy, but we still had time to go to an amusement park one evening with great water rides,” he said. Jonathan and his mother, Laurie, who accompanied him, were impressed with the large number of outdoor fountains throughout Kansas City.

But the SkillsUSA competition and all its events kept Collins busy — “practically 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. all five days,” he said.

In three days of competition Collins had to troubleshoot and fix a variety of computer problems that were very familiar to him based on his experience working at Hood River County and Adaptive Computers in Hood River, and from school courses. Collins also fixed computers in the school program known as StRUT — Students Recycling Used Technology.

“They made the competition so that it would be like any of the problems you might work on in a real repair shop,” Collins said. Between the “real life” computer issues and talking with his fellow competitors, SkillsUSA was a great learning experience, he said.

“I learned a lot from the competition and other people. We talked a lot,” he said.

This fall, Collins will enroll in the computers program at Columbia Gorge Community College, and he plans within a year or two to get his own computer repair business up and running.

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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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