Kids plan swap meet to raise money for children’s park shades

October 15, 2005

As the weather gets colder, the Sholar family is thinking about the sun.

But not a trip to Hawaii. They’re looking much closer to home: the Hood River Children’s Park.

The Sholars want to give it some shade.

Maggie Sholar, 11, and her brother, Graham, 9, and their parents, Lynn Lewis and Brent Sholar, are organizing a Kids Swap Meet on Oct. 22 to raise money for a set of triangular awnings that will cover portions of the play structure to keep the popular facility cooler in the summer.

The Sholars’ main motivation is this: “A lot of little kids can’t use the playground when it gets hot,” Maggie said. Graham said the metal slides are in particular need of shelter.

At the swap meet, any kid who wants to make some cash selling good quality used toys to other kids can set up a space at the Children’s Park, with proceeds going toward the $1,000 or so needed to buy the shades. Adults are welcome to come and peruse the wares, too.

The family, taking its turn in guiding the Friends of the Children’s Park committee, has sold t-shirts and raised $200 toward the shade project. The swap meet is an event they hope will generate more money toward getting the shades installed by next summer.

Leadership of the Friends committee has revolved among several families who have taken responsibility for working with the city, which owns the 13-year-old park. The Sholar kids have spent plenty of time playing in the park as they’ve grown, and Lewis said they have enjoyed doing their part to foster improvements. Last year, the committee varnished the wooden structure and replaced moving parts on the tic-tac-toe game, chimes and other features.

Now sights are set on shade to make the park more useable in summer.

The shades are known as “membranes” that come in various colors and are mounted on poles in strategic places to block the sun. Lewis said the family saw them in use in parks in Australia, and they are common in many parts of the United States but little-used in Oregon.

“Luckily, the city is open to making the improvement,” Lewis said. The children met with city engineer Dave Bick and city facilities manager Dave Smock and got their approval to raise the money.

“It’s a very nice looking installation, so it should be a good improvement,” said Bick, adding that the shades and poles will be engineered to withstand the famed Hood River winds.

“They were glad we came to see them,” said Maggie, who presents an organized notebook with diagrams, photos, flyers and other materials explaining the project. Bick said he was impressed with the Sholar children.

“They’re very bright, perceptive, well-spoken young people,” Bick said.

“They were pleased to see we had a plan,” said Lewis, who home schools Maggie and Graham. “Their only condition was that we accommodate for aesthetic values.”

The family is researching the best deal on shades from several firms, and is seeking input on what color shades to buy; they did one survey that revealed neighbors’ preference that the shades be green and brown, rather than bright colors.

Whatever the shades and poles look like, city crews will do most of the installation, but it is up to the community to raise the money.

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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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