Durable good

Goodbye to a downtown fixture

December 28, 2005

In January, another downtown business fixture says so-long.

Mark and Jodi Van Metre are taking a well-earned break from the demands of the furniture business to seek new opportunities.

Two years ago, Pete Jubitz closed the doors on downtown anchor Franz Hardware. Pete is still a familiar face in town, and the building is home to three businesses.

A block away at Van Metre’s, a furniture store has occupied the corner of Second and State for the better part of 70 years, and the Van Metre family owned it for nearly 50, as Esther K. Smith reports in Van Metre’s goes out while it’s still good.

Yet the closure of the furniture store is a sort-of-farewell: a new business will occupy part of the Van Metre building. The Van Metres keep ownership of the property and, fittingly, will stay involved in securing new tenants.

It is part of the Van Metre legacy that they passed the baton to another merchant who plans to make good use of a prime location.

We wish the Van Metre family well. The store will be missed, but their can-do spirit will go on.

Like their furniture, durability was a strong point. Downtown remains a vibrant place, thanks to merchants such as the Van Metres.

The community is blessed with longtime businesses that have stood the test of time, and with newer stores that bring other kinds of energy to the local economy.

The departure — if it can be called that — underscores the shifts and the successes that make the business sector such a critical part of this community.

As the new year dawns, the closure of a significant downtown neighbor points to the strengths of local merchants throughout the county who continue to improve their properties, adjust their merchandise and serve the community through times thick and thin.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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