New Gorge group Renewable energy council hosts Thursday forum on biodiesel


News staff writer

March 4, 2006

The Mid-Columbia Renewable Energy Council will host a public forum about biodiesel use in the Columbia Gorge Thursday, March 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the West Side Fire District in Hood River.

The goal of this forum is to unite biodiesel efforts in the region to strengthen biofuel knowledge and availability in the Gorge, according to Katie MacKendrick, planning specialist for with the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District.

Fruit and grain growers, diesel users, service stations, biodiesel producers, local distributors and the general public are welcome to come ask questions, listen to a panel discussion on biodiesel, and connect with others to increase biodiesel production, distribution and use.

A representative from Sequential Biofuels, a biofuels distribution and marketing company in Oregon, will explain how pure and used vegetable oils become fuel that is interchangeable with petroleum diesel. Local farmers and residents will share their experiences using biodiesel in on-farm and on-road vehicles.

A local distributor will discuss how users can fill up with biodiesel and improve biodiesel availability and storage in the region.

A Renewable Energy Program coordinator for the Oregon Department of Energy will explain economic incentives, energy policies, and options for biodiesel users. And Wy’east R.C. & D. will offer insight on incentives for growers.

Each panelist will spend 10 minutes sharing their experiences and perspectives. Afterwards they will answer audience questions. At the end, attendees will have the opportunity to move around and make connections with others present.

The Renewable Energy Council (MCREC) is a volunteer council with more than 60 members working in many sectors of renewable energy throughout the region. Through education and networking, MCREC aims to create a sustainable renewables economy with viable agriculture businesses and strong small farms, according to McKendrick.

This forum is the first in a series of educational forums MCREC will host throughout the region to highlight renewable energy projects. MCREC evolved from meetings put together by the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District to create a renewable energy cluster in the region in spring 2005.

The council hosts a listserv to maintain momentum between forums and increase renewable energy discussion, awareness, and action in the Mid Columbia.

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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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