Primary vote turnout should hit 50 percent


News staff writer

May 13, 2006

Hood River County’s mail ballot count is climbing and could reach 50 percent — or even higher — by Tuesday’s primary election night.

As of press time on Friday, 27.5 percent of the ballots had been returned by the county’s 10,881 voters. Sandra Berry, director of elections, made a prediction for the final tally after reviewing numbers from the last non-presidential election. In 2002, Berry said the return rate was running 4 to 5 percent lower than the current total. She said 47 percent of voters weighed in that year, so she expects that count to be exceeded in the 2006 primary.

“I think the return rate is really pretty good,” said Berry.

“A lot of the time, it seems like we have a huge number of returns the last two to three days. I think that’s because people hear about the different races and issues in the news and then realize that the deadline is coming up.”

Berry believes the contested Hood River County Commission Chair race will factor largely into a higher-than-average voter turnout.

If one of the three candidates scores 50 percent of the vote plus one, that individual will have his name as the sole listing on the Nov. 7 election ballot. Listed as candidates on the May 16 ballot are District 2 Commissioner Maui Meyer and Hood River resident Paul Nevin. Not listed but running a write-in campaign is Parkdale orchardist Ron Rivers.

Berry said ballots should no longer be mailed since postmarks do not count. Voters can hand-deliver ballots until 8 p.m. on Tuesday to the county administration building, 601 State Street.

A drop box near the front door allows for added convenience. Ballots can also be left at Cascade Locks City Hall, 140 WaNaPa St.

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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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