Editorial: For the books -- Library Assocation honors local trio

April 9, 2011


David Gibson pulls up at second base after hitting a two-run double in the first inning of HRV’s win over Aloha Tuesday.

This is truly one for the books.

June Knudson, Heather Staten and Arthur Babitz were honored Friday in Salem by the Oregon Library Association.

Babitz and Staten were named Oregon Library Supporters of the Year and Knudson received the Distinguished Librarian Award from the Association.

Staten, a chef and mother of two, and Babitz, who is Hood River mayor but employed as an engineer, advocated for the library as a citizen.

Knudson was the longtime library director until retiring in June 2010 when the county closed the library.

The honors look ahead while also looking back. Knudson was for years the face of the library, its staunchest and sometimes fieriest supporter.

In letter nominating Knudson, she was quoted this way: "What kept me in Hood River for all these years is that I love the idea of a community library. Everybody felt welcome to approach me with their needs or ideas and people would say, 'June, have you got a minute?'… the library is about one-to-one service between the librarian and the person who asks."

Knudson guided the library through three tough years of steady cutbacks in 2007-10, maintaining a high level of service quality despite continually shrinking resources for paying staff and providing programs. Finally, a year ago, she stepped down, working hard right to the end but feeling a personal loss with the closure of the library.

As the Hood River County Library Foundation stated in its letter of nomination, Staten, a volunteer and president of Save Our Library, and Babitz "were instrumental in the successful passage of the library district measure in November 2010.

"They provided a unique emerging partnership of community organizing and political influence, each doing research, giving information, and continually communicating with others.

"Heather and Arthur led; Heather with 10 different autonomous sub-committees helped build an infrastructure of community volunteers communicating with each other. Arthur, with the Budget Committee, built the Model Budget that could be communicated to everyone …"

When voters approved the library district, it was with the proviso that the library would not open until November 2011. Babitz and Staten are not alone in the effort, but much credit goes to them if the library reopens in July, as it is now expected to do.

Congratulates to Staten and Babitz for their contribution of time and expertise, and to Knudson, for working so long to make the library the kind of place people feel passionate about.

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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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