Wednesday, December 14, 2011
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh," says the old "Christmas Song" chestnut.
We all warm to the comforting sense of nostalgia found in this and other holiday musical traditions.
But in reality, things are looking not comfortable, but sparse, for plenty of families in our midst. Statewide, rates of hunger, homelessness and poverty are up 2-5 percent, according to the 2011 report by Children First, an independent organization that studies health and welfare conditions for Oregon children.
This year, a record total of 1,015 kids are signed up for toys, according to the caring people who organize the Hood River Christmas Project.
Barrels are available at businesses and other locations throughout the community: see "How to Help" on page A5 for a list, along with other information about how to get involved in Christmas Project and other seasonal giving efforts.
Gifts of food and unwrapped toys are needed by noon on Monday.
Gift and food baskets will be distributed Dec. 16-17.
For families in need, the time to give is now, not Christmas Eve. The sleigh arrives early for many of our neighbors. It is up to the community to load up that sleigh, in the form of Hood River Christmas Project.
Cpl. Adam Buyes
Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Dec. 10, in honor of Corporal Adam Buyes.
"Corporal Buyes was a proud Marine courageously serving his country," said Kitzhaber. "His dedication and commitment is inspiring, yet his death is a tragic loss and a reminder of the burden our military continues to bear overseas. I urge all Oregonians to honor his selfless service and to keep his family and friends in their thoughts."
Cpl. Buyes, 21, of Salem, died Nov. 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge