Jan. 29 editorial: Filing time - Get your name in early

Jan. 29, 2011

Looked upon as an umbrella, the next local election covers us all.

Every community in Hood River County, from Crystal Springs Water District to the Port of Cascade Locks, has a stake in the May 17 Special Districts Election.

Positions are open on the Hood River County School Board, Port of Hood River, Hood River County Parks and Recreation District, the county Transportation District, and two other entities serving all or most of Hood River County: Columbia Gorge Community College and Region 9 Education Service District.

Port of Cascade Locks commission will also be on the ballot, as will Mt. Hood Community College district board, which includes Cascade Locks.

Every water, fire, and sanitation district as well as the school Local Committees will be on the ballot.

The key date is March 17 at 5 p.m.

Space will permit in the Feb. 2 edition to publish a full list of all the positions. We'll also post it on our website, hoodrivernews.com

It feels like we just got done with the November balloting. Why is it important to get the word out now about an election that happens in May?

First, because there are so many positions, which equates to so many opportunities to get involved. If you've ever thought of getting involved in local politics, this may be one of your best opportunities ever, given the sheer number of positions on boards and commissions that have a direct impact on quality of life in the Gorge.

Second, the earlier people file for office the better. It saves the county Elections staff time and money to have an early list of the names to go on the ballot.

Often, people will wait until the last minute - literally - to show up at the Elections office and file the necessary paperwork. There have been cases, albeit rare, of people trying to file at a few minutes before 5 p.m. on the last filing day and not getting to the desk on time.

Further, early filing keeps district representatives informed of the number of positions that have candidates, in case they need to "beat the bushes" in the last two weeks to ensure at least one name is up for each opening.

And, finally, there is the write-in factor. Write-ins are an important part of the democratic process, but if they can be avoided it saves taxpayer money. It costs the county extra staff time to count write-in names.

It is far better that the ballot be filled, in a timely manner, with the names of motivated people who are ready to go, ready to serve if elected. Ballots will go out on April 30. It seems like a long way off, but it will be here before we know it. It takes plenty of people to hold this umbrella.

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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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