Editorial: Public meeting a great way to learn

Feb. 23, 2011

This could be the most informative way to spend your Saturday.

Hood River City Council and staff will hold a goal-setting session from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hood River Hotel.

The community is welcome to attend; while no decisions or actions are taken at the meeting, it does constitute a public meeting.

The city's elected officials are: Mayor Arthur Babitz; longtime council members Carrie Nelson, Ann Frodel and Laurent Picard; Dawna Armstrong and Jeff Nicol, who have been on council three years or less; and Brian McNamara, who was elected in November.

The early goings of Saturday's meeting will give citizens a chance to get a solid overview of how the city works. Following introductions, expect a 15-minute session on city governance, answering the questions: What do Cities Do? and; What do City Councils/Mayors Do?

The council will also discuss "Working together as a board" and then hear a "major issues or projects update" followed by a report on project from City Manager Bob Francis.

The meat of the morning portion will be a scheduled two-hour discussion on city roles and priorities, and visions for the community pertaining to land use and housing, employment and business success, livability and recreation, health and safety, and other topics, followed by a discussion on the city's role in "turning vision to reality."

Following lunch, the council will move to the main event: a look at goals, measures and objectives and ways to support staff in meeting the goals, then supporting the goals via the budget.

The precise schedule is subject to change, but this will be an opportunity to learn about problems and opportunities that are down the road, and ideas our city leaders have for dealing with them.

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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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