Special Olympics goes Bowling with Cops

November 19, 2011

Bowling can be a bit tricky with a bullet-proof vest, a gun belt, a radio, handcuffs and a taser getting in the way. But despite the hang-ups, City of Hood River Police Officer Mike Martin steps up, grabs his ball, tosses a bullet down the lane and picks up a spare.

And the crowd goes wild.

It was a small crowd, but the excitement was through the roof nonetheless.

Martin and about a handful of other Hood River police officers joined forces Tuesday afternoon at the annual Bowling with the Cops fundraiser at Orchard Lanes Bowling Alley. The event pairs Hood River's men in blue with athletes from the Hood River Special Olympics bowling team for a day of friendly competition on the lanes.

"It's our biggest fundraiser of the year," said HRSO assistant coach Anna Schwebke. "The participants look forward to it all year, and they get really excited to be able to spend an afternoon with our police officers."

Schwebke said this year, with the help of local businesses and donors, the event raised about $3,000 for the program.

"People have continued to support the program, which really makes a difference for these athletes," she said. "For many, participating in Special Olympics is the only opportunity they have to get out, interact with friends and do something active. It really means a lot to them."

The team is currently near the end of bowling season and will soon move on to ski season for the winter. For the four who took home medals earlier this week at a regional contest (Clayton Evans, Kelly Fork, Mariah Langer and John Owre), the bowling season is extended until the state tournament in Portland.

"We had about 25 participants on the bowling team this year," Schwebke said. "Athletes can choose to participate in a variety of sports throughout the year, but they are only allowed to compete at regionals and state in two sports."

She said bocce ball was added to the list of sports this year, and it has already gained quite a bit of interest from local participants.

"It's kind of like bowling, but it's outside, which they really like."

The HRSO program is run entirely by volunteers, and Schwebke, an assistant coach, said the program is always in need of extra help.

For example, rules state that one coach is needed for every four Special Olympic participants. This year, unless coaches step forward, there will either be no ski team or numbers will be restricted to stay within the 1:4 ratio.

"We're always in need of volunteers," Schwebke said. "From bowling and golf to swimming, skiing, track and field and bocce ball, there's a variety of opportunities, and with only one practice a week, it's really not that much of a time commitment. The program is really important to the athletes.

"We're also looking for some younger athletes," she said. "Many of the ones now have been participating for a long time and they're getting older. I know there are people out there who could really benefit from the program, and we encourage them, or their parents, to contact us."

For more information or to volunteer, head coach Jerry Rector can be reached at 541-352-7640 and Schwebke can be reached at 541-806-0719.

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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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