Editorial: Celebrating five examples of sustaining community

October 1, 2011

Old meets new in a varied assortment of agricultural and other community partnerships that deserve credit for contributing to the health and nutrition of the community:

School Aid: Over the past decade, a mid-valley farmer has donated proceeds of his fruit sales at Rosauers, as well as fruit that Gorge students bag up and sell themselves, to help the music and art programs in local schools. This year, School Aid has pledged $4,000 to the HRVHS music program, largely to help the musical "Avalon," opening next month.

The School Aid total is up to $60,000 - a remarkable record of feeding the community with more than the pears and apples themselves.

Cemetery Tales: The third-year program (featured in Kaleidoscope, Sept. 28) is truly grounded with one foot in the past and one foot in today.

The event is a key fundraiser for The History Museum of Hood River County but raised $528 for the Meals on Wheels program at the Adult Center. The center as well as Idlewilde Cemetery are active partners in Cemetery Tales.

These groups have developed a winning formula for supporting the community's sense of its past, present and its future.

Harvest Festival pie-making:

Who says baking pies is old-fashioned? Young and old get involved in the pie-making session that takes over the Adult Center Oct. 12-13.

The pies, whole and in slices, are sold during Harvest Festival as a key fundraiser for the Senior Nutrition Program. Call the Adult Center at 541-386-2060 if you would like to help. Be prepared to work hard and have fun.

School nutrition: Local businesses and agencies, including Gorge Grown Food Network and Oregon State University Extension, are teaming with local schools to create improved school nutrition in Hood River County School District. (See Mind, Body, Spirit, page A11.)

Meanwhile, through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, May Street, Mid Valley and Parkdale elementary schools have been awarded for the ways they connect nutrition with the physical education curriculum.

Growers and buyers: Executive Director Sarah Hackney left the Gorge Grown Food Network this month after first getting involved four years ago as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Hackney leaves for a job back east in sustainable farming advocacy. One thing she said she appreciates about Gorge Grown is the way it connects "the old Hood River and the new Hood River." (The market meets Thursdays at Hood River Middle School; on Oct. 13, it moves inside.)

At Gorge Grown, newcomers to Hood River have direct farmer-consumer contact with well-established farm families. Everyone benefits by creating new markets and giving all residents increased options for healthful food.

As one grower involved in supporting the community noted, "We live in a great neighborhood, and it's cause for celebration."

Flags Lowered

Master Sergeant Danial R. Adams

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, Sept. 30, in honor of Army Master Sergeant Danial Adams.

"Master Sergeant Adams was a dedicated soldier and a loving father, husband and son," said Kitzhaber. "His commitment to his fellow soldiers and his personal courage are inspiring, yet his death is a tragic loss. He will be missed by many, but his legacy will not be forgotten."

MSG Adams, 35, of Hillsboro, died Sept. 13 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit.

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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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