Friday, October 28, 2011
Jumping into council priorities and the fire department situation will be first order of business for Jeff Helfrich, Randy Holmstrom, Gail Lewis and Mark Storm, the newest members of Cascade Locks City Council.
The quartet was appointed Monday by Council Members Lance Masters, Eva Zerfing and Tom Cramblett.
Holmstrom served on council from 1999-2006, and Lewis and Helfrich ran for council in 2010.
The new council members will be sworn in at a special meeting as early as next Tuesday, according to Paul Koch, the city's interim city administrator. (At least one of the new appointees is currently out of town, and Koch said he is working to firm up the schedule; see the Oct. 29 edition of Hood River News for details.)
Cramblett, Zerfing and Masters are the remaining three members following the Sept. 20 recall election that put former Mayor George Fischer and former council members Tiffany Pruit, Kevin Benson and Don Haight out off office.
"They stayed with the open, transparent approach," said Koch in response to the actions taken by existing council members throughout the appointment process. "You may disagree with what they did, but they kept it open and stayed with their plan to do so."
Ten of the 11 applicants were interviewed Oct. 19 and Oct. 24 in open session. Also applying were Cindilee Baseman, Glenda Groves, William Logue, Bradley Lorang, Richard Randall, Michael "Cody" Steelman and Bobby Walker. (Logue did not appear for an interview.)
The next scheduled council meeting will be Nov. 14. The newly formed council will nominate and vote in one of its members to serve as mayor; the new mayor will serve through December 2012, finishing the term started by Fischer, who was elected in November 2010.
Also on the agenda will be the fire and emergency services department, Koch's contract and the current list of council priorities.
The fire department is currently led by Chief Zerfing, on a volunteer, part-time basis. A bare-bones crew of volunteers is staffing the department, after most of the volunteers either quit or took a leave of absence in July and August following the resignation of former chief Jeff Pricher.
Koch said he will present the council with the set of priorities adopted in early August by the former council. The new council can adopt the priorities, revise them or start over, according to Koch.
The top two priorities as they now stand are resolving the fire and emergency services department crisis and revising the city budgeting process.
Koch said the council members and appointees know that the city has been preparing for a budget process to start in January with two community meetings.
He added that all council members, current and newly appointed, have agreed to undergo a council training regimen, to start next month.
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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