Editorial: Will you vote?

April 21, 2012

Decision time for Hood River County voters edges closer.

Ballots go out in one week for the May 15 Primary Election. Set aside the done-deal GOP presidential vote - there will be plenty else to decide, including the increasingly fascinating local Sheriff and District Attorney races.

A good start for getting to know the candidates is the State Voters' Pamphlet, which arrived in mailboxes this week.

Another way, for the two contested county races, is the candidates' forum at Columbia Gorge Hotel (details on page A1).

Also on the ballot, State Rep. Mark Johnson will watch as two Democratic opponents - Peter Nordbye of Brightwood and Marv Hollingsworth of Rhododendron - face off in the May 15 Primary Election.

There are no challengers to the county Board of Commission seats, where Ron Rivers, Maui Meyer and Les Perkins have filed for re-election

The Sheriff's race pits three veteran law enforcement officers for the position that Joe Wampler will retire from at the end of 2012. The candidates are Hood River Police Chief Neal Holste, Det. Sgt. Gerry Tiffany of the Hood River County Sheriff's Department and Matt English, detective with the Sheriff's Department.

A critical date to note is that Tuesday is the last day to register to vote for the May 15 Primary.

County election offices are located in the County Administration Building, Sixth and State streets, and are open until 5 p.m.

This election represents a chance for all eligible voters to have a voice in some important decisions, particularly on the local level. Qualified candidates have put their names up for important leadership positions, and it is up to the voting community to have its say.

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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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