Healthy Ways: Local youth deserve praise for prevention

Kudos arrived from Salem and from Washington, D.C., for young people in Hood River County.

The honors from Oregon Health Authority and the U.S. Surgeon General are something the students at Wy’east and Hood River middle schools, particularly the Health Media Club members, should be rightfully proud to receive.

In assemblies last week at both schools (photos on page A9) members of the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families passed along awards to students for helping achieve Oregon’s goal of 73 percent or more of eighth-graders in Oregon not using alcohol in last 30 days in 2012.

Hood River and Wy’east Middle School eighth-graders did far better — 83 percent of their students reported no use of alcohol in last 30 days in 2012.

“You should be excited; there weren’t many places in the U.S. to receive these awards, so you should be very proud,” said Shaun Anderson of the Surgeon General’s award. For the past two years Anderson served as county prevention specialist and advisor for the Health Media Clubs, working with students at both middle schools and in Cascade Locks. The students produce media and do outreach to youth and adults on reducing use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in our communities.

Surgeon General of the United States Regina Benjamin, M.D., sent certificates of appreciation for Health Media Students at both middle schools for working to reduce tobacco use by youth and adults.

“She wanted to recognize the health media clubs here for the amazing work they have done here to reduce tobacco use in Hood River County,” said Anderson, now a probation officer with the county. He stood with his successor, Belinda Ballah, at the Wy’east ceremony. Anderson pointed to the multi-faceted prevention work by the students, including educational theater ads at Hood River Cinemas, and working with the County Fair Board to reduce tobacco use at the county fairgrounds.

What was most encouraging was the enthusiasm shown by the middle school student leaders, in standing before their peers in recognition of working to promote healthy behaviors among their peers and adults alike.

Maija Yasui, prevention coordinator with the Commission on Children and Families, invoked the names of Elvia Santillan and Yesi Castro, who were honored three years ago by the Surgeon General for their prevention leadership.

The tradition of diligent student involvement in prevention seems to be in good hands, which is a good thing, because the hard work goes on. The students need to know they are not on their own, that communities are listening and taking to heart the advice they give.

Pearl Harbor Flags lowered Dec. 7 in remembrance

Gov. John Kitzhaber today ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, Dec. 7, in remembrance of Pearl Harbor.

“I encourage all Oregonians to pause and pay tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice at Pearl Harbor,” said Kitzhaber. “The legacy of these brave men and women continues to inspire us today, and we honor them for their selfless service, both here at home and overseas during World War II.”

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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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