First big snow good for business

May Street Mayhem: The first snowfall of the winter gave school kids an excuse to party during lunch break Wednesday. Pictured here are students at May Street Elementary School destroying a snowman that another group of students made during their lunch break. 
Schools started two hours late Wednesday and were let out early due to the snow. By that evening temperatures rose enough to melt snow on the roads and schools were on-time the rest of the week.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
May Street Mayhem: The first snowfall of the winter gave school kids an excuse to party during lunch break Wednesday. Pictured here are students at May Street Elementary School destroying a snowman that another group of students made during their lunch break. Schools started two hours late Wednesday and were let out early due to the snow. By that evening temperatures rose enough to melt snow on the roads and schools were on-time the rest of the week.

“Mother Nature has given us a boost,” said Mark Russell, Manager of Les Schwab, of the snowstorm that hit the Gorge this week.

Since Dec. 15, Les Schwab employees have been working two to three hours past closing to meet demand. In addition to snow tires, many customers are having chains installed on their vehicles.

For those still needing snow tires or chains, Russell recommends coming in as early as possible. Delays are to be expected with the heavy volume the store is experiencing.

“We’re trying to do the best we can to get everyone on the road safely,” said Russell. “We will work as hard as we possibly can to get you in and out.”

Rivers Edge Towing and Automotive reported being very busy Wednesday as snow covered the Hood River area, installing snow tires and helping drivers get back on the road.

Parkdale Towing and J and L Towing reported numerous slide-offs, and Parkdale responded to a totaled car near Mt. Hood Meadows on Sunday.

“Highway 35 seems to be our trouble spot,” said General Manager Bob Rhodes. Trucks were not being allowed to travel south on the highway without chains, and cars were sliding off the road.

“It’s a good thing to chain up,” said Rhodes, who expects to be even busier when the snow begins to melt. “We have the most issues when it gets slushy. Cars hydroplane more. It’s harder to steer in slush.”

To keep your vehicle on the road, Rhodes suggests giving yourself plenty of distance between other cars, allowing extra time to get to your destination, and slowing down.

Woody Eskildsen of Your Party and Rental Center said that business was quiet on Wednesday, aside from a few more calls for plowing business and apartment parking lots.

But he expected things to pick up once the snow begins to melt.

“If the snow melts fast, (people) will rent pumps to pump water out from underneath their houses,” he said.

The snow can also mean a new demand for play equipment

At Second Wind, owner Pepe Girard said his shop has been busy selling cross country skis, snow shoes, and grippers to apply to boots for walking in snow and ice.

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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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