Crowd honors Wampler, Brown

Sheriff hands over reins to successor Matt English on Jan. 6

SHERIFF Joe Wampler, left, and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown admire their retiree badges, presented Thursday by Sheriff-elect Matt English in Thursday’s standing-room-only reception at Hood River Hotel. Wampler and Brown will both serve as reserve deputies after retiring in January.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
SHERIFF Joe Wampler, left, and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown admire their retiree badges, presented Thursday by Sheriff-elect Matt English in Thursday’s standing-room-only reception at Hood River Hotel. Wampler and Brown will both serve as reserve deputies after retiring in January.

More than 250 people filled the ballroom at Hood River Hotel Thursday to thank Sheriff Joe Wampler and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown, who are both about to retire.

“I could never have asked for a better sheriff and a better person, than Joe Wampler,” said county administrator David Meriwether, who gave men crystal plaques in thanks.

Sheriff-elect Matt English read from the Congressional Record of Dec. 18 honoring Wampler and Brown, submitted by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River.

Hood River News will carry details of the event in the Jan. 2 edition.

Brown said that as he and Wampler depart, “we are leaving the department in good hands with Matt and the rest of the crew.”

English presented Brown and Wampler with their retiree badges, and said, “little do they know but they will be receiving their reserve badges in about two weeks.” Wampler will remain part of the search and rescue force he greatly expanded in his tenure, and he and Brown will both be doing occasional patrol shifts in the coming months.

The handover from Wampler to English was also supposed to happen Jan. 1, but Wampler will get to keep his job for an extra six days.

County statute states that the sheriff must be sworn in on the first Monday of January, which falls on Jan. 7.

In order to make sure that the county has a sheriff in the interim, the county commission was tasked with appointing an acting sheriff for those six days at its meeting Monday.

Wampler and Undersheriff Jerry Brown, who is also retiring, were honored Dec. 27 at the Hood River Hotel. The community is welcome to attend.

The commission voted to appoint Wampler as acting sheriff for the first six days of 2013 but not before checking to see whether one of its own was paying attention.

Commissioner Bob Benton opened his motion with “I move we appoint Commissioner Les Perkins,” to raucous laughter from the audience and commission.

“That would have been the best week you’ve had,” commissioner Maui Meyer told Perkins.

Unfortunately for Perkins, Benton then amended his motion to in order to appoint Wampler.

While Wampler may be stepping aside after Jan. 7, his successor said the department still figures to have uses for him.

“He’s going to stick around and help us with search and rescue,” English said. “I’m glad he’s willing to do that; he’ll be a great resource.”

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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