Editorial: A look ahead to May 15 primary

March 10, 2012

The May 15 Primary Election ballot is now set in place, with the passing of Tuesday's deadline for candidate filings.

There are no surprises on the Hood River County ballot, with no challengers to the County Commission positions, and no names in the Sheriff or District Attorney races we hadn't known about more than a month ago.

(And, given the way of the GOP presidential nomination, and the uncertain status of candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, any national issues may be moot by the time Oregon voters have their say later this spring.)

A few highlights do stand out as we look ahead to the May 15 Primary:

No one from this end of State House Dist. 52 chose to challenge Republican Mark Johnson of Hood River.

Democrats Peter Nordbye of Brightwood and Marv Hollingsworth of Rhododendron, virtual neighbors in the Highway 26 corridor on the south side of the mountain, will face off for the right to run against Johnson.

The three-way contest for sheriff, between three well-qualified candidates, should spark some constructive discussion about the provision of law enforcement services in Hood River County. Neal Holste, Gerry Tiffany and Matt English have filed to succeed Joe Wampler, who will retire.

The same can be said of the two-man race for district attorney, between incumbent John Sewell and Hood River attorney Brian Aaron (who also ran for the post in 2000). Voters will have the opportunity to compare the two men's ideas for making the most of an increasingly complex elected office.

The lack of any challengers to the three members of the county board of commissioners suggests a level of contentment among voters. Commission chair Ron Rivers and commissioners Les Perkins and Maui Meyer all signed up for further duty, but no one else did.

The county's steady course throughout the "county payments" roller coaster ride (article, page A1) is one suggestion of the general public perception of the county's elected leadership.

Ballots will be sent out April 27. The other critical date to remember is: April 24 - the last day to register to vote. You can still have your 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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