Editorial: Hood River reads provides stories for all

March 14, 2012

A good read, and a chance for understanding, is under way with the 2012 version of Hood River County Reads.

The book selections for 2012 are "The Circuit" and "La Mariposa," by Francisco Jiménez.

Friends of the Library, under the leadership of the late Pat Hazlehurst, started Hood River County Reads in 2005.

This year, Spanish-speaking residents of the mid-valley are using "The Circuit" as a chance to improve their English language skills. Under teacher Gail Arnold's tutelage, the group of Mexican-Americans meets with volunteers at the Odell FISH food bank to read. Spending time together over "the Circuit" also gives the students the chance to share their own experiences as immigrants.

The Hood River County Library District kicked off the annual "Hood River County Reads" Sunday at the Hood River Library. The program continues through April 23, and will include conversations with the author and a variety of children's activities. Kickoffs at the Parkdale and Cascade Locks branches were March 13.

"The Circuit" is the first of a three-part memoir describing the author's coming from Mexico as an illegal immigrant in the 1940s and his journey toward becoming an "American."

"La Mariposa" is an illustrated children's book based on a story from "The Circuit."

Copies of "The Circuit" will are available for free at the library branches, in both English and Spanish, including the second and third parts of Jimenez's memoir -"Breaking Through" and "Reaching Out."

Hood River County Reads is a countywide project sponsored by the Friends of the Hood River County Library. The goal of the community reading program is to encourage readers of all ages to read and discuss books. The mission is to choose books and authors that represent the diversity of our community and can be shared with individuals and families throughout the area.

The full schedule of events is on the library's website, www.hoodriverlibrary.org.

"The Circuit" provides personal and moving glimpses into the lives of immigrants, and their struggles with finding work, caring for their families, learning English and preserving their traditions in the face of unfamiliar places and trying circumstances.

Yet the travails of the immigrant families, as described in the book, have a universal quality. Most of us can relate to the minor or major challenges of dealing with family expectations, education, the dynamics of friendships and even health problems and poverty.

If you are looking for a good book, and are open to the idea of some interaction with fellow residents on the story and meaning of that book, it's not too late to get involved in "Hood River County Reads."

Flags Lowered

Thomas Cameron, Coast Guard

Gov. John Kitzhaber ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday, March 12, in honor of Coast Guard LTJG Thomas Cameron.

"Lieutenant Cameron represents the best of Oregon and the United States Coast Guard," said Kitzhaber. "His dedication and commitment serve as an example to us. While his death is a tragic loss, his legacy will live on with all of those whom he inspired."

LTJG Cameron, 24, of Portland, died Feb. 28 when the helicopter carrying him and three other crew members crashed in Mobile Bay. He was assigned to the Coast Guard's Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala.

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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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