Editorial: A safe Patrick's Day

March 17, 2012

Patrick Rawson's St. Patrick's Day recommendations, on page A1, are a welcome take: Celebrate all things Irish through poetry, literature, music and storytelling, and put less emphasis on drink.

But since alcohol remains a central part of Americans' observance of St. Patrick's Day, Oregon State Police recommend the following precautions:

Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin and designate a sober driver.

If you decide to drink once you're out, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member or use public transportation.

If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement by calling 9-1-1 or 1-800-24-DRUNK.

If you are hosting a party, serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37 percent of the motor vehicle traffic fatalities during St. Patrick's Day 2009 involved at least one driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.

"Unfortunately, one of the most widely celebrated days of the year all too often shares the distinction of being associated with a sadder reality - too many people are driving drunk and endangering themselves and others on the road," said OSP Sergeant Greg Plummer, DUII program coordinator.

During last year's national reporting period for St. Patrick's Day - 6 p.m. March 16 through 5:59 a.m. March 18 - two people died in Oregon traffic crashes.

Prior to last year there were no reported traffic fatalities in Oregon during the previous four years during the St. Patrick's Day period. Last year it fell on Friday, and this year on Saturday.

Alcohol abuse combined with driving creates a problem on any weekend, and is hardly limited to St. Patrick's Day.

As Plummer puts it, "Don't risk hurting or killing yourself or someone else. Even if you've had just a few drinks, don't kid yourself into thinking you can be lucky enough to get home."


Gorge photos

Those of us lucky enough to live in the Gorge have plenty to look forward to, in life and in print.

Spring is, finally, nearly here, yet ample snow covers the mountain slopes, where it belongs, giving skiers and boarders opportunities for double days - ski in the morning and ply the river in the afternoon.

However you enjoy the Gorge, there will also be plenty to read about in the upcoming Panorama special section, coming April 11, and the inaugural The Gorge magazine, which hits the streets next week. (See the March 20 edition for details.)

Speaking of Panorama, remember that there will be room in the publication for photos of this magnificent Gorge. Submitting them is simple: by March 23, bring them by our office, or email them to photos@hoodrivernews. Digital photos should be sized from 150 KB and 3 MB. In all cases, include a short description of the photo and why it's your favorite.

We're looking forward to seeing your visions of the Gorge.

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Latest video:

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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