Students Dash and Chase for fun, funds

Running or walking for fun and fitness is the aim of similar events held at two local schools this week.

Students, staff and parents got into the act as Westside held its Wildcat Chase and May Street held its decades-old Dragon Dash in a run for pledges, with the money going to parent teacher organizations.

Each year, the money raised goes to fitness programs and equipment, playground upgrades and other uses that encourage wellness. PTO at Westside is considering a variety of options for the Chase cash, according to Principal Ed Drew, who is retiring this year. Drew, a former coach, donned athletic shorts and strode with the kids in what will be his last Chase as principal.

At May Street, the funds will be used for the annual PE Camp and for creation of a running-walking lane around the inside of the schoolyard fence, said Principal Kelly Beard. The PTO will match a $4,800 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for the project, which Beard said could start this summer. Once complete, students and the community will have an exercise track for all seasons. Currently, the route is on oft-sloshy grass.

At both schools, classrooms took half-hour turns outside to rack up laps.

Beard credited the strong support of more than 30 parents, led by DeLona Campos-Davis, in organizing Dragon Dash.

Drew said his PTO is “an organization like none I’ve ever worked with — they are on top of it, from the idea to every detail of the follow-through.”

A core group of 20 parents helped, with many others taking turns during the day.

“At the end there was not a speck of litter and even the trash cans were hosed out,” Drew said.

The day-long event is not just about the money. Virtually every student and teacher participates.

“Whether they gather pledges or not, all kids get involved and get some exercise,” Drew said.

— Kirby Neumann-Rea

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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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