Picard declared winner in council race

Incumbent stays by three votes following recount

Lauren Picard (left) and Nikki Hollatz will have to wait until Nov. 19 to find out the results of the Hood River city Council election.

Lauren Picard (left) and Nikki Hollatz will have to wait until Nov. 19 to find out the results of the Hood River city Council election.

Laurent Picard will be back on city council in January.

The incumbent was finally able to declare victory following a recount which gave him the win over planning commission member Nikki Hollatz by three votes.

Unlike previous recounts in Hood River County, this one was not exactly hotly contested.

Picard finished election night with a four-vote lead, saw it go as high as five in later returns, and the margin eventually settled to three following a hand recount on Nov. 28.

County Elections Supervisor Kim Kean said the difference in the count was due to the ballot counting machines processing eraser marks as over votes.

After election day both candidates repeatedly said they felt the city would in good hands regardless of who was the eventual winner and that their were not particularly concerned with the outcome.

Hollatz has said she would likely remain on planning commission and would consider throwing her hat in the ring if a council spot should open up in the future.

At the Nov. 26 meeting, Hood River Mayor Arthur Babitz chuckled that a report on official abstracts from the election from City Recorder Jennifer Gray would have to be delayed “because Laurent is being uncooperative.”

The report had to be put on hold until the recount was completed.

The City of Hood River last had a recount in 2009 when the vote on a city gas tax finished tied after the election night count.

The gas tax passed -- also by three votes -- following a recount.

Picard will be joined by Babitz, Brian McNamara, Carrie Nelson, Ed Weathers, Kate McBride, who won election after being appointed last year, and newcomer Mark Zanmiller, who replaces Jeff Nicol after Nicol decided not to seek another term.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said the vote in 2009 repealed a city gas tax. In fact, the vote approved the gas tax.

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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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