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Saturday race on streets of downtown Hood River

A block of downtown Hood River streets will be closed for a few hours Saturday morning as racers from across the state compete in the annual Hood River Apple Open Electrathon Car Rally. The race, of high school students and adults, will take place on a half-mile stretch of street in the Columbia/Industrial Avenue area of town circling the Full Sail Brewing building.

Representing Hood River Valley High School’s advanced engineering class will be six teams of students who designed and constructed their own cars over the last few months. The race is an hour long — from 11 a.m. to noon — and racers have the hour to complete as many laps as possible without running out of battery power.

“This is our second race of the season and it was made possible thanks to Rosauers’ School Aid program,” said teacher Jeff Blackman. “Our former sponsor for the race pulled out this year and we wouldn’t have been able to hold the race without School Aid. What a great program that is.”

Students in Blackman’s class compete in six races this spring in the Electrathon America series, with the finale race held at Portland International Raceway. All the needed parts and design concepts are available to the students, but it was up to individual teams to design and build each of the six cars. Teams then choose a driver for each race to hit the streets and test their designs.

For Adam McCaw, a one-person-team, racing the car is by far his favorite part of the project.

“Racing is addictive for me,” he said. “I raced soapbox derby when I was a kid and this is an extension of that. The feeling I get from racing is addictive. I get in the car, relax and focus on racing. It’s tons of fun.”

McCaw said in the first race of the season his car reached the 30-35 mph range. Drivers have to balance the desire for speed with efficiency, which will be especially relevant with the Hood River course, which has uphill and downhill sections; each requires differing strategies.

Practice will run from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and the race will start at 11 a.m.

The track is just over half a mile long.

, runs on Columbia Street, a short section of Seventh Street and Industrial Avenue to loop back around to Columbia.

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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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