Pressure’s On: Take steps to ensure canning safety

One hallmark of the 2013 Hood River County Fair was the increased number of food preservation entries, by youth and adults.

There is visual as well as culinary artistry in the rows of canned goods. (Well, they are jars, but accepted terminology is “canned.”) Evidently, interest in this time-honored art is growing, and for good reason.

Fair time anticipates the big season for home canners, and with that comes an important safety caution: dial-gauge pressure canners must be tested every year for accuracy, to prevent food-borne illness.

Local Extension offices in both Wasco and Hood River County do this for free and often on-the-spot — though call first if you want to come in and have your canner tested right away. In Hood River call 541-386-3343.

Lauren Kraemer of Master Preservers will discuss testing, and other tips, in a column to run in the Aug. 7 edition, but we offer this one crucial piece of advice for anyone who is about to turn those tomatoes into tasty, and healthful, preserved goods for their dining pleasure this winter.

‘A Tough Loss’: Governor mourns firefighter’s death

Gov. John Kitzhaber on Thursday released the following statement on the passing of central Oregon resident John Hammack, who was part of an emergency crew responding to wildfires burning outside of Sisters.

“My thoughts and deepest condolences go out to the family of John Hammack, who died on Thursday while bravely responding to a wildfire outside of Sisters. All across Oregon, thousands of men and women are doing difficult and dangerous work to protect their fellow citizens. This is a tough loss for Oregon, and with our state experiencing the most severe wildfire conditions in years, all first responders deserve our gratitude, our appreciation, and our support.”

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‘I can’t keep quiet,’ sing members of an impromptu choir in front of Hood River Middle School Saturday prior to the citizen town hall for questions to Rep. Greg Walden. The song addresses female empowerment generally and sexual violence implicitly, and gained prominence during the International Women’s Day events in January. The singers braved a sudden squall to finish their song and about 220 people gathered in HRMS auditorium, which will be the scene of the April 12 town hall with Rep. Greg Walden, at 3 p.m. Enlarge

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