Fall Pace: Keep kids’ safety front of mind

Some of the lines have been changed to protect the innocent.

Selected crosswalks around town bear fresh sets of stripes, a seasonal reminder that traffic is about to increase with the return of kids to schools.

After Monday’s Labor Day holiday, the fall pace of life returns, with school as the centerpiece, and it affects us all whether or not we have kids in school.

Be on the lookout for kids on bikes and on foot, making their way to school or just heading down the street to the bus stop.

Especially in the early days of the school year, those kids are excited, and they might jump off the curb or cross without looking first. It happens even with adults accompanying them, so give those young learners plenty of room.

Modern buses come with equipment such as extending stop signs, and drivers are well-trained in measures to ensure student safety, but it is still the responsibility of drivers to slow down and stay alert in the presence of buses and riders.

The daylight is also changing, and it’s important to keep in mind that reduced visibility is also a factor.


Road and sidewalk safety is just one part of what a community can do to ensure the health and wellness of our young people. A special section in today’s paper is a collaborative effort with local agencies, businesses and care providers who have plenty of good ideas and resources to share.

It’s called “Protecting Our Kids,” and the Hood River News is happy to present this comprehensive guide for our readers. Our thanks to the contributors. Keep this publication handy in your home, as it can serve as a helpful ongoing reference.

For more on matters of safety, mark your calendar for the Oct. 5 Family Safety Day at Hood River Elks, sponsored by West Side Fire Department with help from all police and fire agencies in the county.

Flags Lowered: Oscar Montano-Garcia

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Aug. 31, in honor of Oscar Montano-Garcia of Medford.

“Oscar Montano-Garcia passed away while working the Nabob Fire just south of Applegate Lake,” said Kitzhaber. “He was a crew foreman, with a long history of both working in and enjoying Oregon’s forests. This was a difficult fire in challenging terrain, and we are saddened by this difficult loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and I urge all Oregonians to take a moment to remember Oscar, his dedication to public safety, and his sacrifice.”

(This is the third time in the past month that the governor has ordered flags lowered to honor a fallen firefighter in Oregon.)

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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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