Letters to the Editor for Dec. 4

Thanks, bin fire workers

The Whitecotton families wish to thank the 45-plus firefighters and the many fire departments that responded to the bin fire on AGA road and Odell Highway on the 25th of November. You did a great job on a very difficult fire.

Thank you for saving the homes near the fire and that no one was hurt in the fire. You people do an awesome job. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tim, Jeri, Bobby, Robert and Evelyn Whitecotton


Positive side of Affordable Care

In response to Bill Davis’ recent letter bemoaning the cancellation of health insurance for many Americans (the estimate stands at about 4 million), I would like to suggest that we instead focus on the 48 million previously uninsured Americans who now are able to get health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act.

This includes those who have pre-existing conditions, those whose jobs don’t provide health insurance benefits, those who have long been on the waiting list for OHP coverage, and those whose employers offer such poor health insurance benefits that they still have to rely on emergency rooms or government subsidized plans.

We should also remember that individuals whose policies have been canceled will certainly be offered a new policy and will still have numerous options available to them — except that the new policies will have to provide more basic, preventative services, and they won’t get dropped when they actually use their health insurance due to a serious illness or accident — and then be without health insurance because they now have a pre-existing condition. (Those safeguards are all part of the Affordable Care Act, too.)

This is, indeed, a “season for good will to reign supreme,” in Mr. Davis’ words. Let’s be thankful that more of our neighbors will now have the benefits some of us have taken for granted for so long — and perhaps we might even be willing to give something out of our abundance so that those who have little might suffer less.

Susan Wade

Hood River

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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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