Gorge Tech Alliance presents awards to Blackman, 4-Tell

COACH, organizer and referee Jeff Blackman, shown in action at Saturday’s FLL competition in Odell: see page A10 for weekend robotics results, in which 11 Gorge teams advanced to state.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
COACH, organizer and referee Jeff Blackman, shown in action at Saturday’s FLL competition in Odell: see page A10 for weekend robotics results, in which 11 Gorge teams advanced to state.

The Gorge Technology Alliance held its first-ever awards program on Dec.12, recognizing Jeff Blackman of Hood River Valley High School as the 2013 GTA Technology Leader of the Year and 4-Tell Inc. as the 2013 GTA Technology Organization of the Year.

“There are many wonderful companies, nonprofits, schools and individuals working to advance the tech industry and STEM education in the Columbia River Gorge,” said Executive Director Jessica Metta. “The GTA board was excited to launch this award program as a way to recognize and thank these amazing people.”

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Nominations were accepted from across the Gorge and all of the finalists were celebrated at the Dec. 12 event for their leadership and hard work. Blackman, the robotics and electric car teacher at HRVHS, was honored for his inspiration and work in starting a robotics and engineering revolution that has affected schools throughout the Gorge.

Finalists for the Tech Leader of the Year included Rep. Mark Johnson of Hood River for his work in the Oregon legislature to support STEM education and the tech industry of the Gorge; Ken Levy, CEO and co-founder of 4-Tell Inc., for his leadership and inspiration at the helm of this fast-growing Gorge company; and Andy Mack, president and owner of Zepher Inc., for his leadership of the Bingen-based company and involvement with GORGE Junior Sailing Program for Kids.

4-Tell Inc. was honored as the 2013 GTA Technology Organization of the Year for its impressive growth and development, its support of start-ups in the region, its positive representation of the Gorge’s tech industry outside of the region and its community involvement.

Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team, a collaboration of Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, Community Enrichment for Klickitat County and Washington State University Extension, was recognized as a finalist for Tech Organization of the Year. The collaborative has worked for several years to increase access to and utilization of broadband in underserved areas of Klickitat and Skamania counties.

“The GTA is appreciative of everyone working to grow our regional tech industry and to improve STEM opportunities for our students,” Metta said. “We look forward to another year of supporting these leaders and businesses in turn.”

More information about the winners and finalists is available on the GTA website at crgta.org.

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The Gorge Technology Alliance supports, connects and develops the technology community of the Columbia River Gorge with networking and educational events, business support and promotion, workforce development and youth robotics. The GTA is a nonprofit professional organization supporting the high-tech businesses and STEM education in the Gorge.

Contact Jessica Metta with questions at 541-296-2266.

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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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