Happy New Year: Wishing for grace in transition

Every new year brings about its skein of shifting roles and responsibilities in our local leadership. Accompanying the annual period of transition is the continuation of service by other people whose posts and offices are unaffected by election, retirement or resignation.

At the start of 2013, we offer thanks in advance for the service by those who are elected as well as appointed.

Thanks, too, to outgoing Sheriff Joe Wampler and Chief Deputy Jerry Brown, for their years of dedicated service, so well commented upon by others in the article on page A6.

We wish for smooth transition periods for three particular individuals: the new mayor of Cascade Locks, Tom Cramblett; newly hired Cascade Locks City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman, and Matt English, the Hood River County Sheriff-elect.

The same goes to whoever becomes the next Port of Cascade Locks general manager, following the departure of Chuck Daughtry, and to the next superintendent of schools. Charlie Beck announced this fall he would step down at the end of the school year.

For our school leaders, we wish a large PERS-onal supply of pain relief medication, for they will need it to deal with the headache that will be the major increases in Public Employee Retirement System payments in the next couple of budgets.

Meanwhile, thanks should go to two men in Cascade Locks:

First to former Mayor Lance Masters, who was defeated in the November election but throughout 2012 in the hot seat of appointed mayor ship showed toughness and compassion for the community he loves.

Paul Koch, meanwhile, as interim city administrator for the past 16 months, deserves a big thanks from Cascade Locks for guiding the city out of a particularly rancorous late 2011, doing much to calm the waters throughout 2012.

While some key players in local government are on their way out, or in, it’s a welcome thing for the city of Hood River that citizens can still rely on the familiar, steady hands of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (re-elected); Mayor Arthur Babitz (re-elected in November); and County Administrator David Meriwether (who decided to stay put after declining a job offer in Deschutes County).

And, finally, best wishes in the coming State Legislative session to Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Rep. Mark Johnson.

The two men are no longer freshmen; they demonstrated in 2011-12 that they know their way around Salem, and more is now expected of them.

Perhaps Johnson’s unique dual role as local school board member and state legislator will give him a podium of sorts to help bring additional wisdom, if not resolution, to the whole matter of PERS reform.

Fixing the system, once and for all, is a transition from which all Oregonians will benefit.

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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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