HAHRC Beats: Start your New Year off right

As you decide your New Year’s resolution, here are a few national health statistics:

Nearly half of American adults suffer from at least one chronic disease, and seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are a result of chronic disease.

One in three American adults is obese — and almost one in five children.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability, with nearly 19 million Americans reporting limitations.

Decades of medical research show that increased fitness in children and adults helps prevent or improve health problems. Outdoor exercise and walking on a regular basis increase fitness. And there is growing public agreement that it is important to offer children smoke-free environments in which to grow up.

One of the goals of Healthy, Active Hood River County is to make the “healthy choice the easy choice” in our county. As adults we are responsible for teaching our youth to make healthy choices. Children will be inspired to make healthy choices as they get older if they see their role models showing that healthy behavior now.

So, where do you go to move forward with healthy choices?

The Parks and Recreation District has worked to provide trails in the community. Two of the new trails include a connection from Rocky Road to Westside Elementary and an extension of Indian Creek Trail near the high school for another half-mile west to the proposed Barrett Park.

The Aquatic Center is open seven days a week! There are open swims on no-school days or on Sundays from 2-4 p.m. when the cost is only $1. We are offering a January to June Swim Challenge: Swim a set amount of time or miles and receive prizes for your hard work. Visit hoodriverparksandrec.org for details.

Start making healthier choices, set some achievable New Year’s resolutions and avoid being a national statistic.


Lori Stirn is director of the Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation District and Janelle Mudder is manager of the Hood River Aquatic Center.

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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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