2-hour school delay explained

WITH A fresh coating of snow on the ground Thursday, school buses arrive at May Street School, where fifth-grader Rayne Melby is clearly happy to be.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
WITH A fresh coating of snow on the ground Thursday, school buses arrive at May Street School, where fifth-grader Rayne Melby is clearly happy to be.

It may have been a surprise to some people that the Hood River County School District chose to have a two-hour delay on Wednesday, when most of the valley had just a trace of snow.

Supt. Charlie Beck said that icy road conditions in parts of the valley were the main reason the decision was made. This allowed time for county crews to apply sand to make them safer; but the delay also bought a little time to see whether the freezing rain in the forecast would materialize. It didn’t.

“Districts across the river in Washington were closed for the day,” he said. “Our two-hour delay was consistent with what other districts decided to do.”

Some people were surprised at the delay for a different reason: There was no automated phone message alert, as there has been in the past.

“We started the year doing the automated phone messages, but we were asked by a lot of people not to do them anymore,” Beck said. “It also takes considerable time to call the entire district; and by the time all the calls were made sometimes it’s a little late.”

The decision was made to discontinue the automated alert calls after the Dec. 19 snow day.

Now, parents have a choice of signing up for FlashAlerts (delivered by email; to sign up visit http://bit.ly/WpQYrE), visiting the school district website (www.hoodriver. k12.or.us) or watching the Portland television news for reports on school closures and delays.


The next school board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the district office board room, located at 101 Eugene St., Hood River. The agenda will be posted on the district website by the previous Friday.

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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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