Special Olympics join forces in HR, TD to form Gorge team

BOWLING SEASON is underway, and with the joining of the two teams, Special Olympics athletes from throughout the Gorge will be able to participate.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
BOWLING SEASON is underway, and with the joining of the two teams, Special Olympics athletes from throughout the Gorge will be able to participate.

In a recent move to combine forces and facilities, Hood River and Wasco/Sherman County Special Olympics programs have decided to merge into one Gorge-wide team to participate and compete in sports like bowling, basketball, skiing, bocce ball, track and field and swimming.

“The two local programs will combine the efforts of their individual management teams, strengthening the volunteer base,” said Kelly Stone, communications manager for the team. “The larger group of volunteers will offer a more diversified set of skills and abilities, allowing each member to find a niche where his or her strengths can best be used.”

In addition to furthering the volunteer reach, the merger would open up new avenues for athletes from both ends of the Gorge. Hood River, for example, has a popular bowling team, but The Dalles athletes have been unable to participate in the sport due to the city not having a bowling alley. On the reverse, The Dalles has a popular basketball team and Hood River does not, due to a lack of volunteer coaches.

“Combining the two local programs will make bowling and basketball available to Special Olympics athletes in the entire Gorge area, along with swimming, alpine skiing, bocce ball, and other seasonal sports,” Stone said.

The Special Olympics program provides year-round sports opportunities to youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. For many, the program is the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities, develop belief in themselves and feel like champions, the program’s website says.

While the merger will help consolidate resources and volunteers, the organization is always in search of people willing to give even a little of their time to the program.

“Most volunteers will tell you that they receive more than they give,” said volunteer Janel Hughes. “It almost seems selfish, but by volunteering it brings feelings of satisfaction and joy to the giver.”

Anyone interested in the program or in volunteering can call the following numbers: 541-370-2820 or 541-296-1247.

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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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