Saturday, October 19, 2013
Help kids thrive in school
In response to Dave Dockham’s Oct. 16 letter to the editor regarding busing Cascade Locks students to other schools based on State School Performance Ratings, I would like to take his thinking one step farther.
Elementary school students spend about 33 hours per week in school. The other 135 hours per week they spend doing activities with family or caregivers, and we need to look at what is happening during those hours also.
Many of us who work with very young children are seeing increasing numbers of children who are being adversely affected by parental drug abuse, severe mental health issues, violence, very chaotic home lives, and poverty. Recent media reports indicate that 40 percent of Oregon’s children live at the poverty level.
As a community, we need to be doing everything we can to help young children at risk. We need to help childcare providers, preschool providers, parents and family members learn about child development and how to provide quality, age-appropriate playtime, and we need to decrease our reliance on television and video games as babysitters. We need to provide mental health services, counseling, and other supports some parents may need to help their children reach their full potential in school.
With these needed supports, perhaps ALL schools will show increases on their State School Performance Ratings.
No to cell tower, again
I would like to encourage the Hood River community to attend an appeal hearing regarding the placement of a cell tower north of Fairview Drive, closest to the south end of Rocky Road. A public hearing will be held before the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of the County Business Administration Building, at 601 State St.
The original application submitted by the cell tower company ATC was denied by the Hood River Planning Department. This large corporation and the land owners are still pursuing a money-making opportunity despite the negative effects a tower of this size (145 feet) has on the community.
This poorly sited tower, if allowed, will open the doors for other towers to be allowed in your backyard. Please attend this meeting and voice your opinion! Strength in numbers!
In the end, the grownups in Congress voted to reopen the federal government and honor the nation’s debts. The Senate voted 81 to 18 to reopen government. The House followed with another bipartisan vote of 285 to 144.
All of the Northwest representatives, Republican and Democrat (from Alaska, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and Oregon) voted with the House majority to reopen the government except for Mike Simpson from Idaho and our own Greg Walden. Walden and Simpson voted with the hard right to continue toward an economic meltdown.
Ours is a community with a strong federal presence: The U.S. Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, federal defense contractors including Insitu, etc. How many local government workers were told to go to work without being paid? How many others were harmed by the shutdown? What would have been the effect of a longer government shutdown on our community?
How could Greg Walden vote against the interests of the country and our community? Is he afraid of a primary challenge from the extreme right? Perhaps he should be equally afraid of a challenge from the center.
The American Tower Corporation (ATC) is trying to put up a commercial cell tower roughly 600 yards away from Westside Elementary School and 30 feet from the Hood River Community Trail. There are many health risks associated with these towers and I don’t want that around my kids all day. Not to mention, this will also be a sore sight to look at.
Please come help oppose the construction of this tower! The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the first-floor conference room of the County Business Administration Building on State Street.
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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