Letters to the Editor for April 16

Helping students succeed

I’m an instructor at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore. On Saturday, April 11, Jeff Blackman held an event in your downtown area for an electric car race. Jeff and his volunteers did an outstanding job!

Events like these provide a chance for students to test their ideas in real-world terms.

The positive impact of this type of learning experiences far outweighs the inconvenience of a few residents experienced driving in town.

Mark Bray



I want to thank you for covering Laurie Wheeler’s well-deserved retirement on the front page of the paper. Whenever I go to Cascade Locks School I almost always see her; she always greets me cheerfully with a smile making me feel welcome, just the way you pictured her. Being an upbeat person, I suspect she greets all visitors she sees that way.

Laurie has bestowed the gift of knowledge to so many children here in Cascade Locks, I know the children and parents — many she has probably taught a generation ago — will be saddened to see her leave.

Thanks for your dedication to our children all these years, Laurie, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Common sense fix

AARP thanks Rep. Greg Walden (R-2nd District) for cosponsoring the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act. It’s an important piece of federal legislation for senior Oregonians and their families.

Currently, Medicare requires a three-day inpatient hospital stay as a precondition for Medicare coverage of skilled nursing facility (SNF) services. However, time spent in observation does not count toward the three-day stay requirement, so some beneficiaries may fail to qualify for Medicare coverage of SNF care, even though they have spent more than three days in the hospital in observation status or in outpatient observation.

Patients in observation statue may receive care that is indistinguishable from inpatient care, yet that care does not qualify them for Medicare coverage of SNF services. These beneficiaries may then be faced with paying the full cost of their SNF care or being denied appropriate SNF care due to lack of Medicare coverage, causing considerable financial and family hardships.

The legislation cosponsored by Rep. Walden would help fix that by deeming a Medicare beneficiary receiving outpatient observation services as an inpatient for purposes of meeting the required Medicare time period, among other provisions. It would help Medicare beneficiaries receive the SNF services they need and also help reduce large out-of-pocket expenses. It’s common-sense legislation that would mean a great deal to Oregon families. AARP backs it, and appreciates Rep. Walden’s co-sponsorship of the bill.

Paul Zastrow

Hood River

Latest stories

Latest video:

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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