Editorial: 2014 Wishes

Health, safety, and postage stamps

Happy New Year.

You might be reading this on New Year’s Eve, or even as early as Monday, thanks to the accelerated deadline in light of the postal holiday Wednesday.

A simple wish for (most) postal workers, a day free of heavy lifting after the burdensome year of budget cuts, growing debt and talk of no Saturday mail.

The six-day mail week is secure, for now. A further wish in 2014 for postal workers: people buying stamps and sending a letter or two.

Here is a brief 2014 New Year’s wish list, far from exhaustive, for there are many worthy recipients. Many are inspired by a review of the Slice of Life features (see Kaleidoscope), which reminds us of the many people doing good works this year.

n Classrooms full of learners, and a continued field of motivate teachers, for Hood River Community Education. This vital program has seen some setbacks and challenges in 2012-13, and thanks to Director John Rust they have weathered them; but the best way to keep the program going is sign up for a class. That, and say yes when Community Ed requests sponsorships for Families in the Park and other programs we have all grown to love and expect.

n Bon appétit, and thank you, to the many restaurateurs who donate proceeds and sometimes even whole meals to local causes.

n A full calendar of events at the excellent facility known as Mt. Hood Town Hall, which just received a major grant (page A7).

n A full slate of host sites for the Hood River Warming Shelter (and kudos to Immanuel Lutheran Church for stepping up to host the shelter during Christmas week, its second in a row). See page A2, How to Help, for details.

n An added dose of patience for Naito Corp., which at last report plans to continue pursuing its Nichols Landing project.

n A stream of young people to use the new “teen space” at Hood River Library. Director Buzzy Nielsen and his staff saw fit to get young people involved in planning the space last year. The comfortable, book-lined corner of the library is a “see and be seen” kind of space, with plenty to offer.

n Continued energy from, and for, the Health Media clubs of Wy’east and Hood River middle schools and Hood River Valley High School.

Here’s hoping that more retailers will go along with their “bottle shock” sticker campaign, held twice a year (including pre-Super Bowl) and that the community at large will pay close attention to the anti-abuse messages creatively communicated by these dedicated youth.

n Health and safety to our police, our deputies and our troopers, to our paramedics, firefighters, and all others who train hard and dedicate themselves to helping others, often putting themselves in harm’s way. This includes flaggers, lifeguards, and ski patrol and mountain and trail rescue volunteers.

n Clear sight and proper planning by every visiting hiker who sets out on the trails of the Gorge; may they read the maps and safety precautions, and have enough food, clothing and water to tide them over until, or instead of, rescuers arriving.

n Full houses for performances this year by Hood River Lions Follies, Plays for Non-Profits, and theater productions at CAST, HRVHS and CGCC.


Finally, one that is out of our human hands but it does not hurt to ask:

May we see a winter that is cold enough to bring a few more feet of snow to the mountain, for the benefit of our skiers and snowboarders — yet mild enough to provide sufficient spring and summer water for our orchards and other farm enterprises, and avoid harsh freezes or rains that threaten our economic vitality.

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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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