Elks’ fitness facility upgrade attracting new membership

Improvements include replacing old pool with new workout room

The Hood River Elks Lodge will welcome more than a dozen new members at its next meeting — a direct result, says Manager Gary Griffith, of recently remodeled athletic facilities at the downtown Hood River location.

The most notable change of the roughly $15,000 in changes is a new cardio and weight room where the swimming pool once was. The pool, formerly a member favorite, fell into disrepair in recent years and was deemed too expensive to fix and maintain. With weights, treadmills, exercise bikes and other machinery now in a designated room, the space that equipment once occupied outside the racquetball courts is now available for other activities like basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer.

“The pool just wasn’t very economical,” Griffith said. “Years and years ago it was a lot of fun, but it eventually just became a catch-all for a bunch of junk.”

With polished concrete floors, a big-screen TV and a variety of apparatuses, the well-lit new workout room will appeal to more people and has already proven a draw for new, younger members.

“We’re really trying to appeal to new, younger members with these improvements,” Griffith said. “It’s a way to get people in the doors. Once people join, they see the benefits of everything else the club has to offer.”

Current membership fees are $142 a year for the club and $150 a year for athletic facilities — both are for a family — which comes to about $25 a month. Included in that are use of the athletic facilities, showers, locker room, sauna and other club facilities like billiards, dining room, ball room, lounge and exclusive downtown parking.

“That’s a pretty good deal,” said member Roger Sherrell, who is running an open-to-the-public fitness class twice a week. The class, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m., is $5 per session for nonmembers and free for members. The class has already been well attended, largely with athletes from the local soccer club, SO Samba FC, which is working in partnership with the Lodge.

It’s a win-win, Sherrell said. “We are helping them by providing a place to train over the winter and they are helping us by getting our name out there and giving a good, positive image for the club.”

An added benefit of being an Elks member is that the nonprofit organization is active in a great variety of local charitable activities. Anyone interested in touring the facilities can stop by during daytime hours or call the lodge at 541-386-1507 to arrange a tour.

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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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