aka Independence Day: Anyone can help in the celebration

Graduation’s past, school’s about to let out, what’s next?

July 4 is next.

Aka Independence Day, the holiday is less than a month away.

Why think about it now?

Because the occasion is more than the fun and frivolity, but if those events help us focus on the reasons we observe Independence Day, then it’s best to put an emphasis on the parade, picnic and pyrotechnics.

The public can play a role, big or small, making the Hood River July 4 celebration ring true.

For starters, the parade (10 a.m. on July 4) is open to all, and this year’s theme of the parade is “Proud to be an American.” Tom Yates and the July 4 committee are working with Chamber of Commerce Director Mike Glover to organize post-parade park entertainment, where festivities kick off with the raising of the American flag.

There are plenty of other ways to get involved, be it with the parade or park activities. It takes plenty of volunteers to make these things happen, and if someone’s recent statement that “being in the parade is more fun than watching it,” then perhaps the same might be said of helping organize it.

There will be some changes this year in the order of children, cars, horses and other parade elements. Yates can be reached at 541-386-7212.

Thanks in advance to Yates, and to all those who step up to make it all happen for the community to enjoy.

Meanwhile, it is not too early to make a donation to the Eye Openers Lions Club for the fireworks show, which seems to get better every year but depends upon community donations.

Send your tax-deductible donations to: Lions Fireworks, 1761 12th St. No. 136, Hood River, OR 97031.

We all have to buy the blasts.

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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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