Grad Party: June 6 will be here before you know it

Want to gain a new connection to the Hood River education system?

Support Project Graduation, the all-night party for the Class of 2014.

The annual tradition is back, or we should say it returned last fall, as it does every year when the next core group of parents starts planning the party for the following June. Project Graduation is a community effort organized to honor graduates for a job well done and ensure a safe place to celebrate with their friends.

The organization is nearly a year-round process, and much has been done already by parents, and other supporters, to prepare a fun, and safe, sendoff for the graduates. Hood River Elks donates the space in the lodge every year, and this year the Parkdale Fire Department is helping out in a big way by donating equipment and expertise for the always-popular casino games. (Music, food, prizes, and plenty of other games, movies and more good times are always part of the all-nighter, and some dedicated parents and staff members give up all or part of their night to help at the party itself.)

With so much already done, there is still plenty to do, and that is where the community can get involved. No need to stay up all night! If you or your business can make a cash or merchandise donation, the information for how to do is below. (Donations are tax-deductible.) Commemorative laundry bags, filled with swag, will go home with each attendee this year.

The fun this year ranges from a chocolate fountain to the memory wall of photos of students and their friends dating to preschool days. The party is a festive occasion, but also a milestone, as it marks (future reunions aside) the final time the Class of 2014 will be together. College, jobs, and travel await.

Yes, June 6 seems a long way off: but organizers of Project Graduation are busy working now to put together the best party possible. Spring break next week marks the start of the home stretch on the school year. Project Graduation members will be contacting community members soon, seeking donations. If you can help, the parents, and the students, appreciate the support of this important community project.

Donations can be sent to Project Graduation 2014, 1767 12th St., No. 178, Hood River, OR 97031, or call Wendy Herman at 541-490-6828.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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