Opportunities knock: Vote in the primary

Ballots for the May 20 primary election should be in all our hands, and the same is said for what happens next.

We have the ballots: time to mark them.

Ballots are due May 20 at Hood River County Elections Division. Mail them by May 16, or hand-deliver them to the County Building (there is a drop box accessible from the sidewalk) or at Cascade Locks City Hall.

Remember: Fill out and sign for your own ballot, but only your own ballot; signing someone else’s ballot could invalidate the vote, or at the very least add an expensive and time-consuming step in the process. It is up to the county elections workers and trained volunteers to ensure that every ballot is processed correctly, and any ballot with a questionable signature must be set aside for individual attention. None of that needs to happen; the directions are clearly spelled out.

The primary may feel to some like a minor league affair, but there are choices to be made on this ballot, even if you look upon it as spring training for the big league this fall. The primary is an important election, in part because we all have a voice in the next governor’s and Second District U.S. House of Representatives races. Meanwhile, Cascade Locks voters are asked to weigh in on a new fee, paid via utility bills, to fund emergency services.

Sure, there are plenty of unopposed races on the ballot, but their prevalence is itself no reason not to cast a ballot. This is true for at least two reasons: First, casting ballots is a way to recognize those who have agreed to serve, and to affirm them if you like the work they are doing. The corollary is that if enough people disagree with an incumbent and leave the box next to their name unchecked, there is a comment to be found in the difference between total votes cast and the number registered for that race.

But there’s no way to show such a disparity if you don’t vote at all.

The second good reason to vote: If anything, it’s good practice for November.

Learn about dyslexia

It’s a misunderstood condition, subject to jokes about reading words backwards: dyslexia. On May 8, a group of local moms, who each have a child who is dyslexic, is bringing a film to Hood River, called “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” at Andrew’s Pizza at 6:15 p.m. with a discussion to follow. (Details on page A3.)

This is an opportunity to learn about dyslexia and local efforts to raise awareness of the condition and how it manifests as a learning disability for many children.

Support your local farmer

Gorge Grown Farmers Market and Saturday Market are back, as of last week. The two groups are now united, and putting a renewed emphasis on local, as in Gorge-produced, fruits, vegetables and products. The markets are 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays at Hood River Middle School and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the city parking lot on Columbia Street. Shopping can be an enjoyable experience, and it’s rewarding to meet the very people who till the soil, plant the seeds and nurture the harvest.

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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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