Time to vote: Friday is the last day to mail in your ballot for the May 20 election; after that, plan to deliver it yourself

The votes will be counted on May 20.

On that date, Hood River County Primary Election ballots will be counted by the County Elections Department.

Ballots must be mailed or hand-delivered to polling places in Hood River or Cascade Locks, and arrive by 8 p.m. May 20. Postmarks don’t count; election workers must have the ballots in hand by 8 p.m.

That means that May 16 is the last day a voter can mail a ballot, and be sure it will arrive by Tuesday, according to county Elections officials. As of Friday, it’s a good idea to deliver the ballot yourself, to the County Building in Hood River or Cascade Locks City Hall.

Keep in mind that construction on State Street at Sixth complicates access to the County Building. Crews work to preserve access but at times heavy equipment blocks parking areas at the intersection. You can drop your ballot in the street-level drop box or in the third-floor Elections office.

Also, remember to sign your ballot envelope and only your ballot envelope; a signature by any other person could invalidate that vote.

The ballot contains mostly uncontested races, setting the stage for November General contests for such positions as Oregon House and Senate seats.

But in the Primary, voters will choose between two Democratic candidates for governor: incumbent John Kitzhaber and Ifeanyichukwy C. Diru, and Republicans Bruce Cuff, Gordon Challstrom, Tim Carr, Dennis Richardson, Mae Rafferty and Darren Karr.

Challenging Sen. Jeff Merkley for the Democratic nomination are Pavel Goberman and William Byrk, while on the Republican side, one of five candidates will advance to the general: Monica Wehby, Jo Rae Perkins, Mark Callahan, Timothy Crawley and Jason Conger.

The only measure on the ballot is for Cascade Locks residents, and it concerns Ordinance 431: Voters there will be asked to ratify, or not, the ordinance that creates an Emergency Medical Services fee to fund emergency medical services by the city’s fire department. The fee would be collected via city utility bills, and would not exceed $6 per month for residential customers. The fees could only be used for services within the city’s ambulance service area.

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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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