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Fall Pace: Keep kids’ safety front of mind

Some of the lines have been changed to protect the innocent.

Selected crosswalks around town bear fresh sets of stripes, a seasonal reminder that traffic is about to increase with the return of kids to schools.

After Monday’s Labor Day holiday, the fall pace of life returns, with school as the centerpiece, and it affects us all whether or not we have kids in school.

Be on the lookout for kids on bikes and on foot, making their way to school or just heading down the street to the bus stop.

Especially in the early days of the school year, those kids are excited, and they might jump off the curb or cross without looking first. It happens even with adults accompanying them, so give those young learners plenty of room.

Modern buses come with equipment such as extending stop signs, and drivers are well-trained in measures to ensure student safety, but it is still the responsibility of drivers to slow down and stay alert in the presence of buses and riders.

The daylight is also changing, and it’s important to keep in mind that reduced visibility is also a factor.

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Road and sidewalk safety is just one part of what a community can do to ensure the health and wellness of our young people. A special section in today’s paper is a collaborative effort with local agencies, businesses and care providers who have plenty of good ideas and resources to share.

It’s called “Protecting Our Kids,” and the Hood River News is happy to present this comprehensive guide for our readers. Our thanks to the contributors. Keep this publication handy in your home, as it can serve as a helpful ongoing reference.

For more on matters of safety, mark your calendar for the Oct. 5 Family Safety Day at Hood River Elks, sponsored by West Side Fire Department with help from all police and fire agencies in the county.

Flags Lowered: Oscar Montano-Garcia

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Aug. 31, in honor of Oscar Montano-Garcia of Medford.

“Oscar Montano-Garcia passed away while working the Nabob Fire just south of Applegate Lake,” said Kitzhaber. “He was a crew foreman, with a long history of both working in and enjoying Oregon’s forests. This was a difficult fire in challenging terrain, and we are saddened by this difficult loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and I urge all Oregonians to take a moment to remember Oscar, his dedication to public safety, and his sacrifice.”

(This is the third time in the past month that the governor has ordered flags lowered to honor a fallen firefighter in Oregon.)

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