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Play On, Guys: Remembering Rick and Jack

Two Oregon lights, known for loud clothing and exquisite teamwork, went out in the past week.

Fans of the Blazers and of music are mourning the loss to cancer of Dr. Jack Ramsey, former Blazer coach and basketball ambassador, and Hood River’s Rick Hulett, musician extraordinaire.

We don’t know that the two men ever met, but they were both true professionals with solid flair in what they did. And there was the colorful garb: Ramsey was famous in the 1970s for his multi-colored plaid slacks, and Hulett not only rocked his guitar but also his collection of vivid shirts.

But what wrapped these men together was not so much polyester or cotton, but dedication to craft, and the mutual harmony of basketball and rock-and-roll. We thank Jack Ramsey for showing the world what true teamwork meant, and we thank Rick Hulett for embodying a spirit held by many local musicians: Rick could jam with the best of them and make it sound like they’d been rehearsing for weeks.

Music and basketball share the sense of five (or so) people pulling different strings and putting together separate chords to combine for something beautiful. Jack with his clipboard and Rick with his guitar both knew how to work a five-player ensemble, and they had their own sweet versions of the pick and roll.

Bike and Walk: Help students get to school safely

As you read this, think of your morning and afternoon commutes on Thursday and Friday in and around Hood River.

On those two days, schools in town will mark the annual Walk and Bike to School event.

Look for more kids, and their parents and siblings, on foot and aboard bicycles.

This annual observance is a great way to demonstrate healthful behavior and give young people experience in getting around via non-motorized transportation, which is good for the individual, good for the community, and good for the environment. Parent organizations and the schools use the opportunity to promote exercise and bicycle and pedestrian safety. Kids in Hood River have grown up with the tradition, and it’s a way of keeping everyone healthier and safer.

For those of us not directly involved in Bike-Walk day, it’s a great reminder about rules and ideas such as pedestrian right-of-way, school zone speed limits, and attention to lanes of traffic as well as sidewalks and shoulders where walkers and bikers are making their way around. (Of course, this applies not just on designated days.)

Please slow down and keep alert for kids on foot and on bicycles.

Oh, and some added incentive is this: thoroughfares around the schools will be getting more attention from law enforcement.

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