Yule time: Finding the spirit of Christmas

Letters 2015: Will you be on the list?

Here’s a few ways to help find or rejuvenate your sense of joy at this time of year.

Help the Hood River Christmas Project assist local families and individuals in need: Interested persons are asked to call volunteer coordinator Kym Zanmiller at 541-399-6606 or email zanmiller@gorge.net for more information on how to help.

Support FISH Food Bank by purchasing pre-packaged bags of nutritious food staples, ready to go at your local grocery store.

The “Longest Night” worship service at Riverside Community Church on Monday at 7 p.m. observes the longest night of the year, and puts real perspective on the way this time of year, with its darkness and light, can affect people in different ways. Through quiet words and music, it’s a way to work through some of the sadness that we tend to deny but is a natural phenomenon at this time of the year.

Gorge Winds: The 16th annual Christmas Concerts for The Gorge Winds have been set for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Hood River Valley High School, 1220 Indian Creek Road in Hood River, and Dec. 20 from 3-4:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church located at 3350 Columbia View Drive in The Dalles.

Gorge-wide musicians combine to make beautiful music. And thanks maestro Sam Grotte for 16 years of leadership.

Bring the kids to the Dec. 20 Elks Christmas party, 3-5 p.m. at the Hood River Elks Lodge, Third and Cascade. There’s food, prizes and presents and the chance to meet Santa.

Take in the final performances of “Miracle on 34th Street,” the radio-theater telling of the classic tale of faith in Santa Claus. (Details on page A11.) If you miss it, tune in Dec. 25-27, and meanwhile catch the CAST radio troupe’s 2014 production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” Dec. 23-24 on Radio Tierra (details on page A11).

Downtown Parking is free through Dec. 26. Come downtown, stroll around and enjoy the tree, the lights along Oak Street, have a bite to eat and find some last-minute Christmas gifts.

n Finally, check out our list of winter break events on A5, including the Dec. 21 Solstice anniversary party, 11:30-closing at Solstice Wood Fire Café, with a fire dance at 7 p.m., and the free “Sound of Music sing-a-long,” 2-5 p.m. at the Columbia Center for the Arts on Dec. 24.

Letters 2015: Will you be on the list?

Hood River News each year celebrates letters to the editor.

Known on page A4 (and sometimes A5) as “Our Readers Write,” the letters form a vital part of the community forum for Hood River and the Gorge.

As is the case every year, the letters have covered a wide variety of subjects, and fostered plenty of debate in these pages. We welcome letters, with the proviso that they be free of insult or malice, be accurate to the best knowledge of the writer, that they be signed by the writer, and that they remain within 350 words.

That last point we have striven to rigorously enforce this year and, with the approach of a new year of our readers writing, we underscore it again. Our word limit is a firm 350.

Each year in one of the last editions we publish a list of every letter writer’s name. It’s a tradition we started more than 10 years ago and have happily compiled again (thanks to Esther K. Smith). It’s scheduled to run in our Dec. 30 edition, meaning if you have not written this year and would like to be added to that list, you have until Dec. 23. (Because of holiday deadlines, that will be the final day for receipt that we can assure publication in the Dec. 30 edition. Best to get your letters to us by Dec. 21 for publication in the any of the final three issues of the year.)

If you have something you’d like to write about, we’d love to publish it. The strictures noted above — appropriateness, accuracy, brevity and authorship — are pretty much the only determinants of what runs in Our Readers Write.

Get your name into the hopper for our annual 2015 letters list.

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