How to Prepare for the Cold and Wet Northwest Winters
Winter can be a brutal period depending on how harsh the conditions get. Oregon winters start around mid-November and stretch to mid-March with daytime temperatures between the 50s and 40s, and on some days, temperatures go below freezing. Over the last few years, temperatures in the central U.S. continue to plummet as a result of a vast cold area of arctic space coming from Canada. Even though the Pacific Northwest may not experience extreme temperatures compared to other interior regions, winter can still be a challenging time, hence the need for proper preparations. Getting ready for the season not only makes it less scary but prevents damage that can be caused by severe weather conditions.
Preparing Your Home
Firstly, get ready to keep the people in the house from freezing by providing proper heating. Before winter begins, ensure that the heating system in your home is functioning optimally. If it hasn’t been serviced for a while, we found a great company (Northwest heating and cooling ) who worked out great for us. You don’t need that furnace breaking down in the middle of the season, making it essential to invest in good maintenance. Besides that, have some backup options for warming the house because you can’t always be sure that something won’t happen even with a new heating system. Think about getting a generator if a power outage is a potential outcome of winter where you live. Gather firewood and clean the fireplace and the chimney or you can have space heaters standing by.
The plumbing system is a big concern during winter and your home in Oregon faces much the same risks as anywhere else. Frozen pipes can be quite a headache during this time of year, so get insulation to reduce frosting and icing on pipe surfaces. Sealing foundation vents is also appropriate because they contribute to split and frozen water lines, but remember to remove sealing in spring. Allowing cold and warm faucets to drip slowly will prevent freezing, and in cases of pipes most susceptible to freezing, nearby faucets should keep running on the coldest nights.
Ensure your home is properly insulated during winter by closing a chimney damper that is not in use, minimizing the use of bathroom and kitchen fans, closing curtains at night and closing storm windows properly. Just in case of a storm winter, keep an emergency supply kit on standby. Have food water, flashlights, medication, and batteries in the kit, which should also be easily accessible. Also, keep the phone charged for communication.
The yard is another place that requires protection from the effects of winter weather in Oregon. If your garden has tender plants, ensure that they are adequately covered if the temperatures are forecast to go below 20 degrees. Snow at the bottom of shrubs is no problem because it offers insulation for the roots but make sure to shake it off if it lands on branches to avoid breakage. You can also help branches maintain an upward structure by tying a rope around them. Container plants should have protection such as mulch, compost, or old blankets for insulation because they can freeze. For a greenhouse, keep temperatures 35 degrees and above to protect plants. If the yard has trees close to the house, trim them to prevent damage to the roof or vehicles. Don’t forget the garden hoses; disconnect and drain them properly then coil and keep them away to avoid freezing.
Winterizing your car is a no-brainer, so make all the necessary inspections such as ensuring a full gas tank, oil, anti-freeze, refilling wiper fluid, changing wiper blades, and the battery. Checking the tires is paramount when getting your vehicle ready for winter. Get snow/traction tires or make certain the ones you have can handle wet roads and guarantee that the tire pressure is appropriate.
During the four months of winter in Oregon, it rains a lot, so prepare for wet weather as well. Investing in waterproof shoes and a good rain coat will go a long way in getting ready for this time of year. Hobbies will help keep you warm and occupied, and skiing is one you can try in Oregon with the mountains getting plenty of snow. You can also go snowshoeing or snowboarding if skiing is not your thing. If you choose to stay indoors, have a reading list or indoor activities.
Officials break ground on UTB/TSC satellite campus in Raymondville
ROB WAGNER Reporter
The keynote speaker was Pedro Garza, who is the regional director for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA).City, state, and federal officials along with educators broke ground on a UTB/TSC satellite campus to be built in Raymondville last Wednesday morning, in a ceremony hosted by Mayor Orlando “Lonnie” Correa.
“I’m proud to participate in Raymondville youth’s future,” Garza said, referring to the plan for a 13,000 sq. ft. educational center. “I told Yogi let’s do this right – A new state of the art facility – Somewhere near the high school,” referring to City Manger Eleazar “Yogi” Garcia.
“I came from Santa Rosa, a small town, where the money always ran out when I grew up,” said Garza, with passion. “There were no streets, no sewer, and the only roads were caliche.”
“This will be a beautiful facility, and all the partners will make this work,” Garza added. “I’m very privileged to be here today and excited for the youth.”
Officials then turned dirt over with their shovels at the 20 acre site across the street from Raymondville High School on FM-3168, where the facility will be constructed.
Services offered at the center will encompass business development counseling and small business assistance via incubator, basic skills (reading/ writing/math/GED) along with job training, and distance learning.The center will house UTB/ TSC, and the offices of the Development Corporation of Raymondville (EDC), the Raymondville Chamber of Commerce, and Texas WorkForce Solutions, who are the partners that Garza referred to.
There will be two large and three small class rooms, along with two conference rooms, and a community center. Office space has been allotted for WorkForce Solutions, and other city officials.
At a city-hosted luncheon after the groundbreaking UTB/ TSC’s president, Dr. Juliet Garcia, committed key staff to making the satellite campus happen.
“When UTB/TSC launches a project we dive into it all the way,” Dr. Garcia said. “South Texas has never been behind in the state when it comes to education.”
“The new Raymondville campus is our investment in your community,” Dr. Garcia said. “There has always been a thirst for education in the valley and we want to continue to be part of it.”Dr. Garcia said the old Amigoland Mall in south Brownsville was transformed into an educational facility.
State Sen. Eddie Lucio (DBrownsville) said the event (project) reminded him of the movie The Perfect Storm.
“The way this all came together is like the movie,” referring to the partners working together. “Willacy County is my favorite of the five counties I represent.”
Lucio then read a state senate proclamation he drafted for the groundbreaking. A copy is on page 5 of this issue.
U.S. Cong. Solomon Ortiz (DCorpus Christi) and State Rep. Juan Escobar (D-Kingsville) were invited, but sent office staff instead.
Most notable were comments by Denise Blanchard of Ortiz’s office.
“This community has a bright future,” Blanchard said. “Willacy County has been changing for the better, and we’re happy that the EDA has moved to help Willacy County,” referring to a $1.2 million grant that Garza recommended.
“When I first saw this site I did not see the wind or the dirt,” Gonzalez said. “I saw the future.”Yvonne Gonzalez, the President/ CEO of WorkForce Solutions said her organization is committed to “talent development” of people.
“We’re about improving the potential of people and the community,” Gonzalez added. “This partnership is about leading change in Willacy County, and this project is the way.”
Richard Lopez, a field office director with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was the final guest speaker.
“Servant leadership is what the City of Raymondville is doing,” Lopez said, “When Yogi and Jackie met with me, this became evident,” referring to Jackie Roberson, the city’s EDC director.
Lopez quoted a favorite phrase to describe the efforts of city officials and the future.
“Making the effort, not the strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential,” Lopez quoted.
Lopez closed by predicting a bright economic development future for Raymondville and Willacy County.His department awarded a $300,000 grant that will be used to leverage the overall cost of the project.
Mayor Correa thanked all city staff who have worked on the project, along with grant writer Carlos Mondragon, who ushered the city’s applications through the many state and federal bureaucracies.
Bee Keeper Prefers Work Over Golfing
“I live next to the golf course but bee keeping is my hobby.”
BETSY ZACKARY Free Lance Journalist
“I have a fascination for this job. I won’t give up my bees until I’m 105 years,” Ralph said with a laugh.Ralph McClaugherty 75, of Raymondville has been in the bee keeping business for 70yrs now. As a second-generation bee keeper, Ralph followed his dad as a boy and learned to work with bees. He’s had over three hundred bee stings but received them all in a day when his trailer, carrying 110 hives, tipped over on a highway. Within three minutes Ralph was covered in stings and the highway swarmed with angry African Bees. African Bees are the worst compared to European Bees because they attack in large numbers. Both are found in Willacy County. After the highway was closed off and weeks after Ralph healed from his stings, he returned to his bees.
While most people instinctively become Rambo with bee killing spray, interesting facts about bees should prevent bee fearers from destroying hives. Ralph’s bees, among other bees are used to polinate 1/3 of crops. Crops like watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, onion and squash grown in Willacy County are dependent on bee pollination.
“There’s a crisis; a real short- age of bees right now.” Ralph said with a concerned face.
So can bees and people coexist? Yes but bee careful. He recommends that hives in fields far from people be left alone. Hives found in walls, or near homes should be removed.
Ralph also removes bees by profession. ” Don’t swat a bee if they’re around, it makes them angry. Most people do that but bees aren’t flies. Best thing to do is run for cover.”
Currently Ralph is semi-retired and is married to his honey, Jean McClaugherty. “She had bees and that brought us together.” Together they sell a variety of local unfiltered and unheated honey products like: Pure virgin jarred honeycomb, “Chew a bit of the comb if you have bad sinus to clean it right up.” wild flower jelly, pollen and other natural product. Price range: $6 – $12.
That’s the secret.” Ralph said with a satisfied smile.
If you are interested in product purchase or in bee removal Ralph’s number is: 956.689.4696.