Archive for February 2010

Helping Washington Kids Navigate Tough Times

McKee holds these workshops around the country for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). She says even the smallest interaction with a youngster can make a big difference in how they feel and act at school, and uses bus drivers as an example.

"If you open up the bus door and you say something mean, then you’ve just set the tone for that student. But if you open up the door and you’re teaching a skill – and social skills are easy to teach – you’re teaching children how to interact with adults."

The workshop also covers conflict resolution. It is not open to the public; it’s part of professional development courses offered to union members. AFT-Washington says it is expecting the largest turnout in several years for this Saturday’s course in Tacoma.

Monthly Testing Time for AHAB Sirens

Montesano, WA – Washington State Emergency Management Division will conduct its monthly countywide AHAB (All Hazard Alert Broadcast) Siren test on Monday, March 01, 2010, at noon.
 
AHAB sirens are located in Pacific Beach, Copalis Beach, Ocean City, Ocean Shores, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Moclips, Westport and Grayland.  All Grays Harbor County sirens will be included in the test beginning at noon.
 
AHAB sirens have a range of about one mile in radius depending on topography and weather. The activation will be Westminster Chimes followed by a test voice message. These sirens are meant to provide emergency notification to people who are outside.  Residents and businesses located within a tsunami inundation area are encouraged to maintain a working NOAA Weather Radio.
 
   There has been some issue with the voice activation at the County level. This test is to insure that all sirens are working properly. The voice issue is being addressed and should be ready by the March 24th Pacific Tsunami Exercise. Please send feedback to this test to Grays Harbor County Emergency Management.
 

High Winds Predicted for the Washington Coast

The National Weather Service has predicted high winds for the Southern Washington Coast for Thursday night and Friday. Winds are expected to be sustained at 20-25 mph out of the Southeast changing to the South  with gusts possible to 40 mph.

The Central Washington Coast will experience sustained winds at 20-25 mph with gusts to 35 mph.
All residents should prepare for intermittent power outages , and the possibility of falling power lines and trees associated with the winds.  

Drug prescribers in Washington must soon convert to tamper-resistant paper

Vendors (www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/Professions/Pharmacy/documents/ApprovedVendors.pdf) that can provide tamper-resistant prescription supplies are on the Department of Health Web site. Vendors must show that their prescription paper or pads meet security standards in the law. These standards help prevent copying, altering, and other forms of counterfeiting. The board will only approve paper or pads that include these security features and contain the special seal.

“We want patients to continue getting the prescription medications they need,” said Karen Jensen, assistant secretary at the agency. “It’s important to consider this law in advance so prescribers don’t waste money on pads that don’t meet requirements and so they’re able to write valid paper prescriptions when the law goes into effect.”

More than 53,000 health professionals in 13 different professions are licensed to write prescriptions in the state. This includes advanced registered nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, physicians, physician assistants, certified physician assistants, osteopathic physicians and assistants, dentists, veterinarians, naturopathic physicians, optometrists, podiatric physicians, and pharmacists.

The security features in the new prescription pads and paper are identical to those required under the federal Medicaid program. The only change is prescription paper in Washington must include the state Board of Pharmacy seal.

Prescribers won’t be able to use existing inventories of prescription paper after July 1. Any prescriber that doesn’t have approved paper on hand will have to send prescriptions electronically or by fax to a pharmacy.

Coast Guard assists crew of dredge taking on water near La Push

The 47-foot boat crew was able to assist the dredge out of the channel.

At approximately 8 a.m Tuesday, the barge was reported to have overturned and sunk in approximately 10 feet of water.

A boat crew from Station Quillayute River has placed containment boom around the submerged barge.

The owner of the dredge has contracted a salvage and dive company to contain any possible pollution and to assess salvage options of the sunken dredge and barge.

Coast Guard Sector Seattle is on scene and assisting Washington Department of Ecology with the investigation in addition to monitoring any possible pollution.

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Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Now Grays Harbor Public Market News

Do you know about the ‘Quinault Daffodil’?  Otherwise known as Skunk Cabbage?  You may be asking yourself why it is called Skunk Cabbage, since the name is hardly complimentary.  Get a little closer, sniff the air (cautiously) and you’ll soon realize how accurate the name is.  But we Pacific Northwesterners are not fickle folk who appreciate only the sweet smelling flowers of summer.  No sir, any plant that has the audacity to be the first one out of the ground in the dead of winter gets our respect.  My mother used to become so excited when she spotted the first yellow bud emerging from the swampy muck!  That signal of hope, the sure sign that winter was on the run- suddenly joy was in the air.  
 
Nancy Lachel, master baker at the Farmers Market, has spoiled me.  As Market Manager my main job perk is that of official Taster of Treats.  Every time a new recipe is baked, first bite is mine.  She brought out a new chocolate pecan bar last week that left me speechless. 
 
 
 This week I am in training.  The Big Day arrives on Saturday.  I guess it is because of my exalted position at the market that I was chosen to act as a judge at the 3rd annual Chocolate on the Beach Festival.  Everyone has highlights in life that remain frozen in time as dazzling memories to brighten later, less sparkling days- this promises to be one of those days!  I have studied the categories, trying to anticipate the goodies that will appear.  I figure that pacing myself is going to be very, very important.  One of my fellow judges will be the honorable JP Patches.  I’m not sure just what qualifications as taster he brings to the table, but this promises to be a really fun experience.  Pacific Beach Elementary School is headquarters for the Saturday and Sunday event, and there is a long list of special goings-on at http://www.chocolateonthebeachfestival.com/events.htm  
 
Maybe the abundance of chocolate this weekend will encourage someone to open a Chocolate Store in Hoquiam?  I selfishly say Hoquiam, because it’s closer for me, but Aberdeen could use a Chocolate emporium also.  When times are hard, people will still buy chocolate!  I could go into raptures about the many healthy attributes , and I understand that a calm euphoria is also credited to eating chocolate.  I read an article recently about a couple who dearly wished to live on a remote island off the coast of Maine.  Problem was, they still needed to earn a living.  They are now successful entrepeneurs , selling chocolate to connoisseurs far and wide.  Think about it- as businesses go, this is a sure thing.  I would dearly love to have a truffle maker join the farmers market co-op.  Call me!
 
As Spring sneaks it’s way into town, the tables at the Farmers Market slowly begin to fill with plants.  We have already begun tempting gardeners with big, healthy rhubarb plants and several varieties of berries.  Some hearty herbs are ready to go into the soil, and plain brown boxes from seed companies keep arriving.  We are trying to convince an heirloom seed grower in Raymond to join us and hope to have his product soon.  Meanwhile, Levee Feed and Pet Supply has just opened across the Hoquiam river in the old Safeway building, and they have shiny new shovels and rakes to make the tilling of the soil as pleasant as possible.
 
 Life is as hectic as we allow it to become.  Sometimes it’s good to take a purposeful break from all the busy-ness that threatens to engulf our days.  Next time you’re driving thru town, pull into our place along the river.  
 Meander thru our vendor stalls, settle into an easy chair and chat with us for a while.  We may not have a cracker barrel, but we do have friendly faces, free advice, and the true wish to be a bright spot in your day.

Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea departs for Bering Sea cruise

"Changing ice conditions are likely to influence the potential expansion of Bering Sea fisheries further north as well as to shrink arctic habitat currently available on the shallow continental shelf," said Cooper.

Data and samples to be collected include sea floor sediments, sea ice and water samples, and plankton.  Other topics of research include studies of the distributions of birds and marine mammals, including the world population of Spectacled Eiders that winters south of Saint Lawrence Island.

"The overall effort will contribute to understanding how climate change and reduced ice cover will impact the Bering Sea ecosystem," said Cooper.

The Polar Sea was built by Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company in Seattle. Commissioned in 1978, the Polar Sea has operated around the globe and is designed to perform science, icebreaking, and all Coast Guard missions in both Polar Regions. With a reinforced hull and up to 75,000 horsepower, the cutter can break up to 21 feet of ice, or 6 feet of ice at a continuous speed of 3 knots. The ship’s icebreaking capabilities allow the crew to perform logistics, search and rescue, ship escort, environmental protection, and enforcement of laws and treaties in places most ships cannot reach.

For more information please contact [email protected]

For more information about the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea, please visit the following links:

http://www.uscg.mil/pacarea/cgcPolarsea/default.asp

http://www.icefloe.net

Information on the science mission is available at http:www.nprb.org

http://arctic.cbl.umces.edu

Yakima-made cheese products linked to illnesses: consumers shouldn’t eat it

Healthy people infected with Listeria may have diarrhea or flu-like illness — fever, headache, muscle aches. It can result in bloodstream infection or meningitis. People with weak immune systems or other health conditions are at higher risk. Women who are infected during pregnancy may pass it to their babies. This can result in early delivery or stillbirth. Pregnant women and their newborns are 20 times more likely than healthy adults to get a Listeria infection.

Queseria Bendita has announced the recall of three different types of cheeses (www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm201350.htm) – Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson. These products are sold in stores, and also supplied to many restaurants in the Pacific Northwest (www.oregon.gov/DHS/news/2010news/2010-0219a.pdf).. Health officials urge anyone who has these products not to eat them (www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2010_news/QuesBendList-sp.pdf).

Listeriosis (www.doh.wa.gov/ehsphl/factsheet/listeriosis.htm) is mostly a foodborne infection caused by Listeria bacteria. Listeria is often found in soft cheeses, including feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, bleu, and Mexican–style cheeses. It’s commonly found in raw milk and other ready-to-eat foods — smoked fish, vegetables, salads, and items purchased at store delis. The bacteria may also be found in hot dogs and other processed meats.

There are some steps everyone can take to reduce the risk of acquiring a Listeria infection:

·       Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk (including cheese).

·       Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.

·       Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry.

·       Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.

·       Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.

·       Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

The Department of Health recommends people avoid eating certain foods and practice safe food handling. Information on food safety (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/food/safetytips.html) is on the state health department’s Web site. Online, there are several other tips on how to avoid listeriosis (www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/listeriosis.aspx).

AG’s public safety and consumer protection bills to be heard this week

study commissioned by the U.S. Congress and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows that most of those arrested for possessing child pornography had images of children who had not yet reached puberty. In fact, 58 percent of those images were of children under 5, including infants.

PROTECTING FORECLOSURE VICTIMS FROM “SURPLUS FUNDS” SCAMS

Families who have lost their homes due to an inability to pay their property taxes are being targeted by individuals who want to take the little money they have left after the foreclosure sale. Legislation proposed by the Attorney General’s Office aims to protect these families from scammers and help them keep as much of their money as possible.

House Bill 2428 will be heard by the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 2.

The bill is prime-sponsored by Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview. It addresses firms and individuals who contact owners of foreclosed properties offering to obtain the surplus money on their behalf – in return for a cut. The bill places a 5 percent cap on such finder’s fees, the same amount allowed for other kinds of unclaimed funds.

Bank of the Pacific Hires Experienced Business Lender

Bank of the Pacific has over $650 million in assets with 17 branch locations, serving Grays Harbor, Pacific, Skagit, Wahkiakum and Whatcom counties in Washington and Clatsop County in northwest Oregon. The Bank offers retail services, commercial banking and residential mortgage origination in all these markets. Bank of the Pacific is a member of FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender. More information on the bank is available at their website www.BankofthePacific.com.