11 January 2013
Wash your hands and get a shot…
Health officials say one reason the so-called flu season has seemed so bad the past couple of weeks is because Oregon and most other states are being visited by a strain of the flu that’s not been seen for a few years. That means immunity is down according to Dr. Paul Cieslak (SEE-slack) the medical director of the Oregon Immunization program.
Dr. Paul Cieslak — “It’s the main strain that’s circulated in the United States since 1968. It was the ‘Hong Kong flu’ back in 1968. And it’s been with us ever since, but it kind of got edged out by that H1N1 strain in 2009. It’s back to haunt us in new, mutated form, again.”
Symptoms of the current strain, known as H3N2, are a little worse than the types that went around last year. But no matter what type of flu, prevention tips are still the same: frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home from work or school if you don’t feel well. Those, and get a flu shot…
Dr. Paul Cieslak – “Most of the season is still in front of us, and there’s still time to get vaccinated. So, if you haven’t had your shot yet, definitely go out and get it. We’ve got plenty of vaccine in Oregon.
Only about five percent of the doctor visits in Oregon over the past few weeks have been for flu-like symptoms. Cieslack says that’s considered a ‘moderate’ level… while 29 states are reporting “severe” outbreaks.
(Audio and story assistance provided by Chris Thomas and the Oregon News Service)
Nieberlein Moving On
After several years at the helm of the Florence Planning Commission, long time volunteer Jan Nieberlein is moving on. Nieberlein said age and a desire to live closer to relatives led to the decision. Florence City Manager Jacque Betz says Nieberlein did a lot.
Jacque Betz – “very knowledgeable, a lot of history and not only that but the time and the effort she put into our grant-writing was invaluable. So, not only is she going to be missed at the Planning Commission level, but internally she’s going to be missed for all of the volunteer work she did.”
Nieberlein was instrumental in landing several hundred thousand dollars in grants for construction of the Florence Senior Center. She and her husband Norman will be living in the Albany area.
Which one is the Hawkeye State and which one the Buckeye? That’s the type of question that several dozen local students answered this week in the local round of the National Geographic Society Geography Bee.
Rachel Pearson – “United States geography, states, comparisons and sizes, nicknames, capital cities, crops, all those things you learned in social studies. And then it gets a little harder.”
Volunteer coordinator Rachel Pearson said the elementary level… fourth and fifth grade… pitted a couple of tough competitors against each other.
Rachel Pearson – “Elementary it was Caleb Hennessee and he and Orin Raia went head to head on about 15 questions and finally Caleb became the champion. Orin was an amazing competitor and a really good sport.”
Then, in the middle school, 8th grader Sean Burns claimed his fourth school championship.
Rachel Pearson – “The value of this, I think for younger kids especially is it does teach them, study is rewarded and hopefully they get that little ping in their brain when they get something right and understand, put things together that will spark further creativity and possibly further study.”
Pearson said Burns and Hennessee will now take a written qualifying test for a chance to compete among the top 100 scorers in the state in April. State winners advance to the national finals in Washington DC in May. By the way… just so you don’t have to google it… the Buckeye State is Ohio … the Hawkeye State is Iowa.