Prevent picnic poisoning; bank on starting the 4th weekend right; Rhody Express It; Gas prices steady; SOS gets emergency voucher grant; and a ’75 Siuslaw grad works on groundbreaking facial reconstruction

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Outdoor cooking and eating can pose risks

More and more people will be cooking and eating outdoors beginning with this holiday weekend.  Unfortunately that means more people are at risk of getting sick because of food-borne illnesses. Food Safety Specialist Susan Kendrick, with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, says a little extra care in the kitchen before you head out can prevent problems.  Wash your produce, especially things like melons that are grown on the ground and can come into contact with animal waste used as fertilizer.  Make sure you take along plenty of ice and coolers to store your food; and keep an eye on what you get out to eat.

Susan Kendrick – “It’s really good if you don’t leave the food out for more than two to three hours. If you are camping and using a cooler, it would be great not to have leftovers or just throw out what is left over because it’s just really hard to bring that temperature down rapidly in a cooler.” 

Kendrick says it’s also good to cook meats thoroughly and use a meat thermometer.  She also suggests you have some way of cleaning and sanitizing your hands.

Most summer food safety recommendations are just common sense, she adds, and can go a long ways towards preventing people from getting sick at what should be a fun and festive occasion.

Local banks offering treats on eve of holiday weekend

If you’re looking for lunch and a treat tomorrow, a pair of local financial institutions are offering a way to kick off your Fourth of July weekend.  Banner Bank and Oregon Pacific Bank will each offer their annual holiday customer appreciation events.

At Banner Bank you can have free hot dogs and Pepsi while you mingle outside in a book fair from 11 to two.

Down the street at Oregon Pacific Bank they will be scooping up 12 flavors of BJ’s Ice Cream from 11 to three.  OPB will also present the live music of Russ and Ron.

Gas prices steady headed into July

The average cash price for a gallon of regular gas is holding steady for the third straight week at $2.42.  While that’s the highest average price since September, it’s also 40-cents a gallon below the average price last year at this time.

That’s right on track with the rest of the country according to Triple-A.  The national average posted price is $2.29… down 49-cents from the last week of June in 2015.

Oregon’s average price is the seventh highest in the country at $2.54 a gallon.

Rhody Express it to the Wings and Wheels

You can catch a ride to Saturday’s Wings and Wheel’s car and airplane show at the Florence Airport.  For the second year in a row, the Rhody Express will be running a shuttle between the airport and two “park and ride” locations.

The Express will begin service at 9:45 Saturday morning, making pickups at the Florence Senior Center as well as at Siuslaw Middle School.  Service will continue through 3:15.

City of Florence spokesperson Glenn Southerland says there is no cost for the service.

SOS awarded emergency voucher grant

A $5-thousand grant from the Eugene based Chambers Family Foundation will help people in the Florence area deal with emergency situations.

Siuslaw Outreach Services executive David Wiegan said last year, his agency provided 843 emergency vouchers for shelter, prescriptions, utilities, food, fuel and other basic needs like laundry, transportation and even showers.

Wiegan said the 5-thousand from the Chambers Family Foundation comes at a good time.  SOS was on the verge of depleting their emergency funds in recent months.  He said they have seen a large number of people seeking assistance; especially families with children.

People experiencing a financial or medical crisis can get a voucher from SOS that are redeemable at participating local businesses.

Siuslaw Alumnus involved in groundbreaking facial reconstruction

A cancer survivor in Washington State can smile again after undergoing a rare reconstructive surgery performed by surgeons last month at the University of Washington.

One of those surgeons, Dr. Thomas Dodson, is a 1975 graduate of Siuslaw High School.

Dodson is the chair of the UW Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  He, along with two other surgeons, rebuilt the patient’s jaw using advanced 3-D computer modeling during the 16-hour surgery.

According to “The Daily” of the University of Washington, the traditional method would have entailed months of work using bone grafts and dental implants.

The patient is expected to be able to eat, speak and swallow without difficulty following recovery and should, say doctors, be able to lead a normal life.