Nurses hosting town hall; Jump Start Your Health; Double your deposit; Rhody improvements nearing completion

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Nurses hosting town hall

Nurses at Peace Harbor Medical Center will be hosting a Town Hall meeting this evening from six to 7:30 at the Florence Senior Center to talk about their concerns related to ongoing contract negotiations with PeaceHealth.  The 75 local members of the Oregon Nurses Association have been working without a contract since January 31st.

One of the issues where they’ve failed to reach an agreement with upper management at PeaceHealth is on pay.  Nurses in Florence are seeking the same amount as their counterparts in Eugene and Springfield.

That pay differential has apparently led to the loss of experienced nurses.  Lori Roeser (ROW-surr) is a Registered Nurse who works with hospice and home care.  She said many nurses who provide homecare to elderly and terminal patients have left the area over the past two years because of that issue.

Without a fair contract, she added, attracting and retaining nurses will be difficult.

Contract negotiations began in November last year, but have stalled since January.  PeaceHealth officials previously said they are returning to the table this month with a mediator.

Infrastrucure work nearing completion

City officials say work is nearing completion on a major restoration project along Rhododendron Drive between Highway 101 and Ninth Street.  City Manager Erin Reynolds said right now the contractor is finishing up concrete work and is hoping for some drier weather.

Erin Reynolds – “There’s quite a few ADA ramps and sidewalks being put in and then they’ll finish up the water line, finish the stormwater improvements and then hopefully by the end of April you’ll see new paving all along that corridor.”

Reynolds said the southern leg of Kingwood Street, between Second and Rhododendron drive is included in that.  She said the entire project will be done before the Rhododendron Festival in May.

Deposits doubled

If you bought a soda, a beer or even a bottle of water in Oregon last week and paid a nickel deposit on the container… this week you can return it to a retailer and get ten cents back.

The first deposit increase in the history of Oregon’s 45-year old “Bottle Bill” took effect April 1st.  That’s because of a provision in the law that allows the increase if the number of returns falls well short of the number of cans and bottles being sold.

The legislature also took care of a few lingering questions last month related to the changeover.  That means even if the container you’re returning says it’s worth 5-cents in Oregon… it will still net you a dime.

Likewise, until existing stock is sold, those fresh containers marked with a nickel deposit can legally be sold and you’ll pay ten cents.

Christie Scott with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission says the law changes don’t affect the number of cans and bottles that you can return on any given day.  She also said the change does not provide any additional revenue to the state.  It goes to retailers and recycling centers to offset their costs of processing the empties.

Jump Start Your Health

A community health fair this weekend in Florence will feature three days of distinctly different educational seminars, exhibits and activities; all aimed at improving physical and mental health.

Jump Start Your Health is sponsored by the Florence Seventh Day Adventist Church.  It opens Friday afternoon with a free lunch for the first 100 visitors.  It will also have dozens of exhibitors at the Florence Events Center.

Saturday also offers free lunch for the first hundred people as well as several free half-hour seminars with tips and information about wellness, fitness, and disaster preparedness.

Sunday features free lunch yet again for the first 100… as well as a 5-K fun run and walk to benefit the Siuslaw Area Partnership to Prevent Substance Abuse.  Sunday is also “kid’s day” with a variety of youth-oriented fitness activities.  It also features the Lane Bloodmobile.

OHSU assistant director of public psychiatry, Dr. Jonathan Betlinski, will present a talk about Mental Health First Aid at Jump Start Your Health.

Mental Health First Aid

Depression, drug abuse, other addictive behaviors take a heavy toll every year.  That’s why organizers of this week’s Jump Start Your Health community health fair have placed an emphasis on mental health.

Dr. Jonathan Betlinski is the assistant director of the Oregon Health and Sciences University’s division of public psychiatry.  He will present a free two hour session on the concept of mental health first aid Friday afternoon.

Dr. Jonathan Betlinski – “It’s a relatively new concept here in this country and in the world overall.  The idea that we can give people some very simple, straightforward, easy to use tools so that they can be helpful for somebody who is having some sort of mental health urgency or emergency.”

 Dr. Betlinski will then present two four-hour training sessions Saturday and Sunday that will lead to national certification.  The course itself is free, but there is a $20 fee for course materials.  Information on how to sign up for the weekend training is available Friday during the health fair at the Florence Events Center.   Betlinski, along with health fair organizers will be this week’s Our Town, Wednesday on KCST, Thursday morning on KCFM.