Fight Against Opioids In Florence; Expanding Broadband For Rural Oregon; Winter Music Festival

Peace Harbor Leading Fight Against Opioids

Efforts to reduce the opioid addiction problems in hospitals is finding a home in Florence. Dr. Bill Prosser is the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice at Peace Harbor Medical Center and he says that year after year with new medicines and new techniques the hospital has been able to reduce the amount of opioids introduced into patients as part of the anesthesia process.  Prosser says that the amounts have reduced over 70 percent in recent years.  He says it has been a balanced practice of new technology and the introduction of safer, non-opioid medications.

“One of the drugs that use is a time released local anesthetic that can last up to 3 days.”

Prosser says the benefit of this drug is that when introduced into the system prior to surgery it can have pain relief benefits for up to 3 days after surgery.  Prosser says it has been progressive thinking matched with new medicines that have made Peace Harbor lead the charge to a safer more balanced process.  He says that the hospital has changed its focus and no longer says how do they do it in Eugene, but rather how is it done in the larger research hospitals that are having monumental success.  This process is changing the timeline for progressive care in Florence.

“Hopefully within the next couple years make the majority of our surgery opioid free.”

Dr. Prosser credits the hospital staff and especially the administration with the willingness to approach this with a fresh, forward thinking attitude.  Dr. Bill Prosser is our guest this month on Doc Talk.

Group Seeks To Expand Broadband To Rural Areas

Florence has already begun the process of bringing high speed internet to the city, but rural places that are hard to reach may be waiting a little longer, but a move in the state to ramp up the process has begun by a group known as Connect Americans Now.  The group is made up of rural advocacy groups, internet service providers and technology companies like Microsoft. It wants the Federal Communications Commission to reserve part of the so-called “T-V white space” frequencies for wireless broadband access. Joseph Franell, C-E-O of Eastern Oregon Telecom, says high-speed internet is crucial to rural Oregon. For example, in sparsely-populated Gilliam County, farmers rely on internet access to run self-driving tractors and remote irrigation systems.

“They can’t operate these large farms that feed so many millions of people without access to this technology. Well, imagine how expensive it is to build fiber into Gilliam County when it’s larger than the state of Rhode Island but only has 2,000 people in it?”

 T-V white space refers to the frequencies used for television before broadcasting became digital. The F-C-C has auctioned off some white-space channels, in some cases for billions of dollars. Connect Americans Now is pushing for unlicensed access to a small percentage of this spectrum, so that rural internet providers could access it for free to deploy broadband. About one in ten Oregonians doesn’t have access to wired broadband.

“Broadband is the great equalizer of our era. And what I mean by that is, there is no other, single thing that you can point to that has the potential for such great, positive impact in the lives of people that use it.”

 Outlying areas of Western Lane County have sparse, and in some cases, no broadband internet service.  Accessing TV whitespace could be the answer for connecting thousands of techno-stranded Oregonians in the county.

Winter Music Fesival

Tomorrow evening begins the Winter Music Festival in Florence.  The three day festival is one of the biggest since its inception and the Saturday evening show featuring headliner Al Stewart is about at capacity.  Organizers say that this will be the largest of the festivals with kid concerts, late night jams sessions, a gospel gathering, crafts and even pies.  One of the organizers of the festival, Howie Cusack, say the success of the event relies partly on the value for patrons

“But we’re being able to offer the tickets at a pretty low price compared to other places in the country.”

Tickets are selling fast according to organizers and they suggest you act quickly if you want to see any of the performances this weekend.  Tickets are available through the FEC box office on Quince Street.