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The Issaquah Press
Issaquah, Washington
September 9, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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September 9, 2009

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS I, lilllL|~lll~~] WEDNESDAY~ SEPTEMBER 9, 2009 * A3 By Warren Kagar~e and ChanteHe Luseb~nk Issaquah Press reporters participated in several conferences with the state superintendent's office and Public Health - Seattle & Kin County. The exercises helped City and school officials are loca officials understand how the keeping close watch on informa- flu season may develop, said Sara tion about the H1N1 flu from the Niegowski, district director of corn- Centers for Disease Control and munications. The programs also Prevention and the local public helped the organizations develop a health agency, partnership for communication. As the traditional fall and winter flu season nears, officials are Pmpared fora pandemic preparing for other, possibly more Public Health - Seattle & King severe HIN1, also knows as swine County is the lead authority on flu, outbreaks, local swine flu cases. Officials there No H1N1 cases had been report- have stockpiled medications to ed in Issaquah during a late-spring treat the flu and embarked on an swine flu outbreak. Regardless, education campaign to raise city and school officials took steps awareness about the possibility of then to reassure the public as the a pandemic. The agency has also number of cases rose and officials posted a 20-minnte training video elsewhere closed schools as a pre- for businesses, governments and cautionary measure, schools on its Web site to help offi- "We have always known a pan- cials plan for a flu outbreak. demic was possible," said Autumn Local public health officials are Monahan, city public information also working with health care officer, providers, hospitals and laborato- To that end, city officials have riPs to spot potential H1N1 cases taken steps to ensure personnel in early. key positions -- such as the police, In addition, the agency recom- utilities and finance departments-- mended common sense measures, have backups who can perform such as hand washing, to help pre- their duties should they fall ill. vent the spread of flu. Issaquah City Jail officials also have Other measures -- including a plan to keep enough officers on shutdowns of public meetings and duty in the event of an outbreak, canceled meetings or classes -- Monahan said the city emer-could be considered. gency management team worked Monahan said City Hall had not closely with its counterparts at the been closed and City Council meet- county and state level so it would ings had not been canceled in the be ready in the event of a flu emer- past due to health scares. gency. Part of the prevention effort at City Issaquah School District officials Hall, she said, includes signs WHATTO KNOW Call the toll-free flu hotline at 877-903-KING to get information about swine flu. encouraging hand washing through- out the building and ample antibac- terial gel for employees to use. She also emphasized the impor- tance of business owners and resi- dents taking steps to avoid the flu and control its spread in the event of an outbreak. "While the city is getting pre- pared, we hope residents and busi- nesses are getting prepared," she said. As part of the outreach effort, Monahan said the city Web site would be updated with information about swine flu. In September 2006, city officials participated in a pandemic flu preparation exercise with the cate members about a flu out- break. Bott said local business owners are aware of the potential risks of swine flu, including the possibility of worker shortages if employees become infected. Restaurateurs, for example, have been encour- aged to work with corporate offices and public health officials to pre- pare for a possible HIN1 outbreak. "Good businesses, smart busi- nesses are always on the lookout for things on the horizon," Bott said. Schools Inform parents, students Health and school officials also used the start of a new school year as an opportunity to educate par- ents and students. District officials will participate in a citywide flu emergency drill later in the month, Niegowski said. Eastside Fire & Rescue will also participate in the exercise. District officials distributed information via the district Web Seattle-King County public health site and e-newsletters to parents agency and the University of explaining the importance of Washington. Monahan said the teaching students basic hygiene, exercise helped local officials plan like washing hands often and for a flu emergency, coughing into the sleeve of a shirt or their elbow, Niegowski said. Businesses ready for possible outl~eak The letter also advises students, Greater Issaquah Chamber of parent volunteers and employees Commerce CEO Matt Bott said he to stay home if they are sick -- and chamber members are keep- that's what absences and sick days ing close watch on HIN1. In addi- were designed for, she said. tion to keeping in contact with city Last year, students at some emergency management officials, Washington schools were caught Bott said he plans to include links with too many absences to gradu- on the chamber Web site to edu- ate. Though none were reported in Issaquah, district officials are reminding students that absences should be reserved for legitimate reasons, Niegowski said. Schools will honor legitimate absences, but students without legitimate absences or unexcused absences will not be given much leeway. State education and health officials briefed school personnel statewide Aug. 31 about the HIN1 flu strain. State Superintendent Randy Dorn and state Department of Health offi- cials co-hosted a statewide videocon- ference aimed at preparing school personnel for flu outbreaks. "Under our current plan, we are advising schools to stay open," Dorn said in a news release. "There are specific steps to take if a student or teacher becomes ill. But we don't want a repeat of what happened last May, when schools in our state closed after the first reports of HIN1 surfaced. "This fall, the severity of the virus will be the biggest factor in what measures our schools will take to maintain a continuity of education." Dorn said the fmal decision to close a school rests with district superintendents and school boards or a local public health official. When the virus emerged in the spring, several schools elsewhere in King County were closed to pre- vent students and staffers from being exposed to HIN1. No Issaquah schools were closed dur- ing the spring outbreak. "The message is," Niegowski PREVENT SWINE FLU Red Cross officials encouraged parents to take flu-preven~n steps now to keep their children healthy in the event of an HIN1 flu outbreak. Officials recommend the following tips: Teach children proper and con- sistent hand-washing techniques. Tell children to avoid sharing utensils, cups and bottles. Show children how to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and wash their hands afterward. Teach them to cough or sneeze into their elbow or upper arm if they lack a tissue. Teach children to keep hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from enter- ing the body. Source: American Red Cross said, "if you aren't feeling well, the best thing to do for yourself and for the system is to stay home and get better." Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or cluse- brink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com. BY GREG FARRAR RSH docent coordinator Lynne Matthes, Bill Strauss and Karl Dickerson (from left), volunteer docents with Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, stand ready to answer questions from visitors at the Salmon Days Festival. Training program creates volunteer hatchery docents Join the Friends of the Issaquah Issaquah Hatchery, is from 9 a.m. - sharing in this annual return to Salmon Hatchery (FISH) docent 2:30 p.m. Sept. 12 m the hatch- spawn. Guides are needed for all program and help spread the word ery's Watershed Science Center, 80 days of the week and especially about Issaquah's remarkableNewport Way S.W., Issaquah.during the annual Issaquah salmon and their amazing life cycle Learn the wonder of the salmon Salmon Days Festival. with school children, families and journey, the various species of For more information and to tourists, salmon, and the role played by the sign up for training, call 427- Training for new FISH docents, hatchery and residents of0259 or e-mail the knowledgeable guides at the Washington in continuing and fishvolunteer@msn.com. Switch to CHECKING that PAYS % APY on balances 0 $~o0,ooo+ % ...................................................................................................... .~ ? ................. ? ..................................................... Through October 1o, get a FREE Swiss backpack and water bottle with your new Main Street checking count. Member FDIC Real people, Real attention.s~, 800-326-8787 easeadebank.eom Attend Sept. 9 mee'dng to learn about Timborlake Park dog ban City officials will host a Sept. 9 open house to review pet rules and concerns about Timberlake Park. The meeting will be from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. at Tibbetts Creek Manor, 750 17th Ave. N.W. Officials planned the open house after a decision to ban dogs in the park galvanized resi- dents who favored and opposed the ban. At the meeting, city staffers will also review other cities' rules about pets in parks and collect feedback from open house attendees about how to ensure public safety at Timberlake Park. City officials banned dogs after they received reports from people about dog waste littering the grounds, park goers getting knocked down by dogs and dogs fighting with each other. Dog owners said the park is suited for pets, and said reports of inappro- priate activity were overblown. XXX gets parking permit Parking at XXX Rooibeer Drive- in might be a little easier nowa- days. City officials recently issued a street use permit to the restaurant's owner that allows the drive-in exclusive use of 14 parking stalls located in a city right of way. The permit is effective for the next 15 years. The stalls line the street in front of the drive-in at 98 N.E. Gilman Blvd. The restaurant rents the right-of-way space from the city. Corre ion In a story about David and Arlene Mobley in the Sept. 2 edi- tion, their wedding date and her age were incorrect. They were married Sept. 3, 1949, when Arlene Mobley was 17. Local news, ISSAQUAH PRESS. om <