Swine Flu: Is It Time To Panic?

Washblog has a worthy piece, regarding assessing the current risk of Swine Flu (now to be called “2009 H1N1” flu, in deference to the pork industry, whose product has been unfairly maligned by the possibility of a pandemic of a flu comprised of genetic material obtained through its contact with birds, swine and humans).

Among the highlights of the post, which you can read here, are:

  • The H1N1 virus that is the basis of this new virus is inherently capable of human-to-human transmission, which is particularly problematic.
  • There is no way to know if the virus we are dealing with today will mutate into new forms, nor can we predict if the virus will become relatively more dangerous if and when new populations are exposed.
  • It is possible this flu strain, which is appearing quite late in the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season, will further mutate, particularly as a result of spreading during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season, then return to our part of the world, in the Fall.
  • It is possible that a useful vaccine will be available for fall – and it is also possible that this virus will have morphed into a form that will be resistant to the newly developed vaccine.
  • All of this can and will change rapidly – sometimes on a day-to-day basis.

It will be a significant challenge, particularly if the incidence of flu diminishes before returning in the Fall, for all of us to adopt habits which are effective in slowing the transmission of the flu. Among these are simply hand-washing, staying home from school or work if you are feeling flu-like symptoms, and coughing into your sleeve.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association maintains a list of emergency preparedness information, and information tracking the incidents of 2009 H1N1, on its web site.

Feline Friends logo

Feline Friends Plan Sale This Saturday, May 2nd

The huge, annual Feline Friends Plant Sale will be this Saturday, May 2nd, at Griffin School. Once again a number of local residents have volunteered their Saturdays in April and helped Dig & Pot many different perennials and divided dahlias for the sale that benefits our own neighborhood “cat house”.

Rain or shine, the sale starts at 9am and ends at 3pm. Many plants for hummingbird and butterfly gardening, as well as great cut flowers (the same you see in the summer bouquets at Island Market) are ready to grace your garden.

Saturday, May 2
9 AM to 3 PM
Griffin School

100% of the proceeds benefit Feline Friends, and it couldn’t be done without your support. If you can’t make it this Saturday, but would like to attend one of the other animal rescue Plant Sales that we support in Mason and Thurston Counties, please email me for a schedule.

Diane & Ken Jacob

Free Eld Inlet Shoreline Landowner Series Continues – May 2

A free workshop entitled “What Does Shoreline Protection and Restoration Look Like?” will be conducted this Saturday, May 2.

May 2
4pm – 6pm
Meeting at the Madrona Beach Park and Ride
Click here for a map of the rough location of the park and ride.

The People For Puget Sound habitat restoration specialist will be leading the group on a field trip visiting a Capitol Land Trust protection site as well as several shoreline restoration sites. It should be fun as well as interesting.

This is an open invitation to shoreline landowners on the Eld to come along and to bring a neighbor.

For more information about this workshop or any events in this series, contact Gabby Byrne, Education and Involvement Coordinator, People For Puget Sound, at (360) 754-9177 or click this link to email.

We’ve written here about this series.

Homeland Security Declares Public Health Emergency

Today the Department of Homeland Security declared a public health emergency because of the spread of the a variant of swine flu to California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York. 20 cases had been confirmed in the U.S. as of this morning. The declaration frees up national resources necessary to monitor and, it is hoped, to control the spread of the disease.

From a news report out of Idaho:

The swine flu infections in the United States have produced mild illnesses so far, but CDC officials said in a press conference Sunday that that is expected to change, that more cases would be diagnosed and that cases that are more serious would develop.

Symptoms are similar to seasonal flu, which includes headaches, body aches, coughing and fever. Additionally, swine flu could cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. All of the people reported ill from California and Texas have recovered.

The web site NationalTerrorAlert.com is reporting:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the strain of swine flu and is prepared to distribute a quarter of the U.S. stockpile of 50 million doses of anti-viral medications in places around the country where swine flu has been located or may be expected to spread, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a briefing at the White House.

DHS Secretary Napolitano urges Americans to view this as a “declaration of emergency preparedness.”

For local residents monitoring the situation and interested in planning, particularly should the situation worsen, we’d like to direct your attention to the web site of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Click here to view our Emergency Preparedness page. A variety of links on that page will get you to local and national informational resources.

Another resource is this page, from GetPandemicReady.org.

Science and Policy on Oil Spills in Washington – May 12

Each year billions of gallons of oil are transported over Washington waters. Crude oil tankers feed Washington refineries to satisfy our need for energy. Oil pipelines span the length of the state. Even non-tank vessels that carry cargo to Washington ports carry millions of gallons of oil for fuel. Is Puget Sound one spill a way from ecological and economic disaster?

David Byers, the Response Manager for the Washington State Department of Ecology, will present an overview of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program, which is often identified as the strongest oil spill program in the United States. He will illustrate the interaction of science and policy during oil spill responses and examine how science is used to identify who is responsible for spills.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers (in the cookbook alcove)
1530 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia, WA

The Science Café of Olympia, based on the Cafés Scientifique which began in the UK, provides an informal atmosphere where people both with and without a scientific background can meet and gain a better understanding of interesting topics on science and technology After a brief presentation by an expert in the field, the meeting will be opened to discussions among everyone in attendance.

Presentations will focus on issues that impact our lives locally, nationally and internationally.

Coming in June: “Solutions from the underground. How mushrooms can help save the world.” with Paul Stamets of Fungi Perfecti, LLC in Olympia.

Click here for more information regarding the local chapter of the Science Café.

Food Drive for Area Kids April 13th thru May 1st

The Griffin 2nd grade Wolf Cub Scout den is sponsoring a food drive for the Thurston County Food Bank with emphasis on food for the FORkids Backpack program Monday, April 13th thru Friday, May 1st. Collection bins will be located at the Griffin School inside the main entrance and middle school entrance.

Did you know that last summer The Olympian reported that there are 671 homeless children in Thurston County? To help these youth, the Thurston County Food Bank has a FORkids Backpack program to help kids at 30 local elementary schools (preschool – 6th grade) – Griffin included. The FORkids Backpack program serves 600 kids weekly!

The Food Bank puts together packets for the area kids that provide meals for two days that can include: individual cold cereal box, hot cereal packet, non-perishable milk, juice box, cup-of-soup, easy mac, two fruit cups, pudding, a protein (items like: vienna sausages, beef jerky, tuna and cracker packets and poptop ravioli type items) granola bar, and peanut butter crackers or cheese crackers. These supplies are put in a zip lock bag and discretely put in the student’s backpack on Friday.

Unfortunately, the Food Bank has to purchase a lot of these items, and they don’t get a price break. They can especially use protein items.

Double Your Monetary Donations in April

The Feinstein Foundation is matching donations made to the Food Bank in April. If you wish for your monetary donations to go toward the backpack program make checks payable to the Thurston County Food Bank and in the memo section designate the “FORkids backpack program”. Many employers have a matching program too.

Please mail monetary donations to:
Thurston County Food Bank
220 NE Thurston
Olympia, WA 98501

The Griffin staff cannot collect monies going to the Food Bank.

Thank you for your support.
The Wolf Cubs

Can you help promote this event? Click here to download a copy of their flyer.

Neighborhood Comes Together to Benefit Local Food Bank

Residents in the Griffin area came together to organize a food drive which collected a truckload of food and nearly $600 in cash contributions the day before Easter to benefit the Thurston County Food Bank. Thank you for the many neighbors who made contributions at the drop-off in front of the Island Market.

The drop-off was staffed from 11 AM to 5 PM. Thank you, Steve Lundin, Paul Meury, Peter Savin, Gail Sheikhizadeh, Sharon Parker, and Sharon’s friend from Montana (whose name will almost certainly be mis-spelled here), Neivis.

Steve Lundin, who is a local author, provided signed copies of his book, Griffin Area Schools, for those who contributed $25 or more.

We want also to acknowledge the support of local businesses and organizations, who helped to get out the word: The Griffin Fire Department, Prosperity Grange, and Steamboat Animal Hospital, who posted notices on their reader boards, and Steamboat Island Coffee.

Thanks are due to the Island Market, too, who allowed us to stage the drop-off there.

We want to thank local resident and owner of Yellow Bear Journeys, Dale Stubbart, for contacting us regarding the idea of holding a food drive.

Special thanks to thank Mary Skelton, who did so much to organize and promote the event. Mary designed the event’s logo and flyer, then made copies of the flyer and distributed them. With Paul, she set up the drop-off, including boxes and signage, and then staffed the drop-off over at least two shifts. Mary’s efforts are responsible for the success of the food drive at the Island Market.

Boxes of food collected for
the Food Bank fill pickup truck

Several other individuals and organizations held food drives at grocery stores across north Thurston County on the same day. We are awaiting results of the final combined amount of food and cash collected. As soon as those numbers are available, we’ll post them here.

It was a real pleasure to see such a terrific turnout for this weekend’s food drive.

It should not surprise any that hunger is a local issue. Right here on the Steamboat peninsula, we are fortunate to have a distribution and collection point for the Food Bank, at St. Christopher’s Community Church. Residents who have donations to make, but who missed this Saturday’s food drive, are invited to contact the church at 866-2111 for a time when the staff at St. Christopher’s can accept your donations.

Food Drive This Saturday at Island Market

In 2008, the Thurston County Food Bank served a record 37,000 clients, a 39% increase from 2007. These numbers continue to increase, in 2009, as the global economic slowdown worsens. Our own St. Christopher’s Community Church is a local distribution point for the Food Bank. Hunger is a local issue.

This Saturday, April 11, local residents will come together to collect food and cash donations for the Thurston County Food Bank. A collection point will be staffed from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Island Market, 3403 Steamboat Island Rd., Olympia, WA 98502.

Saturday, April 11
11 AM to 5 PM
Island Market

Food Donation Ideas:

  • High protein food such as canned chili, peanut butter, beans, or canned meat.
  • Pasta and Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Canned fruit and vegetables.
  • Soup.
  • Baby Food and Formula.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables that store well in a refrigerator.

Cash and Checks (payable to “Thurston County Food Bank”) will be greatly appreciated.

The Food Bank also has a “wish list” for supplies to support their FORKids program. This program provides weekend food for homeless and needy elementary school children. These children receive free breakfasts and lunch at school during the week and need nourishment for the weekend. The food is supplied by the food bank and put into the child’s backpack for the weekend.

  • Oatmeal packets
  • Cup of Soup
  • Fruit cups
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Vienna sausage
  • Beanies & Weenies
  • Cocoa mix
  • Cold cereal boxes
  • Easy Mac and Cheese
  • Tuna and Crackers
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Ravioli cups
  • Cup of applesauce

Please, no peanut products, for the FORKids program.

Griffin area residents realize that hunger is a local problem and they are coming together, the day before Easter, to help neighbors in their time of need.

Griffin’s Saturday Morning Networking Breakfast – April 18

Griffin’s Saturday Morning Networking Breakfast: Strategies for Dealing with a Tough Economy and a Tougher Employment Market.

Saturday, April 18th
8:30-9:30 A.M.
Griffin School Grizzly Grill

Why: To provide Griffin Community Members an opportunity to meet one another and to build strong business and social networks – resulting in an even stronger community.

Short program provided: Importance of Building a Network in a Tough Economy.

This is a great opportunity for community members who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or looking to improve or expand business.

Who: Open to any Griffin resident wanting to come together with other community members to develop business and/or social friendships.

What: Short stack breakfast (donations welcome), great conversations and dialogue with others while expanding your network of business and social friendships.

When: First breakfast is Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 8:30-9:30 A.M.

With a good turnout at the first breakfast, future events will be scheduled for the first Saturday of each month.

Where: Griffin School Grizzly Grill

Come and Join Us!

Breakfast Sponsors:
Griffin Neighborhood Association,
Griffin School District
and a community of volunteers.

Note – RSVP for Breakfast:
Please call Don Brannam (360) 866-4918 x104 or email dbrannam@griffin.k12.wa.us

Help get out the word! Click here to download a copy of the flyer for this breakfast.

St. Christopher’s Neighborhood Preschool Now Registering

St. Christopher’s Neighborhood Preschool is registering now for classes beginning in September. Register by June 1 and receive a 20% discount on September’s tuition!

The preschool is for children from 3 – 6. There are morning and afternoon sessions and each parent can select whichever sessions they want. The afternoon and morning sessions will be different so children staying for the entire day will have new fun things to do in the afternoon.

There will be small class sizes and a minimum of two trained staff present at all times. Class sessions will include art projects, letters, numbers, sign language, rhythm and music, snacks and play time!

For additional information and registration forms, please visit their website at: www.stchristopherspreschool.org or phone their director, Danielle at 970-2999.