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11-24-10
 

Election board certifies 2010 election results

Rebecca Gourley
Reporter

     The Klickitat County Canvassing Board approved and made official the 2010 election results yesterday morning at 9 a.m.
     The board consisted of County Commissioner Chairman Rex Johnston, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joanne Gallagher, and Chief Deputy Auditor Pamela Pimley. Brandie Sullivan and Mert Scheradella from the auditor's office sat in on the meeting Tuesday to answer any board member questions. The board is always made up of the chairman or an appointed commissioner; the prosecuting attorney or an appointed deputy prosecutor; and the auditor or an appointed deputy auditor.
     Last week the board had a preliminary meeting to go over any discrepancies that needed to be addressed, such as examining ballots for extra marks and to determine voters' intent. A voter's intent manual is used to check against each questionable ballot. For example, if a voter has consistently filled in the boxes in the same manner and there's one that has a small mark in the box, the board determines the voter's intent
     They also calculate how many ballots could not be counted because of other problems. There were three ballots that did not have a signature at all on them. The holders of those ballots were contacted by the elections committee and given time to sign and return it before the deadline. Six more ballots couldn't be counted because their signature did not match the one on their voter's registration card, and those people did not return the new card mailed to them. Only 14 were late postmarked, and three were put into the drop box late.
     Altogether there was a 71.73 percent voter turnout (8,905 out of 12,415).


River traffic to be closed for months

Lisl Garnett
For The Sentinel

     For many Goldendale residents, the dams along the Columbia River are a part of the Gorge scenery. They are seen day after day but not really noticed by many people.
     That is about to change.
     Beginning Dec. 10 and lasting through March of next year, a large stretch of the Columbia River from the John Day Dam east will be closed for business.
     Every year the waterway is closed down for two weeks for maintenance. However, two weeks is not long enough to replace things such as the 1.9 million pound lock gate that controls downriver traffic at the John Day Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers received $15.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for work on the John Day Dam. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is also funding the $14 million repair project for the Lower Monumental Dam repairs and part of the repairs for The Dalles Dam.
     The effects of the Columbia-Snake River system are far bigger than most realize. According to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA), it is the number one U.S. gateway for the export of wheat, barley, paper and forest products, and bulk mineral exports. PNWA estimates that $16 billion of cargo moves up and down the Columbia each year. All of this is made possible by the lock system in the dams. Many of the parts of the lock system haven't been changed since they were installed in 1971 for John Day and 1957 for The Dalles Dam.
     Throughout this time, the Bonneville Dam will remain open. A lot of work has been done on Bonneville over the years and thus it can forego the larger projects needed for the dams upriver. According to Kristin Meira, spokeswoman for Pacific Northwest Water Ways, many of the wheat producers will be trucking their product to the Mid-Columbia wheat elevator in The Dalles and sending it on barge from there.
     When questioned about the need for such a costly closure Meira stated, "It's very important to do this [the repairs] in a planned fashion. It was also very good that our region was able to attract that level of funding and for us to get three new gates in one closure. If any one of these gates were to fail in an unplanned fashion, it would have meant a one year closure of the river system. So it is very important for us to do this maintenance in a planned way."
     There has been a lot of concern about fuel shortages and price spikes further up the river in the Tri-Cities. The local petroleum companies have refused to share any plans for preventing a shortage and are citing antitrust laws as their reason for silence. There are, however, several Tidewater barges stationed in the Tri-Cities as storage for fuel, but according to Meira the supply contained in these can only last a maximum of four weeks.
     Locally there have been fears of layoffs at John Day or The Dalles Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers says it can assure everyone that there will be no layoffs during this time. According to Dennis Stocks, Hydropower Operations Manager, running the locks is only a small part of what the 90 to 100 dam employees do, thus there will still be plenty of work to go around. There have been, however, some layoffs of barge operators along the Gorge.
     


KVH goes smoke free on whole campus

     The entire Klickitat Valley Health (KVH) campus is now tobacco free, as of Nov. 1.
KVH Commissioner John Quinn explained that, "Klickitat Valley Health is striving to become a model for good health care practices." As part of that initiative, the Board of Commissioners recently approved a new policy for the whole campus to be tobacco free. Although this move follows a nationwide trend with over half of U.S. hospitals becoming tobacco free, it means that there are a few major changes in the near future.
     When a patient or visitor checks in to the Hospital or visits the Family Practice Clinic, Golden View Terrace, or Home Health & Hospice, they will be asked to refrain from using their tobacco products for the duration of their stay. While on campus, patients will be offered tobacco replacement options such as gum and patches. Rhonda Turner, Respiratory Therapist (RT) at KVH elaborated by saying, "When a patient is admitted to our facility, they will be offered nicotine replacement therapy in one form or another to allow them to refrain from using tobacco products and/or they may be prescribed medications designed to help with cravings. If they decide to give up nicotine entirely for their stay (cold turkey), they will be several days ahead of the quitting game when they are discharged. KVH patients may be sent home with a prescription, smoking cessation aids and the Washington State Quit Line phone number."
     Visitors to KVH will be able to smoke in their private vehicle as long as it is parked at least 25 feet away from any door, vent, etc.
     Michael P. Eriksen, Sc.D, from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, summarized the impact of tobacco, explaining that, "Each person who dies of tobacco-related lung cancer loses an average of 14 years of expected life. Those who live with diseases such as emphysema often endure prolonged suffering and disability, financial hardship, and frequent hospitalizations that also have an adverse impact on the lives of family members. Tobacco use costs the nation more than $50 billion every year in medical expenses alone. Added to these costs are the loss of income caused by illness and premature death and other indirect costs incurred by both the patient and family members."
     According to the Washington State Department of Health, tobacco use in Klickitat County contributes to a loss of $4.6 million in healthcare and lost wages every year. Ten adults are diagnosed annually with cancers that are smoking related, and 20 adults die annually from smoking related causes.
     Quinn added, "We hope to encourage both employees and community members to avoid or stop the use of tobacco products." To help with this, Klickitat Valley Health plans to offer American Cancer Society-sponsored classes to provide support and resources for those in the community wishing to quit. Leslie Hiebert, Interim CEO of Klickitat Valley Health, explains, "We are working to create a healthy environment for everyone, especially our patients. Respiratory diagnoses account for one-third of all the visits for inpatient discharges and emergency room visits, making it the number one reason for patients visiting the hospital. With such a significant population of respiratory issues, it is important to look at how tobacco use impacts the safety of our patients."
     As part of its tobacco free initiative, KVH is offering a new program called Fresh Start, hosted by Ramona Reynolds, KVH Safety Officer and former smoker, and Rhonda Turner, RT. This free smoking-cessation resource is a two-week program consisting of four one hour classes. The first class will begin on Dec. 7 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in KVH Conference Room A. Participants are encouraged to utilize various support resources that are offered during this self-paced class. Turner stated, "We know that there is more than one way to successfully quit tobacco. A person may quit cold turkey, they may taper off, or they may choose a 'scheduled smoking' method. They may notice an improvement in as little as 20 minutes after their last cigarette when their heart rate and blood pressure begin to decrease. It takes one to two weeks for the body to clear itself of nicotine. The call staff at the quit line can also provide nicotine patches for a number of weeks at no charge, depending on the income status and insurance coverage of the caller. They can act as a sort of quitting crisis line."
     For more information about the tobacco free policy or cessation classes, call 773-1005, visit www.kvhealth.net, or email nosmoke@kvhealth.net.

 

 


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