Tacoma @ TAGRO
2201 Portland Avenue, Gate 6
June 9, 10-Noon: Garden Bugs: The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly
July 14, 10-Noon: Planting and Planning Your Fall Garden
July 26, 6-8 p.m.: Recycled Arts and Crafts for the Garden

Gig Harbor @ Sehmel Homestead Park
10123 78th Avenue NW
June 19, 6-8 p.m.: Garden Bugs: The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly
July 21, 10-Noon: Planting and Planning Your Fall Garden
July 31, 6-8 p.m.: Recycled Arts and Crafts for the Garden

Puyallup @ WSU Master Garden Demonstration Garden
2606 West Pioneer
June 12, 6-8 p.m.: Garden Bugs: The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly
July 10, 6-8 p.m.: Planting and Planning Your Fall Garden
July 17, 6-8 p.m.: Recycled Arts and Crafts for the Garden

To give us an idea of how many students to expect,
please call or e-mail Kristen McIvor to put your name on the list
(253) 363 1846

For more information, go to www.growlocaltacomapierce.com

Good eye health doesn’t just happen. Good eyesight is an important part of well-being and a significant factor in retaining independence and quality of life.  Vision loss does not need to be an accepted part of life.  Vision can deteriorate for many reasons.  Even when loss is associated with the aging process, many interventions are available.
Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center and Pacific Northwest Eye are sponsoring “Can You See What I See,” a free informational workshop for all ages.  Find out what can be done when vision does change, what options are available, and how consumers can evaluate those choices. Topics include cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes, diabetes, glaucoma and eye surgeries.  No RSVP is required.  It will be repeated four times:
· June 4 –12:10-12:50 p.m.
County-City Building, 7th Floor Rainier Conference Rm., 930 Tacoma Ave S., Tacoma
· June 12 – 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Merrill Gardens at Tacoma,7290 Rosemount Circle, Tacoma
· June 18 – 12:10-12:50 p.m.
Pierce County Annex, Main Conference Room, 2401 35th Street, Tacoma
Dr. Victor W. Chiu, M.D. will be speaking about a variety of eye conditions that people of any age must consider: cataracts, macular degeneration, blurry or double vision, diabetes, glaucoma, LASIK, surgeries and more.  Dr. Chiu is on the staff of Pacific Northwest Eye.  He is board certified in ophthalmology.  His memberships include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
All three presentations of the workshop are free and open to the public.  No RSVPs are necessary.  For more information contact the Pierce County Aging & disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.

Stay healthy this winter with a flu shot

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as vaccine becomes available, as it is now in our community.

Vaccination before the end of December is best because this timing ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is typically at its highest.  Flu shots reduce your chances of fever, sore throat, muscle aches and other flu-like symptoms.

This year’s flu vaccine, just like last year’s, is designed with “swine flu” in mind, in that one of the three types of flu it protects against is H1N1 flu. One shot does it all this year (there is a nasal form if you hate needles).

Everyone who is six months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, the CDC recommends. It’s especially important that specific groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk for serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing health complications related to the flu. These include:
• Pregnant women
• Children under 5, and especially children younger than 2 years old
• People 50 years of age and older
• Individuals of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
• Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
• Individuals who live with or care for those at high risk for flu-related complications, including health care workers and parents of children less than 6 months of age (these children are considered too young to be vaccinated).

Some people should not receive a flu vaccine without first consulting their physician or health care provider. These include individuals who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, those who have previously experienced a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination, and individuals who have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after a flu shot. Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks itself. Exactly what triggers this rare condition is unknown. The syndrome may occur at any age but is most common in men and women between ages 30 and 50.

In addition to getting vaccinated, other tips for staying healthy during the cold and flu season include proper hand-washing techniques (washing regularly with warm water and soap, and using a hand-sanitizer gel); avoiding contact with sick people whenever possible; enjoying a well-balanced diet; and remaining physically active.

Amparo-Armi Franco, MD, practices family medicine at St. Francis Medical Clinic in Federal Way, a part of the Franciscan Medical Group. Need a doctor? Call the Franciscan Physician Referral Line toll-free at 1-888-825-3227.

Initiative 1163 must be defeated because its $80 million cost cannot be paid for without tax increases or cuts to vital senior services.  Like the rest of the nation, the State of Washington has grappled with crippling budget deficits for four legislative sessions.  With Governor Gregoire calling a special 30-day legislative session to deal with the crisis, there’s an additional 1.4 billion reasons to oppose I-1163.

As the Washington Research Council wrote in its new initiative analysis:  “I-1163:  One, twice, still not a priority.”

Voters, don’t be fooled. I-1163 represents the wrong priorities.  Mandatory caregiver training and criminal background checks are already required by law.  I-1163 costs $80 million in the next two years and benefits just one interest group – Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Every daily newspaper in the state, including the News Tribune and the Seattle Times, have taken a position on this measure and urge voters to say NO 1163.

State officials agree.  At a time when they couldn’t agree on much, 82 percent of lawmakers voted to delay the previous training initiative, I-1029.  At a time when the Legislature was eliminating entire programs, elected officials were unwilling to fund a new government project.  Only SEIU and their few allies supported the expensive new program.

Last spring, the Legislature cut more than $500 million in medical services and in-home care to seniors and adults with disabilities.  Eliminated were vision and hearing aids, dental care, and a reduction in prescription drugs coverage.  In-home care services, which allow seniors and the people with disabilities to safely stay in their homes with the help of visiting caregivers, were slashed. Overall, there were more than $2 billion in cuts at DSHS, affecting children, the mentally ill, and the working poor.  Other areas of the state budget were slashed as well, including public education and prisons staffing.

Less than four months later, state agencies have prepared additional 10 percent cutbacks to address the latest shortfall, including the elimination of another $873 million at DSHS.  Care will end for 17,000 seniors and adults with disabilities; the Health Care Authority has sharply reduced emergency room visits for poor people receiving Medicaid; and our correctional facilities are releasing hundreds of inmates and mental patients into the community.

The state is desperate for money.  There is simply no way to pay for I-1163.

Our industry is absolutely committed to the highest standards of training and professional business practices.   That isn’t what this initiative is about. It’s about a powerful special interest writing self-serving policy for their own benefit.

How does SEIU propose to pay the $80 million price tag of I-1163?   SEIU’s selfish, cavalier approach to the current budget crisis is unconscionable. Whose medical services will be eliminated to pay for I-1163? Whose school lunches do they intend to cut? Whose taxes do they intend to raise?  How many seniors will go without care so the SEIU can fund their training program?

In addition to forcing a new program onto an unwilling state government, 1163 will require significant new costs on long term care, which will drive up the cost for residents and clients.  Nursing homes, adult family homes, and home care businesses will have to pay thousands of dollars per year to fund SEIU’s new program.  How many long term care workers will lose their jobs?  How many vulnerable adults will see the quality of their care diminished because long term care centers are forced to cut costs to pay for new training they neither want nor need?

To preserve services for seniors and people with disabilities, the only responsible thing to do is vote NO on 1163.

For addition information on the No on Initiative 1163 campaign, please visit: http://www.no1163.com/


(Julie Ferguson is co-chair of People Protecting Our Seniors – NO 1163 (www.no1163.com) is a broad-based coalition that includes organizations advocating for senior protection, disability rights, residential housing, long term care, business and consumer advocates.  The coalition members care for more than 500,000 seniors and people with disabilities in the State of Washington.)