Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Erin McCallum of Enterprise Washington travels to Port Angeles to discuss politics and business with local groups

Erin McCallum, president and CEO of Enterprise Washington, recently traveled to Port Angeles where she discussed the importance of a healthy business community and private sector in a achieving a well-balanced political climate.

Port Angeles' Legislative District scored 42 out of a possible 100 for voters’ propensity to support business-minded lawmakers. Business leaders in the area were reminded by McCallum of the importance of community engagment in the local and legislative elections.

Check out these publications for further details:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Medical Teams International responds to Japan's deadly earthquake and tsunami

Medical Teams International is working with four partners in Japan to help save lives following Friday's deadly earthquake and tsunami. Initially, the agency is helping partners truck in safe drinking water to areas affected by the disasters.

"We can best help the Japanese people at this time by providing water, food and money and other items needed for survival," said Joe DiCarlo, director of international programs for Medical Teams International.

"We cannot send in medical teams because Japan requires in-country medical licensing. So, we are doing what we can to ensure the health of people by providing the water, food and other items they need to survive at this time. And, of course, we are keeping them in our prayers during this unprecedented disaster," DiCarlo concluded.

Partners on the scene for Medical Teams International are establishing five bases of operation to provide lifesaving help to survivors in five Japanese regions: Fukushima, South Sendai, North Senda, Minami Sanrikucho and Morioka, Hachinohe. Local volunteers will distribute supplies that Medical Teams International provides through cash donations from its supporters.

Linda Ranz, Medical Teams International's vice president of development, spoke with KIRO 7 news to offer the organization's support and guidance.

NASA announces date that space shuttle placement decision is to be revealed: April 12, 2011

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden revealed at a House committee hearing last week that a decision regarding placement for the retiring space shuttle orbiters will be announced Tuesday, April 12. The Museum of Flight in Seattle is one of 27 institutions that are vying for one of the retiring orbiters and its new 15,500-sq.-ft. space gallery – potentially the home of an orbiter – will be completed in July 2011.

The April 12 date is significant in that it marks the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch and the 50th anniversary of the first human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

“We believe that our mission to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the country, along with Washington state’s extensive contributions to aerospace innovation, make us uniquely qualified to be the final home for one of the shuttles,” said Museum of Flight President and CEO Douglas King. “We are eager to hear NASA’s decision.”

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fate of 'Take Back Your Meds' program to be decided Monday, March 7

Take Back Your Meds (Senate Bill 5234) is the proposed statewide program that would provide convenient drop-off locations for unused medicines for safe and secure disposal. Supporters of the program, like Executive Director of the Washington Poison Center Jim Williams, believe a statewide system is needed to ensure that all Washington residents have easy access to a place to take their unused drugs. With the vote coming to a close on program on March 7, there has been a lot of buzz around the issue of pharmaceutical disposal and what a program like Take Back Your Meds would do for the community.

Check out the program's features on KIRO 7 and Q13:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

KIRO 7 Reports on the Museum of Flights $12 million Space Gallery Project

KIRO 7 recently reported on the Museum of Flight's $12 million Space Gallery project, which is being built in hopes of receiving one of America's three retiring space shuttles.

On March 2 Construction workers erected a 40-foot glass fa├žade at the site of the new 15,000-square-foot Space Gallery. The 40-foot glass wall will be supported by two steel cross braces made up of seven x-shaped sections, which will be lifted into place by a crane. Large bolts will secure the cross braces to the foundation.

While a decision is not expected until at least April 2011 on where the shuttles will retire, having a climate-controlled building in place for the space shuttle is among the requirements that NASA established in its 2008 and 2009 Requests for Information (RFI) to the public.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Laying groundwork for Space Gallery of the Museum of Flight

The Seattle Times wrote a story about The Museum of Flight's new Space Gallery project. If museum supporters are successful, this $12 million gallery project will eventually house one of America's four retiring space shuttles.

To read the full story, click here.

Rx drug disposal bill faces deadline on Senate floor

JOHN DODGE; Staff writer

A bill to create a statewide program for safe disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter medicines faces a showdown on the Senate floor.

Supporters of Senate Bill 5234, including local governments, law enforcement, medical associations and environmental groups, say a secure drug take-back program is needed to stem drug abuse by young people and keep drugs out of community water systems.

About $4 billion is spent on drugs in the state each year, and about 30 percent of them go unused, leading to drug abuse and drug overdoses, noted Margaret Shields, a hazardous waste program manager in King County.

Health officials point out that misuse of potent prescription drugs, including painkillers, is on the rise. The number of youths admitted to state-funded treatment for prescription opiates is 19 times higher than it was in 2002, and drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for young people in the state.

The take-back program would be financed by the drug companies, making it a product stewardship program similar to ones run in this state for electronic waste and mercury.

“It’s a small cost – no more than $2.5 million a year – but the drug companies don’t want to pay for it,” Shields said.

The pharmaceutical companies have staged a determined fight to keep this state from becoming the first with a statewide medicine take-back program.

The best way to get unwanted drugs out of the house in a secure, safe way is to put them in the household trash in a plastic bag with some undesirable product such as coffee grounds or kitty litter, said Leslie Wood, senior director of state advocacy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Here’s another concern voiced by the drug industry: “Collected medicine could pass through many hands, leading to misuse,” Wood said.

“There’s no evidence anywhere of that happening,” Shields said of the take-back programs operating in 13 counties in the state, in other states or other countries. “The bill has a number of security requirements built into it.”

Thurston County has seven temporary drop boxes, including one outside the Sheriff’s Office at the county courthouse. They collected more than 2,100 pounds of unwanted drugs in 2010.

“I’m not aware of any problems at these collection sites,” Sheriff John Snaza said. The sheriff said he supports the legislation, adding that the $6,000 his department has spent on the program could be used for training sheriff’s deputies or for other direct law enforcement projects.

The bill, which must pass the Senate by Monday to stay alive, would create the Medicine Return Corp., a nonprofit group, to finance and operate the program. The board of directors would consist of four state legislators and producers of drugs sold in this state. The corporation would solicit law enforcement agencies, pharmacies and hospitals to collect the drugs.

Vitamins, supplements and pet-pest treatment products are exempt under the bill.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444 jdodge@theolympian.com

Take Back Your Meds PSA KIRO 97.3

Check out the Take Back Your Meds PSA on KIRO 97.3.

Jim Williams, executive director of Washington Poison Center speaks to KIRO radio on the Take Back Your Meds program. The program, proposed as Senate bill 5234, would require the pharmacy industry to devise a plan to safely dispose of drugs, keeping prescription pills out of the wrong hands.