Clark Co. WA Communications
Emergency Messages as of 12:29 am, Fri. Nov. 16
No information currently posted. Operating as usual.
Subscribe to receive FlashAlert messages from Clark Co. WA Communications. Please use any browser other than Internet Explorer.
Primary email address for a new account:

Emergency Alerts News Releases  


Manage my existing Subscription

News Releases
Public Health offers tips for keeping holidays free of foodborne illness - 11/14/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Give thanks this holiday season, not foodborne illness.

Every year, one in six Americans is sickened by contaminated food or beverages, often from food that’s not prepared safely. Proper food storage and preparation are important in order to prevent illness.

Don’t take any chances with the health of your family and friends this holiday season. Follow these tips as you prepare for holiday gatherings, and visit the Clark County Public Health Facebook page for more food safety tips throughout the month.

Thawing

A fresh turkey should be cooked within two days of purchase. But if your turkey is frozen, never thaw it on the counter. Here are three safe ways to thaw a turkey:

  • In the refrigerator: Allow 24 hours of thawing for each four to five pounds of turkey – about three days for a 12-pound turkey or five days for a 20-pound turkey.
  • In a bowl or sink filled with cold water: Keep the turkey in its original wrapping and allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes.
  • In the microwave: Check the manual for directions. When thawed, cook immediately.

Preparation

Wash hands and surfaces often. After working with raw turkey, always wash your hands, utensils and work surfaces to prevent bacteria from contaminating other foods. Use only clean kitchen cloths and towels and wash them promptly after wiping up meat juices.

Stuffing

For optimal safety and uniform doneness, cook the stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole dish. If you place stuffing inside the turkey, do so just before roasting and use a food thermometer. Make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165 degrees and cause foodborne illness.

Cooking

Prior to cooking, be sure the turkey is completely thawed. When cooking, use a food thermometer to check the temperature in the center of the stuffing, the wing joint and meaty portions of the breast and thigh. All pieces must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Leftovers

Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking. Don’t leave food on the counter to cool down. Refrigerating foods quickly keeps most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Eat refrigerated leftovers within three or four days.

County council seeks applicants for volunteer Solid Waste Advisory Commission - 11/13/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council is seeking applicants for a volunteer position on the Solid Waste Advisory Commission.

The position represents Clark County at-large. The three-year term begins Jan. 1, 2019.

The commission advises the county council on solid waste issues, such as recycling, garbage collection, landfills, transfer stations and waste-reduction programs.

The commission meets at 6 pm on the first Thursday of February, May, August and November. Meetings are at the Center for Community Health, 1601 E Fourth Plain Blvd.

Members of the Solid Waste Advisory Commission represent a variety of interests, including the solid waste industry, the business community, agriculture, and city and county residents.

Applicants should send a résumé and letter of interest to Alyssa Weyhrauch, County Manager’s Office, PO Box 5000, Vancouver 98666-5000.

Applications also can be sent by email to auch@clark.wa.gov">Alyssa.Weyhrauch@clark.wa.gov or fax to 360.397.6058.

The letter of interest should include:

  • How you can represent the interests of Clark County residents.
  • Your personal or professional experience related to solid waste.
  • Your vision for the future of solid waste management in Clark County.

Application deadline is 5 pm Friday, Dec. 14.

Visit the Solid Waste Advisory Commission website for more information.

Clark College to host Morning Blend networking event - 11/09/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County’s Green Business program will hold the last Morning Blend networking event of the year from 8-9 am Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute at Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

Morning Blend is an opportunity for business representatives to network and discuss green business efforts in an informal setting. The monthly event is held at different local businesses on the third Thursday.

During this month’s event, attendees will have the opportunity to network and learn about waste reduction and recycling practices in the new state-of-the-art culinary institute. This free event is open to all Green Business participants and anyone who is interested in learning about the Green Business program.

Space is limited. Please register for the event in advance at www.clarkgreenbiz.com/morning-blend/november-morning-blend.

Clark County’s Green Business program recognizes and celebrates the achievements of local green businesses. The program helps businesses develop and implement initiatives that can improve efficiencies and benefit the environment.

To learn more about the Green Business program, visit www.clarkgreenbiz.com.

Development and Engineering Advisory Board needs land development expertise - 11/08/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County is seeking an applicant with a background and expertise in land development to join the 10-person Development and Engineering Advisory Board.

The successful applicant will be appointed to a three-year term, beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and ending Dec. 31, 2021. Members are eligible for reappointment after their terms expire.

The advisory board reviews policy and county code changes and works on process improvement and fees with the Community Development and Public Works departments. The board’s recommendations are routinely forwarded to the Clark County Council for use by final decision makers.

The board consists of three private-sector planners or engineers; one construction contractor; one public-sector planner or engineer; one land developer; one Building Industry Association representative; one person associated with commercial or industrial development; and two other professionals associated with development.

The Development and Engineering Advisory Board, commonly referred to as DEAB, typically meets from 2:30-4:30 pm the first Thursday of the month in the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Anyone interested should submit a letter of interest and résumé to Alyssa Weyhrauch, Council’s Office, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000. Applications also can be emailed to auch@clark.wa.gov">alyssa.weyhrauch@clark.wa.gov.

Application deadline is 5 pm Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

More information on DEAB, including bylaws and meeting agendas, minutes and audio recordings, is available on the county’s website, www.clark.wa.gov/public-works/development-and-engineering-advisory-board.

Clark County Finance Committee meeting scheduled for Nov. 15 - 11/08/18

Vancouver, Wash. ??' The Clark County Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. The meeting is open to the public.

The meeting will be held in Conference Room 243, second floor of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

The agenda includes discussion of the Third-Quarter 2018 County Finance Report.

County manager recommends no frills budget that recognizes limited resources - 11/06/18

Public hearings scheduled for first week in December

Vancouver, Wash. – County Manager Shawn Henessee is recommending a budget for 2019 to the county council that focuses on protecting critical and mandated functions while preserving adequate reserves.

“This is a fiscally conservative budget recommendation,” said Shawn. “I’m recommending approval of very few of the general fund requests from departments due to a lack of available resources.”

The county council will consider the $532 million budget during a public hearing beginning at 2 pm Monday, Dec. 3. The county’s other elected officials will be first to testify on budgets proposed by their departments.

Anyone interested may testify when the hearing continues at 6 pm Tuesday, Dec. 4. Both sessions will be in the sixth-floor hearing room in the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. If needed, public testimony will be continued to 10 am Wednesday, Dec. 5.

After public testimony, the council will deliberate and make a decision on the 2019 budget. Per state law, the county budget must be adopted after the budget hearings and prior to the beginning of the next fiscal period, Jan. 1, 2019.

Several of the budget requests Shawn recommends for approval are ones that benefit multiple or all departments. These include an annual subscription for Workday, the county’s new financial and Human Resources software, and upgrading computer software to Office 365.

Other recommendations include:

  • Enacting the 1 percent property tax increase to generate $632,000 in additional revenue
  • Increasing sales tax revenue forecasts for 2019 by $1.7 million
  • Realizing $395,000 in cost saving budget interventions
  • $1.6 million in Building Fund requests
  • $21.6 million in Road Fund requests
  • $7.9 million in Real Estate Excise Tax (REET 2) requests
  • $2.6 million in Mental Health Sales Tax Fund requests

Annual budget process

The 2019 budget will be the first annual budget for the county in 18 years. The county had been using a biennial budget process, but the council made the decision to switch to an annual process for easier budget forecasting and time-saving efficiencies.

The complete 2019 recommended budget can be found on the county’s website at https://www.clark.wa.gov/budget/2019-budget.

Commission on Aging November speaker to focus on impacts emerging technologies will have on transportation and land use - 11/06/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Advances in emerging technologies – such as autonomous vehicles, AV’s, E-commerce, and the sharing economy – are having profound effects not only on how we live and move in cities, but also on urban form and development itself. Learn how these new technologies are changing the way people and goods move, and the implications they will have for the development of communities at the next meeting of the Commission on Aging, 4:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Vancouver, Wash. – Advances in emerging technologies – such as autonomous vehicles, AV’s, E-commerce, and the sharing economy – are having profound effects not only on how we live and move in cities, but also on urban form and development itself. Learn how these new technologies are changing the way people and goods move, and the implications they will have for the development of communities at the next meeting of the Commission on Aging, 4:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 13.

The meeting will be in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. It is open to the public.

Becky Steckler, Program Manager for Urbanism Next at the University of Oregon, will discuss these emerging technologies and how the impacts on our communities will change how people young and old move around. Steckler manages and conducts technical research on the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on land use, urban design, transportation and real estate and their effect on equity, the economy, the environment and governance. She is a member of the Oregon Legislative Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles.

The Nov. 13 discussion is the eighth meeting this year focused on transportation, especially for people 65 and older. Transportation allows residents of all ages and abilities to connect with others and maintain independence and is the hallmark of a livable community.  For a schedule of topics, go to www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/2018-transportation-speaker-series.

The Commission on Aging, supported by the Clark County Council, is a nine-member volunteer group that implements the Aging Readiness Plan and provides leadership addressing needs of aging community members.

For more about the commission, visit www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/commission-aging.

The meeting will be in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. It is open to the public.

Becky Steckler, Program Manager for Urbanism Next at the University of Oregon, will discuss these emerging technologies and how the impacts on our communities will change how people young and old move around. Steckler manages and conducts technical research on the secondary impacts of emerging technologies on land use, urban design, transportation and real estate and their effect on equity, the economy, the environment and governance. She is a member of the Oregon Legislative Task Force on Autonomous Vehicles.

The Nov. 13 discussion is the eighth meeting this year focused on transportation, especially for people 65 and older. Transportation allows residents of all ages and abilities to connect with others and maintain independence and is the hallmark of a livable community.  For a schedule of topics, go to www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/2018-transportation-speaker-series.

The Commission on Aging, supported by the Clark County Council, is a nine-member volunteer group that implements the Aging Readiness Plan and provides leadership addressing needs of aging community members.

For more about the commission, visit www.clark.wa.gov/community-planning/commission-aging.

Businesses, community members honored for their commitment to individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities - 11/05/18

Vancouver, Wash. – On Oct. 3, 2018, the Clark County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board, the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, New Seasons Market, Umpqua Bank, SEH America, and the Vancouver Business Journal hosted the 18th annual celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The event honors Clark County’s employees with developmental disabilities, their employers, employment agencies, and citizens who provide outstanding service.

The event took place at The Heathman Lodge and Jonathan Chase, an Autism advocate, consultant and author was the keynote spearker. The event was emceed by Kelly Love of Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, and featured speakers: Vancouver Mayor Anne Mcenerny-Ogle, Clark County Councilor Julie Olson, and Chair of the Clark County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board, Walt Gordon. Throughout the program, several videos were shown to introduce award categories. These videos featured a combination of 2017 award winners and others making an impact in Clark County supported employment.  

The event was recorded by Clark Vancouver TV and can be viewed at https://www.cvtv.org/vid_link/27091.

This year’s award winners are:

Public Employer of the Year – C-Tran. This is the second time C-Tran has been honored as a leader in hiring people with disabilities. The Maintenance Department has a long history of working with supported employees and currently employs four people who have worked for the company ranging from 5 to 25 years and work between 30-40 hours per week.

Private Employer of the YearAndersen Dairy. Andersen Dairy was founded more than 50 years ago and currently employs more than 150 employees. They set the standard for the successful integration of employees with disabilities in their business. They work hard to build their awareness and understanding of the contributions, experiences, and skills that employees with disabilities bring and value the diversity of their employees and their perspectives. They were nominated by three different people, all echoing the theme that this local business believes in and supports all their employees.

Employee of the YearCharles Hardy Jr. Since 2013, Charles has become an essential member of his team, boosting morale and enabling the Old Spaghetti Factory to better serve its customers. He began in maintenance, but after his supervisors saw him excel in everything they gave him, his tasks expanded to include food prep and portioning in the kitchen.

Charles is often recognized for his strong work ethic and the clear pride he shows in his work. He assists his coworkers with their tasks and is an avid proponent of teamwork. His determination and attitude are contagious to those around him, and he sets an outstanding example for others to follow.

David Hanawalt Service AwardShawn Cavanaugh, Employment Specialist at Keys to Advancement. Shawn is described as someone who excels in developing positive relationships by building trust with her customers, families, support staff and the businesses she interfaces with. She is dedicated to supporting her customers to succeed on their employment paths and continually encourages her customers to be independent and pursue new adventures.

Her employer stated that they are “grateful to have someone as knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring as her.” She continually exceeds all expectations and represents what an excellent employment consultant should be, not just because of her dedication to her customers, but for a desire to make life better for her co-workers and people she interacts with on a daily basis.

Dennis Campbell Outstanding Service AwardTeresa Pritchard, Supervisor of S.E.H America Managed Services. She was nominated by her peers because of her ability to lead by example. Many describe her as an amazing role model and supervisor with a great sense of humor and high level of professionalism. She is known for her keen mind and endless quest for relevant knowledge. Her nomination included testimonials collected from more than 20 people who know and work with her.

Outstanding Public Servant Award Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt. Councilor Boldt has committed to a life of service to his community. His contributions reflect the belief that we can make a difference in peoples’ lives. Whether it is serving as a 4H leader, state legislator, county councilor or youth leader in his church, he has chosen to serve, and we are better because of his commitment.

The 2018 nominees are:
Employer of the Year: 24 Hour Fitness – The Palms, Candlewood Suites, McCord's Toyota, Nektar Juice Bar, Parr Lumber and YMCA Child Development Center

Employee of the Year: Kahneetah Brown, Paul Brown, Sherry Chamberlin, Stephanie Chase, Sean Dinsmore, Ben Fisher, Hadley Park, Donnie Sellers, Jennifer Stephens

The David Hanawalt Service Award: Teresa Pritchard, Debbie Thompson

The Dennis Campbell Outstanding Service Award: Rosemary Cowan, Holly Shaw

Congratulations to all!

Steel leg trap
Steel leg trap
County Animal Control investigating recent animal deaths (Photo) - 11/05/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Animal Protection and Control officers have responded to several recent incidents around Vancouver involving raccoon and cat deaths, where evidence indicates the animals ingested an unidentified poison.

A number of raccoons have been killed and placed in Fircrest Park in central Vancouver. Officers have recovered the bodies of multiple cats and raccoons, apparently poisoned, near downtown and in east Vancouver. Another raccoon was found alive in an illegal leg hold trap that had become lodged in a backyard fence on the east side of the city.

The number of incidents has Animal Control staff concerned. While it’s unknown if all of these cases of animal cruelty were intentional, Animal Protection and Control Manager Susan Anderson reminds residents that the aforementioned methods of dispatching pets or wildlife are illegal in Clark County and the state of Washington.

“Death from poisoning in this manner is extremely painful, and using poison or body gripping traps is considered inhumane,” Anderson notes. “Persons found to be responsible for these acts may be charged with animal cruelty.”

Clark County Animal Protection and Control is asking anyone with information about these or similar incidents to contact the agency at 564.397.2488.

For more information on laws pertaining to “nuisance” wildlife, check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/. The site also features many useful tips for living with wildlife.

Attached Media Files: Steel leg trap
County seeks volunteers for Farm Advisory Committee - 11/01/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council is seeking applicants to fill five vacancies to represent the active farming community on the Clark County Farm Advisory Committee. 

The term is one year from January through December 2019, and the committee shall convene a minimum of once per year. 

The committee serves as an advisory group to the Assessor in implementing assessment guidelines as established by the department for open space, farm and agricultural, and timber land classified under the provisions of chapter 84.34 of the Revised Code of Washington.

Applicants should have knowledge of typical crops, land quality and net cash rental assessments to assist the assessor in determining appropriate values.

Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to Alyssa Weyhrauch, Clark County Council’s Office, PO Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000. Letters also may be emailed to auch@clark.wa.gov">alyssa.weyhrauch@clark.wa.gov.

Deadline is 5 pm Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. 

Coupons for free leaf disposal good for another two months, through Dec. 31 - 11/01/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Coupons offering free disposal for to 5 cubic yards of leaves are good for another two months, through the end of 2018.

Clark County and the city of Vancouver jointly offer the program. Coupons can be downloaded from the county’s website, www.clark.wa.gov/public-works/leaf-disposal, and used at four locations:

  • H & H Wood Recyclers, 8401 NE 117th Ave., 360.892.2805. 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday; and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday.
  • McFarlane's Bark, 8806 NE 117th Ave., 360.892.6125. 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday and 9 am to 4 pm Sunday in November; and 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday in December (closed Sunday in December).
  • Triangle Resources, 612 SE Union St., Camas, 360.834.7253. 8 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 
  • West Van Materials Recovery Center, 6601 NW Old Lower River Road, 360.737.1727. 6 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday; and 8 am to 4 pm Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Leaves must be emptied from bags at the disposal sites. Regular disposal fees apply to leaves mixed with other yard debris.

Other disposal options include applying leaves as winter mulch or using yard debris collection service available from Waste Connections of Washington.

Clark County reminds residents not to blow, rake, sweep or dump leaves onto streets, where they can block storm drains, cause flooding, and create driving hazards. Blowing, raking, sweeping or dumping leaves onto county roads is littering and violates county code.

To help prevent flooding on neighborhood streets with relatively light traffic, residents can clear clogged storm drains by standing on a safe location away from traffic and using a rake or other garden tool to pull leaves from the path of flowing water.

Residents should not try to clear storm drains on busy streets. Call Clark County Public Works at 360.397.2446 to report clogged storm drains or flooding on busy streets outside city limits.

Clark County Council extends meeting timeline regarding freight rail dependent uses - 10/30/18

Vancouver, Wash. – On Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, the Clark County Council formally decided to postpone  public hearings regarding freight rail dependent uses until 2019.

Following the passage of Senate Bill 5517 in 2017, the county council has been working to implement freight rail dependent uses in Clark County. The bill amended the Growth Management Act to allow “freight rail dependent uses” and gives Clark and Okanogan counties authority to allow such uses adjacent to short line railroads.

On Jan. 9, 2018, the county council began implementation of SB 5517 by adopting the freight rail dependent use overlay, and amending the county’s comprehensive plan to create policies to allow for freight rail dependent uses. The overlay applies to properties within 500 feet of the county’s Chelatchie Prairie rail line between Northeast 119th and 149th streets in the Brush Prairie area, excluding land zoned R-5 or land within the Brush Prairie Rural Center.

After adoption of the overlay, the county began consideration of the appropriate development regulations and creation of a list of allowed uses. The county council formed the Freight Rail Dependent Use Advisory Committee, which provided recommendations to the council in June regarding the size of the overlay and potential allowable uses along the rail corridor. The public further provided input through a survey, an open house, emails and public comment.

Throughout this robust public process, a number of issues developed requiring further deliberation by county staff and the county council. To ensure that this economic development opportunity is realized to its full potential, while limiting any negative effect to the surrounding neighborhoods to the greatest extent possible, additional time is necessary to resolve many remaining questions.

“This is a significant land use decision,” said Council Chair Marc Boldt. “It is important that we do not rush to a conclusion. The county needs to get this right, not just done fast.”

The need for a delay into 2019 is brought about due to a number of factors:

  • Schedules for the county councilors are very full in late 2018 due to budget hearings and the holidays.
  • The depth of the issues involved requires in-depth review of each of the proposed allowable uses and their appropriateness in the area.
  • The county has initiated discussions with the railroad operator regarding the lease agreement between the operator and the county to address and clarify existing lease terms.

“Economic development, particularly involving the creation of new industrial land in the rural areas, is a great opportunity. But the railroad lease must be fair, equitable and legal to ensure all parties are protected.” said Boldt.

The county council and county staff will continue working on gathering the necessary information to address the concerns raised through this process. In the meantime, the public is welcome to continue to provide input and ask questions. You can learn more about this project at www.clark.wa.gov/rail.

Residents also may contact any of the Clark County Councilors or County Manager Shawn Henessee directly with questions or comments regarding the freight rail dependent use project or any other aspect of the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad at 564.397.2232.

County youth program seeks west side input on youth substance use, misuse - 10/30/18

Vancouver, Wash. – The West Van for Youth coalition has posted a survey to gather views on youth substance use from families and businesses in the west-side 98660, 98661 and 98663 zip codes.

The survey results will help the coalition know how to better serve youth and families in west Vancouver.

The coalition, made up of students, individuals and public and private agencies, works to promote healthy choices and reduce substance misuse among youth. It was established in 2011 as part of the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative program funded and administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority. Clark County is the fiscal agent for the coalition.

The survey, which is hosted on SurveyMonkey, is anonymous. Responses will be kept confidential and reported only as aggregated data.

The survey is voluntary. A community member who takes the survey can decline to answer any question or stop the survey any time. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.

An English version of the survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLWEVAEN2018.

A Spanish version of the survey is at https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/CLWVSP2018.

The survey is among several recent efforts by coalition members to raise awareness about youth substance use and encourage youths to participate in drug prevention activities. In late October, coalition volunteers:

  • Adorned trees and lamp posts in downtown Vancouver and west-side neighborhoods with red ribbons for a substance prevention campaign.
  • Planted 800 red tulip bulbs in downtown Vancouver and west-side neighborhoods.
  • Helped Discovery Middle School students create posters to educate classmates about prevention.

For more information about West Van for Youth, please contact Alaina Green, program coordinator, at 360.397.2130 ext. 5841 or een@clark.wa.gov">alaina.green@clark.wa.gov

Get your flu shot now to protect yourself and others from illness - 10/29/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Flu viruses are beginning to circulate in the community, making now the perfect time to get a seasonal flu shot if you haven’t already been immunized this year. Flu shots are the best method to prevent flu, hospitalization and missed days of school or work.

Flu can occur in any month, but transmission primarily occurs October through May. Getting immunized now ensures you’re protected once flu activity intensifies.

“It can take up to two weeks for protection to kick in, so you don’t want to wait until flu is widely circulating before you get your shot,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer. “The sooner you’re vaccinated, the sooner you’re protected. And you’ll stay protected throughout the flu season.”

Health officials recommend annual flu shots for everyone 6 months and older. Immunization not only protects the person receiving the shot, but higher immunization rates also help to protect those most vulnerable to complications. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and long-term health conditions are at greatest risk of complications from flu.

While most people with the flu do not need to seek medical care, flu symptoms can be severe and typically include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Those who have flu symptoms and are in a high-risk group, or who are worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that kills more people in the U.S. than any other vaccine-preventable disease. Last year’s flu season was reportedly the deadliest on record in the U.S. with an estimated 80,000 people, including 180 children, dying from flu and its complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the 2017-18 flu season, Clark County had 15 flu-associated deaths, all of whom had predisposing conditions (chronic lung, heart or kidney disease, obesity, diabetes and asthma). One death was a child younger than 10; the others were adults 40 and older. Clark County Public Health also worked with 17 long-term care facilities that reported outbreaks of influenza or influenza-like illness at their facilities during last year’s flu season.

Flu vaccine is widely available in Clark County. To get vaccinated, call your health care provider or pharmacy. You also can find locations offering flu vaccines at www.vaccinefinder.org.

For those without health insurance, several medical clinics are offering free or low-cost flu shots, including Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Free Clinic of Southwest Washington, Battle Ground Healthcare and New Heights Clinic.

In addition to immunization, these everyday practices can reduce the chance of catching or spreading illness:

  • Cough or sneeze into your arm or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an alternative when soap and water aren’t available.
  • Stay home when sick and limit contact with others.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.

Public Health warns of false alert about failing septic systems - 10/26/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health learned Thursday that a company selling septic additives is calling residents, claiming there is an alert about failing septic systems and offering products to clean systems. Public Health has not issued an alert regarding failing septic systems and encourages residents to research products before using them in septic systems.

Additives are commercial products sold under the claim that their use will improve the performance or aesthetics of an on-site sewage treatment system. However, most additives do not have a positive effect on the operation of on-site systems and may, in fact, contaminate groundwater aquifers.

The Washington State Department of Health has compiled a list of approved on-site septic system additives that do not have adverse effects on water quality or public health. The approval process is limited to identifying harmful ingredients and does not investigate the validity of performance claims by manufacturers.

To review the state health department’s list of approved on-site septic system additives, visit www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/337-025.pdf.

Routine operation and maintenance inspections with certified specialists are the best method for preventing costly septic system failures. The performance and lifespan of a septic system is directly related to how the system is operated and maintained.

For more information, including a list of certified operation and maintenance specialists, visit the Public Health website, www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/site-septic-systems.

Apply now for 2019 Master Composter Recycler training - 10/25/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health is looking for its next class of sustainability ambassadors. The Master Composter Recycler program is now accepting applications for a no-cost 10-week training program that begins in January.

Master Composter Recyclers educate the community about easy ways to reduce waste and recycle right. Program volunteers host backyard composting workshops, share their knowledge at community events, and operate composting demonstration sites.

Those who are interested in becoming a Master Composter Recycler can register for the 10-week training program. Classes will be held 6-8:30 pm every Wednesday, Jan. 23 through March 27.

The training will cover a variety of topics, including composting, food waste, mulching, soil composition, vermicomposting, recycling and green cleaning. Participants also will compete in a compost contest, perform jar soil-tests and waste audits, and tour a worm farm, natural garden and transfer station.

Participants who successfully complete the program are certified as Master Composter Recyclers. Graduates are asked to contribute 30 volunteer hours within a year in exchange for the training.

“Over the years, our Master Composter Recycler volunteers have provided extraordinary service to the community,” said Pete DuBois, Master Composter Recycler coordinator. “They exemplify environmental stewardship in diverse and remarkable ways.”

For more information about Master Composter Recyclers, to view the training program syllabus and to register for the training, visit the Master Composter Recycler website, www.clarkcountycomposts.org.

Dirt trails at Whipple Creek Park open only to hikers, runners during wet season - 10/25/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Parks will put seasonal trail restrictions in place at Whipple Creek Regional Park next week to preserve the park’s natural surface trails.

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 1, dirt trails will be open only to foot traffic at the 300-acre park off Northwest 179th Street. Equestrians and mountain bikers can continue to use the park’s gravel trails year-round.

This is the second year the county has restricted access on the park’s dirt trails, which can be muddy due to poor drainage, clay soils and steep slopes.

Since 2010, the Whipple Creek Restoration Committee and community volunteers have donated more than 8,500 hours to build reroutes, improve drainage and spread gravel across the park’s main trails, making them accessible year-round. Volunteers also realigned and restored a series of natural surface trails.

Clark County Parks will post signs at main entrances to Whipple Creek Regional Park explaining the seasonal closures and displaying a map of the park’s gravel and dirt, or primitive, trails. Signs also will be posted at each dirt trail entrance reminding users the trail is open only to hikers and runners during wet weather.

The county’s decision last year to restrict trail access during wet weather yielded positive results. Volunteers did not need to do as much maintenance, and the recreational experience was improved for all trails users since there was less mud.

“These common sense restrictions preserve the hard work of our volunteers,” said Bill Bjerke, parks manager. “We appreciate the public’s understanding and cooperation so the park’s natural surface trails will be in good shape for all users during drier weather.”

Weather and trail conditions will determine when Clark County opens Whipple Creek Regional Park’s dirt trails to all users in spring 2019. Following restrictions during the previous rainy season, the park’s dirt trails were opened to all users in mid-May of this year.

Volunteers can assist with plantings for Turtle Pond environmental enhancement - 10/24/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Volunteers are needed for two November events to help plant native vegetation near Turtle Pond, along the south side of the popular Salmon Creek Greenway Trail.

Clark County Public Works is removing blackberry, garlic mustard, reed canary grass and other invasive species from the Turtle Pond area, west of the Vancouver Girls Softball Association’s fields.

Volunteers are needed for two planting events: 9 am to 1 pm Saturday, Nov. 3; and 8 am to noon Saturday, Nov. 17.

The Nov. 17 planting will be on National Family Volunteer Day, less than a week before Thanksgiving. Families are encouraged to kick off the holiday season by giving back to the community and taking part in this “Thankful Planting” event.

The two plantings are great opportunities to help beautify and improve wildlife habitat along one of the most popular trails in Clark County.

Volunteers can sign up online at http://bit.ly/Turtle-Pond. Be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing that you don't mind getting dirty, along with long pants and closed-toe boots or shoes.

Youth 13 and younger can volunteer with a parent or guardian. Teenagers 14 to 17 years old need to have signed minor consent forms to volunteer without a parent or guardian.

The Turtle Pond enhancement project is part of the county’s reforestation program. The program’s overall goal is to plant 30 acres of county-owned land within five years. The reforestation program is paid for using clean water fees collected from property owners in unincorporated Clark County.

More information on Clark County Public Works’ volunteer program is available on the county’s website, www.clark.wa.gov/public-works/volunteer.

Second-installment 2018 property tax payments due Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018 - 10/24/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Doug Lasher, Clark County Treasurer, stated that second-installment 2018 property taxes are due on Wednesday, Oct. 31. “If you have not received your 2018 second-installment tax statement or have misplaced it, you can visit our website at www.clark.wa.gov/treasurer or contact the Treasurer’s Office at 564.397.2252 for a duplicate statement.”

The Treasurer’s Office is located on the second floor of the Public Service Center at 1300 Franklin St., one block north of the county courthouse. Office hours are 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday – Friday. Nearby metered parking is $1.25 for the first hour.

Taxpayers may pay their property taxes online using a credit/debit card or from their checking/savings account.  While credit/debit card payments are assessed a 2.39% convenience fee, there is only a $1 per transaction fee for using your electronic checking/savings account. To make a payment, go to www.clark.wa.gov/treasurer/payment-options, or call 1.877.778.4606. 

To register to receive your tax statement electronically and manage your property taxes online, go to www.clark.wa.gov/ezPropertyTax. Payment transactions must be completed by midnight Wednesday, Oct. 31, to avoid interest charges.

Tax payments also can be mailed to the Clark County Treasurer, Caller Box 35150, Seattle, WA  98124-5150.Tax payments must be postmarked by Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, to avoid interest charges.  Taxpayers are encouraged to use the return envelope and payment coupon provided with their statement to mail their payments.

Public Health adds Lacamas Lake to blue-green algae advisory - 10/18/18

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health has added Lacamas Lake to the blue-green algae advisory issued Tuesday afternoon for nearby Round Lake.

The public should avoid direct contact with water at Round Lake and Lacamas Lake in Camas due to cyanobacteria blooms, also known as blue-green algae. Blue-green algae produce toxins that can be harmful to people and deadly for small pets that drink the water.

A citizen reported a bloom at Round Lake earlier this week. Public Health collected water samples from Round Lake on Tuesday afternoon and posted caution signs at the lake. Results from those water samples are pending.

On Thursday, Public Health staff found a cyanobacteria bloom at nearby Lacamas Lake and collected water samples to test for toxins. Caution signs have been posted at the lake.

For Lacamas and Round lakes, health officials are recommending:

  • No water contact for people in areas of scum.
  • Keep pets away from lake water.
  • Clean fish well and discard organs.

The appearance of the blooms may grow and dissipate as temperatures fluctuate throughout the day and overnight. Public Health will continue to monitor the lakes, and signs will be updated as conditions change. Additional information and current advisories are posted on the Public Health public beach website.

Lacamas Regional Park and Heritage Park remain open. Water within the restrooms and shelters is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink.