Food Safety in the Summer

Warmer weather is ideal for outdoor picnics and barbecues, but it’s also a perfect environment for bacteria and other nasty bugs that can cause food poisoning.

  • The most common foodborne illnesses are:  norovirus, salmonella, clostridium perfringens and campylobacter.

To make sure you’re serving up food that’s safe so you don’t end up making a trip to the ER this Fourth of July holiday or summer, here are some tips to follow.

Wash Your Hands

  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.

Marinating Meats

  • Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat or poultry on cooked food. Reserve a portion of the unused marinade to use as a sauce.

Grilling guide

  • When grilling foods, preheat the coals on your grill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the coals are lightly coated with ash.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that food reaches a safe internal temperature.
  • Hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees, while large cuts of beef such as roasts and steaks may be cooked to 145 degrees for medium rare or to 160 degrees for medium.
  • Hot dogs, brats and sausages should be grilled to 165 degrees.
  • Poultry must reach a temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Fish should be opaque and flake easily.

 Warmer weather is ideal for outdoor picnics and barbecues, but it’s also a perfect environment for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Learn how to be safe from a Memorial expert.

Change plates

  • When taking foods off the grill, do not put cooked food items back on the same plate that held raw food, unless it has been washed with hot water and soap first.
  • In hot weather (above 90°F) foods should never sit out for more than one hour before going in the refrigerator.
  • Any food that sits out for more than two hours should be tossed in the garbage

Keep your cooler cool

  • A full cooler will maintain its cold temperatures longer than one that is partially filled so it is important to pack plenty of extra ice or freezer packs to ensure a constant cold temperature.
  • Keep the cooler out of the direct sun.
  • Keep drinks in a separate cooler from foods. The beverage cooler will be opened frequently while the food cooler stays cold.



Cardiac Rehab at Yakima Memorial

Recovering from a cardiac event or life-altering diagnosis can be a bit overwhelming without support. The first days and weeks after a cardiac event or new cardiac diagnosis can be a frightening, confusing time. You may be taking new medications and following new instructions. We can help you manage your condition and move toward a healthier way of living.

Cardiac Rehabilitation (also called cardiac rehab) is a medically supervised program of exercise, education and support for people with heart disease to improve their quality of life. The keystone of rehab is an individualized program in phases that involves monitored exercise, nutritional counseling, emotional support, and education about lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of future heart problems.

More >>

“Sailing Away to Key Largo….”

Dateline Key Largo, Florida. “We had it all. Just like Bogie and Bacall. Starring in our old late, late show. Sailing away to Key Largo”. Ahhh, yes, one of Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider’s favorite songs. In my mind I pictured Key Largo as a tropical paradise with lush flowers, white sand beaches everywhere, perfect weather……you know… Maui!  See more at: More >>

Donate To Help Cancer Care in Yakima >>

Starting the end of May 2013 I will be riding around our great nation to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Join me in supporting our cause… ALL donated funds go directly to The Memorial Foundation. My wife and I are funding the ride expenses.”

Panthers And Alligators And Crocs OH MY!!!!

Dateline…..somewhere in the Florida Keys. Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider braved the Florida Everglades today. Upon stopping for Jet-A, the very nice lady informed me that I was entering Alligator, Crocodile, and Panther (yes my dear friends, you heard right…Panther) country. I was advised to drive very, very carefully because should I hit any of them, they would be the winner. More >>

What is Hospice Part 3

This entry is the final entry in a three-part series on some of the basics of hospice.

Remember, hospice is a program of care and support for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. Hospice helps terminally ill people live their best lives, as comfortably as possible. The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.

Following are answers to commonly asked questions.

I’ve heard hospice helps people die. Do they do anything to bring death sooner?
No. Hospice does nothing to speed up or slow down the dying process. Our role is to lend support and allow the disease process to unfold as comfortably as possible. Our services are designed to bring comfort, control pain and other symptoms; address the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient, their family and caregivers; and provide assistance in matters of practical concern.

Can a hospice patient choose to return to curative treatment?
Yes. Receiving hospice care is always a choice. A patient may leave hospice and return to curative treatment if that is their choice. If the patient later chooses to return to hospice care, Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance companies permit re-activation of the hospice benefit.

Paying for hospice
A patient who chooses the Medicare hospice benefit agrees to give up treatments meant to cure disease. This is in return for other types of support and supplies. Hospice is a Medicare (federally funded) program. Many state Medicaid plans and private health insurance have a hospice benefit.

Does being on hospice mean I’m giving up hope or just waiting to die?
No. Hospice is about living—living your best life in the face of a terminal illness. Hospice strives to bring quality of life and comfort to a patient and their family. We constantly strive to help a patient and family live fully until the end. Often patients will feel better with good pain and symptom management. Hospice is an experience of care and support, different from any other type of care.

Do I have to be homebound to receive hospice services?
No. Hospice is about living fully. We encourage patients to do what they enjoy as they are able. The hospice team assists patients and families in achieving their goals and dreams as much as possible.

Does hospice provide support to the family after the patient dies?
Yes. Our Bereavement program follows family members for a year after the patient’s death. These services may include personal visits, providing information concerning the grief process and offering periodic opportunities for group support. The Bereavement program provides information and referral to other area resources when needed.

March of Dimes grant to fund study of health outcomes of Native American infants

(Yakima)  A collaborative partnership between several Yakima Valley health organizations got a boost from the March of Dimes in the form of a $10,000 grant.   Yakima Indian Health Center, Yakama Nation WIC, Yakama Reservation Wellness Coalition, Yakima Neighborhood Health, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Toppenish Community Hospital, Washington State University and University of Washington have formed “Ttáwaxt:  Our Heritage, Our Future”.   The group’s goal is to build a foundation for improving health outcomes for Native American infants in the Yakima Valley.

            The funding will be used to build upon the cultural strengths within the community and expand the knowledge of those who serve Native American women and their children.   The focus of this grant will be to understand several factors in maternal health:   current prenatal behaviors, access to prenatal services, and any other barriers that may hinder a healthy pregnancy.  The collaborative partners will develop a needs assessment, survey focus groups, educate clinical providers, and develop future strategic plans.

This issue has become a priority due to the increasing Native American infant mortality rate in Yakima County.  It is double the rate in the State of Washington.

“The health of our women and children is vital to a thriving community,” said Bertha Lopez, community outreach manager for Memorial.   “The “Ttáwaxt: Our Heritage, Our Future” collaborative is dedicated to listening to the voice of the community.   This will be the foundation of the community effort to reduce infant mortality and promote healthy young families within our tribal communities.  We are grateful to the March of Dimes for supporting this project.”

Memorial Hospital will serve as the fiscal sponsor for this grant.



What is Hospice?  Part 2

A hospice challenge is getting patients onto a hospice service soon enough to be fully beneficial for both the patient and the family. Hospice is available to patients that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less and we work to get our patients onto service as soon as possible. We want to help our patients and families live their best lives and help them prepare for the future—physically, emotionally and spiritually. When we get a patient on hospice with just a few hours or days before death, we find that the patient doesn’t get the opportunity to benefit from all we might offer—and they may find themselves less prepared than they would like to be.


This entry is the second part of a three-part series on some of the basics of hospice.

What is hospice?

Hospice is a program of care and support for patients and families who are faced with a terminal illness. Hospice helps terminally ill people live their best lives, as comfortably as possible. The focus is on comfort, not on curing an illness.


How do I know when hospice is an appropriate choice?

Patients are eligible for hospice care when they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with a typical prognosis of 6 months or less. That is a time for patients and family members to consider transitioning the primary focus from curative measures to comfort care and symptom management.

When should hospice be called?

Hospice should be called any time the patient has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s current and future care options, including hospice.

Are all hospices the same?No. “Hospice” is a medical specialty like pediatrics, geriatrics and oncology. Each hospice is a different organization. All hospices have the same general philosophy but their services may differ. Some hospices are for-profit corporations, while others (like Memorial Hospice) are not-for-profit organizations. Yakima County is home to three hospices: Memorial Hospice, Yakima Regional Hospice and Lower Valley Hospice. It is your right to request the hospice of your choice.



A Personal Plea From Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider

Over 12 million people in America alone are currently fighting the epidemic we call cancer. No, cancer isn’t sexy. It’s not even politically correct. But it is the killer of hundreds of thousands every year. We are working to find a cure for all cancers, not just the best advertised, or the most publicized.

And so my friends, I am issuing a challenge. If you have enjoyed being a part of Cancer Ride America, if you have liked reading about my travels or enjoyed the photographs, if you enjoy watching the SPOT Tracker, or if you have been touched by cancer or know someone who has. And who doesn’t?….

Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider challenges you to click that DONATE button on the home page at, or on our Facebook page -Cancer Ride America. And just as important, tell everyone on your Facebook page, send a request to your email list, tell your family, tell your friends, tell anyone who will listen – that you want them to do the same. And please remind them that Leanne and I are paying for this fund raising effort 100%, completely out of pocket. Everything donated goes to the Memorial Foundation to pay for cancer research and cancer patient expenses.