Wildfire safety


How to protect your family and home.

Preparing for wildfires

According to the Red Cross, you can lessen the impact of wildfires—or even prevent them—by following some basic rules:

  • Report hazardous conditions that could start a wildfire
  • Teach children fire safety
  • Post fire emergency phone numbers in your home
  • Plan escape routes by car and by foot
  • Coordinate a neighborhood wildfire plan

Protecting your home

Protect your house from wildfire damage by making sure you have an outside water source and a garden hose long enough to reach all structures on your property.

The Red Cross and other experts advise creating a 30- to 100-foot safety zone around your house, depending on its location and your area’s wildfire risk. Your local fire department can offer guidance regarding your specific situation.

To create a fire safety zone, you should:

  • Thin trees in the safety zone to at least a 15-foot space between crowns
  • Remove tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground
  • Remove leaves, dead limbs, twigs and other flammable vegetation from the ground
  • Remove any vines or dead branches that cover your house

In the event of a wildfire

If a wildfire threatens your home, you may need to prepare to evacuate. Follow the instructions of emergency personnel. If you are advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

The Red Cross suggests taking these precautionary measures when a wildfire threatens your home:

  • Prepare your car so that you can leave quickly if necessary.
  • Wear protective clothing—sturdy shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and carry a handkerchief to protect your face.

Pack emergency supplies—enough food and water for three days, a first aid kit, and emergency tools such as a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries

Ending Emotional, Stress and Boredom Eating For Good

by Lindsey Woodkey

We have all done it. Our last meal was only an hour ago. Our stomach is content, but our brain is not. With no physical hunger present, we reach into the cupboard for our favorite comfort item and begin to munch away. Ten minutes later we feel guilty and are left to wonder why we did not practice self-control. Now, not only are we guilty about the massive amount of extra calories we just consumed, but the deep down reason we went to the kitchen in the first place still exists and is accompanied by a belly ache.

There are many reasons why we eat, the most obvious being physical hunger. Physical hunger is caused by the hormone ghrelin, which is the body’s way of telling our brains it is time to eat. Leptin is the hormone released when we are full and our body has received the nutrients it needs. As young children, these hormones are well regulated and perform their jobs well. As we get older, we learn to ignore these signals and rely more on social cues, the clock, or our emotional state. This is where we get into trouble.

Beyond physical hunger we have emotional, stress and boredom eating. With each of these, we seek out food to fill a void, to occupy our mind, or to numb our pain. Let me tell you this, it may work in the short term (the small period of time in which you are consuming the food and serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, is being released), but if you look at the bigger picture, it will only make things worse.

We eat when we are happy; we eat when we are sad. Society has taught us to both celebrate and grieve with food. Deep down, there is an emotional connection with food. Feeling lonely? You will most likely reach for an item that has given you comfort (think mom’s macaroni and cheese or grandma’s apple pie). Going through a break up? You may try to numb the pain by consuming foods that calm or soothe you. If stress is your trigger, you will tend to reach for items that are high in sugar, fat and salt. This is in response to the stress hormone cortisol. With boredom eating, we tend to consume items that keep our hands and mouths busy (think nuts, chips, or other small, packaged items). These take our minds off any feelings of worthlessness or dissatisfaction that we are experiencing. The problem is, with any of these scenarios, we hardly ever stop at just a few.

So how can you recognize if your hunger is physical or linked to emotions, stress or boredom? Here are a few signs that your hunger is from another source:

  • You sense hunger instantly, and feel the need to satisfy it right then and there (In fact, actual physical hunger develops over time and intensifies as more time passes).
  • You crave very specific comfort foods that are often rich and indulgent (physical hunger can be satisfied with a variety of options).
  • Your stomach is full, but you are still feeling hungry (meaning you’re physically satisfied, but still feeling a void).
  • After you eat, you feel guilty, powerless and ashamed.

Now that you know how to identify eating cues that are not related to physical hunger, how can you stop them? First, identify what—other than physical hunger– is triggering your eating. Then, consider keeping a journal to record your feelings. Find other ways to fill that void. Go for a walk, paint your nails, call a friend or family member, play with your pets, or put on your favorite song/movie. These all bring feelings of joy and comfort. Make sure to wait at least 10 minutes before giving in to a craving. I call it the “rule of ten”. Usually, after ten minutes, that instant “I need _____ now” feeling is gone and so is the “hunger.”  Next, accept that we all feel stressed, sad and lonely at times. This is normal. However, what you can control is how you react. Feeling powerless over your emotions will cause you to reach for food, while accepting and dealing with them will keep your willpower strong.  Lastly, ensure that you are making healthy life choices by exercising regularly, fueling your body properly, sleeping enough, and developing positive, supportive relationships.

The take away message? Food won’t fill any void. It will not cure depression, it won’t bring back a lost family member, nor will it make your more satisfied with your life. A junk food binge will actually have the opposite effect. See food as what it is: fuel for your body. Seek comfort, love, and acceptance from somewhere other than the bag of chips. Your psyche, self-confidence and waistline depend upon it.

Lindsey Woodkey of Ellensburg is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor with bachelors’ degrees in exercise science and nutrition from Central Washington University.


Memorial Names Next CEO


Contact: Leif Ergeson, Memorial Communications: 509.575.8116

Memorial Names Next CEO

July 29, 2013–(Yakima, Wash.) Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Board Chairman, Bill Dolsen, today announced that Russ Myers, Memorial’s current Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, has been selected to become the President/CEO upon Rick Linneweh’s retirement. Linneweh, the current CEO of Memorial, announced his plans for retirement in January, 2014 after 37 years of service.

Myers will assume his role as CEO on January 21, 2014. He joined Memorial in 1989 as a Management Analyst and served as a Vice President over the course of his 24 years with Memorial. In his latest post as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, he has successfully managed general operations for Memorial and its Family of Services, helping make it one of the premiere health care systems in Central Washington.

“After 37 years of faithful service from Rick Linneweh, we knew we needed someone with a strong vision and the same passion for Memorial and the Yakima community that Rick has,” said Bill Dolsen, Memorial Board of Directors chairman. “We have that in Russ and are confident that he will continue to lead Memorial on the path toward success.”

For his part, Myers said he’s looking forward to the challenges of taking over the top spot at Memorial. “It is an honor and privilege to assume the CEO position at Memorial effective Jan 21, 2014,” he said. “I have worked closely with Rick for 24 years and have learned a great deal from him during that time. Memorial, like all health care organizations across the US, has a daunting task ahead — to be ready for the many provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  Because of Rick’s leadership, Board leadership and the incredible staff at Memorial, we are well on our way,” commented Myers.

“For now however, and until January of 2014, I will continue in my current role as Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, making sure we meet our organizational goals and assist in the development of plans that will allow Memorial to serve this community as it has for the last 60+ years. I look forward to working with our team, with our community’s leaders and to continuing to support our patients,” added Myers.

Among other responsibilities and accomplishments, Myers has led Memorial’s Strategic Planning and the pursuit of Performance Excellence using the National Baldrige criteria, considered the highest standard for hospital systems.

Myers went through a rigorous evaluation process by the community-led board before it made the decision to appoint him as Memorial’s next CEO.

“Russ’ strong vision for the future of health care and what it means for the Yakima community, proven leadership qualities, and understanding and appreciation of Memorial’s unmatched culture make him the right choice,” said Dolsen.

“Rick and Russ have worked collaboratively for more than two decades to make Memorial what it is today. We felt as a board that especially in this time of health care change and uncertainty, it was critical to have a leader that knows Memorial’s culture and understands our vision for the future. Memorial is well positioned to continue to provide Central Washington residents with premier health care services under Russ’ leadership.”


Warm Hearts And A History Lesson In Virginia

Dateline Norfolk, Virginia: First, Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider needs to make an announcement. (Drum roll please) It would seem that Yours Truly has inherited a big sister! Her name is Constance (Connie) Kinsley and she is married to Bill – “Skip” Kinsley. Connie is sister to Ken Donner. You may recall that Ken is the author of “To The Ends Of America To End Cancer”. Ken, and as it turns out Connie and Bill, are huge supporters of Cancer Ride America.  More >>

Beauty, And The……Beauty! TinkerBell Joins Cancer Ride America!!

Dateline Never Land: Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider, accompanied by Mission control, made a stop in NeverLand. There, Yours Truly was lulled into a sense of security at having “THE BOSS” with me. While touring California on a “Soarin” tour he found himself suddenly standing among the enchanted and charmed. A young lady named Cady, short for Cadence, found herself with me and told me a story. More >>

Talking to a friend or relative who has cancer

Dateline North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center. Mission Control and Yours Truly are offering this excellent article written by the cancer treatment center we are supporting.

Talking to a person with cancer can be uncomfortable. But you can stay connected during this difficult time. Scary, confusing, unfair—whatever words come to mind when you think about cancer, figuring out which ones to share with a friend or relative with cancer can be difficult.
See more at >>

World-class cancer care


Memorial Family of Services has been providing world-class cancer care locally for 13 years. Each year, North Star Lodge Cancer Center provides care to approximately 900 patients, performs 14,000 radiation and 13,000 chemotherapy treatments, and administers 140,000 lab tests. Recently, Memorial and The Memorial Foundation contributed $6.4 million toward the purchase of technology, including two new Varian TrueBeam linear accelerators for North Star Lodge. This new generation of imaging equipment precisely delivers radiation to cancerous cells in ¼ the time of previous equipment and leaves healthy cells unharmed.

Technological advances also benefit cancer survivors by allowing coordination of care before, during and after treatment. North Star Lodge is utilizing the ARIA medical record, an electronic care plan with many benefits over paper documents. It generates reminders about follow-up events, such as screenings or lab tests, and alerts users to scheduled events. These notifications can go to a nurse practitioner, physician or patient. Once cancer treatment is complete, ARIA can be used to keep a patient and his or her primary care physician up-to-date on individual care plans using a secure Internet connection. This enables interaction and allows feedback to be shared between patients and their physicians and care team.

“We have more survivors now than ever, and we wanted to ensure that we have the technology to support them in their continued well-being,” says Sean Cleary, PhD, MD, Medical Director of radiation oncology at North Star Lodge.

Carol Wyatt describes her experience: “I feel very fortunate to be a patient of North Star Lodge. During the first few treatments, I kept my eyes closed because it was so terrifying. But with the new technology, I found it wasn’t so terrifying, but rather interesting. I now keep my eyes open and it only takes a few minutes. Treatments have been much easier for me.”

Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s time to learn the facts.

If you or someone you know is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s time to learn the facts.  This program provides information on detection, causes and risk factors, stages of the disease, treatment and much more. This is an educational program provided by the Alzheimer’s Association and will cover memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hosted by:  Living Care Retirement Community

Time:  7 pm

Date:  Friday, July 26th

Location:  Meyer Auditorium, 215 N 40th Avenue, Yakima, WA  98908

Fresh, Frozen or Canned? Best Ways to Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables


Written by Lena Gill, RD, CSO, CD – North Star Lodge

I am often asked if it’s better to choose fresh vs. canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.  Many people believe that fresh is best, but I generally encourage everyone to aim for the recommended 5 or more servings/day by any means they can get it.  Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to fresh, frozen and canned produce.

Fresh vegetables and fruits may seem the most nutritious since they haven’t been “processed”; however, unless they are grown in your own back yard or purchased locally, they may have been stored in a cold warehouse for months before they even make it to your local supermarket.  Also, if you are purchasing “out of season” produce, it may have had to travel quite a distance before it reaches your dinner table.  The longer the “fresh” produce is stored, the less nutritious it becomes as the vitamins and minerals lose their potency over time.  In addition, certain produce such as tomatoes (known for their cancer fighting lycopenes) aren’t well absorbed into the body unless they are fully cooked.  It’s a good idea to learn what is grown locally and what is in season, so you can choose your favorites during their peak time for best flavor and maximum nutritional benefit.

Frozen vegetables and fruits can be a very nutritious choice as some are “flash frozen”, meaning they are frozen shortly after harvesting and thereby retain the potency of their nutrients.  Occasionally, you can find fruits and vegetables (especially those favorites during off season times) in the frozen foods section at a reasonable price, making it perfect for those with a limited food budget.  The disadvantage to frozen fruits and vegetables is that some may have added sugars or sauces, making them higher in refined carbohydrates, fats and sodium.  Read the label and select carefully or if able, freeze your own home grown or locally purchased produce.

Canned produce may also be a good way to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables so long as you pay attention to the food label.  It is best to choose canned vegetables with no added salt or rinse the added sodium off with water before cooking.  When buying canned fruit, choose those packed in their natural juices or in light syrup (instead of heavy syrup).  This will keep the sugar (and calories) in check.  If you have the means and energy, you may also choose to can your own vegetables and fruits.  This way, you have the control over the freshness and the amount of other ingredients used.

Lastly, I want to mention dried fruits and vegetables, as these can also be a fun, nutritious as well as delicious component to a plant based diet.  As with frozen and canned produce, be aware of potential ingredients such as added sugars and sodium when making your selection or if able, dry your own.  I personally enjoy making homemade “fruit roll-ups” for my six year old.  These have no added sugar or food coloring like their (more expensive and less nutritious) commercial brands.  Just remember, with dried fruits especially, about ¼ cup is the typical serving size…Any more than that, and you may be eating more calories than you intend.

Fresh, Canned or Frozen—We can enjoy fruits and vegetables in a variety of ways!  Which way is your favorite?