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ncore E A GUIDE TO A FULFILLING SENIOR LIFE IN WHATCOM COUNTY

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Check inside this issue of Encore for stories about events and trips at local community centers, dedicated workers, new technology designed to help rehabilitation patients, holiday meals (as seen above at the Lynden Community Center) and more.

Ferndale Record A supplement of the Lynden Tribune and Ferndale Record


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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE

Senior hot meals service includes special invite to Spanish speakers Lynden’s Hope Lutheran Church hosts meals on Mondays and Thursdays Calvin Bratt Lynden Tribune     LYNDEN — The Whatcom Council on Aging is getting  back into Lynden with a hot meals program.     It’s certainly meant for all who are age 60 and over. And  it comes with a special invitation to the Spanish-speaking  community without regard to religious preference, said Julie Meyers, council nutrition director.     The service started up Dec. 5 and is offered every Monday and Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. in the lower level of  Hope Lutheran Church, 900 E. Grover St., Lynden. The hot  meals  are  made  at  the  Bellingham  Senior  Activity  Center  and brought to the church’s kitchen for serving.     “It’s  part  of  our  Community  Senior  Meals  Program,  and we just want to make the Hispanic population feel welcome,” Meyers said.     The lunch is offered to seniors on a donation-only basis.  No  senior  will  be  turned  away  due  to  inability  to  pay.  In keeping with general policy, those under 60 are asked to  pay $5.50.      This fresh Lynden effort fits into the Council on Aging’s  goal of serving seniors in Whatcom and San Juan counties  with  nutritional  meals,  Meyers  said.  Lynden  becomes  the 

Case Voskuilen, left, chats with Michael Spinale over coffee and a hot meal on Monday at Hope Lutheran Church. — Lynden Tribune | MARK REIMERS

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE 13th site for food service, she said.      Ferndale,  Blaine,  Everson,  Sumas  and  Point  Roberts  already  have  some  form  of  hot meals service, whether by delivery from  Bellingham  or  with  a  cook  on-site  at  their  own senior centers.     The  Lynden  Senior  Center  was  tied  into  the  county  senior  nutrition  network  until  the  fall  of  2009.  At  that  point  Lynden  decided it could run a successful hot meals  program  every  day  out  of  its  own  kitchen,  even delivering some meals to homebound  seniors in the Lynden area. That self-standing independent program continues.     Meyers  said  that  the  new  service  isn’t  meant  to  get  entangled  with  issues  of  the  past or to compete with what exists.      “Basically,  we’re  trying  to  meet  the  nutrition  needs  in  the  northern  part  of  the  county,”  she  said. “There  is  a  need  out  there.”     The  response  was  “slow”  through  the  first three days of service in December, but  publicity  is  still  getting  out  through  various channels, Meyers said. “It’s the word of  mouth that really counts,” she said.     Flyers  posted  at  churches,  food  banks  and clinics are in both English and Spanish.     There is no need to give advance notice  — people can just come to the meals on the  two days.     If demand picks up, the meal preparation  could  eventually  be  done  right  in  the  Lutheran church kitchen, Meyers said.     A  $10,000  grant  through  the Whatcom  Community  Foundation  helped  to  get  this  effort off the ground in 2011. Some funding  for  senior  nutrition  programs  comes  from  the federal government.

Tour opportunities abound for local seniors Bellingham and Ferndale senior centers organize various trips throughout the year Mark Reimers Lynden Tribune     WHATCOM  —  Planning  a  trip  is  a  chore  for  anyone.  But  for  many  seniors,  the  hassle  of  picking  an  activity,  itinerary and parking is even more of a hassle  given the limitations that sometimes accompany age.     That’s  why  the  monthly  day  trips  hosted  the  Ferndale  Senior  Center  have  become  so  popular,  said  Director  Lacey  Greene.  In  fact,  a  representative  of  the  Lynden Senior Center said that members  there often make use of the Ferndale trips  for recreation.     One of the biggest draws to the Ferndale hosted trips, Greene said, is the fact  that they require no stressful planning on  the part of the participants. Instead, from  the moment the group boards the bus, to  the time they return, everything is taken  care of for them.     The  Ferndale  Senior  Center’s  next  trip will take a busload of shoppers down 

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to  the Tulalip  Casino  and  Seattle  Outlets  on Jan. 25.     The bus for that event will leave the  Ferndale  Senior  Center  at  10  a.m.  and  return  at  about  6  p.m.  Final  per-person  costs  haven’t  been  finalized  but  Greene  expects it to be $25-$30.     The  following  trip,  set  for  Feb.  29,  will be a tour trip to Boeing’s Paine Field  in Everett. Attendees will get a 90-minute  tour of the world-class aircraft manufacturing facility.     “Boeing’s  the  second  largest  manufacturer of aircraft in the world and they  are right in our backyard,” Greene said.     The  trip,  which  will  include  a  box  lunch, highlights another aspect of what  these  trips  can  offer,  Greene  said,  and  that is just the opportunity to explore and  experience new things in life.     The March trip is equally informative,  as it takes participants down to Seattle for  a tour of the Channel 9 news TV station.     After that, April will allow seniors an  opportunity to experience the Skagit Valley tulip fields in bloom.     Greene  said  the  trips  are  not  exclusive  to  members  of  the  Ferndale  Senior  Center and technically aren’t only for seniors.     However,  one  additional  perk  that  may be a draw for many regular trip participants, Greene said, is the chance to experience something with a group of good 

friends.     For  more  information  on  Ferndale  Senior Center day trips, call the center at  384-6244.     The Bellingham Senior Activity Center,  315  Halleck  St.,  also  hosts  the Whatcom County Tour Program.     That center offers an even higher frequency  of  trips  that  take  participants  all  over the Puget Sound area.      The next three area trips are:     •  Jan. 27 — Tulalip Casino Trip:     The bus departs from Bellingham Senior Activity Center at 9 a.m. and returns  at 4:45 p.m. A cost of $39 is due ahead of  the trip, with $5 additional charge for nonmembers. Legal photo ID is required.     • Jan. 31 —Tea Time and Art Viewing  in La Conner:     Enjoy  exploring  gift  shops  and  outdoor  sculptures,  tea  with  all  the  goodies  as well as a tour of the Museum of Northwest Art. Bus leaves at 12:30 p.m. and returns at about 5 p.m. The cost, due ahead  of  time,  is  $49,  with  an  additional  $5  fee  for non-members.     •  Feb.  10  —  Northwest  Flower  and  Garden Show:     Get  a  sneak  peak  at  the  newest  gardening  ideas.  Enjoy  display  gardens,  exhibitors and seminars held at the Seattle 

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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ENCORE

Put money back in your pocket during open enrollment     Open enrollment is the time of year  when  employees  have  the  opportunity  to review and select their benefits package for the following year. It is especially  important  for  employees  to  know  their  companies’  open  enrollment  schedule,  which  typically  takes  place  between  September  and  December,  because  if  they  miss  it,  they  might  not  be  able  to  change  their  health  benefits  until  the  following year.     In  making  their  benefits  decisions,  people typically don’t spend very much  time researching their options. 

“Consumers who don’t take the time to review and understand their benefit options might be leaving a lot of money on the table.”

— Yasmine Winkler

    “Consumers who don’t take the time  to  review  and  understand  their  benefit  options might be leaving a lot of money  on the table,” said Yasmine Winkler, senior vice president of a major healthcare  coverage provider.     When  choosing  your  benefits  this  open  enrollment  season,  the  following tips could help improve your health  while  also  putting  money  back  in  your  wallet:     1) Look for incentive-based wellness  programs. Many companies are now offering  wellness  programs  that  reward  employees  for  making  healthy  choices  and  being  more  personally  engaged  in  improving their health. Incentive-based  health  plans  may  provide  financial  and  other rewards for lowering your cholesterol,  losing  weight  or  even  signing  up  for  a  health  coaching  program  or  gym  membership.     2)  Open  a  Health  Savings  Account.  More  employers  are  offering  health  plans  that  include  a  Health  Savings 

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Account  option.  A  Health  Savings  Account,  or  HSA,  is  like  a  personal  bank  account  specifically  for  health-related  expenses:  you  own  all  the  money  in  it,  including  contributions  from  your  employer.  And,  unlike  a  Flexible  Spending  Account  (FSA),  HSAs  have  no “use  it  or  lose it” provision. They also offer a triple  tax advantage: money is deposited pretax from your paycheck, accrues interest  tax-free,  and  withdrawals  are  not  taxed  as long as funds are used for health-related expenses.     3)  Get  preventive  care.  The  new  health  care  reform  law  requires  nongrandfathered health plans to cover preventive care with no cost sharing by the  consumer.  These  services  —  which  include children’s immunizations, annual  physicals,  mammograms  and  colonoscopies — may help you stay healthy and  increase your chances of detecting possible future health risks earlier on.     4)  Compare  treatment  costs.  Some  health plans offer tools to estimate your  health  care  costs.  Some  tools  also  enable you to compare the quality ratings  among  physicians  who  participate  in  your  health  plan’s  network,  in  addition  to their cost.      5)  Don’t  overlook  other  important  benefits. Many employers offer a variety  of  supplemental  or  voluntary  benefits  that  can  also  put  money  back  in  your  wallet. Critical illness and disability plans  are designed to protect your income and  help  pay  bills  in  the  event  that  you  are  out of work for extended periods of time due to illness. The average cost of these  plans can cost as little as $7 per month  while  providing  thousands  of  dollars  in  coverage. In addition, dental and vision  plans  typically  cost  only  about  $1  per  day  combined  but  cover  annual  cleanings  and  eye  exams,  and  offer  reduced  pricing on frames and lenses.      Many  employers  and  health  plans  offer  resources  at  no  additional  cost  to  help  you  navigate  through  this  open  enrollment period. This year, don’t miss  the opportunity to review your benefits  and save some money while taking steps  toward better health.

The Lynden Tribune Web Site. The simplest way to access your community news online. Whether it’s a specific local story, milestone or sports news, one click will get you access to many of our articles on The Lynden Tribune Web Site. See for yourself how easy it is to connect with your local media - today!

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ENCORE

Tours: Ferndale trips are once per month Continued from C3 Convention Center. The bus departs at 9 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m. Final payments of $63 are due Thursday, Feb. 2, with an additional $5 fee for non-members.     A much bigger trip, courtesy of the Whatcom County Tour Program, a European Riviera Cruise Tour, will be held May 3-11.     Tour the Italian, French and Spanish Riviera aboard Holland America Cruiseline. See Citivecchia, Santa Margheritta, Trapani, La Goulette, Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Costs range from $2,899 to $3,299 depending on accommodations. Travel insurance is $150 per person. Final payment is due by Jan. 4.     Trip includes roundtrip airfare from SeaTac to Rome, all taxes, transportation, cruise, optional shore excursions, meals on board the ship and an escort while cruising.     For more information about the Whatcom County Tour Program, call 733-4030, extension 47015.     Email Mark Reimers at reporter@lyndentribune.com.

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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Choosing the right Medicare plan: Look beyond premiums     Each year, millions of seniors are able to enroll into a new Medicare prescription drug plan (PDP), and the vast number of available options can make this a daunting task. Choosing a Medicare prescription plan can seem confusing, so the more you know, the easier it will be to find one that makes the most sense for you.     Two of the most important aspects to keep in mind are whether the plan can help you save money and whether it protects your health.     When searching for the right plan, it’s important to look beyond the monthly premium. To help make the process less overwhelming, ask yourself which features are most important for you. Here are a few to consider:     What is the plan’s CMS Star Quality Rating? Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rates Medicare Part D plans to help you compare the overall quality of plans and make a more informed decision. Based on comments from plan members and other factors, CMS continually “raises the bar” in how they review each plan’s performance in several categories, such as customer service, patient safety, and member experience. Star ratings range from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).

    Most prescription drug plans receive an average rating of 3.1 stars.     Does the plan tell you when there are lower-cost alternatives available, such as generics? Many brand-name drugs are scheduled to go “off patent” in 2012, which means that there may be new generic medications available.     The total cost of a generic drug can be up to 80 percent less than a brandname drug. By simply asking your doctor if a generic is available, you could save hundreds of dollars and significantly delay reaching the coverage gap — the dollar amount where your coverage runs out until you reach the designated catastrophic level where it kicks back in.     Does the plan offer coverage gap alerts? In 2012, in a standard Medicare prescription plan, once your drug costs (what you pay plus what your plan pays) reach $2,930, you will enter the coverage gap. Choose a plan that gives you the opportunity to learn how close you are to the gap — whether through written materials, phone calls or email alerts — and provides solutions for lowering overall prescription costs that will help to delay entry into it.     Does the plan have online tools? Check into plans that have a suite of

online tools for cost comparisons and to ensure safety. Some plans offer tools that alert you when they are taking two medications that don’t work well together and could be potentially harmful to your health.     Does the plan provide access to clinical specialists? Look for a plan that not only provides 24-hour access to in-house Medicare advisors, but also to clinical specialists. They will be best suited to advise beneficiaries on prescription therapies as well as discuss lower-cost options. Finding a plan that includes both Medicare and clinical specialists provides greater value for your healthcare dollar.     Does the plan offer money-saving options? Some plans feature a $0 copayment for a 90-day supply of generic medications by mail while in the coverage gap, a great way to lower costs during this benefit stage. Access to a mail-order pharmacy allows for the convenience of medications to be delivered directly to the home. Mail order can often provide a three-month supply of medications for nearly 30 percent less than buying a onemonth supply three separate times at retail.     For more information, visit www. Medicare.gov.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

LifeGait device assists Christian Health Care Center physical therapists sibilities are many.     Patients can use the machine to improve their gait patterns following an injury,  with  adjustments  made  depending  on which part of the body is injured. The  machine encourages an upright posture,  and  therefore  helps  with  posture  alterations  that  might  be  necessary  following  an injury. The LifeGait can even be taken  on a treadmill.     The  LifeGait  machine  at  the  health  care center allows the physical therapist  to  rotate  the  patient  around,  allowing  practice  walking  side to  side  and  backwards.  This  helps  facilitate  balance  and  stability.     “It also keeps patients safe and your  hands free,” Blois said.     The  primary  benefit,  of  course,  are  the  fall-free  conditions  the  LifeGait  allows.  Instead  of  requiring  two  or  more  physical  therapists  and  assistants  to  help a patient move around a room, the  LifeGait  provides  a  secure  way  to  hold  a  patient  in  place,  only  requiring  one  physical therapist at a time. The machine  keeps  the  patient  upright  instead  of  the  physical  therapist,  and  this  frees  up  the  therapist’s  hands  to  make  adjustments  and generally work with the patient.     “The end result is, they can walk with  more  balance  and  less  falls,”  Blois  said. 

ENCORE “Patients can get to a higher level faster.”     One of the primary goals at the center  is  to  help  rehab  patients  to  progress  to  the “least  restrictive  device,”  whether  that’s  a  cane  or  a  walker  or  some  other  option.     “(Lifegait)  allows  them  to  take  that  step  sooner  to  a  less  restrictive  device  if  that’s a possibility,” Blois said.     The  LifeGait  expedites  each  session as well, as it takes just two minutes  to harness a patient into the machine. It  also  eliminates  the  time  that  would  be 

LifeGait allows the physical therapist to harness patients in and help them in a wide variety of ways. taken  helping  patients  out  of  seats  and  across rooms.     “It  just  encourages  those  behaviors  that  we  as  physical  therapists  are  trying  to encourage,” Blois said. “Our goal is, of  course, to get them home or independent  faster, if that’s a possibility. It just covers a  whole realm of patients and conditions.”     The Christian Health Care Center has  the only LifeGait north of Mount Vernon.     Email Brent Lindquist at sports@lyndentribune.com.

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Physical therapy assistant Kari Van Loo helps physical therapist Paul Nichols demonstrate the LifeGait at the Christian Health Care Center. — Lynden Tribune | BRENT LINDQUIST

Center has Whatcom County’s only LifeGait north of Mount Vernon Brent Lindquist Lynden Tribune     LYNDEN — Patrons at the Christian  Health  Care  Center’s  award-winning  rehabilitation  department  may  notice  a  new piece of equipment amid the treadmills and exercise hardware.     That’s the LifeGait, a partial-weightbearing  gait  therapy  device  that  arrived 

at  the  care  center  about  a  month  ago.  The therapists and assistants there have  already seen the machine’s benefits after  just a few weeks of use.     The  LifeGait  provides  two  primary  tenets that enhance its benefit exponentially:  versatility  and,  most  importantly,  safety.  The  device  allows  the  physical  therapist to harness patients in and help  them in a wide variety of ways.     “We use it on patients with hundreds  of different diagnoses,” said center physical therapist Andrea Blois.     These  diagnoses  can  vary  wildly,  from  strokes  to  hip  replacements  to  orthopedic  injuries.  The  LifeGait  allows  physical  therapists  to  adjust  the  weight  being  put  on  each  leg  depending  on  a  patient’s condition. From there, the pos-

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

ENCORE

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RN celebrates milestone at Christian Health Care Center Nellie Vander Kooi began as a teen in Aug. 1971 Brent Lindquist Lynden Tribune     LYNDEN  —  Nellie  Vander  Kooi  still  remembers the day she began working for  Lynden’s Christian Health Care Center.     “I got a phone call at 11:30 a.m., and  they  basically  told  me  to  be  at  work  at  3:00,� she said.     That  was  on  Aug.  11,  1971,  when  the  center hired her on as a nursing assistant.  The position served as on-the-job training  while  she  waited  to  be  accepted  into  the  RN  program  at  Everett  Community  College.  She  had  also  studied  in  Dordt  College’s pre-nursing program prior to that.     Still just a teenager, she continued to  work primarily on the weekends after starting  at  Everett  Community  College,  where  she completed the nursing program.      The  care  center  was  located  on  B.C.  Avenue back then, and that’s not the only  change  Vander  Kooi  has  seen  over  the  years. She said many processes and regulations  have  changed  and  changed  again  over  the  years,  making  versatility  in  the  nurse position a necessity.     For that reason, no two days are ever  the same at the Christian Health Care Center.     “You  never  have  an  agenda  because  you  never  know  what’s  going  to  show  up,�  Vander  Kooi  said.  “You  have  to  deal 

with  the  pressing  matters.  Some  days  are  crazier  than  others. You  just  roll  with  the  punches.�     Her  jobs  and  positions  have  varied  through  the  decades,  though  the  RN  title  has  stayed  constant.  Currently  she  serves  as a unit coordinator. She has also worked  many  different  schedules  and in  various  departments  around  the  care  center.  Though she primarily works days now, she  worked nights and weekends while working through Everett’s RN program.     Over  the  years,  she  has  seen  a  very  wide  variety  of  people  come  through  the  care center.     “I’ve taken care of at least two generations of people,� Vander Kooi said.     Throughout her 40 years of work and  care,  those  people  have  remained  her  favorite part of the job. She considers it a gift  to be able to work with so many people in  the later seasons of their lives.     “After  40  years,  you  do  start  thinking  about  retirement,  but  these  residents  are  always going to have a special place in my  heart.  Being  here  in  Lynden  especially,  there are a lot of people who are so ready  to go home. In that sense, it’s an honor and  a privilege to walk that last part of the journey with them.�     Email Brent Lindquist at sports@lyndentribune.com.

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Nellie Vander Kooi celebrated her 40th year working at the Christian Health Care Center this year. Her first day was Aug. 11, 1971. — Tribune photo | BRENT LINDQUIST

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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Deck the halls ... carefully please     Each year, 420 home fires occur during the holiday season, claiming the lives of 21 people and injuring 43, according to the National Fire Protection Association.     Here are 12 tips for a safer holiday to help reduce the chance of becoming a holiday fire casualty:     1) Maintain your holiday lights — Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting approved by a verified testing laboratory.     2) Don’t overload electrical outlets — Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe, or you can risk putting too much strain on the power source. For additional protection, connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires — they should not be warm to the touch.     3) Water that tree — Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Association. Typically, tree fires are started by shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches. Dry and neglected trees can increase your risk, while well-watered trees help to reduce the chance of any issues.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

    4)  Avoid  using  lit  candles  —  Open  flames  create  many opportunities for harm particularly when kids and  pets are in the house. However, if you do use them, make  sure they are in stable holders and place them where they  cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house  with candles burning and never go near a Christmas tree  with an open flame from candles, lighters or matches.     5)  Stay  in  the  kitchen  when  you  are  frying,  grilling  or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short  period, turn off the stove.     6)  Keep  your  mitts  off  —  Keep  anything  that  can  catch fire — potholders, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from  your stovetop.     7) Watch the oven — In case of an oven fire, turn off  the heat and keep the oven door closed to prevent flames  from burning you or your clothing.     8) Use turkey fryers outdoors, a safe distance from  buildings and any other combustible materials.     9) Use only nonflammable decorations and ensure  they are placed away from heat vents. If you are using a  metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.     10)  Quickly  discard  gift  wrap  and  packaging  from  your opened gifts as wrapping paper is very flammable.  Never  burn  gift  wrap  in  the  fireplace  or  wood  stove.  It  can ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.     11) Throw it out — Never put tree branches in a fireplace or wood-burning stove as these items may ignite  quickly, starting flash fires. When the tree becomes dry,  discard it promptly by taking it to a recycling center or  having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.     12)  Have  working  smoke  alarms  installed  on  every  level  of  your  home,  test  them  monthly  and  keep  them  clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.      No matter how you celebrate, following these 12 tips  to a safer holiday can help ensure that you, as well as your  friends and family, enjoy a safe, joyful holiday season.     Email Mark Reimers at reporter@lyndentribune. com.

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Prevent identity theft this holiday season     While you’re trekking through the malls or cruising  websites  looking  for  great  holiday  bargains,  it  may  be  difficult to remember that not everyone around you is as  caught up in the holiday spirit as you are. Some of your  fellow shoppers may actually be identity thieves looking  to parlay the season’s hustle and bustle into an opportunity to steal your personal information and, ultimately,  your money.     The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that  identity theft — the unauthorized use of your personal  identifying information, like your name, Social Security  number or credit card number, to commit fraud or other  crimes — is approaching 10 million incidents per year.      According to the FTC, on average, it takes a victim  an  estimated  $500  and  30  hours  to  resolve  each  incidence of identity theft. No one wants to lose that kind of  money at any time of year, but those time and monetary  costs can be even more stressful during the holidays.     “The  holidays  present  a  wealth  of  opportunity  for  identity thieves,” said Heather Battison, a senior director at a credit and information management company.  “The  hectic  holiday  season  can  potentially  expose  our  personal information to theft in both high-tech ways like  phishing scams, and in traditional ones, such as a stolen  wallet or mail theft.”     Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take  now,  that  will  help  minimize  your  exposure  to  identity  theft. These tips are especially important during the holiday season:     • When holiday shopping, only carry essential documents with you. Only take your driver’s license and the 

credit card or cards you intend to use that day. Do not  carry your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport, and consider leaving at home other types of cards  that  may  have  identifying  information  on  them,  like  wholesale club cards or library cards. 

“The hectic holiday season can potentially expose our personal information to theft in both hightech ways like phishing scams, and in traditional ones, such as a stolen wallet or mail theft.”

— Heather Battison

    • The holidays mean plenty of extra trash. Shred everything that contains personal, identifying information  before throwing it out.      • Keep a close eye on your credit card bills. This is  especially important during the holidays, when close attention can help you catch any charges you don’t recognize on your statement. An added bonus — you’ll also be  more aware of how much you’re spending and be better  prepared to stay within your holiday spending budget.     • Monitor your credit. Consider enrolling in a credit 

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See IDENTITY on C11

Introducing:

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Tips for smooth and successful holiday travel     Planning a surprise visit to the grandkids for the holidays or a family trip to celebrate the new year? Holiday travel can be stressful, but with some careful planning, it can be full of joy, instead of headaches. Check out these holiday travel tips to help you get through this busy time with ease.     • Avoid peak travel dates. You will often find the best prices and lowest numbers of travelers if you fly on the holiday itself instead of the day(s) before. If possible, travel on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and avoid a return flight on the Sunday evening after a holiday weekend. Choose wisely the time of day you travel as well. As a rule, airports are least congested in the mornings and later at night.     • Be flexible and have a positive attitude. The No. 1 rule while traveling over the holidays is to be prepared for the unknown and have back-up plans. It's always smart to anticipate and plan for delays. Pack extra snacks, a good book, your cellphone charger, games for the kids and try to relax if you are faced with an unplanned event.     • Pack wisely. Decide well in advance of your flight if you will check or carry on your luggage and plan accordingly. If you decide to carry on, be sure to follow TSA rules about liquids and don't stuff your bag over its capacity. If you opt to check luggage, be prepared to pay extra fees and again, pack as light as possible so you can manage your luggage.     • Carry on the essentials. Carry a backpack as your personal item in order to keep your hands free. Make sure it's filled with essentials for you and your family. The contents of your carry-on should cover hunger, thirst, boredom, spills, sickness and tiredness.     • Become a tech-savvy traveler. Take advantage of technology. Whenever possible, print your boarding passes at home or use check-in kiosks. The earlier you check in, the better seats you will get. Think about doing your holiday shopping online and having your gifts shipped to your destination. This will cut down on luggage and the risk of gifts getting lost. Have the airlines send you an email or call you if your flight is delayed. Or, sign up for a service like Flight Tracker on your phone where you can get flight status updates within minutes. Make sure phones, music players, portable DVD players, etc. are fully charged and pack chargers for use at your destination.     • Make health a priority. Make sure that you eat well and rest before you travel. Pack healthy snacks, hand sanitizer or wipes, tissues, etc.     • Leave early. Plan your journey to the airport accounting for enough time for long security lines, traffic, full parking lots, etc., and then give yourself an extra 30 minutes to help alleviate stress from any peripheral delays you may encounter.

Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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A little Christmas flavor

Patrons of the Lynden Senor Center spent Friday afternoon with a full serving of Christmas cheer. The center hosted its annual Christmas dinner for over 200 people. — Lynden Tribune | TIM NEWCOMB     • Practice makes perfect. If you're traveling with children, help to prepare them in advance for the journey by role playing and explaining things like removing shoes, putting all belongings (including blankets or stuffed animals) on the moving security belt, waiting patiently in line, etc.     If you do some planning in advance, you can arrive at your destination with a smile on your face instead of a headache.

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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Identity: Keep a physical list of passwords in a safe place Continued from C9 monitoring service that will alert you via email to changes in your credit report. This way you will know quickly if someone else has tried to open a new credit account in your name.     • When shopping online, only do business with websites that have security measures in place to protect you. Before you provide any personal or payment information, look for a URL that begins with https (not http) and a lock emblem on the page, typically next to the address bar.     • Before you shop the Web, consider changing your account passwords and keep a list of them in a secure place. Passwords and PIN numbers should be a random mix of letters, numbers and special characters, which makes it harder for identity thieves to guess.     Preventing identity theft is important year round, and especially during the holidays. By taking steps to protect yourself, you can help ensure your holidays remain bright — and secure.

Holiday shoppers can become prime targets for identity thieves if care is not taken, both online and in stores. — Courtesy photo

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Lynden Tribune | Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | Ferndale Record

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Profile for Lynden Tribune

Encore December 2011  

A look at senior life in north Whatcom County

Encore December 2011  

A look at senior life in north Whatcom County

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