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Saturday, November 21, 2009 • Whidbey News-Times

Swine flu vaccine available By JENNY MANNING Staff reporter

Island County Public Health officials are the go-to men an women with the latest swine flu information. According to public health, the vaccine is now available at a number of island locations to people who meet the “priority� guidelines, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The priority group includes pregnant women, caretakers of infants less than 6 months old and their immediate family members, children 6 months to 18 years, young adults though age 24, health care workers who work directly with ill patients, school nurses and teachers, and adults to age 64 with high health risks such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and chronic lung disease, among other conditions. Island Women’s Health, Naval Hospital Whidbey Island, Pediatric Associates of Whidbey Island, North Whidbey Community Clinic, Whidbey Community Physicians, Island Drug, Lind’s Pharmacy, Rite Aid Aid, Albertsons Save-On Pharmacy and Walgreens currently offer the vaccine. An appointment may be required, so call ahead of time. Between Sept. 19 and Nov. 14 there were 15 hospitalizations and two deaths attributed to swine flu in Island County, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Oak Harbor Adult day care survives on 4-2 vote By JENNY MANNING Staff reporter

The Day Break Adult Day Service dodged closure when the city of Oak Harbor agreed to maintain its financial support. A passionate group of supporters went away happy after sharing their experiences with the program Tuesday evening during an Oak Harbor City Council meeting in which two council members argued that funding should be withheld. At issue was a proposal for Mayor Jim Slowik to sign an agreement with a new nonprofit, North Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove, that would replace Day Break’s current service provider, Senior Services of Island County. The current provider’s contract was set to expire after Jan. 1, 2010 due to lack of funding. If the council did not approve a contract with North Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove, the decision could have resulted in the end of Oak Harbor’s adult day services program. Retired Navy Capt. John Worthington spoke of his mother’s experience at Day Break over the last five years. “Every time I pick her up she says, ‘I had a great time with the girls’,� he said of his 88-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia. “I apologize for getting so emotional,� he said. “It’s my mom.� Michael Radach spoke on behalf of his 33-year-old daughter, Crystal, who’s attended the program since 1997. As a caregiver, Radach described the much-needed

“I’m going to tell you flat out that I agree with this. And if you don’t agree, shame on you.� Jim Campbell, Oak Harbor City Council

respite Day Break provides both he and his wife by allowing them a few hours to spend time together. Radach connected with the council on a personal level with a letter written in the way his daughter might explain her situation. “I speak on behalf of Crystal because she cannot speak for herself,� he said. The letter included a simple list of why his daughter enjoys Day Break. “The people there treat me warmly. When I have a seizure, they protect me. They look me in the eyes ...� Radach said, taking a moment to gather himself, “they look me in the eyes and respect me. I am loved at Day Break.� Mark Wyman, an active duty sailor, spoke on behalf of his 57-year-old mother Gayle, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. “It’s been a lifesaver,� he said. “I cannot begin to explain how awesome it is.� The extended public comment session also included supportive input from Fred Henninger, former Mayor Al Koetje, and Frank Moore, president of the Senior Services Advisory Board. “I’m going to tell you flat out that I agree with this,� said Councilman Jim Campbell. “And if you don’t

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Jenny Manning/Whidbey New-Times

Day Break Director Kristi Huffman offers different textured fabrics and ribbons to Marlene Incarnado as a form of tactile sensory therapy. agree, shame on you.� Councilman Jim Palmer’s comments fit in between the yay and nay-sayers. “We’re talking about $18,000 here. It does, on the surface, appear to be a lot of money,� he said. “It would be nice to have more information.� Palmer reminded the council of its decision last September to take a gamble on buying the rights to the Whidbey Island Marathon. “We did approve a $50,000 marathon without a business plan,� he said. Councilman Eric Gerber argued that an adult day service program is not some-

thing the city should be involved in. “I sat on the Senior Center Advisory Board when I was first in office, but even back in 2001 we were talking about the same things we’re talking about today ... We still have not seen much of the information we’ve asked for,� Gerber said. The new North Whidbey Care Givers’ Cove board was represented at the meeting by three of the four members, including president Mark Ford, Jim Self and Allan Swan. Councilman Rick Almberg sympathized with the caregivers and their families in

attendance, but ultimately agreed with Gerber. “I want to see the program achieve success. I don’t want to put money toward a program that may fail,� Almberg said. “I can support this program if I see the business plan.� But, “I can’t think of anything worse than to hand you a gift as you walk out of here only to take it away from you after a 60-day notice,� Almberg added, referring to possible future budget problems. Councilwoman Beth Munns made a motion to allow the mayor to sign an agreement for $18,000 per year with North Whidbey Caregivers’ Cove. Campbell seconded and the council approved the motion with a 4 to 2 vote with Campbell, Palmer, Munns and Severns for and Almberg and Gerber against. The new agreement is for three years and decreases the city’s direct cost of $24,000 this year to $18,000 in 2009, expands Day Break’s services from three to five days per week, and adds several new services. The proposal’s approval arrived nearly two hours into the council meeting and was met with spirited applause from a rare packed council chambers audience.

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