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MORE FLU EXPECTED IN WASHINGTON

Preliminary data released this week estimates that the 2017-18 flu vaccine to be 36 percent overall effective at preventing flu illness. Washington’s health officials want everyone to know it isn’t too late to get a flu shot since flu activity is still expected to be high for several more weeks.

This year is a reminder of how unpredictable and serious flu can be. Every flu season is different based on many factors including the circulating viruses and how well the flu shot protects against those viruses.

“Washington has seen a lot of the H3N2 strain of flu, which causes more severe illness in young children and those over 65 years old,” said Washington State’s Communicable Disease Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist. “This year’s vaccine protects against H3N2, but that strain of the virus is known to change frequently throughout the season, making the vaccine less effective against the virus. Protection is higher against other strains included in the vaccine and can help flu illness be milder and shorter for those who still get sick.”

The Department of Health urges everyone aged six months and older, including pregnant women, to knock out flu with a flu shot. Visit KnockOutFlu.org for places to get your vaccine, weekly flu activity updates, and frequently asked questions and concerns about the flu vaccine.

“There are important steps to take to avoid getting the flu; get a flu shot every year, avoid contact with sick people, wash your hands often and stay home if you’re sick. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but they still provide some protection against serious flu complications, including death,” Lindquist said.

FIELDHOUSE FLEA MARKET CELEBRATES 50 YEARS

This year is the 50th anniversary of the giant Parisian-style flea market at University of Puget Sound’s field house, and the college’s Women’s League is making their Saturday, March 17 event a special one.

The Fieldhouse Flea Market, offering everything from 100-year-old antiques to freshly baked bread, regularly attracts some 4,000 visitors. This year there will be 70 local vendors, artists and craftsmasters selling furniture and household décor, books, jewelry, gourmet food, artisan crafts and up-cycled treasures for your home and garden.

There also will be advance prizes, a raffle, and – in memory of the original flea market in 1968 – a booth with homemade lemon tarts, baked by two daughters of the tarte au citron’s first Women’s League creator.

The Fieldhouse Flea Market will take place Saturday, March 17, in University of Puget Sound’s Memorial Fieldhouse, on North 11th Street, near Union Avenue, in Tacoma. Early entry, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., is $10. General entry thereafter runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is $5. Children aged 2 and under enter free. Parking is free. All of the proceeds from admission fees go toward scholarships to help students attend University of Puget Sound.

A Golden Ticket contest on social media gives market-goers the chance to win free, front-of-the-line entry to the market, as well as raffle tickets and swag bags of goodies. Visitors to the Women’s League Instagram, Facebook, and Facebook event pages can enter the drawings in the weeks leading up to the event.

Susan Strobel, who attended the first Women’s League flea market in 1968 while a student at Puget Sound, says her mother, Elsie Strobel, regularly prepared batches of fresh lemon tarts for the event.

“The one thing that really motivated me to come to the flea market, and that I had to have when I was there, was the lemon tarts,” she said. This Valentines Day she and her sister, Carol Colleran, were busy fluting pastry cups and squeezing lemon juice as they made test batches of tarts, aiming to equal their mother’s.

Amy VanZandt remembers walking in the rain to attend her first Fieldhouse Flea Market on St. Patrick’s Day. “We had such a good time! I was in grad school and was writing my thesis, so stress was high. I bought a peppermint candle and burned it over the next several weeks of writing. I loved that candle – and aced my thesis.”

Susan Resneck Pierce, president emerita of Puget Sound, writes, “I first encountered the Women’s League in 1992 and was blown away by the passion of its members.” She said the generosity of donors, such as Bethel Schneebeck, and the popular appeal of the flea market had greatly impressed her.

Proceeds from the Fieldhouse Flea Market go toward need-based scholarships for University of Puget Sound students. Last year Women’s League endowed scholarships provided $65,000 in financial aid to 17 Puget Sound students, while over the years more than 350 students have received scholarships.

The market is the largest fundraising event organized each year by volunteers from the University of Puget Sound Women’s League. It has been held since 1968, after a league member traveled to Paris, France, and was inspired by a visit to a flea market there. The league was founded in 1900 and has supported the university and its community since that time—doing everything from making curtains for the dormitories to feeding students during the 1918 flu epidemic. In recent decades the group has focused on raising funds for scholarships.

For more information, visit pugetsound.edu/FleaMarket. For updates, facebook.com/PugetSoundWomensLeague.

COUNTY COUNCIL OUTLINES 2018 POLICY PRIORITIES

Last week, the Pierce County Council reinforced its 2018 priorities to include a continued focus on economic development, behavioral health/homelessness, public safety, and property abatement/public nuisances.

“As we discussed our priorities for 2018, it was abundantly clear there is still a great deal to be done in these areas for those we serve,” said County Council Chair Doug Richardson.

The Council’s economic development policy emphasizes the need to build the economy by supporting businesses, promoting job growth, encouraging tourism and investing in infrastructure.

In 2017, the Council authorized more than $4.6 million in behavioral health program funding and in the new year continues its commitment to strengthening behavioral health in Pierce County. The Council’s 2018 behavioral health policy focuses on early intervention and diverts people with behavioral health issues away from the criminal justice system and into treatment options.

Reducing the number of people in Pierce County experiencing homelessness is also a top priority for the Council in 2018. This work will be done through programs that provide housing to those coming out of treatment facilities, or by partnering with both public and private developers.

With the passage of public nuisance Ordinance 2017-22s and chronic nuisance Ordinance 2017-29 the Council declared that blighted properties will not be tolerated in Pierce County. As a result, the Council will develop policy in 2018 that promotes safe neighborhoods and protects property values through aggressive institutional and departmental enforcement of public nuisance laws and abatement of blighted properties and drug houses.

The 2017 Supplemental and 2018 Budget added an additional seven deputy positions to the Sheriff’s Department. For 2018, the Council is providing targeted resources to public safety and justice departments and agencies to prevent and reduce crime in the community and prosecute criminals.

“I look forward to addressing these priorities during my final year in office,” said Dan Roach, County Council vice-chair. “We have problems to solve and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to provide long-lasting solutions.”

For more information about Pierce County Council meetings or members please visit: www.piercecountywa.org/council.

I-940 CARRYING A 47-POINT LEAD

De-Escalate Washington, the political committee supporting Initiative 940, has announced results of a recent poll showing 68 percent of Washington voters support the measure and 21 percent oppose. The poll, conducted Feb. 8-15 by EMC Research, surveyed likely November 2018 voters and carries a statewide margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent. Voters were read the ballot title that will appear on their November ballot without supporting or opposing arguments.

In Eastern Washington, 62 percent of voters support the proposal while 26 percent oppose. In Seattle and the greater Puget Sound region, 73 percent of voters support and 18 percent oppose. The regional breakouts carry a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percent.

I-940 would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation and mental-health training and would amend legal standards for use of deadly force, adding an objective “good faith” standard and requiring independent investigation. According to data compiled by The Washington Post, Washington ranked fifth of the 50 states in number of people fatally shot by police in 2017 and 12th in per capita rate. Nationwide, mental illness played a role in a quarter of the incidents.

The secretary of state certified I-940 to the legislature on Jan. 23. The Senate Law & Justice Committee and House Public Safety Committee will conduct a joint hearing on the measure in Olympia Tuesday at 7 p.m. The legislature can pass I-940 into law, pass an alternative measure, or take no action. If it takes no action, I-940 will go onto the November 2018 general election ballot. If it passes an alternative, both I-940 and the alternative will go onto the ballot.

More information is available at www.deescalatewa.org.

CENTER AT NORPOINT HOSTS FREE WELLNESS EVENT

If you’re looking for new fitness options or seek a healthier lifestyle, check out at the Center at Norpoint’s Fitness and Wellness Conference on Saturday, March 10.

The free, family-oriented event runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and features a series of concurrent, half-hour fitness demonstrations, healthy-living seminars and cooking classes for all ages. It’s a great way to try something new. Choose from among about 25 different fitness classes, six wellness seminars and five healthy cooking classes.

The fitness demonstrations include multiple types of yoga, TRX training, Zumba, martial arts and rock-wall climbing. Some demonstrations are specifically for youngsters, others are aimed at the 50 and better crowd.

The program kicks off with a presentation from Jim Kurtz, Seahawks chiropractor and clinical director of NW Sports Rehab. He’ll talk about how to avoid injury while working out. Proper form is crucial, he says, particularly when engaged in weight training.

If you plan to attend, please register in advance. The first 100 people to register will receive a free gift. The Fitness and Wellness Conference is sponsored by Bloodworks Northwest, which will hold a blood drive in conjunction with the event. A Bloodworks bloodmobile parked outside the Center will accept donations from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Conference organizer Zoe Pinkerton said the event purposely features a broad menu of healthy activities to sample. “We’re introducing several new fitness activities. We’re very eager to get feedback, so we’re asking everyone for input on virtually everything,” she said. Among the new offerings: Strong by Zumba, Afro Zumba and TRX Circuits.

In addition to the rotating medley of classes and seminars, two Norpoint personal trainers will conduct free individualized training assessments, evaluate posture and measure body mass. If requested, they’ll also show people how to use exercise machines and offer advice on beginning an exercise regimen.

A number of vendors also plan exhibits in the Center’s lobby to promote their enterprises. Many will give away free samples or offer specials.

More information, the event schedule and registration are available online at metroparkstacoma.org.

BRIDAL SHOWCASE OFFERS ONE-STOP

SHOPPING FOR WEDDING PLANNING

Brides-to-be can reduce the overwhelming task of wedding planning at the fifth annual Bridal Showcase on Sunday, March 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Environmental Services Building, located at 9850 64th St. W. in University Place.

The Bridal Showcase will connect prospective brides with up to 20 different event vendors.

Experience Chambers Creek Regional Park and get inspired by the majestic views of Puget Sound. A sampling of confirmed participants includes live entertainment by Music De-Lite DJ/MC Service, photographers Lauren Bentley and Mike Tabolsky, who will be showcasing their work. Also, preferred caterers X-Group Catering, Jonz Catering and Snuffin’s will have tasty samples, along with Celebrity Cake Studio.

Discover the latest trends from local salon and spa Brassfield’s and their cutting-edge stylists, personalize your dream honeymoon with experienced travel planners, and so much more.

Other highlights include complimentary mimosas for guests 21+ from our beverage partner and showcase vendor KemperSports and a chance to win prizes.

This free event is open to the public. Bring your bridal party, family, and all your ideas and questions to the showcase. This is the place to get your entire wedding planned in one weekend!

For a full list of activities and exhibitors visit www.piercecountywa.org/esbbridal. To learn more about the Environmental Services Building call (253) 798-4141 or e-mail pceventrental@co.pierce.wa.us.

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