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Summer Ozone Season Along the Front Range (June 2016)

June 1 marked the beginning of the summer ozone season along Colorado's Front Range. Ozone Action Alerts are issued on days when meteorologists from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment expect weather conditions to lead to increased ground-level ozone concentrations in Denver and along the Front Range. The cities of Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley are included in the alert area.

Ground-level ozone is an important air pollutant. Elevated levels can cause symptoms that include stinging eyes and throat, chest pains, coughing and respiratory distress. Those at highest risk of symptoms due to elevated ozone levels include the elderly; young, active children; and anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition such as emphysema or asthma. Even healthy adults who spend a lot of time working or exercising outdoors may be affected by elevated ozone levels. During ozone alert days, people can lower their risk of developing symptoms by limiting prolonged outdoor activities.

Ozone is different from most other air pollution in that it is not emitted directly into the atmosphere. Instead, ozone forms in the lower atmosphere when other primary emissions react in the presence of heat and sunlight. Those emissions are volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. The sources of these ozone-forming emissions include cars and trucks, industrial operations, oil and gas wells, residential activities such as mowing lawns and using paints and stains, as well as from naturally occurring sources such as volatile organics from evergreen trees.

Ozone alerts serve two important purposes: They provide specific health advice for people who may be affected by elevated ozone levels, and they inform the community about steps that can be taken to help reduce ozone during those times. Because ozone formation occurs when air emissions bake in the hot summer sun, people can help by taking voluntary steps to reduce these pollutants. Some suggestions for individual action include:
  • Keep your car tuned and tires well-inflated to increase mileage and reduce fuel use
  • Avoid unnecessary idling at drive-thru windows and other places
  • Stop at the click when refueling your car or truck to limit vapors at the gas pump
  • Refuel after dusk in the summer to avoid the period of intense sunlight
  • Combine trips, take the bus, or postpone a trip during an alert if possible
  • If you use a gas-powered lawnmower, delay mowing until evening to avoid the period of intense ozone formation

    Ozone also occurs in the upper atmosphere at an altitude of 10 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface. This upper-level ozone is not a form of air pollution, and in fact, it blocks ultraviolet rays thereby helping to protect us from skin cancer and cataracts.

    More information about ozone in our area is available at www.ozoneaware.org. In Colorado, the Regional Air Quality Council is leading the planning efforts to reduce ozone levels and attain compliance with the ozone air quality standard. Technical information about this planning process is available at www.raqc.org.
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    Naqvi, Sullivan Elected to Health District Board of Directors (May 2016)

    Faraz Naqvi and Deirdre Sullivan have been elected to the board of directors for the Health District of Northern Larimer County. Three candidates ran for two open seats on the Health District board. A total of 1,102 people voted in the special district election.

    Naqvi, 55, is a physician focused on elderly care, skilled and assisted living care and management of health professionals. Sullivan, 41, is a program supervisor for CanDo and Vida Sana at UCHealth Community Health Improvement and a facilitator with the Family Leadership Training Institute at Colorado State University Extension. Both are residents of Fort Collins.

    The Health District is governed by a five-member board of directors. Members serve staggered, four-year terms and are elected at-large from the community. Elections are held every two years in even-numbered years.

    The Health District provides residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health and preventive health services, in addition to connecting people to more affordable prescription and health insurance options.
     
    Election for Health District Board of Directors on May 3 (2016)

    Three people are running for the board of directors of the Health District of Northern Larimer County. They will compete in a May 3 election for two open seats on the board.

    Candidates are Robert Calhoun, 66, a licensed psychologist; Faraz Naqvi, 55, a physician focused on elderly care, skilled and assisted living care and management of health professionals; and Deirdre Sullivan, 41, a program supervisor for CanDo and Vida Sana at UCHealth Community Health Improvement and a facilitator with the Family Leadership Training Institute of CSU Extension. All three candidates are residents of Fort Collins.

    The Health District is governed by a five-person board of directors whose members are elected to alternating four-year terms. Board members are elected at large by eligible voters in the district, which encompasses the northern two-thirds of Larimer County and includes the cities of Fort Collins, Timnath, Laporte, Livermore and Wellington. Elections are held every two years.

    To be eligible to vote in the election, a person must be a U.S. citizen aged 18 years or older who is registered to vote in Colorado and is also a resident of the Health District. Non-district residents may vote if they or their spouse own property within the district.

    Voting on May 3 will take place at two polling locations in Fort Collins: the Health District main office at 120 Bristlecone Drive, and Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church at 4501 S. Lemay Ave. (corner of Lemay and Harmony).

    People also may vote by mail, and all completed ballots must be received at the Health District by 7 p.m. on May 3 in order to be counted. To vote by mail, request an absentee ballot by completing and submitting an Application for Absentee Ballot, which is available on the Health District website. Ballots will be sent automatically to people who have voted in previous Health District board elections and who requested to be on the permanent absentee ballot list.

    More election information, including details on obtaining an absentee ballot, as well as personal profiles provided by the candidates, is available at healthdistrict.org/2016-election.

    The Health District is a public agency that provides residents of northern Larimer County with dental, mental health, and preventive health services, in addition to connecting people to more affordable prescription and health insurance options.
     
    Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 (2015)

    The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit. By quitting - even for one day - smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life.

    Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet more than 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, or 1 in every 5 adults. In addition, about 13 million people smoke pipes or cigars.

    The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment you stop smoking. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke. For general information from the American Cancer Society, go to www.cancer.org.

    Locally, the Health District of Northern Larimer County offers a tobacco treatment program to help smokers quit. We have six-week classes that are held periodically throughout the year on Wednesday evenings. The next class starts Jan. 20, 2016. If you don't want to wait for this class, give us a call because individual counseling is always available. For details about our Step Free from Tobacco program, call 970-224-5209. Or visit the Health District website.
     
    November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month (Nov. 2015)

    Along with other hospices across the country, Pathways Hospice will be celebrating National Hospice and Palliative Care Month in November. This month-long event serves to increase awareness of the benefits and options people have with hospice care during the end of life. What makes this year particularly meaningful is that November also marks the 10-year anniversary for the Pathways Hospice Grief and Loss Counseling Center.

    Pathways Hospice is inviting the public to an open house to learn how we help the community. The open house is on Friday, November 6, 6:30-8:00pm at the Pathways Grief and Loss Counseling Center, 305 Carpenter Road in Fort Collins. Attendees will discover why Pathways staff members chose to dedicate their careers to caring for patients during end of life, take a tour of the center and learn about the many bereavement programs Pathways Hospice offers families and their loved ones.

    The Pathways Grief and Loss Counseling Center has become a tremendous support to northern Colorado. In 2014, the center provided bereavement support, education and counseling to more than 6,000 people. Also last year, we provided more than 500 counseling sessions, and 165 children received support through programming.

    Pathways Hospice itself has become an exemplary model for other hospice organizations. We have a full-time medical director, and we have increased service at McKee Medical Center to six beds. Most recently, the Center was honored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization with Level IV status within the "We Honor Veterans" program, recognizing our commitment and service to veterans.

    About Pathways Hospice: Established in 1978, Pathways Hospice is a nonprofit agency providing exceptional hospice care in the last months of life, palliative consultation and counseling for those with long-term serious illness, and community-wide grief support for residents of Larimer and Weld counties. For more information, go to pathways-care.org.
     

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