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According to Invasive Species Specialist William Wyatt at the Oregon Department of Forestry, throwing your old Christmas tree into the woods or leaving it in your yard may spread the elongate hemlock scale (Fiorinia externa.) Williams said this insect arrived in Oregon this fall on Christmas trees brought in from North Carolina. The Oregon Department of Agriculture found the pest and ordered the infested trees destroyed, but not before some had been shipped to big box stores all along the West Coast. The fear is that when Christmas trees are left for weeks or months in a yard or dumped in a park or the woods, eggs laid on them will hatch and the pest may escape into nearby trees.

Tillamook County transfer stations have announced that they are presently not requiring a coupon to recycle your tree at one of their locations. In our neck of the woods, undecorated trees may be taken to Pacific City transfer station off of Brooten Road during open hours.

Tillamook County Wellness is sponsoring several community events this month. An ASIST Suicide Intervention Training is available to those 16 and older. The free program trains participants in suicide prevention skills. The course is planned for 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday January 18 and Saturday, January 19. Registration opens at 8:15 the first morning. The training, which offers continuing education credits, will happen at The Port of Tillamook, 4000 Blimp Boulevard, in Tillamook. For more information, call DeAnna Pearl, 503-815-5426.

A “One Stop Shop” for community supports is planned from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16 at Nestucca Junior Senior High School. Representatives from a variety of State or County-wide agencies send staff for everything from Food Stamps or Oregon Health Plan applications, to energy assistance and help for needy families.

Free wellness and learning screening (formerly known as Multi-modular exams) are being scheduled for that annual event, moved from spring to January this year. The “Early Childhood Screening Fair” runs Wednesday, January 23 and Thursday, January 24 at Tillamook County Fairgrounds. The address is 4603 Third Street, east of downtown Tillamook. Call 503-815-2292 to schedule an appointment.

August’s earthquake, west of Coos Bay, motivates me to take a step towards disaster preparedness each week. I’m sharing my progress in this space; we can prepare together or the coming “big one.” Last week I promised to inventory my first aid kit. I realize now that I skipped a step. We need a trustworthy list of essentials to have on hand. I found one at rei.com/learn/expert-advice/first-aid-checklist.html There are far too many recommended items to fit this space. I’ve printed it off and will inventory my supplies against it in the week to come.

Have you printed off a list of first aid supplies and inventoried your first aid kit?

Happy birthday this week to: Rachel Adkins, Rick Anderson, Ralph Barajas, Diane Bowler, Dale Caspell, B. J. Chatelain, Colton Craven, Rodney Dunn, John Eckhardt, Steven Hale, Jesse Heathershaw, Kyla Hurliman, Kyler Jones, Maloree Malcom, Hannah Scott, Terrance Watters and Brad Whitaker.

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