Letters to the Editor
Great work, Rep. Walden
Earlier this year, a bill first introduced by Congressman Greg Walden, HR 524, became law as part of a large omnibus public lands bill. The Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act is an example of how skilled a legislator Walden is and how hard he works for Central Oregon.
Briefly, this law will provide new protection from wildfires for the Crooked River Ranch community in Jefferson County. And while this is essential for public safety, the new law will also help improve water supplies while protecting watersheds. By allowing the removal of juniper trees, which have grown increasingly dense due to past fire suppression, the law will save water.
During spring and summer months, mature juniper trees can consume over 30 gallons of water everyday, which can reduce groundwater, as well as surface flows in local rivers and creeks.
Watersheds are also negatively affected by wildfires. Wildfires can burn away ground cover and vegetation across the landscape, leaving soils exposed and easily erodible, resulting in degraded water quality.
The passage of this new law shows that Greg Walden works well with all of the other members of Oregon's congressional delegation. His collaboration, and work ethic, benefits all of us.
The "10 Year Anniversary" of the Movin' Mountains Slimdown Challenge finished on May 11. I always like to share stories about the participants and thank the volunteers and sponsors that have made the program a success.
We had the largest amount of participants this year with 340 entrants, and out of that, 52% finished. I always look as an indicator of success of the program that number so I am thrilled. The importance of finishing the program and seeing that they did make improvements is one of my goals. With that, I am hopeful that participants will be encouraged to continue down that healthier lifestyle path.
This year a number of last year's winners did qualify to participate by not gaining back 30% of the weight they lost last year. A couple of them placed again and lost more weight — not a bad thing! In addition, a number of participants who had entered many times over the years placed. This was the year they heard it and were motivated to finish.
I want to acknowledge Jefferson County and Madras Medical Group for supporting their employees by paying their entry fee to participate. MMG had 68% of their staff participate and 47% of them finished. They also offered an in-house award as added motivation. That type of support goes a long way in employee wellness and performance on the job. It is great that these organizations recognize that.
Of course, this program would not be possible without all of the great partnerships that help support the cost and participants. Many thanks to: Jefferson County Public Health, Madras Medical Group, St. Charles Madras and the Madras Pioneer for funding the advertising costs. The Warm Springs Diabetes Program — in particular, Montell Elliott — for coordinating measurements in Warm Springs and partnering with myself on the goal setting class. Thanks also to Madras Aquatic Center for the free swims for all participants and the Madras Athletic Club and Anytime Fitness for membership specials.
We enjoyed collaborating with Ben Anderson's class at the 509-J School District on the hydro flasks. They did an amazing and job and everyone loved them.
Individuals to acknowledge are Kacey Conyers, R.D., from Warm Springs Community Wellness for her nutrition talk; Dorene DeWhitt; Sharon Miller and Jani Jagels for helping with registration and the final measurement process. Of course, Joy Harvey and Beth Ann Beamer for being there to do the measurements, and Michael Baker, JCPH Director, for seeing the value of these types of programs in our community and supporting my time to run them.
I have accumulated the amount of weight and inches lost since 2010. Thought I would share that: weight lost 1,484 pounds, and inches off waist and hips 6,184. Where did it all go? To your health.
Carolyn Harvey is the Community Health Educator for Jefferson County Public Health
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