Open house honors Lutz
A retirement open house for Patti Lutz, a Sartell High School health instructor of 38 years, will be held from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Learning Center, 1001 2nd St. S., Suite 1005, Sartell. All Sartell, grads, students and parents are invited. The former Patti Olsen, now Lutz, began teaching in 1974 and is a past gymnastics and swimming coach at Sartell High School. No individual gifts. Cards may be sent to Patti Lutz, 2721 Clearwater Road, St. Cloud, MN 56301.
District 14A special election set Feb. 12
Stearns County Auditor-Treasurer, Randy Schreifels, announced Jan. 15 that the special election to fill Minnesota House seat District 14A, left open after the resignation of Rep. Steve Gottwalt, will take place Feb. 12. Gov. Mark Dayton issued the writ of special election Jan. 15. Law states the special election must be held within 35 days of the Governor’s order.
Candidates wishing to file for the open seat have until Jan. 15 to do so. Filings need to be done in the Stearns County Auditor’s Office or at the Secretary of State’s Office. If more than one person in a party files for the seat, a primary election will be held Jan. 29.
Polls for the special election will be open the same hours as the general election, from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Polling locations are also the same as they were for the general election. To obtain polling location information, residents can go to the Stearns County website at www.co.stearns.mn.us.
District 14A covers areas of two precincts in St. Joseph Township as well as St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Augusta. A map of the district can be found on the Stearns County website.
Flu shots urged
Widespread flu activity is being reported across much of the country and the American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region urges people who have not yet gotten a flu vaccine to get vaccinated. The Red Cross also has steps people can take to prevent the spread of the flu virus during what the Centers for Disease Control says is the worst influenza outbreak in several years in the United States.
Widespread flu activity is reported in 41 states, including Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota. Other states include the following: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Steps to prevent flu
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting someone against flu viruses. In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Parents can also practice these things with their kids to help keep them well:
• Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
• Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
• Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home if sick.
Signs of the flu
How does someone know they have the flu? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children).
If someone in the household does come down with the flu, the Red Cross wants everyone to know the best way to care for them:
• Designate one person as the caregiver and have the other household members avoid close contact with that person so they won’t become sick.
• Make sure the person stays at home and rests until 24 hours after the fever is gone.
• Designate a sick room for the person if possible. If there is more than one sick person, they can share the sick room if needed. If there is more than one bathroom, designate one for those who are sick to use. Give each sick person their own drinking glass, washcloth and towel.
• Keep the following either in the sick room or near the person: tissues, a trash can lined with a plastic trash bag, alcohol-based hand rub, a cooler or pitcher with ice and drinks, a thermometer and a cup with straw or squeeze bottle to help with drinking. A humidifier will provide extra moisture, making it easier for the sick person to breathe. Sick people should wear a facemask, if available, when they leave the sick room or are around others.
• Give plenty of liquids (water and other clear liquids) at the first sign of flu and continue throughout the illness. People with the flu need to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.
• Treat fever and cough with medicines that can be purchased at the store. Remember, when children are ill they should never be given aspirin or products containing aspirin – especially with the flu.
• If the person gets very sick, is pregnant or has a medical condition (like asthma) that puts them at higher risk of flu complications, call their doctor. They may need to be examined and might need antiviral medicine to treat the flu.
• Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless cleaned between uses.
• Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
• Wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher or by hand using very hot water and soap.
• Wash everyone’s clothes in a standard washing machine. Use detergent and very hot water, tumble dry on a hot dryer setting and wash hands after handling dirty laundry.
• Wear disposable gloves when in contact with or cleaning up body fluids.
When to call the doctor
If someone thinks they have the flu, their health-care provider should be consulted. Seek medical care immediately if the person develops any of the following symptoms:
• Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
• Confusion or sudden dizziness.
• Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
• Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
• Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
• Fever with a rash (children).
• No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).
More information about how to help protect loved ones during this flu season is available on redcross.org.
New 4-H Club focuses on robotics
A new 4-H club has started in Stearns County. The focus of the club is about robotics and is named “Robot X.” At its most recent meeting officers were elected. Matthew Throlson of Avon was elected reporter for the group. For more information, contact Sara Budde, 4-H program coordinator, at 320-255-6169.
Hazardous waste drop-off extends hours
To better meet the needs of residents, the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off and product exchange programs have extended public hours of operation. The facilities are now open to the public from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Mondays. Other hours include from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and from 8 a.m.-noon the third Saturday of each month.
The Household Hazardous Waste drop-off and product exchange, operated by Tri-County Solid Waste Management, accepts household hazardous waste products from residents in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns Counties to prevent hazardous waste from entering our environment. Materials residents drop off are either properly disposed of, or those still in good condition, are made available in the Product Exchange for residents in the tri-county area to take for free and re-use in their own home. The facility is stocked with products like paint, stain, cleaning supplies, aerosols, adhesives, pesticides and home improvement products. Since spring, the Household Hazardous Waste drop-off also accepts fluorescent light bulbs for disposal.
The Household Hazardous Waste Facility is located at 3601 – 5th St. S. in Waite Park. For more information about the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, go to the Stearns County website at www.co.stearns.mn.us. Any questions can also be directed to the Tri-County Solid Waste Commission at 320-255-6140 or 1-800-450-6140.
Students need supporters
Join St. Cloud Area School District 742 Volunteer in Education program. Community volunteers are being sought to help support students in their schools. Helpers are needed to assist with various academic roles in their elementary schools, such as reading, math or science support. Volunteers typically work one-on-one or with a small group of students and are needed during school hours, Monday through Friday. Aides can choose to serve two or more hours per shift. Orientation includes literacy training to ensure helpers are prepared to support students in the classroom. Contact Sonia Dickrell, St. Cloud Area School District 742, at (320) 529-6500 x6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drivers needed for local hospital
St. Cloud Hospital is looking for STEP Force volunteers, which means speedy, transport and escort pool. STEP Force volunteers transport and escort patients, families and visitors throughout the facility. Volunteers will transport patients, deliver flowers and mail, and assist with other deliveries. Volunteers will get plenty of exercise and make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Contact the St. Cloud Hospital Volunteer Services at (320) 255-5638.
Stepping Stones needs assistance
Help is needed to support the Stepping Stones incentive program and store located at Birthline Inc. Stepping Stones store opportunities include donation sorting, pricing and merchandising or direct interaction with clients as a store clerk to assist with shopping appointments. The program opportunities include community awareness support. They are also in need of donations. The store accepts donations of diapers, baby care items, new and like-new baby clothing toys and furniture for infants to 18 months. The store also supplies practical personal care and household items for adults to purchase with earned “decision dollars.” Contact Jen Kipka at Birthline Inc. at (320) 252-4150.
Entertain and enrich lives
The Independence Center Inc. is looking for activity coordinators to help entertain and enrich the lives of
adults with disabilities. If you enjoy sharing stories, playing games, baking brownies, going shopping or
making arts and crafts, this is the position for you. You will have a chance to use all your creative skills
and make a lasting friendship and bond with our consumers with disabilities. No prior experience working
with people with disabilities is needed. Staff members will provide training.
Contact Jaime Garberich, Independence Center, at (320) 252-4146.
United Way Volunteer Central
• Promotes year-round volunteerism
• Connects people with local volunteer opportunities
• Highlights a few opportunities each week
To receive this listing or additional opportunities contact United Way at 252-0227 or www.unitedwayhelps.org
Give. Advocate. Volunteer. LIVE UNITEDTM.
Volunteers are needed to help with snow shoveling and other outdoor chores to help people remain
independent in their homes. Responsibilities include volunteer orientation, snow removal services, be
respectful of the care receiver’s home and aware of safety procedures. Volunteers must maintain client
confidentiality. Contact Cherise Robb, Great River Area Faith in Action volunteer coordinator, (320) 258-8678.
Retired Senior Volunteer Program
RSVP is a volunteer program for men and women ages 55 and older offering a variety of one-time
and on-going volunteer opportunities within 220 local human service organizations. With RSVP,
volunteers choose how and where they want to serve. They choose the amount of time they want to
give. And they choose whether they want to draw on current skills or develop new ones. Volunteers
can utilize optional mileage reimbursement through RSVP.
Contact RSVP at (320) 255-7295 or visit www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/RSVP.
Make a new friend by mentoring a child
Make a new friend by mentoring a child in the child’s school! It’s simple. All you need to do is be a friend to a child for one hour per week. You can play games, hang out in the gym, go to the library or the computer lab. Every week you will meet in the child’s school at a time that works for both you and the child. By meeting at the child’s school, you are not expected to be a tutor but simply be a listening, supportive friend to a child who needs someone in his or her life. This type of match relationship is designed as a one-year commitment with nine months of that commitment being in-person. Throughout the summer months contact with your Little Brother or Sister can be done over the phone, through email or by writing letters. This relationship can later be extended into the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based relationship if you wish. The school-based mentor can be an adult from the community or a freshman (second semester), sophomore or junior in high school who applies and can get a reference from school staff or faculty. Contact Maija Schmelzer, Big Brothers Big Sisters, at (320) 258-4535.