Know safety, laws about fireworks

June 29, 2010

A dummy hand is missing fingers after incorrectly lighting a Silver Salute, which is equal to the effects of 100 firecrackers. By Elizabeth DeVos

The Fourth of July is about enjoying the sun, if it decides to come out from behind the clouds, picnics and the exciting sounds and vast array of colors from lighting off fireworks.

In cities where fireworks are legal, stands opened this June 21. Although fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Issaquah, many people still ignite the dangerous explosives and quickly run away in order to watch the fiery display they put off.

“We want to remind residents of Washington to be safe,” said Karen Jones, deputy state fire marshal of the state fire marshal and data analysis. “Check the laws of your community as they change.”

According to the annual fireworks report put out by the Washington State Patrol, males ages 15-21 account for most fireworks-related injuries. In 2009, 200 firework related injuries were reported.

Hand and eye injuries are reported most, followed by head, face and ear injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

“Plan ahead for mishaps,” said Special Agent Phillip Whitley, of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It’s also important to understand which fireworks are legal in your area, he said.

Fireworks should be left unaltered and only used as directed by the warning label that’s required by federal law. An improvised, altered firework can lead to burns, amputation of limbs and even death. Read more

Living with rheumatoid arthritis

June 15, 2010

Hands. They are often our first interactions with the world. They lift a mug of coffee to your lips. They greet new acquaintances with a firm grasp. They hold loved ones close in an embrace.

Meredith Froemke

But when rheumatoid arthritis took away Issaquah resident Meredith Froemke’s ability to lift or greet or hold, her world got much smaller.

“The disease was so misunderstood by the outside world,” Froemke said,” that I didn’t have the courage to come forward, because I found I was really discriminated against.”

Froemke was diagnosed with RA in 1993. She was 28.

“‘This has got to be a mistake,’” she thought. “I had never even seen anybody my age with rheumatoid arthritis.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2007 RA affected more seniors, but about 12 percent of Washington state residents between the ages of 18 and 44 were reported to have the condition. The autoimmune disease causes the lining in the joints to swell and eventually digest cartilage and bone. As the tissue degenerates, it usually causes the affected joint to lose its shape, causing a loss of range of motion and pain.

“One day I woke up, and I was so sick,” Froemke remembered. “I couldn’t move my jaw, my arms, my fingers, my legs, my neck. I was in a complete state of paralysis.”

She said the weight of her bed sheet felt like a house was sitting on her. Froemke was quickly diagnosed with RA, and she had to drastically alter her lifestyle to adapt to the condition. Read more

Senior center focuses on a healthier lifestyle

February 16, 2010

Fitness instructor Barbara Scott leads a Stay Active and Independent for Life class at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center. By Chantelle Lusebrink

High stepping, ball bouncing and throwing a few upper cuts may sound like child’s play, but this is Issaquah seniors getting fit.

With more information and resources than ever, seniors are taking charge of their health through a variety of education and fitness opportunities at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.

“I like the ball squeezing with the legs,” said Stephen Saunders, who celebrated his 87th birthday Feb. 1. “It’s just good for you. I missed a week and I’m still making up for it.”

“It’s great. I have so many that have kept coming since we started more than two years ago,” said fitness instructor Barbara Scott. “They have a contagious spirit and that’s what makes things fun.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week and overall muscle strength training two or more days a week for adults 65 years or older who are generally fit. Read more

Compare infection rates at hospitals statewide

January 19, 2010

State residents can now compare and research infection rates at hospitals across Washington with a new tool from the state Department of Health. Read more

Have a heart healthy holiday season

December 15, 2009

Dr. Elizabeth Gold, cardiologist at the Virginia Mason Issaquah clinic, performs an exam Dec. 10 on Brooks Loop, 84, of Snoqualmie. By Greg Farrar

Dr. Elizabeth Gold, cardiologist at the Virginia Mason Issaquah clinic, performs an exam Dec. 10 on Brooks Loop, 84, of Snoqualmie. By Greg Farrar

With sleigh bells jingling and merry spirits, it’s likely you’re ready for the holidays, but is your heart?

Each year, nearly 785,000 Americans suffer a heart attack and more than 631,636 have heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, causes that lead to heart attacks and heart disease, are factors people should be aware of, according to Issaquah’s newest cardiologist, Dr. Elizabeth Gold.

Heart health is “essential, it makes us all go,” she said. “If your heart stops, that’s the definition of dying.

“There are a lot of issues with heart health,” she said. “One of the main ones is if you have a heart attack, severe enough, it could kill you. But there are other things that damage your heart muscle and can severely impact your quality of life.”

Those include heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, she said.

Gold started a new rotation with Virginia Mason’s Issaquah clinic Dec. 7 and has been helping patients and residents prepare to be more heart healthy this coming year.

The rotation program was started with the hope that patients would have more local access to specialists. With two successful cardiologist rotations in Bellevue and Kirkland, Gold’s rotation to Issaquah was a natural next step, according to Alisha Mark, director of communications for the hospital. Read more

Local family joins crusade to end the choking game

December 1, 2009

Kevin Tork

Kevin Tork

Stepping onto the stage at Chimacum Middle School in Chimacum Oct. 13, Ken Tork took a deep breath and began saving lives by confronting a deadly game.

Students throughout the state, nation and the world are playing the choking game and Tork said he knows two things about it: That it’s not a game and that it has deadly consequences.

Tork, his wife Kathy, and 11-year-old daughter Kelly Tork know all too well the game’s deadly consequences. The couple lost their only son, Kevin, a 15-year-old sophomore at Issaquah High School, to the game March 30.

Kevin’s death is the reason Ken Tork was called to Chimacum. On Oct. 7, medics arrived to care for a student who’d passed out after being choked by a friend before a third-period class.

Students play the game to get a high, which occurs when their brains are deprived of blood and oxygen. Read more

An advocate for arthritis

September 29, 2009

10-year-old named honoree for fundraiser

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, Alicia Seidel and her mom Cynthia pose for a photo during Alicia’s lobbying efforts for research funds during the 2009 Arthritis Advocacy Kids Summit in Washington, D.C. Contributed

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, Alicia Seidel and her mom Cynthia pose for a photo during Alicia’s lobbying efforts for research funds during the 2009 Arthritis Advocacy Kids Summit in Washington, D.C. Contributed

She swims, she plays soccer and she snowboards. By all accounts, Alicia Seidel is like many other 10-year-olds in the area: There’s just one difference — she has arthritis.

“I’m the only one at my school with arthritis,” said Alicia, an Endeavour Elementary School student.

“A lot of people know about arthritis, but they think it is something you get when you’re old,” said her mother Cynthia Seidel, who was also recently diagnosed with an arthritic condition.

Alicia is one of 294,000 children living with arthritis in the country. But she hasn’t let it slow her down. In fact, because of her determination and her message for research and a cure, she was named the honoree for Bellevue’s second annual Arthritis Foundation Walk Oct. 10. Read more

City, schools gird for possible swine flu outbreak

September 8, 2009

City and school officials are keeping close watch on information about the H1N1 flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the local public health agency. Read more

Skyline grad tips the scales in his favor

June 16, 2009

By Jim Feehan
Chris Darnell wanted to set a good example for children as a youth pastor. So, he shed 75 pounds this year and hasn’t put one pound on since.
“I figured I can’t teach kids to eat healthy if I looked the way I did,” said Darnell, 26, of North Bend.
Darnell underwent a rigorous, twice-daily workout, lifting weights and running on a treadmill as part of the Gold’s Gym Challenge. He and about 70 other individuals at the Issaquah, Redmond and Bothell Gold’s Gyms lost a combined 1,430 pounds during a 12-week span.
The weight loss is remarkable, given the number of Americans who are either overweight or obese.
After a quarter-century of increases, obesity prevalence has not measurably increased in the past few years, but levels are still high — 34 percent of U.S. adults age 20 and over are obese, according to a new study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, Obesity Among Adults in the United States — No Change Since 2003-2004, is the latest analysis based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, conducted by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
A former lineman on the 2000 state championship Skyline High School football team, Darnell said he was always a big boy. During his gridiron days at Skyline, he tipped the scales at between 250 and 260 pounds. On New Year’s Day 2009, he weighed 367 pounds; today, he weighs about 290, he said.
“I take pride in the fact that I did this for me,” Darnell said.
The pounds came off and stayed off by him eating a high-protein diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables. He wants to drop 30 more pounds in the coming weeks.
“I want to be a sexy 260 pounds by my wedding in mid-July,” he said with a grin.
Helen Martin, 38, of Mercer Island, lost 18 pounds in 12 weeks and reduced her body fat to 11 percent. Thirteen years ago, a semi truck slammed into Martin’s Honda Accord on Interstate 5 in Seattle. The impact injured her shoulder and curtailed her weight-lifting regimen in the gym.
“Fortunately, my trainer at Gold’s also had a shoulder injury, so he tailored a training program that worked for me,” said Martin, a real estate agent based in Bellevue.
Martin recommends a good cardio workout, a diet devoid of cheese, butter, bread, pasta potatoes, candies, ice cream and cake. In addition, go easy on the alcohol.
“What made the difference for me was that I set a goal to lose weight, focused on that goal and achieved it,” Martin said.
Darnell said he eliminated dairy, whole wheat and processed sugar from his diet.
“Do it for yourself and not for someone else, eat smaller meals, and cut out the fast food and soft drinks,” he said. “We humans are grazers and we’re not built to eat three large meals a day.”
Darnell will eat six to eight small meals a day consisting of a slice of fruit, broccoli and perhaps a chicken breast.
Darnell operates a Kettle Corn stand outside the Issaquah Home Depot when he’s not working as an intern at Eastridge Christian Assembly church. His Kettle Corn stand affords a great view of Krispy Kreme, the donut emporium he worked at for 18 months.
“I really don’t crave it, but every once in a while I’ll have a Reese’s peanut butter cup,” he said.
Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or jfeehan@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.
Skyline High School graduate Chris Darnell, 26, weighed 367 pounds before joining the Gold’s Gym Challenge. Today, he’s down to 290.

Skyline High School graduate Chris Darnell, 26, weighed 367 pounds before joining the Gold’s Gym Challenge. Today, he’s down to 290.

Chris Darnell wanted to set a good example for children as a youth pastor. So, he shed 75 pounds this year and hasn’t put one pound on since.

“I figured I can’t teach kids to eat healthy if I looked the way I did,” said Darnell, 26, of North Bend.

Darnell underwent a rigorous, twice-daily workout, lifting weights and running on a Read more

City, schools prepared for swine flu

May 5, 2009

After several probable cases of swine flu were identified in King County, city and Issaquah School District officials said they were prepared if an outbreak occurs here. Officials took steps to reassure the public as the number of cases rose and officials elsewhere closed schools as a precautionary measure. Read more

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