A couple of thoughts about last week's meeting in Klamath Falls dealing with local health issues:
■ It's good to see people sufficiently concerned to participate in a community-wide effort to work on them. With all of the health issues Klamath County has, good ideas are welcome - especially those that seem attainable.
■ It's distressing to see that such an effort is necessary and that much of the need comes from personal choices made by people.
Last Thursday's meeting, representing a wide variety of people and professions, was a brainstorming session.
Health issues have been an increasing focus for local leaders. The Klamath County Health Care Access Committee, was formed a little over a year ago to help bring more health-care providers to Klamath County. Sky Lakes Medical Center, of course, has been working on the problem for years. Economic development and local elected officials have recognized the need as both a social issue and an economic one.
On recent big success for all of these groups was the decision by Sanford Health Foundation to build a 9,000-square-foot pediatric clinic in Klamath Falls near the medical center. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Sept 9.
Last week's meeting was titled, "Pioneers of the Possible: How might we improve health and access to health services in all of Klamath County."
We liked the emphasis. The goals are pretty low key and not tremendously expensive. A lot of them involve personal choices.
Bob Marsalli, chief executive officer of the Klamath Health Partnership, which operates the Klamath Health Partnership, secured an $85,000 grant for program and plans a three-day retreat on the matter for this fall.
We hope it bears fruit.
Some of the ideas
- Create a community kitchen: A community kitchen could provide healthy food in low-income areas and education on how to prepare it.
- Increase initiatives for making healthy choices: Programs in schools could reward students for choosing healthier foods at lunch. Local businesses could implement programs or contests to encourage employees to make healthy decisions.
- Improve nutrition in families: Provide healthier choices at food pantries by educating those who donate to and receive food from pantries about healthy choices.
- Make Klamath Falls known as "Oregon's City of Health": Working with the city to promote Klamath Falls as "Oregon's City of Health" rather than "Oregon's City of Sunshine" could increase community support for healthy initiatives.
- Establish navigators: Navigators would help people, who are not familiar with health care providers or available public services, find the treatment or services they need.
- Improve and expand trails and paths used for exercise: People could form adopt-a-path groups to clean and maintain paths, and others could work with local officials to expand and connect existing trails.
- Market Healthy Active Klamath to the public: Healthy Active Klamath, which was created in 2004 to improve local health, has worked more with policy change and less with public projects in recent years. A more public initiative by the organization could create more community awareness of health issues.
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Biomass site never held major plant
A Herald and News editorial last month incorrectly said that the proposed biomass plant southwest of Klamath Falls would go on a site that once held a major Weyerhaeuser plant.
The site never held a major industrial facility. The land was once owned by Weyerhaeuser and was zoned heavy industrial because the company expected to build a pulp mill, but the pulp mill was never built.