Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Tuesday, February 20 2018 @ 10:16 AM AKST


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Department of Health and Social Services operations to continue during potential government shutdown

Health and WellnessDue to the critical health and safety implications of the services that are provided, limited funding of the Department of Health and Social Services’ FY2016 budget was approved by Governor Walker. There will be no impact to the operations of DHSS in the event of a partial government shutdown. The department will continue to promote and protect the health and well-being of Alaskans.

While programs and operations will continue in the near term, an extended government shutdown could ultimately affect services provided by DHSS.
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Fall Prevention Awareness is May 4th - 15th

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE, Alaska—A nationwide effort to prevent falls in construction occupations is underway May 4th through 15th. Falls are a leading cause of deaths and serious injuries in construction and have consistently held the top spot as the most frequently cited Occupational Safety and Health violation. The fall prevention awareness effort is intended to focus attention on eliminating hazards to prevent workplace injuries. Construction companies are encouraged to talk with workers about how to prevent falls, take steps to ensure fall protection equipment is adequate, and to provide training for workers about how to recognize fall hazards and use equipment.

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State cautions against eating recreationally harvested shellfish from Alaska beaches

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE —A confirmed case of paralytic shellfish poisoning last week has prompted epidemiologists with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to remind Alaskans and visitors about the risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, when consuming recreationally harvested Alaska shellfish. All shellfish—including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks and scallops —can contain paralytic shellfish poison. Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but crab guts can contain unsafe levels of toxin and should be discarded. Commercially harvested shellfish are tested and considered safe.

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Gov. Walker Issues Bike Month Proclamation

Health and Wellness(JUNEAU, Alaska) – Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has proclaimed the month of May as Bike Month; May 6, 2015, as Bike to School Day; and May 11-15, 2015, as Bike to Work Week.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will join organizations throughout the state during May to support Bike Month events. Biking is an affordable, healthy form of transportation and a great way to get the 30-60 minutes of daily activity recommended for optimum health.

According to a 2014 Benchmarking Report from Alliance for Biking and Walking, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alaska ranks sixth in the nation for percentage of adults who bike to work. In addition, Alaska has the third lowest rate of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the nation.

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Gov. Reiterates Call to Pass Medicaid Bill

Health and WellnessApril 24, 2015 JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker today again called for legislators to pass Medicaid reform and expansion while they are in Juneau for an extended regular session. The Legislature is now in its fifth day beyond the statutory 90-day session.

“There is plenty of time to review and pass Medicaid reform and expansion legislation,” Governor Walker said. “I appreciate that Medicaid expansion and reform have been the subject of 26 separate hearings this session. Now, it’s time to act.”

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Public health centers to waive immunization administration fees during National Infant Immunization Week

Health and WellnessState public health centers, along with the Municipality of Anchorage, will waive all immunization administration fees for all ages during National Infant Immunization Week, April 18–25, 2015. The annual observation is a perfect time to update your and your children’s vaccinations at no cost for those who qualify.

National Infant Immunization Week highlights the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities. Vaccines are among the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death. “We all want to do what is best for our kids and grandkids. As the recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have reminded us, as long as vaccine-preventable infections are anywhere in the world, they are a threat to us in Alaska. The shield of immunity is the best protection,” said Jay Butler, MD, an infectious diseases physician and Chief Medical Officer, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

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Medicaid Reform and Expansion Gains Support

Health and WellnessApril 9, 2015 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker today thanked the 153 municipalities, organizations and businesses that have expressed their support for Medicaid reform and expansion in Alaska.

“I’m encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received on Medicaid reform and expansion,” Governor Walker said. “It’s clear that Alaskans think this is the right thing to do for our state. I am also grateful for the dozens of Alaskans who took time on their Saturday to testify in support of this bill."

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Ancient Anglo-Saxon cow bile and garlic potion kills MRSA

Health and WellnessHere's an interesting article about the findings by scientists of the effectiveness of old remedies: " A thousand-year-old medieval remedy for eye infections which was discovered in a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the superbug MRSA.

Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee, from the School of English, at Nottingham University, recreated the 10th century potion to see if it really worked as an antibacterial remedy. "

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Alaska Begins Market Conduct Examination of Premera

Health and WellnessThe Alaska Division of Insurance is participating in a multi-state market conduct examination of Premera Blue Cross (Premera). Insurance regulators use market conduct exams to investigate whether an insurer has complied with insurance laws on the distribution of insurance products and the settlement of claims. Led by the State of Washington, Alaska and Oregon may also be joined on the exam team by other states impacted by Premera’s national provider network.

“The Alaska Division of Insurance takes the privacy of insurance consumers very seriously,” said Lori Wing-Heier, director of the Division of Insurance. “Alaskans should be assured that we will use all available resources to ensure that consumers are protected.”

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Troopers Hit The Trail Once Again For Suicide Prevention Crusade Across Alaska

Health and WellnessAlaska Wildlife Troopers will once again hit the trail, this time snowmachining more than 1,000 miles across Alaska in two weeks in an effort to prevent suicides. This year, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Darrell Hildebrand, Thomas Akelkok and Jon Simeon, accompanied by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Officer Brad Honerlaw, plan an ambitious journey to reach adults and school children in at least 10 villages in rural Alaska. Other troopers and law enforcement will join the expedition for sections of the trek as they wind their way across the Interior to the Northwest Arctic region and back. The trip is expected to launch from Bettles on March 24 and reach Kotzebue on April 1. Allakaket will be the first school on the visit followed by schools in Hughes, Kobuk, Shungnak, Ambler, Kiana, Noorvik, Selawik and Buckland before turning around after talking to school kids in Kotzebue. If trail conditions and weather allow, the group will head home via the Kobuk River to Huslia and take the trail back through Galena and up the Yukon and Tanana rivers, stopping in schools along the way on their journey to Fairbanks. The Fish and Wildlife Service also provided a sponsorship of $6,000 to cover fuel costs. You can track their progress online via a SPOT locator.
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Governor Introduces Medicaid Bill

Health and WellnessMarch 17, 2015 JUNEAU– Governor Bill Walker today transmitted legislation to provide health care coverage to up to 42,000 low-income Alaskans, reform Medicaid, and bring more money into the state.

“As Alaskans, we have a long tradition of caring for each other when times are tough,” Governor Walker said. “This proposal will save money and save lives. It provides health care for more Alaskans using less state money. It’s the right thing to do.”

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Iron Dog racers partner with state to promote suicide prevention

Health and WellnessANCHORAGE—2015 Iron Dog racers Robert Strick and Steffen Strick Jr. have added their names to the list of Iron Dog riders who race to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

The brothers from McGrath, Team 12, are sharing a message of hope and purpose:

1. Suicide is preventable. People who are considering suicide usually give warning signs, and we can learn to recognize them. We can also do things to build our resilience as individuals and communities, such as exercising, which is good for both mental and physical health, and organizing community activities like the Iron Dog halfway banquet in Nome today.

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Identity Protection Offered for Those Affected by Anthem - Premera Data Breach

Health and WellnessAccording to data released by Anthem and Premera on Monday, close to 34,000 Alaskans may be impacted by the recent Anthem data breach. Customers who used their Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance in one of the states where Anthem operates may be impacted. Information accessed includes member names, member health ID numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and employment information. No credit card or confidential health information seems to have been compromised in the data breach.

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ACA Special Enrollment Period Announced

Health and WellnessThe federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on Friday an additional special enrollment period for consumers who did not have coverage in 2014 and who were unaware of the tax penalty. Alaskans who “first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the shared responsibility payment in connection when preparing their 2014 taxes” will have the opportunity to avoid the penalty in 2015 by signing up during a special enrollment period between March 15 and April 30. To qualify for the special enrollment period, consumers must certify that they filed their tax returns and paid the penalty for not having coverage in 2014.

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Do you have health insurance?

Health and WellnessIt's not too late to get covered. The deadline to enroll is 15 February 2015. Visit or call 1.800.478.2221 to find free, local help and pick a plan that is right for you.

You may qualify for savings! Go to to shop and remember: Alaskans are standing by to help if you need it!
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