OPINION: Promote safety as new cycling law goes into effect

Dennis Stark, member of Nevada's Bicycle Advisory Board


Dennis Stark, member of Nevada's Bicycle Advisory BoardThe media has done a thorough job recently of explaining the changes to Nevada State laws. As a member of the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Board, I would encourage everyone to be aware of the new laws and extend additional courtesy to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Governor Sandoval recently signed into law a bill that requires motorists to pass no closer than three feet to bicyclists. As a person who lives in a small rural community, and rides a bicycle, I know that roads can be narrow and speeds can be high.

Sometimes it is hard to see bicyclists and pedestrians and extra caution is necessary. As the Chairman of our State Bicycle and Pedestrian Board, Sig Jaunarajs, said: “I think that the legislative intent behind the new laws is to promote responsible and safe behavior on our roads, which benefit not just cyclists but all roadway users.”

Nevada is a great place to live, ride and walk. With the current economic conditions being what they are, we are seeing more bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the roadways.

The previous law required that motorists pass bicyclists at a safe distance but the new law with the 3-foot requirement is very specific. Law enforcement officers will, and should, enforce the new laws.

The State of Nevada has diligently been working on curtailing traffic accidents and fatalities, so let’s all do our part to be safe.

I would also suggest that you check out the various web sites, to include NDOT and the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Board, to familiarize yourself with not only the new laws but what these great organizations have to offer the public. Thank you and safe riding!

Dennis Stark is a long-time public servant and former manager of Lyon County. He previously served as manager of the cities of Lichtfield and Charlotte, both in Michigan.

Medicare’s 2012 open enrollment drug and health plan data now accessible online

A Federal Emergency Management Agency official speaks to senior citizens in Gautier, Miss. In 2009. / Photo: Jane Feehan/FEMA.

By Nevada News Bureau Staff: In advance of a new, earlier annual enrollment period, people with Medicare can now begin reviewing plan benefit and cost information via a popular web-based Medicare Plan Finder operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The plan finder lets beneficiaries, their families, trusted representatives, and senior program advocates to look at all local drug and health plan options that are available for the 2012 benefit year. It became available Saturday.

“With open enrollment coming early this year, it is important that people with Medicare take advantage of the next couple weeks to review their current coverage and compare it with the options that are available for next year,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. “The information that’s available now on the Plan Finder will also help caregivers, health providers, and partners that support and counsel seniors and people with disabilities in selecting the best plan for their needs.”

A Federal Emergency Management Agency official speaks to senior citizens in Gautier, Miss. In 2009. / Photo: Jane Feehan/FEMA.

The annual enrollment period begins earlier this year, on Oct.15, and runs through Dec. 7. People with Medicare will have seven weeks to review Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug coverage benefits and plan options, and choose the option that best meets their unique needs. The earlier open enrollment period also ensures that Medicare has enough time to process plan choices so that coverage begins without interruption on Jan. 1, 2012.

This year, as beneficiaries look over their available plan options, they will see better value in the Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug (Part D) plan benefits. All beneficiaries will have access to Medicare-covered preventive services at zero cost-sharing, including an annual wellness visit.

Those in the Part D coverage gap, or donut hole, will continue to receive 50 percent discounts on covered brand name drugs due to passage of the Affordable Care Act. On average, Medicare Advantage premiums will be four percent lower in 2012 than in 2011, and plans expect enrollment to increase by 10 percent. Average premiums for Part D prescription drug plans will also decrease to $30 in 2012, about 76 cents less compared to the average 2011 premium.  The premium amount is based on bids submitted by Part D plans for the 2012 plan year. Benefits in 2012 remain consistent with those offered in 2011.

People can use the Plan Finder by inserting their home zip code to find out which Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Prescription Drug (Part D) plans are available in their areas. If the zip code search shows multiple counties it will prompt users to select one county to continue the search. For 2010, the Plan Finder was the most popular tool on www.Medicare.gov, with more than 280 million page views. Also available online is Medicare’s Formulary Finder, which allows beneficiaries to insert their prescribed medications and zip code to see a display of plans offered locally that cover their drugs.

Due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will begin to financially reward Medicare Advantage plans which achieve high quality ratings. Part D plans will also continue to receive quality ratings. Beginning Oct. 12, the Medicare Plan Finder will include each plan’s quality star rating for 2012.

For the first time this year, people who use the Plan Finder will also see a gold star icon designating the top rated 5-star plans, and will continue to see warnings for those plans who consistently are poor performers.

“We encourage all Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private plans to know their plan’s overall star rating and to consider enrolling in plans with high ratings,” said Jonathan Blum, CMS deputy administrator and director, Center for Medicare.

Green College class features garlic and winter vegetables


Learn all you need to know to have a spring harvest of garlic and winter veggies in a free Green College class at Rail City Garden Center, 1720 Brierley Way in Sparks, Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m.

Jedi Master Gardener Randy Robison will share his years of successful gardening experience and provide tips on how you can achieve success with winter vegetables and enjoy a spring harvest of garlic.

Seating for the class is limited, and reservations are recommended. Call 775-335-1551 to reserve your seat.

While the class is free, a donation of one can of food for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada is suggested. A Food Bank collection barrel is conveniently located at Rail City Garden Center.

For more information about this seminar or upcoming Green College classes, visit www.railcitygardencenter.com or call 775-355-1551.

Woodburn and Wedge named to “Best Lawyers” list


Six attorneys at Woodburn and Wedge, Nevada-based independent law firm, have been named to the 2012 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America.” The guide is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

Honorees include Gregg Barnard (corporate law, and mergers and acquisitions law), Gordon DePaoli (natural resources and water law), John Fowler (corporate law), Shawn B Meador (family law mediation), John Murtha (bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, and bankruptcy litigation), and Don Ross (trusts and estates). All six honorees are shareholders at Woodburn and Wedge.

“The Best Lawyers in America” established its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting peer-review surveys of lawyers who confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current edition, which marks the 17th edition, is based on more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.

Woodburn and Wedge honorees have more than 174 years combined of legal experience. Both Fowler and Murtha have been named to the “The Best Lawyers in America” for more than 10 years.

Those named to the “The Best Lawyers in America” list are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be included. Therefore, the list is widely regarded within the legal profession as a singular honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. For more than 25 years, the lists have earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.

About Woodburn and Wedge

Established in 1918, Woodburn and Wedge is one of Nevada’s largest independent and general practice law firms. Its attorneys concentrate on litigation, corporate law, commercial law, real estate law, mining law, water law, environmental law, bankruptcy, utility law, and public and private land use law. The firm also has broad experience in estate planning, probate, trust administration, probate and trust litigation and tax law. Several of the firm’s attorneys devote a substantial portion of their practices to family law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child custody, spousal support and family mediation.

Reno/Sparks volleyball club looking to better Nevada youth


A Reno/Sparks volleyball program is taking the game to the next level, and not just on the court. Northern Nevada Juniors Volleyball Club is now offering evening and weekend volleyball programs for girls between the ages of 4 and 18 who would like to learn more about volleyball and also build important skills to use off the court.

Established as a small traveling club in 2007, Northern Nevada Juniors has worked hard to shape young girls as good players and more importantly, good people. Now in its fifth year of operation, NNJ is expanding to offer year-round programs for girls looking for all levels of instruction in a safe and fun environment.

NNJ now offers its Volleyball Skills Clinics and Camps along with free educational seminars from groups like Center for Hope of the Sierras and Pendola Training to educate girls on eating disorders and teach them more about the importance of proper nutrition. Camps and Clinics focus on the fundamentals of the game, including progressive and repetition-based training and injury prevention techniques. Emphasis is also put on confidence and self-esteem building, as well as teaching girls about determination, dedication, effective communication and other social skills.

“We’re trying to take the volleyball experience to the next level in Northern Nevada,” says Jason Sterrett, NNJ Club Director. “Our coaches are all dedicated to developing each player as a whole, not just teaching them volleyball skills.”

Registration for Fall Skills Clinics is now open, get involved in the NNJ movement today! For more information on the Northern Nevada Juniors Volleyball Club programs visit www.northernnevadajuniors.com or call Alix Cirac, Club Administrator at 775-355-8600. Area League and Travel Teams will also be compiled in mid-November, check for updates online or “like” Northern Nevada Juniors on Facebook for the latest.

Hometown Health offers drive-thru flu shots at Renown South Meadows


Hometown Health will provide northern Nevada residents with the convenience of drive-thru seasonal flu shots, Saturday, Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to noon, at Renown South Meadows Medical Center, 10101 Double R Blvd. This event is one of more than 35 scheduled Renown Health seasonal flu and pneumonia shot offerings around the Truckee Meadows this season.

“The drive-thru flu shot event is one of our most requested events because of the ease and convenience it offers,” said Ty Windfeldt, vice president of Hometown Health. “Depending on wait times, the entire process can take as little as 10 minutes. It’s great for people who know they should get the shot or want the shot but have trouble finding the time to fit in a visit to their doctor’s office.”

Seasonal flu shots are offered at no cost to Medicare beneficiaries (Part B), members of Senior Care Plus or Hometown Health fully insured HMO and PPO plans and Renown Health employee plans. All other persons can receive the seasonal flu shots for $28 and pneumonia shots for $60. Pneumonia shots will be offered for those people whose medical conditions could be helped by one (individuals must meet CDC requirements). There are no out-of-pocket costs for Medicare (Part B), Senior Care Plus members or Hometown Health fully insured HMO and PPO plans. For all others, the pneumonia shot is $60.

“The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important thing people can do to protect against the flu,” said Lori Mitchell, health management services manager at Renown Health. “Additional preventive actions like washing your hands regularly and covering your cough will help stop the spread of germs.”

If unable to attend this flu shot event, people are encouraged to visit www.renown.org/flu for a complete seasonal flu and pneumonia shot schedule and locations. Pediatric flu shots are available by appointment only for children ages six months to eight years old. Call 775-982-5433 to schedule. Flu shots are available to children ages nine to 17 with a parent present.

About Hometown Health

Hometown Health, the health insurance division of Renown Health, offers a range of health insurance plans and services through its family of companies. Hometown Health Plan, Inc., a health maintenance organization, serves fully insured employer groups and offers Senior Care Plus, a Medicare Advantage Plan. Hometown Health Providers Insurance Company, Inc., offers preferred provider organization medical plans and dental plans to fully insured and self-funded employer groups plus administrative services to self-funded health-insurance plans. To learn more, visit hometownhealth.com.

Great Basin Water Forum held October 14 in Ely


BACKGROUND:  An annual Great Basin Water Forum is called for in a 2009 memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by two counties in Utah (Juab and Millard Counties), three counties in California (Inyo, Lassen and Mono Counties) and the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority (eight county organization comprised of Churchill, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Lander, Nye, Pershing and White Pine Counties).  The purpose of the annual Forum, per the MOU, is to provide local governments in the Great Basin an opportunity to come together to discuss water and water-related issues common to the Great Basin (e.g., challenges of growth, sustainable water supply, federal programs and regulations, water and land use planning, etc.), and if desired, make recommendations concerning common interests to the appropriate entities and organizations.  There was a Great Basin Water Forum in 2009 and 2010.  The Central Nevada Regional Water Authority hosted the first two Forums, and it will host the 2011 Forum.

FOCUS OF THE 2011 GREAT BASIN WATER FORUM:  There are many communities in the American West that are, or will be, beyond the point of a sustainable water supply.  The 2011 Great Basin Water Forum will focus on what is being done, or could be done, to address this problem.


      •       Nuts & Bolts of a Rural Water Resource Plan

•       Future Water Supply in the Great Basin

•      Status of Controversial Interbasin Transfer of Water Projects in the Great Basin

•      Discussion of Issues of Interest to MOU Parties and Forum attendees

SPEAKERS: The Forum will have speakers who are highly respected in their fields. Speakers include USGS Utah Water Science Center hydrologists (David Susong and Dr. Victor Heilweil); Mike Dunbar, General Manager, South Coast Water District in Southern California; Dr. Kelly Redmond, Regional Climatologist, Western Regional Climate Center; Chris Mahannah, Mahannah & Associates; Dale Bugenig, Consulting Hydrogeologist; Rex Massey, Research & Consulting; Bart Whatcott, Chairman of the Millard County Board of Commissioners; Linda Arcularius, member of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors; Gary Perea, Vice Chairman of the White Pine County Board of Commissioners and Vice Chairman of the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority; and Steve Bradhurst, Executive Director of the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority.

FORUM RECEPTION OCTOBER 13, 2011:  The October 14 Forum will be preceded by a Forum reception, October 13, 6 – 8 p.m., at the Bristlecone Convention Center.  The purpose of the reception is to provide Forum attendees an opportunity to informally interact, and there may be a short presentation by one or more of the Forum speakers.  Possible presentation topics are groundwater recharge and desalination.

LODGING INFORMATION:  There is ample lodging in Ely, including hotels and motels near the Bristlecone Convention Center.  Go to the Bristlecone Convention Center website (www.elynevada.net), click on “Planning Your Visit,” and click on “Lodging.”

REGISTRATION AND COSTS:  There will not be a cost for registration and nourishment.  Registration will be at the door, and the Forum host will provide food and drinks (nonalcoholic) at the Forum events.  People planning on attending the October 13 Forum reception and/or the October 14 Forum are asked to contact Steve Bradhurst in order to assist Forum logistics (i.e., food, seating, etc.).

Sandoval appoints new director of tourism and cultural affairs


CARSON CITY — Governor Brian Sandoval has appointed Claudia Vecchio as the first director of the new Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.   The Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs is comprised of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, Division of Museums and History, Nevada Arts Council, and the Nevada Indian Commission.

“Claudia is an experienced destination marketer with a solid background in social media and branding,” Governor Sandoval said.  “Together with her appreciation for history and culture, her background is ideally suited to taking us to the next level in how we engage with Nevadans and tourists alike.  I look forward to her leadership in promoting Nevada’s many fine destinations, as well as preserving and enhancing our sense of history, appreciation for the arts, and well-being of our Native American population.  I am pleased to make this appointment as we kick off Nevada History Month.”

Vecchio previously served as the tourism director in Ohio.  In that post, she supervised the overall brand development of state tourism, working closely with the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Arts Council to create development programs.  While in Ohio, Vecchio and her team developed a marketing program to assist in the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.  She also helped open the Toledo Glass Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.  Vecchio also has an extensive background in marketing, having worked with the Edelman public relations firm in Chicago and Burson-Marsteller in Dallas. She is currently president of Destination Integration in Dallas, where she provides marketing programs for small and mid-sized communities that integrate tourism and economic development components.

Vecchio has a BA in Organizational Communications from Brigham Young University.  She is the recipient of several Public Relations Society of America and America Marketing Association Awards, including recognition for Web marketing.  She has served on the Travel Industry Association of America’s Council of State Tourism Directors.

Vecchio will start her new job on November 14.

Saint Mary’s Immunizations hosts a variety of community flu shot clinics


Vaccines play an important role in controlling infectious diseases and with flu season underway, now is the time to protect yourself and your family. Saint Mary’s Immunizations is now offering a variety of flu shot clinics throughout the community, in addition to appointments for adults and children. To make an appointment, call 770-7100. Saint Mary’s Immunizations is located at 1625 E. Prater Way, Suite 102 in Sparks.

The following community flu shot clinics will be offered for those aged 3 years and older.

Monday, Oct. 3                 Scolari’s- 8165 South Virginia Street, Reno

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 4                 Scolari’s- 1400 US Highway 95a N., Fernley

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 6               Scolari’s- 1300 Disc Drive, Sparks

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 7                     Scolari’s- 4788 Caughlin Parkway, Reno

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 8                Scolari’s- 178 Goldfield Avenue, Yerington

10 a.m. to noon

Sunday, Oct. 9                   Saint Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness

645 N. Arlington Avenue, Reno

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For the latest information about flu shots, call Saint Mary’s at 770-7100 or visit saintmarysreno.org/flu.

To find out the latest news and to subscribe to the Saint Mary’s RSS feed visit, www.saintmarysreno.org/media.

Busy hospital workers dance to raise breast cancer awareness


Why would perfectly sane and incredibly busy hospital workers agree to dance in a YouTube video viewed around the world? The short answer is to get people talking about breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women and the second leading cause of cancer death. To help raise this awareness, Renown Health filmed and submitted a video entry for the 2011 national Pink Glove Dance competition where prize money will be donated to a breast cancer charity of its choice. Renown was the only hospital in the state to submit a video.

Voting for the competition is from Oct. 3 – 21. Individuals from across the country will need to visit www.pinkglovedance.com to vote for the Renown Health video.

The top three winners of the competition will receive donations in the amounts of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place. If Renown Health wins, it plans to donate the prize money to the Renown Health Foundation Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, which helps educate, screen, treat and prevent breast cancer for women living in northern Nevada.

Medline produced the original Pink Glove Dance video to raise breast cancer awareness two years ago. The video has generated more 13 million views on YouTube and inspired countless pink glove dance videos and events around the world. Last year, the organization created a sequel featuring more than 4,000 healthcare workers and breast cancer survivors. This year, the organization hosted an online nationwide competition to find the best Pink Glove Dance video. Hospitals, nursing homes, schools and anyone in the U.S. and Canada who wanted to organize a group of people, could produce and submit their own Pink Glove Dance video.

“Renown’s Pink Glove Dance video submission was done to complement the skill, expertise and technology that our healthcare network provides and highlights our commitment to our patients,” said Bobbi Gillis, RN, CBCB, BSN, breast health nurse navigator and Breast Program coordinator at Renown Institute for Cancer. “Given our continuous efforts to reach new levels of excellence and care for cancer patients, this video is a fun way to acknowledge our commitment, teamwork and collaboration to exceed national standards.”

Earlier this year, Renown Institute for Cancer earned a three-year accreditation with the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.

The breast cancer accreditation makes Renown Health the only healthcare network in the region to retain all three cancer accreditations including the region’s first and only Radiation Oncology Accreditation (ACR-RO), earned earlier this year in January, and the region’s first Comprehensive Cancer Program Accreditation (ACoS CoC), which the institute has held for more than 23 years.

These three accreditations are the most any cancer program of this size can attain in the region.

Accreditation by the NAPBC is only given to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance.

In addition to being the region’s only nationally accredited cancer center in three disciplines, Renown also offers the region’s only TomoTherapy program, which applies therapeutic radiation to treat tumors with 3-D imaging daily and improved precision. When TomoTherapy was installed in November of 2008, only two percent of hospitals nation-wide had the technology.

Other types of treatment include 3-D conformal; Image Guided Radiation Therapy; Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy; Stereotactic Radiosurgery; Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy; High Dose Rate Brachytherapy for breast, GYN and Prostate and Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy, commonly performed for prostate cancer.

About Renown Institute for Cancer

Renown Institute for Cancer has been the region’s first hospital recognized by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for comprehensive cancer care for more than 23 years. Only 25 percent of hospitals nationwide meet the Commission’s rigorous standards.

Renown Institute for Cancer is the largest healthcare provider in the area conducting clinical trials with the National Cancer Institute. Clinical trials allow patients to be on leading trends in medicine and often times they become involved in that “next big discovery” for cancer treatments. Leading northern Nevada in cancer research, Renown Institute for Cancer has administered more than 135 trials to 870 participants.

Whether individuals have been referred, are currently receiving treatment or are seeking a second opinion, they can make an appointment at Renown Institute for Cancer anytime. The team of skilled professionals brings expertise and comprehensive resources to patient care. For general inquiries, contact 775-982-6830 or visit www.renown.org/cancer.