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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Feb. 28, 2024

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Hot diggity dog!; formidable flu

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To the Wienermobile. As branding strategies go, this one is legendary. For nearly 90 years, Oscar Mayer has promoted its packaged meat products with a traveling “Wienermobile.” One of the current iterations — a 27-foot-long vehicle that looks like a hot dog on a bun — made a stop in Vancouver this week, visiting a local Safeway store and drawing numerous onlookers.

“Take in the aroma. You are in the presence of an American icon right now,” an Oscar Mayer representative told the crowd. Many agreed, with the audience singing the memorable commercial jingle, “Oh, I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer wiener … .” The visit sparked a bout of nostalgia for some Vancouver residents. And it might have sold a few hot dogs.

Jeers: To influenza. State health officials say flu activity surged this past winter throughout Washington, with 262 deaths being attributed to the virus. That included 257 adults and five children, marking a 10-fold increase from the 2021-22 flu season. Nationally, approximately 57,000 flu deaths occurred between Oct. 1 of last year and April 29, 2023.

Officials say that flu vaccination rates declined last year. In addition, masking and social distancing that was prevalent at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic helped reduce influenza transmissions. “It’s especially important now that most of us are around other people again to get a flu vaccine every year,” said Dr. Umair Shah, Washington’s secretary of health.

Cheers: To stamping out hunger. The Clark County chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers is hosting its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive today. Residents can leave a bag of nonperishable food on or near their mailboxes — it must be visible from the street — by 8 a.m. Donations are gathered by letter carriers along their usual routes and distributed to local food pantries.

The timing is fortuitous. Officials say that food banks are depleted as most food is donated around Thanksgiving and Christmas; and with the school year ending soon, children will not have the benefit of school breakfasts and lunches. In recent years, an estimated 110,000 Clark County residents have been food insecure. Ideally, we will reach a point where our neighbors don’t go hungry; until then, food collection efforts are important for our community.

Jeers: To the weather. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s this weekend in Clark County, providing the first notable heat wave of the year. While we likely will face hotter temperatures during the summer, the weather report calls for some preparations.

If you are going to be outside, make sure you have plenty of water and have access to shade. Keep pets in the shade and hydrated. And check on neighbors who might need help. Of course, we don’t expect every day to be a sunny and breezy 80 degrees; if we wanted that we would move to Hawaii. But local residents should make sure they are not caught unprepared for the first hot weather of the year.

Cheers: To additional housing. Community Roots Collaborative has broken ground on its second development of tiny homes for people exiting homelessness. The project in the Rose Village neighborhood will convert a former Sikh Community Church into 12 living spaces and add eight tiny homes on an adjacent field.

The city of Vancouver has undertaken vast efforts to reduce homelessness in our community, but work from the private sector and nonprofits such as Community Roots Collaborative also can make a difference.

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