Kolor Run Thank You From United Way

On behalf of the Merrill Area United Way Board of Directors and myself we want to thank the participants in the 2016 Community Kolor Run for supporting the event and the Merrill Area United Way.  We also appreciate and thank the event organizers at Riverside Athletic Club, especially Paul Kienitz and Becci Shuman for the incredible amount of time and effort put into organizing and sponsoring the 2nd Kolor Run, but also the 8th annual fund raising event.  This year we had more than 40 companies and organizations that helped by being financial sponsors, donating door prizes, providing race and post-race food/beverages or by providing in kind services.

Dollars raised through the Kolor Run go to support the United Way agencies. Groups, families, youngsters and visitors from central Wisconsin showed up for an incredibly fun, well organized event.  Paul Kienitz reported between 700-800 people ran or walked.

We also want to thank the wonderful volunteers because we couldn’t do it without folks stepping up to help out.  The Kolor station sponsors and workers, the Merrill Fire Department, Merrill Police Department the EMT’s and the Ham Radio Operators, United Way Board members, community members and others were all involved in making the run both fun and safe for everyone.  The beautiful weather, mild temperatures and well organized race made for an incredibly fun day for everyone.

The Merrill Area United Way assists 19 local agencies in serving the community in our impact areas of Health, Education, and Income/Basic Needs.  United Way dollars serve the local needs.  Thanks to every person who supported the Community Kolor Run. You make a difference in the lives of others.

Dee Olsen
Executive Director, Merrill Area United Way

Lincoln County Temporary Food Permits: Who Needs To Be Licensed?

Each year, millions of people get sick from contaminated food.  It takes several steps to get food to your dining room table. During any of those steps, contamination may happen and could potentially get people sick.

The Lincoln County Health Department views education as a tool that can help prevent foodborne illness.  A part of this process involves those making and providing food to the public to obtain a permit through the county and have an annual inspection. The inspection will help to educate and ensure that the food we are all consuming is safe.

“It is a working relationship. We want to provide education to those establishments serving food to the public while also ensuring that the food put out is prepared, stored and served in a safe manner”, says Meghan Williams, Registered Environmental Health Specialist for Lincoln County.

As spring has sprung, the number of special events also blooms. Many times, we can grab a bite to eat at those special events and Lincoln County Health Department wants to remind all that a license may be needed to serve food at these types of events. The Lincoln County Health Department issues temporary special event permits to establishments that operate at special event locations such as farmers markets, fairs, carnivals, rallies,  music festivals, sporting events, or other similar events. If your group operates at such a venue, contact the Health Department for more information. Non-profit organizations serving food 0-3 days per year do not require a permit, but are encouraged to contact the Health Department for safe food handling handouts. Non-profit groups serving food more than 4 days per year do require a permit and should contact the Health Department to determine license category.

For further questions or concerns, please call the Lincoln County Health Department, 715-536-0307 or email m.williams@co.lincoln.wi.us. For more information about Lincoln County Health Department’s programs and services, visit lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com or find us on Facebook. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.

Zika Virus: What You Need To Know

As residents of Wisconsin are preparing for Spring Break, they may want to be cautious of where they travel this year, especially if they are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant.

Zika virus is a virus that most commonly comes from the bite of a certain type of mosquito which has been seen in high numbers in most of the Caribbean and the northeastern parts of South America.

Only about 20% of people with Zika virus feel sick, so they may not know they have the virus in their body. When people with the virus do get sick, the symptoms are mostly mild and include: fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscles pain, and headache. If a person gets sick, it will happen anywhere from a few days to a week after coming into contact with the virus.  Although Zika virus may not be harmful to the person who gets ill, it may have serious side effects on the developing baby, if a woman who is pregnant is infected with the Zika virus.

At this time, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) has not confirmed the link between Zika virus and birth defects, but they have noted there is a strong chance that Zika virus is the cause of the high number of recent birth defects seen in areas where Zika virus is common. The CDC is continuing to study Zika virus.

In addition to spreading through the bite of an infected mosquito, Zika virus is also spread through sexual contact. For men that have traveled to areas where Zika virus is common, they should avoid sexual contact with any pregnant partners or use a condom with any sexual contact until their partner is no longer pregnant. Women traveling to areas where Zika virus is present are encouraged to avoid becoming pregnant until after travel. If women are currently pregnant, they should consider not traveling to these areas until no longer pregnant.

“This is a scary virus,” notes Kristi Krombholz, disease investigation nurse at Lincoln County Health Department, “with no treatment or vaccine for Zika virus at this time, our only way of protecting ourselves is through prevention: preventing traveling to areas where there is Zika virus, preventing mosquito bites if travel is necessary, and preventing the spread of Zika virus to pregnant women.”

If you have traveled to an area that has Zika virus in the past 2 weeks and feel ill, or you traveled while pregnant, contact your medical provider for follow up. For more information on Zika virus, where it is found, and travel recommendations see the CDC’s website www.cdc.gov/zika or call the Lincoln County Health Department at 715-536-0307 and ask to speak with Kristi Krombholz RN.

For more information about Lincoln County Health Department’s programs and services, visit lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com  or find us on Facebook. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.

United Way Volunteer Opportunity

The Merrill Area United Way embarked on a new endeavor in 2014 with the opening of the Community Warming Center. This project was taken on with the expectation that it would operate with Volunteers to serve at the Community Warming Center helping guests that stay overnight.  Barb Ziemer stepped forward and has been invaluable in coordinating the volunteers and assisting with the Community Warming Center. In the month of January the center had six key volunteers step down due to family medical issues, job transfers and changed in employment, putting a real strain on the Warming Center.  The center has been open for all but three nights since November 1st. They typically only have one or two guests per night, and have not had any incidents of any sort. The Merrill Area United Way is putting out a plea for additional volunteers to serve on any of the three shifts, but particularly the second and third shift:  The Volunteer Shifts are every night:  1st shift) 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; 2nd shift) 11:00 p.m. until 4:00 a.m.; and 3rd shift) 4:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m.  Volunteer training is available for all volunteers.  If interest in serving the community in this capacity, please contact Barb Ziemer at 715-218-0231.

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