Friday, September 12, 2008

Flu Vaccines available to Sun Life Patients

By Renée Louzon-Benn


Casa Grande, AZ – Sun Life Family Health Center is scheduling appointments for their patients to receive flu vaccine.  The vaccine is currently being offered to existing patients over the age of eighteen, with priority being given to senior citizens and patients with chronic conditions as they are considered high-risk to catch the flu. Sun Life expects vaccines for children to be available in October.


Each year, 5 to 20 percent of the population gets hit with the flu virus, and more than 200,000 are hospitalized with flu complications, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But, people can take preventive measures in the simple form of a flu vaccine.


While anyone who wants to reduce their chance of getting the flu can get vaccinated, the CDC recommendations include children 6 months to 4 years of age, school age children, people who are at high-risk of having serious flu complications, or people who live with or care for those at high risk. To learn more about CDC flu vaccine guidelines, visit


To schedule your flu shot, contact your local Sun Life Family Health Center office. Learn more about Sun Life, visit


Sun Life Family Health Center is a not-for-profit organization providing health care to Casa Grande, Eloy, Coolidge, Maricopa, Mammoth, Oracle and San Manuel. The Casa Grande facility is the flagship of the organization, offering multi-specialty services including Family Practice, OB/GYN, Dental, Radiology, Pharmacy and Laboratory. The San Manuel facility also offers Laboratory, Radiology and Pharmacy services. Behavioral Health services are also available at the Casa Grande and San Manual facilities. Sun Life is one of two community health centers in the state receiving accreditation from the Joint Commission.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Flu Season is Around the Corner, Schedule Flu Shots Starting September 22

FLORENCE, AZ – The Pinal County Public Health Services District will begin providing flu shots to the public on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 by appointment only.  For your convenience, and to ensure short wait times, we will begin scheduling appointments starting Monday, September 22, 2008 and continuing through the end of November.  In order to schedule appointments for adults, please call toll free 1-888-431-1311, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. 


Flu shots through the Pinal County Public Health Services District are just $15, a bargain compared to the cost of cold and flu medicines or trips to the doctor's office and missed work.


If you are unable to schedule an appointment, the opportunity to receive a flu shot as a "walk-in" will be available on the following days after October 18, 2008:


Kearny – Wednesdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 355 Alden Road

Oracle – Wednesdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 1870 West American Way

Eloy – Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 302 East Fifth Street

Mammoth – Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 110 Main Street

Superior – Thursdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 60 East Main Street

Apache Junction – Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 575 North Idaho, Suite 301

Coolidge – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 119 West Central Avenue

Casa Grande – Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 802 East Cottonwood Lane, Building E

Stanfield – The 3rd & 4th Wednesdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm at 36711 West Papago Drive

Maricopa – Wednesdays 9:00 am to 3:30 pm parked at 44625 West Garvey Avenue


Please be advised, all Pinal County Public Health Services District clinics will be closed in observance of the national holidays on Monday, October 13th, Tuesday, November 11th and Thursday, November 27th.


The Pinal County Public Health Services District has not received flu vaccines for children yet.  Upon receipt, children can receive a flu shot without an appointment at their local Pinal County Public Health clinic.  That information will be posted on the Pinal County Information Hotline toll free at 1-866-763-7252 as it becomes available.


In order to reduce that chance of catching the flu this season, the Public Health Department recommends frequent hand washing using soap and warm water for 30 seconds.  If you do become ill, it is important to stay home to help prevent spreading the illness to others.


For more information on influenza and vaccinations, please call the Health District hotline at 1-866-763-7252.


The number to call for appointments is 1-888-431-1311.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Portion of Maricopa Area’s White & Parker Road to be Closed for Repair

By Joe Pyritz

FLORENCE, AZ – White & Parker Road, which runs north and south just below the City of Maricopa boundary and adjacent to the Ak-Chin Indian Community will be closing for repairs.  White & Parker Road will be closed from Peters & Nall Road south to Lewis Johnson Drive. 


A sink hole opened up near the road after pipes for irrigation water collapsed beneath the road surface.  In order for Pinal County crews to complete the repair and ensure the safety of motorists, excavation work and replacement of the irrigation pipe will begin early this week.  The repairs are expected to take about a week.


Pinal County Public Works recommends using the John Wayne Parkway (SR 347/Maricopa Road) as an alternate north-south route.  Drivers heading north on White & Parker from SR 84, will detour onto Louis Johnson Blvd, over to SR 347 and travel north to Peters & Nall, where traffic will flow back east to White & Parker.  Once back to White & Parker, drivers can resume their northbound travels.


"We are working to notify as many of the nearby industries and businesses as well as the Ak-Chin Community and schools," Chairman and District 3 Supervisor David Snider said.  "Our goal is to minimize inconvenience but make sure our roads are safe and in good condition."


The work is expected to take about a week with possible delays if monsoon activity or heavy rains return.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Homemade Invention Saves Pinal County Water and a lot of Money

     By Joe Pyritz

     FLORENCE- Florence is a hard place to be.

     If you are a plumber, that is.

     The hard water in the area plays havoc on the pipes and plumbing fixtures inside the many of the County buildings.  One building, in particular, uses a lot of water – the Adult
Detention Center.

     One way the center tries to minimize costs is by regulating the amount of water that is used by the inmates.  This is accomplished by an electronically controlled manifold that allows a certain amount of water to be used in a sink or toilet.  This avoids any misuse of water, such as leaving the faucet on or unnecessary flushes of the toilet.

     Deep inside the detention center is a maze of pipes that supply water to the facility.  At the junction where the pipes disappear into the wall is a two piped manifold with eight valves that feed toilets and sinks inside the detention center. 

     A problem arose earlier this year when some of the fittings inside the electronic manifold started failing due to the hard water.

     "We started noticing that many of the valves were shutting down because the water was leaking though the rings and brass thereby shorting out the electronic controller," said Facilities and Maintenance worker Mike Gregus.  "This wasn't a warranty issue.  It was a premature erosion of the parts inside the manifold due to the hard water."

     Gregus and co-worker Craig Williams decided that a replacement for the failing part, a hot and cold water mixing valve, was needed before other units began to fail.

     "We checked through the manifold manufacturer to see if we could get just the mixing valve," Williams said.  "We were told that we would have to purchase the entire unit.  The solenoid and valves would cost $183.33."

     To replace the entire manifold came to a cost of $1,825.  With another 100 manifolds inside the detention center with risk of failure, the cost to the County would be over $145,000.

     "I thought there should be a better way to handle this problem," Gregus said.  "All of us at the Facilities and Maintenance department inside the detention center put our heads together to come up with a solution."

     Following a study of the manifold's design, along with its schematics and an internet search, they decided on a novel solution.

     "We needed to make a unit that would do the same thing as the original manifold," Williams said.  "Mike is a good engineer and once we had an idea of the parts we needed, there was no stopping us."

     "Through the internet we found an inexpensive mixing valve for $17.00 per unit," Gregus explained.  "The next thing we had to find was a solenoid to replace those that were failing on the original manifolds.  We found one for $6.00 to adapt to the manifolds.  So a $183.33 part is now down to $23.00."

     But they were not done, yet.  It was discovered that if Facilities and Maintenance crews had to routinely clean out the manifolds.  The original units were hard, if not impossible to clean.  So Gregus and company came up with another solution-use PVC pipe rather than the brass pipe.

     "This in-house manifold does exactly the same thing as the Willoughby unit," Gregus said.  "There are a lot of benefits to this new device.  We are no longer dependent upon a single manufacturer for replacement parts and the cost of replacing the entire manifold is around $100.  The cost through the manufacturer is $1,825.  We're saving over $1,700"

     With 101 units inside the detention center, the cost to replace all parts is only $31,000.

     "I'm a taxpayer," Williams added, "and I'm all for saving money."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Art in the Alley is back!

By Lynn FitzGerald, Executive Director, Casa Grande Main Street


Hello everyone!  Tonight is the first "Art in the Alley" event. Please stop by for a great evening in the Casa Grande Historic District - on Florence St. between 2nd and 3rd Streets - "Down the Alley". 

There will be music, poetry, art, arts and crafts and a good time for all. Bring your friends!  The event is held the first Tuesday of every month from September through June, 5:30 -9:30 p.m.  See you there! You may call 836-8744 for further information.

Mosquito Fogging Scheduled for the City of Maricopa

FLORENCE ––Pinal County Environmental Health Services announced today that a mosquito sample collected in the city of Maricopa has tested positive for West Nile virus.

     This brings to twenty-five the total number of West Nile virus positive mosquito samples collected by Environmental Health in 2008. 

     In response, Environmental Health will conduct adult mosquito fogging, weather permitting, Friday September 5th, 2008 from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.  The area to be fogged includes the subdivisions of Maricopa Meadows, Alterra North and Alterra South.

     The pesticide that will be used during fogging is called Anvil. It is a pre-mixed, ready to use product that contains two active ingredients: Sumithrin (2%) and piperonyl butoxide (2%). Sumithrin is a man-made version of a natural pesticide found in chrysanthemum flowers. Piperonyl butoxide enhances the ability of Sumithrin to kill mosquitoes. Anvil is registered with the U.S. EPA and is effective against mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. There are several things that residents can do to reduce exposure during fogging:


There are several things that residents can do to reduce exposure during fogging:


·        Close all windows and doors. Air conditioners can still be operated, but if they have vents to bring in outside air, they should be closed.  Turn off evaporative coolers.

·        Stay inside your home

·        If possible, bring pets inside.

·        Thirty minutes after the end of the scheduled fogging each night, you may resume normal activities.


     West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  West Nile virus can cause severe illness in people and horses, although not everyone that is infected will develop symptoms.  People of all ages can be affected.  However, the elderly may be more prone to serious illness. 

     County health officials urge all county residents to "Fight the Bite" and follow these simple personal precautions to avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they may carry:

·        Avoid outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

·        If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an insect repellent containing an EPA registered active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  Always follow the directions on the label.

·        Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens and remain closed. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes in them.

·        Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home by removing standing water in potted plants, tires, bird baths and other containers where water may collect.

·        Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are properly maintained.

·        Change water in flowerpots, birdbaths and pet watering bowls located outdoors at least twice per week.


     The County has a mosquito hotline and a webpage.  If you would like information on mosquito prevention and control, please call: 866-287-0209, ext. 6200, or visit the West Nile virus webpage at 

     For information or questions concerning the health effects of West Nile virus, please call the Pinal County Public Health Information Hotline: 866-763-7252.