• Red Cross offers emergency preparedness workshop

    Wed, September 4, 2013 by Jakob Rodgers with no comments

    A free workshop aims to help people across the Pikes Peak region prepare for the next natural disaster — whether that be fire, flood or anything else that strikes the Front Range.

    The two-hour workshop, which is hosted by the Pikes Peak chapter of the American Red Cross, will help residents learn how to create a 72-hour emergency kit, along with how to develop an emergency plan for when disasters strikes, according to a release by the organization.

    The class is part of National Preparedness Month. It will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the chapter’s headquarters, 1040 S. 8th St.

  • Welcome to the Health and Help blog

    Wed, September 4, 2013 by Jakob Rodgers with 1 comment

    Hello, all. Welcome to the Health & Help blog, the place where you can find a wealth of information about the Pikes Peak region’s public safety net — a wide-ranging assortment of articles about the area’s social service programs, public health issues and local nonprofit organizations.

    Have a story idea? Contact Jakob Rodgers, the public safety net reporter, by calling 719-476-1654 or by emailing him at jakob.rodgers@gazette.com.

    Want more information? Follow him on Twitter by searching for @jakobrodgers.

  • Colorado health department announces flu app

    Wed, September 4, 2013 by Jakob Rodgers with no comments

    A new app aims to encourage Coloradans’ Tweeps and Facebook friends to get a flu shot.

    On Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment announced the “Do Something Easy Vaccine Pledge” app, which allows people boast on Facebook and Twitter about how they plan to get a flu vaccine.

    It’s all in an effort to increase vaccination rates, according to a statement by the health department. Flu shots are recommended for anyone who is at least six months old.

    Though flu season generally peaks in January and February, health department officials say that the virus can begin spreading in October. During the 2012-2013 flu season, five children died and more than 1,500 people were hospitalized, according to the health department.

    To get the app, visit www.facebook.com/ImmunizeCO.

     

  • Salvation Army county coordinator settles into post

    Wed, September 4, 2013 by Jakob Rodgers with no comments

    The highlight of Richard Larson’s first day in Colorado Springs came in a Costco parking lot.

    While loading a chair into his vehicle, a clerk offered to helped him out. Then a complete stranger in the parking lot offered to help load more things into his car.

    “I was kind of shocked that I didn’t have to ask for help,” Larson said.

    He hopes to channel the region’s generosity as head of one of El Paso County’s largest nonprofit organizations.

    Larson, a major with the Salvation Army, took over in early July as the organization’s new coordinator for El Paso County — replacing John Bennett who is now working in Marshall Islands after three years in the Pikes Peak region.

    The post means he is in charge of a bevy of homeless and natural disaster services across the county. It’s a job he knows well after nearly 20 years with the Salvation Army.

    Larson arrived from Santa Clara County, Calif., where he helped run a homeless shelter and several programs aimed at senior and family services. He never helped out with any California wildfire relief efforts, but has nevertheless responded to several other disasters — including the 1994 Northridge earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.

    After two months in El Paso County, Larson said he’s pleased with work being done at the organization’s R.J. Montgomery Center. But he also wants to see an increased focus on helping families stabilize their lives as they transition out of homelessness.

    He also said that the Salvation Army must do more to help residents become more acquainted with its services. Too few people in the Pikes Peak region are aware of the Salvation Army’s work, he said.

    “I think we have to be better at letting people know what we do and giving them an opportunity to help people through that,” Larson said.

     

    BIO:

    Name: Richard Larson

    Position: Salvation Army’s county coordinator for El Paso County

    Age: 54

    Family: Wife, Tammy Larson, who is the Salvation Army’s assistant coordinator for El Paso County; along with a son and daughter, both of whom are married.