PORT ORFORD The 63rd Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative annual meeting Saturday was ostensibly a business meeting, but with a health fair, chicken barbecue, pie contest and door prizes, it was also a genuine piece of rural Americana.
More than 500 co-op members traveled to Pacific High School for the days activities. The parking lot was packed by time the educational health fair opened at 10 a.m.
Exhibits from agencies and organizations filled most of the rooms in the high school, and offered enough variety to interest almost everyone.
The Curry County Human Services Departments Mental Health Division exhibit featured birdhouses made by the clients of the MINDS Clubhouse.
The clubhouse offers a transition from the hospital to the real world, and if art is of any value to the real world, some of the clients may be well on their way.
The birdhouses, crafted by Lester Bazillion Birdhouses Rageman, came in all shapes, including a church, a train and a ship. Rageman said he recently built a new house for the Jetty Cats.
Besides the birdhouses, plants were also offered for sale. Leif LeFebre takes photos, but those were not offered for sale Saturday.
He said he wanted to show not only his own potential, but show others they have potential within them too. There is hope, he said.
Curry Prevention Services and area police departments set up an exhibit that challenged people to put on drunk goggles and walk a straight line.
One pair of goggles simulated being just over the legal limit of drinking and driving. The other pair simulated twice the legal limit.
Most people were amazed at how hard it was to walk straight, or even keep from falling over, at the legal limit.
A few, however, were so accomplished at walking a straight line at twice the legal limit that others wondered how much practice theyd had.
The American Red Cross was out in force, offering emergency survival kits and first-aid kits in various sizes and prices.
Family disaster supply starter backpacks weigh 30 pounds and contain everything from survival blankets and rain ponchos to first-aid supplies, food bars and water pouches.
Brian Newton, director of the South Coast service center in Coos Bay, said the packs contain so much that people would have to pay $75 more if they bought all the contents individually.
The Red Cross also offers a two-person backpack for $99 and student packs for $14.50. Call Newton at (800) 738-8700 for information. He said he can deliver packs to towns in Curry County.
Newton urged people to have the packs on hand in case of an earthquake disaster, which is highly likely along the Cascadia Subduction Zone that runs just offshore of Coos and Curry counties.
Doug Johnson, a Red Cross volunteer in Brookings, said a seminar on earthquakes and tsunamis will be held at 7 p.m. July 19 at the Chetco Senior Center in Brookings.
He said a geologist, Brookings Fire Chief Bill Sharp and other emergency responders are scheduled to speak. To attract a large audience, Johnson will also offer door prizes.
Johnson reminded people that when there is a fire or disaster, the Red Cross will be there to provide food, lodging and clothing. We come in after the emergency responders put out the fire, he said.
There is no cost to the victims. The help is paid for by donations from people in Coos and Curry counties.
Johnson said they visit the victims every day to follow-up.
Sometimes people just need to talk, he said.
The South Coast also has a certified Red Cross mental health person to help people deal with loss.
Its nice to be able to help people, said Johnson. Its a good feeling.
The Red Cross exhibit also featured a portable defibrillator. The training unit weighed less than 8 pounds, but Newton said the actual units are even lighter.
He said the battery will last for five years or 311 hits. The units are now required on airlines and may soon be required in state and federal offices. Newton said they are also recommended for golf courses, shopping malls and jails.
He said Las Vegas has the highest survival rate for cardiac arrest in the United States because casinos have the portable defibrillators.
Because the casinos can get victims hooked up to defibrillators within a minute and a half, on average, 80 percent survive. Newton said that is far better than most hospitals.
He said the Red Cross sells the defibrillators for about $3,300 each, and hes sold nine this month. He predicted they would become as common as home computers.
The National Fire Fighter Corp. had a display of fire extinguishers on hand. Some of the dry powder used in the extinguishers was displayed in a jar. It moves like a liquid.
Training representative Steve Shore said his company offers classes using actual flames produced in what looks like a water-filled propane barbecue grill.
The Shriners were on hand to make balloon animals and explain how their childrens hospitals work.
Curry County Home Health featured the Lifeline personal response service. With Lifeline, the push of a button on a pendant or wristband alerts a central operator who can summon help from a neighbor or emergency responder. A new feature reminds people when to take medications.
Home Health Director Lori Kent said installation costs about $70, and monthly charges run from $37 to $47. She said Medicaid and long-term health insurance will cover Lifeline.
Bay Area Acupuncture and Herb Clinic of Coquille had a display to explain how the 3,000-year-old Chinese system of healing works.
Licensed acupuncturist Robert Boden uses hair-thin needles, heat, pressure, herbs and electrical impulses to balance the bodys qi or life force.
He said the treatments work on most problems for most people, and are covered by insurance.
Curry Family Medical gave free readings on blood pressure, heart rate and blood-oxygen saturation.
The Oregon Lions checked sight and hearing. The Curry Health Foundation checked lung capacity.
The co-op had its own exhibits on how to save money and energy with heat pumps and compact fluorescent bulbs.
Those and other exhibits were open until 1 p.m., but the smell of free barbecued chicken drew most people to the high school gym by 11:30 a.m.
The meal was prepared by the Pacific High School senior class, with plenty of help from their parents.
Entertainment was provided by Amy Keusink on fiddle, accompanied by her husband, Chris, on acoustic guitar.
The crowd of nearly 500 diners responded enthusiastically to the Keusinks stylings of music from the pioneer days. Applause after their final selection could be heard throughout the high school.
The door prize giveaway featured garden equipment, tools, compact fluorescent lights, surge protectors, a hand-painted collectors plate and even cash prizes.
About 20 percent of members walked away with something, and everyone received free insulated lunch totes.
After the business meeting, the Curry County 4-H Leadership Association announced the winners of the pie contest and auctioned off the entries.
For the third time, Mrs. Delmar Wentworth of Gold Beach was the grand prize winner by winning in both the fruit and open class categories.
Her carmel-apple pie sold for $60 while her lemon-meringue went for $37. The young auctioneer whipped the bidders to a fevered pitch with calls of Come on. Its a champion pie. Its got to be good, and Now this is a pie.
The auction raised $240 for 4-H Club leadership programs, retreats and scholarships.