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Hot weather brings drought … of blood

Blood donations have been down since early May, with 80,000 fewer than expected nationwide, according to Jared Schultzmann, communication manager for Red Cross Blood Services in the Pacific Northwest. The Independence Day holiday and associated vacations probably discouraged blood-drive donors, Schultzmann said, accounting for why only 3,450 drives occurred that week instead of the typical 4,400.

Heat also discourages donors, Schultzmann said. “Our blood drive centers are all air-conditioned, but the heat keeps people from leaving their homes in the first place.”

In addition to blood, platelet donations are in high demand for cancer patients, bone-marrow recipients and burn victims. Platelets are a key clotting component and go through a separate donation process that extracts the platelets and returns the rest of the red blood cells and blood plasma to the donor’s body.

Platelets can only be used for five days, Shultzmann said, and “two of those days are spent testing the platelets to make sure they’re okay. So really there’s only a three-day window and they’re being used constantly.”

In Forest Grove, the Jennings-McCall Center is hosting a blood drive today, July 30, from 2 to 7 p.m. at 2300 Masonic Way. Other blood drives will be held across western Washington County between now and Aug. 20, including one Aug. 12 at Forest Grove’s Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St., another at the United Methodist Church in Banks and several nearby in Hillsboro.

For drive details and other information, go to redcross.org/blood or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Cyclists fight diabetes

More than 900 cyclists flooded Washington and Yamhill counties Saturday, July 26, in the annual Tour De Cure event to raise money for diabetes research. Cyclists of all ages rode anywhere from five to 100 miles and raised more than $400,000. Local sponsors of the fundraiser included Walgreens, Genentech, The Standard, KGW News Channel 8 and more.

Foresters solve mystery of dying oak branches

The dead branches and leaves appearing on local Oregon White Oak trees, including a cluster along Highway 8 just south of Gales Creek, are apparently the work of two different critters.

According to Rob Flowers, entomologist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, “it seems to be caused by a combination of gall wasps and damage from western gray squirrels, who chew or strip off the bark of the trees in an attempt to feed on the wasp’s larvae located underneath.”

This particular species of wasp is specific to this species of oak, laying its larvae inside lumps (also known as galls) on the trees, causing branches to swell and bark to split. Gall wasp larvae are like potato chips to the squirrels, who can’t get enough.

But foresters say the damage is short-lived and won’t cause long-term harm to the trees. The problem is common to the Willamette Valley and was particularly severe a few years ago as well.

Art contest features duck, duck, geese

A $3000 award awaits a talented artist who can win the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2015 Waterfowl Art Competition. ODFW is accepting submissions now through Nov. 7. Submitted artwork should feature one or more ducks or geese native to Oregon in their natural habitat. The winning artwork will be reproduced in the 2015 Oregon Waterfowl Stamp and become a coveted item for hunters and stamp collectors. Waterfowl stamps and validations have raised $500,000 annually in support of waterfowl management and habitat. San Francisco-based artist Robert Steiner has held a contract with ODFW for the stamp artwork since 1994, but the 64-year old artist’s pending retirement from the job will allow new artists to fill his place.

The contest joins the other ODFW art contests for the Habitat Conservation stamp and Upland Game Bird Stamp. For more information, contact Kelly Walton at 503-947-6322 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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