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Health briefs: Tobacco sales to minors decrease in Pierce County; Severe winter weather, flu disrupting blood donations

Pierce County Health Department WI WINS Coordinator Angela Hines (left) with BP AMCO Prescott store manager Naomi Estes. Submitted photo

Tobacco sales to minors decrease in Pierce County

Out of the 34 compliance checks conducted in 2017, 28 clerks or retailers — 83 percent — upheld the law and refused the sale of tobacco to Pierce County underage youth, according to the Pierce County Health Department. Two of these retailers, BP Amoco in Prescott and Dollar General in River Falls, were randomly selected to receive special recognition this year. The health department wishes to thank and congratulate all tobacco retailers that did not sell tobacco products to minors.

Severe winter weather, flu disrupting blood donations

Winter storms and the flu don't just mean a lot of people are missing work and school — it also means they can't keep their American Red Cross blood and platelet donation appointments. The Red Cross is urging healthy donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve to help maintain the blood supply for patients in need.

So far this year, severe winter weather forced about 600 blood drives to cancel, resulting in more than 17,500 uncollected blood and platelet donations, according to the Red Cross. Widespread flu across the United States has resulted in lower turnout at blood drives, as well.

To make an appointment to donate, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

Youth-Focused Therapy expands to East Metro, western Wis.

Youth Service Bureau announced the addition of a full-time, Youth-Focused Family Therapist as a part of a $1.1 million program and capital expansion campaign to meet mental health needs of youth within Washington County and surrounding areas.

Jill Damron, M.A., is a licensed professional clinical counselor, licensed to provide services in Minnesota and Wisconsin. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Bethel University. She has experience providing outpatient therapy to youth and families in western Wisconsin and the St. Croix Valley. She also worked as a day treatment therapist in Minnesota, providing support to children with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

"I am excited and grateful to be a part of an organization who is dedicated to helping children, teens and their families through the challenging parts of life — with care, compassion and understanding," Damron said.

Damron provides therapy to youth between the ages of 4-24, with support to their families, in YSB's Cottage Grove and Woodbury locations. For more information, visit

Find child development resources Feb. 17 in West St. Paul

Parents and caregivers with questions about child development, disabilities and mental health will find a wealth of information and resources at the third-annual South of the River Resource and Education Fair. The fair will run from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul. A vendor fair will include over 30 local resources with information on physical, intellectual and learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The fair is open to parents, caregivers and individuals of all ages seeking disability resources. Dakota County Social Services staff will be available to answer questions. Spanish and Somali interpreters will be available. The PACER Center will offer a Spanish-speaking information session at 10:30 a.m. on working with a child's school to address education concerns.

Children are welcome. There will be door prizes, and Dakota County Library will lead sensory friendly storytimes. The event is sponsored by the Dakota County Community Transition Interagency Committee, Dakota County Interagency Early Intervention Committee and the Dakota County Healthy Communities Collaborative.