Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

Another swine flu threat – absenteeism

It’s certainly a sobering statistic for small business – 40 percent.

That’s the percentage of workers that could be affected by a potential swine flu epidemic, according to a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With that figure in mind, and as this year’s flu season creeps ever closer, the VBJ called several Southwest Washington businesses to see how they would be affected if they lost up to 40 percent of their workforce.

Julia Maglione, vice president of AlphaGraphics of Vancouver, with a total of three employees: “Yikes, that is a scary, scary thought. I guess it all would depend if our employees could work from home, so if they had someone home sick, they could work remotely.”

Linda, manager of Paws-N-Claws Thrift Store, with seven employees at their Minnehaha area location, seven in their Orchards area store: “I guess that would be one of those things I would just have to deal with. We would definitely just carry on with the people we have. If need be, we would move people from one store to another.”

Roch Manley of Vancouver’s Manley Architects, with a total of two employees: “For us, it would be somewhat devastating … and certainly frightening. My wife is a nurse so I can’t back away from having this discussion. But they state the cut-off age is 57. I hope that holds up since our workforce is just squeaking past that age … I hope we’re sitting pretty.”

Speaking of yet another Vancouver small business, with 11 employees total – all of us at the VBJ hope to be sitting pretty come flu season as well.

Get well soon, Jerry.

At today’s Rotary Club meeting, word got out that past Vancouver Rotary President Jerry Petrick was undergoing tests due to recent health issues. We would like to extend our best wishes to Jerry, with hopes for a speedy recovery.

Look for our coverage of the day’s featured speaker, Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, in a forthcoming issue of the VBJ.