Lighthouse Center turning 100

Duluth's Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss will celebrate its 100th anniversary with its second annual "Dining in the Dark" event.

At the event, guests are invited to "awaken their senses" by eating a gourmet meal while blindfolded and dancing to the music of Todd Eckart.

The event will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on April 11 at the Greysolon Ballroom, 231 E. Superior St. Tickets are $75 per person and must be purchased no later than this Friday. To order, call (218) 624-4828 or go to www.LCFVL.org.

Flu scoreboard

The spread of influenza in Minnesota has been downgraded from widespread to regional, the state Department of Health reported.

Based on preliminary data, the health department reported 158 flu-related hospitalizations for the week ending March 23, down from 238 the week before. Nine of the hospitalizations were in Northeastern Minnesota. So far this flu season, 1,945 people have been hospitalized for the disease in Minnesota.

For the season, 49 flu deaths have been reported in the state, and there still have been no pediatric deaths. The last flu season with no pediatric deaths in Minnesota was 2008-09, according to Melissa McMahon, a health department epidemiologist.

"It's premature to say there won't be any this year, though we are all desperately hoping for that to be the case," McMahon wrote in an email.

Fighting waste with gift cards

The headline in the online publication Medpage Today asked a provocative question: "Is coffee the key to curbing medical equipment waste?"

The story, posted last week, explained how the interventional radiology department at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore placed equipment with an expiration date within 30 days on a cart in a central location. Each resident or fellow who took equipment off that cart received a $5 gift card to the hospital cafe.

The result, according to the MedPage story: a 31.3 percent decrease in wasted medical supplies, from almost $30,000 per month to a little more than $20,000 per month.

Over a 13-month trial period, the department saved $135,860 while giving out $2,355 in gift cards.

A Johns Hopkins doc presented the information at the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology in Austin, Texas, MedPage reported.

A quick online check revealed a large number of ways to spend a $5 gift card at Johns Hopkins cafes. One can, for example, purchase a large honey oat latte at the Atwater for $4.95.

Etc.

• Orthopaedic Associates of Duluth is offering a free kinesio taping class for athletes, active adults and outdoor enthusiasts from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 6 at its Hermantown location, 4310 Menard Drive, Suite 400. Reservations required. Call (218) 336-7676.

• Information for Medicare beneficiaries and pre-retirees is being offered by the Senior LinkAge Line through the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission's Area Agency on Aging on April 10 and 24 at the Missabe Building, 227 W. First St., Suite 103. To schedule an appointment, call (800) 333-2433.

• Essentia Health is offering an advance care planning class from 4 to 5 p.m. April 17 in the community room at the Essentia Health-Lakeside Clinic, 4621 E. Superior St. The class is free, and preregistration is not required. For more information, contact Wanda Paulsen at (218) 786-1310.