Sex abuse charges lead to revocation for Snohomish County area optometrist

Sex abuse charges lead to revocation for Snohomish County area optometrist

OLYMPIA ¾ Sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl who sought treatment has led state health officials to permanently revoke the optometry license of John O’Brien (OD.OD.60385727).

The sexual contact by O’Brien took place when the female patient went for an exam in August 2014. Law enforcement authorities also found pictures taken of the girl during the incident on O’Brien’s cellular phone.

The revocation completes the legal process that started with the immediate suspension of his license October 22, 2014. O’Brien has no right to reapply for an optometry license in Washington. The board of optometry referred the case to the secretary of health because it was a sexual misconduct action.

The documents in this case can be seen online by clicking “Look up a health care provider” on the Department of Health website; copies can be requested by calling 360-236-4700. That’s also the number to call to file complaints against health care providers in Washington.

The Department of Health protects and promotes public health, safety, and welfare in Washington by regulating the competency and quality of health care providers. The agency establishes, monitors, and enforces qualifications for licensing, consistent standards of practice, continuing competency mechanisms, and discipline. Rules, policies, and procedures promote the delivery of quality health care to people in Washington.

The Department of Health website ( is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


PUD Offers Safety Reminders for Winter Storms:

PUD Offers Safety Reminders for Winter Storms


Everett, WA – With more stormy weather likely this winter, Snohomish County Public Utility District reminds customers to take steps to be safe when Mother Nature strikes.


Steer Clear of Downed Power Lines

Approaching downed power lines can be fatal! You don’t even have to touch a downed line to be electrocuted. If you get too close, electricity can find a path into one leg or foot travel up the body and down the other leg and foot and cause serious burns and injury or even death. Stay at least 20 to 30 feet away from any downed line. Call the PUD immediately to report the location of the downed line. If the downed line is life-threatening (for example, on top of an occupied car), call 911. Some people think it’s okay to drive across downed lines, believing that the rubber in the car tires will protect them. While this is true to some extent, the best rule to follow is to avoid driving over downed power lines unless it is a last-resort.


Beware of Carbon Monoxide Emissions

Using a gas stove or charcoal grill inside or your home for heating can have deadly results. During last year’s wind storm, hundreds of people suffered carbon monoxide poisoning when they tried to heat their homes by turning on gas stoves or dragging grills or portable generators inside their homes. Gas, oil, kerosene, charcoal, and wood all emit carbon monoxide – a colorless, odorless gas – that can kill a person in just minutes if inhaled at high levels (such as inside a house with windows shut). Because carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are similar to those for the flu, many people don’t realize they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning until it’s too late.


Be Safe with Lamps and Flammables

Always use extreme caution if you use candles or oil lamps. Never leave them unattended and keep them away from furniture, drapes, and other flammable materials. In all cases, be sure you have enough ventilation.


Use Portable Generators Safely

Never plug a portable generator into your household wiring unless your home is equipped with a transfer switch that was installed by a licensed electrician. Your generator could be damaged or, much worse, it could back feed electricity through the meter and out into the neighborhood, where it would cause a severe safety hazard to neighbors and line workers. If you need to power an appliance with a generator, plug it directly to the generator.  Also, remember to keep enough fuel on hand to power your generator through longer outages.


United Way Receives $725,000 Grant from Boeing Commercial Airplanes

United Way Receives $725,000 Grant from Boeing Commercial Airplanes

(Everett, WA) –United Way of Snohomish County announced today that it had received a $725,000 grant from Boeing Commercial Airplanes to support work in education, financial stability and lean for nonprofits.

“Boeing’s is the largest corporate contribution we receive,” said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County. “Their commitment to our community is strong,” he added.

More than half of the money, $450,000, will be used to support a United Way initiative that helps working families meet their basic needs. A core piece of this financial stability initiative is the free tax preparation program, which helped 3,376 working taxpayers get $5.8 million in refunds last year, for free.

This year’s program will have sites in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville and Monroe. If you are interested in being trained as a volunteer to work at sites in Monroe or Marysville, there are volunteer positions that still need to be filled. Visit United Way’s website at for more information.

“We are proud to get such significant support from Boeing,” said Katrina Ondracek, executive vice president of United Way of Snohomish County. “This partnership has been an important part of our success.”

Almost a quarter of the grant, $200,000, will be used to support United Way’s work ensuring that kids are ready for and prepared to thrive in school. The education initiative includes Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which distributes age-appropriate books to kids zero to five years of age, as well as programs that help prepare young children and families for kindergarten.

United Way will receive $75,000 to infuse lean principles in the nonprofit community, as well. Lean for nonprofits is a project to help other nonprofit organizations streamline their operations by adopting the principles of lean—pioneered in the manufacturing sector and used locally by Boeing, The Everett Clinic, Premera Blue Cross and Workforce Snohomish. United Way has been lean management principles for more than 5 years.

United Way is a community impact organization serving Snohomish County for almost 75 years. In addition to funding 107 programs through 40 agencies with a special focus on local health and human services, United Way of Snohomish County supports a number of initiatives focusing on early learning and education, financial stability for families, a youth program, North Sound 211 and an emerging initiative in survival English.


Be Safe This Winter Season! Via LS Fire

Be Safe This Winter Season!


During the holidays and winter season, families are warming their homes for comfort and applying their finishing touches to their holiday decorations. It is the most wonderful time of the year for many, though you may not realize that there is an increased risk of fire in the home during the holidays and winter months. Don’t let the busyness of the season take away from important safety precautions that should be taken each winter. Increased amounts of family cooking, decorating, and harsh winter weather all contribute to an increased risk of hazards which is often overlooked during this time of year.

Lake Stevens Fire offers the following safety tips to help keep you and your family safe throughout the season:


  • Keep a 3-foot “safe zone” around all heaters and fireplaces.
  • Have your heating system tuned up each year.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather, paying close attention to nose, ears, feet and hands.
  • Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Don’t try to thaw pipes or spigots with heat guns or blow torches. Heat can build up inside the walls and start a fire.
  • Use caution when driving in cold temperatures or adverse weather conditions.
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your car that includes blanket, gloves, shovel, etc. See for a detailed list.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Keep lit candles away from anything that can burn and make sure they are in a sturdy, fireproof holder. Blow out candles when you leave a room.
  • Make sure Christmas trees, real or artificial, are at least 3 feet from heat sources.
  • Add water to real Christmas trees daily. Dispose of trees after Christmas or when dry. Dried out trees are fire dangers and should not be left in or near your house.
  • Never use the stove, oven or BBQ as a source of heat. BBQs should never be used inside the home as it will cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home according to manufacturer’s instructions and know the signs of CO poisoning.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and you have a fire escape plan in case of a fire.


Lake Stevens Fire wishes you a safe and enjoyable winter season. For additional winter safety tips, visit our website at: / Publications / Brochures.


Head-on collision on State Route 92 Via LSPD

At approximately 4pm today, Lake Stevens Police Officers responded to a two vehicle, head-on collision on State Route 92 at Lake Drive NE.

A westbound passenger car crossed the centerline into the path of an oncoming pick-up truck. It appears the passenger vehicle swerved to avoid colliding with another vehicle that was stopped in the roadway, preparing to make a left turn.

An adult male and juvenile female from Lake Stevens were in the pick-up truck and transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the passenger car, a twenty-two year old male, also from Lake Stevens, died at the scene.


Flu vaccination can protect you during the holiday family gathering season

Flu vaccination can protect you during the holiday family gathering season

Early medications for flu are important in those at high risk for complications


OLYMPIA ¾ Fall and winter usher in holiday travel and gatherings that create an opportunity for flu and other viruses to spread. There’s still time to get vaccinated to help avoid getting the flu while spending time with loved ones and friends this holiday season.

Flu activity is increasing in Washington and is expected to continue to increase in the coming weeks. Flu season typically peaks in the winter months when people spend more time indoors. So far this season, H3N2 flu viruses have been the most common type of flu circulating around the country. More than half of those viruses have changed slightly from the strain that’s included in this year’s flu vaccine. Seasons when H3N2 viruses are most common tend to be more severe with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. The flu vaccine still offers protection against the well-matched strains and may provide some protection against the drifted strain.

“We are still recommending that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated this season,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “Even if the vaccine may only provide partial protection against one flu virus, it can protect you against the other types.”

The Department of Health is running statewide flu vaccine ads featuring Washington families and Secretary of Health John Wiesman to raise awareness about preventing the flu.

Everyone six months and older should get vaccinated. It’s especially important for people at higher risk for flu-related complications. People at higher risk include young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older, and people with certain chronic medical conditions. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to fully protect against flu. Some children under nine may need two doses of flu vaccine.

People at high-risk who get the flu may develop serious complications, such as pneumonia; flu can make existing health conditions worse. This can lead to hospitalization and death. If you’re at increased risk for complications and have flu symptoms, contact your doctor or clinic right away. Antiviral medications help, but they must be prescribed by a doctor and are most effective when started within 48 hours of illness onset.

There are many vaccine choices this season, offered in multiple locations, including health care provider offices, pharmacies, and even through some employers. The online “vaccine finder” is a good tool for finding vaccine near you, or call the local health department in your area. People can also find a clinic by calling the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

The state health department buys all recommended childhood vaccines, including flu vaccine, for kids through age 18. Although the vaccine is provided at no cost, health care providers may charge for the office visit or include a fee to give the vaccine. The health care provider may waive the fee if you ask.

The Department of Health website ( is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


  County Executive, Everett Mayor to speak at annual National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day on Dec. 19  

County Executive, Everett Mayor to speak at annual
National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day on Dec. 19


The homeless men and women – both civilians and military – who died this year in Snohomish County are not forgotten – and an event this month is committed to honoring their memories.

County Executive John Lovick and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will join members of the Homeless Veterans Committee to recognize Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on Friday, Dec. 19. The annual memorial event will begin at 5 p.m. in front of the county’s courthouse at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett. Organizers plan to honor four veterans and two civilians.

“We’re committed in Snohomish County to providing support and resources to our most vulnerable residents,” said Snohomish County Executive John Lovick. “Our Human Services department does a tremendous job serving our homeless and low-income residents, but this event reminds us that there is always more we can do.”

The city of Everett’s Community Streets Initiative is another way local jurisdictions are working to find solutions to homelessness.

“We’ve just wrapped up a community-wide task force effort focused on identifying comprehensive solutions to some of our most difficult challenges, including homelessness,” said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson. “There is a huge need throughout our region, and we are working in partnership with Executive Lovick and others to enact compassionate, effective changes in the coming year.”

The local Homeless Person’s Memorial event is part of a national day of recognition, and will include a special tribute to veterans. It is held on or near the coldest day of the year to recognize the conditions homeless people face night after night.

In 2014, Snohomish County saw a 28 percent decrease in the number of homeless veterans thanks to the efforts of the Homeless Veterans Committee, an 18-member partnership developed in 2010 with a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. Since Feb. 2013, the committee has rehoused 215 veteran households, including 52 families with children.

To learn more about what Snohomish County is doing to end homelessness, please visit To learn what the city of Everett is doing, please visit