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  • Avielle Foundation Hosts Youth Brain Health First Aid Course

    A diverse crowd gathered on Saturday, July 11, at The Resiliency Center of Newtown to attend The Avielle Foundation’s Youth Brain Health First Aid course. The course certified citizens ages 15 and up with the skillset to recognize potential signs and symptoms of youth in a brain health crisis, and ways to appropriately respond, according to The Avielle Foundation. The program, federally managed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, was offered free of charge through the foundation’s support. The seminar, which took place from 8 am to 5 pm on Saturday, drew people from around the state, ranging from high school students to professional therapists. Instructors covered a range of topics aimed at helping youth in both crisis and noncrisis situations.

  • Paired Exchange Kidney Program Opens Up Possibilities For Transplant Hopefuls

    When Fred Ferris puts an olive in his mouth and likes it, he will know if it is myth or fact that kidney recipients sometimes take on the likes and dislikes of the donor. “I hate olives, so if I like it…” said Mr Ferris. He is hopeful he will one day have the opportunity to test that theory. It is a more than three-year wait, on average, for the more than 100,000 people in the United States in need of a kidney transplant to find a match. With both kidneys failing, Mr Ferris has been on the national list since 2013, three years after he was diagnosed with stage four kidney disease, related to type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

  • Officials Consider Police Use Of Body Cameras

    Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico said this week that the commission will be discussing whether town police officers should use body cameras while on duty to visually and sonically record their interactions with the public. The state legislature on June 29 passed two criminal justice bills, one of which covers the use of police body cameras. That bill requires that state police wear such body cameras and also offers financial incentives to municipalities to have their police departments use such devices. Mr Mangiafico stressed that the idea is under consideration at this time; a decision has not been made yet concerning the use of such equipment by local police officers. If they were to be employed, the Police Commission would need to formulate regulations on the use of body cameras, he said. The chairman noted that Police Commission members briefly talked about body cameras at a recent meeting, but added, “It was not a long discussion.”

  • Analyses Of Local Ticks Show Two Emerging Pathogens

    One recent morning at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park, US Senator Richard Blumenthal joined Connecticut State Epidemiologist Matthew Cartter, MD, MPH, advocates and patients in calling for additional federal funding for Lyme research to develop better tools for diagnosis and reporting of the disease. At the event, experts shared the latest statistics on Lyme prevalence in Connecticut. Advocates and experts also share simple steps people can take to protect against Lyme, including the BLAST prevention program that Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert has been touting for several years. BLAST stands for Bathe, Look for ticks, Apply repellant, Spray your yard, and Treat your pets. Ms Culbert and her staff at the Health District know that tick-borne disease is a problem for Newtown residents.

  • Big Y, Shaws, 7-11 Sold Recalled Bottled Water

    Niagara Bottling has recalled 14 brands of bottled spring water produced at two Pennsylvania manufacturing plants after the operator of one of its contracted springs failed to reveal evidence of E. coli bacteria at the spring source. The water is labeled under brands including Acadia, Acme, Big Y, Best Yet, 7-11, Niagara, Nature's Place, Pricerite, Superchill, Morning Fresh, Shaws, Shoprite, Western Beef Blue and Wegman's. Niagara Bottling has not received any complaints of injury or illness.

  • Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis Transforms Family’s Life

    Seated on mother Julie Barbeau’s lap, 3½ year old Ryan Costa is as wriggly as any toddler. He eagerly nibbles on cheese crackers, a smile stretching from one chubby cheek to the other. His mother knows, though, that beneath Ryan’s seemingly healthy appearance,cancer cells course through the little boy’s bloodstream. His daily life, and that of his parents, Ms Barbeau and Gary Costa, is a regimen of chemotherapy, quarterly spinal taps, and steroids. Pediatric cancer can change a family’s life overnight, said Ms Barbeau. Less than a year ago, Ryan was an active, on-the-go child. He enjoyed the days he spent at Little Explorers Childcare in Sandy Hook, and play dates with his friends. Other than a speech issue, for which he was receiving therapy through the Birth-to-Three State of Connecticut program, his parents had no real concerns about Ryan, the fifth child in the family. On July 10, 2014, however, when Ms Barbeau picked him up from Little Explorers, the teachers mentioned that Ryan’s speech therapist had noticed Ryan seemed unwell.

  • Mental Health Month: HEART 9/11 Bringing Peer-To-Peer Support To 12/14 Responders

    When organizers including founder and retired New York Port Authority cop Bill Keegan joined together to form HEART 9/11 — or Healing Emergency Aid Response Team, a peer-to-peer support network for the hundreds of surviving responders to the 9/11 attacks — he had no Idea how far his team might go to help counsel shocked, troubled and traumatized colleagues in police, EMS and fire services. Their primary mission is to help communities and the emergency workers serving them recover from some of the worst tragedies and disasters, from Oklahoma towns devastated by tornados, and Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi, to Port Au Prince, Haiti, and to the relatively quieter headquarters of the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Newtown Police Department.

  • NHS Marrow Donor Registry Drive Slated

    Newtown High School’s Peer Leadership Club has scheduled its annual Marrow Donor Registry Drive, for ages 18 to 44, for Tuesday, June 2, from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm. The event will take place in the school’s auditorium, 12 Berkshire Road. The drive will be offered through the Be The Match Donor Registry. Be The Match is the largest registry in the world providing a means for thousands of patients with life-threatening diseases or leukemia to find a match. Participants in the drive will fill out a registry form and will have their cheeks swabbed.

  • Annual Hospice Fundraiser Breakfast Scheduled

    The annual fundraising and volunteer thank you breakfast hosted by the Newtown Chapter of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut will take place Wednesday, June 17, at The Waterview, 215 Roosevelt Drive, just over the Newtown line in Monroe. Co-chairpersons Marg Studley and Marie Sturdevant are looking forward to the 26th year of the event to support the hospice organization devoted to the comfort and care of terminally ill patients and their families.

  • Youth Mental Health Experts Advise Wrapping Kids With Shared Supports

    May is Mental Health Month, with May 7 designated National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. But for two members of Newtown’s Resiliency and Recovery Team (RRT), every day since their arrival brings them greater awareness of local youths’ mental health concerns post 12/14. They told The Newtown Bee this week that many local young people continue to experience, or are just beginning to develop stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues as the community continues to cope with after effects of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The upside for local children, teens, and their families: Catherine Galda, LCSW, and Eileen Rondeau, RN, bring unique insights about addressing and supporting youth and family concerns.