While some of the statistical improvements are incremental, Newtown Prevention Council Co-Chair Judy Blanchard took the opportunity during National Alcohol Awareness Month to review specific results from the latest local survey of youth related to alcohol consumption, availability, and prevailing attitudes toward drinking. Alcohol Awareness Month was founded by and has been sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. Locally, a Youth Survey Report sponsored by Newtown Prevention Council and Newtown Public Schools was conducted under the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It was designed to ascertain prevalence, attitudes, and behaviors related to use of substances (tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs).
The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) West Region, Newtown Public Schools and the Connecticut Family Support Network (CTFSN) are partnering to sponsor a Spring Resource Fair on Tuesday, April 29. The event will be held at Newtown High School from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Individuals and families will have an opportunity to meet and gather information about disability related support and services from community vendors and state agencies. After the resource fair, a presentation titled “Meeting Halfway for Parents,” to be presented by CTFSN, will start at 6:45 pm.
Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert and a small group of town employees laced up their sneakers April 2 to take a brisk spin around the Fairfield Hills to mark National Start Walking Day. Since statistics show that one in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, and research shows that poor lifestyle is a major contributor, Ms Culbert wanted to help her colleagues improve or maintain their good health by factoring in a daily or even occasional walk into their workdays. On April 2 as in years past, Ms Culbert encouraged her fellow town employees to take at least 30 minutes to get up and walk. At the same time, school district Health Coordinator Judy Blanchard, who also participated April 2, was thinking about a recent letter she read in The Newtown Bee, which made note of a group of parents she passes each day on her way to work, who wait at their children’s bus stop each morning with their children inside their idling vehicles.
On Thursday, April 17, at Masonicare at Newtown, Robert LaRosa, DDS, and Michele Federico will present a Lunch & Learn program titled “Dental Care & Concerns as You Age.” Dr LaRosa and Ms Federico will discuss many dental care issues that are common with aging, such as preventive oral hygiene, periodontal disease, medication-related dry mouth, tooth loss and dentures, and the effects of dental health on the body. The free program will begin at 11:30 am and will be followed by a complimentary lunch.
The month of March was a busy one for legislators concerned about the proliferation of e-cigarette use among the country’s youth, the lack of regulation for sales of e-cigarettes to minors at state and federal levels, and advertising directed at young people that glamorizes “vaping” in much the same way that conventional cigarettes were once marketed. On March 12, Governor Dannel P. Malloy introduced legislation to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, electronic delivery systems, and other vapor products to those under the age of 18. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens, are currently not regulated in the state. Local health officials and school leaders have concerns about the marketing of these products, which have not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation or approval.
Fabian Cousteau, a third generation ocean explorer and filmmaker, will be appearing in person as the keynote speaker at the Fourth Annual Danbury Hospital Dive Medicine Conference on Saturday, April 5. The annual conference, organized by physician, diver, and Newtown resident David Charash, DO, will be held at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury, from 8 am to 12:30 pm. Mr Cousteau will be speaking about saturation diving and the upcoming Mission 31. Mission 31 will be located at the Aquarius Reef Base, a seafloor habitat roughly 63 feet (20 meters) underwater in the Florida Keys.
One day every year, local parents and people who care about Newtown’s children go back to school to learn about the latest trends, issues and concerns facing families and the community at the Parent Connection’s Parent Empowerment University. This year’s event, presented on march 22 in partnership with Brookfield CARES, was by far the best attended in its history according to Parent Connection Co-Founder Dorrie Carolan. She said she saw more than 220 registered attendees on hand, and at least 100 children tagging along for fun activities.
“Listening To Dreams: Healing Your Life” will be offered at SOUND Center for Creative Arts and Mindfulness, 31 Hawleyville Road, on Saturday, March 29, from 10 am until 1 pm. Cost is $55 per person. From ancient Greeks who made pilgrimages to dream temples to 21st Century women and men who turn to psychotherapy, people have long looked to dreams for guidance, wisdom, and healing. “Listening to Dreams workshops” are open to anyone who has a desire to learn more about dreams and dreamwork. Participants are encouraged to bring a dream or dreams they would like to work with, however, those who do not yet recall their dreams can also benefit from these workshops.
March is National Nutrition month, which serves as an opportunity for the Newtown Health District to promote the wealth of nutrition education sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “There is no magical or mystical way to achieve good health; its primarily about how much you move and what, and how much, you consume,” Health District Director Donna Culbert recently told The Newtown Bee. “Yes, there can be complex genetic and/or environmental factors that affect your health, but that is not the case for the majority of people.” Ms Culbert said Newtowners can access loads of information at the academy’s website, EatRight.org. The Newtown Health District is currently working with its regional public health partners, Western Connecticut Health Network, Bethel VNA and New Milford VNA, the Regional Y of Western Connecticut, the United Way of Western Connecticut, and other health agencies on a community needs assessment and a community health improvement plan.
The Board of Selectmen approved $15,000 during a meeting March 17 that will underwrite a tickborne disease awareness and prevention campaign that will be launched in the coming weeks by the Newtown Health District. After brief discussion between First Selectman Pat Llodra and Selectman James Gaston, they moved and approved the funding, which is being drawn from an undesignated town Sandy Hook Special Revenue Fund intended to support public health, safety, or resiliency initiatives. Ms Culbert said she is excited to be partnering with More Advertising, a minority- and women-owned Massachusetts-based cause marketing firm with experience successfully mounting public health and safety programs similar to what Newtown hopes to launch this year.