Unfortunately, the long, cold snowy winter actually has boosted the activities of developing ticks who thrived because of it, according to Newtown Health District Director Donna Culbert. She told The Newtown Bee this week that Dr Kirby Stafford, chief scientist and state entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station tells her snow cover can moderate temperatures where the ticks live, providing a lot of humidity. And the state entomologist believes that ticks were not hampered by what was considered to be a harsh winter. Ms Culbert is already sensing that tick season is arriving “with a vengeance.” So the Health District, along with its community partners, will be doing its best to get the word out about the risk of tick bites, tickborne disease, and how residents can better protect themselves.
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next parent forums, which will be held at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Middle Gate Elementary School, and Newtown Middle School. Each forum will be presented twice, once during the school day and again in the evening, to allow for maximum participation. The Sandy Hook School Parent Forum, “Summer Planning To Sustain Your Child’s Progress,” will be held on Monday, April 28; Middle Gate will host "Parenting In Tough Times" on April 29; and the middle school will host "How To Parent In A Challenging World" on April 30.
The Newtown Health District is participating in a statewide drill on April 24 that will simulate a mass casualty outbreak to gauge the ease in which emergency response medications can be distributed. District Director Donna Culbert said she has been working with state and regional officials preparing for the drill for several weeks. “The state created a scenario for us and plan to drive pallets of supplies to our distribution center – which is the high school – and we will be there to receive it,” she said. “We will be among dozens of drop off sites – all the 32 hospitals and more than 75 dispensing sites will be receiving pallets of supplies during the drill.” The drill will require a state Department of Health vehicle being escorted by Connecticut State Police to stage briefly at Newtown High School sometime Thursday.
Spring is in the air, and for allergy sufferers, that is not necessarily good news. It does not matter where one goes. Allergens are found in every climate. Nearly 50 millions people suffer from seasonal allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Seasonal rhinitis, or “hay fever” (even though it does not often involve hay or a fever), is the body’s abnormal reaction to pollen. Seen as an unwanted invader, the body produces antibodies, which attach to certain white blood cells. Future exposure means that those antibodies are ready to fight. The cells burst, releasing huge amounts of histamine into the system and — allergy symptoms go wild. Two area doctors spoke with The Newtown Bee about this seasonal challenge, offering different options for attending to the debilitating symptoms of seasonal allergies.
The Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc is soliciting proposals from qualified groups to support the expansion of public education and training to help those that come into contact with adults and young people in the Newtown community. The foundation is seeking to identify, understand, and respond to signs of trauma, mental health concerns, and/or address barriers that keep those who need mental health services from accessing them. Proposals are also sought to develop, strengthen, or expand therapeutic programs/interventions that assist with the recovery from those impacted by 12/14. The deadline for proposal submission is May 9.
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 Arthritis Foundation New England Region has named 8-year-old Ashley Guerrera of Newtown the Youth Ambassador for the 2014 Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis. As an ambassador, Ashley will be a large part in helping the Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis reach its fundraising goal of $57,550.
Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event, with local events hosted in Danbury on April 27, in Hartford May 5, and in New Haven October 5. Funds raised through the event support Arthritis Foundation programs, research and advocacy initiatives to help people live better today while finding a cure for the number one cause of disability in the United States tomorrow. Ashley has been living with juvenile arthritis, but she sees herself as a very lucky girl.
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.