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health & wellness

Arc receives $2,500 donation for Dramatic Play Therapy

Posted 20 November 2017 at 10:23 pm

Photo and article courtesy of the Arc of Genesee Orleans

ALBION – Ann Marie Suttell, left, of the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation watches students at Rainbow Preschool in Albion engage in dramatic play therapy as teacher Nancy Ellison, right, points out options.

The foundation donated $2,500 toward the dramatic play therapy program today. This program at Rainbow Preschool helps developmentally disabled children learn to cope with, and be successful in, stress-causing environments such as the doctor’s office, grocery shopping, or going out to a restaurant.

Children with disabilities often have difficulty adjusting to new settings, noise, lighting, communicating with new people or cooperating with doctor’s exams. Playing out a potentially stressful scenario with guidance from a therapist proves extremely beneficial for children with developmental delays or autism, according to the Arc of Genesee Orleans.

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Alzheimer’s Association increasing services in Orleans

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 November 2017 at 1:35 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Ashley Eagan, program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes, speaks with the Albion Rotary Club last Thursday about the organization’s efforts to increase services in Orleans County.

The Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region has increased its outreach and services in Orleans County this year.

“We’re really trying to connect to Orleans County,” said Ashley Eagan, program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes. “We have resources available. We just need individuals to take advantage of them.”

Eagan addressed the Albion Rotary Club last Thursday. She said the population in Western New York and the Finger Lakes is aging. The Alzheimer’s Association has services for caregivers and people battling the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association has two community events scheduled for Wednesday in Albion.

There will be representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association for social activities at the Albion Free Methodist Church from 11 a.m. to noon. The church is located at 25 S. Platt St.

The association will lead a discussion, “Effective Communication Strategies,” at Hoag Library from 6 to 7 p.m.. The library is located at 134 South Main St.

The association also has programs each month at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina, the Concordia Lutheran Church in Kendall, and the Orleans County YMCA in Medina.

For more information or to register for a program, call 585.760.5400 or toll free at 800.272.3900. More information on Alzheimer’s is available at

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Governor announces launch of Suicide Prevention Task Force

Posted 19 November 2017 at 3:16 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the formation of the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force that includes leaders from state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit groups, and other recognized experts in suicide prevention. The creation of the Task Force was first announced in Governor Cuomo’s 2017 State of the State.

“The rise in the number of suicides nationwide is unacceptable, and New York will continue to make suicide awareness and prevention a top priority until we put an end to this epidemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Suicide Prevention Task Force will focus on high-risk communities and groups to build on our efforts to address this challenge, and help build a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Christopher Tavella, PhD, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and Peter Wyman, PhD, Professor Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. A full list of Task Force members can be found by clicking here.

Task Force members will examine and evaluate current suicide prevention programs services, and policies. Members will then make recommendations to increase access, awareness, and support for children, adolescents and adults in need of assistance. The Task Force will also explore methods to address and prevent bullying and cyber-bullying, which negatively impact an individual’s mental health and in some cases have caused a number of children and young adults to take their own lives.

A Focus on High Risk Groups

The Task Force will focus on suicide prevention targeting high-risk demographic groups and special populations, including members of the LGBT community, veterans, individuals with mental illness, and individuals struggling with alcohol and drug use. Veterans in New York State represent more than 15 percent of suicides, while nationally, LGBT adolescents are four times more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-LGBT peers.

Other high risk populations include middle-aged men and Latina adolescents.

New York has the fifth largest total number of suicides in the nation, with 1,652 in 2015, and it is estimated that for every suicide death there are 25 non-fatal attempts. In 2014, there were more than 21,000 hospitalizations and emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries in New York State, and adolescents made up a disproportionately high number of these injuries.

The formation of this Task Force makes good on the Governor’s promise to prioritize suicide prevention and address the need for increased awareness of support services in every community across the state.

Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Commissioner of the NYS Office of Mental Health, said, “With a problem as complex as suicide, it is critical to have a well-coordinated, collective effort that includes our health and behavioral healthcare systems, as well as our schools, communities and other stakeholders. The Governor’s Task Force will help us to collaborate and share the best available information and practices.”

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “The sad reality is that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and it is a tragedy that reverberates throughout the entire community. Through our continuing partnership with the Office of Mental Health and now with the Suicide Prevention Task Force, we can—and have to—reduce the number of suicides and promote mental health across the state.”

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “Our Troopers witness the heartbreak and devastation left behind when a person chooses to take their own life. We are committed to working with our task force partners to examine the causes and find solutions that will help support those who are in need of assistance.”

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Sadly, for many people, suicide and substance use disorders are linked, and the approach to their care needs to reflect this reality. The NYS Suicide Prevention Task Force will strengthen our ability to provide the comprehensive care that vulnerable New Yorkers need.”

OMH’s Suicide Prevention Office was created in 2014 to coordinate all OMH-sponsored suicide prevention activities. The SPO also funds the Suicide Prevention Center of New York, which provides free or low-cost educational and training sessions to individuals, agencies, schools and community groups to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of suicide in New York. More information is available by clicking here.

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Medina hospital wants to educate community about importance of ‘stop the bleed’

Photo by Tom Rivers: Mackenzie Smith, Emergency Room director and stroke coordinator at Medina Memorial Hospital, is shown with teaching tools to help tie a tourniquet and stuff a wound.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 November 2017 at 6:01 pm

MEDINA – The first 5 minutes when someone has started massive bleeding are absolutely critical – stopping that bleeding can be the difference between life and death.

Medina Memorial Hospital has joined a national awareness campaign about “Stop the Bleed.” The effort was launched by the White House in October 2015. The national effort wants to train bystanders to be more equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Bystanders could find themselves the first on the scene of critical injuries at car accidents or a shooting. There are numerous other possibilities: a neighbor injured by a chainsaw or by a hedge trimmer, or someone who slips on ice, or a child injured at a youth sporting event.

Mackenzie Smith, the Emergency Room director at Medina Memorial Hospital and stroke coordinator, is leading the “Stop the Bleed” program for Medina. She is willing to meet with residents and community groups in a one-hour training.

Three actions that could save a life include:

• Apply pressure with hands.

• Apply dressing and press.

• Apply tourniquets if the bleeding doesn’t stop. The tourniquet may be applied and secured over clothing. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, place a second tourniquet closer to the torso from the first tourniquet. (A belt could be used as a tourniquet.)

“It can happen so quickly and so innocently,” Smith said about the incidents. “We need to be prepared.”

To contact Smith, call the hospital at (585) 798-2000.

For more information about “Stop the Bleed,” click here.

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About 200 attend walk at Watt Farms to benefit people fighting cancer

Staff Reports Posted 28 October 2017 at 11:50 pm

ALBION – Lisa Franclemont, coordinator of cancer services program of Genesee and Orleans counties, introduces some of the cancer survivors at today’s walk at Watt Farms.

About 200 participants today raised money for cancer screenings and to support people battling cancer in Orleans and Genesee counties.

Watt Farms for 11 years was a host for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Several hundred people attended that walk each year and raised $350,000 for the American Cancer Society. Watt Farms last year shifted to a more local focus for the fundraising effort.

This group Holley firefighters attended the walk. Holley has sent a contingent of firefighters to the walk for several years.

Ella Suhr is now a one-year cancer survivor after being treated for a brain tumor last year. She is pictured with her parents, Joe and Maegen Suhr of Lyndonville.

Albion chorus students sang the national anthem. The group includes Taylor Walczak, Riley Seielstad, Victor Benjovsky, Zachary Moore, Enoch Martin and director Gary Simboli.

Albion cheerleaders provided encouragement along the walk.

Keira Lemcke of Albion celebrated her father Kevin and grandmother Peggy, who are both cancer survivors.

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Hospital staff wears pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Staff Reports Posted 25 October 2017 at 11:24 am

Provided photos, Orleans Community Health

MEDINA – Staff at Medina Memorial Hospital (Orleans Community Health) on Friday dressed in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This photo shows nurses Rebecca Mannella, left, and Mary Dunham.

“Buzzy” joins in raising awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Anthony Drisdom, supervisor of registration and a financial counselor at the hospital, dressed in a pink shirt to show his support for the cause.

The hospital urges early detection of breast cancer which can save lives.

The Cancer Services Program offers free screenings at no cost to men (yes, men can get breast cancer, too) and women who:

  • Do not have health insurance or have health insurance that doesn’t cover the screenings
  • Cannot pay for these screenings
  • Meet age requirements
  • Live in NYS

For more information, call the Cancer Services Program of Genesee and Orleans County at 585-798-9541 or 585-344-5497.

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Governor signs legislation for health care benefits to volunteer firefighters with certain cancers

Posted 22 October 2017 at 4:37 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Carlton firefighters put out a big brush fire on Aug. 29, 2015.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to deliver health care benefits to volunteer firefighters who have been diagnosed with certain cancers.

“New York is forever grateful to the 96,000 volunteer firefighters who selflessly put their own personal safety at risk in order to keep their neighbors and communities safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this measure, we will provide these courageous New Yorkers the protections they need and the peace of mind they deserve.”

Currently, volunteer firefighters are eligible for accidental disability and death benefits through Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in the line of duty. Effective January 1, 2019, firefighters will also be eligible for health benefits to support treatment for life-threatening cancers.

Under the bill (S1411B- A711B), volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers will receive access to tax free disability and death benefits. Specifically, volunteer firefighters diagnosed with lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, reproductive systems, or melanoma cancer will be automatically eligible for health benefits if:

• Upon entry to volunteer, a physical exam did not show any evidence of the cancers covered by this bill;

• Individuals have at least five years of service fighting fire in the interior of buildings; and

• The firefighter is currently active or within 5 years of his or her last active date.

Kenneth Pienowski, President of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York said, “This is a great day for New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo and our elected representatives in Albany have acted to decisively protect those who protect the people of this great state. New York’s brave volunteer firefighters now have the protections and help they need in the tragic event of a cancer diagnosis. We are tremendously grateful to the Governor for his action. We also thank State Senator Joseph Griffo, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi, and Assemblymember Brian Kolb for their leadership and support through this entire process. Because of them, the future generation of volunteer firefighters will not have to face cancer alone.”

John P. Sroka, President of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs said, “All firefighters, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer, fight identical fires. Because of this, all firefighters should be treated equally and receive equal benefits in the event of a cancer diagnosis. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, this is now a reality. New York’s selfless volunteers, who sacrifice so much to protect all of us, now have the benefits that they need. The Fire Chiefs of New York applaud Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for their actions today and throughout this year’s session.”

Thomas Rinaldi, President of the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York said, “The Fire Districts of New York are grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo and bill sponsors State Senator Joseph Griffo, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, and Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi for protecting New York State’s brave volunteer firefighters. Presumptive cancer coverage is an essential benefit for 21st century firefighters, and the signing of this legislation ensures that all firefighters in New York State will be equipped for 21st century fires. It is fitting that volunteers who sacrifice their time, safety, and health to protect their communities now have essential assistance available in their times of need.”

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Kendall students join ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day’

Posted 17 October 2017 at 12:23 pm

Provided photo: Kendall seventh-grader Cameron Faulks warns about the dangers of smoking.

Press Release, Tobacco-Free WNY

KENDALL – Youth in Kendall and across New York State declared Friday, October 13, as the first-ever “Seen Enough Tobacco Day.”

The day gives youth a chance to protect themselves and other children from the billions of dollars of tobacco promotions in places where they and other youth can see and be influenced by them. The goal is to put an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use.

Youth advocates of Reality Check New York and Kendall Junior-Senior High School showed their community they’ve “Seen Enough Tobacco” in graphic and creative ways outside their school. Students chalked the walkway with alarming statistics on tobacco promotion. They also posted and carried colorful posters and hand signs encouraging them to take action as well.

According to the U. S. Surgeon General, “advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.” The day is part of the overall statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative.

“We know that most adult tobacco smokers first tried tobacco as kids,” said Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, a research scientist with the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who focuses on tobacco advertising and promotion.  “Decreasing exposure to tobacco products and tobacco advertising is critical to decreasing youth smoking today.”

“The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13,” said Reality Check member and Kendall eighth grader Shaylee Stoner. “We need to make people in our community aware of this and take action.”

“Reality Check is a youth-led, adult supported movement,” said Reality Check coordinator for Tobacco-Free GLOW, Shelly Wolanske. “These youth work hard not only for ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day,’ but every day to advocate for change and create a tobacco-free generation.”

Findings on youth tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing in places where children and young adolescents can see them indicate:

  • The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
  • The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
  • Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.

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Care Net has new location, ultrasound machine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 October 2017 at 1:24 pm

Provided photo

ALBION – The Care Net Center of Greater Orleans has a new location at 168 South Main St., Suite #2. The organization, which started nearly 27 years ago, moved late last month from the Freeze Dry building on West Avenue across from McDonalds. Freeze Dry is expanding and needed the additional  office space.

Care Net is happy with its new offices in a highly visible plaza that includes Subway, KFC, Family Dollar, Chia Sen and Rent-A-Center.

“It’s really a blessing,” Kimberly Scott, Care Net executive director, said about the new location.

Care Net served 539 clients in 2016. The center has a pro-life mission and provides services for free, including pregnancy testing, parenting classes, limited ultrasounds, STI testing and education, and material aid for enrolled clients.

Photos by Tom Rivers: The new Care Net offices, which opened on Oct. 3, include four material aid rooms, up from one at the former location. Jocelyn Wilson, left, is the client advocate and Kimberly Scott is the executive director. They are pictured in a material aid room, a “Blessing Boutique” for girls, which includes lots of clothes.

There is also a material aid room with clothes and supplies for boys.

Sally Grout, the nurse manager, is pictured with a new ultrasound machine that Care Net purchased for $13,000 in June. The ultrasound machine confirms heart beats and pregnancies. Care Net held several fundraisers to pay for the machine, and also received donations from the Knights of Columbus and the recently disbanded Habitat for Humanity.

The offices have new carpet and paint throughout the suite. The staff includes, left to right, Jocelyn Wilson, Sally Grout, Kimberly Scott, and Sharon Sugar, the office manager.

Care Net is open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointments. The organization has its annual “Walk for Life” this Saturday at Mount Albion Cemetery at 10 a.m., with registration starting at 9 a.m.

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COVA seeks countywide CON for ambulance services

Photos by Tom Rivers: Barb Morlino, training coordinator for COVA and the Orleans Training Academy, speaks during a public hearing on Thursday about COVA’s request for a countywide certificate of need to provide ambulance services.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 October 2017 at 4:37 pm

ALBION – Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance is pursuing a certificate of need to provide ambulance services throughout Orleans County.

COVA currently has a CON for the central Orleans towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton and Gaines. It wants to expand the CON to eastern and western Orleans, too.

COVA officials said the CON application shouldn’t be viewed as a takeover for eastern Orleans which is currently primarily served by Monroe Ambulance or western Orleans which is served by the Medina Fire Department.

“This would provide for seamless backup,” said Jason Spencer, COVA’s director operations. “We don’t see any radical changes.”

COVA has three ambulances in Albion. Two of them are pictured Thursday evening at 239 South Main St.

Right now, COVA needs to be requested to respond to a call outside its primary service area.

The Big Lakes Regional EMS Council (REMSCO) held a public hearing on Thursday evening for COVA’s CON application at COVA’s headquarters, 239 South Main St.

Four COVA officials spoke in favor of the application, while Monroe Ambulance opposed it.

Mike Bove, vice president of Monroe Ambulance, speaks against COVA’s request for a countywide CON. Monroe has the CON to serve eastern Orleans as primary ambulance provider.

Mike Bove, vice president of Monroe Ambulance, said Monroe responds to about 600 calls annually in eastern Orleans with an average response time of 12 minutes, 18 seconds. That is well below the 15-minute threshold for rural communities, he said.

Monroe has had the CON for eastern Orleans for about three years. The ambulance company keeps ambulances in Brockport and responds to 90 percent of the calls in eastern Orleans.

“No one can get to 100 percent of the calls, which is why we have mutual aid,” Bove said at the hearing.

Monroe has 28 ambulances and 284 employees. The company can shift resources to Orleans when needed, Bove said.

He opposed the COVA expansion because Bove said there isn’t a need for COVA to have a CON in eastern Orleans.

Laurie Schwab, COVA director, said the Albion-based ambulance company is willing to add resources to better serve eastern Orleans.

COVA currently has a 7-minute average response time for calls in its four towns. COVA is willing to put an ambulance in Holley, which should significantly reduce the response time in eastern Orleans, said Jason Spencer, COVA’s director of operations.

Laurie Schwab, COVA’s executive director, speaks during the public hearing. She said the organization has the resources to expand to serve the county.

Wade Schwab, president of COVA’s board of directors, has been with COVA for 26 years. The organization has changed from being run by volunteers in 1979 to having paid paramedics and drivers. Schwab said COVA has proven its dedication to the community after nearly 40 years of operation.

Barb Morlino, COVA’s training coordinator, said COVA has a training program in place so more residents can serve the community with emergency medical care.

A county-wide CON would allow COVA “the ability to serve residents of Orleans County if the need arises,” Morlino said.

The Big Lakes REMSCO includes the counties of Genesee, Orleans and Niagara. That group will review the CON application and make a decision. That ruling on the CON can be appealed.

If the CON is approved for COVA, the organization wouldn’t automatically become the primary ambulance provider county-wide. COVA would have to reach out to each municipality for a contract.

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