Karah Gottschalk, Au.D./CC-A, has joined Oswego Health as an audiologist.
She is providing hearing and balance testing for those of all ages using the newest technology.
Dr. Gottschalk earned her doctor of audiology degree at the University of Louisville and completed her residency at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio.
She also holds a Certificate of Clinical Competency (CCC-A) from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Throughout her schooling, she took part in extensive training in all aspects of audiology, allowing her to offer comprehensive hearing and balance services.
Oswego Health has purchased the latest hearing and balance equipment for Dr. Gottschalk so community members can receive exceptional audiology care close to their homes.
For those with hearing issues, Dr. Gottschalk is conducting specialized hearing tests using an audiometer in a newly purchased sound booth.
The Audiostar audiometer offers patient comfort and consistent results. When testing an infant’s hearing, she will utilize advanced Auditory Brainstem Response equipment.
For balance testing, state-of-the-art Videonystagmography equipment, which records a patient’s eye movements during a series of actions, can assist in determining a patient diagnosis.
“I am excited to be offering a variety of excellent hearing and balance services in the community,” Dr. Gottschalk said. “This is a great opportunity that allows me to care for all ages from the very young to the elderly in a hospital environment, which I greatly enjoy.”
The new audiologist offers her hearing and balance services in suite 210 of the Oswego Health Services Center, which is adjacent to Oswego Hospital. The phone number is 349-5828.
Volunteers of all ages gathered recently for a celebration in their honor at St. Luke Health Services.
The theme of this year’s luncheon event, “Volunteers Rock,” transformed the Riverview Room at St. Luke into a 1950s diner — a perfect setting for the Activities Department staff to use music of the era to celebrate the many contributions volunteers make on behalf of St. Luke residents throughout the year.
“We are appreciative of all the time and talents our volunteers share with our residents,” said Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Greenier.
“Our annual volunteer recognition luncheon is just a small way for our organization thanks them for their tremendous dedication and all the contributions our volunteers make on behalf of the people we serve and care for here at St. Luke,” she said.
In addition to an “All-American” lunch prepared by St. Luke’s culinary staff, the Activities Department entertained those gathered with a performance of their own creation; “Volunteers Rock!” a musical tribute to the important role volunteers play not only at St. Luke, but throughout our community.
“St. Luke has a tremendous base of 120 volunteers, including many groups from the community who share their unique gifts helping to enhance the quality of life that our residents experience,” said Greenier.
“Our volunteers are always ready to lend a hand, helping to make all the activities and outings we provide throughout the year possible,” she said.
Greenier noted last year, St. Luke volunteers ranging in age from 14 to 96 contributed nearly 4,000 hours of their time participating in hundreds of programs, activities and outings with residents.
“Volunteers at St. Luke can give of their time as often as they like,” explained Greenier. “Our program is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of schedules, and many people who inquire are surprised at the number of varied opportunities we have available that allows someone to volunteer as their schedule permits, and help make a difference in the lives of our residents.”
Anyone seeking information about the St. Luke Volunteer Program can call program Coordinator Nicole Greenier at 342-3166, extension 173.
Information about the program, including a downloadable application, can be found on the St. Luke website at www.stlukehs.com.
The town of Hastings in Oswego County is receiving a Farm Bill grant of $981,000 to help make wastewater treatment plant upgrades.
The grant was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of its celebration of Earth Day. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced grants and loans for 116 projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment.
“Having reliable, clean and safe water is essential for any community to thrive and grow,” Vilsack said. “I am proud that USDA helps build rural communities from the ground up by supporting water infrastructure projects like these. I am especially proud that we can help communities that are struggling economically and those that have urgent health and safety concerns due to their failing water systems.”
Today’s announcement is USDA’s largest Earth Day investment in rural water and wastewater systems. Nearly $387 million is being awarded to 116 recipients in 40 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Department is providing $150 million in grants through the 2014 Farm Bill plus $237 million in loans and grants from USDA’s Water and Environmental Program.
Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y., home to three of the country’s premier public/resort courses, has been named as the site of the 49th PGA Professional National Championship in 2016, marking a return visit of the showcase event for PGA Professionals to Central New York.
The 312-player Championship will be conducted June 26-29, 2016.
For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, call 592-4453.
To report a case of abuse, call the state Child Protective Services hotline at (800) 342-3720. If you feel a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
By Debra J. Groom
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
And Oswego County is doing more to help children be safe by reporting more cases of child abuse than ever before.
The number of children and families served by the Child Advocacy Center in Fulton increased by 48 percent from 2012-2013 – from about 320 in 2012 to 475 in 2013.
The Child Advocacy Center, the Oswego County Department of Social Services and others are stressing the importance of knowing the signs of abuse and letting authorities know when abuse occurs.
Oswego County is keenly aware of child abuse as a result of the Erin Maxwell case in 2008.
Erin was 11 years old when she was found unresponsive in her Palermo home by her stepbrother, Alan Jones. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Jones was charged with her murder and her father and stepmother, Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell, were found guilty of four counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Jones’ conviction eventually was reduced to manslaughter and he is serving tie in Fishkill Correctional Facility. According to Vinelink, he is scheduled for release in June 2015.
Lindsey and Lynn Maxwell were sentenced to two years in the Oswego County jail, but were released after serving 15 months.
When investigating Erin’s death, police found that she lived in deplorable conditions, was locked in her room to eat and sometimes went to school with dirty clothing and no lunch. It came to light during the investigation that the Oswego County Department of Social Services had investigated reports about the Maxwell household and Erin, but did not remove her from the house. Many faulted the department for its inaction.
Since then, many changes were made to the way these cases are handled in Oswego County. Cornell University completed one of three studies done looking at how the social services department worked at that time. The report found Oswego County’s caseworkers were overworked, handling nearly double the national and state average of cases per caseworker.
Changes were made after the reports and more caseworkers were hired. Gregg Heffner, who was hired as commissioner of the Department of Social Services about three years after the Erin Maxwell case, said previously all of those working in the department learned from the Erin Maxwell case and have made improvements to ensure it never happens again.
One change made is the start of a Child Protection Advisory Council that meets monthly. The group, consisting of people from many different agencies throughout the county, works to increase employees’ training, make sure they are all following regulations and that workers are using the best practices possible.
Karrie Damm, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, is on that advisory council.
“I heard a quote once that stated ‘for every one educated adult, 10 children are safer,’” she said. She believes the more people learn about child abuse, the more they understand what abuse is and how to prevent it, then the number of children being abused will decrease.
Both she and Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes say the number of reported cases of child abuse coming into the Child Advocacy Center has increased so much because there is more abuse going on, but also because people are coming forward more often to report abuse cases.
Heffner recently said in a letter to the editor to The Valley News that it is important for people to report child abuse to the authorities. There is a state hotline for reporting cases, and abuse also can be called into the Child Advocacy Center or any police agency.
But people often are reluctant to report, feeling they shouldn’t stick their noses into someone else’s life or worrying the person they are reporting will come after them.
“People have to be trusting that there will be a response to their call,” Damm said. “People often feel as though ‘no one will listen to me.’”
Sometimes, the authorities aren’t listening well enough.
Oakes tells a story on how a trustworthy person he knows in the community called him about child abuse he saw in a family. Oakes said he checked out the information with others and found it to be valid and “caused me great concern as a DA and as a father.”
He called the state hotline to make a report. The state worker took Oakes’ information, but asked more questions. Oakes couldn’t answer the other questions, so the hotline worker said there was not enough information to take a report.
“I got very loud and threw my title out there,” Oakes said. “This mandated CPS (Child Protective Services) involvement. How can you turn this down?” Oakes said to the hotline worker. “This case screamed out for CPS involvement.”
Oakes then said he was going to call a press conference to let the world know the state hotline office was doing. He then was switched over to a supervisor who took the report.
Damm said if someone from the Child Advocacy Center calls the hotline with the case and is rejected, “we call back 10 minutes later to get another person to talk to or we ask for a supervisor.” She said it’s important for the public to know if they don’t get anywhere when trying to report a case of child abuse, don’t stop – try again.
“We like to blame the system. This is a community problem with a community solution,” she said.
People can report to the state hotline anonymously if they are afraid of retribution. But Damm said often it doesn’t matter if a person does or doesn’t give their names when reporting because the person doing the abuse usually knows who made a report.
“We have to be braver than the people doing the evil deeds,” she said.
Oakes, who prosecuted child abuse cases for six and a half years as an assistant district attorney in Oswego County, said many who abuse were abused themselves as children. “One of the best ways to break the cycle is to use prosecution, social services for the family and mental health services” for the child and the family.
If abuser were just prosecuted and then thrown in jail, the cycle of abuse would continue. “In many cases, abuse has gone unreported for many years across generations,” Oakes said.
That is why the nonprofit Child Advocacy Center works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County. The center works with the parents and with the children.
“To prevent child abuse, we have to have conversations about it, keep talking about it, educate yourself and support the local program that helps kids,” Damm said. “Remember — one educated adult keeps 10 kids safer.”