Category Archives: Other News

Vigil and awareness campaign held for lung cancer victims

by Tami S. Scott

For Edna Case of Fulton, a smoker for nearly 40 years, taking advantage of a deeply-discounted lung cancer screening program was a no-brainer.

Case, who works for University Radiology Associates in Syracuse, learned about the program designed for long-time smokers, through her supervisor. Offered by Upstate Medical University and launched in September, it is the first comprehensive lung cancer screening program in Central New York.

For those eligible to participate, it includes a low-dose CT scan to rule out early stages of lung cancer, along with a personalized follow-up Phone call to the person who gets screened and his or her primary care physician.

A referral will be made if anything abnormal is discovered, as well as more follow-up if necessary. Additionally, eligible participants may participate in a smoking cessation program as well as personal smoking cessation counseling.

“I knew right along that smoking wasn’t good so when I heard about the screening, I wanted to have the test to know where, at 63 years old, I was physically,” said Case, whose family has had a history of cancers: her aunt had a lung removed due to lung cancer, her uncle was diagnosed with stomach cancer and her mother was treated for cancer of the esophagus.

“I was a little nervous but quickly found there was absolutely nothing to be afraid [of],” Case added. “The test itself is a breeze — you lay down in the machine and in less than 10 minutes the scans are complete…I would recommend the scan to anyone who has abused their body like I did.”

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. To mark this occasion, Upstate Medical University, along with more than 100 locations across 40 states as well as in Australia, Brazil and Egypt, participated in the fourth annual national vigil on Nov. 13. The event was held at the hospital where survivors as well as families and friends of victims of lung cancer gathered.

According to Dr. Leslie Kohman, medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center, lung cancer kills more women and men than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined.

The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 16 percent, compared to 90 percent for breast and 99 percent for prostate.

“We really have to pay attention to this major killer,” Kohman said. “We see the success of the huge emphasis every October on breast cancer and the success of turning this into a survivable disease. The same attention needs to be paid to lung cancer, which is actually a much more fatal cancer.”

There are many misconceptions about lung cancer among the general public, one of them being that only smokers will get it. The reality is that nearly 70 percent of new lung cancers occur in former smokers or people who have never smoked, said Kohman, blaming second-hand smoke as the primary factor contributing to the latter.

Another misunderstanding — perhaps the most damaging — is that it’s the person’s fault; that They brought it on themselves or deserved to get lung cancer.

“Most people who smoke have done so through addiction introduced by intensive, skillful marketing,” Kohman said. “It’s nobody’s fault that they get lung cancer, and we ought to do everything we can to prevent it and to help discover cures for the patients who are unfortunate enough to get lung cancer.” Case, who began smoking at age 18, said she attempted to quit many times. She was finally successful five years ago.

A third misconception Kohman noted was that lung cancer is not curable. “Although the majority of patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer will die of it, there is a significant segment of people who will be cured, so it’s not a death sentence in all cases by any means,” Kohman said.

New evidence from a large trial involving 50,000 people in the United States showed that low-dose CT scans can detect early lung cancers before they cause symptoms and when they are still mostly curable.

Symptoms of advanced lung cancer include cough, shortness of breath, weight loss, fatigue, coughing up blood, pain and occasionally lumps. “Early lung cancer has no symptoms just like early cancer of all other kinds,” Kohman said.

Federal funding for all cancers has dropped over the last eight years, however, money committed for lung cancer research has always been a significant percentage less than for breast or prostate. Only $1,362 annually in research dollars per death is federally allocated compared to $28,543 per death for breast cancer and $12,580 per death for prostate cancer. “These dollars have made a difference in survival for breast and prostate cancer,” Kohman said. “Now we need to match that effort for lung cancer.”

Case said that though the result of her CT scan caused her to have other follow up tests – all which ultimately turned out normal – she was still very glad to have had the screening done for peace of mind. “Quitting or never starting [to smoke] is the best, but if neither happened then I highly recommend the CT scan,” Case said. “The sooner the cancer is discovered the better chance the person has for treatment.”

To learn more about Upstate Medical University’s lung cancer screening program and eligibility requirements, call 315-464-8668.

At the heart of the DSS Children’s Fund are committee co-chairs, from left, Deanne Myers, Marcia Birdsell, and Carol Lee. Maria Downey is absent from the photo. For almost 30 years, the DSS staff has organized a toy giveaway for needy families. More than 1,600 children received gifts last Christmas.

DSS annual Children’s Christmas Project is a community effort

DSS annual Children’s Christmas Project
At the heart of the DSS Children’s Fund are committee co-chairs, from left, Deanne Myers, Marcia Birdsell, and Carol Lee. Maria Downey is absent from the photo. For almost 30 years, the DSS staff has organized a toy giveaway for needy families. More than 1,600 children received gifts last Christmas.

For almost three decades, employees at the Oswego County Department of Social Services have been helping families in need during the holiday season.

The annual Children’s Christmas Fund has grown from a toy giveaway initially aimed at foster children to include more than 1,600 children in 600 families last Christmas.

“I am extremely proud of our DSS staff and their commitment to this project,” said DSS Commissioner Gregg Heffner. “The Children’s Christmas Fund first began by providing gifts to foster children, but now has expanded to provide gifts to any child who may otherwise receive little or nothing for Christmas. The project is supported entirely by community donations. No federal, state or county funds are used.”

Staff members Deanne Myers, Carol Lee, Maria Downey and Marcia Birdsell are at the heart of the project.

For Myers, the Children’s Fund is a family commitment. “There are many nights my daughters and I shop for the Children’s Fun,” she said. “They help pick out items children might enjoy for Christmas. I find giving my time very rewarding and my family is right there by my side. I like to think that what we do will make a difference for a child who will have that smile on their face on Christmas, or the parent who may be a little less stressed out over the holiday season because we were able to help them.”

The committee credits DSS retiree Connie Day with doing “a ton of work” to get the program off the ground more than 20 years ago. Altogether, about 15 to 20 staff members and their families work year-round to organize the project, searching for bargains and shopping throughout the year to make sure there are appropriate gifts for every child in need.

“The committee gives much of their own time each year to make this project happen,” said Lee, a senior typist who has been involved in the program since 1989. “The staff members coordinate the number of toys with the numbers of kids in need to make sure we have enough for each age group. It is very rewarding to know that we are helping to make Christmas possible for families who otherwise might have to go without gifts for their children.”

“Although this project consumes a lot of our personal time, I don’t think twice about volunteering each year because it is extremely gratifying,” added Birdsell. “The generosity of the community as we collect donations of money and toys makes me proud to be a resident of Oswego County. And I have spoken to so many parents that break down and cry with gratitude because they didn’t know how they were going to provide toys for their children for Christmas. I can just picture the children on Christmas morning, finding the toys that the project provides under the Christmas tree. That is what makes the time commitment worthwhile.”

With difficult economic times, the list of families has grown each year. DSS staff hold fund-raisers throughout the year to support the children’s Christmas project.

“Every year we think we won’t have enough items for all the families to get something,” said Myers. “Yet each year, we are totally amazed at how much comes to us from the community, workers here at DSS, and companies that donate either toys or monetarily. I’m in awe to see how generous people are to complete strangers, when all they know is that someone needs help.”

The program would not be possible without the help and support of many businesses and organizations across Oswego County.

“Every toy that is given to a child is purchased by members in the community, including workers right here at DSS,” said senior typist Maria Downey. “We are totally amazed how much comes to us from the community, workers here at DSS, and companies that donate either toys or monetarily.”

Toys are distributed on a referral basis only. Families needing assistance may contact the Department of Social Services at 963-5000, or fill out an application form at the DSS office. Families are screened for eligibility requirements.

The deadline to apply is Monday, Nov. 26. This year’s toy distribution will be Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16. Families will receive an appointment letter informing them of the time and location to pick out their toys.

“It gives you a really good feeling to be able to make Christmas a little brighter for so many of Oswego County’s families, especially in this difficult economic climate,” said Birdsell. “Regardless of the economic hardships people are confronted with, the community still stands by each other to provide a helping hand.”

Monetary donations and new, unwrapped toys are needed. To arrange for delivery or pick up of toy donations, call Birdsell at 963-5396, Lee at 963-5246, Myers at 963-5305 or Downey at 963-5361.

Checks should be made payable to United Way/Children’s Fund and mailed to the Oswego County United Way, c/o of Doreen Clark,1 S. First St., Fulton, NY 13069.

Ronald Kimball Sr., Air Force veteran

Ronald Kimball Sr., Air Force veteran

Ronald Kimball Sr. of Fulton died Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in St. Joseph Hospital, Syracuse.

Mr. Kimball was born in Fulton, the son of the late Hosie and Irma (Pierce) Kimball. He served in the United States Air Force from 1967 until 1974.

He was a life member of the VFW Post #569. He was a former employee of Walt Disney World in Florida as a maintenance man.

He is survived by his son, Ronald F. (Margaret) Kimball Jr. of Baldwinsville; brothers, Elmer (Rosie) Kimball of Massachusetts, Ralph (Ginger) Kimball of Florida, and Douglas (Teresa) Kimball of Fulton; three grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be private. Arrangements are in the care of the Sugar Funeral Home, Fulton.

Oswego child recovers from West Nile virus

The Oswego County Health Department has been notified by the New York State Department of Health Laboratory that an Oswego County child was infected with West Nile virus. The child lives in the City of Oswego and is recovering at home.

The Oswego County Health Department was notified by the New York State Department of Health Friday afternoon that the child tested positive for West Nile virus. The virus is carried by mosquitoes and was found earlier this summer in mosquitoes collected in Central Square and New Haven. It is also present in Onondaga County and areas of western and southern New York State.

“The Oswego County Health Department is working with the state Department of Health to investigate the case,” said Jiancheng Huang, public health director of the Oswego County Health Department. “As West Nile activities increase in some parts of the county recently, we need to encourage all citizens to use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites.”

In most people, West Nile virus causes no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems and in rare instances can lead to death. Individuals aged 50 and older are at highest risk for serious illness. It is estimated that 20 percent of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever and have mild symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

The Oswego County Health Department advises people to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by using insect repellents properly. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are the most effective and should be used according to package instructions.

People should also minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn and wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active.

Many mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus lay their eggs in stagnant water around the home.

“Any standing water around the yard can provide a home for mosquitoes to breed. Mosquitoes can then enter houses through broken screens or unscreened windows or doors,” said Huang.

Mosquitoes can breed in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days.

For more information on West Nile virus, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547 or visit the New York State Department of Health’s web site.

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Sadie Wilson blood drive to be held July 25

Sadie Wilson

The American Red Cross is holding a blood drive in honor of Sadie Wilson from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 25 at the Oswego Elks Lodge, located at 132 W. 5th St.

Sadie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in June and, at 23 months old, she is going through chemotherapy along with having many blood transfusions.

Those seeking to schedule an appointment to donate may call 1-800-Red-Cross. Walk-ins will be accepted that day as well.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days and platelets can be donated every seven days or up to 24 times a year.

Most healthy people ages 17 and older – or 16 with parental consent – who weigh at least 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood and platelets.

Donors who are 18 and younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.

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OCO Summer Food Service Program will provide free meals for children

Oswego County Opportunities is participating in the Summer Food Service Program, according to Bridget Dolbear, program services coordinator for Oswego County Opportunities.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partners with local organizations like OCO to provide free meals to children when school is out for the summer. Funded through the New York State Education Department, the Summer Food Service Program provides free meals to all children 18 years and under. Meals will be available at the local sites and times. Orders for meals are placed the day before you attend.

• Palermo Recreation, 1779 Co. Rte. 4, Palermo. Breakfast and Lunch from 9 to 10 a.m. and from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 10.

• Fulton Alliance Church, 1044 N.Y.S. Rte. 48, Fulton. Lunch from July 9 through July 13 from noon to 12:30 p.m. • Fulton CYO, 365 W. First St., Fulton. Lunch from July 5 through Aug. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• Fulton YMCA, 715 West Broadway, Fulton. Breakfast and lunch from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Aug. 31.

• CNY Arts Program, 357 State St., Fulton. Lunch from July 9 through July 20; from Aug. 6 through Aug. 10’ and Aug. 20 through Aug. 24 from noon to 12:30 p.m.

• Our Lady of Rosary VBS, 923 Cayuga St., Hannibal. Lunch from July 16 through July 20 and Aug. 20 through Aug. 24 from noon to 12:30 p.m.

• Hannibal Recreation, 824 Co. Rte. 34, Hannibal. Breakfast and lunch from July 9 through Aug. 10 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We are happy to be able to offer the Summer Food Service Program,” said Dolbear. “I encourage families to participate in the program and remember that even though school’s out, meals are still in.”

Acceptance and participation requirements for the program and all activities are the same for all regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. Those seeking more information on the program may call Victoria Stump at 598-4712.

Signs have been posted at Camp Hollis, the county recreation camp for youth, designating it a tobacco-free park. From left are Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau; Abby Jenkins, program coordinator of the Oswego County Tobacco Free Coalition; and Brandon Morey, coordinator of youth and recreation development for the Oswego County Youth Bureau.

Oswego County legislature adopts tobacco-free parks policy

Signs have been posted at Camp Hollis designating it a tobacco-free park. From left are Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau; Abby Jenkins, program coordinator of the Oswego County Tobacco Free Coalition; and Brandon Morey, coordinator of youth and recreation development for the Oswego County Youth Bureau.

The Oswego County Legislature has adopted a tobacco-free parks policy for county parks.

The action was taken at the annual “Government Day” program of the legislature with seventh grade students from around the county participating in the meeting.

“Residents of all ages enjoy the pristine environment of our parks and trails,” said Legislator John Proud, chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. “People should be able to use and exercise in all Oswego County-owned parks without being exposed to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.”

The three county parks maintained by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau are Camp Hollis in the Town of Oswego, Camp Zerbe Nature Park in Williamstown, and Independence Trail in Scriba.

Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, said her agency has made it a practice to restrict tobacco use at the county parks.

“Children have smaller lungs than an adult, and therefore breathe in 50 percent more air pollution than an adult.”

“This action by the county legislature makes the Youth Bureau practice an official county policy,” said Fenlon. “Oswego County does not allow the use of tobacco products on the entirety of the Independence Trail system. There are designated smoking areas behind the maintenance shed on the Camp Zerbe and Camp Hollis property grounds; the rest of these facility grounds are tobacco-free.”

According to Abby Jenkins, program coordinator for the Oswego County Tobacco Free Coalition, discarded cigarette butts constitute the majority of litter on beaches, parks, playgrounds, and sidewalks.

“It’s important to focus on the health and safety of our children, community members, pets and wildlife by making our outdoor recreational areas tobacco free, especially when 75 percent of Oswego County adult residents favor smoke-free parks and playgrounds,” said Jenkins. “Making our local outdoor public areas tobacco-free keeps them beautiful and free of pollution, protects our children and wildlife from ingesting toxic cigarette butts, prevents second hand smoke exposure, and maintains positive role-modeling for youth.”

The resolution was discussed and approved by the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee prior to a vote by the full legislature.

More than 300 municipalities in New York State have adopted a tobacco-free outdoor area policy or ordinance.

Oswego Youth Court will train new members in July

The Oswego Youth Court will hold a training class for new members from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 9 through 13 at Oswego City Hall. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 6.

Students in grades 7 through 12 are eligible to apply for Youth Court training.

“This program provides a valuable experience for its members,” said Dawn Metott, city youth coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“In addition to the benefit of helping their communities and influencing their peers in a positive way, members of Youth Court will learn or improve their public speaking, interviewing and writing skills.”

“Youth Court hears real cases of youthful offenders who are referred by local law enforcement agencies or schools for first time minor offenses,” said Brian Chetney, county youth coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “Students are trained to be judges, defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys and court clerks. Members conduct hearings related to their cases and decide on the outcome and punishment for each case.”

The Oswego Youth Court Program is a Family Court diversion program designed to create a “new pathway” for troubled youth. The program also serves youth that commit crimes that are not usually entertained by Family Court.

Oswego Youth Courts are sponsored by the City of Oswego, the County of Oswego, the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

Applications can be obtained at any Oswego County school district guidance office, at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and at www.oswegony.org/DEPT_youth.html.

Completed applications may be mailed to Oswego Youth Court, c/o Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, 13126.

Those seeking more information may contact Brian Chetney or Dawn Metott at 349-3575 or email youthcourt@oswegocounty.com.