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News stories tagged with "public-health"

I showed up dirty on a urine test, cocaine and marijuana. They're making me come back...for another drug test.

After Rockefeller reform, are drug addicts getting the treatment they need?

It's been over a year since New York implemented reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.

The new rules divert many drug addicted felons from prison to treatment.

Reporter Charles Lane from public radio station WSHU has been following several of the people going through the new program.

He found that some of them are getting treatment in rigorous residential treatment facilities, and say the programs are harder than doing time in prison.

Editor's Note: Charles Lane has heard news that Joan D'Alessio turned herself in and is doing better. We'll bring you updates in the coming months on her as well as a look at the cost of the Rockefeller reforms.  Go to full article
The state health department's Bruce Stone, Sen. Patty Ritchie, and Assemblywoman Addie Russell look on as people complain about health inspectors.
The state health department's Bruce Stone, Sen. Patty Ritchie, and Assemblywoman Addie Russell look on as people complain about health inspectors.

Local leaders vent anger at health inspectors

The "granddaddy" of St. Lawrence County chili cook-offs went off smoothly yesterday. Organizers of the Morristown Chili and Chowder Cook-o-Rama were nervous after similar events were cancelled this month in Canton and Ogdensburg due to health codes.

On Friday, local leaders gave state health inspectors an earful at a meeting in Canton. As David Sommerstein reports, they complained of onerous and capricious enforcement.  Go to full article
What we have is over- enthusiastic enforcers from the department of health.

Health officials, local leaders spar over chili cook-offs

The cancellation of two chili cook-offs in St. Lawrence County this month is prompting a clash with local health officials. Many community groups rely on food-related events for their fundraising.

The state health department says it's trying to work with those groups to prevent food borne disease while letting the show go on. But some local leaders say the rules are arbitrary and too onerous to follow. As David Sommerstein reports, state lawmakers are stepping in to seek a compromise.  Go to full article
I believe if we continue doing what we're doing, the state goes down the road to ruin.

Austere budget proposes deep cuts to schools, Medicaid

Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered the painful news he has been promising yesterday. He released an austere state budget that leaves no aspect of state government untouched. There are deep cuts to schools, health care, the prison and university systems, and the potential for almost 10,000 state worker layoffs. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany and David Sommerstein has reaction from North Country lawmakers.  Go to full article

Owens uses "tele-town hall" to reach out on health care

Last night, Republicans in the House of Representatives held their largely symbolic vote on repealing health insurance reform. The measure won't be taken up in the Senate. And President Obama would veto a repeal of his landmark legislation.

North Country Congressman Bill Owens voted with his Democratic colleagues to keep the new health care laws.

On Tuesday night, Owens held a town hall meeting by telephone with thousands of his constituents to talk about the issue. One of the people listening in was reporter Dave Bullard.  Go to full article
FDRHPO director Denise Young in her Watertown office.
FDRHPO director Denise Young in her Watertown office.

Earmark builds health care assets around Fort Drum

Over the next month, we'll hear a lot about earmarks, also known as "pork." They're the district-specific pet projects of members of Congress. The new Republican-led House has vowed to ban earmarks, or at least strictly curtail them.

We've all heard about the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." But for every one of those earmarks, there are many others that are filling a need in a community.

Fort Drum near Watertown is the only Army base in the country without its own hospital. Soldiers and their families rely on doctors and clinics in Jefferson, Lewis, and southern St. Lawrence counties. A $400,000 earmark funds an organization thats building health care assets for soldiers and civilians alike. avid Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Article provokes anti-cheese firestorm

A cool glass of milk is an American icon of health. But a New York Times article over the weekend casts milk's dairy cousin, cheese, as a poster child of artery-clogging, obesity-inducing fast food.

The article details the efforts of a USDA-sponsored marketing agency called Dairy Management to get people to eat more cheese. Among its projects is a partnership with Domino's to put 40% more cheese on its pizzas. That effort included a $12 million advertising campaign, paid for by Dairy Marketing.
Meanwhile, the USDA itself says cheese is the largest source of cholesterol-causing saturated fat in the American diet.

The Times article set off a flurry of blog posts and opinion pieces with outraged titles like "Strap on Your Feedbags" and "Cheese Industrial Complex." Some commentators called for the new Congress to axe the program as a symbol of excessive government spending.

Reaction in the dairy industry has been muted. But Beth Meyer of the American Dairy Association emphasizes a fact that appears halfway through the article. Dairy farmers - not taxpayers - foot most of the $140 million a year bill to fund Dairy Management as a part of their monthly milk check.

"It's 15 cents per hundredweight," Meyer says. "Ten cents of that money stays local for organizations such as ours, based in Syracuse, NY, so of that goes nationally. So it's really a program of dairy farmers supporting promotion of their own product, which obviously makes a lot of sense."

Still, Dairy Management did get more than $5 million through the USDA last year to promote sales overseas.

Dairy Management is credited with helping to slow the decline of milk drinking with its popular "Got Milk?" campaign.

Meyer says she doesn't think the criticism of the program will hurt North Country farmers. She says there's a place for cheese in moderate eating. "Cheeses are an excellent source of calcium," Meyer says. "They're a nutrient dense food, and we talk about fitting foods into the daily diet, so we think this continues to be a strong program for the dairy farmers in northern New York and certainly throughout our marketing area."

Dairy Management's efforts raise thorny questions about the balance between supporting farms and promoting good nutrition. Local agriculture groups across the North Country encourage farmers to sell so-called "value added" products like cheeses, maple candies, or jellies and jams. Many of them are high in calories.

David Sommerstein put the issue to Bernadette Logozar, local food specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Go to full article

Samaritan steps in to run Mercy nursing home

From Elizabethtown to Alexandria Bay, nursing homes across the North Country are struggling, and in some cases, closing. In Watertown, Samaritan Medical Center is in talks to run the 200-bed Mercy Care Center in receivership. Mercy announced last month it intends to close. The measure is temporary until the hospital builds two new facilities. This week, Samaritan won a $34 million state grant that will pay roughly half the cost of construction for nursing and assisted living homes in Watertown and nearby Carthage. Samaritan spokeswoman Krista Kittle told David Sommerstein there's a desperate need in the region for long-term care facilities for the elderly, especially assisted living ones.  Go to full article

EPA forces clean up at General Motors' Massena plant

The post-bailout arm of General Motors that's in charge of liquidating failed assets of the car-maker wants to tear down the Powertrain plant in Massena. The plant closed for good last year. But the buildings, the equipment, and the soil underneath is contaminated with toxic PCB oil. Federal environment officials now say Motors Liquidation Company has to clean it all up before demolition can begin. As David Sommerstein reports, the extent of the contamination has some former workers and the Massena community worried.  Go to full article

Scientists raise concerns about "persistent" carcinogens

New York State's Department of Health recently published an Internet-based map of cancer data by county. (see link below)

The American Cancer Society says the maps can be misinterpreted, and that the huge amounts of information on chemicals, and cancer, need further study. But public health advocates are raising alarms over a class of chemicals we eat, drink and breath in, and that can stay in our bodies for years. On the list: dioxin, PCBs and other organic compounds. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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