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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Yes, it’s that time of the year again, snow storms, ice storms, cold winds. But that didn't hinder us from having a wonderful holiday season.
First Thanksgiving, when we freely express our gratitude for the bountiful gifts we receive during the year, just as the Pilgrims did in Plymouth so long ago. We did celebrate with a Thanksgiving dinner here at the center and everyone enjoyed.
Then on Thanksgiving day the "Friends to Friends "free Thanksgiving meal was served to 110 people, by Donna Cosmello, our center manger, with the help of volunteers, friends from the Mennonite Church, and neighbors – who roasted turkeys, baked pies and prepared all the other things needed at a Thanksgiving dinner. This was a huge undertaking and it went well. I wish I could thank each of you in person, for all your work and for cheering the day of some who may not have had a special meal or would be alone.
In December we started to celebrate on Saturday, December 1. Our annual Blue Ridge Senior Center Volunteer Christmas Dinner and party was held at the VFW in Great Bend. There were fifty present. A delicious roast pork dinner was prepared and served by the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW. They do such a fine job. Then for entertainment, Carole and Ray Rockwell were at the keyboard, people were dancing, clapping and having a wonderful time. Many door prizes were awarded. Everyone went home happy. Thanks to all who in any way made this such a great evening.
Our rooms were decorated with wreaths, candles, table arrangements and of course, the Christmas tree. It looked so festive. We also had another tasty Christmas dinner at the center.
Donna passed out leaflets about pneumococcal disease, which can be life threatening, especially to the older person. We keep on playing dominos, cards and sometimes bingo. Our exercise days are busy, as we get out such a large crowd. We were closed for election day and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Also several snow days.
Happy Birthday to all who were born in November and December, we did have cake and ice cream.
I will end this with wishes of good health and happiness in the new year. And especially great big “Thank You” to all of our volunteers. We couldn't do it without you.
The Eldercare Locator, a nationwide public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, has launched a campaign with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to educate older adults about the community resources available to help them stay warm economically and safely this winter.
Home energy bills, expected to rise almost 50 percent this winter, will be especially challenging for older Americans. Many older adults with low, fixed incomes are already stretched with daily living expenses and health care costs. "While some older Americans will be overwhelmed with higher heating bills, the good news is that there are things they can do to help ease this burden," said Josefina G. Carbonell, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In cooperation with hundreds of State and Area Agencies on Aging throughout the country, the Eldercare Locator and EPA encourage older adults and their families to take action now to prepare for an economically warm and safe winter, by: finding out about energy assistance programs, contact the B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging or the Eldercare Locator for details; taking advantage of any monthly budget plans and "no cut off" eligibility programs available through local utility providers; finding ways to cut down on energy with help from the EPA ENERGY STAR program – call toll free 888-782-7937 or visit www.energystar.gov; ensuring home safety, such as the proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, electrical cords and space heaters, and chimneys and fireplaces; and having a back-up plan in case weather conditions require emergency action, such as temporary living arrangements, daily home checks to those living alone, ample supply of medicine, etc.
These tips, along with a home energy quiz and other resource information, are detailed in the free booklet, “Winter Warmth and Safety: Home Energy Tips for Older Adults” which is available by contacting the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or the B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging at 800-982-4346 or locally at (570) 265-6121.
In addition to seeking financial assistance, EPA stresses the importance of energy efficiency in the home for cost savings. "EPA encourages consumers to purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified products and to make energy-efficient improvements to save 30% on home energy use. Being energy efficient keeps energy bills under control, improves the comfort of your home, and together we generate less greenhouse gas emissions and that's good for the environment," said Doug Anderson, EPA, The ENERGY STAR Program.
The Eldercare Locator is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and the National Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA). The EPA ENERGY STAR program helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
For more information on programs available locally, call the B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging toll-free at (800) 982-4346.
Lisa Anne Slocum, formerly of Susquehanna, PA, daughter of Bruce Slocum, Susquehanna and Ann Romanofski, Honesdale, PA, announced her engagement to George Blanyar, Jr. of Freeland, PA.
George is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Blanyar, Sr., Freeland.
Wedding plans will be announced at a later date.
As Susquehanna County Dairy Princess, I am continuing to write news articles featuring dairy farms here in my county.
Castlemont Farms, family owned and operated in Susquehanna County, has special history. Albert and Josephine Castrogiovanni emigrated from Sicily, Italy, arriving at Ellis Island in 1912. Albert and Josephine purchased the original Castrogiovanni farm, in the Watrous Corners area, in 1928, consisting of 200 acres where the family has worked and lived on it since. Interesting enough, the original farm was a pony farm. Today the Castlemont farm has grown to a 600-acre dairy farm and the second, third and fourth generations live and help out on the farm.
Dairymaid Mariah Tompkins (pictured right)presents Evan Castrogiovanni with a special award at a local dairy show.
John, Jean, David and Mat are the main workers on the farm. John is the overall manager, Jean does the book work and as the family says, “is known for her cooking.” David is the herdsman and Mathew oversee the machinery and field work. David and Mat’s wives, Jennie and Cathy, both have jobs off the farm. Important part-time hired hands are David Farley and Ken Rose. David and Jenny’s children, Mariah, Bryan and Evan all help out on the farm where needed and show the farm’s dairy cattle as well.
The cattle are shown every year at the County 4-H, District 4-H, and the State 4-H shows. They also participate at the Holstein Championship Show and at the Harford Fair. As herdsman, David works to breed high quality animals. Over 50 excellent cows have been bred on the farm, with the highest cow scoring 94 points.
The registered herd is all Holsteins, totaling about 230 head. There are 115 milking animals, and calves and heifers make up the remaining number. Each year, a few bulls are raised for breeding. Currently the family is trying to incorporate a few red and white Holsteins into the herd. Presently, they have three red and whites, and several red carriers.
A uniqueness of this farm is that theirs is the only dairy farm still operating in the Watrous Corners area. In 1928 when the farm was purchased, there were 15 neighboring farms. Land from four of these farms has been added to make up their present day farm.
The number of dairy farms in Susquehanna County continues to decline, but we still have many quality farms producing tons and tons of milk full of nutrients, important in everyone’s diet. I would encourage everyone to consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day, as recommended by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Hypothermia means "low heat." The term describes a condition when the deep body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees Centigrade. Hypothermia occurs when heat loss exceeds the body's ability to generate or conserve heat. It can range in severity from mild to life-threatening.
Older adults are at greater risk for cold injury because the body's ability to maintain a constant internal temperature decreases with age. If a chronic condition affects the circulatory or neurological system or the thyroid, then their risk is even greater. Physical or behavioral limitations can also interfere with an older adult's ability to react easily to their environment. Even some commonly taken medications increase their risk for hypothermia. Other factors, such as poorly heated homes and poor nutrition, also put older adults at risk for cold injury.
Symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering; cold skin; loss of control of fine finger movements; blue-gray color of the fingers, toes, ears, or nose; sluggishness or drowsiness; confusion; slurred speech; slow and shallow breathing; rigid muscles; unconsciousness.
If possible, it is important to get the person out of the cold into heated shelter. Cold or wet clothing should be removed. Wrap the person in blankets or other warm coverings. If the person is alert, they can have warm, not hot, liquids but they should not drink any alcoholic beverages.
If frostbite is suspected, do not massage or rub frostbitten areas and do not apply any ointments. Treatment varies with the type of frostbite. Care should be taken to avoid bruising the skin or tissue and to prevent infection. Re-warming or thawing of a frostbite injury should never be attempted if medical care is immediately available. Call for emergency medical care as quickly as possible.
To avoid hypothermia: eat well and avoid alcoholic beverages; wear layered clothing, a hat, scarf, and gloves when going out in the cold; remove wet or cold clothes as soon as possible; housing temperatures should be no cooler than 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18.3 degrees Centigrade), even at night.
This is Benji, a white and tan terrier mix. He is a little shy but is very loving. He does need some work with his house breaking. He was part of a rescue and is in need of a lot of love.
To see him stop by the Susquehanna County Humane Society, 278-1228.
The winter months are here and as the mercury begins to dip, some families, struggling to pay their heating bills, will turn on the kitchen stove burners and the oven in an effort to take the chill off of their home. What these families don’t realize is how dangerous this practice can be. A gas oven or range top should never be used for heating. A fire could start and poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) fumes could fill the home. Any fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, space or portable heaters), generators and chimneys can produce carbon monoxide.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there is an increased risk of dying in a home fire during the winter season. December, January and February are generally the deadliest months for fire.
Also, hundreds of people die each year from unintentional CO poisoning. Fire departments responded to an estimated 61,000 CO incidents in 2005, a 9% increase from 2004. (This excludes incidents where a fire was present.) Close to 90% of CO incidents occur in the home.
Often called a silent killer, CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane, burn incompletely.
CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches.
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, but infants, pregnant women and people with physical conditions that limit their ability to use oxygen, such as emphysema, asthma or heart disease, can be more severely affected by low concentrations of CO than healthy adults. High levels of CO can be fatal for anyone, causing death within minutes.
The goal of the Emergency Services in Susquehanna County is to reduce the number of carbon monoxide incidents and discourage anyone from using the range or oven to heat their home. Install CO alarms inside your home to provide early warning of accumulating CO. Have your heating equipment inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and CO alarms. Test CO alarms at least once a month. If your CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location and call for help. Remain at the fresh air location until emergency personnel say it is okay. If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries or other trouble indicators.
The Susquehanna County Office of Emergency Management wants everyone to be warm and safe this winter. We encourage you to make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms.
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