Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 3 Health Tips: 3 Cold Treatments That Really Work

So despite all of your hand-washing and good hygiene, you've caught a cold. Instead of reaching for a multi-symptom cold remedy, consider a more targeted treatment that won't leave you groggy or overmedicated. Rodale's Prevention magazine recommends these three products to help you recover faster and keep your illness from morphing into something worse:


1 Zinc lozenges such as Cold-Eeze can reduce your sick days. Researchers believe that the zinc ions bind to the same receptors in your throat and chest as the cold virus, which helps keep the bug from spreading.


2 Ocean Saline Nasal Spray can be used to keep your nasal passages moist, and saline can help stop mucus from congealing and causing congestion and prevent germs from turning your cold into a sinus infection.


3 Trials have shown that Halo Oral Spray's antiseptic ingredients can keep your throat free of opportunistic bacteria, such as those that cause bronchitis, for up to six hours.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting

First, find out what they have heard. 

Through Facebook, Twitter, or friends, most youngsters will know about the mass shooting that took place on Friday morning at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. 

Listen to their fears. Dispel rumors. And be honest, sharing as much detail as a child is able to handle.
Therapists who treat childhood trauma said on Friday that parents talking to their children about the mass shooting should address the news directly and soon, allowing the child to lead with questions and concerns. Parents can no longer control what their children know by simply turning off the television. Many children will know what is happening from mobile devices and social media; now is the time to turn those devices off, these experts said. 

“It’s important to open up the discussion,” said Melissa Brymer, director of terrorism and disaster programs at the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, based at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Duke University. “There’s a lot of talk on Facebook and Twitter, and it’s important to clarify what’s rumor and what’s not.” 

Dr. Andrew J. Gerber, a child psychiatrist at Columbia, said that parents should come to terms with their own feelings about the massacre before talking to a child. They should "essentially metabolize the awfulness of the event so that what they pass on when they have a discussion with their children conveys a certain amount of thoughtfulness and understanding, rather than raw trauma," he said in an e-mail. 

If a child is frightened, determine the precise source of the fear. It may be a worry that their classroom isn’t safe; or about how to escape school when under threat. “If you say, ‘This bad man can’t hurt you,’ you’ve introduced another fear,” said Dr. Robert H. Abramovitz, a child psychiatrist at Hunter College. “Ask what their worst fear is, and address that.” 

Dr. Abramovitz said that parents can be so eager to reassure that they make unrealistic promises, like “this will never happen to you.” “Better to validate the child’s fear, to say that it’s natural to feel that way, and tell them, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to keep you safe,'” he said. 

And reinforce coping skills the child may have already used. Dr. Abramovitz suggested asking, “Remember the last time you were afraid? Remember what you did to calm down?” He said, “This gives the child a feeling of having some agency, some control.” 

If possible, other therapists said, parents should use family or holiday routines as a comforting structure. Spend extra time with children at bedtime. Read them a book. Engage traditions that remind them what they are thankful for. 

Practical questions will soon arise, if not today then soon. Does a child know his or her school’s emergency procedures? What is the family’s communication plan, should something happen? 

“For example, texting is a better strategy then calling,” Dr. Brymer said. “The phone lines clog up fast. It may be a matter of children knowing to text, ‘I’m OK.'” 

And they should be, especially if their parents check in with them and listen. And remind them of something important: that the world is a good place, even if some people do very bad things. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

White House to GOP: It's your move

The White House says Republicans should come clean about how much they're willing to raise tax rates on the rich. Republicans counter that President Barack Obama's latest plan is a joke that avoids tough decisions on the nation's biggest entitlement programs, including Medicare.

It's a game of political chicken as the clock ticks closer to the end-of-year deadline, when George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts kick in, sending the nation over a proverbial "fiscal cliff" that some economists say could plunge the fragile economy back into recession.

But based on the partisan rhetoric of those in charge of negotiating a deal, there's not going to be a solution any time soon.

"They have to tell us what makes sense to them, and then we can take a look at it," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said of Republicans on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But what we can't do is try to figure out what makes sense for them."

House Speaker John Boehner countered that Republicans have plenty of ideas, even if he doesn't want to discuss the specifics publicly.

"There are a lot of items on the table," Boehner told "Fox News Sunday." "The president knows what they are. The question is what are they willing to do?"

Last week, the White House delivered to Capitol Hill its opening proposal: $1.6 trillion in higher taxes over a decade, a possible extension of the temporary Social Security payroll tax cut and heightened presidential power to raise the national debt limit.

In exchange, the president would back $600 billion in spending cuts, including $350 billion from Medicare and other health programs. But he also wants $200 billion in new spending for jobless benefits, public works projects and aid for struggling homeowners. His proposal for raising the ceiling on government borrowing would make it virtually impossible for Congress to block him going forward.

Republicans said they responded in closed-door meetings with laughter and disbelief.

"The administration has put something out that polls well: taxing the wealthy," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "What they haven't done is anything to deal with entitlements, which is painful, and you're not going to have a deal until that happens."

Geithner called the back-and-forth "normal political theater," saying all that's blocking a timely deal is the GOP's reluctance to higher tax rates on the wealthy.

"It's welcome that they're recognizing that revenues are going to have to go up. But they haven't told us anything about how far rates should go up ... (and) who should pay higher taxes," Geithner said.

Republican leaders have said they can accept higher tax revenue overall, but only through what they call tax reform _ closing loopholes and limiting deductions _ and only coupled with tough measures to curb the growth of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

"If we gave the president $1.6 trillion of new money, what do you think he'd do with it?" asked Boehner. "He's going to spend it. It's what Washington does."

Geithner appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," NBC's "Meet the Press," CNN's "State of the Union," ABC's "This Week," and "Fox News Sunday."

Associated Press writers Mark S. Smith and Michele Salcedo in Washington, and Erik Schelzig in Nashville contributed to this report.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Health officials give holiday food safety tips

CHICAGO | Public health officials in Illinois say the holidays mean family, food and safety.

The Kane County Health Department says be sure to prepare holiday meals in a safe manner.

That includes thawing food in the refrigerator at 41 degrees or below and not at room temperature. Officials say it takes approximately 24 hours for each five pounds of frozen food to thaw in a refrigerator.

Holiday hosts should be sure to keep everything in the kitchen clean and wash hands often during preparation and serving. Guests should be careful when eating foods like raw oysters or egg drinks.

Officials also suggest double-checking meat to make sure it's thoroughly cooked. They also warn against cross contamination. For example, don't handle raw meats and then other food without washing your hands first.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cambodians held over eviction protest before Obama visit

Police in Cambodia arrested at least eight people on Thursday for painting messages on their homes near the capital's airport asking for help from U.S. President Barack Obama because they face eviction before he visits the country next week.

The villages involved around the perimeter of the airport in Phnom Penh are home to 182 families.
Residents said they were told in July they had to move out because of security concerns when world leaders, including Obama, fly in to attend summit meetings in coming days. They have not been offered compensation for the loss of their homes.

Armed police moved into the villages on Wedneday night and residents were told to remove the messages they had painted beside pictures of Obama or face the consequences, a worker for the Licadho human rights group said.

At least six women and two men had been taken into custody, Licadho and the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) said. Cambodian police declined comment.

"I put up the picture of Obama because I want him to help us get fair compensation from the government," said resident Chuong Socheata, 33. "And that's because the government has no plans to solve this peacefully."

Forced evictions have been rife in Cambodia in recent years and are frequently criticized by rights groups, even if the authorities may have legitimate security concerns in this case about buildings so close to the airport.

Only about 20 percent of Cambodians have land titles -- a hangover from the Khmer Rouge's abolition of private property during its 1975-1979 reign of terror -- leaving many defenseless when the authorities hand their land over to big companies for development.

The World Bank, which had been helping the government rebuild a land registry, froze fresh aid to Cambodia last year because of the eviction of families in Phnom Penh.

International rights groups met U.S. officials last week to try to get Obama to bring up rights issues with Cambodian premier Hun Sen during his trip. They did not come away with high hopes of any public statement.

Hun Sen has brought stability to the Southeast Asian country, which has attracted development aid and industrial investment, but he tolerates no dissent and rights group call his government authoritarian.
In a report this week, Human Rights Watch said more than 300 people had been killed in politically motivated attacks since an agreement in 1991 that ended a civil war, but not one person had been convicted.
It pointed the finger at Cambodian security forces and called on Obama to demand an end to impunity for abusive officials.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Five best hair care tips for this winter

Winter, a season when the temperatures continue to drop and the days seem to get darker and darker…a season that brings cold, snow and to a lucky few, a break from work or school…a season of whacky flus that you would never want to strike at your door...a time to don all your coats and hats, for the cold has taken hold!

Awestruck by the beauty of winters? Don’t just get lost in the ‘dreamy’ picture, but devote your attention towards the downside of these cold winds too. For, winter weather can wreak havoc on your hair and leave you with a feeling of cursing this blissful weather. But, you don’t have to worry for we bring you the best hair care tips to leave you with those beautiful locks that you would love to run your fingers down this winter season. 

Oil your hair properly: In winters due to cold winds, the temperature outside is cool, but, the temperature indoors is generally warm, so due to this change in temperature, it is very necessary to oil your hair properly to avoid them from breakage. Use warm oil to massage your hair and scalp for at least one or two hours to restore the moisture of your tresses. If after shampooing your hair, little bit of oil is left over, just let it be and don’t shampoo them again as this will ruin the conditioning effect of the oil.

Avoid using too much of shampoo: It is a fact that due to cold winter winds, not just your skin, even your hair and scalp are left dry. So avoid shampooing your hair much at least not more than twice a week. Also, never use very hot water for washing your hair in winter as it leaves your hair tattered and frizzy. To avoid such a condition, use lukewarm water to retain the moisture of your hair.

A hair conditioner is a must: To fight against winters, the best method is to apply a good conditioner each time you wash your hair. But make sure not to apply conditioner on your scalp but only on the strands of hair. This provides a shine to your hair and prevents them from breakage. Another important point is to choose a conditioner as per your hair type. Like, if you have dry hair, choose a conditioner that will restock your hair with essential substitutes needed by them.

Avoid using a hairdryer: Ideally, it is always good to let your hair dry naturally. If due to some reason, you are using a hairdryer, don’t over dry as this will hamper your hair badly and leave them frizzy and damaged. Another advice that will help you maintain healthy hair is by setting your hair dryer on the ‘cool’ mode while blow drying as cool air damage your hair less though it might be a little time consuming.

Cover you crown: Love your hair? Then cover your crown ladies to protect your hair from those whacky cold winds. Make sure to wear a scarf, a hat or a cap to lock the moisture of your tresses to save them from breakage. But, keep in mind that your scarf or cap should not be very tight as it hampers blood flow in the scalp.

So, try these amazing tips for healthy hair that will leave you with a beautiful feeling even as the mercury drops.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tips for a healthy Halloween

Healthy and Halloween aren’t two words you usually hear together, but here are some guidelines to help you and your family have a fun-filled Halloween without sacrificing healthy principles. These simple strategies will help you before and after trick-or-treating.

• Make sure you and your family eat a filling snack or dinner before going trick-or-treating so your children won’t be tempted to eat candy before getting home.

• When you arrive home, check the treats to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. Look for opened wrappers and discard anything suspicious.

• Have your children sort their candy and take pictures of them with all their loot. For younger children, make a counting game out of it. Ask them how many of each type of candy bar they have.

• Do not let children store their bag of candy in their rooms. Keep it in the kitchen to discourage mindless eating.

• Place chocolate bars in the freezer to help them keep fresh longer. Frozen candy takes longer to eat, so children can’t eat them too quickly.

• Eat trick-or-treat candy over several days as a snack or dessert. Try to limit the amount of candy eaten in one setting.

• Instead of giving out candy, opt for small toys or healthy treats. Ideas include small boxes of raisins, fruit roll-ups, granola bars, packages of popcorn, sugar-free gum, stickers, washable tattoos, yo-yos, rubber spiders, or balloons. If you must give out chocolate, opt for dark-chocolate varieties for its antioxidant properties.

• Have you and your child make an art project with their Halloween candy. Mosaics of your child’s favorite animal, TV character, cartoon character or sport can be made with glue and leftover candy. Be creative!

• Host or attend an all-ages Halloween party. Focus the attention on fun while shifting it away from candy. Have relay games (3-legged race, wheelbarrow, etc.), a costume party contest with non-food prizes, decorate pumpkins, or carve Jack-O-Lanterns, go apple-bobbin, serve healthy snacks, and let the children “trick” the adults.

Happy Halloween!

Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obama Focuses On 'Outrage Of Human Trafficking'

Saying it "must be called by its true name, 'modern slavery,' " President Obama this afternoon used his address before the Clinton Global Initiative to focus on "the outrage of human trafficking."
When a man is "working, toiling for little or no pay and [is] beaten if he tries to escape, that is slavery," Obama said.

"When a woman is locked in a sweat shop or trapped in a home as a domestic servant ... that is slavery."
And when children are forced into militias or when "a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters' age — ... and then imprisoned in a brothel or tortured if she resists, that is slavery," he added.
As the president spoke, the White House sent reporters a recap of the administration's "efforts to eliminate human trafficking" and some details on new initiatives, including:

— "Providing human trafficking training and guidance to federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and immigration judges; to commercial transportation officials; to state and local law enforcement partners; and to state workforce agencies and educators."

— Expanding "services and legal assistance to victims of trafficking" and a partnership with Humanity United "with support from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, to launch $6 million in Partnership for Freedom Innovation Awards to challenge local communities to develop collaborative and comprehensive solutions to help trafficking victims."

— "An executive order that outlines prohibitions on trafficking-related activities that will apply to all federal contractors and subcontractors, requires compliance measures for large overseas contracts and subcontracts, and provides federal agencies with additional tools to foster compliance."

"American tax dollars should never be used to support the trafficking of human beings," Obama said to audience at former President Clinton's forum in New York City.

He's also pointed to a website,, where there's information about human trafficking.
Earlier today, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke to the forum. Our post on his address is here: Romney Touts 'Prosperity Pacts' To Help Middle East, Developing Nations.

The president also spoke to the U.N. General Assembly today: Obama: Those Like Slain U.S. Ambassador Must Determine World's Future.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TRC?Class Offers Health Tips

A class being offered through The Resource Center seeks to help area residents with chronic conditions learn how to lead healthy lives.

The class is called "Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions" and is being offered in collaboration with P2 Collaborative of Western New York Inc., an organization dedicated to improving the health of people living in the region. The course is "an evidence-based program created by Stanford University that helps individuals better manage their chronic health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes," according to the program flyer.

The class is being taught by Leanna Luka-Conley, The Resource Center's director of social services, and Christina Rosengren, The Resource Center's care management integration specialist, who took the opportunity to do facilitator training for the class so it could be offered through The Resource Center. The class teaches self-management for people living with chronic conditions, caregivers, and friends and family of people with chronic conditions. The curriculum teaches participants about chronic diseases, as well as how these conditions interconnect with other areas of life such as diet, exercise, emotions, and general health.

"It's trying to get people the skills to be more equipped on developing action plans that are going to meet their needs," Ms. Luka-Conley said. "I think sometimes in society, we create action plans like, 'New Year's resolution - I'm going to go on a diet and lose 50 pounds,' and usually when we set up goals like this, we're more apt to fail at them. Creating achievable action plans, broken down into specific steps, creates better chances for success."

She said the class teaches people more about their chronic diseases and how to manage them on their own. Both women said that patient-driven care is where the health care field is headed.

"This is something that we're looking at - giving them the tools to manage their own life and symptoms and be able to ask questions," Ms. Luka-Conley said. "This really is putting a whole, new spin on the system of care. Everybody's accountable by becoming an integrated system, and some of these workshops are assisting people with self-management tools to get to the next level of really understanding what it means to be the driver of your health care."

One of the reasons the two women became facilitators for the class was so that people supported by The Resource Center could become aware of the program.

"We use our site because we're hoping to engage many individuals from our Primary Care Center into self-management programs," Ms. Luka-Conley said. "Many individuals are taking the steps to move out into the community from TRC group home settings and need to know how to become involved in their health care plans and know how to manage their symptoms."

Participants in the class are paired with another peer to keep each other accountable in meeting their goals and staying on track of their action plans. This not only makes the classmates accountable to one another, but it also helps them form natural friendships and supports. Participants are referred to the class through a primary care physician or an insurance company, but not everyone in the class has to have a chronic disease.
"You don't have to be living with a chronic disease to take the class," Ms. Rosengren said. "A loved one or a friend could have a chronic condition, [or] you could be a caregiver."

Ms. Luka-Conley added, "They really encourage caregivers to be a part of the health care plan. My goal is to see this program agency wide because this is important for us, especially with people moving out in the community."

Anyone interested in learning more about the class may contact Ms. Luka-Conley at 661-1059 or Ms. Rosengren at 485-4681. Those interested can also call their primary care doctor or insurance company to be referred to the class.

The next class sessions offered through The Resource Center will be held from noon to 2:30 p.m. Thursdays from Sept. 27 to Nov. 1 and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays from Nov. 8 to Dec. 20. Both classes will be held in The Resource Center's Carl Cappa building at 880 E. Second St., Jamestown.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obama security chief: No signs of Muslim Brotherhood operating within U.S.

Homeland security chief Janet Napolitano says federal law enforcement authorities led by the FBI have found “no credible evidence” that operatives from the radical Islamic organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood are operating inside the United States.

Napolitano commented in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security in response to questions by Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Jackson Lee asked Napolitano to discuss the issue after five GOP House members led by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., wrote to the inspector general of the State Department to claim that Huma Abedin, a Muslim-American serving as deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had family members “connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”

The lawmakers cited Abedin’s late father, her mother and her brother.

The lawmakers said they had “serious security concerns” about the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrating into the United States.

“We have looked into this; the FBI has looked into this. We have no credible evidence that this activity is going on.. . . We have no credible evidence that such infiltration is going on,” Napolitano said.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tips on homes for evacuated kids, pets and frozen food; air quality concerns

Concerns about air quality

The Helena area saw dramatic swings in air quality in recent days due to the wildfire activity and varying wind conditions.

The Lewis and Clark County Health Department is encouraging those sensitive to poor air quality to avoid strenuous activity, prolonged outdoor activities and stay inside, if possible.

The department recommends using visibility guidelines to gauge air quality. Visibility of 10 miles or less is considered unhealthy with breathing or heart problems. As a general rule, if you cannot see the North Hills area from Helena, then the air quality is poor, the department notes.

The health department’s air-quality hot line is 444-1644. It will be updated twice daily during periods of questionable air quality. More information is available at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality web site at

Shelter for animals

There are several options for pets and other animals needing a place to escape the Corral Fire.
Total Dynamic Balance Veterinary Clinic on Tuesday was still taking on dogs, cats, cattle, horses and other critters needing a temporary home. The clinic is located at 3386 Highway 12 East.
The Lewis and Clark Humane Society also opened its doors to dogs and cats needing temporary shelter Tuesday. The humane society shelter is located off Custer Avenue across from Costco.
“We are concerned that all animals have a safe place to go to as homes are increasingly under evacuation order,” said Gina Wiest, the society director. “The shelter is equipped to handle an influx of dogs and cats that need this help.” The shelter can be contacted at 442-1660 or after hours by calling the sheriff’s department at 447-8293.

Home for evacuated food and meat

Tizer Meats has turned on its freezer and cooler, and will allow people impacted by the Corral Fire to store perishables for free.

The offer will last until “people get their lives back,” noted business manager Janet Fadness.
“We don’t have a lot to offer, but will do anything we can to help our community,” Fadness said. “I have a big freezer and two walk-in coolers. We’re offering free storage to anybody who is evacuated or whose power is out.”

If possible, people should put their goods in coolers, boxes or other containers, and they can label their items. Tizer also has freezer baskets they can loan people.

Fadness said they are adamant about their organization, so people’s items will remain separate.
She notes that anyone coming to the business at 3558 Tizer Road (next to Warren School) after 5:30 p.m. can call some of the cell phone numbers that will be posted on the door and someone will assist them.
“All of us live next door, so we can come right in and help them put things away,” Fadness said. “I know there are people with freezers full of stuff wondering what to do with it. We’d like to help.”

Gym open for kids Tuesday evening

The HAC and Gymtrix at 3370 Colton Drive is open Tuesday evening for children of evacuated families who need help with child care while evacuating homes and other matters. Staff will be available from 4 to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kerdyk still making a difference with golf tournament in Japan

Golf can take you here, there or anywhere. In Bill Kerdyk Jr.’s case, he has opted for an unusual “anywhere.”

That would be Japan.

Kerdyk, some 20 years ago, became the founder of the World Junior Golf Team Championship tournament in Japan. He was mesmerized at what happened that first year, and now he’s devoted to what the tournament has become and what it can be. 

Kerdyk is devoted to a lot of things — he’s the father of three, a Coral Gables commissioner, runs Kerdyk Real Estate and is the chairman of the Bank of Coral Gables.

A couple of days ago, Kerdyk was on a plane flying over the Pacific to Nagoya, Japan, to run his junior golf tournament for this year that will go from June 19 to June 22.

Competitors of the past? Try Charles Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose, Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Camillo Villegas and Louis Oosthuizen.

“This tournament gives an overview of the world,” Kerdyk, 51, said. “Ninety-nine percent of the players in it have never been overseas, and then years later you see the kind of players that come out of it. That’s rewarding”

Oosthuizen played in it, and 11 years later Kerdyk happened to be walking past him at the Masters.
“He stopped me,” Kerdyk said, “and he recognized me. Then he started saying how much he enjoyed the tournament we had put on and what it meant to him. This was 11 years later and we had never met in between. That made me think about what we were achieving.”

With all his other duties, Kerdyk doesn’t play much golf anymore, but he did growing up, eventually winding up on the Western Carolina team. The Kerdyks are a well-known and homegrown South Florida family, and athletics was a big emphasis from the parents.

Bill’s sister, Tracy, was the most successful on the golf circuit, competing on the LPGA Tour for 11 years.
How did Bill perform against his sister? It’s a mixed golf bag of results.

“We were highly competitive in our family, and she had never beaten me,” Bill said, “but one day she was ahead of me and I had to shoot a 34 on the back to beat her.” 

He knew it was only a matter of time until a humbling defeat, so he concocted a plan. 

“At that point, I decided I would never play her again — that way she would never beat me,” he said. “But one weekend, a friend of mine called and wanted me to play, and I went out there, and at the last minute up trots Tracy with her bag slung over her shoulder. She beat the heck out of me. So much for being undefeated against her.”

Tracy went on to her LPGA career, and Bill took a more low-key, behind-the-scenes approach with his Japanese tournament.

“We model it after the Ryder Cup,” he said of his tournament, sponsored by Toyota. “We try to bring in developing golf countries, and we are trying to develop golf worldwide.” This year, the one developing country chosen for the finals is China.

“We are trying to develop golf programs around the world,” Kerdyk said, noting that an estimated 65 countries and six continents take place in qualifying and try to make it to the finals in Japan. “We feel like this has been a success, and we want to keep it going.” 

Read more here:

Monday, March 19, 2012

President Obama, family attend worship service at historic church near White House

President Barack Obama attended service at a historic church that is steps away from the White House and often frequented by sitting presidents.

Obama was accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Sasha, on the cloudy, brisk morning as they walked through Lafayette Square to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The service included scripture readings from Numbers 21, Ephesians 2, John 3 and the singing of “Amazing Grace.”

The visiting pastor, Rev. Thomas Reid Ward, Jr., reflected on the words of the popular hymn written by John Newton, and told the congregation that God’s grace instills faith and courage.

“All we have to do is believe,” he said.

The Obamas participated in the audience welcome of greeting pew neighbors and in holy communion before walking back to the executive mansion.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February is American Heart Month: Are you heart healthy?

The American Heart Association (AHA) has dedicated February as American Heart Month to increase awareness that heart health is a priority. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Clay County is no different. Year after year, heart disease is the first or second leading cause of death in the county.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be experiencing a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Minutes matter! Learn the warning signs in case of an emergency.
Heart Attack Warning Signs

• chest discomfort
• discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
• shortness of breath
• breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

The best way to avoid a heart attack is to prevent it! Sounds simple doesn’t it? Here are some tips from the AHA to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. You can reduce the modifiable risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke if you follow these three steps: 1) Avoid tobacco, 2) Become more physically active, 3) Choose good nutrition.

If you smoke, then quit. If someone you know smokes, then encourage them to quit. Contact the Clay County Health Department for more information on free smoking cessation programs if you need help quitting.

Be physically active every day. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. We know that 150 minutes sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. You can break it up into smaller chunks of time as long as your activity is at least 10 minutes long.

Something is better than nothing. Research shows that people with a moderate level of fitness gain health benefits compared to people with low fitness levels.

A healthy diet is important to lowering your risk for heart disease. The key is choosing a balanced diet or eating plan. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes leans meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt added sugars. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up your favorite comfort foods! Healthy eating is all about balance. You can eat comfort foods once in a while and balance them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Be sure to talk to your physician before starting a new exercise or diet plan, especially if you have special health considerations.

601 East 12th Street, Flora, IL, 62839, Website:, Phone: (618) 662-4406 or (800) 544-4406, Fax: (618) 662-2801

For more information on health issues in Clay County, please visit