Health news and notes


Compassionate friends meet Sunday

Brattleboro >> The Compassionate Friends of Brattleboro, a national self-help organization for families that have had a child die, will hold its next monthly meeting Sunday, May 15th, at 2 p.m. at the West Village Meetinghouse, 29 South St.

The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family. Meetings are for all families regardless of race, religious orientation, economic background, or the cause and age of the child at death, from pre-birth up. We welcome all immediate family members including adult siblings.

Meetings are held each month the third Sunday of the month.

MDA shamrocks tradition thrives in Vermont

Wilmington >> Forty-two Jolley locations throughout the states of Vermont, New York and New Hampshire teamed with customers to raise $52,143 to help free kids and adults from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases that limit strength and mobility during the 34th annual MDA Shamrocks program to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

"Each year, Jolley employees and customers open their hearts to make a big difference through the simple act of selling or purchasing an MDA Shamrock," said Shawn Bartlett of Jolley. "We're grateful to everyone who participated and we're honored to do our part in support of MDA's mission to help families affected by these muscle-debilitating diseases live longer and grow stronger."

The top location in Vermont was Wilmington No. 143, manager Janice Mowrey.

To learn more about the 2016 MDA Shamrocks program and how to get involved, contact Executive Director Laura Searle at 802-862-6424 or by email at or visit

Medicare boot camp in Townshend and Brattleboro

Brattleboro >> Senior Solutions staff provides unbiased information about the Medicare system at Medicare Boot Camp. In May this free class will be held in two Windham County locations. In Townshend on Thursday, May 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. and in Brattleboro on Thursday, May 26, also from 1 to 3 p.m.

The class is for Vermonters who are new to Medicare. Family members who help these beneficiaries may also find it useful. Medicare has strict enrollment periods, and Medicare Boot Camp prepares participants make timely decisions about drug plans and supplemental plans as well as many other issues.

There is no fee, but donations are appreciated. Space is limited, so call in advance to the Senior HelpLine for registration and detailed location information at 1-800-642-5119.

Senior Solutions is also seeking volunteers to help deliver Medicare presentations such as this one. Anyone interested in volunteering in Windham County may contact the Senior HelpLine.

Support for parents of tweens and teens

Bellows Falls >> The 6-week Active Parenting Of Teens workshop will begin on Tuesday, May 24, at Cherry Hill from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Greater Falls Connections and Windham County Partnership for Success are offering this workshop for free for parents or caregivers of children ages 10 to 19.

Active Parenting of Teens is a six-week curriculum to help parents and caregivers meet the challenges and savor the joys of their children's teen years. This includes understanding one's parenting style, eliminating power struggles, and helping teens with responsibility and problem solving, disciplining effectively, building your child's self-esteem, and reducing the likelihood of risky behaviors. It also guides parents in dealing with sensitive issues such as drugs, sexuality and violence.

This video and discussion program will be held on Tuesdays from May 24 to June 28 at 25 Cherry St., the offices of Windham Northeast Supervisory Union. Michelle Sacco and Don Tretler, experienced parents and well-seasoned professionals, will lead the program. They have worked diligently to serve and empower both teens and parents. Quality childcare will be provided with advanced notice. Dinner will be provided.

Sign up by calling Deb Witkus at 802-463-9927, ext. 212 or by email at Find out more about the work of GFC at

New 24/7 Substance Use Crisis Hotline available in Granit State

CONCORD >> As part of their efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis by strengthening prevention, treatment and recovery services in New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers announced today a new crisis hotline that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help people struggling with addiction or substance misuse.

Individuals calling the New Hampshire Statewide Addiction Crisis Line will be able to receive at any time of day or night advice and referrals to appropriate services. The Addiction Crisis Line is operated by Keystone Hall with federal funding through a contract with the DHHS Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services.

"As we work to prevent addiction from happening in the first place, we must ensure that those already battling addiction can access services to treat this illness, just as we would with any other disease," Governor Hassan said. "This new hotline is an important step forward in connecting individuals struggling with addiction, as well as their families and friends, with vital information and services to help them get on the path to recovery."

Granite Staters struggling or who know someone struggling with addiction or substance misuse can call the New Hampshire Statewide Addiction Crisis Line toll-free at 1-844-711-HELP (4357) or via email: Individuals can also call 211 to receive information about the crisis hotline.

"We have established the statewide crisis line in the hope that it will aid in connecting people with available resources in their moment of crisis," said Commissioner Meyers. "The crisis line, as well as other new prevention, treatment and recovery resources, will make a difference in New Hampshire."

Information about the Statewide Addiction Crisis Line will be provided as a resource to treatment professionals, recovery support services, prevention professionals, first responders, hospitals, social workers, therapists, clinics, schools, advocacy groups, homeless shelters, nonprofits, and religious organizations and civic organizations throughout New Hampshire.

"We are so very thankful to the State for this critical funding to provide individuals, loved ones and community providers with immediate access to speak with someone who can guide them through the recovery process. This will greatly assist the State with the harrowing challenges of addiction, and will ultimately save lives," stated Annette Escalante, Vice President of Keystone Hall.

For more information on the NH Statewide Addiction Crisis Line, please visit

Advance care planning facilitators needed

Brattleboro >> Taking Steps Brattleboro is a collaborative, community-based initiative intended to vastly increase the numbers of people in the Brattleboro area who have completed the advance care planning process. The current team of facilitators has just been assigned its 78th referral.

Community members who enjoy supporting others and are interested in being trained to facilitate adults with their Advance Care Planning should call Joanna Rueter, LICSW, coordinator of Taking Steps Brattleboro at 802-257-0775, ext 101, or at by May 20. An application, personal interview, and completion of online training are required prior to the local training that will take place on June 10 and 11.

Taking Steps Brattleboro a program of Brattleboro Area Hospice, is locally funded and provides all services free of charge. Its office is located at 191 Canal St.


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