Health news and notes

Summer boot camp

BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department, in conjunction with BBetter, Inc and GMCFit, is hosting a summer boot camp starting May 18.

Emma Laramie and Anya Smith will instruct the program. Come jump start your mornings; this program will push you to sweat, feel the burn and BBetter! Boot camp will be held at the Living Memorial Park on the Upper Softball Field on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. The workouts are fun, diverse, and demanding, yet accessible to all abilities from beginner to seasoned athlete.

The cost of the program is $75 for Brattleboro residents and $100 for non-residents per month. There is a drop-in fee of $10 a session for residents and $12 for non-residents. Call the Recreation and Parks Department at 802-254-5808 for more information or stop by the office at 207 Main St.

HCRS names Silfies to board of directors

SPRINGFIELD >> Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, Vermont's second largest community mental-health agency, recently announced that it has elected SallyAnn Silfies to its Board of Directors. The agency will look to Silfies for unique perspectives based on her decade of service as an HCRS employee.

Silfies worked for 10 years in the agency's Children, Youth, and Families program, from which she retired in 2013. She currently serves as pastor of the Greater Hartford United Church of Christ.

"We are delighted to welcome home a valued member of our HCRS family as she begins her important role as our newest board member," said George Karabakakis, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, HCRS. "Given her years of outstanding contributions to our intensive family-based services, we look forward to the fresh and discerning viewpoints that SallyAnn will bring to the table."

Before joining HCRS as a staff member in 2003, Silfies served as Director of the Head Start Program in Windsor County. Her late husband, Frank Silfies, was also an HCRS veteran with more than 35 years of service. He capped his career with the position of Program Director for the agency's Emergency Services Program.

"Coming from a family with more than 45 years of combined association with HCRS, I've envisioned joining the agency's board as a way to continue helping the populations that HCRS serves," said Silfies. "With the experience I've gained during my years as an employee, I believe I've developed a foundation of unique viewpoints from which to serve."

Silfies lives in Windsor County and has three children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She is a graduate of Bennington College and also holds a Master's Degree in Education.

NH Health and Human Services offers tick prevention tips

CONCORD, N.H. >> Tick season is upon us once again, and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people living in and visiting New Hampshire to take precautions to prevent being bitten by ticks and potentially exposed to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

New Hampshire has one of the highest incidence rates of Lyme in the country. According to the DHHS Division of Public Health Services, there were an estimated 1,373 cases of Lyme disease identified in the state in 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 33,461 probable and confirmed cases in the United States in 2014, which is up from the 2013 count of 27,203 cases.

"We are coming upon one of the most active times for ticks in New Hampshire, which is important because of the diseases ticks can transmit to people, such as Lyme disease," said Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at DPHS. "While we certainly encourage everyone to enjoy the outdoors and all our State has to offer this season, it is important for everyone to consistently take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families."

DHHS recommends taking the following precautions to prevent tick bites: Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter; use insect repellent labeled as effective against ticks; wear protective clothing, such as long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks off skin; perform tick checks on yourself and family members after being outdoors; reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing leaf litter; and speak with your healthcare provider if you are bitten by a tick or if you notice a large round rash anywhere on you.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick. The greatest risk for Lyme is between the months of May and August, when the black-legged tick is in the juvenile stage; it's the size of a poppy seed and very difficult to detect, so individuals may be unaware they have been bitten. Ticks that transmit Lyme can also transmit other diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In 2015, there were 110 cases of anaplasmosis and 53 cases of babesiosis identified in New Hampshire residents. Although not as common as Lyme, both diseases can also cause serious illness.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and often a skin rash that is round and/or looks like a bulls eye. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics, but if left untreated can lead to severe headaches and neck pain caused by meningitis (inflammation of the protective covering surrounding the brain and spinal cord), pain and swelling in the large joints, shooting pains that may interfere with sleep, and heart palpitations and dizziness.

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, visit the DHHS website at or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

Granite State integrates services for children

CONCORD, N.H. >> A comprehensive, integrated approach to children's behavioral health supports the health and emotional development of children as they transition to adulthood. In an effort to ensure a coordinated system of care for the state's youngest residents, Jeffrey A. Meyers, Commissioner of the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, announced he has established the Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health.

"The Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health will coordinate these services to ensure issues can be addressed at a young age, leading to better outcomes and healthier lives for New Hampshire's children," Commissioner Meyers said. "Research has shown that earlier intervention can lead to better outcomes. The Bureau will work with other DHHS programs, providers, advocates and policy makers to ensure that a comprehensive system of care will be implemented to get children and their families the help they need."

The Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health will function within the DHHS Division of Behavioral Health, which Commissioner Meyers established in March 2016. The new Bureau, along with the Bureau of Mental Health Services, the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, and the State's behavioral health facilities, will unify the delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services to all of the population groups accessing these services.

The New Hampshire Legislature recently voted in favor of SB 534, legislation that would coordinate and integrate children's mental health services in a system of care. By unifying children's behavioral health services within the Division of Behavioral Health, DHHS will be able to reach children throughout the system of care, transforming a strained mental health and substance use delivery system and providing a greater focus on the services and supports children in the State need.

Day camp open house

SPRINGFIELD >> On Saturday, May, 21 from 1 to 3 p.m., Meeting Waters YMCA hosts its annual Day Camp Open House & Healthy Kids Day Celebration at its Lewis Day Camp facility, Route 5/Missing Link Road.

Tour the camp facility, meet staff, and learn about financial assistance and the free lunch program. Participate in fun, healthy activities as a family. Free of charge. Open to the public. For more information, contact Dani Brown at or 802-246-1036 (Brattleboro area) or 802-463-4769 (Bellows Falls area).

Summer food kickoff

BRATTLEBORO >> On June 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., there will be a summer food program kick-off at the Boys & Girls Club on Flat Street, during the monthly Gallery Walk. There will be a free dinner for families, games and prizes, and information about the free summer food program, including volunteer opportunities.

Diabetes prevention program

BRATTLEBORO >> The YMCA is hosting a Diabetes Prevention Program at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital beginning June 14. This is a free year-long program running 16 weeks then every two weeks for six weeks then once a month for seven months. This is for pre-diabetics who meet specific requirements to help prevent diabetes and are over 18. Please contact Nancy at 257-3171 or for more information or to register.

Child Care Association fundraiser

BRATTLEBORO >> Magical March, a fundraising walk for Windham Child Care Association, will be held on Saturday, June 18, at the Brattleboro Retreat from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Princesses, knights, dragons, kings, fairies, and other magical creatures will march through the woods to the Retreat Tower, followed by a fantasy-filled celebration with a puppet show, a wizard, a bag-piper, a juggler, a knight in shining armor, face-painter, music, games, pizza, ice cream, prizes, magical crafts and more. Marchers of all ages are welcome, but those ages 3 and up must raise a minimum of $8 to participate. Participants can form teams, up to five people, and are encouraged to gather pledges of support from their family and friends. All teams that raise at least $60 earn a chance to win one of two castle playhouse tents. More details on how to join the march at

Chipping away at poverty

BRATTLEBORO >> SEVCA's 15th Annual "Chipping Away at Poverty" Benefit Golf Tournament will be held on June 24 at the Brattleboro Country Club.

Proceeds will help SEVCA achieve its mission to alleviate and move people out of poverty in Windham and Windsor Counties. Cost is $125 per player, or $460 for a foursome. Prizes include a new vehicle from Brattleboro Ford-Subaru for the Hole-in-One Contest and $5,000 in cash for the Putting Contest. Contact Linda Brooks at 802-722-4575, ext. 105, or visit for more information.

Nurturing parents program

WILMINGTON >> The Nurturing Parenting Program offers support and educational options for ways of parenting school-aged children, preschool to 6th grade.

Parents, grandparents, moms, dads, all involved in raising a child are welcome. Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Twin Valley Elementary School, 360 VT-100. This free program also includes dinner and childcare. Call Kristin Trudeau, TVES Guidance Counselor, at 802-464-5177 or Suzan Marshal, Family Support Programs Coordinator, at 802-498-0608 to register.

Prescription drug drop box

WEST DOVER >> In an effort to keep unused and expired medications out of circulation, the Deerfield Valley Community Partnership and the Dover Police Department are pleased to announce that through funding from the Vermont Department of Health/Windham County Partnership for Success grant, they have installed a prescription drug collection box inside the Dover Police Department. This service allows people from Dover and surrounding towns to safely dispose of these medications.

Unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs have been determined to present substantial risks to communities by either falling into the wrong hands, or by damaging the environment through improper disposal. According to the newly released 2015 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 13% of Windham County high school students report that they have misused a stimulant or prescription pain reliever and 6% report misusing a stimulant or prescription pain reliever in the past 30 days. The most common source of these drugs is from family and friend's medicine cabinets. Proper disposal will assist in limiting youth access to these drugs.

The Dover Drop box is available Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dover Police Department Lobby at 246 Route 100. When dropping off medicines, community members are asked to place their expired or unused Rx pills or patches in their original bottle or in a disposable bag. Personal information should be removed so that the drugs can be anonymously dropped in the Rx drop box.

For additional drop box locations in Windham County and to learn more about prescription drug disposal efforts and other initiatives to prevent the misuse/abuse of prescription drugs, visit


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions