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Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness

Friday, September 28, 2007

Health District Rejects “Demand” to Limit or Close Turf Fields

The director of the Westport Weston Health District has rejected a “demand” by two Westport residents that play on Westport’s synthetic turf fields be limited or eliminated while tests for health risks are conducted on the fields’ rubber infill.

“In the absence of data about the fields, and given the widespread use of this type of turf worldwide without an issue, it would be presumptuous of us to limit their use based on the very limited data available to us,” wrote Susan Jacozzi in a letter dated Tuesday and made public today.

She was responding to a Sept. 14 letter from Westport residents Patricia Taylor and Stacy Prince in which they said they were lodging a “formal complaint” about four fields on Westport town property.

The women cited a May study issued by New Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. and subsequent comments by David Brown, a Westporter who serves as the group’s public health toxicologist, that children should be kept off the fields as a precautionary measure.

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09/28/07 02:09 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, September 24, 2007

Westport Weston Health District Sets Flu Clinics

The Westport Weston Health District said today it has received its shipment of ample flu vaccine supply for the season and scheduled two clinics for October.

The first flu clinic will take place on Saturday Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave. The second Flu clinic will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Northfield Church, Northfield Road, Weston.

The clinics are open to anyone 9 or older wishing to be vaccinated. There are no appointments necessary. The cost of the vaccine is to be announced at a later date. Call the WWHD flu hotline (203)227-9571 Ext. 239 for more information.

There is no cost to Medicare Part B participants. Medicare B participants must bring their Medicare cards to the clinic for billing purposes.


09/24/07 10:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Parks & Rec. Dept. Affirms Continued Turf Field Use

The Westport Parks and Recreation Department said today that continued use of synthetic athletic turf fields in Westport is warranted despite concerns expressed by some that they may adversely affect the health of users.

In a statement, Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy said: “The Westport Parks and Recreation Department continues to support the installation of synthetic athletic turf as a safe alternative to grass playing fields.

“While we are constantly reviewing all available information on this subject we have seen no evidence that playing on these fields is unsafe. There is ample evidence that these fields perform well, use fewer pesticides and improve playing conditions and athlete safety over the current over-used grass fields.”

McCarthy said the department encourages continued testing of these products to assure the safety of users of these playing fields.

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09/04/07 08:47 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hall-Brooke Names Stewart Levine Chief Medical Officer

Westport’s Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services has named Westporter Stewart Levine as chief medical officer of the facility at 47 Long Lots Road and chairman of psychiatry for St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.

Prior to being appointed to the position by Susan L. Davis, president and CEO of St. Vincent’s Health Services, Levine served as clinical director of Hall-Brooke and vice chairman of psychiatry at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

Levine joined Hall-Brooke in 2004 after serving as director of inpatient psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan where he also spent periods as assistant unit chief and unit chief.


07/18/07 07:52 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, June 29, 2007

Westport “Well Prepared” for Bird Flu Pandemic

By Ed Kiersh

They hope it will never happen, but Westport officials are refining their plans for an Avian influenza or bird flu Image
Westport Weston Health District Director Sue Jacozzi, pictured at the District today, says Westport is constantly studying how to be a step ahead in pandemic flu preparations. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ed Kiersh for

After attending a regional meeting Thursday of police, fire, and emergency care givers at Fairfield University, Westport Weston Health District Director Susan M.Jacozzi said today the town is well prepared.

“Westport’s local plan is very good,” she said. “We have doctors advising us and we have a very good relationship with first-responders.”

Jacozzi, who has served in her post for almost two years, said, “It’s a worry that we don’t have anti-virals or a vaccine. Yet we are constantly thinking of what could happen, and trying to be a step ahead.”

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06/29/07 10:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Aquasize at Longshore

Westport Aquatics
The first session of the Aquasize class for Westport seniors started with a lovely warm day at Westport’s Longshore Pool today. Ruth Sherman leads the hour-long class in water exercises every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:35 a.m. Westport seniors are welcome. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for


06/26/07 09:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Westport Health Center Looks to Upgrade

By Jennifer Connic

Westport Health Care Center is planning upgrades to its building to address changes in the long-term health care field, and the Zoning Board of Appeals is the first stop for those changes.

The ZBA recently held a hearing that will continue on May 8 for changes to the 120-bed facility at 1 Burr Road opposite Kings Highway Elementary School. If variances are approved, the plans will move on to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“The framework of today’s long-term care environment is comprised of advanced rehabilitation techniques and accompanying equipment in addition to evolved systems of caring for and making comfortable prototypical age-related illness and disease,” said a document from the center filed in the Planning and Zoning Department.

“In conjunction with these advances in treatment and therapies is both a federal and state focus to make the long-term care setting less institutional and more of a friendly residential environment.”

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05/01/07 10:21 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Flu Vaccines Available at Health District

The Westport-Weston Health District has flu vaccines available to those who may not have received one yet this year.

The vaccine is available by making an appointment by calling Loren Pace at (203) 227-9571 x231.

There are no residency restrictions to receive the vaccine, which costs $32 in a cash payment.

There is no cost to Medicare Part B participants, and they must bring their Medicare cards for billing purposes when receiving the vaccination.

Health officials said vaccination in December and later can still provide protection because during most years, the flu season does not peak until February or later.


12/20/06 08:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sunrise Rotary Hears Emotional Story of Heart Transplant Image
The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club today heard the emotional story of Kerry Keenan and her heart transplant. Kerry, who grew up in Westport and is the daughter of longtime Westporters Sheila and Todd Keenan, was stricken with a virus that led to the transplant in September 2004. She received the heart of a 15-year-old girl from Old Lyme, Conn. “It’s a very difficult process that someone had to die to save my life,” she said. She urged everyone to sign up to become organ donors. “You could be responsible for saving as many as 50 lives,” she said.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo


05/19/06 01:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Westport’s Hall-Brooke Opens 16-Bed Women’s Unit

A new 16-bed inpatient unit specifically dedicated to women’s treatment has opened at Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services, 47 Long Lots Road, Image
Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport offered blessings on the newly opened 16-bed Women’s Unit of Westport’s Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services. With Lori are (l-r): Dr. Thomas E. Smith, Hall-Brooke’s medical director, and Jennifer L’Herbette, MSW. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The advanced design 10,000-square-foot Woman’s Unit is staffed by clinical experts versed in the particular needs of women’s mental health and well-being, according to Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Hall-Brooke’s medical director.

The specific gender focus of the new unit “puts Hall-Brooke in the vanguard of mental health treatment centers which recognize the importance of biological and social factors on the mental health of women,” Smith said.  “There are very few comprehensive programs tailored to women available in the entire country.”

The unit’s specially trained staff understands the mental health needs of women and recognizes the influence of hormones and premenstrual symptoms, reactions to infertility or pregnancy loss, and emotional distress related to life changes, he said.

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03/12/06 06:11 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Connecticut Reports First Flu Cases

State health department officials said today that four confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in Connecticut – two in Fairfield County.

State Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin said the confirmation by the state Public Health Laboratory means that that the influenza season has officially begun in Connecticut.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Galvin urged Connecticut residents to talk to their doctor about getting a flu shot.

“If you have been waiting to get a flu shot, please don’t wait any longer — flu is here and there is still vaccine available in the state,” Rell said in a statement.

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12/29/05 11:31 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Y Offers Aquatics Classes Image
The Westport-Weston Family Y aquatics staff will be offering free “Aquatic Fusion” clinics this week. They will be held Wednesday and Friday at 8:45-9:45 a.m. on Wednesday and Friday in the 90-degree pool at the YMCA. Pictured are (l-r) Audrey Thompson, Aquatic Fitness Director Patty Kondub, and Shelly Goldman (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


12/20/05 03:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Avian Flu Health District Focus

To address concerns over what has been called a possible pandemic and to explore ways to protect oneself, the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) has scheduled an avian flu information program for Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Room 109 at Westport Town Hall.

Dr. Stuart Steinman, the health district’s medical advisor, plans to discuss the nature of avian influenza, “how to protect yourself and loved ones and learn what your country is doing to protect you,” health district officials say.

According to the WWHD, avian Influenza, or bird flu, is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect poultry, waterfowl, and other birds. While it is unusual for humans to acquire influenza virus infections directly from birds, the health district reports that human infections and deaths have occurred in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Citing research from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the WWHD reports that the widespread persistence of avian influenza in poultry poses two main risks for human health. The first is the risk of direct infection when the virus passes from poultry to humans, resulting in very severe disease. The second is that the virus can change into a form that is highly infectious for humans and spreads easily or pandemic.

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11/10/05 03:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Westport EMS Sets CPR Courses

The Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service is sponsoring two cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) courses next month.

Both will be held in the police classroom, 50 Jesup Road.

An infant and child heart-saver CPR class will be given Thursday, Nov. 3, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A fee of $25 will be charged and. registration is required. Certification will be given upon successful completion.

A full healthcare provider CPR course will be given Tuesday, Nov. 8 and continue on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A fee of $65 will be charged and registration is required. Certification will be given upon successful completion.

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10/23/05 12:44 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 17, 2005

Looking for a Few Good Men and Women Image
Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Service is looking for volunteers for its next EMT class. Applications must be submitted by Friday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic


10/17/05 07:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

EMT Course Offered

The Westport Volunteer EMS will be offering an EMT training course for those who want to join the corps.

An information session will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 at police headquarters, and applications are due by Oct. 21.

Class tuition is $500, and it may be refunded later based on volunteer service.

Classes start Nov. 1 and continue through May. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings 7-10 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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09/27/05 01:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hall-Brooke Offers Free Depression Screening Oct. 6

As a community service, Westport’s Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services will do free screening for depression from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6 at 47 Long Lots Road.

The screening is also available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at The Center, operated by Hall-Brooke, at 2400 Main St., Bridgeport, and is provided by both English and Spanish speakers.

Hall-Brooke’s services are part of the National Depression Screening Day which makes available the free opportunity for diagnosis to persons throughout the United States who may be suffering from depression or bipolar disease, an announcement said.


09/22/05 09:28 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Info Sessions Set on Long Island Sound No Discharge Proposal

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking steps to preserve the quality of coastal waters in Long Island Sound by seeking to ban discharge of sewage from boats in local waters.

It has set up information sessions on the proposal Wednesday and Thursday in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford.

The DEP plans to ask the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve designation of the waters from the eastern border of Branford to the western border of Greenwich as a No Discharge Area.

The area would include the Quinnipiac River from North Haven and the Housatonic River from Derby Dam in Derby to the coastal waters of Long Island Sound, according to an announcement.

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09/13/05 03:56 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wellness Topic of AARP Meeting Wednesday

The Westport-Weston Chapter of AARP will open its fall season Wednesday with practical advice from professionals on how to promote wellness and independence.

The 1 p.m. meeting at the Westport Center for Senior Activities is of particular interest to those age 50 and above who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, an announcement said.

Dr. Michael McGlynn, well-known clinical nutritionist with a practice in Westport, will focus on preventing disease and promoting wellness through good dietary practices. He received his post-doctorate diploma from the American Chiropractic Board of Nutrition,

Susan Lackey of Home Instead Senior Care in Norwalk will present a “Banana Blast” party inspired by the “30-Minute Meals for Seniors”. booklet created by TV chef Rachel Ray. Lackey will bring bananas, dipping chocolate and assorted toppings and invite the audience to participate in preparing—and eating—the nutritious afternoon treat.

Both speakers will welcome questions from the audience. For more information about the meeting, call Thelma Shiboski, (203) 227-8594.


09/13/05 04:11 AM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, September 12, 2005

Westport VEMS Sets CPR Course for Sept. 19

The Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (WVEMS) is sponsoring a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course to be held at the Police/EMS classroom, 50 Jesup Road, on Monday, Sept. 19.

The infant and child heart saver CPR class will be given from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m with a fee of $25 charged for the course, an announcement said. Pre-registration is required. Certification will be given upon successful completion.

The class is intended for all ages to help save lives by learning the skills of CPR and is available to all area residents and businesses, the announcement said. The course follows the American Heart Association curriculum. No walk-ins or late registration will be accepted. Call (203) 341-6030 for information.


09/12/05 01:59 PM Comments Closed • Permalink

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Westport Road Runners Summer Series Ends Image
The Westport Road Runners Summer Series ended with a 10-mile race today, which was won in a tie finish between Anatolie Vartosu of Stamford and Pete Brady from New York City with a time of 59 minutes and 54 seconds. Paul Greenberg (c) was the first Westport finisher, placing 10th overall with a time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 24 seconds. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Julia Mally for


09/03/05 10:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hall-Brooke Offers Private Outpatient Detox

A new ambulatory opiate detoxification program has been launched by Westport’s Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services as part of its outpatient addiction services.

The new outpatient treatment modality is a drastic change for persons seeking freedom from addiction to opiates, which include pain killers such as Oxycontin, Percocet,  and Vicodan, as well as heroin, morphine, codeine and methadone, an announcement said.

Until recently, their only detoxification option, other than hospitalization, was to que up at a methadone clinic for daily outpatient treatments, a requirement considered so demeaning and life disruptive, that it was an effective deterrent for many potential patients, according to the Hall-Brooke announcement.

Because of recent changes in FDA regulations, treatment to break free from opiate bondage is now realistically available in private physicians’ offices with buprenorphine, a controlled substance. 


08/19/05 09:08 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, August 18, 2005

14th Annual Kids on the Move Triathlon Set for Sept. 4

Every kid is a winner at the Westport Weston Family Y’s 14th annual Kids on the Move Triathlon scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 4 at Staples High School. 

It’s the Y’s “celebration of healthy kids,” according to race director Bob Knoebel. He said every athlete who crosses the finish line receives an accomplishment medal. 

“We want to reward the kids who choose to stay physically fit and active,,” Knoebel said.

Race check in begins at 9 a.m. while the race begins at 10:30 a.m.

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08/18/05 04:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

West Nile Virus Found in Weston and Wilton

State health department officials have announced that mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in 14 communities, including Weston and Wilton.

Until Tuesday, the virus had been detected only in Stamford and Stratford.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the state Department of Public Health released the latest findings.

“With continued warm weather we should anticipate additional positive mosquitoes in these and other areas of the state,” said Theodore Andreadis, chief medical entomologist for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven.

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08/17/05 03:15 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lyme Disease Study Includes Westport

Westport is one of 21 Connecticut communities participating in a new Lyme disease prevention study.

Researchers at the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) at Yale School of Medicine in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are undertaking the study. 

The goal of the program is to evaluate the effectiveness of personal protective measures and landscape modification practices on Lyme disease risk.

The 21 communities are located in the Torrington Area, Westport-Weston, and Ledge Light Health Districts. To be eligible for the study, residents must have a yard and have been diagnosed with a Lyme disease rash within the past year.

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08/15/05 07:42 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Westport EMS Launches New Driver Program

Ever been interested in volunteering at Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Service but don’t have time to take the lengthy Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course? Now there’s a new role you can play � ambulance driver.

Westport’s EMS has launched a new category of volunteers �EMS Ambulance Driver, according to Deputy Police Chief David Heinmiller.

“EMS drivers are an integral part of the EMS response team and the creation of this new volunteer position allows current, highly-trained EMT and paramedic crews to devote all their time to patient treatment,” he said.

In addition to being trained to drive emergency vehicles, these volunteers will be responsible for the inspection and minor maintenance of the ambulances, he said. They also will assist crews with scene safety, equipment and supplies, and patient movement.

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07/28/05 01:43 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, July 25, 2005

Unhealthy Air Forecast for Tuesday

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Enviromental Protection Agency today predicted that air quality on Tuesday will be unhealthy in the western half of Connecticut due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone, commonly called smog. 

The agencies also said they expected elevated levels of particulate matter in this same area on Tuesday.

Anyone can be affected by ozone, but groups particularly sensitive include children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, the agencies said.

Sensitive people who experience effects at lower ozone concentrations are likely to experience more serious effects at higher concentrations.  Still, even the healthiest people may find it difficult to breathe when ozone levels are very high.

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07/25/05 06:19 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Unhealthy Air Quality Today in Connecticut

Air quality today: orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups. EPA graphic
Air quality throughout Connecticut is predicted to be unhealthy today due to elevated concentrations of ground-level ozone, commonly called smog. 

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency also said they expect elevated levels of particulate matter.

While anyone can be affected by ozone, groups particularly sensitive include children and adults who are active outdoors, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, the agencies said.

When particulate concentrations in the ambient air are elevated, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk.

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07/19/05 12:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Governor Signs Bill to Keep Children With Food Allergies Safe

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has signed a bill requiring all state schools to adopt policies to keep children with food allergies safe, her office announced today.

“My goal is to make Connecticut schools as safe as they possibly can be,” Rell said in a statement.

“This law will put a system in place that can potentially save children’s lives. Parents of students with allergies will finally get some peace of mind. With this law, Connecticut breaks new ground as a leader in prevention and school safety.”

The measure requires the state to develop and make available to each local and regional board of education guidelines for the management of students with life-threatening food allergies by Jan. 1, 2006.

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06/08/05 07:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Taking the Plunge

It was everyone in the water today at Westport’s Compo Beach for the annual Penguin Plunge.The event, sponsored by Special Olympic Connecticuts southwest region, raises funds to support the organizationҒs fitness training and competition programs for disabled children and adults in Connecticut. These were some of the high school participants. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Emily Laux for


03/05/05 04:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

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