March 23, 2016

PROGRAM Farid Razavi, MD Schuylkill Health; Colon Cancer Screening

Dr. Razavi gave a presentation on Colon Cancer and Colon health. Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the US, despite significant reductions in the death rate for the disease since 1975. Most people have a 1 in 20 chance of developing colon cancer in their lifetime. Most colon cancers develop from polyps, which are wart-like growths in the colon. Most polyps are benign but any can become cancerous as they grow. The best detection and prevention test for colon cancer is the colonoscopy, which is recommended for anyone over 50 years old. Others with a family history of colon cancer to other risk factors should be tested earlier as the direction of their Physician.

Risks can be reduced with Diet, weight control, not smoking, and increasing physical activity. An unfortunate fact is that younger people are at risk more now due to poor diet and not following the risk reductions mentioned.

When you schedule a colonoscopy, the best advise is to follow the PREP directions carefully for the best results. The colonoscopy procedure takes about 45 minutes and the patient is usually sedated. The entire process from check in through recovery is typically 2 to 3 hours.

If you have not been tested, talk to your Doctor.

Thanks to Dr. Razavi and Ms. Klinger for an informative presentation.

March 16, 2016

PROGRAM – Courtney Fasnacht, Executive Director, Manufacturers and Employers Council, Inc.

The Manufacturers and Employers Council (MAEC) is the 501C3 branch of the Manufacturers and Employers Association, which was started in 1964 in Schuylkill County to provide services and programs to large and small manufacturers in the county. The goal of MAEC is to help develop a qualified workforce. Courtney described some of the many ways they do this, most notably with the YES (Your Employability Skills) program. This program targets seniors in high school and is a one credit program covering 120 hours taken during the regular school day. It is an elective course that provides students with real, hands-on training that will be applicable to the actual workplace.

There are various topics within the YES program including Communications, Health and Safety, Personal Development, Quality and Technology, and Teamwork. The Council coordinates up to 4 tours of local businesses for the YES classes where students get an inside look at how an industry functions and the careers available to them when they are ready to enter the workforce.

Courtney told us that students earn a Certification from the YES program upon receiving a high school diploma and meeting the following qualifications: they must achieve a Reading and Math score equivalent to Grade 9 level on the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE); Achieve a Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test score of 21 or better; Successfully pass a 6-panel drug screening; have attendance of 95% or better; and complete 120 hours of coursework. Over 4,500 students have participated in the YES program since 2006, with about 65% of them going off to college.

Another program that MAEC coordinates is the Schuylkill County Career Fair, which will be held this year at Martz Hall on April 19. This is an event where students have an opportunity to speak directly with local employers, post-secondary educational institutions, and the military about careers.

Thanks Courtney for an interesting program.

March 2, 2016

PROGRAM – Cheryl Cresswell, Executive Director of Care Net

Care Net in Schuylkill County will be celebrating their 16th year in Schuylkill County this Fall, according to Executive Director Cheryl Cresswell, our speaker this week. Cheryl told the group that the company was started when a local pastor wanted the community to offer something more than criticism to young women in crisis’ pregnancies. They have been located on South Centre Street in Pottsville for 8 years, and recently opened the Real Options Pregnancy Medical Resources Center on Red Horse Road in Pottsville. That office is located on the lower level of the building that houses Comprehensive Women’s Health Services, but the two businesses are separate.

Cheryl described her job as very exciting, especially meeting so many interesting and generous people. They are entirely funded by donations, mostly from local businesses, people, churches and organizations. She also described a fairly new program offered by Care Net and run by Sarah Hahner, teen health director. Sarah reaches out to local schools, plus has worked with various churches and other organizations to try to teach young women to make wise choices.

Part of Care Nets mission is to help expectant mothers or couples prepare for their baby. They can watch DVD’s and participate in group programs, which earn them “Baby Bucks” or “Mommy Dollars” that can be redeemed at their New Life Boutique for things like diapers, wipes and formula. The New Life Boutique is adjacent to their offices on Centre Street, and is one of the ways Care New raises money. Other ways include a 5K run in April and an Anniversary Gala in the Fall.

Thanks to Cheryl for an informative program

February 24

PROGRAM – Anthracite Chapter PA Society of Professional Engineers

This week we had our annual joint meeting with the Anthracite Chapter PA Society of Professional Engineers. Dr. Aaron Clauser from Clauser Environmental was our speaker and his topic was “Clean Water through Stream Restoration”. Dr. Clauser talked about how as a society we’ve done a great job of messing up our streams. Many have been covered over or are the recipient of various discharges. There has been serious floodplain encroachments and agricultural pollutants. In addition, Schuylkill County has problems with abandoned mine drainage.

Dr. Clauser discussed watershed assessment and showed a map outlying some of the processes in stream restoration. Interestingly the first step is to study bugs and insects to assess what water is good versus what is bad. Then engineers will walk the stream with GPS, cameras and clipboards and assess what projects are a higher or lower priority. He described how decaying water source affects those downstream, and used an example of Wilmington DE. being effected by streams in Chester and Lancaster Counties.

He told us about several Best Management Practices including placing large rocks alongside the stream, and grass vegetation. There are several sources of funding for these restoration projects, including the use of grants, non-profits with foundations and large corporations funding the projects as part of mitigation processes.

We thank Dr. Clauser for an interesting presentation.

February 10, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

Lauren Womer and Joshua Donley from Minersville, Katrina Whalen and Christopher Pekarik of Pottsville, and Lauren Moyer and Jacob Evans from Nativity were our Students of the Month for February, 2016.

Lauren Womer is the daughter of Jim and Rose Womer of Minersville. She is involved in Volleyball, Yearbook Club, Prom Committee, Spanish Club, Student Council, SADD, and the National Honor Society. Lauren plans to attend college and major in Biology.

Joshua Donley is the son of Mark and Karen Curran Donley of Minersville, where he is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. He is active in Vacation Bible School, and his favorite subjects are Calculus and Classics, the study of Roman mythology. He is President of the Marching and Concert Bands, President of the concert choir, Vice-President of the Academic League and German Club, and a member of track and field and Varsity cheerleading. Joshua participates in the Schuylkill County band and Schuylkill County Chorus, and has participated in the PMEA District 10 Band festival and PMEA District 10 Choir Concert. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Lions All state Band. His future plans include attending Susquehanna University to study Business and Finance with a minor in Music.

Katrina Whalen is the daughter of Walter and Denise Whalen of Pottsville. She is Class President, treasurer and 4 year member of the Spanish Club, and a 4 year member of Key Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AIA. She is a 2 year member of Stage Crew, and is a coaching assistant of the PAHS boys’ tennis team. Katrina is President of the National Honor Society and a 2 year member, and a member of the Spanish National Honor society and winner of the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award. She is a 3 year member and captain of the tennis team and her favorite subjects are Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, and Biology. Katrina plans on attending Bloomsburg University with a nursing major and her ultimate goal is to become a nurse anesthetics.

Christopher Pekarik is the son of Christopher and Kimberly Pekarik of Pottsville. He is a member of the National Honor Society, has achieved perfect attendance, and won the Governor’s STEM State Project Award and achieved 2nd place in PFEW. Christopher is a 4 year member and trombone section leader of the Marching, Concert and Pep Bands, a 4 year member of the Brass Ensemble and Country Bands, and a 3 year member and lead trombone player for the Stage Band. He is also the President and Founder of the Chess Club, a 3 year member of boys volleyball, 2 year member of Spanish club and member of the Quiz Team and E-Sports. Christopher plays in Pottsville’s 3rd Brigade Band, and his favorite subjects are Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and Computer Programming. He plans on attending Rochester Institute of Technology and major in both Physics and Computer science, while continuing to play trombone in the RIT’s bands.

Lauren Moyer is the daughter of Brian and Ellen Moyer of Schuylkill Haven. She attends St. Ambrose Church and her favorite subjects at Nativity are Art, Biology and English. She is involved in Drama Club, Academic Team, Art Club, and National Honor Society. Lauren dances at the L.A. Dance Theatre in St. Clair. She has received several art awards, the most recent being the program cover for the Diocesan Education Convention, as well as the Republican Herald Design An ad contest. Some of her work is currently on display at the walk-In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. Lauren plans on attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and major in Illustration.

Jacob Evans is the son of Gary and Tina Evans of Cressona. He attends St. Ambrose Church and his favorite subjects at Nativity are AP Biology and Accounting. He is involved in Cross country, Basketball, Track and Field, Math Club, Science Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Interact Club and Campus Ministry. Jacob is the secretary of student government and plans to attend college and major in Business/Accounting.

February 10, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

Lauren Womer and Joshua Donley from Minersville, Katrina Whalen and Christopher Pekarik of Pottsville, and Lauren Moyer and Jacob Evans from Nativity were our Students of the Month for February, 2016.

Lauren Womer is the daughter of Jim and Rose Womer of Minersville. She is involved in Volleyball, Yearbook Club, Prom Committee, Spanish Club, Student Council, SADD, and the National Honor Society. Lauren plans to attend college and major in Biology.

Joshua Donley is the son of Mark and Karen Curran Donley of Minersville, where he is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. He is active in Vacation Bible School, and his favorite subjects are Calculus and Classics, the study of Roman mythology. He is President of the Marching and Concert Bands, President of the concert choir, Vice-President of the Academic League and German Club, and a member of track and field and Varsity cheerleading. Joshua participates in the Schuylkill County band and Schuylkill County Chorus, and has participated in the PMEA District 10 Band festival and PMEA District 10 Choir Concert. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Lions All state Band. His future plans include attending Susquehanna University to study Business and Finance with a minor in Music.

Katrina Whalen is the daughter of Walter and Denise Whalen of Pottsville. She is Class President, treasurer and 4 year member of the Spanish Club, and a 4 year member of Key Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AIA. She is a 2 year member of Stage Crew, and is a coaching assistant of the PAHS boys’ tennis team. Katrina is President of the National Honor Society and a 2 year member, and a member of the Spanish National Honor society and winner of the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award. She is a 3 year member and captain of the tennis team and her favorite subjects are Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, and Biology. Katrina plans on attending Bloomsburg University with a nursing major and her ultimate goal is to become a nurse anesthetics.

Christopher Pekarik is the son of Christopher and Kimberly Pekarik of Pottsville. He is a member of the National Honor Society, has achieved perfect attendance, and won the Governor’s STEM State Project Award and achieved 2nd place in PFEW. Christopher is a 4 year member and trombone section leader of the Marching, Concert and Pep Bands, a 4 year member of the Brass Ensemble and Country Bands, and a 3 year member and lead trombone player for the Stage Band. He is also the President and Founder of the Chess Club, a 3 year member of boys volleyball, 2 year member of Spanish club and member of the Quiz Team and E-Sports. Christopher plays in Pottsville’s 3rd Brigade Band, and his favorite subjects are Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and Computer Programming. He plans on attending Rochester Institute of Technology and major in both Physics and Computer science, while continuing to play trombone in the RIT’s bands.

Lauren Moyer is the daughter of Brian and Ellen Moyer of Schuylkill Haven. She attends St. Ambrose Church and her favorite subjects at Nativity are Art, Biology and English. She is involved in Drama Club, Academic Team, Art Club, and National Honor Society. Lauren dances at the L.A. Dance Theatre in St. Clair. She has received several art awards, the most recent being the program cover for the Diocesan Education Convention, as well as the Republican Herald Design An ad contest. Some of her work is currently on display at the walk-In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. Lauren plans on attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and major in Illustration.

Jacob Evans is the son of Gary and Tina Evans of Cressona. He attends St. Ambrose Church and his favorite subjects at Nativity are AP Biology and Accounting. He is involved in Cross country, Basketball, Track and Field, Math Club, Science Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Interact Club and Campus Ministry. Jacob is the secretary of student government and plans to attend college and major in Business/Accounting.

February 3, 2016

PROGRAM – Frank Snyder, PA DCNR Forester and Joe Orlowsky, Pottsville Shade Tree Commission.

Frank Snyder gave a presentation on the Benefits and importance of Forests and threats to our Forestlands. 70% of Schuylkill County is tree covered and 60% statewide. There are many benefits of trees and forestland, including aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and protection of watersheds. Water is Pennsylvania’s No. 1 Natural Resource. PA has the 2nd most miles of rivers and streams in the US, second only to Alaska. Forests help to protect these watersheds. The Forest Products industry is also very important in PA. It is an $11 billion business, with $19 billion total impact on the state economy.

There are many threats to our trees and forests, including invasive plants and species, such as Gypsy Moths and Emerald Ash Borer. Development, wildfires, and poor tree cutting practices are also major threats. Half of the tree cutting in the state utilizes poor timbering practices. A typical bad practice is to take the biggest trees and leave the smaller trees behind, on the premise that those small trees will then grow bigger and stronger. The actual fact is most of those smaller trees are not younger trees. They are typically stunted or diseased trees, which will not grow and produce seeds for new trees. The better practice is to take the smaller trees and leave the larger, seed producing, trees in place to sustain the forest. However, there are no state laws which govern how a property owner manages their forests. The Clean Water Act which regulates erosion and sediment control is the only law that applies to those areas.

Joe Orlowsky spoke about the Pottsville Shade Tree Commission. The commission is charged with protecting and sustaining the trees in the City. They have two plantings per year, spring and fall, and replace or plant about 50 trees per year. They also monitor the existing trees for diseased or dangerous trees. If a tree is noted that it must be removed, they notify the property owner. It is the property owner’s responsibility to have the tree removed. A focus area of the Commission over the past few years has been the Baber Cemetery. There were 38 diseased trees taken down in the cemetery and about 3 to 4 more are identified each year. They are actively replacing those trees with the cooperation of the Cemetery Association.

Thanks to Frank and Joe for a very informative program.

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